Saturday, March 28, 2009

Canyon Creek MUD district case goes to SCOTUS

A "Mr Zimmerman goes to Washington" story: Don Zimmerman's attempt to move a Canyon Creek MUD district ballot box to a more sensible location back in 2002 has evolved into a challenge to the preclearance provisions the Voting Rights Act. And now it heads to the Supreme Court:

The case, which the high court will hear on April 29, focuses on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The clause requires state and local governments deemed to have historically suppressed minority votes to obtain Justice Department approval before altering election practices -- even something as minor as moving a polling station.
What is being challenged is the interference by the Justice Dept in such local decisions. Further, the Voting Rights Act has a discriminatory aspect to its legislation, penalizing certain parts of the country for their racist past by requiring regulatory hoops that the rest of the country is not subject to. It assumes that Austin, Texas is more inclined to prejudice than Illinois or New York or Massachusetts. Maybe it was true some time ago, but if I may consider my own personal experience, that is surely wrong today.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Doctor says Canada-care killed Natasha Richardson

The price you pay for Canadian healthcare - you get to die of things that wouldn’t kill you in America. A physician explains how Canada-care (and lack of CT scanners in their system) killed Natasha Richardson:

“Richardson died of an epidural hematoma — a bleeding artery between the skull and brain that compresses and ultimately causes fatal brain damage via pressure buildup. With prompt diagnosis by CT scan, and surgery to drain the blood, most patients survive.

Could Richardson have received this care? Where it happened in Canada, no. In many US resorts, yes. “

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Obama's Plan to Bankrupt America pictures ... via Heritage and Instapundit ...

Austin TEA Party Planned for Tax Day, April 15th

A Press Release announcing the upcoming Austin TEA Party to occur on April 15th is below. In case you don't know why it's important consider the fact that President Obama is spending us into bankruptcy: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that the President’s budget will create deficits averaging nearly $1 trillion a year for the next decade, and it would double the national debt in five years and nearly triple it in ten years.

Tax Day Tea Party Events Planned in Austin

Austinites and other Central Texans have had their fill of political pork and are rallying to protest recent federal spending packages on April 15. With a cry of “Repeal the Pork!” local grassroots organizations are planning a Tax Day Tea Party with two peaceful protests in downtown Austin, one during mid-day and the other at the end of the work day.

The noon event will be held from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at City Hall. Speakers for the event are slated to be Governor Rick Perry; Peggy Venable, State Director, Americans for Prosperity; Michael Quinn Sullivan, President, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility; and State Rep. Wayne Christian (R-Center).

The late afternoon event will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 pm on the South Steps of the Capitol. Senator Dan Patrick is scheduled to speak. The afternoon rally will move down Congress for a re-enactment of the historic Boston Tea Party of 1773 on the shores of Lady Bird Lake.

Building on the success of the Nationwide Chicago Tea Parties held recently in multiple cities around the nation, conservative grassroots organizations and free market activists are coming together across the nation on April 15th to protest out-of-control government spending. Timed to coincide with the date by which Americans must pay their federal income taxes, the Tax Day Tea Party effort will be coordinated by Smart Girl Politics, Top Conservatives on Twitter and the Don’t Go Movement, in addition to other center-right activist groups.

With Newt Gingrich coming onboard and co-sponsoring this event ( ), plans are underway for rallies to take place in 150American cities and 49 states, with more sites to be added in the coming weeks. The goal of these protests is to call attention to the unprecedented, wasteful spending by Democrats in Congress and the Obama Administration.

When asked about the need for nationwide rallies based on the Boston Tea Party of 1773, Eric Odom, Chairman of the Don’t Go Movement, remarked, “Building on the free market ideas of our founding fathers, and embracing the passion they shared to bring them to light, the Nationwide Tea Party Movement is giving voice to tens of thousands of Americans.” Added Stacy Mott, President of Smart Girl Politics, “Average Americans do not support mortgaging away our children’s futures, and the time to speak out against it is now.”

Information on The Tax Day Tea Party can be found at

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How to Stop “The Perfect Storm”

“The Perfect Storm”

By Patrick O’Grady, Former CTRA President, Former Precinct Chair, Author of the 2000 SBOE Redistricting Plan

Reasons why we must stop “The Perfect storm”

In the Spring and Summer 2001, I designed the SBOE redistricting plan, at the behest of Vance and “Tincy” Miller. There was little doubt that the Texas Legislature was too concerned with their own hides. The SBOE plan would have been thrown into court if someone did not step up and complete it. I was hired based on my previous work with Mr. Richard Ford, President of Heritage Alliance (formerly the Free Enterprise Foundation), on Texas House and Senate plans which we provided to each member of the Legislative Redistricting Board (LRB).

