Friday, August 31, 2018

The National Media Doth Protest Too Much

"and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved."
2 Thessalonians 2:10

The other day, RPT sent out three tweets in reference to Robert Francis' unwillingness to debate Ted Cruz (despite obnoxiously grandstanding on the topic for months).  The tweets were a lighthearted attempt to poke fun at Robert Francis that used pictures that have been floating around the internet for months.  To be honest, we thought the tweets in question were dumb and juvenile when we first saw them.

And that could have been the national media's angle: "Texas GOP makes dumb, juvenile, attack against Beto O'Rourke."

Instead we got this:

[Note: Who even knew GQ magazine was still a thing?!?]

And this:

And this:

We could go on.  Dozens of national outlets ran this story.  They all pushed the narrative that the tweets in question made Robert Francis look 'cool' or 'sexy.'

It was an interesting insight into the psychology of people who...aren't eligible to vote in Texas!!!

[Note: That the TEXAS Tribune and the TEXAS Observer haven't touched this story should tell you everything you need to know.]

But back in the real world, in Texas, wearing a dress is a bad look for an alleged male who wants to win statewide office.  It might not be as bad of a look as some people think.  But it's net negative.

Don't believe us?!?  Fine.  Feel free to talk with actual Texas voters.  But make sure you visit Plano, Denton, and Katy.  East Austin doesn't count.

As to the 'substance' of their claims: O'Rourke doesn't even look like a punk rocker in that photo.  He looks like a douche bag Kurt Cobain wannabe.  The only way that photograph can be remotely described as "punk" is if the phrase "snot-nosed" immediately precedes it.

Furthermore, who among us hasn't gotten stuck talking to some guy who was in a band and wouldn't shut up about it?!?  That's exactly how Robert Francis comes across.  Nobody cares.

The biggest shame is that RPT should be using this time to educate the public about how O'Rourke is nothing more than your typical corrupt Texas politician.  But that won't happen because the national media is gullible enough to overreact to a stupid tweet.  Let the intellectually lazy, lowest common denominator, campaign commence!

Bottom Line: If you want to forecast elections in Texas, it might behoove you to speak to people who actually vote in them....

Thursday, August 30, 2018

#TXLEGE: Grassroots Coalition calls on Sunset Commission to CUT Government

"Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor,
And for lack of justice there is waste."
Proverbs 13:23

The Texas Sunset Commission is meeting this week; this morning, a coalition of grassroots organizations released a letter calling on the commission to actually reduce the size and scope of government:

It'll be interesting to see what happens.  Given the membership of the commission, a wide range of outcomes is plausible.  Obviously, the house members are terrible.  But the Senators on the commission are reasonably decent.

That being said, if the house members are smart, this would be a smart time to offer the grassroots an olive branch.  A number of these agencies and boards are completely pointless, but are nevertheless obscure enough to have minimal impact.  Thus, this is an opportunity to establish limited government street cred without it impacting their other ambitions.

Also, for those members of the commission who care about such things, there is money in these agencies that could be spent on education.

Finally, from a local perspective, we'd love to take any property these agencies and use it for residential construction.  Housing shortage and whatnot.  Thus, we're glad that there are two Austin-based commission members.

Bottom Line:  This year's sunset process will help establish the tone for next session.  A wide range of outcomes is possible.  It'll be interesting to see what happens.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

SCOTX to Austinites: Drop Dead

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

Horse manure:
The Texas Supreme Court will not order the Austin City Council to change the language it approved for two November ballot issues, regarding a city-government-wide independent audit and the fate of a new land development code.

The court late Monday notified attorney Bill Aleshire, representing the parties on both issues, that it declined to issue writs of mandamus that would have obliged the council to reconsider language that citizen groups contend was misleading to voters.

The city clerk has until Sept. 4 to finalize the language that will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. If approved, the first proposition would authorize the council to hire an outside company to do an efficiency review of all city departments, including the utilities. The other would give voters the authority to approve Austin’s first new land development code since 1985.

The court ruled 6-3 to reject Aleshire’s request, made on behalf of Ed English, an unpaid advisor for Citizens for an Accountable Austin, the political action committee organized to promote the audit.

The justices unanimously rejected the plea of Allan McMurtry, a signer of a petition asking that voters be given final approval for whatever land development code the city creates.
Bottom Line: Never, ever, ever forget that most of the time the highly overrated Texas Supreme Court lets the government do whatever it wants....

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Book Review: VIOLATED, by Paula Lavigne and Mark Schlabach

"However, he would not heed her voice; and being stronger than she, he forced her and lay with her."
2 Samuel 13:14

"Me, being a Christian myself, I was just appalled at the level of violence taking place so rampantly at the institution."
- Former Baylor Title IX investigator Gabrielle Lyons (p. 194)

We attended Paula Lavigne and Mark Schlabach's talk last fall at the Texas Book Festival.  C-SPAN's website doesn't permit video embedding, but you can see our question is at the 39 minute mark here.  We recommend watching it.

Over the past couple years, American society has learned about of predatory sexual activity that's occurred in previously reputable institutions.  From media, to politics, to tech, to entertainment, to various Christian denominations, we're all a little less naive.  As these stories have come to light sports, specifically college sports, has seen  its fair share.  This is a very healthy reckoning.

Even amidst all that, Baylor stands out.

