Tuesday, December 31, 2019

#TXLEGE 2019: Everybody Sucked

"Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes;
But by a man of understanding and knowledge
Right will be prolonged."
Proverbs 28:2

Forty five minutes ago, we sat down to write a blog post, "Dingus of the Year: George P. Bush."

It would have been easy to write.  There's plenty of material.  For crying out loud, we just called for the man's impeachment.

Unfortunately, even with that much material, we're not sure George P. Bush really was the dingus of the year.

He certainly had competition:
That's without considering various examples of minor league dingosity.

Bottom Line: If you take public policy seriously, nothing good happened.  On the other hand, it was entertaining.  So there's that.  Happy new year.

Monday, December 30, 2019

#TXLEGE: No, seriously, good deal Matt Rinaldi

"Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me."
Nehemiah 4:18

By now everyone's heard: Attempted mass shooting yesterday.  Stopped by a good guy with a gun.  Only reason why it was legal for the church in question to defend itself was because Matt Rinaldi got the church security amendment past the finish line.

We don't have a lot to add.

Matt was a champion in that effort.

Obviously, it's still the case that Matt's effort was only necessary because of deeper problems in how this state is governed.  Equally obvious, it's still the case that places besides churches should also be able to organize volunteer security forces.  Finally, it ought to be obvious that the scope of the amendment that passed in 2017 needs to be dramatically expanded.

There will be time for all that.

For now, however, let's just be glad that Matt Rinaldi's efforts two years ago averted a much worse tragedy.

Bottom Line: Yesterday could have been so, so, much worse.

It's time for Texans to have a conversation about Jerry's Taxpayer Subsidies

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

Soooo...the Cowboys just wasted another season.

We don't really care.  We're not a fan.  Mostly because of Jerry.

But we've been thinking about something for two years, and it's time to say it out loud: Nobody gets more taxpayer subsidies than Jerry Jones...and look at the results it produces.

We first had this thought in 2017.  That fall, for those for those blessed enough to have forgotten, the Texas house held a preposterous sideshow allegedly to promote economic competitiveness.  Those hearings were the genesis of this thought.

At the first hearing, Frisco mayor Jeff Cheney claimed specious "economic development" benefits from hosting the Cowboys practice facility.  We addressed those claims here.  But Cheney's testimony that day planted a thought we haven't been able to shake.

Isn't one of the arguments against "economic development" subsides that they reward mediocrity?!?

Cuz' the Dallas Cowboys are pretty mediocre.

And they've been mediocre for two decades.

But Jerry don't care.  Because Jerry don't have to care.  Because your tax dollars ensure Jerry gets paid, no matter how many games the Cowboys lose.

Off the top of our head, Jerry gets or has gotten:
Yet the Cowboys haven't seen a Super Bowl in a quarter century.

Cuz Jerry don't need to win Super Bowls to do just fine.

Thanks to your tax dollars.

Bottom Line: If Jerry Jones wants to be a drunk womanizer, he can do so on his own dime, but the state of Texas should stop paying the Dallas Cowboys to lose football games.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

#TXLEGE: Texas needs a better way of paying for "longshot" medical care

"And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me."
Matthew 25:40

As the baby Tinslee case continues, we're struck with one thought: There's GOT to be a better way.

Obviously, the baby Tinslee case is tragic.  Obviously, Cook Children's "Hospital's" conduct has been appalling.  None of that changes the underlying issues.

We wrote last month:
Here's the secret: This type of care is extraordinarily expensive. Hospitals frequently eat that cost. These are some of the most challenging examples of what the industry calls "indigent care."

It's not an objection to which we are entirely unsympathetic.

[Note: Emphasis in original.]
Such a solution probably would involve free-market health care reforms alongside increased philanthropy.  Certainly, we have no shortage of rich people in this state.  As for free-market health care...the incumbent medical cartel is the biggest opponent.  But we're open to other suggestions [Note: That don't involve expanding Medicaid.]

Bottom Line: These sorts of cases aren't going away...and there's GOT to be a better way.

Friday, December 27, 2019

#TXLEGE: Meyer punts cover up to house

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

Of course:


There's not a lot you can add.

That being said, it's hard to understand what Morgan Meyer's thinking.  He had the closest call of any Republican house incumbent last cycle.  Yet, he's making himself the public face.  It doesn't take a genius to see how this becomes a GIGANTIC campaign issue.

Bottom Line: For this announcement to come on the Friday between Christmas and New Year's tells you everything you need to know.

