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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dan Branch acts like "a total Jerk"


"Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.
....
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Psalm 37:1-2...7

From the Facebook Page of Northeast Tarrant Tea Party President Julie McCarty:


For the record: Julie's experience is consistent with what we've heard about Branch from numerous sources.

Monday, April 21, 2014

178 Years Ago Today


"So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter."
2 Thessalonians 2:15

An AWESOME letter on the Battle of San Jacinto from TPPF's Brook Rollins, reprinted in full:
Juan Seguin had more reason than most to be discouraged.

As a youth, Seguin's father had traveled from the dangerous Texas frontier to the capital at Mexico City, and helped draft the liberal Mexican Constitution of 1824. Ten years later, as a man of 28, he saw that hopeful charter of relative liberty repealed by the dictator Santa Anna, and replaced with an autocratic order that offended his values as a free man. The next year, he was on the battlefield with the rebelling Texians, casting his lot with the Anglo settlers. They were newcomers versus the native-born Tejano and his deep San Antonio roots — but they fought for liberty, and that was enough.

Juan Seguin, a man of charisma and means, soon found himself in the embattled Alamo. His name entered the roll of heroes, but he was not among the dead. In the fortress’s final desperate days, he was entrusted with the last appeal from William Barret Travis — “Victory or Death!” — and so when the garrison fell, he was in central Texas, trying to scrape together what men he could for Sam Houston and the Alamo’s relief. Then he joined Houston on the Runaway Scrape, as the Texians uprooted themselves before the victorious dictator’s armies, and fled north and east from Santa Anna’s vengeance.

This was Juan Seguin’s life and experience on the morning of April 21st, 1836. He had seen his father’s work for liberty eradicated. He had seen his own life as a free citizen ended. He had seen his comrades in arms exterminated. He had seen his native land, his Texas, conquered and despoiled. He had seen a great flight of an entire nation. And he himself had fled with them.

On that morning, one hundred seventy-eight years ago today, that was what Juan Seguin knew. A lifetime of fighting for liberty — and losing. And he was with an army of Texians with largely the same experience. There were no rational grounds for hope. There were no reasonable expectations of victory. There were no decent prospects for Texas. “Victory or Death” was, by any calculation, now “Death or Exile.”

On that evening, one hundred seventy-eight years ago today, Juan Seguin knew something radically different. He and his Tejanos, shouting “Recuerden el Alamo!” had joined Houston’s Texians in one last desperate charge — and won. On that field at San Jacinto, whose fight we remember now, it was one last expression of bravery, one last exertion of courage, one last show of will, one last gesture of defiance that transformed defeat into victory. Juan Seguin woke up that morning a beaten man in a beaten cause. He slept that night a free citizen of the Republic of Texas.

And when Santa Anna’s garrison yielded the ruins of the Alamo a few weeks later, it was Juan Seguin who accepted the surrender.

On this 178th anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, we remember Juan Seguin and the band of brave Texians who won a nation on a small field against long odds. His name is one among many whom we rightly recall as having secured the liberty that is our birthright as Texans today: Houston, Rusk, Burleson, Lamar, Smith, and so many others. As a battle, it was significant beyond its scope. Visitors to the San Jacinto Monument today can read the historical consequences inscribed upon the stone:

"Measured by its results, San Jacinto was one of the decisive battles of the world. The freedom of Texas from Mexico won here led to annexation and to the Mexican-American War, resulting in the acquisition by the United States of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma. Almost one-third of the present area of the American Nation, nearly a million square miles of territory, changed sovereignty.
That’s one way to measure it. But to assess San Jacinto from a political or even a historical standpoint is to miss its true significance. The Battle of San Jacinto, in the end, is not an episode of history for history’s sake. The story of Juan Seguin and his fellow Texians and Tejanos illustrate its true significance: it was a culminating moment in the hearts of men who burned for liberty, for themselves and for those they loved. They fought, and lost, and fought, and lost again — until they won.

If we understand San Jacinto, then, it is not a memorial of what we did yesterday. It is an instruction on what we should do today. We, the inheritors of Texas, if we are Texans, "worthy of all they had been and meant,” must look backward to their relentless endurance and steadfast heroism — and see our future.

Sincerely,
Brooke L. Rollins 
President and CEO

Saturday, April 19, 2014

UT Football Spring Game 2014: Our Pictures



"However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”
Mark 5:19

Cahnman's Musings said it on Facebook:




This website knows you don't care about the miracles that show up in DKR stadium; but they're real; enjoy the pictures:











But yah, it's cool:















Friday, April 18, 2014

Trolling for Offense at Calvary


"But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless."
Titus 3:9

Well, THIS is awkward; it's not often we agree with Bud Kennedy, but he reports the relevant detail of the H-E-B ISD Good Friday kerfuffle:
Some students thought Friday would be a holiday.

Now, thanks to the icy winter, it’s a school day.

....

Good Friday was one of two makeup “snow days” written into the H-E-B calendar more than a year ago, district spokeswoman Judy Ramos said.

(Many schools use Good Friday and Memorial Day as makeup days instead of adding school days on Saturdays or extending the calendar into June.)

Parents were notified in a January email newsletter that Good Friday and also a half-day of school on May 30 would make up for ice days Dec. 6 and 9, Ramos said.

....

“I was concerned why we were having a makeup day Good Friday, and they informed me this has been going on for years,” he said.

