Opinion


Letters to the editor: April 23, 2018

I know this is the wrong media to reach the audience that I want to hear this, but here it goes. Students, let me tell you that what you say does not matter! You are not putting your efforts to good use. Politicians do not care what you have to say. You do not contribute to their campaigns, you do not have any lobbyist in your back pocket, and most importantly, you don’t vote. Those of you who...


TWO VIEWS: Austin policies are making affordability crisis worse

Paying more for housing? Blame City Hall. In spite of paying regular lip service to affordability, city officials continue to push big government policies that make it more expensive to live in Austin. In fact, officials are exploring a new one now. Earlier this month, Austin’s Code Department began seeking public input on a proposal requiring certain homes and apartments to install insect screens...

Letters to the editor: April 20, 2018

Re: April 18 article, “Fans turn on political Pop.” Don’t let the screen door bang on the way out if you turn your back on your team because of politics. Team owners won’t tell you what this fan will: Good riddance to fair-weather fans. Maybe you leaving will free up a better seat for me. Reality is we are a country politically divided 50/50. When you make a political stand...
CASTILLO: Why the ‘hyphenated Americanism’ comment triggered outrage

CASTILLO: Why the ‘hyphenated Americanism’ comment triggered outrage

The recent decision by the State Board of Education to approve an elective course for Mexican-American studies in Texas high schools should have triggered triumphant celebrations among the scholars and advocates who worked for years to make the curriculum a reality. Instead, many came away feeling like they were history’s losers once more. “Discrimination!” Marisa Perez-Diaz, a member...
VIEWPOINTS: Independent ethics panel has benefits, but don’t rush it

VIEWPOINTS: Independent ethics panel has benefits, but don’t rush it

It’s still a work in progress, but the Charter Review Commission’s proposal to establish an independent ethics panel to investigate — and if necessary prosecute — alleged violations of Austin’s campaign-finance rules and other ethics-related matters is headed in the right direction. We do offer some cautions: Whatever the final product is, it should not be rushed through...
Commentary: On Earth Day 2018, demand actions from our lawmakers

Commentary: On Earth Day 2018, demand actions from our lawmakers

Each year, the entire world celebrates the Earth Day on April 22 after its creation in 1970, when a large oil spill occurred on the California coast of Santa Barbara. Concerns about the environment were increasing at the time in the U.S., and Republican President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. Humankind has been using fossil fuels for a long time — and its...
Commentary: We’re suing to stop the hijacking of Travis County votes

Commentary: We’re suing to stop the hijacking of Travis County votes

After seven years — and three election cycles — of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the Texas congressional redistricting lawsuit against then-Gov. Rick Perry and the state of Texas beginning this week. As two of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit, we sought to reverse unconstitutional gerrymandering and minority voter disenfranchisement in Travis County. Texas Republicans have...
Herman: Taylor dealing with its train spotting problem

Herman: Taylor dealing with its train spotting problem

Back in January 2017 one of my favorite columnists at this paper, reporting on an Amtrak trip, wrote this about the first stop north of Austin: “Bless Taylor’s heart,” I wrote, “the Amtrak view of the city isn’t what you’d call a chamber of commerce dream. The downtown view from the train features a building that includes what appears to be a long-abandoned...
TWO VIEWS: “No more cane on the Brazos” or affordable housing in Austin

TWO VIEWS: “No more cane on the Brazos” or affordable housing in Austin

How hard is it to find affordable housing these days? Let’s start in Sugar Land, where the old bones of more than 30 newly disinterred, turn-of-the-20th-century prison inmates can no longer afford their final resting places. The bodies have to move to make way for the local school district’s “new career center.” Figures. The poor souls no doubt finished their careers as forced...
Commentary: Schools need good maintenance, like your car and home

Commentary: Schools need good maintenance, like your car and home

In Monday’s New York Times, the sorry state of public education was on display. Tattered textbooks, broken and outdated equipment and facilities in disrepair were featured, as teachers reported on how much of their own money they spend each year to try to close some resource gaps for their students. A teacher in Palacios in South Texas was among those featured. But if we are honest, we know...
Herman: The passing of an unelected Texas political icon

