Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Glenn Beck discusses the insane "throuple" phenomenon

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
Isaiah 5:20

Cahnman's Musings had intended to discuss the Massachusetts 'throuple' story and the meaning of our society's descent into Dr. Seuss territory, but Glenn Beck beat us to the punch:


  • "It's not polygamy, it's a throuple!"
  • Doll, Kitten, & Bryn ... oh my.
  • "If there's four involved, it's a quadrouple!"

Update: Oh. My. Gosh!!!  The Dr. Seuss story we linked to above is actually available on YouTube:

History Lesson: The Sharpstown scandal of 1971

“As a partridge that broods but does not hatch,
So is he who gets riches, but not by right;
It will leave him in the midst of his days,
And at his end he will be a fool.”
Jeremiah 17:11

With the Wallace Hall impeachment fiasco falling to new depths of lunacy, it's worth revisiting another scandal that shook Texas government to the core in the early 1970's:
SHARPSTOWN STOCK-FRAUD SCANDAL. Texas went through one of its traditional and periodic governmental scandals in 1971–72, when federal accusations and then a series of state charges were leveled against nearly two dozen state officials and former state officials. Before normalcy returned, Texas politics had taken a slight shift to the left and had undergone a thorough housecleaning: the incumbent governor was labeled an unindicted coconspirator in a bribery case and lost his bid for reelection; the incumbent speaker of the House of Representatives and two associates were convicted felons; a popular three-term attorney general lost his job; an aggressive lieutenant governor's career was shattered; and half of the legislature was either intimidated out or voted out of office. The scandal centered, initially, on charges that state officials had made profitable quick-turnover bank-financed stock purchases in return for the passage of legislation desired by the financier, Houston businessman Frank W. Sharp. By the time the stock fraud scandal died down, state officials also had been charged with numerous other offenses-including nepotism and use of state-owned stamps to buy a pickup truck.


The political tumult that was to become known as the Sharpstown stock fraud scandal started out meekly, though symbolically, on the day Texas Democrats were gathering in Austin to celebrate their 1970 election victories and inaugurate their top officials. Attorneys for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, late in the afternoon of January 18, 1971, filed a lawsuit in Dallas federal court alleging stock fraud against former Democratic state attorney general Waggoner Carr, former state insurance commissioner John Osorio, Frank Sharp, and a number of other defendants. The civil suit also was filed against Sharp's corporations, including the Sharpstown State Bank and National Bankers Life Insurance Corporation. But it was deep down in the supporting material of the suit that the SEC lawyers hid the political bombshells. There it was alleged that Governor Preston Smith, state Democratic chairman and state banking board member Elmer Baum, House Speaker Gus Mutscher, Jr., Representative Tommy Shannon of Fort Worth, Rush McGinty (an aide to Mutscher), and others-none of them charged in the SEC's suit-had, in effect, been bribed. The plot, according to the SEC, was hatched by Sharp himself, who wanted passage of new state bank deposit insurance legislation that would benefit his own financial empire. The SEC said the scheme was for Sharp to grant more than $600,000 in loans from Sharpstown State Bank to the state officials, with the money then used to buy National Bankers Life stock, which would later be resold at huge profits as Sharp artificially inflated the value of his insurance company's stock. The quarter-of-a-million-dollar profits were, in fact, made. But they weren't arranged by Sharp, the SEC said, until after Governor Smith made it possible for Sharp's bank bills to be considered at a special legislative session in September 1969, and Mutscher and Shannon then hurriedly pushed the bills through the legislature. (Smith later vetoed the bills on the advice of the state's top bank law experts, but not until he and Baum had made their profits on the bank loan-stock purchase deal.)


The conviction of the Abilene Three dramatically advanced the momentum of the "reform" movement, coming less than three months before primary elections, at which more legislative seats were contested than in any year since World War II. (Redistricting decisions by the federal courts added to the high percentage of electoral challenges, but the Sharpstown scandal generally was credited as the main factor.) In statewide races "reform" candidates also dominated. The Democratic governor's race saw two newcomers-liberal legislator Frances (Sissy) Farenthold of Corpus Christi and conservative rancher-banker Dolph Briscoe of Uvalde-run far ahead of Governor Smith, who was seeking a third term as governor, and Lieutenant Governor Barnes, whose seemingly inexorable rise to political prominence was ended when his reputation was tainted by the scandal. Briscoe defeated Farenthold in the runoff and later was elected governor; but Republican candidate Henry Grover of Houston and Raza Unida Party candidate Ramsey Muñiz of Waco drew enough votes to make Briscoe Texas's first "minority" governor. For the state's second top executive branch job, voters chose moderate Houston newspaper executive William P. Hobby, Jr., over seven other Democratic candidates as lieutenant governor-also on a "reform" theme. Reform-minded moderate Democrat John Luke Hill of Houston, a former secretary of state, left a successful private law practice to defeat the popular three-term attorney general, Crawford C. Martin, who had been criticized for his handling of the stock fraud scandal and for his own relationship with Frank Sharp. The Democratic primary and the general election of 1972 also produced a striking change in the legislature's membership, including a half-new House roster and a higher-than-normal turnover in the Senate. Most of the newcomers were committed to "reform" in some fashion, regardless of their ideological persuasion.
 Read the whole thing here; read an old Houston Chronicle report here; read the Wikipedia entry here.

