Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Austin startup helps local homeless charity (cost effectively) meet objectives

"So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver."
2 Corinthians 9:7

[Author's Note: Through one of our employers, we've worked with Mobile Loaves for close to three years.  We have consistently found them to be one of the smartest relief and recovery organizations we've ever seen.  While this news report was the first we learned of this particular partnership, it doesn't surprise us in the least to see MLF involved.]

THIS is how that whole civil society thing is supposed to be done:


  • People are expected to begin moving in next April.
  • Donations go to community.
  • You can share with anyone you choose.
See the full KVUE report here.  Learn more about Gridmates here.  Learn more about Mobile Loaves here.

Trapping Outsiders via "Speech Rules"

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

Fantastic new piece from Watchdog:
The insider is Joe Straus, speaker of the Texas House. The outsider is Michael Quinn Sullivan, head of the very conservative advocacy nonprofit Empower Texans.

In June the commission — several of its members are Straus appointees — fined Sullivan $10,000 for failing to register as a lobbyist. The fine followed a complaint filed against Sullivan by state Rep. Jim Keffer and former state Rep. Vicki Truitt, who were given low grades for their political performance by Empower Texans.

The commission, independent of legislative action, announced last month that henceforth, political groups like Empower Texans that spend 20 percent of their time or money on politics would have to register with the state and disclose the names of all of their donors or risk felony charges.


This is the essence of “dark money” regulation. It takes rules meant to keep politicians honest and applies them to ordinary citizens, forcing them to maintain and publish exhaustive reports on their activities and finances in perpetuity.

“The only reason that there’s disclosure required of candidates and officeholders is that the power of the sword rests with these guys,” Sullivan said. “What power does the Home School Coalition have? They can’t regulate anyone, they can’t tax anyone, they can’t imprison anyone. The only thing they have is the power to speak.”


Sullivan is among the most ferocious and visible combatants. The former lobbyist and press secretary for Ron Paul is consistently portrayed by the media as radically conservative. His assessments of Republicans who aren’t sufficiently conservative are unsparing.

In each legislative session, Empower Texans produces a scorecard, ranking lawmakers’ votes on tax, spending and regulatory issues. Since becoming speaker in a Republican palace coup six years ago, Straus and his allies have consistently ranked in the bottom half of Sullivan’s card.

At the urging of Empower Texans, the grassroots of the Republican Party have brought successful primary challenges against several Straus allies over the past few election cycles. Truitt, a vocal ally of Straus, lost her seat in 2012 to a more conservative Giovanni Capriglione.

Not long after that, Truitt joined Keffer in a complaint against Sullivan that launched an investigation by the Ethics Commission that lasted for two years.

Straus, who has beaten back challenges to his leadership with the votes of the Democratic caucus and 11 fellow Republicans who turned against the rest of their colleagues, got behind a “dark money” bill in the previous legislative session that was widely seen as tailor-made for Sullivan.


The Texas Ethics Commission is famously toothless and sleepy. Until recently, it had gone years without issuing so much as a subpoena.

When Keffer and Truitt, the two Straus allies, filed their complaint in April 2012, the commission roused itself. It interpreted state law to mean that any “direct communication” with a lawmaker meant to “influence” anything they might ever vote on counts as lobbying and requires registration.

And if that wasn’t broad enough, Texas campaign finance law deems any “communication supporting or opposing a candidate … on an Internet website” to be reportable political advertising, whether or not any money changes hands.
 Read the whole thing here; more here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Abbott's disappointing prospective UT Regents

"And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come”?—as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just."
Romans 3:8

Three University of Texas System regents are on Gov.-elect Greg Abbott’s short list for chairman of the UT board, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

They are Paul L. Foster, the current chairman of the Board of Regents, and Regents R. Steven Hicks and Jeffery D. Hildebrand. All three are friendly with Abbott, having donated six-figure sums to his campaign. Even more important, they have expressed a desire to dial back the turmoil and dysfunction that have characterized the UT board in recent years.

Hicks or Hildebrand might have the best shot at the chairmanship, according to the sources, who said Abbott might want a different face in that role to signal a new era. Of the two, Hicks appears to have the edge at this juncture, according to the sources, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

“I think Abbott is very fond of Steve and knows Steve could do wonders in rebuilding relationships,” one source said.


