Normally when the general public ponders Texas, a whole lot of big sky and rugged individualism and generosity of spirit springs to mind. The thought of progressive politics is probably farther away than Bedouin olive trays are to an armadillo. But that's exactly what's going on right now as the country's most heroic representatives try their darndest to protect the Lone Star State's most precious commodity. The lives of our precious yellow roses. Our lady folk.
For the first time since George W. Bush signed No Child Left Behind, the House has passed a major rewrite of federal education law. On Friday, the House approved the Student Success Act along party lines-Republicans for, Democrats against-but the bill has little chance of getting past a Democratic Senate and a White House veto threat. Democrats in Washington don't trust the states to hold themselves accountable, and a recent audit of how Texas has mishandled a half billion-dollar contract with testing giant NCS Pearson shows why.
Despite all the caterwauling you hear about nepotism, rigged elections, waivers, loopholes, crony capitalism, foxes guarding henhouses, gerrymandered legislative districts, incompetent court-appointed attorneys, misleading negative campaign ads and government surveillance programs, we Americans are an alarmingly contented bunch.
Saturday's verdict in the George Zimmerman trial has sparked national outrage, and rightfully so. And yet, with much of the focus on race, there is an accomplice to Trayvon Martin's death that has, to a surprising degree, escaped scrutiny and a seat in the dock- guns, and our lenient, permissive approach to them. The fact that it's a repeat offender makes matters even worse.
To understand why Texas' new anti-abortion law is an invasion of privacy, you have to know my friend. It's a sad story, and despite what Texas Republicans might claim, it has nothing to do with abortion. It does have to do with a woman's wellbeing, however, which is why his story is important.
In 2005, Senate Republicans floated the idea of altering Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster for judicial nominees. The proposal, dubbed the nuclear option, involved breaking Senate rules to change Senate rules. (The rules require a two-thirds vote for rules changes, but the nuclear option changes the rules by simple majority.) Democrats fought back against it furiously. Harry Reid led the fight, saying on the Senate floor: "I would never, ever consider breaking the rules to change the rules." Well, adjust your clocks to "never." Reid is now poised to execute the nuclear option.
Reports coming out of Ramadi, Iraq and Palmyra, Syria convey hundreds of dead and burned bodies littering streets and thousands of people displaced and on the run. Loss after loss, setback after setback, the White House remains resolved: The president's Islamic State [ISIS] strategy is an "overall success," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest on May 19.
Developments on the women-in-combat front are cause for concern, even for leftists that have made cognitive dissonance a way of life, because the women don't seem to be holding up their end of the ideological bargain.
The EPA proposal to impose a de facto ban on new coal-fired power plants received more than two million comments from the public - but it looks like it was just one five-page comment from the Energy and Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) that sent EPA scrambling back to the drawing board.
On Friday, the House passed a massive National Defense Authorization for 2016 that will guarantee U.S. involvement in more wars and overseas interventions for years to come. The Republican majority resorted to trickery to evade the meager spending limitations imposed by the 2011 budget control act - limitations that did not, as often reported, cut military spending but only slowed its growth.
Operation Jade Helm has inspired a million jokes, and some of them have even been funny. But as much as comedians might jump on Greg Abbott for sending the Texas State Guard to monitor military exercises as the latest excuse to mock the reactionary rubes south of the Red River, Texas now faces an existential crisis: Is the Governor really this crazy?
As it appears we're smack dab in the middle of the 2016 presidential campaign announcement season, this might be the perfect time to ask the question on every American's lips: what kind of twisted psychopath chooses to do this? Who are these people that are so all fired up to enter this soul-sucking fray just to sit in an Office that is oval? Masochists? Sadists? Sadomasochists? Masosadochists? Folks who didn't pay attention during any previous election?
Tuesday night I went through a crash course in what really matters, in humanity, in mortality. I was watching the news reports about the Amtrak derailment, and amid my secondhand anguish for injured strangers I thanked God, literally thanked him out loud, for the fact that my immigration hearing in Baltimore had been canceled. Had it not been, I might have been sitting in one of those mangled cars.