On one issue, at least, George W. Bush—the former president of the United States, and the former governor of Texas—is badly out of step with the country. He is a man who describes certainty, decisiveness, and conviction, as key to understanding who he is as a human and who he was as president. Most Americans, however, don't know what to think about either at this point.
The George W. Bush Presidential Center will be dedicated today on the campus of Southern Methodist University, in Dallas. As is the custom with such events, the current president, along with every living former president, will be on hand, and I am pleased to be there to witness it. But inevitably it will be a bittersweet ceremony, because the memories of the Bush presidency are still fresh, and unfortunately there is not a lot to celebrate. They were difficult years, but also consequential ones. We need to look back no farther than the bombing at the Boston Marathon to recognize that we are still living in that era.
Bush was an extremely popular governor, and as someone who thought he was a very good one, I never expected that his presidency would take the turn that it did. He started his political career as "a uniter, not a divider," and to my dismay, ended it as one of the most divisive presidents in American history. By the halfway point of his presidency, 2004, the person I knew as Governor Bush had morphed into President Bush, a politician whom I did not recognize. It was sad, but self-inflicted.
Gov. Rick Perry said Monday that spending more state money on inspections would not have prevented the deadly explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. plant that was last investigated by Texas environmental regulators in 2006. Excuse me for asking, but ... how would Perry know? You can't prove a negative.
After a spirited debate and a flurry of amendments, the version of Sen. John Carona’s payday lending bill that passed out of the Senate Monday night was so altered that he referred to the final product as an “ugly baby.” Senators stuck on eight amendments to SB 1247—in addition to the six originally agreed upon by Carona, a Republican from Dallas—to toughen the legislation, ultimately voting 24-6 to pass the measure.
Has anyone else noticed how innocuous the daily House calendars have been? General State is short and filled with bills of little consequence; debate proceeds at a snail's pace, maybe six bills covered in a day. Major State is primarily for Sunset bills.
On the first Friday of every month, economics journalists around the country get up early in anticipation of the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report. It’s probably the best single snapshot of how the workforce is faring, and in the post-recession United States, there’s often an element of suspense, as Americans want to see whether things are getting better.
This afternoon, Michael Morton received a long-awaited measure of justice when the inquiry into alleged misconduct in the 1987 trial that resulted in his wrongful conviction ended with a stinging rebuke to the man who prosecuted him. State district Judge Louis Sturns, who presided over the court of inquiry, ruled that Ken Anderson—the former D.A. of Williamson County who prosecuted Michael—should face criminal charges for his conduct.
There was gavel-banging. There were senators talking over each other. There was, repeatedly, use of a telling phrase: "I'm not trying to get personal." On Thursday afternoon there was, in other words, a good ol' fashioned parliamentary fight on the Senate floor.
At a press conference on Monday, Governor Perry called for $1.6 billion in business tax cuts--including 5 percent off the margins tax--in an attempt to make good on his promise for "tax relief" this session. What does this prove? That Perry never seems to run out of bad ideas.