Friday, January 31, 2014

Emerson Processing's New Texas Innovation Center

Emerson Processing opened their latest "Global Innovation Center" in Round Rock, Texas. Governor Rick Perry attended the opening.

Texas's success in expanding business, industry, opportunity and technology continues to grow despite a sluggish national economy. The latest announcement was the opening of Emerson's newest campus in Round Rock.

The Round Rock center is the company's third such center to open in recent years, and is among one of their largest. The campus is three stories tall, approximately 280,000 square feet, and cost just under $70 Million. It is designated to be Emerson's new global headquarters for automated processing systems. This marks the second headquarters of a major world-wide international corporation to move to Texas within the past month. HID Global, made a similar announcement a few weeks ago.

This is the fourth major hub Emerson houses in Texas. The other three are in Houston, Missouri City, and McKinney.

Of the opening, Gov. Perry remarked:

"Today, Emerson officially opens another chapter in its growing story as a technological leader, working with other employers throughout the state and around the world to improve entire industries. The growth and success of companies like Emerson bolster Texas' reputation as a state where people can dream big, and make those big dreams happen. That's because in Texas we believe employers of all sizes need the freedom to make the most of the opportunities before them."
Emerson Processing develops, tests, and markets technology used in many industries from waste management to water treatment to energy solutions. The Round Rock facilities list multiple planned functions:

  • A technology and product design and support center, providing engineering and development for the DeltaV™ digital automation system and DeltaV SIS Safety System.
  • An Integrated Operations (iOps) Center where customers can explore new ways of managing remote operations and of enabling easier collaboration by experts located anywhere in the world. 
  • The Emerson Process Management Human Centered Design Institute, an industry leading consulting and engineering practice that drives usability based design into all products Emerson Process Management designs and manufacturers, is also based in Austin. By designing products that are easier to use, customers gain improved worker effectiveness and lower the requirements for specialized knowledge in their workforce.
  • A world-class interoperability and testing lab in which Emerson tests both its own products as well as competitors’ to ensure safe, reliable and robust operation.
  • The Life Sciences Industry Center provides consulting, engineering and project management expertise to support pharmaceutical and biotechnology customers.
  • Educational Services where more than 2,500 customer personnel gain product, technology, and operational skills on the latest technologies. 
  • Lastly, the company’s Project Management Office (PMO) aligns and integrates the company’s best practices, processes, systems and metrics for global project execution.

Jim Nyquest, Emerson's president of Process Systems and Solutions remarked:

“No other facility in the world can do what our new Emerson Innovation Center can do. We have the brightest minds in the industry developing world class automation technologies and collaborating with customers to imagine, plan and execute their vision of future operations to deliver breakthrough performance. 

 Emerson's main corporate headquarters remains based in St. Louis, Missouri. Their subsidiary brands include: PlantWeb(TM) , Syncade(TM) , DeltaV(TM), Fisher(R) , Bettis(TM) , Micro Motion(R) , Rosemount(R) , Daniel(TM) , Ovation(TM) and AMS Suite.

Pictures of the new state of the art Round Rock campus are available here (Operations Center) and here (Entrance/Exterior).

Thursday, January 30, 2014

House Says 'No' To Abortion Funding

On Jan. 28, 2014, the US House of Representatives passed HR 7, a law that bans use of US federal tax dollars to fund abortions in the US.

HR 7, titled the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2014" passed by a vote of 227-118, with one abstaining. 221 Republicans voted for the bill as did 6 Democrats who crossed the aisle. 1 Republican opposed, another abstained, with the remaining 8 not present.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ-4). 171 additional representatives co-sponsored the bill including 167 Republicans and 4 Democrats. Among those 171 co-sponsors were 20 representatives from Texas. Texas was the state with the largest number of co-sponsors of the bill.

Some who would oppose this bill claim it would restrict much needed aid to victims of rape or incest. However, the bill text itself states that the prohibition does not apply in those cases.


Title 1, United States Code is amended by adding at the end the
following new chapter:


``301. Prohibition on funding for abortions.
``302. Prohibition on funding for health benefits plans that cover
``303. Limitation on Federal facilities and employees.
``304. Construction relating to separate coverage.
``305. Construction relating to the use of non-Federal funds for health
``306. Non-preemption of other Federal laws.
``307. Construction relating to complications arising from abortion.
``308. Treatment of abortions related to rape, incest, or preserving
the life of the mother.
``309. Application to District of Columbia.
``Sec. 301. Prohibition on funding for abortions
``No funds authorized or appropriated by Federal law, and none of
the funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or
appropriated by Federal law, shall be expended for any abortion.
``Sec. 302. Prohibition on funding for health benefits plans that cover
``None of the funds authorized or appropriated by Federal law, and
none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or
appropriated by Federal law, shall be expended for health benefits
coverage that includes coverage of abortion.
``Sec. 303. Limitation on Federal facilities and employees
``No health care service furnished--
``(1) by or in a health care facility owned or operated by
the Federal Government; or
``(2) by any physician or other individual employed by the
Federal Government to provide health care services within the
scope of the physician's or individual's employment,
may include abortion.
``Sec. 304. Construction relating to separate coverage
``Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as prohibiting any
individual, entity, or State or locality from purchasing separate
abortion coverage or health benefits coverage that includes abortion so
long as such coverage is paid for entirely using only funds not
authorized or appropriated by Federal law and such coverage shall not
be purchased using matching funds required for a federally subsidized
program, including a State's or locality's contribution of Medicaid
matching funds.
``Sec. 305. Construction relating to the use of non-Federal funds for
health coverage
``Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as restricting the
ability of any non-Federal health benefits coverage provider from
offering abortion coverage, or the ability of a State or locality to
contract separately with such a provider for such coverage, so long as
only funds not authorized or appropriated by Federal law are used and
such coverage shall not be purchased using matching funds required for
a federally subsidized program, including a State's or locality's
contribution of Medicaid matching funds.
``Sec. 306. Non-preemption of other Federal laws
``Nothing in this chapter shall repeal, amend, or have any effect
on any other Federal law to the extent such law imposes any limitation
on the use of funds for abortion or for health benefits coverage that
includes coverage of abortion, beyond the limitations set forth in this
``Sec. 307. Construction relating to complications arising from
``Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to apply to the
treatment of any infection, injury, disease, or disorder that has been
caused by or exacerbated by the performance of an abortion. This rule
of construction shall be applicable without regard to whether the
abortion was performed in accord with Federal or State law, and without
regard to whether funding for the abortion is permissible under section
``Sec. 308. Treatment of abortions related to rape, incest, or
preserving the life of the mother
``The limitations established in sections 301, 302, and 303 shall
not apply to an abortion--
``(1) if the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or
incest; or
``(2) in the case where a woman suffers from a physical
disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as
certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death
unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering
physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy
``Sec. 309. Application to District of Columbia
``In this chapter:
``(1) Any reference to funds appropriated by Federal law
shall be treated as including any amounts within the budget of
the District of Columbia that have been approved by Act of
Congress pursuant to section 446 of the District of Columbia
Home Rule Act (or any applicable successor Federal law).
``(2) The term `Federal Government' includes the government
of the District of Columbia.''.

The bill does not just address direct or indirect taxpayer funding of abortions. It removes abortion coverage from insurance plans covered or subsidized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) also known as "Obamacare". It does not make abortion insurance coverage illegal. It prohibits the IRS from granting tax-breaks or subsidies to either consumers or insurance providers for plans including such coverage. The bill enables insurance companies to sell addendum plans or options for such coverage, instead.

Subsection (h) of section 45R of the Internal Revenue Code of
1986 is amended--

     (A) by striking ``Any term'' and inserting the
       ``(1) In general.--Any term''; and
     (B) by adding at the end the following new

       ``(2) Exclusion of health plans including coverage for
     ``(A) In general.--The term `qualified health plan'
does not include any health plan that includes coverage
for abortions (other than any abortion or treatment
described in section 307 or 308 of title 1, United
States Code).
     ``(B) Separate abortion coverage or plan allowed.--
           ``(i) Option to purchase separate coverage
or plan.--Nothing in subparagraph (A) shall be
construed as prohibiting any employer from
purchasing for its employees separate coverage
for abortions described in such subparagraph,
or a health plan that includes such abortions,
so long as no credit is allowed under this
section with respect to the employer
contributions for such coverage or plan.
           ``(ii) Option to offer coverage or plan.--
Nothing in subparagraph (A) shall restrict any
non-Federal health insurance issuer offering a
health plan from offering separate coverage for
abortions described in such subparagraph, or a
plan that includes such abortions, so long as
such separate coverage or plan is not paid for
with any employer contribution eligible for the
credit allowed under this section.''.