Monday, December 23, 2019

#atxcouncil: Flannigan claims to be "fiscally responsible"

"The truthful lip shall be established forever,
But a lying tongue is but for a moment."
Proverbs 12:19

NGL, we literally LOL'd when we read this:
Council Member Jimmy Flannigan likes to refer to himself as the “fiscally responsible progressive” on the Council dais, pushing for ambitious action supported by the operational discipline needed to make sure money isn’t wasted.

Is this a joke?!?

Off the top of our head, Flannigan:
Furthermore, while we haven't been following council particularly closely of late, there's nothing about their current homelessness policies that's remotely fiscally responsible.  Council's current homelessness policies create other, bigger, problems than their fiscal impact.  But, in addition to the other problems, $8 million for a hotel is also fiscal lunacy.

In the rest of the article, Flannigan whines about the voter control property tax bill the lege passed earlier this year.  That's dumb.  Council has record setting revenues on an annual basis, and will continue to do so as long as the national economy remains strong.

Flannigan also claims, laughably:
wants the work done in advance to make sure the new system can remain funded to keep it operating at the level residents need.

“I’m laser-focused that whatever we do on transit, that it be financially and operationally sustainable, and we don’t befall the mistakes that cities in other parts of the country have made, where they do a big, shiny investment and then underfund operations or maintenance, or they set up a government structure that is incentivized to fail,” he said.
Flannigan's been on council for three years and hasn't lifted a finger to pursue governance reforms at CapMetro.

[Note: Had Flannigan proposed doing something along those lines three years ago, this website would have strongly supported such an effort.]

So, LOL.

Bottom Line: Flannigan certainly claimed to be fiscally responsible during his campaigns.  One could even argue that he was relatively so during his first year on council.  Since 2018, however, any such claims from Jimmy Flannigan are preposterous.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Cornyn, Schumer, and an EPIC self own

"Wise people store up knowledge,
But the mouth of the foolish is near destruction."
Proverbs 10:14

ICYMI, earlier this week national Democrats waded into the U.S. Senate primary:
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is endorsing MJ Hegar in the crowded primary to challenge U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.
This is a completely boring, irrelevant, and predictable announcement.  Of course national Democrats think Hegar is the strongest candidate.  That's been obvious for months to anyone with half a brain.

Texans knew from day one that Hollywood Hegar was the handpicked candidate of Chuck Schumer.
We get it: Chuck Schumer is bad.  That's not wrong.  It's a 2004 era argument.  Just because the playbook is old, however, does not mean the underlying assertion is incorrect.

But then this happened:

Less than a week after they wave the "Chuck Schumer" bloody shirt, Chuck Schumer votes against a spending bill that John Cornyn votes for.

It's kinda classic.

Bottom Line: When actions and words contradict, trust actions.

Friday, December 20, 2019

#TXLEGE: See No Evil

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

Because of course:
The House General Investigating Committee on Friday unanimously adopted a report from its legal advisers that said House Speaker Dennis Bonnen “likely violated” state law during a June meeting with a fellow member and a hardline conservative activist — though members didn't raise the idea of any possible action against Bonnen and said the investigation was closed.

“Today’s action concludes the committee’s investigation," said state Rep. Morgan Meyer, a Dallas Republican who chairs the committee, after members met behind closed doors for over an hour.

Meyer, who left the hearing room at the Texas Capitol without taking questions from reporters, said the full report from the three legal advisers retained in October by the committee would be “promptly transmitted” to House members. The committee did not immediately release the report to the public, though a copy was later obtained by The Texas Tribune.

The report concluded by saying the information produced "militates against criminal prosecution" against either Bonnen or state Rep. Dustin Burrows, a Lubbock Republican considered one of the speaker's top lieutenants who was involved in the political fallout — a line that the speaker's office reiterated in a statement after the news.


Bonnen "likely violated" section 572.051(a) of the Texas Government Code, according to Meyer, who was reading from the report during the committee hearing — but advisers in the report said the law provided no"independent statutory consequences" for a state official who breaches it.

That section states that a state officer or employee should not “accept or solicit any gift, favor, or service that might reasonably tend to influence the officer or employee in the discharge of official duties, or that the officer or employee knows or should know is being offered with the intent to influence the officer's of employee's official conduct."

The section also states that such a person should not "intentionally or knowingly solicit, accept, or agree to accept any benefit for having exercised the officer's or employee's official powers."
There's not a lot more to say.  The sitting speaker of the Texas House "likely" violated the law...and the legislature isn't going to do a damn thing about it.  Classic.

Did you think it would end differently?!?

Bottom Line: One hand washes the other.


