Tuesday, April 24, 2018

TPPF leads lawsuit to rescue Austiniets from #atxcouncil's MANDATORY "Sick Leave" Entitlement....


"Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?"
Matthew 20:15

Back in February, during our testimony against council's "sick leave" entitlement, we called the ordinance "a hot mess"; we didn't realize just how hot of a mess it actually was.

This morning, TPPF filed a lawsuit on behalf of several trade associations challenging both the statutory and (Texas) constitutional authorization of the city's ordinance.

TPPF's primarily argues that the city ordinance violates the Texas Minimum Wage act.  Specifically, the city ordinance violates how state law defines "hours worked."  The relevant state law also has provisions dealing with sick leave specifically.  We're not a lawyer, but this strikes us as a slam dunk.

Here's the hilarious part: The "hours worked" provision is a direct result of how Greg Casar drafted the ordinance.  Had Casar actually listened to some of his critics during the drafting process, he could have avoided this grounds.  Major-league unforced error on Casar's part.

Besides the state law violation, TPPF also argues that the Texas constitutions' "equal protection" and "lawful search and seizures" clauses.  On equal protection grounds, the ordinance exempts certain union employees.  On lawful search and seizures, the city is arbitrarily claiming enforcement powers without judicial oversight or due process (very similarly to what they did on the short-term rental ordinance).  This was another dumb, unforced, error on Casar's part.

TPPF will be seeking a temporary injunction to block implementation of the ordinance; the hearing is likely to be on May 29th.

Bottom Line: The legislature remains likely to knock out this ordinance.  But the lawsuit is a good back-up plan.  That the lawsuit is a direct result of the heavy-handed arrogance shown throughout the drafting process makes it that much more deserved....

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Monday, April 23, 2018

A snippet that illustrates Just How Deep CORRUPTION in Texas has historically run....


"For thou wilt not leave my soul in the grave: neither wilt thou suffer thine holy One to see corruption."
Psalm 16:10

We're currently reading 1960's Austin Gangsters: Organized Crime that Rocked the Capital, by Jesse Sublett.  It's a fascinating account of some of the more "colorful" aspects of our history.  You can read the Austin Chronicle's 2015 review here.

But one paragraph on the group's prostitution operation stands out:
Plainview was one of more than a dozen stops on the pro stitution circuit.  Most were country towns.  San Antonio was an anomaly.  Lubbock was bigger than most.   Besides Plainview, there were Abilene, Amarillo, Kilgore, La Grange, McCamey, Midland, Mineral Wells, Odessa, Pampa, Sweetwater, and Tyler. 
[Note: Emphasis added.]
In other words, in small town after small town across the state, you had a bunch of rural good ol' boys interacting with a bunch of literal gangsters; it doesn't take a genius to see how this could get real toxic, real quick.

And, of course, every single one of those towns had a state representative and a state senator.   And, did you notice, that while the gang operated all over the state, they were based out of Austin?!?  Once again, it doesn't take a genius.

Bottom Line: It's not surprising. But it is revealing.  And it really is THAT entrenched....

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Buchele DOMINATES.....


"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
John 3:16

TL;DR version: Longhorns win.

During tonight's UT Football spring game quarterback Shane Buchele took initiative.  From the initial snap through halftime, the game revolved around Buchele.  Outside of a couple of late drives, Sam Ehliger was irrelevant.

Working with the Orange Team offense, Buchele found an open receiver every time he needed one; Sam Ehlinger, meanwhile, tried way too hard.

Reciever Jerrod Heard did what every Longhorn fan expected; Meh.

"But seriously dawg": Everybody LOVES Shane Buchele so long as Shane Buchele is doing Shane Buchele stuff.

That being said, there's stuff about which this author should't comment.

Bottom Line: Hookem Horns.


Friday, April 20, 2018

Paxton Does Stuff


"who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen."
Romans 1:25

Today's Washington Examiner has a piece about the latest project from the Attorney General's office:
The climate change court fight between California cities and big energy companies such as Exxon Mobil is widening as Republican attorneys general from 15 states filed a court brief Friday opposing the cities’ climate lawsuits.

The attorneys general argue that the cities and municipalities suing the companies in federal court are overreaching in using local “nuisance” ordinances as a way to find a court remedy to the complex issue of global warming.

The 15 states filing the amicus brief opposing the lawsuit include Texas, Louisiana, Wyoming, Colorado, West Virginia, Indiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin.

States such as Texas, Louisiana, Wyoming, and West Virginia are big oil, natural gas, and coal producers. Ken Paxton, Texas' attorney general, was often in Washington with then-Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt when many of those states were fighting the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan climate rules.

The brief, filed in the District Court for Northern California, also argues that the nature of the lawsuit clearly makes it a national policy issue that one court is not in the position to decide. If the suit proceeds, it will lead to an avalanche of similar lawsuits all over the country, with conflicting judgments and results in their states.
Read the whole thing here.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

CD 5 runoff: NRA Stabs Texas Conservatives in the Back (All Over Again)....


"A false witness shall not be unpunished: and he that speaketh lies, shall perish."
Proverbs 19:9

Wow:



This is sad; it was also predictable.

