Posts Tagged ‘Greg Abbott’

Straus Spikes Abbott Special Session Agenda By Adjourning Early

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

Once again Texas Speaker Joe Straus has used parliamentary maneuvers to thwart conservative reform:

In an unprecedented abuse of power, House Speaker Joe Straus unilaterally adjourned the Texas House without warning a day before the special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott was scheduled to end. In doing so, he ignored loud objections from the floor and denied members their right to vote on the move.

Shortly after the Texas House voted to approve a half-billion-dollar education spending program, State Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angelton) began briefing lawmakers on the progress of negotiations about a property tax reform measure. Bonnen told lawmakers he would not appoint a conference committee on what was arguably the center-piece legislation of both the governor and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that was watered down over the weekend in the House.

Instead, Bonnen told his colleagues, the Senate would have to take the House version or leave it.

Then, without warning, State Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Humble) stepped to the microphone and moved that the House adjourn “sine die” – the constitutional language concluding the chamber’s work for the special session.

Besides property tax reform, the adjournment killed the key issues in Gov. Abbott’s agenda, such as spending limits, privacy protections, paycheck protection, and more.

Straus’ radical move could be a last hurrah for the liberal Republican speaker.

The House Republican Caucus is scheduled to meet on Wednesday at 8:30am to discuss adopting procedures for a caucus nominee for speaker.

After Straus gaveled the House out, conservative members confirmed on social media that the speaker ignored a chorus of objections and demands for a record vote on the motion to adjourn.

It is Straus’s most insolent rebuke yet of Gov. Abbott’s authority to call a special session, and the basic foundations of our constitutional order.

Over the past several sessions, Straus had gradually consolidated power, refusing to recognize member’s motion, refusing to allow members to lay out amendments, and refusing to answer questions or justify his actions on any legal basis.

Governor Abbott was blunt about who was to blame for the special session failure:

Gov. Greg Abbott laid the blame for the failure of the Legsialture to pass half of his 20-item special session agenda on the House and its speaker, Joe Straus, laying the groundwork for a challenge to Straus in the next session.

In an interview with KTRH radio in Houston Wednesday morning, Abbott said he was gratified by the progress made in the special session, which ended a day early Tuesday, but unhappy with the failure of the House to even vote on nine of his agenda items.

“I’m disappointed that all 20 items did not receive the up or down vote that I wanted,” the governor said.

While the Senate worked quickly to pass 18 of his priorities at session’s start, Abbott said the House was “dilly-dallying” on unrelated matters, and laid the blame at the doorstep of the speaker, who he said had made plain during the regular session that he would block any transgender bathroom legislation in a regular or special session and delivered on that promise.

“We [sic-LP] was not tricky. He was open and overt that he would not let it on the House floor,” Abbott said.

The governor said he was especially disappointed that the session ended without agreeing on his top priority of property tax reform. He said he could call another special session at any time, but it would not make sense to do so with the same cast of characters, suggesting, “that’s why elections matter.”

That seemed to be an invitation to members of the House Freedom Caucus to seek to replace Straus in the next session. In that he is on the same page at Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who blistered Straus at a sine die press conference Tuesday night.

The Texas House Republican Caucus is meeting right now to address the Speaker question.

Abbott Raises $41 Million and His Democratic Opponent Owns a Gay Leather Bar

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Having contributed to a few Republican candidates over the years, I’m on all sorts of email solicitation lists. Including Governor Greg Abbott’s reelection campaign.

Most election campaigns, I received 1-2 pieces of email a week. The Abbott campaign, by contrast, seems to send out at least 1-2 piece of email a day. By my count I’ve received some 90 email solicitations from the Abbott campaign this year, and the pace picked up notably in June.

In fact, Abbott has amassed a campaign warchest of $41 million, despite no prominent Democrat having stepping forward to challenge him.

That doesn’t mean no Democrats have stepped forward to challenge Abbott. Meet the de facto 2018 Texas Democratic Gubernatorial front-runner Jeffrey Payne of Dallas, the owner of The Dallas Eagle, a gay leather bar.

Here’s his official photo as judge of “Internatonial Puppy Trainer Contest.” (Hint: No actual dogs are involved in this contest.)

There are political races where being owner of a gay leather bar would not be a huge obstacle; say, a Mayoral race in San Francisco.

A Texas Gubernatorial race is not one of them.

It’s like the Texas Democratic Party went “We can’t possible do worse than Wendy Davis did in 2014!” and Fate said “Hold my beer!”

Payne is the front-runner for having filed and for his willingness to loan $2.5 million of his own money to his campaign. But look for the Texas Democratic Party to desperately coax an old warhorse out of retirement, ala Paul Sadler in 2012, to avoid a complete down-ballot wipeout.

Abbot Makes Reelection Bid Official

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

This will be no surprise to anyone who’s been getting his fundraising solicitation emails over the last few months, but Texas Governor Greg Abbott has officially declared he’s running for reelection in 2018.

