View By Date
Printable Version of This Page

October 14, 2016      4:43 PM

O'Donnell: White House not really the top prize

QR’s resident curmudgeon argues the Democratic chess masters have again outflanked the GOP’s blitzmeisters in the race for the White House

Okay. Call the dogs. Drown the fire. The dance is over. Donald Trump is now living proof that adolescence at any age is difficult but over several decades it more resembles deep psychosis. Only a dramatic turn of events can head off history’s notations on the administration of Clinton 45.

We’ve watched a male, non-attorney, non-politician well-documented Munchenhausen liar vying against a female, attorney, politician, and well-documented Machiavellian liar. That’s entertainment but the real historic presidential race is already in the books. Barack Obama’s re-election made clear that the electorate is now largely some shade of brown, female, under 40, hopeful but not confident, and fed up with the old, white establishment.

Democrat strategists saw it coming decades ago and planned accordingly. Republicans spent their energy and money on shortsighted, second-rate dramaturges like Karl Rove who urged the GOP’s flailing in endless obstructionism while their Center collapsed.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Edd O'Donnell

October 12, 2016      12:32 PM

Smith: In the Locker Room with Trump – Where Abbott, Patrick and Other State Leaders are Hiding

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith argues GOP leaders huddling up with Trump are failing the people of Texas

Donald Trump and his Texas Republican devotees – Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Land Commissioner George P. Bush and others – are giving locker rooms a bad name.

All four Texans and a practice squad of lesser GOP officials remain wedded to Trump, refusing to ask for an annulment despite Trump’s demonstrated hate for women, Latinos, veterans, African-Americans, and the United States Constitution.

Even Trump’s bragging about the sexual assault of women is not enough to break up the all-male huddle. “It’s locker-room talk,” Trump says.

Today, you could visit any male locker room in any Texas high school and find many candidates for president more qualified than Trump. I know, the minimum age to be president is 35. Does anyone any longer believe that Trump, despite his 70 calendar years, meets that threshold?

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Glenn W. Smith

October 11, 2016      4:51 PM

Pauken: Patrick and Straus need to work together to end Robin Hood

Former RPT Chairman Tom Pauken, one of the original opponents of the current school finance system, says the two presiding officers could “show that Republicans can unify behind a common sense plan that eliminates the Robin Hood tax scheme once and for all.”

More than two decades ago, Gov. Ann Richards persuaded the Texas Legislature to pass a Constitutional Amendment designed to "equalize" educational funding in our public schools by transferring property taxes from so-called property-rich school districts to property-poor districts. It became known as the "Robin Hood" plan because it supposedly took funding from the rich school districts and redistributed it to the poorer districts.

In an effort to defeat that proposal at the ballot box, I led a campaign called Texans Against Robin Hood Taxes. One of the major themes of our campaign was that there were better ways to get necessary funding to property-poor districts than double taxing taxpayers in other school districts.

We defeated Robin Hood by a two-to-one margin that November. But Gov. Richards got the Texas legislature to impose a similar plan legislatively even though the Texas Constitution specifically prohibits a statewide property tax – which is what the Robin Hood school finance scheme is.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Tom Pauken

October 7, 2016      4:52 PM

Smith: It is Time the Adults Drove the Political Puppies from the Room

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith argues that even if it takes (gasp!) party realignment, the extremists in charge in Texas have to be shooed away.

I grew up in an early 1950s suburban home in a neighborhood more urban than sub between Houston’s South Main and the still wild and cypress tree lined Brays Bayou.  It was a short bike ride to where the Astrodome would one day rise. I cast my first votes at Linkwood Park Recreation Center. Even then, the Republican primary voting lines were longer than the lines for Democrats.

But there were two distinct flavors of Republicans in those voting lines, as my father, a WWII vet and Eisenhower Republican, made sure I understood. There was his kind: moderate, tolerant, pro-government investment in the nation’s future (GI Bill; Interstate Highways; Space Program). Then there was the “Bircher” kind: backward looking, reactionary, many of them actual members of the radical right John Birch Society cult.

