Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Passes House

Monday, December 11th, 2017

Good news!

In a resounding show of support for the Second Amendment, the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a legislative package that included H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, and H.R. 4477, the Fix NICS Act of 2017. The bipartisan vote of 231 to 198 advanced a measure that would allow law-abiding Americans who are eligible to carry a concealed handgun under the law of a state to do so in all other U.S. states and territories that recognize the right of their own residents to carry concealed. Without a doubt, this is the strongest piece of self-defense legislation to ever come before Congress. It would also help shore up the National Instant Criminal Background Check System used for licensing and retail firearm purchases by adding additional layers of transparency and accountability to the system.

“Bipartisan” is a bit of a stretch: 225 Republicans voted for the bill along with a measly 6 Democrats. 14 Republicans and 184 Democrats voted against it. All Republicans in the Texas delegation voted for the bill, and two of the Democrat yes votes were from Texas: Vicente Gonzalez of the 15th Congressional District and Henry Cueller of the 28th. Predictably, U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke voted against the bill. O’Rourke was the one setting up a live Facebook feed for the Democrats gun control sit-in stunt last year, so he appears to be all-in on gun control, an issue that is likely to place him strongly at odds with the majority of Texas voters.

Have Democrats Found Their 2018 Paul Sadler?

Saturday, December 9th, 2017

After having gay leather bar owner Jeffrey Payne and perennial candidate Grady Yarborough as their ostensible gubernatorial frontrunners, Democrats finally seem to have lured someone who’s won at the county level to the race in the form of Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. Valdez was elected to her current post four times, so she has as much electoral experience as Wendy Davis had in 2014. However, she lacks Davis’ celebrity status outside the state, so she’s unlikely to draw anywhere near Davis’ fundraising dollars, surefire donations from Emily’s and Annie’s Lists notwithstanding. Valdez is also a lesbian, so she might split the gay vote (small as it is) with Payne.

Also, Mark White’s son Andrew has thrown his hat into the ring as well. His myriad political experience includes…being Mark White’s son. That’s it. He’s also making all sorts of bipartisan noises, but when you read his positions, they’re thinly disguised Democratic Party boilerplate, such as supporting the DREAM Act and boosting “sanctuary cities.” He also trots out the “personally pro-life” and “safe, legal and rare” canards, which always amount to “bring on the partial birth abortions!”

The Texas Tribune has a modestly irksome roundup of the race up. I couldn’t help noticing that one candidate the Texas Tribune omitted a picture for was the only candidate who had previously made it to a statewide ballot in November: Grady Yarborough, who in his 2016 Railroad Commissioner run did not do any worse (38.3% of the vote) than most statewide Democrats did in 2014. And he, like fellow gubernatorial candidate Cedrick Davis Sr., former Mayor of Balch Springs (in Dallas County south of Mesquite), who’s photo is also omitted, is black, while they included the picture of another longshot, distinctly pale former congressional candidate Tom Wakely. Another longshot mentioned in the piece, Dallas investment adviser Adrian Ocegueda (who I’m fairly sure is the only candidate whose webpage talks about contracts in virtual reality), also had his picture omitted.

Other 2018 Texas Democratic Gubernatorial candidates not even mentioned:

  • Garry Brown, an assistant for Williamson County commissioner Terry Cook (and formerly for Rep. Lloyd Doggett)
  • Joe Mumbach
  • Lee Weaver
  • The press seems to want to this to come down to a White/Valdez race. My guess is they’re half right. I’m betting White does get into the runoff due to the electorate’s lamentable but demonstrated tendency to support political dynasties. However, right now I’d guess that, despite hostile press gatekeepers to the contrary, Grady Yarborough is more likely to make the runoff than Valdez…

    LinkSwarm for December 8, 2017

    Friday, December 8th, 2017

    Last night mother nature dumped a bunch of snow on Austin…very little of which stayed on the ground through this morning. Which is just fine for those of us who have jobs.

