Thursday, November 30, 2017

Barton Retires; take a bow Texas Grassroots....

"So then each of us shall give account of himself to God."
Romans 14:12

At this point, we're sure you've heard:
Rep. Joe Barton, whose private life came under national scrutiny after sexual images he shared in an extramarital relationship were made public, won’t seek re-election.

The Ennis Republican announced his retirement in an interview Thursday with The Dallas Morning News, three weeks after saying he would seek an 18th term.


Still, his decision to share lewd messages, even if in a consensual context, drew rebukes from Republicans in his own district — with many of them already offering up potential replacements while warning that, if he remained on the ballot, he would hurt other GOP candidates.

Pressure grew Wednesday when state Sen. Konni Burton of Tarrant County, a tea party conservative, joined other local leaders in saying he should drop his 2018 plans.
At this point, we wish the Congressman the best an hope he gets help for whatever weird sense of loneliness led him to engage in the original behavior.  Politically, it also sets up an open seat Congressional race where no one expected.  But there's another aspect that's worth considering.

Over the past couple months, we've watched the "pervnado" cascade with as much astonishment as anyone.  While certain figures in Hollywood and the national media have seen some accountability, so far that hasn't happened in politics.  In both parties, we've seen respective partisans rally around elected officials and candidates who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct for short term political reasons.

But that didn't happen with Joe Barton.

Reports of bad behavior from Barton first surfaced last Tuesday.  Then everyone took a couple days to catch their breath and digest the accusation.  On Friday, this website called for Barton's to go.  On Monday, that was followed by his county GOP chair and a prominent local activist.  Barton was already on the way out when the latest incident was disclosed yesterday.  Today, nine days later, he's gone.

[Note: It probably would have happened even quicker if Thanksgiving weekend hadn't occurred in the middle of all this.]

[Note II: While it's one project on this author's to do list that's no longer necessary, had Barton stubbornly doubled down, there could have been a statewide coalition letter by Saturday.]

The Texas Grassroots were the first major political block in the country who were confronted with a case of sexual misconduct in their own backyard who didn't close ranks.  The grassroots took the time necessary to fully and fairly assess the situation, but once it became clear we acted quickly.  And, because the grassroots in Texas acted with deliberate diligence, Joe Barton is leaving Congress.

Bottom Line: In a world where reflexive partisans are reflexively closing ranks behind their party's pervert politicians for short term political reasons, Texas' grassroots chose the honorable course regardless of political consequences.  That's a big deal that speaks well for our movement.  Congratulate yourselves.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Another Shoe Drops Against Barton (who, seriously, needs to go)

"It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness,
For a throne is established by righteousness."
Proverbs 16:12

An Arlington woman has shared a series of private messages — some with sexual overtones — she exchanged with U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, a week after he apologized for texting a nude photo of himself to another woman.

The messages, which were obtained by the Star-Telegram on Wednesday, included a mix of politics and questions about whether she was “wearing a tank top only..and no panties.”

Barton and the woman exchanged the Facebook messages in 2012 and 2013 while Barton was still married to his second wife, Terri.

The woman involved in the exchange, Kelly Canon, said she and Barton had been exchanging messages on Facebook Messenger for several years, mostly discussing politics.

“He took it a step too far on rare occasions,” said Canon, who is active in the Republican party. “He was very fascinated with my attire, to the point of being inappropriate.”

Barton, a 68-year-old Republican from Ennis, on Wednesday confirmed to the Star-Telegram that the message exchange took place.

“I will affirm I did have that exchange, but nothing more,” Barton said in a text message.

His consultant said he apologized to Canon.

Canon said Barton did not apologize to her about the Facebook messages, nor did she ask for an apology.

Canon shared a collection of messages, including Barton’s question about her wearing panties after midnight on June 13, 2012, followed by him asking, “right now?”


Other messages shared by Canon include:

On Oct. 2, 2013, Barton messaged her that “men are men...and u r definitely a sexy woman.”

When Canon responded that “all the good ones are married,” Barton replied: “I dont know about good..but I am married.”

“Well, that means you’re one of the ‘good’ ones, then!” Canon said.

“Thank u,” wrote Barton.

“Just calling ‘em as I see ‘em!” Canon wrote.

Barton replied: “but ...I am not thinking good thoughts at this moment...blush.”

Canon said she and Barton never had a physical relationship.

“Oh hell no,” she said when asked. “I never even considered that.”

Canon did say she believes it’s “inappropriate for a congressman to be talking to a constituent like that. ... He wouldn’t say that if I was a guy.”

Divorce records filed in Waxahachie show that Joe and Terri Barton were married May 29, 2004 and stopped living together on or around February 2014. Their divorce was signed Feb. 25, 2015.
  • Kelly Canon is a well known Tarrant County Activist.  We've known her for years.  She's instantly credible.
  • Once again, this is an elected official soliciting a private citizen.  That he's doing it through a Congressional Facebook page makes it abuse of office.  Neither is acceptable.
More From Facebook:

Konni Burton released a statement as we were writing this post:

The actual messages:

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Sayonara, Greg Abbott's credibility....

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


To understand the full significance of this move, consider recent history.

