in Houston, Texas
Texas windstorm agency withholds records that would shed light on consultant costs
Wednesday, Dec 05, 2012, 01:19PM CST
By Lee Ann O'Neal
Hurricane Ike

A state agency so troubled that regulators took it over is complaining the costs of that oversight have become burdensome.

The $6.4 million a year, in part for outside consultants charged with helping turn around the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, is a “sore subject” for board members of the agency and state lawmakers, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports. The agency’s general manager, John Polak, points out that TWIA has no control over the hiring of those consultants and so cannot be held responsible for those costs.

Board members must have forgotten the fears of insolvency and allegations of mismanagement that led to oversight in the first place. All this outside meddling was brought about by the agency’s own bungling of claims following Hurricane Ike, which brought charges of fraud and a torrent of lawsuits.

Ongoing litigation costs stemming from Ike are expected to reach $2.5 billion, the paper reports -- or nearly 400 times the annual cost of the management consultants, who have recommended a restructuring of TWIA, reviewed legal bills and given legal advice to the board.

While board members are miffed about the mounting consultants’ costs, their agency could help shed some light on them by releasing invoices sought by the paper for Alvarez & Marsal, the costliest consultant of them all. TWIA joins the North Texas Tollway Authority, Lehman Brothers and the Central Bank of Cyprus on the firm’s client list.

But as one board member put it: “I still wonder what we are getting for the money.”

TWIA has appealed the newspaper’s request to the attorney general, saying the information may be proprietary -- a common but flawed argument when private companies do the public’s business.

Records released so far list six-figure costs for vague reasons like “special projects” and “additional services.”

By releasing the records swiftly and in full, TWIA would take a step toward rebuilding the public trust and maybe, just maybe, eventually being allowed to operate on its own.

***
Contact Lee Ann O’Neal at 713-980-9777 or leeann@texaswatchdog.org.

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Photo of Hurricane Ike by flickr user NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, used via a Creative Commons license.

Personnel records - like those of 4 fired Denton County prosecutors - key to keeping eye on government
Monday, Aug 20, 2012, 01:44PM CST
By Steve Miller
files

When four prosecutors from the Denton County District Attorney’s office were fired in June, the Denton Record-Chronicle filed an open records request for their personnel files.

On the 10th day after it received the July 2 request, Denton County, in accordance with the law, told the newspaper that it would ask for a ruling from the AG’s office.

But after the newspaper ran a story July 7 on the terminations, without the information from the files, the county withdrew its request for a ruling from the state. On July 24, it provided the records to the newspaper, which recounts the saga here.

Did the county stall as a tactic to obscure the story?

“The attorney general’s opinion was sought on the 10th day after the request, which is the deadline day,” notes a DRC piece dated Saturday. “The request was withdrawn July 24, the deadline day for filing a brief defending the arguments to withhold the files with the attorney general’s office. That gave the story the longest possible time to cool. But (the DA’s spokesperson Jamie Beck) said that was not the intention of her office.

“I can assure you that there was no deliberate attempt to use the open-records laws to circumvent releasing the records in a timely way,” she said.

Personnel records are public records, as has been decided numerous times by the state Attorney General’s office, with restrictions. These records are key to keeping the public informed as to just how the employees it pays are hired and fired, as well as just who these people are. Most people hired by a publicly-funded entity are informed that some of their information is public.

The Bandera County Courier used personnel records to shed light on a tangled mess leading up to the termination of a former sheriff’s deputy, Mario Hernandez.

The Courier has been crusading for months to obtain the details of a settlement made between the county and Hernandez.

It has apparently given up finding out the details -- the details of a legal settlement are well-protected in most states, even when they involve public employees.

Big stories have been broken via open records requests for personnel information; witness the case of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, which handed over a Ford pickup truck and thousands of dollars to a couple of canned employees. The story was launched initially by a couple of tips, then this paragraph in an open records request:

All records, letters, correspondence and other communication related to the resignation or termination of Reggie Warren and Bill Knarr. This would include memos, emails, letters of resignation or other orders to Knarr and Warren regarding the end of their employment from TWIA.

