Monday, January 15, 2018

Cruz saves UT Politburo from itself (prevents National Security crisis in the process)


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

Holy late afternoon on a holiday document dump Batman:
After months of internal uproar and a letter from U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, the University of Texas at Austin has declared its China center will not accept funding from a Hong Kong-based foundation that the Republican from Texas said helps spread Chinese government propaganda abroad.

The decision – first reported in an article in the “Opinions” section of The Washington Post – was disclosed in a letter sent Friday from UT-Austin President Greg Fenves to Cruz.

The school must "ensure that the receipt of outside funding does not create potential conflicts of interest or place limits on academic freedom and the robust exchange of ideas,” Fenves wrote. “I am concerned about this if we were to accept funding from [the foundation].”

The week before, Cruz had written to Fenves to “express concern” about UT-Austin's new China center's relationship with the China-United States Exchange Foundation – a “pseudo-philanthropic foundation,” Cruz wrote, that has ties to an arm of the Chinese government that manages “foreign influence operations.”

In his letter, dated Jan. 2, Cruz wrote he’d heard that the UT-Austin center was considering a partnership with the foundation. Launched around the start of the fall semester, the China Public Policy Center was charged with making “fresh and enduring contributions to the study of China-related policy topics while advancing U.S.-China relations and Texas-China relations,” according to a UT news release.

Its executive director, David Firestein, was formerly a U.S. diplomat and senior vice president at the EastWest Institute. He did not respond to requests for comment made by phone and email.

Cruz said in his letter that he was worried about the center's collaboration with the foundation and that it would disseminate “propaganda within the center and compromise its credibility.” The same concerns were raised in emails circulated on an internal UT-Austin faculty e-mail list in December, just four months after the China center launched.
Seriously, do read the whole thing here.

Bottom Line: In their neverending financial avarice, the University of Texas was initially willing to accept money to spread propaganda for the Chinese government.  They were only thwarted by an attentive United States Senator.  On a semi related note: Yes, this is the same University of Texas that wants to manage the nation's nuclear weapons....

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Question U of H needs to answer re: Kendal "White Women" Briles


"Therefore by their fruits you will know them."
Matthew 7:20

Re-reading the Trib's bombshell about the ongoing U of H/Baylor mess, we were struck by this section about U of H's "vetting" process:
UH did not receive letters of recommendation from Baylor for Clements or Briles, UH spokesman Mike Rosen told the Tribune. But he said both coaches received "verbal recommendations" and were vetted through processes that went beyond “normal protocol.”

“The candidates both agreed to an interview with our Vice President for Legal Affairs/General Counsel, who has extensive experience in handling Title IX matters and supervised our Title IX office for almost 15 years,” Rosen wrote in an e-mail to the Tribune. “The interview included discussions specifically about Title IX compliance,” which is not typical.

Rosen said the school’s athletic director also “made several calls to former colleagues of the candidates,” and that the athletics’ compliance officer “made additional inquiries to the NCAA and former schools where the candidates worked, including Baylor.” He said it is not typical for the athletic director “to be involved in hires at this level.”

When asked if UH asked Baylor whether the two hires were responsible for the misconduct mentioned in the “Findings of Fact” document – and whether or not Baylor provided an answer – Rosen said the school was “not going to characterize the conversations with specific universities.”

He said, “The university did its due diligence and was satisfied with the results.”
That's really vague.  It tells us nothing about what was actually was done, it just tells us that 'something' was done which included a Title IX component (which could be about legal CYA as much as anything related to actual assault prevention).  Essentially, U of H is arguing "trust us."

Well, we don't.

In case you're unfamiliar, here's what Kendal "White Women" Briles was caught doing:
Former assistant coach Kendal Briles — the son of the head coach — once told a Dallas area student athlete, “Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players,” according to the suit.
So, University of Houston, how did you 'vet' THAT quote?!?

What sort of "due diligence" was done surrounding that quote, and WHY are you "satisfied with the results?!?"

You're not telling us.

Who knows?!?  Maybe there's an explanation for that quote.  Considering that it's been in the public domain for a year and has yet to explained, we don't believe a one exists.  But if U of H wanted to offer one, we'd listen.

Instead, they're essentially arguing "trust us."

And we don't.