EXCLUSIVE: Comptroller Susan Combs, Early Voting, and the Local Debt Bomb

"The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower is servant to the lender.”
Proverbs 22:7

Early voting is underway in 79 separate municipal/school district bond elections, totaling $6.6 BILLION, across Texas.  While individual readers need to do their own due diligence on their own ISD and municipality, Cahnman's Musings spoke with Texas Comptroller Susan Combs about the big picture for local government debt. We've included the conversation in full:

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  • Combs put the info for her agency on her Fourth day in office.
  • Comptroller's Local Debt website:
    • Readers can find information for individual bonds and taxing entities.
  • Texas has the second highest local government debt per capita in the country.
    • School Districts = 54%
    • Average per student debt across Texas = $13,000
  • School Construction: Extremely difficult to find the info.
    • October 17th - Sent e-mail open records request to every school district in Texas
      • Some took up to 90 days to respond.
      • Texas law requires a response within 10 days.
    • Huge variation in cost per square foot and cost per student.
      • San Antonio was a particularly bad offender.
  • Debt Watch: Will show you the pattern.
    • Unfortunately, the comptroller has limited resources, so local citizens need to do a lot of the legwork.
  • HB/SB 14 (2013): Clearly not that had to put the data out, since the Comptroller has built the capability
    • Jim Pitts and Tommy Williams worked had on it during the 83rd, but it was killed by others.
      • Note: This website has been very critical of both Pitts and Williams, but they deserve credit for their work on this issue.
  • To fight debt: Folks "just need to talk about it more."
    • Speak to your local mayor and city council and school board member.
    • The Houston Chronicle didn't know the date of an upcoming bond election.
  • Capital Appreciation Bonds: "They scare me."
    • Sen. Hinojosa concerned.
    • Ticking time bomb
  • "Tell the truth, in words of one syllable...tell voters the truth."
  • Governments don't like to tell people what they need to know.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ken Paxton: A Taxpayer Champion

"But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God."
Nehamiah 5:15

This 2009 video illustrates how Ken Paxton has had the right friends for a long time:

Attorney General Abbott talks BLM

“If a man causes a field or vineyard to be grazed, and lets loose his animal, and it feeds in another man’s field, he shall make restitution from the best of his own field and the best of his own vineyard."
Exodus 22:5

Greg Abbott appeared on GB's TV show to discuss the BLM's assault on Texas; we apologize for Stu:


  • BLM is now claiming they've owned the land the whole time.
  • New York Times: "Quintessential Irresponsible Journalism."
  • Getting ready "to add my 31st lawsuit against the [Obama] administration."
  • They picked on the wrong state when they came to the state of Texas.

Monday, April 28, 2014

History Lesson: Dan Branch lobbies a pal!!!

"Look! The Lord God of heavenly forces
is chopping off the branches with terrible power.
The loftiest ones are about to be cut down
and the exalted laid low."
Isaiah 10:33 (CEV)

YIKES -- can you say crony capitalism?!?
[T]he Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union paid Branch and other lawyers in Winstead PC's Washington office $150,000 in 2001 and 2002 to lobby Congress for union facilities at the U.S. Energy Department.
In 2001 and 2002, George W. Bush was President of the United States.  That would be the same George W. Bush who gave Dan Branch a $5000 campaign donation last year.  In addition to his legislative record of dead babies, tax increases, and carrying water for corrupt university progressives, Dan Branch has also profited from insider connections with the Bush family.

Rick Perry explains his new hipster glasses

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,"
Ephesians 5:25

Apparently, Anita Perry digs hipsters:

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ken Paxton Defends Election Integrity

"He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?"
Luke 16:10-12

Ken Paxton discusses voter ID last fall:

Voter ID Avoids Voter Fraud Says Senator Ken... by dm_5199e59d96fe9


  • We [ie. Texas] have won the victory through the courts.
  • Obama and Eric Holder are suing us again.
  • "It's mystifying...unless there's something wrong."

