Harvey Kronberg's Quorum Report
DAILY BUZZ
NEWS CLIPS
R & D
PRESS RELEASES
CALENDAR
LOGIN
LOGOUT



Lead Stories

Austin American Statesman - December 20, 2014

Questionable Texas contract deal was years in the making

While he was brokering a multimillion-dollar state contract for Austin technology company 21CT, then-state health official Jack Stick was promoting 21CT’s software to other states, assisting the company’s growth plans and seemed poised to take an executive position with the firm, a former 21CT lobbyist told the American-Statesman. “They thought that he was going to come over and run it, make it big, take it public,” said lobbyist James Frinzi, who is also Stick’s one-time business partner and who was fired by 21CT last week.

click here for more


Texas Tribune - December 19, 2014

As Oil Prices Plunge, Texas Eyes Are on Hegar

In January of 1983, just one month after Billy Hamilton stepped into his position as Texas’ chief revenue estimator, the state was wading in a flood of red ink that no one had seen coming. Plummeting oil prices had pushed state tax collections $100 million below the previous January, sending bureaucrats literally scurrying across the revenue-processing floor in search of forgotten mailbags of cash. “It was like you were going to lose your job every day,” recalled Hamilton, now the chief financial officer for the Texas A&M University system.

click here for more


Ft. Worth Star Telegram - December 20, 2014

Texas lawmakers worry state agencies are going rogue

Instant-gambling machines at racetracks in Texas. Alcohol sales at certain gun shows. A move to prevent dentists from using support organizations that might handle scheduling or marketing. These are among the issues that state lawmakers say should have been left up to them. But state agencies stepped in anyway and, in the view of some elected officials, may have overstepped their limits. Now lawmakers are on the verge of heading back to the Texas Capitol for 140 days, and some say they are ready to take control back from the very agencies appointed to help them.

click here for more


Houston Chronicle - December 20, 2014

Former Houston mayor Bob Lanier has died

Bob Lanier, a 6-foot-4 cowboy boot-wearing, sports-crazy political sharpshooter who rose from modest beginnings in blue-collar Baytown to become one of Houston's biggest developers and most influential mayors, died Saturday. He was 89. In January 1992, Lanier began a six-year tenure as mayor that, in its successes, was hailed as a model for reducing crime and revitalizing the inner city. At various times, for various reasons, Lanier was likened to Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. The commonality was that Lanier, the son of a Methodist minister turned oilfield roustabout, invariably was measured against America's greatest movers and shakers.

click here for more


New York Times - December 20, 2014

In a Break From Partisan Rancor, Ohio Moves to Make Elections More Competitive

Of 435 House races in November, only a few dozen were considered competitive — a result of decades of drawing district lines for partisan advantage, generally by state legislatures. But in an era of hyperpartisan gerrymandering, which many blame for the polarization of state and national politics, Ohio took a step in the opposite direction last week. With the support of both parties, the Ohio House gave final approval Wednesday to a plan to draw voting districts for the General Assembly using a bipartisan process, intended to make elections more competitive.

click here for more


State Stories

New York Times - December 20, 2014

Ramsey: A Feigned Sense of Unity Is Unraveling

Lawmakers love and hate voting on issues because they hate to be pinned down. That makes no real political difference most of the time, as when legislators plow through resolutions honoring constituents and commemorating historical events. The vote for speaker of the House is not one of those times. The speaker can control who gets on which committees and who heads them, which legislation moves and which gets stuck in the machinery. A vote against the winner can easily become self-defeating, just as support for the winner can give the voter an advantage.

click here for more


El Paso Times - December 19, 2014

Rubinstein: Water funding available in El Paso, West Texas

In 2060, far West Texas, including El Paso, will need 226,569 additional acre-feet of water per year in drought conditions. That would be the equivalent of digging one-foot deep into the football field at Sun Bowl Stadium and filling it with water 226,569 times. To meet this need, the Far West Texas Regional Water Planning Area has identified more than $800 million worth of water projects. The Texas Water Development Board is dedicated to ensuring the areas of El Paso and far West Texas have the opportunity to receive financial assistance for these projects. In far West Texas, the population is expected to increase by more than almost 20 percent between 2010 and 2020. By 2060, it is expected to increase by 79 percent since 2010.