Abbott’s grip on the Governor’s office is, if anything, even firmer than Rick Perry’s was. If he hasn’t backed conservatives as fully as they would like on some issues (such as the tranny bathrooms bill), he did oversee a scandal-free administration, a generally booming economy (oil downturns notwithstanding), saw campus carry and anti-sanctuary city bills signed into law, and has an ambitious conservative agenda in the forthcoming special session.

Abbott entered the year with $34.4 million on hand for his reelection efforts, and I’m sure that pile will be substantially larger when semiannual reports (for which the latest reporting period ends today) are announced.

So far Gov. Abbott has no declared primary or general election opponents, as the Castro brothers, not being complete idiots, declined to run. (Julian Castro even scored four points behind Wendy Davis in that mostly-bogus PPP poll.) Abbott’s two biggest potential Republican rivals, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Land Commissioner George P. Bush, have already announced their respective reelection bids.

Baring some radical, unforeseen circumstance, Greg Abbott should easily be reelected Governor of Texas on November 6, 2018.

Texas vs. California Update for July 11, 2017

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

Long time no Texas vs. California update. I’ve been busy.

  • California’s descent into socialism:

    In the end, we are witnessing the continuation of an evolving class war, pitting the oligarchs and their political allies against the state’s diminished middle and working classes. It might work politically, as the California electorate itself becomes more dependent on government largesse, but it’s hard to see how the state makes ends meet in the longer run without confiscating the billions now held by the ruling tech oligarchs.

  • Lots of comparisons between California and the rest of the nation. Like: “California has a nasty anti-small business $800 minimum corporate income tax, even if no profit is earned, and even for many nonprofits.” And “CA public school teachers the 3rd highest paid in the nation. CA students rank 48th in math achievement, 49th in reading.”
  • All across California, higher pensions equal fewer government services:

    Across California, many local governments have raised taxes while cutting services. Local officials desperate for union support have made irresponsible deals with public employee unions, creating staggering employee costs. Taxpayer money meant to provide essential services to the least well-off instead goes directly to higher salaries and benefits.

    In Santa Barbara County, the 2017-2018 budget calls for laying off nearly 70 employees while dipping into reserve funds. The biggest cuts are to the Department of Social Services, which works to aid low-income families and senior citizens. Meanwhile, $546 million of needed infrastructure improvements go unfunded as Santa Barbara County struggles to pay off $700 million in unfunded pension liabilities. County officials estimate that increasing pension costs may cause hundreds of future layoffs.

    Unfortunately, Santa Barbara County is far from alone. Tuolumne County is issuing layoffs in the face of rising labor and pension costs from previous agreements. In Kern County, a budget shortfall spurred by increased pension costs has led to public safety layoffs, teacher shortages, budget cuts, and the elimination of the Parks and Recreation department, even as Kern County’s unfunded pension liability surpasses $2 billion. In the Santa Ana Unified School District, nearly 300 teachers have been laid off after years of receiving pay raises that made them unaffordable, including a 10% raise in 2015.

    In Riverside County, non-union county employees took the blow for the county’s irresponsible pension deals, as all but one of the 32 employees the county laid off this June were non-union members. This came after contract negotiations granted union employees hundreds of millions of dollars in raises. The Riverside County DA said these raises caused public safety cuts. In addition, Riverside County imposed an extra 1% sales tax to pay for these benefits. Across California, citizens suffer as local governments give away their money while cutting their services.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • That Awkward Moment When Saudi Arabia Is More Pro-American Than California:

    Don’t think I’m going soft on the Saudis. I’ve just not seen a recent image from California where there were this many American flags and none of them were on fire.

    But let’s not forget that we are dealing with a corrupt, degenerate, autocratic state where there is no free speech, where universities are run by fanatics who indoctrinate students with radical ideology; where street thugs aligned with the ruling party freely commit acts of violence against opposing views, and whose ruling elite routinely violates the basic rights of Christians and other minorities. Also, Saudi Arabia is pretty bad too.

  • A piece on California banning public employees from traveling to Texas over various social justice warrior causes. I haven’t met anyone in Texas who doesn’t count that as a win/win situation.
  • The whole thing is an example of California’s Democrat-controlled government favoring virtue signaling over actual governance.

    Whether you agree or disagree with [religious liberty] laws, they don’t seem like any of our state’s business. California passes its share of laws that might offend any number of Nebraskans or North Carolinians, but we don’t see travel bans on official visits to Los Angeles or San Francisco. Federalism is a wonderful thing. Each state gets to pass laws that reflect the values of its voters.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • There was a big, biased piece in New Yorker about Texas politics. Instead of linking to it, I’m going to link to Cahnman’s takedown of it.
  • California pension funds are going broke because math is hard:

    Unlike water deficits, pension deficits compound. As a result, years of healthy investment earnings cannot close pension deficits. Ironically, Walker herself supplies the proof with these two sentences from her op-ed:

    • “[CalPERS’s] investment returns over the last 20 years have averaged 6.7 percent.”
    • “[CalPERS’s] funded ratio [today] is at about 63 percent.”