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Latest Absurdity from Austin's Transportation Superiors

Shall I count pure those with the wicked scales,
And with the bag of deceitful weights?"
Micah 6:11

Because, if there's one solution to Austin's traffic challenges, it's to create massive additional disruption for the next 5-10 years:
Crossing the Lake

Project Connect planners are also deciding among three options that would cross Lady Bird Lake to connect an East Riverside Drive route to Trinity Street. The least expensive option, at approximately $175 million, is to build a new bridge over the lake. The bridge could also become a signature structure for the city, including access for cyclists and pedestrians. However, there are issues that would need to be resolved in advance, including traffic interaction on Trinity, diminished parking, special event conflicts, and even a potential conflict with the Waller Creek Boathouse.

The second option, at an estimated cost of $240 million, would be a short tunnel, starting a few hundred yards south of the lake and rising at Fourth and Trinity (thereby avoiding conflict with the boathouse). Furthermore, this would allow future connectivity to South Congress and South Lavaca, as well as future capacity/system expansion. But like the bridge option, the tunnel could also create problems affecting auto capacity, parking, and other issues at the northern portal, and possibly interfere with Convention Center operations. (There is also a question of whether the Federal Transportation Authority, a potential source of funding, would consider a tunnel cost-effective.)

The third option – a long tunnel extending all the way through Downtown and emerging at 15th Street – is by far the most expensive, at an estimated $475 million, and faces the same FTA issue. But it would include underground stations, would be less visible and obstructive, and provide greater reliability and capacity, accommodating higher speeds and higher frequencies, without having to interact with Downtown traffic. The long tunnel would avoid issues with the boathouse and also Sixth Street, and wouldn't interfere with Trinity Street.

Wallace Hall's Bombshell Leaked E-Mail

"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
John 8:32

A leaked e-mail has emerged from Wallace Hall to the President of UT Board of Regents that speaks for itself:

We'd summarize the contents, but Tony McDonald has beaten us to the punch:
  • Hall believes there has been a coordinated attempt by legislators and others to cover up the truth about scandals raging at the University of Texas.
  • University of Texas Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa first expressed an inability to work with University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers as early as 2010.
  • When asked to make plans for his voluntary retirement as President, Powers made demands of the UT Board of Regents that the Board was unable to deliver. When Powers was told that forced dismissal was not in the interest of the University, he stated that he did not care.
  • A majority of the members of the UT Board of Regents as well as Chancellor Cigarroa and Vice Chancellor Reyes agreed as late as December 2013 that there was a need to end President Powers’ tenure.
  • University of Texas President Bill Powers levied a threat at UT Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa in the presence of UT Vice Chancellor Pedro Reyes that compromised Cigarroa’s ability to perform his duties. This threat shortly preceded Cigarroa’s announcement of his own retirement.
  • Following the threat, Cigarroa prevented the Board of Regents from hearing a recommendation from Vice Chancellor Reyes that Powers be removed as President. Reyes apparently remains firm in his recommendation.
  • UT Board of Regents Chairman Paul Foster has refused to allow the Board to take an up-or-down vote on Powers’ employment due to pledges Foster made to a Senate committee.

Rick Perry meets David Asman in NYC

"Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea the son of Elah, king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done."
2 Kings 18:1-3

During his recent NYC trip, Governor Perry sat down with Cahnman's Musings' old family friend David Asman to discuss economics and Texas' recent success:


  • 30% of jobs in the last decade were in Texas.
  • "You don't see tech companies moving to New York."
  • Texas has the 3rd highest graduation rates in the country.
  • Note: We have to laugh when Perry talks about accountability in government schools, considering that he helped gut accountability in the government schools last session.
  • We agree 100% with Perry on immigration.

For some reason, the video player isn't loading; if you want to watch the video, you can follow the link.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ted Cruz makes PETA angry

"Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Genesis 1:28

Apparently, Ted Cruz went shopping yesterday, cue progressive outrage:
Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, issued a written statement criticizing the photo.

“If the rug is real, Ted Cruz's use of it reduces a majestic once-living being to a doormat,” she said. “Gunning down wildlife in order to make umbrella stands, rugs, and ornaments is frowned upon in the 21st century, as most people have come to learn from and be awe-inspired by the lives, intelligence, and social make-up of other living beings.”
We're sure PETA wants to extend similar protection to unborn babies....

Wallace Hall Update: Student Government retreats while committee hides

"But You, O God, shall bring them down to the pit of destruction;
Bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days;
But I will trust in You."
Psalm 55:23

Today's meeting of the Wallace Hall impeachment committee had already moved into executive session by the time we arrived.  Making matters better, the meeting was has held across the street in the Reagan building, rather than the Capitol.  As a friend we ran into shortly thereafter remarked: "Great Moment in Government Transparency!"

