Saturday, September 23, 2017

#TXLEGE: Straus throws RPT Platform Under Bus

"He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck,
Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."
Proverbs 29:1

[Note: The Trib has more here.]

'When I take the oath of office at the beginning of the legislative session, I take an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and the Texas constitution; I don't take an oath to a political party platform.'

That was Joe Straus' response when we asked him his reaction to the no-confidence resolutions over 50 Republican county party executive committees have passed related to his leadership when we asked him this morning at TribFest.  We weren't taking notes, so we can't promise that the above quote is a perfect transcription of his exact words, but it's an accurate representation of its spirit.  He also made a bunch of excuses related to passage of the resolution in his home county that were previously debunked.

In response to a separate audience question, Straus claimed the current leadership of the Texas House doesn't play fast and loose with parliamentary procedure.  Obviously, that was a bald faced lie.  See here and here for examples.

Basically, Straus was as arrogant and smug as we've ever seen him.

Straus also made several references to the wide margin of victory he achieved in his last election in reference to how the voters in his district feel about the Republican party platform [Note: Spending seven million dollars in that campaign probably didn't hurt either].  That might be true, as far as his personal district goes.  But we suspect that's going to be a much more difficult sell in the districts of his committee chairs.

Finally, in response to a question from Texas Right to Life, Straus pretended to be unfamiliar with the Texas Advance Directives Act.  He then attempted to obfuscate by misrepresenting the DNR bill that was passed during the recently concluded special session as the TADA.  Once again, this was another bald faced lie.

Bottom Line: Joe Straus doesn't care about the RPT platform, he said so himself this morning.

Friday, September 22, 2017

UT Communists Vandalize Private Property...AGAIN!!! (Fenves, Board of Regents, and Abbott STILL SILENT)

"As for the prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent."
Jeremiah 28:9

On Wednesday, we reported on the communist inspired vandalism against a widely respected right of center student organization that has been active in Texas politics for four decades.

It happened again.

From a campus source:

At this point, the following must happen:
  • President Greg Fenves needs to take all necessary steps to ensure that the free speech rights of all students on campus are protected from violent political intimidation.
    • Note: Considering that this is the same Greg Fenves who hasn't done a damn thing about two on campus murders in 13 months, consider us skeptical that this step will occur.
  • If President Greg Fenves fails to fulfill his responsibility to maintain a campus free from violent political intimidation, then the Board of Regents needs to fire him and replace him with someone who will.
  • If President Greg Fenves fails to fulfill his responsibility to maintain a campus free from violent political intimidation, and the Board of Regents fails to fire him, then the allegedly conservative Governor who has appointed a majority of the currently seated Regents (and who, just this past Monday, had his handpicked choice elected to chair the Board) needs to explain to the public why he is allowing a culture of violent political intimidation to fester on the state's flagship public university campus.
    • Note: Keep in mind, this is the Governor who once bragged about giving "marching orders" to his university Regent appointments.
Bottom Line: The festering culture of violent political intimidation on Texas' flagship university campus cannot continue.


President Greg Fenves:
(512) 471-1232

Board of Regents:
(512) 499-4402

Governor Greg Abbott:
(512) 463-2000

Thursday, September 21, 2017

#atxcouncil: About this Cheap, Tawdry, SMEAR CAMPAIGN against Jimmy Flannigan

"He who is slow to wrath has great understanding,
But he who is impulsive exalts folly."
Proverbs 14:29

By now, we assume you've heard about the unflattering pictures that have been circulating around the internet for the past week.  If you haven't, you're welcome to search for them yourself.  No link here.

Unfortunately, the controversy refuses to die, and Flannigan was forced to issue a statement yesterday:
“For the last few days, I’ve been subjected to an online harassment campaign which include private photos of me,” Flannigan said. “These photos were taken before I became a public official. While I regret taking them, they were private. At no time were they publicly shared by me. They only became public through an anonymous twitter post. It is troubling that this private and personal matter is now being used for political purposes.”
That's fine; until we are given a good reason to do otherwise, we take Council Member Flannigan at his word.

We can think of three circumstances under which this incident could potentially be relevant to Flannigan's role as a public official:

  • He sent the picture to someone who didn't want to receive it.
  • He sent the picture to someone underage.
  • He sent the picture on city time.
As far as we can tell, none of those conditions have been met.  In the event new information emerges, we reserve the right to change that view.  But that seems unlikely at this time.