The Senate, and House Plans, and the U.S. Congressional redistricting plan were receiving a lot of publicity. The Democrats decided to leave the state in protest, not once, but twice, to make sure the Republicans could not pass their plans due to a lack of a quorum to conduct business. The Senators chose the cushy confines of Albuquerque NM and the poor Reps had to settle for Ardmore, OK. Despite all of the grandstanding and vitriol, the real reason for the childish games was because the Dems remembered what they had done to the Reps in 1990 and knew “payback” was coming.

In 2011, the U.S. Congressional districts, the Texas Senate districts, the Texas House districts, and the SBOE districts will be redrawn. The party that controls the Texas Legislature will be responsible for the task of redesigning the Texas districts. It is possible that Texas will receive an additional 3-4 U.S. Congressional seats based on Texas population growth, and the loss of population by other states. This is part of the reapportionment done by the federal government based on the 2010 census.

Control of the Texas Legislature (both the House and the Senate) are critical, since well done redistricting plans can literally ensure a majority for at least a decade, and lead to another redistricting plan after the 2020 census.

When I designed the 2000 SBOE districts, it was done with the intent of maintaining the 10-5 Republican advantage specified by Mr. Vance Miller. With very few changes the plan could very easily have created an 8-7 Democrat advantage, and a couple more larger changes could lead to a 9-6 Democrat advantage. For that reason, the political party responsible for redistricting in 2011 will be at a great advantage to create districts which will be solidly in their control through the 2020 census.

I am also well aware that the Obama Administration is doing everything in its power to help the GOP win more federal seats, but this may or may not carry over to our State Legislature races. I would recommend that we not rely on the Democrats “shooting themselves in the foot.”

Also, a recent opinion from the SCOTUS (Bartlett V. Strickland) has helped with some previous redistricting problems, but if the Republicans are not in control of the Texas legislature, the ruling will not matter.

The Perfect Storm

There’s a perfect storm abrewin’, which could relegate the GOP to another decade, possibly two decades, wandering in the wilderness.

After many years of involvement in several campaigns and local politics as a precinct chair, I have been quite content to do analyses to determine what went right (or wrong) after the fact. While 20/20 hindsight is, in some cases, helpful in future campaigns, I have never attempted to prognosticate about future campaigns or even the future of the Republican Party, but several recent occurrences have made it abundantly clear that the Conservative movement, and by default the Republican Party is in dire straights.

I am convinced that the party has left me and is attempting to regain those conservatives who, like me, are conservatives first, and therefore members of the Republican Party. In 2006 and again in 2008, the GOP has proven that the upper echelon of “power brokers” will select who our nominees will be before the Primary Election. Their use of considerable amounts of money and lobbyist influence, are two of the reasons why incumbents very seldom lose. This business-as-usual attitude with only slight deference to the grass roots (who make or break the party) is at the root of the problem. Past mistakes are easy to see and analyze, but without some proactive efforts by grass roots leaders, the upcoming “perfect storm” will re-make the GOP into the minority party in Texas for 10-20 years.

The perfect storm is composed of four (4) problems that will unite and hand control of Texas Politics to the Democrats for the next two decades. These four storms are: 1) Straus, 2) Kay Baby vs. King Rick, 3) Poor Primary choices, and 4) Lack of Leadership.


Problem one is Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus, and the method of how he was selected and his actions since being selected. According to the Austin American Statesman in an article on January 3, 2009
House members had been anticipating Friday's meeting of the 11 ABC Republicans to give direction to the speaker's race.

Ten of the lawmakers met at the Tarrytown home of Rep. Byron Cook of Corsicana, for more than two hours.

Rep. Rob Eissler of The Woodlands was on the phone and a webcam. Reps. Burt Solomons of Carrollton and Ed Kuempel of Seguin were thought to be front-runners, but after three ballots, the less-experienced Straus won the support of his colleagues.

Except for Eissler and Rep. Delwin Jones of Lubbock , who left early, the group emerged together to announce their choice. They all emphasized Straus' GOP credentials and his ability to unify the House.
So we know of 6 of the 11 GOP members (ABC is Anybody But Craddick and I’m sure someone knows all 11 names, but I am not privy to that information) who decided that they had the right to decide, with the democrat party, who would be the next Texas Speaker of the House. (By the way, they were only following the example of our national GOP members who like to create small groups to undercut the real leaders of the party.

These eleven decided that it was their right to help the democrats get rid of Speaker Craddick. In doing so they emboldened the democrats, and through their efforts and the thanks of Joe Straus the democrats were rewarded with plumb committee assignments. Rep. Ken Paxton (R-McKinney) confirmed Straus’ methodology in an article published by the McKinney Courier Gazette newspaper on February 19, 2009:
Paxton also characterized Straus’ choice in committee posts as “rewards” for helping him take the House Speaker seat away from Craddick.

