Monday, October 23, 2017

Until Chris Warren starts getting 25+ carries per game, the Longhorns aren't serious....

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,"
Isaiah 1:18 (a)

It began during the K-State game, when a friend sent the following message:
Why doesn’t Warren get 25-30 carries a game? That size punishes a defense.
Because we were coming off a win, we didn't originally give it a lot of thought.  But following two more losses, the question does beg to be asked: Why isn't Chris Warren getting 25-30 carries per game?!?  That size does punish a defense.

Horns 24/7 on Saturday's Oklahoma State game:
The Longhorns squandered what Herman called a “monumental effort by our defense” due to the offense tallying only 283 total yards through four regulation quarters and an overtime period. Texas averaged only 4.1 yards per play, was doubled-up in first downs compared to the Cowboys (26-13), averaged just 1.3 yards per rush as a team (33 carries, 42 net yards), and moved the sticks on third down at a 3-for-17 clip.
That's pretty brutal; it's made all the more brutal by the fact that the offense performed that abysmally while Warren only got 12 carries.

When we originally planned this post, we were going to write about how the coaching staff's lack of confidence in the running game was making Sam Ehlinger very predictable.  But now Ehlinger has a concussion and is out indefinitely.  Unfortunately, Ehlinger's concussion is a the predictable consequence of the coaching staff's refusal to give Warren the ball more often.

Observe Warren's workload so far this season:

He hasn't had more than 16 carries in a game.

It doesn't take a genius to see how this works: Warren gets a bunch more carries between the tackles.  The defenses respond by loading up the middle.  This creates room on the outside for Colin Johnson, Jerrod Heard, Dorian Leonard, Armanti Foreman, Reggie Hemphill-Mapps (assuming he's healthy) and John Burt to bust big plays.

But until the offense establishes an interior running game, those receivers will consistently receive double coverage.

The biggest shame is that the defense is starting to emerge as a genuinely elite unit.  Holding an Oklahoma State offense led by a genuine Heisman contender at Quarterback to 10 points is an impressive accomplishment.  But it'll all remain for naught until the offense gets in gear.

And the obvious step 1 for getting the offense in gear is a power running game, for which Chris Warren is the obvious candidate to lead.

Bottom Line: Tom Herman says he has confidence in the offensive coaching staff, but if they can't figure out that 6-4, 250 lbs, running backs wear out defenses then they deserve to be fired.

#TXLEGE: Highlights from Patrick's first Interim Charges....

"The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing;
But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich."
Proverbs 13:4

Dan Patrick released his first round of interim charges today, the following caught our eye:
  • Alamo Historical Site Renovation: Monitor the expenditures of state funds appropriated to the General Land Office for the preservation, maintenance, and operation of the Alamo historical site. Ensure the funds are spent to emphasize the architectural design and the historical impact the battle had on the development of Texas as a nation and as a state.
    • [Note: Take THAT George P.]
  • Property Tax on Business Personal Property: Evaluate the property tax as it applies to business personal property and the current $500 exemption. Quantify the economic effect of taxing business personal property and determine whether the tax places Texas at a competitive disadvantage relative to other states. Evaluate the burden on taxpayers and local governments of administering the property tax on business personal property and determine whether the current $500 exemption should be increased.
  • Voter Engagement: Study and recommend ways to enhance voter engagement in local government decisions around budgets and property tax rates through digital media and social media. Determine how budget and tax rate information should be formatted for effective communication through digital and social media. Identify the ways in which digital and social media 4 present new opportunities for voters to give feedback to local governments. Identify best practices among local governments in Texas and in other states.\
  • Tax Rate and Appraisal Reform: Evaluate the effective tax rate and rollback tax rate calculations and identify modifications that would yield a rollback process that is meaningful for local governments and for citizens. Evaluate whether the current rollback election trigger serves modern objectives.

    Evaluate the operations of appraisal review boards (ARBs), specifically the training and expertise of members concerning appraisal standards and law, ethics, and meeting procedures. Determine whether ARB operations are sufficiently independent of central appraisal districts and taxing units and whether ARBs and/or chief appraisers should be elected. 
  • Lowering Property Tax Burden: Study the feasibility of replacing the property tax with sales tax or other consumption tax revenue, with emphasis on school maintenance and operations tax. Evaluate whether some local property taxes lend themselves to a swap more than others. Quantify the short-term and long-term economic effects of a tax swap. Identify a target property tax rate and evaluate how to reach that target with a consumption tax swap.
  • Hotel Occupancy Taxes: Study and make recommendations regarding the collection and use of hotel occupancy taxes to increase transparency in the imposition, rate, and use of such taxes.
    • [Note: Hotel Occupancy Taxes are a scam; abolish them entirely.]
  • Housing Affordability: Examine issues that impact housing affordability, including the effect of local government taxes, fees, and mandates. Evaluate the cost of purchasing a single-family residence in different parts of the state, factoring in the impact of local rules and regulations, to identify matters of policy with the greatest influence, and identify ways to increase transparency and awareness prior to the adoption of costly local ordinances or orders.
    • [Note:  Really wish he hadn't limited it to "single-family residence[s]."  That being said, even if we have a long way to go this is still a step in the right direction.  The euphemism "multi-session process" comes to mind.]
Read the full list here.

Austin ISD bond: Polling locations tipping scales AGAINST East Side?!?