Greg Abbott, July 17th 2017:
Gov. Greg Abbott said that he would publicly call out lawmakers who didn’t support his 20-item legislative agenda while Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick came out swinging against House leadership during Monday appearances on the eve of Texas' special legislative session.

Abbott said he would aggressively hold lawmakers accountable for their positions on his legislative agenda and encouraged others to do the same.

“I’m going to be establishing a list,” he said in remarks before the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank. “We all need to establish lists that we publish on a daily basis to call people out — who is for this, who is against this, who has not taken a position yet. No one gets to hide.”
Drew Darby, two days later:
  • Darby, in response to question from this author: "I'm opposed to any lowering of the rollback rate" on property taxes.
  • Darby compares Abbott holding legislators accountable to parents threatening children during Christmas.
Then, of course, there's the fact that Darby was a key player in killing property tax reform during the regular session.

Bottom Line: With Abbott's previous endorsements, even if we didn't agree, there was a case to be made from his perspective.  That case doesn't exist for Drew Darby.  Drew Darby was a key player in killing Greg Abbott's agenda and any legislature where Drew Darby returns will do the same.

Fresh off Another Cover Up(/lousy football season) UT pushes forward Los Alamos bid

"And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
Genesis 11:4

We knew this was coming, but the arrogance of the timing still astonishes:
The University of Texas System Board of Regents today authorized submission of a formal bid on a federal contract to manage and operate Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Los Alamos is the nation’s preeminent national laboratory in the areas of nuclear weapons, nuclear nonproliferation, safeguards and security, environmental management, energy and other programs, one among the U.S. Department of Energy’s 17 national laboratories. Los Alamos, located about 30 miles outside of Santa Fe, N.M., operates under the auspices of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a semi-autonomous agency within the Department of Energy.

The Board’s action authorizes Chancellor William H. McRaven and Deputy Chancellor David E. Daniel, Ph.D., with the support of others as the Chancellor may determine, to respond to the Department of Energy’s final request for proposals (RFP) to manage and operate the Lab.

The Department of Energy’s RFP was published Oct. 25. Formal responses are due on Dec. 11, and the award of the contract is anticipated to be announced mid-spring 2018.

While the Regents’ vote was not unanimous, Chairman Sara Martinez Tucker expressed appreciation for the Board’s deliberation and views.

“It is understandable that there may be differing perspectives on a matter as complex as this, but this rare opportunity is too important for the University of Texas System to not actively seek,” Tucker said. “Healthy discussion in an atmosphere of transparency demands that we get all points of view among Board members out on the table. I appreciate the diversity of perspectives in this discussion and am grateful to the Regents for their thoughtfulness, commentary and diligence in reviewing the comprehensive materials presented to them.

“Los Alamos requires exceptional leadership and management. Our nation deserves no less. Therefore, we are directing Chancellor McRaven and the UT System to prepare the strongest possible case to assume this role,” Tucker added. “We want to put the System’s best foot forward and pursue the opportunity vigorously.”

Tucker also recognized McRaven for his efforts to identify appropriate opportunities to advance multiple UT institutions’ scientific and service missions, including an opportunity to generate additional resources for them.

  • We wrote back in August about how the University's cover-ups related to the Wallace Hall case should instantly disqualify them from this bid; we bring this up because they literally engaged in a new cover up six hours before the regents approved this bid.
  • No idea what it means, but interesting that the vote wasn't unanimous.
Bottom Line: If you haven't had a winning football season in five years, you aren't competent to manage nuclear weapons....

#TXLEGE: Pro-Status Quo Weasels attempting to wriggle out of BINDING Speaker Vote

"Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
But counselors of peace have joy."
Proverbs 12:20

[Note: Empower Texans has more here.]

With Team Straus' remnants attempting to undermine speaker selection process reforms, we signed onto the following coalition letter:

Monday, November 27, 2017

UT abruptly "settles" (aka. bribes/covers up) lawsuit over Fenves' arbitrary "Sexual Assault" policy

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

[Note: Learn about the origins of this case here.]

On the one hand, it's appalling; on the other hand, this is SUCH a UT politburo thing to do:
A settlement reached after about 45 minutes of closed-door negotiations has spared University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves from having to testify about the school’s sexual misconduct policy, and it also effectively cleared a male student who had been accused of such misconduct.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks said simply that the student’s lawsuit against UT and its president had been “concluded by settlement.”

Brian Roark, a lawyer for the student, told reporters that the student’s reinstatement last week by the university will remain in effect and that there will be no further review of the matter by the school. UT agreed to drop its plan to turn the matter over to an unnamed third party.

“There’s been a settlement,” Fenves told reporters. “I have no other comments to make. That’s all I can say at this time.”
A few thoughts:
  • Can't have a discussion in open court about the relationship between the university President and big donors, now can we?!?
  • What sort of astronomical sum will the final settlement be?!?
  • Meanwhile, they're in the process of raising tuition; in terms of cost controls, these sorts of settlements would be a good place to start.
Read the whole thing here.

Cruz outlines next step towards Telecommunications Freedom

Note: We found this picture through a Google image search...pretty cool 'eh?!?

"Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—"
Colossians 2:20

Repealing so-called net 'neutrality' is a good first step, but significantly more needs to be done:
the restoration of internet freedom may be short-lived, as there are already scores of politicians and state and local regulators who have indicated an interest in replicating the Obama administration’s fatally flawed rules at the state and local level. As harmful as the FCC’s rules have been for broadband investment and innovation, replacing such rules with a patchwork of state and local requirements would have an even more detrimental effect on the internet.

The Constitution’s Commerce Clause provides Congress with the power to regulate interstate commerce. Given that the internet permits consumers and businesses to connect to others in different states (as well as countries), broadband services are inherently interstate services and must therefore be protected from state and local interference. As the FCC rolls back the Obama-era regulations on the internet, it should also take the opportunity to affirmatively recognize this.

Allowing the Obama administration’s dangerous policy to infest the internet through state and local government mandates serves no purpose other than to stifle America’s entrepreneurial spirit, frustrate innovation, and block economic opportunity.

Steve Forbes recently raised concerns that allowing state and local regulators to recreate these regulations would create “a crazy quilt-like patchwork of state regulations governing the internet — unquestionably, the most border-free platform ever known to humanity. It would be chaos, and a massive deterrent to investment, innovation, and growth.”
Read the whole thing here.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Why is the DMN turning a Blind Eye to Joe Barton?!?

"It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness,
For a throne is established by righteousness."
Proverbs 16:12

Dallas Morning News this afternoon:
If Joe Barton's career ends because of a lewd video he sent to a lover five years ago, he'd be the rare congressman felled by a consensual, if icky, sex tape.


Can he survive? That depends. Barton has never been much of a public moralizer, which shields him from allegations of hypocrisy. He could have enough good will banked for constituents to forgive his foibles, and draw a bright line between seamy but private behavior and the sort of harassment and abuse of power allegations leveled at other politicians.

[Note: Emphasis added.]
Did we just read that right?!?  Did the Dallas Morning News just say that Barton engaged in neither "harassment" nor "abuse of power"?!?  Because that's what it looks like the DMN just said.

We explained this in detail yesterday, but nobody disputes that Joe Barton pursued sexual encounters with citizens who posted political comments to his Facebook page.  By definition, that's harassment.  That he was doing so on a Congressional Facebook page makes it, by definition, abuse of power.

It's literally both.

Bottom Line: Joe Must Go.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Joe Must Go

"It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness,
For a throne is established by righteousness."
Proverbs 16:12

This was quite the Thanksgiving day development:
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), who apologized Wednesday for a lewd photo of him that circulated on the Internet, told a woman to whom he had sent sexually explicit photos, videos and messages that he would report her to the Capitol Police because she could expose his behavior, according to a recording reviewed by The Washington Post.


The woman described encounters and contact spanning a five-year period that began online after she posted a message on Barton’s Facebook page in 2011, leading to the sexually explicit exchanges and ultimately a pair of physical sexual encounters in Washington and Texas. Over time, she said, she became aware of and corresponded with multiple other women who engaged in relationships with Barton, who represents a suburban Dallas district and is one of the most senior Republicans in the House.


The woman said Barton first reached out to her in 2011 after she posted a comment about politics on his Facebook page. As the two struck up a friendship, they would exchange messages for hours, including when he was on the House floor or in committee meetings, she said.

Soon, Barton began flirting, making suggestive comments and sending explicit messages, she said. She described feeling uncomfortable with his advances at first.

“He says to me, ‘Do you want me to send you a picture of myself?’ I said, ‘Oh no, no. Please do not do that.’ It kind of started there,” she said.

In the spring of 2012, the woman flew to Washington, where he gave her a tour of the Capitol building, she said. The two slept together during that visit, and he reimbursed her in cash for her flight, she said.

In 2014, she visited him in Texas, where the two slept together for the second and final time, she said. He again paid for her travel, she said. “I was in it for the politics connection,” the woman said of their relationship.“I was kind of unwittingly drawn into it with him because of just the amazement of having a connection to a congressman,” she said.
Which begs the natural follow up question:  On what planet is it acceptable for any elected official to pursue sexual encounters with any citizen who posts a political comment to their Facebook page?!?

The answer, obviously, is none.  It boggles the mind that we're even having this discussion.  But, we suppose, that's the sort of arrogance one builds up after three and a half decades in Congress.



What makes this case different?!?

Consider some factors about Joe Barton specifically:

  • The Facts of the Case aren't in Dispute -- Congressman Barton and the woman agree that Congressman Barton pursued sexual encounters with a citizen who posted a political comment to his Facebook page.  Nothing is "alleged."  That hasn't been the true for other recent incidents.

    Say what you will about Roy Moore and Al Franken (personally, we think they're both guilty), but there remains significant public debate about the veracity of the respective charges.

    Not so here: Congressman Joe Barton pursued sexual encounters with a citizen who posted a political comment to his Facebook page.
  • Congressman Barton abused his Office -- Joe Barton doesn't have a campaign Facebook page.  He has a Congressional page and a rarely used Personal page.  That means that, when Joe Barton pursued sexual encounters with a citizen who posted a political comment to his Facebook page, Joe Barton was pursuing sexual encounters with a citizen who political comment to his Facebook page as a sitting Congressman.
  • This website's jurisdiction -- This website knows how to stay in its lane.  We cover Texas.  This is a Texas case.

