Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Abbott appoints Career Government Lawyer as new Sec'y of State


"So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth."
Revelation 3:16

ICYMI:
Today, Governor Greg Abbott appointed Ruth Ruggero Hughs as the acting Secretary of State.

Hughs has served as chair of the Texas Workforce Commission and was appointed by Abbott to that position in August of 2018. Of the three commissioners on the board, Hughs was charged with representing the employers in the state.

“Ruth is a proven leader who has done a tremendous job as both a commissioner and the Chair of the Texas Workforce Commission,” said Governor Abbott of his appointee in a press release.

Abbott continued, saying Hughs “has built strong relationships with the business community throughout Texas and has helped lead the way in developing the best workforce in the nation. I am proud to appoint Ruth as Secretary of State and I am confident that her experience at the Texas Workforce Commission will translate into success in this new role.”
Hughs is a career government lawyer who's been with Greg Abbott for a long time. She was with him in the Attorney General's office. He appointed her to the Workforce commission. Now she's his Sec'y of State appointee.

Career government lawyers tend to be cautious, risk-averse, and controversy shy.

Obviously, in a political environment where the left is going to pull out all stops, that's a worrisome combination.

In fairness to Hughs, the one time she was involved in something controversial, she pretty much told the left to pound sand.  It was an obscure regulatory fight involving how the state classifies people who partner with sharing economy companies.  If she can recognize when labor unions are trying to shakedown Uber, perhaps she'll recognize election related shenanigans.

But it's an open question.

The truth is that we don't know, and by the time we do know, it'll be too late to do anything about it.

Bottom Line: Missed opportunity.

Monday, August 19, 2019

#TXLEGE: Patrick first statewide offical to acknowlege the completely obvious re: Bonnen


"Make no friendship with an angry man,
And with a furious man do not go,"
Proverbs 22:24

FINALLY:
AUSTIN — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, weighing in on the scandal that's roiled the Texas House in recent weeks, warned Republicans must resolve the issue or risk losing control of that chamber in 2020.

"We don't have many seats to lose in the House to the Democrats, and this could play a part of that," Patrick told radio show host Mark Davis on Monday morning, according to tweets from the Texas Tribune. Patrick called for "transparency" from everyone involved, adding, "The sooner it's behind us, however it turns out, is the better."
Patrick is completely correct.

As we've previously discussed, this scandal will unfold one of two ways: Either Bonnen goes away, or it becomes a slow-drip story for the next year and a half.  With his comments this morning, Patrick has shown he understands the second possibility.  He still needs to figure out the first, but at least it's a start.

It's certainly better than what others are saying (and doing).

Bottom Line: This really shouldn't be difficult....

Saturday, August 17, 2019

#TXLEGE: Burrows belatedly recognizes the completely obvious


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

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

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

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

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

Bottom Line: Now do Bonnen....

Friday, August 16, 2019

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


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

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

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

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

....

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

Thursday, August 15, 2019

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


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

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

Politicians ALWAYS exploit tragedy for power grabs.

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

#TXLEGE: Abbott appoints Bonnen to Task Force


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

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

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

Bottom Line: See no evil....

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

West's first interesting move during RPT campaign


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

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

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

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

At a minimum, it makes West relevant.

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

Monday, August 12, 2019

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


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

This morning went pretty much as expected:



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

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

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


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

Saturday, August 10, 2019

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 9, 2019

#TXLEGE: Thoughts on the Sullivan/Bonnen audio


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

Yesterday, we listened to the recording of the infamous meeting between Michael Quinn Sullivan and Dennis Bonnen.  For the most part, it reinforced our initial impression of this story.  If you've been following it, the recording doesn't contain a ton of "new" information.  But there's a lot of additional context.

Thoughts:

  • Bonnen's arrogance, and Bonnen's stupidity, are...something.
  • On multiple occasions, Bonnen offers Sullivan official actions in exchange for political activity.
    • Each time, Sullivan instantly says no.
  • Bonnen also offers to allow Sullivan to stay in a property in New Mexico that his in-laws apparently own.
  • Bonnen has the demeanor of a frat boy who's trying waaaaaaaaaaaaay too hard to be your friend.
  • The hardest part to wrap your head around is that the substance of Bonnen's ask isn't necessarily crazy.  While he's doing it for the wrong reasons, Bonnen basically asks Sullivan to focus on rural members instead of suburban ones.  There's a certain logic to that strategy.  Unfortunately, there's no logic that suggests one make oneself a party to a felony in the process.
  • The most surprising part is the degree to which Bonnen's talking out of both sides of his mouth on his alleged "no campaigning" edict.  Bonnen spends nearly a quarter of the meeting telling Sullivan how he plans to vigorously enforce the edict against Democrats, but casually look the other way with Republicans.  At this point, the Democrats have every right to tell Bonnen to pound sand.
    • It's in this part of this discussion that Bonnen makes his causally vulgar remarks about Michelle Beckley and Jon Rosenthal.  The remarks themselves are not particularly bad.  That being said, we don't ever want to hear a lecture from Dennis Bonnen about "civility" or "respectful dialogue" ever again.
  • Speaking of the Democrats: If they're smart, they'll make this a gigantic campaign issue.  That being said, it's an open question whether the Democrats will be smart.  But they should....
  • On the other hand, if Bonnen departs soon, the impact on any future election should be minimal.
  • Apparently, Dennis Bonnen really hates Phil Stephenson.
    • Note: Stephenson's got a pretty mediocre record, but he's a nice guy.
  • Likewise Travis Clardy.
    • Note: This one's understandable.
  • Bonnen, and especially Dustin Burrows, are super thin-skinned about criticisms of the session.  They spend a quarter of the discussion trying to spin the results to Sullivan.  At one point, Burrows laughably accuses Sullivan of gaslighting the members.
  • According to Dustin Burrows, Allan Blakemore told Mike Schofield not to campaign last fall.
    • Note: It's not really relevant to this discussion...but why does anyone hire Allan Blakemore anymore?!?
  • Burrows claims the list is about members who voted against the ban on taxpayer funded lobbying, but Ken King and Gary van Deaver also voted against the ban and didn't make the list.
  • The list: Steve Allison, Trent Ashby, Dirty Ernie (Bailes), Travis Clardy ("the ringleader of all opposition" according to Burrows), Drew Darby, Kyle Kacal, Stan Lambert, Tan Parker, John Raney, Phil Stephenson.
    • Note: While they didn't make the list, Burrows also made disparaging remarks about Doc Anderson, Keith Bell, and John Smithee.
  • We don't know if 12 jurors vote to convict, but neither would it surprise us.
  • This author is not a lawyer, and we don't know the legal intricacies of this case, but there's no political reason not to release the recording publicly.
Bottom Line: Like it or not, this story will stick around as long as Dennis Bonnen sticks around....

