Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Abbott engages in "pro-taxpayer" publicity stunt (while TxDOT loses ANOTHER $5 Billion)


"A fool’s lips come with strife, and his mouth calleth for stripes."
Proverbs 18:6

LOL:
Gov. Greg Abbott is demanding that former U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold "cover all costs" of the special election to fill his seat using the $84,000 the Corpus Christi Republican used to settle a sexual harassment claim years ago.

Farenthold, who abruptly resigned earlier this month, had promised to pay back the $84,000 — which came out of a taxpayer-funded account — after that settlement was made public last year but hasn't so far.

In a letter to Farenthold on Wednesday, Abbott said the former congressman should return the money to taxpayers by funding the June 30 special election to finish his term.

"While you have publicly offered to reimburse the $84,000 in taxpayer funds you wrongly used to settle a sexual harassment claim, there is no legal recourse requiring you to give that money back to Congress," Abbott wrote. "I am urging you to give those funds back to the counties in your district to cover the costs of the June 30, 2018, special election."
 At first glance, it seems like a decent enough gesture.  Farenthold is certainly a jerk [Note: Though it's probably worth pointing out that, while WE called for Farenthold to go at the time, Abbott never did].  Furthermore, Farenthold is also departing in the most obnoxious way possible.

But come on...$84k?!?

That's not even a rounding error in government; that's not even a fraction of a rounding error.

Meanwhile, you'll never guess what landed in our inbox an hour ago:
Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF), Texans for Toll-free Highways PAC, and Grassroots America - We the People PAC contend the much-lamented funding shortfall is largely due to the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) bloat and mismanagement of funds. While metropolitan areas scramble to re-allocate funds to advance projects without tolls, as Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick directed last November, the anti-toll groups argue TxDOT intentionally squandered the nearly $5 billion a year in new funding on low priority projects so they could force toll roads on urban commuters.

The grassroots groups say this is a systemic problem identified in the 2016 Sunset Commission Staff Report which states, “As currently structured, TxDOT’s project development process is not meeting expectations and is not prepared to effectively handle the influx of new transportation funding projected to double over the next decade. TxDOT has not met key on-time or on-budget measures for several years, indicating underlying problems with the department’s management of its project portfolio through complex steps including environmental review, design, and right-of-way acquisition.”

....

Hall and Fleming point out that the passage of House Bill 20 in 2015 should have addressed TxDOT’s perpetual failure to allocate funding to the state’s 100 Most Congested Roads by forcing the agency to implement project scoring and performance measurements that ensure objective data, not politics, guide the agency’s project selection process.

“The Transportation Commission’s current process for determining how much money to allocate to different statewide transportation goals tends to favor horse trading among various interests more than consideration of performance information…Existing project prioritization process validates status quo instead of advancing projects based on need or impact. TxDOT’s current approach to prioritizing projects does not actually serve as a tool to evaluate which projects are strategically best, but rather works backwards to validate projects that are already in development,” noted the Sunset Staff Report.

[Note: Emphasis in original.]
Bottom Line: Why fix transportation funding (aka. doing the job to which you were actually elected), when you can grandstand over the minuscule cost of a special election?!?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

TPPF leads lawsuit to rescue Austinites from #atxcouncil's MANDATORY "Sick Leave" Entitlement....


"Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?"
Matthew 20:15

Back in February, during our testimony against council's "sick leave" entitlement, we called the ordinance "a hot mess"; we didn't realize just how hot of a mess it actually was.

This morning, TPPF filed a lawsuit on behalf of several trade associations challenging both the statutory and (Texas) constitutional authorization of the city's ordinance.

TPPF's primarily argues that the city ordinance violates the Texas Minimum Wage act.  Specifically, the city ordinance violates how state law defines "hours worked."  The relevant state law also has provisions dealing with sick leave specifically.  We're not a lawyer, but this strikes us as a slam dunk.

Here's the hilarious part: The "hours worked" provision is a direct result of how Greg Casar drafted the ordinance.  Had Casar actually listened to some of his critics during the drafting process, he could have avoided this grounds.  Major-league unforced error on Casar's part.

Besides the state law violation, TPPF also argues that the Texas constitutions' "equal protection" and "lawful search and seizures" clauses.  On equal protection grounds, the ordinance exempts certain union employees.  On lawful search and seizures, the city is arbitrarily claiming enforcement powers without judicial oversight or due process (very similarly to what they did on the short-term rental ordinance).  This was another dumb, unforced, error on Casar's part.

TPPF will be seeking a temporary injunction to block implementation of the ordinance; the hearing is likely to be on May 29th.

