in Houston, Texas
UNT-Dallas tries, fails to keep secret a staff report critical of management consulting firm’s recommendations
Friday, Aug 24, 2012, 11:20AM CST
By Steve Miller
UNT

The appeal of an open records request is not to be taken personally, but like the guy who cuts you off in traffic, sometimes you can’t help but take umbrage.

So when the administrators at the University of North Texas at Dallas requested faculty and staff input on a new model of teaching and recruiting at the school, the Dallas Morning News heard there was a report on the response and filed an open records request for that report.

The university, understandably concerned that someone would want to out their hopes to drive down education costs and pocket more money, appealed the request. Why would it do that? Doesn’t it want taxpayers to know exactly what it is cooking up over there?

As it is currently awaiting review by the state Attorney General’s office, the Dallas Morning News popped this story, with the sweet little notation, “We got a copy through other means.” That should be music to the ears of the public, which is being shut out of huge decisions of public policy at the very public university.

Click here to see the report that UNT-Dallas doesn't want you to see.

***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Photo of UNT sign via the City of Dallas Office of Economic Development.

Troubled Texas state housing agency faulted by auditors in management of $101 million program to redevelop foreclosed homes
Friday, Aug 24, 2012, 08:35AM CST
By Curt Olson
HUD

A federal audit of a Texas housing agency with a troubled past casts doubt on whether the state properly managed a $101 million Housing and Urban Development program aimed to stabilize neighborhoods hit by foreclosures.

According to a report by the HUD Inspector General, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs improperly obligated $42,182, which HUD’s Fort Worth office has been directed to take back. The IG audit also requires the state agency to provide better documentation of $25 million in spending on the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The state agency also could not support $8,767 in expenses for businesses and organizations it worked with to complete projects, the HUD audit states.

Read the full audit here.

The program money to the state was part of a $3.9 billion nationwide effort to boost neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosures amid the Great Recession. Only California and Ohio disbursed more money than Texas, the San Antonio Express-News reported. Some Texas cities and counties also oversaw program grants, which were aimed at redeveloping abandoned and foreclosed properties.

The HUD inspector general chastised poor record keeping and staffing at the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. Gerald Kirkland, the regional inspector general for audit, also noted the state agency’s repeated tardiness on quarterly reports showing progress to commit and spend the money.

The inspector general found:

  • The state agency did not have valid contracts or other sufficient documentation for $631,402 in reported obligations.
  • Of 58 agreements with other agencies to carry out work under the program, 38 listed amounts which did not match amounts in other paperwork. The difference amounted to more than $24.7 million in unsupported costs.
  • Of the 58 agreements, 22 showed planned work that didn’t match earlier paperwork. “These differences gave the appearance that the department did not know what activities it was going to pursue,” the audit states.
  • TDHCA entered into agreements with other agencies that did not complete their responsibilities, resulting in $8,767 of unsupported costs.

States and municipalities received money in March 2009, and rules stipulated they obligate the money by September 2010 to rehabilitate abandoned and foreclosed homes. The program’s nature necessitated reporting to the feds. Housing and Community Affairs repeatedly came up short.

“The department did not establish systems and controls for the obligation of (program) funds, which significantly hindered its ability to support its reported obligations,” the audit states.

The state agency failed to have a support system in place to assist the agencies it worked with to carry out the program. Ultimately, Housing and Community Affairs pulled back funding for $21 million in activities it could not complete, the audit states.

No one should be surprised by the results of this audit because the agency has a troubled past. It failed to use Hurricane Ike rebuilding funds and oversaw a faulty stimulus program to fix up low-income homes. Last August, the agency’s leader resigned.

But the signs of trouble in the program targeted in the latest audit were there as early as April 2010.

About six months prior to a deadline to have funds committed, a progress report showed that the state had committed 6.2 percent of its program funds, ranking behind every state but Illinois, the Express-News reported.

Housing and Community Affairs Executive Director Timothy Irvine in his agency response disputes that any funds were improperly spent and that the findings boil down to paperwork problems. He cited limited federal guidance at the outset of the program and problems with a reporting system that HUD used for the program.

Irvine added in his letter to Kirkland:

“We concur that our processes for record-keeping in the initial phase of the program left room for improvement; while we do not agree that our funds were improperly obligated (other than those obligations with which we have been corresponding with HUD over the past nine months), we do agree that they were not well organized.”

