Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Anti-Paxton "Special Prosecutors" in increasingly deep doo-doo....

"For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life."
Galatians 6:8

Ouch from Yesterday:
The Dallas Court of Appeals has issued a stay preventing the Collin County Commissioners Court from disbursing payments to a group of private attorneys who have been prosecuting Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The order came down as the commissioners’ court was set to vote on whether to approve the prosecutors’ bills or file their own suit challenging them.

Houston criminal defense attorneys Kent Schaffer and Brian Wice have so far billed the County more than $600,000 on the Paxton case. After paying the men $369,914.75 last year, the commissioners voted 5-0 to challenge future bills that fall outside of Collin County’s typical pay structure for appointed counsel, which usually would limit pre-trial compensation to just $2,000.

The Court of Appeals ruled in the context of a suit brought by Jeff Blackard, a Collin County taxpayer who has been suing to prevent the county from spending money on the prosecution in ways he alleges are unlawful.
Ouch from today:
One day after having the Dallas Court of Appeals cut off further payments to him in the prosecution of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a federal court has ruled against Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Kent Schaffer in another case.

A federal judge on Tuesday disqualified Schaffer from representing Jeffrey Faye Pyke, the alleged leader of the Bandidos motorcycle gang. Pyke and the gang are being prosecuted by the Department of Justice for murder, robbery, extortion, and other crimes.

Federal prosecutors have argued that Schaffer is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Bandidos organization, alleging that Schaffer reviewed the legal paperwork for Bandidos members in order to identify those who might have been cooperating with law enforcement.

The Court found that Schaffer’s representation of former Bandidos members who are now cooperating with law enforcement created an actual and potential conflict of interest that brought him into conflict with attorney ethics rules.
Bottom Line: This case has always been a fiasco, but this certainly does up the stakes....

Monday, January 30, 2017

How much is Straus' (well positioned) local ISD superintendent making?!?

"They are deeply corrupted,
As in the days of Gibeah.
He will remember their iniquity;
He will punish their sins."
Hosea 9:9

Remember, two weeks ago, when we pointed out that Joe Straus' local ISD superintendent (a bureaucrat named Kevin Brown) is the current president of the taxpayer funded lobbying group "Texas Association of School Administrators"?!?  On a hunch, we sent an open records request for Mr. Brown's employment contract.  The following figures are what we could discern from the contract itself, although some of the figures for insurance and professional development would require additional ORR's, so these figures are probably low ball:
  • Salary: $249,312 (which the board can raise as they see fit).
  • Insurance: "Same medical coverage" as other district employees.
  • Expenses: Reimbursed "for reasonable expenses."
  • Information Technology Allowance: $300 per month or $3600 per year.
  • Retirement: $16,000 per year.
  • Car Allowance: $500 per month or $6000 per year.
  • Minimum Total Compensation: $274,912 (and, as stated above, that's probably a low-ball figure).
View the contract below (compensation section 3):

Contract 7-1-16 by Cahnman on Scribd

Texas Senate holds Educational Freedom press conference

"Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go;
Keep her, for she is your life."
Proverbs 4:13

[Author's Note: You can view the press conference in it's entirety here.]

Senator Larry Taylor filed SB 3 this morning.  The bill gives parents greater control over funds the socialized education bureaucracy was going to spend no matter what.  We took notes and will refer readers to the linked video above if they want to view the conference in it's entirety.
  • Senator Larry Taylor:
    • Parents will receive between 60% and 90% of what the state spends per student on a sliding scale based on income.
    • Competition from Education Savings Accounts will force the socialized education bureaucracy "to up their game."
    • Result of the bill will be more funding per student for school districts.
    • 30 other states already have school choice programs.
      • Author's Note: And they tend to be wildly popular even in liberal states.
    • The worst school districts are the ones that will fight parental choice the hardest.
  • Lt. Governor Patrick:
    • People are surprised when they learn approximately half the state budget goes to education.
    • House needs to give the bill a vote and let the chips fall where they may.
    • OVERWHELMING Majority of home-school families support this legislation; while the concerns of those with objections are valid, ultimately we're talking about a voluntary program in which they don't have to participate.
      • Author's Note: It's also worth pointing out that homeschoolers are already subject to testing (the SAT's) if they want to attend any college within the system.
  • Senator Don Huffines:
    • Competition lowers prices and increases quality.
  • (Parent) Melissa Bofinger:
    • Her local ISD does a good job educating her daughter, but doesn't meet the needs of her autistic son.
    • Author's Note: We know Melissa personally, so we know the ISD in question and we'll just leave it at this...if her relatively affluent ISD can't accommodate her son with special needs, imagine what it means in less wealthy parts of the state.
After the press conference, the Lt. Governor released this additional statement:

TPPF released the following statement:

TPPF Statement on
Education Savings Account Legislation

AUSTIN –Texas Public Policy Foundation President & CEO Brooke Rollins, Executive Vice President Dr. Kevin Roberts, TPPF’s Center for Education Freedom Senior Policy Advisor Stephanie Matthews, and Senior Visiting Fellow Peggy Venable issued the following statements today on legislation that would establish education savings accounts in Texas. The bill, Senate Bill 3, was announced today by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and introduced by Texas Senator Larry Taylor, Chairman of the Texas Senate Committee on Education.

          “Twenty-eight years ago, this Foundation was established with one goal in mind: to achieve education freedom for all Texas students and families” TPPF President and CEO Brooke Rollins said. “The legislation announced by the Lieutenant Governor means this dream may finally become a reality in this legislative session.”

          “Education freedom is a top priority for the Foundation, and more importantly, for the future of Texas,” said TPPF Executive Vice President Dr. Kevin Roberts. “Parents deserve the right to choose the best education for their children. This legislation, if the 85th Legislature enacts it, will ensure that every Texas child is given the opportunity to succeed.”

