2nd Thought
Second

Making Laws and Money

DAVE McNEELY
The special session that Gov. Rick Perry called on redistricting and other matters got some publicity because most legislators were collecting their $150 per diem — even though they were back home in their districts, or somew...


Second

Dad from U.N.C.L.E.

Old radios and a few Martians led to a valuable lesson.
KEN WHEATCROFT-PARDUE
When I was young back in Houston in the ’60s, summer was endless and sometimes dangerous. Boredom hadn’t been invented yet. We didn’t have devices to store thousands of songs and regurgitate them with all the clarity of a...



Guest

Redistricting: Hamster Wheel

Governor decrees, legislature disagrees, parties sue, judges rule. Repeat ad infinitum.
DAVE McNEELY
Redistricting in Texas is like grabbing a tar baby. Once you pick it up, it’s very difficult to put down. And it sticks on everyone’s hands for years. No matter. Republican Gov. Rick Perry, acting at the behest of Republica...


SEcond

Drums Along the Nile

GWYNNE DYER
Editor’s note: Water fights in Texas and elsewhere in the United States are gettting serious, but the furor building in Africa provides a taste of the water wars — possibly actual shooting wars —  that may become a promi...



War

Less Fighting, More Fear

Let’s figure out why there are fewer wars going on these days.
GWYNNE DYER
Imagine for a moment that all the wars of the world have come to a peaceful conclusion. Most violent crime against people and property has been eradicated. The worst outbreak of violence in the world in the past 24 hours has be...


Guest

Woe-bama

If it weren’t for bad news, there’d have been no news at all for the White House.
DAVE McNEELY
When Barack Obama writes his memoir, May of 2013 probably won’t rate as his favorite month. Even though the Texas Legislature was nearing the end of its tangled session when he visited, he may wish he’d spent a couple more ...



Guest

The Scruffy American

Lounging in our bathrobes as the world burns …
E.R. BILLS
Sometimes I lie awake at night and ponder odd things. Usually it happens when my slumber has been interrupted in the small hours by a stray noise, a passing train, or a disagreement with something I ate. Then there’s a though...


Obama won’t get the Republican majority in the U.S. House to go along with closing Guantanamo.

Drones or Gitmo?

It’s a false choice.
GWYNNE DYER
John Bellinger is the last person you’d expect to criticize President Barack Obama for making too many drone strikes. It was he who drafted the (rather unconvincing) legal justification for targeted drone killings when he was...



Guest

Hooked

Legislators can’t shake the lottery habit.
DAVE McNEELY
Ah, the lottery. Texas House members recently voted to kill it, some posturing to curry favor with anti-gambling constituents. But everyone was surprised — including some of the posturers — when the sunset review bill to co...


ST

Bad Choices

’Twixt the devil and a big hot world.
GWYNNE DYER
There are, we are told, only two options: We stop burning fossil fuels before our carbon dioxide emissions drive the planet’s average temperature up by a full 2 degrees Celsius, in which case we will push the world into the b...