Herman: The passing of an unelected Texas political icon

The last time I saw Barbara Bush in person was in February 2016 in the West Running Brook Middle School cafeteria in Derry, N.H. The event was sort of sad and symbolic. A presidential candidacy was fading away, and with it a political dynasty as we’d known it through the presidencies of Barbara Bush’s husband and one of her sons. On that cold New Hampshire day in that middle school cafeteria...
First step in fixing Austin Energy’s customer service: ‘We have to really revisit empathy’

First step in fixing Austin Energy’s customer service: ‘We have to really revisit empathy’

I once covered a Florida sheriff who told voters: “When you call 911, I want good things to happen.” OK, set aside for a moment the fact that if you’re calling 911, something terrible is happening. His point was that once you’re talking to a dispatcher, you should get a response that inspires confidence and produces results, preferably as quickly as ...
Phillips: Billy Harden opened doors and brought passion to the stage

Phillips: Billy Harden opened doors and brought passion to the stage

Billy Harden was an Austin treasure. Not just because he was a towering figure in the African-American community, but because Billy — who I knew for over 25 years — was a mover and shaker in Austin’s arts and education communities. Austin School Independent School trustees plan to pay tribute to Harden on April 30 for his efforts helping students succeed. The Austin native died last...
Why the ‘hyphenated Americanism’ comment triggered outrage

Why the ‘hyphenated Americanism’ comment triggered outrage

People rally in front of the State Board of Education building last week before a preliminary vote on whether to create a statewide Mexican American studies course. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN The decision by the State Board of Education to approve an elective course for Mexican-American studies in Texas high schools should have triggered triumphant celebrations...
Commentary: Facts matter, so expect marchers at the Capitol again

Commentary: Facts matter, so expect marchers at the Capitol again

One year ago, we stood on the south steps of the Capitol and looked out on a sea of thousands of Texans. We were there to demand something that by today’s standards almost seems radical: How about we just stick to facts. The event was the March for Science — one of hundreds of similar marches that same day across the country and around the world organized to champion science and STEM advancement...
Herman: Why Lupe Valdez? Why Andrew White? Let’s have a debate

Herman: Why Lupe Valdez? Why Andrew White? Let’s have a debate

While we’re talking about a Democratic gubernatorial runoff debate (something Lupe Valdez might be forced to talk about a lot unless and until she firmly agrees to do one), let’s take a look at a potential first question she and foe Andrew White might get in said debate. Valdez fielded it last week at a San Antonio campaign event. “Thanks for your service in the military and law...
Billy Harden (1953-2018) opened doors and shaped minds

Billy Harden (1953-2018) opened doors and shaped minds

Teacher Don Webb greets Dr. Billy Harden (center) then-head of Goodwill industries’ charter school, and Traci Berry, senior vice president of community engagement. Goodwill launched a pilot program with funds from the Texas Legislature to help students 19-50 receive their high school diplomas. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN   Billy Harden&rsquo...
Commentary: With the right CodeNext, we can preserve and create

Commentary: With the right CodeNext, we can preserve and create

Recent backlash against the third draft of CodeNext has sparked a move to scrap the draft altogether, wasting millions of dollars and countless hours of effort from both city representatives and invested citizens. We cannot afford to reach the end of this process with merely a surface-level code clean-up or an $8 million code reformat. It is important to realize this is our opportunity to create a...
Commentary: How fentanyl got its grip on Texas

Commentary: How fentanyl got its grip on Texas

As a former Border Patrol Agent, Member of Congress and Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I understand first-hand the difficulties of securing our borders. Perhaps today, there may be no more important border-security priority than stopping fentanyl, the synthetic opioid, from entering the United States from Mexico and China. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever...
Commentary: Adults will outnumber kids in 2035. Plan for aging, Texas

Commentary: Adults will outnumber kids in 2035. Plan for aging, Texas

Every day, the population of the United States, including Texas, is getting older. This poses important challenges to Social Security, Medicare and a host of state and local programs. In fact, the Census Bureau recently announced that it projects there will be more older people than children in the United States by 2035. We can’t afford to wait 17 years to start thinking about changes that we...
Commentary: We need net neutrality to fight algorithmic discrimination