Note: If we were Morgan Meyer's general election opponent...we know how we'd campaign against Meyer.

Thursday, December 19, 2019


"But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good."
2 Thessalonians 3:13

[Note: The Texan has more coverage here; the Trib has more coverage here.]

TPPF Victorious in Obamacare Court Case 
Fifth Circuit Court Declares Individual Mandate Unconstitutional 
AUSTIN—Today, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals declared that Obamacare’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, agreeing with the argument put forth by the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

“Today’s decision is a victory for the American people and respect for the Constitution,” said Robert Henneke, lead counsel for the individual plaintiffs and general counsel for the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “The court's opinion recognizes that Obamacare continues to injure millions of Americans like our clients who have lost their choice of doctor, suffered rationed care, and had their insurance costs skyrocket. This decision puts us one step closer to eventually freeing the American people from its unconstitutional mandates and regulations. We will continue to fight to protect the rights of families and individuals as the case continues to proceed through the courts.”
It's long (98 pages), but those who are interested can read the full opinion:

Bottom Line: We had forgotten this case was ongoing, but kudos to the TPPF legal team for their doggedness.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

#TXLEGE: Lt. Dan's Best Day All Year

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


“Lt. Gov. Patrick has taken my statement out of context, much like the small group of protesters and activists," Bush said in an email. "To clarify, I stated the accusation that I was erecting a statue of Santa Anna at the Alamo, and protesters continually referring to me with slurs such as 'Santa Anna Bush' online is racist."

Bush said Patrick had "twist(ed) my words" to suggest that he had called all critics of the Alamo redevelopment plan racist.

"It is a very dangerous mistake for an elected official with his power to make," Bush said of Patrick's comments. "I’ve always done my best to be open and transparent with the Alamo project (*), and I look forward to Lt. Gov. Patrick learning the facts about the project in January. Hopefully, this will stop the spread of more rumors.”
 * - Baldfaced lie.



Bush's conduct was never good.  In recent months, it's become increasingly reprehensible.  It's time for accountability from the legislature.

The Lt. Governor's office is as good of a place for that to start as any.

So three cheers for Lt. Dan on the substance of yesterday's actions.

Someone had to do it.



However, let's not kid ourselves: Lt. Dan's letter was political AF.

Over the past few months, George P. Bush (and his dingleberry staffers) has been telling anyone who would listen that he was coming for Lt. Dan's job.

Did George P. Bush expect Lt. Dan to take that lying down?!?

Because, to put it mildly, that's not Lt. Dan's style.

George P. Bush handed this issue to Lt. Dan on a silver platter, and nobody should be surprised that Lt. Dan ran with it.


The system worked:

But so what?!?

James Madison explained in 1788:
Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.
In this case, Lt. Dan's ambition (to keep his current office) is counteracting George P. Bush's ambition (to take Lt. Dan's office).

Lt. Dan saw an opportunity to go after George P. Bush over the latter's misconduct in office. Lt. Dan took it. In taking the opportunity, however, Lt. Dan's actions advanced the public's interest.

Who cares if his actions were "political"?!?


Bottom Line: On the one hand, it's about time.  On the other hand, better late than never.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Chip Roy is completely correct

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


  • "This bill doesn't provide anything, the American people provide."
  • "This bill borrows."
  • "Our nation is $23 Trillion in debt, racking up $100 million worth of debt per hour."
  • "This bill is filled with massive policy changes, that we should debate, and vote on, individually."
  • "It has a bailout for big insurance."
  • "The bill changes the tobacco age nationwide."
    • Note: Are you serious?!?
  • "Turning Federalism on its head, with nary a whimper from Republicans who like to talk about the tenth amendment in speeches back home."
  • "The bill continues the giveaway to big corporations like Boeing in the form of Ex-Im for seven years."
  • "The bill funds bureaucrats who wish to target your second amendment rights."
  • "It funds abortion through Obamacare plans."
  • "The biggest problem is we haven't read the bill."
  • "The worst kind of bi-partisanship."
Apparently, this spending bill is longer than the original Obamacare bill.

It's disgraceful.

But kudos to Chip Roy for fighting the good fight.

Bottom Line: There's a reason why Chip Roy is one of the few elected officials that deserves re-election.

Monday, December 16, 2019

#TXLEGE: Impeach George P. Bush (It's Time)

"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

Yeah, this is bad:
Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush failed to disclose his ties to at least 11 companies, including a Cayman Islands-based oil and gas firm that did business with a state fund he helps oversee, records obtained by The Texas Tribune show.