    Yet CalPERS’s funded ratio 20 years ago was 111 percent! Ie, despite averaging a wonderful 6.7 percent annual return for 20 years, CalPERS’s funded ratio fell 48 percentage points. That’s because pension liabilities compound at high rates.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • “Illinois at the brink: Parallel should give Californians pause….As in Illinois, the Democrats who control California politics use their power first and foremost to protect the interests of public employee unions — not the poor and powerless. This has created an entrenched pension-protection complex.”
  • Helping Californians move to Texas isn’t just an idea, it’s a business model:

    Paul Chabot was a hard working candidate for Congress in the Redlands area. He lost twice and decided that California was no longer a decent place to raise his family—so he moved to Texas. Now he is organizing conservatives and family people to move to Texas. There is an effort to re-populate that State of New Hampshire—indeed former San Diego Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian moved to the Granite State, along with thousands of other Americas.

    “So Chabot has found a new pursuit. Last week, he launched the website Conservative Move. It’s a business aimed at helping people leave blue states like California and move places where they might be a little more comfortable — like North Texas, where Chabot and his family moved in January.

    “The purpose of this organization is to help other families create an opportunity where we didn’t have much guidance,” Chabot says.

    After the election, Chabot searched for a community that appeared to uphold the values that he and his family held dear, like safe streets and good schools. Eventually, they decided on McKinney, Texas, a city about 40 miles north of Dallas with a population around 150,000.”

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • Missed this for the last Texas vs. California update:

    On Tuesday, May 6th, Nick Melvoin and Kelly Gonez, who are more concerned with the needs of parents, kids and taxpayers than stoking the bureaucracy and complying with teacher union diktats, were elected to the Los Angeles Unified School District board. Reformers are now the majority of the seven member governing body in America’s second largest city.

    Melvoin, especially, was vocal in his campaign that the school district needs a major shake-up, including a call for more charter schools. He also stressed the need for fiscal reform, which includes a reworking of the district’s out-of-control pension and healthcare obligations. In December, LAUSD Chief Financial Officer Megan Reilly told the school board that the district may not be able to meet its financial obligations in the future because it faces a cumulative deficit of $1.46 billion through the 2018-2019 school year. While that dollar amount has been disputed in some quarters, there’s no doubt that the district is facing a budgetary crisis. It’s also no secret that an abysmal graduation rate (pumped up with the help of fake “credit recovery” classes) and shrinking enrollment have taken a serious toll on LAUSD. Also, in 2015, only one in five 4th-grade students in Los Angeles performed at or above “proficient” in math and reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

    Needless to say, anything that bodes well for parents and taxpayers will rankle the teachers unions, and the LA school board race was certainly no exception. Not only did the young Turks (Melvoin is 31 and Gonez 28.), defeat the unions’ candidates, they raised more money – in Melvoin’s case far more – than their opponents. This was a rare occurrence, because historically teachers unions have greatly outspent their opponents to get their candidates elected, especially in high-profile elections. But this time the unions could not compete with the likes of philanthropist Eli Broad who donated $450,000 to the campaign and former LA Mayor Richard Riordan who contributed over $2 million. Additionally, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings donated nearly $7 million since last September to CCSA Advocates (the political wing of the California Charter School Association), which spent almost $3 million on the board election.

    On the union side the United Teachers Los Angeles was the big spender, pitching in about $4.13 million, according to city filings. But much of this money came from the UTLA’s national partners. The American Federation of Teachers gave UTLA $1.2 million and National Education Association, $700,000.

  • More on the same subject. “Melvoin, especially, was vocal in his campaign that the school district needed a major shakeup, calling for more charter schools. He also stressed the need for fiscal reform, including a reworking of the district’s out-of-control pension and health-care obligations.”
  • California teacher who was laid off shortly after winning her school’s Teacher of the Year award takes her union to court:

    Bhavini Bhakta never intended to become an activist, but after being laid off six times in the first eight years of her career as an elementary school teacher in the Pasadena suburbs, she decided to get involved in the education reform movement. She focused first on challenging seniority-based layoffs, which in turn led her into conflict with the California Teachers Association. Now she is a plaintiff in Bain v. CTA, a case which challenges the dues structure of unions as a violation of the First Amendment. The suit seeks to restore voting rights on union matters to agency fee payers, who pay full dues for representational activities but opt out of paying for lobbying and political activities.

    “The state union forcibly takes our money and uses it to misrepresent us. They’re not serving the teachers on the ground,” she said in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon. “They’re using my money for their own purposes.”