    Joe Barton is the first name to be named in Texas.

    We can't do anything about Roy Moore.  We can't do anything about Al Franken.  But, dammit, we can do something about Joe Barton.

Bottom Line: Under no circumstances is it acceptable for any elected official to pursue sexual encounters with any citizen who posts a political comment to their Facebook page.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

UT Board to Discuss McRaven's future (and Los Alamos) on Monday (behind closed doors)

"For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,"
2 Timothy 3:2

Holy afternoon before a major holiday document dump Batman; from the Inbox:

UT System Regents to meet Monday.

From the Agendabook:

#atxcouncil: Principles for the next City Manager

"It is a joy for the just to do justice,
But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity."
Proverbs 21:15

Big announcement yesterday afternoon:

The Statesman has a good round up about the finalists; suffice to say we don't share the Mayor's rosy assessment.

On that note, here are the principles we'd like to see guide the end of this process:
  • No Long Term Contracts -- If there's one lesson sports has taught during the past half decade, it's how the back end of long term contracts can bite you in the backside.  Nobody knows how the world will look in 6 or 7 years, and it's important to have the flexibility to respond to changing circumstances.  The same principle applies to local government.

    Thus, no commitments longer than three years.

    Personally, we'd like to see a one year deal with a council option for a second.
  • Avoid Sticker Shock -- There's a difference between a genuinely competitive compensation offer and one that disguises lavish opulence under that label; stick with the former.
  • Transparency in Compensation -- If necessary, we intend to file an open records request for "all compensation related documents" whenever a finalist is announced; that being said, it'd sure be nice to have the city release this information on their own before a final decision is made.
  • The City Manager works for the Elected Council, NOT VICE VERSA: The City Manager is the hired employee.  The elected city council is the boss.  This chain of command must be explicit.
Bottom Line: This is an opportunity for the city to rebuild trust.  They probably won't.  But they could....

WillCo RINO who opposed #TXLEGE property tax reform caught PERSONALLY Profiting from Property Tax Foreclosures

"For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed."
John 3:20

[Note: H/T to Empower Texans, we suggest you read their whole piece.]

There are few political hypocrites more loathsome than Williamson County "Republicans" who use a thin veneer of Austin-bashing to misdirect from their own crony capitalist misadventures; via KXAN:

You owe it to yourself to watch the full six minute report, but we'll excerpt the gist:
When Ken Tuck walked out to his Creek Ridge Lane mailbox last month, he didn’t know it, but he was walking right into some costly legal trouble.

He pulled an envelope from the box and the first thing he noticed was a law firm’s name in the top left corner: McCreary, Veselka, Bragg & Allen, P.C. The letter made it clear what this was about.

"NOTICE OF INTENT TO FILE FORECLOSURE LAWSUIT" was written across the top. Williamson County, Round Rock, Round Rock Independent School District all wanted tax dollars Tuck owed them. The total 2016 tax bill was $2,312.58.


He also didn’t know his mayor was the man behind the tax collection efforts, which led to the letter he was holding. That is, until we told him about it.


In 2013, the Round Rock City Council gave MVBA the right to do whatever it takes—legally—to collect millions of dollars from Round Rock businesses and city taxpayers. Since then, the law firm has collected nearly $622,000 in past due library fines, court fines and property taxes, according to city and Williamson County records.

The MVBA website shows, Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan heads one of the most lucrative arms of the law firm—the one responsible for Williamson County and Round Rock tax collections.
The KXAN report goes on to detail three separate contracts Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan's law firm received related to collection activity for various governmental entities in Williamson county; the TL,DR version:
The city told KXAN it did not put any of the three contracts out for competitive bidding, citing a state law that allows professional service contracts to be handed out without a bid process. That means a competing law firm would have had no way to know the contracts the city gave MVBA were up for grabs.

The city provided invoicing to KXAN showing $520,947.68 paid to MVBA between 2013 and August 2017 for municipal court and library collections. Williamson County tax office records show another $101,031.37 paid to MVBA on property tax collections.

Round Rock has a total of $2.2 million in delinquent taxes as of this report. If MVBA collected all outstanding Round Rock delinquent taxes, the firm would pocket $335,485. MVBA could earn $1.8 million if it collected all outstanding WIlliamson County taxes today.
This could be a local story of political corruption in Williamson County, except for one recent tidbit.

In late June, well-respected local activist Jeremy Story announced his campaign for HD-52.  HD-52 includes Round Rock.  At the time, Story was launching a primary challenge to Larry Gonzales, though Gonzales' subsequent retirement has re-classified this as an open seat race.

And how, pray tell, did Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan react to Jeremy's announcement?!?

In other words, it turns out that a local official who "doth protested too much" during the legislative debate over property taxes earlier this year was personally drawing income from property tax foreclosures.