Bottom Line: The legislature remains likely to knock out this ordinance.  But the lawsuit is a good back-up plan.  That the lawsuit is a direct result of the heavy-handed arrogance shown throughout the drafting process makes it that much more deserved....

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Monday, April 23, 2018

A snippet that illustrates Just How Deep CORRUPTION in Texas has historically run....


"For thou wilt not leave my soul in the grave: neither wilt thou suffer thine holy One to see corruption."
Psalm 16:10

We're currently reading 1960's Austin Gangsters: Organized Crime that Rocked the Capital, by Jesse Sublett.  It's a fascinating account of some of the more "colorful" aspects of our history.  You can read the Austin Chronicle's 2015 review here.

But one paragraph on the group's prostitution operation stands out:
Plainview was one of more than a dozen stops on the pro stitution circuit.  Most were country towns.  San Antonio was an anomaly.  Lubbock was bigger than most.   Besides Plainview, there were Abilene, Amarillo, Kilgore, La Grange, McCamey, Midland, Mineral Wells, Odessa, Pampa, Sweetwater, and Tyler. 
[Note: Emphasis added.]
In other words, in small town after small town across the state, you had a bunch of rural good ol' boys interacting with a bunch of literal gangsters; it doesn't take a genius to see how this could get real toxic, real quick.

And, of course, every single one of those towns had a state representative and a state senator.   And, did you notice, that while the gang operated all over the state, they were based out of Austin?!?  Once again, it doesn't take a genius.

Bottom Line: It's not surprising. But it is revealing.  And it really is THAT entrenched....

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Buchele DOMINATES.....


"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
John 3:16

TL;DR version: Longhorns win.

During tonight's UT Football spring game quarterback Shane Buchele took initiative.  From the initial snap through halftime, the game revolved around Buchele.  Outside of a couple of late drives, Sam Ehliger was irrelevant.

Working with the Orange Team offense, Buchele found an open receiver every time he needed one; Sam Ehlinger, meanwhile, tried way too hard.

Reciever Jerrod Heard did what every Longhorn fan expected; Meh.

"But seriously dawg": Everybody LOVES Shane Buchele so long as Shane Buchele is doing Shane Buchele stuff.

That being said, there's stuff about which this author should't comment.

Bottom Line: Hookem Horns.


Friday, April 20, 2018

Paxton Does Stuff


"who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen."
Romans 1:25

Today's Washington Examiner has a piece about the latest project from the Attorney General's office:
The climate change court fight between California cities and big energy companies such as Exxon Mobil is widening as Republican attorneys general from 15 states filed a court brief Friday opposing the cities’ climate lawsuits.

The attorneys general argue that the cities and municipalities suing the companies in federal court are overreaching in using local “nuisance” ordinances as a way to find a court remedy to the complex issue of global warming.

The 15 states filing the amicus brief opposing the lawsuit include Texas, Louisiana, Wyoming, Colorado, West Virginia, Indiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin.

States such as Texas, Louisiana, Wyoming, and West Virginia are big oil, natural gas, and coal producers. Ken Paxton, Texas' attorney general, was often in Washington with then-Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt when many of those states were fighting the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan climate rules.

The brief, filed in the District Court for Northern California, also argues that the nature of the lawsuit clearly makes it a national policy issue that one court is not in the position to decide. If the suit proceeds, it will lead to an avalanche of similar lawsuits all over the country, with conflicting judgments and results in their states.
Read the whole thing here.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

CD 5 runoff: NRA Stabs Texas Conservatives in the Back (All Over Again)....


"A false witness shall not be unpunished: and he that speaketh lies, shall perish."
Proverbs 19:9

Wow:



This is sad; it was also predictable.

Lance Gooden is an awful state representative, but it wasn't until we saw this announcement that we realized the degree to which his underwhelming record extends to the Second Amendment. 

Did Gooden support constitutional carry last session?!?  Two bills were filed.  Nope and nope.

The funniest part, however, is that the stupid "fee reduction" bill to which they refer was so meaningless that the Bloomberg Fembots didn't even object to it at the time.

Bottom Line: Nobody thought the post-Parkland Kumbaya session would last, but this is a spectacular failure even by the standards of the National Rino Association....

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

#atxcouncil: Government Agency (with Well Documented Vindictive Streak) Seeks Vague, Open-Ended, Powers (to enforce arbitrarily)....


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

By now, there's been plenty of ink spilled on the City of Austin's proposed new "window screen" regulations; a representative sample:
The City of Austin’s Code Department is asking for residents opinion on a new regulation to add to its already lengthy list of them.

The regulation would require homeowners to install insect screens to all windows on their homes, at all times of the year.