  • Tenure reform is the only big education reform under debate in California this year.
  • Back in May: ICE Nabs 188 In LA During 5-Day Operation. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Soros-Linked Groups Behind California Ban on Detaining Illegal Immigrants.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • California uses one credit card to pay off another. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Amid Funding Shortfall, Santa Ana Raises Median Police Compensation Above $213,000.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California Democrats receive death threats for daring to point out that single-payer socialized medicine bill is pie-in-the-sky malarkey without a funding mechanism.
  • Let California try single payer…and deal with the consequences.
  • So how’s that minimum wage hike working out? At least 60 restaurants around the Bay Area had closed since September.
  • San Francisco has a staggering $5.8 billion pension liability, and a series of retroactive benefit increases approved by voters over a dozen years is largely to blame.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California farmer facing a $2.8 million fine for plowing his own field. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • California voters pass legislative transparency measure. California’s Democratic legislators ignore it. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Committing felonies on the job is no reason to give up your cushy pension:

    Mark Peterson, the Contra Costa district attorney forced to resign as part of a felony perjury conviction, cut a sweet plea deal with state prosecutors allowing him to keep most of his pension.

    The deal will probably let him walk away with starting annual retirement payments of about $128,000 in addition to Social Security benefits. That’s because he pleaded no contest to only the most recent of 13 felony counts stemming from his illegal tapping of campaign funds for personal use.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • “California Democrats Want Data on Lobbyists’ Race, Sexual Orientation.” Social justice Warriors wanting to milk the graft cash cow? Get the popcorn!
  • San Francisco to pay illegal alien $190,000 for violating their own sanctuary city policy. (Hat tip: Gabriel Malor’s Twitter feed.)
  • Just how big is Houston? Take a look at these overlay maps.
  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott celebrates the opening of Toyota’s American headquarters in Plano:

    Today we celebrate another milestone marking the incredible momentum of Texas’ continuing economic expansion. Toyota Motor North America joins Hulu, Jacobs Engineering, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kubota, Jamba Juice, Sabre and many other innovative industry leaders who have decided to go big in Texas.

    Our greatest natural resource in the Lone Star State is the hardworking people of Texas. And that work ethic draws global leaders like Toyota to Texas every day. With the second-largest workforce in the nation at more than 13 million strong, Texas continues to be a national leader in job creation. In fact, more Texans have jobs today than ever before, even as more people are moving here every year from states that overtax and overregulate.

  • Why Texas is so attractive for business relocation:

    During his latter years in office as Texas governor, Rick Perry made it a priority to lure businesses to the state, particularly from California. Two-and-a-half years into the term of Gov. Greg Abbott, the successor to Perry, the pace of corporate relocations to the Lone Star State shows no signs of slowing down.

    Much has been written about the state’s business-friendly environment. Most businesses in Texas that aren’t sole proprietorships or partnerships pay a 1 percent or lower “franchise tax,” in lieu of a traditional corporate income tax. In addition, the state’s governing bodies tend to favor minimal regulations and sponsor research and development initiatives.

    The state’s economy is healthy, evident by strong employment growth. The Texas Workforce Commission reports a net gain of 210,000 jobs across the state in 2016, and employers are projected to add another 225,000 jobs in 2017.

    Equally important to strong job growth is the quality of life that employees are promised upon relocating.

    According to Robert Allen, president of the Texas Economic Development Corp., the lifestyle element is perhaps the most common incentive for moving to Texas among executives and employees alike.

    “When we ask executives why they’re moving to Texas, what we hear is that providing a high quality of life for their workforces is number one on their lists,” says Allen.

    “Employees back that claim up. They’re able to buy larger houses, keep more of their incomes, send their kids to good schools and live in safe neighborhoods. This makes it easier for employees to take a leap of faith,” he adds.

    Texas has no personal income tax. Its education system currently ranks 21st based on a state-by-state study by wallethub.com, a credit scoring and reporting site. The study considers factors such as average SAT/ACT score, dropout rates, student-teacher ratios, graduation rate for low-income students and remote-learning opportunities within online public schools. The Huffington Post also notes that Texas has the fourth-highest graduation rate in the country, despite its ever-growing population and high percentage of non-native-English-speaking students.

    And according to a recent study from the NYU School of Law, while violent crime rates are rising in urban areas throughout the country, they’re holding steady in Texas. The state’s murder rate falls in the middle of the pack despite it being a national leader in population growth.

  • And Californians are still flocking to Texas.
  • Los Angeles, San Francisco homeless woes worsen despite funding boosts.”
  • “Federal judge blocks California ban on high-capacity magazines.” Note that’s not just a sale ban: “The law would have barred people from possessing magazines containing more than 10 bullets.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “A former Diablo Valley College professor was arrested Wednesday in connection with the use of a bike lock in the beating of three people during a rally for President Donald Trump last month, police said Thursday.” I guess that’s the “high road” liberals keep talking about… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Bonus: He was tracked down by 4Chan, who are supposedly working on a face database of Antifa members.
  • Student Agreed to Orgy, But Later Called It Sexual Assault, Lawsuit Claims. Judge says that University of California, Santa Barbara, may have denied accused male student due process.”
  • “San Francisco supervisor Norman Yee recently proposed legislation that would prohibit autonomous delivery robots – which includes those with a remote human operator – on public streets in the city.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Go Home, TABC, You’re Drunk (on Power)

    Sunday, July 9th, 2017

    Here’s something from the regulators behaving badly file:

    Leaders at the Texas Capitol love to bash what they call out-of-control bureaucrats at city halls and in Washington, D.C., but a recent case pitting the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission against Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods looks like state regulatory overreach on steroids.

