Friday, January 31, 2020

Stupid Party Faces Test of the Moniker

"But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?

She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
John 8:1-12

The day is here.  The Republican Party of Texas is going to, once again, have a completely pointless discussion about an issue it should have resolved five years ago.  Good grief, what a waste of time.


This issue isn't about Log Cabin Republicans.  At least, not really.  Neither is it about a convention booth.  At least, not really.

It's about a (small) set of people who can't set priorities, and who didn't lift a finger when this subject mattered a year ago.

In case you've forgotten:
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.

[Note: Emphasis added.]
Having completely caved to the LGBT lobby on the most important employment law bill of the last generation, we're supposed to believe the Texas GOP is now taking some sort of principled stand?!?

You've already surrendered on this issue top the most totalitarian members of that community.  But, to make up for it, you're going to act like assholes jerks to the members of that community who help elect conservative at the local level.  Only one word describes such 'logic': MORONIC.

Some will argue against the Log Cabin R's because they want to change some platform planks.  Well, guess what?!?  Many people want to change platform planks.  Debating such things is the entire point of the convention.

But the Log Cabin R's are singled out, because, well...there's no good reason.

Last night a source who's been a delegate to the past several RPT pointed out:
  • The past couple RPT conventions ('16, '18) have included toll-road lobbyists.
  • Texas Eagle Forum has opposed various tort reform efforts over the years.
  • Texas Alliance for "Life" routinely undermines the RPT platform.
Despite the fact that they're trying to change (or actively subverting in the case of TAL) the RPT platform, nobody complains about the afore mentioned groups.


Bottom Line: Let he among you who has never tried to change a platform plank cast the first stone.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

To be fair, Huffines also endorses Collins

"He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will be destroyed.
Proverbs 13:20


DALLAS, TX - Today, conservative businesswoman and Republican candidate for Congress in Texas’ 32nd district Genevieve Collins announced that she received the endorsement of the Honorable Senator Don Huffines.

Senator Huffines represented Texas’ 16th Senate District from 2015 to 2019. He is most known for authoring legislation that resulted in uncovering the largest government corruption scandal in Texas history, as well as authoring conservative legislation to establish term limits, promote life, and return rights from the government back to Texans. Prior to his time in elected office, he spent over 30 years as a successful businessman.

“I am pleased to endorse fellow businessperson and strong conservative Genevieve Collins for Congress today. During my time in Austin, I was proud to champion our conservative principles of small government and less regulation. I know what it takes to fight for Texas values, and I am confident that Genevieve will fight for them in Washington, D.C.,” said Huffines. “I am convinced she will work for term limits, a secure border, the sanctity of life, and the Second Amendment, just to name a few. Further, I believe she will use her business sense to protect our liberties and freedoms and ensure that power stays with the people, not the government. I look forward to helping in her election effort, and I urge my fellow Texas conservatives to join me in supporting her in the Republican primary on March 3rd.”

“It is my honor to earn Senator Huffines’ endorsement for the 32nd district Republican primary on March 3rd. Like me, he spent his career in business, creating jobs and forecasting growth. Now I am going to take my business acumen to Congress to get to work for the people of the 32nd district,” added Collins. “Early voting starts three weeks from today, and conservatives across the 32nd district are coalescing around our campaign. They know that it is vital we nominate a conservative businesswoman and lifelong Texan who will take the fight to far-left Colin Allred this November.”
We don't have a lot to add...but since we ripped on Collins for the Dan Branch endorsement, we have to acknowledge the Huffines endorsement.

Bottom Line: At this point, it looks like all the ex-politicos in Dallas County are lining up behind her.  Your guess is as good as ours as to what that means.  But there are few people in that neck of the woods more solid than Don Huffines.

Medical Cartel Trying to Pull Fast One Though State Agency

"They are all adulterers.
Like an oven heated by a baker—
He ceases stirring the fire after kneading the dough,
Until it is leavened."
Hosea 7:4

Via. JoAnn Fleming:
The Good News: After Texans spoke out last month, the Texas Medical Board (TMB) scrapped plans to impose a minimum 10-business-day wait on patients seeking non-emergency care from an independent (out-of-network) physician at any hospital or surgery center in the state of Texas.

The Bad News: The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) stepped in and imposed a similar rule (applicable to independent physicians at in-network facilities), but without an opportunity for public input. This went into effect on January 1, 2020.

Because the Texas Dept. of Insurance adopted the rule on an emergency basis, there is now a 30-day comment period underway before the rule is adopted as a permanent regulation.

Additional Background: Last year the Texas legislature passed legislation (SB 1264) purporting to address an issue largely caused by insurance companies. The issue has been mislabeled as a problem of “surprise” medical bills. The real “surprise” is that insurance companies deny payment for needed care and add obstacles that prevent and delay patients from obtaining care from the physicians of their choice. Because of your advocacy, and the efforts of Senator Kelly Hancock, the version of SB 1264 that passed contained a good provision preserving the rights of patients and independent physicians to work together without interference from insurance company bureaucrats.

So, what’s the problem?

The TDI is now improperly inserting itself in between patients and independent doctors by implementing a 10 business-day waiting period for non-emergency care for services performed at hospitals and surgery centers. The regulation applies when the facility is in-network according to the patient’s insurance plan, but the physician chosen by the patient is independent (out of network). Currently, there are few facilities that are not run by collaborations between hospital corporations and insurance companies. This rule makes it extremely difficult for a specialist to work at a hospital without being bound to the dictates of an insurance company.

