Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Speaking of Greg Abbott's ownership of UT....


Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
1 Corinthians 15:33

Yesterday, we discussed how the UT board just elected Abbott's hand picked choice as chair; we suppose when it rains it pours:
AUSTIN, Texas — Two-time Texas Ex and state Capitol veteran Jay Dyer is returning to The University of Texas at Austin to oversee the flagship campus’s government relations office. Dyer, who most recently served as legislative director for Gov. Greg Abbott, will be UT’s deputy to the president for government relations beginning Oct. 16.

“Jay brings tremendous knowledge and experience in state government as well as a deep commitment to The University of Texas,” said President Gregory L. Fenves. “As the state’s flagship university, our future depends on having the trust of the Texas Legislature and state leadership, being accessible and affordable for students and their families, and providing value to the entire state. Jay will help us accomplish these goals.”

An Austin native, Dyer earned a B.A. in government from the College of Liberal Arts in 1995 and a J.D. from the School of Law in 1998. After holding several positions in the private sector, he served as general counsel to the Texas secretary of state from 2006 to 2008; deputy attorney general for intergovernmental relations and special assistant/senior counsel to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott between 2008 and 2014; and deputy legislative director and then legislative director to Gov. Abbott between 2015 and 2017. He served in the governor’s office through two regular legislative sessions and one special session.

In his new role, Dyer will oversee the university’s interactions with the Legislature and state agencies on all issues including those related to funding, research and student support.

“It was an honor and privilege to serve the state of Texas as a part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s administration,” Dyer said. “I very much appreciate the opportunity to return to The University of Texas, and I look forward to helping UT build upon its well-established commitment to excellence.”

Violent UT Communists Vandalize Conservative Students' Property


"As for the prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent."
Jeremiah 28:9

Remember, back in June, when we observed that violent communists were recruiting at the University of Texas' flagship campus and that it would lead to some very bad incidents this fall?!?

Yeah, about that:


A campus source sent the following pictures:

The original sign
How the sign was discovered.


We also received video of one of the RSF vandals fleeing after being caught:



And all this, literally, on the day after Abbott's hand picked candidate is elected to chair the Board of Regents.

Obviously, President Fenves and (to a lesser degree) Chancellor McRaven are the ones who should take the lead rooting out this nonsense.  If history is any guide, they won't.  Assuming Fenves and McRaven refuse to do their jobs, the Board of Regents (which Abbott controls) should fire BOTH.

Bottom Line: Greg Abbott owns this.  It's his Board of Regents and his hand picked board chair.  If Fenves, McRaven, and the Board refuse to act that's where the blame lies.

-----

President Greg Fenves:
(512) 471-1232
president@utexas.edu

Board of Regents:
(512) 499-4402
bor@utsystem.edu

Governor Greg Abbott:
(512) 463-2000


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Abbott quietly asserts further ownership over the University of Texas


Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
1 Corinthians 15:33

[Note: The most interesting aspect of Sarah Martinez Tucker's background can be found here.]

Another very interesting tidbit from yesterday's special UT board meeting:
AUSTIN—Regent Sara Martinez Tuckerappointed in 2015 by Governor Greg Abbott to a six-year term on The University of Texas System Board of Regents, was unanimously elected chairman of the board at a special called meeting Monday.
Tucker was nominated by Chairman Paul Foster, and the motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Steve Hicks.

Sara Martinez Tucker photo
Chairman Sara Martinez Tucker

“It has been an immense honor to serve as chairman of the board these last four years, but it was time to pass the gavel to a new leader,” Foster said. “It was a pleasure to nominate Regent Tucker, who has brought great insight and guidance to the Board over the last two years. The UT System and all of its institutions are going to benefit greatly under her very capable leadership.”
Prior to her appointment as regent, Tucker, a native of Laredo and resident of Dallas, served as the nation’s top higher education official as under secretary of the U.S. Department of Education under President George W. Bush. There, she oversaw all policies, programs, and activities related to postsecondary education, vocational and adult education, and federal student aid.
Tucker also served as the CEO and president of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, where she pursued an aggressive goal to double the rate of Hispanics earning college degrees. Prior to her work in the nonprofit sector, she was a long-time executive at AT&T.
Tucker currently serves as chairman of the Regents’ academic affairs committee, in addition to serving on the health affairs, finance and planning, and audit, compliance and risk management committees.
“Sara Martinez Tucker is going to be an incredibly effective chairman, and I know that I and everyone at the UT System is looking forward to working with her in her new capacity,” Chancellor William McRaven said. “She gives tremendous time and energy to the UT System, and she is extremely knowledgeable and cares very deeply about higher education. We could not ask for a better leader to guide us forward.”
Tucker earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in business administration from UT Austin. Tucker has been named as an Outstanding Young Texas Ex and a Distinguished Alumna at UT Austin and among many honors has received honorary doctorates from the University of Notre Dame, Boston College, and the University of Maryland University College.
“I am honored and humbled by this great privilege, and I am grateful to my colleagues for entrusting me with this responsibility. Having the opportunity to work with extraordinary board members, system administration leaders and visionary university presidents to ensure that UT students and patients have access to the best possible outcomes is and will always be my top priority,” said Chairman Tucker, following her appointment.
LOL, as the Statesman's Ralph Haurwitz explains:
Although by outward appearances the regents select their own leader, in actual practice the governor’s office signals the choice and the regents follow suit.
In other words, the UT Board now not only contains a majority of Abbott appointees, but it's now led by Abbott's hand picked chairwoman.