“However, in spite of our challenges and lack of ideal systems, we believe that we have source documentation to substantiate TDHCA’s commitments, obligations and decisions. We also are deeply concerned and disappointed with the emotionally charged and pointed language in portions or your report which appear to suggest TDHCA intentionally mismanaged its administration of the Texas NSP. In fact, TDHCA has acted in good faith and has always attempted to administer this program in a manner that complies with all applicable federal requirements and guidance.”

While home sales have improved in some markets nationwide, the New York Times reports that Realtors don’t see signs a full housing recovery anytime soon. That raises the stakes of a program centered on an aspect of the crisis to be managed the right way in Texas.

***
Contact Curt Olson at curt@texaswatchdog.org or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.

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Photo of the Housing and Urban Development building by flickr user nevermindtheend, used via a Creative Commons license.

After electric fee hike for solar flopped, state Rep. Drew Darby now wants to double vehicle registration fees for Texans
Thursday, Aug 23, 2012, 05:17PM CST
By Curt Olson
calculator

As if the harrowing experience of waiting in line to renew one’s license weren’t enough, state Rep. Drew Darby has floated a plan for Texas motorists to pay more than double the current rate for a vehicle registration.

The San Angelo Republican recently spoke to residents in Abilene and Big Spring, which is between Abilene and Midland on Interstate 20, to discuss what he describes as a crisis in transportation funding. At an invitation-only meeting at the Abilene Country Club, Darby recommended the state obtain $1.2 billion a year for roads by increasing vehicle registrations $60, to more than $110 a year, the Abilene Reporter News reports.

In Texas the annual registration for a typical vehicle costs $52.75, though counties can tack on as much as $11.50 to the bill.

Darby said raising the state gas tax rate from its current 20 cents per gallon is off the table. Along with raising vehicle registrations to get money to build roads in a state with a growing population, he said lawmakers have other funding options, including enacting permit fees for commercial vehicles using Texas roads and inspection fees for semis hauling from Mexico. He also wants to examine how overweight vehicles damage roads.

Darby plays a key role in the Texas House of Representatives on transportation issues. He serves as chairman of the House Appropriation Committee’s subcommittee on transportation funding matters, and he also is vice chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

Darby has a history of proposing ideas that take money out of taxpayers’ wallets. In April 2011, he sought $1.2 billion a year from a surcharge on every residential, commercial and industrial electric rate payer in Texas to subsidize solar power. House Bill 2961 never received a hearing in the House Committee on State Affairs.

Darby paints a grim picture of a static funding stream from state gas tax and vehicle registrations. The rates for both taxes have had no increase in more than 20 years, according to the Reporter News.

blockquote start
"We've issued about $17 billion in transportation improvement bonds, and those projects have been built and are being built today. We have chosen to move these projects forward, and we've basically issued a credit card, the state's credit card, and now all those bonds are out, and the credit card bill is due, plus interest. When you add the debt repayment and the interest and you keep the revenue stream relatively stagnant all these years, something's got to give, and in the year 2014 and beyond, there's no money for our Texas highway budget for any new roads in Texas."
bq end

The lawmaker told an audience in Big Spring that the state’s bonded debt has risen from $17 billion to $41 billion since 2001, the Big Spring Herald reported.

The apparent maxed out credit line as Darby said combined with no new road construction money being available in 2014, creates another significant budget issue for state lawmakers.

Add transportation to Medicaid and public education funding and the bucketful of water projects now on the radar because of the drought, and Texas lawmakers will have billion-dollar budget headaches in January.

***
Contact Curt Olson at curt@texaswatchdog.org or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.

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Photo of calculator by flickr user markhoekstra, used via a Creative Commons license.

Secrecy of Texas’ panel policing judges examined
Thursday, Aug 23, 2012, 04:21PM CST
By Steve Miller
gavel

David Swingle’s complaint about a judge last year was one of 1,119 filed with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. His case is outlined in the 6 pages he submitted to the commission, pages that will be most likely end up reviewed by the body’s 13-member board.

Those pages are not public as the commission is governed by judicial law with its own constitutional provisions. Even if the judge in question is sanctioned, as 3 percent of those accused of wrongdoing were last year, chances are that the meeting at which the merits of the case are discussed will be closed to the public.