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Van Duyne campaign = GOP's opportunity on Housing


"And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands."
Psalm 90:17

Fantastic:
Former Irving mayor Beth Van Duyne has left her post at the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s office in Fort Worth.

She confirmed she is running for the 24th Congressional District after Rep. Kenny Marchant announced he’s retiring.

Van Duyne said she’ll make a formal announcement soon.
In 2015, we called van Duyne our "Texan of the Year."  It was a one-time award, designed for specific circumstances.  But we've been following her for awhile.

Over the past few years, during her time at HUD, van Duyne has come through town several times.  Thus, we've had several occasions to discuss the dysfunctional nature of federal housing policy.  None of the conversations were Earth shattering, but van Duyne knows her stuff.

It's not a secret that this website has been harping about housing costs for YEARS.  It's the largest item in most household budgets.  Reducing them is one of the lowest of the low hanging pieces of economic fruit.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Republicans are oblivious.

We'll defer to the candidate on policy.  There are a number of worthwhile possibilities.  Off the top of our head: HUD, the Federal housing administration, and Fannie/Freddie could all use significant reform/scaling back/outright elimination.  We're not sure where to draw the line between what we really want and what's realistically achievable.

Bottom Line: It's hard to think of a candidate better suited to address the largest item in most household budgets....

Media Misses Point On GOP Congressional Retirements


"Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes;
But by a man of understanding and knowledge
Right will be prolonged."
Proverbs 28:2

Representative sample of recent Congressional race reporting:
Rep. Kenny Marchant on Monday became the latest Texas Republican to announce he will not run for reelection, leaving a suburban district between Dallas and Fort Worth up for grabs. He is the fourth Republican in the state to bow out of the 2020 election; three of them represent very competitive districts.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates Marchant’s district as a “toss-up,” opening up a major opportunity for Democrats. Last week, Rep. Will Hurd, the House’s only black Republican, who represents a border district in Texas, also said he would be stepping down. Hurd was seen as the only Republican who could hold on to his border district, which runs from El Paso to San Antonio — a district that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Rep. Pete Olson, who represents a quickly diversifying Houston suburban district, is also not running for reelection.

House Democrats are reveling in a “Texodus” as they increasingly see an offensive strategy to grow their House majority running through the Lone Star State.
Kinda, sorta...a little...but not really.

The truth is that (with the possible exception of the Hurd district) the GOP is clearing dead weight.  Lukewarm incumbents with indefensible records are TERRIBLE general election candidates.  The GOP is in a stronger position today than it was three weeks ago.

Back in March, we wrote a piece outlining the math.  You really should read the whole thing.  But the TL,DR version is that, in 2018, the GOP held every single open seat while two incumbents lost.

Also, for the record: One of those incumbents who lost was a guy about whom we'd been warning for years.

In a challenging national environment, the last thing you need is additional baggage from an incumbent's indefensible record.

Bottom Line: During a storm, clearing excess weight doesn't guarantee avoiding shipwreck, but it dramatically increases the odds.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Patrick channels Marge Simpson


"The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly,
But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness."
Proverbs 15:2

Oh good grief:
Appearing on "Fox & Friends" on Sunday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said that while authorities have yet to classify it as such, he saw Saturday's shooting as a "hate crime against immigrants."

Patrick cited a list of possible contributing factors, starting with video games.

"We've always had guns, always had evil, but I see a video game industry that teaches young people to kill," he said.
SMDH.

The Simpsons addressed this 30 years ago:
After Bart and Lisa watching an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon, Maggie strikes Homer with a mallet. Marge is horrified and vows to put a stop to violence on children's television. But when the ball of censorship starts to roll, where will it all end?
Roger Myers' response to Marge, updated for new technology, is also the correct response to Patrick:
“In preparing for this debate I did a little research, and I discovered a startling thing. There was violence in the past, long before [video games] were invented....And there was something called The Crusades, for instance, tremendous violence, many people killed, the darn thing went on for thirty years!”
Bottom Line: Marge Simpson belatedly figured out that her position was asinine...will Dan Patrick?!?

#TXLEGE: Oh, Dennis


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

Even from 1500 miles away, it was pretty difficult to miss to continued devolution of the Bonnen saga.

To write a full analysis of the past week would require more time than we have interest, but some thoughts:
  • When we've been saying, for years, that state government in Texas is astonishingly corrupt...this is a pretty good example.
  • The members defending Bonnen are a bunch of dickless chodes.
    • aka. Mayes Middleton, Matt Shaheen, Drew Springer, Craig Goldman, and...especially...Jeff Leach.
    • Update: Add James White, Scott Sanford, Brad Buckley, and Cole Hefner to the list.
    • Update II: Add Tom Oliverson.
  • We haven't seen this level of willful blindness to serious misconduct since Wallace Hall.
  • Whether or not Bonnen survives as speaker is irrelevant.  Anyone who can get to 76 votes will be a scumbag.  Gib Lewis, Pete Laney, Tom Craddick, Joe Straus, and Dennis Bonnen have all sucked.
  • This is the same Texas house that, nearly two years into the scandal, has yet to say a word about Jim Murphy.
  • Does the Travis County DA have jurisdiction?!?
  • This is FUN!!!
Bottom Line: These people brought this on themselves and deserve everything that's coming....

