After losing the nomination to Donald Trump, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz delivered a speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention that was markedly unenthusiastic about the party’s presidential candidate. Cruz congratulated Trump on winning the nomination, but in over twenty-five minutes of speaking about conservative values he failed to endorse Trump for president. It was a gamble for the 2020 election. By the time Cruz reached the end of his speech, however, delegates booed and shouted, “Say his name!” Cruz eventually endorsed Trump via a Facebook post two months later, but only after Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick hinted that he would find a primary opponent for Cruz if he didn’t. After the less-than-prime-time endorsement, Patrick, who was Trump’s Texas chairman, backed off. Now it looks as…View Original Post
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In the aftermath of the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, words like “demented,” “insane,” “sick,” and “madman” peppered official responses, media coverage, and public speculation. How else could we explain the tragedy in Las Vegas? But such loaded language obscures a simple fact: The majority of mass shooters do not have a diagnosed mental illness. More of us need to realize that it is wrong to automatically assume that mass shootings and mental illness go hand in hand. We often put mass shooters—particularly when they are white—under the umbrella category of mental illness. Possible diagnoses are mulled over by the media, hinted at by those who knew the perpetrators, or simply assumed. But this fallback on mental illness, or other disability labels, flies…View Original Post
“If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, get out.” Those words by Lieutenant General Jay Silveria, spoken in the halls of the U.S. Air Force Academy last month, quickly reverberated around the Internet. They struck a chord because they were unambiguous. The simplest lessons, the ones we learned in kindergarten, are often the most profound. After all, Thumper said it first: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” Silveria’s words resonated with me as someone whose been struggling to find civility in public discourse amongst a cacophony of incivility. Where has the civil discourse gone? And, more importantly, what has been my role in its disappearance? Today, conversations seem coarser. Emotions more raw. Language more brutal. You can blame…View Original Post
Despite all the breathless excitement and competing promotion among cities, attracting the Amazon second headquarters—also known as HQ2—to Texas is a long shot thanks to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Governor Greg Abbott. They may have already pissed away $5 billion in construction and 50,000 permanent jobs for Texans with this summer’s special legislative session and its marquee issue—the bathroom bill. Only the most craven cynics still promote the idea that the bathroom bill, which businesses in Texas lined up against last summer, had anything to do with keeping predatory men out of women’s bathrooms. The legislation was solely about whipping up anger against the LGBTQ community within a fundamentalist religious base of voters, who tend to turn out heavily in the Republican primary. It may…View Original Post
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On Friday, Governor Greg Abbott decided it was time to pay a ransom that he claimed was being demanded by Houston’s mayor. But with a $50 million state check passing from Abbott’s hand to Mayor Sylvester Turner’s, a city property tax increase was averted. “Mr. Mayor, I didn’t come empty handed today,” Abbott said at a Houston news conference as he handed the check over the Turner, who happily noted that it was his birthday week. Turner immediately announced that he is dropping his effort to raise property taxes in the city. Turner had been asking the city council to vote so the city could temporarily hike property taxes by 3.6 percent to raise money for debris removal and repairs to city government buildings. In…View Original Post
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