Commentary: We need net neutrality to fight algorithmic discrimination

Net neutrality is vital. Congress must do everything it can to pass strong rules that stop internet companies from creating digital fast lanes, discriminating against minority viewpoints or stifling fair competition online. As an educator, I know young people need access to all ideas and viewpoints and must have the freedom to find information they need. They must not be spoon fed propaganda by secrete...
Commentary: Austin transit upgrade is multigenerational investment

Commentary: Austin transit upgrade is multigenerational investment

Last month, Capital Metro debuted a draft system map as part of Project Connect. The goal is to build a regional transit network that preserves our quality of life and helps address the region’s affordability issues. We’ve been working at it for a couple of years already, but we’re just getting started. Project Connect will be a multigenerational investment in our region’s...
Viewpoints: Releasing bomber’s recording would help heal a wounded city

Viewpoints: Releasing bomber’s recording would help heal a wounded city

We urge the Austin Police Department to release the recorded confession Mark A. Conditt left behind. The public’s right to hear the 28-minute audio recording of the bomber who terrorized the city for much of March far outweighs reasons for keeping it secret. We do understand temporarily withholding some information to protect the integrity of an ongoing investigation, as Texas law permits. But...
VIEWPOINTS: Releasing bomber’s recording would help heal a wounded city

VIEWPOINTS: Releasing bomber’s recording would help heal a wounded city

We urge the Austin Police Department to release the recorded confession Mark A. Conditt left behind. The public’s right to hear the 28-minute audio recording of the bomber who terrorized the city for much of March far outweighs reasons for keeping it secret. We do understand temporarily withholding some information to protect the integrity of an ongoing investigation, as Texas law permits. But...
Herman: Lupe Valdez says she’s willing to debate Andrew White

Herman: Lupe Valdez says she’s willing to debate Andrew White

I realized recently that I wasn’t quite sure where we are on whether there will be debates between Democratic gubernatorial runoff candidates Lupe Valdez and Andrew White. White has aggressively pushed for them. But I hadn’t heard from Valdez on the topic. So I headed to VFW Post 76 (the state’s oldest) in San Antonio for a Wednesday evening Valdez meet-and-greet with about 25 supporters...
INSIGHT: When Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t speaking, his face did the talking

INSIGHT: When Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t speaking, his face did the talking

Facial expressions and body movements, whether we make them knowingly or not, can persuade people. As experts in political discourse and facial displays – how scientists often refer to facial expressions – we have analyzed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s five-hour Senate hearing on April 10. We looked at what kinds of questions senators asked and how Zuckerberg answered them. What...
Herman: What’s next for Rosewood Courts?

Herman: What’s next for Rosewood Courts?

Dating back to the late 19th century (disclosure: columnist exaggeration), I’ve been giving you play-by-play coverage of the ongoing effort to replace East Austin’s historic/outdated Rosewood Courts public housing complex with something more appropriate for current and future residents. You know, like with central air and other no-longer-new-fangled amenities. Today, let’s look...
Commentary: Why our youngest generation needs your compassion

Commentary: Why our youngest generation needs your compassion

At 58, I joke with people that I love being a middle school librarian because I’m still so in touch with my adolescent self. As a late baby boomer, the mother of “late” millennials, and a teacher of teens since 1985, I thought I understood teen world. In the last two or three years, I’ve noticed some rapid changes. Then I ran across Jean M. Twenge’s illuminating book...
Commentary: What we lose if we lose DACA and Dreamers

Commentary: What we lose if we lose DACA and Dreamers

The 124,000 people in Texas who are recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program face a frightening future. With DACA hanging in legislative limbo, many of these young people who are enrolled in our state’s colleges and universities must grapple with the dread and anxiety of not knowing what the future might hold. College campuses have a responsibility to provide these...
Opinion: Republicans and Democrats just did something big together

Opinion: Republicans and Democrats just did something big together

Washington seems to be in the grip of hyperpartisan gridlock these days. Important bills are passed on party-line votes — when they are passed at all — and the investigative committees of Congress appear to be sideshows, unable to agree on basic facts. Many Americans despair that Republicans and Democrats seem incapable of coming together to do anything important. Take heart — the...
Herman: Ex-state and fed legislator seeks rare return to Texas Capitol