Bottom Line:  We don't have time to lead it, but he deserves a recall campaign.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

LAWLESS FARCE masquerading as Paxton "Prosecution" grows ever more DISGRACEFUL

"Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place."
2 Corinthians 2:14

Direct Action Texas recently obtained a court document related to the Paxton case that George Gallagher (the second corrupt judge in the case) tried to seal.  In it, we learn several new pieces of the information about the depths to which the special prosecutors and Chris Oldner (the first corrupt judge) plumed to create their "indictment."  Lowlights include:
  • The special Prosecutors lied about the date one of their alleged "offenses" occurred because the statute of limitations had expired.
  • Lying about the definition of the term "investment advisor representative"
  • Allowing Chris Oldner to bully grand jurors during a time when their deliberations are supposed to be secret.
It's worth the 15 minutes it will take you to read the whole thing:

Bottom Line: This case needs to be dismissed...yesterday.

Monday, November 20, 2017

UT politburo moves forward on the tuition hike we predicted....

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
Matthew 6:24

This happened a week ago, but is still worth noting:
The University is collecting student input on a possible 2 percent tuition increase until Thursday.

The preliminary recommendations to increase tuition for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 academic years were announced by UT’s Tuition Policy Advisory Committee last Wednesday in an email that included an online feedback survey.

Under the recommendations, tuition would increase in both the 2018 and 2019 fall semesters by about $100 for in-state undergraduates and by about $370 for non-resident undergraduates. In-state graduate students would pay about $90 more both years, while tuition for out-of-state graduate students would increase by about $180 both years.

Executive Vice President Maurie McInnis, who co-chairs UT’s tuition committee, said the tuition increases are necessary because the University is implementing a $20 million budget cut due to decreased state funding.

“Even with a tuition increase, we are behind the amount needed just to keep doing everything that we are doing,” McInnis said. “It’s not new money and it doesn’t even make up for everything that we were cut. It just makes that cut less intense.”

The tuition increases are projected to bring an additional $10 million to the University, according to UT’s tuition webpage. Funding from the increases would go towards financial aid as well as operational and inflation costs, McInnis said.


After the survey closes Thursday, the committee will help UT President Gregory Fenves draft an official tuition proposal to be approved by the UT System Board of Regents (*) in February.

[Author's note: Emphasis added.]
* -- This is an extraordinary statement.  Note that they said "to be approved" not "subject to approval.  NEWSFLASH: Greg Fenves works for the Board of Regents, NOT the other way around.

 A few thoughts:

  • That it took us a week to address this story points to why there's a very good chance UT gets away with this: There are so many major stories constantly breaking that it's going to be difficult for any outside groups to put sustained pressure on the university.
  • That being said, there are signs this proposal is wildly unpopular on campus.  We suspect that if on-campus groups were to fight the tuition hike, they could win.  At a minimum, they could make it very embarrassing politically.
  • Dan Patrick has been remarkably silent on this subject compared to the last time UT pulled this stunt two years ago.
  • Political correctness on college campuses is the natural result of them having more money than they know what to do with; step 1 is to eliminate their ability to raise tuition at will.
Bottom Line: This was so predicable (which is why we predicted it).

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Longhorns Snag Upset they've needed ALL SEASON!!!

"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

Say what you will about this season...but we're going to a bowl game!!!

Reasonably healthy for the first time in a month, the Longhorns went into West Virgina this afternoon and snagged their first upset of the season after near-misses against USC, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State.  With the win, the Longhorns clinched a bowl appearance for the first time in three years.  An eight win season is now in the realm of the possible.

On offense, Sam Ehlinger, Toneil Carter, and Connor Williams all returned from injuries.  The result was an offense that finally came off of life support against a halfway decent team [Note: Baylor and Kansas don't count].  We'll take it.

The defense looked phenomenal.  They only gave up one touchdown all game (W. Va's first touchdown was a pick 6).  If the seniors return and they stay healthy (admittedly, two BIG "if's"), this unit could be scary good next year.

That being said, there was an ABSURD "targeting" call against Breckyn Hegar that led to his ejection.  The replay clearly showed that Hegar's momentum carried him into the quarterback (to say nothing of the fact that Hegar's facemask was grabbed on the same play).  Making matters that much more insulting, Hegar won't be eligible to play during the first half next week.

But today was good.

Bottom Line: Tom Herman has officially shown progress in his first season.  Injuries and the second toughest schedule in the country are now explanations, not excuses.  We'll see what happens in the final two games.

Friday, November 17, 2017

#TXLEGE: STRAUS DONOR launches challenge to Donna Campbell from Left

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

Sometimes, you just happen to be on Twitter at the right time:

You can view McClendon's website for yourself here, but it's nothing more than generic Republican rhetoric.

But, we wonder, who is this "Shannon Mcclendon" lady?!?

SHOT (Courtesy of 30 Seconds on Google):

Chaser (Courtesy of 2 minutes on the Texas "Ethics" commission's website):

[Note: Jeff Wentworth was the pro-Abortion Senator Donna Campbell replaced in 2012.]

Furthermore, you'll notice on the Straus donation, that it came on June 30th OF THIS YEAR; that means she supports Straus after his actions this past session.

Honestly, it took longer to capture and format the screenshots than it did to find this information.

Bottom Line: Donna Campbell might not be perfect, but she's light years better than this hack.

Cornyn's "Background Check" Bill is dumbest Federal Overreaction since post-9/11 "Intelligence reform"

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
2 Timothy 1:7

By now, we're sure you've heard about John Cornyn's latest anti-Second Amendment gambit.  We had originally intended to write a political post about how this was the final nail in his 2020 coffin.  But that point is obvious by now.

