Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Texas "Medical" Association's frivolous lawsuit wastes everybody's time (and money)

"Do not go hastily to court;
For what will you do in the end,
When your neighbor has put you to shame?"
Proverbs 25:8

'Scope of Practice' laws are an ongoing swindle that drive up medical costs by artificially restricting the number of providers.  Think Uber and the cab companies, but applied to health care.  Naturally, the anti-competition Texas "Medical" Association is a big fan.

We discussed TMA's latest lawsuit against the Chiropractors last year and again last week.  Oral arguments were held this afternoon in the Third Court of Appeals.  Obviously, we attended.

The arguments contain highly technical medical and legal issues.  In other words, there was a lot of complicated doctor and lawyer talk.  But, even so, TMA's case is transparently asinine.

TMA played semantic games to argue that the chiropractors are "practicing neurology."  TMA essentially claimed that, because the human spine contains nerves, working with the spine qualifies as "practicing neurology."  It was dumb.

The chiropractors responded by pointing out the obvious difference between spinal treatments and neurological treatments.   This was followed by a technical discussion about the language of the statute.  While the statute in question is waaay too narrow, the chiropractors are easily within its bounds.

To be honest, this lawsuit is a reflection of the fact that we have too much central planning in health care.  We're trying to 'solve' alleged 'problems' through statutes and regulations that should be left to consumers and providers in a decentralized marketplace.  Free Market economics 101.

Bottom Line: Our primary objection to the Texas "Medical" Association will always be their rabid support for abortioneuthanasia in hospitals, and Obamacare.  But they do a lot of other bad things.  This assault on choice and consumer freedom cannot stand.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Texas Right to Life Reads Mean Tweets

"And Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me."
Genesis 21:6

This is great:

  • "We're so low at Texas Right to Life that the political lobbyist to religious leaders had to take time to write an advisory to the whole state because of our voter guide."
  • They're worried because TxRTL is having an impact.
  • Texas has dropped to #12 in national pro-life rankings when we used to be #4.
  • "We're about to get rid of a bunch of anti-Life, lukewarm, Republican incumbents.
  • Some yutz compares TxRTL and Empower to the Russians.
  • "Adoption is a lie."
  • Liars and charlatans!
  • A bizarre 9/11 reference.
  • Something about the physical attractiveness of pro-Life men.

Monday, February 26, 2018

#TXLEGE: Charlie Geren staffer who filed false CPS Report's ASTONISHING Deposition Video

"All these evil things come from within and defile a man."
Mark 7:23

This is sick:

  • "Did Charlie Geren call Texas Child Protective Services and allege that Bo and Sheridan French were abusing or neglecting their children?!?"
    • (Democrat) lawyer tells him not to answer
  • "You weaponized CPS for political purposes, didn't you sir?!?"
    • (Democrat) lawyer again tells him not to answer.
    • Note: If the answer to this question is "no," then it's an easy one to answer.
  • "Are you the source of information in this report?!?"
    • (Democrat) lawyer again tells him not to answer.
  • "You made that tip to child services in an effort to give Charlie Geren's campaign a political advantage."
    • (Democrat) lawyer  again tells him not to answer. 
  • "It's fair to say, you were eager for Representative Geren's campaign to prevail."
    • "Yes"
  • "It's fair to say you were invested in the outcome of the campaign."
    • (Democrat) lawyer objects.
  • "You badly wanted Mr. Geren to win."
Bottom Line: Charlie Geren is a sociopath.  This is what sociopaths do.  Please Ft. Worth, finish this guy off....

Saturday, February 24, 2018

#TXLEGE: Past few days illustrate EXACTLY why Sullivan left Austin

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 5:10

We've said our piece about the stupidity of the Charlie Geren campaign's criminal complaint against Michael Quinn Sullivan.  It's laughably absurd.  But, in a discussion with the Texas Monitor about the Geren campaign's action, Sullivan makes a point that deserves further elaboration:
It only amplifies what we’ve been saying all along about the weaponizing of the criminal justice system in Travis County.

A few years back, during a previous round of politicized intimidation, Michael Quinn Sullivan moved to Denton county specifically to escape the jurisdiction of the Travis County DA and the hack Democrat judges in Travis County.

With another frivolous complaint percolating in the Travis County DA, it would seem that Sullivan's original motivation to leave town has been vindicated (again).

To be certain: Given his professional responsibilities, Sullivan does come through town from time to time (usually towards the end of legislative sessions and prior to elections).  But he doesn't live here.  Anybody who actually does live here can tell you that.

Bottom Line:  Adding yet another featherbrained political prosecution to the mix does nothing but confirm everything Michael Quinn Sullivan has ever said about the Travis County DA and the hack judges in this town.

Friday, February 23, 2018

#TXLEGE: Public Sector Unions for Charlie Geren

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

In working on a longer piece about Charlie Geren (probably out tomorrow), we noticed interesting tidbits on the "endorsements" section of his campaign website:

Bottom Line: If you're wondering why so much of the conservative agenda seems to stall out session after session, look no further than the pro-big government special interest groups supporting leading "Republicans"....

Thursday, February 22, 2018

#TXLEGE: Campaign that filed false CPS report last cycle files frivolous criminal complaint this cycle

"A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones."
Proverbs 17:22

One of this website's longstanding frustrations with Republican campaigns is the lack of creative thinking.  We tend to use the same, stale, rhetoric over and over again...then we wonder why large segments of the population tune us out.  In that spirit, we welcome Empower Texans' recent mailer in the Charlie Geren/Bo French race.

At its core, the mailer is about Charlie Geren's decade plus sexual relationship with a (female) lobbyist.  True, he finally did marry the poor girl last year.  But, prior to that, they had been living in sin for a long, long time.

The satirical mailer purported to be from the "Texas Ethics Disclosure Board," an obviously fictitious entity.  It gave voters written "NOTICE" that Charlie and Mindy have engaged in a decade long sexual relationship, then listed several of Mindy's lobby clients.  Honestly, we wish we'd thought of it.