  • The Widespread Brutality -- In most "Me Too" cases, there's one or two bad actors surrounded by a network of enablers.  At Baylor, there were at least 10 to 12 bad actors, and it might have reached into the dozens,  The reason it's called gang rape is because there's a gang.
  • The Cover-ups and/or GROTESQUE incompetence -- In a best case scenario, Baylor's coaching staff and athletic department ran interference with local law enforcement over violent, but non-sexual, activity.  Even if one believes that's the extent of the Baylor athletic department's deliberate misconduct, for so much additional bad behavior to have gone unnoticed represents disqualifying negligence.  Don't get us started on Ken Starr.
  • The lack of support for survivors at an allegedly "Christian" institution (What else is new?!?) -- The Bible discusses "widows and orphans" at least 100 times.
  • The Denial -- The most shocking part of the whole affair were the number of people who believed "that can't happen here" because Baylor was an allegedly "Christian" institution.  Of course it can.  Biblical sexual values are a good thing, but they need to be accompanied by a sense of reality.
  • The lack of Repentance from an allegedly "Christian" institution -- The Bible talks a lot about forgiveness.  But forgiveness requires confession followed by repentance (ie. an apology).  Instead, Baylor continues to hide behind lawyers and P.R. firms.  The Pepper-Hamilton report was, at best, inadequate.
  • The World View Challenge -- Like it or not, in this case some good came from the Obama administration's Title IX policy.
  • A Personal Story -- We've never discussed it, but a chance encounter this author had in 2013 illustrates how widespread the circle of knowledge must have been.
It's icky.  But it's real.  Read on.


The first half of the book tells the story of four players: Tevin Elliot, Sam Ukwachu, Tre'von Armstead, and Myke Chatman.  Elliot and Ukwachu have each recieved criminal convictions.  Armstead and Chatman have been indicted and are currently awaiting trial.  Armstead was arrested a second time shortly after his 2017 indictment.

Those four cases led to investigations of Baylor's football program and university culture.

It's impossible to do justice to these accounts online.  A small sample will have to suffice.  We're leaving the most gruesome parts out, but you'll get the picture.

"As Tevin led her out of the house, Jasmin asked him where they were going, and he insisted they were looking for her friends.  Jasmin became defiant and demanded he take her back in.  She tried to pull her wrist away, but Tevin wouldn't let go.  Instead he picked her up and started to carry her, cradled like a child and gripping her tight.  He kept walking away from the house, across the parking lot and street that ran along the back of the complex, and toward a grassy sloped area by a set of stairs near the clubhouse and volleyball court.


She kept her focus on Tevin. She'd said no, shouldn't that be enough? Then she clawed at him, trying to get him to let her go. She pleaded with him, thinking if she convinced him this wasn't a good idea, he would take her back: She wasn't interested in him. He was dating her friend. If he put her down now, they could go back to the party and he could find someone who was interested in him. No. No. No. No.


There was a single yellow bulb on a storage shed casting a dim light on the muddy slope where Tevin put her down. For Jasmin, that's when the reality of what was about to happen to her hit her, that despite her protests, her belief that "no means no," she was being overpowered by a six-foot-three, 250-pound football player. Instead of becoming frantic or fighting or screaming for help, she shut down. She remembered what a girl she had met at a Baylor orientation camp told her about being raped: If you stop resisting, it hurts less.

(Pages 9-10)

[Note: Emphasis in original.]

[Note II: Seriously, this is the cleaned up version.]
We'll spare you details, but several other women credibly accused Tevin Elliot of doing similar things (61-68, 104-111).

Fun fact: We learn on page 200 (three years later in the real world) that there was a separate brutal gang rape at that same party.

Once Nicole was inside Sam's apartment, she told police, he became agitated while talking with his roommate and a friend on the phone and screamed at his dog.  She became worried and and texted a couple friends to come get her.  No one responded.  Nicole told police that she resisted Sam's initial sexual advances.  She pulled down her dress as he tried to pull it up and repeatedly told him no.  But then Sam grabbed her and forced her onto her stomach, according to Nicole, pushing her head against the wall.  "He was using all of his strength to pull up my dress and do stuff to me," Nicole would later testify to a jury.  "He had me on my stomach on the bed, and he was on top of me."  Nicole told the jury that Sam pulled up her dress, forced her legs open, and then raped her from behind.  After Sam was finished, according to Nicole, he told her, "This isn't rape."  Then he asked if she was going to call the police.

(Page 136)
Armstead and Chatman:
Emily remembered Mary heading upstairs to her bedroom, and Tre'Von following her. Emily noticed that Tre'Von moved sluggishly and had bloodshot eyes, while Myke appeared not to be imparied at all. After a while, Emily felt uncomfortable about leaving Mary upstairs alone with Tre'Von, so she went up to check on them and found the two clothed and sitting on Mary's bed. Still, she told them it was time to get out of the bedroom. Tre'Von resisted,but Myke encouraged him to leave, so Emily thought they were on their way out. She and her friends left the house -- a decision Emily would later say she regretted.


While the three were upstairs in Mary's bedroom, one of her other roommates, Caroline, came home with her boyfriend Jeff. They had been at a Christian-based event on campus as part of the Diadelosos celebration. Mary figured out later that Caroline and Jeff arrived about forty-five minutes after Emily left. Jeff and Caroline found the front door open and heard footsteps upstairs, which alarmed them. Jeff, who was a concealed-handgun owner, searched the house, at one point taking his gun and holding it behind his back. He called out for Mary, but no one responded. He heard noises, like people wrestling, coming from the bedroom Mary shared with Emily. He didn't open the door at first, thinking maybe Emily had a 'guest.'

When Jeff went downstairs to tell Caroline, the two heard a "big bang" and "slap" sound, and they clearly heard Mary loudly say, "NO." To Jeff, the sound was like a body being thrown to the floor or a piece of furniture being overturned. He told Caroline, "I don't think everything is okay." He headed back upstairs and knocked on the door, asking if Mary was all right, and he received a response from a male voice that everything was fine. The door had opened and Jeff saw what he described as a very large, shirtless man -- whom they later identified as Tre'Von -- standing in the doorway. The room was dark and he could barely make out another person, possibly Mary, lying on the floor with at least some of her clothes off. No, she's not okay, Jeff said, while still holding the gun behind his back. "Send her out. I want to see her downstairs."