Monday, July 29, 2019

#TXLEGE: Bonnen forgets first rule of holes


"Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall."
Proverbs 16:18

[Note: We'll be travelling out of state the rest of this week and into next.  Cahnman's Musings will resume publication on Wednesday, August 6.  That being said, we will be available in the event of MAJOR breaking news.]

-------

Update II: The DMN has A LOT more, including a statement from Ernest Bailes, here.

-------

Update: Bonnen keeps digging....


-------

O.K.:

Bonnen Letter by Cahnman on Scribd


A few thoughts:
  • It really is astonishing the degree to which house members believe their own BS.
    • Note: You could say that about a lot of people/institutions in politics, but we still find the Texas house's groupthink to be a sight to behold.
  • Bonnen never denies targeting the legislators in question, which shows the hollowness of his earlier "no campaigning edict."
    • From a member's perspective: Even if you weren't on Bonnen's list, for Bonnen to talk out of both sides of his mouth in the way that he did means you could easily end up there in the future.
  • Media credentials may or may not be a nice thing to have, but to suggest they're anybody's "long term goal" is silly.
  • Reading between the lines, it appears that Bonnen's real frustration is that Sullivan seems to expect Republicans to actually do something with their majorities.
Bottom Line: In the short-term, Bonnen remains overwhelmingly likely to ride out this storm.  But the short term will inevitably pass.  What happens next has become a much more interesting question....

Saturday, July 27, 2019

#TXLEGE, #TXSEN: Royce West, Borris Miles, and a test of oppo research


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

[Note: Just for fun, imagine the reaction if any Republican candidate in a similar situation had secured an endorsement from Charles Schwertner.] 

Texas Tribune, Thursday:
[Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Royce] West has suggested he is optimistic that he can be more than just a Dallas-centric candidate by tapping into his legislative relationships throughout the state. He wasted little time proving that after his announcement as he earned endorsements from state Sens. Carol Alvarado and Borris Miles, both from Houston. And state Sens. Jose Menendez of San Antonio and Jose Rodriguez of El Paso attended the announcement itself.

[Note: Emphasis added.]
We remarked shortly thereafter:



It's now been two full days, and nobody has commented.

In case you've forgotten why an endorsement from Borris frickin' Miles might be considered a big deal:
Lauren*, a Texas legislative intern, was standing underneath the bright blue-and-red neon sign of The Continental Club, a famed Austin bar frequented by schmoozing politicians, lobbyists, and reporters.

That week in May 2013 was filled to the brim with end-of-session (“sine die”) parties, and Lauren was with a group of other interns on South Congress when Democratic state Rep. Borris Miles pulled up.

According to Lauren, Miles leaned out of the carriage he was riding in and pulled out a large roll of money. He handed “maybe $500” to an intern and then looked at Lauren.

“You know how you have the roll of hundreds that you see on TV? It was like that,” Lauren told The Daily Beast.

“I said, ‘Hi Representative, how are you?’ Then he slowly looked me up and down, counted out more money, reached out his hand and said, ‘Bitch, you want to fuck with me tonight?’

“I said ‘No, thank you’ and physically stepped back,” Lauren recalled. “I didn’t want to be rude to him. I remember his intern pacifying him and saying, ‘It’s time to go.’

“Everyone was just shocked that he said that—that he cussed at me and that he was offering me money. It was outrageous,” she continued. “I just remember thinking, ‘I need to go, and I need to not be here anymore.’”
And this:
One time, Chris said, he “witnessed [Miles] catcalling women in Downtown Austin on the way back from a Spurs game, and there had to have been at least 15 or 16 other members that were there because it was a member event.”

The Spurs had played the Lakers that April, and the lawmakers went together to San Antonio to watch one of the games. “As we’re driving back towards the W, he’s hanging out of the open door of the bus and shouting at women,” said Chris.

Chris could not recall the catcalls specifically but said, “It was not something that I would want shouted at anyone.”

Chris’ chief of staff confirmed to The Daily Beast that he heard about the alleged catcalling the next morning.
And this:
Ben*, a former staffer who recently worked in the Capitol and “spent a lot of time with Miles,” said he witnessed the then-state representative “forcibly kiss” at least one woman at the W Hotel.

“He offered to buy her a drink, kept trying to kiss her, and she kept trying to push him away,” said Ben. “He kept laughing about it.

“It was so creepy, and he had this big smile,” said Ben. “Borris loves the W Hotel, and he has a tendency to force himself upon women at bars and kiss them or grope them. He’ll tell them that he is a higher elected official than he actually is.”

....

“He also has a tendency to call women out of their name when they turn him down,” he said. “‘Bitch,’ ‘ho,’ ‘whore.’ He doesn’t like being told ‘no.’
And this:
When Heather* first covered the Texas Legislature as a journalist in 2011, she was repeatedly targeted by Miles, she told The Daily Beast in a story published last month.

Late one night when the legislature was in session, Heather was reporting on HB 400, which would have scrapped Texas’ law mandating class size ratio. Miles famously used a point of order to defeat the bill, landing him the title of Star of the 2011 Legislative Session by the Texas Classroom Teachers Association.

Heather said she had been trying to get details about the bill negotiations, when that night, around midnight, Miles cornered her in a hallway and forcibly kissed her outside the House chamber.