....

Of course, while mosquitoes and bugs do pose an issue during the summer months and those surrounding them, they are all but a non-factor throughout the rest of the year. Nevertheless, that is when the City of Austin decided they would attempt to regulate Austinites year round. No word yet on how the city would enforce or punish if the regulation was to be put into place.
There's a lot that can be said about this proposal, starting with the fact that this is a textbook example of the type of mandated costs that slowly but surely drives up cost of living.

But it goes deeper.

Anyone who know the Austin Code Department's record knows their long history letting their friends do whatever they want while those they don't like are hounded incessantly.

In just the past few years, the Austin Code Department has:
  • [Note: While the three examples listed above are the most flagrant abuses of which we're aware, this YouTube channel details numerous other acts of petty tyranny by the code department.]
And that's before we get into the unconstitutional enforcement powers the code department has been granted under the Short-Term Rental ordinance.

In other words, as it relates to any potential screen ordinance, 'selective enforcement' will be the order of the day.

Bottom Line: On what planet do we want to give the Austin Code Department, as it currently exists, this sort of power?!?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

TCEQ (once again) Talking Out of Both Sides of it's Mouth in South Texas


"I brought you into a bountiful country,
To eat its fruit and its goodness.
But when you entered, you defiled My land
And made My heritage an abomination."
Jeremiah 2:7

A couple of years ago, we discussed how a landfill project in South Texas didn't sit right.  It seemed like TCEQ was telling local residents one thing and telling something different to the developers.  We furthermore remarked that one of those afore mentioned project developers seemed to be playing an environmental smoke and mirrors game.

In late March, TCEQ announced another hearing on the topic. We have a source who's been following the issue with whom we've been corresponding by e-mail since the hearing was announced. We're reprinting the relevant sections with permission.

"Red Panda" to us, 4/5/2018:
That Laredo landfill issue is still brewing… The TCEQ has set a public meeting for May 1 in Laredo.  The TCEQ has also extended the public comment period for 30 days beyond the date of the public meeting date.
It appears that TCEQ staff violated agency rules and their own legislative testimony by approving the landfill to be built in a 100-year floodplain just days after promising lawmakers that, “the standard is you still can’t develop [landfills] in a 100-year floodplain.” 
The 953-acre Laredo floodplain landfill complex has never received the required county floodplain development authorization, never addressed underground oil and gas pipelines, and never resolved property ownership conflicts or otherwise complied with TCEQ’s own requirements specifically imposed in Notice of Deficiency issued by the agency on October 11, 2016.
The public will have a chance to weigh in on this on May 1 at 7PM at Texas A & M International University, Student Center 2nd Floor Ballroom, Room 203 5201 University Boulevard 
Laredo, Texas 78041-1900 
TCEQ's testimony related to 100-year flood plains occurred at an interim hearing of the house Environmental Regulation committee in January; Webb County's letter outlining the violations in this specific instance can be viewed here.

"Red Panda" on 4/11/2018:
The residents still appear to be worried. And speaking of TCEQ, they’ve set a public meeting for about two weeks from now, on May 1 in Laredo. The public comment period will also be extended by TCEQ for 30 days beyond that May 1 public meeting.

The meeting is probably going to be pretty heated. Opponents of the landfill are pointing to TCEQ staff apparently having violated agency rules and gone counter to their own legislative testimony by approving the landfill being built in a 100-year floodplain. In testimony to lawmakers, Earl Lott, of TCEQ’s Permit Waste Division, appears to have stated that TCEQ currently bars construction within the 100 year floodplain, and that TCEQ is “required to coordinate with FEMA to assure the facilities was (sic) not located within the 100 year flood plain.”

Opponents also point to Webb County’s Planning Department having denied the landowner a floodplain development permit, which is needed to move forward. So there are more than a few things here that do not look quite right on spec.

Anyway, if you’re in Laredo and you’re looking to watch a big public fight go down—or you want in on it—the TCEQ meeting will be on May 1 at 7PM at Texas A & M International University, Student Center, 2nd Floor Ballroom, Room 203, 5201 University Boulevard, Laredo, Texas 78041-1900.
Bottom Line: At a minimum, TCEQ should be saying the same thing to local residents and the developers.  They should also follow their own rules.  For whatever reason, that's not currently happening....

Monday, April 16, 2018

Texas State Appeases Mob; ABBOTT REMAINS SILENT (Likewise Texas Senate)


"Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
Matthew 7:20

On Friday we discussed the farce at Texas State University.  Well, it's over.  The crazies won.

And they got everything they wanted.

If you can stand to stomach it, you can read the University President's letter of surrender here.