As soon as Jeff went downstairs, Mary came running out of the bedroom. She was out of breath and shaking, her eyes were bloodshot, and it appeared she had been crying. Her clothes were on inside out. She told Jeff and Caroline that the two were leaving, and then she ran up into the bedroom. Jeff yelled upstairs, "You have ten seconds to come out of that room." Another man, shorter than the first and one they later believed to be Myke, walked downstairs. Jeff recalled him saying, "They are almost done up there," and then upon leaving the house, saying something to the effect of "That was whacked" or "That was crazy."

There's some difference in the sequence of events between what Waco police officers recorded in their report and what a longer, more detailed narrative from Baylor's Title IX office revealed. But at some point after Mary went back upstairs, Jeff and Caroline heard a large bang and what they described as "fist-hitting noises" and Mary saying, "No, no, please stop." With Mary alone in the room with Tre'Von, Jeff ran back upstairs, demanding that he leave or he was calling the police. Mary came running downstairs, collapsed at the base of the steps, and said "I told them to leave but they wouldn't." The Waco police report indicates Jeff then carried Mary to the garage, where he told Caroline to wait with her. Baylor's Title IX report says Jeff gave Caroline his gun, telling her to take Mary into the garage and hide and call 911. Either way, after the women were in the garage, Jeff recalled Tre'Von coming down the stairs acting "big and tough" and trying to stare him down as he left the house.

(Pages 117 - 119)
These are only the incidents over which criminal charges were filed; there were countless others.

Eventually (two years later in real time), we learn that gang rapes really did happen (199 - 207).  Another year after that, we learn that gang rapes were considered a bonding experience among the team (295).  It's even alleged that recruiting women for gang rapes was considered part of the freshman hazing (295).

We'll spare the gruesome details from those incidents, except for one: The only reason we don't know the total number of bad actors is because it's difficult to tell how many football players "went once" as opposed to taking "multiple turns." (204)

From the index:


Which bring us to the subject of cover-ups, and their sister issue, grotesque incompetence.

In many cases, it's difficult to establish who knew what at exactly what time.  Facts are in dispute.  But even if you take the "I didn't know(s)" at face value, in most cases they should have known.

That being said, a few undisputed FACTS:
  • Art Briles acknowledged in a text message that he knew about Tevin Elliot raping Jasmin Hernandez two days after it happened. (24)
  • Former Athletic Director Ian McCaw acknowledged to a woman who had been raped by Tevin Elliot that "you're the sixth girl to come in and tell me this." (67)
  • Briles and McCaw frequently ran interference with Waco PD and the McClennan County DA over non-sexual violent activity. (244)
  • According to a text message, in response to one of these non-sexual incidents, McCaw told Briles "That would be great if they kept it quiet." (253)
Beyond that, it's difficult to establish facts.  Personally, we believe that where there's smoke, there's fire.  We smell an awful lot of smoke.

Briles during the Board of Regents investigation:
When Briles came in, he seemed nervous.  He apologized for what happened.  He said he delegated down when it came to rules and punishment and he knew he shouldn't have.  He said he set up a system where he was the last to know about players' off field problems when he should have been the first to know.  He said the football team's system for discipline was in house, not open house. [Note: WTF does that even mean?!?]  At one point, he started to cry.  He promised to do better.  But there was something about Briles's response, unlike McCaw's, that didn't sit right with some regents.  When Briles was asked what he would do to change things, he responded, "Tell me what you want me to do, and I'll do it."  He admitted his failings, but didn't provide a solution, other than promising to do better next time, the regents told us.  One compared that comment to coaches saying after a bad game, "Next time we're going to pass the ball, we're going to run the ball, we're going to score some points."  "I don't think that he really got it," one regent said.  (256)
Negligent at best.

This 2016 quote from Briles is choice:
The way the chain of command usually works is that the head coach is last to know.  Head coaches are sometimes protected, in certain instances, from minor issues.  Now, major issues I was always made aware of.... (301)
As for Ken Starr: At best, he was out to lunch (50-54), and remained clueless long after he should have been clued in (259).

As to the ongoing Briles/McCaw/Starr assertion that the Football team was  "scapegoated": We'll address it in more detail later, but those claims would ring less hollow if any of those three were contrite about their own actions.

And don't get us started on that prick "Vice President for Operations" Reagan Ramsower, who routinely ran interference during investigations (18 different page citations in the index).


As to lack of institutional support for survivors, one detail stands out: Baylor police cited women reporting rapes for alcohol violations (2).  The Judicial Affairs office did something similar (179).  So did Waco PD.

You can't stop bad things from happening.  At least, you can't all the time.  Once something bad occurs, however, the community must to help the survivor rebound.

This is where Baylor's true failures emerge.

A few examples:
  • Jasmin Hernandez got a hospital bill for her rape kit. (15)
  • Baylor to Jasmin Hernandez' mother: "Even if a plane fell on your daughter, there's nothing we can do to help her." (21)
  • No one at Baylor reached out to Jasmine. (23)
  • "One woman, upon reporting her rape to campus medical staff, received only an external stomach evaluation." (41)
  • Baylor PD didn't report a single sexual assault to the McClennan County DA between 2002 and at least 2011. (81)
  • Gaslighting witness reports (120).
  • The university cut off counseling to survivors. (180 ?!?)
  • We don't have the page citations handy, but on multiple occasions they either threatened to pull, or pulled, scholarships from rape survivors whose grades had dropped.
  • They also failed to accommodate survivors who had to routinely see their assailants in class or elsewhere on campus. (262)
  • In one case, not involving a football player, they asked the survivor if it would be ok for her assailant to work on campus during the investigation.
These are just a few examples, and these are just the ones we know about.


Next, the denial:
Baylor was in such denial that students drank, and [Baylor leaders] did not like things that were against their mission so they were just in denial about it," the former female student said. "The more you ignore it and the more you pretend it doesn't happen the more people think they can get away with things.

Patty Crawford, Baylor's former Title IX coordinator, who would leave the university in the wake of the scandal that would break months later, described what she saw as the university's pervasive silence on controversial issues.

