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Politics and Governance

Rule One: Follow the Rules

Rules matter. In the legislative process rules can decide whether a bill lives or dies – as they did this week with a high-profile bill attacking women’s health, Senate Bill 5. More broadly, however, legislative rules provide structure for a chaotic process and establish certain expectations for how the legislative process will proceed. In other […]

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Politics and Governance

Reforming Redistricting

Only an hour after a fairly friendly and bipartisan Texas legislative session ended, Governor Rick Perry called lawmakers back together to debate one of the most partisan and polarizing issues facing the legislature: redistricting. The redistricting process, through which legislators redraw the state’s political boundaries in order to ensure elected officials represent the same number […]

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Politics and Governance

Former Secretary Rice in Longhorn Country

This evening, Former Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice spoke to a full house at the LBJ Auditorium. Though Dr. Rice touched on a number of political issues, the tone of the speech was apolitical. Surprisingly, Rice’s speech was filled with humor and stories. Some main points that stood out included: The American education crisis […]

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Politics and Governance

The Foreign Policy Case for Mitt Romney

Those hoping for a debate on foreign policy during the final presidential face-off may have been disappointed last week. Both candidates continually circled back to domestic issues, defaulting to talking points on education and the auto bailout. Detroit and Ohio were topics of conversation alongside Beijing and Iran.    Voters who watched the last debate […]

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Politics and Governance

An Alternative to the “Lesser of Two Evils”

Can two party platforms effectively represent the opinion of 300 million Americans? If so, can you name the candidate who agrees with the majority of Americans on drug policy and defense spending? Better yet, why are President Obama and Governor Romney, clear front runners in the polls, afraid of letting a third-party candidate be heard […]

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Politics and Governance

U.S. Federal Budget is a Ticking Time Bomb

Imagine you have a monthly income of $4,000, your rent is $2,000 and the rest is spent on food, energy and education.  Seven years later, your rent and student loans now cost $3,700 a month…and your credit cards are all maxed out. How do you make ends meet without getting evicted? It would be difficult […]

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Politics and Governance

Three Reasons Why a Federal Balanced Budget Amendment Is Conceptually Flawed

With every economic slowdown in recent history, calls for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution reach a fever pitch. Many times, this sort of “common-sense” governance is presented with hokey populist rhetoric equating the budget of an average American family with that of our federal government. This can—at least to a naïve observer—be […]

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Politics and Governance

Encouraging Voters Even with Paperwork

In a September 17 report on National Public Radio, Kansas’ Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican, defended new voter identification laws because they “protect the integrity of our elections and ensure that in those rare cases, elections are not stolen.”  Democrats throughout Kansas (and Texas, which recently passed its own voter ID law) argued […]

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Politics and Governance

The Boom Is Over

After the Super Committee’s failure to reach a deal today on managing U.S. debt, I can’t help but wonder: Is this what passes for leadership from my parents’ generation? The Baby Boomers have lived some of the most privileged lives in the history of the world. They created a country unprecedented in its wealth, diversity, […]

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Politics and Governance

Building the Plane in Mid-Air: Reflections on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for Low-Income Housing in Texas

As the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 effectively came to an end in September of this year, many have begun to take stock of the massive stimulus package.  Much has been said of its positive attributes a la job creation, infrastructure improvement and housing market stability by the administration and its proponents. Those […]

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