For example: if a patient who is enrolled in a health plan regulated by TDI wishes to contract directly with a surgeon who isn't in the insurer's narrow network, but utilize insurance coverage for hospital or surgery center fees, the patient would have to sign the TDI-approved waiver form, at least 10-business days before the procedure. During this forced waiting period, the patient may suffer in pain or experience worsening disease! That patient’s only other option for care is to agree to be treated by a doctor with whom the insurance company has contracted and who is under the control of the corporate medical system.

Keep in mind that a 10-business-day wait means in most cases at least a 14-day wait and as many as 17 days in situations where holidays add to the delay.

Unelected bureaucrats are attempting to force patients to wait for care from physicians of their choice! Rules like this, if left in place, are yet another step along the path to full corporate and government control of your medical care choices.

Call to Action!

Please take a moment now to speak out against this proposal before the comment period ends. The department will consider any written comments on the proposal that are received no later than 5:00 PM on February 10, 2020.

Your comments can be submitted by email to or by mail to the Office of the Chief Clerk, MC 112-2A, Texas Department of Insurance, P.O. Box 149104, Austin, Texas 78714-9104.

The Commissioner will also consider written and oral comments on the proposal in a public hearing under Docket No. 2819 at 1:00 PM on February 4, 2020, in Room 100 of the William P. Hobby Jr. State Office Building, 333 Guadalupe Street, Austin, Texas.

The department requests that parties who plan to speak at the hearing send their written comments (or a summary of their testimony) to to facilitate a meaningful discussion.

Attending the hearing? Email Dr. Sheila Page
We'd have to re-arrange our schedule to do it, but we're going to try to attend on Tuesday.

Regardless of whether or not you can make it, however, DO e-mail the Department of Insurance.  Obscure government agencies tend to back down when they realize the public is paying attention.  No promises, but the odds are decent.

Bottom Line: Figures they'd try to do something like this while everyone's distracted by the primary.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

#TXLEGE: Worst Possible Republican Candidate > Entire Democrat Presidential Field

"Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding,
But a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding."
Proverbs 10:13

Last night marked the completion of the first elections of 2020 as the spotlight centered on three runoff elections for Texas House seats. The marquee race was in Fort Bend County, which saw Republican Gary Gates square off against Democrat Eliz Markowitz in a runoff that received national attention and all but overshadowed even the most contentious primary races up until last night.

In what can only be described as a strong victory for the Texas GOP, Republican candidate Gary Gates won the special election runoff with 58 percent of the vote, defeating his opponent with a 16-point margin of victory.

Fort Bend County has been a hotbed of political activity since Rep. John Zerwas (R-Richmond) retired in September. Texas Democrats rallied in hopes this race would begin their steady climb to regain control of the Texas House.

State and national Democrats largely threw their support behind one candidate, Eliz Markowitz. Former congressman and one-time presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke spent countless hours campaigning for Markowitz in an attempt to galvanize his supporters to help win the seat for Texas Democrats.

O’Rourke threw rallies, block walked, fundraised, and was present with Markowitz on the ground all throughout election day.

Political heavyweights like Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, and Wendy Davis all supported Markowitz either by endorsing her candidacy or even, in Bloomberg’s case, coming to Texas to knock on doors for the candidate.

National and state special interest groups, including the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and the Texas-based progressive women’s group Annie’s List, took advantage of the unorthodox election date and spent concentrated time, money, and attention on House District 28.

Altogether, approximately $1 million was spent on this state house race by Democrats and left-leaning allies.
 This is bad if you're a Democrat.

It's not just that the Democrats lost.  It's not just that the Democrats lost in a blowout.  It's not just that the Democrats lost in a blowout after dropping seven figures.

It's that the Democrats lost, in a blowout, after dropping seven Gary frickin' Gates.

That would be the same Gary Gates who, prior to last night, was a seven time loser.

Yet Democrats failed.

It's pretty funny.

Gary frickin' Gates.


Three months ago, we outlined the degree to which Gary Gates was a terrible candidate.  There's an opposition research file an inch thick floating around on that guy.  For crying out loud, dude's a slumlord who made his money ripping off taxpayers.

But did the Democrats bring any of that up?!?  Not really.  The one time they tried to wade into any of it, they did it so poorly that it backfired.

Instead, Democrats gave us: Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro, Bobby Francis O'Rourke...and redistricting.

And nobody cared.

What's even funnier is that Democrats didn't even heed the lessons of their own previous victories.  Typically, when Democrats are successful in swing areas, it's because they run vague campaigns about public education and traffic.  But they didn't do that this time.

Instead, they rolled out the list of national politicians listed above.  And they made redistricting the single substantive issue of their campaign.  And they lost.

To Gary frickin' Gates.


Miscellaneous takeaways:
  • Voters don't care about redistricting -- This was the one substantive issue on which Democrats ran.  The results speak for themselves.  Turns out whining about how you can't rig the system to benefit yourself (which you're totally mad at the other guys for doing that) isn't a winning message.  Go figure.
  • The Democrat presidential field sucks -- Five Democrat presidential candidates literally lost to Gary frickin' Gates.
  • Julian Castro and Bobby Francis O'Rourke will never be elected statewide.
    • Note: Only possible exception is a national environment that's 5 to 7 points worse for the GOP than 2018.
Gary frickin' Gates.


