Saturday, August 8, 2020

#TXLEGE: Fallon's Departure Virtually GUARANTEES Texas Senate Moves (significantly) Left

"A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself;
The simple pass on and are punished."
Proverbs 27:12

SULPHUR SPRINGS — State Sen. Pat Fallon, R-Prosper, has won the Republican nomination to replace former U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Heath, on the November ballot — and will likely succeed him.

Fallon prevailed Saturday on the first ballot held by county and precinct chairs who had been tasked with replacing Ratcliffe on the November ballot. Fallon won a clear majority of the group, getting 82 votes. The runner-up was former Ratcliffe staffer Jason Ross, who received 34 votes.

The district is solidly red, so Fallon is expected to win in November even though a Democrat, Russell Foster, is also on the ballot.
Congratulations to Pat Fallon. We guess. Although we must confess we find the decision to voluntarily spend time in Washington D.C. to be strange.

But here's where things get really depressing: There is no obvious **good** person lined up to succeed Pat Fallon in the Texas Senate.

Consider the state reps whose districts overlap SD-30:

  •  James Frank -- Meh.
  •  Reggie Smith -- Who?!?
  •  Shelby Slawson (pending) -- Too green.
  •  Tan Parker -- LOL.
  •  Phil King -- Meh.
Of those turds, James Frank probably has the most polish.  King and Parker **MIGHT** cross a minimum threshold of acceptability.  But everyone on that list is significantly to the left of Pat Fallon.

Of course, the possiblity exists that someone from completely outside politics might enter the race. We hope that heppens. Because, as you can see, the pickings among current legislators is pretty slim.

Bottom Line: Whatever ultimately happens to Pat Fallon in D.C., you've just injected massive uncertainty into a Texas Senate that had previously been in relatively solid hands.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Austin Chronicle reporter launches sexist broadside against...local Mommy bloggers?!?

"Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come."
Proverbs 31:25

For those who've never heard of it, the Austin Moms blog is...exactly what it sounds like.  It's a generally apolitical group blog focused on lifestyle and parenting.  They're not particularly relevant to this author, but we are familiar with them.  FWIW, they have a strong testimony in the appropriate circles.

Austin Sanders, meanwhile, has been the city hall correspondent for the Austin chronicle for about a year.

Anyways, apparently the Moms are participating in an anti-sex trafficking initiative. Furthermore, apparently, as part of this initiative they're working with a PR company that also has clients in the law enforcement community. None of this sounds controversial.


Apparently not:


Lest you think this was some misunderstanding, the following exchange happened shortly thereafter:

None dare call it mansplaining.

It's almost enough to make you miss Michael King.


Bottom Line: None of this is surprising. At least, not really. The Austin Chronicle has been the worst of the worst in local media for a long time. Still, even by their standards, going after Mothers and sex trafficking surviors is...quite something.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

#atxcouncil: Lying Lawless Liars do what Lying Lawless Liars do

"If a ruler pays attention to lies,
All his servants become wicked."

Proverbs 29:12

Not even a little surprising:
A petition to reinstate Austin's ban on public camping—abolished a year ago in a widely-debated move by Austin City Council to address homelessness—does not have enough signatures to make it on the November ballot, Austin City Clerk Jannette Goodall ruled Wednesday.

On July 21, the local nonprofit group "Save Austin Now" said they had collected 24,598 signatures—well over the 20,000 required to put their initiative on the ballot in November.

In reviewing the petition, however, the city clerk said she discovered a number of issues.

Nearly a hundred signatures were removed because of requests from signers. The clerk's office also discovered that the petition contained two versions of the language being proposed in the ordinance, which led to 397 signatures being removed. Of the remaining 24,201 signatures, the clerk's office used a random sample to verify the petition.
When Austin City Clerk Jannette Goodall ruled yesterday that a petition to reinstate the city's ban on public camping did not have enough signatures to make the November ballot, it was the first time since 2002 that the city invalidated a petition because of lack of signatures, she told Austonia on Thursday.

Goodall used a random sampling method that the city adopted in 2002 in her review, according to a city spokesperson. State law allows cities to use any reasonable sampling method in determining whether citizen-led petitions contain the required number of signatures.

Matt Mackowiak, a cofounder of Save Austin Now, the group behind the petition, said Thursday that the group has not yet decided what legal action it may take. In an email sent to Austonia, he wrote that their deadline is "as soon as possible."

Mackowiak, who is also the chairman of the Travis County Republican Party, said in a statement issued Wednesday evening that it is exploring legal action in response to the clerk's ruling.

Local attorney and activist Fred Lewis - who has spearheaded other citizen-initiated petitions, including one last year that opposed an expansion of the Austin Convention Center - said he would expect the group to file very soon, likely with the state district court.

This is because the last day for the city to order a referendum in the November election is Aug. 17, according to the state election schedule.

"You're talking two or three weeks this has got to be decided - at most," Lewis said. "The court may not be able to decide it in that time."
There's not really a lot to say.

There are two realistic possibilities:
  • The city is lying (almost certainly correct).
  • The city is interpreting state law in the friendliest way possible.
Honestly, that's a distinction without a difference.

Either way, this development was completely predictable.

We hope Save Austin Now has planned for this contingency.

Bottom Line: People and institutions with a track record for dishonesty behaving dishonestly shouldn't surprise anyone.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

#atxcouncil: COVID, Homelessness, and the ongoing lunacy

"If a ruler pays attention to lies,
All his servants become wicked."
Proverbs 29:12

Austonia has a write up this morning about a homeless encampment in central Austin. The whole thing is worth a read. But let's focus on this one sentence:

Due to the pandemic, however, the city has implemented a moratorium on clean-up efforts.