Texans have every right to be livid.  Following the lawless actions of a university bureaucrat making over $169k, a group of students took over a building.  Then the university gave them everything they wanted.  All this in an allegedly "conservative" state.

We've said it before, but it bears repeating: The Board of Regents can stop this nonsense.  And if the Board of Regents fails to act, the Governor who appoints them can step up.  But Texas' allegedly "conservative" Governor hasn't said a peep.

Also: Wouldn't it be nice if the Texas Senate would stop rubber stamping Regent nominees?!?

Bottom Line: Texas' public universities are a state agency.  If he were to choose to use it, the Governor has jurisdiction.  But why actually do the job to which you were elected when you can sell paranoid fantasies about George Soros on Fox News?!?

Saturday, April 14, 2018

#TXLEGE: Popular Democrat Talking Point turns out to be based on BOGUS Statistics


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

If you pay attention to the Texas Legislature long enough, you'll eventually hear some Democrat yammering about Texas' allegedly high "maternal mortality rate"; but it's not so, according to a new study out this week:
My home state of Texas has long been scrutinized for its insanely high maternal mortality rates. Concerned partisans have claimed that Texas legislators have cut family planning and other healthcare provisions and implemented tougher abortion restrictions, which has resulted in an increase in maternal deaths and generally inadequate healthcare for new mothers.

But new research has found that the oft-cited maternal mortality statistics rest on inaccurate numbers and bad reporting.

Per a study published Monday in Obstetrics & Gynecology, researchers found that the previously-reported statistics for maternal mortality in Texas were far from the truth. They confirmed 56 maternal deaths –– significantly fewer than the original number that made national headlines.

Apparently, there were several issues with reporting and various actors using bad information to make their claims. In their words, “approximately half of obstetric-coded deaths showed no evidence of pregnancy within 42 days, and a large majority of these incorrectly indicated pregnancy at the time of death.”
It's also worth pointing out that, while every single preventable death is a tragedy, even if you take the original 147 figure at face value it's still a miniscule percentage of the 380,000+ births in Texas per yer.

Read the whole thing here.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Abbott's Higher Ed Mendacity, Senate's Passivity, Produce Predictably Poisonous Fruits....


"Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."
Matthew 7:20

Did you know that, two days ago, a group of leftist students took over a building at a public university in Texas?!?  Neither did we.  But apparently it started on Wednesday at Texas State.

According to Texas State sources, the alleged transgression stems from the refusal of several incumbent members of the student government  refusing to participate in a Nicholai Yezhov style inquisition designed to grease the skids for their impeachment.

KVUE has details:



At issue were two allegedly "racist" posts the outgoing student body president made on Instagram.  The social media posts gave the usual left-wing suspects a pretext to pursue the president's impeachment.  The impeachment drive was political retaliation for outgoing president's support for basic sanity during an incident last fall.

Unfortunately for the "woke" crowd at Texas State, the president survived the impeachment attempt.  But who needs the rule of law when the bureaucrats are on your side?!?  That's where Dean of Students Margarita Arellano [Note: Making $169,576] enters the picture.

Despite the dismissal of the impeachment attempt, Arellano unilaterally overruled the proscribed authorities.  Out of thin air, Arellano invented a justification for the impeachment to continue.  The show trial was scheduled for this past Wednesday.

On Wednesday, several members of the Texas State student government refused to dignify the inquisition.  By refusing to show up, they denied the event a quorum.  The impeachment failed.

Following the failure of the impeachment, the building takeover began; you can follow events in real time on Twitter here.

-------

There's a lot we can say, but it boils down to this: WHERE THE HELL IS THE BOARD OF REGENTS?!?

You have a Dean at a Public University (making $169k) lawlessly inventing standards for student governance.  You then have lawless trespassing on public property.  Yet the senior leadership of the afore mentioned PUBLIC university appeases the mob.

At this point, it's time for the Board of Regents to step in and restore sanity.

Also, wouldn't it be nice if the Governor who appoints the Board of Regents would weigh in?!?

-------

Wouldn't it also be nice if the Texas Senate would stop passively rubber-stamping University Regent nominations?!?

------

Bottom Line: Imagine a world in which the allegedly "conservative" Governor of an allegedly "conservative" state actually held his appointees to public university Boards accountable for situations like the ongoing mess in San Marcos....