"Baylor administrators were mainly older [Baptists] who had historically not discussed or openly chose to listen to the real issues at Baylor, including drugs, alcohol, and sex, not to mention any violence related to these three factors," she said. "To sum it up, the Baylor way was to look the other way until the media may expose something and then have a PR firm write a statement asking for prayers and deny knowledge of such cases." (179)
The book cites other examples we won't detail, but the pattern is apparent: Because the university's "Baptist values" discouraged certain activities, its bureaucracy wasn't prepared for issues that might arise from those activities.

Biblical sexual values are a good thing.  But they need to operate within reality.  Bad things will inevitably happen (fallen, sinful, world and whatnot).  When those bad things happen, that's a time for GRACE.

In chapter 8 of John, Jesus spends one verse not condoning the woman's sin.  He spends 57 verses rebuking the mean-spirited religious people.  And, furthermore, that woman hadn't been raped.


Flowing naturally from the denial is the lack of repentance.

The Bible states what a believer is supposed to do following something wrong:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
Instead of confession, Baylor gave us the Pepper-Hamilton report.  We suppose that it's better than nothing.  But to call the Pepper-Hamilton report "lacking" would put it very politely.

Reagan Ramsower, Spring 2016:
[T]he possibility of a “mea culpa moment” was off the table. The reason: “The lawyers are pushing back on it for legal-liability reasons and loss of insurance coverage.”
Instead of falling on their face and repenting of their sins before almighty God, "Baptist" Baylor University hid behind lawyers.


As you read the book, one conclusion becomes apparent: Patty Crawford is a friggin' hero.

Crawford is the former Baylor Title IX coordinator quoted above.  She's the only reason why any of this saw the light of day.  She claims Reagan Rawsower told her, "some people might say that we would not be in the mess we're in if you hadn't been doing your job so well." (280)

But the only reason Crawford had leverage over the rest of the Baylor administration was because of the Obama-era Title IX rules.  (172; 188-198)

That being said, the section on national trends on campus assault and Title IX (26-42) were the weakest part of the book.  The authors uncritically pass-along the discredited "one-in-five" statistic.  They also uncritically report several other questionable pieces of conventional wisdom.

But none of that changes the fact that the Obama era Title IX rules were the only reason Patty Crawford was able to do her job.

We're still not a fan of Obama era Title IX.  We still think it yielded a hot mess of unintended consequences.  But we must admit, at least at Baylor, some good came out of them.

Talk about a curveball....


So, what was the relationship between the problems in the Football program and the rest of the university?!?

According to Patty Crawford:
Crawford said football player cases comprised about 10 percent of her work.  That's a small percentage, but it's still an overrepresentation when you consider that male student athletes make up about 4 percent of the undergraduate male population at Baylor.  Crawford found that even though football player cases were in the minority, they stood out -- and not only because they received more attention from administrators and media.

"The cases that I've adjudicated have been terribly violent related to Football players," she said. "From that 2012 time period, it was a real culture of gang rape. I never heard of such terribly explicit allegations. (295)
In other words, with all due respect to Art Briles and Ian McCaw, nobody's "scapegoating" them.

See what we said above about, at best, grotesque incompetence.

That being said, this author has anecdotally heard similar stories to the fraternity incidents listed in the book (303).  But the chosen extra-cirricular activities of an assailant doesn't excuse the lack of support listed above.  And it CERTAINLY doesn't excuse the denial.


Finally, we'll close with a personal story.

Five years ago, in either late October or early November 2013, this author was at a happy hour in Austin.  We don't remember the exact date or occasion.  We do remember that it was at the Little Woodrow's on West 6th.

During the event, we ended up talking with a group of strangers.  It was a mostly male group with one female.  Lighthearted bar talk.  Eventually, the conversation turned to Big 12 Football.

This was during the 2013 season, when Texas and Baylor were battling for the Big 12 championship.  That was the topic.  As the conversation continued, however, the young woman grew increasingly agitated.  Finally, she said it:
Whatever dude.  My roommate was RAPED by a Baylor football player.  I DO NOT GIVE A FUCK.
Then she walked off.

The rest of us we so stunned that we didn't process it.  We just kinda went about our day.  Not flattering, but true.

We cannot tell you how many times we've thought back to that conversation since.  We don't think we could've done anything.  But, given subsequent events, it's a question we've pondered many, many times.

But here's the iron-clad takeaway from that night: If rapes by Baylor football players were widespread enough that they became the subject of random happy hour talk in Austin, the people whose job it was to know must have known.

We've never seen this young woman again, but wow has she been proven right.


Bottom Line: Baylor University needs to get down on it's face and repent before almighty GOD; until that happens, none of this will go away.

Monday, August 27, 2018

#VETOBETO: Campaign Finance Money Laundering Edition

"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
1 Timothy 6:10

One of the more noteworthy aspects of Robert Francis O'Rourke is how, when you examine what he's actually done in life, he quickly emerges as nothing more than a typical Texas politician.

RedState's Brandon Morse is a friend of this website.  Last week, Brandon discovered several questionable financial exercises in the aspiring U.S. Senator's past.  Over the next little bit, we'll highlight each item individually.  Suffice to say, none of these opportunities would be available to average citizens.

First up, looks like Robert Francis has no qualms about using campaign funds to "generously" hire friends:
According to, in 2015, almost 50% of the Beto O'Rourke's top expenditures went to former City Representative, Suzie Byrd.

In 2014, 24% of the representatives top expenditures went to Suzie Byrd, although the total amount was larger: $81,152.00 (made in 47 payments).

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines "cronyism" as: "the unfair practice by a powerful person (such as a politician) of giving jobs and other favors to friends."