Bottom Line:  To hire a football coach who was recently caught facilitating racially charged sexual assaults is a brazen act.  The public needs more than vague assurances about "due diligence" and being "satisfied with the results."  Specifically, it might be a good idea to tell the public WHY you were "satisfied."  Until such information is forthcoming, given everything we've learned about this ongoing mess over the past three years, it's hard to avoid assuming the worst.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Texas Higher Education's Culture of Stonewalling Reaps its Poisonous Fruit


"In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me."
Matthew 26:55

Mind-boggling report in the Trib this morning about U of H's inexplicable Kendal Briles' hire:
A bid to better their football team’s offense put University of Houston officials on the defensive this past week.

It’s a posture several schools have had to adopt in recent years after announcing they’d hired coaching staff – like UH’s new offensive coordinator Kendal Briles and offensive line coach Randy Clements – who had worked at Baylor University and departed under the cloud of a sexual assault scandal.

Those universities, like UH, have been quick to offer assurances that their hires were carefully vetted, including through conversations with Baylor officials. But their attempts to set minds at ease have been hampered by one major issue: While Baylor has blamed "athletics and football personnel" for much of the scandal, it has never revealed publicly who specifically did what wrong.

....

When asked if UH asked Baylor whether the two hires were responsible for the misconduct mentioned in the “Findings of Fact” document – and whether or not Baylor provided an answer – Rosen said the school was “not going to characterize the conversations with specific universities.”

He said, “The university did its due diligence and was satisfied with the results.”

Tracy, the survivor and activist, said UH’s hiring decision “sends the wrong message.” She said she spoke with UH’s football program last year and that it felt “kind of like a punch in the gut, when I read which school it was” that had made the hires.

Both Kendal Briles’ and Clements’ memorandums of understanding with UH contain a morality clause that says the coaches can be fired if new information about their conduct at Baylor surfaces, according to the Houston Chronicle. But “merely having been on staff at Baylor and performing [their] job duties while allegations of misconduct were made” is not alone grounds for termination, the clause reads, in part.
The report is worth reading in full, but as you read it do remember that Kendal Briles is literally the guy who was caught sending text messages facilitating racially charged sexual assaults.

Yes, it's that bad.

But as you scratch your head wondering how an institution of higher education in the State of Texas could hire a football coach who has never provided a compelling explanation for the afore mentioned text messages he sent while coaching at another institution of higher education in the State of Texas...consider a separate incident at another institution of higher education in the State of Texas.

-------

On May 1, 2017, the University of Texas experienced it's second on-campus MURDER in thirteen months:
One person was killed and three were injured in a stabbing attack Monday afternoon on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, officials said.

Two of the students injured have been released from the hospital, university officials said.

Earlier, officials had said only two people were hurt but UT-Austin police said later that three were wounded. Details on their injuries were not available.

The suspect is a UT student and is in custody, campus police said. His possible motive is under investigation.
Keep in mind: That awful incident happened 7.5 months ago.   Since then, the Board of Regents has met FOURTEEN times.  But not a single public discussion of on-campus security following two on-campus murders in thirteen months.

[Note: Yet somehow they manage to find time to assemble a bid to manage the nation's nuclear weapons.]

[Note II: It almost sounds quaint at this point, but remember when their worst acts of stonewalling involved pay-to-play admissions scandals?!?]

-------

While the ongoing Baylor/U of H sexual assault fiasco and the murders at UT are the most flagrant examples, they're hardly alone.   Off the top of our head, we can think of incidents at A&M, Tech,  and Texas Southern that the respective administrations have never addressed sufficiently.  And that's just what we know about.

What will the next horrifying scandal be?!?

Bottom Line: People are literally getting raped and killed because institutions of higher education across Texas would rather obfuscate than clean house.  As mind-boggling as that sentence might be to read, that's reality.  How long will the public tolerate it?!?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

UT now imposing politically motivated de facto speech taxes (aka. "Security Fees")


"As a dog returns to his own vomit,
So a fool repeats his folly."
Proverbs 26:11

Wow:
Today Young America’s Foundation (YAF) sent a letter to the University of Texas at Austin, demanding the immediate rescission of a viewpoint discriminatory “security fee” that University administrators levied on conservative students’ speech.

On November 14, 2017, the students of the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) partnered with Young America’s Foundation to bring United States Senator Rick Santorum to campus to talk about “moral governance.” The lecture itself was a tremendous success and students benefitted from an insightful dialogue with Senator Santorum.