The story led to a legislative investigation and the state takeover of the agency.

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

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Photo of file cabinet by flickr user shawnogram, used via a Creative Commons license.

TWIA shows improvement in claims handling, auditor finds in sixth review since late 2008
Friday, Aug 03, 2012, 12:04PM CST
By Mark Lisheron
ike

The sixth time is the charm. Sort of.

In the sixth external review since December 2008, the Texas Auditor found improvement and room for improvement in the way the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association handles storm damage claims, a new report says.

The Insurance Association has been under new executive management since April 2011 and its administration is under state oversight. The performance of the Association has been tracked carefully over the past two years by Texas Watchdog in stories like this, this and this.

In 39 cases audited at random from 88,408 payments made in 24,411 claims from Jan. 1 through March 31 the Windstorm Insurance Association showed marked improvement in speed and accuracy of the handling of the claims, the report says.

Nearly 60 percent, or 50,466 of those payments, totalling $25.2 million, went to lawyers in lawsuits over $333.7 million in claims, the report says.

The Auditor, however, found 14 out of 32 of the random claims had been made without the approval of a supervisor. In four of eight claims, additional living expenses in the claims were not paid for between two to four years. In two cases, payments were made twice.

***
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Photo of Hurricane Ike via NASA.

Code name for Schlitterbahn tax break in meeting notice violated state law, transparency lawyer says
Tuesday, May 08, 2012, 02:09PM CST
By Steve Miller
water park

A Corpus Christi economic development board used a code name for a massive project in a public meeting notice last week, a practice that one transparency hawk describes as a violation of state law but the board attorney claims is in keeping with the rules.

The Corpus Christi Business and Job Development Corp. met Friday to discuss a tax break for a new water park, Schlitterbahn. But the meeting agenda referred to an executive session discussion of “Project Chika,” a name unknown to the public but instead a code name for the water park project.

"It's deliberately meant to throw people off the tracks," transparency lawyer Joe Larsen told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. "It's something the public has a high interest in so it should have a specific agenda item."

Assistant City Attorney Charlotte Yochem told the newspaper, "It's a protection of confidential information with businesses who are looking to locate in our area and are interested in incentives.”

Either way, the public was not aware of the agenda item much like the public was misled two years ago by the University of Houston as it hid its negotiations to purchase and shutter the Rice University student-run radio station, KTRU. The call letters of the popular free-form station were never mentioned in public meeting postings for the UH Board of Regents.

The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association obscured the identity of the sole finalist for general manager last year by referring to him in an open meeting as "candidate number four."

The president and CEO of Schlitterbahn, Gary L. Henry, is a prolific businessman based in New Braunfels. Among his other enterprises is an operation that makes waterpark rides and a series of real estate, resort and constructions firms.

The company has been rapidly expanding, helped by $5 million in tax breaks agreed to by the Corpus board.

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

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Photo 'uphill slide' by flickr user sandwichgirl, used via a Creative Commons license.

Texas Watchdog wins investigative award for coverage of the state’s windstorm agency
Monday, Feb 20, 2012, 11:50AM CST
By Trent Seibert
ribbons

Texas Watchdog’s reporting on the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association by Steve Miller was selected as a winner in the 2011 Best in Business journalism contest, sponsored by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

We won for investigative work on a digital platform. Other winners in our category included ProPublica and the Center for Public Integrity.

We have one of the best investigative news desks in the country looking at state and local government. Not only is this another national award for us, but Texas Watchdog’s work got results that helped homeowners and taxpayers.

Miller’s reporting provided information that guided legislators in fixing this flawed quasi-governmental agency, which serves as the home insurer of last resort for Texans. And his work resulted in more transparency in a once hidden place where business people and politicians often cut deals in secret.

Looking back at the body of work, it’s pretty impressive.