click here for more


Ft. Worth Star Telegram - December 20, 2014

FWST: Texas agency has a transparency problem

There’s a delicious irony in the news that a state contract intended to root out fraud and increase transparency in Texas’ Medicaid program might itself show the need for more transparency and oversight of the contracting process. But it mostly stinks. A top official at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission quietly resigned Dec. 9 after concerns were raised — mostly by news media — that he may have steered $110 million in noncompetitive contracts to a company he favored.

click here for more


Texas Observer - December 19, 2014

Five Texas-Sized Examples of Anti-Gay Bigotry in 2014

When Rolling Stone magazine recently named Texas one of “The 5 Worst States for LGBT People,” it was difficult to argue with the designation. Was I hurt? Yes. Did I have the urge to become insanely defensive? Yes. Has the person who wrote it ever been to Texas? Probably not. Do we have our share of glittery, bedazzled LGBT bright spots? You’re damned right we do, so let’s go over a few of them:

click here for more


Houston Chronicle - December 20, 2014

Former state employee plans to sue, says she was ‘scapegoat’ in contracting scandal

A former state employee whose firing helped bring to light a massive contracting controversy is now planning to sue her former bosses for wrongful termination and defamation, her lawyer said Friday night. Leah Rayne, who was fired in September from the Texas Health and Human Services Commissionfor allegedly leaking information about internal contract negotiations, sent a letter of intent to sue through lawyer Mark Brewer to the agency earlier Friday, Brewer said.

click here for more


Houston Chronicle - December 20, 2014

Sounding like a candidate, Perry says retirement holds no interest for him

Sounding like he already is a presidential candidate, Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday held up Texas as a blueprint for success, slammed President Barack Obama on foreign policy, including his decision to normalize relations with Cuba, and declared the nation ready for a savvy, sunny leader. "Americans are looking for competent leadership. They're looking for someone who has the experience of having a record that is an optimistic, positive vision of the future of this country," Perry said in an interview with the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News as he wraps up a record 14 years as Texas governor.

click here for more


Houston Chronicle - December 20, 2014

Open carry groups to hold competing Capitol demonstrations

It’s said the Texas Capitol is likely one of the most well-armed Legislatures in the country, with politicians and public alike taking advantage of a rule that allows concealed handgun permit holders to bypass security. That will be even more true come January, when multiple groups advocating for more permissive gun laws plan to hold demonstrations on the Capitol grounds. They have a common purpose – pass a House bill that would remove the state’s 145-year-old ban on the open carry of handguns – but they disagree on the methods.

click here for more


Texas Tribune - December 19, 2014

Border Apprehensions in Texas Spiked in 2014

ederal immigration agents apprehended nearly 97,000 more people trying to enter the U.S. illegally through Texas’ southern border during the 2014 fiscal year than they did in 2013, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Friday. About 332,460 people were apprehended in Texas between October 2013 and September 2014, up from 235,600 the year before. Nationwide, agents apprehended about 486,600 people in fiscal year 2014, compared with 420,800 in 2013.

click here for more


Austin American Statesman - December 20, 2014

Texas ranchers seeking alternative incomes

GAIL — The Muleshoe Ranch’s profits were chopped in half when the drought withered pastures, dried up stock tanks and forced the owner to move most of his cattle out of state. Three years later, the sprawling 33,000-acre West Texas ranch is again populated with cattle, thanks to improved rainfall. But John R. Anderson is no longer taking chances with his bottom line. The fourth-generation rancher is exploring alternative incomes to ensure his business can survive another hit from Mother Nature. His options include leasing part of his land for quail, deer and antelope hunting.

click here for more


El Paso Times - December 20, 2014

Sen. Rodriguez proposes principles, good data about border security

Decrying the Texas Department of Public Safety's continuing lack of data regarding whether the border is secure, Texas Sen. José Rodríguez is calling on the agency, lawmakers and other state officials to adopt a new approach to the issue. Rodríguez, an El Paso Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Hispanic Caucus, is putting forward a set of principles aimed at reframing the discussion about border security.

click here for more


Houston Chronicle - December 20, 2014

Crude calculation: Another decade, another oil bust

Thirty years ago, a steep slide in crude prices forced Larry Oldham to gut the payroll at his Midland oil company down to just himself and one other who worked as secretary, accountant and oil lease specialist. His wife worked there, too, but the company didn't have the money to pay her. In that West Texas city, atop the ancient bed of petroleum called the Permian Basin, it seemed to Oldham that everybody owed somebody else a little money. Survival instincts kicked in hard. But the oil bust of the mid-1980s still swallowed up oil companies, banks, real estate markets, and thousands of jobs in Texas, sending the state's roaring economy into a slump for years.