However, UT-Austin is now sticking conservative students with a $654 invoice for the security services of five security officers. Why? According to University officials, this “security fee” was necessary because Senator Santorum is “high profile” and because of the “political climate.”

“School administrators may not impose varying security fees based on the community’s reaction to the content of speech. Doing so violates both the First and the Fourteenth Amendments,” said Spencer Brown, Spokesman for Young America’s Foundation. “This security fee reeks of viewpoint discrimination. The facts are clear – University officials arbitrarily levied a hefty security fee based on the content of Senator Santorum’s lecture. Equally clear is how the courts respond to such a practice.”
Furthermore, having been in attendance at this event, we will add that we only saw one UTPD officer there.  So it seems pretty far-fetched to claim that there was any sort of heightened security fears when no actions were taken at the time to quell them.  But that assumes this charge was made in good faith, and this is the UT politburo about which we're talking....

Bottom Line: Isn't this just typical?!?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

#TXLEGE: Crony capitalist crowd now openly claiming high taxes are good for business


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

Buried deep within this puff piece on the latest act of collusion between big business and big government, we find this gem:
It will support local municipalities’ rights to set their own taxation policies and will oppose legislation that would set revenue caps, allow for tax rollbacks or put appraisal caps on local governments, he said.

“We believe this would deter their ability to finance local priorities and have a negative impact on their bond ratings,” he said.
A lot of this is the same type of drivel you frequently hear from this crowd.  But they didn't used to be this blatant about it.  They're not even paying lip service to the idea of low and consistent taxation anymore.

It's also remarkable how, to preserve their subsidies and protectionist regulations, this crowd is now moving from pushing left-wing social policy to openly embracing high taxes.

This group's Board of Directors is also quite the collection of looters and moochers.

Bottom Line: Whether this crowd likes it or not, low and consistent taxation is good for everyone, including business.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

#TXLEGE: The Toxic Capitol Culture is not Limited to Sex


"For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there."
James 3:16

We attended this morning's Trib event about the culture of sexual abuse in the Texas Legislature.  The formal program had its ups and downs, but we had several highly productive conversations afterward.  One of those conversations got us thinking about our first session in 2013.

In our Empower Texans profile last May, we discussed being shocked by what we learned when we discovered the Capitol as it really exists.  While our earlier remarks concerned policy, there were also a couple encounters that revealed the dominant culture.  Let's (belatedly) discuss those.

In February 2013, we attended an early morning trib event with Joe Straus.  During the event, we asked Straus about a budget reform proposal under discussion that session.  Straus did what Straus does (though this was when he was polite about it), but it was what happened after the event that stood out.

Following the event, some guy we'd never met approached us and very aggressively asked us to clarify our support for the Texas Budget Compact.  We confirmed that we did and gave a standard explanation about government spending crowding out productive economic activity.  The guy flew into a rage and browbeat this author over our alleged stupidity for supporting a policy that, according to this gentleman, would mean no roads, schools, or water in a decade.  We haven't thought about this encounter in ages but, in hindsight, it was a deliberate act of gaslighting.

Approximately six months later, we attended an another event during the early stages of the Wallace Hall impeachment.  We made an offhand comment to a staffer for a (then) Republican house committee chair (who has subsequently left the legislature) about how we found the whole thing to be a fiasco with Jim Pitts playing the role of lead putz.  Once again, the guy flew into a rage and browbeat this author for our alleged mendacity in helping to "destroy the greatest university in the world."  Once again, we haven't thought about this encounter in ages but once again, in hindsight, it was a deliberate act of gaslighting.

Obviously, we're fine.  But it was scary in the moment.  And one of our conversations from this morning got us thinking about how that moment of fear might have played out if we weren't...well...male.

In an environment where it's a tactic of first resort to browbeat and gaslight male bloggers over policy...should we really be surprised when the same people browbeat and gaslight young women over sex?!?

In the Texas Legislature, the browbeating and the gaslighting are everywhere.  While the recent revelations related to sexual abuse are the most salacious (and dangerous), they didn't emerge in a vacuum.  When minor incident, after minor incident, after minor incident are tolerated, major incidents are the natural result.

Bottom Line:  No matter what the happens in response to recent revelations, until the Texas Legislature addresses its deeper culture of intimidation, the sexual stuff will eventually return.