Herman: Ex-state and fed legislator seeks rare return to Texas Capitol

Improbably, and most probably unknown to the two of them, Guy Morrison Bryan is Pete Gallego’s role model. Some of you remember former Rep. Gallego, D-Alpine, who served 11 terms in in the Texas House and one in the U.S. House until his constituents went thumbs down on him. Twice. Far fewer of you remember Bryan. And if you do, you’re probably considerably over 100 years old (or, as we...
ANALYSIS: We can’t blame Trump for revolving door of security experts

ANALYSIS: We can’t blame Trump for revolving door of security experts

Who is in charge of the national security policy of the United States? That question is reasonable, given the turmoil in the Trump administration’s national security team. That core team is made up of the national security adviser, the National Security Council and the secretaries of Defense and State – and many of those team members have been ousted and replaced over the last year. I...
Commentary: Texas should be learning about Mexican-American culture

Commentary: Texas should be learning about Mexican-American culture

The year is 1968 and the U.S. Civil Rights Commission is holding a hearing in San Antonio to hear Mexican-Americans from across the nation, but especially San Antonio, plead their case. They are there to hear about political, economic, cultural and educational problems. Mexican-Americans began to state their case in 1845, when the United States forcefully incorporated them into the nation. A 1911...
Commentary: The dark side of social media is data privacy

Commentary: The dark side of social media is data privacy

Facebook is the most pervasive social media platform used today, reporting 2.2 billion monthly active users as of the fourth quarter of 2017, more than any other social media platform. More of us need to consider what this means and the risks that are involved when a company has data associated with 2.2 billion people. As users, we gave consent for Facebook to share our information — but what...
INSIGHT: President, governors have few limits for using National Guard

INSIGHT: President, governors have few limits for using National Guard

President Donald Trump recently announced his plan to dispatch National Guard troops to the southern border to assist with security efforts. The Army National Guard is the oldest defense force in the nation, formed in 1636 as three militia regiments in the Massachusetts Bay Colony armed to defend against the Pequot Indians. The actual term “National Guard” was first used in 1824 for New...
Herman: What’s more Texan, Patrick’s Chevy pickup or Collier’s Ford?

Herman: What’s more Texan, Patrick’s Chevy pickup or Collier’s Ford?

In Texas, when a man (and I think this is pretty much gender specific) looks another man in the eye and asks for his vote, any and all responses must begin with, “Tell me about your truck.” (Please perform this in whatever your version of the quintessential Texas accent.) You can tell a lot about a Texas man by the truck he drives, the make, the model and how high it’s been jacked...
Castillo: Why you should care about the census citizenship question

Castillo: Why you should care about the census citizenship question

A pro golfer famously known for being uneasy in the spotlight once said he didn’t like answering the telephone because, “there might be someone on the other end.” Not answering the phone might be eccentric, but not answering the door is another thing altogether. Many of us don’t like a knock at the door when we’re not expecting anyone. And that can be a problem for the...
Phillips: Election imperils seat for Austin blacks in Legislature

Phillips: Election imperils seat for Austin blacks in Legislature

Fifty years ago, when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, some cities erupted in fiery riots as the nation mourned his death. In Austin, days after King was slain, voters went to the polls to make Wilhelmina Delco the first African-American elected to the Austin Independent School Board. That was 1968. Later, Delco would be elected to the Legislature. Under the flag of progressive politics...
VIEWPOINTS: It’s time for self-driving cars to meet safety regulations

VIEWPOINTS: It’s time for self-driving cars to meet safety regulations

Our streets should not be a laboratory. The recent death of an Arizona woman hit by a self-driving Uber car is a sobering reminder of the risks of this developing technology. It has also highlighted the fact that few safeguards protect the public as city streets become proving grounds for driverless cars, amid intense competition between tech giants and traditional car companies to bring these once-futuristic...
Commentary: When it comes to race, America is an unfinished project

Commentary: When it comes to race, America is an unfinished project

On a recent Easter weekend, lonely in a hotel room and far from a church, I found myself searching YouTube for hymns I remembered from my boyhood. I came across a video of President Obama singing “Amazing Grace” at the funeral of one of the victims of the church massacre in Charleston, S.C. The sincerity of his gesture led me to sob even more deeply than I had in 2015. For as he sang,...
Commentary: It’s time to recognize Texas women who are making history