Abbott, who will be inaugurated Jan. 20, will have a chance to put his stamp on the UT board in another way come Feb. 1, when the terms of Hicks and Regents Robert L. Stillwell and William Eugene “Gene” Powell expire. Unlike Hicks, the latter two are not expected to be reappointed.

Among the names being mentioned as possible appointees are Ardon Moore, who serves on the regents’ investment management board and is the chairman of Abbott’s inaugural committee; Charles Matthews, a retired vice president and general counsel for Exxon Mobil Corp.; and Jodie Jiles, an executive with Wheless Partners, an executive search firm.


Hicks has been perhaps the UT board’s strongest defender of the Austin campus and its president, Bill Powers, sparring from time to time in recent years with Powers’ severest critic and the board’s most controversial member, Wallace L. Hall Jr.
Read the whole thing here.

Dewhurst sells apartment to Karl Rove's wife

" While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage."
2 Peter 2:19

This is bizarre:
Dewhurst has listed unit 1003, his two-bedroom condo in the Westgate Tower, for more than $1 million. Two high-dollar independent lobbyists — Mindy Ellmer and Sabrina Brown — have joined with Karen Johnson Rove, the wife of political strategist Karl Rove, to purchase the Dewhurst property. Closing is expected next month.

The Westgate offers an ideal address for people who work in state politics, since it is steps from the west entrance of the Capitol. Apparently, some people think it might make a nice spot for wining and dining legislators, too.

Talk of the lobbyists’ plans to use the condo for parties for their clients prompted a letter from Connie Heyer, a lawyer for the condo owners association.

“The board understands that the purpose of the purchase would be to provide a venue for lobby entertaining,” Heyer wrote. “The residents have long expressed the desire to enforce and maintain the residential nature of the residential portion of the building.”


The lieutenant governor’s history of making real estate deals with lobbyists extends back to at least 2003, when he sold an Austin mansion to Texas lobbyist and former senator Dan Shelley. Dewhurst told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram at the time that he took a net loss when he sold the property for $1.95 million — $1 million more than he paid for it five years earlier. Dewhurst said he had invested “several hundred thousand” dollars in the house.

Another Dewhurst property also was recently on the market.

The campaign committee of the lieutenant governor took possession of a white-columned estate in Austin’s tony Old Enfield neighborhood earlier this year when Dewhurst reached an agreement with Kenneth “Buddy” Barfield, who the lieutenant governor claimed stole money from his unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2012. The two sides reportedly agreed that Barfield would sign over the property to repay some of the money.
 Read the whole thing here.


Update: It gets better. Apparently, Mindy Ellmer is Charlie Geren's girlfriend.  Also, she's a taxpayer funded lobbyist whose clients include the Tarrant Regional Water District.

Learn more about the Tarrant Regional Water District here.

Bob Deuell's HILARIOUS, Whiny, Butthurt

"For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them;"
Proverbs 1:32

Outgoing Texas state Sen. Bob Deuell says he’s not angry or bitter. No, but hurt and dismay still register pretty strongly across his face.

In one of the biggest surprises of the political season, the staunchly conservative and widely respected senator was defeated by a virtual newcomer to Texas and politics.

And of all things, Bob Hall did it by branding Deuell a liberal.

“To call me a liberal? It’s just ridiculous,” the Greenville Republican said over lunch in these waning days of his 12 years in office.


The disengagement of mainstream conservatives and citizens in general is one of Deuell’s biggest concerns. “I have people talking to me all the time about the next legislative session. I say, ‘But I lost.’ And they say ‘Really? When was the election?’”

Deuell, a 64-year-old family physician, tries to be philosophical about this unplanned change in life. “I have more time to practice medicine, so my income has gone up significantly,” he said.


He is troubled, however. “I’m concerned for my district. I’m concerned for my state.”

Knee-jerk, sound-bite conservatism is driving out thoughtful, common-sense conservatism, he said.

A perfect example is needle exchanges for drug addicts. Texas is the only state that won’t pay for them. Deuell repeatedly bucked members of his own party in trying to bring Texas in line with well-proven, life-saving, money-saving public policy.


He expects a long, difficult legislative session next year as the new crop of tea party officeholders are caught between their campaign rhetoric and economic reality.

“I think there’s just this angry movement out there,” he said. “The genesis was directed at Washington, which does have a spending problem. But then they turned that anger toward state government. In medicine, we call that displaced anger.”
 Read the whole thing here.


