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Posts Tagged ‘Texas’
July 25th, 2013 at 5:02 pm
Holder Can’t Wait to Revive Stricken Piece of Voting Rights Act

Less than a month after the Supreme Court lifted an outdated “preclearance” formula off the backs of states like Texas, Eric Holder’s Justice Department is trying to reinstate the restrictions by inviting judicial activism.

The move comes in response to the Supreme Court’s invalidation of a coverage formula in Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Previously, states with a history of racial discrimination had to seek Justice Department approval – preclearance – before enacting any changes to their election laws. The problem for states like Texas is that the formula for deciding which jurisdictions are required to submit to preclearance hasn’t been updated in decades, making it virtually impossible to get out from under the federal government’s thumb.

In striking down Section 5’s coverage formula, the Court said that Congress is free to create a new formula based on current data. But with the legislative branch divided, few think any action is imminent.

And so, in keeping with the Obama administration’s motto “We Can’t Wait,” Attorney General Holder announced today that his department won’t wait for Congress to update the law. Instead, lawyers at Justice are filing lawsuits against Texas and other jurisdictions seeking to reinstate preclearance on a case-by-case basis.

The cost to taxpayers will be huge, since both sides of the “v.” are government employees. Each federal judge hearing a case will act as a mini-Congress by making factual findings before crafting a rule of law to determine the outcome. Of course, these decisions will be litigated up the lengthy federal appellate chain; all the way to the Supreme Court, if possible.

What makes this an affront to the constitutional design of separation-of-powers is the deliberate intent of one arm of the executive branch to invite members of the judiciary to make laws that Congress will not pass.

Granted, for well-connected attorneys like Holder it’s cheaper to litigate the Left’s pet projects on the taxpayer’s dime rather than as a private lawyer working pro bono. But as Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry said in response, Holder’s actions really amount to “utter contempt for our country’s system of checks and balances.”

June 13th, 2013 at 7:01 pm
Pro-Texas Ad Campaign in Anti-Business Blue States

Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry is once again visiting Democratic strongholds in an attempt to lure businesses to relocate to the Lone Star State.

Perry is set to meet with business groups in New York and Connecticut, reports National Public Radio. Previously, Perry extolled his state’s low-tax, light-regulation approach in California and Illinois.

But Perry’s initiative is more than just a series of speeches and photo-ops. His moves are coordinated with the work of TexasOne, a coalition of chambers of commerce and corporations funding a $1 million advertising campaign in the targeted states.

YouTube ads like “Texas is Calling” tout the state’s nine consecutive years ranked #1 for business, hosting the world’s largest medical center and welcoming 1,400 new residents a day.

With states like California, Illinois, New York and Connecticut ranking near the bottom in business-friendly taxes and regulations, it’s no wonder Perry sees an opportunity to let wealth creators in those states know there is an alternative.

February 22nd, 2013 at 12:30 pm
More on the Growing Charter School Movement

Nationwide, there are 5,277 charter schools serving 1.6 million K-12 students.

But not all of them are urban minority, low-income students.  Some serve suburban middle class families looking for an alternative to the curriculum on tap in a traditional public school.

For example, Hillsdale College is spearheading a national campaign to create at least one charter school in every state with a classical education curriculum.  Readers of the school’s popular Imprimus publication won’t be surprised to learn that that “These schools will be based on a classical liberal arts model and have a strong civics component that will equip students to understand and defend the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution,” according to the college’s website.

So far, three parent groups have partnered with Hillsdale to create this distinctive new brand of charter school in Georgia, New Mexico, and Texas.  The Texas version, Founders Classical Academy in Lewisville, began construction in 2012, and expects to start classes this fall.

Hillsdale’s involvement shows that the real genius of the charter school option is that it allows any community of families, regardless of socio-economic status, to opt out of a public school system overburdened by bureaucracy, unions, and questionable curriculum standards.  The charter school option gives local families the choice to spend their tax dollars to, in the words of Founders Classical Academy, “provide a well-rounded education that is distinctively classical, that pursues knowledge, promotes virtue, and prepares students for prosperous lives in a free society.”

