Tag Archives: Greg Abbott

This petition is, um … tempting

I don’t sign petitions. A career in journalism precluded me from signing political documents that put my name into the public domain as a supporter or a foe of this or that politician or cause.

A petition, though, is making the rounds and it is providing a temptation I have to struggle to overcome.

It demands that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott remove five Texas Tech University System regents for their no-confidence vote against Tech Chancellor Bob Duncan.

The targets of the petition are Rick Francis, Ronnie Hammonds, Christopher Huckabee, Mickey Long and John Steinmetz. These are the five individuals whose no-confidence declaration essentially forced Duncan to announce his retirement effective Aug. 31.

As others have noted, Duncan is a serious Boy Scout who toiled for years in a profession known to produce more villains than heroes. He served in the Texas Legislature before becoming chancellor four years ago; he also worked as chief of staff for Sen. John Montford, another legislator of renown who became a Tech chancellor.

If there is a blemish on Duncan’s exemplary public service record, then someone will have to ask him to show to us, because no one has found one.

The planned Tech college of veterinary medicine appears to be at or near the center of this tempest. Tech wants to build a vet school in Amarillo, but is getting serious pushback from Texas A&M University, whose chancellor, John Sharp, has been leading the fight against Tech’s vet school plans. A&M operates the state’s only veterinary medicine school and doesn’t want Tech to meddle in what had been A&M’s exclusive educational domain.

So now Bob Duncan has been caught in that undertow. Shameful, I’m tellin’ ya.

Meanwhile, I am hereby renewing my demand for the regents who want Duncan out to explain in detail why they cast their vote to boot out the Boy Scout.

‘Interesting’ doesn’t begin to say enough

“Interesting” is such an, oh, interesting adjective. It usually says not a damn thing about the subject being addressed.

Such as the editorial in today’s Amarillo Globe-News that talks about an “interesting” tweet from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott regarding his apparent skepticism about the effectiveness of red-light cameras in cities throughout the state.

The editorial is attached to this link. Take a look.

I can’t tell if the Globe-News no longer favors the red-light cameras, which I suppose makes the editorial “interesting.”

I’ll fill in a blank or two.

The red-light cameras are doing what they’re supposed to do in Amarillo. They are deterring idiotic motorists from disobeying the red lights’ instructions to stop, do not proceed until the lights turn green.

As for cities’ “raking” in big money, I need to remind y’all that the Legislature instituted some strict provisions in allowing cities to install the cameras. Any revenue derived must first pay the vendors for the cameras and then be earmarked specifically for traffic-safety improvements. Amarillo recently coughed up some dough to do precisely that.

Gov. Abbott thinks there’s “no evidence” that the cameras are making our streets safer. That’s not what I have heard from Amarillo city officials. He ought to talk to them directly.

The governor might get some “interesting” details.

Debates do matter, Lt. Gov. Patrick

The word is out: Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick doesn’t want to debate his opponent before Election Day.

That’s too bad. Actually, it’s a shame. Hey, I’ll even say it’s a disgrace to the cause of learning all we can about the individuals who want to represent us at the highest levels of state government.

Patrick, the Republican, is running against Democratic challenger Mike Collier, who has been needling Patrick for weeks about debating.

I cannot quite fathom why Patrick is so reticent. He comes from a media background; he was a radio talk-show host before entering politics as a state senator from Houston.

The Texas Tribune reports: “It’s no secret Lt. Governor Patrick relishes debates, but since his opponent shows no sign of grasping even the most basic rudiments of state government, our campaign has no plans to debate him,” Patrick strategist Allen Blakemore said in a statement to the Tribune. “There isn’t anyone in the Lone Star State who isn’t absolutely clear about where Dan Patrick stands on the issues. He told us what he was going to do, then he did it. That’s why Dan Patrick has the overwhelming support of the conservative majority in Texas.”

OK, I’ll come clean: He doesn’t have my support. He has sought to yank the state into far-right territory that makes me uncomfortable. The Bathroom Bill he sought in 2017 is the example of what I’m talking about. He sought to make it illegal for transgendered individuals to use public restrooms in accordance with their current gender; he intended to make the use restrooms that matched their birth certificate gender. The bill died in a special session.

That’s out of the way.

He should debate Collier. GOP Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez are likely to debate each other, even though Abbott is going to be the prohibitive favorite to win re-election.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the Republican, will likely debate his Democratic foe, Beto O’Rourke. That contest figures to be a whole lot closer.

So, the lieutenant governor isn’t likely afraid to meet his challenger head to head. Why not just quit playing games, Lt. Gov. Patrick?

Step onto the stage and have it out with your challenger and make the case on why you should be re-elected.

And, yes, if that’s what happens on Election Day, it will be in spite of the ballot I will cast.

You’re even less funny now, Gov. Abbott

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott went to a gun range a year ago, shot a few rounds into a target and then bragged about the tight grouping of bullet holes he put into the piece of paper.