“A deal was cut between 64 or 65 Democrats and 11 or 12 Republicans, so when he comes in as speaker who he was elected by that group of 64-65 Democrats, when he is choosing committees, he rewarded more Democrats and rewarded 12 or however remaining Republicans. The other 50 or 60, for the most part, were left to getting good spots by seniority. I guess a few Republicans did OK under that scenario that didn’t do so well under the previous Republican speaker, and the Democrats did much better and that group of 11 Republicans.”
This action gave the democrats precisely what they wanted, i.e., the “power” to start the transformation of the political climate in Texas, so that they can take the house, and might (though definitely a long shot) retake the Texas Senate in 2010, just in time for redistricting based on the 2010 census.

Any Republican who would give Jim Dunnam a chairmanship has no clue about who his friends and enemies are. Even the most casual observer has seen the games that Dunnam has been playing to try to regain control of the house by 2010. Mr. Straus may be a nice guy, but he is a political idiot (yes, you may attribute that to me). Goodbye one-term speaker Straus!!

[Note: In the interests of full disclosure, I should state that while I was working on the SBOE redistricting plan in 2001, I was directed to Rep. Dunnam as the point of contact for the Democrat Party. Everything I saw and heard from his staff was “ALL POLITICS, ALL THE TIME”. There was very little, if any, policy discussion.]


The second problem is the upcoming Primary contest for our Governor nominee, which I call Kay Baby vs. King Rick. I know that both are strong Republicans who can support the majority of our state platform, but we all know that there are weaknesses for both, and my fervent hope is that a strong Conservative will step forward to try to wrestle control away from both of them.

Senator Hutchison’s pro-choice views are well known throughout the “social conservative” community in Texas. If she is our nominee, the values voters will most likely stay home, or at the very least NOT support her. This by itself would almost guarantee the Democrat nominee the governorship. But coupled with other factors in this perfect storm, which will further demoralize the base, the governorship could easily be lost to, not won by, the Democrats.

Rick Perry has been a good governor and a strong conservative. While the values voters have occasionally disagreed with him, for the most part he has been a rallying point for social issues. The millstone which he will drag to the next election is his length of service. He is already the longest serving Texas Governor since we gave up our republic to become a state.

The voters can see what longevity does to our republican form of government, by looking to Washington, D.C. and projecting that scene on our Austin government. The longer a person sits in his/her comfy power seat, the less likely they are to listen to their constituents - they become so much smarter than the peons who elect them. We see this mentality daily from our elected reps, including supposedly strong conservatives. This longevity also blocks new people with new ideas from attempting to change the status quo. Incumbents are very rarely defeated, because once elected you acquire the resources to keep getting elected.

I have heard from a few conservatives in my precinct that we don’t want a King, who rules for life, and Governor Perry needs to go back to his ranch and find something else to do than rule forever as Texas Governor.

The Kay Baby vs. King Rick portion of this perfect storm will have the same effect (only inversely) as the top of the ticket (Obama vs. McCain ) had in the 2008 Presidential election. The bottom of the ticket will be severely hurt because values voters will, most likely, not show up, and the Democrat voters will be emboldened and come out and vote a straight party ticket, a la OBAMA ’08. The result will be losses at all levels including the state reps and state senators.


The third issue, which will collide with the others to form a perfect storm, is the GOP Primary choices. It is my contention that strong fiscal AND social conservatives generate excitement in the base, and help to drive up the voting turnout. A lack of strong conservatives on the ticket will not excite the base, and will reinforce other reasons for the values voters to dismiss the GOP Primary, and hence will allow more RINOs to be on the November ballot. And the cycle will repeat itself in the General Elections in 2010.

A lack of efforts by the grass roots of the party, coupled with the strength of the power brokers, and the currying of favor of the power brokers by incumbent RINOs make it almost impossible to defeat an incumbent. If the Texas State GOP (RPT) and the county republican parties do not stand up for conservative values and take on the incumbent RINOs, this small problem will be compounded in the perfect storm in 2010.

[Note: While I will not go into great detail, the Libertarians generally take votes from conservatives and not liberals in General Elections. This small 3-5% loss of votes for the GOP candidate in November will play a part of the perfect storm, but it is beyond the control of the RPT and County Parties. Even Ronald Reagan acknowledged this when he said: “I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer, just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals...The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom, and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.” The problem can probably be addressed within the context of President Reagan’s thoughts, but a solid conservative may be able to recoup some of the projected vote loss by employing a solid campaign strategy emphasizing how much we have in common with libertarians.]