          “With over 60 school choice programs operating in 30 states, plus Washington, D.C., Texas is long overdue to expand educational options for desperate families,” said Senior Policy Advisor Stephanie Matthews, of TPPF’s Center for Education Freedom. “We are grateful for the strong leadership and support from the Lt. Governor, and believe this will be the Session to finally pass Education Savings Accounts.”

          “Far too many Texas children are assigned to failing schools by virtue of their zip code. Senate Bill 3 embodies the Texas spirit of individual freedom and opportunity,” said Senior Visiting Fellow Peggy Venable. “This important legislation empowers parents to direct their children’s education and provides opportunity for all Texas students to succeed.”

The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s work on Education Savings Accounts is available here: 

Wrapping up loose ends from last week's UT Regents fiasco....

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

As promised, here's our testimony from Thursday's regental confirmation hearing:

Obviously, Friday's farce of a SCOTX decision renders the first half of what we said obsolete, but speaking of said farce Cassidy the indefatigable provides the best analysis to date of what happened:
Put another way, Wallace Hall was so clearly in the right here, the only principle the Supreme Court could invent to defeat him is one that nullifies the rule of law itself. And the court still needed to completely botch a basic factual question in order to get there.


Needless to say, the decision flew in the face of precedent, which held officials absolutely immune only when they enjoyed “absolute discretion” to decide something, a rare freedom given that officials are surrounded by laws and policies.


Yet the court purports to apply the same principle here in determining that McRaven was “unconstrained” by any law other than the one by which the board presumed to delegate him authority.

Who would want direct authority established by law, when delegated authority makes the law disappear?

Until now, the court has consistently applied the principle that “a public officer has no discretion or authority to misinterpret the law.” Yet, that is just what the court sanctioned.

Heck, if McRaven had concluded that FERPA required him to share with Hall nothing but aerial photographic surveys, this court would have shrugged and said “sure, if you say so.”


Worst of all for this case, if less relevant to the generalized destruction the court has just worked upon governance in Texas, their decision is entirely predicated upon a factual mistake.
Read the whole thing here.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Revelation 22:1-11 -- Privileges and Responsibilities

The River of Life
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

The Time Is Near
Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.

“Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.

Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”
Revelation 22:1-11

Pastor Danny Forshee.  Great Hills Baptist Church.  November 22, 2015:

Privileges And Responsibilities - Dr. Danny Forshee-November 22, 2015 from Great Hills Baptist Church on Vimeo.

  1. The Privileges and Blessings of Heaven (vv. 1-5)
    - Trees produce fruit EVERY month.
    - The Garden of Eden "Restored on Steroids."
    - No curse.
    - We see God's face!!!
    - Responsibility and Achievement.
    - You get to serve God FOREVER!!!
          - Before the curse, God gave Adam and Eve work.
  2. The Responsibilities and Work on Earth (vv. 6-11)
    - Keep the words of the prophecy.
    - To do until Jesus comes:
           - Obedience
           - Worship God
           - Don't seal the words.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Austin continues squandering cost-of-living advantage....

"in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess."
Deuteronomy 30:16

This isn't anything we didn't already know:
You want to move to Austin? It'll cost you. In fact, a study from online moving platform Movinga says Austin is one of most expensive cities to move to in the world.

The 2017 Relocation Price Index details the costs associated with relocating to 75 of the world’s most in-demand cities. Austin ranks No. 25, based on first month living cost.

Austin has a basic first month living cost of $1,533.39, says the report. That includes average rent for a one-bedroom apartment, plus cellphone setup, food and drink for 30 days, and a monthly public transportation pass. It makes us the fifth most expensive U.S. city studied....
One of the advantages Austin has always enjoyed is that it was significantly less expensive than comparable large, creative, cities.  It's not a secret that this cost advantage has been eroding over time and that that erosion has increased it's pace in recent years.  Nevertheless, it's eye opening to see just how far that erosion has gone.

Read the whole thing here.

Friday, January 27, 2017

SCOTX Bails Out UT with Legal Absurdity....

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time."
1 Peter 5:6

But of course....
The court ruled Friday that Hall had no standing to sue the chancellor of the system he oversees. That likely brings an end to Hall’s last high-profile fight on the UT System board.

Hall had been seeking access to confidential student records. But Chancellor Bill McRaven had state authority to deny it, the court ruled. And since the state has immunity from most lawsuits filed in state court, Hall couldn’t sue, the court ruled.

Still, as Justice John Devine wrote in his opinion affirming McRaven’s victory, the court is “not unsympathetic to Hall’s plight.”

“He seeks information to educate himself and his fellow regents about issues of undeniable importance to the institution,” Devine wrote. “Facts are the greatest ally of those, like Hall, who seek to change the minds of others.”

But Devine said the court is “at the mercy” of the decision made by McRaven.

“Perhaps that scheme is unwise. Perhaps it elevates the status quo above transparency. Perhaps it increases the likelihood that voices in the minority will be stifled. And perhaps it presents none of those dangers,” he wrote.

“But those questions are beyond our reach; the Legislature is the ultimate arbiter of policy at the University of Texas.”
On the other hand, the fact that the Justices had to resort to a farce like 'sovereign immunity' to create this ex post facto justification for the U.T. politburo is a small victory in and of itself; learn more about the history of 'sovereign immunity' in Texas here.

It just is what it is; we will leave Governor FoxNews Abbott, Chancellor McRaven, President Fenves, and the soon-to-be reconfigured Board with one piece of unsolicited advice (which they won't follow): Tread carefully in victory.

Bottom Line: This case has always been, and remains, dirty politics on the level of House of Cards.  That it will end with a John Roberts/Obamacare style chickenshit rationalization for a predetermined political outcome is, in it's own way, fitting.  But nothing that happened this week changes the fact that both the campus culture and the economic foundation at the University of Texas are unsustainable over the long run....