Can we take a second and reflect on how insane that is?!?

We had planned to write a long post on this topic, but apparently we did that in March:
Is this a joke?!?

At a time when 90% of the city is shut down due to a mayoral edict...they're going to allow homeless encampments to remain in place?!?

No, this a joke?!?

We said our piece on this topic when they shut down #Sx, but it bears repeating: Under normal circumstances, we think the so-called 'public health' claims about homeless encampments are exaggerated. The real issue with the encampments is the petty crime and general unsightliness. In the current situation, however, homeless encampments ought to be the first place you look to shut down transmission of infectious diseases.

Instead, those are the one place that will be left completely alone.

Here we are, almost six months later. The only thing that's changed is that we're now only about 50% closed.  And that edicts are coming from the governor as well as the mayor.

But we're still allowing homeless encampments to fester during a global pandemic.


Bottom Line: It's astounding that, half a year into a global pandemic, we're still having this conversation...yet here we are.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Abbott/Dead Armadillos: An Ongoing Series (Part 5 - School Reopenings)

"So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth."
Revelation 3:16

Greg Abbott's education commissioner, last Friday:
"[A] blanket order closing schools does not constitute a legally issued closure order for purposes of funding solely remote instruction for an indefinite period of time."
Greg Abbott today:
[S]chools “have until November” to open up for in-person education, Abbott said.
For all of the convoluted lawyer talk, in plain English Abbott did something between flip flopping and caving.

Honestly, at this point, it's not even about Abbott's policy (does he really have one?!?). It's about the fact that he doesn't stick with anything longer than three days. It's indecisive and weak.

We will confess to mixed feelings on this particular topic. Thus, we could potentially be convinced that either end of this spectrum is correct. But we can't endorse this lukewarm muddle.

As we wrote in April:
Abbott's already pissed off the stay-home-forever crowd. Now, he's pissing of a not-insignificant part of his base. He's creating a rather difficult needle to thread for himself.
Subsitute the current reopening schools discussion for April's discussion of lockdowns, and the same dynamic remains at play.

Bottom Line: Half measures mean that you get all of the political pain with none of the public policy benefit.  That's why you should generally avoid them.  Yet here we are.

Monday, August 3, 2020

For the First Time in AGES, State of Texas Does Something Right

"Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of correction will drive it far from him."
Proverbs 22:15

Some good news:
Rumors and intel flew around for days leading up to Saturday, August 1. Dozens of activists were being bused into Austin, Texas, from Portland and Seattle to do to this city what they have done to both of those. Rumors suggested they wanted to destroy Austin police headquarters, the Texas state capitol, or both.


[I]nformation suggested the groups intended to attack Austin police headquarters. The headquarters building has been the site of protests and often violent riots over the past two months. The activists have attempted to storm the building in the past but failed.

Saturday’s protest activity was billed as the biggest yet, at least in part due to the shooting of Garrett Foster. Foster was the man who apparently pointed his AK-47 rifle at the car window of driver Daniel Perry while protesters surrounded and pounded on his car during an unpermitted protest and illegal taking of the public street just before 10 p.m. on July 25. Perry, an Army sergeant and licensed handgun carrier, fired his weapon after Foster had used his rifle to order Perry to roll his car window down. Pointing a gun at someone can, obviously, be read as hostile action. Texas’s castle law covers drivers in vehicles defending themselves, including the use of deadly force.

APD and the Texas Department of Public Safety were ready for Saturday’s action, making this post short.
There isn't a lot more to say.

Saturday had the potential to be bad. Really bad. But it wasn't.

For those who are interested, there's plenty of video footage on social media. You're welcome to check. But the main takeaway was that, by having DPS back up APD...not much happened. A situation with a lot of ugly potential was rendered a non-story.

Also, the GOP might have just made the case (despite the underformance 95%(+) of the time) for keeping themselves in charge of the state.

Bottom Line: Saturday night could have been a lot worse.

Friday, July 31, 2020

#TXLEGE: Yikes for Tinderholt

"Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord."
James 5:14

That's not good:

State Rep. Tony Tinderholt was hospitalized last week after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, the lawmaker confirmed Friday to The Texas Tribune, marking the first known case involving a member of the Texas Legislature.

"I truly thought last Friday was gonna be my last," Tinderholt, an Arlington Republican, said in a text message to the Tribune. Tinderholt said his wife and two of his children also tested positive for the virus, though their symptoms were less severe.

Tinderholt said he is recovering after receiving medical treatment from a North Texas doctor. He and his family wore masks every time they went out in public because they felt it was the right thing to do, he said.


While Tinderholt acknowledged the virus is a "serious illness," he reiterated Friday his position that Abbott shutting down parts of the economy is wrong.

"Closing the entire economy and halting business as well as illegally taking people's freedoms are absolutely the wrong things to do to Texas, Texans and our nation," Tinderholt said.

Tinderholt said his recovery was largely thanks to state Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, who referred him to Dr. Brian Procter of McKinney Family Medicine. Procter, Tinderholt said, told him that out of the few hundred patients he has seen so far for the coronavirus, the lawmaker was among "the worst five he had handled." Tinderholt said he was considered at risk for the virus due to his titanium aortic heart valve.

Confession: We were today years old when we learned Tony Tinderholt had a titanium valve in his heart.

Bottom Line: Get well soon Tony.