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June 16, 2018      1:58 PM

Smith: Silence of the Wolves

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith argues Texas GOP leadership is ignoring Trump’s kidnapping of children in Texas and they should be condemned for it

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Jesus said that. Gov. Greg Abbott and his fellow Republicans should listen to the advice.

As the world knows – and as religious leaders of all faiths have rightly condemned – Donald Trump has begun a policy of kidnapping immigrant children from their mothers and fathers and placing them in internment camps. In Texas.

You read that right. Concentration camps for children. In our state. There’s one in Brownsville, in an abandoned Walmart. They are also building a camp of tents in the desert sun outside El Paso.

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By Glenn W. Smith


June 12, 2018      3:47 PM

Grusendorf: The Establishment vs. The Folks

Former Texas House Chairman Kent Grusendorf argues that despite the fact that incumbent Texas House Republicans held their own in the primaries and runoffs, external forces pushing for change in state government have the wind at their backs

The revolt against establishment forces is alive and well in the world today. In Europe, Brexit was the first major crack in the dam; then other events such as those in Austria and Italy have reinforced the movement. In America, Donald Trump defeated 16 establishment Republicans in the primary, and a very establishment former First Lady in the General Election.

In Texas the anti-establishment dynamics are also clear: Ted Cruz handily defeated establishment Republican David Dewhurst, Dan Patrick later defeated then incumbent Dewhurst for Lt. Governor, and Ken Paxton won over establishment choice Dan Branch for Attorney General. Greg Abbott did not need to beat a credible establishment Republican in the primary; they were all afraid to challenge him. Abbott easily defeated the establishment Democrat, Wendy Davis, in the general election.

The only establishment leader in Texas over recent years has been Speaker Joe Straus. However, his ascension to power was more of an anomaly, due to rebellion in a closely divided Texas House against a leader who was viewed as ignoring the will of the House.  Straus was not elected by the public, and probably could not win a statewide race; instead he was elected by 150 house members.  His position of power is definitely not indicative of public support for empowering “the establishment” in Texas.

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By Kent Grusendorf


June 1, 2018      5:12 PM

Smith: Your Government is Kidnapping Children for Ransom

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith argues that it’s a crime against humanity to take children from families who are legally applying for asylum in the U.S.

On Wednesday, a group of mothers called on U.S. Sen. John Cornyn’s office in Austin to demand that the senator intervene to stop the government kidnapping of children from families seeking asylum in the U.S.

The meeting was cordial. Those gathering to meet with Cornyn were there to make a moral case. They represented Austin families in no personal danger of having their children taken. They were speaking up for Central American mothers, fathers and children. And, of course, they spoke on behalf of America’s moral standing in the world.

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By Glenn W. Smith


May 26, 2018      5:27 PM

Greenfield: Revenue is soaring

Economist Dr. Stuart Greenfield with his finger on the pulse of the state revenue situation: So what will the ending FY19 balance be? At a minimum, it will be an order of magnitude greater than the current $93.8 million

The state has postponed appropriating substantial funding to address the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, primarily relying on federal funds.  Maybe my analysis of the state’s fiscal condition as we enter the summer months of FY18 will help our snoring legislators to arise from their slumber. 

As Comptroller Hegar recently noted, sales tax increased 13.4 percent from April 2017.  This substantial increase was accompanied by substantial year-to-date (YTD) increases in other General Revenue-Related (GRR) revenue sources.

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By Dr. Stuart Greenfield


May 25, 2018      2:17 PM

Smith: Memorial Day Thoughts

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith writes that on Memorial Day we honor those who perished or suffered that we may live on “to love one another.” Those who today sow hate and discord should reflect upon their actions, too.

A group of people are gathered in a room. The light goes out, as lights sometimes do. Rather than change the bulb, a loud voice gathers half the room into a group that blames the others for the predicament. The others, a new bulb in one hand, fight back with the other. The room stays dark. Welcome to America, 2018.

It’s worse than that. The room is not actually dark. The loud voice is just frightening half the room that the other half wants to turn off the light. The threat of darkness is an apocalyptic fantasy that uses hatred of others to enforce loyalty to the loud voice.

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By Glenn W. Smith


May 18, 2018      12:57 PM

Smith: A Story to Undo Trump

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith suggests Democrats learn the lessons of rival TV networks efforts to beat Dallas and J.R. Ewing in the ratings. Tell a completely different story.

You’ve noticed, of course, that Donald Trump never smiles. The film loop running in his head comes from his beloved World Wrestling Entertainment: all Mussolini-jawed bluff, virtual body slams and cheers for the steely-eyed victor scripted in advance.

If nothing else, Trump stays on his mark, in character. Humiliated by Bill Gates, Kim Jong-un or Stormy Daniels, Trump plays on. He’s happiest as the popular soap-opera villain, the center of every televised storm.

Admit it, Texans. If Trump could wear a cowboy hat and drawl, he’d be J.R. Ewing from the 1970s’ prime-time soap, CBS’s Dallas. His character can’t grow because the show’s ratings demand his dependable menace.

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By Glenn W. Smith


May 16, 2018      2:17 PM

Colbert: TEA is way off on allotments for public education

Former Rep. Paul Colbert breaks down the claim that allotments have increased 772% while student enrollment grew by 63%; and says “it is no wonder that the members of the Commission – and of the Legislature – have a hard time figuring out what is currently being spent on programs

Last Monday's article in the Quorum Report called “Allotments a growing part of school finance funding, especially in last decade may create the mistaken impression that Texas has acted to specifically increase funding for the programs that serve students with various special needs. This is the result of a Texas Education Agency presentation to the Texas Commission on Public School Finance which created that false impression by including a lot of data without proper explanation.

The biggest sources of confusion in this presentation were contained in page 5 and page 43 of the document, which you can see here.  

The page 5 headline announced that "allotments have increased by 772%” while student enrollment only grew by 63%.  Let's break that down, using these numbers reported in the article from page 43 of the presentation:  "the cost per student for special programs has grown from $336 per student in 1986 to $1,797 in 2017."

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By Paul Colbert


April 20, 2018      1:02 PM

Smith: Can We Be Saved Again by High School Civics?

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith writes that if our faith in democracy is shaken, maybe we should return together to the lessons of high school civics

Remember Texas high school civics classes? I do. They weren’t easy, at least mine at Bellaire High School in Houston weren’t easy.

Despite their thoroughness and demands on critical thinking, my civics classes offered welcome, patriotic signs of hope in a troubled time of political division and racist-driven strife, an unpopular war, and, in the very year of my senior class, 1972, troubling portents of a coming constitutional crisis.

I was reminded of those classes not too long ago when I was lucky enough to sit at dinner with former national Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele. I’d talked to conservative radio host Charlie Sykes, a critic of President Trump, at the same affair. Anti-Trump Republican Rick Wilson was there, too.

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By Glenn W. Smith