Thursday, January 26, 2017

UT Regent confirmation hearing tests the Texas Senate's capacity for willful self-delusion....

"And this is the inscription that was written:
Daniel 5:25

The good news is that they haven't voted yet.  The bad news is that the fix remains as in as it's been and that vote will be a formality when the committee meets next week.  Yesterday, we called this fiasco dirty politics worthy of House of Cards and nothing that occurred in today's confirmation hearing changes that.

Everything you need to know about this process can be summed up in the fact that Kirk Watson said that he was "very pleased" and "looking forward to swift confirmation."  That being said, Watson did ask each of the nominees to define how they see their role as individual regents.  Ironically, it was in response to a question from Kirk Watson that all three nominees admitted they see the the role of an individual regent to be a yes man for the chancellor.

We will confess to being pleasantly surprised by Kevin Eltife's testimony.  He spoke of the need to end "smoke and mirrors" budgeting while committing to ending the practice of building new buildings without sufficient funds raised for ongoing maintenance and operations.  That's a pretty meaningful cost driver and if a potential Regent Eltife can make progress in that area so much the better.

Janiece Longoria was a talking points repository.  She was the president-elect of Texas Exes prior to being nominated by Governor FoxNews Abbott and was previously on the Board of UTIMCO.  Honestly, that's all you need to know, although she also gave winking approval to the admissions scandal.

Rad Weaver is, straight up, not qualified for this position.  We're doing our best to be polite, but it's impossible to be truthful without saying that the word bimbo comes to mind.  His response to every single question from Senators was some variation of the phrase "I don't know."  Well, if you don't know the answer to basic questions about how the system is governed, you shouldn't be serving on the Board of Regents!  If these Senators had any self respect, they would have been offended at how many times they were told "I don't know."

Senator Birdwell sounded like a cuck asked a milquetoast question about whether the new Board will respect the chain of command as it relates to the relationship between the UT system and the legislature, which Birdwell deemed "unsatisfactory" currently.  All three nominees mouthed the platitudes you would expect them to mouth in response to such a question.  But actions speak louder than words and everything you need to know about how these new Regents will view the legislature can be summed up by the fact that Rad Weaver failed to do basic preparation for his confirmation hearing.

In response to various questions from Senators Kel Seliger and Borris Miles, Eltife and Longoria spoke unfavorably about the UT system's Houston land grab.  Meanwhile, Chancellor McRaven was chided for the Houston project in a separate hearing.  But that doesn't change the reality that, even if you take Eltife and Longoria at their word, McRaven has a 7-2 majority on the Board to push Houston forward and the legislature isn't going to do a damn thing to stop him.

To his credit, Senator Van Taylor told a fantastic Aggie joke.

The only Senator who demonstrated a basic grasp of reality during this hearing was Dawn Buckingham.  She asked pointed questions about admissions and tuition and disdainfully left it at "we will see" when she received buzzwords and truisms in return.  But Senator Buckingham did everything we asked her to do when we discussed this issue on the campaign trail.

We are working on technical issues related to the video of our personal testimony and will share it in a separate post; the indefatigable Jon Cassidy has more here, the Statesman has more here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What's at stake for Senators in tomorow's UT confirmation hearing....

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

That was quick:

In 25 years following politics, we've never seen a case of the fix being in like this one.  The indefatigable Jon Cassidy has a good summary of the dirty politics here.  Suffice to say, at this point, comparisons to House of Cards are appropriate.

But while we could justifiably focus on the past, let's consider what confirming these regents will mean over the next two years.

In 2015, when the Texas Senate confirmed three equally wretched nominees, we predicted they would raise tuition.  Three months later, in a private conversation at the Texas Republican Assembly state convention, we also predicted to chairman Brian Birdwell that UT would gut the campus carry law.  Both of those predictions materialized.

[Author's Note: We did not, however, predict the "Cocks not Glocks" protest...but it's worth pointing out that happened since the last round of Regental confirmations.]

So let's consider what is likely to happen in the next two years after if the Senate confirms these regents:

  • They are GOING to raise tuition again.
  • Political correctness is going to get a lot worse.  With Trump in the White House, alongside university leadership that has never shown any interest in reigning them in, the SJW's won't be able to help themselves.  We cannot stress it enough, this is the campus that gave us "Cocks not Glocks."
  • We can't shake the feeling that there's yet another financial scandal out there that what we've seen so far; we have no specific knowledge, but something at UTIMCO stinks.
And if the Texas Senate gives the UT Politburo a free pass, which is what confirming these regents amounts to, then every individual Senator who voted for confirmation will own the results.

Think about that: There are 13 months between now and the next Republican primary.  That's 13 additional months for the geniuses who brought us "Cocks not Glocks" to fall into deeper into hysteria without any adult supervision.  Would you want to be a Republican Senator running for re-election in March 2018 with a vote to give the UTs politburo a free pass on your record?!?