“It happened quickly,” Heather said, noting that Miles laughed afterward. “I think he thought it was hilarious.”

“He’d said several times already, ‘If you go out to dinner with me, I’d be happy to give you the details,’ and I’d sort of laugh it off but it was weird and obviously gross.”
You can read the full report here.

So, yeah, that guy made an endorsement in the current U.S. Senate race.

Yet neither MJ Hegar nor John Cornyn seem to care.

Odd.

Obviously, this is a longstanding beef for this author.

Last election cycle, we discovered that Beto O'Rourke likewise did a campaign event with Borris Miles.  In addition to writing a blog post, we also passed that information along to both the Cruz campaign and the RPT chairman.  Unfortunately, neither did anything with that information.

This time around, the difference is that this author doesn't particularly care who wins the U.S. Senate race.  So we're not going to tell any campaigns.  But we mentioned them by name, so they'll get the Google alerts.

Bottom Line: Any campaign that allows an opponent to get away with touting an endorsement from someone with Borris Miles' "alleged" record is completely incompetent and deserves to lose....

Friday, July 26, 2019

#TXLEGE: Bonnen's INSANELY ARROGANT/INSANELY STUPID gambit


"Talk no more so very proudly;
Let no arrogance come from your mouth,
For the Lord is the God of knowledge;
And by Him actions are weighed."
1 Samuel 2:3

Late yesterday afternoon, Michael Quinn Sullivan made some INSANE revelations.  You really ought to read the whole thing for yourself.  Here's the main part:
Bonnen insisted: He would ensure Texas Scorecard reporters received House floor access in 2021 if we would lay off our criticism of the legislative session, not spend money from our affiliated PACs against certain Republicans, and—most shockingly—go after a list of other Republicans in the 2020 primary elections.

Spending political money was the issue, Bonnen said. Not just refraining from spending it against his pals. He wanted us to spend it against Republicans he saw as not being helpful.

If we could “make this work,” he would put the Texas Scorecard guys on the floor next session.

....

The list of targets Burrows named off included 10 Republican Reps—Steve Allison, Trent Ashby, Ernest Bailes, Travis Clardy, Drew Darby, Kyle Kacal, Stan Lambert, John Raney, and Phil Stephenson.
There are two noteworthy aspects about this: Bonnen's arrogance AND Bonnen's stupidity.

-------

Arrogance:

More than anything, one aspect stands out: How much Bonnen wanted Sullivan to give up, and how little Bonnen was offering in return.

It's insane.

Bonnen wanted Sullivan to give up everything.  For...media credentials?!?  NO (obviously).

There is no deal that's worth cutting that involves blanket bans on criticizing elected officials.  NoneWhatsoever.

To accept this sort of an offer would be to permanently forfeit one's credibility, thus Sullivan's response is self-evidently correct.

Here's the really crazy part: If it were presented in a less heavy-handed manner, and if Bonnen were offering more in return, then thepart of Bonnen's request isn't entirely unreasonable.

The members Bonnen wants gone represent mostly safe Republican districts.  Even in a bad national environment, they're unlikely to flip.  Thus, there's a certain logic to focusing on them.

Imagine if, instead, Bonnen had said something like this: "I know you're frustrated.  I know the grassroots are frustrated.  But, in this political climate, I think it's best for everyone involved to focus on rural districts.  BTW, here are the members who were truly problematic...."

We'll say this: If the speaker wants to give us a clean shot at Drew Darby and Dirty Ernie in exchange for going easy on Charlie Geren and Dan Huberty...in isolation, that might be a deal worth taking.

But Dennis Bonnen didn't make that offer.  Dennis Bonnen made a very different offer.  The offer Dennis Bonnen actually made was one no self-respecting human being could accept.

Arrogant...insanely so.

-------

Stupidity:

Beyond the arrogance, however, is the stupidity.

The speaker serves at the pleasure of the members.  Most members hate Sullivan.  Thus, for Dennis Bonnen to consider even working clandestinely with Sullivan risks the wrath of Dennis Bonnen's electorate.

Ross Ramsey elaborates:
The politics are dangerous for the first-term speaker, no matter which version of the story is right.

Sullivan has been an outspoken critic of the Republican leadership all year, carping about what he saw as a lack of attention to issues he cares about most. Sullivan's Empower Texans also helped fund primary challenges against several House incumbents in past years. It’s fair to say that a number of Republicans have reason not to think kindly of Sullivan, his organizations and his financial patrons as political allies.

They’ll be wanting to know why Bonnen met with him at all, no matter what they were talking about. Up to this point, Bonnen has been outspoken in his defense of the 149 other members of the Texas House.
Pretty much.

-------

Bottom Line: Bonnen remains overwhelmingly likely to retain the speakership, but nevertheless this interim just became a lot more interesting....

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Federal Courts Deny Latest "Voting Rights" Shakedown


Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?”

So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.
Luke 3:14

Good:
Federal judges on Wednesday denied a request to put Texas under federal redistricting supervision, a process known as preclearance.

The panel in San Antonio ruled that intervention was not warranted while at the same time expressing "grave concerns" about the state's past conduct in drawing maps.

District Judge Xavier Rodriguez cited Texas lawmakers’ enactment of a voter ID rule, a failed voter-purge attempt and state mapmakers’ practice of slicing up minority communities into voting districts designed to restrict the political influence of minority voters as examples of concerning activity.

....

However, the Supreme Court's decision last year to uphold the state's maps redrawn in 2013 ultimately meant the judges ruled ordering preclearance "would be inappropriate."
In other words, the status quo continues.

All things considered, this is a reasonably decent outcome...at least until our Congressional delegation grows a pair.

Bottom Line: There are going to be A LOT more lawsuits coming, but yesterday's ruling was probably a good sign....