Bottom Line: Pretty funny.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Crenshaw's Not Necessarily Wrong about Climate Change ("Carbon Capture" Still Boondoggle tho)

"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy."
James 3:17

There's been some chatter about comments Dan Crenshaw made during Policy Orientation:
“We can make fun of the left’s sort of alarmist views on climate change — and we should, to an extent — but we can’t ignore it completely,” Crenshaw said during a keynote Q-and-A at the right-leaning Texas Public Policy Foundation’s 2020 policy conference. “From a political standpoint, we cannot ignore it completely.”


“It’s not totally untrue. Their alarmism is often, almost always, completely untrue and not founded in facts or data. When they’re blaming storms and things on climate change, it’s usually nonsense,” Crenshaw said. “That doesn’t mean there isn’t some effect on the climate from man-made emissions, and we can admit that.”


“Even if we don’t know what it’s doing to the environment, let’s at least err on the side of caution,” Crenshaw said. “But it doesn’t mean erring on the side of destroying the economy, which is what the left would have. So two things: grant some of the premise — not all of the premise — that they’re operating on, some of it, and expose them for what they’re really trying to do, which is a complete socialist takeover of the economy.”
We were there when Crenshaw said this.  To be honest, we didn't give it any additional thought.  The ensuing kerfuffle is odd.

Crenshaw drew a distinction between the global warming cultists and folks who have valid environmental concerns.  It's a distinction worth drawing more often.  Because Crenshaw's right that it's bad politics to ignore the latter group.

But the great, raging, irony is that Crenshaw made these comments while on a panel with Chip Roy.

Because Roy's been illustrating the same distinction for at least a year:
It's one thing to argue that there have been unintended environmental consequences from the increase in carbon emissions over the past 200 years. That might very well be the case. In that context, a discussion about reducing carbon emissions might be worth having.

Likewise, in that context, you have to acknowledge that collapsing natural gas prices have done more to reduce carbon emissions than anything else.

That will never be good enough for the global warming cultists. And that's fine. Don't waste your breath.

But natural gas prices are a wedge that should be driven between those concerned about the unintended environmental consequences of carbon emissions and the global warming cultists.

And Chip Roy showed us how.
Yet the media completely missed when Chip Roy did this...only to oddly glom onto Dan Crenshaw a year later.

That being said, Crenshaw's counter-proposal is still a dumb boondoggle.  It's one thing to say that innovation is the best way to solve environmental challenges.  It's something else to use that as a cover to merely have government pick a different set of winners and losers.

Which is all the GOP's so-called "carbon capture" proposal does.

Nevertheless, it remains the case that discussing how innovation is the best way to solve environmental challenges is also good politics.

And that's the only point Crenshaw was making last week.

Bottom Line: Sometimes, it's just odd to see which seemingly innocuous comments provoke a backlash.

Monday, January 27, 2020

#TXLEGE: Pete Flores might be the Biggest Integrity Upgrade of All Time

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

During Policy Orientation last week, Senator Pete Flores spoke on the panel: "South Texas is Texas Too: Bringing South-Texas Priorities to Austin and D.C."  It was a good discussion.  Mostly about South Texas' impact on the broader economies of both Texas and the United States.

Throughout the discussion, however, we kept coming back to one thought: Pete Flores' predecessor.

Pete Flores' predecessor, for those who don't remember, was this guy.  Also this guy.  And this guy.

He's also this guy:
SAN ANTONIO — The courtroom was silent and thick with anxiety Thursday morning as the judge’s deputy read the verdicts: “Guilty,” “guilty,” “guilty” — 11 times over, and on all felony counts.

State Sen. Carlos Uresti sat stone-faced, his gaze directed at the deputy, as he heard the ruling that throws into question his two-decade career in the Texas Legislature and opens up the possibility of more than a century in federal prison and millions of dollars in fines.

If upheld on appeal, the 11 felony charges — including multiple counts of fraud and money laundering — would render the San Antonio Democrat ineligible to continue serving as a state legislator. Uresti, an attorney by trade, would also be disbarred.


Uresti was charged last year in connection with FourWinds Logistics, a now-bankrupt oilfield services company that perpetrated a Ponzi scheme against its investors. Uresti served as general counsel for FourWinds and owned 1 percent of the company. He also earned commission for recruiting investors, according to court documents.

Several of the company’s leaders pleaded guilty to fraud charges before Uresti’s case even went to trial, some of them in plea agreements to testify for the government. Prosecutors argued that Uresti had used his prestigious reputation to lend credibility to an unknown company; several investors testified that Uresti’s presence reassured them that their money would be safe with FourWinds. But Uresti’s lawyers countered that the lawmaker was never aware of, or involved in, the company’s shady dealings.

Uresti’s co-defendant, former FourWinds consultant Gary Cain, was also found guilty on all counts.


The prominent and at times salacious case has drawn dozens of unaffiliated observers to the courthouse over the past month. The courtroom was particularly packed for three days of testimony from Uresti’s former legal client Denise Cantu, who lost most of the $900,000 she invested in FourWinds. Cantu — who said she had an affair with Uresti — won that money with his legal representation in a wrongful death suit after her son and daughter were killed in 2010 car accident.
That's pretty much what you need to know about Pete Flores' predecessor (although the strong stomached can read more here).

