Thursday, October 17, 2019

"Innovative Teachers" launch COMPETITOR to incumbent (ie. leftist) Teacher Unions


"Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."
Phillipians 2:4

Via the Hayride:
Teaching, as anyone knows, can be a taxing job, especially in public school environments. Just this year nationally, the number of teachers leaving the profession after just one year has reached an all-time high.

Even in a conservative state such as Texas, the bureaucratic hurdles, required paperwork, a focus on high-stakes test scores, and disciplinary restrictions make it increasingly difficult. Simply removing a disruptive student is now against the rules in many public school districts — the polar opposite from the days of wooden paddles or sitting in the corner.

Comparatively low salaries for the level of work they do have turned many teachers to the “gig economy” to supplement their pay. Union-led efforts to address this has resulted in higher paychecks for edu-crats and administrators, and an expansion of the public education system infrastructure. And that’s not to mention a combative stance toward school choice. The once-sacrosanct summer vacation becomes shorter and the work days become longer.

....

The new organization seeks to provide an alternative to the multiple teachers unions present in Texas. The strategy, while to provide an objective voice for Texas teachers, would naturally stand by conservatives and Christians who often feel that they are being suppressed by the public ed system.

....

[T]hey will need 5,000 members to begin an adequate insurance pool. The existing teachers unions in Texas provide insurance for teachers who find themselves on the wrong end of the administration and lose their jobs — the insurance will keep them afloat while they pursue various appeals.
This is fantastic.

The cynical among us, led by this author, often look at so-called 'professional organizations' with a jaundiced eye.  They frequently become pro-status quo political actors.  In practice, this often translates into leftism.

But that's not to say professional organizations have no place.  As this example illustrates, teachers still need to buy insurance.  If someone new can provide better value, minus the wretched politics, so much the better.

Bottom Line:  Someone should have done this decades ago.  Unfortunately, they didn't.  You've gotta start somewhere.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

#TXLEGE: Bonnen's "Cities and Counties" Remark Illustrates Degree to which he's LIAR


"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them."
Ephesians 5:11

The media seems to be fixating on an odd little remark Dennis Bonnen made in the Empower Texans recording:
The recording of a conversation between two top Republican state lawmakers and a conservative activist released Tuesday exposed legislators’ intentional political targeting of cities and counties — and their plans to make the 2021 legislative session even more painful for local governments.

“Any mayor, county judge that was dumb ass enough to come meet with me, I told them with great clarity, my goal is for this to be the worst session in the history of the legislature for cities and counties,” Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, said in the recording.

“I hope the next session is even worse,” Republican state Rep. Dustin Burrows of Lubbock replied.

Bonnen then said he was “all in for that.”
The trib piece explores some political ramifications and is worth reading in full.  Over at Texas Monthly, Chris Hooks has a silly overreaction.  If you're looking for a good laugh, check out the Texas Municipal League's full statement.

There's just one problem: Bonnen was lying.

If Bonnen's goal were really to make the 86th "the worst session in the history of the legislature for cities and counties"...don't you think the sick leave bill would have passed?!?

Instead, we got this:
AUSTIN — As the House heatedly debated a contentious bill late Friday that would prohibit municipalities from contracting with organizations that provide abortions, such as Planned Parenthood, Democrats in the chamber were preparing for more acrimonious battles in the last week of a legislative session that’s been characterized by its mild-tempered and collaborative tone.

Earlier that day, House committees voted out controversial bills that would make it harder to remove Confederate monuments from public places, prohibit cities from requiring private employers to provide paid sick leave, and stiffen penalties for providing false information on a voter registration application.

All of those bills were still eligible to be placed on the chamber’s agenda before an important procedural deadline Tuesday, as long as they made it through the House Calendars Committee over the weekend. But by Sunday night, when the committee met to set the agenda for Tuesday’s calendar, none of those Republican-authored bills made the list, leaving them all but dead very late in the session.

....

A group of Democrats began talking to House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, offering to withdraw amendments on the abortion-providers bill if he would consider leaving other divisive bills off the House calendar in the final week of the session.
But Bonnen totally hates cities.

Ignore results.

Bottom Line: Honestly, were not sure if Bonnen lying or the media being oblivious to Bonnen's lying is worse.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

#TXLEGE: Bernal Lets Cat out of Bag


"Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another."
Ephesians 4:25

This won't surprise anyone who was paying attention, nevertheless:
Well, yeah.

We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

That's why folks were angry.

Even if Dan Patrick claims to have "won" some alleged Super Bowl.

Bottom Line: About time somebody said it....

Monday, October 14, 2019

EXCLUSIVE: George P. Bush Political Operative getting $11k(+) monthly AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE


"The wicked prowl on every side,
When vileness is exalted among the sons of men."
Psalm 12:8

Ten days ago, we wrote a blog post about George P. Bush's thinly disguised political ambitions.  In the course of writing said post, we deduced that several media stories had been planted by some dude named "J.R. Hernandez."  By itself, there's nothing wrong with this.  That's the job of a campaign flack.

But it did get us curious about this "J.R. Hernandez" character.

Less than a minute of research yielded the following Twitter account:


Hang on a second...is this person a state employee?!?

30 more seconds yielded this LinkedIn account:



Not only is this "J.R. Hernandez" fella a state employee, he brags about double dipping at campaign and taxpayer expense in a public forum.

[Note: Technically, this is probably legal in Texas.  That doesn't make it ethical or moral.  The potential conflicts of interest are obvious.]

