Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Florida Man's Long, Strange, (Wildly Expensive) Trip


"A good man obtains favor from the Lord,
But a man of wicked intentions He will condemn."
Proverbs 12:2

This is just strange:
For months, the race for Texas GOP chair has been in full swing, with incumbent James Dickey and his high-profile challenger, Allen West, appearing at a slew of at times feisty forums.

But it was not until last week that the two had to disclose their campaign finances for the first time — and West's report brought something of a bombshell: Not only did the former Florida congressman raise nearly half a million dollars — a large amount for such an election — but $250,000 of it came from a single person. That person: Richard Uihlein, the conservative megadonor and shipping supplies magnate from Illinois.

In recent election cycles, the reclusive Uihlein and his wife Liz have become known for bankrolling insurgent conservative candidates across the country, sometimes serving as their primary patrons. Richard Uihlein gave $37.7 million to outside spending groups during the 2018 cycle, making him the fourth biggest donor to such entities and putting him in the ranks of people like Sheldon Adelson and Michael Bloomberg, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

For now, it is not entirely clear why Uihlein has taken such an interest in the race to lead the Texas GOP — a job that entails keeping it well-funded and organized ahead of a crucial November election for state Republicans.
Huh?!?

For several months, West's RPT campaign has been one of the odder phenomenons to observe.  While we understand West isn't a serious candidate, and that he wants to be RPT chair to boost his speaking fees, it still doesn't explain any of this.  Because West still needs to win the RPT race for this business strategy to pay off.

It's hard to see how this does anything other than antagonize convention delegates.

Richard Uihlein, on the other hand, is obviously a chump.

Bottom Line: You do you Florida Man.

Monday, January 20, 2020

#TXLEGE: MoAr MoNeY FoR ReTiReD TeAcHeRS (TM)


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

Of course they did:
AUSTIN (KXAN) — A public records request to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas has revealed that the agency will spend at least $326,000 a month in rent for office space in the Indeed Tower.

TRS signed a 10-year lease for three floors of office space at the Indeed Tower, which is scheduled to be completed in 2021, on Sixth Street.

TRS Executive Director Brian Guthrie told KXAN in a prepared statement that because the agency committed early to the Indeed Tower, “we were able to stabilize the rent and negotiate favorable per-construction rates for the 100,000 square feet.”
Even though we've (apparently) never discussed it publicly, we've been thinking about this issue for years.  Because the funds have a $46 Billion shortfall.  The money simply doesn't exist to plug a hole that big.

But TRS has a lot of office space on prime real estate in downtown Austin.  Office space that ought to be the first place you look when making the funds whole.  This latest revelation just strengthens the case.

Bottom Line: There's no reason they can't use office space in a less expensive location.  Better yet, fire all their human employees.  AI can't do a worse job than the humans currently running the funds.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Cruz and Roy FINALLY do what they should've done FIVE YEARS AGO


"He who despises the word will be destroyed,
But he who fears the commandment will be rewarded."
Proverbs 13:13

TPPF earlier this week:
AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation praises the introduction of the Personalized Care Act in the Senate (S. 3112) by Senators Cruz and Braun and in the House (H.R. 5596) this week by Representative Chip Roy.

These concise bills make a substantial impact to the U.S. employer-based health care system by allowing individuals to have the same benefits as employers to buy medical coverage and services with pre-tax dollars.

“Allowing for this equality between employers and employees will help improve portability of coverage for individuals and would free Americans from job-lock of undesirable jobs they are keeping solely for cheaper, employer-based health insurance,” said David Balat, director of the Right on Healthcare initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The Personalized Care Act will expand Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and put millions of Americans in control of their healthcare choices. This will allow Americans to personalize their care with tax-advantaged dollars. Among other enhancements, the bill allows funds from HSAs to be used in coordination for expanded healthcare options such as direct medical care, healthcare sharing ministries, medications, and insurance premiums.
It's ABOUT dadgum time.

Ted Cruz and Chip Roy are two of the GOP's best spokespeople on health care.  They've needed to put out their own plan for a long, long time.  They FINALLY did it!!!

We first discussed this publicly in 2018.  We've been saying the same thing privately for longer.  Although we didn't think it newsworthy at the time, we delivered this message to Cruz personally following a local 2017 event.

Had this plan existed a few years ago, a lot of pain could have been avoided.  The missed opportunity of not doing so remains an act of political malpractice.  But it happened.  All you can do now is correct the mistake moving forward.  This week's news does that.

Bottom Line: Late > Never, etc.

Friday, January 17, 2020

#TXLEGE: TPPF bailing out lege over their FAILURES re: "Sick Leave" Ordinances


"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

TPPF press release:
TPPF Assumes Role of Lead Counsel in San Antonio Paid Sick Leave Appeal 
AUSTIN – Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation filed a notice of appearance of counsel with the Texas Fourth Judicial Court of Appeals in San Antonio in City of San Antonio v. Associated Builders of South Texas.

