Columns/Opinions

Wed
06
May

Money & Politics: We need change now

half the voters think members of Congress are corrupt. A Democracy Corps poll last summer found clear majorities across the spectrum worried about the impact of Super PAC spending as “wrong” and leading “to our elected officials representing the views of wealthy donors.” In fact, while it is a rare member of Congress who would change his or her vote because of money, there is ample evidence that where the majority of Americans and a small but wealthy minority disagree, the influence of money on politics tends to outweigh the views of ordinary voters. When donors contribute heavily, they have a disproportionate influence over the legislator; that’s not “corruption,” but it means that  opinions of average citizens are diminished and the views of the big donors are amplified when it comes to policy-making.  

 

Wed
29
Apr

From Texas cheerleader to King of Prime-time TV

Aaron Spelling, the biggest big-shot in the history of television, was born in Dallas to poor immigrant parents on Apr. 22, 1923. An Ellis Island clerk changed his father’s name from Spurling to Spelling the day the Polish Jew entered the country. The new arrival found a Russian-born mate with the same ethnic roots and moved halfway across the continent to Texas.
 
Wed
29
Apr

House, Senate state budget conferees roll up sleeves

With barely more than a month left in the regular session of the Texas Legislature, it’s time for the House and Senate to do whatever can be done to reach an all-points agreement on House Bill 1, the state budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. A widely reported sticky area in the estimated $211 billion budget is over which taxes to cut and how much to cut. House and Senate conferees will meet this week.
 
Wed
22
Apr

Spring sugar

Spring’s a pretty sweet time around the ranch. I’m not referring to all the song birds, eggs in nests, sweet fragrances
from flowers and new babies of all critter varieties. There are plenty of all those things. I was thinking in more literal terms.
“Sweet”, as in “I’m up to my elbows in sugar”.
 
Wed
22
Apr

Senate passes version of 2016-17 state budget

AUSTIN — The Texas Senate on April 14 passed its version of the 2016-2017 state budget. Because the House- and Senate-approved budgets are $1.6 billion apart, five Senate members and five House members will be appointed to a conference committee to resolve differences
 
Wed
15
Apr

Senate approves Public Integrity Unit bill

By Ed Sterling

Statewide authority to investigate and prosecute public corruption would be moved out of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office under Senate Bill 10, legislation approved by the Senate on April 9. Sen. Joan Huffman, chair of the Senate State Affairs Committee, wrote the legislation under which the Texas Rangers, a division of the Department of Public Safety, would reestablish and support the state’s Public Integrity Unit and assume the initial investigatory role when a complaint is filed against a public official. Cases would be prosecuted in the county where a public official resides.

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Wed
15
Apr

Congress, President need to consult

by Lee Hamilton

Congress feels left out of foreign policy-making. I have considerable sympathy for this impulse. Over the decades, too much power has drifted to the President when it comes to foreign affairs. The Congress has been deferential, even timid, in allowing this to happen. Moreover, the administration has not done an especially good job of consulting with Congress. The President is the chief actor in foreign policy, and it’s his obligation to reach out and develop a sustained dialogue with Congress on foreign policy matters. As far as I can tell, he has not done that sufficiently.

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Wed
08
Apr

Freedoms come with responsiblity

With any kind of freedom comes responsibility. Responsibility walks hand in hand with capacity and power. And with great power comes great responsibility.
 

 

Wed
08
Apr

‘Ragtime King’ left unique musical legacy

When Scott Joplin died in a New York City asylum on April 1, 1917, the “King of Ragtime” was out of money and out of his mind. Florence Joplin, a freeborn black woman from Kentucky, gave birth to the second of her six children in late 1867 or early 1868 near Linden in northeastern Texas.
 
Wed
01
Apr

House, Senate continue with adopting budget

By Ed Sterling
 
AUSTIN — The House Appropriations Committee on March 24 unanimously approved the General Appropriations Act (House Bill 1) — the first hurdle toward passing a state budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.
 

 

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