Monday, January 8, 2018

#TXLEGE: Trib's "Austin & the Legislature" event illustrates Workman's irrelevance


"And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit."
Ezekiel 16:50

Trib this morning:
Join us in person or on our livestream for the first installment of this series: a conversation about public education, immigration, health care, spending, taxes and other consequential matters with Austin-area state Reps. Gina Hinojosa, Donna Howard and Eddie Rodriguez. Tribune co-founder and CEO Evan Smith will moderate.
LOL, they didn't even include Paul Workman.

This shouldn't surprise anyone: As long as the current Democrat/liberal Republican coalition rules the House, the Democrats will always be the most important members of the Travis County delegation.

While Workman filed some good bills to rein in the city of Austin during the 85th, those bills went nowhere (because of the afore mentioned Democrat/liberal Republican coalition).

And that's why we can no longer afford Paul Workman.

Bottom Line: It's nothing we didn't previously know, but it's still funny that they're this blatant about it.

About Kendal Briles and Randy Clements: An Open Letter to [U of H Regent Chair] Tilman Fertitta


"Therefore by their fruits you will know them."
Matthew 7:20

[Note: Readers can ask Fertitta their own questions on Twitter -- @TilmanJFertitta]

Tilman J. Fertitta
University of Houston Board Regents
Chairman

Dear Chairman Fertitta,

Thank you for your time.  I'm an Austin based blogger who covers Texas politics.  Historically, I've been a fan of your performance as the Chairman of the University of Houston Board of Regents.  I applaud your effort to halt the University of Texas' Houston land grab during the 85th session of the Texas Legislature.

Today I'm writing over something much more alarming: The University of Houston's inexplicable decision to hire former Baylor assistant coaches Kendal Briles and Randy Clements in the Cougar football program.

Over the past several years Baylor Univesrty has been enmeshed in a slowly unfolding sexual assault scandal, the depths of which are almost too awful to plumb.  For everything we've learned in recent months, the Baylor scandals remain the most horrifying.  But even amidst the grotesque onslaught that's come out of Baylor, Kendall Briles' mendacity stands out.

According to books, lawsuits, and press reports Kendal Briles made the the following comment to a recruit about female Baylor students: "Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players."

Seriously?!?

You just hired a guy who's been caught facilitating racially charged sexual assaults.  It's difficult to believe this could actually happen, but apparently this is how the University of Houston chooses to do business.  It's mind boggling.

I understand you're busy.  Between being CEO of Landry Restaurants, your casino interests, your CNBC show, and ownership of the Houston Rockets, you have a lot on your plate.  If the Kendal Briles and Randy Clements hires were an oversight due to a packed schedule, I encourage you to promptly rectify the situation.

As long as Kendal Briles and Randy Clements remain on the Cougar coaching staff, it's difficult to avoid the conclusion the the University of Houston condones the type of chilling abuses about which we've recently learned.

It should also go without saying that Big-12 expansion is a non-starter as long as Kendal Briles and Randy Clements remain on the Cougar coaching staff.

As Chairman of the University of Houston Board of Regents, the buck stops with you; choose wisely.

Sincerely,
Adam Cahn
Austin, TX

P.S. One recently relevant part of my background: In the past two months, I helped lead efforts to get both Congressmen Joe Barton and Blake Farenthold to retire.  While Barton's and Farenthold's respective conduct was reprehensible, either one of them is a fraction compared to Kendal Briles.  Like I said, choose wisely.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

TPPF's DC Expansion makes Brady more valuble


"As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
Proverbs 27:17

On Tuesday, we discussed TPPF's D.C. expansion in terms of what it meant for the open seat congressional races.

But there's another point to consider: As TPPF expands into D.C., having a Ways and Means committee chairman from Texas becomes significantly more valuble.

If a widely respected organization back home makes a suggestion, you're going to at least listen.  You don't have a choice.  That's not necessarily true if the W&M chairman is from another state.

The 2017 tax bill, while a tangible step in the right direction, will not be the final effort on the tax code.  When congress takes up the next tax bill, we're TPPF to be at the table, that would be a very good sign.  That's a lot easier to make happen if the W&M chairman is from Texas.

Furthermore, from an activist perspective, this could give you a direct line to the committee chair for whatever your pet federal tax issue happens to be (eg. this author's interest in housing).  You send an e-mail to the relevant TPPF person, and they bring up the topic with the policymaker.  We've done it in the Texas Legislature and there's no reason why the same model can't work federally.