A few thoughts:

  1. We first became aware of Bob Deuell during the debate over the budget last year when we watched Wendy Davis sing his praises; keep in mind, this was a month or so before the filibuster that made her politically radioactive.
  2. Deuell filed legislation to expand Obamacare in Texas; credit where it's due (or Dew), Dewhurst killed it.
  3. This is the biggest sense of entitlement we've seen from an outgoing legislator since former U.S. Senator Bob Bennett failed to capture re-nomination in Utah.

Monday, December 29, 2014

"So you're NOT Dead (yet)": An Open Letter to Hugh Hefner

"And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
John 3:19


Congratulations on cheating the reaper again AND making people look like fools on Facebook as part of the process.

But that means we need to talk.

Once again, in HIS Grace, God the Father has given you the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as your personal LORD and SAVIOR.

I strongly suggest you take him up on the offer.

You and I both know that your bizarre sex life isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Furthermore, we also both know that the Playboy Mansion hasn't been properly maintained in 40 years.  And I knew that before Kendra spoke.

But you have one more chance: REPENT and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.

If you fail to do so, you will have no one to blame but yourself, and eternity is a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time.

Adam Cahn
Austin, TX
December 29, 2014

Identifying the #TXLEGE good guys

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

The funny thing is that Jonathan Sickland made a good point on social media:

Which, to be honest, reflects our personal views:

But thank goodness for the good guys!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Villalba Protects Straus

"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ."
2 Corinthians 11:13

Earlier tonight, this website published a piece about Jason Villalba's refusal to debate the Speaker's race at home; it begat the following response:
This is a cop-out.

Villalba and Rinaldi were originally scheduled to debate tomorrow; Villalba's tweet is an attempt to stall while he shops for a friendly audience.

Villalba wants to run out the clock.  If he faces in district questioning, that will make it harder.  Thus, he prefers Austin in two weeks to Dallas tomorrow.

Make no mistake: An Austin event is easier for this author to attend.  But Villalba lives in Dallas.  It's telling that he would rather appear in our hometown than his own.

As Matt Beebe Says:
Rinaldi follows up:
This author proposed a compromise:
Which, upon being ignored, we proposed again:
But nobody wants to make things interesting:
Which, once again, begs the real question: Why not have Matt Rinaldi and Jason Villalba debate tomorrow night in Dallas then have Scott Turner and Joe Straus debate on January 12th in Austin (we don't care if Evan Smith or Scott Braddock moderates)?!?

Jason Villalba refuses to debate Speaker's Race

"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ."
2 Corinthians 11:13

Press Release from Matt Rinaldi:
Irving, TX--Rep.-Elect Matt Rinaldi called out Rep. Jason Villalba Saturday night for his refusal to debate about the upcoming Texas Speaker's race on radio. Talk show host Debbie Georgatos invited Rinaldi and Villalba to debate on Dallas radio station 660AM Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. Villalba refused to debate and refused to go on air prior to Rinaldi to vocalize his support for Joe Straus.

Commenting on Villalba's actions, Rinaldi said, "It's unfortunate that Rep. Villalba is unwilling to be challenged on the tough questions surrounding the Speaker's race. I hope my colleague will reverse his decision and allow our constituents to hear a substantive discussion about the leadership and direction of our state."

For more information on Matt Rinaldi please visit or follow Matt Rinaldi on Twitter @MattRinaldiTX
 But remember, "there is no speakers race."

Friday, December 26, 2014

Bud Kennedy throws a tantrum over photo

"But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive."
Genesis 50:20

Earlier today, this website posted two pieces about Tarrant County representative Craig Goldman.  To illustrate those pieces this author selected a photo at random from a Google Image search.  This prompted the following direct message on Twitter from Bud Kennedy:

While Kennedy's request was petty, we changed the photo as a CYA move.  That being said, by making such a childish demand, Kennedy made the image newsworthy and thus subject to fair use.  This is the image Kennedy didn't want readers to see, it shows Craig Goldman, who worked on the 2008 McCain campaign, in a McCain hat:

The next, more interesting, question is why Kennedy cared about this enough to throw a hissy fit.  Did Craig Goldman ask him to do it?!?  Does Goldman not want voters to be aware of his history with McCain?!?

On a related note, we find it interesting that the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reads this website in the first place.