By contrast, Pete Flores is just a guy who wants to maximize economic growth in South Texas.  We don't necessarily agree with every idea he has to accomplish that objective.  Still, our objections to the current Texas Senator from District 19 is limited to a few policy issues.

It's quite the disparity.

Bottom Line: The difference between the last two Senators from SD-19 speaks for itself.

Both Mainstream and Conservative Media push inaccurate narratives about Texas

"The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness."
Luke 11:34

During Policy Orientation last week, one of the panels was: "Telling the Texas Story: Do Media Narratives Portray an Accurate State of the State?"  It was a good discussion.  The short answer is NO.

Obviously, the mainstream media has narratives they push.  This is true of both the national media and their counterparts at the state level.  This narrative portrays Texans as uneducated rubes and quasi-racists.

Obviously, that narrative is bogus.  It's also irrelevant.  Nobody cares.

Unfortunately, a much more pernicious narrative exists in conservative media.  This is the idea that Texas is some sort of stalwart conservative state in the first place.  Even more unfortunate, this narrative has a real world impact.

Texas isn't a conservative state.  It never has been.  Texas is a corrupt, crony capitalist state. 

It's been that way for 150 years.

Bottom Line: Pesky facts....

TAL Endorses Incumbent Congresswoman who told MSNBC she's "pro-choice"

"How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart,"
Jeremiah 23:26


Pretty self-explanatory.

It's been a running joke for years that TAL would endorse Sarah Davis if she cut them a big enough check.  Granger is...pretty much the federal equivalent.  You can learn about her record here.  At best, it's weak.

Bottom Line:

Friday, January 24, 2020

TPPF announces MAJOR New Initiative to combat Election Fraud

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

So...this happened:

We were in the room when Kevin Roberts made the announcement. To be honest, we're surprised nobody else has covered this yet. That being said, this is news we're happy to break.

According to Roberts in his remarks, this decision was just made Friday morning.

Apparently, there will be more details forthcoming next week...but Roberts suggested major resources.

Could get interesting.

Bottom Line: Kudos TPPF.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Chip Roy Might Save the GOP's Bacon on Health Care

"He who despises the word will be destroyed,
But he who fears the commandment will be rewarded."
Proverbs 13:13

We discussed Ted Cruz and Chip Roy's recent Health Care proposal last week; yesterday, Roy discussed it in greater depth at TPPF'S Policy Orientation.

We could say a lot about it.  Obviously, we like it.  But there are a couple of reasons why we think there's a small chance this time *MIGHT* be different.  But the reality is that the only reason either is relevant is because Chip Roy is a member of Congress.

The biggest difference is that somebody is FINALLY talking about fixing the Health Care system.  Not just repealing Obamacare.  Chip Roy (and, belatedly, Ted Cruz) want to actually fix the health care system.

This is something that you can actually take to your friends and neighbors.  Chip Roy's proposal will actually lower your personal health care costs (probably significantly).  Chip Roy's health care proposal will give you more options for how you obtain health care.  No promises, but Roy's health care proposal is also likely to unleash a new round of medical innovation.

This is the first time in 25 years that we can write what we said in the preceding paragraph.

The other reason, perhaps, for modest optimism is that some of the other members of the Texas delegation also seem to get it (on this issue).  Before his panel, Roy was also the lunchtime keynote with Dan Crenshaw.  Obviously, Crenshaw's been a bit of a mixed bag as a Congressman, but Crenshaw and Roy are pulling in the same direction in health care.

Bottom Line: Obviously, a lot remains to be seen, but Chip Roy might just be the man to make it happen.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

#TXLEGE: At least the Arlington Chamber's Honest

"The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,"
Revelation 18:15

The Arlington Chamber of Commerce recently wrote a blog post defending taxpayer funded lobbying.  Empower Texans has a pretty good summary.  However, a closer reading of the blog post reveals some details ET missed:
It would be understandable that cities and counties feel the need to protect their revenue streams from a hostile legislature. SB29 would have unilaterally disarmed cities and counties, leaving them at the mercy of industry lobbyists.

A concern among Chambers, PTAs and other groups that receive support from taxing entities is that we not get caught in the unintended consequences of loosely written legislation like SB29.

[Note: Emphasis Added.]
In other words: We're getting a lot of preferential treatment (including direct payments).  We're also able to outsource our lobby expenses to the taxpayer.  Keep that going!!!

We confess mixed feelings.  On the one hand, their policy position is obviously repellent.  On the other hand, there's a certain level of honesty.

Chamber types usually hide their avarice and mendacity behind euphemisms.

Bottom Line: In attempting to defend taxpayer funded lobbying, they make a pretty good case for its abolition.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Florida Man's Long, Strange, (Wildly Expensive) Trip

"A good man obtains favor from the Lord,
But a man of wicked intentions He will condemn."
Proverbs 12:2

This is just strange:
For months, the race for Texas GOP chair has been in full swing, with incumbent James Dickey and his high-profile challenger, Allen West, appearing at a slew of at times feisty forums.