What more could a conservative education reformer ask for?

November 30th, 2012 at 12:06 pm
Texas’ Ted Cruz in the Mix for 2016?

Politico excerpts some of an intriguing speech by U.S. Senator-Elect Ted Cruz (R-TX) to a conservative audience last night in Washington, D.C.:

While the 41-year-old Cuban-American warned that Republicans need not abandon their principles in order to rebound electorally, he did suggest the party should retool its rhetoric on economic and cultural issues.

“We need to embrace what I call ‘Opportunity Conservatism.’ We need to conceptualize, we need to articulate conservative domestic policy with a laser focus on opportunity, on easing the means of ascent up the economic ladder,” he said.

While he conceded the party’s harsh tone on immigration was undoubtedly a factor, Cruz cited Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” comment as the main reason the president performed so well with Hispanics.

“I think far more important was 47 percent. … Republicans nationally, the story we conveyed was that 47 percent are stuck in a static world. We don’t have to worry about you, what that clip famously said. I cannot think of an idea more antithetic to the American principle,” Cruz said.

“We embraced in that comment, and in the narrative we made to this country, the Democrat notion that there is a fixed and static pie. … The rich are the rich, the poor are the poor, and all that matters is redistributing from one to the other. The essence of the conservative message should be we want a dynamic nation where anybody with nothing can achieve anything,” he added to cheers from the audience. “We did an incredibly poor job at articulating the message of opportunity.”

If Cruz jumps into the 2016 presidential contest with other possibilities like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Paul Ryan, the GOP – and the conservative movement that animates it – will be better for it.

November 13th, 2012 at 8:21 pm
35,000 People Want Texas to Secede

A story in the Houston Chronicle on being careful what you wish for:

When the White House promised that any online petition getting more than 25,000 signatures would get a thorough review and an official response, officials probably weren’t thinking about requests for secession.

But on Monday – less than a week after President Barack Obama’s re-election – a petition on the White House website calling for Texas to secede from the union has received more than 35,000 signatures, far more than similar requests from other states.

July 13th, 2012 at 6:28 pm
Texas Voter ID “Clown Show”

A bit late, I post this tremendous account by Christian Adams of the almost criminally incompetent (and ideologically nuts) Justice Department behavior in a key trial over Texas’ voter-ID law. Amazing stuff.

One tiny excerpt:

But the testimony got even more ridiculous.  San Antonio teenager Victoria Rodriguez travelled the whole way to Washington, D.C., for the clown show.  She testified that she did not have photo ID, even though she had the birth certificate to get a free one.  Her excuse?  She couldn’t find the time. Neither could her parents be bothered to drive her to get the ID.  One wonders if Victoria Rodriguez ever leaves the house, or when she does, if she has other priorities besides voting.  I’d suspect so.

One also wonders why DOJ lawyers decided to put her on the stand.

This travesty, this abomination, is typical of the Obama-Holder (in)Justice Department. For shame.

July 6th, 2012 at 5:27 pm
Mexico Requires Universal Voter ID; Will Holder’s DOJ Sue?

John Fund tossed in this nugget when comparing America’s scandal-plagued voting system with other countries:

Mexico — which just last week carried off a national election with a universal photo-ID requirement for voting — spends roughly 10 times more per capita on elections than the U.S. and has virtually eliminated charges of voter fraud or incompetence. We can vastly improve our system with much smaller investments. (Emphasis added)

I wonder how U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder would react if he knew this.

At CFIF, we’ve hammered Holder for equating photo-ID for voting with racism.

With his blessing, the Department of Justice denied photo-ID requirements passed in South Carolina and Texas on the grounds that they violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act, an Act ensuring minorities of their right to vote.  By refusing to sign-off on the South Carolina and Texas laws, Holder’s DOJ is saying the photo-ID laws are racist.

The fact that photo-ID laws have been supported by Jimmy Carter and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court as “unquestionably relevant to the State’s interest in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process” are of no importance to Holder & Co.

America is a nation of “cowards” and racists, says the AG, so requiring photo-ID must be just another name for Jim Crow.