Thursday, April 12, 2018

#TXLEGE: Beebe BLASTS Opponent's (aka. Straus' Handpicked Successor) UNCONSTITUTIONAL Attempt to DISARM INNOCENT CIVILIANS


"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

From the Inbox:
Beebe Calls On Allison to Rescind His Unconstitutional Stance on Gun Rights
(San Antonio, TX) On Thursday Matt Beebe called upon his opponent, Steve Allison, to rescind his statement advocating for unconstitutional actions that infringe upon Texas citizen’s 4th Amendment and 2nd Amendment rights. 
Last week the San Antonio Express News published an article where Mr. Allison took the position that any citizen should be subject to being stopped and lawfully detained if they are open carrying a firearm (a lawful exercise of their 2nd Amendment rights), and be required to produce identification:
Allison, a longtime friend of Straus, believes police have a right to order anyone who is openly carrying a gun in public to produce a license for the firearm.
“I do think (police) have a right to see a license where there’s a weapon involved,” said Allison.
Beyond the plain reading of the Constitution, there are volumes of court decisions over the last 50 years since Terry v Ohio that have consistently maintained that to “allow stops in this setting would effectively eliminate Fourth Amendment protections for lawfully armed persons.”  This is unacceptable.
Perpetuating this basic misunderstanding of the Constitution directly endangers lawful citizens by misleading local law enforcement, which continues to lead to tragic outcomes across the country and locally.  Short of physical harm to citizens from untrained law enforcement, local taxpayers are at risk of huge monetary judgements against government entities which violate the Constitutional rights of citizens, as has been shown in Northrup v Ohio (a case extremely similar to the circumstances wherein Mr Allison seeks to abridge our Constitutional protections).
Matt Beebe commented on Allison’s statement saying, "fear and feelings should not drive our public policy decisions — especially when it comes to restricting individual rights specifically enumerated in the Constitution.  I'm not willing to trade our 4th Amendment rights just to make some people more comfortable with the lawful exercise of our 2nd Amendment rights.  There is a reason that the local cities have recently rescinded their unlawful ordinances and I would encourage all local law enforcement officials to know that just because Mr. Allison says you can violate someone’s 4th Amendment rights doesn't mean you can.  I hope Steve will rescind his unconstitutional position.”
Bottom Line: Nobody objects to keeping firearms out of the hands of genuinely dangerous people, but to unlawfully search a law-abiding citizens without probable cause is the textbook definition of "infringement"....

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

CD-2 Runoff: "Merely" Lousy vs. AWFUL


"Your princes are rebellious,
And companions of thieves;
Everyone loves bribes,
And follows after rewards.
They do not defend the fatherless,
Nor does the cause of the widow come before them."
Isaiah 1:23

The Trib profiles the CD-2 Runoff:



We've discussed previously how we didn't know much about either candidate.  In that spirit, the Trib's profile helped.  The short version is that neither candidate inspires, but one is significantly worse than the other.

Dan Crenshaw is a retired Navy SEAL.  That's good (as far as it goes), but one lesson we've learned from experience is that a Special Forces background doesn't necessarily mean you'll govern as a conservative.  Crenshaw also openly admits to being endorsed by Pete Sessions in the Trib's video.

Kevin Roberts, on the other hand, is a single term state rep.  During his term in the legislature, Kevin Roberts was a reliable rent boi for Joe Straus.  You can learn everything you need to know about Kevin Roberts' awful record here.

Digging deeper into Crenshaw's endorsements, we notice a couple other interesting tidbits:


In other words, Dan Crenshaw has been endorsed by a U.S. Senator (Cotton) who's never met a war he didn't like.  He's also been endorsed by a former Congressman (Dick Armey) whose ethical issues are well remembered.  And Pete Sessions is, well, Pete Sessions....

[Note: A number of local activists we respect have also endorsed Crenshaw; we suspect that's only in comparison to the guy he's running against.]

But then you look at Roberts' endorsements:

'Nuff said.

[Note II: Roberts has also been endorsed by a number of highly questionable figures in Harris County.]

Bottom Line: If we lived in the district, we'd vote for Crenshaw.  But we wouldn't do so with enthusiasm.  Both of these candidates look like dirtbags....

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

#TXLEGE: Senate has opportunity to restore teeth to Sunset Process this interim


"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

We were on the Sunset Commission's website this morning when we noticed something interesting about its current membership (on the Senate side):


Our first reaction: "Dadgum, Bob Hall's on the Sunset Commission?!? When did that happen?!?" Apparently, it happened last November.

Then we realized that Brian Birdwell and Dawn Buckingham are also on Sunset.  Thus, you have a core group of 3 solid conservatives; that's never happened before. Historically, the Sunset commission has been made up of members who range from "ok" to awful (eg. Byron Cook was appointed twice).  You might have one, or at most two, solid conservatives.  3 is unprecedented.