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - December 20, 2014

Slater: Recalling the little moments with Bush, Richards and a pope

There were probably good questions to ask the pope, but for the life of me, I couldn't think of one. Standing next to Pope John Paul II in advance of a papal address during his whirlwind 1979 tour of America, what caught my attention were his slippers. Great slippers. Somewhere in Rome, I thought, somebody makes shoes for the pope. And there they were — simple, elegant, as smartly handcrafted as a pair of Rocky Carroll boots. It was the only thing I could think of, standing backstage in Chicago with the vicar of Christ before he addressed the college of cardinals. Who makes the pope’s leather shoes?

click here for more


Houston Chronicle - December 19, 2014

For the state and fracturing opponents, a clash extends

Across the state, drilling rigs are falling idle as plummeting crude prices knock a swaggering industry into uncertainty. But at the Capitol, lawmakers are pressing a showdown on a signature issue of petroleum's hydraulic fracturing era: home rule. Disturbed by noise, pollution and even earthquakes, can cities say no to oil and gas companies? If Rep. Phil King has his way, refusal will become much more difficult. Under a pair of bills he filed this week, cities seeking to ban fracturing, also known as fracking, would need to gain approval from the state attorney general, pay the state to study the financial impact and reimburse the state for any lost tax revenue.

click here for more


Mother Jones - December 19, 2014

Drum: Rick Perry Is One Lucky Dude

Man, Rick Perry is one lucky guy, isn't he? It's true that the "Texas Miracle" may not be quite the miracle Perry would like us to believe. As the chart below shows in a nutshell, the Texas unemployment rate has fared only slightly better than the average of all its surrounding states. Still, Texas has certainly had strong absolute job growth. However, this is mostly due to (a) population growth; (b) the shale oil boom; and (c) surprisingly strict mortgage loan regulations combined with loose land use rules, which allowed Texas to escape the worst of the housing bubble. Perry didn't actually have much to do with any of this, but he gets to brag about it anyway. And now that oil is collapsing and might bring the miracle to a sudden end, Perry is leaving office and can avoid all blame for what happens next.

click here for more


Austin American Statesman - December 20, 2014

List of worst Texas schools increases

The number of campuses on the annual list of the worst public schools in Texas is up more than a third from last year. The Texas Education Agency reported Friday that 1,199 schools have been identified as low performers because of poor test scores or unacceptable ratings under the state's Public Education Grant Program. Last year there were 892 schools on the list. Under different criteria in 2012, 456 campuses were singled out. More than 736,000 students attend the schools on the list, and all have the right to transfer to another campus either in their home district or any neighboring district that agrees to accept them.

click here for more


San Antonio Express News - December 20, 2014

Even more natural gas being flared in Eagle Ford Shale

Gas flares in the Eagle Ford Shale burned more than 20 billion cubic feet of natural gas and released tons of pollutants into the air in the first seven months of 2014 — exceeding the total waste and pollution for all of 2012. Intro video to flaring project: New records analyzed by the San Antonio Express-News show flaring in the oil patch has continued to increase in the Eagle Ford, an upward trend first revealed in a yearlong San Antonio Express-News investigation called Up in Flames that was published in August. The Express-News obtained new flaring data from the Railroad Commission of Texas, which oversees the oil and gas industry. The updated database shows that from January to July, energy companies flared and wasted enough natural gas to fuel CPS Energy’s 800-megawatt Rio Nogales power plant during the same seven-month period.

click here for more


Texas Tribune - December 21, 2014

Gay Marriage Ban on Precarious Legal Ground

Fourteen states allowed same-sex marriage when Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman filed a lawsuit late last year challenging Texas’ constitutional ban on marriages that are not between a man and a woman. The couple, married in Massachusetts in 2009, lives in Austin and collided with Texas law when they could not both be listed on the birth certificate of their first child. They hope the law is changed before the birth of their second.

click here for more


Texas Tribune - December 19, 2014

The Tax That Consumers Are Ignoring

Don’t say this too loudly: The goods you buy online and through mail-order catalogs from out of state are not tax free. It’s just that the state has a hard time collecting the taxes that are due. Retailers do not pay sales taxes. Consumers do. Retailers just collect them and remit them to the state. And not all retailers are required to play. Texas has no way to force sellers in other states to collect taxes.

