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Columnists

COMMENTARY: Living on the border during immigration surge — a mayor's perspective

I have met with senators, congressmen, state representatives, the lieutenant governor, higher ups in state government, federal officials, Mexican elected officials, immigration experts and advocates, Obama White House administrators, aid workers and volunteers, CBP, Border Patrol and State Department officials, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Mexican ambassador officials, officials from various Central American countries, the mayors from several Mexican cities and (several times) with the mayor of Reynosa.

Sunday 04/26/2015
COMMENTARY: Oppose McAllen ISD bond
Posted: April 26, 2015

There is a disconnect between what McAllen ISD and its bond and tax advocates tell us about their vision of a 21st century school. They tell us they are merely seeking to restore schools to the functional classrooms, like at the 2008 built Fossum Middle School. But their own sales propaganda tells us that the goal of $201 million of this bloated $297 million bond is “transforming all facilities into 21st century learning environments.”

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Saturday 04/25/2015
COMMENTARY: Is it OK for Chris Christie to say 'shut up?'
Posted: April 25, 2015

SAN DIEGO -- What if it turns out the media are wrong about Chris Christie? Where does the New Jersey governor go to set the record straight?

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Friday 04/24/2015
COMMENTARY: What a Japanese CEO wants from this weekend's visit
Posted: April 24, 2015

As Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe heads to the United States this weekend, the Nikkei stock exchange has provided him with a triumphant talking point. When he visited the New York Stock Exchange in 2013, he urged traders to "buy my Abenomics" -- and buy they have. The Nikkei, which closed above 20,000 earlier this week, has roughly doubled since the start of Abe's premiership in late 2012.

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COMMENTARY: Stressful high school 'promposals' (prom invitations)
Posted: April 24, 2015

WASHINGTON — A high school junior demolishing a bagel described the pressure.

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COMMENTARY: Pot-smokers and counter-cultural leaders in Brooks' book
Posted: April 24, 2015

WASHINGTON -- Most of us have an image of the counterculture, shaped by memory or myth-making, that involves Haight-Ashbury, flea-market clothing, free love and a haze of pot smoke. But as the counterculture has consumed the culture -- with hipsterism marketed at Urban Outfitters, pre-, non- and extra-marital sex a firmly established social expectation and a haze of pot smoke covering entire states -- countering the culture takes on a different meaning.

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COMMENTARY: Anniversary of Turkey's slaughter of Armenians
Posted: April 24, 2015

WASHINGTON -- Where do I look for hope on this day that marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide? To the brave Turkish and Armenian human rights activists who have gathered in Istanbul this week to commemorate together the tragic events of 1915 and find a pathway to the future.

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COMMENTARY: Hillary needs to get to know Hispanics
Posted: April 24, 2015

SAN DIEGO — This week, Hillary Clinton took her “I’m just like you” tour to New Hampshire.

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Thursday 04/23/2015
COMMENTARY: A House Republican steps to the pulpit
Posted: April 23, 2015

WASHINGTON -- Michigan Republican Tim Walberg was a Christian minister before winning election to Congress in 2010 -- and he hasn't entirely changed jobs.

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COMMENTARY: McAllen ISD needs 21st century learning environment
Posted: April 23, 2015

I am pleased that a wide range of discussion and debate is occurring regarding McAllen Independent School District’s bond election.

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Tuesday 04/21/2015
COMMENTARY: Back McAllen ISD school bond and here's why
Posted: April 21, 2015

McAllen Independent School District could be the poster child of Texas school districts, illustrating why the state needs to respond positively now to a state district judge’s ruling that the current school finance system is inadequate and inequitable.

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Monday 04/20/2015
COMMENTARY: Are you a millennial having trouble getting a job?
Posted: April 20, 2015

Young people bounce back from adversity faster than their elders, right? Not when it comes to American jobs. Six years after the U.S. economy began expanding from the worst recession since the Great Depression, people ages 25 to 34 are having a harder time finding jobs than other workers.

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COMMENTARY: More mortgage protection for Texans needed
Posted: April 20, 2015

Warning: Anyone with delinquent property taxes should not hesitate to notify the county tax assessor collector’s office and their home lender to get their account in order. If not, you may soon be besieged with high pressure loan offers that could ultimately take away the very home you are trying to keep.

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COMMENTARY: Too much misinformation about Social Security
Posted: April 20, 2015

Social Security Works, a left-wing group, was quick on the draw.

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Sunday 04/19/2015
COMMENTARY: Lessons lawmakers need to learn from West explosion
Posted: April 19, 2015

On the second anniversary on Friday of the explosion that rocked the Central Texas community of West — which killed 15 people and destroyed more than 150 buildings — Texas representatives passed legislation that strips away even more protections on industrial activity for Texas communities.

