Texans Need Civics Books Following Winter Storm

A minister, who is a friend, wrote on Facebook today her desire to assist Texans with something more than prayers. We responded that perhaps sending civics books with chapters highlighted about the way revenues from locals are used to pay for infrastructure might be appropriate. It was not meant to be flippant but rather a truism that ranks with teaching a person to fish being better than just supplying seafood for free.

Watching the news from Texas over the past few days has been most educational for the nation as it plainly and directly underscores what happens when people will not pay taxes for needed programs aimed at their own long-term well-being. When it comes to their electrical grid and its lack of weatherization–a problem that was highlighted following the 2011 ‘storm of a lifetime’ it proves that the allure of lower taxes and less regulation prevailed over reasoned thinking. Now another ‘storm of a lifetime’ has struck, which first, further proves the science of climate change.

But secondly, that Texans are needing all sorts of federal ‘socialism’.

Let me state that it is absolutely the duty of the federal government to aid the state and to alleviate the plight of our fellow citizens. I do not subscribe to the conservative’s Darwinian view that we first need to cut programs to find the dollars for doing what is the social compact we have with one another in the nation. I am a liberal Democrat, and even though Texans have not demonstrated intelligence with their infrastructure needs, does not mean my party loses our sense of national priorities when it comes to natural disasters.

Having said that, however, does not require me to lessen my point about the lack of civics-education among too many Texans. What we are reading in the papers and watching unfold on television showcases what can only be termed their flagrant disregard and disdain for reason and logic. The regulations that are required for weatherization, and the tax dollars that are then required for the projects make sense so that when Mother Nature comes a’-howling a crisis can be averted. While not each weather event can be totally prepared for, this winter storm in Texas could have been managed had political leadership been undertaken many years ago.

It is frustrating to see so many Texans seriously impacted because Republican officials have turned every attempt at needed regulations into some red-tape politically-inspired nightmare. If the knuckle-draggers in Texas thought prevention was costly…let this Northerner alert them they are to be stunned at the costs associated with fixing broken pipes. Think how much more cost-efficient it would have been to have insulated when the sun was shining and it was warm. And everything was not sopping wet!

I was the Administrative Assistant for the Joint Committee for Review Of Administrative Rules in the Wisconsin statehouse for two years. We undertook a number of code reviews for homes and businesses. While I can attest to the dialogue about ‘red-tape’, I can also speak to the logic of mandated standards and construction guidelines. They offer the best long-term protection for the dollars spent. I was proud to be a small part of making our state government work for the needs of the citizens.

So when I say civics books need to be sent to Texans following this winter storm I am not being smug or snarky. I am being frank about the real problem at hand. The problem is plain to see. You have to want to make the government work for the people for it to then, well, actually work.

Conservatives just need to be educated to that fact.

And so it goes.

Ann Richards’ Life On PBS Is Spectacular!

Ann Richards is an iconic personality not only in Texas, but nationwide.

PBS’ Great Performances Presents Emmy Award-winner Holland Taylor’s “Ann”.  It is something you will not want to miss. A one-woman show with punch and spit-fire lines that tell a story and convey larger themes about politics and America.  We watched it late last night and loved it as we howled with laughter and delight all along the way.

The play is a compelling look at the impassioned, inspiring woman who enriched the lives of her followers, friends, and family. Beginning with a commencement address, the play bursts into a blistering day in the life of the governor, with a cascade of task-wrangling and conversations with everyone from Richards’ friend Bill Clinton to her grandbaby Lily. We see the grit, warmth, and depth in her colorful, captivating character, bigger than the state from which she hails.

Check your local listings and be prepared for a great entertaining broadway-type performance!

Jack Craver Still Going Strong–From Austin, Texas

When I first entered the blogging world one of the nicest guys I met was Jack Craver, then living and writing in Madison.  He was always upbeat, filled with political insight, and fun conversation.

Now Craver is front and center in another educated, liberal, and vibrant city.  Austin, Texas.

It from there that Craver gives a shout-out along with a report on how he is following his path in life.  This blogging desk sends him all the best.