    After an investigation of the state’s largest liquor retailer, the TABC sought to yank permits for all 164 of the company’s stores — which would effectively shut it down — or hit Spec’s with fines of up to $713 million, according to court documents filed last week. The agency also put the company’s expansion plans on ice by freezing Spec’s new permit applications during the three-year probe, records show.

    What did Spec’s, a family-run company based in Houston, do to deserve the business equivalent of the death penalty? That’s what a couple of Texas administrative law judges wondered last week.

    They poured out the TABC like stale beer in a blunt 151-page ruling. The judges said TABC failed to prove dozens of allegations, rebuked agency lawyers for failing to disclose evidence to their own witness (and the court) and called out the agency for “stacking” charges, a tactic commonly used to pressure defendants into a settlement.

    In the end, the multi-year prosecution and an eight-day March administrative law hearing — similar to a trial — turned up evidence that Spec’s may have paid a $778 invoice from a wine supplier a day or two late in 2011 under the complicated liquor “credit law” spelling out when payments for booze must be made.

    The article goes on to document a series of abuses, including using another company’s admission of guilt as evidence of Spec’s guilt.

    The Spec’s case is just the latest in a long series of abuses that caused previous TABC head Sherry Cook to step down and Governor Greg Abbott to state “It’s time to clean house from regulators not spending taxpayer money wisely.”

    Hopefully newly-appointed TABC Chairman Kevin Lilly can clean up the mess and get the agency back on track. Texas labyrinth alcoholic beverage laws are bad enough without adding abuse…

    Gov. Abbott Does Not Sound Pleased With Joe Straus

    Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

    Gov. Gregg Abbott has a tendency to hold opinions close to his chest. But in this Chad Hasty Show interview, he sounds genuinely irritated when talking about the need for the special session he’s been forced to call because so many of his priorities died in the Joe Straus-led house:

    Gov. Abbott: If you guys are not going to take care of business during the regular session, if you’re going to use this must-past bill about ensuring the Texas Medical Board is going to continue on as political fodder, then I’m going to make sure we have a special session that counts, that focuses on the issues that I know are very important to our fellow Texans. Such as reducing property taxes. Such as addressing something that has turned out to be a very substantial issue all the way from Dallas, Texas to the Rio Grande Valley, which is to crack down on fraud that has taken place in the mail ballot process.

    Chad Hasty: Governor, you said that the Speaker of the House [prioritized] his priorities, you prioritized the issues for the state of Texas. Are you saying that maybe the House Speaker didn’t have the priorities of all Texans in mind?

    Gov. Abbott: In my conversations, and also in my perceptions, it seems like his priorities differed from, for example, these priorities I have on the special session call. His priorities differed from the deals that we were trying to broker at the end of the session. Some easy examples: I called, in my state of the state address, that I gave at the very beginning of the session, for meaningful property tax reform. Several weeks before the end of the session, I said publicly, in the press, there were a couple of items that were must press items in order for this session to be concluded successfully, ine of those was property tax reform. I know that I articulated, both in my state-of-the-state address as well as during the course of the session, to have at least some form of ability, especially for parents of special needs children, to have the opportunity to pick the school that’s right for them. And none of these have an opportunity of being addressed in the Texas House of Representatives.

    Chad Hasty: Now, I’m looking at 20 items here, one that is much-pass before we get to everything else, which is the sunset legislation. I’m going to be honest with you, Governor: I watched this past session. How do you expect all these lawmakers to get all 20 of these done in 30 days?

    Gov. Abbott: It’s pretty easy, because for almost all of them, nothing new needs to be created. I am resurrecting bills that were already proposed, that were largely debated on, many of them already passed out of the senate. I know, in my conversations with the Lt. Governor, that these are all items that can be passed out of the Texas senate in short order. It’s just a matter of of getting them to the house floor, getting a vote on them. The issue is not one of timing, because these are not difficult issues to grapple with, because they’ve already grappled with most of them. It’s just a matter of are they going to stand for them and vote for them, or evade them and not vote for them?

    Here’s the interview, which goes into more detail on the special needs education bill, which is a bigger issue than most people realize:

    Governor Abbott is essentially saying what conservative activists have: These are popular bills, and the only reason they haven’t passed is the obstruction of Speaker Joe Straus and his lieutenants

    Gov. Abbott Calls Special Session

    Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

    On Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called a special session of the Texas Legislature starting July 18:

    Abbott gave legislators an ambitious 19-item agenda to work on — including a so-called “bathroom bill” — after they approve must-pass legislation that they failed to advance during the regular session. An overtime round, Abbott said, was “entirely avoidable.”