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

#TXLEGE: "Lone Star Agenda" a good start


"So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom."
Psalm 90:12

We were not part of the drafting of this agenda.  But we were asked to sign on.  We have done so:



Most of these are pretty self explanatory.

Our four major unresolved issues from the legislative session are all on the list:
  • Taxpayer funded lobbying
  • Union dues
  • Municipal Employment Ordinances
  • Election integrity
As for the mental health and parental rights stuff: Due to bandwidth issues, we might not discuss those issues frequently, but we're fully on board with coalition efforts.

One interesting note: We're not going to throw shade, by we find it interesting that none of the issues we feel have been mishandled in recent years made the list.

Bottom Line: In a Republican majority legislature, none of this should be controversial....

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

#atxcouncil: Following ban on Short-Term Rentals (and #TXLEGE preemption failures), black market predictably develops....


"I will cut off sorceries from your hand,
And you shall have no soothsayers."
Micah 5:12

In the least surprising news story ever:
In the City of Austin, more than 10,000 Austin properties advertise themselves as short-term rentals, a new city memo notes. But only 2,500 of those are licensed and paying fees to the city. A number of the unlicensed rentals have been the subject of repeated complaints and violations.

In a memo to the City Council, the Austin Code Department director estimated it will take 35,568 staff hours for license administration and enforcement on short-term rentals in the city by the end of the year. About 5% of staff time is spent on enforcement of the properties that are highlighted by the city as repeat offenders when it comes to breaking Austin’s rules for short-term rentals.

“The department projects that an additional 200 properties will be licensed this year, raising the total number of licensed properties to 2,700—a 59% increase in the number properties licensed over the last two fiscal years. If the total number of STR operations across the City is in fact 10,000+, licensed properties by year end will only represent 27%,” the report said.

....

The city memo came after Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Tovo brought a resolution last November asking the Austin Code Department to quantify how much time enforcing short-term rentals is taking and whether the city needs to do more to hold problem property owners accountable.
Who'd'a ever seen this coming?!?

Bottom Line:   When you "ban" something, it doesn't actually stop the activity. It just drives it underground. Shocking, we know....


Monday, July 22, 2019

Davis continues repeating mistakes from last campaign


"Lest you ponder her path of life—
Her ways are unstable;
You do not know them."
Proverbs 5:6

She makes it official:



From a personal perspective, here's what's amazing: We just, two days ago, wrote a blog post about Wendy Davis repeating the mistakes from her last campaign...and she's doing it again!!!

In the video, Davis discusses her family (especially her father) extensively.  She discusses (her version of) her story.  What's missing, however, is any substantive discussion of public affairs or any compelling reason for her candidacy.

When she ran for Governor in 2014, Wendy Davis tried to make her biography one of her primary selling points...and it blew up in her face.

You'd think she'd learn.

Bottom Line: Wendy Davis' primary political problem will always be that her views on public policy are not aligned with the constituents she seeks to represent.  Fair or unfair, however, she also comes across as entitled.  Today's announcement video will help cement that perception.  If Wendy Davis uses the same playbook to run her congressional campaign that she used in her race for governor, she should expect the same result....

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Davis already repeating mistakes from last campaign


"Lest you ponder her path of life—
Her ways are unstable;
You do not know them."
Proverbs 5:6

We first started hearing that Wendy Davis might run for Chip Roy's Congressional seat in January.

Almost two months ago, there was another boomlet of "will she or won't she?" speculation.

She didn't pull the trigger either time.

Now, national political operatives linked to Nancy Pelosi are leaking that...this time...Wendy Davis is totally, totally, TOTALLY going to run!!!

She might.  She might not.  Regardless of her final decision, however, she's already squandered the first six months of any potential campaign.  If Davis does choose to run, she's already waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind the 8-ball.

She's done this before.  In 2013, Wendy Davis' infamous filibuster was in June.  She didn't announce her campaign for Governor, however, until October.  Whatever initial momentum she may have had was squandered through indecision.

Bottom Line: This isn't the first time we've seen an extended Hamlet act from this particular individual....

Friday, July 19, 2019

Texas by the Numbers


"For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—"
Luke 14:28

If you want to understand the data behind the current state of play in Texas, then this episode of the Luke Macias show is a must listen.  Luke interviews Derek Ryan, of Ryan Data and Research, a former RPT data analyst who is widely respected across the political spectrum.  We'll post the interview and our notes below.

Before we do, however, we need to point something out: Derek Ryan's data backs up three points we've been making for awhile.

Specifically:
  1. Glenn Hegar as a proxy for generic Republican vote -- Following the 2018 election, we calculated the "Trump effect" by comparing Glenn Hegar's 2018 result to his 2014 result.  We came up with a five point shift to the Democrats.  Ryan's, meanwhile, did a detailed statistical analysis that shows a four point shift to the Democrats.  Obviously, his analysis is far more complete than ours, but ours was a lot less work.  Both point to a mid-single digit sized shift.
  2. Underperformance in Urban Areas has statewide consequences -- Apparently, there are over 500,000 Republican Primary voters who didn't vote in the 2018 general election.  When asked about the geographic distribution of these voters, Ryan specifically mentioned Travis, Bexar, Dallas, and Harris counties.  It's almost like we wrote about that last week, or something....
  3. The utter, total, and complete incompetence of the Hays County GOP -- Ryan tells a story that's absolutely bonkers.

    According to Ryan, now state representative Erin Zweiner once allegedly wrote a blog post where she claimed responsibility for low-level acts of ecoterrorism in Western Travis County.  Furthermore, apparently, Ryan discovered this well before last year's election.  Ryan uses this as an example of how national events overwhelmed down ballot races, but we have a different hypothesis.

    What if the Hays GOP is incompetent?!?
    This author consumes a large amount of political news.  Furthermore, as a blogger, we're always on the lookout for local stories that are undercovered.  Yet the first time we hear this story is on a podcast almost a year after the election.