Instead, let's consider the stupidity of Cornyn's proposal:
The Texas Republican’s bill, known as the Fix NICS Act, tries to ensure federal and state authorities accurately report relevant information, including criminal history, to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

“For years, agencies and states haven’t complied with the law, failing to upload these critical records without consequence,” Cornyn said in a statement.

The NICS database is maintained by the FBI and used to determine if a prospective gun buyer has a criminal record or is ineligible to purchase a firearm. The database became the focus of national attention earlier this month after a man fired an assault rifle at a small church during Sunday morning services, killing 26 people and injuring scores others. After the shooting, the U.S. Air Force disclosed that it failed to report the gunman’s history of domestic assault to the database, which should have prohibited him from purchasing a firearm.

Cornyn’s bill requires federal agencies and states to draft plans for how to better report background information to NICS thoroughly and accurately. It also includes a provision to allocate resources to states to help them report felony and domestic abuse charges.


To hold agencies accountable, Cornyn's office said the bill sets up a system of incentives for agencies that comply and penalties for those that fail to.

[Note: Emphasis added.]
  • "Draft plans"= hiring bureaucrats.
  • "Allocate Resources" = spending money.
  • "Sets up a system of incentives" = hiring bureaucrats AND spending money.
In other words, Cornyn proposes to reward bureaucratic failure by giving the bureaucrats that just failed more employees and a bigger budget.

In 2004, George W. Bush signed the "Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act."  The law's stated purpose was to get U.S. intelligence agencies "to share intelliegence" after 9/11.  Specifically, the law created the new Office of National Intelligence.

You can learn more about the Office of National Intelligence's subsequent performance here and here.

Just like Dubya in 2004, John Cornyn in 2017 claims to "solve" a problem that was caused by too much bureaucracy by creating yet another bureaucracy.

Bottom Line: Cornyn's proposal is stupid.  When government bureaucracies fail, they should be eliminated, not expanded.  But at least politicians can go on TV and grandstand about how they're "doing something" (with other people's money)....


Senator John Cornyn: (512) 469-6034

Thursday, November 16, 2017

#TXLEGE: Sports Welfare Bill explains recent past; points way forward....

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

[Note: We didn't realize this until we sat down to write this blog post, but apparently the Governor's office has three separate programs related to "major events."  We had originally thought there was only one.  That just makes everything else we have to say that much more important.]

The Texas Association of Crony Capitalism "Business" released their 2017 legislative rankings this week.  Empower Texans has a good summary of that farce here.  But one details stands out.

The Major Events "Reimbursement" Program is a politically driven enterprise that allows the State of Texas to "reimburse" alleged "costs" for public spectacles such as the Super Bowl [note: LOL, more NFL subsidies], various NBA/NHL/MLS activities [note: LOL, guess who wants to move to Austin], and the not at all corrupt annual Formula 1 race outside Austin.

This past legislative session, HB 3294 would have expanded the Major Events "Reimbursement" Program to include NASCAR races.  You can read the bill for yourself here.  Empower Texans created a good summary earlier this year:

Here's what's fascinating: The Texas Association of Crony Capitalism "Business" scored a vote for HB 3294 POSITIVELY.  By contrast, Empower Texans scored the same vote NEGATIVELY.  And that fact tells you everything you need to know about those respective organizations.

But, beyond this immediate insight, the various "Major Event" slush funds controlled by the Governor's office points to a deeper truth.

Yesterday's "economic competitiveness" fiasco made clear that several professional sports teams are wedded to crony capitalism and left wing social policy.  The Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Stars BOTH testified in favor of thinly disguised cultural marxism.  Shortly thereafter, the Mayor of Frisco bragged about how the Dallas Cowboys are ripping off his own taxpayers.  Given this development...why give them subsidies?!?

One of the most godawful euphemisms around the Capitol is to "have a conversation."  Maybe the time has come to "have a conversation" about the three 'Major Event' slush funds.  Do we need it?!?  Taxing average Texans to subsidize billionaire team owners is never good economic policy.  But when those same billionaire team owners grow so entitled that they demand cultural marxism and taxpayer rip-offs in the name of "economic competitiveness," it raises the profile of the issue.  Texas' professional sports teams have a nice, little, crony capitalist operation going on there.  It'd be a shame if anything happened to it.

Bottom Line: LOL, let's "have a conversation"....

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

#TXLEGE: Straus' loathsome "economic competitiveness" dog and pony show: Lawlessness, Crony Capitalism, and Spending....

"Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame."
1 Corinthians 15:34

[Note: You can view the hearing yourself here.]

Team Straus' disgraceful effort to grandstand over "economic competitiveness" held it's first (of two) hearings today.  It began with a textbook example of the lawlessness that has plagued the House the past couple sessions.  Check out what happened to Matt Rinaldi:
The House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness, chaired by retiring State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), told State Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) that he was not allowed to ask any questions or testify during today’s committee hearing.

“Clearly they aren’t confident in their ability to defend their position,” Rinaldi said in response.
“Being told by a committee that my district would not be extended the basic courtesy of a voice in this process is disappointing, but not unexpected, given the past practices of House leadership. I tried to give this committee the benefit of the doubt, but it is clear that they already know what their findings will be, and there is no intention of deliberation or a pursuit of the facts.

