President Donald Trump’s TV lawyer Rudy Giuliani declared on Sunday that the special counsel plans to wrap up the obstruction-of-justice inquiry into his client by Sept. 1. The press treated this as true, or possibly true, when it is obviously another ludicrous Giuliani utterance (e.g., stating that the special counsel “narrowed” the topics for the Trump interview and falsely accusing former FBI director James Comey of leaking classified documents).

Last Thursday marked the third anniversary of the Twin Peaks tragedy and frontal assault on the U.S. Constitution by the McLennan County district attorney. We must never forget that nine people lost their lives that day. We must also never forget the horrible constitutional abuses inflicted upon hundreds of innocent motorcyclists for the past three years.

Some Republicans may enjoy the “Trump Show” that dominates the news, but in state and local primary elections this spring, the needs of the base are clashing with traditional ideologies put forth by the GOP. How can Republican gubernatorial candidates and state legislatures give their rural supporters the conservative ideology they demand and yet still deliver for them economically?

With the invention of the personal computer and their subsequent affordability for consumers, our lives are more streamlined than ever. You can upload and store important documents, then send them out with a few clicks. Online banking allows you to manage your finances without leaving the house. Social media makes connecting with family and friends a walk in the park.

“I have been amusing myself latterly with reading the voluminous letters of Cicero. [T]hey certainly breathe the present effusions of an exalted patriot, while the parricide Caesar is left in odious contrast.” Those words were written by Thomas Jefferson on Dec. 10, 1819, in a letter to John Adams, himself a great Cicero scholar. America’s second president even modeled himself on the great Roman orator and politician: “All the ages of the world have not produced a greater statesman and philosopher,” Adams once wrote.

Scott Pruitt, the long-embattled director of the Environmental Protection Agency, still has his job in part because the White House doesn’t think it can get anyone it would want to replace him confirmed by the Senate. And till Tuesday, Gina Haspel’s nomination to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency hung by a thread. Both cases are part of a larger trend: The partisan battle lines over confirmation are rapidly hardening.

Thanks to a recent report, Texas is one of the first states to actually know how many youths in foster care are pregnant or parents already. Of the 7,090 females ages 11 to 18 in foster care in 2017, 332 were pregnant and 218 were parents. Foster youths are approximately five times more likely to get pregnant compared with all youths.

Here in McAllen, we don’t live in a war zone. You may have seen the latest report of the U.S. Department of Interior dispatching its Park Police and National Park Service law enforcement officers to “secure the U.S.-Mexico border.” To an outside observer, it sure looks like the Texas/Mexico border, including the Rio Grande Valley, is a war zone. To those of us who live here, it’s our home.

John McCain has not announced a decision to stop treatment for his brain tumor, but his public actions indicate he has transitioned from “being sick” and hoping for a cure, to “dying” and hoping for the best possible quality of life in the time yet remaining. He has completed his final book, “The Restless Wave.”

Driving a wedge between the United States and Europe has long been a top policy goal for President Vladimir Putin of Russia. Now, another oil regime, Iran, shares that ambition. And even though Iran and Russia don’t have a realistic shot at success, President Trump’s ham-handed treatment of his European allies brings them just a little closer to achieving their objective.

In January, the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals, for the first time, formally joined together as one court to focus the attention of the highest judicial officials in the state on one topic: mental health. People from across the state appeared before Texas’ high courts to testify on how the judicial branch can play a key role in transforming the way we treat people with mental-health needs.

The culture wars will flare up again when the U.S. Supreme Court soon decides whether Colorado baker Jack Phillips may refuse to bake cakes for same-sex weddings. Charlie Craig and David Mullins sued the baker after he declined their cake request in 2012. State bureaucrats subsequently found Phillips guilty of discrimination. Now, in Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the baker argues that, as a form of art, making wedding cakes is constitutionally protected against compelled speech.

Eight justices ruled in United States v. Nixon that Richard Nixon had to turn over the Oval Office tapes during the Watergate scandal. “Neither the doctrine of separation of powers,” wrote the court, “nor the need for confidentiality of high-level communications, without more, can sustain an absolute, unqualified Presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances.”

Dental health is often overlooked as an important component of comprehensive health care. Most people must purchase dental coverage in addition to health insurance, and Medicaid, the federal health-care insurance for the disabled and low-income, does not provide dental coverage for adults. Dental health is arguably less accessible than other forms of health care but no less important in terms of overall health.