But you know an attack has been effective when it begets this level of ludicrous overreaction:
A criminal complaint against Empower Texans, a conservative group that mailed out an attack ad resembling an official government notice that targeted GOP state Rep. Charlie Geren, is “under review” by the Travis County District Attorney’s office, The Texas Tribune has learned.

A person who self-identified as a Tarrant County voter sent a letter to the DA’s office alleging that the group ran afoul of a criminal law that prohibits people from posing as government authorities, correspondence obtained by the Tribune shows. Mindy Montford, Travis County's first assistant district attorney, confirmed that her office had received a complaint about the group on Tuesday.

The controversial mailer attacks Geren for his “relationship” with a lobbyist — who happens to be his wife, Mindy Ellmer. What voters see in bold letters when they open the mail piece is “NOTICE,” above a slightly smaller font that says, “Of Relationship With Registered Lobbyist.” Then it lists Ellmer's long list of corporate lobby clients.

The mailer purports to come from the “Texas Ethics Disclosure Board,” an official-sounding name that Empower Texans registered with the Secretary of State's office late last month. There is no such government agency, though there is a Texas Ethics Commission that polices campaign and lobbyist disclosure rules.


"They're trying to deceive my constituents," said Geren, a top target of the group. The longtime Fort Worth lawmaker, one of outgoing House Speaker Joe Straus' top lieutenants, said the advertisement was designed to look official.

"It looks like it's coming from a state agency and it's not," Geren said. "A guy at church handed it to me and said what is this. I said it's another lie by Empower Texans, and he said, 'Well it looked real.' "

The complaint alleges Empower Texans may have violated a provision of the Texas Penal Code, under section 37.11, which prohibits people from posing as government officials. Specifically, the law says a person commits a third degree felony if he “knowingly purports to exercise any function of a public servant or of a public office, including that of a judge and court, and the position or office through which he purports to exercise a function of a public servant or public office has no lawful existence under the constitution or laws of this state or of the United States.”
Obviously, the Geren campaign's position is absurd.  The law in question was designed to protect actual governmental entities.  In other words, if the mailer in question purported to be from the actual Texas "Ethics" Commission, that would have been highly illegal.

That's not what happened.

In this instance, the entity in question was not an actual governmental body.  Thus, the law in question doesn't apply.  Furthermore, fictional organizations that are not what they purport to be are nothing new in Texas politics.

[Note: That being said, this is the Travis County DA we're talking about, so anything's possible.]

But here's the kicker: Charlie Geren is the guy whose campaign operative filed a false CPS report against Bo French's family last cycle.  Now, they're filing a frivolous criminal complaint.  We've seen this movie.

Finally, not that it's relevant to the discussion, we have to include a clip from this Texas Monthly screed because it's too funny not to share:
Michael Quinn Sullivan’s Latest Stunt Aims to Undermine our Democracy

As if anyone needed further proof, MQS’s bogus mailer shows that he is no better than Russian trolls.

At a lanky six-foot-four, Michael Quinn Sullivan is hard to miss around the Capitol. And even when he’s not there, it can feel like the specter of him still is. As president and CEO of Empower Texans, he has been an organizational force among the tea party groups of Texas, feeding them misinformation about state politicians. The man is known as Mucus (a play on his initials, MQS) because he engages in yucky deceptive politics, with a win-at-any-cost philosophy. His methods, like those of the Russians who meddled in the 2016 election, foment distrust in government and diminish the desire of citizens to vote, which then primes the pump for abuse.

Sullivan’s latest political stunt is case in point. On January 28, Empower Texans, operating under the assumed name of the Texas Ethics Disclosure Board (there’s no such thing) sent postcards to voters in the Fort Worth district of Representative Charlie Geren. It read: “This notice from the Texas Ethics Disclosure Board is directed to voters in HOUSE DISTRICT 99 concerning a candidate for office who must disclose a relationship with a registered lobbyist pursuant to Tex. Gov’t Code 572.0531.” It then lists the clients of lobbyist Mindy R. Ellmer, who, it just so happens, is Geren’s wife.

The clear intent of this mailer was to mislead voters into believing that Geren had done something wrong, or at least suspect.


Because of their dark money, groups like Empower Texans thrive in the shadows of secrecy and misinformation, using the same kind of loopholes that allowed Russian spies to try to manipulate voters in the 2016 elections. A cockroach that dashes across a plate at a picnic only spoils a small portion of the meal, but almost everyone will throw away the entire plate of food rather than risk contamination. That is how a democracy is spoiled.
[Note: You can read the whole thing here; that being said, given that Texas Monthly was recently caught in a pay-to-play scheme for website traffic, you might want to think twice before giving them the clicks.]

Bottom Line: It's common sense.  If you don't want people to come up with creative ways to inform voters that you've had a decade long sexual relationship with a lobbyist, don't have a decade long sexual relationship with a lobbyist.  If you choose to have a decade long sexual relationship with a lobbyist, and a watchdog group informs the voters in a creative way, that's no excuse to file a bogus criminal complaint.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

#TXLEGE: Parker, Huberty illustrate Good Ol' Boy network's Entrenched Mendacity

"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

From Empower Texans:
The Texas House Republican Caucus is using its financial muscle to defend liberal lawmakers opposed by grassroots conservatives and the governor.

On Monday, the Texas House GOP tweeted its support for pro-abortion State Rep. Sarah Davis (R–West University Place) as well as State Rep. Wayne Faircloth (R–Galveston), two incumbents with anti-taxpayer voting records during their time in Austin. Both Davis and Faircloth have earned failing grades on the Fiscal Responsibility Index with Davis performing worse than two Texas Democrats.

Both are facing conservative challengers in the Republican Primary. Businessman Mayes Middleton is squaring off against Faircloth while Davis is opposed by conservative attorney Susanna Dokupil. Both challengers are gaining grassroots support and working to retire the incumbents from the Texas Legislature in the upcoming primary election on March 6th.