Commentary: It’s time to recognize Texas women who are making history

What began as volunteer work in her 20s at the Austin Rape Crisis Center led to more than four decades of exemplary service by Deborah D. Tucker, co-founder of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence. And because of her dedication, Texas today leads the nation in the fight to end domestic and sexual violence. With her 2014 induction into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, Austin is...
Commentary: Texas GOP favors politics over reason with immigration

Commentary: Texas GOP favors politics over reason with immigration

Texas Republican leaders’ embrace of the Trump administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the U.S. census in 2020 flies in the face of practical considerations, such as protecting federal funds vital to the state budget and avoiding a reduction in Texas’ congressional representation. Why? Because the attitudes of Texas Republican voters on immigration issues are taking...

Opinion: Foes of renewable energy increase risk of climate catastrophe

Peter Thiel, Facebook investor and Donald Trump supporter, is by all accounts a terrible person. He did, however, come up with one classic line about the disappointments of modern technology: “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” OK, now it’s 280, but who’s counting? The point of his quip was that while we’ve found ever more clever ways of pushing around...
Facebook comments: April 22, 2018

Facebook comments: April 22, 2018

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Jonathan Tilove, Alex Jones and InfoWars have been sued by the parents of children killed in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn. The lawsuit centers on Jones suggesting the death of their children was a “hoax.” Tilove wrote the case “could be a landmark Austin trial on where to draw the line between free...
CASTILLO: Why the ‘hyphenated Americanism’ comment triggered outrage

CASTILLO: Why the ‘hyphenated Americanism’ comment triggered outrage

The recent decision by the State Board of Education to approve an elective course for Mexican-American studies in Texas high schools should have triggered triumphant celebrations among the scholars and advocates who worked for years to make the curriculum a reality. Instead, many came away feeling like they were history’s losers once more. “Discrimination!” Marisa Perez-Diaz, a member...
Satirist Christopher Moore’s ‘Noir’ shoots and misses

Satirist Christopher Moore’s ‘Noir’ shoots and misses

A regular joe stirs up a whole pot of trouble when he meets a damsel in distress in Christopher Moore’s “Noir.” Renowned satirist Moore offers up a soft-boiled take on the hard-boiled tradition personified by the likes of Dashiell Hammet and Raymond Chandler in this messy, comic mystery that often goes off the rails. The book does offer a fascinating setting in San Francisco circa...

Opinion: What happened in Starbucks isn’t really about Starbucks

I don’t drink coffee, so I can’t boycott Starbucks. But I wouldn’t if I could. Yes, I understand — and share — the national anger over viral video of last week’s arrest of two African-American men at one of the company’s Philadelphia stores. The men, who have yet to be identified, were reportedly doing nothing more threatening than waiting quietly to be joined...

Opinion: ‘Little Pink House’ speaks truth to power

Coming soon to a cinema near you — you can make this happen; read on — is a bite-your-nails true-story thriller featuring heroes, villains and a history-making struggle over … the Constitution’s Takings Clause. Next Feb. 24, “Little Pink House” will win the Oscar for best picture if Hollywood’s political preening contains even a scintilla of sincerity about...

Opinion: Our gold-leaf presidency

Let’s talk for a minute about Mar-a-Lago. Donald Trump was there this week, hosting a get-together with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan. Important stuff to be discussed — North Korea, trade. The two men held a brief press conference on Tuesday, at which the president revealed: “Many of the world’s great leaders request to come to Mar-a-Lago and Palm Beach. They like it;...