But it was not until last week that the two had to disclose their campaign finances for the first time — and West's report brought something of a bombshell: Not only did the former Florida congressman raise nearly half a million dollars — a large amount for such an election — but $250,000 of it came from a single person. That person: Richard Uihlein, the conservative megadonor and shipping supplies magnate from Illinois.

In recent election cycles, the reclusive Uihlein and his wife Liz have become known for bankrolling insurgent conservative candidates across the country, sometimes serving as their primary patrons. Richard Uihlein gave $37.7 million to outside spending groups during the 2018 cycle, making him the fourth biggest donor to such entities and putting him in the ranks of people like Sheldon Adelson and Michael Bloomberg, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

For now, it is not entirely clear why Uihlein has taken such an interest in the race to lead the Texas GOP — a job that entails keeping it well-funded and organized ahead of a crucial November election for state Republicans.

For several months, West's RPT campaign has been one of the odder phenomenons to observe.  While we understand West isn't a serious candidate, and that he wants to be RPT chair to boost his speaking fees, it still doesn't explain any of this.  Because West still needs to win the RPT race for this business strategy to pay off.

It's hard to see how this does anything other than antagonize convention delegates.

Richard Uihlein, on the other hand, is obviously a chump.

Bottom Line: You do you Florida Man.

Monday, January 20, 2020


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

Of course they did:
AUSTIN (KXAN) — A public records request to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas has revealed that the agency will spend at least $326,000 a month in rent for office space in the Indeed Tower.

TRS signed a 10-year lease for three floors of office space at the Indeed Tower, which is scheduled to be completed in 2021, on Sixth Street.

TRS Executive Director Brian Guthrie told KXAN in a prepared statement that because the agency committed early to the Indeed Tower, “we were able to stabilize the rent and negotiate favorable per-construction rates for the 100,000 square feet.”
Even though we've (apparently) never discussed it publicly, we've been thinking about this issue for years.  Because the funds have a $46 Billion shortfall.  The money simply doesn't exist to plug a hole that big.

But TRS has a lot of office space on prime real estate in downtown Austin.  Office space that ought to be the first place you look when making the funds whole.  This latest revelation just strengthens the case.

Bottom Line: There's no reason they can't use office space in a less expensive location.  Better yet, fire all their human employees.  AI can't do a worse job than the humans currently running the funds.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Cruz and Roy FINALLY do what they should've done FIVE YEARS AGO

"He who despises the word will be destroyed,
But he who fears the commandment will be rewarded."
Proverbs 13:13

TPPF earlier this week:
AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation praises the introduction of the Personalized Care Act in the Senate (S. 3112) by Senators Cruz and Braun and in the House (H.R. 5596) this week by Representative Chip Roy.

These concise bills make a substantial impact to the U.S. employer-based health care system by allowing individuals to have the same benefits as employers to buy medical coverage and services with pre-tax dollars.

“Allowing for this equality between employers and employees will help improve portability of coverage for individuals and would free Americans from job-lock of undesirable jobs they are keeping solely for cheaper, employer-based health insurance,” said David Balat, director of the Right on Healthcare initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The Personalized Care Act will expand Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and put millions of Americans in control of their healthcare choices. This will allow Americans to personalize their care with tax-advantaged dollars. Among other enhancements, the bill allows funds from HSAs to be used in coordination for expanded healthcare options such as direct medical care, healthcare sharing ministries, medications, and insurance premiums.
It's ABOUT dadgum time.

Ted Cruz and Chip Roy are two of the GOP's best spokespeople on health care.  They've needed to put out their own plan for a long, long time.  They FINALLY did it!!!

We first discussed this publicly in 2018.  We've been saying the same thing privately for longer.  Although we didn't think it newsworthy at the time, we delivered this message to Cruz personally following a local 2017 event.

Had this plan existed a few years ago, a lot of pain could have been avoided.  The missed opportunity of not doing so remains an act of political malpractice.  But it happened.  All you can do now is correct the mistake moving forward.  This week's news does that.

Bottom Line: Late > Never, etc.

Friday, January 17, 2020

#TXLEGE: TPPF bailing out lege over their FAILURES re: "Sick Leave" Ordinances

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

TPPF press release:
TPPF Assumes Role of Lead Counsel in San Antonio Paid Sick Leave Appeal 
AUSTIN – Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation filed a notice of appearance of counsel with the Texas Fourth Judicial Court of Appeals in San Antonio in City of San Antonio v. Associated Builders of South Texas.

This notice advises the court of appeals that the Texas Public Policy Foundation will assume the role of lead counsel on appeal for the plaintiffs/appellees in the case against the city of San Antonio’s Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Ordinance.

“Today’s announcement furthers the role of the Texas Public Policy Foundation as a defender against unconstitutional municipal mandatory paid sick leave ordinances,” said Robert Henneke, Texas Public Policy Foundation’s General Counsel. “The San Antonio district court made the right call in enjoining the San Antonio ordinance. While it’s likely that the Texas Supreme Court will decide this issue statewide in 2020, thus making this appeal moot, TPPF will continue to fight for the rights of workers to negotiate the terms of their employment, rather than these being dictated by government overreach and national union organizations.”
Good for them.  Because, honestly, somebody needs to do it.  Furthermore, we suspect it ain't been cheap.  (Imagine how many labor hours three separate lawsuits on this subject must consume.)

