Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Patrick, Kolkhorst, and the Texas Senate Transportation Committee chair....


"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan."
Proverbs 29:2

We received the following text message from NE Tarrant Tea Party yesterday:


We had no idea they were pushing for this, but sign us up!

Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF) is the best transportation group in the state; according to their 2015 scorecard, Kolkhorst got an A+ on transportation issues last session while Nichols got an F.

We're not super familiar with Kolkhorst's record on all transportation issues, but we know she's really good on toll roads (and those are the biggest scam of the whole lot).

This could also only help any potential Uber/Lyft legislation that might emerge.

Yes, thank you!!!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Phony, anti-Zimmerman, "Outrage": The latest fallout....


"For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there."
James 3:16

At last Thursday's council meeting, Don Zimmerman made a completely reasonable comment.  That didn't stop the phony outrage machine.  The Travis County Democrat politburo even used it to fundraise!!!

That being said, there were a couple of interesting developments over the weekend.

First, Don's office released a video comparing his remarks last Thursday to other remarks he's made previously that generated no such reaction:



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That being said, we think THIS is the most interesting reaction:


You can learn more about Celia Israel and the issue in question here.

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Finally, one personal note: We didn't think about it until we started writing this post, but we actually first heard Don say something along these lines back in 2013 during the school bond campaign.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Revelation 11:1-14 -- A Temple and Two Witnesses (Part 2)


The Two Witnesses
"Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”

These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.

The Witnesses Killed
When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.

The Witnesses Resurrected
Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.

The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly."
Revelation 11:1-14

Pastor Danny Forshee.  Great Hills Baptist Church.  February 8, 2015:

A Temple and Two Witnesses, Part 2 - Dr, Danny Forshee - February 8, 2015 from Great Hills Baptist Church on Vimeo.

Outline:
  1. The Temple (vv. 1-2)
  2. The Two Witnesses (vv. 3-14)
    A. Their Ministry (vv. 3-6)
          Zechariah 4:14
          Luke 4:25

    B. Their Death (vv. 7-10)

    C. Their Resurrection and Ascension (vv. 11-14)
Highlights:
  • Prophecy = Both Foretell and Forthtell
  • The prophets are hated because of their message.
  • God will protect you, He will spare you, until He's finished with you; [properly understood] when you're walking with God, you're invincible.
  • John presupposes thorough understanding of the Old Testament.
  • Don't mess with these prophets of God.
  • First introduction to the antichrist.
  • "Whenever the Bible calls you Sodom, that is NOT a compliment."

Saturday, August 20, 2016

#TroxRox; aiming at Adler/Ott budget MONSTROSITY....


"An inheritance gained hastily at the beginning
Will not be blessed at the end."
Proverbs 20:21

Amen, from this morning's Statesman:
When voters sent the new 10-1 council to City Hall, they did so with a clear mandate to address the rapidly rising cost of living in Austin in order to slow gentrification, address economic segregation, keep long time Austinites in their homes, and protect seniors — and the rest of us, too — from losing their quality of life. Yet, as we enter our second budget cycle, “affordability” seems to be slipping further and further away.

In these next few weeks leading up to budget adoption, critical decisions about property taxes, utility bills and city programs will be made. This is when the difficult choices are supposed to happen. But the proposed budget takes the easy road at every turn.

It includes an increase to all utility bills and every major fee in the city, and it proposes adopting the maximum tax rate allowable under state law. General Fund spending is increasing a whopping $58 million, and an additional 437 new city employees are being added to the payroll.

....

The growth is certainly already contributing the city’s coffers. Property tax revenue from new construction is expected to increase by $10.2 million. Sales tax for the city is expected to increase by $8.5 million. Hotel occupancy taxes could rise by $11.2 million. Licensing, permitting, and inspection revenues could increase by $9.1 million. Charges for services other than utilities could increase by $2.4 million. Parking revenue could go up by $900,000. Other taxes, which includes alcohol tax is expected at $1.7 million.

This means that the city is already bringing in well over $40 million in additional revenue this year, and is still going to turn to you for more money.

The city must learn to live within reasonable means, set goals that have measurable outcomes, and scrutinize every program in order to become relentlessly efficient with taxpayer dollars.

....

Beyond that, the city could choose not to add any new positions until the over 1,000 existing vacant — but fully funded — positions are filled. Save the money allocated to these vacant positions as a credit to the next year’s budget. The city could limit the surprisingly large marketing budgets and significant transfers to other departments from Austin Energy, Austin Water, and Austin Resource Recovery.
Read the whole thing here.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Adler already stretching facts to sell bond....


