Friday, August 10, 2012

An Open Letter to Ted Cruz

To begin, congratulations Mr. Cruz. Unless you sabotage your own campaign we will see you in the Senate later this year. Your race to, and through, the run off was remarkable. You ran on the strength of the Tea Party and successfully challenged the conservative credentials of Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst. There were horrendous allegations thrown around and now the dust has settled. Your storied runoff caught national media coverage and now you have that stage as well, and have probably earned the opportunity to speak at the Republican National Convention. The point being is that you have access to the nation in representing Texas.

I ask simply that you spend your hard earned political capitol helping our great state instead of continuing the gridlock in Congress. I have looked over your 12 step plan and have some questions in need of clarification:

1. Repeal Obamacare. I understand that that is your stance. There have been 33 failed votes to repeal the law and the Supreme Court has ruled the individual mandate constitutional as a tax. If Congress can't obtain the number of votes to repeal the law, would you be willing to work with your fellow Congressmen to make it more favorable to your fellow Texans?

2.Kill Cap and Trade. The bill was dead on the floor during the presidents first budget. I haven't heard what you would do to tackle the global warming issue. 97% of scientists agree that it is manmade, what kind of solutions do you find palatable, workable, or reasonable?

3. Champion tax reform. You suggest a flat tax or a fair tax that institutes a 30% exclusive sales tax. If I understand correctly, that is on top of state taxes. Thereby in Texas, we would be looking at a 38.5% sales tax in addition to the current property tax. You also mentioned dropping corporate taxes to 15%. Can you explain how you would balance revenue and spending to protect Texans and still provide for those entrepreneurs who fail?

4. Repeal Dodd-Frank. Significant failures in the financial industry came about from deregulation of Glass-Steagall Act. What regulations, if any, would you work to put in its place? If you aren't going to back any regulations, what strategies would you back to protect the public from financial predation?

I am an Independent and value solutions, diplomacy, and competence over practiced dogma on both sides of the aisle. You are entering into the national stage and as you are to represent our great state, I hope to see you do it with honesty, integrity, and dignity. Our country is facing dire consequences. Between the sequester that no one wants to take responsibility for, rampant filibustering, high unemployment, and the stone wall of partisanship, we need representatives that will get things accomplished. I hope you are that man, I do have one quick correction for you though. You echoed what Romney said about President Obama gutting the work requirement from welfare, according to Politifact that is patently false. All I ask is this, soon to be Senator Cruz, check your party at the door and remember where you hang your hat.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Capitol Punishment blog: taking the SBOE to task

I am one of millions of fathers across this state that has a young child that will undoubtedly be going through the public education system. I was born here, met my wife here, started a family here, and very well may die here. My mother was a teacher here and she fought the education system her entire tenure. The point is I, like many Texans have a vested interest in public education. There are countless (not literally) independent school districts (ISDs) across this state and it is fairly common that the quality of the ISD is a major determining factor about where a family will buy a house. Paraphrasing, VP Joe Biden, in Texas school districts are a B.F.D. When I came across the Capitol Punishment blog, I was astonished.

Capitol Punishments article about the State Board Of Education (that capitalized "Of" is for you Krista) is dead on. I do not have the same fervor for deriding the conservatives as the author does, but when they act as the SBOE does there is no alternative. I am usually discouraged when I read an opinionated blog post as facts are usually the first casualty. Not so here, Krista lays out her case with multiple videos, links, and references. I should point out that the post is exhaustive, informative, and expertly done. There is an exuberance in the writing that conveys the sincerity of the poster.

The fundamental essence of the post is to expose how woefully inadequate and ill-informed the people that determine what the children of Texas learn in school. The SBOE determines what textbooks get funded by the Texas Public School system, a book not funded has to be paid for out of pocket by the school. Sounds reasonable, until you find out that a decent number of board members are challenging science as accepted by the scientific community. The scientific rules they challenge? Evolution. I try to be a centrist in all things, find what ever facts may be behind the controversy and base a judgment off that. For an elected official that influences what children of this state learns to willfully ignore facts and science in favor of rigid religious beliefs is ridiculous. Some members of the board are attempting to include creationism and/or intelligent design as an alternative possibility since they consider the theory of evolution to have some weaknesses. Krista called it "bat-shit insane", I have to agree. She then quotes the Texas Republican stance against teaching critical thinking in school. Both of these stances damage the states educational standing and are criminal offenses as I see it.

The poster even has a philosophy of providing solutions to the problem. All but the fifth solution is an honest suggestion, with a little heated rhetoric. The fifth solution is really just a call for common sense. There aren't enough people that take the time to state their opinion, provide numerous facts to back up their stance, give solutions. That sounds like the beginning of reasonable discussion. Now all we need is for the the SBOE and the Texas Republican platform to be reasonable. Capitol Punishment did all the work, we just need to vote.