    “Because of their inability or refusal to pass a simple law that would prevent the medical profession from shutting down, I’m announcing a special session to complete that unfinished business,” Abbott told reporters. “But if I’m going to ask taxpayers to foot the bill for a special session, I intend to make it count.”

    (Ignore the usual Texas Tribune hand-wringing about the “controversial” nature of the bathroom law; it’s just a restoration of the status quo, reversing what the Obama Administration imposed on the nation via executive fiat.)

    Here are Governor Abbott’s 19 items:

  • Teacher pay increase of $1,000
  • Administrative flexibility in teacher hiring and retention practices
  • School finance reform commission
  • School choice for special needs students
  • Property tax reform
  • Caps on state and local spending
  • Preventing cities from regulating what property owners do with trees on private land
  • Preventing local governments from changing rules midway through construction projects
  • Speeding up local government permitting process
  • Municipal annexation reform
  • Texting while driving preemption
  • Privacy
  • Prohibition of taxpayer dollars to collect union dues
  • Prohibition of taxpayer funding for abortion providers
  • Pro-life insurance reform
  • Strengthening abortion reporting requirements when health complications arise
  • Strengthening patient protections relating to do-not-resuscitate orders
  • Cracking down on mail-in ballot fraud
  • Extending maternal mortality task force
  • That’s an ambitious agenda…if Texas Speaker Joe Straus, who did so much to thwart so many of those items, let’s any of them pass.

    In an effort to force the special session, [Lieutenant Governor] Patrick had held hostage legislation, known as a “sunset bill,” that would keep some state agencies from closing. That “will be the only legislation on the special session [agenda] until they pass out of the Senate in full,” Abbott said.

    That’s quite defensible from a governance perspective, but it is going to eliminate Lt. Gov. Patrick’s biggest piece of leverage against Straus.

    With fewer items on the agenda, maybe House Republicans will have a chance to concentrate and actually act like Republicans rather than let Straus’ liberal coalition run roughshod over them.

    LinkSwarm for June 2, 2017

    Friday, June 2nd, 2017

    While the mainstream media is chasing their Russian conspiracy tail, the House Intelligence Committee has issued subpoenas to Samantha Power, Susan Rice and John Brennan over the surveillance unmasking scandal.

    President Donald Trump also pulled out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. You know, the one that was so anti-American Obama never bothered to even submit it to the Senate, sure in the knowledge they’d reject it. Naturally, liberals freaked out over the end of something that never actually had the force of law, much like they freaked out over the rollback of tranny bathrooms, another Obama “law” imposed entirely by judicial fiat. “My acts of executive fiat are sacred and immutable, yours are crimes against democracy.” Liberals seem to regard Climate Change Treaties not as something subject to cost/benefit analysis and the checks-and-balances of Constitutional law, but as Holy Writ, the failure of which to heed irreparably stains America’s soul.

    In other news:

  • New York Democrat busted for child pornography:

    A leading young Democrat and de Blasio administration employee has a secret taste for sickening kiddie porn that involves baby girls as young as 6 months old, court papers revealed Friday.

    Jacob Schwartz, 29, was busted for allegedly keeping more than 3,000 disgusting images and 89 videos on a laptop after downloading the filth from the internet.

    The illegal smut shows “young nude females between the approximate ages of 6 months and 16, engaging in sexual conduct… on an adult male,” court papers say.

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • President Trump is dismantling Obama’s authoritarianism:

    Obama is the one who imposed what we might deem — in appropriately Maoist parlance — the “Three Authoritarianisms.” They were the Paris climate accord, the Iran deal, and US intelligence agencies being used to surveil American citizens.

    All three of these “authoritarianisms” were entirely ex-Constitutional. The first two were in essence treaties on which Congress (and by extension the American people) never got to vote or, for that matter, discuss in any serious way. The Paris accord probably would have failed. As for the Iran deal, we still don’t know the full contents and therefore debating it is somewhat moot. We have, however, seen its consequences — corpses littered all across Syria, not to mention untold millions of refugees.

    (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)