Given that the Board of Regents is now led by Abbott's hand picked chair, let's consider several incidents that have occurred since May 1st of this year (the Board has jurisdiction over all of these):

[Note: Even we didn't realize that there had been 12 separate terrible incidents in the past 4.5 months and we follow this stuff closely.]

Bottom Line: Anytime you wonder how the University of Texas consistently gets away with terrible behavior, and what can be done about it, remember that the Governor's office controls the Board of Regents.

Details emerge on University of Texas' pursuit of nuclear weapons


And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
Genesis 11:4

[Note: You can read our longer explanation of why allowing the current UT leadership anywhere near nuclear weapons is a terrible idea here.]

Given that they were discussing the Los Alamos bid, we intended to attend yesterday's special meeting of the UT board.  Unfortunately, a very late arriving bus made that impossible.  Fortunately, the Statesman had it covered:
The University of Texas System Board of Regents on Monday authorized spending up to $4.5 million to prepare a bid to operate Los Alamos National Laboratory, a key part of the nation’s nuclear weapons complex.

....

The spending vote was not a surprise, as the board encouraged its staff last month to explore development of a bid. The regents still would have to vote again before submitting a proposal to the federal government to operate Los Alamos, which is tucked into the mountains of northern New Mexico.

The UT System, partnering with Lockheed Martin Corp., lost a bid to operate Los Alamos in 2005. The system later joined with the Texas A&M University System, the University of New Mexico, the Boeing Co. and Battelle Memorial Institute in a failed bid to run Sandia National Laboratories, also based in New Mexico.

Sandia and Los Alamos are part of the Energy Department, whose current secretary, Rick Perry, is a former Texas governor [Note: Considering the history, that's why this fool's errand is HILARIOUS].

A bid to run Los Alamos, which has 11,200 employees and a $2.5 billion budget, would be a quest for the prestige, the opportunity for national service and the legacy that attach to the institution charged with ensuring that the nation’s nuclear weapons would work as intended, without actually detonating them.

Running the lab wouldn’t necessarily be pure glory, though, because mistakes could damage the UT System’s reputation [Note: Gee...ya think?!?].

Industry partners, and perhaps academic partners, would be part of the UT System team, and UT-Austin would have a key role, officials have said. But unlike the previous bids involving the UT System for Los Alamos and Sandia, the system would be the lead player if it goes forward with the initiative.
Read the whole thing here.

A tale of two Texas politicos with ties to 9/11


"A man’s pride will bring him low,
But the humble in spirit will retain honor."
Proverbs 29:23

Obviously, the anniversary of 9/11 was last week.  On this year's anniversary we realized something we've been meaning to discuss.  We want to commit this to writing before more time passes.

Senator Brian Birdwell and Chancellor Bill McRaven are both veterans.  During their military service, both were involved in incidents with direct ties to the 9/11 attacks.  But the contrast between how each discusses those experiences is striking.

On September 11, 2001, Brian Birdwell was stationed at the Pentagon.  Not only was he stationed at the Pentagon, but he was stationed in the section of the Pentagon where the plane struck.  The only reason he survived was because he had left his office to go to the bathroom.



Birdwell was burned on over 60% of his body and a plurality of those burns were third degree.  His full recovery took several years.  Nevertheless, he persisted to a full recovery before retiring from the military.

In 2010, Birdwell won a special election to the Texas Senate.  Since then, he's served as a faithful conservative in that body.  During that time, he's focused on the issues in front of him rather than looking backwards.

While Birdwell doesn't hide from his 9/11 experience, he rarely discusses it unless he's asked.  We've never heard him discuss it in a political context except when it's directly relevant to the issue at hand.  Indeed, this author didn't realize the Brian Birdwell from 9/11 and the Brian Birdwell in the Texas Senate were the same person until a couple years ago.

Bill McRaven, by contrast, was appointed by Obama to head special forces.  As such, he was involved with the raid that killed Usama bin Laden.  While McRaven likes to present himself as a crucial participant in that mission, numerous special forces sources (at least five) have told this author that McRaven was a bit player who has embellished his role to advance his career.

[Note: Direct quote from a Navy SEAL with whom we spoke approximately two years ago, "McRaven's story of his role in the bin Laden raid is the biggest horse shit political fairy tale I've ever heard in my life."]