    I’ll still sorting out the latest DOJ/FBI revelations to have them all filed in the next Clinton Corruption update, which should be ginormous.

  • California is on fire.
  • “Traffic through central Mordor is slow but steady.”

  • The Wisconsin Witch Hunt was even worse than even conservatives feared:

    Wisconsin’s infamous John Doe investigation was more sinister and politically driven than originally reported.

    A Wisconsin Attorney General report on the year-long investigation into leaks of sealed John Doe court documents to a liberal British publication in September 2016 finds a rogue agency of partisan bureaucrats bent on a mission “to bring down the (Gov. Scott) Walker campaign and the Governor himself.”

    The AG report, released Wednesday, details an expanded John Doe probe into a “broad range of Wisconsin Republicans,” a “John Doe III,” according to Attorney General Brad Schimel, that widened the scope of the so-called John Doe II investigation into dozens of right-of-center groups and scores of conservatives. Republican lawmakers, conservative talk show hosts, a former employee from the MacIver Institute, average citizens, even churches, were secretly monitored by the dark John Doe.

    State Department of Justice investigators found hundreds of thousands of John Doe documents in the possession of the GAB long after they were ordered to be turned over to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

    The Government Accountability Board, the state’s former “nonpartisan” speech cop, proved to be more partisan than originally suspected, the state Department of Justice report found. For reasons that “perhaps may never be fully explained,” GAB held onto thousands of private emails from Wisconsin conservatives in several folders on their servers marked “Opposition Research.” The report’s findings validate what conservatives have long contended was nothing more than a witch-hunt into limited government groups and the governor who was turning conservative ideas into public policy.

    “Moreover, DOJ is deeply concerned by what appears to have been the weaponization of GAB by partisans in furtherance of political goals, which permitted the vast collection of highly personal information from dozens of Wisconsin Republicans without even taking modest steps to secure this information,” the report states.

    Snip.

    The Department of Justice, however, recommends the John Doe judge initiate contempt proceedings against former GAB officials and the John Doe probe’s special prosecutor for “grossly” mishandling secret evidence. Schimel also recommends that Shane Falk, who served as lead staff attorney in the John Doe probes, be referred for discipline to the Wisconsin Court System’s Office of Lawyer Regulation. Falk took a job with a private law firm in August 2014, just as allegations of investigative abuse began to surround the political investigation.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • Perspective: Nancy Pelosi seems to think the GOP tax bill is worse than the Fugitive Slave Act
  • Another sexual harassment followup on Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen: “Hey, Nancy Pelosi knew all about my sexual harassment charges last year, and threw money at me anyway. So why’s she getting her knickers in a knot now?”
  • “Eye Doctor Tied to Bob Menendez Case Convicted in $100 Million Fraud Scheme.” And Democrat Menendez is still, as of this writing, a Senator.
  • Months after the Las Vegas shooting, and there are still dozens of unanswered questions about what actually happened.
  • 92 percent of illegal aliens arrested this year had ‘criminal convictions, pending criminal charges, were an immigration fugitive, or were an illegal reentrant.'” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Man Deported 20 Times Sentenced to 35 Years for Sexual Assault.” So when is San Francisco throwing him his parade?
  • “Swedish Government to Ban Websites that List Ethnic Origin of Criminal Suspects.”
  • Related: “Swedish lawyer Elisabeth Fritz claims that in the majority of rape cases she has had to work on the suspects have been individuals from migrant backgrounds.”
  • “Swedish Chief Prosecutor: No-Go Zone Rinkeby Is Like a ‘War Zone.'”
  • “You know who doesn’t have a refugee problem? Japan.” This year Japan has taken in three refugees. Last year it was 28.
  • Hmmmm: “A federal judge in Argentina indicted former President Cristina Fernandez for treason and asked for her arrest for allegedly covering up Iran’s possible role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people, a court ruling said.”
  • Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks to resign over asking staffers to consider being a surrogate mother for him and his wife? Franks, unlike Al Franken, has actually resigned, not merely promised to resign at some unspecified date in the future.
  • More on how Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman plans to revitalize the kingdom:

    Last Sunday premiered the newly formed Islamic anti-terrorism coalition, putting together leaders from Sunni Arab nations to denounce and combat fundamentalist terrorism throughout the Middle East and the world. It was another bold initiative towards the West of the young and energetic Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, coming on the heels of other bold moves that have looked to consolidate political and religious power in the Kingdom.