....

The district needs a parent’s note or some written proof to qualify for what little money the state of Texas provides.  [Emphasis added]
In other words, the root cause is strings attached to education funding that comes from Austin.  This is certainly a teachable moment for local control and parental choice in education.  But it's no assault on the free exercise clause.

There are plenty of genuine examples of government schools suppressing the gospel; just this morning, we learned about this case out of Missouri.  But this Tarrant County case isn't one of them.  Crying wolf over small potatoes isn't helpful.

Sigmund Freud is rumored to have said "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."  Similarly, sometimes a bad decision by government school bureaucrats is just a bad decision by government school bureaucrats.  Get over yourselves....

Thursday, April 17, 2014

TPPF's Fantastic Sales Tax Proposal


"But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God."
Nehemiah 5:15

Leave it to the good folks at TPPF to come up with an economic solution to a political problem!!!

The budget debacle of the 83rd Texas Legislature was the result of poor incentives.  The arcane details of the budget process offer large political rewards for increasing spending, while the political benefit of cutting spending is minimal.  TPPF's proposal alters that incentive structure.

If enacted, TPPF's proposal would create a Sales Tax Relief Fund:
To help sustain economic growth in Texas by reducing the growth in government spending, the Legislature should create a Sales Tax Relief (STaR) Fund that could temporarily reduce the state’s sales tax rate in order to return excess revenue to Texas taxpayers. The STaR Fund will be funded in two ways:

“appropriations” by the Texas Legislature directly to the STaR Fund, and

• funds in excess of the ESF’s cap would flow directly into the STaR Fund rather than back into general revenue.

The statute creating the STaR Fund would authorize the Comptroller to lower the sales tax rate for a certain period based on the amount in the STaR Fund.

To calculate how much the Comptroller would reduce the sales tax rate to exhaust these funds over a chosen period, the Comptroller would use the previous year’s sales tax revenue.
In other words, cuts in spending would get translated into immediate and identifiable tax relief instead of getting subsumed in the rest of the budget.

The rainy day fund provision, which might not be a huge deal in 2015, will become more important in the out years.  The Texas Constitution caps the RDF at $14.4 billion, with any additional revenue going into General Revenue.  If it goes into GR, it WILL be spent, whereas a STaR fund would transfer the revenue to direct tax relief.

This is a fantastic idea; obscure budget rules make it easy to spend and difficult to cut.  The problem, unfortunately, is that the same dirtbag politicians who spend all the money are the ones who would have to enact this reform.  But, if we could ever get it enacted, it would structurally alter the Texas Budget to spend less money.

Texas Lottery Commission attempting Casino Gambling backdoor


"Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need."
Ephesians 4:28

Sigh; what part of HELL NO do you people not understand?!?
Electronic devices similar to slot machines may soon be coming to bingo halls around Texas. The proposed devices, which give bingo players "video confirmation" of wins and losses, will be discussed by the Texas Lottery Commission on April 16. The proposition has surfaced a long-fought battle in Texas, over whether or not casino-style gambling should be made legal in the state.

....

Despite this, many oppose the new video bingo machines because they are similar to slot machines.

The Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas opposes casino-style gambling in the state. A spokesman from the group, Rob Kohler, told the Associated Press of the proposed machines, "This changes the gaming landscape in the state."

....

But Tony McDonald, General Counsel for the political advocacy group Empower Texans, said expanding gambling in Texas could hurt the state more than it helps.

McDonald told Breitbart Texas, "The gambling industry sells false hope for people who don't understand probabilities. The industry is designed to dazzle people and trick them out of their money. They give the free drinks for a reason--they want you to stick around. The longer you stay, the more likely you are to lose your money."

He said it is often the poorest individuals and families in society who end up getting gamed by the system.

McDonald also pointed out that historically, the lottery has not funneled a significant amount of revenue into the state.

"There is a big problem with the revenue argument," he said. "Supporters start trumpeting statistics of money going to the state from the lottery and people think, 'We're going to bring in tons of revenue for our schools.' But in reality, the money collected from the lottery each year only funds about three days of the school year."

Many assert that state-regulated bingo, which gives proceeds to charities rather than schools, is no more effective.

....

McDonald warned that as gambling becomes more popular in Texas, burdensome regulations in the state will only grow in size and scope.

"The problem is, when we talk about gambling, we're not talking about getting together in a room and having a poker game," he said. "We're not talking about a free activity in the market. Gambling is one of the most regulated industries in the U.S. By legalizing gambling, you're creating another stake holder in government."

He concluded by joking, "Battleground Texas would love nothing more than a cash cow of casinos to fund liberal Democrats."
Last session, there was a surprise opportunity to eliminate the Texas Lottery.  Unfortunately, Joe Straus killed it.  But if the Texas Lottery Commission is going to create loopholes for the casino gambling lobby, we ought to take another shot at them in 2015.

-----

Concerned Texans can contact Texas Lottery Commission chairman Gary Greif via the following means:

E-mail: gary.grief@lottery.state.tx.us
Phone: 512-344-5160

West, TX: (Just Under) One Year Later


"Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world."
1 Peter 5:9

West, TX -- Last month, during a trip to Dallas, we made a pit-stop in West.  While in town, we drove by the site of last year's explosion.  These are our pictures:















The still pictures are a bit out of order, but this YouTube video surveys everything:



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WFAA Dallas has a new video of the explosion: