Monday, August 3, 2020

For the First Time in AGES, State of Texas Does Something Right


"Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of correction will drive it far from him."
Proverbs 22:15


Some good news:
Rumors and intel flew around for days leading up to Saturday, August 1. Dozens of activists were being bused into Austin, Texas, from Portland and Seattle to do to this city what they have done to both of those. Rumors suggested they wanted to destroy Austin police headquarters, the Texas state capitol, or both.

....

[I]nformation suggested the groups intended to attack Austin police headquarters. The headquarters building has been the site of protests and often violent riots over the past two months. The activists have attempted to storm the building in the past but failed.

Saturday’s protest activity was billed as the biggest yet, at least in part due to the shooting of Garrett Foster. Foster was the man who apparently pointed his AK-47 rifle at the car window of driver Daniel Perry while protesters surrounded and pounded on his car during an unpermitted protest and illegal taking of the public street just before 10 p.m. on July 25. Perry, an Army sergeant and licensed handgun carrier, fired his weapon after Foster had used his rifle to order Perry to roll his car window down. Pointing a gun at someone can, obviously, be read as hostile action. Texas’s castle law covers drivers in vehicles defending themselves, including the use of deadly force.

APD and the Texas Department of Public Safety were ready for Saturday’s action, making this post short.
There isn't a lot more to say.

Saturday had the potential to be bad. Really bad. But it wasn't.

For those who are interested, there's plenty of video footage on social media. You're welcome to check. But the main takeaway was that, by having DPS back up APD...not much happened. A situation with a lot of ugly potential was rendered a non-story.

Also, the GOP might have just made the case (despite the underformance 95%(+) of the time) for keeping themselves in charge of the state.

Bottom Line: Saturday night could have been a lot worse.

Friday, July 31, 2020

#TXLEGE: Yikes for Tinderholt


"Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord."
James 5:14

That's not good:

State Rep. Tony Tinderholt was hospitalized last week after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, the lawmaker confirmed Friday to The Texas Tribune, marking the first known case involving a member of the Texas Legislature.

"I truly thought last Friday was gonna be my last," Tinderholt, an Arlington Republican, said in a text message to the Tribune. Tinderholt said his wife and two of his children also tested positive for the virus, though their symptoms were less severe.

Tinderholt said he is recovering after receiving medical treatment from a North Texas doctor. He and his family wore masks every time they went out in public because they felt it was the right thing to do, he said.

....

While Tinderholt acknowledged the virus is a "serious illness," he reiterated Friday his position that Abbott shutting down parts of the economy is wrong.

"Closing the entire economy and halting business as well as illegally taking people's freedoms are absolutely the wrong things to do to Texas, Texans and our nation," Tinderholt said.

Tinderholt said his recovery was largely thanks to state Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, who referred him to Dr. Brian Procter of McKinney Family Medicine. Procter, Tinderholt said, told him that out of the few hundred patients he has seen so far for the coronavirus, the lawmaker was among "the worst five he had handled." Tinderholt said he was considered at risk for the virus due to his titanium aortic heart valve.

Confession: We were today years old when we learned Tony Tinderholt had a titanium valve in his heart.

Bottom Line: Get well soon Tony.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

#atxcouncil: Flannigan's proposal would beget bureaucratic turf wars/"information siloing"


"Every prudent man acts with knowledge,
But a fool lays open his folly."


Since Jimmy Flannigan made his "Defund APD" proposal the other day, there's been a lot of ink spilled over his call to physically demolish APD headquarters.  That's fine.  It's certainly newsworthy.
In fairness to Jimmy Flannigan, this website has been calling for moving governmental offices out of the downtown area for at least five years.  Technically, this could fit under that rubric.  If this proposal were being made by someone trustworthy, it **MIGHT** be worth considering.

Unfortunately, this proposal is being made by Jimmy Flannigan.

But there's a lot more to Flannigan's proposal than the physical location of APD's offices.