Bottom Line: If the Texas Senate confirms these regents, politically correct absurdity at the University of Texas will get a lot worse, and every senator who voted aye on confirmation will own it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


"Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me."
Nehemiah 4:18

Jonathan Stickland, Lone Star Gun Rights, and Texas Firearms Celebrity Michael Cargill held a press conference yesterday afternoon to discuss where things stand related to constitutional carry; they were also joined by State Reps Tony Tinderholt, Kyle Biedermann,and Mike Lang:


  • Michael Cargill:
    • Texas should modernize its 1871 era gun laws.
  • Jonathan Stickland:
    • New support this session that didn't exist two years ago.
    • Wrong to make people pay to excise rights.
    • Members have been hearing from constituents.
    • New Democrat support; D's may not agree with #2A, but do agree that protectionist licensing harms our most vulnerable citizens.
  • Tony Tinderholt:
    • Part of the RPT platform.
  • Justin Delosh:
    • Texas is middle of the pack, at best, on guns.
    • 11 states already have constitutional carry.
    • Last people said the votes didn't exist for licensed open carry but it ultimately ended up passing; there's still plenty of time for the same thing to happen this session re: Constitutional carry.
    • #1 RPT platform plank.
  • Q&A:
    • House leadership will be overwhelmed with public support.
    • This doesn't effect the process by which guns are sold one iota.
    • Tom Mechler put out an e-mail saying he supports it.
    • CHL is de facto gun owner registration.
    • Threatening letters only re-enforce need for #2A.
    • Grassroots agitation has reached the point where the political self-preservation instinct of members is kicking in.
    • There's a disconnect between the courageous men and women of law enforcement who serve our communities and the "law enforcement" industrial complex at the Capitol.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Abbott and Eltife: Even More Mendacious than Originally Thought....

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


Once again, Abbott Kneecaps Higher Ed. Accountability....

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

See no evil....
An era of disunity on the University of Texas System Board of Regents could soon be ending, as the most controversial member of the board, Wallace Hall, and his two closest ideological allies have been passed over for reappointment to the board.

On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott chose to name three new regents, including recently retired state Sen. Kevin Eltife, a Republican from Tyler.


That means the tenures of Hall, Regent Alex Cranberg and Regent Brenda Pejovich will soon likely end, as long as the Senate opts to confirm the appointees.

In addition to Eltife, Abbott named Rad Weaver, CEO of the company owned by UT-Austin mega-donor Red McCombs, and Janiece Longoria, a former vice chair of the UT System board.

It’s no surprise that Hall has not been reappointed. But it’s still a major development for the UT System. His six-year tenure has been a time of near constant strife. He clashed frequently with Bill Powers, the man who was president of UT-Austin for much of Hall’s tenure. And more recently, he sued current UT System Chancellor Bill McRaven to win access to confidential student records.

Hall’s time helped lead to some major changes. Most notably, he helped bring to light a scandal at UT-Austin over the admission of students with powerful connections who might not have been qualified.
Read the whole thing here.

Bottom Line: We'll have more to say in due time, but we must say that appointing a former Senator is a particularly audacious act of mendacity.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Revelation 21:9-27 -- The New Jerusalem

The New Jerusalem
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.

Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.  The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

The Glory of the New Jerusalem
But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Revelation 21:9-27

Pastor Danny Forshee.  Great Hills Baptist Church.  November, 15 2015:

The New Jerusalem - Dr. Danny Forshee - November 15, 2015 from Great Hills Baptist Church on Vimeo.


  1. The MAGNIFICENCE of the New Jerusalem (vv. 9-14)
    - Glory of God
    - New Jerusalem = Bride
  2. The MEASUREMENTS of the New Jerusalem (vv. 15-21)
    - 1500 miles long, wide, and high.
    - 90 million acres.
    - The colors represent complete and indescribable beauty.
  3. The MISSING of the New Jerusalem (vv. 22-27)
    A. Temple
    B. Sun or Moon
    C. Night
    D. Sun
  • It only took God 6 days to create this Universe, imagine what Heaven's gonna be like if He's been working on it for over 2000 years
    • Author's Note: We know God exists outside of the human conception of time.  It's a figure of speech to illustrate the difference between Heaven and this world.  Please do not send us hate mail.
  • Refers to "the Lamb" 7 times.
  • We're not going to have an eternal siesta; we're going to work for God.
    • Endless learning
  • The presence of God is with mankind forever.
  • Do you have a reservation made for Heaven?!?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Seliger's Tuition Bills prove Miracles DO happen!!!

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9

Yes, thank you:
Tuition should be frozen at all Texas colleges and universities for four years, or at least until they can prove they deserve the price hike, according to one of the state's top lawmakers.

Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, who chairs the Senate Higher Education Committee, proposed three bills Thursday that would dramatically alter the control universities have over how much they charge for a college education in Texas.

Two of the bills are top priorities of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and will probably pass in the Republican-dominated Senate. Senate Bill 19 would freeze all tuition and fees until 2022. Senate Bill 18 would repeal Texas' tuition set-aside program, which requires all public colleges and universities to reserve up to 20 percent of their tuition revenue to use as financial aid for needy students.
Lt. Governor Patrick released the following statement on SB 18 and 19:

U.T. Politburo pisses through ANOTHER $15 million (on pace for $100 million+)....

"There is desirable treasure,
And oil in the dwelling of the wise,
But a foolish man squanders it."
Proverbs 21:20

But at this point, who's counting?!?  From this morning's Statesman:
The University of Texas ran up a $15 million deficit in its information technology unit by the end of August, and the red ink could grow to $25 million in the current budget year, the American-Statesman has learned.

Separately, a $100 million project to shift the university’s payroll, human resources and finances from a mainframe computer system to cloud-based operations is running behind schedule and over budget.

An internal audit report obtained by the Statesman through an open-records request said “financial mistakes and miscommunication by various parties,” coupled with budgets “well below what’s needed,” caused the Information Technology Services department to spend more than it had been allocated. Officials said the deficit would continue to grow until budget revisions and other reforms are fully in place.


UT has decided to abandon its plan to activate all elements of the cloud-based system in July and instead phase the system in starting sometime later. The university has spent $60 million on the project thus far, and although the delay is intended to assure a smoother rollout it will also raise the cost to an as-yet-undetermined sum above $100 million.

Darrell Bazzell, UT’s senior vice president and chief financial officer, is in charge of addressing these challenges, which he learned of after joining the university’s executive ranks in April. At the same time, he is presiding over a major reorganization that has more than tripled the number of people under his purview to 2,430, including employees in police, construction management and other operational units as well as the staff administering the university’s $2.9 billion budget.