    We don't necessarily cover everything he hear.  However, between formal and informal sources, we usually have a good idea about major activity.  Yet this (alleged) factoid slipped not only this author's radar, but local activists' as well.

    That is a failure across all levels of the party.

    Of course, we specifically highlighted the Hays GOP's failures in our analysis of the 2018 debacle.
You can hear the full podcast below:



Highlights:

  • Serious discussion of political data begins at the 10 minute mark.
  • Generic R votes has gone down by approximately four points under Trump.
  • Suburbs are "changing significantly."
    • Collin - 7.7% shift to D's
    • Denton - 6.6%
    • WillCo - 5.7%
  • 2018 had higher under 20 turnout than 2016.
  • In 2018, lots of people voted "that we didn't already know."
  • 548,000 Republican primary voters didn't vote in November.
  • "2018 was kind of a perfect storm for the Democrats."
  • THE LEVEL OF GOP INCOMPETENCE IN THAT THIS IS THE FIRST TIME WE'RE HEARING ABOUT THIS ERIN ZWEINER ECO-TERRORIST STORY IS ASTOUNDING.
  • Voter registration ahead of 2016 pace.
  • 17 state rep district GOP < 55% in 2018.
    • D's are registering like crazy in those areas.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Burton and the Texan team are clearly doing something right


"saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”
Luke 4:34

It's now been a few months since Konni Burton launched the Texan.  Obviously, we're glad she's doing this and we're glad The Texan exists.  More voices, not fewer, and all that.

If readers will allow us a confession, however, the truth is that we haven't been paying close attention.

Until yesterday:
IN 2015, ON THE OPENING DAY of the 84th Texas Legislature, newly elected Republican Konni Burton, a former Tea Party leader, stepped onto the Senate floor wearing a pair of black cowboy boots with the words “Stand for Life” inscribed on them. The sartorial choice signaled that Burton would be the polar opposite of her predecessor Wendy Davis, the Texas Democrat who made national headlines for her 13-hour filibuster against an abortion bill, which she delivered wearing pink running shoes.

Last November, as a blue wave swept Texas, Burton lost her seat—in an area previously considered to be among the country’s most conservative—to a Democrat. She has since turned her attentions to journalism, which she feels does not respect the beliefs of hardcore conservatives. She has started a new digital media outlet called The Texan—which, she says, without recognizing any contradiction, is both right-wing and unbiased.

....

The outlet will always use “pro-life” instead of “anti-abortion,” White says. (The site Texas Right to Life praised the launch of The Texan.) They also use the term “illegal alien,” which is no longer in wide usage because it is seen as both pejorative and inaccurate, because Burton rejects the word “migrant.” Headlines speak of “religious liberty.”

The Texan focuses on state-level politics, and currently publishes about a dozen stories a week. Reporters there have recently framed a House bill to protect Dreamers as “granting citizenship to illegal aliens.” (The story cites NumbersUSA, a known anti-immigrant group which the Southern Poverty Law Center identified as nativist.) There’s also an exclusive on the website with state representative Ron Wright, who made national headlines after a video by an abortion rights group showed him saying women should be punished for having an abortion.

The full piece is snarky and derisive. That's to be expected. What's noteworthy, however, is that it's being written at all.

[Note: If you're looking for a good laugh, contrast what the Columbia Journalism Review said about the Texas with what they said about the Texas Tribune when it launched.]

Somebody's scared.

So, yeah, good deal on Konni Burton and the staff of the Texan!!!

Bottom Line: Sometime the reaction to something tells you more than the original thing it self.  Clearly, this is one of those times.  Kudos.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Marchant and Olson are LOSERS and the GOP should Break Up with Them BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE


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

Hoo boy:
Two potentially vulnerable Texas Republicans in Congress were outraised — and a few others saw seriously funded challengers — as the first major fundraising deadline passed in a cycle where national Democrats have built an expansive battlefield here, targeting six seats.

In the second quarter, Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, fell short of Democratic challenger Sri Preston Kulkarni, $378,000 to $421,000. Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell, raised less than Democratic opponent Kim Olson, $225,000 to $279,000, before making a large loan to his campaign.
Not good.

This combination of energized opponents and lethargic incumbents sounds...a lot like two congressional seats the GOP lost in 2018.

In March, we wrote a long piece examining Congressional races.  In that piece, we crunched a bunch of numbers related to 2018 election results.  The relevant section is too long to quote in full, but the TL,DR version is that lazy incumbents with a bad record and a sense of entitlement should be avoided like the plague.

Meanwhile, Republicans held EVERY.  SINGLE.  OPEN.  SEAT.

Finally, as we said last year about a certain now-former congressman:
Pete Sessions is a liability that should have been dealt with YEARS ago
That liability was never addressed. Eventually, the Democrats had a good enough year that Sessions lost. Given yesterday's news, Kenny Marchant and Pete Olson are officially liabilities.

The good news: Filing deadline is still five months away.

The bad news: Everybody's whistling past the graveyard.

Bottom Line: Lazy incumbents with a bad record and a sense of entitlement are TERRIBLE general election candidates.  There's still time to avoid that fate.  If these two incumbents retain the party nomination, however, don't be surprised when they lose.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

#TXLEGE: Why Bonnen's Political Gambit is Irrelevant


"Moreover you took your sons and your daughters, whom you bore to Me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your acts of harlotry a small matter,"
Ezekiel 16:20

We said our piece yesterday about the big 3's latest fundraising.  Pretty self-explanatory.  That being said, it's worth exploring why Dennis Bonnen's latest effort won't make a difference to which party controls the Texas house next session.

To refresh, from yesterday:
Republican Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen has launched a political action committee to help defend the GOP majority as Democrats push to take the lower chamber in 2020.