Three months after the bin Laden raid, SEAL Team 6 was shot down while performing a mission in Afghanistan.  This tragedy highlighted many shortcomings of U.S. policy in Afghanistan and was thus politically embarrassing to the Obama administration.  To avoid said political embarrassment, Bill McRaven ran point on the Obama administration's cover-up.

Furthermore, Birdwell only brings up his 9/11 experience when he's asked or it's directly relevant to the situation.  McRaven, on the other hand, never shuts up about having once been in the military.  It's become a running joke at the Capitol and among UT Board watchers that you could turn McRaven's incessant references to his former military employment into a drinking game.

Bottom Line: It's a very revealing contrast.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Citizen Activists catch government with pants down; Government backs off....


"A faithful witness does not lie,
But a false witness will utter lies."
Proverbs 14:5

[Note: Pressley has more on today's hearing here.]

We caught the tail end of a public Secretary of State hearing this morning that illustrates both bureaucratic mendacity and the ability of an engaged citizenry to get the bureaucracy in question to back down.

This past spring, election integrity activist (and former #atxcouncil candidate) Laura Pressley joined with a voting machine vendor to ask the Texas Secretary of State's office (which oversees elections) to permit county election officials to purchase voting machines that would leave create a verifiable paper trail.

When the proposed rule was announced in July, it included a provision that would have significantly weakened provisions requiring 'audit logs' for electronic voting machines.  This would have had the effect of gutting the effort to create a verifiable paper trail for future elections.  Fortunately, Pressley caught the proposed change while reviewing the Texas register (where proposed regulatory changes are first announced to the public).

The bureaucrats in the Secretary of State's office claimed that the petition they received from a different group of bureaucrats elsewhere in the Sec'y of States office was requesting the rule change under consideration; both Pressley and the vendor disputed that account and stated that they only requested the paper trail provision.  At best, it appears that one group of bureaucrats in the Secretary of State's office isn't communicating with a second group of bureaucrats in the Secretary of State's office.  Fortunately, the Secretary of State's office backed down and agreed to drop the 'audit log' provision.

We haven't been in particularly close contact with Pressley (outside of seeing her at occasional social functions) for about a year.  Thus we walked into today's hearing cold, with no knowledge of the specific issue that led to today's hearing.  Furthermore, we were 40 minutes late today.

Coming into today's hearing cold led us to observe body language and vocal tone much more closely than we would normally.  We were struck by the amount of passive-aggressive lawyer talk used by the bureaucrats, while they attempted to shift blame to other folks in the Secretary of State's office.  Pressley, by contrast, had a calm and reasonable demeanor throughout.

Bottom Line: The good guys won one!!!


Friday, September 15, 2017

Left Wing UT Student assaults Student Reporter


Do horses run on rocks?
Does one plow there with oxen?
Yet you have turned justice into gall,
And the fruit of righteousness into wormwood,
Amos 6:12

Remember, back in June, when we pointed out that violent communists were recruiting on campus and that it would bear poisionous fruit this fall?!?

Well, apparently we missed this incident from two weeks ago, but about that:
University of Texas Police arrested a protester on charges of assault and bodily injury at 11:45 Friday morning after a Daily Texan reporter was hit, drawing blood and requiring stitches for the injury.

The protester was Latin American studies graduate student Eric Nava-Perez, who joined fellow students Friday morning to protest anti-sanctuary city legislation and support immigrant rights. Journalism sophomore Chase Karacostas was covering the protest when he was struck at around 11:30 a.m., just as the protesters began marching to the Texas Capitol.
Police arrested Nava-Perez on Speedway in front of the Blanton Museum. University spokeswoman Cindy Posey said Nava-Perez was booked into the Travis County Jail shortly after.

Roughly 25 protesters gathered that morning in opposition of Senate Bill 4, a piece of Texas legislation requiring cities to comply with federal immigration authorities and authorizing local law enforcement to question a person’s immigration status during routine stops. A federal judge temporarily blocked the legislation last week.

Fifteen minutes after the incident occurred, Nava-Perez was arrested while marching to the Texas Capitol building with roughly 25 other student protesters.

Many of the protesters did not know any violence had taken place. After Nava-Perez was escorted from the scene, protesters chanted, “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?” and “No justice, no peace, no racist police.”

....

Students from social justice campus organizations such as Sanctuary UT and Solidarity 6.04 attended the event, as well as unaffiliated students who joined for personal reasons.

(h/t Student Press Law Center)
You'll notice that Presidet Fenves, Chancellor McRaven, and the Board of Regents haven't said a word.

Bottom Line: Following two on-campus murders in 13 months, the University of Texas began the current school year with a politically motivated assault.  Unfortunately, we expect more of this until someone cracks down.  Have we mentioned that a majority of the Board of Regents have been appointed by Governor Abbott?!?