    Together, all of these initiatives couldn’t be more transparent. They represent a movement of the most economically powerful nation in OPEC towards social, cultural and economic change, the realization of the Saudi “Vision 2030”. It is a top-down Arab Spring movement that likely has a better chance of success than the populist movements that resulted in more chaos than change in 2010.

    However, the ultimate success for Vision 2030 will rely upon achieving the main economic goal of this revolution – the divestiture of Saudi Arabia from the singularity of oil revenues. Because we know that ultimately money – and lots of it – will be needed to drive the engines for change, we get a far better picture of just how important these latest production extensions agreed to in Vienna were for the young Prince.

    And here we’re brought back to the upcoming IPO of Saudi Aramco, still on tap for 2018.

    Even the planned 5 percent offering of the Saudi state oil assets could yield an instantaneous $100 billion dollars, if the $2 trillion-dollar valuation of Saudi Aramco is accurate. That’s a lot of capital to start the process of rebuilding a Saudi economy from one that is now virtually completely reliant upon the State. 75 percent of the Saudi public is under 35 years old, and they are starving for a new economic infrastructure that will bring job opportunities, cultural diversity, music, education – global access of all kinds – the kind of freedoms that the 2010 Arab Spring uprisings were supposed to deliver. Only this time, the push for change is coming from the top down, not as a populist movement from the people upwards.

  • “Tesla – which lost $619 million in Q3 – delivered only 3,590 vehicles in November in the US, down 18% from a year ago.”
  • In a rare moment of sanity for Sports Illustrated, they named J. J. Watt and the Houston Astro’s Jose Altuve as co-sportsmen of the year. Next week I’m sure they’ll get back to their usual Social Justicing…
  • Texas writer Bill Crider enters hospice care. Bill’s not particularly political, but he is a friend of mine, and I have frequently stolen some of the lighter LinkSwarm items from his blog. He’s a prince among men and he will be missed…
  • You’ve got to admire the designers of http://www.theworldsworstwebsiteever.com for having the courage of their convictions.
  • “Opossum breaks into liquor store and gets drunk as a skunk.”
  • Hell to the no
  • A tweet that tells you all you need to know to evaluate forthcoming legislation:

  • A shot of yuletide Archer cheer:

  • Texas Republicans Behaving Badly

    Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

    Republican congressmen have not been immune to the sexual harassment revelations sweeping the nation. There’s one that has been swept up, and there’s one that really hasn’t, but who’s been swept up into the “sexual misconduct” category anyway, and who’s retiring, so I’m going to talk about both here.

    First, the not-a-sexual-harasser-but-retiring-anyway is Rep. Joe Barton. Barton decided to retire after nude photos of him surfaced on the Internet. It turns out that those photos were taken during consensual sex after Barton had separated from his wife. A definite lapse in judgement, but by the current standards pretty small potatoes, and arguably Barton is the victim of revenge porn rather than the victimizer. But now comes reports that Barton’s ex-wife has accused him of being a serial adulterer, so, yeah, retirement is probably in order.

    More serious are the problems of Rep. Blake Farenthold, who was fingered as the accused in a sexual harassment suit that lead to an $84,000 payout from the secret congressional slush fund we’ve been hearing so much about.

    Lauren Greene, the Texas Republican’s former communications director, sued her boss in December 2014 over allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.