At the same time, it looks like the UT student government is getting cold feet:
Some Student Government members pulled their names off a resolution calling for the resignation of UT System Regent Wallace Hall, resulting in it not being brought up for formal discussion as scheduled on Tuesday, according to SG representatives.

“Know what you are sponsoring. I know a lot of people, once they understood the resolution, pulled their names off,” Liberal Arts Representative Sergio Cavazos said to the General Assembly at Tuesday’s Student Government meeting.

AR 4, “Calling for the Resignation of Regent Wallace Hall,” was initially on the agenda for Tuesday’s Student Government meeting, but was later removed and did not appear on the printed agenda handed out at the meeting.

Cavazos told the Horn that there was a “disconnect between the executive board and the legislative branch on the matter” and that they are working to build a relationship to improve communication.

“Not everybody knows who Regent Hall is or all the details on the matter, so that was the disconnect. People started pulling their names off because they didn’t really know what they were sponsoring,” Cavazos said.
Cahnman's Musings will continue to monitor the situation, but we doubt anything will happen today.


Update: Empower Texans has waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more here and here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

About Governor Perry: An Open Letter to Travis County Democrats

"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."
Exodus 20:16

Dear Travis County Democrats,

Following the nomination of Sarah Eckhadt, we were fine.  Our worst fears assuaged, Cahnman's Musings was looking to engage in activities not related to local politics.  Then you pull this bullshit:
Mr. Perry is the subject of a criminal investigation in Austin over his handling of the local district attorney’s drunken driving arrest and the state financing for a public corruption unit under the district attorney’s control.
The charge is frivolous and won't withstand minimal scrutiny, as Michael Quinn Sullivan explains:
Many elected officials called for her [Lehmberg] to step down, but she refused. Perry threatened to veto the unit’s funding if she did not, and then later made good on the promise, questioning the legitimacy of the office under her leadership.

The liberal activist group, Texans for Public Justice, which brought the complaint against Perry has a long history of dogging conservatives. A report by Texans for Lawsuit Reform described it as being set-up by “veteran operatives of leftist, out-of-state organizations.”

“TPJ’s main mode of derision is a steady stream of reports targeting campaign contributions,” the report noted.

The group “has used an array of slanted, self-published reports to criticize a select segment of this state’s political spectrum,” according to the report. “The targets of TPJ’s attacks are almost exclusively Republicans, business leaders and organizations, and those interested in the reform of Texas’ civil justice system.”


“Every decade or so, Travis County liberals trump up false charges and try to indict a sitting Republican official, garnering many headlines for claims that are ultimately thrown out or overturned in court,” said Sullivan. “Governor Perry's actions were completely consistent with the Texas Constitution and aimed at preventing an embarrassing and admitted law-breaker from administrating the state's public integrity unit.”
This isn't about the charge.  It's about using the Travis County DA's office to create a bad headline for a Texas Republican.  And the fact that they have the chutzpah to pull something like this after the egregious misconduct of Lehmberg reveals Travis County Democrats haven't changed.

And therein lies our word of caution to Travis County Democrats.

The Travis County D.A. isn't up until 2016.  Following sine die of the 84th Legislature, this website doesn't have any 2016 political priorities.  We don't care about the next President.  If y'all continue this bullshit, we will have nothing better to do with our time than to elect a conservative District Attorney in Travis County.  We might not get the D.A.'s office in '16, but we can come a lot closer and set things up to make your life miserable heading into 2020.

Do not underestimate our persistence.

The Travis County District Attorney has been abusing power for decades.  Liberty minded folks in Travis County have always let the D.A. slide.  It never seemed like removing the D.A. was worth the work it would take.  After this past week, it might be.  Choose your move carefully, Travis County Democrats.

Adam Cahn
Austin, TX
April 23, 2014

Rick Perry Tells Cuomo and DiBlasio to Pound Sand

"He trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him."
2 Kings 18:5

Following a suggestion we made late last year, Governor Perry is in NYC this week; Breitbart Texas reports:
New York City will get a brief taste of Lone Star State economics, as Texas Governor Rick Perry travels there to speak to various business leaders. TexasOne is hosting a reception from April 22-24, focused around Texas' pro-business policies and their positive effects on companies.

A press release from Perry's office stated that the governor plans to tout "Texas' message of low taxes, smart regulations, and job creation" during his brief stay in New York City.

TexasOne aims to market Texas "nationally and internationally as a prime business destination."