The roots of the information technology deficit apparently date back a few years, when a newly created unit known as the Central Business Office took over certain financial responsibilities in an ill-fated effort to consolidate services and save money. The business office made budget decisions without consulting IT leaders, including Brad Englert, UT’s chief information officer and the chief operating officer of Information Technology Services, according to the internal review by Michael Vandervort, UT’s chief audit executive.

Various people oversaw the Central Business Office after it was established in 2010, Bazzell said. Regular reports of IT spending were created by the office but included funds that should not have been available, he said.

“As a result, the reports masked the fact that ITS was overspending their budget, and so managers and administrators were under the impression that they were within budget, when in fact they were overspending and committing to contracts in the future that were unfunded,” Bazzell said. “So, without a dedicated person watching the ITS books who was familiar with the norms for what the department should be spending, conditions were created that made such an oversight possible.”


Meanwhile, the $34 million allocated to the ITS unit for the current budget year is not enough to keep it from sinking deeper into the red because spending will exceed that sum despite a freeze on non-essential hiring, maintenance and equipment purchases.

The deficit “could grow to as much as $25 million in this fiscal year as we continue to address these issues,” Bazzell said. “The university has sufficient cash flow, given the size of its budget, to cover closely monitored IT spending while we develop a plan to bring the budget back into balance and retire the departmental debt,” Bazzell said.

[Author's Note: Emphasis added.]
But clearly the solution is to attempt to impeach the only regent who's ever asked difficult questions about all the money being spent; read the whole thing here.

Bottom Line: Even by UT standards, this is real money.

Friday, January 20, 2017

What Trump's Administration means for Austin Tech....

"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,"
1 Timothy 2:1-3

[Author's Note: The discussion starts at the 17:10 mark on the video; the period between 58:15 and 59:55 is the transition between the first speaker and the panel.]

We did not attend this event, and we certainly do not agree with everything that was said, but nevertheless the discussion is all sorts of interesting:

  • Matthew Dowd:
    • Founded four companies.
    • Presidential Election: "Unprecedented but predictable."
      • Shifting of cultural, economic, political tectonic plates.
    • Doesn't use the phrase, but explains the Kondratiev wave pretty much perfectly.
    • Acceleration of everything.
    • Last 15 years = Third industrial revolution.
    • In less than a decade, we've completely redefined marriage and sexuality.
    • Technological change is a double edged sword.
    • Growth in knowledge accompanied by a decrease in wisdom.
    • Social media has increased tribalism; confirmation bias.
    • Bernie Sanders and Trump: "Were basically independents."
    • Entrepreneurs have tremendous opportunity in an environment with this much uncertainty.
    • Government is the last place in the U.S. that has resisted innovation.
    • Founding fathers were entrepreneurs; early U.S. was a startup.
    • "To get to the promised land, it's going to be on the backs of entrepreneurs."
    • No matter what else you think of him, Trump has revealed brokenness of status quo.
    • Trump will neither destroy nor fix the U.S.; either one of those actions can only come about by the actions of its citizens.
    • Author's Note: We fully support Ted Cruz's re-election to the United States Senate and would VIGOROUSLY oppose a potential Dowd candidacy, but we nevertheless found his discussion of the opportunities available to entrepreneurs in the current climate illuminating.
  • Panel:
    • Basically a bunch of SJW's constructing straw man arguments via half-truths.
    • Unpredictability is the only thing you can predict.
    • Blah, blah "climate change."
      • Stupid comparison between 'green' energy and fast internet; compares Oil and Gas to dial-up.
      • Neglects to mention that windmills are 14th century technology.
      • Green energy will miss Obama's "vision" (ie. crony subsidies)
    • The chick talking about immigration willfully misrepresents executive orders and regulations as laws passed by Congress on multiple occasions.
      • Author's Note: This is a textbook example of why so many Americans felt like no one was listening to them in the first place...which created the climate that ultimately allowed Trump to be successful.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Austin ISD facilities plan, 'new' Travis County Courthouse, proves value of defeating bonds....

"So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God."
Romans 14:12

About a month ago, we had some modestly positive comments to make about Austin ISD's new facilities plan; they recently announced the next step in the process:
We need your input as we continue to plan for our #AISDFuture with the Facility Master Plan (FMP). During these meetings, AISD will present the Facilities and Bond Planning Advisory Committee’s (FABPAC) FMP update, including updates on preliminary options, and receive feedback from the public. Each meeting will focus on a different vertical team, though anyone can attend any meeting.

Email us: future@austinisd.org
Call direct: 512-414-9595
Upcoming Meeting Locations:
* January 24 McCallum HS – Cafeteria, (6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.) | Vertical Teams: McCallum & Special Campuses
* January 25 Crockett HS – Cafeteria, (6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.) | Vertical Teams:Akins & Crockett
* January 26 Garcia YMLA – Cafeteria, (6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.) | Vertical Teams: LBJ & Reagan
* January 31 Martin MS - Cafeteria, (6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.) | Vertical Teams: Eastside Memorial & Travis
* February 1 Burnet MS - Cafeteria, (6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.) | Vertical Teams: Anderson & Lanier
* February 2 Gorzycki MS - Cafeteria, (6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.) | Vertical Teams: Austin & Bowie

More information online at www.AISDFuture.com

During Community Engagement Series #3, AISD will present the FABPAC's FMP update, including updates on preliminary options, and receive feedback from the public. The FABPAC will review and use public input as they continue to work with consultants to refine the FMP draft and eventually formulate recommendations to modernize our district over the next 20-25 years.
But while we're on the subject of fallout from the bonds we've helped defeat over the years, check out the latest on the Travis County Courthouse front:
The federal government has approved Travis County’s application to utilize the old U.S. courthouse for its probate court offices.