    Greene said another Farenthold aide told her the lawmaker said he had “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” about Greene. She also claimed that Farenthold “regularly drank to excess” and told her in February 2014 that he was “estranged from his wife and had not had sex with her in years.”

    When she complained about comments Farenthold and a male staffer made to her, Greene said the congressman improperly fired her. She filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, but the case was later dropped after both parties reached a private settlement.

    Wasting $84,000 of taxpayer money because you couldn’t keep from sharing your perv fantasies with a staffer is a pretty bad look for a Republican who brags about their budget cutting. Vowing to repay the money isn’t enough. Farenthold should follow Barton’s lead and announce he’s retiring at the end of his term.

    (I should note that I should know Farenthold, since we were both active in the Austin BBS community at the same time. (Kids, go ask your parents what a “BBS” was.) But I don’t remember him, and we may have just managed not to bump into each other.)

    UT’s Fenves Chooses Settling Over Testifying

    Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

    The University of Texas reversed course, deciding that maybe having President Greg Fenves reverse a hearing examiner’s finding in order to find a student guilty of sexual harassment for consensual sex probably wasn’t the greatest idea, settling the case and reinstating the student. (Hat tip: Cahnman.)

    Could Fenves have reversed the ruling after receiving a large donation from the accuser’s father, as “John Doe’s” lawsuit attests? Whatever the case, UT seemed willing to settle rather than risk having their President testify on the record in court.

    This is probably a good time to remind people that just because Wallace Hall is no longer on the UT Board of Regents does not mean that the numerous problems of cronyism and favoritism in admissions (and very possibly elsewhere) he uncovered were solved just because Hall is no longer there to expose them.

    Dear Jason Villalba: Enjoy This Festive Holiday Primary Challenge

    Monday, November 27th, 2017

    With the retirements of Joe Straus and Byron Cook, Jason Villalba might be the least popular Republican in the Texas House. Which explains why Santa (in this case Texas conservatives) delivered a primary challenge as an early Christmas present.

    With a disastrous record in the Texas House and recent calls for gun control, Texans won’t be surprised to learn that State Rep. Jason Villalba (R—Dallas) could face a tough reelection.

    On Monday, Dallas business owner Lisa Luby Ryan, who operates an interior design firm and the antique home furnishings store Vintage Living in Dallas, validated earlier rumors she was considering a run and announced her campaign against Villalba in the Republican primary.

    “I’m simply overwhelmed at the initial support we have already earned and grateful for the caliber of individuals joining this campaign,” said Ryan in a news release. “Today’s announcement sends a loud and clear message that this district believes that we can do better than our current representation. I am running to provide voters a clear choice, and with this great support I intend to win.”

    In her campaign announcement, Ryan also released an impressive list of supporters who are already endorsing her campaign. The list includes a bevy of conservative mainstays and a substantial number of prominent community business owners including Brint Ryan (no relation), a prominent tax consultant and chairman of the University of North Texas Board of Regents, who will serve as Lisa Luby Ryan’s campaign treasurer.

    While Ryan’s background certainly plays into the amount of support she’s receiving in the district, and it’s also true that Villalba’s record has declined even further this session compared to his last, it’s likely that the donor community is supporting his opponent because Villalba has exhausted his usefulness.

    While Villalba was, admittedly, a clownish and useless member of House Speaker Joe Straus’ team, he was a part of the team. But now, that team won’t be taking the field.

    Given Straus’ announcement that he will not seek re-election and conservative efforts to amend the Republican caucus bylaws to ensure a more conservative Speaker is elected, Villalba is likely to be left on the outside looking in regardless of who is elected to be the next Speaker of the Texas House.

    And it’s not just Dallas donors who have made that observation.

    Indeed, at a recent lobby meeting hosted by Straus’ chief strategist, Gordon Johnson, Villalba didn’t even make the list of lawmakers that the group would try to “protect” in the upcoming Republican primary elections.