Now, look, we have our issues with Jimmy Flannigan.  Jimmy Flannigan is a big fan of corporate welfare.  Jimmy Flannigan voted for the disgraceful MERCK deal the city passed in April.  Just last week, Jimmy Flannigan doubled down on support for the Domain subsidies.  We can only imagine what kind of godawful 'incentive' package [note: pun not intended] Jimmy Flannigan is going to push to attempt to lure Amazon.

But, unless and until one of the three conditions we listed above is violated, this website remains as uninterested in Council member Flannigan's personal life as we've always been.

Finally, we want to address the chatter we've been hearing about a recall election: This is one of the dumbest ideas we've heard in a long time.  Unless or until new information emerges, the voters won't care and such an effort would be a guaranteed loss.  This website will not participate in a fools errand over a single tacky photograph.

Bottom Line: This whole 'controversy' is stupid and we hope this is the last time we have to address it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Speaking of Greg Abbott's ownership of UT....

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

Yesterday, we discussed how the UT board just elected Abbott's hand picked choice as chair; we suppose when it rains it pours:
AUSTIN, Texas — Two-time Texas Ex and state Capitol veteran Jay Dyer is returning to The University of Texas at Austin to oversee the flagship campus’s government relations office. Dyer, who most recently served as legislative director for Gov. Greg Abbott, will be UT’s deputy to the president for government relations beginning Oct. 16.

“Jay brings tremendous knowledge and experience in state government as well as a deep commitment to The University of Texas,” said President Gregory L. Fenves. “As the state’s flagship university, our future depends on having the trust of the Texas Legislature and state leadership, being accessible and affordable for students and their families, and providing value to the entire state. Jay will help us accomplish these goals.”

An Austin native, Dyer earned a B.A. in government from the College of Liberal Arts in 1995 and a J.D. from the School of Law in 1998. After holding several positions in the private sector, he served as general counsel to the Texas secretary of state from 2006 to 2008; deputy attorney general for intergovernmental relations and special assistant/senior counsel to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott between 2008 and 2014; and deputy legislative director and then legislative director to Gov. Abbott between 2015 and 2017. He served in the governor’s office through two regular legislative sessions and one special session.

In his new role, Dyer will oversee the university’s interactions with the Legislature and state agencies on all issues including those related to funding, research and student support.

“It was an honor and privilege to serve the state of Texas as a part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s administration,” Dyer said. “I very much appreciate the opportunity to return to The University of Texas, and I look forward to helping UT build upon its well-established commitment to excellence.”

Violent UT Communists Vandalize Conservative Students' Property

"As for the prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent."
Jeremiah 28:9

Remember, back in June, when we observed that violent communists were recruiting at the University of Texas' flagship campus and that it would lead to some very bad incidents this fall?!?

Yeah, about that:

A campus source sent the following pictures:

The original sign
How the sign was discovered.

We also received video of one of the RSF vandals fleeing after being caught:

And all this, literally, on the day after Abbott's hand picked candidate is elected to chair the Board of Regents.

Obviously, President Fenves and (to a lesser degree) Chancellor McRaven are the ones who should take the lead rooting out this nonsense.  If history is any guide, they won't.  Assuming Fenves and McRaven refuse to do their jobs, the Board of Regents (which Abbott controls) should fire BOTH.

Bottom Line: Greg Abbott owns this.  It's his Board of Regents and his hand picked board chair.  If Fenves, McRaven, and the Board refuse to act that's where the blame lies.


President Greg Fenves:
(512) 471-1232

Board of Regents:
(512) 499-4402

Governor Greg Abbott:
(512) 463-2000

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Abbott quietly asserts further ownership over the University of Texas

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

[Note: The most interesting aspect of Sarah Martinez Tucker's background can be found here.]

Another very interesting tidbit from yesterday's special UT board meeting:
AUSTIN—Regent Sara Martinez Tuckerappointed in 2015 by Governor Greg Abbott to a six-year term on The University of Texas System Board of Regents, was unanimously elected chairman of the board at a special called meeting Monday.
Tucker was nominated by Chairman Paul Foster, and the motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Steve Hicks.