When the whole thing was said and done, Brady did a good job with the tax bill; with TPPF's help, he can do something even better in the future.

Bottom Line: As long as good things are getting done, having a ways and means chairman from Texas isn't the worst thing in the world.

Friday, January 5, 2018

#TXLEGE: Media Correction of the (Young) Year


"He who is slow to wrath has great understanding,
But he who is impulsive exalts folly."
Proverbs 14:29

Late yesterday afternoon, we posted to Facebook about wanting to write a longer...critique...of a sensationalistic article the Trib published about a Texas House race West of Waco.  Chris Evans, the TxRTL endorsed challenger to a liberal Republican incumbent, apparently got in some legal trouble a decade and a half ago.  The original article was a transparent opposition research dump fed to a credulous reporter who subsequently posted a click driven story.

The Trib has subsequently updated the story.   It's now straight news recounting.  Since they fixed their story before we got a chance to write this blog post, we'll cut them some slack.

But the correction they posted is mint:
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described Texas House candidate Chris Evans as having been convicted for possessing a pipe bomb. He received deferred adjudication for the offense.
Gee..what could you have possibly been trying to imply by saying he was "convicted" for possessing "a pipe bomb"?!?

That being said, the funniest part is how the Trib's unforced error allows Chris Evans to run a media-bashing campaign the rest of the way.  Expect messaging along the lines of "you know the liberal media is scared of Chris Evans because they're already attacking him."  As a point of comparison, if you're wondering how that messaging will resonate in that district, just remember the HD-59 is Sid Miller's old district (*).

Bottom Line: This was a funny unforced error.

-------

* - It's worth pointing out that the liberal Republican incumbent was originally elected with assistance from Planned Parenthoood.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

#TXLEGE: Geren suddenly starting to feel heat?!?


"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage."
2 Peter 2:19

[UPDATE: We learned after publication that Geren actually released the statement before Christmas.  That still makes the timing of his re-releasing it strange.  That being said, our points still stand and we will simply note that this is a good reason why elected officials shouldn't block political opponents from viewing social media posts.]

Charlie Geren blocked us on Twitter awhile back, so thanks to Lawerence Person's Battleswarm Blog for catching this tweet in a format we were able to screenshot:


First things first:  Why now?!?  The French lawsuit has been out for a month and this is Geren's first comment.  We've heard more shoes are going to drop, but nothing tangible; Geren's statement has a bit of a "doth protest too much" feel.

As to Geren's assertion that "I can shed no light on the disputed facts," that claim would have more credibility if Geren hadn't just last month been caught lying about his knowledge related to sexual abuse in the Texas House.

At best, it would appear that Geren is incompetently oblivious to multiple recent examples reprehensible behavior in areas where he has jurisdiction.

The whole thing is just strange.

Bottom Line: We'll see what happens, but history suggest that when extended silence shifts to vigorous denial, it often seems to work out poorly for the denier.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Tech-industry Sex Trafficking in Seattle Report raises MAJOR questions about Austin's Amazon Bid


"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap."
Galatians 6:7

Shot:
Austin and Atlanta share the best odds of landing Amazon's HQ2, says Irish betting site PaddyPower.

Back in October, PaddyPower put Atlanta’s odds of landing Amazon’s $5 billion second headquarters at 2-to-1, beating Austin (3-to-1) and Boston (6-to-1).

But as of Dec. 31, PaddyPower reports that Atlanta and Austin each share a 3-to-1 chance of landing HQ2.
Chaser:
Silicon Valley’s Female Problem was well-known long before the #MeToo movement started toppling piggish men in media, politics and the arts. But emails obtained by Newsweek reveal another sordid corner of the tech sector’s treatment of women: a horny nest of prostitution “hobbyists” at tech giants Microsoft, Amazon and other firms in Seattle’s high tech alley.

The emails from the men, some hoovered up in a sting operation against online prostitution review boards, are all similar, often disguised as replies to wrong addresses.

“I think you might have the wrong email address,” wrote one man from his Amazon work address to a brothel.

....

The cache of tech company emails were obtained by Newsweek via a public records request to the King County Prosecutor’s Office. Law enforcement authorities have been collecting them from brothel computers over the last few years; some were obtained in connection with a 2015 sting operation that netted high-level Amazon and Microsoft directors.