Both challengers also received a substantial boost earlier this year when Gov. Greg Abbott endorsed them.


But despite Abbott’s endorsements against the two incumbents, the House Republican Caucus, which is chaired by State Rep. Tan Parker (R–Flower Mound) and for whom State Rep. Dan Huberty (R–Kingwood) serves as PAC treasurer, took to Twitter to support the liberal lawmakers.


“I think it’s dumb for Tan Parker to thumb his nose at our grassroots supporters and our governor, both of whom have decided that Sarah Davis and Wayne Faircloth need to be removed from the Texas Legislature,” said Stickland. “I’ve reached out to Chairman Parker and asked that he rescind these remarks that he’s offered without consent from the caucus.”

Neither Huberty, Parker, nor the House Republican Caucus responded to requests for comment.
This is rich.

For every bad incumbent Abbott has endorsed against, he's endorsed in favor of (at least) one.   Yet they still passive-aggressively tweet at him.  But they don't put their names behind it.

To be certain: Abbott's activity is welcome in the Susanna Dokupil (v. Sarah Davis)/Chris Fails (v. Lyle Larson)/ Mayes Middleton (v. Wayne Faircloth) races.  But Abbott is leaving plenty of opportunities on the table.  That's still not good enough for the good ol' boys.

The past few years have been so difficult because we're going up against a century and a half old good ol' boy network that never received a real challenge prior to 2010.  Thus they throw tantrums anytime anyone challenges them.  Yesterday's activity on Twitter is the latest example.

It's so pathetic.

Bottom Line: To feel so-entitled to political power that you passive-aggressively tweet against the Governor when he modestly challenges it is, simultaneously, sad and revealing.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

#TXLEGE: Ted Cruz ENDORSES McNutt, praises French....

"As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
Proverbs 27:17

From the first day early voting inbox.

First Thomas McNutt:
I'm honored and humbled to announce Ted Cruz has endorsed our campaign!

"We are blessed in Texas to have so many solid conservatives running for office. I’m asking Texas voters to carefully consider the choices before them this election cycle, and to stand with those who have proven themselves to be conservatives of conviction. I am proud to endorse Thomas McNutt for Texas House and urge the voters of the 8th District to join me by supporting him." 
~Senator Cruz

When EVERY campaign tries to act like the conservative choice on the ballot, it’s extremely helpful for a warrior like Senator Cruz to provide clarity on the true conservative choice.
Next, Bo French:
Sen. Cruz Applauds Bo French's Conservative Leadership
French running against Liberal Charlie Geren for Tarrant County District

(FORT WORTH)-- Today, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz released a statement praising the campaign and candidacy of Bo French for the Texas House of Representatives in District 99.

Sen. Cruz said: "Bo French has displayed a passion for his conservative principles and a commitment to his community that is not often seen in politics. Numerous trusted conservatives have endorsed his campaign, including Texas Right to Life, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, the Texas Home School Coalition, and Gun Owners of America, among many others - a testament to his hard work."

French is a businessman, rancher and investor from Fort Worth. In the primary he faces long-time incumbent Charlie Geren, who has represented the district for the past 18 years. During that time, Geren has consistently received failing grades from conservative organizations around the state such as Texans for Fiscal Responsibility and Texas Right to Life.

Sen. Cruz continued, "Bo's experience as an entrepreneur, service to his hometown of Fort Worth, and conviction in defense of his values have been widely recognized and are important characteristics in any GOP candidate."

Bo French and Charlie Geren are the only two candidates for District 99 in the Republican Primary being held on March 6, 2018. District 99 covers the northwest corner of Tarrant County. French and Geren also faced each other in the primary in 2016. The Texas House of Representatives has 150 members elected to two-year terms.
Bottom Line: Obviously, these races are no-brainers for anyone paying attention (ie. people who read this website), but Cruz's actions clarify matters for the broader public.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Texas "Medical" Association attempting to force Chiropractors out of business...AGAIN!!!

"So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship."
Acts 19:27

Gregory Johnshon is a Houston-based chiropractor with a popular YouTube Channel.  We first discussed his advocacy with the Texas Chiropractic Association, in the context of the Texas "Medical" Association's longstanding war on Chiropractors, back in August.  There have been several developments in the past few weeks, none of them good for freedom of choice for health care consumers:


  • Texas Chiropractors are under assault by the Texas Medical Association.
  • TMA filed (another) lawsuit to shut down chiropractors over a year ago; the appeal in that lawsuit will be heard next week in Austin.
  • Hack Travis County Democrat judge ruled in favor of TMA in the first round; the appeal will be heard in the Third Court of Appeals.
  • "I have given thousands of dollars and will continue to give thousands more [to the Chiropractic Association."
  • "We are in jeopardy of losing our professional rights in the state of Texas."
  • TMA is seeking to alter scope of practice laws to require a recommendation from a medical doctor before you could see a chiropractor.
  • "The Evil TMA."
    • Note: Have we mentioned how much we love this guy?!?
  • "The Texas Medical Association is trying to take away your right, as a come and see a chiropractor."
  • Big Pharma supporting TMA.
  • "The TMA is trying to monopolize health care in the State of Texas."
  • If TMA is successful in Texas, it will happen in other states.
Bottom Line: Our primary objection to the Texas "Medical" Association will always be their rabid support for abortion, euthanasia in hospitals, and Obamacare.  But they do a lot of other bad things.  This assault on choice and consumer freedom cannot succeed.

#TXLEGE: Team Geren seeks to DELAY ACCOUNTABILITY for false CPS report

"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

[Note: Empower Texans has more here.]

From the Inbox:
Democrat Activist and Former Geren Staffer Tries to Delay Deposition

(Fort Worth, TX) On Friday, David Sorenson, the Democrat activist and former paid staffer for Representative Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth) who is accused of filing a knowingly false CPS complaint against the French family sought to delay his court-ordered pre-election deposition, which is currently scheduled for next Friday, February 23.

