Posts Tagged ‘Greg Abbott’

Hurricane Harvey Recovery Post

Monday, September 4th, 2017

Though it may take up to two weeks for all the flood waters to disappear, Houston is showing some signs of normalcy, such as opening most freeways. Governor Greg Abbott said that Harvey may have inflicted $180 billion in damage on the state.

More food recovery tidbits:

  • Michael Dell pledges $36 million.
  • JJ Watt’s new YouCaring goal is $20 million, and he’s currently at $18.8 million.
  • Travis County Sheriff Delays Houston Rescue Efforts.”

    As thousands of private citizens bravely responded with their individually owned boats and resources to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey, nearby Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez waited to mobilize a single boat crew to assist with the disaster.

    Sheriff Hernandez did not authorize mobilizing deputies to assist with rescue efforts until Wednesday – waiting on a formal ‘mutual aid request’ before mobilizing. The request guarantees that departments will be reimbursed for costs incurred and also serves as part of an organized effort.

  • The gas shortage is real (and we’ve been feeling it up here in Austin as well), but I expect it to be temporary, as Gulf Coast refinaries closed during the storm are already coming back online. Check Gas Buddy to see if gas is available in your area, though they don’t seem to have Sam’s or HEB, two places I typically buy gas, and both of whcih have been out this week.)
  • President Trump visits Houston.
  • If your liberal Facebook friends are passing off satire as real news, let them know that Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church was not screening refugees based on tithing.
  • Tweets:

    At 98K and rising, this may be the most retweeted thing from Hurricane Harvey:

  • Hurricane/Flood Update for August 31, 2017

    Thursday, August 31st, 2017

    Welcome to a short, extra late Hurricane/flooding update, since I was busy much of the day working on this giant post about my library on my non-political blog.

    The death toll from Harvey is now up to 38.

    Some links:

  • Beaumont had their water supply knocked out by the flood.
  • Waters begin to recede in Port Arthur, but tons of homes and businesses are still flooded.
  • The BBC offers up a rainfall total map for Harvey. 40+ inches over five days is pretty hard to plan for…
  • Vice President Mike Pence and Governor Greg Abbott visit Rockport.
  • President Donald Trump has pledged $1 million of his own money for Hurricane relief.
  • Direct FEMA Assistance website.
  • Salvation Army disaster recovery.
  • JJ Watt has raised $10 million for flood relief so far, including $1 million from Wal-Mart. Update: over $12 million now, and headed for a new $15 million goal.
  • Charlie Hebdo brings the dumbeth. My reply:

  • Harvey Makes Landfall as Category 4 Hurricane

    Friday, August 25th, 2017

    Hurricane Harvey barrelled into the Texas coast around 10 p..m. Friday as one of the most powerful hurricane to strike the Texas coast in decades.The Category 4 storm made landfall between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, according to the National Hurricane Center.”

    Remember, by the time Hurricane Ike hit Texas, it was only a Category 2 hurricane. Ike caused over $27 billion in damage and left 37 people dead.

    “Forecasters said it has the potential of being the strongest hurricane to hit Texas since Hurricane Carla in 1961, which killed 34 and injured 465 when it made landfall near Port Lavaca. The storm had maximum sustained winds near 130 mph with higher gusts ”

    More:

    The National Weather Service issued flash flood watches for the following counties: Harris, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston, Montgomery, Waller, Liberty, Grimes, Chambers, Brazos, Colorado, Austin, Washington, Jackson, Burleson and Wharton.

    Harvey is expected to produce total rainfall amounts of 15 to 35 inches, with isolated pockets of 40 inches through next Wednesday. The weather service said “rainfall of this magnitude will cause catastrophic and life-threatening flooding.”

    Part of Rockport High School has collapsed.

    President Donald Trump, as requested by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, issued a disaster proclamation:

    Here’s a report from the coast in Corpus Christi at 5 PM, when the storm was still offshore and only a category 3, and it’s still almost blowing the reporter over:

    Residents of the rest of the state should get ready for a whole lot of rain over the next few days…

    Hurricane Harvey Update

    Thursday, August 24th, 2017

    Harvey is expected to be a Class III Hurricane by the time it makes landfall on the Texas coast late Friday or early Saturday. Predictions are for as much as 30 inches of rain in some places, as well as up to a 12 foot storm surge in coastal areas.

    Mandatory evacuations have been issued for Aransas Pass and Calhoun County, as well as parts of Brazoria and Matagorda Counties.

    Texas Governor Greg Abbott has preemptively declared 30 counties disaster areas, which automatically makes a lot of state resources available to local officials.

    Here’s a list of official closures in the Texas Coastal Bend area.

    If you live on or near the Texas coast between Brownsville and Port Lavaca, now would be a darn good to to load up your car, tape your windows, lock your doors and evacuate.

    Even in central Texas, be prepared for flooding in low-lying areas, avoid low water crossings, and have adequate food and water supplies in the event of a loss of power.

    In short: Don’t be this guy:

    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