Category Archives: Texas News

UT Austin Announces Free Tuition Plan

Red received this in his inbox today from University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves:

Dear Longhorns,
I’m writing today with great news. The UT System Board of Regents — under the leadership of Chairman Kevin Eltife — has voted unanimously to establish a $160 million endowment to expand financial aid for middle- and low-income UT Austin students beginning next year.

Starting in fall semester 2020, in-state undergraduate students with need from families that earn up to $65,000 a year will receive financial assistance to completely cover their UT tuition as part of our Texas Advance Commitment. And students with financial need from families with incomes of up to $125,000 will also receive some amount of assured financial aid.

Half of the families in Texas earned less than $60,000 in 2017. So, today’s expansion of the Texas Advance Commitment program means that beginning in 2020, we will be able to cover the tuition for eligible undergraduate students from families earning at or slightly above the median household income level.

This action by the Board of Regents is an investment in the future of our students. It is also one of the largest commitments ever made to improving college affordability among the nation’s leading public research universities. I thank the Board of Regents for their decision today. And I am especially grateful to Chairman Eltife for prioritizing Texas students.

This is an important day for The University of Texas at Austin. You should be proud. I couldn’t be prouder.

Red is proud.  This is a big deal for many Texas families.   When Red and friends went to state schools in Texas (way back in the day) it was for all practical purposes free.  If you couldn’t scrape up the $250 or so per semester to pay for your tuition and fees, you weren’t really trying very hard.  Usually, the books cost more – but you could buy used and trade them back in at the end of the semester.  We were the lucky ones.  Thanks to previous Poor Idiot Governors (Rick Perry Red is calling you out) – tuition increases at state schools have strained budgets for many Texas families.  And the fact is – the UT System has had the money to do this for many years. It was way overdue.  Nonetheless, better late than never.

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The Terrorist Living Right (Wing?) Next Door

Despite reports that the FBI and other agencies have been directed to deemphasize their investigations into Right-Wing Terrorism in the U.S. (which is a major problem), a Texas woman, Julia Ann Poff (very close to Poof Red notes), has pleaded guilty to placing bombs in the mail.  Her targets were a bit diverse as she sent bombs to  Obama and Our Poor Idiot Governor.  The moral of the story is that it is the crazy alt-right nutjob with an axe to grind that is more likely to do you in than your garden-variety Islamic terrorist.  The Houston Chronicle has more.

A Brookshire woman pleaded guilty Monday to mailing then President Barack Obama a homemade explosive, which was traced back to her through cat hair stuck on the box’s packaging.

The bomb was one of three that Julia Ann Poff, 47, admitted sending to public officials, according to court records. In her plea, she also acknowledged sending similar packages to Gov. Greg Abbott and the then-acting Social Security administrator, whose agency had apparently denied her disability benefits, documents show.

The boxes contained victim-activated improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, according to the FBI Houston field office.

The box was intercepted on Oct. 6, 2016 at the Bolling Air Force Base in Maryland. FBI exlosives experts examined the small, flat rate box and identified it as a homemade bomb, officials said.

The package included a micro-USB cable box, a cell phone, hobby fuse, matches, paper wadding, plastic sacks, sandpaper and two 20-ounce coke bottle caps, plus pyrotechnics and smokeless powder, according to the FBI.

An investigation linked the box [sent to Obama] to Poff or her husband, partly because investigators found cat hair under a taped address label, “microscopically consistent” with hairs taken from Poff’s gray cat, named Ash.

Poff’s daughter told authorities that the phone in the box was her old cell phone, which was last seen in August or September of 2016 in their home’s garage . Poff’s debit card was also connected to the micro-USB box.

That September the governor opened a box containing a box explosive stuffed in a cigarette pack, but it did not blow up because Abbott failed to open it as designed.

Poff was upset with Abbott because she had not received child support from her ex-husband, according to federal court documents. Her frustration withthe governor stemmed from a legal battle with the Texas Attorney General’s Office, which began when Abbott was the attorney general.

The GOP Solution to Gun Violence – More Guns

Our Poor Idiot Governor Gregg Abbott signed some new guns laws this week.  Texas gun lovers will be glad to know a few new things they can do with their favorite toys:

  1. For a full week after a natural disaster strikes, you can now openly or sneakily carry a handgun.  Before you could only tote around your rifle, shotgun or Chinese made A-47 (When you absolutely, positively got to kill every motherf#(ker in the room – with apologies to Q. Tarentino).  Red supposes this is supposed to allow folks to protect their property from looters.  So great idea here – have a bunch of tired, upset and totally stressed out people who are grieving over the possible loss of family, friends and stuff armed and dangerous and licensed to kill.  What could possibly go wrong?
  2. Landlords can no longer ban guns in their apartment complexes.  Red was once sitting in his friend’s apartment when the gun nuts next door accidentally discharged a .44 through the wall right next to where Red was sitting.  They came running around in a panic with the exclamation, “We f#(ked up, man!” To which Red replied, “No shit!” Apartment walls will not stop a bullet.  The stray one that very nearly took out young Red went through 3 walls.  Brilliant legislating here.
  3. Places of worship will now have to post the standard (and overly complicated) notice to ban guns from their premises.  Red for one can’t wait to attend services at the Holy Ghost House of Prayer and Rifle Range.   Our Father (Bam!), who art in Heaven (Bang!), hallowed be thy Glock (K-zing). Thy Smith&Wesson come (Boom!). Thy will be done on Earth as it is in the holy rifle range (Ackackackackack!).  Give us this day our daily round of ammo (armor piercing please), and forgive us our missed targets (Zing!) as we forgive those who don’t load properly, and lead us not into poor marksmanship (Kboom), but deliver us from Commie gun haters (Bam, Bam!).

Dan Patrick Would Blow up the Texas Senate Just Because he Can

A very desperate Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (not his real name) threatened to use the so-called “Nuclear Option” to cram through a deeply flawed property tax bill that will shift the tax burden even more on to lower income Texans.   Here’s the deal, under long-standing Senate rules to take up debate on legislation, three-fifths of the Senate, or nineteen senators, must vote to move forward.  Patrick has warned that he will throw out the three-fifths rule.  This is called the “Nuclear Option” because it will destroy decades of tradition in the Senate, a body that has served as bulwark against bad legislation because the three-fifths rule requires consensus-building and reaching across the aisle.  Feckless Republican leadership was ready to go along with Patrick.

But on Monday, hold out Sen. Kel Selinger (R-Amarillo) relented and allowed the bill to come to the floor for debate despite his strong opposition to the substance.  It seems that Selinger (one of the only Texas Republicans with any backbone) was willing to allow bad legislation to proceed in order to preserve Senate tradition.  Selinger likely recognized that Patrick’s petulant behavior was the bigger danger in the long run than debating a very flawed tax bill.  Patrick could have won a pyric victory by exploding Senate consensus – a move that would have long term consequences should the Democrats ever regain power.

And the legislation itself?  Patrick’s bill would have capped property tax revenue growth for local governments, special taxing districts and school districts at 2.5 percent a year, a threshold that many local government officials have said is way too low and will negatively impact their ability to provide critical government services like police and fire protection.   As a compromise to get Selinger on board, the proposed legislation now sports a 3.5% annual cap.  In any event, local governments could exceed the cap with voter approval.  The real kicker, however, is the likely tie into a yet to be filed bill that will increase the state sales tax by 1%.  That is the most regressive form of taxation and will likely pass.

Slow Down, You Move too Fast – You’ve got to Make your English Class

For those who haven’t been in Austin lately, the scourge of the rented scooter may not sound like much of a problem.  Well, it is as injuries mount and sidewalks are danger zones with scooters whizzing in and out of the foot traffic.  The University of Texas is taking matters into its own hands as Texas Monthly reports:

[UT] announced a new speed limit for the dockless scooters that have become ubiquitous not just on its campus but throughout central Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio, as well as at other colleges like Texas Tech and Abilene Christian. Unlike conventional speed limits, it won’t take a cop with a radar gun to ensure riders don’t break the rule. Instead, the 8-mph limit will be enforced using geofencing technology, which will throttle down a scooter’s top speed (typically 15 to 17 mph) whenever it’s on the UT campus.

The limit, which goes into effect March 26, appears to be the first implementation of geofencing to regulate scooter speed anywhere in the country.

 

Fort Hood Soldiers Living in Substandard Housing

While Individual 1 is looking to divert money from military construction budgets to pay for his “beautiful border wall” under his bogus claim of a National Emergency, soldiers and their families at Fort Hood near Killeen are living in substandard housing.  The Austin American Statesman reports there are “deplorable conditions inside on-post housing, ranging from blooms of mold and lead paint to infestations of snakes and cockroaches and dangerously faulty window screens.” It is unclear whether Trump’s use of military funds would have an impact on fixing up the pathetic housing provided to the military.  These problems are rampant across barracks run by the US Armed Forces and other housing which is provided under a privatization program under an Australian Company Lend Lease.  Privatization of military housing was supposed to improve conditions and provide cost savings and it appears to have done neither.   Diversion of funds from the military for Trumps BBW may not have any impact on whether our military families get decent housing, but it does show where Trump’s priorities lie – which is doing anything to save face for his absurd campaign pledge rather than addressing the actual needs of soldiers and their families for safe and secure housing.

And this Ladies and Gentlemen is Your Top Legal Official in Texas

VOTER FRAUD ALERT: The discovered approx 95,000 individuals identified by DPS as non-U.S. citizens have a matching voter registration record in TX, approx 58,000 of whom have voted in TX elections. Any illegal vote deprives Americans of their voice.

All of which is an utter and complete fabrication brought to you by an AG facing criminal prosecution for deceptive activity.   Red is still waiting for the retraction.