“I wish we had a real opportunity to discuss all perspectives on important economic drivers for our state, but this committee has made it clear that a diversity of views is not welcome. They have the result planned, now it’s just a matter of putting on a show to publish those results.”

As to the hearing itself, it was a mix of the usual cliches and rent-seeking that you hear at these types of events.  Lots of talk about crony capitalism ("incentives!") and spending ("education!").  And, of course, plenty of fraudulent fear mongering over the Texas privacy act.

The most astounding aspect of the whole thing was the number of representatives they had bragging about the alleged economic benefit of professional sports.  This in spite of the fact that the national NFL protests have re-ignited a national discussion of the various subsidies the industry receives.  This seems slightly...tone deaf at best.

Dallas ?!? owner Mark Cuban proclaimed the need to spend prodigious sums on the education status quo.  Cuban would include pre-K "without question."  Cuban also spouted the usual cliches about economic doom and gloom from the Texas Privacy act.

The CEO of the Dallas Stars, a lifelong sports executive, tried to claim that "over 500 million" people have attended events at arenas he has managed without a bathroom assault. In the next sentence, he admitted that major public events at large arenas have above average security on hand. He also claimed "sports plays an oversized role" in how a community is percieved for economic purposes. Actually, it doesn't, but that was still a very revealing statement about ego.  At this point, we simply need to ask: how's pushing left-wing social policies working out for the NFL?!?

The mayor of Frisco bragged about having 6 sports team having office or practice space in the city.  He explained "you can't put a dollar figure" on having the Dallas Cowboys practice facility.  Actually, you can:
The site features a unique partnership among the Cowboys, the city of Frisco and Frisco ISD. They are sharing the costs on 20 acres for The Ford Center at The Star. The 12,000-seat indoor stadium will hold team practices as well as high school football games and other city and school events.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that the city and the school district "bought into our vision of joining at the hip."

The stadium -- along with two outdoor practice fields for the Cowboys and an underground parking garage -- make up the city-owned portion of the development. And while the city retains ownership, the Cowboys will handle all the maintenance and operations at the site.

On Tuesday, the price tag for that city-owned portion climbed to $261.6 million with approval by the Frisco City Council. The city's contribution in The Star is capped at $60 million while the school district put in $30 million.
Beyond the fixation on the exaggerated economic impact of professional sports, the most notable discussion surrounded incentives.  Committee chairman Byron Cook, the soon-to-be-former state representative [Note: Doesn't that feel good to type.], seemed determined to prove that "incentive" packages aren't corporate welfare.  Several witnesses claimed incentives would be unnecessary in a perfect world, but "in the real world" we've got to have them or else other states will take away all of Texas' rent-seeking crony capitalists.

That being said, Ross Perot Jr. (who is apparently a big deal in Dallas crony capitalist circles) unintentionally made a strong case against the policy.  Perot spoke of the need for "flexibility" in incentive packages because "these industries are changing so fast."  That's actually a fantastic reason for the government not engage this activity in the first place.

A few more observations:
  • Apparently, the Republican Governor's Association is meeting in town today. Obviously, that means today's hearing was deliberately timed to embarrass Governor Abbott while the Vice President is in town.  This website's issues with Governor Abbott aren't a secret, but we appreciate his response:

  • Lots of cliches about "education" and "workforce development" which is code for dramatic increases in spending.
Bottom Line: Barf bag.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Abbott's "Veteran" initiatives rife with Unintended Consequences

"And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death."
Romans 7:10

In a Veterans Day appearance at the American Legion-Charles Johnson House in West Austin, Gov. Greg Abbott Saturday unveiled a series of proposals to boost economic opportunities and health care outcomes for Texas veterans.


To encourage hiring of veterans, Abbott proposed that a local option be provided for commercial property tax exemptions for each full-time, newly-hired veteran. He also proposed a local option property tax exemption of up to $30,000 for veteran entrepreneurs starting a business.

Abbott also said that, “Texas should accept licenses that are earned by military spouses in other states and waive license fees they already qualify for.”

Abbott called on the Texas Veterans Commission “to collaborate with businesses and non-profits to assist homeless veterans with housing, with employment, with better health and with substance abuse counseling.”

“I am proposing a commercial property tax exemption for entities that provide reduced-cost housing or substance abuse and mental health residential treatment programs to our veterans,” Abbott said.

[Note: Emphasis added.]
In other words, Greg Abbott is arguing for preferential tax treatment and government "collaboration" with businesses and non-profit all in the name of "helping veterans"; it doesn't take a genius to how this would backfire.

90%+ of the benefits would flow to politically connected 'veterans' who can afford the best lobbyists and the best access to politicians and bureaucrats.  As a result, everyone else pays higher tax rates.  In this case, everyone else includes the overwhelming majority of veterans.

One persistent local rumor is that various City of Austin veteran related programs are full of corruption.  We've never looked into those allegations, so we cast no specific stones, but it seems plausible.  It seems unwise to give these folks a new vehicle through the state of Texas.