Sorensen’s last-ditch attempt to delay his deposition until after the election began with changing legal counsel. Late Friday afternoon, Steve Maxwell entered the case as lead counsel for Sorensen. Maxwell is a former Democrat Party Chairman in Tarrant County.

Sorensen’s new legal team immediately filed an Anti-SLAPP Motion to Dismiss. This Anti-SLAPP Motion to Dismiss automatically stays discovery—which would include staying Sorensen’s court-ordered pre-election deposition scheduled for this upcoming Friday. Sorensen’s responses to the French family’s written discovery—which would have revealed Sorensen’s role in making the false CPS report on the eve of the 2016 election—were also due yesterday, but were not provided due to the 11th hour stay triggered by the Anti-SLAPP Motion. Notably, a word-for-word identical Anti-SLAPP Motion was filed by Sorensen last fall, and then denied by a Tarrant County District Court.

French commented on this desperate legal maneuver stating, “Charlie Geren's political machine is pulling out all the stops to keep the truth from coming out. We were set to depose Mr. Sorenson next Friday, but they can't let that happen. Today they filed a motion, claiming that our suit violates their client’s First Amendment right to file the false report with CPS. They are seriously claiming that the First Amendment creates a right to file false reports with law enforcement to hurt a political opponent. I find that absurd.”

Chris Kratovil, counsel to Bo French also commented stating, “I have been practicing law in Texas for 17 years, and this is the hardest I have ever seen any witness in any case resist being deposed. It certainly begs the question why this defendant is fighting so desperately hard to postpone answering questions under oath.”

Charlie Geren claimed to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that not only did he not know about the CPS complaint, he was also unaware that multiple staffers were in a legal battle going back to last June 2017. Geren has attempted to convince his community that the entire Fort Worth legal community knew that his staff was in a legal battle but he was completely unaware until he received a phone call from the press six months later.

This last-minute legal maneuver will likely delay the deposition of Mr. Sorenson until after the March 6th primary election.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

#atxcouncil: Flannigan throws District 6 under the bus

"And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him."
Luke 22:47

[Note: Allison Alter did something similar in District 10, but she wasn't nearly as blatant about it.]

As we survey the wreckage from Thusday night's/Friday morning's debacle, there's one more element on which we need to comment: Jimmy Flannigan voted directly against the interests of his district.

As Austin adjusts to this new "sick leave" entitlement, a natural follow up question is emerging: Who's going to pay for it?!?  The answer, obviously, is people who've built successful companies.  And where do those people tend to live?!?  In the Northwestern part of the city.  That means District 6 (and, to a lesser degree, District 10).

Here's what makes Flannigan's vote so puzzling:  During the year and a half he's been on council, Jimmy Flannigan has previously voted his district on major things.  Sure, Jimmy Flannigan will pander to his socially liberal base, but on big ticket "dollars and cents" items he has previously represented District 6.  Jimmy Flannigan supported last year's "affordability road map."  Jimmy Flannigan voted against last year's budget.  Jimmy Flannigan supported re-allocating the hotel occupancy tax.  But no longer.  On Thursday night/Friday morning Jimmy Flannigan voted to invent a municipal entitlement, and it's his own voters who are going to be paying for it.

For those interested in his rationalization, we present Jimmy Flannigan in his own words (but we warn you, it's just a bunch of excuses):

To be clear: We like Jimmy Flannigan.  He's a nice guy.  Prior to Thursday night/Friday morning, he had complied a reasonably decent voting record (at least on big ticket items).  Furthermore, we're stuck with him for another two and a half years, so holding a grudge won't accomplish anything.  But Jimmy Flannigan took a really bad vote the other night.  Jimmy Flannigan's vote was terrible for all Austinites, but it was especially terrible for District 6 ("Disproportionate Impact" as the liberals would say).  Nice guy or not, under Jimmy Flannigan's representation District 6 is (once again) finishing last.

Bottom Line: How any representative from district 6 could vote to create a municipal entitlement, when it's their own voters who are going to be paying for it, is beyond us.

Friday, February 16, 2018

#atxcouncil: Houston and Troxclair chronicle BULLYING and INTIMIDATION by proponents of Austin's new "sick leave" entitlement

"Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord."
Romans 12:19

Last night was the most bloodthirsty night we've seen at Council for a long time.  Unfortunately, it's been that way throughout this farce of a "stakeholder process."  Council members Houston and Troxclair noted the same thing.


[Note: For more on the intimidation efforts in District 1, see the exchange between Houston and Casar at the end of Tuesday's work session.]

  • 5 months was not enough time for businesses to have the input that they needed.
  • "I am so sorry that this has turned into an 'us vs. them' scenario.  Because all of use support women, and children, and men and anyone who needs sick time off and needs paid sick time.  So, it's unfortunate that it's become that."
  • Seattle at least has some basic standards before you qualify for the entitlement.
  • Final ordinance was only posted yesterday afternoon, which gave nobody an opportunity to discuss what was actually passed.
  • Flannigan and Casar crafted the final ordinance behind closed doors hours before the vote.
  • "I've lived in this city long enough to see what happens when you don't take into consideration the unintended consequences."
  • "People in small communities, especially minority communities, are hurt."
  • "The disconnect between our stated community values, which support and encourage small local businesses, and this ordinance."
    • "I'm not talking about the Dell's, and I'm not talking about the Applied Materials'...."
    • "I'm talking about Roland's Soul Food Kitchen on Chestnut and Country Boy's on twelveth street."
  • "You say they won't be put out of business, but you don't know that."
  • "What do we say to the business owners and those that they hire?!?  Whoops, we made a mistake?!?"