  • “Nothing that an Islamic terrorist can do will ever shake the left-wing commitment to open borders—not mass sexual assaults, not the deliberate slaughter of gays, and not, as in Manchester last week, the killing of young girls. The real threat that radical Islam poses to feminism and gay rights must be disregarded in order to transform the West by Third World immigration.”
  • Just as in 2016, black voters aren’t turning out for Democrats in special elections like they used to.
  • “A federal grand jury has indicted 35 [St. Louis] store owners on federal conspiracy charges for trafficking contraband cigarettes, distributing controlled substances and money laundering.” The charges seem on the weak side to me, but see if you can notice a pattern in the names indicted… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Global Pension Underfunding Will Hit Nearly Half A Quadrillion Dollars In 2050.”
  • “The Atomic Bomb Considered As Hungarian High School Science Fair Project.” Why so many math geniuses born in Budapest between 1890 and 1920? Simple: A high concentration of Jews. “In general Jews born in Europe after 1920 didn’t have a great life expectancy.”
  • Evergreen State College in Washington State remains shut down after a particularly virulent outbreak of Social Justice Warrior rage. It’s been hard to keep up with all the Stupid on display there…
  • A few heartland Democrats are trying to un-Pelosi the party. Good luck with that, but I suspect any variance from the Official Party Line on abortion, tranny bathrooms or illegal aliens will meet with swift punishment from the SJW faction controlling the levers of power in the party. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Jim Goad takes a stroll through the latest leftist “math is racist” garbage. “In the only way we know how to quantify such things—by scores on math tests, duh!—it would appear that if math is indeed ‘racist,’ it is biased strongly against non-Asians.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • The “white supremacist” who stabbed two people in Portland was a pro-Bernie Sanders/Jill Stein supporter.
  • 76% of “child refugees” entering Sweden are over 18. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Latest example of an illegal alien having more rights than you? Montgomery County, Maryland releases an illegal alien accused of stealing guns from an off-duty cop’s car. (Hat tip: The Political Hat.)
  • Houston: “Democratic Poll Workers Plead Guilty of Voter Fraud.”
  • Rigging the precious metals market?
  • Manuel Noriega dead at 83.
  • A climate change tweet:

  • The judge presiding over the Ken Paxton trial has been removed:

    The Dallas Court of Appeals has ordered Judge George Gallagher removed from the case and all orders he has issued since granting a motion to transfer venue vacated.

    In April, Gallagher granted a motion to transfer venue in the case from Collin County to Harris County, the backyard of the three criminal defense attorneys who were appointed as special prosecutors in the case. The motion to transfer venue was legally baseless and centered on the prosecutors’ complaints about criticism they have received on social media. The decision to grant the motion followed months of bad rulings from Gallagher in which he had turned a blind eye to abuses of the grand jury process by the special prosecutors.

    When Gallagher granted the motion to transfer venue, Paxton’s defense team immediately informed him that they would not consent to him continuing to preside over the case and cited to the Code of Criminal Procedure, which requires the consent of the defendant before a judge can continue on a case after venue is transferred.

    The case state case against Paxton already looked weak after the SEC dropped charges on the federal case the state case is predicated upon. Now it looks that much weaker.

  • Uber and Lyft are back running in Austin following Governor Greg Abbott signing a bill creating statewide ride-sharing rules superseding Austin’s draconian version.
  • USS Gerald R. Ford delivered to the Navy. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • “Alabama Town Requires Teens to Buy Business License to Mow Lawns.”
  • New York Times offers buyouts to editors…and eliminates the “public editor.” But don’t worry; rumor has it that they left the Trump Conspiracy Theory Unit intact… (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • The Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas list has been updated again. (Hat tip: Bill Crider.)
  • Kathy Griffin fired from CNN’s New Year’s Eve duties for holding up severed Trump head prop. And just when she was cultivating that “Eldritch Undead Lich” look Dick Clark sported in his final years…
  • Important health tip: “Don’t put wasp nests up your vagina.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Sharknado 5 gets a title.
  • Governor Abbott Signs Sanctuary City Bill

    Monday, May 8th, 2017

    “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill Sunday prohibiting the state’s cities and counties from enacting so-called ‘sanctuary’ laws that prevent local law enforcement officers from inquiring about the immigration status of anyone they detain.”

    Here’s the text of the bill, which goes into effect September 1.

    As previously reported, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez said she will obey the law, which is a good thing, given that Travis County previously lead the country in refusing to hold illegal aliens who had committed such crimes as sexual assault, aggravated assault with a weapon, burglary and DUI.

    LinkSwarm for May 5, 2017

    Friday, May 5th, 2017

    Happy Cinco de Mayo, the holiday that celebrates the French army getting their asses kicked by Mexicans!

    A bunch of big news that everyone and their dog has been covering at the top of the LinkSwarm:

  • Big News 1: Despite having the House, Senate and White House, House Republicans spinelessly cave on budget negotiations. “It is noteworthy for what it does not include: namely, most of Donald Trump’s and Republicans’ recent campaign promises. The bill does not defund Planned Parenthood. It does not include any of the president’s deep cuts to domestic agencies. Public broadcasting is funded at current levels. The National Endowment for the Arts’ budget is increased. There’s even funding for California’s high-speed rail.”
  • Big News 2: House Republicans also passed an ObamaCare replacement bill.
  • Consensus is that it sucks less than both ObamaCare and the March versions of the bill, but still sucks plenty. The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Chip Roy had this to say in a press release:

    “Today, conservative leaders in the House brought the American people a glimmer of hope that states might save American healthcare from the clutches of a federally controlled and regulated system under Obamacare,” said Roy. “This improved version of the American Health Care Act grants governors the ability to seek waivers from the onerous Obamacare regulations that unfortunately remain in place as the default rule even under this bill. This means governors would have both the opportunity and the burden of leading to free their states from these default regulations.”