click here for more


Texas Tribune - December 20, 2014

One Fired, Three Sent Home as 21CT Fallout Widens

Gov. Rick Perry on Friday fired Doug Wilson, inspector general of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, following the removal of Wilson's former deputy after questions arose over the selection of a relatively unknown company for a $110 million Medicaid fraud software contract. Perry asked for Wilson's resignation and received it, according to Lucy Nashed, the governor's spokeswoman. "Ongoing questions regarding the awarding of contracts at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission have caused the governor to lose confidence in Wilson’s ability to carry out the important oversight responsibilities of this office," Nashed said in a statement.

click here for more


County Stories

Houston Chronicle - December 20, 2014

Federal agency's shelter oversight raises questions

At the end of a two-lane county road, inside a cluster of brick duplexes, the federal government houses some of the most traumatized children caught crossing the border. Shiloh Treatment Center Inc. cared for the Honduran orphan who couldn't stop crying, the petite trafficking victim, the 17-year-old fresh off a stint in juvenile jail. For that, the U.S. government pays a premium: $5.1 million for 32 beds last fiscal year. U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, said he wondered why such a small facility is so expensive and whether the children there are safe. So one day this summer, he went looking for answers and knocked on the door of Shiloh's main office, a 1970s-era mobile home.

click here for more


Ft. Worth Star Telegram - December 20, 2014

62 Tarrant County schools must allow students to transfer

The number of low-performing schools in Arlington and Fort Worth that must give students the option to transfer increased slightly this year, according to a state report released Friday. Fort Worth went from 38 to 39 schools on the annual Public Education Grant, or PEG, list for 2015-16, while Arlington increased from eight to nine. Statewide, 1,199 schools are on the list of the state’s worst-performing schools, up 892 last year — an increase of 34 percent. In the Dallas school district, the number increased from 59 to 71. Houston jumped from 53 to 86 schools, a spike of 62 percent.

click here for more


McAllen Monitor - December 19, 2014

RGC coach charged with sexually assaulting student

A Rio Grande City coach was arrested Friday and charged with sexually assaulting a student. Erasmo Montalvo, 41, coaches the high school's successful girls' varsity track team. The school district placed him on an administrative suspension with pay Friday while the Starr County District Attorney investigates allegations that he fondled and assaulted one of his athletes last year. The allegations were only recently reported to the Starr County District Attorney's Office, DA Heriberto Silva said. The alleged victim has since graduated, according to Superintendent Roel Gonzalez.

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - December 20, 2014

After 15 years, Dallas area’s mental health experiment may be ending

North Texas leaders have boasted for years about the unique way they provide mental health care to the poor. They say their partially privatized system called NorthSTAR uses less money to treat more people than in any other part of the state. More important, they say no one in need of care ever goes on a waiting list. But critics have argued that the system offers less comprehensive care and causes the region to lose out on state dollars. And now, an effort to break it up seems to be gaining steam. This month, a state oversight panel described NorthSTAR as “outdated” and suggested that it be scrapped.

click here for more


City Stories

Austin American Statesman - December 20, 2014

Kyle caught in middle of Police Chief Jeff Barnett’s private life

What began in a Dallas suburb as a sordid and private saga between a police chief, his married girlfriend and her angry husband has now spilled over into a public scandal that has put this town in the middle. In April 2011, the Kyle City Council hired Jeff Barnett to head its fast-growing Police Department, saying the former FBI special agent was the leader they needed for the 25-officer agency. Eight months after Barnett moved to Central Texas and settled into his new job, a lawsuit claimed he called cop buddies in his old department in Princeton to settle unfinished personal business: It claims he abused his authority and connections by arranging for officers in the Collin County town to arrest his girlfriend’s husband on domestic violence charges.

click here for more


San Antonio Express News - December 20, 2014

Briefly heckled at mall, S.A. marchers protest police shootings

More than 200 peaceful protesters marched from an East Side church to Rivercenter Mall and on to the Alamo on Saturday, voicing anger at the shooting deaths at the hands of police in recent incidents nationwide. The protest culminated with a “die-in” in front of the mall, where participants sank to the Commerce Street pavement and lay in silence. A few dozen graduates of the University of Texas at San Antonio, in caps and gowns, were momentarily caught up in the protest as they walked from the convention center where their commencement ceremony had occurred.

click here for more


San Antonio Express News - December 20, 2014

Handheld device ban set to take effect, but will it reduce crashes?