  • "I would really appreciate respect and decorum."
    • Gets hissed.
  • Adler gets her back on that point.
  • "Being in this room tonight, and hearing this crowd hiss at people who have given up their time with their families to come down here and testify.  You can hiss at me.  I ran for office.  I take responsibility for what I say up here and the votes that I take.  But it was so incredibly disrespectful for those people to be treated the way that they were treated tonight."
  • "I have no doubt that's exactly how they were treated throughout this 'inclusive stakeholder process."
  • "I'm glad to know that the Democratic Socialists are supporters of big corporations because they offer great benefits to their employees...but were critical of small businesses for not giving the same benefits to their employees."
  • More than half of small businesses fail.
  • "Having a job, compared to not having a job, is really nice."
  • "Jobs don't grow on trees.

#atxcouncil Invents New Entitlement (and you'll NEVER believe what Wendy Davis said)

"Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?!?"
Matthew 20:15

It's done, at least for this round.

Early this morning, in a 9 - 2 vote (Troxclair and Houston against), the Austin City Council created a municipal entitlement.  For every thirty hours any employee at any private/non-profit (but, of course, the City of Austin itself is exempt) employer will now be required to receive an hour of so-called "sick leave."  What could possibly go wrong?!?

Obviously, benefit mandates beget fewer jobs.  Obviously, this new entitlement will strangle startups in the cradle.  Obviously, the employer/employee relationship is none of the city council's business.

But we took a more practical route during public testimony:

Having worked (off and on) in the service industry since 2003, allow us to elaborate on the point we made about this new entitlement being abused: People are going to exploit this new entitlement to nurse hangovers.  People who work in the service industry like to get hammered after work.  If you stay out till 3AM and you have a 6AM start time, it doesn't take a genius to see how this new entitlement will function in reality.  Anyone who tells you otherwise either a) doesn't understand the service industry or b) is a liar.

And paying people to come in late to work because they have a hangover is wildly unfair to the rest of the team.

As for supporters:

The lovefest continued:

Meanwhile, Austinites are left with fewer jobs, lower wages at the jobs that remain, and higher cost of living.

Thanks council!


If last night's debacle had been limited to bad economic policy, it would have been bad enough.  But supporters devised an even more diabolical rationalization for this new entitlement.  And you'll never believe which washed up hack of a politician they trotted out to make it:


[Note: That really happened.  Wendy Davis testified immediately following this author.  You can view the full six surreal minutes between the 8 minute mark and the 14 minute mark here.]

So, according to the left, we need to invent so-called "sick leave" entitlements to facilitate the slaughter of innocent children.


But they weren't done; check out Alexa Garcia-Ditta from NARAL:

Again: That really happened.



Silver Lining: For as horrifying as that abortion talk might have been, it's also why we're confident the legislature will nuke this ordinance; even the RINO's can't kill it now.


Bottom Line: There's a reason why, during public testimony, we used the phrase "hot mess."

Thursday, February 15, 2018

#TXLEGE: Sarah Davis does what she does

"Her feet go down to death,
Her steps lay hold of hell."
Proverbs 5:5

What can you say about Sarah Davis?!?  We attended this morning's Trib event...and it didn't break new ground.  She's who she is.

Evan Smith did a thorough job discussing the numerous policy differences between Davis and the majority of her party (including the Governor).  Topics included Abortion, Property Taxes, Hurricane Harvey, and Davis' welfare expansion bill from last year's special session.  This ground is well-tread, and everybody knows where everybody stands.

During Q&A, we asked Davis about the debacle on the Coaching Staff for the U of H football team.  Davis replied that she was "saddened" by the decision and didn't try to defend U of H's decision in any way, shape, or form.  We were satisfied by Davis' answer.

View the event for yourself below:

  • Abbott letting lots of other's who opposed him off the hook.
  • Plays the feminist card: "I'm a woman [Abbott] can't control."
  • Argues semantics over late-term abortions: "We're not allowed to have thoughtful or nuanced positions."
  • "I'm not pro-death."
    • Evan Smith: "if you're explaining, you're losing."
  • Has an obvious chip on her shoulder against Jonathan Stickland.
  • Doesn't disclose who she voted for for President.
    • Evan Smith: "Not disclosing is disclosing."
  • Inside baseball crosstalk re: Spending and Ethics.
  • Long discussion of her welfare expansion bill from the special session.
    • Sob Stories....
  • "I think I'm necessary" in the legislature.
  • Refuses to commit re: Speaker's race.
    • "I adore Dr. Zerwas."
  • In response to our question about the Kendal Briles hire: "Saddened by that decision."

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


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

Turns out the Board of Regents is having a special meeting tomorrow; you'll NEVER guess what's on the agenda (you'll totally guess):

Keep in mind, in addition to the second Title IX lawsuit in six months, the Bev Kearny lawsuit is also working its way through the system.

Bottom Line: Thanks to the incompetence and mendacity of the University of Texas, somebody is going to get rich off of your tax dollars tomorrow....

Alongside TWO Title IX lawsuits IN SIX MONTHS, UT-Austin protects Tenured professor with Criminal Domestic Violence CONVICTION

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

Last August:
According to the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Austin, Fenves on April 12 overruled a university hearing officer who determined that there had been no assault. In a letter informing the student of his suspension, Fenves asserted that the woman was highly intoxicated and “someone who is intoxicated cannot give consent to sexual activity because they are incapacitated.”

Fenves, citing testimony by a witness who attended the formal, added, “While parties may disagree as to whether intoxication and incapacitation are synonymous, certainly, someone described as: ‘incredibly intoxicated, no longer coherent, at a point where she needed to be taken home away from the event because she couldn’t form sentences,’ meets the definition of incapacitated.”

The lawsuit accuses Fenves of coming up with his own standard for incapacitation and ignoring the university’s standard, which defines it as “a state of being that prevents an individual from having the capacity to give consent” and “could result from the use of drugs or alcohol.”

The lawsuit also says Fenves has a possible conflict of interest because the father of the woman is a university donor who gave a significant sum within a month of her allegations. And, while the school’s investigation was ongoing, the lawsuit says the university brought on the father to be an adviser at the school.
Two weeks ago:
The lawsuit states Doe will not be treated justly in the Feb. 7 hearing because UT amended the Title IX case report three different times after receiving notice of an impending lawsuit. The report was allegedly amended by replacing the word “incapacitation” with “intoxication” in a sentence that originally said a witness observed that Roe was showing signs of incapacitation by acting less “socially inhibited” that she would normally.