John Wray ignoring his constituients

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

It looks like the successor to the disgraced Jim Pitts is following in his predecessor's footsteps:
To the Editor,
Voters sent a clear message Nov. 4, that we want a conservative Republican agenda in our state government. Now is the time for you to pay attention to make sure your representatives are going to adhere to those conservative ways. Session doesn’t begin until Jan. 13 and many representatives are planning to throw away their conservative platform they campaigned on. Remember, you vote for representatives and not leaders to do whatever they please. It is up to you to hold them accountable.
The first vote State Representatives will make will determine the entire 84th legislative session. I am referring to the race for Speaker of the Texas House. Unfortunately, Representative, John Wray plans to cast his vote for a proven left leaning “Republican,” Joe Straus. In case you are not aware, the Speaker chooses the committee chairs. Straus has a record for choosing liberal chairs that kill conservative legislation. We’re not talking about a few pieces, but rather, it’s being described as a war on conservatives.
The precinct chairs that make up the executive committee for the Ellis County Republican Party passed a resolution calling for State Rep.- elect John Wray to vote in favor for Scott Turner (against Joe Straus) as speaker of the Texas House. You can find this resolution in the Ellis County Conservatives Facebook group or on my page, Ashley Sellers-Ellis Co. GOP Precinct Chair 102. This resolution passed overwhelmingly at 20 for 6 against and 1 abstention. You will also find information on who Straus is and his war on conservatives. If you are not on Facebook, email me at and I will forward you this information.
So the question remains. Will our new representative listen to the constituents of District 10 and the voice of the Executive Committee of the ECRP and support a proven conservative? Surely our new representative elect John Wray won’t unite with the Democrats and vote Straus for Speaker to continue the war on conservatives.
There was a recent submission to the Elephant’s Ear about supporting our elected officials. It stated, “..The citizens of Ellis County want to have a voice in Austin. If it is absolutely clear that Joe Strauss will have all the votes necessary to win, then a vote against him will only guarantee that Ellis County will have very little power and say about what happens in Texas for the next two years. We will have made our point, but what will be the point? Instead, let us put our energy toward building a powerful ground game for the next Speaker election in two years…” I would disagree. We don’t need a bully that won’t allow us to have a voice if he didn’t get his way(Speaking about Straus). Yes, we could have a more powerful ground game for the next Speaker race (while not underestimating this one), but I would add that a Republican State Representative that aligns his agenda with Democrats will need to be replaced in the following primary.
Ashley Sellers,

Straus supporting Reps who had bills killed last session

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves."
Matthew 7:15

Perusing Joe Straus' record, we were struck by the number of Reps who had bills killed last session who nonetheless (inexplicably) support returning Straus to the speakership:


Craig Goldman:

Jodie Laubenberg:

Drew Springer:

James White:

Which begs the next question: What kind of Stockholm Syndrome does it take to return the leadership that killed your bills last session to the same position this coming session?!?

Craig Goldman Selectively Quotes Texas GOP Platform

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:16-17

In a recent Texas Tribune piece, Tarrant County Rep Craig Goldman made the following point:
House Republicans should “convene in caucus to determine, by secret ballot, their candidate for Speaker of the House,” reads the platform, which was adopted earlier this year at the state GOP convention. Rules should be “instituted … so that members may vote without risk of retribution by the prevailing party.”

Convention delegates from across the state saw the potential damage of publicly fracturing the party, so the platform calls for House Republicans “to vote as a unified body for their selected speaker candidate.”

Because I was entrusted with representing the citizens of House District 97, and because I will continue to do everything in my power to see that their values are upheld and their rights are protected, I will support Straus when our caucus convenes in January and brings the issue to a vote. I’m hopeful that a resolution will be reached in caucus, but should the vote be taken to the House floor, I’ll stand with my fellow Republicans and vote to re-elect Straus.
 Technically, Representative Goldman is correct; page 11 of the RPT platform states:
Texas House Leadership Caucus- As long as Texas House members choose the Speaker of the House, we call for the Republican members of the Texas House of Representatives to convene in caucus after each November general election to determine, by secret ballot, their candidate for Speaker of the House, and that rules be instituted to ensure the integrity and security of the secret 12 ballot, so that members may vote without risk of retribution by the prevailing party. We also call for the Republican members of the Texas House to vote as a unified body for their selected speaker candidate when the legislature convenes in regular session and a vote for speaker is called on the House floor.
You'll notice that pesky phrase "As long as Texas House members choose the Speaker of the House," which begs the question: What does the preceding plank of the RPT platform state?!?
Election of the Speaker of the House- We support an amendment to the Texas Constitution to make the Texas Speaker of the House a state wide elected position.
A quick perusal of the bills Rep. Goldman has pre-filed for the upcoming session shows that he has yet to support said constitutional amendment.