When San Antonio’s ban on using hand-held mobile devices while driving goes into effect next month, motorists will become part of a growing campaign against distracted driving. The law follows similar bans of hand-held cellphone use and texting across the country. Research shows motorists talking on cellphones are more likely to cause an accident. But experts also note that cellphone bans have yet to produce a significant decrease in crashes. The new policy, approved by the City Council in November, expands on San Antonio’s 2010 ordinance banning texting while driving. It also allows drivers to use hands-free technology and carves out certain exceptions for phone use, including in the case of an emergency.

click here for more


National Stories

Dallas Morning News - December 20, 2014

Gillman: Ted Cruz’s vision for a Republican victor in 2016 looks very familiar

A centrist Republican simply cannot win the White House in 2016 -- that’s the argument Sen. Ted Cruz has been peddling for two years, since the defeat of Mitt Romney. Romney? A good man. John McCain? Bob Dole? Decent men. Patriots. But each, in the Cruz analysis — which just happens to tilt the playing field his way — was doomed. And the next in this line of certain failures would be the candidate to draw the most attention lately, Jeb Bush, brother and son of presidents and darling of the party’s establishment. “We need to learn from history,” Cruz said.

click here for more


El Paso Times - December 19, 2014

EPT: U.S.-Cuba rapprochement is long overdue

The United States and Cuba are taking a long overdue step in normalizing relations between the two Cold War adversaries. For the first time in more than half a century, the two countries will exchange ambassadors. Though the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba will continue for now, that also should be modified soon. The breakthrough was negotiated with the help of the Canadian government and Pope Francis.

click here for more


New York Times - December 21, 2014

Republicans Fighting to Hang Onto Senate _ in 2016

Senate majority in hand, ascendant Republicans are set to challenge President Barack Obama and the Democrats on Capitol Hill come January. But a much tougher election map two years from now could force the GOP right back into the minority. In November 2016, Republicans will defend 24 seats, Democrats 10. Seven of the GOP seats are in states that President Barack Obama won with 50 percent or more of the vote in 2012. It's a stark reversal from this past November, when Democrats were the ones contending with a brutal map, including candidates running in seven states Obama had lost. Democrats were crushed on Election Day, losing nine seats and their Senate majority.

click here for more


Ft. Worth Star Telegram - December 18, 2014

FWST: Commuting drug sentences won’t correct problem

Of the 216,000 inmates in federal prisons, about half are behind bars for drug convictions, with many having been punished under outdated — and now generally regarded as overly harsh — sentencing guidelines. With the federal penitentiary system being roughly 32 percent above capacity, authorities have recognized that major steps must be taken to reduce the population and serve justice. Early this year, the U.S. Sentencing Commission dramatically lowered recommended sentences for drug offenders, and this summer the commission voted to apply that change retroactively. Based on the guidelines, it is estimated that more than 46,000 inmates would be affected.

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - December 20, 2014

Ousted Texan Gallego criticizes partisan politics in Congress

Rep. Pete Gallego came to Congress vowing to work across party lines. After just two years, he leaves embittered about the state of politics on Capitol Hill. The defeated West Texas Democrat, in an interview with The Dallas Morning News as he prepared to leave office, slammed what he described as an erosion of compromise and common ground in Washington. In his short tenure, Gallego, a veteran of the Texas Legislature, wasn’t shy about breaking ranks with his party. He opposed President Barack Obama 45 percent of the time, according to a vote analysis from Congressional Quarterly — more than nearly every other Democrat.

click here for more


Washington Post - December 19, 2014

Supreme Court allows same-sex marriages in Florida

The Supreme Court on Friday cleared the way for same-sex marriages to commence in Florida, meaning such unions will soon be allowed in five of the nation’s six most populous states. The court, without comment, turned down a request to block gay marriages in Florida while the state appeals a judge’s order that its ban is unconstitutional. Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas said they would have granted the motion, but did not explain their reasons. The decision follows the court’s pattern not to intervene in lower-court rulings that such bans are unconstitutional, even though the Supreme Court itself has not made such a ruling.