And yet here we have Mexico, a country familiar with historic racial tension amongst descendents of the Aztecs, Spanish settlers, and their offspring, conducting a free and fair election that peacefully transitioned power between political rivals.

Could it be that Mexico’s photo-ID requirement – like South Carolina and Texas – had a purpose other than disenfranchising a racial minority?

Maybe the next time Holder gets blasted by the Mexican government for not informing them of Fast and Furious he can change the subject with some pointed questions about Mexico’s racist photo-ID laws.  I’m sure he’d get a fair hearing…

March 16th, 2012 at 12:43 pm
Former CA U.S. Senate Candidate Moves to Texas

Former California Assemblyman and 2010 Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chuck DeVore explains why he gave up on the Golden State and moved to Texas in an article for National Review.

Here’s just one example of the differences between the states:

In his State-of-the-State address this January, California governor Jerry Brown said, “Contrary to those declinists who sing of Texas and bemoan our woes, California is still the land of dreams. . . . It’s the place where Apple . . . and countless other creative companies all began.”

Fast forward to March: Apple announced it was building a $304 million campus in Austin with plans to hire 3,600 people to staff it, more than doubling its Texas workforce.

California may be dreaming, but Texas is working.

February 23rd, 2012 at 7:40 pm
Texas’ Marco Rubio Makes Unforced Error

I’ve written previously about former Texas Solicitor General and U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz.  He’s a towering legal intellect and a conservative’s conservative.  His Cuban heritage and up-by-the-bootstraps story from son of immigrants to Princeton and Harvard Law are legendary.  His ill-chosen words about Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) are not.

In an interview with the Dallas Morning News reported by Roll Call, Cruz said he was “not going to prejudge” the upcoming Senate GOP leadership race where Cornyn is running for GOP whip, one step below party leader.  Based on his comments, Cruz seems to be saying that if he becomes Texas’ next U.S. Senator he might vote for someone besides Cornyn if the opponent is more of a constitutional conservative.

That’s all well and good, and Cruz’s scenario may even come to pass, but the first-time campaigner made a rookie mistake by refusing to support his fellow Texas Republican in what amounts to little more than deference to a party elder.  After all, as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee Cornyn has his hands on millions of dollars in fundraising that he could use to either hurt or help Cruz in the latter’s current primary battle.

So far, Cornyn has honored his pledge to stay neutral in the primary.  Chances are he’ll keep that pledge, but Cruz’s unforced error makes it more likely that Cornyn would be fine if David Dewhurst, Cruz’s primary opponent and sitting Lieutenant Governor, frames Cruz’s comments as a signal he can’t be both a conservative and a Republican at the same time.

By contrast, Florida’s Marco Rubio isn’t having that problem.  Without sacrificing any of his conservative bona fides Rubio has managed to win the confidence of party elders and is no doubt on the vice presidential short list of every remaining Republican presidential candidate.  Cruz needs to take a page from Rubio’s playbook because Texas – and America – needs as many constitutional conservatives as we can get in the U.S. Senate.

November 18th, 2011 at 7:08 pm
Ted Cruz is the Next Marco Rubio

In case you didn’t read the National Review cover story about him, the New York Times has a nicely condensed biographic piece on Ted Cruz, the former Texas Solicitor General running to be the state’s next U.S. Senator.  Here’s a sample of his background:

Mr. Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, where his parents were working in the oil business. Back in Houston for high school, he entered speech contests run by the Free Enterprise Institute. Students learned the “Ten Pillars of Economic Wisdom,” a government-out-of-the-economy manifesto based on the work of libertarian thinkers like Mr. Hayek, Frédéric Bastiat, Ludwig von Mises and Milton Friedman, then wrote and memorized 20-minute speeches about it. As one of the citywide winners for four years, Mr. Cruz traveled the state, speaking to civic groups for $50 or $100 a speech.

The institute then chose him to be one of its “Constitutional Collaborators,” who spent hundreds of hours debating the Constitution. Using a mnemonic device to memorize it, they toured the state, writing it out for audiences.