Bonnen, an Angleton Republican, has started the group, Texas Leads, with $3 million from his campaign account, his team announced Monday. The political action committee will focus exclusively on reelecting GOP members to the House — a move consistent with Bonnen's insistence that incumbents do not campaign against one another.
Obviously, Bonnen is refusing to play offense.  As we explained yesterday, that's the #1 reason why this isn't a serious effort.  You can't win a war playing defense 100% of the time.

[Note: Good defense helps, but the Texas GOP is hardly the 2000 Baltimore Ravens and Dennis Bonnen is certainly no Trent Dilfer].

Beyond that, however, control of the Texas house will hinge on two factors:
  • The National Environment -- Like it or not, 85% of next year's outcome will depend on what voters think about Donald Trump compared with what voters think about whomever the Democrats nominate.

    That's it.

    If the national environment stays where it is right now, the GOP will be fine statewide (although Pete Flores is toast).

    If the national environment moves a few points in Trump's favor (aka. voters decide they hate the Democrat more), the GOP will gain back a good chunk of the ground they lost in 2018.

    If the national environment moves a few points in the Democrats favor (aka. voters decide they hate Trump more), the bottom will drop out for the GOP.

    You tell us the national environment on Wednesday of the second week of early voting, and we'll tell you the outcome of the election.

    [Note: The GOP could have used this past legislative session to develop its own identity separate from Trump...but that ship has sailed.]
  • How hard individual candidates work -- Assuming, for the sake of discussion, that national factors create a down-ballot environment where effort matters, responsibility for that effort will fall on individual candidates.

    Partisanship is the #1 factor in determining election outcomes, personal contact is #2.

    Some campaigns do it, other campaigns don't.
Against those two factors, the speaker's team sponsoring another mailer or another robocall makes no difference.

Bottom Line: 24 hours ago, a wide range of outcomes was possible in legislative races.  Today, a wide range of outcomes remain possible in legislative races.  Which of those outcomes ultimately materializes will depend almost entirely on factors outside of our control.  Dennis Bonnen's announcement changes none of that.

Monday, July 15, 2019

#TXLEGE: Big 3 commit to full employment for campaign consultants


"If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent [a]perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them."
Ecclesiastes 5:8

July 15 campaign finance reports are out.

Abbott:
Gov. Greg Abbott raised a staggering $12.1 million over two weeks last month after the legislative session ended and he was free accept contributions again, his campaign announced Monday.

It is the most the Republican governor has raked in during the traditionally dayslong fundraising sprint following the legislative session. The latest haul brought his cash-on-hand total to $26.3 million, according to his campaign.
Patrick:
HOUSTON TX – Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick will report raising over $3 million on his July 15, 2019 Texas Ethics Commission report, bringing his campaign war chest total to over $11 million.

“I am grateful for all the support I have received and proud of this strong and clear endorsement of the conservative policies I am fighting for — life, liberty and Texas values, lean and efficient government and pro-business policies that are keeping the Texas economy strong.

“I have spoken to hundreds of grassroots and business leaders across the state since the legislative session ended in May and they are counting on me to continue the fight to shrink the size of government, reduce taxes and oppose the job-killing agenda put forward by liberals. I remain grateful for the opportunity to serve as Lt. Governor and I look forward to continuing the work we are doing to make the greatest state in the nation even greater.”
Bonnen:
Republican Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen has launched a political action committee to help defend the GOP majority as Democrats push to take the lower chamber in 2020.

Bonnen, an Angleton Republican, has started the group, Texas Leads, with $3 million from his campaign account, his team announced Monday. The political action committee will focus exclusively on reelecting GOP members to the House — a move consistent with Bonnen's insistence that incumbents do not campaign against one another.
[Note: If Bonnen's gambit were a serious effort, he'd go on offense. He's not. That tells you everything.]

This is dumb.  It accomplishes nothing.  Except that Dave Carney, Allan Blakemore, and whatever hacks are advising Bonnen get paid.

Also: Mailers!!!

Lots of campaign mailers!!!

Bottom Line: Conspicuous fundraising when not facing competitive races is a great way to build fiefdoms....

Saturday, July 13, 2019

#TXLEGE: (Because of Dade Phelan) San Antonio employers forced to sue city


"For a righteous man may fall seven times
And rise again,
But the wicked shall fall by calamity."
Proverbs 24:16

Given where we're at, this was unavoidable:
The City of San Antonio may face a lawsuit over its upcoming Paid Sick Leave ordinance.

The ordinance takes effect on August 1. It was a citizen driven petition allowed under the city charter and was required to be approved by the San Antonio City Council, which it did last year.

It requires San Antonio businesses to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked by an employee. The requirements of how much time can be accrued vary based on business size.

It’s been met with push back from businesses owners and now a lawsuit may be on the table.
[Note: This author has no specific knowledge, but logic suggests a similar lawsuit will soon be filed in Dallas.]

This is INFURIATING.

There's a strong legal case to make against so-called municipal "sick leave" ordinances.  So-called municipal "sick leave" ordinances clearly conflict with the Texas minimum wage act.  Nevertheless, lawsuits cost money and take time.  They're inherently uncertain.

Of course, had the legislature passed the preemption bills, this wouldn't matter.

As we recently wrote:
On April 11, the Texas Senate passed SB’s 2485-88 to pre-empt sick leave ordinances along with other local wage and benefit mandates. Yet these bills died in the Texas House.

In an effort to appease frivolous objections from left-wing interest groups, House State Affairs Committee chairman Dade Phelan, a Republican, slow-walked them past the point of relevance.

THANKS DADE PHELAN!!!

Meanwhile, employers in San Antonio are at the mercy of the courts.

INFURIATING.

And completely preventable.

Bottom Line: Unless something changes, these so-called municipal "sick leave" ordinances are going to haunt Texas for a long time.