Arabella Exploration, which declared bankruptcy in 2017, put Bush on its board in January 2014, paid him $43,000 for his service and granted him stock options that were valued at over $100,000, regulatory filings show. The next year, a few months into his new job as land commissioner — and about a year after he left the Arabella board — the School Land Board, which Bush chairs, approved a lease agreement with Arabella for oil and gas exploration in West Texas, records show.

State politicians must provide details of their personal finances, including business dealings and corporate board service, every year to the Texas Ethics Commissions so voters can judge whether their elected leaders have any conflicts of interest.

Nowhere did Bush’s 2015 state disclosure mention Arabella, however. Nor did he list 10 other companies in which he has a stake on more recent disclosure forms. The other companies on the list include investments held or owned by St. Augustine Partners, LLC, some of them focused on the oil and gas business.
Wow.  Oil leases for a company in whom you hold stock options.  Wonder what the vesting schedule was there.

It's just so...blatant.

The full Tribune article is wild, we recommend reading the whole thing here.

(We'll wait)


Obviously, this isn't the first scandal to consume Texas' undistinguished land commissioner.

Among others:

At this point, however, the biggest takeaway ought to be that Texas' undistinguished land commissioner regularly finds himself enmeshed in significant scandals.

This isn't the first time this has happened, and it probably won't be the last.


[T]he George P. problem isn't going away.

There is, however, a solution (even if he gets a second term): Impeachment.

According to Article 15 of the Texas Constitution, the power of impeachment lies with the legislature. The house has the authority to impeach statewide officers for pretty much any reason they want [Note: This power was abused a few years back]. If a simple majority in the house votes to impeach, it goes to trial in the Senate. If two-thirds of the Senators vote to convict, the office-holder is removed.

Obviously, this would be a drastic step. But it might be a necessary one.
Fourteen months, and at least three additional scandals, later...here we are.

If not this scandal specifically, something like it was not hard to predict.


Bottom Line: After what we learned this morning, it's undeniable and indefensible.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

The GENIUS Party Continues Doing Genius Stuff

"Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."
Matthew 7:5


The comment thread linked above contains the full blow-by-blow.  You can also watch the video archive here.  BTL,DR version is that the Texas GOP just denied "affiliate" status to the Log Cabin R's.

On one hand, we don't particularly care.  This is the insidest of inside baseball.  It means nothing in the real world.

But come on:
Republicans’ legislative efforts to ban cities from mandating benefits for employers’ workers took another twist late Wednesday night after a Texas House committee added protections for LGBTQ workers that the state Senate had removed from previous legislation.

Senate Bill 2486, which the House State Affairs Committee advanced Wednesday in a 10-2 vote, is part of a larger package of legislation state Sen. Brandon Creighton filed to limit the ability of cities to regulate private companies’ employment policies.

After hearing roughly eight hours of testimony Wednesday, state Rep. Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, advanced a reworked version of the bill — adding the language explicitly protecting local nondiscrimination ordinances to the measure, which would bar cities from enacting rules on how businesses schedule their employees’ shifts.

The move comes after several legal experts and LGBTQ advocates raised alarm bells that without the language in place, the potential new state law could undermine the enforceability of local anti-discrimination ordinances. They fear it would allow businesses to selectively pick and choose which of its employees are eligible to receive benefits that go beyond monetary compensation.

Phelan later told The Texas Tribune he chose to reintroduce the nondiscrimination protection language into the bill to help ensure local ordinances — already in place in six major Texas cities — aren’t gutted should the measure become law. And he told Tribune CEO Evan Smith in a podcast interview that he’s “done talking about bashing on the gay community” and didn't want to push legislation that could be used as a vehicle for discrimination.

“It's completely unacceptable... This is 2019,” he said.
Followed by:
For conservative Texas lawmakers and their allies in the business community, the fight over paid sick leave seemed like a slam dunk at the start of this year.

Left-leaning cities Austin and San Antonio were in Republicans’ crosshairs after adopting ordinances that required private businesses to offer their employees a certain number of paid sick days. While the city council members spearheading those proposals touted them as beneficial to workers, lawmakers on the other side of the ideological spectrum took issue with cities taking a new role in private companies’ employment policies — and creating patchwork regulations that only applied in certain parts of the state and might differ within a matter of miles.

Legislation blocking those ordinances was hailed as a priority in the Texas Senate, blessed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and lobbied for by wealthy business groups.

But as the session winds down, the bills that would achieve those goals missed the deadline to be considered on the House floor — meaning they’re effectively dead.
Barely six months ago, on the most important employment law bill of the past generation, the Texas GOP cowered and caved to a bunch of bullshit-ass, disingenuous, "objections" from the LGBT crowd.