Which begs the real question: If Craig Goldman is soooooooooooooooooooooo committed to the RPT platform as it concerns the process of selecting the Texas House Speaker, why hasn't he proposed a constitutional amendment to make it a statewide elected position?!?


While we're on the subject of the RPT platform, Craig Goldman's silence on the reparative  therapy platform is deafening.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The True Meaning of Christmas

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Luke 2:8-14

Very well said:

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"Interpreting" the Bible

"knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."
2 Peter 1:20-21

A Fantastic Devotion from ICR this morning:
One basic reason why so many people seem to have trouble understanding the Bible is that they try to “interpret” it to fit their private opinions. The Greek word for “private” (idios) is related to such English words as “idiom” and “idiosyncrasy,” and this key passage warns us against any exposition of Scripture which is based on the teacher’s pet doctrinal or behavioral prejudices. A reader or hearer of the Word of God whose “heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing” will be unable to “understand” (Matthew 13:15) because he comes with his mind and heart already bound to his own opinions.
The Bible does not need to be “interpreted” at all. In every other New Testament reference to “interpretation,” except the one in our text (which means “explanation” or “exposition”), the meaning is simply “translation.” The Bible does, of course, need to be correctly translated from Greek and Hebrew into English and other national languages, but that is all. God is able to say what He means, and He wants to communicate His authoritative Word to men and women of obedient hearts, who are willing to devote diligent study to all the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15Hebrews 5:12-14), to obey them (James 1:22), and then teach them to others (2 Timothy 2:2, 24-26) carefully, and clearly, and graciously.
To such students of the Word, the promise is: “Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:3-5). HMM

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Jason Villalba calls citizen engagement "Big Brother"

"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ."
2 Corinthians 11:13

This certainly speaks for itself:

As one person said on Facebook: "The irony is that he mentions BigBrother while doing DoubleSpeak."

Airing #Festivus Grievances: An open letter to Joe Straus

"He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck,
Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."
Proverbs 29:1

Dear Joe,

It's that time of year:

Here are my personal 2014 #Festivus grievances:
  • You failed to support the border surge until a crisis made opposition politically untenable.
  • You abused your office to enable unqualified applicants to attend the University of Texas.
  • You publicly stated you do not care if said whistle blower "swings from a tree."
This list, while incomplete, speaks for itself.

Adam Cahn
Austin, TX
December 23, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

YCT releases priorities for the 84th #TXLEGE

"And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."
Hebrews 10:24-25

Once again, YCT shows why it's one of the best organizations monitoring government in this state:

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Texas continues to blow through Economic Records

"Honor the Lord with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine."
Proverbs 3:9-10

WOW, from TPPF:

New State-Level Employment Report:
Texas Sets Another Job Creation Record

Texas sets the fourth consecutive monthly record of job creation

AUSTIN – The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released state-level labor market data for November 2014. The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Fiscal Policy Economist Dr. Vance Ginn issued the following statement:

“When it comes to providing economic opportunity, Texas continues to set records. Last month the state set the fourth consecutive monthly record of annual job growth with a remarkable 441,200 total net nonfarm jobs added. These jobs added were almost 100,000 more than those added in second place California. Texas private sector employers created an impressive 409,700 net jobs alone.

“This record-setting pace of job creation helped lower the state’s unemployment rate to 4.9 percent, which is now 95 consecutive months at or below the national average. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas recently noted that more than 60 percent of all jobs added since 2000 were in the highest two wage quartiles. Jobs are plentiful and well-paying in Texas.

“In spite of a 45 percent decline in oil prices since July, Texas added 34,800 net nonfarm jobs in November. Texas is a highly diversified state that’s more resilient to oil price shocks than in the 1980s. In the 1980s, oil and gas activity was more than 20 percent of the state’s economy, but today it’s less than 15 percent. In addition, oil and gas jobs are only 2.6 percent of total nonfarm employment. The lower oil prices have led to cheaper gasoline prices translating into a cut in expenses for Texas families just in time for Christmas.