The pathetic thing, of course, is that it should never have come to this.  The lege was supposed to address this.  They dropped the ball.  There's a lot you could say about why this happened, but the fact remains that it did.

So good deal TPPF (and your donors).

Because we're likely to survive this one (no thanks to the legislature).

Bottom Line: TPPF is the only reason the worst case scenario probably won't emerge.  They deserve some credit.  They won't get it.  But they deserve it.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Of course Genevieve Collins was too good to be true

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

Remember, just last week, when we said we didn't actually know anything about her beyond one good ad?!?

Yeah, about that:

[Note: Apologies for displaying this as a screenshot, but the original press e-mail from the Collins campaign had formatting issues.]

Dan Branch, for those blessed enough to not know, is this guy.  He's pretty much the slimiest politician ever.  Also a well documented liar.

Now he's endorsing Genevieve Collins, which tells you pretty much all you need to know about her.

To be fair: CD-32 includes Branch's old state rep. district.  So this is probably a good endorsement for Collins in terms of winning the election.  That being said, there are certain lows to which we would not stoop.  An endorsement from Dan friggin' Branch is one such low.

Bottom Line: Next.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Latest Example of how National Democrats are (probably) Fumbling Texas

"Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding,
But a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding."
Proverbs 10:13

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday morning that Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia of Texas will serve as one of the seven lawmakers who will prosecute the impeachment case against President Donald Trump in the Senate.


The other impeachment officers are: U.S. Reps. Adam Schiff, of California; Jerry Nadler, of New York; Zoe Lofgren of California; Hakeem Jeffries, of New York; Val Demings, of Florida; and Jason Crow, of Colorado.

Before Congress, Garcia served in the Texas State Senate. She also previously served as the director and presiding judge of the Houston municipal court system and was elected city controller. She made history as the first Latina and woman to be elected to the Harris County Commissioner’s Court.
This makes no sense.

Here's the thing about Sylvia Garcia: Everybody likes her.  Yes, she's liberal.  But she's liberal in a diligent, inoffensive, manner that doesn't rub people the wrong way.

Sylvia Garcia is the type of person who could plausibly run for Governor.  Yet Pelosi et. al. want to make her the face of the most divisive, pointless, exercise in recent memory?!?  Umm, ok.

Impeachment will be Sylvia Garcia's introduction to the broader electorate.  If people decide they don't like her now, it will be hard to dislodge that sentiment later.  It won't effect her in her district, but her ceiling elsewhere was just lowered considerably.

It's bizarre.

Bottom Line: Something something, second chance...something something, first impression.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Whatever their other flaws, Texas GOP does a good job recruiting candidates

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

RPT press release floating around social media:
December wrapped up candidate filing for the Republican primary. Last month we confirmed that there is a Republican candidate challenging every Democrat in all 36 Congressional districts and all targeted State Representative races. The number of women running for office in Texas also doubled compared to the 2018 Primary.

A crucial part of achieving these outstanding results was the Candidate Recruiting Task Force which was led by Hamilton County GOP Chair Cat Parks. The program was a huge success for recruiting candidates and accomplishing one of the Republican Party of Texas’ top campaign priorities – challenging every Democrat incumbent in Congress and targeted State House races.
Good.   We noticed the same thing with the local party last month. It appears similar results were had statewide.

Obviously, this website has been very critical of the GOP in recent months.  While most of that is directed at the elected officials, the party itself hasn't always covered itself in glory.  So, good deal.

Unfortunately, it's a shame those candidates won't have a stronger record on which to run.  Because, for the most part, those candidates are going to be selling hypotheticals if they win compared to if the Democrats win.  When you've been running the place for 25 years, you ought to be able to do better than hypotheticals.  That being said, hypotheticals are still better than nothing.

Bottom Line:  It's a start, which means it's better than the alternative.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Creative Lawyering for Good

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

Ross Ramsey this morning:
Ken Paxton is one lucky duck. The Texas attorney general was asked the kind of friendly, easy question that allowed him to twist the nose of an organization he doesn’t like under cover of state law.

It’s not a secret that Paxton is opposed to abortion. That opposition has long been a centerpiece of his campaigns as he rose from the Texas House to the Senate to his current position. It’s hard to imagine that he wants Planned Parenthood to have more resources.

And given a chance to say that a new state law creates an obstacle to some of that organization’s funding, he grabbed it.

The question posed to the state’s top lawyer was whether Planned Parenthood can continue to be one of the beneficiaries of the State Employee Charitable Campaign. State workers who sign up for the voluntary campaign give a little bit of money from each paycheck to the program, which then distributes the money to charities chosen from an approved list.
This is so great.

SB 22, as it passed, did nothing.  It was one of those fake pro-life bills that the lege likes to pass.  It creates the appearance of being pro-life, without actually doing anything.

The stated purpose of SB 22 was to crack down on practices by the City of Austin.  Of course, the City found a loophole almost instantly.   In other words, the lege wasn't able to accomplish even the stated objective of this watered down bill.

Thanks to Ken Paxton, however, it looks like something useful will come out of the effort.