Yet today we're supposed to believe they're taking some sort of principled stand?!?


Bottom Line: Hypocrite!  First Pass the sick leave preemption bill.  Then you will see clearly to make "party affiliate" decisions.

Friday, December 13, 2019

#TXLEGE: Dana Loesch Killed Lt. Dan's Flirtation with Gun Control (for now)

"Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me."
Nehemiah 4:18

Our post the other day about Lt. Dan got us thinking: He hasn't run his mouth about guns in awhile.

So we decided to check out his campaign website and Twitter feed.

Here's what we found: Lt. Dan's last reference to anything remotely related to the Second Amendment came on September 24th.

Where, pray tell, was Lt. Dan on September 25th?!?

Not a peep on the subject since.

Bottom Line: The whims of the national news cycle remain no way to govern an allegedly "conservative" state. Even if it worked this one time. Thanks Dana.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

George P. Bush cries "Rasicm" to misdirect from Dunderheaded Mismanagement of Alamo

"Good and upright is the Lord;
Therefore He teaches sinners in the way."
Psalm 25:8

What a dork:

YCT Chairman Saurabh Sharma then addressed P.:

To which J.R. Hernandez (remember him) replied:

Saurabh again:

Thank you Saurabh.

Now, look: George P. Bush probably isn't some globalist with a secret agenda to erase history. George P. Bush isn't that smart.  But George P. Bush can still grease the skids for a shady "redevelopment" deal even if he's not receiving direct orders from the Trilateral commission.

For several years, George P. Bush has been talking out of both sides of his mouth about the Alamo.  Given his own behavior, it's not surprising that a rumor took hold.  Watch for yourself and decide whether or not you trust him:

Bottom Line: If George P. Bush wants to know why people are angry at him over the Alamo, he should look in the mirror, rather than grasping at this pathetic straw(man argument).

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

#TXLEGE: Things *might* not mean what Lt. Dan apparently thinks they mean

"Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall."
Proverbs 16:18

This is...quite the arrogant press release:

To be fair, everything on which this author was working this past session passed the Senate.  We're not particularly angry with the Senators listed in this press release.  At least, not anymore than we're angry with the rest of the institution.

But come on: Does anybody seriously think that successfully primarying Dawn Buckingham or Charles Perry (two of the bigger drop offs this session) will change anything?!?

Cuz' it won't.

And it won't change anything...because of people like Dan Patrick.

Speaking of primary challenges.

Bottom Line: This was an astonishingly stupid press release to send out.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

#TXLEGE: Davis Completes Final Humiliation of Abbott

"The end of a thing is better than its beginning;
The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit."
Ecclesiastes 7:8

With the filing deadline for candidates now officially in the rearview mirror, Gov. Greg Abbott has made a shocking announcement, endorsing openly pro-abortion State Rep. Sarah Davis (R–West University Place) for re-election.

In a press release on Tuesday morning, Abbott praised Davis for her “dedication to the people of Texas,” adding that he was “proud” to endorse her for re-election to the Texas House.

“State Representative Sarah Davis advocates for the needs and priorities of her constituents,” said Abbott. “And while we haven’t always seen eye to eye, we share the same commitment to bring people together to solve problems and improve the lives of all Texans.”

“The lives of all Texans” that Abbott mentions, however, clearly doesn’t refer to the lives of unborn children. Davis is unabashedly pro-abortion, even caucusing with Democrat lawmakers in secret meetings during debates over pro-life legislation and going on MSNBC to advocate for more lax abortion laws. Her record and advocacy for the practice have earned her accolades from groups like Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League.

Just two years ago, Abbott earned praise from conservatives across the state for his endorsement against Sarah Davis after he compared her to Wendy Davis, a national pro-abortion figure and his former Democrat opponent.

“She’s not really a Republican, but she has a ‘Republican’ by her name,” Abbott said at a fundraiser in January 2018. “It won’t surprise you to know The Huffington Post came out and glowingly compared her to Wendy Davis. We have beat Wendy Davis before. We cannot allow another Wendy Davis look-alike in the Texas House.”

Davis is not only a liberal on the issue of life; she has often sided with Democrats against conservatives in the Texas Legislature. During the last legislative session alone, Davis worked to grow government spending, increase the ability of local governments to raise taxes, and even teamed up with Democrats to kill a proposed ban on taxpayer-funded lobbying.
Obviously, this website doesn't support Sarah Davis' politics.  But this development is still kinda hilarious.  Poetic justice, reaping what you sow, etc.