“Though Texas has seen good economic news, there are steps that the Texas Legislature could still take to further improve the economy, and insulate it from events. These steps include reducing the footprint of government by eliminating the margin tax, effectively limiting state spending, and creating a mechanism to slow state spending while temporarily cutting the state’s sales tax rate. By putting more power and money in the hands of Texans, the economic foundation that makes Texas prosperous for the neediest among us will be fruitful for everyone far into the future. This is something we can be thankful for in this season of good cheer.”
Vance Ginn, Ph.D. is an Economist in the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. 

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin, Texas.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Rabbi Lapin excoriates American Jewry

"Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.'
Numbers 11:1

Rabbi Lapin was on with GB this morning and BOY did he let his own people have it:


  • "You have a very large proportion of American Jews, a majority of American Jews, that has...forsaken the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and they've adopted...the sacred sacrament of secular fundamentalism."
  • Question for non-observant Jews: "If an invisible private detective followed you around 24/7, how long would it take him to discover that you are Jewish as opposed to a loyal member of the Democratic [sic] party?!?"
  • "If a Billion Muslims became Evangelical Christians tomorrow, would the world be a better place?!?"

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Charlie Geren accuses private citizen of "Embezzlement"

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

Gadzooks; from Michael Quinn Sullivan's personal blog:
Earlier today I received an email from a reporter at the Texas Tribune. The reporter is working on a profile of conservative State Rep. Scott Turner, who is running against Straus for the speakership. The reporter wanted my comments about a quote from “Republican” State Rep. Charlie Geren of Fort Worth.

Rather than address Turner’s candidacy and the issues he has raised about House governance, Geren and Straus are making their campaign about me. Geren told the reporter he was looking forward to using a Straus win “to show Tim Dunn how much money Michael Quinn Sullivan is embezzling from him.” (Tim is the chairman of Empower Texans’ board of directors.)

Embezzlement is a crime in Texas, one for which I have never been accused or convicted. So there’s Charlie Geren, recklessly committing per se defamation.


While I appreciate that the reporter didn’t want to be complicit in defamation, there is a recurring theme at play in the Straus Team: they bully, they accuse, they attack, and the media plays along or looks the other way.

But let’s go to the substance of the speakership race here. Joe Straus and Charlie Geren want to ignore the significant opposition to their failed leadership from Texas conservatives.

The GOP executive committees of Texas’ largest counties have endorsed Scott Turner’s candidacy, as have a large number of the State Republican Executive Committee members and grassroots groups from around the state. Joe Straus’ speakership has been rejected at every turn by conservative activists. House members supporting Straus demonstrate their allegiance is to the Austin establishment and not their constituents.


Joe Straus and his cronies represent those bad old days. They are upset that more and more Texans are seeing their fouls and responding to their strike-outs.
 Read the whole thing here.

Hall nominated for Texan of the Year

"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
Galatians 6:9

Well, well, well:
All Wallace Hall did was take on the most powerful people in Texas over the state’s most cherished institution.

All it cost him was years of having his name dragged through the mud, threats of being impeached from his position as a regent at the University of Texas and the lingering threat of an ongoing grand jury investigation.

His dogged fact-finding, though, led not only to an independent investigation about the link between politics and admissions at UT and its law school but it also contributed to the resignation of UT-Austin President Bill Powers, a Texas giant.

An independent firm is now investigating the connection between powerful people and UT’s admissions practices. The results could shake the state.

For his uncommon impact, Hall, 52, is a finalist for 2014 Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year.


Hall kept digging, even as he faced more scrutiny — not just as a regent, but in his business and his personal life. The Texas House, under Speaker Joe Straus, set up a special panel that considered impeachment. It settled on censure, something many people considered a vindication of Hall.


The drama is far from over, but the role played by Wallace Hall leaves a mark that won’t soon be forgotten in Austin’s halls of power.
Read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ted Cruz sets record straight

"Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong."
1 Corinthians 16:13

STC appeared with Bret Baier to clarify some of the nonsense folks have tried to spin about last weekend:


  • Notion he helped Reid: "That's just silliness."
  • The whole purpose was to force a vote on Amnesty.
  • He was clear with Reid and McConnell for a week in advance.
  • As a result of said vote, every D is on the record supporting amnesty.
    • A dozen criticized it when it happened.
  • "I believe in the primary process, I trust the grassroots."
  • Compares himself in D.C. to Uber; compares legacy D.C. culture to Taxi commissions.
  • "I'm not trying to play the Washington rules."