“For My people are foolish,
They have not known Me.
They are silly children,
And they have no understanding.
They are wise to do evil,
But to do good they have no knowledge.”
Jeremiah 4:22

Soo, this happened:


We'll set aside the discussion of transit vs. roads for another day; we want to focus on the underlying veracity of Adler's claim.

Adler's bond has nothing related to rail.  Rail was actually the subject of substantial political wrangling last week, but the rail advocates lost that round. No "increase in access to public transit" there.

Buses, of course, are controlled by CapMetro.  Council and the Mayor have no jurisdiction there.  No "increase in access to public transit" there.

We suspect that, if cornered, Adler would refer to the "dedicated transit lanes" in the corridor plans.  But dedicated lanes don't increase access to anything.  At best, assuming you take the city's claims at face value, they might make the public transportation system more efficient at some vaguely defined point down the road.

LOL, nice try.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Adler's bond gets worse; votes melt away....


“For My people are foolish,
They have not known Me.
They are silly children,
And they have no understanding.
They are wise to do evil,
But to do good they have no knowledge.”
Jeremiah 4:22

It's a shame it had to work this way, but we suppose it isn't a surprise:

Divided Austin City Council puts $720 million bond on November ballot



Austin voters, who already had some weighty decisions to make Nov. 8, will now have a $720 million question to answer as well.

An unexpectedly divided Austin City Council gave final approval Thursday to Mayor Steve Adler’s “go big” transportation bond proposition, a mixture of improvements to major city arterial streets; bikeway, sidewalk, trail and transit expansions citywide; and suburban highway projects. What had been an 11-0 preliminary vote a week ago fell to 7-1-3 Thursday, with some council members raising concerns about the ballot language, tax impact and even the rushed process that led to the huge bond proposition.

“I am dismayed that a $720 million bond that is on the November ballot is a product of the way things have always been done,” said Council Member Ora Houston, who represents District 1 in East Austin, explaining her “no” vote. “I feel like I’ve been bullied.”

Council Members Delia Garza, Ellen Troxclair and Don Zimmerman, for various reasons, abstained.

If Austin voters OK the all-or-nothing package, which is five times larger than any transportation bond ever approved in the city, the city property tax by about 2020 would increase by around $56 a year on a $250,000 home.

The council, in giving third-reading approval to an ordinance calling the bond election, also agreed on the specific and lengthy ballot language. Voters will see a single sentence, about 150 words long, that names nine major roads that would be reworked to include alternative transportation modes. The ballot will also name highways that would be expanded and city streets designated for repairs.

That language, however, will not include a specific estimate of what the property tax effect will be for an average home owner. The council last week, on a preliminary 6-5 vote, had said it wanted such wording.

But after an executive session Thursday morning, the council emerged and voted 7-4 against including that provision on the ballot, doing so on the advice of the city attorney. Zimmerman, Troxclair, Garza and Houston were in the minority on that vote.

Assistant City Attorney Leela Fireside in last week’s open session had told the council that if the tax impact of the bond borrowing over time approached what appears on the ballot, that could limit spending under the bond to some amount lower than $720 million. She recommended against including such language.

That advice continued in Thursday’s closed session, an incensed Zimmerman said. He left the backstage meeting early.

“It’s not legal advice, it’s lobbying,” Zimmerman said. “There’s a difference. I’m sick of it. They want to give the city the unlimited power to tax.”
Read the whole thing here.

The real shame here is that some components of this package have merit.  But they've been shoved into an enormous, complicated amalgamation.  And if you have any faith in the city of Austin's ability to execute this in anything remotely resembling a competent or timely manner, we have mineral rights in South Texas we'd love to sell you.

If Adler were serious about addressing mobility, he could have done two things over the summer:
  • Break the bundled proposal into its component parts, giving voters several smaller/ simpler propositions from which to choose.
  • Delivering a credible and detailed plan for how the city would execute this plan if the voters say yes.
Unfortunately, Adler did neither of these things.

[Sidenote: Before anyone asks, that was the exact message we delivered council (twice) back in June.]

And that's before we review the actual ballot language; if that's not legally binding, that's a whole separate can of worms.

Kudos to Zimmerman, Troxclair, Houston, and Garza for not walking this plank; it doesn't take a genius to see a coalition.

Bottom Line: Bond packages are usually unanimous.  For Adler to lose four votes on the dais is pathetic.  Then again, considering the aloof presumption with which Adler has conducted himself throughout this process, it isn't surprising.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Read the Ken Paxton Op-Ed the Statesman wouldn't publish!!!


"Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin."
James 4:17

The Austin American Statesman recently published an editorial where they attacked Ken Paxton's advocacy for Texas in federal court while drawing a non sequitur comparison to the his legal case.  Paxton wrote a response which the paper declined to publish.  Paxton's campaign just sent the full text out as an e-mail and we're reprinting it in full:
Defending the Constitution, So Help Me God
By Attorney General Ken Paxton

I learned a long time ago that politics can be a tough business. But if your opponents are forced to concoct misleading attacks, you’re probably doing something right. It’s obvious from the Editorial Board’s most recent opinion piece they are still seething that the people of Texas elected a conservative as Attorney General. They’re even more upset that I’m actually fulfilling my campaign promise to protect our constitutional rights and liberties, however untrendy that may be with the Austin press corps. 

When I took my oath of office, I swore to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State, so help me God.” I take this oath seriously and work diligently to uphold this pact between myself and the people of Texas, no matter the sentiment among those critical of my leadership. 

As the paper pointed out, there are allegations against me. These unfounded charges are, at their core, politically motivated. Even the Editorial Board grudgingly concedes the allegations don’t equate to guilt and I deserve my day in court – where I will prevail. I’ll be sure to put their note on top of the stacks of news clips generated by the paper against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and former Governor Rick Perry. The innocence of these two honorable public servants didn’t preclude the paper from its decade-long journalistic campaign as the propaganda arm of the political left. Sadly, the complete exoneration of these Republican leaders didn’t seem to generate the same level of coverage as the politically motivated attacks and endless news coverage against them. 

I will not let these absurd charges, however, distract me from my responsibilities to the people of Texas. As Attorney General, I am fighting to protect our constitutional rights and liberties at every turn. I’m working diligently to prevent infringement on those rights in all our communities across Texas. 

The Statesman Editorial Board criticizes my defense of the 2nd Amendment rights of Texans and enforcement of the laws passed by the Texas Legislature. The Editorial Board’s position is outrageous and, in fact, dangerous. They are not saying that the open carry laws passed by the Texas Legislature are somehow legally invalid. Instead, they contend that because they do not like a law that was enacted by an overwhelming majority of the elected representatives of the people of Texas, that law should not be enforced. Not overturned, not protested, but ignored. You don’t often see an American newspaper speak out against democracy, but the Statesmen is doing so here.

The Editorial Board also attempts to hoodwink its readers by suggesting that enforcing state law somehow depletes precious legal resources from state coffers. In setting their objectivity aside, the paper hides a key fact. Under my leadership, the Office of Attorney General has generated tens of millions of dollars in new revenue to the state’s coffers. They don’t want you to know this information because they would have to concede that I have been and continue to be an effective Attorney General on behalf of Texas. 

The paper also chose to omit the most significant defeat handed to the Obama Administration by the United States Supreme Court, a defeat secured by my office. We led a coalition of 26 states in a legal challenge to President Obama’s executive amnesty on illegal immigration. We went to the highest court in the land to force the Obama Administration to recognize that Congress, not the President, makes our laws. 

This was one of the most important cases to come before the Supreme Court in recent history because the fundamental issues in question are at the core of the Constitution. If the Supreme Court had allowed President Obama to prevail, think about what could happen with a future president? What if he or she decides to take away our gun rights through executive action, or tells churches they can no longer be tax exempt because their conscience is at odds with the federal government, or punishes liberty minded individuals for speaking the truth? Thankfully, we prevailed on this landmark legal case and I will continue to fight for our liberty and the constitutional principles upon which our Founding Fathers stood. 

In another critical legal battle omitted by the paper, the Obama Administration is threatening the Medicaid programs of the states if they refuse to pay an unconstitutional tax that would cost Texas over $120 million annually. I’m fighting back against this legal extortion and have no intention of allowing it to happen on my watch. My office also won a unanimous decision in the Texas Supreme Court in a tax dispute that will save the people of Texas over $4 billion.

My office has also set records with regard to online predator sting operations, human-trafficking arrests and fugitive apprehensions. I am very proud that our Child Support Division remains the top performing child support program in the country and leads the nation in cost effectiveness, collecting almost $4 billion last year.

There are dozens of other actions and initiatives brought by the Office of Attorney General under my leadership to preserve constitutional rights, push back against federal government overreach and protect the lives of Texans. Since the Statesmen won’t give you all the facts, you can read about them on my website at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov. It is my highest honor to serve as your Attorney General and I will continue to defend our constitutional rights and liberties … “So help me God.”