Hide your wallets and shield the children, because they're voting down in Texas. Texas Republicans will be testing the strength of the Tea Party as they pick their first post-Rick Perry slate of statewide candidates since the 1980s. But Texas Democrats might end up missing Perry, as there is a decent shot that Republicans will nominate not their best-qualified, most-electable candidates but an entire clown car full of crazypants.
Let's start at the top of the ticket, where incumbent Sen. John Cornyn, rated the second-most conservative senator in 2012, was apparently not conservative enough to escape a primary challenge. Into that breach leapt Steve Stockman, the congressman who once Tweeted, "If babies had guns, they wouldn't be aborted." This race should have been great fun, but Stockman has campaigned mostly by hiding from public view and skipping votes in congress. Going into the candidate protection program is working. One poll shows Stockman could force Cornyn into a runoff.
Below Greg Abbott on the ballot is a quartet of candidates for lieutenant governor, the most reasonable of whom advocates changing the 14th Amendment to prevent anchor babies from attaining citizenship. All of the Republicans seeking this office oppose abortion exceptions for rape and incest and supported keeping a dead woman on life support because she was pregnant. Even on this stage, state Sen. Dan Patrick, who faces good odds to advance to the next round, stands out for calling undocumented immigrants an "illegal invasion." What's smart in a Texas Republican primary can be politically fatal in a state that's 40 percent Hispanic.
Consumers asked to conserve electricity Monday morning
AUSTIN, TX, March 2, 2014, 7 p.m. – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), grid operator for most of Texas, is asking electric consumers to limit their electric use as much as possible on Monday morning, March 3.
“The cold weather and accompanying wind that has spread across the region today is expected to result in high electric demand for tomorrow’s peak,” said Dan Woodfin, ERCOT director of System Operations. “Based on the level of generation supplies that we expect to be available, we are asking consumers throughout the ERCOT region to reduce their electricity use as much as possible Monday morning.”
Consumers can help ensure the system is able to continue serving current power needs by taking the following steps to reduce demand Monday morning:
- Keep your thermostat as low as is comfortable, preferably no higher than 68 degrees. - Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances. - Avoid running large appliances, such as washers, dryers and electric ovens. - Close shades and blinds at night to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows. - Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes. - Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.
“We have asked all available generation units to be prepared for tomorrow morning’s demand, but we believe conservation by consumers also will be necessary to help maintain overall reliability during this extreme winter weather,” said Woodfin.
Today is Texas Independence Day. On March 2nd, 1836, Texas declared independence from Mexico. In honor of Texas Independence Day, we hoisted the Texas flag here at the house, cooked a pot of Texas Red last night, and drank a couple of Shiners. You might say we’re just a little proud of being born in Texas, but we thank our lucky Lone Star that Texas joined the United States of America. You can learn more about the brief history of Texas independence here.
I’ve generally considered Texas Tribune to be a decent and reliable source of news in Texas, and from time to time we re-publish their stories. We have even at times considered going non-profit to follow their model. But they've been getting some criticism for taking money from big donors who have an interest in avoiding bad coverage. The criticisms there do cause me to reflect on our own operation and how we might avoid that kind of bias. Even if you take money completely out of the equation, it is easy to find yourself thinking twice before publishing something derogatory about a newsmaker who provides you with access and information.
We recently had a big conversation on the City of Lewisville Facebook group regarding license plate recognition systems, and specifically the storage of data in them. Councilman Neil Ferguson wrote a response, which we posted here. I wanted to share with you the article from the Electronic Frontier Foundation about the national database. I would just say that I’m wary about there being too much storage of that information, and the potential for abuse. The information collected definitely is useful in law enforcement; I don’t dispute that. It loses utility the longer you keep it. At some point, the usefulness crosses below a point where it outweighs the potential for abuse. I don’t know where that point is, but I hope that Lewisville Police Department and others will keep that in mind when determining how much data to keep.
This is some interesting drama: Denton Mayor Mark Burroughs bought a condo in Dallas for some reason, and is involved in a lawsuit because he refuses to return a $175,000 piece of art that was in the unit. He bought the unit as-is, and without an inspection, but is holding the art hostage over what he considers to be defects in the unit.