I’ve been a freelance reporter in Austin since July of 2015.  I cover City Council for the Austin Monitor and regularly contribute articles to other local and national publications.

This blog is what I do in my spare time. My focus is on city of Austin politics and policy, with a particular focus on transportation and city-building. I try to update it every weekday, so please visit every day, leave comments and send me tips at jackcraver88@gmail.com.

Once upon a time, I was a full-time political reporter in Madison, Wis., but my goal is to never have a real job again. To that end, in addition to reporting, I also provide copywriting services. So if you’re reading my blog and you think that my writing style would work well for you or your organization, feel free to drop me a line. As long as the work does not present a conflict with my reporting and you don’t make me use words like “utilize,” I’m your guy.

We Now Know Who Laura Moser Is

This is one way to play politics……

“Until a few weeks ago, Laura Moser was a little-known name, one of seven candidates running for the Democratic primary in Texas’s Seventh Congressional District. That was, until the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee unleashed a scorched-earth campaign against the former freelance journalist and progressive activist, releasing an opposition memo highlighting past statements Moser made seemingly denigrating her home state. The move may have helped propel Moser across the finish line in the first round of the primary and into a May runoff election, along with Houston attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, who was endorsed by pro-female candidate super PAC EMILY’s List. By trying to finish off Moser early, the DCCC ended up simultaneously elevating her national profile and opened up an intra-party rift in the process, galvanizing progressive groups that came out supporting her.”

Texas Energy And Their Boom And Bust Economy

Catching up on some good reads and this one is most interesting.  Concerns the boom and bust cycles of the Texas energy sector.

Texas is the only state that has its own electrical grid. It is operated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ercot), and was created largely to avoid federal regulations. Because of the intense energy needs of the oil-and-gas business—it takes a lot of power to run oil refineries and petrochemical plants—Texas uses more electricity than any other state. (California, the second-largest consumer, uses about two-thirds as much.) Yet electricity in Texas is cheaper than the national average, and in some places it is free at night. That’s because Texas gets about seventeen per cent of its electricity from wind power, and wind generally blows more at night, when demand is lower. The plains and mesas of West Texas, and the coastal region south of Galveston, are lined with regiments of wind turbines. They are so heavily subsidized by the federal government that wind-energy producers sometimes pay companies to take the energy off their hands, in order to receive federal tax credits. In October, 2016, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, broke a bottle of champagne atop a three-hundred-foot turbine to inaugurate a vast new wind farm in Scurry County, three hours west of Fort Worth; it will provide a million megawatt hours a year to the Texas grid.

What Is Wrong In Texas When It Comes To Same-Sex Marriage?

Progress is so hard for some to handle.  The last portion of the story is most telling.

In a rare reversal, the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court accepted a gay marriage case Friday after pressure from state GOP leaders and grass-roots activists.

The state’s highest civil court had rejected the case in September with only one of nine justices dissenting, prompting a backlash from opponents of gay marriage who saw an opportunity to strip away same-sex spousal benefits offered to employees of state and local governments. 

Three leading Republicans — Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton — joined the effort, filing a brief that urged the high court to reconsider because the case offered an opportunity to limit the impact of the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage.

On Friday, the state court reinstated the case, accepting a rarely granted motion to rehear without comment and scheduling oral arguments for March 1.

Neel Lane, a lawyer for two same-sex couples who had challenged the Texas same-sex marriage ban, said the court’s reversal was telling.

“It is clear that, emboldened by Donald Trump’s victory, Texas Republicans are targeting the rights of gay and lesbian citizens. Sadly, the Texas Supreme Court has folded under their pressure,” Lane said. “If the Supreme Court is vulnerable to this kind of pressure, then gay and lesbian citizens should expect no aid or comfort from any corner of state government.”

Spurred by religious and social conservative leaders, opponents of same-sex marriage also barraged justices with emails making it clear that some GOP voters saw the case as a litmus test for party loyalty and Christian values.

When I voted for you, I thought that you would uphold the Republican platform to protect the family unit for my children. Obviously, that was a correctable mistake on my part,” one email said.