Indeed, Texas has consistently been ranked as one of the nation's best place to start a business and find a job. Perry's release pointed to a recent CNBC survey, which polled over 700 CEOs, has ranked Texas as the best U.S. state in which to conduct business for nine consecutive years.

Breitbart Texas has reported extensively on Texas' booming economy, which continues to extend into numerous industries.


Meanwhile, New York is home to one of the least business-friendly environments. CNBC ranked the state as the 49th best state to conduct business in.

It is not surprising that the Big Apple is rapidly losing inhabitants to Texan cities. Breitbart Texas previously reported on new data released by the federal government which shows that people from America's biggest cities, like New York and L.A., are moving to Texas cities. Using the new data, Bloomberg Businessweek compiled a list of the top fastest-growing large metros. Four Texas cities made the top ten: Austin (which ranked number one), San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas. The bountiful job market and business-friendly environment have unquestionably been the driving forces behind the ever-increasing populations in Texan cities.
Perry is also airing this ad while he's in New York:

As someone born and raised in NYC, this topic hits home.  New Yorkers who want to keep their guns and their money have an option.  Move to Texas!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dan Branch acts like "a total Jerk"

"Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Psalm 37:1-2...7

From the Facebook Page of Northeast Tarrant Tea Party President Julie McCarty:

For the record: Julie's experience is consistent with what we've heard about Branch from numerous sources.

Monday, April 21, 2014

178 Years Ago Today

"So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter."
2 Thessalonians 2:15

An AWESOME letter on the Battle of San Jacinto from TPPF's Brook Rollins, reprinted in full:
Juan Seguin had more reason than most to be discouraged.

As a youth, Seguin's father had traveled from the dangerous Texas frontier to the capital at Mexico City, and helped draft the liberal Mexican Constitution of 1824. Ten years later, as a man of 28, he saw that hopeful charter of relative liberty repealed by the dictator Santa Anna, and replaced with an autocratic order that offended his values as a free man. The next year, he was on the battlefield with the rebelling Texians, casting his lot with the Anglo settlers. They were newcomers versus the native-born Tejano and his deep San Antonio roots — but they fought for liberty, and that was enough.

Juan Seguin, a man of charisma and means, soon found himself in the embattled Alamo. His name entered the roll of heroes, but he was not among the dead. In the fortress’s final desperate days, he was entrusted with the last appeal from William Barret Travis — “Victory or Death!” — and so when the garrison fell, he was in central Texas, trying to scrape together what men he could for Sam Houston and the Alamo’s relief. Then he joined Houston on the Runaway Scrape, as the Texians uprooted themselves before the victorious dictator’s armies, and fled north and east from Santa Anna’s vengeance.

This was Juan Seguin’s life and experience on the morning of April 21st, 1836. He had seen his father’s work for liberty eradicated. He had seen his own life as a free citizen ended. He had seen his comrades in arms exterminated. He had seen his native land, his Texas, conquered and despoiled. He had seen a great flight of an entire nation. And he himself had fled with them.

On that morning, one hundred seventy-eight years ago today, that was what Juan Seguin knew. A lifetime of fighting for liberty — and losing. And he was with an army of Texians with largely the same experience. There were no rational grounds for hope. There were no reasonable expectations of victory. There were no decent prospects for Texas. “Victory or Death” was, by any calculation, now “Death or Exile.”

On that evening, one hundred seventy-eight years ago today, Juan Seguin knew something radically different. He and his Tejanos, shouting “Recuerden el Alamo!” had joined Houston’s Texians in one last desperate charge — and won. On that field at San Jacinto, whose fight we remember now, it was one last expression of bravery, one last exertion of courage, one last show of will, one last gesture of defiance that transformed defeat into victory. Juan Seguin woke up that morning a beaten man in a beaten cause. He slept that night a free citizen of the Republic of Texas.

And when Santa Anna’s garrison yielded the ruins of the Alamo a few weeks later, it was Juan Seguin who accepted the surrender.

On this 178th anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, we remember Juan Seguin and the band of brave Texians who won a nation on a small field against long odds. His name is one among many whom we rightly recall as having secured the liberty that is our birthright as Texans today: Houston, Rusk, Burleson, Lamar, Smith, and so many others. As a battle, it was significant beyond its scope. Visitors to the San Jacinto Monument today can read the historical consequences inscribed upon the stone:

"Measured by its results, San Jacinto was one of the decisive battles of the world. The freedom of Texas from Mexico won here led to annexation and to the Mexican-American War, resulting in the acquisition by the United States of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma. Almost one-third of the present area of the American Nation, nearly a million square miles of territory, changed sovereignty.
That’s one way to measure it. But to assess San Jacinto from a political or even a historical standpoint is to miss its true significance. The Battle of San Jacinto, in the end, is not an episode of history for history’s sake. The story of Juan Seguin and his fellow Texians and Tejanos illustrate its true significance: it was a culminating moment in the hearts of men who burned for liberty, for themselves and for those they loved. They fought, and lost, and fought, and lost again — until they won.