Congratulations, seniors. You made it. Not yet through high school but through that even more arduous process known as college admissions, culminating in a stack of acceptance and rejection letters each spring. No one should have to go through that. In the decade ahead, there’s hope for a less brutal process.

That President Donald Trump knew about hush money paid to a porn star isn’t the only shocking thing his new lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, acknowledged Wednesday. Giuliani also said that the reason Trump fired James Comey as FBI director was essentially because Comey wouldn’t do his bidding in the Russia investigation.

Libel law is evolving before our eyes. Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, has sued Donald Trump for libel on the ground that the president tweeted that her allegations that she was threatened over their sexual liaison are “a total con job.” The legal theory of the suit, filed Monday in New York, is in line with Summer Zervos’ libel suit against Trump for repeatedly denying her allegations that he kissed and touched her inappropriately.

Among the recent garbled effusions from today’s temporary president — cheer up; they are all temporary — was one that concerned something about which he might not have thought as deeply as the subject merits. During an episode of government of, by and for “Fox & Friends,” he said: He won the 2016 election “easily” but wishes the electoral vote system were replaced by direct election of presidents by popular vote. He favors this “because” — if you were expecting him to offer reasons drawn from political philosophy or constitutional theory, grow up — “to me, it’s much easier to win the popular vote.”

The Rev. Patrick J. Conroy’s forced resignation as chaplain of the House of Representatives — attributed to Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan — has opened up a new round of partisan and religious divisions in Congress. But if there’s any upside, it’s this: We now see clearly why it’s time to do away with taxpayer-funded, government-supported congressional chaplains.

If you’re a college student, professor or bookstore employee, you know how jarringly expensive college textbooks are. It isn’t unusual for college students to have to spend more than $1,000 per year on books. In an attempt to reduce those costs, on March 23 President Trump signed a $1.3 trillion appropriations bill that included $5 million for a pilot program to help fund “open textbooks” — i.e, free books that authors post online.

Reading the obituary of esteemed Baylor University professor and administrator William Hillis, one notes an exceedingly accomplished life spent in far corners of the globe where he researched, taught and served mankind. One of the mundane spots where he lived and served was my hometown, Covington, Louisiana.

Coral, one of the top British bookmakers, has Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un as favorites — at 2/1 odds — to win the Nobel Peace Prize this year. They’re ahead of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Saudi activist Raif Badawi, Pope Francis and other potential winners. If their talks go as well as Friday’s summit between Kim and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in, and peace is restored to the Korean peninsula, they’ll both deserve it.

This week, President Trump posed with visiting French President Emmanuel Macron for a photo op of the two men planting a tree from France’s Belleau Wood, site of a World War I battle that claimed the lives of thousands of American soldiers. But the optics were notably off. The tree looked small and barren on the White House lawn. The president seemed uncomfortable wielding the ceremonial shovel, and there was no evident plan for where first ladies Melania Trump and Brigitte Macron should stand as their husbands scooped soil. The ceremonial scene was notably missing a director.

In my junior year at University High School, I considered dropping my plans to attend college, even though I was ranked at the top of my class. As an undocumented immigrant — my family came here from Mexico when I was age 8 — I realized that even if I found a way to fund my tuition, I would not be permitted to work after graduation.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — In the Riverfront Park of this state capital, you will find a series of panels depicting the city’s history. They will tell you when the first white settler arrived, how riverboats transformed Montgomery into a trading hub for cotton “and many other important commodities,” and how the city became the cradle of the Confederacy.

In my experience, many people misunderstand the overall impact of the oil and gas industry on our state and world. Many view oil and gas as an antiquated energy source — a relic of the past that will soon be replaced with so-called “green” alternatives. But when looking at our ever-growing need for energy, it quickly becomes clear that fossil fuels are going to remain our primary source of energy for the foreseeable future. In my opinion, that’s not a bad thing.

Some Republicans may enjoy the “Trump Show” that dominates the news, but in state and local primary elections this spring, the needs of the base are clashing with traditional ideologies put forth by the GOP. How can Republican gubernatorial candidates and state legislatures give their rural supporters the conservative ideology they demand and yet still deliver for them economically?

Flashback

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

On Wednesday, Fox News finally took down from its website a ludicrous conspiracy theory relating to the tragic murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich (which may very well have been part of a botched robbery). The story remained up and was an ongoing obsession for host Sean Hannity long after it was debunked by a range of sources and despite pleas from family members to stop besmirching Rich’s memory.