Furthermore, how does Abbott plan to define the term "veteran"?!?  While the term implies someone who led a platoon in Anbar or Helmand provinces, frequently 'veterans' programs define the term so broadly that anyone who spent 10 minutes on an Army base 30 years ago can qualify.  You'll notice, specifically, that Abbott didn't use the phrase "combat veteran."

Bottom Line: The best way to help the average veteran (just like the best way to help anyone) is to keep central planners out of their way; creating new vehicles for scammers and crony capitalists only helps the politically connected.

Monday, November 13, 2017

#TXLEGE: Lying drunk files for re-election....

"Woe to those who rise early in the morning,
That they may follow intoxicating drink;
Who continue until night, till wine inflames them!"
Isaiah 5:11

Well, that answers that question:
Perhaps the biggest news of the day was that state Rep. Dan Huberty, the Houston Republican who chairs the House Public Education Committee, filed for re-election after months of uncertainty over whether he would run for another term. He faces a primary challenge from Kyle Stephenson.
As to the claims in the headline.

Dan Huberty is a liar because during this past legislative session he pushed a "school finance" bill that he claimed was about property tax relief.  But Huberty's bill wouldn't have provided a dime of property tax relief, it simply poured a couple Billion more dollars from the state into the socialized education status quo without any offsetting restraints at the local level.  While it's possible to write a school fiance bill that provides tax relief at the local level, Huberty's bill did not do that.

As to Dan Huberty being a drunk:

Bottom Line: Between the terrible bills he promotes and his wretched personal conduct, Dan Huberty is awful on many levels.

Abbott goes 1 for 2 in first #TXLEGE endorsement round

"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success."
Joshua 1:8

First off, the FANTASTIC news:

This is fantastic. Sarah Davis is a wretched legislator and an even worse human being.  In a world where we're starting to reconsider our longstanding policy of not focusing on personal conduct, Sarah Davis' combination of disgraceful personal conduct and a willingness to play the feminist card whenever someone calls her out politically is a level of hypocrisy that makes her a VERY tempting target.

Furthermore, there's a political angle here that's interesting regardless: Because this is Greg Abbott we're talking about, you know he polled Davis' district for both the primary and the general.  For Abbott to move forward here means that his polling said the narrative that "only a moderate can hold this district in the general" is BS.  Obviously, someone said that two years ago.

So good on Abbott, and good riddance to Sarah Davis.

But from the Trib article on the Davis announcement, this tidbit:
Abbott made his first endorsement in the 2018 House primaries last week, backing state Rep. Paul Workman, an Austin Republican who authored legislation for Abbott's special session agenda. Workman faces a primary challenger from his right, Jay Wiley.
Seriously?!?  Paul Workman?!?

As we wrote about Paul last month:
This isn't new. Paul Workman has now served four sessions. After that time, the Austin City Council remains as out of control as ever.
That Workman worked with the Governor on a couple of bills that went nowhere (because of the leadership Paul Workman voted for) doesn't offset the fact that the city of Austin now feels safer than ever to thumb their noses at the legislature.


Bottom Line:  This is such a typical Abbott thing to do.  On the one hand, getting rid of Sarah Davis is a public service for which the Governor deserves commendation.  But then he has to go and endorse Paul Workman....

Saturday, November 11, 2017

UT Board discusses several interesting items IN SECRET this week....

"For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light."
Luke 8:17

With the busy week this week, we're only getting to the agenda book from Wednesday/Thursday's UT Board meeting today, but it certainly looks like they had some interesting "executive session" discussions.

McRaven's future:

[Note: They're actually going to have to make an announcement pretty soon.]

MUNY Golf Course:

[Note: Sell it to a private party = good; give it to another state agency = bad.]

Whatever this means:

Their foolish pursuit of nuclear weapons:

Statesman: University of Texas System regents on Thursday unexpectedly postponed a vote on submitting a proposal to manage and operate Los Alamos National Laboratory, birthplace of the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

Regents’ Chairwoman Sara Martinez Tucker gave no reason for the delay, simply saying that the matter was being postponed until Nov. 27. Other than her brief comment, the regents did not discuss Los Alamos in public, although it was part of their closed-door discussion earlier in the day.

The postponement was surprising because the regents’ agenda called for “discussion and appropriate action regarding development of a bid for management” of the lab. In September, the regents authorized the system to spend up to $4.5 million to prepare a bid to run the storied lab in the mountains of northern New Mexico, where physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer led development of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan during World War II.

Proposals are due on Dec. 11 at the National Nuclear Security Administration, an arm of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Asked whether the regents had questions that couldn’t be answered at this point, Deputy Chancellor David Daniel told reporters, “No, I would just say this is a continuing process. We’re developing more information, and because the board is going to meet again, as it turns out, we’ll have an opportunity to discuss it with them then.”

Asked whether he expects the board to authorize a bid, Daniel, the system’s point person on the project, replied, “I’m not going to try to speculate what the board’s going to do. We’ll wait and see what the board decides to do.”
Given that we haven't recieved any press releases and haven't seen any media reports, we suspect that no action was taken on any of these items.

Furthermore, this now marks the third regularly scheduled board meeting (to say nothing of the seven special called meetings) since the second on campus murder in 13 months last May without a public discussion of on-campus security.

Bottom Line: Why does the public need to hear important policy discussions at the wealthiest public university in the world?!?