Opinion: Trump’s Syria strike was meant to project strength

WASHINGTON — In 2013, after Syrian dictator Bashar Assad crossed President Obama’s red line and used chemical weapons on innocent civilians, a U.S. official told the Los Angeles Times that Obama’s retaliatory strike would likely be “just muscular enough not to get mocked” but not so devastating that it would elicit a response from Iran and Russia. In the end, Obama backed...
Facebook comments: April 20, 2018

Facebook comments: April 20, 2018

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Jonathan Tilove, Alex Jones and InfoWars have been sued by the parents of children killed in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn. The lawsuit centers on Jones suggesting the death of their children was a “hoax.” Tilove wrote the case “could be a landmark Austin trial on where to draw the line between free...
VIEWPOINTS: Ethics panel would benefit Austin, but don’t rush it

VIEWPOINTS: Ethics panel would benefit Austin, but don’t rush it

It’s still a work in progress, but the Charter Review Commission’s proposal to establish an independent ethics panel to investigate – and if necessary prosecute — alleged violations of Austin’s campaign-finance rules and other ethics-related matters is headed in the right direction. We do offer some cautions: Whatever the final product is, it should not be rushed through...

Opinion: Trump — prisoner of the War Party?

“Ten days ago, President Trump was saying ‘the United States should withdraw from Syria.’ We convinced him it was necessary to stay.” Thus boasted French President Emmanuel Macron Saturday, adding, “We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term.” Is the U.S. indeed in the Syrian civil war “for the long term”? If so, who made that fateful...

Opinion: Nikki Haley’s SOS to the nation

WASHINGTON — “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.” These eight words from Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will go down as among the most powerful indictments of the rancid governing culture President Trump has fostered. They may also shed light on one of the great mysteries of the moment: Why is it that Trump regularly backs off when it comes...
Letters to the editor: April 19, 2018

Letters to the editor: April 19, 2018

Re: April 16 article, “UT Co-op aims to remake itself after ‘challenging times.’” An excellent description of The University Co-Operative Society’s financial woes and recent comeback, this article concludes by summarizing the importance of the Co-op to the university’s history and culture. But more than that, the University Co-op really should be considered a &ldquo...

Opinion: Choosing animals over people

BAYANGA, Central African Republic — The cutest primates on earth may be Inguka and Inganda, gorilla toddler twins who playfully tumble over each other here in the vast Dzanga Sangha rain forest, one of the best places to see gorillas, antelopes and elephants play. The only risk: They are so heedless and unafraid of people that they may tumble almost into your lap — and then their 375-pound...
INSIGHT: Father who lost wife, kids starting over with surviving son

INSIGHT: Father who lost wife, kids starting over with surviving son

Six-year-old Ryland Ward jumps down from his uncle Michael’s lap and bounds across the job site. There’s chocolate ice cream, he’s heard, his favorite. Climbing onto the minitractor parked in front of the house, Ryland holds the carton in his good hand and gnaws at the lid. He’s intent on opening it himself, but as chocolate begins to seep out the sides, he hands it to Michael...
Letters to the editor: April 18, 2018

Letters to the editor: April 18, 2018

Re: April 16 article, “More businesses allow dogs, saying they calm employees.” The “feel good” story about dogs in the work place was cute, but animals at a work place is a bad idea. They may improve mood and productivity for some, but for others they are a distraction — and their presence can be life threatening. The American College of Allergies, Asthma and Immunology...
Daniel Peña’s debut novel tells grim tale mixed with desperate hope

Daniel Peña’s debut novel tells grim tale mixed with desperate hope

Uli knows if they can make it to the highway, they’ll live. With 25 feet to go before impact, he can’t even scream before the prop plane his brother is piloting crumples into the ground, the sound a “thundering crack of flesh on metal.” Surviving the crash turns out to be the least of Uli’s worries, though, as Daniel Peña illuminates in his keenly observed debut...

Opinion: A mayor’s most important job

When World War II ended, Washington D.C.’s population was about 900,000; today it’s about 700,000. In 1950, Baltimore’s population was almost 950,000; today it’s around 614,000. Detroit’s 1950 population was close to 1.85 million; today it’s down to 673,000. Camden, New Jersey’s 1950 population was nearly 125,000. A similar story of population decline can...
Letters to the editor: April 17, 2018

Letters to the editor: April 17, 2018

Re: April 13 article, “Bids sought as parents call for a nurse at every Austin ISD school.” The discussion about school nurses begs the question: How many nurses would be required? How many schools? That would help us understand the cost. One nurse per campus is great if we can afford it. CRAIG WARNER, AUSTIN Re: April 12 commentary, “What we lose if we lose DACA and Dreamers?&rdquo...