Casar under performs Obama by Eleven Points!!!

"Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it."
Matthew 24:26

A source e-mails:

Readers can view election results here; view district 4 boundaries here.

In other Casar related news, Battleground Texas let the cat out of the bag this morning:

That Casar received major league support from Battleground Texas has to be the least surprising news of this whole campaign; personally, we find it telling that neither side mentioned this until after the election.

Bottom Line: Not only did Battleground Texas get smoked statewide on November 4th.  Not only did three Republicans get elected to the Austin City Council last night.  But, even in their consolation prize in Northeast Austin, Battleground Texas' new golden boy trailed the previous golden boy by double digits.


University of Texas solicits Public Input into Presidential Search

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

THERE'S an interesting fact they haven't publicized:

Public invited to offer input, nominations for UT Austin president

AUSTIN – Members of the public may submit nominations for the next president of the University of Texas at Austin via a UT System website launched today, Board of Regents Chairman Paul L. Foster announced.
The website also provides a tentative timeline for the search process and gives the public the opportunity to offer comments about the successor to UT Austin President Bill Powers, who announced he will step down June 5, 2015.
The UT Austin Presidential Search Advisory Committee, which was named in September, will hold its second meeting Tuesday. Though meetings will not be open to the public, updates will be provided on the search website.
Spencer Stuart, an executive search consulting firm, is assisting the UT System with the national search. The firm’s experts already have assembled an extensive list of potential candidates who they have sought out or have expressed interest in the position.
Ultimately, the search advisory committee will make recommendations for potential candidates to the Board of Regents, which will make the final decision.
“I encourage members of the UT Austin community and beyond to provide input as we make this very critical decision,” Foster said. “UT Austin is one of the most influential institutions in the world, and we want to do everything in our power to find an energetic and innovative leader who will continue to enhance and advance UT Austin’s education, research and health care missions.”
 Readers can access the Presidential search website here.

UT Corruption BOMBSHELL: Pay-to-Play Admissions

"He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck,
Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."
Proverbs 29:1

We already knew the institution was financially corrupt, and that the admissions process is corrupt, so it makes sense that there's financial corruption in the admissions process:
On Jan. 31, 2013, Leslie Cedar, CEO of the Texas Exes, wrote to Tom Gilligan, dean of the McCombs School of Business, suggesting Gilligan admit a student who had been rejected in exchange for a $25,000 donation, according to one of the emails.
Tom Gilligan, dean of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, was willing to admit a connected student in exchange for a $25,000 donation.
Tom Gilligan, dean of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, was willing to admit a connected student in exchange for a $25,000 donation.
The applicant’s father, apparently, “hasn’t done much giving but was about to cut you a 25k check,” Cedar wrote. The original request came from RichardLeshin, former president of the Texas Exes, who is close to Powers and to South Texas power brokers Carlos Zaffirini and his wife, state Sen. Judith Zaffirini.
Earlier this year, Leshin, a Corpus Christi lawyer, wrote an op-ed in the San Antonio Express-News denouncing as “outlandish propaganda” reports that UT was admitting subpar students because of political influence.
Gilligan got back to Cedar and Leshin within a half hour, offering a deal in which the applicant “will be admitted into McCombs upon completing several of the prerequisites (e.g. Calculus, Statistics, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics) with good grades (around a 3.5 GPA). Will that work?”
Gilligan declined to comment.
Leshin is a founding member of the Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education, a group of Longhorn insiders established to maintain the status quo at UT. Members of the coalition and the alumni association have been quoted in dozens of news articles, creating the appearance of broad support for Powers.
Far from being independent voices, the email records obtained by find the coalition and the alumni association often looped in on message coordination emails from Powers’ PR staff.
Founding members, in discussion among themselves, are quite open about the fact their group was formed for the express purpose of supporting Powers while blocking reform proposals from the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and that their talk of “excellence” is euphemistic “messaging” in defense of the status quo, the records show.
Cedar insists the Texas Exes’ “purpose is truly to be an independent and formidable network of supporters to champion the university.”
Yet in February 2013, when Powers’ hold on his job began to look tenuous, the Office of the President began paying the Texas Exes $100,000 every six months to support email blasts and other communications. The “game plan” for that campaign was coordinated with Powers’ deputy.
That was on top of the $158,600 that Powers had already approved in annual support for traditional alumni association activities, such as networking events, awards and scholarships.
 Read the whole thing here.