As Time reported: “I’m gonna carry this around in case I see any reporters,” according to the Texas Tribune. 

That’s a serious knee-slapper, ain’t it?

I didn’t laugh at the time. I am seriously not laughing now in the wake of what happened Thursday in the newsroom of the Annapolis (Md.) Capital-Gazette, where five people were slaughtered by a gunman.

Do you know what I’d like to hear now from Gov. Abbott? A statement of remorse over his tasteless quip. That would help quell at least some of the hatred that’s being fomented against members of the media by politicians in high places.

Here’s how Time reported it.

What do you think, Gov. Abbott?

Alternative energy deserves props, too, Gov. Abbott

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is proud of the role his state plays in achieving national energy independence.

He wrote via Twitter: Because of Texas, America is now energy independent. Because of TEXAS, we will NEVER AGAIN depend on Foreign Oil Cartels for energy.

Boy, howdy, governor.

Except that his tweet and the accompanying hashtags suggest to me that he is ignoring another key element of this nation’s quest to free itself from foreign energy sources.

Alternative energy.

Wind power. Hydro power. Solar power. Nuclear power. C’mon, Gov. Abbott. Offer a word as well to those energy sources that received some federal government assistance during the previous administration … yes, the one led by Barack H. Obama.

President Obama gave way to Donald J. Trump in January 2017 and the new president began dismantling some of the rules and regulations that gave energy producers incentive to search for alternative sources of energy.

Trump said he wanted to restore the fossil fuel industry. Oil, natural gas and coal have been pushed to the front, while he has all but ignored any public discussion about those alternative sources.

Clean air? Clean water? The president and his Environmental Protection Agency director, Scott Pruitt, have stripped away those regulations, too. Trump and Pruitt call them “job killers.”

The nation achieved its energy independence in the years immediately preceding Trump’s election as president.

Sure, we still need oil. West Texas oil fields are pulling a lot of it out of the ground. Let us remember, though: Those fuel sources won’t last forever.

The wind will be around for long after we pump the final barrel of oil. So will the sun. Both of those sources are, shall we say, a whole lot cleaner and a whole lot more sustainable.

Lupe Valdez: Democratic stalking horse

Texas Monthly’s R.G. Ratcliffe believes Democratic gubernatorial nominee Lupe Valdez is going to lose — maybe bigly — to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott this fall.

I have to agree. Valdez is the former Dallas County sheriff.  She is Texas’s first openly gay Latina candidate for governor. That’s two strikes against her in the eyes of many Texas voters. The third strike happens to be that she is running against an incumbent who remains popular among a majority of Texas voters.

I’ll be candid. I am likely to vote for Valdez this fall, if only because I have grown weary of single-party domination in Texas. Democrats haven’t won a statewide race in Texas for two decades. I arrived in Texas in 1984, about the time Democrats began losing their vise grip on statewide offices. It was competitive for a time. Then the GOP took complete control … of everything!

The Texas Monthly article, though, does suggest that Valdez — as the leading Democratic Hispanic on the ballot — could serve as a useful stalking horse for many other races on the ballot.

Read the Texas Monthly article here.

I want to mention, however, one statewide race that also might turn as a result of Valdez’s presence on the ballot. That would be for U.S. senator, which features a competitive contest between Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic challenger (and U.S. Rep.) Beto O’Rourke.

That is one contest that interests me seriously. I want O’Rourke to launch the Cruz Missile into retirement. It’s not yet clear to me whether O’Rourke’s rural Texas strategy is going to work; he’s spending a lot of time touring rural counties that one might expect to vote Republican this fall. He likely is trying to cut his losses there while maintaining his expected majorities in urban centers.

Valdez’s gubernatorial candidacy might lure enough Latino voters to the polls to give someone such as O’Rourke — who is fluent in Spanish — a serious push toward the finish line.

I don’t yet have a grassroots feel for how the Cruz-O’Rourke contest is playing in North Texas. O’Rourke is likely to do well in Dallas County, which has been trending Democratic in recent years. My sense is that he must do very, very well there to put him over the top.

Lupe Valdez might give him the push he needs.

I get that Valdez clearly doesn’t want to be seen as a mere “stalking horse” for other Democrats on the 2018 ballot. She wants to be the next Texas governor. I’m one Texas resident who would express gratitude if she is able to make the state at least competitive once again between the two major political parties.

That’s not a bad legacy.

Texans were ‘watching Harvey from their boats’?

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said the state is ready for “the next Harvey.”

Good deal, governor. I’ll need to know how the state prepares for a 50-inch deluge that falls within a 24-hour period.

But then the president of the United States weighed in with yet another patently absurd assertion about how many Texans responded to the peril that was bearing down on them.

Donald J. Trump said that Texas were “watching Harvey from their boats,” an act he said precipitated the large number of water rescues while the storm was battering the coast from the Coastal Bend, to Houston and the Golden Triangle.

