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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Strange" Bedfellows: Robert Thomas and Austin ISD

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves..."
Matthew 7:15

Robert Thomas is running for Austin City Council on a platform of alleged fiscal conservatism.  Unfortunately, his record indicates an unsettling closeness with the government school bureaucracies, most notably Austin ISD.  He seems to have a soft spot for school district debt.

In 2013, while this website was working to defeat the Austin ISD bond, Robert Thomas made the following comment:
Robert Thomas is on the Community Bond Oversight Committee and is a board member for the Northwest Austin Civic Association. Speaking as a Northwest Austin resident and not a representative of either organization, he said he wants what is best for the community.

“I’m very supportive of the bonds, but I am unsure how I will vote on each individual proposition,” Thomas said.

He said many residents would like to see the district address overcrowding in Northwest Austin schools such as Murchison Middle School and Anderson High School. That might persuade them to vote for Proposition 2, which includes eliminating portable classrooms and building new infrastructure on existing campuses to aid with overcrowding.
 But it gets better, from his website:

Which begs the real question: How does an alleged 'fiscal conservative' get a seat on the bond 'oversight' committee and get endorsed by the outgoing President of the Board of Trustees?!?

Bottom Line: A City Council candidate who supported the largest bond initiative in Austin ISD history and enjoys the support of the local education establishment can call himself many things; a fiscal conservative ain't one of 'em.

Vote Bill Worsham!!!

Scott Turner speaks in Marsha Farney's district

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

Sun City, TX -- Yesterday, Scott Turner spoke twice in Northern Williamson County.  He laid out his agenda and heart for the future of Texas.  We attended the afternoon session:

Free Music - Play Audio - 10/20/2014 -- Scott Turner G...

  • When complacency sets in, it'll rob you.
    • We need Texas to be #1 in all areas.
  • "We have the opportunity in Texas to do monumental things; but right now, with 95 Republicans and 55 Democrats, it is a monumental struggle to get conservative, free-enterprise minded, legislation on the floor." 
  • 3 Factions in the Texas House: Conservative R's, Liberal R's, D's.
  • Pro-Life legislation should not take two special sessions to pass.
  • #NerdAlert: Move from strategies based budgeting to program based budgeting.
    • Less room for shenanigans.
  • "The speaker sets the chairmanships; the speaker sets the legislative agenda and priorities."
  • Under current leadership, good legislation is dying in committee "because of special interests."
  • "That celebrity thing, ask my wife, it's fleeting....we're servants!!!"
  • Some members are more concerned with the position they hold than being courageous.
  • Praying for us is most helpful.
  • "That vote on the floor is going to be very liberating because now, you see, there's no more smoke and mirrors, no more 'I would vote for him but...'."
  • Reps can no longer hide under the radar.
  • Q&A:
    • Gives a civics lesson on how speaker is elected: "We are going to have a vote on the floor."
    • "No more backroom deals, no more smoke and mirrors."
    • "Both sides want a vote on the floor for different reasons."
    • Supports ending in-state tuition for illegals.
    • There's a lot of inefficiencies in TxDOT but no accountability.
    • Regarding backroom deal-making: "As the sixth most conservative member of the Texas House, I was not a party to those discussions."
    • "We have a lot of members who are willing to call for a record vote."
    • "They can't put me on a bad committee, because whatever committee they put me on, I'm going to make it better."
Cahnman's Musings has contacted Rep. Farney's office to ask about her choice for speaker and will update this post if she responds.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Glenn Beck meets Steve Riggle

"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Ephesians 6:11-12 (kjv)

We first met Steve Riggle this past June in Houston.  Last week, he was one of the Houston pastors subpeonaed.  This morning, Glenn Beck got to speak with this impressive man of God:

  • Gender 'expression' -- Based on who you 'think' you are.
    • Sexual predators could claim female 'gender expression'
  • "We are for equal rights, but the gay community already has all the rights the rest of us have."
  • They commissioned a poll that said 82% of Houstonians opposed the ordinance.
  • 55,000 signatures collected of which at least 31,000 were good.
    • City secretary stopped counting at 19,000
  • "The mayor and the city attorney have taken away the voting rights of the fourth largest city in the country."

Texas Medical Association Monopoly draws new threat

"For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed."
John 3:20

Not a good day for the pro-Abortion, pro-Obamacare Texas Medical Association:
Now that TMA has endorsed Democrat Libby Willis in the Senate District 10 race over her Republican opponent Konni Burton, the AA has said they want doctors to take a stand against TMA by asking that membership in TMA no longer be legally required for doctors to use a unique system for their liability insurance (Texas Medical Liability Trust). TMLT is a not-for-profit healthcare liability claim trust owned by its 17,000 physician policyholders. It is now the largest medical liability provider in the state. TMA membership is required.