Travis County commissioners were handed the deed to 200 W. 8th Street on Thursday morning. The courthouse – built in 1936 – has been vacant since the new federal courthouse on West 5th opened in 2012. The U.S. General Services Administration declared the building surplus, and the county applied to take ownership of the property.


Officials have been looking for remedies to the overcrowding at the Heman Marion Sweatt Courthouse since voters in 2015 narrowly rejected a $287 million bond that would have paid for a new civil courthouse. The county said they will need to renovate and restore the building before they will occupy it in 2020.
These solutions might not be perfect, but they're both light years better than what the respective governmental entities were proposing in 2013 and 2015.

Indeed, as much as it kills us to admit this, Mayor Adler's "corridor" bond that passed last year was (for all its flaws) still substantially less terrible than the rail bond that was defeated in 2014.

Bottom Line: It's amazing how often Plan B costs less while doing a better job accomplishing the task the governmental entity in question says they want to accomplish.

Kolkhorst fires warning shot at University "Faculty"....

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
2 Thessalonians 3:10

This is just all sorts of fantastic:

Bottom Line: In addition to all their other misdeeds, another outrage from the higher-education industrial complex is the degree to which tenured faculty are allowed to sit around doing nothing while the bulk of the actual teaching is done by graduate student 'teacher's assistants.' IF that sounds like a form of indentured servitude, that's because it is. This is fantastic...but time will tell if Kel Seliger gives it a hearing (let alone moves it out of committee).

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Joe Straus' local ISD superintendent is current president of Texas Association of School Administrators....

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

For those who've never heard of them, the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) are a taxpayer-funded lobbying group for the socialized education bureaucracy.  A few years ago, they were involved in some very serious shenanigans.  In the process of examining their priorities for the current legislative session, we noticed something very interesting on their "Note from Our President" page:

LOL, Alamo Heights.  Now who, pray tell, is the state representative from Alamo Heights?!?  O.K. fine, we tipped it off in the headline, but still:
In addition to serving as Speaker, he represents Texas House District 121, which includes the Bexar County communities of Alamo Heights, Olmos Park, Terrell Hills, and northeast San Antonio.

[Author's Note: Emphasis added.]
The funniest part is that, while HD-121 includes parts of 5 ISD's, Alamo Heights ISD is where Joe actually lives.

Bottom Line: With school choice receiving an unprecedented push this session, this has to be one of the most flagrant acts of political sucking up we've ever seen (it's also a sign of fear).

#TXLEGE minimum wage theatrics lays foundation for late session shenanigans....

"Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
But counselors of peace have joy."
Proverbs 12:20

Good grief; they do this EVERY session.

Last week, the Democrats in the House (ie. Joe Straus' base) held a press conference alongside organized labor to agitate in favor of a higher minimum wage:
“The minimum wage needs to rise significantly. Raising the minimum wage will give more Texas families a fair shot at realizing their dreams. On the other hand, paying full-time workers a wage that keeps them mired in poverty is wrong and should not be the Texas way,” Patrick said at a news conference that included workers earning poverty wages and lawmakers seeking to raise the wage.

“We are asking the Legislature to act now. To help them, we are also asking Texans who agree that the minimum wage needs to rise to sign our petition at www.RaisetheWageTexas.org and let lawmakers know that Texans believe a full day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”


“The state labor federation comes here every two years asking for fundamental decency for the hundreds of thousands of Texans at or near the minimum wage level,” Patrick said. “We are in good company, but not only with the working people, lawmakers and allies in this room. The people of Texas have expressed strongly in polling that they want the Legislature to raise the minimum wage.”

[Author's Note: The Patrick to which this press release refers is the Texas AFL-CIO president, not the Lieutenant Governor.]
Of course, this isn't about the minimum wage (it never is); it's about the clock.

Every session, the House Democrats make a push on the minimum wage.  Every session, under Joe Straus' leadership, this push moves "farther than expected."  Then, all of a sudden, we just 'happen' to find ourselves discussing the minimum wage as the clock runs out in May.

Last session, former Rep. Ferdinand "Trey Martinez" Fischer carried HJR 26: "Proposing a constitutional amendment establishing an increased minimum wage."  The bill eventually died in a party line floor vote, but not until they wasted 3 hours on the final day to pass bills debating the minimum wage.  Indeed, the fact this made it to the floor in the first place is revealing.

[Author's Note: The fact that they did this as a constitutional amendment (ie. where you need 100 votes) instead of as a regular bill (ie. where you need 76 votes) further illustrates the degree to which this was only ever intended as a time wasting measure.]

Bottom Line: And the more things change....

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

City of Austin forced to defend subsidies for Union Activity

"Treasures of wickedness profit nothing,
But righteousness delivers from death."
Proverbs 10:2

"Associated Business Leave" is a practice that allows union members to pursue union business on their employer's dime.  The City of Austin's current collective bargaining agreement with the Austin Firefighters Association (ie. the Firefighters Union) permits this activity.  Last September, two local activists with assistance from TPPF (later joined by Attorney General Paxton's office) sued to end this practice based on the argument that it violates the Texas Constitution.

This afternoon, we attended a in Travis County District Court (yeah, we know, but you've got to start somewhere) on a motion by the firefighters union and the city to dismiss the case.

The plaintiffs argue this channels taxpayer resources into a private entity.  To use simpler language, its a subsidy.  This violates the 'gift clause' of the Texas constitution.

The head of the firefighters union testified that, as a current firefighter, he receives a salary from the city of Austin instead of being paid from union dues.  Despite being paid by taxpayers, most of the time he works out of the union offices.  Furthermore, he testified that approximately 30% of his time is spent in direct lobbying activity, although there's no specific record of how he spends his time.