Sara Martinez Tucker photo
Chairman Sara Martinez Tucker

“It has been an immense honor to serve as chairman of the board these last four years, but it was time to pass the gavel to a new leader,” Foster said. “It was a pleasure to nominate Regent Tucker, who has brought great insight and guidance to the Board over the last two years. The UT System and all of its institutions are going to benefit greatly under her very capable leadership.”
Prior to her appointment as regent, Tucker, a native of Laredo and resident of Dallas, served as the nation’s top higher education official as under secretary of the U.S. Department of Education under President George W. Bush. There, she oversaw all policies, programs, and activities related to postsecondary education, vocational and adult education, and federal student aid.
Tucker also served as the CEO and president of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, where she pursued an aggressive goal to double the rate of Hispanics earning college degrees. Prior to her work in the nonprofit sector, she was a long-time executive at AT&T.
Tucker currently serves as chairman of the Regents’ academic affairs committee, in addition to serving on the health affairs, finance and planning, and audit, compliance and risk management committees.
“Sara Martinez Tucker is going to be an incredibly effective chairman, and I know that I and everyone at the UT System is looking forward to working with her in her new capacity,” Chancellor William McRaven said. “She gives tremendous time and energy to the UT System, and she is extremely knowledgeable and cares very deeply about higher education. We could not ask for a better leader to guide us forward.”
Tucker earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in business administration from UT Austin. Tucker has been named as an Outstanding Young Texas Ex and a Distinguished Alumna at UT Austin and among many honors has received honorary doctorates from the University of Notre Dame, Boston College, and the University of Maryland University College.
“I am honored and humbled by this great privilege, and I am grateful to my colleagues for entrusting me with this responsibility. Having the opportunity to work with extraordinary board members, system administration leaders and visionary university presidents to ensure that UT students and patients have access to the best possible outcomes is and will always be my top priority,” said Chairman Tucker, following her appointment.
LOL, as the Statesman's Ralph Haurwitz explains:
Although by outward appearances the regents select their own leader, in actual practice the governor’s office signals the choice and the regents follow suit.
In other words, the UT Board now not only contains a majority of Abbott appointees, but it's now led by Abbott's hand picked chairwoman.

Given that the Board of Regents is now led by Abbott's hand picked chair, let's consider several incidents that have occurred since May 1st of this year (the Board has jurisdiction over all of these):

[Note: Even we didn't realize that there had been 12 separate terrible incidents in the past 4.5 months and we follow this stuff closely.]

Bottom Line: Anytime you wonder how the University of Texas consistently gets away with terrible behavior, and what can be done about it, remember that the Governor's office controls the Board of Regents.

Details emerge on University of Texas' pursuit of nuclear weapons

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

[Note: You can read our longer explanation of why allowing the current UT leadership anywhere near nuclear weapons is a terrible idea here.]

Given that they were discussing the Los Alamos bid, we intended to attend yesterday's special meeting of the UT board.  Unfortunately, a very late arriving bus made that impossible.  Fortunately, the Statesman had it covered:
The University of Texas System Board of Regents on Monday authorized spending up to $4.5 million to prepare a bid to operate Los Alamos National Laboratory, a key part of the nation’s nuclear weapons complex.


The spending vote was not a surprise, as the board encouraged its staff last month to explore development of a bid. The regents still would have to vote again before submitting a proposal to the federal government to operate Los Alamos, which is tucked into the mountains of northern New Mexico.

The UT System, partnering with Lockheed Martin Corp., lost a bid to operate Los Alamos in 2005. The system later joined with the Texas A&M University System, the University of New Mexico, the Boeing Co. and Battelle Memorial Institute in a failed bid to run Sandia National Laboratories, also based in New Mexico.

Sandia and Los Alamos are part of the Energy Department, whose current secretary, Rick Perry, is a former Texas governor [Note: Considering the history, that's why this fool's errand is HILARIOUS].

A bid to run Los Alamos, which has 11,200 employees and a $2.5 billion budget, would be a quest for the prestige, the opportunity for national service and the legacy that attach to the institution charged with ensuring that the nation’s nuclear weapons would work as intended, without actually detonating them.

Running the lab wouldn’t necessarily be pure glory, though, because mistakes could damage the UT System’s reputation [Note: Gee...ya think?!?].

Industry partners, and perhaps academic partners, would be part of the UT System team, and UT-Austin would have a key role, officials have said. But unlike the previous bids involving the UT System for Los Alamos and Sandia, the system would be the lead player if it goes forward with the initiative.
Read the whole thing here.