(3) Conforming aca amendments.--Section 1303(b) of Public
Law 111-148 (42 U.S.C. 18023(b)) is amended--
     (A) by striking paragraph (2);
     (B) by striking paragraph (3), as amended by
section 202(a); and
     (C) by redesignating paragraph (4) as paragraph
The bill has been received by the US Senate, read twice, and been passed to committee. Several US Senators, including Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), have already called on Harry Reid to allow the bill a floor vote. 


More Reasons To Support Than Oppose

Many pro-life proponents  rejoice the bill's passage in the House and hope it also passes the US Senate. However, due to the Democrat majority, the potential does not seem too high. That is despite pro-life activists existing on both sides of the political aisle.

Still, more libertarian leaning pro-choice individuals would also support this bill. The bill does not ban abortions or restrict choice. What it does is protect taxpayers, placing the responsibility of such a choice fully on the one making it.

Some of the pro-choice arguments against this bill include the "war on poverty" claim. The claim is that taxpayer funded abortions help reduce taxpayer burdens in other ways. The main way presented is a low-income mother aborting her child would equate one less mouth to feed using SNAP (food stamp) funding.

This argument can be refuted by reminding citizens of the racist eugenics history of such programs. Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger supported providing free or low-cost abortions to those "poor" segments of society she felt were undesirable. Those demographics were comprised of any citizen who could not be classified as a left-wing-minded WASP.

The federal tax revenue that would have been used towards abortions or abortion coverage subsidies could be much better managed. It could be placed into programs that promote and provide incentives to generate capital growth, business development, and job creation. The same could be said of extended long-term unemployment handouts.

A Note From The Editor/Author: 

Many pro-life associates believe I am hardcore pro-life. That is not true.

Many pro-choice associates also make that assumption. It remains untrue.

I used to support abortions up to 26 weeks. Then I saw the number of babies born at 20-25 weeks who, due to modern science and a will to live, survived the premature birth. I, myself, was a "premie". As such, I am a living testament to that human survival ability.

My thought readjusted. I then reconsidered the timeline when that "bunch of cells" would be closer to a developed human being. Rather than advocating for infanticide, since a "developed human being" really does not exist until adulthood (and sometimes never, if you regard various 30-something boomerangs living in momma's basement), I went the other direction. I reset my cut-off to be about 16 weeks. I saw the documentary "Silent Scream". The infant aborted in that film was just over 16 weeks.

12 weeks is the approximate end of the first trimester. That is 3 months into a pregnancy. 90 days should be more than enough for a woman to confirm a pregnancy test and make up her mind to kill the embryo. After those 90 days, the child is developed to the point it is clearly identifiable as a viable human being.

Abortion would not be my choice. I'm not a woman and will never have the full burden of such a choice presented to me. However, if I fathered a child, I would want it to live, grow, and thrive. I would support and nurture my child. Those mothers who feel they are unable to do so have the option to surrender their children for adoption. But, within reason and a reasonable time-frame, I am not one to take away somebody's right to make a bad choice and suffer its consequences.

I do, however, fully oppose anybody who was not a direct genetic material provider (biological mother or father) being forced, coerced, defrauded, or otherwise duped into paying for it. If you want one, be decisive and make up your mind within 12 weeks. Then pay for it yourself. Leave me out of it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Responses To State of the Union

Many tuned in via radio, internet or television for Obama's State of the Union. Many who skipped the speech stayed up to get the various rebuttals and reactions to include the "official" Republican response or the more popular Tea Party response that Senator Mike Lee from Utah delivered.

Texas Governor Rick Perry delivered his own rebuttal and remarks on Obama's speech. He summarized them in this quote from his press release:

"We didn't hear much tonight from President Obama that we haven't before, other than his intention to expand his own powers by bypassing Congress altogether. The strength of our Union is in our states, not Washington, and Texas has shown that the way to economic prosperity and significant job growth is through individual freedoms and the free market. Tonight, we saw a president with the same old agenda and no real idea on how to govern. Americans expect and deserve more from a president than continually broken promises and unfunded platitudes."
That is a rather succinct and accurate summary.

However, some of us skipped all of the above. There were even small Facebook groups set-up for those who allegedly chose to ignore the speech.

I'm not much of a "joiner", preferring to make up my own mind and be more attuned to being a true minority, and individual. I skipped the speech. While my wife and daughter headed out for some mother-daughter time, I stayed home, folded laundry, and watched something on one of the streaming subscription sites. See, we refuse to pay for cable or satellite television. We don't see the value of it.

I was, however, sent embargoed talking points from the speech ahead of time. Days prior, I told some associates I was not going to waste my time watching the speech. When asked why, my reason was simple. I am pretty much tired of hearing the same rhetoric year after year. We have the same issues we did during Obama's first SOTUA. Nothing has really improved. Some things have gotten worse. Those things that have improved have done so despite his policies, not because of them.

Reading the outline and talking points, (H/T to Jamie Dupree for making them available online) I saw my prediction was fairly spot on. Some of the latest catch phrases changed, but the message was pretty much the same. The quoted numbers changed. But the same inaccurate and myopic picture was projected through an out-of-focus, rose-colored lens. Obama presented fallacious and misleading information. The things he did not misrepresent were facts taken out of context, failing to paint an accurate and honest picture. We did not get a "state of the union". We got another bad campaign speech filled with empty promises.

Again, Obama promised to "act on his own" where "congress fails to act". It seems to matter not that Articles 1 and 2 of the US Constitution prevent him from doing much without congress, thankfully.

Again he lobbied and campaigned for a "living wage". In 2013 he attempted to push for a $9 federal minimum wage. He wants people to buy into the falsehood that a fry-cook at a fast food restaurant is of equal value to a practicing MD or an MBA. It seems he doesn't even value his own JD. That would make sense, though, given he has barely used it in the private sector. Now he wants that minimum wage set to $10. Basically, he is pushing to increase inflation by about 35%.

Middle Class Security & Opportunity at Work

  • Raising the Minimum Wage through Executive Order to $10.10 for Federal Contract Workers. The President will also continue to urge Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 across the nation because no one who works full-time should have to raise their family in poverty.
  • Creating “myRA” – A New Starter Savings Account to Help Millions Save for Retirement. The President will take executive action to create a simple, safe and affordable “starter” retirement savings account available through employers to help millions of Americans save for retirement. This savings account would be offered through a familiar Roth IRA account and, like savings bonds, would be backed by the U.S. government.
In regards to that second point, there already was a program of that nature. It is called "Social Security". the problem is that FDR sold it as just what Obama is trying to sell this myRA fraud. In reality, it was a tax tied to a handout. The tax later becomes part of the federal debt when those paying into it reach retirement age. Because of the way the people were duped into accepting the program, the federally mismanaged Ponzi scheme legally has to pay what is "owed", even if the beneficiary never paid into the program.

Now he suggests individual accounts to be managed by the federal government. We have already seen how that turns out. Remember Dodd-Frank and the real estate loan fiasco that took place a little over 5 years ago? How about the student loan problems in the US? Most professional, working citizens have a 401K or equivalent retirement account. Why do we need the government to get involved? The answer is simple. It's all about power and dependency. The federal government wants power over you and your choices. They want to force you to be dependent upon their nonexistent benevolence.

"Income inequality" was one of his biggest talking points. Another was labeled as "equal opportunity for all" in his talking points. However, his message was not one of equal opportunity, but equal outcome regardless of merit or effort. That is not equitable. It isn't even close.

Opportunity for All: Key Executive Actions the President Will Take in 2014

The President’s top priority remains ensuring middle class Americans feel secure in their jobs, homes and budgets. To build real, lasting economic security the President will work with Congress and act on his own to expand opportunity for all so that every American can get ahead and have a shot at creating a better life for their kids.
Then we have what Obama is trying to pass off as job-creating policies. He may want to scrap everything he presented and take a closer look at how Texas does things. Texas does employ some Keynesian economic programs. They may not be the most free-market and economy boosting ideas. However, they do seem to be working. Texas uses them to stimulate competition, capital, and opportunities for business growth and expansion. How? Lower taxes for both business owners and workers alike. Texas issues grants for businesses with reasonable and viable plans and models for growth and job creation through the Emerging Technologies Fund and the Texas Enterprise Fund.