There are 32 governmental entities going through Sunset this interim.  Of those 32, using very generous standards, 20 might be justifiable.  In other words, the Texas Sunset Commission has an easy opportunity to abolish at least 12 pointless governmental agencies this interim.  Even if Birdwell, Buckingham, and Hall can't get the full commission to agree to their abolition, as a dissident faction they can create headaches for all involved.

For example: Did you know that Texas has a "Funeral Service Commission" (aka. you can't escape the government, even in death)?!?  Neither did we.  But that entity does exist, and it's up in Sunset this interim.

Bottom Line: Imagine a world where, as conservatives steadily gain ground in the legislature, the Texas Sunset commission uses the authority it already has.  Then consider that, with his appointments this interim, Lt. Governor Patrick has given us a down payment on that world.  This is an opportunity we should exploit.

Monday, April 9, 2018

UT's Communist Problem Starts Making National News


"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."
Psalm 23:4

American Spectator this morning:
An Antifa group at the University of Texas at Austin is calling for “revolutionary violence” against assistant professor Robert L. Reece after he wrote a column running afoul of feminist dogma.

Reece isn’t the kind of academic that radical leftists typically attack.

Reece checks so many politically correct boxes that he’d normally be immune from criticism. He’s a young black sociologist from a poor community in Mississippi cotton country, deeply involved in issues of intense interest to the Left. He writes for a publication of the race-obsessed, far-left Southern Poverty Law Center. His academic research“revolves around the question ‘What is race?’ as well as inquiries into the historical origins of racial inequality, colorism/skin tone stratification, and racial fluidity.”

Reece’s problems began when he wrote a March 20 article for Vox, “How men are adjusting to the #MeToo era: ‘This is going to take a really long time.’” The piece is subtitled, “Men discuss the gray areas of intimate encounters.”

....

In a March 26 Facebook post, the RSF, whose logo contains the hammer and sickle communist symbol, states that “Reece’s only solution” after “a male student who, through this course, realized he had not been obtaining consent in all of his sexual encounters,” was “to briefly counsel him over email and suggest — not enforce — campus counseling.”

Reminiscent of The Trial, by Franz Kafka, the RSF argues Reece’s failure to report his newly guilt-ridden student makes the professor a rape facilitator:

We find this to be direct proof that Reece is an active threat to students on campus. Through his course, he is uniquely able to identify potential rapists, yet he does nothing to stop them — and worse, he shows them his sympathy as a fellow misogynist and abuser.
.... 
The RSF isn’t interested in allowing the wheels of justice to turn. The group put up posters featuring inflammatory prose and a large close-up photo of Reece encouraging students to stalk and harass him.

“Let Reece know the student body is watching him” by emailing, calling, or visiting him in his office, the poster exhorts.

The RSF urges a “burning bed” approach towards Reece and others. “Change is not elusive to us,” says their Facebook feed. “Reactionary violence, like rape and domestic violence and torture, can only be responded to with revolutionary violence.…We must reclaim violence so that every abuser may never again know peace inside their own homes and their jobs.”
On the one hand, we hope readers will understand if we keep our cards close to our chest as it relates to this group, but we know certain things we can't publish at this time.

On the other hand, wouldn't it be nice if Texas' allegedly conservative Governor would actually do something?!?  Say what you will about the University of Texas, but at the end of the day it's a state agency.  And the Governor controls the Board of Regents.

Then again, this sort of national media coverage will ultimately force Abbott's hand.  As RSF becomes increasingly violent, they're going to become too hot to ignore.  This is happening exactly as we predicted.  But the scary thing is what's going to happen in the interim.

Bottom Line: This is about to get really, really, ugly; don't think for a second that last month's bombing are going to be the only high profile violent act in this town this year....

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Farenthold Departs in Most Obnoxious Way Possible


"It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness,
For a throne is established by righteousness."
Proverbs 16:12

Friday afternoon document dump:
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, resigned on Friday.

The decision marks the capstone of a tumultuous few months for the four-term congressman, who has been dogged by sexual harassment allegations and an ongoing ethics investigation.

"While I planned on serving out the remainder of my term in Congress, I know in my heart it's time for me to move along and look for new ways to serve," he said in a statement that offered no further explanation for why he was not completing the final eight months of his term.
To which we will add: We've heard rumors that Farenthold doesn't want to pay the legal bills that would accompany an official Congressional investigation.  We caution that that's speculative and unconfirmed.  But given the circumstances, it makes sense.

But the worst aspect of Farenthold's action is the timing.  We just had a primary election, and municipal elections in most parts of the state.  Either one would have been an easy time to hold a concurrant special election.  Unfortunately, because Blake Farenthold was so desperate to hang cling to power, we're going to have to have yet another election.