Specifically, Flannigan wants to split the current police departments in five component parts:

*** Department of Emergency Communications & Technology 
- Civilian Director of Emergency Communications 
- Budget of approx. $65mil (incl. support & transfers)
- Responsible for 9-1-1/CTECC, regional intelligence, records management, forensics, and emergency-specific technology

*** Department of Patrol
- Sworn Director of Patrol designated by the city manager and approved by the city council (according to state law). This department head could be designated as one of the 5 commanders that make up a geographically broad “Commander’s Council” to help democratize patrol leadership, ensure more diverse voices are making state-law-required decisions, and ensure a ready list of alternative department heads if necessary.
- Budget of approx. $197mil (incl. support & transfers)
- Responsible for DTAC & 4 Regions of patrol, tactical, and district reps 

*** Department of Investigations 
- Sworn Director of Investigations designated by the city manager and approved by the city council (according to state law).  
- Budget of approx. $95mil (incl. support & transfers)
- Responsible for detectives, investigations, and organized crime units

*** Department of Traffic Safety 
- Sworn Director of Traffic Safety designated by the city manager and approved by the city council (according to state law).  
- Budget of approx. $25mil (incl. support & transfers)
- Works in partnership with the Austin Transportation Department and should have mobility-focused civilian executive management in the Manager’s office

*** Department of Professional Standards
- Sworn Director of Professional Standards designated by the city manager and approved by the city council (according to state law).
- Budget of approx. $25mil (incl. support & transfers)
- Covers Internal Affairs, Recruiting, and Training. Future cadet class decisions would impact this part of the budget and would help separate those dollars from being reallocated without Council authority.
It doesn't take a genius to see how this unfolds: The new departments spend more time fighting each other than fighting crime. Political Fiefdoms develop. The five department heads game the new system so that nothing is ever 'their' fault. Accountability disappears.

On the bright side, creating five new municipal departments could create five new cottage industries for lobbyists.

So there's that.

Here's what's really crazy:
An information silo is an information management system that is unable to freely communicate with other information management systems. Communication within an information silo is always vertical, making it difficult or impossible for the system to work with unrelated systems.
In the event, God forbid, that Flannigan's proposal were to become reality...information siloing is pretty much guaranteed.

Nature of the beast.

That's before you account for the fact that this has to go through the rest of council.

Yikes.

Bottom Line: This is all completely predictable.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Lying Liar Ross Bjork LIES about Texas and Rivalry Restoration


"Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
But those who deal truthfully are His delight."
Proverbs 12:22



[Note: For those of you who aren't aware, Ross Bjork is the Aggy athletic director.]

Which begged the obvious response:

Furthermore:

You can read the full article here, but the TL,DR version is that Chris del Conte pretty much called Ross Bjork a coward to his face. Del Conte also told Bjork that A&M was hurting college football by refusing to play. Bjork responded with a bunch of political non-answers.

This was less than a year ago.

What's remarkable about this isn't so much the substance of what Bjork said. It's not a secret that A&M are a bunch of puss...panzies who are afraid to play Texas. That's not new.

What is new is the chutzpah of Ross Bjork trying to claim that Texas has ever been anything other than crystal clear on this topic.

And that Ross Bjork did so in a way that was so easily Googleable.

Apparently, in addition to being a coward, Ross Bjork is also a liar.

Real winner you've got there A&M.

Bottom Line:  To make such a flagrantly false, yet easily verifiable, claim is dumb even by A&M's standards.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

#TXLEGE: Beckely, Bonnen, and how Texas Democrats missed another opportunity


"But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works."
James 2:18

Yesterday, in our post about the bizarre beef between Dennis Bonnen and Michelle Beckley, we wrote:
[B]eing attacked by Bonnen is pretty much the best thing that could happen to Michelle Beckley

It's now been 24 hours since that post.  And 48 hours since the original kerfuffle.  Yet, except for one tweet that causally refers to Bonnen, we've yet to hear a word about this from Beckley.  At least according to her campaign website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.

And that's revealing in and of itself.