However, the federal government needs to know its place. Their role is to set treaties and conditions for international trade. Their role is to enable interstate commerce that is equitable between states. They are to settle interstate contract disputes. They are to prosecute interstate fraud and unethical business practices. Their job is not to "partner" with "corporations" or "business leaders". They have no place in the market. To do so is to bias the scales of justice when contract law and interstate commerce need to be addressed. In short, it produces oligopolies and monopolies, picking favorites and cronies and lining politicians' pockets.

Jobs & Economic Opportunity

  •  Launching Four New Manufacturing Institutes in 2014. American manufacturers are adding jobs for the first time in over a decade. To build on this progress, the President will launch four new institutes through executive action this year. These institutes will build on the four the President has already announced.
  •  Partnering With Many of America’s Leading CEOs to Help the Long-Term Unemployed. Later this week, as part of an ongoing effort that the Administration began several months ago, the President will convene a group of CEOs and other leaders around supporting best practices for hiring the long-term unemployed.
  •  Expanding Apprenticeships by Mobilizing Business, Community Colleges and Labor. This year the President will mobilize business leaders, community colleges, Mayors and Governors, and labor leaders to increase the number of innovative apprenticeships in America.
  •  Increasing Fuel Efficiency for Trucks. The President will propose new incentives for medium- and heavy-duty trucks that run on alternative fuels like natural gas and the infrastructure needed to deploy them, and the Administration will set new fuel efficiency standards for heavy duty vehicles.
  •  Partnering with States, Cities and Tribes to Move to Energy Efficiency and Cleaner Power. The President has directed his Administration to work to cut carbon pollution through clean energy and energy efficiency.
Those last 2 points under his "jobs" subject are interesting violations of the 10th Amendment. It is not the federal government's authority to partner with cities. They may attempt to "partner" with states. But they violate states' sovereignty when they work directly with the cities. Sorry, Obama, but making deals with your komrade Julianne Castro is unconstitutional. As for working with tribes, have fun renegotiating those treaties and getting them ratified. That is not something he can do without support of 2/3 of the US Senate.

Still, what do those have to do with job creation? Very little. Increasing regulations will hinder job creation, not enhance it. Sure, more bureaucrats will be needed to play gestapo while enacting the policies and regulations. However, each government-employed tax burden will cost ten private sector jobs. In addition, these will cause increases in overhead as well as increased tax burdens on job creators. That will mean higher prices for consumers, Jill and Joe American. It will mean higher food prices to offset getting food to your local grocer. It will mean higher fuel prices, making it more expensive to commute to the job you are lucky to still have. It will mean higher costs for the USPS to deliver your mail. It will also mean that planned fuel projects that would generate a few thousand new jobs will be postponed or cancelled. 

Now let's back up to those 4 new manufacturing institutions. In 2013 he promised how many new manufacturing hubs? Was it 15? Was it 9? Was it 6? How many did we actually get? It was a much lower number, closer to 2 or 3. So he's starting at a deficit. he was unclear if those new hubs were part of last year's unfulfilled promise or if they are in addition to what Obama failed to deliver.

Of course none of this is his fault. He promised things that were not in his power. So, he couldn't deliver. In fact, I could produce ocean-front property in Arizona easier than he can make good on his exaggerated promises.

The main problem with the speech is that it didn't really give congress as situation update as the title of the speech mandates. Here is a better picture. People are quitting the workforce. Long-term unemployment handouts have given too many people an excuse to not try hard to seek employment. (Texas needs people in certain fields. All you need to do is send in your resume and prepare to move.) We have more people dependent upon food stamps than ever before in history. That is something to be ashamed of. It is inexcusable. Military personnel face a cut in the benefits they actually earned and retirees face a cut in their cost-of-living adjustments. Those are mandated responsibilities per the US Constitution, Food stamps and housing handouts are not.  And one final issue is education. The federal government violates the 10th Amendment getting involved with education. It is none of their business. Common Core is ruining education. Sure, it is making it more even state to state by making sure the kids in all states (except Texas where common core is illegal) don't learn and fail to have the opportunities to develop skills and talents they will need to be successful in life. The parents who pick up the slack and teach their kids will raise the leaders of tomorrow. Meanwhile, our tax dollars are being wasted. That means federal tax dollars are being wasted on programs that are unconstitutional.

With that, I'll leave you to enjoy former Congressman Allen West's remarks on the SOTUA.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

FEMA Refuses Aid & Obama Denies Declaration

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has refused to extend aid to Texans devastated by Halloween floods.

Governor Rick Perry had declared the damage the Oct. 31, '13 flooding brought upon businesses and homeowners ins several Texas counties as a state level disaster. Of the affected counties, Hays, Caldwell and Travis Counties were the hardest hit.  The US Small Business Administration extended limited loans and grants to some of the affected areas, including all 11 of the counties impacted by the flooding. The full list of counties includes: Caldwell, Hays, Travis, Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Comal, Fayette, Gonzales, Guadalupe and Williamson Counties.

Perry then requested that Obama declare the flooding a national disaster and extend further federal relief programs. Some agencies were directed to assist. However, it appears that the presidential order was limited in scope. Many of the federal programs that would actually benefit the victims of the floods have been denied.

Governor Perry has since filed an appeal, hoping that Obama reconsiders and directs federal agencies to act accordingly.

"The communities affected by the Halloween floods have been left with devastating financial burdens. Texas is utilizing all available resources to meet the needs of these families and businesses in Central Texas, but the damage is of such magnitude that federal individual assistance is necessary. I urge President Barack Obama to immediately grant the assistance that these Texans need to recover and rebuild their lives."

According to the Governor's Office, the programs specifically managed by FEMA residents of the flooded areas require include:

• Transitional Sheltering Assistance
• Other Needs Assistance
• Disaster Legal Services
• Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
• Disaster Unemployment Assistance
• Crisis Counseling

Governor Rick Perry's Jan. 25, '14 letter of appeal to Obama is available at this link

Texas and Oklahoma Strike Water Deal

Texas Governor Rick Perry and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin have signed an agreement concerning LakeTexoma waters.

The memorandum of understanding signed by the governors allows usage and pumping of water from the Texoma watershed. These water rights came under contention as part of the Red River Water Compact. The compact and water usage were the subject of a US Federal Court Case. The case went to the US Supreme Court who unanimously ruled in favor of Oklahoma.

This agreement specifically addresses Lake Texoma, which resides on both sides of the state border.

Gov. Perry made the following comments regarding the agreement:

"Water is an important resource for families and businesses on both sides of the Texas-Oklahoma border. I'm pleased Gov. Fallin and I have reached an agreement that is appropriate for both of our states moving forward."
For the full memorandum, please visit this link.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Texas Represented At 2014 World Economic Forum

Last week, Governor Rick Perry filled the role of an executive, representing Texas as the World Economic Forum of 2014.

Some wondered what Governor Perry was doing that required Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to step into the Governor's office and issue the Liquid Petroleum Gas Emergency last week. Perry was not off golfing or vacationing in Hawaii. He was doing his job and representing the business and economic interests of the Republic of Texas at the 2014 World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Perry, Dewhurst, and other Texas leaders have been rather successful in selling Texas to many companies across the US as well as the world. Recently, HID Global, an international leader in identity and information security as well as RFID technology, moved its global headquarters to Texas.

Economists such as Art Laffer and Steve Moore have produced studies concerning Texas's economic policies and business-friendly environment. Other publications have named Texas and several of its cities as among the most business-friendly places in the US. Among the key successes involve lower tax rates, no income tax, and job-creation incentives.

Of the conference, Rick Perry made the following statement:

"More and more, people around the world are recognizing Texas as a global economic leader, whether through our robust economy, leading in job creation, or our steadfast preservation of the freedoms that make our state and our nation strong," Gov. Perry said. "Texas' presence in global trade and economic markets will continue to grow, and this has been an incredible opportunity to share our successes with global leaders in the glow of one of the largest spotlights in the world."

Governor Perry was the only state level executive (Governor) to attend the forum. Perry not only attended and listened to business leaders from around the world, but was asked to sit on panel discussions and discussion groups on a variety of economic topics from criminal justice to government's role in technological advancements. It was during one of these panels that Perry stated he seeks to lessen the criminality of marijuana use and minor possession in Texas. The idea is to do so in order to free up the court system and prisons so they can allocate resources towards more invasive and violent crimes. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Abbott, Houston, And Same-Sex Marriage

Texas AG Abbott jumps into Houston's Same-Sex Marriage battle siding with current Texas laws.

Houston's openly lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, declared same-sex marriage legal in Houston, violating Texas state law. While no marriage licenses for same-sex marriages are being issued in Houston, Parker issued policies granting married benefits to same-sex spouses. Since, two law suits have been filed regarding Parker's policies. Attorney General and candidate for governor Greg Abbott has jumped into the suits, filing briefs for both cases.

