The Confederate License Plate

I am disappointed that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of allowing Texans to display a Confederate emblem on their license plates. Are we on the way to becoming Alabama? (I fear that the answer is yes.) Why not just have a bumper sticker that proclaims, "Redneck and proud of it."

The Perry Legacy: Richard Hyde Responds

In the July issue of the magazine, several writers—myself included—assessed the legacy of Governor Perry. One of the stories reviewed eight critical areas Texas Monthly believes the governor is responsible for, and we gave him a letter grade for each. Some readers thought we were too harsh, and some thought we were too kind. We have also heard from many prominent and respected members of state agencies, including Richard Hyde, the executive director of TCEQ. Our writers gave the governor a D+ for the environment, which Hyde strongly disagrees with. We appreciate his response, and I have posted it in full below:

Dear Texas Monthly,

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) takes issue with a number of inaccuracies in a story entitled, “The Perry Report Card,” in the July Texas Monthly issue, specifically those in “The Environment” segment.

To support the conclusions made in your assessment of Texas’ environmental record under the tenure of Governor Perry, Texas Monthly relied more on conjecture than statistical analysis, which proves Texas has made important and significant progress protecting air and water quality.  To provide appropriate context for your readers, who after reading your report card may be under the false impression that Texas is somehow substandard and that the reduction of TCEQ’s budget resulted in a reduction of environmental protection, I offer the following examples of our progress:

“I Believe It’s a Heroic Calling”

Defense lawyers get a lot of grief for a lot of reasons: they thrive on technicalities, they charge high fees, they advocate for the obviously guilty. They don’t get much credit for working the system pro bono to free the innocent. On June 12 the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association did just that, honoring two longtime lawyers, Mike Ware and Keith Hampton, with the Percy Foreman Lawyer of the Year award at the twenty-seventh annual Rusty Duncan Advanced Criminal Law Course in San Antonio.

Making Sense of a Migration Crisis

A few weeks ago, after a reporting trip to the Rio Grande Valley, I wrote a post concluding that the influx of Central American immigrants on the border amounts to a legitimately complex situation, and that I hoped people would respond calmly and thoughtfully. Plenty of people have done so. I would point to the many locals who immediately stepped up as volunteers, and to the men and women of the Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley Sector; in my experience their public information officers have an oddly anhedonic attitude about both the public and information, but most of the agents are very nice and hardworking.

A number of politicians, too, have offered serious responses. As you can see from the Washington Post’s rundown, neither side has had a unified response, but both have offered valid suggestions, a number of which are not actually mutually exclusive. Bipartisanship has reared its head: despite the total absence of rapport between Barack Obama and Rick Perry, the president described his meeting with the governor last week as “constructive”, and John Cornyn has teamed with Henry Cuellar, the Democratic representative from Laredo, to introduce legislation that would streamline enforcement proceedings for children from non-contiguous countries.  

The politics of the situation, however, have naturally devolved into mutual recriminations. Since I wrote the previous post, I’ve heard from a number of Democrats and journalists who’ve fiercely pushed back against my suggestion that Barack Obama’s 2012 executive order announcing a major change in how his administration would enforce America’s immigration law with regard to minors is worth noting in this context. The gist of their argument is that that since the order had terms and conditions, it’s ridiculous to suggest that anyone in Central America could have misinterpreted the order itself, or the president’s speech announcing it and calling on Congress to pass the DREAM Act, or the cavalcade of hope-and-change press coverage that followed, as suggesting that if they managed to make it to the United States, they would probably be allowed to stay.

The pushback on that point was so vehement that at times I felt that I was witnessing Democratic bias in the mainstream media. But let’s set aside Obama’s executive order for the time being. I want to gently address a couple of premises are fairly common among advocates of comprehensive immigration reform advocates—well-intended premises, plausible premises, but premises that don't apply so well at the moment.

Grand Old Problem

In early June, about ten thousand conservatives gathered in Fort Worth for the Republican Party of Texas’s biennial convention. Officially, the purpose of the gathering was party business, such as recognizing the candidates for this year’s general elections and updating the party’s platform.


Subscribe to RSS - Politics