If we understand San Jacinto, then, it is not a memorial of what we did yesterday. It is an instruction on what we should do today. We, the inheritors of Texas, if we are Texans, "worthy of all they had been and meant,” must look backward to their relentless endurance and steadfast heroism — and see our future.

Brooke L. Rollins 
President and CEO

Saturday, April 19, 2014

UT Football Spring Game 2014: Our Pictures

"However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”
Mark 5:19

Cahnman's Musings said it on Facebook:

This website knows you don't care about the miracles that show up in DKR stadium; but they're real; enjoy the pictures:

But yah, it's cool:

Friday, April 18, 2014

Trolling for Offense at Calvary

"But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless."
Titus 3:9

Well, THIS is awkward; it's not often we agree with Bud Kennedy, but he reports the relevant detail of the H-E-B ISD Good Friday kerfuffle:
Some students thought Friday would be a holiday.

Now, thanks to the icy winter, it’s a school day.


Good Friday was one of two makeup “snow days” written into the H-E-B calendar more than a year ago, district spokeswoman Judy Ramos said.

(Many schools use Good Friday and Memorial Day as makeup days instead of adding school days on Saturdays or extending the calendar into June.)

Parents were notified in a January email newsletter that Good Friday and also a half-day of school on May 30 would make up for ice days Dec. 6 and 9, Ramos said.


“I was concerned why we were having a makeup day Good Friday, and they informed me this has been going on for years,” he said.


The district needs a parent’s note or some written proof to qualify for what little money the state of Texas provides.  [Emphasis added]
In other words, the root cause is strings attached to education funding that comes from Austin.  This is certainly a teachable moment for local control and parental choice in education.  But it's no assault on the free exercise clause.

There are plenty of genuine examples of government schools suppressing the gospel; just this morning, we learned about this case out of Missouri.  But this Tarrant County case isn't one of them.  Crying wolf over small potatoes isn't helpful.

Sigmund Freud is rumored to have said "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."  Similarly, sometimes a bad decision by government school bureaucrats is just a bad decision by government school bureaucrats.  Get over yourselves....

Thursday, April 17, 2014

TPPF's Fantastic Sales Tax Proposal

"But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God."
Nehemiah 5:15

Leave it to the good folks at TPPF to come up with an economic solution to a political problem!!!

The budget debacle of the 83rd Texas Legislature was the result of poor incentives.  The arcane details of the budget process offer large political rewards for increasing spending, while the political benefit of cutting spending is minimal.  TPPF's proposal alters that incentive structure.

If enacted, TPPF's proposal would create a Sales Tax Relief Fund:
To help sustain economic growth in Texas by reducing the growth in government spending, the Legislature should create a Sales Tax Relief (STaR) Fund that could temporarily reduce the state’s sales tax rate in order to return excess revenue to Texas taxpayers. The STaR Fund will be funded in two ways:

“appropriations” by the Texas Legislature directly to the STaR Fund, and

• funds in excess of the ESF’s cap would flow directly into the STaR Fund rather than back into general revenue.

The statute creating the STaR Fund would authorize the Comptroller to lower the sales tax rate for a certain period based on the amount in the STaR Fund.

To calculate how much the Comptroller would reduce the sales tax rate to exhaust these funds over a chosen period, the Comptroller would use the previous year’s sales tax revenue.
In other words, cuts in spending would get translated into immediate and identifiable tax relief instead of getting subsumed in the rest of the budget.

The rainy day fund provision, which might not be a huge deal in 2015, will become more important in the out years.  The Texas Constitution caps the RDF at $14.4 billion, with any additional revenue going into General Revenue.  If it goes into GR, it WILL be spent, whereas a STaR fund would transfer the revenue to direct tax relief.

This is a fantastic idea; obscure budget rules make it easy to spend and difficult to cut.  The problem, unfortunately, is that the same dirtbag politicians who spend all the money are the ones who would have to enact this reform.  But, if we could ever get it enacted, it would structurally alter the Texas Budget to spend less money.

Texas Lottery Commission attempting Casino Gambling backdoor

"Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need."
Ephesians 4:28

Sigh; what part of HELL NO do you people not understand?!?
Electronic devices similar to slot machines may soon be coming to bingo halls around Texas. The proposed devices, which give bingo players "video confirmation" of wins and losses, will be discussed by the Texas Lottery Commission on April 16. The proposition has surfaced a long-fought battle in Texas, over whether or not casino-style gambling should be made legal in the state.