The first case is a suit on behalf of the taxpayers of Houston, filed by Jack Pidgeon and Larry Hicks. AG Abbott claims Amicus Curiea, citing that the case needs to be heard in a state level court. The defendants (Parker) filed for dismissal claiming the Texas laws unconstitutional. In doing so, according to Abbott, they involved the state government.

Abbott's brief on the case also brings up the merits of the suit since taxpayer monies will be used to provide these benefits. As such, the taxpayers are allowed to challenge the legality of the expenditures.

This case should be remanded to state court as soon as possible. Removal is permitted only when the federal district court woul d have original jurisdiction over the action. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). This court lacks  original jurisdiction because plaintiffs have sued as taxpayers to enjoin the mayor of Houston from unlawfully spending public funds. Pls.’ Orig. Pet. at ¶¶ 2.1–2.5, 5.1–8.2 (attached as Ex. A to Defs.’ Am. Notice of Removal). Texas law allows taxpayers to challenge illegal expenditures without demonstrating any particularized injury. See Andrade v.Venable, 372 S.W.3d 134, 137 (Tex. 2012) (“[A] taxpayer has standing to sue to enjoin the illegal expenditure of public funds, and need not demonstrate a particularized injury.”).

The second brief filed by Abbott regarding Houston is a call to dismiss a suit filed by an organization based in the state of New York. The suit is an attempt to violate the 10th Amendment and convince federal courts to intervene in issues of state sovereignty.  The NY based Lambda Group filed a suit against Houston attempting to compel them to continue to break state laws and recognize same-sex marriages that were lawfully performed and recognized in other states. Again, Abbot cites involvement of the AG's office due to the questioning of state laws.

A federal court must dismiss on its own initiative any action over which it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction. See FED. R CIV.P. 12(h)(3). The court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction for three reasons. First, federal courts lack authority to act in “friendly or feigned proceedings,” and there is no adversarial relationship between the plaintiffs and the defendants in this case. Arizonans for Official English v. Arizona, 520 U.S. 43, 71 (1997). When litigants “desire precisely the same result” there is “no case or controversy within the meaning of Art. III.” Moore v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bd. of Educ., 402 U.S. 47, 48 (1971). The plaintiffs and defendants all desire a regime that extends health benefits to the same-sex partners of city employees who obtained marriage licenses from other jurisdictions, and the defendants are refusing to obey state laws that prohibit them from recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages. Article III does not permit the plaintiffs to sue city officials (who are giving the plaintiffs everything that they want) and ask a judge to ratify the city officials’ violation of state law.

The Same-Sex Marriage Trap

Same-Sex Marriage is one of those issues that produces a social and political quagmire created by shallow-thinking single-issue voters.

Single-issue voters are those who will vote for a candidate based on one single issue, and usually not one of great importance to governance within a republican form of government. For instance, if a city were to pass an ordinance protecting dandelions, some voters may want to pull those weeds from their yard. For them, the freedom to remove those weeds is the most important (and only) issue in the race. They would vote for a candidate that would promise to repeal that ordinance regardless of the candidate's economic policies. Their candidate could be the most corrupt choice, willing to raise taxes to 75%, place a toll on pedestrian traffic in city parks, ban cats and dogs, and advocate using taxpayers' money to supply crystal meth for use by all city cops in order to increase their patrol hours. It wouldn't matter. Their right to pull dandelions is the only thing they care about.

The same trap occurs with many moral issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion. A certain demographic concentrates only on those issues, ignoring more important ones.

A voter may agree with Abbott on fiscal policy, capitalist-based job and business opportunity creating policies, lower tax rates and expanded tax bases in order to increase revenue without increasing overall tax burdens (Laffer Curve). Heck, that candidate may be on the same side of the issue regarding abortion as the voter. But the single-issue voter will ignore the aggregate and vote against that candidate on just that one single issue. It is short-sighted, but it happens.

One of the things that makes this such a hot-button issue is the fact that some believe that marriage is defined by religion. In the US, that is not the case. The First Amendment precludes using religion as a basis for defining marriage (legally) in the US. Choosing a religious definition is legislating a chosen state religion. Marriage in the US is defined by law, plain and simple. Laws in our country are made by representatives charged to vote the will of their constituents. Many times they do not. Some even choose to believe they have the authority to tell their constituents what to think or believe.

Marriage is a state-by-state 10th Amendment right reserved to each individual state. Only in cases of a marriage being lawfully performed and recognized by one state then being reciprocated and recognized by all others does it become a federal issue. That was the case with mixed-race marriages in the early 20th century.

Drivers' licenses are another 10th Amendment right reserved to the states. Yet states seem to universally recognize licenses issued by the others. In contrast, the 2nd Amendment grants all citizens the right to own and carry firearms. Yet some states will not recognize this right and think it is a privilege for which they can issue or deny a permit. This is something plainly stated in the US Constitution and should not be subject to debate. If states cannot get something that straightforward correct, the issue of same-sex marriage should probably remain a very minor issue.

Reading Abbot's briefs, some may claim he is taking a social and political stance. I urge those who would believe so to read the full briefs. Greg Abbot may have a social or political stance on the issue. Regardless of what that stance may be, filing the briefs is his job. Like it or not, the Texas marriage laws are the lawfully and constitutionally recognized laws of the state. The majority of voting and taxpaying citizens of the state agree with the state's legal definition of marriage. Abbott is standing up for that legal majority. 

Those who may want to change the laws will have to wait until the 84th Legislative Session in 2015. It will be the state congress who would recommend such a resolution for a proposal subject to ratification by the voting population. Until then, there are more important issues to consider.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Texas' New Occupational Licensing Rules

The 83rd Legislative session passed HBs 798, 1302, 1659, 1846 and SB 162 which will affect occupational licensing regulations and standards. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is set to approve applicable new regulations on Jan. 29th.

The new rules will the greatest impact upon three key demographics in Texas. The greatest impact appears to be on convicted sex offenders.

HB 1302 changed Texas laws making it mandatory that convicted sex offenders be escorted if they are to do any work in a private residence. In other words, a convicted registered sex offender would have to have a company escort with him or her if he or she were to do any work in a home. This includes maintenance personnel working on rental properties.

Another group of people affected are dead-beat parents. If somebody working in a job that requires an occupational license is 6 months or more behind on child support payments, their application will be denied. This does not affect licenses already in effect. It applies only to new applications and renewals. But dead-beats need not worry. All they have to do is make a single $200 child support payment before submitting their application and the process won't be impeded.

The third demographic are military veterans, retirees and reservists. The state will grant practical experience hours for training and work done while in the military, crediting it towards occupational licensing requirements. For example, if somebody is trying to become a licensed phlebotomist, their time as a military combat medic or blood collection tech will count towards the training and practical experience required for the equivalent civilian occupational license. Those directly affected by this opportunity need to check with their licensing agency for details on how to get the credits converted. 

Here is a snippet of the pending rule proposal:

The proposed rules implement requirements in House Bill (HB) 798, HB1302, HB1659, HB1846, and Senate Bill (SB) 162 from the 83rd Legislature, 2013. These bills impact Chapter 30, Sub-chapter A.

The proposed rules will enable the commission to: exclude Class C misdemeanor convictions when reviewing applications for occupational licenses as required by Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 53, Consequences of Criminal Conviction, amended by HB798; prohibiting certain registered sex offenders from providing services in a person's residence unless supervised require individuals with an occupational license to be directly supervised when performing certain types of services, if registered as a sex offender, as required by Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Chapter 62, Sex Offender Registration Program, amended by HB 1302; consider individuals charged with certain offenses to have been convicted of an offense for purposes of this sub-chapter, regardless of whether the proceedings were dismissed, as required by Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 53, amended by HB 1659; suspend or refuse the application of an individual who has not  made a minimum payment of child support as required by Texas Family Code, Chapter 232, Suspension of License, amended by HB1846; recognize verified military service, training, or education from military service members and military veterans when considering occupational licensing applications as required by Texas  Occupations Code, Chapter 55, License While on Military Duty and for Military Spouses, amended by SB 162; and expedite occupational licensing applications from military spouses as required by Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 55, License While on Military Duty and for Military Spouses, amended by SB162.