We don't want to litigate any dispute between Bonnen and Beckley.  According to sources that reached out to us after yesterday's post, Bonnen's personal dislike for her might have reasonably decent explanation.  That's not the point.  The point is that, politically, when you're personally attacked by a corrupt speaker of the other party...it's probably a good idea to tell people.

Michelle Beckley should have been campaigning on "having been personally attacked by a corrupt Republican speaker" (or something similar) for the past year.  Having failed to do that, she could have belatedly launched that campaign after this weekend's incident.  She's done neither.  It's a textbook example of what we discussed Saturday (and in January) (and last November).

Bottom Line: Given the state/national environment, it might not matter...but if it's close.

Monday, July 27, 2020

#TXLEGE: What's Bonnen's beef with Michelle Beckley?!?


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

Going back to when we first listened to the audio recording last summer, we've always been struck by Dennis Bonnen's obsession with Michelle Beckley.  Obviously, anyone who know this author knows we don't care about PG-13 language.  Still, for a sitting speaker to get into that level of vulgarity against an irrelevant back bencher is...odd.

But then, over the weekend, this happened:


Bonnen goes on to link to this Denton Record-Chronicle piece about some extremely vague allegations that Beckley might have made some racially charged comments a few years ago.  Who knows.  Maybe.  But does anyone actually believe that Dennis Bonnen, of all people, actually cares about that?!?

Cuz' we don't.

We strongly suspect that something happened last session that isn't public knowledge.  We don't know what.  But it's the most plausible explanation for how Bonnen's behaving.

Bottom Line: There's GOT to be a backstory here.  Whatever that backstory might be, however, being attacked by Bonnen is pretty much the best thing that could happen to Michelle Beckley.  How odd.

-------

Note: If anybody knows any more details, do feel free to e-mail us at cahnman@hotmail.com.  Confidentiality obviously respected.  Please don't send us direct messages on Facebook or Twitter.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

#TXLEGE: Still more Bi-Partisan Political Malpractice


"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

Yesterday, KXAN offered a preview of the fall campaign in Texas.  In so doing, they unintentionally offered a snapshot with what's wrong with both parties.  Here's the offending section:

Outgoing Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen said “We need to do better,” when asked if Republicans are doing enough to connect with voters virtually during the pandemic.

“I would encourage all Texans to participate and not just participate by voting,” Bonnen told KXAN, noting, too, that some virtual campaigning has included negativity on social media and that people should instead participate in a positive manner. “It’s of great importance that they engage and that they be part of that discussion and that commentary so that their voice is not run over.”
Before we get to the political stuff, let us make a non-partisan point: It is disgusting and disgraceful, and insulting to any notion of honest government, for Dennis Bonnen to be quoted in this article.

However, given that Bonnen was quoted in the article is begs some follow up questions for both parties.

For the GOP:
  • On what planet is this a good look?!?  Even if you don't care about Bonnen's corruption (which you obviously don't), it doesn't take a genius to see that he's a gigantic political liability.  Why is he speaking on behalf of your party?!?  Of course, we've been making this point for nearly a year.
For the Democrats:
  • Given that Bonnen keeps insisting upon thrusting himself into the news, why aren't you making him a campaign issue?!?  He should be a household name by now.  That he isn't might just be the single most astounding squandered opportunity in the history of politics.
In researching this blog post, we found this gem from last November: Republicans still deserve to lose...but Democrats don't deserve to win.

Not a lot has changed since then.  Republicans are still awful (and getting worse).  But the Democrats...still...seem to dumb to take (or at least maximize) advantage.

Then again...well.

Another data point: For as much of a debacle as the GOP convention has been and remains, have the Democrats really taken advantage?!?  Besides some snarky commentary on social media?!?  Have they actually done anything?!?

Not that we can tell.

We can't believe we're saying this, but for the first time in ages we can see a plausible path for something resembling the status quo to prevail.

It's completely pathetic, but it might just be the case.

We can't believe we just typed that.

Bottom Line:  GOP keeps handing D's opportunities.  But D's keep squandering them.  It's quite something.