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

From the Travis County Taxpayers Union:
East Austin Voter Suppression in AISD Bond Election
23 October 2017

Austin, TX -- The Travis County Taxpayers Union (TCTU) has analyzed the Austin ISD polling locations for the AISD bond election and discovered some startling disparity regarding poll accessibility and hours of operation in comparing East and West Austin. 

In total, West Austin has 2551 hours of available in-district polls, whereas East Austin has only 794 hours of available in-district polls, making West Austin at least three times more accessible than East Austin. 

West of I-35
2551 poll hours (76% of total)

East of I-35
794 poll hours (24% of total)

"This is just another example of troubling behavior by the school district to mislead the public, and now they're engaging in voter suppression of East Austin residents," says Roger Falk of TCTU. "East Austin voters ought to be outraged."

The trend holds true when analyzing Early Voting polls, mobile polls, Election Day polls, or an aggregate of all three types. 

Mobile polling locations are the most unfair of the three types, with nearly eight times more hours available in West Austin than East Austin (199 hours and 26 hours, respectively). Most East Austin mobile polling locations are only open for a mere two hours per day, whereas West Austin mobile polling locations are open for a much longer daily average timeframe. 

"It's already more difficult for middle and working class voters in East Austin to access polls and cast their votes. We should be giving more time for democratic participation in East Austin - not less."

Friday, October 20, 2017

On whose behalf, pray tell, did the Chamber submit "Austin's" Amazon bid?!?

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

Soo...this happened:

The natural follow up:

Umm, excuse us?!?

The Chamber of Commerce is submitting an a "Region" bid for the Amazon project, but the public isn't allowed to see any details?!?

To this point, we've been relatively agnostic on Amazon.  We feel similarly to the way we feel as a Yankee fan about signing Bryce Harper.  It might be a mutually beneficial partnership, but only up to a certain price tag.

Instead, we're given a top-secret "process" where the public isn't even permitted to know the price tag; if things don't change soon, this will rapidly become the hellest of no's.

Questions off the top of our head:
  • What political subdivisions are involved in this "region" bid?!?
    • eg. City of Austin, Travis County, Williamson County, Hays County, Various other ISD's and Cities.
  • Are the provisions of this bid legally binding on the afore mentioned political subdivisions?!?
  • Is the State of Texas involved in this bid?!?
  • Will the public be allowed to see the terms of this bid before the relevant political subdivisions commit?!?
  • What happens to this "region" bid if some of the political subdivisions want to move forward while others don't?!?
  • Are any sort of wage/benefit mandates contained in this bid?!?
Like we said, that's off the top of our head; we're sure we could come up with another 50 to 100 questions if we thought about it for awhile.

This secretive process needs to stop.  Say what you will about some of the stranger proposals other cities have made, at least they're being open with their citizens and taxpayers.  But, apparently, Austin's "civic leaders" think they can write a proposal in secret and who cares what the public thinks.

Good luck with that.

[Note: We've already sent the relevant open records requests.]

Bottom Line: Six months ago, this website helped lead a coalition that defeated Warren Buffett; if things don't change, soon, we can do the same with Jeff Bezos.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Cruz explains the connection between Robin Hood and Confiscatory Taxation

"But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God."
Nehemiah 5:15



  • "In his opening, Bernie invoked Robin Hood."
  • "Robin Hood was 'robbing' the tax collectors, who were collecting too much [sic] taxes from the working men and women, and taking it for the rich."
  • "In Bernie's analogy, it is the Democrats who are King John and the Sheriff of Nottingham."
  • "Robin Hood is saying: 'Tax collectors, stop hammering the people who are struggling, who are laboring in the fields, who are working; stop taking it to the castle, to give out to your buddies'."
  • "The Democrats love corporate welfare."
  • "When you have Washington giving out goodies, the big guys do great; it's the little people who hurt."
  • "Bernie didn't disagree with what I said...."
    • Note: Goes on to make point about big government fueling 'economic inequality.'

#TXLEGE: Tinderholt to monitor Straus' Loathsome little "Economic Competitiveness" dog and pony show....

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

Good for him:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Central Health, UT Med School, get the lawsuit they so RICHLY deserve....

"Defend the poor and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and needy."
Psalm 82:3

It's about time, via the Austin Bulldog:
Three Travis County taxpayers filed a lawsuit this morning against the Travis County Healthcare District, dba Central Heath, and its president and CEO Mike Geeslin, complaining that property tax funds are being used for purposes not authorized by the Texas Constitution and state statutes.

If successful the litigation’s biggest impact would be to force Central Health, through its nonprofit Community Care Collaborative, to stop giving $35 million a year to the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School. That would make vastly more funds available to provide direct healthcare services available for indigent, uninsured, and underinsured residents of Travis County.

Under an Affiliation Agreement, that yearly allocation has already yielded $105 million for the medical school through FY 2017 and the $35 million annual payments are scheduled continue in perpetuity. Stopping that flow of money would undermine the financial foundation upon which the medical school was built. In June 2012 the UT Board of Regents committed $25 million a year to operate the medical school and $5 million a year for eight years to equip laboratories, but made those funds contingent upon the community providing $35 million a year. Otherwise there would be no medical school.

The lawsuit petition tackles that premise head on: “The issue in this case is not whether it would be cool or wonderful to have a medical school in Austin (or whether defendants consider other goals cool or wonderful). This suit is necessary because defendants are not complying with Texas law and are expending funds on items unrelated to its statutory authorization of providing health care to our poor and vulnerable residents.”
Read the whole thing here.