The proposed rules will:  add relevant statutory citations, remove redundant citations, and remove citations which no longer pertain to occupational licenses due to historical legislative statutory changes; adjust timelines due to increased processing and evaluation time resulting from criminal history background checks required by HB 963 from the 81st Legislature, 2009; provide a uniform wait time between examinations for individuals who re-take a paper examination or a computer-based examination; clarify the validity period for examinations; incorporate a new training delivery method which utilizes current technology; establish a fee for review of this new training delivery method; provide consistency within the chapter by including a two-year validity period for licenses and registrations; and improve readability of rules by removing redundant wording and making non-substantive changes to grammar, punctuation, and organization.
The full proposal document is available here. The shorter executive summary with the key points is available at this link.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Windy Wendy's Camp Digging Deeper

Gubernatorial candidate Senator Wendy "Pink Shoes" "Abortion Barbie" Davis and company can't give itself a break.

Davis's campaign mocked opponent Gregg Abbot's over amount of funding raised by the campaign. That was all fine and dandy until you realize that it took a year for Davis to raise that $12 million and about $4 million of the funding was actually donations to Battleground Texas and a voter registration organization, not the Davis campaign. Abbott raised about $11 million in half the time.

Then Jeff Davis gave an interview to a writer at Dallas Morning News. The reporter did his due diligence and fact-checked and corroborated the information. It turned out that Davis' rags-to-riches tale of a destitute teenaged single mother was exaggerated, with portions of the story being false. Davis was 21, not a teen, when she divorced her first husband. She lived in a trailer for only a couple of months before moving in with her mother. Not long after, she met and moved in with Jeff Davis. That second husband paid for the last 2 years of her undergrad degree as well as her Harvard Law School tuition. Meanwhile, he cared for their kids as she cheated on him at law school. So, Davis was a not-so-single, not-so-teen mom who made it by duping some rich guy into marrying her and paying for her school.

When the news broke, Davis went on a meltdown on Twitter. She alleged the Abbott camp leaked the story. The reporter who broke the story emphatically denied getting any of the information from the Abbott campaign.

Davis appears to be coming unglued. It appears to be a recurrence of the last time she lost an election. News stories broke that cost her favor in the public eye. She attempted to sue the reporters, et al., over the ordeal. The case was dismissed. But among her claims were emotional and psychological injuries. In short, she claimed that the loss of the race for political office caused her psychological harm. She went nuts. The question this begs is if any sane voter would want a person who loses their marbles over political disappointment to hold any sort of leadership position anywhere.

Then allegations start snowballing over something Davis reportedly said. Supposedly she mocked Abbott, a paraplegic, over his paralysis that keeps him restrained to a wheelchair. The basic gist of Davis's comment was that Abbot doesn't understand struggling and overcoming adversity because he hasn't "walked in [her] shoes". To eliminate hyperbolic sensitivity, it can be easily recognized that Davis was attempting to portray herself as one who fought and overcame adversity. She was also attempting to claim that Abbott was privileged. Taken out of context, however, it does also appear she's mocking Abbott for not being able to walk.

The comment could have been taken out of context and blown out of proportion, sure. However, Project Veritas produced a recording of Davis supporters and Battleground mocking Abbott for being in a wheelchair as though that is somehow disqualifies him for office. Perhaps those "equality for all" chants from Democrats are finally being revealed as a collectivist plot to enslave the undesirables?

It reminds some of an episode of "The Simpsons" where they find themselves in a deep hole. They keep digging. At one point, one of the characters yells "No Stupid, Dig Up!".

Would now be a poor time to remind the progressives at Battleground Texas and in the Davis camp that one of their collectivist heroes within the Democrat party was also bound to a wheelchair? Socialist President Franklin D. Roosevelt was confined to a wheelchair because of polio. That didn't make FDR a bad president. Social[ist] [in]Security, rationing, and other poor policies did.

Dana Loesch, who recently moved to Texas, said something rather insightful. Battleground Texas doesn't need Davis to win. Her losing helps their cause to undermine liberty in Texas. For them, her campaign is likely just a fundraising stunt, hoping to garner more financial support for other races such as the 2014 Senate race and congressional races. In addition, it is designed to help them garner support for Hillary's (or whoever) 2016 run for the White House. It appears they are banking on that candidate not being physically disabled in any way.

Dewhurst Declares Polar Vortex Petroleum Emergency

Sweeping blasts of arctic temperatures are causing shortages of liquid petroleum gas.

The latest cold weather snap to spin off of the "polar vortex" brought extreme cold to the Midwest and Eastern United States. Record cold temperatures are expected ranging from south-central Texas to Georgia over the next 48 hours. Meteorologist predict another blast to bring another freeze in the beginning to middle of next week.

The harsher weather conditions are having an effect on liquid petroleum gas (LPG or "white gas") used for heating many homes, especially in southern states. This presents potential life-threatening emergency conditions as people will struggle to keep warm. The potential shortages will also drive up costs as supply will fail to meet demand. This will increase the costs, creating further hardships upon lower-income families in this currently depressed economy.

Several states have already declared emergency conditions to include LPG shortage emergencies. The governors of Iowa and Maine reached out to Governor Rick Perry's office, asking to have Texas declare the emergency conditions. Texas is one of the higher LPG producing states in the union. In declaring the state of emergency, Perry effectively waives certain state-level licensing and transportation regulations in order to assist affected states in acquiring much needed LPG.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, as acting governor, made the following proclamation, effective until Feb. 6, '14 unless renewed:


WHEREAS, extreme winter weather and cold temperatures throughout much of the United States have created a large demand for liquefied petroleum gas, and such conditions have resulted in a corresponding strain on liquefied petroleum gas resources outside the State of Texas;

WHEREAS, the United States Department of Transportation has declared emergencies in Eastern, Midwestern, and Southern states due to shortages and interruptions in the availability or delivery of propane and other home heating fuels;

WHEREAS, the following states have declared liquefied petroleum gas emergencies: Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin;

WHEREAS, the States of Iowa and Maine have requested that the State of Texas join them in declaring a liquefied petroleum gas emergency; and

WHEREAS, the State of Texas is the leading producer of liquefied petroleum gas in the nation, and Texas' liquefied petroleum gas resources and infrastructure allow the state to temporarily assist in alleviating the liquefied petroleum gas shortages in other states.

THEREFORE, in accordance with the authority vested in me by Section 113.083 of the Texas Natural Resources Code, I have determined the existence of a temporary shortage of liquefied petroleum gas in the above states, and I join the governors of those states in declaring a liquefied petroleum gas emergency.

Pursuant to this proclamation and Section 113.083(a) of the Texas Natural Resources Code, the State of Texas waives Texas licensing, permitting, and certification requirements regarding liquefied petroleum gas trucks and operators. This waiver applies only to liquefied petroleum gas trucks and operators meeting all certification, permitting, and licensing requirements of the federal government and another state whose governor has declared or declares a liquefied petroleum gas emergency.

All other legal requirements, including licensing, registration, insurance, and safety, remain in place.
This emergency declaration shall continue for 14 days from the date this proclamation is signed, unless renewed.

In accordance with the statutory requirements, copies of this proclamation shall be filed with the applicable authorities.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed my name and have officially caused the Seal of State to be affixed at my office in the City of Austin, Texas, this the 22nd day of January, 2014.

Lieutenant Governor
Acting as Governor of Texas

The pertinent Texas law and regulations cited by Dewhurst, Section 113.083 of the Texas Natural Resources Code, are as follows:

(a) In the event of a temporary statewide, regional, or local shortage of liquid petroleum gas in this state or another state, as determined under Subsection (b) of this section, LP gas trucks and operators meeting all certification, permitting, and licensing requirements of the federal government and another state whose governor has declared an LP gas emergency may transport LP gas in this state without having first obtained any license, permit, or certification ordinarily required under state law.

(b) The governor may determine the existence of a temporary statewide, regional, or local shortage of LP gas in this state or another state and on such a determination, the governor may join with the governor of any other state in declaring an LP gas emergency.

(c) The waiver of Texas licensing, permitting, and certification requirements regarding LP gas trucks and operators is valid only during the time of the emergency. An LP gas emergency may not continue for more than 14 days unless renewed by the governor.

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 9, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 29, 1991.
Bundle up, keep warm, cover your plants, bring your pets inside, turn water to a drip (to keep pipes from freezing), and make some Texas style chili for dinner.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Myth Of Income Inequality

The latest distraction rhetoric is a resurgence of what is currently termed "income inequality".

"Income inequality" is described as the disparity and inequity between the various economic "classes" (the proper term under the US's classless society is "income brackets"). The theory is that different socio-economic demographics now have a larger difference in current median income levels. The so-called "middle class" now has a median income much lower than 5 years ago, and the nation's overall median income level has dropped from over $54k per year to approximately $51k a year.