“No physician should be required to join a group like the TMA that raises money for Leftist candidates,” the AAPS said in a statement and encouraged doctors to sign this petition.

Says AAPS, “This is no surprise to us, because behind the scenes the TMA has repeatedly opposed and even blocked conservative legislation in Austin, such as a common-sense bill to end confidential complaints against physicians.”


Conservatives seek to separate membership from access to TMLT potentially undermining physician legislative advocacy

A political standoff is brewing between two doctors’ groups that have the potential to cause serious implications for the way thousands of physicians in Texas cover their liability insurance needs. The already existing tension between the Texas Medical Association and the more conservative Association of American Physicians and Surgeons has reached a boiling point over the last few weeks following TMA’s endorsement of a Democrat to succeed Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Ft Worth, in the Texas Senate.

The two groups have not seen eye-to-eye on a number of political races this year. The AAPS said the Willis endorsement by TMA “is not an isolated example.” The group pointed to a right-wing blogger who the Texas Medical Association is becoming a “liberal-only special interest.”

For some on the right to make that argument, of course, is not news. But the AAPS is harnessing that rhetoric to try to drum up support for a policy shift that could have significant implications for TMA’s membership. But that’s only if the smaller group can gain traction with no real lobby presence in Austin. AAPS does not publicize how many members it has but the Wikipedia page about them says they have 3,000 members nationwide. The TMA has about 47,000 members in Texas.

Now that TMA has endorsed Democrat Libby Willis in the Senate District 10 race over her Republican opponent Konni Burton, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons has said they want doctors to take a stand against TMA by asking that membership in TMA no longer be legally required for doctors to use a unique system for their liability insurance. “No physician should be required to join a group like the TMA that raises money for Leftist candidates,” the AAPS said in a statement and encouraged doctors to sign this petition.

The Texas Medical Liability Trust, or TMLT, was created in 1979 during what was described as the state’s first medical liability crisis. It’s a unique, not-for-profit health care liability claim trust owned by its physician policyholders. It is now the largest medical liability provider in the state, protecting more than 17,000 Texas physicians.


“Abortion-supporting EMILY’s List endorsed both Wendy Davis and Libby Willis earlier this year, as did a “Who’s Who” of hard-Left groups,” the AAPS said. “This is no surprise to us, because behind the scenes the TMA has repeatedly opposed and even blocked conservative legislation in Austin, such as a common-sense bill to end confidential complaints against physicians.”
Read the whole thing here.

Austin City Council: Conservative/Libertarian Voter Guide

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

Author's Note: Readers can find their Austin City Council District here; readers can find TCRP's endorsement spreadsheet here.

With early voting set to commence in Austin's historic 10-1 election, the 78 candidates currently running can be intimidating.  Here at Cahnman's Musings, we've been studying these races for months.  We endorse the following candidates:

District 1 -- (Far Northeast Austin): Michael Cargill

Texas Firearms Celebrity Michael Cargill was the first federally licensed firearms dealer to accept BITCOIN in his store.  That, by itself, should tell you everything you need to know about him.  In a city where entrenched special interests are abusing the political process to preserve their status, Cargill's actions illustrate his commitment to genuine innovation.

Cargill has been a fixture in local politics for some time.  In 2012, he ran against an incumbent Travis County constable who had previously accepted money from drug cartels.  Unfortunately, a la Rosemary Lehmberg, the Democrat machine rallied around their incumbent.  In 2013, Cargill was a critical presence in the successful campaign against the Austin ISD bond.  He has a documented history of taking on petty tyrants.

Cargill is running on a platform of fiscal responsibility and reducing traffic.  He has signed the Citizens for Tax Relif NOW pledge.  He has also been endorsed by Texans for Accountable Government (TAG). Specifically, he has proposed widening 183 as a free road and relocating City of Austin offices from downtown to the outskirts of the city.   Cargill will also protect our second amendment rights from gun grabbing politicians at the local level.

Avoid: DeWayne Lofton -- Supports the rail bond.

District 2 -- (Southeast Austin): They All Suck.

District 3 -- (Central East Austin): Kent Philips

A former regional coordinator for Debra Medina, Kent Phillips is running to lower Austin's cost of living by eliminating wasteful spending and burdensome regulations.  Kent intends to audit the city budget, implement zero-based budgeting, and pass budgets at the effective tax rate.  Kent understands that the root cause of Austin's current affordability challenges is a City Council (and County and School District) that regulates too much, spends too much, and taxes too much.

Endorsed by TAG, Kent is a regular attendee at Liberty on the Rocks and other liberty themed events around Austin.