The city and union countered by arguing that striking the "associated business leave" provision would threaten the freedom of association of union members.  But nobody is objecting to the union engaging in typical union activity, they're objecting to subsidizing it.  If the relevant provision were struck, the union would still be able to engage in all of the activity in which they're currently engaged, they'd just have to pay for it out of member dues.

To be honest, we found the city/union argument in favor of the subsidy to be incoherent.  Apparently, there's a 'public interest' exception to the gift clause and the city/union argued that there was a public interest in "avoiding labor strife."  To put it mildly, this argument seems to be a loophole through which you could drive a Mack truck.

Bottom Line: The judge will rule on the motion by February 16...but it's Travis County.  Assuming what everyone knows will happen materializes, the Third Court of Appeals will then correct the Travis County District Judge and return the case back to the local level for a trial on the merits.  This could take awhile.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Beth van Duyne gets the last laugh!!! :D

"Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world."
1 Peter 5:9

This is just all sorts of awesome:
Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne is being dismissed from a crumbling defamation lawsuit brought by the father of Ahmed Mohamed, the MacArthur High student who was detained by police in 2015 when a homemade clock he brought to school was mistaken for a bomb.

Attorneys for the teen's father, Mohamed Mohamed, agreed to dismiss Van Duyne from the suit, according to a news release issued Friday from the city of Irving.

The development comes days after District Judge Maricela Moore dismissed Glenn Beck and his network TheBlaze, as well as the Center for Security Policy, a conservative think tank, and executive vice president Jim Hanson.
That being said, anyone who reads this website on a regular basis knows the issues we really care about, and we think it's pretty cool that Irving was able to accomplish this in spite of all the stupid 'clock boy' related nonsense:
If your goal for 2017 is to find a high-paying job in an affordable city, you may want to start your search in Texas or North Carolina. Each state boasts two of the best U.S. cities for job seekers, according to a new study.

NerdWallet found the top 10 cities for job seekers by identifying the places where Americans will find work opportunities and also stretch their paychecks. The study of the 100 largest cities in America factored in federal data on unemployment rates and workforce growth, as well as median earnings and rent costs.


9. Irving, Texas.
 Read the whole thing here and here.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Revelation 21:1-8 -- ALL Things New!!!

All Things Made New
"Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
Revelation 21:1-8

Pastor Danny Forshee.  Great Hills Baptist Church.  November 8, 2015:

All Things New - Dr. Danny Forshee - November 8, 2015 from Great Hills Baptist Church on Vimeo.

  • No more sea -- The connotation of destruction.
  • One last call of the Word of God.
  • In Heaven there is no sin or temptation.
  • More than anything, we see Jesus; He is Heaven.
  • Sometimes we just have to wait until Heaven until we understand.
  • You will either go to Heaven or you won't; every soul ever created will either spend eternity with God in Heaven or you WILL spend eternity in hell.
  • Anything that usurps the rightful place of God is an idol.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Tevin Mack and Vince Young's misconduct latest example of UT's failing Status Quo....

"Though the Lord is on high,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the proud He knows from afar."
Psalm 138:6

UPDATE: While we're on the subject of embarrassing news that came out of the UT athletic department this past week, we can't believe we overlooked this one in writing the original post:
On Wednesday, former Baylor Bears staffer Casey Horny announced his return to the Texas Longhorns as a special teams quality control assistant, but while his reunion with head coach Tom Herman provided further evidence of Herman’s commitment to alignment, it also raised serious concerns.


Horny still publicly supported Briles even though Pepper Hamilton’s Findings of Fact concluded that Briles and his staff helped foster a culture failed to “identify and respond to a pattern of sexual violence by a football player, to take action in response to reports of a sexual assault by multiple football players, and to take action in response to a report of dating violence.”

Even though extensive reporting by ESPN and other outlets helped reveal the depths of the issues at Baylor, which included an alleged gang rape by football players that the school said Briles knew about, but did not report.

ORIGINAL POST: On the heels of Wallace Hall's SCOTX hearing, two stories worth considering; first from the 7-9 (1-3 in the Big-12) men's basketball program:
Texas sophomore guard Tevin Mack has been suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules according to a Texas release. “We have a set of standards that we expect people in our program to adhere to,” Texas coach Shaka Smart said. “Tevin has failed to reach them.”

Mack, along with sophomore Kerwin Roach Jr. was suspended for their exhibition game against Angelo State and opener against Incarnate Word, also for violation of team rules.

Mack leads Texas in scoring, averaging 14.8 points per game to go with nearly five rebounds and a team high 31 minutes. Mack was held to nine points to go with nine rebounds in Wednesday’s loss to TCU. Texas dropped to 7-9 and 1-3 in Big 12 play.
It gets better; check out the latest from the guy who scored that touchdown...over a decade ago:
Former Texas football star Vince Young pleaded no contest in a Travis County court on Thursday and was sentenced to 18 months probation for his 2016 DWI arrest, court records show.

Young, 33, resolved the case three days after he missed a court appearance on Monday because his attorney said the national championship-winning quarterback was feeling sick. Thursday’s appearance was added to the court docket at the last minute.

[Author's Note: Emphasis added...and while we can't prove it, we are comfortable speculating that Young missed that court appearance because he was hungover.]

Young was fined $300 and ordered by Judge Elisabeth Earle to complete 60 hours of community service. He is to attend a drunk driving class and install a device in his vehicle that won’t start if it detects alcohol on his breath. He’s ordered to keep the device for nine months.

Police say Young admitted to drinking three or four beers on the evening of Jan. 24, 2016 when they pulled him over on the North Interstate 35 service road for driving erratically. According to the affidavit, Young had a strong odor of alcohol and slurred speech.

He struggled to complete a field sobriety test and lost balance during instructions. He refused a breathalyzer; his blood-alcohol concentration came back 0.246 — three times the legal limit — according to the county attorney’s office.
As a point of comparison, former District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg's BAC during her arrest was .239.