In addition, the theory casts a dark shadow over the differences in earnings between business owners & leaders, highly-skilled workers, skilled workers, marginally-skilled workers, and unskilled labor.

The ideology is predisposed to the false hypothesis that all people are entitled to an equal outcome or consequence despite differences in effort, capability, and potential. It ignores the very real sociological law that people are created equal, each with different individual talents and abilities, and thus have an equal starting potential or opportunity. However, individual choices, efforts, and merits change that potential over time.

That is why, in American society, we have upward mobility. If you want to better your life, you can. You just have to be willing to sacrifice the effort required to get there. Nothing free is worth the price. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. 

Income potential, wages, etc. are a product of several factors. For one thing, it is driven by economies of scale.

In other words, labor is a resource. That is why it is called "human resources" or "HR", formerly known as "personnel". In a company, there is only so much capital (money) budgeted to pay for labor. There are only so many positions. The company can produce only so much. That means the employees have to be allocated by task, mission, and purpose according to their skills. If one area requires more people than are available from the company's labor pool for a task that requires a specific skill-set, the company will then search to purchase labor that has that skill-set. It will probably be willing to pay more for it than it would for the lower-level unskilled labor. A laborer within that unskilled population who has done the extra effort to learn those skills through school outside of work hours is more likely to get promoted, with a raise, than the guy who does his 9-5, content with his station at the company.

Here is where the laws of supply and demand factor in.

20 years ago, people skilled in network technology, computer programing, and computer electronic engineering were highly marketable. There were more jobs opening up for people with those skills than there were people skilled in those fields. The supply of talent, skill, and ability was lower than the demand. The wages (price of that skilled labor) dictated a decent wage. However, a high school dropout without a GED would probably not be able to fill that position. They may be able to push a button, wait a few minutes, then pull a basket off of a hook when the fries were done cooking, though. The fry friers even have a little alarm that sounds. Limited reading and math skills are required. The number of people capable of doing that work are far more numerous than the positions available. (Do not discount the number of more skilled people with college degrees who find that work "beneath" them. They are still capable of  doing the work).

As more and more people began seeking the knowledge and skill-sets to do that computer related work graduated, the more the market was flooded with capable people. The supply grew faster than the demand. The price (wage) dropped. You no longer had 4 jobs for 3 qualified people. You now had 20 jobs for 30 qualified people. However, you still have over 1,000 people who qualify for every fry-station employee at fast food restaurants.

There is no way that a burger flipper who calls in sick twice a month and runs out the door at "quittin' time" deserves the income that a License Professional Counselor makes. Being an LPC requires a masters degree in the field. It doesn't stop there. An LPC is required to do a year's worth of practical experience internship in order to qualify to take the licensing examination, called the "NCE". Once the NCE is passed, the LPC has to do a certain number of direct contact hours, continuing education/professional development hours, and research hours under the supervision of a senior LPC or a fully licensed and qualified PhD. Then, after 6-7 years of collegiate study and what could be 3 years of intern level experience, the LPC can qualify to be a fully-licensed LPC and open his or her own office.

A burger-flipper doesn't even require a GED. He just needs to know how to wash his hands and follow rudimentary instructions for safety and company policy, tell time well enough to show up to work on time, and know how to put on his uniform. That requires far, far less skill than to be the lowest ranking private in an infantry platoon, who makes less per hour than the burger-flipper.

In summary, income inequality is due to the merits of the labor pool. That means it is up to each individual to make himself/herself marketable and in demand for the jobs that merit those higher wages. You can put the kid down in front of a book, but if the kid refuses to put forth the effort, the kid won't read. If the kid refuses to read, the kid probably won't learn. If the kid doesn't learn the skills and knowledge that will make him or her competitive, he or she isn't worth anything more than the market is willing to pay for unskilled labor.

So, there isn't really any "income inequality". There is just an increased disparity in effort and merit. You deserve the income you are willing and capable of earning, based upon your own merits, efforts, and skills.

Those cries of "income inequality" are borne of hallucinations, lies, and fairy tales. You want to make more, earn it. Go to school. Work hard. Manage your money and make a few sacrifices. Take some calculated risks. Quit expecting others to give you what you haven't earned.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

New York Tosses Treasures Texas Would Welcome

Radio and television talk show and news commentary personality Sean Hannity recently received some unwelcoming words from New York's Governor Cuomo. Hannity's retort was to express a desire to move.

Reportedly, Cuomo's message was interpreted as something in the vein of "anybody who values individual natural rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and holds the US Constitution as a higher authority than the oligarchy in charge has no place in my state". Of course, those were not Cuomo's exact words.

His exact words were "[A]nd if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York. Because that is not who New Yorkers are."

After hearing of Hannity's rebuttal, Cuomo's camp backpedaled a bit, claiming the words were taken out of context. The Blaze has the full transcript of Cuomo's interview, which is available on the New York Governor's Office website.

Cuomo's words may have just been a spark to ignite Sean Hannity into vocalizing things he may have been long considering. Hannity cites high property taxes and a 10% income tax as additional reasons to move to better climates. Those "better climes" include lower taxes, better economic policies, and gentler weather. Hannity hinted at cosidering moves to either Florida or Texas, two warm, southern states with no state income taxes. Both states also have coastlines along the Gulf of Mexico.

Governor Rick Perry and other Texas leaders have spent the last few years courting successful enterprises to move or expand operations in Texas. When Colorado became a less permissive state, Texas began negotiations with Magpul. Texas convinced X-Cor, once based in California, to relocate the aerospace company to Midland, TX. Even global companies such HID Global found Texas's economic policies and business-friendly environment a great place to move their corporate headquarters.

Glenn Beck started his own network, The Blaze, in Dallas,TX. It appears Beck's network is already hard at work attempting to partner with  Hannity. That would complete a trifecta of conservative voices now that Dana Loesch has joined The Blaze with her own television program.

Hannity would  not be the first radio host to pull up his tent stakes and move. Before the aforementioned Beck moved to Texas, noted (now retired) libertarian talk show host Neal Boortz moved to Naples, FL. While his show broadcast out of WSB in Atlanta, GA, Boortz transmitted from a remote site in his Florida home. Among Boortz's reasons for the move were better weather and lower taxes.

If many financial powerhouses and businessmen such as Peter Schiff and the majority of Wall Street wizards followed suit, how long would it be before New York City made bankrupt Detroit look affluent? 

Hannity hinted that his first preference may be Florida. He stated he prefers to be near the water. Perhaps a visit to Houston or Corpus Christi would change his mind?

“I don’t want to pay their 10-percent state tax anymore. I live in the second-highest property taxed county in the entire country in Nassau County. I can’t wait to sell my house to somebody that wants it. I can’t wait to pay no state income tax down in Florida or Texas. I haven’t decided yet, but I’m leaning Florida because I like the water and I like to fish.”  (Real Clear Politics has the audio, here)

I'm sure Texans would cheer Gov. Perry's administration if he could convince Hannity to convert to Texan.  Hannity is a friendly person, a Tejano in spirit.

Apparently, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst already sent Sean one invitation from the Republic of Texas:

There is something to be said of conservative crusaders who dig in and stay in less conservative states. They provide a voice of sanity, individuality, liberty, and hope to those oppressed by the feudalistic-oligarchic tyrants such as Cuomo (NY), Brown (CA) and Quinn (IL).

(H/T to Breitbart, The Blaze, and Real Clear Politics)   

Monday, January 20, 2014

Texas Politics Getting More Interesting

For some of us, politics has become a contact spectator sport with all the draw of football, hockey, MMA matches and NASCAR. Some may not get the NASCAR reference, but there are plenty of people who watch the races for the sole purpose of seeing the carnage of a collision.

The 2014 election cycle in Texas is proving to be worth the price of admission and a large popcorn.

The most interesting race will undoubtedly be the Lt. Governor's office. Incumbent David Dewhurst is attempting to pick up the pieces from his loss to Tea Party grassroots dark horse Ted Cruz. Senator Cruz has proven himself true to his word, so far.

The loss in the 2012 Senate race may have hurt Dewhurst more than he thought. His incumbent defense of his office is in jeopardy. He faces Dan Patrick who promoted legislation to rein in the controversial CSCOPE curricula and to ban  Common Core from Texas schools. However, that legislation has hit some key bumps in the road. Many of the CSCOPE material and curricula in question remain in use until they can be reviewed in 2015. In addition, the blockage of Common Core has not stopped the Texas SBOE from purchasing I-Station, a computerized reading program designed to assess students' reading capability using automation designed with Common Core standards at the foundation.