It's not just that Abbott endorsed against her last cycle.  At least, not really.  It's that he did it in such a buffoonish way.  Davis, of course, beat the Governor like a rented drum.

Now he comes crawling back.

As we wrote last year:
While Tuesday's results were a mixed bag for lege watchers from across the ideological spectrum, there was one GIGANTIC loser: Greg Abbott, specifically his SPECTACULAR FAILURE against Sarah Davis.

It's been obvious for months that Sarah Davis was going to win that primary. Abbott's ridiculous, over-the-top (and easily disprovable), attack against Davis related to Hurricane Harvey was bound to backfire.
Less than two years later...how the mighty have fallen.

It's a little funny.

Bottom Line: That this was all completely predictable doesn't make it any less entertaining.

Travis County GOP does their best job recruiting candidates...pretty much EVER!!!

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

Via. Travis Tracker:
Becky Bray made headlines as a top fundraiser in the multi-way race for Austin City Council District 8 in 2014, and now has the blessing of outgoing Precinct 3 County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty as his successor.

Returning candidates include Martin Harry, who ran for Justice of the Peace in 2018, and Marilyn Jackson, who in 2010 ran for a Texas House seat. Harry is now in the running for District Attorney and Jackson for Tax Assessor-Collector.


Justin Berry
Jennifer Fleck
Jenny Roan Forgey
Aaron Reitz
Don Zimmerman

William Strieber

Jenai Aragona-Hales
Charles Allan Meyer

Larry Delarose

Robert Reynolds

Solomon Arcoven

Becky Bray

Raul Vargas

Martin Harry

Marilyn Jackson

Geoffrey Puryear
This is...completely unexpected.

But we'll take it!!!

The truth, of course, is that local races will remain extraordinarily challenging as long as...well, you know.  But that's no excuse.  You've got to start somewhere.

Furthermore, as long as homelessness remains a slow-motion debacle, there's every reason to believe outside voices will get the fairest hearing they've had in awhile.

Also: No more straight ticket!!!

Bottom Line: You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

Monday, December 9, 2019

#TXLEGE: In attacking Isaac, Opiela isn't exactly a disinterested party

"and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved."
2 Thessalonians 2:10

Former state rep Jason Isaac's wife, Carrie, is running for his old seat.  She's probably the least bad candidate with a realistic shot.   But we're not paying particularly close attention.

That being said, we DID find a recent report in the "Hays Free Press" noteworthy.  Apparently, in 2018, Jason Isaac used campaign funds to rent an apartment in South Austin.  Whether or not this is a good idea, it's completely legal.  But you'll never believe who the Hays Free Press chose to quote:
Attorney Eric Opiela, a Republican, seems to question the legality of Isaac’s expenditures, though Democratic attorney Buck Wood said he didn’t see a problem.

According to Opiela, who also served for a time as the state Republican Party’s executive director, the legality of the Isaacs’ use of campaign funds for his apartment home in southwest Austin comes down to intent. Did Isaac intend the apartment to support his official work as the representative, or was it for personal use?

Isaac announced on March 29, 2018, via Twitter, that he had taken a new job in Austin as president of a public policy organization, saying he was “eager to get to work expanding [the organization].” Eight days later, Jason Isaac used campaign funds to pay the application fee for his apartment home in Austin.

“Just because you list something as an officeholder expense on a finance report doesn’t make it one. The facts here certainly have the appearance of using campaign funds for personal use rather than the performance of one’s duties as a public official,” Opiela said.

“Residency questions are difficult to prove as a matter of state law,” explained Opeila. “It’s easy to claim to reside in a district without actually living there. It’s not so easy to have a candidate disqualified from the ballot, but it has happened in both primary and general elections.” The bigger problem with residency claims, according to Opeila, is how voters react to a candidate who claims to live in their district without actually living there.
Seriously...Eric Opeila?!?


Besides Carrie Isaac, the other major candidate in this race is some dork named Bud Wymore.  You'll never believe who just *happens* to support Wymore.  From Wymore's campaign endorsements page:

Seriously, it took us longer to format that screenshot than it took us to figure out that Opeila was supporting a different candidate.

[Note: You can learn more about Eric Opeila's history here.]

One of two things is possible: The Hays Free-Press was too dumb or too lazy to figure out that Eric Opeila was supporting a different candidate.  Or the Hays Free-Press didn't care.  Neither is good.

Bottom Line: Is less than 30 seconds of research too much to ask?!?