In many cases, the name of the judge is withheld even when some culpability is found. Those cases are released by naming the offense but not the offender.

KERA in Dallas today offers its second part in a series on the commission, which came to the attention of state lawmakers when it refused to cooperate with a review by the state’s Sunset Advisory Commission earlier this year.

While most other states hold disciplinary meetings that are closed to the public, the idea that the sunset commission – charged with determining the efficacy of state government operations – would be denied access to meetings and records set off some alarms.

The sunset commission issued a caustic review of the situation, which led to a contentious meeting at the statehouse, which then led to a letter from the commission to the state Attorney General’s office, asking for a ruling that might allow the commission to review the records it seeks.

In the KERA series – first part here - Seana Willing, who is paid $110,000 a year as executive director of the judicial conduct commission, said that proceedings are cloaked because of the high number of “frivolous complaints.”

“Frankly, from my experience if we open this process up and let the public see what’s been filed against the judges they would come to the same realization and recognition I have, and that is we get a lot of frivolous complaints. And there are a lot of really good, honest, hard-working judges in this state. And the ones that aren’t, when they come to our attention, they’re taken care of.”

States have varying procedures for fielding judicial complaints, which are outlined here at the site of the American Judicature Society.

***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Photo of gavel by flickr user s_falkow, used via a Creative Commons license.

Foster care agency that lost tentative contract says problems cited by state have been addressed
Thursday, Aug 23, 2012, 03:29PM CST
By Mike Cronin
flag

A major Texas foster-care provider has expressed dismay and confusion over the state’s decision to withdraw a tentative contract, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

Department of Family and Protective Services officials decided to quash a possible agreement with Lutheran Social Services of the South, Inc., after reviewing recent problems at the Austin-based nonprofit’s foster homes including “inappropriate discipline, abuse and neglect, and unsafe environments,” according to the newspaper.

But Lutheran President Betsy Guthrie told the American-Statesman that department officials knew about those problems, and the steps that the nonprofit has taken to remedy them. Lutheran has worked with the state for about two decades.

"We don't want to throw the department under the bus, but I don't understand it," Guthrie told the newspaper.

Patrick Crimmins, the department’s spokesman, said the state conducted an appropriate review and the appropriate result occurred.

"Our view is that the process worked exactly as designed, and it was a process that Lutheran and all bidders agreed to," he told the newspaper.

Lutheran is “the largest provider of children’s residential services in Texas with 455 foster homes caring for more than 791 children daily,” according to its tax filing for 2010, the most recent year available.

Lutheran Social Services has had some high-profile troubles over the past year. In July 2011, Family and Protective Services stopped placing youth at the Nelson Children's Center in Denton, expressing concern that several children were hurt while being restrained. Lutheran closed the center shortly afterward.

In May, a 3-year-old boy in Laredo drowned in his foster family's pool.

Guthrie doesn't dispute the agency has had problems. What she takes issue with, she said, was the fact that Family and Protective Services never talked to Lutheran about the issues, considered the nonprofit's response to them or looked at the current violation trends before pulling the tentative contract.

Lutheran officials initiated more training for staffers and families and cut ties with more than two dozen families the agency thought were not performing well, a  Lutheran Social Services official told the American-Statesman.

***
Contact Mike Cronin at mike@texaswatchdog.org or 713-228-2850.  Follow him on Twitter @michaelccronon.

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Photo of 'Texas Flag' by flickr user M Glasgow, used via a Creative Commons license.

Taxpayer-funded nonprofit previously managed by Houston Councilman Larry V. Green has $1 million+ cash shortage, audit finds; view docs here
Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012, 05:09PM CST
By Mike Cronin
money

Between $1 million and $1.5 million is missing from a Houston nonprofit organization heavily subsidized by taxpayers, reports KHOU 11 News TV.

The financial review, conducted by the Houston-Galveston Area Council, prompted the government group not to renew its contract with HoustonWorks USA, an organization that helps the unemployed find jobs. The organization will shed jobs, going from 225 employees to 25 by the end of the year, the station reports.

Auditors also found the nonprofit is behind on its rent and other bills to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Houston City Councilman Larry V. Green, the nonprofit’s chief executive officer before leaving under a separation agreement earlier this summer, denied he was responsible for the missing money. He earned $179,000 in 2010, according to the organization’s tax filings.