Trump said this during a conference call with state officials: “Sixteen thousand people, many of them in Texas, for whatever reason that is. People went out in their boats to watch the hurricane,” Trump said. “That didn’t work out too well.”

Trump’s idiocy has prompted an angry response from first responder officials. As the Houston Chronicle reported: “I didn’t see anyone taking the approach that would reflect his comments,” Gonzalez said. “I’ll be sure to invite the president to ride out the next hurricane in a jon boat in Galveston Bay the next time one approaches,” he added.

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, a fellow Republican, tweeted a message that talked about how Texans responded to help their neighbors and that they weren’t gawking at the storm aboard their boats in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Chronicle asked Abbott about Trump’s assertion, but the governor said he didn’t have “any information” on the matter.

As the paper noted: This isn’t the first time the president has made comments that seemed bizarre or ill-informed. For example, he claimed without evidence millions of people voted illegally and inflated the number of people attending his inauguration and other rallies. He wrongly claimed to have seen Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the 9/11 attacks on television.

So, let’s add this moronic assertion to the lengthy and no doubt growing list of presidential prevarications.

Idiotic.

What are we going to do about it, Mr. POTUS?

Donald Trump continues to exhibit a remarkable command of the obvious.

Ten people — nine of them students — were shot to death in Santa Fe, Texas, the other day. The nation is grief-stricken yet again by a spasm of gun violence in a public school.

The president spoke to the nation and said he intends to do all he can to protect our students, to make our schools safer.

This gun violence has been going on for “too long,” he said.

Yes, sir. It has. Several of your predecessors could have said the same thing. Indeed, I’m quite sure many of them did say that very thing, that this gun violence has been going on far too long.

What did they do about it? What did Congress do about it? What did governors or state legislators do about it? Nothing! Not a damn thing!

So now it falls on the current president to do something. It falls also on Congress. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared his intention to hold a round table discussion in which “everything” is on the table.

I have heard the president say the same thing, that he would be willing to discuss any issue put forward.

We have to stop this madness, Mr. President. Our children need to be feel safe. Their parents need to send them to school with the full expectation that they will return home at the end of the day.

Gov. Abbott said it well. “Thoughts and prayers” no longer are enough. The time for action has arrived. Hell, it arrived at the previous mass shooting, and the one before that, and the one before that one …

Do something!

Tragedy strikes another school

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said today what many of us already believe: It’s not enough to offer “thoughts and prayers” to communities stricken by a spasm of gun violence. The time for action is at hand.

Yes, governor. You are so right.

Santa Fe High School near Galveston is reeling today in the wake of another school shooting. Ten people — most of them students — are dead; another 10 are injured, with a couple of the injured victims suffering life-threatening injuries.

The shooter, a student at the high school, is in custody.

By all means we offer our prayers. Now comes the hard part. What are we going do to stop this insanity?

Abbott said today that everything is on the table. Everything? Yep. That’s what he said. Everything. I’m going to presume he means what he says.

Putting something on the “table” does not guarantee anything substantive will arise from a serious discussion.

Gov. Abbott wants to convene a town hall meeting. He wants to talk to constituents. He said he is open to anything they have to offer.

The shooter’s father owned the weapons, a shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver. Here’s a thought for the governor to ponder: Stiffen liability punishment for parents who fail to do all they can to keep the guns out of the hands of their children. OK, that’s just a thought off the top of my noggin.

Is this yet another turning point? Has it supplanted the Parkland, Fla., carnage as the catalyst that will bring action in place of rhetoric?

I cannot wrap my head around all of this at the moment.

Lord have mercy on us all.

Farenthold chooses to stiff his former constituents

So much for doing the right thing … yes, Blake Farenthold?

The former Corpus Christi congressman had a chance to pay back his constituents for the disgraceful way he exited public office, but has chosen to ignore the request from a fellow Republican politician, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Abbott had demanded that Farenthold pay for the cost of a special election to replace him. You see, Farenthold quit Congress amid allegations of sexual harassment. He made matters even worse by dipping into a taxpayer-funded pool of money totaling $84,000 to pay off settlements leveled against him by former staffers.

Abbott said he is disappointed in Farenthold’s decision. He ought to feel worse than that. Let’s try “outraged,” or “insulted,” “mad as hell.”

Abbott’s letter to Farenthold noted that his disgraceful conduct was the sole reason for having the special election in the first place and that the former congressman owed it to his former constituents to pay for the election in full.

The Texas Tribune reported: A spokeswoman for Abbott called the decision “disappointing,” but said “it’s not surprising that his last act would be to stick taxpayers with the bill at the worst possible time.”

“While Mr. Farenthold may consider this resolved, we’re not closing the case on this issue,” said Ciara Matthews, Abbott’s deputy communications director.

Farenthold said he planned to repay the fund, but hasn’t yet done so. Any bets on whether he’ll deliver on that pledge? Don’t hold your breath.

Disgraceful.