Facebook comments: April 17 2018

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Mark D. Wilson, Hays County sheriff’s deputies have arrested a Dripping Springs High School student on drug charges. Authorities had responded to three separate drug overdose calls in a week involving Dripping Springs High school students, and found that they had ingested LSD. Alyssa Qualls, 18, has been charged with delivery of a controlled substance...

Opinion: Testimony reveals truths about sex assault victims

By now, anyone with a prurient taste for political scandal has read the investigative report engulfing Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. It’s 24 pages of testimony describing a series of sexual assaults Greitens allegedly committed before he became governor — a far cry from the “affair” the married governor has admitted to. The report was released Wednesday by a special investigative...

Opinion: Don’t rush to impeach Trump

A few days ago, which is to say an eternity in our Trump-dilated time, there was a story on NPR about anxious evangelicals’ seeking a meeting with the president. The subject of their agita, not entirely surprisingly, was the Stormy Daniels affair, in which the president’s lawyer-fixer, Michael Cohen, appears to have averted a possible October surprise by buying the silence of a porn star...

Letters to the editor: April 16, 2018

Re: April 10 article, “Study: Number of Texas women dying in childbirth was overreported.” I was glad to learn the Texas maternal mortality rate was not as drastic as earlier reported. Getting the data right is crucial to good policy. In developing countries, it is even more difficult to get the data right. These rates are actually down — and we know we can end preventable maternal...

Opinion: The meaning of Ryan’s departure

I’ve always felt a kinship with Paul Ryan. Maybe it’s the fact that we are both Jack Kemp acolytes. Maybe I have a soft spot for upright family men who are attracted to public policy by the desire to do good. Maybe I love conservative wonks. But Paul Ryan’s fate over the past several years is as good an indication as any of how far our politics have fallen. Ryan’s departure...

Opinion: Obamacare’s very stable genius

Front pages continue, understandably, to be dominated by the roughly 130,000 scandals currently afflicting the Trump administration. But polls suggest that the reek of corruption, intense as it is, isn’t likely to dominate the midterm elections. The biggest issue on voters’ minds appears, instead, to be health care. If Republicans retain control of both houses of Congress, we can safely...

Facebook comments: April 15, 2018

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Johnathan Silver, President Trump has nominated Austin attorney David Morales to be a U.S. district court judge and fill a vacancy in Corpus Christi. Morales closed the Texas investigation into Trump University when he worked in the state attorney general’s office. Morales is a partner at law firm Kelly Hart & Hallman and focuses on litigation, administrative...
Robert Ashcroft’s horror debut explores humanity in age of monsters

Robert Ashcroft’s horror debut explores humanity in age of monsters

An augmented soldier fights against apocalyptic nightmares in a brutal war to save humanity in Robert Ashcroft’s “The Megarothke.” Debut novelist Ashcroft unleashes a witch’s brew of macabre, Lovecraftian imagery in this strange horror novel that couches a heavy emotional arc within its video game-like setting. Our narrator is former LAPD officer-turned-cybernetic survivor...
Letters to the editor: April 15, 2018

Letters to the editor: April 15, 2018

It seems the Great State of Texas isn’t so great anymore. Due to Austin lawmakers, our nursing homes are the worst in the nation. Children in need health care or special education are severely limited. And the state does not enforce the immigration laws already on the books. At the federal level, Congress has made a mockery of the way are tax dollars are handled. Congress now calls Medicare...

Opinion: How should America respond to Syria’s use of chemical weapons?

On April 22, 1915, chlorine gas, wafted by favorable breezes, drifted from German lines toward enemy positions held by French troops near Ypres, Belgium. This was the first significant use of chemical weapons in a war in which 100,000 tons of chemical agents would be used by both sides to kill almost 30,000 soldiers and injure 500,000. The injured would include a German corporal whose voice, bearing...

Opinion: Shaun King might be controversial, but he’s no terrorist

Shaun King is a controversial guy. As an activist and journalist, he’s been prominent in the Black Lives Matter movement, defended the Palestinians and attacked the Republican Party. On Monday, apparently as a result of his politics, King was briefly detained at JFK Airport by an agent of U.S. Customs and Border Protection while returning home from Egypt. In a series of tweets and a telephone...
More Opinion Stories