    Given that Straus’ allies in the lobby were forced to spend more than $500,000 to protect Villalba in the 2016 primary, Villalba will be in serious trouble if the Austin political establishment hangs him out to dry.

    Or if his constituents take a look at his record.

    You may remember Villalba from such hits as I’m A Thin-Skinned Twitter Blockhead, Let’s Make It illegal For Gun Owners and Bloggers To Photograph the Police and I Have A Whole Lot of Stupid Ideas.

    Let’s hope Lisa Luby Ryan succeeds in retiring him in 2018.

    LinkSwarm for November 24. 2017

    Friday, November 24th, 2017

    I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy a short LinkSwarm for a short week!

  • “Unsealed court documents reveal that the firm behind the salacious 34-page Trump-Russia Dossier, Fusion GPS, was paid $523,000 by a Russian businessman convicted of tax fraud and money laundering, whose lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was a key figure in the infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower arranged by Fusion GPS associate Rob Goldstone.”
  • Fusion GPS, the DNC and Hillary Clinton sampaign-funded organization behind the fake Trump dossier, has been paying journalists.
  • In this week’s MSM scumbag sexual harasser sweepstakes, both CBS and PBS fire Charlie Rose after sexual harassment accusations from eight different women.
  • And three more accusers just came forward.
  • You know the Arab-Egyptian Peace Treaty signed after the Camp David Accords in 1979? Jimmy Carter did his best to derail it.

    Carter wanted his Geneva talks. He didn’t care that the peace process already begun by Sadat and Begin might lead to peace, Carter wanted his plan or nothing. You see Carter’s vision of a Geneva conference would be run by the U.S. and the USSR, and Israel would be facing the terrorist PLO, and Israel’s neighbors including, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, and Jordan. It would not be a negotiation because when one considers that the Arab countries were Soviet satellites, and the Carter administration’s ideological orientation was anti-Israel it seemed to ensure the conference would be all the participants vs. the Jewish State.

    Thankfully Carter couldn’t stop the approaching peace train. Within days Israeli journalists were allowed into Cairo, breaking a symbolic barrier, and from there the peace process quickly gained momentum.

  • Kevin Williamson examines more of the left’s Manson worship.
  • How congress runs its illegal sexual harassment slush fund out of the public eye.
  • Washington Post reporter Janell Ross helped secret Democratic donor conference “craft liberal economic message without notifying superiors.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Cop killer captured. Update: Authorities have now released the name of the slain officer, which was Damon Allen.
  • “California State Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) announced Tuesday that he will resign next year after six women accused him of making unwanted sexual advances.”
  • Want to download Skype in China? Tough.
  • Brooklyn College doesn’t want police using campus bathrooms.” Because snowflakes must make painfully clear that the people who keep them safe are beneath them…
  • Can a Ketogeneic (low-carb) diet cure diabetes? Evidence suggests a firm maybe.
  • Environmental activist convicted. “A Montana jury found Leonard Higgins of Portland, Oregon, guilty of criminal mischief and trespassing. Higgins could face up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine on the felony criminal mischief charge.” (Hat tip: Steve Malloy’s Twitter feed.)
  • Florida Woman Pro Tip: If you’re going to rob a bank, it’s best to rob one you didn’t formerly work at.
  • Larry Correia spells out exactly what writers “owe” their fans on unfinished series installments: namely “Jack” and “Squat.”
  • As A Male Feminist, I Really Think I’d Absolutely Crush It If I Ever Had To Publicly Apologize For Sexual Misconduct.” Heh: “I’d use the word ‘apologize’ and say ‘I’m sorry.’ I’d check off all the boxes that feminist Twitter looks for in an airtight apology, and I’d continue expressing remorse in the ensuing weeks to wow the world with the magnitude of my self-reproach.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Rama?
  • Mistrial in First Waco Biker Shootout Trial

    Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

    Slightly belated news: The very first trial to arise out of the Waco Biker Shootout has resulted in a mistrial:

    The first trial stemming from a bloody biker gunfight at a Waco restaurant that left nine people dead and 20 wounded has done little to determine the fate of more than 150 people indicted in the complex and controversial Texas case.