For 2015, Open Secrets lists the top expenditure to vendors / recipients, and of those top expenditures, there is an amount for $21,000 divided in to 12 payments, and a seperate amount for $10,500 divided into six payments, for a total of $31,500. The payments are made to Moxie Communications and Consulting, which is owned by Byrd (Note 1).
A quick Google search for "Suzie Byrd" reveal her to be an El Paso based political looter of a type that is all too common in this state; she's currently on the board of El Paso ISD.

Must be nice to be able to clear over $120k in laundered political funds.

But what's even better is that Robert Francis did not face a serious political contest during that time.

Better still:
In both 2014 and 2015, O'Rourke profited from his political contributions, shifting money to Stanton Street Technology Group. In 2014, he paid his own company $39,063 (11.7% to top expenditure) and in 2015, he paid his own company $1,335.
So, in addition to paying his friend over $120k, Robert Francis managed to skim over $40k off the top for himself.

Also, keep in mind that the report linked above only covers two years (2014 and '15).  God only knows what the numbers are over a longer period of time.  We suspect it's higher.

Sinatra said it best:

Bottom Line:  Must be nice to be a former city council colleague of a sitting Congressman at a time when the Congressman in question isn't facing a serious political challenge....

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Baylor truthers can't help MIND-BLOWING, GROTESQUE, CRASSNESS (even this past week)

"Then Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore her robe of many colors that was on her, and laid her hand on her head and went away crying bitterly."
2 Samuel 13:19

All they had to do was shut up.

With Ohio State dominating the headlines, it would have been easy to keep quiet and let the spotlight move elsewhere.

But, apparently, the Baylor/Art Briles truther's can't help themselves.


First, human ringworm Mac Engel (of the Ft. Worth Star Telegram) is back:

All of you with your burn-in-the-hot place judgment of Art Briles, please stop talking


Former Baylor coach Art Briles is tentatively scheduled to head to Italy to begin working with his new football team in Florence in October, but his stay in Europe may only last a couple of months.

When the next round of college football coaching layoffs comes this fall, Briles should be No. 1 on an college AD’s speed dial.

The man has previously been approached by Purdue and Texas Tech, but both times administrators ran from the PR hit.

If Kliff Kingsbury doesn’t work out at Texas Tech, Briles in Lubbock is the ideal fit.

All of you with your self-righteous indignation and burn-in-the-hot place judgment of Briles, please stop talking.

If the Baylor situation makes you so sick, and now the Urban Meyer/Ohio State fiasco makes you so upset, stop watching the game.

Those who stop watching the game are free to complain, while the rest of us are merely drunk enablers of a system that has made all of these scenarios from Waco to Columbus, and all other Power Five points in between, not only possible, but likely.


The most important item gleaned from Ohio State’s suspension of Urban Meyer? #BeatMichigan.

The rest of you, men and women alike, don’t matter. Because the only that thing that does matter is #BeatMichigan.

Because this decision is not necessarily about degrading the seriousness of domestic abuse, rather the priority of maintaining status quo of a system that routinely knows how to #BeatMichigan.

And generate a pile of cash. And free media ad buys. And make money.

There is a woman involved here who was once a part of Buckeye Nation, but ... who cares? You say you do, but you continue to watch. Just #BeatMichigan.

As Baylor learned with its decision to fire Briles, there is no satiating the rest of you with any decision, so why even try? Just #BeatMichigan.


The business of college football morphed into a soul-selling endeavor years ago, so don’t act surprised when Urban Meyer was allowed to stay on as the leader of young men; don’t be insulted when, in due time, he will return to hero worship status in Ohio. Provided he can #BeatMichigan.
Umm, no.

Believe it or not, there are actually those of us out there who love football, but who don't like it when the game goes to psycho extremes.  Some of us even believe in asking tough questions about our favorite program.

But, of course, this is nothing new with Mac Engel.  He's been doing it for several years.  We only noticed because, earlier this month, he made a claim that our own reporting disproves.  And this is what makes Mac Engel a human ringworm.

That being said, if human ringworm Mac Engel's only solution to the excesses of college football is to stop watching, he should check in with the indispensable Olivia Messer:

Football’s Turning Point? Decline in Numbers Finally Hits Texas Amid CTE Fears and Sexual Assaults

New figures show participation numbers dropping all across the country, including in the Lone Star State. What took so long?

In the place where Friday night lights shine brightest and solidify even the tiniest of communities, the national decline in high-school football has finally hit home.
New figures out Friday show participation numbers dropping all across the country, including in Texas, according to data from the National Federation of State High School Associations.
About 1.1 million players were participating in high-school football in the U.S. in the 2009-2010 academic year, but that number has fallen 7 percent. The loss has accelerated in the past two years, according to NBC News, with participation falling in 40 states during the school year ending in spring 2018.

In Texas specifically, the total number of students playing high-school football fell 2 percent from its peak during the 2010-2011 academic year.
So, with all due respect to Mac Engel (and all the other human ringworms), be careful what you wish for.  You might get it.  In the meantime, some of us will sound the alarm.

And, yes, some of us will even ask tough questions about our own favorite program.

Because, if Football ever does lose its current position in both Texas and the U.S., human ringworms like Mac Engel will be a big reason why.


Ken Starr's wife also had this gem:
Alice Starr, a local civic leader and spouse of former Baylor University President Ken Starr, urged a Waco Independent School District trustee last month to consider Art Briles for Waco High School’s then-vacant head coach position, an email shows.

In the July 19 email to trustee Stephanie Korteweg, obtained by the Tribune-Herald under the Texas Public Information Act, Alice Starr vouched for Briles’ skill and character and asserted that the former Baylor head football coach’s firing in 2016 was not for cause. Korteweg did not respond to Starr, and Waco High School the next day announced Kwame Cavil as its head coach.

In the email, Alice Starr waded into the controversy over the Baylor sexual assault scandal that cost Briles, Ken Starr and athletics director Ian McCaw their jobs. She said Briles was dismissed because then-Baylor board Chairman Richard Willis “decided to use the football program as a scapegoat to fire my husband Ken.”