Later pages of the report however were not amended to replace the “incapacitation” with “intoxication,” according to the lawsuit.

“If UT can’t get their story straight on what the definition of incapacitation is after months of contemplation and a recent Federal Court suit and public admonitions on the same topic from (a) Federal Judge, how in the world are a couple of hormone filled college students supposed to do it after a night of drinking?” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also said the University’s “bumbling” attempts to amend the use of incapacitation with intoxication in only one instance of the word’s use in the report show its desire to equate the two. If this is the case, and the standard for intoxication is simply “diminished social inhibitions,” then the hearing is “merely a facade for a predetermined conclusion,” according to the lawsuit.
Annnd, then yesterday:
More than two dozen protesters gathered outside the University of Texas College of Pharmacy on Tuesday to demand that school officials fire professor Richard Morrisett, who pleaded guilty in 2016 to a felony charge accusing him of choking his girlfriend.

The university placed Morrisett on paid administrative leave after learning of the charge, but declined to sanction him. Since the American-Statesman published an investigation on the charges against Morrisett, people have sprayed graffiti outside the College of Pharmacy building and posted flyers with Morrisett’s mug shot around campus.

On Tuesday, about 35 people marched from the pharmacy school to the UT Tower with signs that read “Stop harboring abusers” and “Watch your back Richard,” calling university officials to take further action.

“He should be in jail, but at the very least he should be fired,” psychology senior Jasmine Bell said. “I don’t feel safe on this campus and neither do most of my friends.”


Morrisett pleaded guilty in 2016 to a felony charge for trying to strangle his girlfriend, according to documents obtained by the Statesman. He was also accused of a second violent incident that sent his girlfriend to the hospital and for violating a court order to stay away from her, records show. He was sentenced to four years of community supervision for the offenses but failed to inform the university of the charges, which is a violation of its policies.

Morrisett has been allowed to continue teaching. In their review of the incident, university officials determined that there was “no relation between how the professor acted in this situation and how he acted on campus,” according to an emailed statement from university spokesman J.B. Bird.

“I cannot express how angry I am to find out that UT didn’t do anything about having an abusive professor on campus,” government and economics junior Austin Smith said. “In my opinion, almost killing someone is universally immoral … if they are going to make excuses for why this man is still here, it’s just not good enough for me.”
Bottom Line: It takes a special degree of mendacity to make up Title IX standards out of thin air while simultaneously refusing to discipline a tenured faculty member (making $169,892) with a CRIMINAL CONVICTION.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

#TXLEGE: How Jay Wiley's Son shaped Jay Wiley's pro-life convictions

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:5

Jay Wiley is running for the Western Travis County house seat currently occupied by Paul Workman; Wiley explains how a vote Workman took last session to preserve a pro-abortion loophole would have impacted his family:


  • While his wife Sally was pregnant with their son Anders, they found out Anders had a heart defect.
    • Offered the option of abortion.
    • Obviously, they declined.
  • Instead, they had heart surgery performed on Anders in utero; that was followed by additional surgeries over the years.
  • Despite the challenges, today Anders is a thriving 10 year old.
  • Thus, Anders is a textbook example of the type of baby who could be legally aborted under the "fetal abnormality" loophole Paul Workman voted to preserve.
  • "Shamefully, liberal Republicans teamed up with Democrats to kill this amendment; Paul Workman was one of those Republicans.
  • Workman then had the nerve to make a "journal statement" changing his vote.
    • Wiley: "This is an example of the type of cowardice I'm running against in the Texas House."
  • "Anders life has no less value than yours or mine."

Monday, February 12, 2018

#TXLEGE: This Jim Murphy situation is very, Very, VERY Serious

"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 is bad:

  • Murphy has second government job running obscure special purpose district in Harris County.
  • Murphy dodged the reporter physically, then dodged reporter's question once confonted.
  • $312,000 per year.
  • State law says legislator can't hold second taxpayer funded job.
  • He's all over the place on their social media.
  • Getting bonuses for getting contracts from state agencies over which he has budgetary authority; Murphy lied about the amount of those bonuses he's received.
  • "Any common sense person knows that, if you've got a chance to make some money, you're gonna try to get that done.
It gets worse:


  • Murphy making more that either the Governor or the Mayor of Houston.
  • "If the goal of these contracts was to get favors out of Austin by hiring a state rep, they seem to be an effective mechanism for how to wire the system in an unethical way."
  • "Corruption in Austin is fish in a barrel."
    • Note: LOL, ain't that the truth.
  • Murphy's been doing this since 2007.
  • Gets travel re-imbursments.
Worse Still:

Bottom Line: This is really, really, bad.

If Cruz is worried about unenthusiastic Republicans, he should look at his own vote on the budget

"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap."
Galatians 6:7

Ted Cruz over the weekend:
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is preparing Texas Republicans for a turbulent election year amid super-charged Democratic enthusiasm — including in his own re-election campaign.


Addressing the Fort Bend County GOP on Friday night, Cruz warned of an "incredible volatility in politics right now," calling Democrats "stark-raving nuts" in their opposition to Trump. He pointed to Trump's recent State of the Union address and Democrats' reluctance to applaud, saying the scene "underscores the political risk in November."

"Let me tell you right now: The left is going to show up," Cruz said, delivering the keynote address at the party's Lincoln Reagan Dinner. "They will crawl over broken glass in November to vote."

It's possible we will face a challenging general election environment.  Democrats are livid.  Republicans are, at best, inconsistent.

But what possible reason could Republican voters have to not care?!?
The massive two-year budget deal proposed by Senate leaders Wednesday raises budget caps by $300 billion in the next two years, increases the debt ceiling and offer up nearly $90 billion in disaster relief for hurricane-ravaged Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

About $165 billion would go to the Pentagon and $131 billion to non-defense programs.

