Saturday, August 17, 2019

#TXLEGE: Burrows belatedly recognizes the completely obvious

"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But he who heeds counsel is wise."
Proverbs 12:15

About DAMN time:
State Rep. Dustin Burrows of Lubbock has resigned as chair of the Texas House GOP Caucus amid allegations that he and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen planned to politically target members from their own party in the 2020 primaries.

Burrows' departure marks the largest fallout yet since the accusations surfaced.

On Friday, the caucus executive committee sent an email to members saying that it had "met and accepted" Burrows' resignation as caucus chair. The email, which also announced that state Rep. Stephanie Klick of Fort Worth had been elevated from vice chair to chair of the caucus, confirmed what two sources had told The Texas Tribune earlier Friday.

Bonnen said in a statement that Burrows, who has served in the House since 2015, "was a strong leader for the caucus." Bonnen added: "I respect his decision and I remain committed to strengthening our majority."
Good. This is a slow-drip story that won't go away until Dennis Bonnen and Dustin Burrows go away. That outcome is inevitable. The only question is how much pain Bonnen and Burrows want to endure first.

Bottom Line: Now do Bonnen....

Friday, August 16, 2019

#TXLEGE: Bettencourt LEADS charge to rescue children from Houston ISD

"But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me [a]to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea."
Mark 9:24

It's about time:
The chronic low scores at HISD's Wheatley High School leave the Texas Education Commissioner with no choice under state law but to close the campus or overturn an election, kick out the entire Houston school board and appoint a new one.

According to state education leaders who spoke with 13 Investigates, that takeover now seems increasingly likely.

State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, a Republican from Houston and member of the State Senate Education Committee, told ABC13, "I've never had any criticism for the interim superintendent (Dr. Grenita Lathan) and will not, because she's not the problem. The problem is the board of trustees and everybody out there knows it, and that's what needs to be replaced."


It could be late fall before the official decision comes down. State accountability ratings aren't finalized until November, but HISD does not appear to be fighting the accountability ratings.
We wrote a longer piece about this situation back in January; TL,DR version:
  1. It's the morally right thing to do.
  2. If the GOP follows through then, over time, there **MIGHT** be political benefit (at a minimum, it's better than doing nothing).
Bottom Line:There are few failures of big government more blatant than urban school districts. Children being maleducated deserve an alternative to the entitled, spendaholic, bureaucracy. Kudos to Senator Bettencourt.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Abbott's so-called "Domestic Terrorism" Power Grab

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
2 Timothy 1:7

Yesterday, we discussed the sleazier political aspects of Governor Abbott's new "Domestic Terrorism Task Force."  We still think that's the primary takeaway.  Having had a chance to sleep on it, however, there's another insanely bothersome aspect.

Politicians ALWAYS exploit tragedy for power grabs.

We have no idea what this so-called "task force" will propose, except on thing: This process will expand the power of the Governor's office.

Furthermore, that expansion of power will be around a lot longer than Greg Abbott.

Obviously, by any sane, rational, or data-driven standard, so-called "mass shootings" are statistically meaningless.  They're INSANELY rare.  That the media cynically gives them sensationalistic wall-to-wall coverage doesn't change the fact that they're extreme outlier events.

Sensationalistic, wall-to-wall, media coverage, however, is exactly the backdrop power hungry politicians always exploit.

Bottom Line: Have we not learned our lesson from the so-called "Patriot Act?!?"

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

#TXLEGE: Abbott appoints Bonnen to Task Force

"He who covers his sins will not prosper,
But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy."
Proverbs 28:13

Umm, ok:
Governor Greg Abbott today, under Article 4, Sections 1, 7, and 10 of the Texas Constitution, formed a Domestic Terrorism Task Force in the wake of the El Paso shooting to combat these hateful acts and extremism in Texas. The group of experts will analyze and provide advice on strategies to maximize law enforcement’s ability to protect against acts of domestic terrorism. The task force will hold its first roundtable meeting with Governor Abbott on Friday, August 30th.
For the most part, this seems to the type of grandstanding that all politicians do following tragedies.  Obviously, it should be monitored.  That being said, this task-force likely won't amount to much.

That being said, one participant seems noteworthy:
  • Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen 
It doesn't take a genius to see why that's a bad idea.

Bottom Line: See no evil....

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

West's first interesting move during RPT campaign

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan."
Proverbs 29:2

This wasn't expected:
When asked about the [Dennis Bonnen quid pro quo] controversy on the Chris Salcedo Show this morning, former Congressman and military veteran Allen West said he believed Bonnen should resign from his position.

“I’m not an opportunist and I don’t want anyone to see me that way, but one of the things about being in the military is leadership is about honor, integrity, and character,” said West. “If we’re going to move forward with the Republican Party of Texas, I’ve got to tell you that I can’t work with someone who has a lack of honor, integrity, and character.”

“I would suggest the Speaker of the House, Dennis Bonnen, right now step down from speaker and resign from his State House seat, because we’re not going to be able to go forward as long as he stays in that position,” he concluded.
That's...certainly welcome.  To this point, West has campaigned on nothing but vague cliches.  With this statement, however, West might indicate a growing understanding of Texas-specific issues.

At a minimum, it makes West relevant.

Bottom Line:  Whatever happens between now and next convention, kudos to West for forcing this discussion....

Monday, August 12, 2019

#TXLEGE: Bonnen is dead man walking (and only FOOLS will pretend otherwise)

"The wise shall inherit glory,
But shame shall be the legacy of fools."
Proverbs 3:35

This morning went pretty much as expected:

The committee is still in executive session as we write this. They may or may not make news. That being said, it really won't matter.

One of two outcomes is now inevitable:
  • Dennis Bonnen leaves soon.  Whether it's genuinely voluntary or he's forced out doesn't matter.  The key point is that he's gone.
  • Bonnen becomes a gigantic campaign issue...and good luck to his defenders if that happens.
The silver lining is that, besides Dennis Bonnen and Dustin Burrows, nobody else is implicated.  This scandal is contained to two people.  Once they go away, everything else follows.

If they don't, however, this will be a slow-drip story for the next year and a half.

Bottom Line: The path to making this story go away is obvious, but it's an open question whether anyone will take it....

Saturday, August 10, 2019

A trip to Yankee Stadium, and a renewed appreciation for Chris Del Conte

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan."
Proverbs 29:2

For anyone who follows this author on social media, it's not exactly a secret where we were or what we were doing during our week not publishing.

During our NYC trip, attending five separate games at Yankee stadium, we were repeatedly struck by a thought: How much the Yankee Stadium gameday experience reminds of Texas...2 to 3 years ago.

They didn't do anything "wrong," per se, but it still left us feeling nickeled, dimed, and underappreciated.

Of course, it wasn't that long ago you could say the same thing about Texas.  Then Chris Del Conte arrived, with a renewed commitment to fans and the gameday experience.  The results were instant.  A year and a half later, the fan base is more stoked than they've been in ages!!!

In 2005/2006, before we moved, the Yankees were the hottest ticket in town.  Today, despite having a better team, people are kinda "meh."  The difference is the attitude of the people in charge.

However, with an attitude adjustment and the right personnel, fan perception can change very quickly.

Bottom Line: Fans actually spend more money when they're not being nickled and dimed.  Texas eventually realized that.  Will the Yankees?!?