    “Further reform remains necessary, however, as the bill retains far too much of Obamacare’s flawed Medicaid expansion, replaces one form of subsidy with an even more expansive one in the form of a refundable tax credit, creates a $138 billion slush fund for insurers, and leaves almost all of Obamacare’s cost-driving regulations and mandates as the federal standard,” Roy continued. “As the bill heads to the Senate, we hope it will be improved, at least by allowing states to opt in to Obamacare rather than forcing states to temporarily, partially opt out.”

  • By one account, the ObamaCare replacement amounts to a $1 trillion tax cut. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • French runoff Presidential elections happen Sunday. The overwhelming favorite Emmanuel Macron is being pummeled by leaked documents (sound familiar?) that suggest he’s been avoiding taxes using offshore accounts. Naturally French prosecutors are ready to pounce…on those spreading the allegations.
  • Texas legislation to repeal sanctuary cities heads to Governor Abbott’s desk.
  • And Travis County sheriff Sally Hernandez even says she’ll obey the law. Imagine that!
  • The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office want police to know that illegal aliens have more rights than American citizens and shouldn’t be prosecuted.
  • President Trump’s insistence on actually enforcing immigration laws is already paying dividends.

    The concrete, realpolitik reason that amnesty is dead is that the appropriate law enforcement policies have been set in motion and they are gaining momentum fast!

    I have long argued that the illegal alien community in the United States is highly fragile. President Trump’s executive order directing Immigration and Customs Authorities and Border Patrol officers to broadly interpret their jurisdiction for capturing and removing illegal aliens has had the immediate effect of decreasing attempts to cross the border as well as inspiring panic in illegal immigrant communities. Police officers and county sheriffs have told me that, even at the height of the Obama era of nonenforcement, illegal aliens shunned the police. Now, in the era of Trump, the possibility of going to work and ending your week in Mexico is a real and potent threat. (This is particularly true if you live, as I do, in Massachusetts). It is a commonplace that law enforcement professionals go to sleep muttering “5% enforcement equals 95% compliance.”

    At the same time, businesses cannot prosper in an environment of uncertainty. The initial impulse of business owners in agriculture and other illegal-alien-heavy industries is to demand, yet again, some succor from the government in terms of work permits for their illegal workers. Just such measures are championed by incoming Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. However, assuming this relief is not forthcoming in the near future (and I’ll get to that in a minute) the only rational policy is for business owners to begin exploring their other options — which might include automation or wage increases.

    When every small business owner in America finally takes paper and pencil and sits down at the kitchen table with their spouse and says “honey, we are going to have to figure out how to make our business work when we can’t hire illegal aliens anymore,” then and only then will the light appear at the end of the tunnel.

    But the key to the problem and the reason for optimism is this: with the law now being enforced, however incrementally, even without funds for more agents, even without funds for the Wall, even without E-Verify, the pressure to re-evaluate in the illegal alien and the business communities will only grow. The success of the policy in reducing the inflow and initiating “self-deportation” will feed back on itself. For years the only salient argument of the open borders advocates on both the right and the left was that enforcing the current laws on the books was impossible. As it becomes obvious how easy, in fact, enforcement is, those advocates will be forced to rely on their more avaricious motives for keeping illegal aliens here.

  • One in four federal inmates is foreign born. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Why Hillary lost, Part 6974: Voters who went for Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016.
  • Welcome back my friends to the 2016 election that never ends, we’re so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside. There behind the glass is a pile of Hillary’s foreign cash, be careful as you pass, move along, move along. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Even Dianne Feinstein says there’s no evidence of Russian meddling in the election. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • President Trump is more trusted than the national media.
  • Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro decides not to run against Ted Cruz. Smart move.
  • Did a Pakistani ISI assassin defect to India? Sources say: Maybe not.
  • Netflix deletes Bill Nye segment from 1996 that talks about how chromosomes determine sex. When science clashes with the current smelly orthodoxies of liberal dogma, it seems that science gets the axe.
  • Following Victims of Communism Day, here are ten films on the victims of Communism. These appear to be all documentaries.
  • VA official who kept secret wait lists veterans died on fired. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Puerto Rico declares bankruptcy.
  • Is Russia arming the Taliban?
  • “A New Instance of Android Malware is Discovered Every 10 Seconds.”
  • Leftists try to take over the Humble school board.
  • And don’t forget the Rond Rock Bond issue vote this Saturday.
  • Lunatic scumbag street-preacher/tax evader/child molester Tony Alamo dies in prison. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Auction for a treasure trove of early material on the Nation of Islam. Including two manuscripts handwritten by founder Wallace Fard Muhammad, who disappeared in 1934. Alas, the opening bid is a tad steep for my blood…