Friday, December 6, 2019

Another year; Yet Another $11 BILLION in Local Government Debt

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

From TPPF:
AUSTIN— Using the Public Information Act, the Texas Public Policy Foundation secured the release of new information from the Bond Review Board revealing local governments are awash in public debt. According to the agency, local debt totaled $365.3 billion in FY 2019, an increase of almost $11 billion over the prior year. Since FY 2017, Texas’ local governments have added more than $27 billion to the total. On a per capita basis, Texas’ local governments have accumulated enough debt to cost every man, woman, and child in Texas more than $12,500.

“Texas’ local governments are drowning in a sea of red ink,” said TPPF’s James Quintero. “New data reveals that local debt now totals $365 billion, representing an increase of almost $11 billion since last year and more than $27 billion added since fiscal year 2017. By running up the taxpayer credit card like this, local officials are courting higher taxes, bigger government, and unsustainable spending habits. Texas lawmakers cannot allow the status quo to continue. We need big, bold action from the statehouse next session.”
As a matter of context, when we started this stuff a few years ago, that number was $323 Billion.

That 13% growth clip is totally sustainable.

Keep Voting Republican.

Bottom Line: Wall St. makes its real money financing government debt, and it looks like local officials across the Lone Star state are all too willing to oblige.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

#TXLEGE: Latest Crisis Subsides, Toxic Culture Remains

"Whoever has no rule over his own spirit
Is like a city broken down, without walls."
Proverbs 25:28

State Rep. Rick Miller, R-Sugar Land, is no longer running for reelection after he sparked a firestorm for saying he was facing primary challengers because they are Asian.

“During a recent interview with the Houston Chronicle I made some statements that were insensitive and inexcusable,” Miller said in a statement to The Texas Tribune. “In trying to make a point about the campaign I used a poor choice of words that are not indicative of my character or heart.

“I do not want to be a distraction for my party or my constituents, and therefore I have decided not to seek re-election,” he continued.
Obviously, this was the least bad solution.  Had Miller not withdrawn from the race, this would have become a slow drip.  So one cheer.

We guess.

But does anyone feel good about this?!?

 After Bonnen left, we wrote:
[I]s anyone confident a new scandal won't soon emerge?!?

Cuz' we ain't.
Barely six weeks later...another frickin' scandal!!!

We've seen this movie:

From October:
This specific scandal is the completely predictable result of the toxic culture in the Texas capitol that has prevailed for a long time.

The GOP, meanwhile, has been running the place for a quarter century.

This is the same Republican majority that:
  • Two years ago, put a man who had been in a sexual relationship with a lobbyist for over a decade in charge of writing its sexual harassment policy.
The pattern is obvious...to anyone not under the influence of afore mentioned Egyptian rivers.

It can't be defended, and it shouldn't.
Yet, here we are.  Again.  Rick Miller, Dennis Bonnen, and Jim Pitts might be gone.  But Charlie Geren and Jim Murphy are still there.

Is anyone confident about that?!?

Cuz' we (still) ain't.

Bottom Line: Over/under six weeks before the next self-inflicted scandal?!?

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Joe Barton might be completely terrible, but he's not "Bailing Out" anyone

"He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house;
He who tells lies shall not continue in my presence."
Psalm 101:7

Obviously, this website doesn't like former Congressman Joe Barton.  In 2017, we were one of the first to call for his resignation over...all that.  But the truth is that we've not been a fan for a lot longer than that.

Thus, we were curious about the following headline in the Texas Observer:

Unfortunately, the article doesn't deliver the goods.

Turns out, Barton's launching an energy related lobby operation.  OK, fine.  There's a lot to criticize about the legislative/lobby revolving door.

But that's not where the Observer goes.

Instead, they attack him for...getting the ban on crude oil exports lifted:
[T]his week he reemerged with a lengthy retrospective in the Dallas Morning News humbly titled “I knew my bill to lift the ban on U.S. oil exports was important. I hardly expected it to change the world.” It’s an unusually revealing account of how Barton greased the congressional skids for one of the most consequential policies for oil and gas and the environment in modern political history.


The former lawmaker from Ennis paints himself as a shrewd legislative tactician with deep connections and policy know-how. He does not undersell the world-changing impacts of his handiwork. Not only is the U.S. now the top oil producer, but the introduction of American oil around the world has “destroyed OPEC’s ability to control world oil prices” and created a more “transparent” global energy market.


But as he details in his column, Barton set out to do the biggest favor of his career back in early 2014, when the Permian Basin was in the early days of a massive boom. New fracking technologies made it highly profitable to access the region’s huge reserves of oil hidden in dense shale formations. But fossil-fuel producers were sounding the alarm that the country’s existing domestic refining capacity couldn’t handle all of the newfound black gold.