Starr's e-mail is a piece of work.  There's no contrition.  This isn't "Art Briles made some terrible mistakes but has learned from them and would like a second chance."  She doesn't accept responsibility.  She doesn't even acknowledge catastrophic mistakes happened.  Everyone's out to get her husband and Art Briles.  But what else would you expect from this crowd?!?

But the best part: If Waco ISD had hired Briles, it would have been at taxpayer expense.


Bottom Line: All they had to do was shut up and let the attention shift to Ohio State.  But they couldn't even manage that.  At least Urban Meyer had the good sense to pretend to apologize....

#atxcouncil: Austin FC is already a DEBACLE

"Also it is not good for a soul to be without knowledge,
And he sins who hastens with his feet."
Proverbs 19:2

Couple interesting developments on the soccer front this week.  The first illustrates how incompetent the City was in structuring the deal.  The second illustrates how out of touch Precourt is with our community.


This is almost too amazing to believe:
Travis County isn’t giving up on collecting tax dollars on a potential Major League Soccer stadium that the Austin City Council waived in a deal approved last week.

As part of the agreement struck Wednesday to build a $200 million stadium in North Austin, the City Council and Precourt Sports Ventures agreed the facility would not produce property tax revenue. Under the deal, the city would own the land and stadium and lease it back to Precourt.

Travis County commissioners unanimously voted Tuesday to “authorize the county attorney to preserve the county’s right to challenge the tax-exempt status of the stadium company’s use of city property.”

They also voted to “pursue negotiations with the city and other local taxing entities on expectations for preserving taxable value in the redevelopment of publicly owned real estate.”


The district has not yet started its review of the property, but Travis County commissioners could make their views known while the district is evaluating the property or file an appeal afterward if the district grants the exemption.

The terms of the stadium deal are sprinkled with the phrase “public purpose,” which appears half a dozen times.

“The Stadium will be owned by the City and used for the enjoyment, health, comfort, and welfare of the public,” the term sheet states under a section on property taxes.

The terms also say the city will “reasonably cooperate” with Precourt in asserting its right to the tax-exemption and acknowledges the possibility of a challenge.

It states the company and affiliates have the right to “assert, insist upon, continue, and restate this intent in any agency, forum, or court having jurisdiction and at which the question may arise or be presented.”


Nieto said the city never reached out to Travis County during its negotiations with Precourt.

[Note: Emphasis added.]
Seriously?!?  They didn't consult with the county?!?

Did they not think that other taxing jurisdictions would not want their cut?!?

This is a perfect example of the point we made during our second public testimony: The rushed process made it extremely likely that there would be undotted legal "i's" and uncrossed legal "t's" that could undermine the deal.

Council chose not to listen [Note: What else is new?!?].  They went ahead anyway.  Now they own it.

Oh well.


On Thursday, Precourt released the proposed team logo and color scheme:

Black?!?  In Texas?!?  During the SUMMER?!?

In case you missed it, this was the weather in Austin on Thursday:

On a day when it was 104 outside (with a 108 heat index), Precourt announces Black as a team color.

Got it.

God forbid you ever have to play a day game in August.

[Note: The choice of Black and Green is also dumb and has no connection to the community (no surprise there), but that can probably be overcome over time.]


Bottom Line: D-E-B-A-C-L-E and we've barely gotten started....

Friday, August 24, 2018

Tom Herman really OUGHT to get out in front of this Ohio State story

"Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so."
James 3:10

Drip, drip, drip:
Zach Smith may have outed Tom Herman as the unnamed Ohio State assistant football coach who accompanied him to a strip club during a 2014 high school recruiting trip ... and it's all on his IG.

The incident was mentioned in the OSU investigation report into Urban Meyer -- which says Smith "ran up a significant bill at a local strip club along with another OSU football coach" in Florida on May 8, 2014.

Because Smith was on an official OSU recruiting trip -- and at least one high school football coach was also at the club -- Meyer reprimanded Smith and threatened to fire him if it happened again.

The report did not identify the other OSU coach -- but Smith's Instagram page may hold the clue. On May 7, 2014 Smith posted about being in Florida with Tom Herman.
Hoo boy....

Now, look, visiting a strip club isn't the worst thing in the world.  Nobody was abused.  Nobody was assaulted.  But it's still a lame, douche bag, move.

In other words: It's embarrassing, but it's not criminal.

But here's the thing: This is the second time in two weeks that Herman's name has come up in relation to the ongoing scandal at Ohio State.  And it probably won't be the last.  And with each slow drip, it looks like Herman has something to hide.

At this point, based on publicly available information, it's looks like Zach Smith's sketchy behavior didn't begin until after Herman left Ohio State.  Herman left for U of H in December 2014.  Zach Smith's egregious behavior started in 2015.

So, at least for now, Herman's alibi checks out.

But the fact that we're talking about this again is a problem.  It doesn't look good.  Even a hint of this sort of scandal isn't cool.

And that's why Herman really ought to open up about what he knows.  At a minimum, for three years he worked closely with a guy who went psycho shortly after his departure.  Questions are natural.  It's also natural to assume the worst when questions go unanswered.

Bottom Line: For now, the story simply bears continued monitoring, but more information sure would be nice....

Thursday, August 23, 2018

#TXLEGE: Bob Hall discusses power grid reliability....

"And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut."
Matthew 25:10

[Note: This interview was recorded a week ago.  Due to a long series of technical issues, it's taken a week to get the recording in a form where it could be presented to the public.  Our friend Chris Williams, of Chris Williams audio, was immensely helpful in that process.]