Bottom Line: It's a small win.  But it's a win in an area that previously would have been a loss.  Kudos Ken Paxton.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

#atxcouncil, #TXLEGE: A Predictable Response to the Legislature's Incompetent Policymaking

"He who is slothful in his work
Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer."
Proverbs 18:9

From the department of completely unsurprising developments:
As Texas law enforcement grapples with how to determine whether a substance is marijuana after lawmakers legalized hemp last year, one city’s officials are putting forward their own solution: effectively decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot altogether.

The Austin City Council will vote on a proposal later this month that, if approved, would “virtually end arrests and fines” by city police for possession of personal amounts of cannabis, according to a summary and copy of the measure obtained by The Texas Tribune.

The resolution, raised by four progressive members of the 11-member council, would largely direct police to stop arresting people or issuing citations in low-level marijuana possession cases in which officers won’t be able to get lab reports to chemically distinguish between now-legal hemp and illegal marijuana. It also would forbid the city from spending funds or using its personnel to perform such tests.
There's a lot that can be said about the wisdom of this development.  It might or might not be a good idea.  But there's a more important question: What did you expect?!?

Because the die on this one was cast last summer, when the Legislature botched the hemp bill.

As we said last July:
Obviously, this story is amusing. The stoner jokes write themselves. Furthermore, the policy outcome is one this author has long supported.

That being said, there is a serious angle to this story: Legislative sloppiness.

While the hemp/marijuana slip up is humorous, the policymaking environment that enabled it is NOT.

The legislature routinely passes massive, complicated, bills without having a clue what they'll actually do. Sometimes those bills have real world consequences. Unfortunately, half-assed policymaking is a predictable consequence of the legislature's culture of entitlement.

[Note: Emphasis in original.]
When the legislature's half-assed policymaking creates a gigantic loophole in the law, it should surprise nobody when Greg Casar drives a Mack truck through it.

If the state of Texas doesn't like it, the Governor can call a special session.

Cuz' this is their own damn fault.

Like it or not.

Bottom Line: The State of Texas could fix this legal loophole in 30 minutes if there was political will to do so.  There isn't.  Like it or not, Casar's action has all the legal justification it needs.

Friday, January 10, 2020

#TXLEGE: Abolishing Labor Union Subsidies OUGHT to be a Primary Season Issue

"So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom."
Psalm 90:12

There's an issue that, for whatever reason, died behind the scenes before last session began: Eliminating subsidized dues collection for public sector labor unions.

There are plenty of rumors as to why that happened.  Unfortunately, they're all speculative.  Like it or not, the truth is we'll never know.

However, time marches on.

Seeing as how we're now in the middle of primary season, this would be a good issue about which to ask candidates: "Do you support eliminating subsidized dues collection for public sector labor unions?!?"

Responses might be interesting.

Obviously, many politicians who tell you what to hear are lying.  But there's still merit to the exercise.  Especially on this issue.

Bottom Line: This issue shouldn't be controversial.  Yet, apparently it is.  Which means ask now.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Congressional Candidate Does Something that Stands Out

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

We've been bemoaning the lack of creative messaging in Republican campaigns for years.  Republican candidates retreat into lazy buzzwords and thus commodify themselves.  In that spirit, this ad from CD-32 candidate Genevieve Collins is a breath of fresh air:

To be clear: We've never met her.  We know nothing about Genevieve Collins beyond this ad.  Given that she running for office and has no record, she could very easily be telling us what we want to hear.

Still, it's hard to deny that this is good messaging.

She hits her main points (7th generation Texan, private sector success, pro-gun) without being obnoxious.  Far too frequently, this is far too big of a challenge for far too many.  That might be pathetic and sad, but it's reality.

So, modest kudos to Genevieve Collins...but it's still a shame she doesn't have a record.

Bottom Line: We don't trust any politician, but this certainly cuts through the clutter.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

#TXLEGE: National Democrats will probably blow their chance in HD-28 Special Election

"Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding,
But a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding."
Proverbs 10:13

Is this a joke?!?
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is backing Eliz Markowitz in the special election runoff for state House District 28, her highest-profile endorsement yet in the battleground race.

Markowitz faces Republican businessman Gary Gates in the Jan. 28 race to replace former Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond. Democrats are working to flip the suburban Houston seat as they look to capture the House majority in November.


Biden, who is leading Texas presidential primary polls, is the latest White House contender to get involved in the runoff after Michael Bloomberg visited the district late last month to stump with Markowitz.
Soo, at a time when everyone is sick of national politics, the Democrats plan to win this seat is...Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg?!?

Cuz' that strategy is doomed to failure.

Two months ago, we thought they had a legit shot in this race.  The GOP nominated a terrible candidate with a ton of baggage.  That's still the case.

Yet, two months later, all we're hearing about is...Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg?!?

Even when they try to make an issue out of the afore mentioned baggage, this is the headline they get:

Newsflash: Nobody cares about what comes after the phrase "National Democrats target."  Whatever it is, it just sounds like a bogus political attack.  You just lost the messaging war by framing this as a political story.

Bottom Line: Had the past two months gone differently, it might have been possible.  Now, however, it's hard to see how this race deviates from long term historical averages.  Advantage, incumbent party.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

#TXLEGE: Straus' Former Chief Lands (sweet) Taxpayer Funded Lobby Gig

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

Dat revolving door tho:
Ancira and Wynn to Lead TML Advocacy Efforts

The Texas Municipal League (TML) announced today that Jesse Ancira and Monty Wynn will lead TML’s advocacy efforts. Ancira will serve the League as Senior Legislative Advisor and Wynn will assume the role of Director of Grassroots and Legislative Services.