Friday, July 12, 2019

An underappreciated difference between Rick Perry and Greg Abbott


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

Obviously, we've said our piece about this situation between Abbott and council.  Abbott making empty threats is the worst of all worlds.  It inflames and emboldens council, but the rest of us see no relief.

It's incredibly frustrating.

Earlier today, however, we realized something: Rick Perry would have never put up with this crap.

Don't get us wrong: There's a very good chance Rick Perry might have ignored it.

However, had Rick Perry chosen to engage, he would back up his talk.  Following the level of insolence and lip Abbott's received from council, had Rick Perry been in a similar situation Perry would have called a special just to remind everyone he could.  Manhood, whipping it out, and what not....

The truth about both Perry and Abbott, of course, is that they both were/are absentee governors.  Both were/are more interesting in grandstanding on national issues than doing the job of governor.  But at least Rick Perry, bless his heart, played to win on the days he showed up as governor.

Bottom Line: Win the fight.  Or avoid the fight.  That's a lesson our current governor could learn from his predecessor.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Cornyn's Actions Continue to Undermine Cornyn's Own Case for Cornyn's re-election


"My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth."
1 John 3:18

Via Powerline:
Politico reports that President Trump and Senate Republicans “are moving quickly to back up beleaguered Labor Secretary Alex Acosta.” They are doing so in the face of “rising pressure. . .from other corners of the White House, with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney privately urging the president to dismiss him.”

Unlike Trump and Senate Republicans, Mulvaney has direct knowledge of Acosta’s performance at the Labor Department. He knows that Acosta stalled the implementation of important deregulatory initiatives and, through his agent, lied to him about the reason for the delay.

Mulvaney also understands, as everyone with an ounce of sense does, that Acosta is a political liability because of the sweetheart deal he made with serial pedophile Jeffrey Epstein — a deal that a federal judge says violated the law because it failed to provide notice to Epstein’s victims.

Yet Sen. John Cornyn intones, “I would point out that nothing new has come out, and we ought to reserve judgment until any new information is revealed.”

What new information does Cornyn need? We know the plea deal was scandalously lenient. We know it was reached between Acosta and a former colleague (and Washington power player) at a remote location, instead of at the U.S. Attorney’s office where plea deals are always negotiated. We know the deal has been adjudged illegal.

What is Sen. Cornyn’s standard of conduct? Is he waiting to see whether Acosta was bribed? He wasn’t. He was seduced by a Washington power player — the kind of guy who could help him down the road become a Cabinet member and/or a judge.
[Note: The full Politico story is insane.]

Wow.

There's a lot you could say about this in the context of national politics.  There's a lot you could say about this in the context of the Epststein case [Note: That we even have to type that sentence].  But let's limit the discussion to the context of John Cornyn's re-election campaign.

John Cornyn makes two claims while campaigning:
  1. John Cornyn supports Trump.
  2. John Cornyn is good for the national economy.
Cornyn's actions belie both.  It doesn't take a genius to see how Cornyn's undermining the President.  As for the national economy...does anyone seriously believe Labor Unions are good for it?!?

That this is all being done to the benefit of an apparent deep state operative with ties to Jeffrey Epstein is just the icing on the cake.

Credibility, eventually, dries up.  We have no idea of the timing.  It may or may not be during the current election cycle.

But it's inevitable.

Bottom Line: We have no idea how the current election cycle plays out, but anyone who thinks this nonsense is sustainable much longer is kidding themselves.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

#TXLEGE: Nepotistic Twit (LSAT Score: 147) to seek his Daddy's Old Job


"but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors."
James 2:9

You have GOT to be effing kidding:



That's the "Young Man" from this story:
The loudest voice in the Legislature calling for Hall's head, Waxahachie House Republican Jim Pitts, turned out to be the father of a young man whose admission to the law school was at the center of the controversy. Pitts has since announced he will not seek re-election.

....

On August 21, 2013, Kevin Williamson, a reporter writing in The National Review, a conservative semimonthly publication founded by the late William F. Buckley Jr., published a story based on a phone call to House Appropriations Committee chairman Jim Pitts. In that call Williamson bluffed Pitts into admitting that his own son Ryan Pitts was one of the low entrance exam scorers who got into the UT Law School through the back door, after Pitts himself had interceded for him.

Pitts launched a vituperative attack on Hall, accusing him of leaking legally protected information about a student, his son, to Williamson, which Pitts insisted was a crime. But the day after Williamson's story appeared, Pitts announced he was retiring from the Legislature.

A week later a story by Reeve Hamilton in The Texas Tribune provided Pitts a podium from which to make an unchallenged defense. He admitted writing a letter asking the law school to admit his son, but he told the Tribune, "Did I ever call for my son -- or the over 100 people I've recommended over the years -- and ask for special treatment? No, I did not."

The Tribune story said Pitts "added that writing such letters has long been standard practice for lawmakers at the Capitol." And there The Texas Tribune, which has received six-figure gifts from the university system, let the matter rest.

Eight months later in a triumph of virtuoso investigative reporting, Jon Cassidy, writing for Watchdog.org, an online news service sponsored by a conservative foundation, laid out the real back story of the law school admissions racket. Pitts had told the truth about one thing: It was standard practice.
It gets better:
Two of the students are known to have LSAT scores well below UT standards. James Ryan Pitts, son of House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, has now failed the bar exam three times since graduation (*) after scoring a 155 and a 147 on the LSAT, which is scored on a scale of 120 to 180. Those scores rank in the 64th percentile and 33rd percentile nationwide, and are well below the scores in the mid-160s that UT usually requires.
* -- According to a trusted Capitol source, that number was up to nine by January 2017.

Now Ryan Pitts wants Daddeh's old gig.

This is the swamp.

Bottom Line: This is some old skool good ol' boy Texas politics right here....