Our reporting found:

  • Wealthy, prominent plaintiff’s lawyer Steve Mostyn --- whose law firm pounced on the agency following Hurricane Ike for allegedly short-changing clients affected by that 2008 storm --- gave $25,000 to the mediator in a multimillion-dollar settlement days after he was selected. The mediator was Republican state Rep. Todd Hunter, of Corpus Christi, long praised by the tort reform movement; Mostyn, the Democratic lawyer giving him this donation, was the incoming head of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association and the largest political donor to Texas campaigns.
  • The agency had disregarded sunshine laws. The agency used code language in an open meeting to obscure the substance of the discussion, initially refused to provide a call-in number to an open meeting conducted by teleconference, and slow-walked the release of records showing the agency’s finalists for general manager.

Other winners in Texas were the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for its coverage of the American Airlines bankruptcy and columns by that paper’s Mitchell Schnurman. The SABEW also selected the Houston Chronicle’s TechBlog as a winner.

Awards will be presented March 17 in Indianapolis at the society's annual conference.

***
Contact Trent Seibert at 832-316-4994 or trent@texaswatchdog.org or on Twitter at @trentseibert.

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us onTwitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo of ribbons by flickr user 
Susan Ujka Larson Collection, used via a Creative Commons license.

State calls for restructuring of Texas windstorm agency; see TWIA problems outlined by Texas Watchdog
Friday, Feb 17, 2012, 07:35PM CST
By Steve Miller
Galveston

The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association is no longer a viable institution as the insurer of last resort, the state insurance czar Eleanor Kitzman announced late Friday, and she will begin a search to overhaul the agency.

Kitzman, an appointee of Gov. Rick Perry who took the job as Texas insurance commissioner in August, said in a press release that TWIA was “supposed to be the market of last resort for the 14 coastal counties that comprise Tier 1, but that is not the case anymore." TWIA's market share has tripled from 17.9 percent in 2001 to 57.2 percent in 2010, “and it continues to grow.”

TWIA was put into receivership in February 2011 after a stream of stories by Texas Watchdog, outlining six-figure payouts to state lawmakers in legal cases involving TWIA, six-figure severance payments to fired employees and an inability to handle a spate of lawsuits, including a massive settlement pushed along after an eyebrow-raising $25,000 campaign contribution to the state lawmaker serving as mediator. Also see this Texas Watchdog story about TWIA's failure to address fraud in its ranks.

A criminal fraud investigation by the Travis County District Attorney’s office is ongoing.

In her prepared announcement, Kitzman continued, “On July 1, 2008, TWIA had 247 open claims; 90 days and two storms later, it had over 65,000 claims and was simply overwhelmed. A fundamental restructuring of TWIA is necessary to address these and other operational issues.”

The agency issued a request for proposal in order to begin the restructuring of the agency. A spokeman for the Texas Department of Insurance declined to elaborate.

According to the proposal, TDI will appoint a group of TWIA stakeholders – qualifications for that panel will be announced soon -  to review the responses. No one who has had business dealing with TWIA in the past four years or "received payment from TWIA in any capacity” will be considered.

The process will, at least on its face, be transparent. A clause in the RFP reads, “All RFP responses become the property of TDI and may be subject to release to any requester under the provisions of the Texas Public Information Act, Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code, and Attorney General Opinions issued under that statute.”

Responses to the RFP are due March 15, and the consultant is expected to be named by April 1. A June 1 date is the target for a preliminary report on how to move forward without TWIA as the public knows it.

Interim TWIA General Manager John Polak did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

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

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo of damage following Hurricane Ike by flickr user simminch, used via a Creative Commons license.

Creative Commons License
Like this story? Then steal it. This report by Texas Watchdog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. That means bloggers, citizen-journalists, and journalists may republish the story on their sites with attribution and a link to Texas Watchdog. If you do re-use the story, e-mail news@texaswatchdog.org.

Texas windstorm agency hires firm to help decide on rate increase; view TWIA docs here
Thursday, Jan 26, 2012, 03:24PM CST
By Mark Lisheron
map Ike

The board of directors for the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association this morning hired an actuarial firm to help the board decide on a rate increase for its policyholders.