As a rapidly gentrifying part of town, affordability challenges are especially poignant in District 3.  We should know, this is our home district.  We intend to vote for Kent Philips and you should as well.

Avoid: Susana Almanza -- Supports $15 hr minimum wage; remember, this one's personal.

District 4 -- (North Central Austin): Laura Pressley

The best prepared and most knowledgeable candidate in this district, Laura Pressley is the clear choice in District 4.  A 26 year Austin resident, Laura was instrumental in passing 10-1.  She has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Laura ran against Mike Martinez in 2012.  She supports a 20% homestead exemption and reduction (Author's note: preferably elimination) of corporate subsidies.  She has spoken previously about cost saving measures at Austin Energy.

Laura has previously supported Ron Paul and has earned the endorsement of TAG.  She intends to curb the "we're rich" culture of spending at City Hall. Pressley is the candidate in district 4 most clearly committed to the fiscal pruning City Hall desperately needs.

Avoid: Gregorio Casar -- A Leftist Demagogue in the mold of Julian Castro and Hugo Chavez who has raised serious money.

District 5 (South Central Austin): Mike Rodriguez

Another longtime 10-1 advocate, Mike Rodriguez knows the City of Austin's budget in more detail than anyone this author has ever met.  He's been studying the City of Austin's culture of overspending for decades.  And it shows.

Mike wants lower cost of living by reducing burdensome regulations.  He specifically cites Project Connect, Code Next, and Imagine Austin.  He has been endorsed by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility (TFR) and has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Mike says it best on his website: "Rather than always thinking of what more government can do, Mike will stay focused on the need to limit any added burden on our taxpayers and renters."

District 6 (Far Northwest Austin): Jay Wiley

Jay Wiley got in this race over a year ago.  He's raised more money than all the other candidates combined.  He's been endorsed by TFR and was the first candidate in the race to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.  While there are other fantastic candidates in this district, this isn't their time or race.  Don't try to get cute.  If conservative voters are smart, this can be an easy win.  Vote with your head, not your heart.

District 7 (North Austin): Ed English

In a race full of career bureaucrats, Ed English is the only candidate in District 7 to have worked in the real world.  A successful businessman, Ed led the fight to pass 10-1.  As a leader of Austinites for Geographic Representation, he donated "several thousand hours" over a "two year period".

Ed is running to eliminate wasteful spending and give hard working taxpayers "real relief."  He understand that excessive regulation, excessive spending, and excessive taxation are the root cause of Austin's affordability challenges.  He also opposed boondoggles like water treatment plant #4 and the biomass plant.

Finally, Ed is the only district 7 candidate who lives north of 183.  This is an important advantage, considering that two thirds of the district is north of 183.  He has also signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

District 8 (Southwest Austin): Ellen Troxclair

Ellen Troxclair has been called "a spending hawk."  She's also been called "a suburban pit bull."  We have another title for the list: Ellen Troxclair is a femme fatale for bloated government.

Considering the demographics of the district and her issue positions relative to the other candidates, supporting Ellen is the easiest decision in the city.  District 8 is a 50/50 district, and Ellen is the only conservative candidate in the race.  In addition to working as a realtor, Ellen is a former chief of staff to State Rep Jason Isaac and has been endorsed by TFR and has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Traffic congestion is, easily and by far, the biggest problem in district 8.  Ellen has pledged to start with "with improving our road system....Money spent on transportation solutions should focus on getting the greatest number of people to the most in-demand locations. To help with the congestion, we must increase our road capacity, improve our bus service to the region, and allow for innovate transportation options such as Lyft and Uber."

District 9 (Central Austin): Erin McGann

Erin McGann is the only candidate running in district 9 who isn't an incumbent.  That should tell you everything you need to know.  She's been endorsed by TFR and has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Erin is the only candidate in district 9 to oppose the current rail boondoggle.  Erin supports cost effective traffic solutions like traffic-light synchronization and expanded bus service.  She also opposes corporate-welfare masquerading as "business incentives."

Regarding affordability and the central premise of her campaign, Erin writes: "Current City Council doesn’t seem to understand the correlation between increased taxes and affordability. When Council approves more spending, higher utilities or taxes, the level of affordability decreases, and yet Council continues to pay lip service to affordability while increasing spending.  We need prioritize the basic needs of Austin – fix our roads and sidewalks, encourage and improve middle-income apartments and condos, the increase the number of multi-bedroom units for families, keep utility rates low, fund our first responders and end corporate subsidies."

Avoid: Riley and Tovo are both AWFUL!!!