Both Dewhurst and Patrick have rung their bells claiming they support the Second Amendment and support reforming Texas legislation to restore Second Amendment protections to citizens. However, neither of them managed to get key legislation passed in the 83rd session in 2013. Campus Carry is still illegal. There is no open carry of pistols in Texas either with or without necessitating a permit. Citizens who are legally open carrying rifles in accordance with state laws are still being arrested for unconstitutional peripheral charges such as "inciting alarm". Municipalities such as San Antonio have openly ordered their police to look for any and every excuse to charge citizens brazen enough to exercise their constitutional rights.

That brings us to Todd Staples. Staples spent time in the state legislature before becoming the state Agriculture Commissioner. He has published studies and plans for immigration reform and border security, another key issue for Texans. For Staples, border security is a matter of national security as well as individual self-defense. It should not be surprising that Staples favors open carry legislation. The concept is simple. If enough citizens go armed, be it concealed or open, Texas becomes a hard target for illegal border-jumpers, especially those who seek to supplant ranchers from their lands in order to use those properties for illicit purposes. In other words, more armed law-abiding citizens means fewer criminals. Staples was among those at the Jan. 19th Open Carry Texas rally in Austin.

Where was Leticia Van De Putte? For those unfamiliar, Van De Putte is Wendy Davis's unofficial running mate. Davis seeks the governors' mansion. Van De Putte seeks the Lt. Governor office. Van de Putte is the state level senator from San Antonio. She is closely tied to Davis, Julian Castro, Chief of Police McManus, and several others.

San Anotnio is tied up in a law suit against one of the city's former employees. John Foddrill, Sr. has attempted time and again to have Texas Open Meeting Act violations investigated. San Antonio has allegedly held closed-door city council sessions that included decisions kept from public eyes. If so, that is against Texas administrative laws. But it is a misdemeanor. As such, it requires a local official to request an investigation from the state level. So far, no official is willing to make such a request. When inquiring people such as Mr. Foddrill look deeper, allegations of complicit or complacent associations emerge.

So, how much does Van de Putte know about this "land swap deal" between San Antonio and the GSA? She is, after all, the state senator for the district involved.

The Texas Race For Governor

The major battle is between Wendy Davis and Gregg Abbott. Davis is the state senator known for grandstanding her failed filibuster of a bill designed  to make abortions safer. She is running against the State's Attorney General, Gregg Abbott.

First, Davis attempted to smear Abbott for not disclosing all of his income. The issue here is Davis hoped nobody would recognize the difference between income and capital gains. In addition, she hoped nobody would recognize the difference between income and restitution payments ordered by the courts. Abbott was paralyzed in an accident many years ago. He still receives restitution payments from those found negligent and at fault. However, Abbott also donates quite a bit to charity and does not always claim the tax deduction for doing so.

Next, somebody allegedly affiliated with Battleground Texas started slinging mud at Abbott because he is paralyzed. For a group that supposedly backs a political party that claims it fights for "human rights", especially those of minorities and the disabled, this sends a huge mixed message. One wonders if they sling mud at the memory of FDR for being bound to a wheelchair due to polio.

Davis holds that the mudslinging over the disability has nothing to do with her campaign. However, she turns around and brags about raising over $12 million in campaign funding. She cites donations to Battleground Texas, who initiated the disability-discriminating  attacks against Abbott, as part of her campaign financing. So Wendy is caught tap-dancing between lauding and denying her affiliation with Battleground Texas. Battleground Texas was also exposed by Project Veritas recently. They were connected to possible fraud on behalf of many so-called "Obamacare Navigators".

To mire Davis deeper in her own mud, other recent facts come to light. She has ridden on the wave of being a self-made single mother,a teen mother at that. It turns out she was married when her first child was born. She was no longer a teen when she divorced. Not long after, she met the man who would become her second husband. He helped pay off her student loans and pay for her bachelor's degree. The then paid her Harvard Law School tuition. He took care of her kids while she was in law school. Then he got custody of them after their divorce.

So she didn't do it alone. She didn't do it with the help of government handouts. She did it by being a gold-digger. That very much contrasts the image of "independent, self-made woman" she portrays. In fact, the true story of Wendy Davis appears more to support one of a woman being dependent upon a man, the government, or both. Her story also appears to advocate using and abusing people to get what you want. That is not the type of morality Texans will soon get behind.

Anybody who knows any Texas women will tell you that a real Texas woman is self-reliant, head-strong, can shoot, can rope, can ride, can act like a lady, but won't stand for crap. Heck, a good Texas woman is known for picking her man up by his bootstraps then digging a spur into his backside to get him back on the straight and narrow.

Race For The US Senator Seat

John Cornyn, the incumbent, was once ranked the second most conservative senator in the US Senate. If that were still the case, there must be a bunch of others tied for first. That list would include Senators such as Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio.

Cornyn's level of conservatism or libertarianism seems to vary depending upon the taste of his morning coffee. He opposes open carry bills claiming he sees no point behind openly carrying any form of arms. He must have missed those history lessons surrounding the Second Amendment's inclusion in the US Constitution. The wording does not say "for those with a permit to do so". It says "shall not be infringed". However, Cornyn has sponsored an act designed to enable concealed carry permit reciprocity in the US. It is a rewrite of an amendment he presented to legislation in 2013. That bill amendment was shot down by the Senate. His 2014 proposal faces the same fate.

His opponent, US Rep. Stockman, ideologically supports constitutional carry. However, he is a US Congressman. As things stand now, concealed carry, open carry, and constitutional carry legislation is a state-level issue. Stockman also supports reining in federal spending, decreasing the deficit and federal debt, and balancing the federal budget. However, to stand for those things, he needs to be present for floor votes and cast his votes accordingly. He claimed he was going to vote against the latest federal spending bill. He didn't vote one way or the other. Can Texans really get behind somebody that claims they will fight for them but is a no-show when the bell rings at the start of the bout? 

A "big-government Republican" who shows up and even puts on the gloves every so often just may end up being a better choice than a trash-talker who won't even show up ringside, much less enter it.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Texas Awards TEF Grant To Athenahealth

Governor Rick Perry's office announced plans to award $5 million to Athenahealth, a medical records management company.

In a press release issued Jan 15th, Gov. Perry announced the $5 million Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) "investment" to Athenahealth to assist in the company's planned expansion in the Austin, TX area. The expansion is expected to generate over $13 million in new capital and over 600 new jobs in Texas.

Perry stated:

"The Texas model of low taxes, smart regulations and fair courts continues to attract world-class companies like athenahealth looking to expand their operations. This TEF investment will create hundreds of high-paying tech jobs in Austin, building on the city's thriving technology sector and strengthening the state and local economies."

Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush made the following remarks:

"We're thrilled at the prospect of growing our presence in Austin, a city with a culture and vibe that perfectly aligns with our own. Athenahealth is growing all across the country as we work to fulfill our vision of becoming a national information backbone to make health care work as it should. Austin offers a strong talent pool to aid in the important work we do at athenahealth to advance connectivity in health care."
Athenahealth's main products revolve around medical record keeping. The company stores and maintains patient medical records (Electronic Health Records or EHR), medical practice and billing management records, and doctor-patient communications in a digital cloud. This enables medical records to be more readily available to healthcare providers. Digital cloud storage with backup redundancy can mitigate the loss or mishandling of medical records.

However, in the times where digital identity theft, "hacktivism", and internet fraud seem rampant, many patients worry about the confidentiality and security of their records. It is highly unlikely that criminals would respect such privacy or the HIPAA laws.Athenahealth works to increase both efficiency in medical administration as well as security of records.

Johnathan S. Bush, CEO, President, and Chairman of the Board 

The man's name should immediately raise some questions for Texans.

Johnathan S. Bush is the son of banker Johnathan Bush, President George H. W. Bush's brother and President George W. Bush's uncle.

Johnathan S. Bush, like his uncle George (and his cousin, George) served in the US Military. During Operation Desert Storm, Bush served as a US Army Combat Medic, as an E-3/PFC. Bush later worked as an EMT in New Orleans. He eventually graduated from Harvard University with an MBA. He also worked with defense contractor Booze, Allan, Hamilton.

He started  athenahealth in 1997. He then boosted the company in 2000 by raising $10 million in venture capital, then issued an IPO in 2007 taking the company public.

With ties to such a prominent Texas business and political family, the TEF grant may raise some eyebrows. However, others may look upon Johnathan S. Bush and athenahealth as just another example of Texan exceptionalism.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Texas Senators Guns And Taxes

Two of the many major issues important to constitutional conservative and libertarian citizens are Second Amendment protections and reforming the federal tax code.