The last problem for conservatives, and thereby the GOP, in 2010 will be a lack of leaders. Talking the talk is one thing, but walking the walk is what is truly needed. Some years back the RPT Chairman attempted to take a stand against a RINO, and she was met with a silence from those who should have stood by her side.

When, and IF, we have party leaders speak up against RINOs who do not support the platform (which BTW is crafted by the grass roots, and not the power brokers) there should follow a chorus of voices that echo the same stance. It needs to be loud enough to send a clear message to the power brokers that if a candidate can not follow the game plan that the party grass roots crafted, the party, and its voters, will not show up in November.

As can be seen by this discussion, the leaders who are failing are at all levels. Lower level leaders, mid-level leaders, Party Chairmen, SREC members, Representatives (State and Federal), Senators (State and Federal), and State-wide office holders MUST take a stand to change the status quo, despite the advice from overpaid campaign managers and strategists. The status quo is what the Democrats are hoping for in 2010.

So now that you have read this far, so what? The perfect storm will only be for one cycle, and the GOP can regain control in 2012, or 2014…right?

The short answer is NO! In the 82nd Legislative session, the majority party will be redistricting the state of Texas for every U.S. Congressman (most likely +3 or 4 more), for every State Representative, every State Senator, and every SBOE member. That plan will be in effect for at least a decade (until the 2020 census) ,and if done well enough to ensure a majority in 2020, the next redistricting plan will be good for another decade.

Previous history has shown us that the Democrats are very good at ”packing“ Republican Districts and craftily carving out enough Democrat districts to maintain their majority for AT LEAST a decade. The Republican majority failed to accomplish the same results in 2001, but that’s another lengthy article. Because of my experience in one of the redistricting efforts in 2001, trust me when I say that whoever controls the redistricting process (and it is a convoluted process), will control for the next decade (unless the same Republicans who failed in 2001 are given the task again). And all indicators of the “Perfect Storm” abrewin’ are that Texas will become a Democrat state once again, for the next two decades.
Patrick O’Grady is a past President of the Central Texas Republican Assembly (CTRA) , a former Travis County Republican Party Precinct Chair, and the author of the 2000 SBOE Redistricting Plan.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


By Bob Ward

The State Board of Education will soon decide how to teach evolution in the classroom and the discussion produced an amazing statement by an alleged curriculum expert.

At issue is whether language should be retained that calls on students to examine the “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theories including evolution. Steve Schafersman, according to the Austin American-Statesman, is president of Texas Citizens for Science and part of a group
responsible for writing the earth and space science standards for the state.

"Scientific theories,” Schafersman said, “do not have weaknesses.” He added that evolution “is complete.”

How about being dead wrong? Does that count as a weakness?

It’s instructive to look back at some of the scientific theories that might still be the prevailing orthodoxy if Schafersman had his way. Columbia University’s Electronic Encyclopedia notes, for example, the theory of phlogiston which had strong scientific support in the 18th century. It held that all flammable materials contain a substance called phlogiston which had no color, odor, taste, or weight. When something burned, according to this theory, phlogiston escaped leaving the material “dephlogisticated.”

Fortunately, Schafersman wasn’t around in the 18th century so a scientist named A.L. Lavoisier was free to take a critical look at the theory and concluded it was mostly weaknesses. Now we know that combustion does not release phlogiston but rather adds oxygen. So we know that to keep a fire going we have to supply it with oxygen and we can put out a fire by depriving it of oxygen.

It what may be the most famous instance of a scientific theory with weaknesses was the one that said if Columbus sailed west from Europe he would fall off the edge of the Earth. Columbus thought otherwise, he sailed west and we all know what happened. God bless America.

An Italian named Galileo had his own troubles with 16th Century Schafersmans. He went against the current scientific theories, which all the authorities said had no weaknesses and were complete, by declaring the earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around.

One discredited scientific theory appears to be making a comeback through this push to indoctrinate Texas kid on evolution and that is the theory of spontaneous generation. For about 2,000 years, starting with Aristotle, the scientific orthodoxy was that inanimate objects, such as a piece of rotting meat, could generate life, such as flies.

For 20 centuries nobody wanted to challenge Aristotle until another Italian named Francesco Redi demonstrated otherwise by sealing the meat in a jar and no maggots or flies appeared. A Frenchman, Louis Pasteur, conducted even more rigorous experiments and settled the question. Life only comes from life.

Education Board member Ken Mercer correctly points out that excluding the phrase about strengths and weaknesses "raises a huge red flag about academic freedom and freedom of speech." It’s also worth considering what the state of science would be today if the Schafersmans of past ages had prevailed.

Advocates of changing the language claim that its defenders want to inject religion into public school. Religion entails a doctrine accepted by faith without examining its strengths and weaknesses. So who are the religionists in this debate?