    A judge on Friday declared a mistrial in the case of Jake Carrizal, president of the Dallas Bandidos motorcycle club, who could face life in prison if he ultimately is convicted on three counts stemming from the melee on May 17, 2015.

    The jury deliberated for 14 hours before telling Judge Matt Johnson it was hopelessly deadlocked. McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna declined to comment after Johnson declared a mistrial, so it was not clear if Carrizal will be tried again. All the defendants were charged with engaging in a criminal activity leading to the deaths.

    This is not surprising, given that, despite a shootout that left nine people dead, not a single defendant has been charged with murder. Evidently finding the right people to charge with murder is still too daunting for McLennan County’s DA, so he has instead gone for a “collective punishment” approach, charging all Bandidos and Cossacks present at the shootout with a conspiracy charge merely for being present.

    No wonder the first jury had such a hard time.

    Another reason for difficulty: All the weapons that forensics could definitively link to dead bikers came not from other bikers, but from law enforcement rifles.

    The dead in Waco deserve justice, but they’re not getting it, because Abel Reyna evidently finds it too hard to actually determine who committed homicide and has pursued unconstitutional indictments on “collective guilt” instead.

    Texas News Roundup for November 9, 2017

    Thursday, November 9th, 2017

    Bunch of Texas news, none of which I feel like doing a separate post on. Ready? Go!

  • The state of Texas, withe the assistance of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, has successfully thwarted the Obama Administration’s Bureau of Land Management land grab along the Red River. Good job for TPPF, Attorney General Ken Paxton, and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush successfully getting BLM to give up.
  • All Texas constitutional amendments pass.
  • U.S. Rep. Ted Poe announces retirement.
  • I also missed that Lamar Smith announced his retirement a few days ago as well. With Jeb Hensarling, that’s three incumbent Texas Republican Reps who have announced their retirement.
  • Ranger College: Want to pay higher taxes to support our corrupt community college? Brown, Erath and Comanche County: Get stuffed! Not often you see a proposition defeated 97% to 3%…
  • Reminder: Election Tomorrow for 2017 Texas Ballot Propositions

    Monday, November 6th, 2017

    Once again, an off-year election is sneaking up on us on tomorrow.

    There are a number of Texas constitutional amendments on the ballot. Here’s my quick “one-eyed man in the land of the blind” summary:

  • Proposition 1: “Authorizes tax exemption for property of partially disabled veterans received as donations.” Yes.
  • Proposition 2: “Makes changes to home equity loan provision of constitution.” This is a tricky one. Libertarian in me says “Yeah, sure, do whatever you want. Your funeral.” The other part of me thinks that, after 2008, having too stringent rules on tricky types of home equity borrowing isn’t exactly at the top of my list of problems. The fact that realtors and bankers have poured money into supporting this tip the balance to me recommending No.
  • Proposition 3: “Provides for how long an appointed officer may serve after his or her term expires.” Yes. Think of this as the “Texas Racing Commission” rule.
  • Proposition 4: “Requires a court to provide notice to the attorney general of a challenge to a statute.” Yes. Evidently a judge got chuffed in 2013 that mere legislators passed a law stating this, so now we have a constitutional amendment to do the same thing…
  • Proposition 5: “Defines professional sports team in charitable raffles.” Yes. Basically clarifies the terms of a previous constitutional amendment.
  • Proposition 6: “Authorizes property tax exemption for surviving spouses of first responders killed in line of duty.” Yes.
  • Proposition 7: “Authorizes financial institutions to offer prizes to promote savings.” Tentative No, since this is a carve-out for a particular industry.
  • Travis County also has some bond issues.

    Also, Williamson County voters will get a chance to eliminate the position of County Surveyor, and pretty much any time you can eliminate a government position, you should go for it…