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COMMENTARY: FEMA reimbursements for humanitarian aid coming
Posted: April 19, 2015

It was only last summer when we witnessed a phenomenon that gained the Rio Grande Valley national attention — unaccompanied Central American children were crossing the U.S.-Mexico border by the tens of thousands. Thousands more children crossed with adults, often women, who arrived penniless and scared.

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COMMENTARY: School choice rewards
Posted: April 19, 2015

There is a grand opportunity for Texas to be the nation’s leader in educating the bright young minds of tomorrow while paying quality teachers more.

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COMMENTARY: Helping Valley kids out of poverty
Posted: April 19, 2015

As César Chávez once noted: “It is not enough to progress as individuals while our friends and neighbors are left behind.” Yet too many Texas kids are left behind, threatening their future and our state’s ability to thrive.

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Saturday 04/18/2015
COMMENTARY: 2016 and the woman trap
Posted: April 18, 2015

WASHINGTON -- Here we go. If you're a woman who might prefer someone other than Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States, you're a self-loathing, anti-woman traitor.

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Friday 04/17/2015
COMMENTARY: Passing the buck and hurting the poor
Posted: April 17, 2015

Not "It."

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COMMENTARY: The Middle East's sick state
Posted: April 17, 2015

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Will the Middle East be as unstable 10 years from now as it is today? I asked that question this week to a class of students at Harvard's Kennedy School. About half answered yes -- that things will be as bad or worse, no matter what America does.

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COMMENTARY: Rubio's appeal to America
Posted: April 17, 2015

SAN DIEGO — Like any presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has strengths and weaknesses.

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Thursday 04/16/2015
COMMENTARY: Queen Hillary travels by van
Posted: April 16, 2015

WASHINGTON -- See Hillary ride in a van! Watch her meet everyday Americans! Witness her ordering a burrito bowl at Chipotle! Which she did wearing shades, as did her chief aide Huma Abedin, yielding security-camera pictures that made them look (to borrow from Karl Rove) like fugitives on the lam, wanted in seven states for a failed foreign policy.

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COMMENTARY: Hubris Unlimited: Tom Cotton vs. reality
Posted: April 16, 2015

Freshman Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ariz., wants the United States to pick a fight with Iran. Not an all-out brawl, he says; just an itty-bitty bout along the lines of 1998's Operation Desert Fox, in which US aircraft carried out four days of airstrikes on Iraq.

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COMMENTARY: Democrats taking shots at the president on trade
Posted: April 16, 2015

WASHINGTON -- It was another one of those rallies on Capitol Hill where lawmakers line up to take shots at the Obama administration. But this time the lawmakers were all Democrats.

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COMMENTARY: The GOP aims for aristocracy by repealing estate tax
Posted: April 16, 2015

Give credit to Republicans in Congress.

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Wednesday 04/15/2015
COMMENTARY: Should a woman be on the $20 bill?
Posted: April 15, 2015

Should a woman replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill? The feminist organization WomenOn20s thinks so. After soliciting nominations over the past year, it announced the final four this month: Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Cherokee chief Wilma Mankiller.

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COMMENTARY: Tax Day (that's today) isn't a big deal any more
Posted: April 15, 2015

WASHINGTON — It’s mid-April, and Karlyn Bowman — the astute public opinion analyst at the American Enterprise Institute — has noticed something significant. Tax Day “comes and goes without a ripple,” she recently wrote. There’s not much fuss.

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COMMENTARY: Tax Day is really April 17 in Texas
Posted: April 15, 2015

Although today is our nation’s dreaded tax deadline payment date, Texas’ real tax day is April 17.

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Tuesday 04/14/2015
COMMENTARY: Will Hillary connect with 'everyday Americans?'
Posted: April 14, 2015

WASHINGTON -- Hey, "everyday Americans," what are you getting ready for? One couple is having a baby boy. Another couple wants to train the dog to stop eating the trash. Some people are starting new jobs, others retiring. And what about you, Hillary Clinton? "I'm running for president," because "everyday Americans need a champion."

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COMMENTARY: Marco Rubio's immigration views won't hurt presidential candidacy
Posted: April 14, 2015

Marco Rubio, who announced his presidential campaign Monday, is supposedly facing an uphill battle for the Republican nomination in part because he was a co-author of the bipartisan Senate immigration bill. But, with Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, I think he is one of the three Republicans most likely to win.

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COMMENTARY: Happy Equal Pay Day women workers
Posted: April 14, 2015

WASHINGTON -- Happy Equal Pay Day!

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COMMENTARY: GOP'S Iran contradiction affair
Posted: April 14, 2015

WASHINGTON -- In the 1980s, Ollie North and Fawn Hall gave us the Iran-contra affair. Now we're experiencing the Iran-contradiction affair.

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COMMENTARY: Renew ESEA -- federal education legislation that helps Hispanic youth
Posted: April 14, 2015

Growing up in Alamo, I assumed that I was getting a good education. I believed that my school was much like any other school in Texas.