....

The cache of emails shared with Newsweek date between 2014 and 2016, and included 67 sent from Microsoft, 63 sent from Amazon email accounts and dozens more sent from some of Seattle’s premier tech companies and others based elsewhere but with offices in Seattle, including T-Mobile and Oracle, as well as many local, smaller tech firms. The men who sent the emails have not been charged, and Newsweek is not identifying them.

....

The sting arrested 17 men and one woman, but only a director at Amazon and another director at Microsoft opted for a trial. The trial date has been repeatedly pushed back and is now scheduled for March 2018. None of the sex workers involved in those case were charged.

....

When Newsweek sought comment from Amazon this week, a spokeswoman first asked to see the emails sent by Amazon employees (unlike Microsoft, Amazon had apparently not requested the emails from authorities). Newsweek shared an Excel list with the senders’ names redacted, and when the spokeswoman said she couldn’t comment without seeing more, Newsweek emailed one full email.

Today, Amazon informed Newsweek that it is “investigating” the matter and provided this statement by email: “Amazon’s Owner’s Manual clearly states that, ‘It is against Amazon’s policy for any employee or Contingent Worker to engage in any sex buying activities of any kind in Amazon’s workplace or in any work-related setting outside of the workplace, such as during business trips, business meetings or business-related social events.’ When Amazon suspects that an employee has used company funds or resources to engage in criminal conduct, the company will immediately investigate and take appropriate action up to and including termination. The company may also refer the matter to law enforcement.”
Now, obviously, you don't want to paint too broad of a brush.  63 bad actors out of a company with over 500,000 employees isn't necessarily terrible.   But we're not talking about trying to launch a boycott or take-down the company.

But it is to say that we need a full and complete accounting of what happened BEFORE they receive any sort of "incentive" package to move here (and our previously stated questions about the merits of the project still apply).

Finally, we'll note Amazon's response sounds familiar.

Bottom Line: This question needs to be addressed (the sooner the better).

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

TPPF's D.C. expansion + Open Texas Congressional seats = Unprecedented Opportunity


"A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous."
Proverbs 13:22

This is huge:
The Texas Public Policy Foundation, which has more than 75 employees in Texas, will open a new office D.C. in January. Its leaders plan to increase its D.C. staff from five to as many as 15 employees in 2018, to seek rollbacks and changes to environmental and health care issues, and work on criminal justice reform.

TPPF’s president and CEO, Fort Worth resident Brooke Rollins, says limited-government advocates have an ally in President Trump – who campaigned on taking power back from Washington – and they’re gearing up to drive policy back the other direction.

“This White House represents the opportunity to completely reinvigorate the idea that the states should be running themselves,” Rollins said in a Star-Telegram interview at the conservative Heritage Foundation in D.C. last month.

....

A powerful lobbying influence in Austin, TPPF opened a state’s rights division in Texas in 2010 to fight the Obama Administration’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and later the consideration of the Clean Power Plan. In both cases, it argued the White House had usurped Texas’s power to set its own policies.

TPPF’s Washington goals include rolling back regulations created by the Obama administration, such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s endangerment rule, which mandates that greenhouse gasses be regulated under the Clean Air Act. That 2009 finding laid the groundwork for a of host climate regulations that conservatives have railed against since.

It also plans to continue work on health care, as Republicans revisit plans to repeal and replace Obamacare in 2018.

“We should be in control of our Medicaid and health care, we should be in control of education, and, for the most part, of our environmental regulations,” said Rollins. “This is our time as a state… to stand up and say, ‘give it back.’”
To begin, anything that expands TPPF's influence is good.  They're one of the most effective conservative organizations in existence.  There's a reason why the Straus people HATE them.

But where this gets really interesting is when you combine the TPPF expansion with the number of open Congressional seats in Texas this cycle.  There are currently 8 open seat races in the Texas Delegation.  Of those 8, 6 are Republican.  Of those 6 Republican open seats, 5 are in districts that are essentially safe and the sixth is a likely hold.

Thus, between TPPF growing it's influence in the policy area and sending a bunch of new solid conservatives to DC, Texas' grassroots could see its influence in DC skyrocket over the next few years.

But the task at hand, for now, is the upcoming primary (at both the state and federal level).

Bottom Line: If you're playing the long game, life just got a little more interesting....