Lance Gooden is an awful state representative, but it wasn't until we saw this announcement that we realized the degree to which his underwhelming record extends to the Second Amendment. 

Did Gooden support constitutional carry last session?!?  Two bills were filed.  Nope and nope.

The funniest part, however, is that the stupid "fee reduction" bill to which they refer was so meaningless that the Bloomberg Fembots didn't even object to it at the time.

Bottom Line: Nobody thought the post-Parkland Kumbaya session would last, but this is a spectacular failure even by the standards of the National Rino Association....

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

#atxcouncil: Government Agency (with Well Documented Vindictive Streak) Seeks Vague, Open-Ended, Powers (to enforce arbitrarily)....


"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

By now, there's been plenty of ink spilled on the City of Austin's proposed new "window screen" regulations; a representative sample:
The City of Austin’s Code Department is asking for residents opinion on a new regulation to add to its already lengthy list of them.

The regulation would require homeowners to install insect screens to all windows on their homes, at all times of the year.

....

Of course, while mosquitoes and bugs do pose an issue during the summer months and those surrounding them, they are all but a non-factor throughout the rest of the year. Nevertheless, that is when the City of Austin decided they would attempt to regulate Austinites year round. No word yet on how the city would enforce or punish if the regulation was to be put into place.
There's a lot that can be said about this proposal, starting with the fact that this is a textbook example of the type of mandated costs that slowly but surely drives up cost of living.

But it goes deeper.

Anyone who know the Austin Code Department's record knows their long history letting their friends do whatever they want while those they don't like are hounded incessantly.

In just the past few years, the Austin Code Department has:
  • [Note: While the three examples listed above are the most flagrant abuses of which we're aware, this YouTube channel details numerous other acts of petty tyranny by the code department.]
And that's before we get into the unconstitutional enforcement powers the code department has been granted under the Short-Term Rental ordinance.

In other words, as it relates to any potential screen ordinance, 'selective enforcement' will be the order of the day.

Bottom Line: On what planet do we want to give the Austin Code Department, as it currently exists, this sort of power?!?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

TCEQ (once again) Talking Out of Both Sides of it's Mouth in South Texas


"I brought you into a bountiful country,
To eat its fruit and its goodness.
But when you entered, you defiled My land
And made My heritage an abomination."
Jeremiah 2:7

A couple of years ago, we discussed how a landfill project in South Texas didn't sit right.  It seemed like TCEQ was telling local residents one thing and telling something different to the developers.  We furthermore remarked that one of those afore mentioned project developers seemed to be playing an environmental smoke and mirrors game.

In late March, TCEQ announced another hearing on the topic. We have a source who's been following the issue with whom we've been corresponding by e-mail since the hearing was announced. We're reprinting the relevant sections with permission.

"Red Panda" to us, 4/5/2018:
That Laredo landfill issue is still brewing… The TCEQ has set a public meeting for May 1 in Laredo.  The TCEQ has also extended the public comment period for 30 days beyond the date of the public meeting date.
It appears that TCEQ staff violated agency rules and their own legislative testimony by approving the landfill to be built in a 100-year floodplain just days after promising lawmakers that, “the standard is you still can’t develop [landfills] in a 100-year floodplain.” 
The 953-acre Laredo floodplain landfill complex has never received the required county floodplain development authorization, never addressed underground oil and gas pipelines, and never resolved property ownership conflicts or otherwise complied with TCEQ’s own requirements specifically imposed in Notice of Deficiency issued by the agency on October 11, 2016.
The public will have a chance to weigh in on this on May 1 at 7PM at Texas A & M International University, Student Center 2nd Floor Ballroom, Room 203 5201 University Boulevard 
Laredo, Texas 78041-1900 
TCEQ's testimony related to 100-year flood plains occurred at an interim hearing of the house Environmental Regulation committee in January; Webb County's letter outlining the violations in this specific instance can be viewed here.

"Red Panda" on 4/11/2018:
The residents still appear to be worried. And speaking of TCEQ, they’ve set a public meeting for about two weeks from now, on May 1 in Laredo. The public comment period will also be extended by TCEQ for 30 days beyond that May 1 public meeting.

The meeting is probably going to be pretty heated. Opponents of the landfill are pointing to TCEQ staff apparently having violated agency rules and gone counter to their own legislative testimony by approving the landfill being built in a 100-year floodplain. In testimony to lawmakers, Earl Lott, of TCEQ’s Permit Waste Division, appears to have stated that TCEQ currently bars construction within the 100 year floodplain, and that TCEQ is “required to coordinate with FEMA to assure the facilities was (sic) not located within the 100 year flood plain.”

Opponents also point to Webb County’s Planning Department having denied the landowner a floodplain development permit, which is needed to move forward. So there are more than a few things here that do not look quite right on spec.

Anyway, if you’re in Laredo and you’re looking to watch a big public fight go down—or you want in on it—the TCEQ meeting will be on May 1 at 7PM at Texas A & M International University, Student Center, 2nd Floor Ballroom, Room 203, 5201 University Boulevard, Laredo, Texas 78041-1900.
Bottom Line: At a minimum, TCEQ should be saying the same thing to local residents and the developers.  They should also follow their own rules.  For whatever reason, that's not currently happening....