Report from the Border

My wife and I just returned from a trip to the U.S./Mexico border at Brownsville.  The purpose of the trip was to see firsthand how immigrants are being treated and how our law enforcement agencies and judicial system are performing. Our trip was arranged through Texas Impact and The Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy […]

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Income and Wealth Inequality and Taxes

2019, The Wall Street Journal published an article in its opinion section written by Alan Blinder, a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton.  Blinder’s opinion piece references a new book by two economists at the University of California, Berkeley, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zuchman.  Saez and Zucman traced tax records back to 1913, […]

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Trump vs the Environment

On November 1, 2019 it was reported that the Trump administration intends to loosen restrictions on transporting LNG (liquefied natural gas) by rail.  This move is intended to help the oil, gas and railroad industries.  However, tank cars full of explosive natural gas traveling through cities and towns is an obvious danger to people and […]

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Hungry Children

Trump intends to cut school lunches for almost one million poor children.  This is as a consequence of his decision to make it more difficult for poor families to qualify for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly and often derisively known as “food stamps”.  Trump’s plan is to disqualify all families with […]

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Forced Arbitration

Many times in the past several years I have spoken out against laws and court decisions which force us to resolve disputes in arbitration rather than in a court of law.  These forced arbitration contractual clauses have found their way into virtually every contract you are required to sign to obtain ordinary goods and services, […]

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Controversial Judicial Appointments

Trump is on pace to appoint a record number of federal appellate judges.  These judges enjoy lifetime appointments and are one level below the U.S. Supreme Court.  The vast majority of federal cases are decided by these judges.  Considering that these nominees must be confirmed by the Senate; that Republicans have a 53-47 majority in […]

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Environmental Hypocrisy

The world recently reacted with anger over forest fires in the Amazon Rain Forest of Brazil.  The fires are intentionally set to create pasturage for cattle and new crop land.  The president of Brazil responded defiantly at first, but then seemed to say the fires were illegal and blamed the fires on criminals he couldn’t […]

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Asylum

The U.S. Supreme Court is allowing the Trump administration’s new asylum policy to take effect while the appellate process continues. Please recall that the Trump policy requires asylum seekers to apply for and be denied asylum in any country they travel through before reaching the U.S. This policy reversed longstanding policy which allowed asylum seekers […]

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Voting – Health Insurance – Poverty

I recently wrote a blog about a man named Thomas B. Hofeller. Before his death, Hofeller and his political consulting firm were hired by Republicans in 46 states, including Texas, to concoct gerrymandered voting maps and political strategies that helped Republicans get elected and stay in power. There is ongoing litigation in North Carolina concerning […]

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Dark Secrets

A court in North Carolina recently threw out voting maps gerrymandered by Republicans. New maps must be created by September 18 and the ruling is very specific about how they must and must not be drawn.  This ruling was probably unexpected by Republicans because the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that drawing voting maps was […]

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Food Insecurity

The timing is jarring. Our Brazos Valley Food Bank is hosting its annual Feast of Caring fundraiser on August 7, 2019. The success of this event is crucial to the thousands of food-insecure people in our area. While the Food Bank works hard to make its fundraiser a success so it can fulfill its mission, […]

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Do Politicians Care What You Think?

The short answer to this question is an emphatic “No!” This was the finding of 2 professors, Joshua Kalla from Yale and Ethan Porter from George Washington University, who conducted a study to answer this question. They discuss their study in The New York Times article of 7/12/19, “Politicians Don’t Care What You Think.”  If […]

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Just When You Think it Can’t Get Worse

My wife and I recently returned from Minnesota where we attended a wedding. We took the opportunity to travel through Northern Minnesota from Duluth, along the shore of Lake Superior to Thunder Bay Canada, up to Ely, the gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, and over to Hebbing, the epicenter of iron mining and […]

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You’re Fired

A very interesting, highly unusual thing has just happened in the case regarding the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census: the entire team of lawyers who had been representing the Trump administration in this litigation are being replaced. To set the stage for you, please recall that this case […]

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FAA Balloon Pilot Update

I recently wrote about the FAA’s failure to implement a law requiring commercial balloon pilots to obtain medical certificates verifying their fitness to fly passengers. Despite prodding from Representative Lloyd Doggett of Austin, the FAA has still not acted. Reprinted here is an update from Representative Doggett regarding his continuing efforts to force the FAA […]

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Mixed Signals

On June 7, 2019, the Houston Chronicle reported several stories about energy that left me wondering which way we are heading environmentally.  The front page story was about carbon dioxide removal technology (giant vacuum cleaners) which would be deployed around the world to filter out carbon dioxide.  The technology is hypothetical, unproven and, if it […]

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Speaking from the Grave

Image property of C-SPAN On June 7, 2019, The New York Times reported on an unusual voting rights case. The background facts are that a leading Republican voting strategist, Thomas Hofeller, died last August.  Hofeller was considered a mastermind of gerrymandering and other machinations that ensure that Republicans stay in control.  Hofeller was hired by […]

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Safety

I posted a blog a few months ago about the tragic balloon crash in Caldwell County that killed 15 people, including two who had deep roots in Brazos County.  A bill proposed by U. S. Representative Lloyd Doggett of Texas requiring commercial balloon pilots to have medical certificates passed with bipartisan support and became effective […]

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