NSA privacy rule violations undermine government assurances – CNN.com

The President isn’t concerned about it, Nancy Pelosi isn’t concerned and your Congressman Randy Neugebauer agrees with them. Even the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank that gives Randy his marching orders is unconcerned. We wonder when the American people will become fed up enough to do something about this or if fear will drive us to surrender more civil liberties.

Analysis: NSA privacy rule violations undermine government assurances – CNN.com.


Fast & Furious Update

Two new weapons have turned up at crime scenes in Mexico that can be traced to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. That brings to 211 the number of people who have been shot or killed by weapons from operation Fast & Furious.

Abolish the ATF and the DEA. That’s a start towards rectifying this. Perjurer before Congress and gun-runner Attorney General Eric Holder ought to resign. It is unseemly to have a perjurer as chief law-enforcement officer for the nation.

Short of any other action, the Justice Department informs us that the ATF has learned its lesson and won’t do it again.

We hope that the dead and wounded take heart at that message.


GOP rival Tom Pauken blasts Greg Abbott’s suit against AA merger | Trail Blazers Blog

Tom Pauken criticized Attorney General Greg Abbott for joining with the U.S. Justice Department in a suit challenging the merger of American Airlines and US Airways.

Texas, along with five other states, the District of Columbia and the justice department sued to stop ther merger on the grounds that it would diminish competition and potentially shut down air service in some Texas towns.

Abbott usually enjoys suing the federal government and it is a rare instance where he ends up on the same side as the Obama Administration on a legal matter.

His office explained their rationale in a statement, saying the state was concerned “about the potential for reduced airline service to several of Texas’ smaller airports that are currently served exclusively by American Airlines and American Eagle flights.”

The strategy of eliminating low-producing flight routes has followed other airline mergers and already is part of U.S. Airways business plan, the attorney general said…[click below to read more]

GOP rival Tom Pauken blasts Greg Abbott’s suit against AA merger | Trail Blazers Blog.


Special Prosecutor to Review Perry Veto of Public Integrity Unit Funding

State Capitol night the 2014 3rd Special Session adjourned.

Your tax dollars at work here. A special prosecutor will examine Perry’s behavior when he vetoed funding for the Travis County Public Integrity Unit. It should be a short examination. We’re not the biggest fans of Rick Perry, but last we read the Texas Constitution (far too long, unwieldy and needs a complete overhaul) the Governor of Texas has authority to be as arbitrary as he likes when it comes to the veto. And this veto wasn’t arbitrary at all. Austin is in Travis County and its District Attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg is a disgrace. She received a DUI and behaved like a drunken fiend when arrested. Perry, who would appoint her replacement, believes she should resign or face the loss of the Public Integrity Unit funding.

The is an instance of Perry acting when others should have. District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg should have resigned. It may be difficult for Lubbock, represented by Mr. Law and Order, Matt Powell, to imagine a District Attorney we are ashamed of but Travis County has just that. The Public Integrity Unit should have been addressed legislatively by the House in the last regular session but Republicans don’t really run the Texas House; that’s left to congeniality crowd and this wasn’t exactly congenial.

Lots of noise but nothing of substance. That’s probably the best we can expect out of Austin anytime.

 


Rising natural-gas prices boost Texas electricity rates » Abilene Reporter-News

A surge in natural gas prices and a lack of new power plant construction are being blamed for raising the retail price of electricity in Texas by 9 percent compared to one year ago, according to an electric company trade group’s analysis.

The analysis by the Association of Electric Companies of Texas comes as electric power consumers find themselves increasingly feeling the pinch at a time of year when demand is at its peak. Those gas prices are expected to remain steady into next year, The Dallas Morning News reported.

“We’re in the middle of summer, so people are going to be looking at some fairly painful electric bills,” Jake Dyer, Texas Coalition for Affordable Power spokesman, told the newspaper.

The largest increase was in the Central Texas zone of American Electric Power’s Texas system, where prices on one-year contracts rose by an average of…[to read more click below]

via Rising natural-gas prices boost Texas electricity rates » Abilene Reporter-News.


D Magazine : Will Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne Sink Her City?

To longtime Irving observers, the council’s bickering was nothing new. City politics there has always been bitter and personal, fueled by rumormongering and ulterior motives. But to many, Van Duyne has turned up the crazy to a level that ventures into baffling and perhaps damaging. To them, she is not a transparency advocate and reformer, but instead someone using Tea Party austerity rhetoric to distract a fractious electorate while she consolidates power for her benefactors…[to read more click below]

via D Magazine : Will Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne Sink Her City?.


Who Will Earn the Leadership of Texas Conservatives?

After almost 13 years of Rick Perry’s folksy populism Texas conservatives are at a crossroads in political leadership.

Attorney General Greg Abbott seems poised to take over the Governor’s office with the hurdles of a Republican Primary and November 2014 General Election in between. A good bet, no doubt, but there’s a long time between now and November 2014. That’s about how long it took a junior state legislator from Illinois to go from bit player to national figure earlier this century.

But even if Abbott does win the governor’s office that doesn’t guarantee he’ll win the hearts of Texas conservatives. And with the two other players being U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and candidate for Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush nothing is a sure bet. Cruz’ fiery brand of conservatism has its appeal. But so does the common sense conservatism we hear from George P. Bush. Bush has a “been there, done it” appeal and wears a brand that seems to get stronger with each generation and that reminds us of a conservative message that won here and in Washington.

The good news is that for the present we get to keep all three.


Dewhurst Campaign Owes Vendors Nearly $1 Million | The Texas Tribune

It’s been more than a year since Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst lost his bid to become a U.S. senator, but his campaign still owes consultants and vendors nearly $1 million, Federal Election Commission records show.

In a July filing, the Dewhurst For Texas federal campaign committee disclosed various “debts and obligations” owed to consultants and other service providers, including top Republican consultants Dave Carney, Mike Baselice and Jim Bognet.

The unpaid bills range from several six-figure debts to media experts to a few hundred dollars owed to a company that provided email services. The total tab:…[to read more click below]

via Dewhurst Campaign Owes Vendors Nearly $1 Million | The Texas Tribune.


Polling Center: Joe Straus and the Other Republicans | The Texas Tribune

The current position of House Speaker Joe Straus presents a stark contrast with the current crop of GOP candidates who are moving as far to the ideological right as possible in advance of next year’s primaries. This contrast presents a paradox. As the legislative session gives way to primary season, Straus is in the most stable position of the “big three” — a group that includes Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst — despite the fact that he has resisted the rightward momentum propelling the next generation of Texas Republican leaders epitomized by Senator Ted Cruz.From the top of the primary ballot to the bottom, candidates seemingly can’t get to the right end of the GOP spectrum fast enough…[to read more click below]

via Polling Center: Joe Straus and the Other Republicans | The Texas Tribune.


Useful Numbers…

$50,000 – The amount Lubbock City Council spent investigating City Manager Lee Ann Dumbauld before they fired her without cause.

$350,000 – The settlement amount paid to former City Manager Lee Ann Dumbauld after she was fired without cause by the Lubbock City Council.

$25,000 – $50,000 – Estimated cost of special recall election in November for Councilman Victor Hernandez.

$5 to $10 million – The estimated amount for an outdoor tornado siren early warning system designed to warn to those outdoors of potential tornadic activity.

Zero – The amount to pay for tornado sirens that is included in the proposed city budget.