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - December 19, 2014

Retiring Rep. Ralph Hall to pull in $139,000 annual pension

Rep. Ralph Hall is leaving office this year, but taxpayers will still be sending him checks. Hall, a 34-year congressional veteran, qualifies for an annual pension of about $139,000, pension experts say. The Rockwall Republican is eligible to draw it immediately after his term ends in early January. Hall also can continue collecting a pension from his 10-year tenure in the state Senate, from 1962 to 1972. In 2013, Hall reported those benefits were $67,748.

click here for more


Politico - December 20, 2014

‘I’m not done’

This time eight years ago, Barack Obama and his staff were in the final stages of preparing to launch a presidential campaign. So was pretty much everyone else. The midterms were done, the opposition party had ridden a wave to a wipe-out. The political world was already looking past President George W. Bush. Obama was leading the charge. On Friday, Obama stood at the podium at the White House and dared anyone to try the same with him. “Interesting stuff happens in the fourth quarter. And I’m looking forward to it,” Obama said, at the outset of the 2014 wrap-up press conference at the White House, as he promised a year that would be heavy on outreach to Congress but also moving forward on his own — protecting health care and financial regulations, and pushing forward on immigration reform.

click here for more


Washington Post - December 19, 2014

Why white evangelicals rule the midterms

One of the reasons that Republicans won the midterm elections is because white evangelicals turned out, while Democratic-leaning groups stayed home. For good and for ill, white evangelicals are one of the most effectively organized groups in American politics, and they reliably vote Republican. We should all be asking what we can learn from conservative evangelicals about how to energize voters in midterms. Back in October, pollster Robert Jones argued that white evangelicals were declining as a percentage of the population, even in the South. This could have been bad news for Republicans, who counted on loyal support from white evangelicals. Jones predicted that by November 2014, evangelical decline would start tipping close races to Democrats in Bible Belt states like Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

click here for more


New York Times - December 20, 2014

Talk of ‘El D.M.V.’ as Licensing Expands to Cover Undocumented Immigrants in California

Sabina Santiago, a mother of three, says a small prayer for protection each morning as she climbs into the driver’s seat of her Chevy pickup to take her two daughters to school. For eight years or so, Mrs. Santiago has been driving without a license, including frequent 50-mile trips to Fresno so that her 9-year-old daughter, Maria Carmen, who has Down syndrome, can see a doctor there. A native of Oaxaca, Mexico, Mrs. Santiago, 33, is one of an estimated 1.4 million undocumented immigrants who are expected to apply for driver’s licenses over the next three years under a California law that goes into effect Jan. 2. The law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year, will allow residents to apply for licenses regardless of their immigration status.

click here for more


Politico - December 21, 2014

Why single payer died in Vermont

Vermont was supposed to be the beacon for a single-payer health care system in America. But now its plans are in ruins, and its onetime champion Gov. Peter Shumlin may have set back the cause. Advocates of a “Medicare for all” approach were largely sidelined during the national Obamacare debate. The health law left a private insurance system in place and didn’t even include a weaker “public option” government plan to run alongside more traditional commercial ones. So single-payer advocates looked instead to make a breakthrough in the states. Bills have been introduced from Hawaii to New York; former Medicare chief Don Berwick made it a key plank of his unsuccessful primary race for Massachusetts governor.

click here for more


Politico - December 20, 2014

Obama hits Keystone again but declines to threaten veto

President Barack Obama poured cold water once again on the alleged economic benefits of the Keystone XL oil pipeline on Friday — a theme he has sounded frequently in the past few months, increasing speculation that he will eventually kill the project. Obama said at his year-end news conference that the Alberta-to-Texas project would have “very little” effect on gasoline prices and do little to improve the economy. He acknowledged that building the pipeline would create a “couple thousand” temporary jobs, but said that while those aren’t “completely insignificant,” other road and bridge projects could do more.

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - December 20, 2014

DMN: The right choice for immigration director

Sometimes you get to the right place in the wrong way. The U.S. Senate last week confirmed U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldaña as the next director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Unfortunately, our two senators, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, couldn’t suspend party politics long enough to vote for her. Saldaña, who won confirmation by a comfortable 55-39 mostly party-line vote, had received bipartisan praise for courageous public corruption prosecutions of former Dallas City Councilman Don Hill and current Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price. However, she didn’t win the support of her home state senators because she backs President Barack Obama’s recent executive action to protect millions of unauthorized immigrants from deportation.

click here for more


Copyright December 21, 2014, Harvey Kronberg, www.quorumreport.com, All rights are reserved