The recent heat wave has seen a spike in stories about Texas' electric grid; given that backdrop, it seemed like a good time to bring in Senator Bob Hall to discuss grid reliability in more...challenging...circumstances:

  • Power interruption cost businesses A LOT of money.
    • 1 second = $75k for one company.
  • Texas' current grid is pretty a benign environment.
  • In the modern world, electricity is the third most important element to sustain life.
  • Lots of bad foreign actors have access to this technology.
  • North Korea was caught attempting to smuggle missiles through the Panama Canal in 2013.
  • North Korea also has potentially hostile satellites orbiting the U.S.
  • Texas spends far more subsidizing wind power than this would cost.
  • Israel already does this.
  • The technological changes are not particularly complicated.
  • We're starting to see action on the federal level.
  • Power reliability is a major factor in determining corporate site locations.
  • The military would probably move additional assets into Texas if we did this.
  • Austin, specifically, has been specifically threatened by North Korea.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

#TXLEGE: The Calhoun Port Authority is a cesspool that should be abolished

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

We discussed Blake Farenthold's bizarre denial over the reasons for his departure from Congress the other day, but the Victoria Advocate's ongoing lawsuit/investigations have revealed so much more:

There's a lot to unpack from the Advocate article.  We do recommend reading the whole thing.   Suffice to say, it's sleazy from end to end and has been for at least a decade.

But another reality stands out: The legislature has the authority to shut this nonsense down once and for all.

That's not to say that they will.

But they should.

Bottom Line: Hiring a disgraced, pervert, ex-Congressman at taxpayer expense is bad enough.  But the conflicts of interest and financial shenanigans go far beyond that.  Get rid of it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

#TXLEGE: Abbott is correct about teacher pay; real question is whether he'll fight for it effectively....

"He who has a slack hand becomes poor,
But the hand of the diligent makes rich."
Proverbs 10:4

Yesterday, Governor Abbott held a campaign photo op "education roundtable discussion," from which we learned the following:
Could Texas teachers soon be on their way to a six-figure salary?

Governor Greg Abbott is on a round table tour around the state, talking to educators about the idea of putting the best teachers on the path to earning more than $100,000 a year.

The idea is to keep talented teachers in the classroom by giving them more money.

Abbott says the plan would allow districts flexibility to determine who gets the biggest paychecks. He also adds the money will not come from an increase in property taxes.

"We want to structure a compensation plan that will put the very best educators on a pathway to earning a six-figure salary," Abbott said.

It will be up to the legislature to determine how to fund the raises.
One of Governor Abbott's more commendable traits is that he recognizes the difference between bureaucrats and teachers.  Last year, during the special session, Governor Abbott proposed funding teacher raises by taking the money directly out of the bureaucracy.  It was a worthwhile proposal, but it's fate is instructive.

During the special session, Abbott's proposal quickly passed the Senate, but went nowhere in the house.  That, in and of itself, isn't surprising.  But the dynamic behind that failure revealed quite a bit.

During the 85th legislature, any attempt to a) increase teacher pay, b) structurally reform education, or c) reduce or reform property taxes was met with an incorrigible, intransigent demand: MOAR MONEY FOR THE EDUCATION STATUS QUO!!!

To be sure, the house didn't couch it that way.  The house, led by Dan "hide the interns" Huberty, called it "school finance reform."  But Huberty's bill did nothing but pour additional state funds into the status quo.

And that's the problem.

Any attempt to fix any of the three issues listed above will be held hostage by the house to extort more money for the socialized education bureaucracy.  Period.  End of story.

The only way you might untie that knot would be for the Governor to deploy an inside/outside strategy.  The inside aspect would involve glad handling at the Capitol.  The outside aspect would involve showing up in members' districts.

Unfortunately,  Abbott's record on both sides of that equation sucks.  On his inside game, irritation with the aloofness of Abbott's office is one of the most common complaints at the Capitol across the political spectrum.  On his outside game, the one time Abbott tried to take out members, he was so clumsy about it that it backfired BADLY.

And that's why we think the teacher pay proposal he made yesterday, while worthwhile on the merits, faces a very challenging path forward.

Bottom Line:  Governor Abbott's teacher pay proposal is a good idea.  But getting it to his desk would require significant legislative skill.  To this point, Governor Abbott has yet to demonstrate that skill.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Farenthold keeps on giving (just like herpes)....

"Rebuke is more effective for a wise man
Than a hundred blows on a fool."
Proverbs 17:10

Oh my:
WASHINGTON ― Four months after abruptly quitting Congress amid a sexual harassment scandal, former Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) still doesn’t think he did anything wrong.

In fact, the former GOP lawmaker says he “took a bullet for the team” by resigning. He insists he’s right not to repay $84,000 in taxpayer money he spent on a sexual harassment settlement. He ripped the House Ethics Committee for not caring about facts. And he blames “f-tards” and the Me Too movement for driving him out of a job.

Yeah, it’s a lot. And that’s just a sample of Farenthold’s comments in an Aug. 1 deposition he gave in a lawsuit over his new job at a Texas port authority. The Victoria Advocate, a local newspaper, sued the port authority in May for not giving required public notice that it was hiring Farenthold and creating a $160,000-a-year lobbyist job for him.


Farenthold claims he would be breaking the law if he repaid the taxpayer money he spent to settle a 2014 sexual harassment lawsuit by a former aide, Lauren Greene, who alleged he told her she could “show her nipples” and that he had “wet dreams” about her. When the lawsuit became public in December, Farenthold promised to repay the money immediately. He later changed his mind.


Farenthold, who is worth millions of dollars, once said he would donate $84,000 to a charity focused on sexual harassment. Now he says he won’t do that because there’s a bill in Congress targeting sexual harassment by lawmakers that would potentially authorize the government to take the $84,000 from his retirement plan. He doesn’t want to risk paying that amount twice.


Farenthold announced his resignation on April 6, and a friend, Matt Woolbright, texted him to say he was sorry to hear the news. Farenthold responded, “The f tards won.”

What does “f-tard” mean and who is he talking about?

Farenthold says in his deposition that he was referring to people in the media and that it means they are all A-S-S-E-S.
The whole report it BONKERS, and we suggest reading the whole thing for yourself here.