It made Mr. Cruz an early adopter of the worldview that now characterizes Tea Party politics, where federal involvement in health care or the economy (and many of the roles it has assumed since the New Deal) is socialism and an abuse of the Constitution. At Princeton, he wrote his thesis on the Ninth and 10th Amendments, the core of the states’ rights argument.

It also directed him toward politics. He graduated from Harvard Law School, then clerked for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, and served in the Bush administration at the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department.

How many U.S. Senators do you know who could write out the Constitution from memory?  Perhaps the Lone Star State will give us at least one.

October 14th, 2011 at 2:44 pm
Perry Getting Hit from the Right

The hits just keep on coming at Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry.  The governor of Texas is in increasingly hot water as he tries to parry away charges that he’s soft on illegal immigration and insider tax breaks for friendly corporations.

In Texas, Tea Party activists are demanding that Perry sign an executive order or call a special session of the state legislature to pass an Arizona-style law authorizing state police to check a person’s immigration status.  On the business front, Perry’s use of a governor-controlled “emerging technology fund” is drawing criticism for producing more misses than hits for taxpayers told that tax holidays for some would create jobs for many others.

Perry can’t run away from his record.  He can, however, enhance it with better defenses of it.

We’ll see if he’s up to the challenge.

August 19th, 2011 at 11:43 am
We Already Have a “Department of Jobs,” Mr. President. It’s Called “Texas.”
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

So almost three years after Barack Obama was elected President, he promises to unveil a “specific jobs plan” next month.  Very gracious of you, Mr. President.  Apparently, one of his brilliant ideas is to create an entirely new bureaucracy within the federal government, a “Department of Jobs.” Never mind that we already have a Labor Department, a Commerce Department, and so on.

But here’s something for Obama to ponder.  As noted today in The Wall Street Journal, “Over the past five years, Texas has added more net new jobs than all other states combined.”  Naturally, Team Obama and the desperate political left are already attempting to discredit Texas’s economic success.  But the facts, unsurprisingly, refute their claims.  For instance, for all of the attempts to mislabel those new jobs as low-wage, the Bureau of Labor Statistics “pegs the median hourly wage in Texas at $15.14, 93% of the national average, and wages have increased at a good clip:  in fact, the 10th fastest state in 2010 at 3.4%.”  Keep in mind the lower cost of living in Texas, where those wages therefore go further.

So as Obama ponders a “Department of Jobs” during his extended Martha’s Vineyard vacation while the economy stumbles, perhaps he will experience an epiphany.  Namely, that he should do at the federal level what Texas has done at the state level – bring legal reform, reduce taxes and allow the private sector to flourish.

August 13th, 2011 at 5:07 pm
Perry Declares Candidacy for President

Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry announced his candidacy for President of the United States today during a speech in South Carolina.  Though the text of the speech is worth reading in its entirety, here’s my pick for the best line:

I’ll work every day to make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can.

If Perry’s campaign can reduce that sentiment to a bumper sticker, he might be able to sow up the GOP nomination by Labor Day.

July 21st, 2011 at 2:33 pm
Dominoes About to Fall for Texas GOP

Roll Call reports that Texas Republican Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has entered the race to replace retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX).  The field is already crowded, with former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, an ardent conservative, angling to be the Lone Star version of Florida’s Marco Rubio.

Dewhurst’s substantial personal wealth and four statewide electoral victories (3 as Lt. Gov., 1 as land commissioner), are prompting some to say he’s now the frontrunner.  With Governor Rick Perry mulling a bid for president, this could signal a major shake-up of Texas GOP politics as two of the state’s highest profile jobs come open for the first time since 2002.

July 15th, 2011 at 7:05 pm
Rick Perry’s Lesson to Cautious Politicians: Get Out of the Way

The New York Times has an interesting biographical gap filler on Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry’s former life as a Democratic state representative.  The theme that stands out is Perry’s uncanny ability to run for office at a time perfectly suited for his personal ambitions.

Here’s an example from when he switched parties to become a Republican running for statewide office.