"Our members who are focused on the military are very happy where we landed with that," Ryan told Hewitt on his radio show in reference to the defense spending caps.

The debt ceiling will be raised by the appropriate amount until March 2019.
And who, pray tell, voted for the spending bill?!?
Bottom Line: It's still too soon to tell what the environment will look like in November, but if you're wondering why Republicans might stay home in large quantities, actions like last week's spending bill stunt would be a good place to start.

#TXLEGE: Kristin Tassin [Huffman's educrat opponent] gave superintendent $350,000 annual salary (plus "benefits")

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

Kristin Tassin is the liberal school board president challenging incumbent Senator Joan Huffman from the left.

A few weeks back, on a hunch, we sent in an open records request to Ft. Bend ISD (where Tassin is the board president) to see the contract of their superindent.

View it for yourself:

Dupre's current salary is shown on the amended contract above, Dupre's full list of benefits and perks can be found in his original contract from 2013:

Bottom Line: The socialized education bureaucracy loves to use children as human shields, but bureaucrats making more than twice what the Governor of Texas illustrates their real intention.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Educrats across Texas throw a HILARIOUS Tantrum


"If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them."
Ecclesiastes 5:8

A few days ago, Empower Texans put out a call for whistleblowers to report illegal electioneering at various ISD's.

Hilarity ensued.

First, Texas Observer:
I will vote in support of public education in the interest of the more than 5 million Texas school children.”

That’s the oath Texas Educators Vote shopped to public school districts across the state last year as part of the teacher coalition’s campaign for school board resolutions that promote voting among eligible students and staff. The group’s pledge, and the idea that public schools might promote voting to the extent that they even transport students and staff to and from the polls, was so hyper-partisan and offensive to some Texas conservatives that they asked state Attorney General Ken Paxton to declare school district attempts to encourage voting illegal “electioneering.”

That resulted in a nonbinding legal opinion Paxton issued last month, in which he questioned whether school districts that promote or facilitate voting are serving any “educational purpose.” As Quorum Report first noted last week, Paxton’s opinion gave the arch-conservatives at Empower Texans just the creative spark they needed to launch the “ISD Whistleblower Project,” which asked teachers to confidentially rat out educators who dare to promote voting on campus.

This week Twitter responded with the #blowingthewhistle hashtag, which public education supporters used in thousands of tweets to mock Empower Texans while simultaneously elevating public school teachers as selfless, unsung heroes. “I am #blowingthewhistle on teachers who sneak and give students lunch money when their accounts are at $0,” tweeted Devon Bradley, a teacher at Crosby Elementary School. Non-teachers chimed in, too. “I’m #blowingthewhistle on my wife for spending every free moment for the better part of last year helping one of her Kindergarten students get hearing aids,” wrote @ColinHildinger.
And the Trib:
Laura Yeager founded Texas Educators Vote in fall 2015 to spur local educators to practice what they preached. Why, she wondered, were Texas teachers talking about the importance of political participation in class, but not always modeling that behavior themselves?

More than two years later, her civic engagement effort has stirred up a right-wing maelstrom, leading conservative organizations and some powerful elected officials to question whether it's breaking the law.

Headed up by the influential group Empower Texans, adversaries say the educators’ organization, and others like it, might be using illegal tactics to boost liberal policies. Yeager counters that her group is merely trying to promote voting — and is only drawing backlash because staunch conservatives are worried public education-focused voters will unseat their candidates.

Some public education advocates allege that Empower Texans has had its eye on teachers' groups since last year, when the Texas Legislature's failure to reach a deal on a sweeping school finance overhaul left many educators across the state fuming. Education groups pledged to take that anger to the polls.

Since its early days, Texas Educators Vote, along with several partner groups, has been promoting a version of its “culture of voting” resolution. That document suggests school boards encourage students and employees to vote by implementing “no cost” incentives, including driving students and staff to polling places if district policy allows. More than 100 school boards in the state have signed on to some version of the proposalwhich — like Texas Educators Vote — doesn't back any particular party or candidates. The group on its website does ask supporters to vote “in support of the more than 5.4 million Texas school children.”

Conservative groups in general and Empower Texans in particular are deeply suspicious of the resolution, which they allege promotes electioneering on the taxpayers’ dime.

“Voting in mass, they would influence statewide office and state legislative races. Locally, the combined voter block would have the mass to virtually guarantee approval of tax ratification elections and bond propositions. All it takes is registration, indoctrination and mobilization,” Tom Fabry, treasurer of the Frisco Tea Party, wrote for Empower Texans in November. “And it’s all being done under the guise of ‘civic responsibility.’”


Later that fall, Yeager said, she became aware that [Empower Texans] was submitting records requests to school districts across the state in what she called an effort at intimidation.


At least some of those inquiries appear to be sparked by concerns about Scott Milder, a longshot Republican challenger to conservative favorite Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Milder — who founded a public education advocacy group with his wife, Leslie, in 2004 but stepped down from the organization’s helm Nov. 22 to focus on his campaign — is an explicit target of Empower Texans. In explaining the reason for its public records requests, the group has cited complaints from teachers that Milder’s campaign newsletter was disseminated across a school district.

Milder’s group, Friends of Texas Public Schools, is one of Texas Educators Vote’s partners.

Troy Reynolds, the founder of Texans for Public Education and an administrator in Splendora ISD, said his district received several records requests from Empower Texans, including one specifically regarding Milder and one asking for communications including words like “election,” “cross-over” and “primary.”

Reynolds called those efforts a “bullying technique” — and a waste of taxpayer resources.

“[Dan Patrick] is spending thousands of public school man hours doing opposition research for himself,” Reynolds said. “They know that they’re hampering our day-to-day operations.
LOL, think we've struck a nerve?!?

It's also hilarious that they're objecting to what is, essentially, political opposition research 101.

If you're interested in more, check out the twitter hashtag #blowingthewhistle.

Bottom Line: It's amazing how thin-skinned bureaucrats making six-figure salaries to propagandize vulnerable children can be....