Bottom Line: With ethical standards like these, he belongs in the Texas Legislature....

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Ft. Worth Star Telegrams APPALLING Water Carrying for the Baylor Coaching Staff

Then he called his servant who attended him, and said, “Here! Put this woman out, away from me, and bolt the door behind her.”
2 Samuel 13:17

We first discussed how the Ft. Worth Star-Telegrams has acted like glorified press agents for Art Briles et. al. a few weeks ago, when they made a claim about Kendal "White Women" Briles that directly contradicted this author's original reporting.

They did it again this past week:

Don't forget this gem from last month:

We've linked the articles in question, and you're welcome to read them for yourself, but the TL,DR version is that they're full of the same lame, half-assed, excuses we've come to expect from the "Art Briles was framed" crowd.

To cite each individual example would quickly become tedious, but a longer search of the startlegram's Baylor coverage from the past three years quickly illustrates that they consistently spin stories to paint the coaching staff in the most positive light.

Here's the most mind-boggling part: The Star-Telegram just went though massive layoffs...yet the guy carrying water for the Baylor coaching staff continues to have a job.

Bottom Line: Mind-boggling, but also reality....

Friday, August 17, 2018

#TXLEGE: Dan Flynn is a gullible fool

"The wise shall inherit glory,
But shame shall be the legacy of fools."
Proverbs 3:35

No.  This isn't embarrassing.  Not at all:
An East Texas lawmaker is sponsoring a “March Against Far-Left Violence” at the Texas Capitol Saturday — one of at least eight marches around the country organized by assorted far-right groups. This weekend’s marches are supposedly in response to recent episodes of street fighting in the Pacific Northwest between left- and right-wing activists. Some members of white supremacist organizations have expressed interest in attending the march in Austin.

To hold an event on the Capitol grounds, organizations need a state lawmaker to sponsor it and attest to the State Preservation Board that it benefits the “community at large,” according to Texas law. State Representative Dan Flynn, a Canton Republican who’s carried controversial anti-Islam legislation, is sponsoring Saturday’s march. Last Thursday, he signed a form that states the event is hosted by Texans United for America, and above his signature, the event is described as an “Austin March Against Far-Left Violence … aimed at free speech and a call for peace within the universities, media and other far left organizations that engage in false rhetoric and violence.”


Organizers of Saturday’s events are not quite “alt-right” or white nationalist, according to Carla Hill, an analyst with the Anti-Defamation League. Rather, they’re more general far-right activists, drawn from the antigovernment “patriot” movement and the so-called alt-lite. “They’re right-wing extremists; they aren’t all white supremacists,” she said. “But events like this attract white supremacists as well, because these ideologies line up.”

The Observer found significant evidence of interest in Saturday’s event on the part of self-identified white nationalists. On the Facebook page for the Austin event, Houston-based “White Lives Matter” organizer Ken Reed is listed as attending, as are at least two pseudonymous accounts linked to the neo-Nazi group Patriot Front. Members of Patriot Front attended a pro-Trump march hosted by Texans United for America in Austin earlier this year.
It does not take a genius to look at the Facebook page linked in the article and recognize that this event is bad news.  At best, this would be an event filled with counterproductive, reckless, hotheads.  At certainly looks like the Texas Observer did a good digging up the worst.

Bottom Line: In fairness to Flynn, this is probably a case of genuine stupidity.  Dan Flynn might be a corrupt establishment hack who sold out his credibility attempting to intimidate a political whistle blower, but he probably doesn't harbor white nationalist views.  Still, to even put yourself in a position where the question needs to be asked....

Thursday, August 16, 2018

#atxcouncil: How Typically Texan....

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

So it's done:
Austin appears to have landed a Major League Soccer team after the Austin City Council approved the McKalla Place deal Wednesday for a soccer stadium in North Austin.

The stadium deal paves the way for Columbus Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt to begin financing an estimated $200 million stadium at the 24-acre tract of city-owned land near The Domain. Precourt aims to have the team playing in the Austin area next year.

The vote was 7-4 with council members Leslie Pool, Alison Alter, Ora Houston and Ellen Troxclair against.
This isn't surprising.  The stadium proposal remains far from a done deal.  It's also worth pointing out that the dias math matched our prediction perfectly.

But as this fight moves to a different arena, one thought stands out: How typical this is for politics in the state of Texas.

And never, EVER, forget that one of the primary political activities in the state of Texas is for Good Ol' Boys to put together shady real estate deals.

Last Sunday, after Church, this author went to check out the proposed site.  It was an interesting experience because it alleviated some concerns while highlighting others.  What really struck us was the full magnitude of the giveaway.

This site is kitty-corner across the street from the Domain:

This is a seriously good location, on a significant parcel of land, and the public is getting a small fraction of what it deserves.

But, again, what do you really expect?!?

This is Texas.

The Austin City Council loves to theatrically huff and puff about their alleged opposition to the State of Texas on any number of issues [Note: The Legislature does the same thing in the other direction, but this particular blog post is about Council].  But then they go around and do the most Texas thing ever.  The irony would be amusing if we weren't paying for it.

Think about it:
  • Anthony Precort?!? Good ol' boy....
  • Steve Adler?!?  Good ol' boy....
  • Richard Suttle?!?  Good ol' boy....
  • David Butts?!?  The Goodest, and the ol'est, boy of 'em all....
And, while we're on this particular soapbox, we should also point out that Mayor Adler calling this act of larceny "the best deal of its kind in the country" is preposterous.  That's like patting yourself on the back for 'only' jumping off a 200 foot bridge when someone else jumped off of a 500 foot bride.  Not jumping off of a bridge in the first place remains an option....

Finally, kudos to Leslie Pool.  We certainly don't agree with her philosophy or general approach to land use.  But, to be fair, it came in handy on this particular occasion.

Bottom Line: Never, ever, ever forget that one of the primary political activities in the state of Texas is nothing more than good ol' boys putting together shady real estate deals....