As you know, the Lewisville City Council as well as surrounding cities took steps to reduce the availability of e-cigarettes to minors. This NPR article discusses the rationale (or lack thereof) for banning their usage. For what it’s worth, I don’t feel there is enough evidence of harm from second-hand vapor to justify any bans. But property owners are free to do as they wish for their own establishments.
Here is something that gets me: We left-leaning folks genuinely believe in the process of science, and we think science should not only be taught in schools, but should shape public policy. We poke fun at idiots like Joe Barton, and the people who want to teach creationism as if it’s a scientific theory with equal footing as evolution. Yet, so many of our lefties also are willing to set aside discernment and jump on all sorts of bandwagons where the science is either non-existent, or has been totally ignored. A lot of folks are familiar with the Facebook page “I Fu**ing Love Science”, but do you know about “I fu**ing hate pseudoscience”? I recommend that everyone who professes to love science follow both - especially the latter.
Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson lives on a luxury estate in Denton County near Bartonville. He has joined a lawsuit against the Cross Timbers Water Supply Corp., which is building a water tower near his home. The lawsuit claims it will be an eyesore and hurt his property value, which is the main BS argument. What had gas drilling opponents fuming, and asserting hypocrisy was the suit’s assertion that the tower could be used to supply drilling operations, and that would result in a lot of truck traffic. Here is an open letter to Tillerson from a former oil company executive who now fights against the industry’s practice of “fracking” or hydraulic fracture stimulation.
Flower Mound will not have a city election this year because none of their candidates drew opponents. This could work to the disadvantage of Flower Mound candidates in the LISD races. Those candidates usually have an advantage because of Flower Mound’s high voter turnout.
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Excuse me if I’m appalled at the negative reaction to this sculpture by some folks who think Jesus wouldn’t be a ‘vagrant’.
The big international story right now comes out of Ukraine, where citizens ousted the Russian-affiliated leader, and Russian troops have now occupied Crimea. President Obama warned that there would be a price for Russia’s actions there. Here is a map that can help you understand the situation, and here is an article that explains some of the history behind Ukraine, Russia, and Crimea. It’s not a clear-cut situation of Russia invading because they just want it. Russia clearly has some interests to protect, but we should be concerned about the unilateral nature of their actions. I’m not sure their motives are entirely summed up by what they have stated. Nevertheless, the US has confronted them about it, and when two nuclear superpowers have words like, it concerns me greatly.
After a beautiful sunny Saturday, temperatures are expected to drop quickly in the early hours Sunday morning, and frozen precipitation will fall on North Texas. North Texas is under a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY Sunday from 3 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Most of the region will likely see some freezing rain and/or sleet Sunday and Sunday evening. Accumulations are more likely north and northwest of a line from Killeen to Palestine. Total ice accumulations are expected to be less than a tenth of an inch. Total sleet accumulations are expected to be less than half an inch. Sleet accumulations closer to half an inch are more likely to occur within isolated afternoon thunderstorms. The highest accumulations within the region are expected in areas east and northeast of a Gainesville to Canton line. If higher accumulations are expected in this area, a winter storm warning may be needed.
The greatest impacts due to sleet and ice on Sunday will occur north of a Breckenridge to DFW to Emory line. Hazardous travel conditions are expected in this area. Many bridges, overpasses, and secondary roads will likely be icy and some main roads may also become icy. In addition, any sleet will also result in hazardous road conditions. South of this area but north of a Comanche to Palestine line, ice and sleet will likely cause bridges and overpasses to ice. Roadways will largely remain free of ice, but slick spots will likely still form on roadways. Travel could become hazardous. Across our far southern counties, some freezing rain or sleet may occur that could result in slick spots on bridges and overpasses. Roadways are expected to remain free of ice.
There is uncertainty about the extent of Sunday's winter weather and the potential impacts. Here is what we know as well as some unknowns that could alter the eventual impacts.
An arctic cold front will move through North and Central Texas on Sunday with temperatures falling rapidly behind the front. The front should move through the DFW metroplex before daybreak, through Waco before mid morning, and through Killeen and Temple before 11 AM.