“As you know we had about $800,000 debt prior to me getting in there,” Green told the TV station.

Which makes one wonder why Green would use the nonprofit’s charge card to buy and drinks and meals worth $145, $102 and $197. He also contributed HoustonWorks money to charities with which he has a connection. One example: $1,500 to sponsor the dessert served at a University of Houston Alumni Organization event.

“It’s business,” Green told KHOU. “It’s about business development. We were able to bring in $7 million and we were able to bring in new revenue to the organization.”

Much of that business comes courtesy of taxpayers. The group received almost $23.2 million in government grants in 2010 out of total revenue of $23.6 million, according to its tax form for that year.

You may read HoustonWorks formal response to the audit here.

***
Contact Mike Cronin at mike@texaswatchdog.org or 713-228-2850.  Follow him on Twitter @michaelccronon.

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Photo of 'Money to Burn' by flickr user Adam Cohn, used via a Creative Commons license.

26 UT System administrators, campus presidents may be in line for corporate-style incentive pay
Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012, 03:14PM CST
By Curt Olson
clocktower

One year after approving a strategy to improve accountability and productivity in the University of Texas System, regents could authorize a corporate-style incentive pay plan for 26 UT System administrators and campus presidents.

After all, if higher education must operate like a business, pay them accordingly, right?

UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa recommends that regents approve an incentive pay plan for the 15 campus presidents and 11 UT System administrators, giving them higher pay based on surpassing goals tied to saving money, research dollars, fundraising and graduation rates, the Austin American-Statesman reports. The plan is designed to gradually increase the percentage of their pay derived from performance goals. There’s no cap on that percentage.

While the UT System wouldn’t be the first university system in the nation to create such a pay plan, the proposal comes after reports this spring that Texas already has some of the highest-paid higher education leaders in the nation.

For the salary and total compensation of all higher ed administrators in Texas, read this report from the Legislative Budget Board.

Critics of higher education have targeted administrative bloat, the lack of productivity of tenured faculty, the record debt of about $1 trillion for college graduates nationally, and poor results in college student learning.

Would the bonus system do anything to address those criticisms? By one testing measure, UT Austin students do no better than their peers at other institutions by demonstrating no marked improvement between freshman and senior years, the Washington Post reported. Perhaps the 15 UT System campus presidents should have some measure of accountability for these results, as well as when learning outcomes improve.

Americans grew accustomed to well-paid corporate executives when times were good. If they make the company profitable, give them incentive pay.

However, Americans have witnessed some real head scratchers involving performance pay when companies received bailouts. One of the more famous ones in recent years was the controversy over bonuses paid to American International Group executives after the company crashed and received a taxpayer bailout.

So it might be worthwhile to put safeguards in this UT executive performance-pay plan if events don’t go as planned.

***
Contact Curt Olson at curt@texaswatchdog.org or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.

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Photo of UT's Main Building by flickr user ThisIsNotApril, used via a Creative Commons license.

‘Daunting task’ for state monitor of El Paso school district in moving past cheating scandal
Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012, 01:33PM CST
By Mike Cronin
elapse

A monitor appointed by the Texas Education Agency will oversee the El Paso Independent School District’s steps to overcome a cheating scandal perpetrated by the former superintendent.

“It is a daunting task,” Judy Castleberry told the El Paso Times. Castleberry previously served as a state monitor for the Dallas Independent School District. A San Antonio resident, she also is a former executive director of that city’s Region 20 Education Service Center in San Antonio.

“It's a big task, and if I can have a small part in it and students will be better served because of that, then I'm pleased,” Castleberry told the Times, while describing El Paso public schools as “a system that’s broken.”

Former Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia pleaded guilty in June to fraud and directing a contract to a mistress. He and other district leaders received raises due to the cheating. School board members blamed the state’s open meetings laws for their failure to get information from the district’s internal auditor.

Trustees further outraged the public by allowing a task force with the responsibility to address the district’s problems to hold its first meeting in secret. Half of the task force members showed up for the first meeting, and two members resigned, the El Paso Times reported.

The state earlier this month put the district’s accreditation on probation.

Castleberry will visit the district periodically and “attend at least one school board meeting a month to determine whether the district is making progress in correcting systemic failures that led to its cheating scandal,” the newspaper reported.

