How Texas progressives’ blue dreams for their red state again became a hunt for the white whale of U.S. politics

Once again, in the aftermath of the 2020 election, dreams of a Blue Texas remain just that – dreams. And thus, a Blue Texas remains the ultimate White Whale for Texas Democrats, and in fact Democrats nationwide, as turning Texas and its 38 electoral votes would remove a critical keystone for Republicans in the electoral college. Of course, the dream of a Blue Texas does not...

Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz once stood up to Donald Trump — they need to do so again for our democracy

The 2016 Republican Party Iowa Caucus results gave us a preview of how Donald Trump responds to an election loss. In the afterglow of what the Des Moines Register referred to as GOP Sen. Ted Cruz’s  “unexpected smackdown” of then-candidate Trump, @realDonaldTrump took to Twitter to accuse the senator of fraud.  “Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it,” reads the tweet. In a subsequent tweet, Trump...

‘Caste,’ an election and the resonance of racism below the surface of liberal, progressive America

Review: Caste– The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson, 2020, 475 pp., Random House As the razor-edged finale to a presidential election riven by ambiguity reaches its conclusion, one overarching reality will endure in stark clarity: the bi-polar, cultural disease dividing America into two angry and unforgiving camps. Rivers of words diagnosing the malady are fast becoming analytical torrents. Recrimination and reaction to its implications are beginning and...

When That Day Comes

We’re waiting for the day when we can say, it’s over, foreverWe’re tired of all the lies, and all the guys who’ve gone to jail for himWe’ll celebrate the day he slinks away to Mar a Lago, or whereverAnd saves us from the unacceptable behavior of someone so dimHis narcissistic mind will have to find another victim, when we evict himThe bigotry will fall just...

How Texas rebuffed billions in ACA aid to insure the poor, and how Austin and other cities could fix it

The Affordable Care Act, or ACA, the signature policy of President Barack Obama’s administration, was the culmination of nearly a century of contentious policy battles over health reform in the United States. The future of the sweeping ACA – with implications for the health care of millions in Texas and the nation -- remains acutely uncertain. The ACA will face a direct challenge in the Supreme...

By Allergy and Allegory

There is a ghostland somewhere near Of spirits of the Earth And aging oxygenated dirt And there is hope and there is hate But no one ever shows up late

The urgency of police reform made clearer still by new revelations in the case of Breonna Taylor killing

The new release of taped grand jury deliberations in the still-murky case of Breonna Taylor, the innocent 26-year-old Black woman brutally gunned down by Louisville police in a botched assault, is welcome if overdue. But the early picture of chaos, confusion and trigger-happy police that emerged with the release of those tapes on Oct. 2 only adds urgency to calls for police reform in Austin,...

Despite hyper-partisan discourse about cities, the fates of urban, suburban and rural America are thoroughly intertwined

Though much of our idealist art, iconography, and symbolism paints the American story as a tale of rustic pastoralism and life on the frontier, the truth is that the rise and blossoming of the American city is just as, if not more, important to understanding our history and our character. From the essential roles played by New York City and Philadelphia in the American Revolution and...

Imagine NBA players playing for themselves – on Team Lebron, Team Durant or even Team Breonna Taylor

On Aug. 26, 2020, the NBA players made a clear statement. They were in control and the decision to play, or not to, was theirs and theirs alone. When the Milwaukee Bucks decided that they weren’t going to play a Postseason Game 5, expecting to forfeit, they told the world that their values and the needs of their community took precedence over the game. And...

Why plans by Austin and other cities to reimagine public safety don’t literally intend to ‘Defund the Police’

The Austin City Council’s recent decision to reduce the police department’s budget by about 5 percent represents an opening salvo in national efforts to reimagine public safety in the wake of the May 25 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the subsequent protests that have gripped the nation since. Efforts to transform the criminal justice system have grown since the Black Lives Matter Movement...