This notice advises the court of appeals that the Texas Public Policy Foundation will assume the role of lead counsel on appeal for the plaintiffs/appellees in the case against the city of San Antonio’s Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Ordinance.

“Today’s announcement furthers the role of the Texas Public Policy Foundation as a defender against unconstitutional municipal mandatory paid sick leave ordinances,” said Robert Henneke, Texas Public Policy Foundation’s General Counsel. “The San Antonio district court made the right call in enjoining the San Antonio ordinance. While it’s likely that the Texas Supreme Court will decide this issue statewide in 2020, thus making this appeal moot, TPPF will continue to fight for the rights of workers to negotiate the terms of their employment, rather than these being dictated by government overreach and national union organizations.”
Good for them.  Because, honestly, somebody needs to do it.  Furthermore, we suspect it ain't been cheap.  (Imagine how many labor hours three separate lawsuits on this subject must consume.)

The pathetic thing, of course, is that it should never have come to this.  The lege was supposed to address this.  They dropped the ball.  There's a lot you could say about why this happened, but the fact remains that it did.

So good deal TPPF (and your donors).

Because we're likely to survive this one (no thanks to the legislature).

Bottom Line: TPPF is the only reason the worst case scenario probably won't emerge.  They deserve some credit.  They won't get it.  But they deserve it.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Of course Genevieve Collins was too good to be true


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

Remember, just last week, when we said we didn't actually know anything about her beyond one good ad?!?

Yeah, about that:


[Note: Apologies for displaying this as a screenshot, but the original press e-mail from the Collins campaign had formatting issues.]

Dan Branch, for those blessed enough to not know, is this guy.  He's pretty much the slimiest politician ever.  Also a well documented liar.

Now he's endorsing Genevieve Collins, which tells you pretty much all you need to know about her.

To be fair: CD-32 includes Branch's old state rep. district.  So this is probably a good endorsement for Collins in terms of winning the election.  That being said, there are certain lows to which we would not stoop.  An endorsement from Dan friggin' Branch is one such low.

Bottom Line: Next.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Latest Example of how National Democrats are (probably) Fumbling Texas


"Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding,
But a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding."
Proverbs 10:13

Huh?!?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday morning that Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia of Texas will serve as one of the seven lawmakers who will prosecute the impeachment case against President Donald Trump in the Senate.

....

The other impeachment officers are: U.S. Reps. Adam Schiff, of California; Jerry Nadler, of New York; Zoe Lofgren of California; Hakeem Jeffries, of New York; Val Demings, of Florida; and Jason Crow, of Colorado.

Before Congress, Garcia served in the Texas State Senate. She also previously served as the director and presiding judge of the Houston municipal court system and was elected city controller. She made history as the first Latina and woman to be elected to the Harris County Commissioner’s Court.
This makes no sense.

Here's the thing about Sylvia Garcia: Everybody likes her.  Yes, she's liberal.  But she's liberal in a diligent, inoffensive, manner that doesn't rub people the wrong way.

Sylvia Garcia is the type of person who could plausibly run for Governor.  Yet Pelosi et. al. want to make her the face of the most divisive, pointless, exercise in recent memory?!?  Umm, ok.

Impeachment will be Sylvia Garcia's introduction to the broader electorate.  If people decide they don't like her now, it will be hard to dislodge that sentiment later.  It won't effect her in her district, but her ceiling elsewhere was just lowered considerably.

It's bizarre.

Bottom Line: Something something, second chance...something something, first impression.


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Whatever their other flaws, Texas GOP does a good job recruiting candidates


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

RPT press release floating around social media:
December wrapped up candidate filing for the Republican primary. Last month we confirmed that there is a Republican candidate challenging every Democrat in all 36 Congressional districts and all targeted State Representative races. The number of women running for office in Texas also doubled compared to the 2018 Primary.

A crucial part of achieving these outstanding results was the Candidate Recruiting Task Force which was led by Hamilton County GOP Chair Cat Parks. The program was a huge success for recruiting candidates and accomplishing one of the Republican Party of Texas’ top campaign priorities – challenging every Democrat incumbent in Congress and targeted State House races.
Good.   We noticed the same thing with the local party last month. It appears similar results were had statewide.

Obviously, this website has been very critical of the GOP in recent months.  While most of that is directed at the elected officials, the party itself hasn't always covered itself in glory.  So, good deal.

Unfortunately, it's a shame those candidates won't have a stronger record on which to run.  Because, for the most part, those candidates are going to be selling hypotheticals if they win compared to if the Democrats win.  When you've been running the place for 25 years, you ought to be able to do better than hypotheticals.  That being said, hypotheticals are still better than nothing.

Bottom Line:  It's a start, which means it's better than the alternative.