Despite this, many oppose the new video bingo machines because they are similar to slot machines.

The Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas opposes casino-style gambling in the state. A spokesman from the group, Rob Kohler, told the Associated Press of the proposed machines, "This changes the gaming landscape in the state."


But Tony McDonald, General Counsel for the political advocacy group Empower Texans, said expanding gambling in Texas could hurt the state more than it helps.

McDonald told Breitbart Texas, "The gambling industry sells false hope for people who don't understand probabilities. The industry is designed to dazzle people and trick them out of their money. They give the free drinks for a reason--they want you to stick around. The longer you stay, the more likely you are to lose your money."

He said it is often the poorest individuals and families in society who end up getting gamed by the system.

McDonald also pointed out that historically, the lottery has not funneled a significant amount of revenue into the state.

"There is a big problem with the revenue argument," he said. "Supporters start trumpeting statistics of money going to the state from the lottery and people think, 'We're going to bring in tons of revenue for our schools.' But in reality, the money collected from the lottery each year only funds about three days of the school year."

Many assert that state-regulated bingo, which gives proceeds to charities rather than schools, is no more effective.


McDonald warned that as gambling becomes more popular in Texas, burdensome regulations in the state will only grow in size and scope.

"The problem is, when we talk about gambling, we're not talking about getting together in a room and having a poker game," he said. "We're not talking about a free activity in the market. Gambling is one of the most regulated industries in the U.S. By legalizing gambling, you're creating another stake holder in government."

He concluded by joking, "Battleground Texas would love nothing more than a cash cow of casinos to fund liberal Democrats."
Last session, there was a surprise opportunity to eliminate the Texas Lottery.  Unfortunately, Joe Straus killed it.  But if the Texas Lottery Commission is going to create loopholes for the casino gambling lobby, we ought to take another shot at them in 2015.


Concerned Texans can contact Texas Lottery Commission chairman Gary Greif via the following means:

Phone: 512-344-5160

West, TX: (Just Under) One Year Later

"Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world."
1 Peter 5:9

West, TX -- Last month, during a trip to Dallas, we made a pit-stop in West.  While in town, we drove by the site of last year's explosion.  These are our pictures:

The still pictures are a bit out of order, but this YouTube video surveys everything:


WFAA Dallas has a new video of the explosion:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

On Water, Trust, and the Texas Legislature

"Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah—all his might, and how he made a pool and a tunnel and brought water into the city—are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?"
2 Kings 20:20

This morning, we attended the Texas Public Policy Foundation's economics conference.  The event covered a number of topics, including an intriguing proposal to re-vamp the sales tax.  The topic that stands out, however, was water.

Federal Reserve Dallas president Richard Fisher gave the luncheon keynote.  He detailed Texas' stellar economic performance against the backdrop of Obama's national malaise.  Fischer identified water as Texas' biggest long-term economic challenge.

Demand for water is increasing while supply is going down.  The Texas Water Development Board estimates Texas will need to invest $231 Billion (with a B) over the next 50 years to meet demand (*).  As Fischer dryly noted: "You can't count on the Rainy Day Fund" for an investment of that magnitude.

Fischer urged the legislators in attendance to consider seriously the use of 100 year notes to finance Water infrastructure development.  He detailed how "some of our shrewdest operators" in the most recent credit cycle borrowed over a 100 year term.  When interest rates rise, wealth is redistributed from lenders to borrowers.  With interest rates near record lows, an opportunity exists to create a physical asset and pay for it with less valuable money later.  As Fisher predicted: "interest rates will rise in the next 100 years."

Going back to last year, when Governor Perry made a similar argument with us in a semi-private conversation, we've always found this argument the most persuasive.  There's a certain logic in saying that, since (due to decisions made outside Texas) the money is going to be worthless in a few years, we may as well convert it into something with intrinsic value.  The problem, unfortunately, is trust.

In 2013, the 83rd Texas Legislature had a gigantic surplus.  They blew through it, increased spending by 26%, and still had to raid the rainy day fund.  If you can't prioritize within a biannual budget, what makes us think you can successfully manage interest rate risk over the life of a 100 year note?!?

Using long-term debt to finance genuine water infrastructure development makes a certain type of financial sense.  Due to decisions made outside Texas, the money WILL be worthless in a few years.  Unfortunately, until Texas policymakers prove themselves trustworthy over smaller sums and shorter time frames, this sort of massive long term commitment remains a non-starter.