Late last month, we pointed out that "corrupt institutional mismanagement that has plagued the past decade has finally bled into the athletic department" and this week's announcements continue that trend.

Guys, the status quo just isn't working.

You might not want to discuss the "forgivable loan" slush fund.  You might not want to discuss the $215 million accounting scandal.  You might not want to discuss the tax hike for the Med school.  You might not want to discuss the secret admissions program.  You might not want to discuss the land grab in Houston.  You might not want to discuss the tuition hike.  You might not want to discuss the $17 million toxic waste dump purchase in El Paso (And while we're on the topic of "dump....").

But the athletic department is now in total meltdown.  This week's disciplinary incidents continue that trend.  Yet you fail to acknowledge the completely obvious reality staring you in the face....

Bottom Line: We're nowhere near rock bottom.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Charlie Geren CAVES on a Major Issue!!!

"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass."
Psalm 37:7

Whoa, whoa, whoa...wait a second...WHAT?!?
Ethics reform went down the tubes in Texas a couple of years ago when Republican leaders deadlocked over a proposal to end the “dark money” loophole, which has been used by GOP and Democratic activists alike to cloak the source of their political donations.

Rep. Charlie Geren, the powerful Fort Worth Republican pushing ethics reform in the Texas House this year, is determined not to let that happen again.

Though he supports closing the dark money loophole himself, Geren said he fears the proposal could be used as a poison pill to kill off a broader package of bills — everything from taking lucrative pensions away from legislator-felons to disclosing all the lobbyist wining and dining that remains unreported.

“We got tangled up in a fight over dark money, and that killed the bill,” Geren told The Texas Tribune Thursday. “We’re going to have some single-shot bills that address individual issues, and you’re not going to be able to decorate them like a Christmas tree with other subjects.”
It's impossible to overstate the significance of Charlie Geren backing down on this issue; for years, attacking so-called "dark money" (ie. anonymous political speech) has been the tip of the spear in Team Straus' jihad against Michael Quinn Sullivan.

In 2013, Geren sponsored SB 346, which would have encouraged the same type of actions as those taken by the Obama administration's IRS at the state level.  Thankfully, in one the single best actions of his final term, then Governor Rick Perry vetoed it.  In 2015, it led to the confrontation on the ethics bill described above.

In 2017, it appears Geren won't even push the issue anywhere with leverage.

This issue used to be his baby...and now he's not even going to push it?!?

Bottom Line: We will certainly take it....


"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
2 Timothy 4:7

We suppose we need to start this post with a confession/disclosure: Both of the events to which we will shortly refer are over 24 hours old.  To be honest, when we first heard General Paxton mention this, we missed it's full significance.  That being said, we can't find any other news reports discussing this...so we suppose it's a de facto exclusive.

We attended two events this week where Attorney General Ken Paxton spoke.  On Monday, Wayne Christian was sworn in to his new seat on the Texas Railroad (ie. Oil and Gas) Commission.  Yesterday, TPPF hosted a panel related to various acts of intimidation by global warming activists.

At both events, Paxton recounted various legal actions his office has taken against the federal government related to maintaining abundant and affordable energy.  We didn't take detailed notes in either event, but we recall him saying that his office has sued the EPA 10 times in the past two years.  Several of those lawsuits have been successful and others are working their way through the process.

But here's the most interesting line he used both times: "As Attorney General, my office has sued the Obama administration 21 times...and there's still a few days left."

Like we said, we didn't record his remarks or take detailed notes in either event, but there were at least 200 people in the room the first time and 25 the second time.

We don't know what it means, but there will be three and a half business days next week before the presidential handover.

Bottom Line: Next week could be fun.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Does Freedom have a place in Education?!?

"Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go;
Keep her, for she is your life."
Proverbs 4:13

TPPF Policy Orientation: Education Savings Accounts: The Solution Texas Needs?!?

Stephanie Matthews, TPPF:
  • Too many families don't have educational options.
  • Education Savings Accounts can be used for virtual learning, which is fantastic for rural areas.
Thomas Ratliff, Texas Association of School Administrators (formerly of the State Board of Education):
  • Blah, blah, "local control."
  • If you want school choice, move.
    • Note: He recently moved into Grand Prarie ISD, which has a school choice program within its district; we don't begrudge Mr. Ratliff making the decision to educate his children in the best way he sees fit, but we will simply wish that every family in Texas had the same options while noting the hypocrisy.
  • Something, something, transportation to school for poor kids.
  • "With tax dollars comes transparency and accountability."
    • Author's Note: This is bureaucrat-speak for saddling a program with so many regulations as to render it ineffective.
  • Something, something "protections."
  • Something, something "your neighbors tax money."
  • Author's Note: For those who are new to Texas' state level politics, you can learn more about the older history of our good friend Thomas Ratliff here.
Marty Lueken, EdChoice:
  • School choice programs take up less than 2% of the education budget in every state where they exists; less than 1% of all education spending nationally.
    • Author's Note: That sounds like a bug, not a feature.
  • School choice saves school districts money.
  • Districts deal with enrollment fluctuations all the time.
Patrick Wolf, University of Arkansas:
  • Research evidence on school choice is clear about how it benefits students academically.
  • Competition also benefits children who stay in government schools by forcing them to get their act together.
  • States who have tried school choice have liked it and want more.
Senator Larry Taylor (Likely Education Committee Chairman):
  • There are always going to be kids whose needs aren't met by the current socialized education model.
  • At least 25 other states already have some sort of school choice program and most of the states who initially implemented a program have expanded it further.
  • You don't need that many kids to participate in a school choice program to benefit the rest of the system.
  • Rural Republicans like to argue parental choice will "destroy public education" in their community then say there just isn't the demand in their community for school choice to make a difference; they can't have it both ways.