Rumors that Mr. Perry would defect to the Republican Party — and run against Jim Hightower, the populist Democratic agriculture commissioner — picked up steam by late 1989. On Sept. 29, Mr. Perry made it official at a Capitol news conference. At his side were Fred Meyer, chairman of the Texas Republican Party, and Senator Phil Gramm, a former Democrat, who was aggressively courting would-be converts.

Mr. Perry’s timing, now legendary, could not have been better. He was one of only two Republicans elected to nonjudicial statewide office in 1990. Eight years later, Republicans swept every one of them.

“Perry has been a risk taker,” said Mr. Hance, the party switcher who became the chancellor of Texas Tech University. “And if you look at Perry’s timing in every race, he’s been the golden guy.”

Could 2012 be another such moment for the Texas Tea Party governor?

July 15th, 2011 at 5:49 pm
California Higher Ed Cuts Researchers, Funds Diversity Czars

Heather MacDonald of City Journal highlights yet another example of California residents migrating to Texas for greener cash pastures.  (In this case, UC San Diego lost three top cancer researchers to Rice University after the latter offered a 40% increase in compensation.)  Facing a $650 million cut in state funding, the University of California system campuses are shedding faculty and programs, but not, unfortunately, the blizzard of “diversity czars” and their sizable staffs.

UC San Diego is adding diversity fat even as it snuffs out substantive academic programs. In March, the Academic Senate decided that the school would no longer offer a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering; it also eliminated a master’s program in comparative literature and courses in French, German, Spanish, and English literature. At the same time, the body mandated a new campus-wide diversity requirement for graduation. The cultivation of “a student’s understanding of her or his identity,” as the diversity requirement proposal put it, would focus on “African Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, Chicanos, Latinos, Native Americans, or other groups” through the “framework” of “race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexuality, language, ability/disability, class or age.” Training computer scientists to compete with the growing technical prowess of China and India, apparently, can wait. More pressing is guaranteeing that students graduate from UCSD having fully explored their “identity.” Why study Cervantes, Voltaire, or Goethe when you can contemplate yourself? “Diversity,” it turns out, is simply a code word for narcissism.

MacDonald also highlights how the multi-million dollar diversity industry has embedded itself into plumb positions at UC Berkeley and UCLA.  If UC students are upset about the coming hike in tuition, they should aim their picket lines at the faculty senates and diversity czars whose very existence makes such increases even higher than need be.

July 14th, 2011 at 2:32 pm
13 California Counties Petition to Secede

It looks like Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) isn’t the only person entertaining thoughts of seceding from a bankrupt government.  But unlike Perry who joked about Texas leaving the federal union to Tea Party activists, California citizens from 13 counties are trying to separate themselves from a state government that is far from golden.

“Onerous regulations on business” that are driving jobs out of the state and the California legislature’s attempts to balance the budget by “stealing” tax revenue from local governments are two reason why Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone said he is pushing for secession.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to hold a meeting in late September of representatives from every city and county in California to decide if their grievances can be solved without secession.

If not, the group will hammer out the details of creating a new state.

“Obviously I touched a nerve that is felt not only among Californians but among people around the country who feel their voices are not being heard,” Stone said. “I’m hoping that the nerve that I touch with a lot of citizens will resonate and we will see dramatic changes in the way we do business in the state and the way we do business in this country.”

Only time will tell if Supervisor Stone’s nerve touching will result in the second coming of the Bear Flag Republic.  If so, one hopes representatives of the newly created state will incorporate at least some of that short-lived government’s founding document.  (A taste: “…believes that a Government to be prosperous and happyfying in its tendency must originate with its people who are friendly to its existence. That its Citizens are its Guardians, its officers are its Servants, and its Glory their reward.”)

June 29th, 2011 at 5:16 pm
Texas’ Castro Brothers Herald New Face of State’s Democratic Party

For anyone interested in whom the Texas Democratic Party will look to for leadership in the very near, consider rising twin brothers Julian and Joaquin Castro.  Both are Stanford and Harvard Law graduates.  Both represent San Antonio – Julian as mayor; Joaquin as a state representative.  Each is being groomed for higher office.