Bottom Line: Blake Farenthold is the political equivalent of herpes.  By the time you discover the outbreak, it's too late to avoid the consequences.  And those consequences last a long time.

Friday, April 6, 2018

#atxcouncil requires 5% TAX HIKE just to MAINTAIN CURRENT SERVICES (unintentionally makes case for statewide #TXLEGE reform)


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

This isn't surprising, but the actual numbers are still pretty astonishing; via the Austin Monitor:
City Council will have to raise property taxes by 5 percent in the Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget just to continue funding existing programs, according to a financial forecast prepared by the city budget office.

In a presentation to Council members on Wednesday, Deputy Chief Financial Officer Ed Van Eenoo projected that Council will have a $750,000 surplus when it begins crafting the budget later this summer. However, that money won’t go very far due to a number of cost drivers, including health insurance.

The surplus comes despite the fact that the city is receiving slightly less revenue from sales taxes, franchise fees and traffic fines than city staff budgeted for.

More than anything, the surplus is thanks to Council’s failure to approve a contract with the Austin Police Association. That, combined with a recently approved contract with Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services workers that included only modest pay increases, has left Council with $4.4 million more than staff had projected, explained Van Eenoo.

Even the labor savings, however, are hardly guaranteed, since Council has signaled that it wants to eventually approve a new contract with the police union that will, in all likelihood, include some level of pay increase for police officers.

The savings are “really a guess at this point because we’re still negotiating with our largest bargaining unit,” said Van Eenoo.

The city is also projecting that property values will continue to increase: by 10 percent in 2019, 8 percent in 2020 and an average of 6 percent per year from 2021 to 2023. It projects that there will be $3 billion of new construction next year and an average of $2.4 billion per year from 2020 to 2023.
That being said, during discussion of potential action at the state level, the city's Chief Financial Officer said something interesting):
“I’m not trying to be dire,” said Van Eenoo, “but a 4 percent cap would be a new reality.”
That's the point.

Bottom Line:  This can't continue indefinitely....

Thursday, April 5, 2018

#atxcouncil: Casar, Garza, Renteria propose making new construction EVEN MORE Prohibitively Expensive


"God sets the solitary in families;
He brings out those who are bound into prosperity;
But the rebellious dwell in a dry land."
Psalm 68:6

Apparently, there was some sort of "housing summit" yesterday.  As part of the festivities, Council members Casar, Garza, and Renteria introduced their so-called "housing justice" agenda.  Based on the first item alone, the entire initiative is doomed to (very expensive) failure:
  • Renter protections that require developers to pay the relocation costs of tenants who are displaced if the property they live on is redeveloped;
Forcing developers to "pay the relocation costs of tenants" is a sure-fire way to torpedo new construction.  As developers evaluate their return on investment, forcing them to absorb relocation costs for dozens or hundreds of people per project, they will naturally engage in far fewer projects. That means we're stuck with our current housing stock for the forseeable future.  It's just common sense.

Then there's the fact that the terms aren't even defined.  Specifically, how do you define "relocation costs"?!?  How do you define "displacement"?!?

As for the rest of the "plan," it's an unworkable hot mess of subsidies for some and tax increases for others.  The politically privileged would get multimillion dollar city hall contracts.  The rest of us pay for it.

Then there's the fact that the politically directed allocation of housing creates multi-year waiting lists.  Vulnerable citizens would be forced to pay unnecessarily high market rates for several years before they have a realistic opportunity for a subsidized unit.  Either that or they'd leave town entirely.

Bottom Line: Multimillion dollar city hall contracts for some.  Higher tax bills for everyone else.  What's not to love?!?

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

#TXLEGE: Freedom Caucus takes lead to repeal Latest act of Licensing Larceny....


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

A couple weeks ago, we discussed Texas' absurd 'enforcement mechanism' that permits the state to suspend occupation licenses for those who are behind on student loan payments.  This means people in debt can't work to pay off the debt.  Well, it looks like the Freedom Caucus is stepping up to address the issue:
State lawmakers, including some of the most conservative members of the Texas House, say changes should be made to a state statute that bars workers from renewing their professional licenses if they are in default on their student loans.

“Next session the Legislature needs to address this issue head on and ensure that Texans who can’t pay student loans aren’t further crippled by government actions,” the conservative House Freedom Caucus, chaired by state Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, said in a statement Tuesday. “Students should be responsible for repaying their debts, but taking away one’s ability to earn money in a licensed profession only exacerbates the problem.”

State Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Baytown, a member of the caucus, called the provision "harmful to our economy and the lives of Texans."