Perhaps the taxpayers in Texas might opt to ante up more education dollars if there are people who feel the role of a court is to uphold any political platform and thenwould be so dumb as to suggest a thing in a public email.

This is also another example of why supreme court justices should not be elected–a position I have long held and argued.

Republicans Against Critical Thinking In Schools, Place Item In State Party Platform

Hat Tip to James.

No one can contradict the argument that Republicans are truly anti-intellectual.  At all levels of government Republicans prove over and over they are both anti-science and anti-education.  They seem to rejoice in elevating the most ludicrous people onto pedestals, and voting for the lowest common denominators time and again.

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson thinks climate change is due to sun spots, and Sarah Palin cannot understand why no one believes she can see Russia from her backyard.

The bulk of the Republican Party are made up of dolts.   If there is any group that needs education it would be the GOP.

Yet it is the Republicans who continually work to undermine better educated children in this nation.

In Texas the conservatives have placed their lack of mental gravitas into the Republican Party platform.

It’s official: The Republican Party of Texasopposes critical thinking. That’s right, drones, and it’s part of their official platform.

One of our eagle-eyed readers emailed us to point out this unbelievable passage in the RPT 2012 platform, as adopted at their recent statewide conference.

“Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

What this really means is that the GOP is doubling down on learn-by-rote fact recitation – of the kind spearheaded by the worst of the pro-testing advocates, and locally by IDEA Public Schools, which has committed to the anti-analytical direct learning model (aka “press button A, B or C.”)

Extreme Teabagger Congressman Michael Burgess Wants To Impeach President Obama

Another stupid Texan trying to make some news. 

This news about Congressman Michael Burgess reminds me of the politicians who were running down every avenue trying to find a way to impeach President Andrew Johnson.  Granted, Johnson was a destructive force in the White House during a most fragile time in the nation.  Still one needed to have appropriate reasons for an impeachment.

To have some yokel constituent of Burgess suggest that President Obama be impeached might have been the perfect time for the Congressman to provide a history lesson, a short legal analysis why this was not plausible, and even direct this wayward voter to a local detox center.

But Burgess would have none of that.

Congressman Michael Burgess agreed with his dim-witted constituent.  Now that is leadership that only a teabagger could understand!

The headline to this post should surprise no one who has been watching the antics of those who appear to have been potty-trained at gun point, and somehow made it to Congress as adults.  I speak of  people such as Congressman Michael Burgess.

I am not sure if Michael Burgess has been reading…(OK I am laughing already)… the newspaper accounts about the mood of the electorate in regards to the lack of civility and disregard for the art of compromise on Capitol Hill.   Had Burgess thumbed a few pages of any newspaper he would encounter stories about the dismal approval rating that hug the mid-teens when it comes to the public view of Congress.  Much of that disdain is aimed at those who have only disruption of government as their reason for waking up in the morning.

As such this idea…and Congressman Michael Burgess… deserve a verbal bitch slap for once again working at odds with where the American people want Congress to head.

Shame on this stupid Texan!

Impeaching President Barack Obama “needs to happen,” Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) told a local tea party group, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Tuesday.

Burgess spoke, the paper said, in response to an attendee’s suggestion that the GOP-controlled House use impeachment to stop Obama from “pushing his agenda.”

It needs to happen, and I agree with you it would tie things up,” Burgess reportedly responded. “No question about that.”

When the Star-Telegram’s reporter asked Burgess about the comment, he said the House needs to do what it can to stop the president.

“We need to tie things up,” Burgess said. “The longer we allow the damage to continue unchecked, the worse things are going to be for us.”

Meanwhile Andrew Sullivan has a direct take on the matter of impeachment, a stark-raving mad idea from the teabaggers that is insane on the face of it, and therefore seems totally fitting for the extremists to pursue.

Apparently now, it is just another legitimate maneuver to oppose a president you don’t like or support. I’m afraid it’s hard to come up with any real reason for this gathering extremism – first impeaching a president for perjury in a civil suit, and a decade later using the threat of national default as leverage – except a presumption that only a Southern Republican can be a legitimate president, as beautifully expressed here.

The truth about these alleged constitutionalists is that they are defined by their lack of any restraint.