Jon Cassidy

Jon Cassidy is the Texas bureau chief for


The State Level Pension Crisis: Houston, Texas Police Edition


Editor’s Note: This piece is an ongoing investigative series in partnership with’s state-level journalists. Pension budget woes beset nearly every state in the union and cities and municipalities are also being hit with unprecedented pension debt. Baby boomers are retiring. Some state and local budgets allocate more funds for pensions for retirees than they use […]

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The rain-swollen Trinity River is seen leading up to the city skyline Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, in Dallas. Southeast Texas was bracing for heavy rain late Saturday and into Sunday as the remnants of Hurricane Patricia combined with a powerful storm system that's been moving across Texas, flooding roads and causing a freight train to derail. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Houston, and Dallas, We Have a Problem


The mayor of Dallas uses the word “bankruptcy,” and the New York Times and Wall Street Journal swoop in to report on the city’s imminent doom. The mayor of Houston holds a press conference to declare the pension problem solved, and folks just go along with it. The truth is that the two cities are in equally dreadful trouble, […]

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Ignoring the Real Scandal at the University of Texas


The Supreme Court upheld affirmative action at the University of Texas in a 4-3 decision Thursday by openly ignoring the facts of the case. In his opinion for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy dismissed a bombshell report on admissions corruption at UT as mere “extrarecord materials” which “the Court properly declines to consider.” The excuse […]

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Have We Seen His Like Before?


Now that Donald Trump’s got the inside track to the GOP nomination, it’s time to figure out how he’ll box out Hillary Clinton in the general election. I think he’ll make a play for some of Bernie Sander’s voters, who are just as sick of the Chamber of Commerce and crooked trade deals as Trump’s […]

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Hang Down Your Head, Debbie Dooley


If you’ve ever got to teach a kid the meaning of non sequitur, remember this assertion by one Debbie Dooley, Tea Party eccentric and advocate for solar energy: Support solar energy, because Americans for Prosperity (AFP) says you shouldn’t, and “they refuse to take a position on the fiscal irresponsibility of illegal immigration and amnesty […]

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Is This the Best Green Conservatism Can Do?


Tory Perfetti had done a pretty good job. His shiny purple and black tie hung from the approximate middle of his collar, and he hadn’t stumbled at all during his remarks to the journalists assembled at the Florida Press Association. He introduced Stephanie Kunkel of Clean Water Action, the first of a half-dozen activists from […]

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The Impossible Job of Child Protective Services


Some years ago in Southern California, a 400-pound lesbian decided that life with her 300-pound partner and their three adopted children wasn’t worth living, so she drove into a semi truck, crushing her legs and hips and leaving her in the hospital for months. When she got out, she weighed just 90 pounds, but she […]

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The ‘Dark Money’ Inquisition Is Coming


It’s a brilliant misnomer, “dark money,” the sort of thing you’d expect from the consultant Frank Luntz, if Luntz were a Democrat. The term is a work of semiotic genius, tapping into fears so powerful they manage to convince Americans that free speech isn’t such a good idea after all. It’s flagrantly pejorative, but respectable […]

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Rolling Stone’s Journalism by Synecdoche


The moral of Rolling Stone’s unraveling story about gang rape at the University of Virginia should be simple: reporters ought to stop treating rape stories as a unique genre of journalism, exempt from scrutiny. Modern guidelines for reporting on sexual violence from the Columbia Journalism School, for example, instruct reporters: “Don’t be surprised if accounts […]

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About Those Cheating Tarheels


Right up until Wednesday, it was still possible for the University of North Carolina faithful to believe that the worst accusations against their school were little better than insinuation. The critics were just connecting dots, they’d tell themselves, even as it became abundantly clear to the disinterested observer that there was precious little space between […]

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