From the El Paso Times:

When she is not in El Paso, Castleberry said, she will have daily contact with interim Superintendent Terri Jordan and other administrators and will watch a live stream of school board meetings online.

Castleberry will submit reports on the district's progress to the state education agency at the end of every month.

She will submit her first report at the end of September.

After reviewing a report, the state will send the document to Jordan, who will distribute it to trustees.

Those reports will be subject to the state Public Information Act, so anyone can request a copy from the Texas Education Agency.

The monitor will earn $75 an hour and receive travel reimbursement on the district’s dime. The TEA will assess the situation every three months.

Other state sanctions include:

  • An independent examination of what allowed the cheating to occur.
  • The hiring of an outside organization to oversee administration and security of standardized testing this academic year.
  • Training of district officials and trustees to prevent comparable violations that would be conducted by an independent company.

***
Contact Mike Cronin at mike@texaswatchdog.org or 713-228-2850.  Follow him on Twitter @michaelccronon.

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Photo of 'Amtrak Station El Paso Texas' by flickr user Loco Steve, used via a Creative Commons license.

Former Texas state official Phil Sims focus of document dump in Alabama mayor’s race
Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012, 11:11AM CST
By Steve Miller
wikileaks

National politics demands the WikiLeaks-styled assault that features past disorders and foul-ups, ever more relying on records and other documents.

But in small towns around the U.S., there is apparently a place for such things as well. Like the mayor’s race in Pinson, Ala., where court documents and minutes from a meeting in Anahuac, Texas were posted last week on a Pinson newspaper’s Web site.

The material dealt with current Pinson mayoral candidate Phil Sims and his tenure over two decades ago as city administrator of Anahuac, which is about an hour east of Houston. It also outlined how Sims was dismissed from his job and in 1991 filed a lawsuit for breach of contract and unlawful discharge. Some of the posting is here.

The documents, according to the newspaper, were received anonymously, and the reaction to the posting was mostly negative, accusing the paper of shading the race. In response to the stream of criticism on its Facebook site, the newspaper wrote that the package with the documents “had no return address.”

“Look, I'm only going to post on this one time,” someone at the paper wrote. “There's no agenda, [the newspaper] has a responsibility to inform the public of information regarding potential city leaders who have a history pertaining to city business.”

The town, population 7,163 in the 2010 census, was clearly not ready for such an airing of old public records, although a case could be made for the outing of all information in a political contest of any type.

Ironically, Sims, who was at one time Governor’s Ombudsman to Texas Gov. George W. Bush, is running on a platform that includes transparency.

We receive thick envelopes of material on a regular basis. Much of it is heartbreaking, tales of people trying to find a way to rectify battles with medical insurance, settle estates and tough battles with law enforcement and the courts. Sometimes you see it here after we have corroborated it with records requests and/or research of our own.

The Pinson newspaper has a case that the public should know, although a story should always accompany such a publishing in order to get a response from the affected parties. Otherwise, it is a simple document dump a la WikiLeaks.

***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Wikileaks logo from the Wikileaks website.

Austin-area homeowners won’t see tax break if bevy of government entities have their way
Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012, 04:47PM CST
By Curt Olson
broke

About 10,000 property owners in northeastern Travis County face the possibility over the next two years of five taxing jurisdictions raising tax rates in addition to possible higher electric rates and other fees from Austin utilities.

People with homes or businesses in the Pflugerville school district, Central Health, City of Austin, Travis County and Austin Community College could see a combined 14.67-cent rate increase per $100 of assessed value the next two years, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

Pflugerville’s increase to pay off debt and Central Health’s increase to fund some operations of a proposed medical school require voter approval while the others don’t.

Under unchanged tax rates and current decreased property values, the average property owner in this area would see an tax break of $129. Increasing tax rates change the personal finance dynamics and approval of Central Health’s plan would raise taxes $100 on certain taxpayers come January 2014, the Statesman reported. Meanwhile, the value of commercial property has risen 9.1 percent, to $2.8 million from $2.54 million, which will raise that tax burden even higher.

Tax rate hikes may be compounded by Austin Energy’s rate hike in October and other Austin utilities that serve these residents and businesses also hiking rates for water, sewer and trash removal.