* For the record, we don't accept the $231 Billion figure, but we readily admit it will be a big number.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick foil obscure Common Core Backdoor

"Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees,
Who write misfortune,
Which they have prescribed."
Isaiah 10:1

An extraordinary story out of Houston, for which Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick deserve ample kudos:
The citizens of Texas owe a huge thanks to two Texas conservatives – Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick.

Because on March 24, 2014, Attorney General Greg Abbott released his 0pinion #GA-1047 answering Senator Dan Patrick‘s request #RQ-1152-GA filed last November:


if the liberals are going to be successful by-passing the Texas Legislature to spread federal “common core for babies” across Texas, they need an obscure taxing authority that no one will notice, led by persons willing to exceed their authority. Lucky for them, Texas has just that - The Harris County School Trustees – aka - Harris County Department of Education (HCDE.)

In 1889, the Texas Legislature assigned the operation of public schools to county school boards. Over the years, Texas moved away from county run schools to smaller independent school districts with thir own elected school boards. When Texas no longer zoned students to county schools, the Legislature repealed the laws governing county school systems.

It may sound far-fetched, but it is true. Even though all Harris County students moved to ISDs over 50 years ago, HCDE uses a loophole to continue to elect County School Trustees and collect a countywide school property tax passed way back in 1937. They disregard TEC 18.14 which dictates the distribution of county school tax funds directly to Harris County ISDs, and spend the funds as they see fit. To top it off, most people in Harris County don’t even know HCDE still exists, thus making it the perfect “obscure” taxing authority, led by persons willing to exceed their authority.

In the 1960s, with the daily operation of public schools no longer their focus, HCDE began working with LBJ to increase federal participation in our education system. Today, HCDE is so entrenched with the Feds and the liberal agenda, they are like a “Who’s-Who” of the democrat party and ideology.

President Obama’s Education Czar, Arne Duncan, visited HCDE in person. The HCDE press release called the visit "historic" with particular emphasis on "more investments in early childhood education."


But even worse…they stated that their long term plan was to use HCDE as their hub to spread this ACROSS TEXAS.

The liberals thought they could slip the tax increase through by simply saying “it is for the children.” But it didn’t work. County Judge Ed Emmett questioned the legality of their November 2013 petition, and was backed up by the 14th Court of Appeals. It did not make it onto the ballot.

When word surfaced that liberals were going to try another petition in November of 2014, Senator Dan Patrick requested a legal opinion from the Attorney General . Because Greg Abbott is a true conservative who follows the letter of the law, his opinion released March 24, stopped it in its tracks.

But this does not mean the kids of Texas are safe. It simply means that the HCDE tax rate won’t be doubled to pay for it.


Why does HCDE even want to get involved?

Besides just supporting the liberal concept of bigger government, HCDE knows it is in trouble. People are starting to question the need for county school trustees in Harris County when 252 other counties in Texas abolished their county school boards decades ago –--- especially when HCDE is using our tax dollars to help turn Texas “blue.” HCDE is banking on their liberal friends in Washington putting pressure on the Texas Legislature to keep them open. The HCDE superintendent was heard saying that the Pre-K initiative would make HCDE so big that even the Texas Legislature would not be able to touch them.

Conservative Texas Representative Debbie Riddle tried to halt HCDE’s liberal agenda last session with HB945. HCDE spent hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars on lobbyists to fight against Rep Riddle’s bill. The lobbyists lined up Alma Allen and other liberals on the House Education Committee with "Republican" Rep Dan Huberty to keep HCDE operational. And it worked. HB945 bill did not get out of committee.

But, Rep Riddle was successful in getting the House Education Committee to take a closer look at HCDE in the interim so HCDE is spending hundreds of thousands of of our county education dollars again to hire lobbyists. Rob Eissler, the ex-chair of the Texas House Education Committee and one of Straus' ex-lieutenants, who was kicked out of office by his constituants and replaced with true conservative, Steve Toth, is one of them - a "Republican" who will rake in taxpayer money helping the liberals forward their agenda.

So now, like Paul Harvey listeners, you know “the rest of the story.”

Greg Abbott’s legal opinion answering Sen Dan Patrick’s question concerning HCDE’s tax increase was much more than a simple tax question. It stopped the liberals from abusing the law and holding an illegal tax election to fund the expansion of Obama’s Pre-K Initiative in Texas.
Read the whole thing, complete with financial ties to national progressive groups, here.


It's worth noting that both Abbott's and Patrick's efforts came from the offices they currently hold, NOT their campaigns.  That they were able to score this critical victory while simultaneously running statewide campaigns reveals the diligence and multitasking abilities of both men.  Kudos to both!!!