From his perch as San Antonio mayor, Julian could very likely seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014.  By then, current Republican Governor Rick Perry will either be in the White House or in an uphill battle for election to his fourth term in office.  (Perry doesn’t have a history of landslides.  In 2006, he won a four-way race with 36% of the popular vote.  In 2010, he won just 51% in a three-way primary after more than a decade as governor.)

For his part, Joaquin just announced a primary challenge to nine-term Democratic congressman Lloyd Doggett.  A new redistricting map connects south Austin with San Antonio, making the state legislator a natural fit to represent the two cities he’s spent the most time in since being elected to office.

Texas’ demographic trend mirrors California.  Currently, no race is a majority in Texas, but by the end of the decade, Hispanics will be.  With the state and federal legislative delegations increasingly split between Anglo Republican and minority Democrats, don’t be surprised if someday Julian Castro becomes governor while his brother Joaquin serves in the U.S. Senate.

June 10th, 2011 at 3:47 pm
Media Faults Perry for being Conservative

Well, that didn’t take long.  On the day after Rick Perry for President speculation gained new momentum with two of his longtime political aides bolting Newt Gingrich’s campaign, the liberal media is attacking the Texas Republican governor for coordinating a “day of prayer and fasting” for national healing in Houston on August 6.

Putting aside the arguments for and against Perry’s event, the more the media explains Perry’s commitment to an evangelical Christian worldview, the more social conservative primary voters in Iowa are sure to perk up.  Moreover, Perry is already considered the first-in-the-nation-governor to pick up the Tea Party mantle of limited government, so perhaps those flinty New Englanders in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation-primary might take a look at a guy who takes the 10th Amendment seriously.

But what about foreign policy?  Let’s just say that as a former Air Force fighter pilot from Texas, Perry should have no trouble articulating something pleasing to pro-military Republican voters.

As with Sarah Palin, the mainstream media doesn’t seem to realize that highlighting Perry’s conservatism actually makes him more attractive to Republican voters.  So go ahead, journos!  Keep knocking Perry for being a social, fiscal, and national security conservative.  It only helps grow the brand.

June 2nd, 2011 at 5:59 pm
California’s Shameless Legislators Make Congress Look Good by Comparison
Posted by Troy Senik Print

In 2009 and 2010, the news out of Washington was dominated by stories of Congress rushing through legislation without reading it, voting in the middle of the night, and generally disregarding the adjective in the term “representative government.” Perhaps more than the specifics of policies like the stimulus package, Obamacare, and cap and trade, it was this disdain for honest dealing that set the public firmly in opposition to the Pelosi-Reid Congress and precipitated the blowout midterm elections of 2010.

As with most pathologies in American politics, what’s bad in Washington is usually even worse in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee reports today:

Numerous bills to crack down on California lawmakers have been shelved quietly by the Legislature in recent weeks.

Casualties included proposals to bar middle-of-the-night legislative sessions, to restrict lawmakers from receiving pay for serving on state boards within four years of leaving office, and to require annual disclosure by public officials of their pay, benefits, travel and other compensation.

Legislators opted not to dock per-diem pay for absences or to create a “do not call” list for campaign robocalls.

What’s consistently fascinating about California politics is that, for all the dysfunction of state government, the Golden State doesn’t have a criminal political culture akin to Illinois or New Jersey, states where the capstone of a successful electoral career is often a stint in federal prison. And why would it? With six-figure legislative salaries and virtually guaranteed appointments to one of the (literally innumerable) state boards and commissions that act as legislative rest homes, one need not break the law to plunder the taxpayers.

As with most of its deficiencies, California would do well to replicate the example of Texas, a state that has shown that a massive population and a sophisticated economy do not necessitate governmental incompetence. Texas has a part-time legislature that only convenes once every two years. The stated goal of this policy: to protect the liberties of the people of Texas. Considering that Texas has created more jobs in the last five years than every other state combined, that seems to be a decent formula.

The upshot: California can take Texas’s principles or Texas can take California’s jobs. Reforming the way the Golden State’s feckless legislature does business would be a good start towards the former end.