The following are the planned tax rate increases per $100 of assessed valuation in question for these Austin area residents, as the Statesman reports:

  • Pflugerville school district’s 6 cents is on the ballot.
  • Central Health’s 5 cents is on the ballot for bills due January 2014.
  • Austin proposes 2.18 cents.
  • Travis County proposes 1.46 cents.
  • Austin Community College proposes 0.03 cents.

The $385 million bond issue on the ballot for libraries, roads, housing and other projects in Austin would not raise Austin’s debt portion of the tax rate, the Statesman reports.

The quintuple hit of taxes leaves some current residents considering their options.

"Talking with my friends in some of the nearby cities about all the taxes here in Austin makes me want to get out,” as the Statesman quoted Dan Repich, who lives in the area in question.

Odds are, he’s not alone.

***
Contact Curt Olson at curt@texaswatchdog.org or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.

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Photo of 'Broke' by flickr user Phoney Nickle, used via a Creative Commons license.

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Gov. Abbott mistakes incarceration smell for "freedom" Governor Greg Abbott made a speech in Bell County recently declaring that, as one drove north out of Austin, one could notice a different...
Update:2 years 3 months
Grits for Breakfast
Unanswered questions about law-of-parties beyond death penalty In our podcast the other day, Texas Defender Service Executive Director Amanda Marzullo estimated that 10 percent of death-row defendants...
Update:2 years 3 months
Grits for Breakfast
Priorities The headline from the Victoria Advocate declaring that the Texas Legislature prioritized mental health treatment over incarceration is...
Update:2 years 3 months
Grits for Breakfast
Legislative Session The 85th Legislative Session was different in many ways. Two things changed the narrative this session. First, Empower Texans successfully...
Update:2 years 3 months
Big Jolly Politics
Court trends advise tempered enthusiasm for HB 34 eyewitness ID reforms Does this sound like a suggestive photo array to put before a witness?A witness described being robbed at gunpoint by a “[b]lack male,...
Update:2 years 3 months
Grits for Breakfast
MAY 22, 2917 / Theodore Dalrymple on secularization and transcendence THE SECULARIZATION of Europe is hardly any secret. Religion's long, melancholy, withdrawing roar, as Matthew Arnold put it, is a roar no...
Update:2 years 4 months
Unca Darrell
MAY 10 / James B. Comey . . . . . . needed firing. Everything he did during the 2016 election was wrong. He was wrong . . . . . . back in July to release information...
Update:2 years 4 months
Unca Darrell
Droppin' F bombs, Beto O'Rourke style It's not often that a politician decides to start cursing repeatedly during speeches and interviews. But that hasn't stopped...
Update:2 years 5 months
Rick Perry vs The World
APRIL 5, 2017 / Weeding out the audience at the Alley is . . . . . . a feature, not a bug. Houston's Alley Theatre is running "An Act of God," a loosely dramatized collection of irreverent one-liners...
Update:2 years 5 months
Unca Darrell
Statewide primary rumors It's that stage of the election cycle where politicians are trying to figure out if they should run for something else or stay put. ...
Update:2 years 6 months
Rick Perry vs The World
Is Ted Cruz vulnerable? Is Ted Cruz vulnerable? Not really. Sure, he's not liked, Texans think Ted puts Ted first, his approval rating is upside down, etc...
Update:2 years 6 months
Rick Perry vs The World
MARCH 16, 2017 / Jim Webb on what it means to be a redneck, and . . . . . . why redneck culture matters. In 2004 Jim Webb wrote Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America. Though the 2016 presidential...
Update:2 years 6 months
Unca Darrell
MARCH 3, 2017 -- Goodbye, and thanks, to Thomas Sowell THOMAS SOWELL, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and one of America's most important public intellectuals, retired from...
Update:2 years 7 months
Unca Darrell