The latter tended toward white supremacy of a sort, although many disguised their bigotry in the Great Southern Dodge. In a warm, preacherly drawl, they’d say, “It’s just more natch’rul and better-n-butter for everyone that the race-esss remain ay-part.” They’d draw out and aurally boldface the word “races” like imagined words of God.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Glenn W. Smith

September 29, 2016      5:37 PM

Greenfield: State Expenditures for FY16 Keep Rolling Along

In advance of the Annual Cash Report and the Annual Financial Report, our resident number cruncher Dr. Stuart Greenfield offers his take on expenditures for the fiscal year

State Comptroller Glenn Hegar recently announced that state tax collections came in below estimates. He did not comment on total state revenue, which increased more than had been estimated, nor has his office or the LBB commented on state expenditures for FY16. 

In a few months, Hegar’s office will release the Annual Cash Report and Annual Financial Report, which documents state revenue and expenditure for FY16. Before that time, this article will hopefully provide an overview of state expenditures for this fiscal year.

In FY16, state expenditures increased by 7.7 percent to $114.6 billion. As total state revenue was $111.3 billion, net cash flow (revenue – expenditures) was -$3.3 billion. While total net cash flow was -$3.3 billion, according to the Comptroller’s office, the impact on state cash balances for FY16 in various state funds were more substantial. The state’s General Revenue Fund 0001 declined by $5.1 billion to $530.1 million, while Total Consolidated General Revenue declined by $5.0 billion to $6.1 billion. These declines will adversely impact the beginning cash balance in the forthcoming Biennial Revenue Estimate.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Dr. Stuart Greenfield

September 27, 2016      3:52 PM

Pauken: Cruz Endorsement of Trump is Good for Trump – and Actually Helps Cruz Too

Former RPT Chair Pauken: “An executive in venture capital once told me, ‘After I realize I’ve made a bad deal, I don’t even want the cheese anymore just get me out of the trap.’”

Ted Cruz’s endorsement of Donald Trump for President last week is good news for the Trump campaign and a huge setback for the GOP “nevertrumpers” like Bill Kristol, Glenn Beck, Jonah Goldberg, Erick Erickson, et al., who have been trying to persuade conservatives to vote against Trump in November.

Cruz’s support may push some of holdouts into voting for Trump in November. It also sends a signal that, more and more, Republicans (even those who don’t personally care for Donald Trump) are uniting behind his candidacy over fears of a Hillary Clinton presidency. I doubt, however, that the Cruz endorsement will have any impact on John Kasich and Jeb Bush, who once pledged to support the GOP nominee only to renege on that promise once Trump became the nominee.

A number of Cruz’s former allies were dismayed by his decision to support Donald Trump. Some even claimed that it was the end of Ted Cruz’s career as a conservative leader.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Tom Pauken

September 23, 2016      3:09 PM

Smith: Hostilities at Hofstra? The First Presidential Debate of 2016

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith previews next week’s Clinton-Trump debate in Hempstead, New York

Is it just a coincidence that Donald Trump held a bizarre event with fight promoter Don King the week before his upcoming bout with Hillary Clinton in the first presidential debate of 2016? King’s first gig in boxing was the Ali-Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle” fight of 1974. Is Trump promising “Hostilities at Hofstra?”

The phrase doesn’t have the punch of “Rumble in the Jungle.” The debate, however, might match the fight in South Africa in pre-hostilities hype and over-the-top news coverage. Which, we should agree, is not a good thing.

Presidential debates are not about awarding a gaudy golden belt to someone. They are about – or they should be about – the selection of the President of the United States. Elections past have seen good debates and bad debates. Few challenged the political media the way the 2016 debates do.

Why is this?

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Glenn W. Smith

September 22, 2016      5:32 PM

Greenfield: Projecting revenue that will be available for the next Legislature

Our resident number cruncher writes that “Even with a positive rate of growth for tax revenues in FY17, these growth rates will be applied to a lower base. Unless growth rates are increased substantially, tax collections in FY17 will again be $1 billion less than in the CRE.”

