While the 2016 election may have left our country divided on many issues, it exposed one critical problem that should unite all Americans: Our democratic process is vulnerable to attacks by hostile foreign powers. As our intelligence community unanimously assessed, Russia used social media channels to influence and mislead voters. It also hacked political campaign committees and local elections boards in a brazen attempt to undermine and subvert our elections.

President Donald Trump has had a ragged couple of weeks. Without reliving every sour note, let’s just say he hasn’t started the year with an inspirational vibe. His unforced, bizarre errors have overshadowed soaring consumer confidence, the potential benefits of tax cuts and the dismantling of Obama-era regulations. But could everything soon change? Is Trump about to take a break from his acidic public presence?

The void left by Wilton Lanning’s death at age 81 isn’t hard to understand. Civic leader, successful businessman, founding president of the Dr Pepper Museum and W.W. Clements Free Enterprise Institute and regular Trib contributing columnist, Wilton was a genial presence about Waco, mixing with all walks of life, furthering worthy causes big and small and spreading optimism wherever he went. His departure is especially sorrowful because we need his encouragement now more than ever.

First, I thank Congressman Bill Flores for his Dec. 30 column detailing and defending how the recently passed tax-reform law “helps you.” His expertise as a CPA and a businessman is not in question. I appreciate the column’s intent, which was to provide real information to constituents in a public forum that allows us to read and to respond. That has not been the case in the telephone town halls or in his office policy to delete most critical comments to posts on his Facebook page about the tax plan. In the Waco Trib, then, we can have a dialogue.


What were we talking about one year ago? Take a look back.

State lawmakers who claim to champion the cherished principle of local control should be held accountable if their actions fail to match their words. Another example of this conflict resurfaced this month among those seeking to prevent Texas cities from banning sale of single-use plastic bags that regularly litter neighborhoods as well as vacant fields where they become caught on brush. Forces eager to neuter cities in this matter now hope the Texas Supreme Court can do their dirty work — and that of the plastic-bag industry.

For those feeling a little anxious about national politics lately, here’s a comforting thought: There’s no place like home. As veteran Trib staff writer Mike Copeland notes, Realtor.com, the online home-marketing site, reports that all 10 of the top home-search locations in the United States last year were in Texas, with the 76712 ZIP code in Woodway topping the list. And the 76710, 76711 and 76707 ZIP codes in Waco came in at two, three and four, respectively.