District 10 (West Austin): Bill Worsham

While there are several candidates with a Republican voting history in district 10, Bill is the most solidly conservative.  He's been endorsed by TFR and TAG and was the first candidate in district 10 to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.  As a civil engineer, Bill's professional background leaves him uniquely suited to understand the technical details of Austin's transportation challenges.

On transportation, Bill supports expanding our road and highway network.  He supports ridesharing and cost effective solutions like traffic light synchronization.  He does not support the current rail proposal.

Bill understands how regulation and taxation indirectly inflates housing costs.  He is specifically committed to reducing red tape for restaurant owners.  He's the candidate best positioned to give the Austin City Council the radical course correction it needs next January.

Avoid: Robert Thomas -- Claims to be a fiscal conservative but brags about sitting on the Austin ISD bond committee on his campaign website.

Mayor (Citywide): Todd Phelps

With Adler virtually guaranteed to make the runoff, there's no reason not to swing for the fences in the first round of the mayoral race.  Unlike the "big three," Todd Phelps opposes the current urban rail boondoggle.  He was the first mayoral candidate to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Avoid: Mike Martinez -- The worst member of the current council.

Bond Initiatives -- Vote AGAINST all:
  • Prop. 1 City of Austin (Urban Rail)
  • Prop. 1 ACC
  • Prop. 2 ACC
  • Prop. 1 State of Texas ("Transportation")

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ted Cruz Stands With Pastors

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:13-16

At a press conference Thursday, Ted Cruz stood with the Pastors of Houston against the unprecedented attack on religious liberty coming from Mayor Annise Parker:

  • Today, we all stand united in defense of religious liberty.
  • We've seen, in recent years, an indefensible assault on religious liberty.
  • The IRS has no business asking any American the content of our prayers.
  • We've seen the religious liberty of men and women of our military under assault, as soldiers and sailors and airmen and marines are told if you share your faith with another soldier you risk discipline.
  • The city of Houston has no power, no legal authority, to silence the Church.
  • "Caeser has no jurisdiction over the pulpit!!!"
  • "When you subpoena one Pastor, you subpoena every pastor."
  • "Part of me is very, very glad...that the city of Houston is interested in reading sermons."
  • Encourage Houstonians to "lift up our city in prayer."

Friday, October 17, 2014

Thanksgiving Square, Dallas

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
Psalm 100:4

Downtown Dallas -- This morning, we were walking around Downtown Dallas when we discovered Thanks-giving square:
Thanks-Giving Square is a beautiful three-acre park, chapel and museum in the heart of downtown Dallas with a setting to inspire gratitude. The park is an oasis for our city’s growing residential life, as well as a daily spot to hear rushing water and a respite for professionals who work in the nearby high-rise office buildings. Our chapel has a unique spiral exterior designed by world-famous architect Philip Johnson and an interior spiral of 73 stained-glass panels created by French artist Gabriel Loire. The museum is a rare compilation of historical documentation around Thanksgiving, as it takes place all over the world, but especially in the United States, dating back to the Continental Congress.
The plaza begins with a prayer wall, and continues with displays of previous thanksgiving displays throughout American History:

In 1964, four Dallas businessmen started to fill a void in the city. They thought back to the great centers of the Ancient World with its squares, hubs of community, gathering places devoted to spirit and worship, and to all that takes humans beyond themselves.

They modified this ancient idea into one that fit our society, one with much greater tolerance and diversity: thanksgiving, the act of giving thanks to the Creator for the gift of life while recognizing the gift of consciousness and care for others. They wanted this city to be known not for its grandeur or its economic prowess, which can change so quickly, but for its heart, which is much more constant. What started as a simple park turned into a center of value, thought, and spirituality that has had an impact not only in this community but in the country and the world.

Those who worked on what is now known as Thanks-Giving Square, emphasizing “giving and living thanks,” helped make Dallas one of the few cities to witness the unification of races without violence. At the same time, they discovered thanksgiving was a ‘human universal’ found in all cultures and faiths throughout the planet. As they learned and gathered knowledge, the park they had first envisioned grew to encompass this uplifting concept. When they found an architect, the famous Philip Johnson, to build the space, they were able to tell him the chapel he initially proposed, a square, did not quite convey the idea. Their words inspired Johnson to construct the distinctive spiral Chapel of Thanksgiving this city holds so dear.

Before the Square was completed, Anne Armstrong, who later became the first female ambassador to the Court of St. James, was enlisted to present a book of all the Presidential Thanksgiving and Prayer Proclamations to President Gerald Ford. As a result, Thanks-Giving Square started being asked to provide a draft for the annual Presidential Proclamation of Thanksgiving. In a letter from the White House, President Ford called the rising physical Thanks-Giving Square “a great national shrine.”