With the close of Fiscal Year 2016, signers of the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) pledge can rejoice. They can genuflect to the statue of Grover Norquist and proclaim that – under their brilliance – tax revenue declined while maternal mortality increased and special education services suffered. Is that not fulfilling the ATR directives of lower taxes, smaller government?

My sarcasm aside, tax collections at the close of the fiscal year, as Comptroller Hegar stated, were less than the Comptroller estimated in October 2015. While the Comptroller had estimated that all funds tax collections for FY16 would be $49.7 billion, actual collections were $48.5 billion, $1.2 billion less than the estimate and $3.3 billion less than FY15 tax revenue.

Figure 1 shows the cumulative YTD growth for FY10 through FY16. Only FY09 (-8.5 percent) and FY10 (-6.5 percent) had greater declines in tax collection than FY16 (-6.2 percent).  Following the decline in FY10, tax collections increased by 9.9 percent in FY11.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Dr. Stuart Greenfield

September 21, 2016      5:01 PM

Schuster: Water In Israel: Quenching Our Thirst For Peace and Providing Lessons for Texas

In this op-ed, Hillel Schuster writes that cooperation across governments and the private sector creates a scenario in which politics and profits can combine to become a powerful engine of change

Editor’s note: Hillel Schuster, who lives in Israel, is participating in the Israel Public Diplomacy Forum’s visit to Texas this month. For more information on that, click here – SB

The Old Testament is chock-full of references to water and its life and death impact on the economy and inhabitants of the land of Israel/Canaan. Abraham sojourns from Israel to Egypt during a time of famine (due to lack of rain). Isaac is reported to have dug many wells to survive here; and the Jewish people’s ultimate enslavement to Pharaoh in Egypt begins with Jacob bringing his extended family south, to Egypt during a 7-year period of famine (again, due to a lack of rain) in Israel.

The most basic economic reward and punishment recorded in the Bible relates to having the rains fall in their time. In fact, peace in Israel is specifically described as a time when the land can be productive due to an abundance of water. (See Leviticus 26:3-4)

In short, with respect to Israel: When there is water, there is peace and when there is no water, there is economic turmoil and upheaval.

Guess what? Thanks to a combination of economic foresight, technology and steady rate of infrastructure investments, there is water in Israel and lots of it. What’s more, soon some of the investments made by Israel will be replicated in Jordan and Egypt and there are even water projects planned to be jointly executed between Jordan and Israel.

Yes, you read that right, JOINTLY EXECUTED…Perhaps peace is coming; and the actors will not be the politicians, but rather, a bunch of nerdy engineers and investment bankers. Let me explain.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Hillel Schuster

September 20, 2016      4:30 PM

Pauken: Skills Training Is a Logical Component of a Trump Economic Policy

Former Texas GOP Chairman and former Workforce Commission Chair Tom Pauken argues that if Trump wants his economic proposals to work, his administration would need to emphasize skills training in a way the candidate hasn’t so far

GOP candidate Donald Trump has made bringing jobs home to America and rebuilding our U.S. manufacturing sector key themes in his campaign for the presidency. He has discussed many ways to accomplish those goals including leveling the playing field with our trading competitors, opposing bad trade deals that result in American jobs being shipped overseas, and reforming a business tax system which rewards companies for locating headquarters and factories overseas.

If Trump wins the presidency and puts policies in place to rebuild our U.S. manufacturing sector, one vital element necessary to make that happen is a renewed emphasis on the importance of a skilled workforce.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Tom Pauken

September 19, 2016      3:57 PM

O'Donnell: An inside look at how the Lege ends up considering hundreds of inane bills

QR’s resident curmudgeon Edd O’Donnell gives a preview of exactly how some fights will play out during the next legislative session

Over the years, numerous people have asked me why the Texas Legislature wastes so much of its 140 days every two years considering hundreds of bills that do not affect public health, safety or well-being. Money, ego and ideology are the three prime sources of most of the pointless bills the Lege considers with money being the leading culprit. Here’s a fictional case of how it works:

Weldon Junkin, ambitious bean counter at the Ham Hock grocery chain notices that each of their 27 stores has come up missing three or more grocery carts each fiscal quarter and calculates that at $367 a copy the cart losses are running into many thousands of dollars annually. Weldon does a three-year spreadsheet and presents it to the equally ambitious CFO who brings it up at an executive board meeting.

The HH CEO latches on to this as an important industry-wide problem he can use in his upcoming speech to his trade association, Texas United Grocers (TUG). Following the speech, the CEO of HH starts lobbying TUG to get a bill introduced into the Lege’s next session that would make taking a grocery cart a serious crime.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Edd O'Donnell

September 16, 2016      11:53 AM

Smith: My Elementary School Teachers: Donald Trump Fails Citizenship

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith turns to the wisdom of American post-war elementary school teachers and discovers, unsurprisingly, that Donald Trump is everything we were taught not to be.

As though his father is still buying his son’s way out of jams and scrapes, Donald Trump seems to easily escape from the timid judgments of today’s political pundits. Donald Trump never met my elementary school teachers.

Remember those report cards of yesteryear that graded us – with checks, pluses or minus signs – on our “citizenship” or “traits, attitudes and habits?” And, are you weary of the anemic permissiveness of many in the media? Then gather ’round and we’ll contact ‘the other side’ and conjure up the wise souls of our grade school spirit guides.

It’s highly likely we’ll discover that Trump is everything post-war Americans were taught not to be, not to bias our judges in advance or anything.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Glenn W. Smith

September 13, 2016      12:05 PM

Pauken: Article V Convention is the Wrong Way to Address our Constitutional Crisis

Former Texas GOP Chairman argues Gov. Abbott’s Article V Convention of States could easily go off the rails with liberal states blocking the governor’s amendments: “I can name you 20 states today that would never agree to support Greg Abbott’s plan.”

Why do a number of my fellow conservatives – or those posing as conservatives – believe that an Article V Convention of the States call to amend the Constitution will solve the present Constitutional crisis?

The U.S. Constitution is not the problem.

What’s pushed us to this dangerous precipice is our failure to follow the Constitution and Congress’ unwillingness to limit the unconstitutional actions of the federal judiciary and an overreaching Executive branch.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Tom Pauken

September 12, 2016      5:37 PM

Greenfield by the numbers: Trying to explain the high maternal mortality rate in Texas

Our resident number cruncher presents the data and says everything possible must be done to reverse the regression in Texas women’s health; how can we call ourselves “pro-life” if we don’t do that?

Back in June of 2013, the Quorum Report was kind enough to publish my column on Senate Bill 5’s impact on women’s health care. I concluded with a plea to focus on reducing maternal mortality. 

Two recent reports on maternal mortality indicate this plea was ignored, as both studies document the dramatic increase in the maternal mortality rate in recent years. These studies raise questions about whether budget cuts by the Texas Legislature may have had some impact on this increase.

The initial report, Recent Increases in the U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate: Disentangling Trends From Measurement Issues (RIMMR), analyzed the change in the maternal mortality rate (MMR, female deaths/100,000 live births) among the states. 

Because of a sudden increase in the maternal mortality rate in Texas in 2011-12, they performed a separate analysis of Texas. As shown in this chart, the adjusted maternal mortality rate in Texas doubled between 2010 and 2012 and continues to be around 34 deaths per 100,000 births.

The MMR increased by 26.6 percent between 2000 and 2014 in the 48 states included in the RIMMR analysis. This increase is considerably less than the near doubling of the Texas MMR.  In 2000, the Texas rate was less than the U.S. rate. In 2014, the U.S. rate was 35 percent less than the Texas rate.  You could also simply say the Texas rate is 50 percent higher than the other states. See Table 1.

Senate Bill (S.B.) 495, 83rd Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2013, amended Chapter 34, Texas Health and Safety Code, to establish the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force (MMMTF) to study maternal mortality and morbidity in Texas. 