March 2, 2017 / The poem our teachers got wrong TWO ROADS diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Generations of commencement...
Update:2 years 7 months
Unca Darrell
FEBRUARY 27 / Eric Hoffer on . . . . . . baby boomers and alienated intellectuals. "SCRATCH AN INTELLECTUAL, and you find a would-be aristocrat who loathes the sight, the...
Update:2 years 7 months
Unca Darrell
2017 Project: January “Progress” There are two different ways to interpret my 2017 project: that it's a way more complicated New Years Resolution, or that it is essentially...
Update:2 years 8 months
Greg's Opinion
Ted Cruz's first senate term in a nutshell The National Review's Tim Alberta switched to Politico, and one of his opening pieces put Ted Cruz's first term in a nutshell It...
Update:2 years 8 months
Rick Perry vs The World
Andrea Parquet-Taylor named KTVT CBS 11 news director Former KHOU 11 assistant news director Andrea Parquet-Taylor named Vice President, News Director for KTVT CBS 11 Andrea...
Update:2 years 8 months
Mike McGuff
VIDEO: KPRC 2 10pm newscast (1-24-99) ...
Update:2 years 8 months
Mike McGuff
Democrats actually thought Wendy Davis was a serious candidate? Hat tip to Willisms: VIDEO- Wendy Davis being Wendy Davis: https://t.co/SHq3ACGVDJ #txlege— Will Franklin (@WILLisms) January 24,...
Update:2 years 8 months
Rick Perry vs The World
Luke Bryan to sing National Anthem as part of Super Bowl LI on FOX ​ Country music superstar LUKE BRYAN will sing the National Anthem as part of Super Bowl LI pregame festivities at NRG Stadium in Houston...
Update:2 years 8 months
Mike McGuff
Tweets
Karen Townsend | 7 years 4 months
"Patrick F. Kennedy is a career foreign service officer" - http://t.co/GOrCe0IS
Peter Corbett ✈ | 7 years 4 months
I'm at McCarran International Airport (LAS) w/ @almacy http://t.co/KvmId07i
KERA Public Media | 7 years 4 months
TONIGHT at 7pm on KERA TV: Presidential Debate: Learn more at PBS NewsHour. http://t.co/Z9kYdun8
PBS MediaShift | 7 years 4 months
Tech Snafus Make Bill O'Reilly/Jon Stewart 'Rumble' More of a Stumble http://t.co/4OfeBlrG (@kegill | @pbsmediashift) #rumble2012
Will Sullivan | 7 years 4 months
Great addition, been burned too much by bad subs. "Google Play Announces Free Trials For In-App Subscription Services" http://t.co/TOLgRVak
TxDOT | 7 years 4 months
I-35W/North Tarrant Express #constantcontact http://t.co/QDzrQumu
keyetv | 7 years 4 months
Serial shotgun robbers suspects arrested. http://t.co/ka8T4U9B
Karen Townsend | 7 years 4 months
Aren't State Dept career people suppose to be non-partisan? Not the political appointees, the career people. #Libya
San Antonio Current | 7 years 4 months
Go ahead, chalk it up http://t.co/YMWpC5wM #satx #chalkitup
Caller.com | 7 years 4 months
Scanner: Bathroom on fire in 600 block of Virginia, CC fire dept. on the way
Ballotpedia | 7 years 4 months
Does your state offer early voting? Do you qualify? Find out! #election2012 http://t.co/eodxBYVD
Dallas Morning News | 7 years 4 months
Why a Dallas-area cycling coach believed Lance Armstrong was drug-free (video) http://t.co/gURdYkj1
Caller.com | 7 years 4 months
Dozens of illegal waste dumpers sentenced in Jim Wells Co.; others on the run: http://t.co/NgerCdsQ
Karen Townsend | 7 years 4 months
Consistently impressed w/raullabrador when I listen to him in Congressional hearings. #Libya
Cory Crow | 7 years 4 months
Diigo: United raises fares by up to $10 per round trip - Business - http://t.co/kWY8gwPV http://t.co/bw25JP5R
News 4 WOAI | 7 years 4 months
If you see news in or around San Antonio 'SEND IT' to @NEWS4WOAI here: http://t.co/uMqbMXQv OR email us at: NEWSDESK@WOAITV.COM
swamplot | 7 years 4 months
Mining Houston Garbage for Recycling and Compost Gold http://t.co/HMMBArMX
swamplot | 7 years 4 months
Daily Demolition Report: Tulane Highway http://t.co/JXmkSx11
KFDA NewsChannel10 | 7 years 4 months
Obama and Romney: Where they stand on the issues http://t.co/y3VrPfkM
Williamson County | 7 years 4 months
Mental Health Awareness Week FREE Webinar:"Understanding Depression-How to Help You or a Loved One" Thurs,Oct 11@1pm-https://t.co/YUWi19WY
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