"If Texas is going to live up to its reputation as a business-friendly state, we must remove barriers like this and others that prevent Texans from working," he said.

....

The reaction follows a report published in The Texas Tribune that found thousands of nurses, teachers and other professional license-holders in the state are at risk of losing their license each year because they’re in default on their student loans.
Bottom Line: Honestly, Governor Abbott should call a special session to repeal this monstrosity.  And the bill to repeal it should pass 181-0.  That being said, it's good to see the Freedom Caucus take the lead on this issue.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

LOL: O'Rourke raises $6.7 million to lose over 70 Counties


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

[Note: Robert Francis O'Rourke is so irrelevant that there's a big part of us that thinks we shouldn't 'punch down,' but it's a slow news day and this story is hilarious.]

The most overhyped story of the day:
Beto O'Rourke says he raised staggering $6.7M in first quarter of 2018

....

U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, raised over $6.7 million for his U.S. Senate bid in the first quarter of 2018, according to his campaign, a staggering number that poses a new category of threat to Republican incumbent Ted Cruz.

The haul is easily O'Rourke's biggest fundraising quarter yet, more than double his next-closest total for a three-month period. It also is more than any Democratic Senate candidate nationwide took in last quarter, O'Rourke's campaign said.

Cruz has not released his first-quarter fundraising numbers yet, but O'Rourke's $6.7 million total is on a different level than his previous hauls, which ranged from $1.7 million to $2.4 million. Those alone were good enough to outraise Cruz for three of the last four reporting periods.
Of course, these were "Beto's" actual election results during that time:


[Note II: Also, while we're on the subject, lets not forget that Cruz had more than twice as many votes as "Beto."]

With all due respect to the Trib, what's actually "staggering" is how bad of a return on investment "Beto" has been for his donors.

Bottom Line: If the 2018 U.S. Senate race in Texas were the movie Mean Girls, "Beto" would be "fetch," but don't expect the media to stop trying to make it happen....

Monday, April 2, 2018

CD-27 Runoff: Cloud Running Strong Campaign....


"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
Galatians 6:9

In the race to succeed the disgraced Blake Farenthold, the Trib takes notice of Michael Cloud's surprisingly strong first round performance:
In December, U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold drew national attention when, in the middle of a sexual harassment scandal, he announced he was not running for another term. Yet the race to replace the Corpus Christi Republican has been one of the state's most under-the-radar contests.

That was, in part, because many have assumed Bech Bruun, the former Texas Water Board Commission chairman and most prominent candidate in the 6-way Republican primary, was a safe bet to take over the seat.

But last month, Bruun just narrowly placed first in the March 6 primary with 36 percent of the vote. Close behind him was former Victoria County GOP Chairman Michael Cloud at 34 percent.

That margin surprised more than a few political insiders in the state, who assumed Bruun, who has ties to the state's GOP leadership and has racked up a string of prominent endorsements, would either avoid a runoff entirely or come much closer than he did to drawing the majority support needed to do so.

But Cloud is putting up a tenacious fight that is leaving more than a few Texas political insiders less sure of who might win the GOP nomination in the May 22nd runoff.

....

Cloud, a current member of the State Republican Executive Committee, had been running for the seat since early October, two months before Farenthold announced his retirement. And Bruun said that while he decided to run after Hurricane Harvey hit the region in late August, he held off from announcing his run for Congress until December, when his time at the water board was winding down.

....

Cloud is running as "a constitutional conservative," with an emphasis on border security and scaling back the power of the federal government. And he argued in remarks in Port Lavaca in February that his early bid suggests an added layer of sincerity in his campaign.

"If you followed the race, we got involved back in October," he said. "The landscape was completely different, and then news happened that shifted the race. That news happened a week before the filing deadline."

He then implicitly criticized the other candidates who entered the race in that time period, including Bruun.

"We got in the race because I looked at what was happening in our nation, and I felt like we needed something to happen," he added. "And I felt like we needed to send people who had the courage, who had the conviction to stand up to a culture of corruption in Washington, D.C. So that's what got me into this race, that was the message from the beginning."

....

But Cloud had clearly built a following with his head start. He also has the endorsements of former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, one of the country’s most prominent libertarian-leaning politicians; David Barton, an influential evangelical activist and author; and the four Republican candidates who did not make the runoff.

Farenthold, the scandal-tarred incumbent, has not endorsed in the race and neither candidate appears to be pursuing his support.
Bottom Line:  On the one hand, you've got a personal friend of Ron Paul.  On the other hand, you've got a Todd Hunter crony who's a key player in Texas' corrupt water polices.  This decision isn't difficult.