With an actuarial staff already in-house, TWIA board members called on Merlinos & Associates, a Georgia company, to act as “another set of eyes,” as it considers what, if any, rate increase is necessary.

Windstorm Insurance Association officials Thursday afternoon were trying to provide Texas Watchdog with the estimated cost of retaining the services of Merlinos. The cost of the additional study is not included in the request for proposal issued by the board in December.

The troubled quasi-state agency has already gotten advice from its own actuary calling for rate increases, objected to by Rep.Larry Taylor. Taylor, R-Friendswood, was in the forefront of a move to make major reforms in the way the Windstorm Insurance Association does business.

In a letter to Association Chairman Mike Gerik, Taylor said hiring Merlinos was redundant.

“Rather than spending policy holder monies on services the association seems already inclined to act upon, I suggest the board focus on real matters that have become the largest drain on the association's budget, that of outrageous and questionable legal bills,” Taylor wrote.

“Let me be clear, I find it unreasonable for a board to continuously seek rate increases while failing to halt out-of-control spending on defense attorneys and plaintiffs’ firms for damages on policies that should have been paid fairly and promptly from day one of the claim being filed. I believe it is incumbent upon the Board to get TWIA’s own house in order before you seek additional rate increases.”

***
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Map by NOAA.

Creative Commons License
Like this story? Then steal it. This report by Texas Watchdog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. That means bloggers, citizen-journalists, and journalists may republish the story on their sites with attribution and a link to Texas Watchdog. If you do re-use the story, e-mail news@texaswatchdog.org.

Mind-boggling redactions at TWIA: State windstorm agency's well-paid attorneys purge 'on,' 'and,' other such words from open records
Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012, 11:35AM CST
By Steve Miller
TWIA graphic

Open records lawyers for the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association toiled for hours writing up a challenge to an open records request that was largely unsuccessful.

But the records they fought to withhold were often single words, including “re,” “and,” “draft” and “on.”

The newly released records also include correspondence to former employee Bill Tassin, who was fired in July. In a letter to TWIA from Tassin’s lawyer, he alleges his firing violated TWIA policy.

Tassin had moved to Austin from Lafayette, La., to work for TWIA. Tassin still represents himself as a TWIA employee.

But most records showed very little change and nothing apparent that would compromise or violate the state’s open records laws.

For example, this newly released version of billing from law firm Mitchell Williams simply includes the words, “with implementation amendment” and shows preparation for a meeting with the “lieutenant governor’s staff and senate business and commerce committee.”

The words, “redraft of amendments for” are also added, as well as “and review of latest draft of” regarding a meeting with interim General Manager John Polak.

In another revised document, also billing for Mitchell Williams, the words “with draft” are added, as well as the phrase “and revision of.”

Based on records, it takes nearly three hours, at $545 an hour, for the Vinson & Elkins law firm to draft a request for an open records letter ruling from the attorney general. Following a ruling, lawyers spend more ratepayer-supported time excising the redactions from the documents. The agency spent $415,000 on open records legal fees between November 2010 and October.
 
***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Photo of boat by flickr user Linda_Bisset, used via a Creative Commons license.

Creative Commons License
Like this story? Then steal it. This report by Texas Watchdog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. That means bloggers, citizen-journalists, and journalists may republish the story on their sites with attribution and a link to Texas Watchdog. If you do re-use the story, e-mail news@texaswatchdog.org.

Texas windstorm agency must release billing records, correspondence, says Attorney General
Wednesday, Jan 11, 2012, 03:21PM CST
By Steve Miller
ike

The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association must surrender a number of documents it has battled for months to withhold, the state Attorney General’s office has ruled.

Texas Watchdog requested on Oct. 5 details of travel for interim general manager John Polak, legal bills from Austin lawyer Burnie Burner, a list of employees terminated by TWIA between specified dates, and certain letters and other communication between TWIA and the Texas Department of Insurance, which took over the association in February.

The information received did not fully comply with the request; the detailed legal invoices sought were not provided, which would tell the public exactly what Burner, who was retained under murky circumstances, was doing.