So some of Texas’ oil behemoths began leaning on Barton to end the ban on crude oil exports from the United States, warning that the industry’s future depend on it.

Does the Texas Observer really think that Texas putting the Saudis out of business is a bad thing?!?

'Cause that's definitely what it sounds like.

Furthermore, how is Barton's effort a "bailout?!?"  Congressional action certainly expanded the markets available to Texan/American energy companies.  But expanding markets is hardly a "bailout."

It's kinda the opposite.

Which is a shame, because Barton's terrible.

But that doesn't change the fact that lifting the crude oil export ban was pretty much the only good thing he did in 30 years in Congress.

Bottom Line: For such a target rich environment, this was an odd selection.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

#TXLEGE: ANOTHER Cartoonish Debacle

"Whoever has no rule over his own spirit
Is like a city broken down, without walls."
Proverbs 25:28

Republican Rep. D.F. “Rick” Miller of Sugar Land is facing primary opposition for the first time since 2012 as he seeks to keep his seat representing Fort Bend County in the Texas House.

He summed up one of his opponents like this: “He’s a Korean,” said Miller, describing Jacey Jetton, a former chairman of the Fort Bend GOP. “He has decided because, because he is an Asian that my district might need an Asian to win. And that’s kind of racist in my mind, but anyway, that’s not necessary, at least not yet.”

A second Republican primary candidate, Houston Fire Department analyst Leonard Chan, “jumped in probably for the same reason,” said Miller, 74, during an interview with Hearst Newspapers. “I don’t know, I never met the guy. I have no idea who he is. He has not been around Republican channels at all, but he’s an Asian.”
It gets better:
Gov. Greg Abbott rescinded his endorsement of state Rep. Rick Miller on Tuesday after the Sugar Land Republican said he was facing primary challengers because they are “Asian.”

“Representative Miller’s comments are inappropriate and out of touch with the values of the Republican Party. In light of Rep. Miller’s comments, the governor is withdrawing his endorsement,” Abbott spokesman John Wittman said in a statement to The Texas Tribune.

Abbott endorsed Miller for another term on Oct. 15, calling him a “strong, principled conservative who has represented the people of Fort Bend County with integrity.” The governor has backed all but a few House Republicans for reelection at this point.

By late Tuesday morning, a page featuring Abbott’s endorsement of Miller had disappeared from the governor’s campaign website.
Hoo boy.

There's a lot we could say, but we're not sure how much we should.

Suffice to say: Rick Miller's behavior has grown increasingly erratic since...well, you know.  Nothing really major.  But enough to strike one as odd.

The comment in the Houston Chronicle was the first time Miller's...odd...behavior occurred in public.

We can't prove anything, but we know what we suspect.

That being said, why Rick Miller said what he said is no longer relevant.  He said it.  What matters now is what happens next.

The good news is that all of this came in response to a primary challenge.  So there's already a mechanism in place to deal with the situation.  We don't do candidate endorsements anymore, but we would suggest the best way to make this story go away is to retire Rep. Miller at the earliest practical date.

Also, while we've been very critical of Governor Abbott in recent months, he does deserve credit for being proactive in this case.

Bottom Line: This was bad.  However, if it's dealt with promptly, the fallout should be contained.  We'll see what happens.

Monday, December 2, 2019

First National Conservative Media Outlet, pretty much EVER, Calls BS on Abbott

"Better is the poor who walks in his integrity
Than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool."
Proverbs 19:1

One America News is a newer outlet.  To be honest, we're not super familiar.  We do, however, have a couple of business acquaintances who are big fans.

That being said, they've certainly taken the lead on one of the most important stories that needs to reach a broader audience.

In reporting on the Baby Tinslee case, OAN anchor illuminates deeper truths about Greg Abbott and the Texas GOP that can be applied to an number of issues.

  • "Republicans in Texas, our eyes are on you."
  • "Republicans in the state legislature, Governor Greg Abbott, YOU have the power to repeal this rule once and for all."
  • "Governor Abbott, call a special session and repeal this rule."
  • TxRTL likewise calling for a special.
  • "Call these Texas Republicans out for what they're doing!!!"
    • Dear National Conservative Media: MORE OF THIS.
  • "Texas legislature, and Governor Greg Abbott, they have the ability to call a special session."
  • TxRTL: Abbott "is the only one who has the power to end this right now."
  • TxRTL has learned about more cases since the Baby Tinslee case has been in the news.
Bottom Line: We need A LOT more of this, but you've got to start somewhere.