At this point, we decided to send an open records request to the General Land Office for this "J.R. Hernandez" figure's compensation records.

This is where things get REALLY interesting.

According to General Land Office records, on February 1, 2015 George P. Bush hired one "Hernandez, John" as his chief of staff for the low, low price of $10,583.33 per month (aka. $127k annually):


On January 1, 2017 this same "Hernandez, John R." was given a new position and a raise to $10,847.91 per month (aka. $130k(+) annually):


On April 1, 2018 George P. Bush chose to recognize "Hernandez, John R." via a one time 'merit' payment of more than $5200.  As the documents show, this was a de facto 4% pay increase.  That being said, we do appreciate the irony of recognizing a Bush crony for their alleged 'merit' on April Fools Day:


On March 1 of this year, "Hernandez, John R." got yet another raise to $11,281.83 per month (aka. $135k(+) annually):


As of the time of publication, the Texas General Land office is paying this "J.R. Hernandez" personality over $135,000 annually.

Keep in mind: This taxpayer funded salary is in addition to whatever compensation "J.R. Hernandez" is receiving from George P. Bush's campaign.

But wait...there's more!!!

On his application for the position with the General Land Office, "J.R. Hernandez" listed his campaign position under 'previous experience."  Again, by itself, that's not particularly noteworthy.  However, what is noteworthy is that HE LEFT THE "SPECIFIC REASON FOR LEAVING" SECTION BLANK:


Bottom Line: Given that we're talking about Texas state government, perhaps this shouldn't surprise.  Furthermore, given that we're talking about the Bushes, perhaps this should surprise even less.  That doesn't make any of it right.

-------

The full General Land Office document release is available below; the information cited in this blog post is located on pages 12, 20-22, and 28:

Saturday, October 12, 2019

#TXLEGE: A Good Summary on Where Things Stand re: Bonnen


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

Amen Rich:

Pretty much.

These clowns had the opportunity to put this scandal behind them two months agoThey chose to stonewallNext week will present another opportunity to put this scandal in the rear view mirror.

It's an open question whether they take it (probably not).

At some point, the public will notice.

When that inevitably happens, the GOP will have no one to blame but themselves.

It's their call.

Bottom Line: We suspect pessimism is warranted....

Friday, October 11, 2019

#TXLEGE, #TXSEN: Fallon BETTER Have Gotten Something


"The end of a thing is better than its beginning;
The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit."
Ecclesiastes 7:8

Wimp:
State Sen. Pat Fallon, R-Prosper, has decided against a primary challenge to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn.

Fallon revealed the decision Thursday, about a month after he announced at a North Texas Tea Party meeting that he was exploring a run.

"Susan and I wanted to share that I will NOT be a candidate for US Senate in 2020," Fallon said in a statement to friends first shared with The Texas Tribune. "This was a difficult decision as I was personally looking forward to reaching ... thousands of fellow Texans and visiting with them, asking them what their thoughts, concerns and ideas are for our state and our country."

Fallon cited concerns about being away from his family — he has two young sons — as well as the $6 million price tag that he estimated would be the "bare minimum to be competitive for the GOP nomination."
This shouldn't surprise anyone.  Historically, Fallon has talked a bigger game than he's delivered.  There's a reason why we greeted Fallon's original announcement with the word "if."

Several sources have suggested that Fallon was "horse trading."  He made a political threat to get something in return.  It's a plausible hypothesis.

We certainly hope that's the case, because the alternative is too depressing.

Would it surprise anyone if Fallon was just...talking sh...running his mouth?!?  Politicians tend to be cowards.  Furthermore, unlike the "horse trading" hypothesis, the "talking out of his rear end" hypothesis is consistent with the level of political savvy Texas legislators usually demonstrate.

Bottom Line:  Keep an eye on Fallon's committee assignments and which low number bills he carries next session.  Hopefully, this gambit will produce something good.  At this point, however, color us skeptical.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

#TXLEGE: Be careful what you wish for (you just might get it)


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

Oh fun:
Empower Texans
October 10, 2019
Adam,
As has been widely reported, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey have all requested that the recording of my meeting with House Speaker Dennis Bonnen be released despite not listening to it themselves.
They have called for the release of the audio despite knowing: 
  • the recording was made for my personal protection and the protection of my family, staff, and organization; 
  • certain segments of the recording could cause harm to individuals and their families, and; 
  • specific statements by Speaker Bonnen in the recording could be used by Democrats to undermine the GOP. 
Because these Republican leaders continue to call for the recording to be made public and I have been given the green-light to do so by my legal team, I will release the audio next week.
Respectfully,
Michael Quinn Sullivan
To be honest, there's not a lot new we can say.  We said our piece after the scandal broke here.  After we heard the audio, we addressed its contents here.  The reason those two blog posts are so similar is because most conclusions surrounding this scandal are completely obvious.

Still, it's going to be fascinating to see how the R caucus reacts.

If they're smart, they'll use this as an opportunity to make the clean break they should have made months ago.  For as poorly as it's been handled, this scandal remains contained to two people.  Once Dennis Bonnen and Dustin Burrows leave the scene, this discussion goes away permanently.

Or they could gaslight themselves into denying the obvious...in which case they'll own the slow drip from now until election day.

We're not a gambling man; if we were, betting AGAINST the Republican caucus being smart is probably easy money.

Only time will tell.

Bottom Line: Regardless of how things play out, next week is going to be fun.