“We’re not mind readers,” TWIA counsel Susan Banowsky replied when questioned about the omission of these records.

In an effort to lend clarity, Watchdog submitted a second request Oct. 19 for some of the same information, this time asking also for records regarding Banowsky’s work: How much was TWIA, and by extension the insured property owners, shelling out to contest the public’s inquiries into its dealings?

The records that were provided told this story. Banowsky is paid $545 an hour for her work processing open records requests and frequently writing legal appeals seeking to withhold documents.

The association appealed the disclosure of a number of other records asked for in both requests. This back-and-forth is what's known as a request for an open records letter ruling.

TWIA sought to withhold information under the basic of state government legal passages, including the catch-all confidential statute and one relating to litigation, 552.101 and 552.103.

It also cited 552.111 relating to interagency memos, which, given the upheaval and, hopefully, repair being done at the agency, would certainly be of compelling public interest. For parts of the other information sought, TWIA cited lawyer-client privilege and attorney work product privilege.

The AG's office rebuffed most of those arguments.

At numerous points in the letter ruling, the AG's office notes that TWIA counsel has “failed to demonstrate” assertions made regarding records.

“Some of the information you have marked does not indicate it was actually communicated,” the ruling says, regarding some documents that were claimed to be exempt because they were between the association and the association's outside legal counsel.

“You have failed to identify some of the parties to the communications in the submitted attorney fee bills,” the ruling also states.

At one point, the association sought to withhold communications with TDI and information shared with TDI regardings its examination and oversight of TWIA under chapter 401 of the state insurance code.

“The present request is for information held by the association, not the department,” the ruling states. "The association has not explained how or why section 401.058 would be applicable to information in its possession.”

The association was allowed to withhold some information relating to a pending lawsuit against a former TWIA employee, Bill Tassin, who left in July after working there for 10 months.

“We note, however, once the information at issue has been obtained by all parties to the anticipated litigation through discovery or otherwise, no … interest exists with respect to the information," the AG writes. "Thus, any information at issue that has either been obtained from or provided to all opposing parties in the anticipated litigation is not excepted from (disclosure).”

TWIA has demonstrated a tenuous relationship with the state’s transparency laws, both the open meetings and open records provisions.

Much of the trouble that led to the state takeover began with an e-mail regarding the firing of two employees, Reggie Warren and Bill Knarr. "Resigned" is how TWIA put it. We knew otherwise, and the situation was much more involved as it turned out. Read our story about that by clicking here.
 

We look forward to receiving the records that the AG has deemed public and relaying them to readers here.
***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Photo of Hurricane Ike from NASA.
Weekend Watchdog: Catch up this weekend on the best of Texas Watchdog’s reports filed this week
Friday, Dec 02, 2011, 11:05AM CST
By Trent Seibert
reading

Looking for some weekend reading? 

We’re starting a Friday feature that looks back at some of Texas Watchdog’s best work from the past week. If you missed some of our daily or featured reports, here they are, so you can get in some relaxing reading this Saturday and Sunday.

We’re also going to include in future Weekend Watchdog reports some of the best citizen journalism from around the state. Keep your eyes open, and e-mail suggestions to news@texaswatchdog.org or trent@texaswatchdog.org.

Here’s your Weekend Watchdog:

Special taxing districts - like the Montrose Management District in Houston - proliferate


You may have seen Texas Watchdog reporter Steve Miller's story this week on a Houston taxing district that just won't go away -- and its deep connections to Mayor Annise Parker.

It's not the only one. Special taxing districts are all over the state, and they're a major growth industry in Texas.

Read the full story here

Univ. of Texas professor wants creationist group off charities list


University of Texas Prof. David Hillis wants the State Employee Charitable Campaign to drop the Institute for Creation Research from its donations list.

It seems Hillis was browsing the Charitable Campaign website when he happened upon the Dallas non-profit, which boasts on the site that "science strongly supports the Bible's authority and accuracy."

But what about all the other charities that support a particular world view that are on the list?

