Columns/Opinions

Thu
08
Oct

Do the Democrats have debate envy?

We know it seems way early, but people are talking presidential politics like it’s January 2016 rather than early fall 2015. Walk through a crowded room and it’s almost impossible not to hear the names Fiorina, Carson, Bush, Trump, Cruz or Walker waft by. And the latest Elon University poll of North Carolina voters finds billionaire developer Donald Trump neck and neck with surgeon Ben Carson while longtime politician and GOP heir apparent Jeb Bush runs a distant third in the state.

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Thu
08
Oct

Governor requests border help from Washington

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Sept. 30 wrote a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, requesting immediate action to address “the significant increase of illegal border crossings.” Nearly 10,000 immigrant families and unaccompanied children were detained after illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in August, an increase of more than 50 percent over August 2014, Abbott said, quoting official reports.

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Thu
01
Oct

Lawmakers get input on jails, suicide prevention

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — The July 13, 2015, death of Sandra Bland, a woman arrested and jailed after a traffic stop in Waller County, has prompted meetings of Texas House and Senate committees. Bland, whose body was discovered in her jail cell three days after she was put in custody, was ruled a suicide. Charged by the lieutenant governor to conduct an interim study, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee met for more than four hours on Sept. 22. The panel listened to invited testimony and discussed jail safety and inmate suicide prevention in county jails.

Thu
01
Oct

Postal service, bleeding cash, should be privatized

The U.S. Postal Service has long been plagued by financial problems, and there is plenty of blame to go around. The Postal Service has not turned a profit since 2006, and has lost a total of $51.7 billion from 2007-14, according to a new Tax Foundation report. Things are not off to a good start this year, either, with the agency posting $2.8 billion in losses for the first two quarters of 2015.

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Tue
29
Sep

Lights, Camera, Action!

By Katelyn Vincent

Often times when attending a play we see the final product and the actors, but what did it take to get the production rolling? There is much preparation that we rarely see or hear of behind the scenes.
 
Thu
24
Sep

American Community Survey updates poverty statistics

AUSTIN — Texas’ poverty rate improved to 17.2 percent in 2014, according to U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey released Sept. 17. Embedded in that statistic is this: more than 4.5 million Texans — 1.7 million of whom are children — still live in poverty. In 2014, the poverty line for a family of three was about $19,000 per year.

 

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Thu
24
Sep

Why government projects so often come in over-budget

It is no secret that government is inherently inefficient at providing various goods and services. From time to time, we hear about the $640 toilet seats, $7,600 coffee makers, government employees playing golf or watching porn on the taxpayer’s dime and so forth. A new study from the libertarian Cato Institute offers a good analysis of the history and causes of federal government project cost overruns.

 

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Thu
17
Sep

Neighbors agree to work on trade, energy projects

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott traveled to Mexico last week to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto and other officials in Mexico City. On Sept. 8, the governor’s office announced an agreement between the Texas Department of Transportation and the Ministry of Communications and Transportation of the United Mexican States “to promote and increase bilateral collaboration on future border infrastructure projects.”

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Thu
17
Sep

Wasteful, intrusive tax-funded research

In this edition of “Your Tax Dollars at Work,” we highlight some of the latest examples of the federal government’s fine stewardship of the public purse with regard to government research grants. The National Institutes of Health has spent nearly $2.7 million since 2011 on an “innovative intervention” to help truckers lose weight by giving them motivational phone calls while they are on the road and having them record their weight and behavior on a weekly basis. The 29 drivers who participated in the pilot study were eligible for free health screenings, hourly pay and “lottery prizes.” 

 

Thu
10
Sep

Abbott orders flags to half-staff to honor slain officer

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott ordered Texas flags across the state be lowered to half-staff in honor of slain Harris County Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth on Sept. 4. Abbott also asked that law enforcement officers turn on their patrol vehicles’ red and blue flashing lights for one minute at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 4, the start time for Deputy Goforth’s funeral.

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