With the 2014 election cycle upon us, politicians at the state and local levels are jockeying for support and taking up some of these "hot-button" issues. Senator John Cornyn is one of those facing re-election. He is also facing a primary against US Rep. Steve Stockman, considered to be a TEA Party favorite.

Cornyn received the NRA's endorsement. Meanwhile, Stockman has garnered GOA's endorsement. Both the NRA and GOA are strong pro-2nd Amendment organizations. 

Cornyn has sponsored a bill in the US Senate entitled "The Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2014". Some claim this is just a means of retaining support, considering Cornyn was once considered "the 2nd most conservative member of the US Senate".

However, Cornyn introduced similar legislation in 2013 in the form of an amendment. This time around, he is hoping for more support. The bill, S. 1908, already has 16 co-sponsors and promises conservative, Republican, and possibly "blue-dog" Democrat support.

Here is a list of the bill's co-sponsors and the dates they added their names to the roster:

Sen Blunt, Roy [MO] - 1/13/2014
Sen Boozman, John [AR] - 1/9/2014
Sen Burr, Richard [NC] - 1/9/2014
Sen Cochran, Thad [MS] - 1/9/2014
Sen Crapo, Mike [ID] - 1/9/2014
Sen Enzi, Michael B. [WY] - 1/9/2014
Sen Graham, Lindsey [SC] - 1/9/2014
Sen Inhofe, James M. [OK] - 1/9/2014
Sen Johanns, Mike [NE] - 1/9/2014
Sen Moran, Jerry [KS] - 1/13/2014
Sen Portman, Rob [OH] - 1/9/2014
Sen Roberts, Pat [KS] - 1/9/2014
Sen Thune, John [SD] - 1/9/2014
Sen Toomey, Pat [PA] - 1/13/2014
Sen Vitter, David [LA] - 1/9/2014
Sen Wicker, Roger F. [MS] - 1/13/2014

Here is the bill's text:

To allow reciprocity for the carrying of certain concealed firearms.
    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the `Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2014'.


    (a) In General- Chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 926C the following:

`Sec. 926D. Reciprocity for the carrying of certain concealed firearms

    `(a) In General- Notwithstanding any provision of the law of any State or political subdivision thereof to the contrary--
      `(1) an individual who is not prohibited by Federal law from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm, and who is carrying a government-issued photographic identification document and a valid license or permit which is issued pursuant to the law of a State and which permits the individual to carry a concealed firearm, may possess or carry a concealed handgun (other than a machinegun or destructive device) that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce in any State other than the State of residence of the individual that--
        `(A) has a statute that allows residents of the State to obtain licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms; or
        `(B) does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms by residents of the State for lawful purposes; and
      `(2) an individual who is not prohibited by Federal law from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm, and who is carrying a government-issued photographic identification document and is entitled and not prohibited from carrying a concealed firearm in the State in which the individual resides otherwise than as described in paragraph (1), may possess or carry a concealed handgun (other than a machinegun or destructive device) that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce in any State other than the State of residence of the individual that--
        `(A) has a statute that allows residents of the State to obtain licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms; or
        `(B) does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms by residents of the State for lawful purposes.
    `(b) Conditions and Limitations- The possession or carrying of a concealed handgun in a State under this section shall be subject to the same conditions and limitations, except as to eligibility to possess or carry, imposed by or under Federal or State law or the law of a political subdivision of a State, that apply to the possession or carrying of a concealed handgun by residents of the State or political subdivision who are licensed by the State or political subdivision to do so, or not prohibited by the State from doing so.
    `(c) Unrestricted License or Permit- In a State that allows the issuing authority for licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms to impose restrictions on the carrying of firearms by individual holders of such licenses or permits, an individual carrying a concealed handgun under this section shall be permitted to carry a concealed handgun according to the same terms authorized by an unrestricted license of or permit issued to a resident of the State.
    `(d) Rule of Construction- Nothing in this section shall be construed to preempt any provision of State law with respect to the issuance of licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms.'.
    (b) Clerical Amendment- The table of sections for chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 926C the following:
      `926D. Reciprocity for the carrying of certain concealed firearms.'.
    (c) Severability- Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, if any provision of this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, or the application of such provision or amendment to any person or circumstance is held to be unconstitutional, this Act and amendments made by this Act and the application of such provision or amendment to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
    (d) Effective Date- The amendments made by this Act shall take effect 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act.
A layperson's summary translation of this bill is simple. The bill, if passed, will make it so a CHL/CCP holder in one state can carry concealed in any other state that issues CHL/CCPs as long as that person abides by the visiting state's laws and regulations regarding concealed carry. The law will not apply to open carry laws, per se. It also does not force any state that does not issue CHL/CCPs to acknowledge a permit from an issuing state. It is basically a step towards making CHL/CCP reciprocity similar to Drivers License reciprocity.

One key problem is that there are no constitutional protections or guarantees for drivers licenses. There is a constitutional protection of the right to own and carry (keep and bear) firearms to protect self, property, neighbor against crime, violence, theft, and tyranny.

Another problem with the bill, given the current administration's stance on gun control including increased executive regulations aimed at increasing infringements on Second Amendment protections, is that the bill will most likely not garner the 60 votes needed to pass over a presidential veto. Harry Reid alleged himself a pro-gun "blue dog" at one time. However, he will likely attempt to block the bill from consideration on the Senate floor.

That begs the question if this bill is a campaign stunt or a stand on principle. What brings that question even more to the forefront are rumors that Cornyn has made statements opposing the open carrying of weapons. Many second amendment advocates claim that open carrying is protected by the US Constitution and not subject to licensing the way concealed carrying is.

What About Taxes? 

Senator Ted Cruz took office in Jan. '13. He isn't up for re-election until Nov. 2018.

One of Cruz's earliest actions as a US Senator was to place his name as a co-sponsor to the Fair Tax Act of 2013. S.122 is still on the rolls for the 113th Congress.

It's a law of economics that is easy to understand. Art Laffer proposed it and Ronald Reagan supported it. A country's revenue is healthiest at that point where the tax base is at its widest yet low enough to not impede or remove incentives to produce. In other words, it's better to tax more people a little bit than to tax just the wealthiest a lot.

That is part of the premise behind The Fair Tax. Tax reform advocates tend to fall into three major categories. Some back a universal flat tax on all income. Others back a consumption, sales, or VAT style tax such as the Fair Tax. The third group considers a blending such as the 9-9-9 plan proposed by former presidential candidate Herman Cain.

9-9-9 combines a 9% consumption tax, a 9% capital gains tax, and a 9% flat income tax.

Advocates for a more progressive tax system do not like any of the above. They least favor the flat tax, claiming it is regressive and proposes a greater proportionate burden upon lower-income earners.

They claim similar with the 9-9-9 plan, however the 9% capital gains does present a more "progressive" tax on the more affluent.

Then there is The Fair Tax. Former lawyer and retired radio personality Neal Boortz co-authored two comprehensive books on The Fair Tax. Put simply, it is a tax on the purchases of new goods and services, like a sales tax. The more new stuff you buy, the more taxes you pay. If you save or invest, you don't pay as much taxes, for now.

Here is Senator Ted Cruz in his own words, from a letter, on the current tax code:

The U.S. tax code is far too complex. Americans spend more than six billion man hours and more than $430 billion each year just to comply. The system penalizes work, savings, and investment through multiple layers of taxation, high marginal rates, and distorted tax preferences.
Our tax code should not choose favorites, and it should not give the Internal Revenue Service the power to do so either. The recently uncovered IRS scandal, in which revenue collectors targeted individuals and entities based on their political beliefs, reminds us how imperative it is to limit these authorities.
To this end, I have joined eight other senators in cosponsoring S.122, the Fair Tax Act of 2013. We need a tax code that encourages economic growth and ensures fairness across the board. I will support this and other reform measures that pave a path to abolishing the IRS and fundamentally reforming the U.S. tax system. The code should be simple enough for Americans to understand and impossible for special interests to exploit.
For Liberty,

And here is a link to the text of the Fair Tax Bill of 2013. Please read through it as well as both of the books scribed by Neal Boortz in order to garner a better understanding of the legislation and the plan.
Given the necessity to repeal the 16th Amendment, this bill faces a hard fight. The Fair Tax has been proposed several times to the US Congress but has yet to see even an hour of serious debate or consideration on the US Senate or US House floors. Co-sponsoring this act is not an empty political stunt, but an obvious stance on principles, something Texans respect deeply.