Friday, February 9, 2018

How "Missing Middle" Health Care Reforms can reduce costs across Texas

"So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship.”
Acts 19:27

On the final day of TPPF's Policy Orientation, we attended a panel "Mid-Level Medical Providers Could Improve Care Shortages."  That's a longwinded way of saying that not every medical issue needs to be treated by a licensed physician.  As a website that often works on housing issues at the local level, we found this discussion very similar to the conversation about "Missing Middle" housing.

Texas currently has a shortage of health care providers across the state.  36 counties have zero physicians.  80 counties have five physicians or fewer.  While this is often a problem in rural areas, there are parts of the cities that aren't much better.  East Austin and East Houston are the two most obvious examples.

Given the geographically dispersed nature of the issue, a broad based coalition is emerging to promote "scope of practice" reform.  TPPF has been joined by the AARP and the left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities.  The proposed reforms would enable nurse practitioners to perform many functions currently limited to licensed physicians.

Supporters made fairly standard free-market arguments in favor of the reforms.  Fewer regulations will mean more providers.  More providers means more competition which means more options at lower prices for health care consumers.

Rep. Tom Oliverson, a licensed physician, spoke against the proposal.  Oliverson spoke about an alleged need for "training requirements" that were comparable between physicians and nurse practitioners.  Oliverson also spoke about the need to "standardize" training across the practitioner field.  This was all to be done to protect public safety.  To be honest, Rep. Oliverson's arguments sounded very similar to the types of complaints cab companies make against Uber, a point we raised during Q&A.

We continued the conversation with Oliverson after the panel concluded.  Oliverson spoke about health care as a special case where we need to "get it right in advance."  We remain unconvinced, as we believe decentralized consumers can digest far more information far more efficiently than a government licensing board (*).  Nevertheless, we appreciate Rep. Oliverson's candor and willingness to engage the issue.

Bottom Line: There is a politically created shortage of medical providers across this state.  This shortage drives up costs, which accrues to the benefit of current providers.  Scope of practice reform will help alleviate that shortage, which will in turn lower costs and increase options for consumers.


* -- It's also worth pointing out that nurse practitioners are still pretty heavily regulated, they're just not as heavily regulated as licensed physicians.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

How can we, REALISTICALLY, eliminate property taxes?!?

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

Final TPPF Policy Orientation panel of the afternoon: "Should Texas Eliminate Property Taxes?!?"; it's not easy, but it's worth doing.

The most important takeaways is that, for eliminating property taxes to become viable, you need binding restraints on local spending...FIRST.  That's because bonds currently issued by local governments are obligations against property tax revenues.  Thus, you need to bind future spending and debt before you can wind down current obligations.

Furthermore, if you don't curtail spending at the local level, you're likely to (realistically speaking) end up in a situation where property taxes survive but we have higher state sales taxes as well.

Otherwise, some notes:
  • Property taxes are a really inefficient mechanism for government to raise money.
  • Businesses pay half of property taxes.
  • Property tax elimination raises complicated legal questions re: debt obligations of local governments.
    • Note: This is probably a surmountable obstacles, but it's potentially fraught with unintended consequences.
  • Swapping school district M&O taxes for sales taxes is the most realistic achievable step in the short to medium term.
  • Taxing "professional services" could help modernize the sales tax system...but good luck getting the legislature to raise taxes on lawyers.
Bottom Line: It can be done, but it needs to be done carefully, and nobody should underestimate the potential for unintended consequences.

Taxpayer Funded Lobbying: Financial and Spiritual ABOMINATION

"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 morning, TPPF hosted a Policy Orientation Panel, "Should local governments use Taxpayer Money to hire lobbyists?!?"  Obviously, anyone who's read this website for more than 5 minutes knows where we stand.  But it was still an interesting discussion.

From a strategic perspective, the most important takeaway is that nobody was willing to show up to defend the practice.  This despite the fact that TPPF extended "over 20" invitations to groups one would expect to be supportive.   That's notable because we've learned from experience that when people are no longer willing to show up at TPPF to defend a practice, it's often a sign that those involved know they've lost the argument.

The panel featured local Austin attorney Roger Borgelt and a staffer for Representative Matt Shaheen [Note: Shaheen had been originally scheduled to speak on the panel, but came down with the flu yesterday].  Borgelt began by explaining how, during the annexation debates the past few sessions, all of the support came from average citizens while all the opposition was taxpayer funded.  This is true for any number of public policy reforms that would reduce the size of government.

Moderator Chuck DeVore asked if, in banning taxpayer funded lobbying, we would simply be transferring the problem to local governments who would hire bureaucrats dedicated to "government relations."  That's obviously one workaround political subdivisions would try, but it would still represent an improvement over the status quo.  At a minimum, if a political subdivision wants to hire a full-time bureaucrat to perform "government relations," they'll have to disclose it in their budgets.  Furthermore, it's better to have a local bureaucrat representing their political subdivision full time rather than a capitol lobbyist who could have any other number of clients with any number of other potential conflicts of interest.

During Q&A, TPPF attorney Chance Weldon pointed out that taxpayer funded lobbying is a form of compelled political speech.  As such, it's flagrantly unconstitutional.  We'd never thought about that before, but Weldon is absolutely correct and there should probably be a lawsuit.

As for this Author, we asked a question that pointed out how taxpayer funded lobbying is a gatekeeper issue that needs to be addressed before any number of other limited government reforms (eg. Property Taxes, Bond Transparency, Parental Educational Choice) can become politically feasible.  Taxpayer funded lobbying inherently tips the scales in favor of big government.  Disconcertingly, we also learned that public sector unions are growing faster in Texas than anywhere else in the country.

Bottom Line:  Local governments have no right to use taxpayer money to lobby the legislature.  For every public entity that lobbies, there's a private entity that holds the same position.  Ending this practice is a necessary step if we're ever going to get serious about restoring government in Texas to it's constitutional framework.