Read the full story here

Public pension liabilities at $28,000 per household in Dallas: Study


The average Dallas family carries an added liability and debt burden of more than $28,000 because the city and state aren't fully funding the city's pension plan for its employees and retirees. And Dallas is a relative bright spot.

Read the full story here

Prez hopefuls - Gov. Rick Perry included - offer little to choose from on transparency


Are the presidential hopefuls champions for open government? They say they are, but their actions tell a different story -- and that includes Rick Perry.

Read the full story here

Texas state senator floats proposal for more state senators


Texas needs more state senators, an Amarillo state senator says. If you took the senator's thinking further, to the federal level, the U.S. Senate would get a boost of between 120 and 445 members.

Read the full story here

Texas windstorm agency plans for raises totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars


Department chiefs at the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association have been told to budget for an average of 3 percent pay increases at the troubled agency, which was taken over by the state in February when it was deemed unfit to carry on with business.

Read the full story here

Taxpayers foot $970,000 bill for celebrity chef's smokehouse on the Trinity River


Despite Local businesses in Fort Worth are chafing over a deal the city handed celebrity chef Time Love, whose $970,000 restaurant was paid for by taxpayers.

 


Read the full story here

 ***
Contact Trent Seibert at trent@texaswatchdog.org or 832-316-4994 or on Twitter at @trentseibert or@texaswatchdog.

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpaceDiggFriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo of ‘Sunday Reading' by flickr user fdrca'n'dave, used via a Creative Commons license.

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Priorities The headline from the Victoria Advocate declaring that the Texas Legislature prioritized mental health treatment over incarceration is...
Update:2 years 8 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 8 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 8 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 9 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 9 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 11 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 11 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 11 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 11 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 11 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:3 years 1 week
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:3 years 1 week
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:3 years 1 week
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:3 years 1 month
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:3 years 1 month
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:3 years 1 month
Mike McGuff
VIDEO: KPRC 2 10pm newscast (1-24-99) ...
Update:3 years 1 month
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:3 years 1 month
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:3 years 1 month
Mike McGuff
Tweets
Karen Townsend | 7 years 9 months
"Patrick F. Kennedy is a career foreign service officer" - http://t.co/GOrCe0IS
Peter Corbett ✈ | 7 years 9 months
I'm at McCarran International Airport (LAS) w/ @almacy http://t.co/KvmId07i
KERA Public Media | 7 years 9 months
TONIGHT at 7pm on KERA TV: Presidential Debate: Learn more at PBS NewsHour. http://t.co/Z9kYdun8
PBS MediaShift | 7 years 9 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 9 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 9 months
I-35W/North Tarrant Express #constantcontact http://t.co/QDzrQumu
keyetv | 7 years 9 months
Serial shotgun robbers suspects arrested. http://t.co/ka8T4U9B
Karen Townsend | 7 years 9 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 9 months
Go ahead, chalk it up http://t.co/YMWpC5wM #satx #chalkitup
Caller.com | 7 years 9 months
Scanner: Bathroom on fire in 600 block of Virginia, CC fire dept. on the way
Ballotpedia | 7 years 9 months
Does your state offer early voting? Do you qualify? Find out! #election2012 http://t.co/eodxBYVD
Dallas Morning News | 7 years 9 months
Why a Dallas-area cycling coach believed Lance Armstrong was drug-free (video) http://t.co/gURdYkj1
Caller.com | 7 years 9 months
Dozens of illegal waste dumpers sentenced in Jim Wells Co.; others on the run: http://t.co/NgerCdsQ
Karen Townsend | 7 years 9 months
Consistently impressed w/raullabrador when I listen to him in Congressional hearings. #Libya
Cory Crow | 7 years 9 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 9 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 9 months
Mining Houston Garbage for Recycling and Compost Gold http://t.co/HMMBArMX
swamplot | 7 years 9 months
Daily Demolition Report: Tulane Highway http://t.co/JXmkSx11
KFDA NewsChannel10 | 7 years 9 months
Obama and Romney: Where they stand on the issues http://t.co/y3VrPfkM
Williamson County | 7 years 9 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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