Jesse Ancira most recently served as Chief of Staff to House Speaker Joe Straus, as well as Mayor for the City of Taylor for four of his six years on Taylor’s city council.

(h/t PushJunction...they're back!!!)
There's not much more you can say.

Obviously, anyone who was around at the time remembers Jessie Ancira.   Honestly, all you need to know was that he was Straus' chief.  For those who want to remember how vindictive Jesse Ancira was personally, however, see here.

Now he's running advocacy for the Texas Municipal League.

Bottom Line: Nice work if you can get it....

Monday, January 6, 2020

EXCLUSIVE: How Taxpayers Subsidized George P. Bush's Last Primary Campaign

"The wicked prowl on every side,
When vileness is exalted among the sons of men."
Psalm 12:8

Last October, we wrote about how J.R. Hernandez, one of George P. Bush's main political operatives, was double-dipping at taxpayer expense.

Last month, however, we had another hunch: For someone who was being paid six figures to work full time for the many hours a week was he actually working?!?

So we sent an open records request to the General Land Office for J.R. Hernandez's schedule during the 2018 primary.

See it for yourself:

  • In a typical week, Hernandez did between 15 and 20 hours per week of work for the state.
  • Hernandez got a smidge over 20 hours a couple of times, but never over 25.
  • Less than five hours per week once early voting started.
Keep in mind, this was at a time when J.R. Hernandez was being paid over $130,000 to work full time for the state.

[Note: We only requested records during the primary campaign, but we suspect a similar pattern would emerge for the general.]

Bottom Line: Given that we're talking about Texas state government, perhaps this shouldn't surprise. Furthermore, given that we're talking about the Bushes, perhaps this should surprise even less. That doesn't make any of it right.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

The Completely Obvious Issue Nobody's Talking About

"each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is."
1 Corinthians 3:13

Before we get too far into the offseason, one piece of leftover business from 2019 that we're shocked hasn't gotten more discussion: The Longhorns' home/road split.

In 2019, the Longhorns were:

  • 6-1 in home games and glorified home games (ie. The Alamo Bowl).
  • 2-4 in road and neutral site games.
If you want to know where things went wrong this past season...there you go.

For as much ink has been spilled on any number of topics, that's the main problem.  The Longhorns just came out flat for three road games (TCU, Iowa State, and Baylor).  That's not good.  But misdiagnosing the problem doesn't help anybody.

Bottom Line: Sometimes it's the simple things....

Friday, January 3, 2020

#TXLEGE: Cook Children's "hospital" has plenty of money for lawyers

"It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones."
Luke 17:2

We said our piece about the Baby Tinslee case last week.  We stand by it.  It's the most important takeaway moving forward.

Then this happens:
Today, a judge from San Antonio ruled that a North Texas hospital can stop treating an 11-month-old baby, leaving the baby’s family scrambling to save her life.

Baby Tinslee Lewis, born with congenital heart disease, is currently at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth and relies on a ventilator to live. On October 31, despite the objections of her mother, the hospital announced it would remove Tinslee’s ventilator on November 10.

As justification for this decision, the hospital did not provide any reasons relating to bodily health—only a vague “quality-of-life” argument.

The hospital’s action is legal under Texas’ controversial 10-day rule, which allows a hospital committee to end “life-sustaining care” even if the patient, or his or her surrogate, objects; the law also overrides a duly executed medical power of attorney or advance directive from the patient.

Tinslee’s life was temporarily spared when Judge Alex Kim of the 323rd District Court in Tarrant County approved a temporary restraining order filed by lawyers from Texas Right to Life on November 10—the day she was scheduled to die.

However, the hospital dispatched its lawyers to force Judge Kim into recusal, launching a series of harassing subpoenas in an attempt to frame him as being partial.

Though it’s unclear if the subpoenas worked, Judge Kim was ultimately kicked off of the case by out-of-town Judge David Peeples of Bexar County.
Seriously?!?  How much did this cost?!?  Couldn't those funds...cover treatment for an eleven month old girl!?

Money being fungible, etc.

Of course, that's what they didn't do.

Cook Children's "hospital" put the lawyers first.

Quite the statement of priorities.

Do no harm, etc.

Bottom Line: We know the first place we'd look for the funding.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

#TXLEGE: What if Poncho was telling the truth about his alleged "addiction?!?"

"[F]or he who greets him shares in his evil deeds."
2 John 1:11

We said our piece about Poncho Nevarez's alleged "addictions" at the time.  We stand by it.  But we've been wrong before.

Which suggests an interesting follow up question:  What if he was telling the truth?!?  What does that say about the culture of the Texas house?!?  Specifically, the enabling.

Because Poncho Nevarez wasn't exactly persona non grata in the Texas house.

Which means that, if Poncho Nevarez really is the addict he now claims to be, the Texas house accommodated Poncho Nevarez's alleged addiction as long as Poncho Nevarez was useful.

Which would be fitting.

Honestly, it's impossible to know for sure.  It remains the case that Poncho Nevarez's alleged "addiction" is, most likely, an ex-post facto cover story.  But "most likely" doesn't mean 100% guaranteed.

Bottom Line: It's never a good situation when you hope people are lying.