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Monday 04/13/2015
COMMENTARY: What Ronald Reagan had to do with Social Security
Posted: April 13, 2015

Lotteries have been described by waggish statisticians as "a regressive tax on people who can't do math." I am beginning to think something similar about Social Security's trust fund: It is a regressive tax on the brains of people who have never studied accounting.

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COMMENTARY: How Hillary Clinton would fare in Russia
Posted: April 13, 2015

If Hillary Clinton had just announced her candidacy to run for president in Russia, rather than in the U.S., she'd already be in deep trouble -- just because of the video she made for the occasion.

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COMMENTARY: Faculty pay and higher education
Posted: April 13, 2015

When parents and students see the rising cost of higher education, it is easy to blame faculty. Most students see faculty more often than anyone else on their campus and thus, reason that since there are a lot of faculty, and they are all getting paid, their high salaries must be the source of increased tuition. In reality, this is not the case. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, instructional salary at public institutions accounts for only about 31 cents on the dollar at two- and four-year institutions of higher education.

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COMMENTARY: A very thirsty Golden State
Posted: April 13, 2015

SAN DIEGO — In the Bible, Jesus turns water into wine. But in California, there are those who would take that miracle in the other direction.

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Sunday 04/12/2015
COMMENTARY: Online voter registration needed in Texas
Posted: April 12, 2015

In a time when Texans can renew their driver’s license and vehicle registration, pay property taxes or set up tax payment plans, apply and renew their concealed handgun license and perform many other government transactions online, it seems oddly behind the times that they cannot register to vote online. Legislation now being considered in Austin, however, could change that, but we need your help.

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COMMENTARY: Drilling bans and limits threatened by Texas Lege
Posted: April 12, 2015

If some Austin lawmakers are successful, oil and gas drilling could be coming to a school, playground, or daycare center near you.

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COMMENTARY: Texas juvenile justice system needs reform
Posted: April 12, 2015

When I speak to business leaders in other states, one of the Texas accomplishments I like to brag about is the “smart on crime” approach that our state leaders have implemented in recent years. We’re saving money while keeping the public safer.

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Saturday 04/11/2015
COMMENTARY: Containing Iran's nuclear intoxication
Posted: April 11, 2015

WASHINGTON -- Next week brings a constitutional moment illustrating a paradox of Barack Obama's presidency. The catalyst of the drama is legislation proposed by Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, asserting Congress' foreign policy responsibilities and prerogatives. The paradox is this:

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Friday 04/10/2015
COMMENTARY: After another racial tragedy, signs of progress
Posted: April 10, 2015

WASHINGTON -- It began as yet another sickening case of a black man gunned down by a white cop, shot dead as he ran away after being stopped for a broken taillight.

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COMMENTARY: Rand Paul's grand deception
Posted: April 10, 2015

WASHINGTON -- In March of 2013, Rand Paul occupied the Senate floor for a 13-hour filibuster, promising to "speak until I can no longer speak" in the cause that "no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime." Enthused Ted Cruz: "You're standing here today like a modern 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.'" Marco Rubio also rose in support, with a speech that will be long remembered for its quotes from rappers Wiz Khalifa and Jay-Z.

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COMMENTARY: Will robots take over your job?
Posted: April 10, 2015

WASHINGTON -- The Great Robot Freakout of 2015 has begun, and it looks a lot like the robot freakouts that came before it.

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COMMENTARY: Wrongly judging the LGBT community in Texas
Posted: April 10, 2015

Did you know in Texas it is legal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation? It also is legal to deny lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders apartment housing, or access to “public spaces,” like restaurants, if the business owner so chooses.

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Thursday 04/09/2015
COMMENTARY: Increasing wages
Posted: April 09, 2015

WASHINGTON -- In the 1970s, we suffered through stagflation: high inflation, soaring unemployment, stagnant economic growth. Pretty much the worst of all worlds.

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COMMENTARY: 10 Myths about Rand Paul
Posted: April 09, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., kicked off his presidential campaign on Wednesday. As a freshman senator with no significant legislative accomplishment and a history of association with ideological extremists (his father, for one) and who is thin-skinned and oblivious to the threat from Iran, he bears an uncanny resemblance to the junior senator from Illinois who ran for president in 2008. And like President Obama, he benefits from lackadaisical reporting and sloppy analysis. Let’s take a look at 10 things pundits get wrong about Paul:

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Wednesday 04/08/2015
COMMENTARY: Democrats' Social Security plan is a bad deal
Posted: April 08, 2015

Social Security has a long-term funding gap that just keeps growing. Neither political party has a plan to pay for the promises we've already made to people contributing to the system. But Democrats are bringing a new idea to the table: make even more promises.

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COMMENTARY: Climate change and denials
Posted: April 08, 2015

There is no denying it: Climate-change deniers are in retreat.

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Tuesday 04/07/2015
COMMENTARY: Texas' economic segregation
Posted: April 07, 2015

The largest metro areas in Texas now lead the nation in terms of economic segregation, which is bad for Texas and our children.

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