Columns/Opinions

Wed
18
Dec

Comptroller reports estimate for state revenue amount

By Ed Sterling.

AUSTIN — Texas will have some $98.9 billion in general revenue for state budget makers to work with in the 2014-2015 biennium, according to Texas Comptroller Susan Combs’ revenue estimate. Combs delivered the estimate to Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, House Speaker Joe Straus and every member of the state House and Senate on Dec. 12. “This available revenue,” Combs said, “supports general revenue spending of $96.31 billion for the 2014-2015 biennium … producing an expected revenue balance of $2.58 billion.”
 
Wed
11
Dec

Govenor, Texas lawmakers honor Nelson Mandela

By Ed Sterling.

Following the death of Nelson Mandela on Dec. 5, Gov. Rick Perry and other elected officials released statements in honor of the former president of South Africa whose message of racial reconciliation and leading role in breaking down apartheid in that country are acknowledged globally. Perry said: “Through his valiant struggle against the injustices of apartheid, Nelson Mandela became a symbol of what one person can do to change the world. His life and legacy will remain an inspiration to people everywhere who believe in the power of freedom to create stronger nations and forge a better world for future generations.
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Wed
11
Dec

Why can’t Congress aim for higher ground?

By Lee Hamilton.

The country needs gradual deficit reduction that avoids disrupting the economy or harming the vulnerable. Congress should craft a long-term solution to problems that have held economic growth far below its potential. Congressional budget negotiators are moving to meet a December 13 deadline to produce, well, something. Commentators say even the narrowest will be a signal achievement. Doesn’t that seem like an awfully low bar to you? Yes, I know. The atmosphere on Capitol Hill is poisonous. Yet there are consequences to not producing an agreement that brings clarity to fiscal affairs.
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Tue
03
Dec

Fancy names

I’m laughing about this topic. It’s gotten way out of hand. Zack and the kids provided a few examples from their own experience. Internet research yielded additions. I present for your entertainment the following:
• Housekeeper (Maid or possibly wife).
• Domestic Engineer (Housewife. I personally prefer the more exotic “Domestic Goddess.” See more about the adjective “exotic” later).
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Tue
03
Dec

Candidates line up for party primaries

By Ed Sterling.

Texas’ primary election is set for March 4, 2014, and the list of candidates for statewide office is largely settled, with Dec. 9 as the filing deadline. Most recently gaining notice was state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, who announced her candidacy for lieutenant governor on Nov. 23. Van de Putte has 22 years of experience as a state lawmaker — eight years as a state representative and 14 years as a senator. She serves as chair of the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations.
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Tue
26
Nov

Dogged Journalism: A blessing, not a curse

By Lee Hamilton, Former Congressman.

There is a limit to how much secrecy a democracy can stand. Let’s start with the obvious: A democracy needs intelligence agencies. It needs to know what’s happening in the world — and understand the plans of allies and enemies — to keep the nation prepared and secure. If intelligence work is going to be effective, much of it has to be done in secret. “National security” is not merely an excuse for keeping intelligence activity under wraps: often, the only way to protect our collective well-being is to pursue many national security activities, including intelligence-gathering, in the dark.
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Tue
26
Nov

Marking 50th year since JFK assassination

By Ed Sterling.

Texans, Americans and citizens of the world in the past week remembered the shock and aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago in Dallas, on Nov. 22, 1963. Many newspapers and other media reflected on coverage of those days, some expanding on how the assassination changed views on public safety and kindled the public’s desire for a faster-moving stream of news.
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Tue
19
Nov

Time to fish or cut bait on tax reform

By Lee Hamilton, Former Congressman.

For talk of tax reform to be meaningful, members of Congress must have the courage to specify publicly which cuts to eliminate, or at least trim. As Congress moves forward on budget negotiations, the word out of Washington is to expect nothing major: no grand bargain, just more stopgap, short-term fixes. Yet there’s one ray of hope. The House and Senate chairs of the tax-writing committees, one a Republican, the other a Democrat, are preparing a comprehensive tax reform plan. They see the budget negotiations as an opportunity to enact much-needed changes to our bloated, off-kilter tax laws.
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Tue
19
Nov

Governor reacts to Obama’s health care proposal

By Ed Sterling.

President Obama’s announcement last week proposing an alternative to insurers canceling health insurance plans that no longer meet the federal “Affordable Care” law’s requirement to cover basic benefits like prescription drugs or doctors’ visits drew fire from Gov. Rick Perry. Insurers could offer customers the option to renew their 2013 health plans in 2014, without change, allowing them to keep their plans, the president said.
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Wed
13
Nov

Insignificant

By Genie Ellis Zacharias.

A man who reads lives a thousand lives. A man who doesn’t read lives but one. I read a lot. Some goes in and out of this head, but occasionally things stick. Two thoughts that always stuck with me have to do with conversation and advice. A social gathering over the weekend reminded me with a gentle nudge.
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