The report found that in 2011-12 that “Black women bear the greatest risk for maternal death” and that “Overdose by licit or illicit prescription drugs emerged as a leading cause of maternal death.” The study also reported that, “A majority of maternal deaths occur later than 42 days after delivery.”

The report’s committee made six recommendations to reduce maternal mortality. Recommendation #1 is to, “Increase access to health services during the year after delivery and throughout the interconception period to improve continuity of care, enable effective care transitions, promote safe birth spacing, reduce maternal morbidity, and reduce the cost of care in the Medicaid program.” The other five recommendations can be found in the report.

Unfortunately, the 83rd Legislature, 2nd Called Session, 2013, also enacted H.B. 2, which related “to the regulation of abortion procedures, providers, and facilities.”

Along with reducing abortions in the state the bill has also, according to reports from Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) had an adverse impact on women’s health services.  The closure of women’s health centers will have an adverse impact of both prepartum and postpartum care.

The RIMMR study found that both California and Texas were outliers and were separately analyzed. California was singled out because of the decrease in maternal mortality it experienced from 2000 to 2014. Texas was excluded because of the dramatic increase in maternal mortality the state experienced between 2010 and 2014.  The rate increased by 81.6 percent over this period.

In response to eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood, the state has created a “new and improved” program, “Healthy Texas Women.” The Health and Human Services Commission has created two programs, the Healthy Texas Women program and Family Planning Program. These programs offer health and family planning services to more women across the state.  To obtain access to these programs, women must apply for the programs and be approved.

While the RIMMR study documents the dramatic increase in the overall maternal rate in Texas, it is now analyzing the racial/ethnic variations in maternal mortality.  The MMMTF did report on racial/ethnic differences in maternal mortality, but focused on 2011-2012.  Given that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides ready access to various health measures, e.g., infant mortality, maternal mortality, through CDC Wonder, analyzing what has transpired over time to infant mortality and maternal mortality by race and ethnicity would be of interest.

Both studies adjusted the maternal mortality rates reported to CDC.

This analysis uses the reported deaths due to pregnancy without any adjustments.  While these unadjusted data will be higher than those used in the above studies, it should not affect either the trends that both the U.S. and Texas have experienced or the differentials among racial/ethnic groups.

Chart 2 shows the MMR attributed to pregnancy for both the U.S. and Texas from 1999 to 2014.  Both rates have been increasing over time.  The U.S. rate increased from 10.7 in 1999 to 28.4 in 2014, a 165.9 percent increase (6.7 percent per year).  For Texas, the maternal mortality rate increased from 10.2 in 1999 to 37.9 in 2014, a 270.7 percent increase (9.1 percent per year).

While the RIMMR study, using adjusted maternal mortality, showed rate stability between 2000 and 2010, and then a dramatic increase from 2010 to 2014, the data in this analysis shows an ever increasing rate.  Between 1999 and 2014 the Texas rate increased by 2.4 deaths per year.  This increase was 1 death per year greater than the increase in the U.S. rate.

Through 2005, the Texas rate and U.S. rate were quite comparable with the Texas rate increasing by 10.7 percent per year, while the U.S. rate increased at 10.0 percent.  From 2005 through 2014 the Texas growth rate in the maternal mortality rate decreased to 8.1 percent.  However, the rate of increase in the U.S. rate decreased by over half to 4.6 percent.  These changes culminated in the US/TX Maternal Mortality Ratio decreasing from over 1.0 before 2005 (the U.S. rate exceeded the Texas rate) to less than 1 post-2005 (the Texas rate exceeded the U.S. rate).  In 2014 the U.S. rate was 28.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, while the Texas rate was 37.9 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

Was this near doubling of the maternal mortality rate among Texas women a result of the rate among women in each racial and ethnic rate doubling or because of a differential contribution?  The MMMTF report found that black women had a greater risk of maternal death. The RIMMR study found that the black maternal mortality rate in 2011-12 was substantially higher than that of other groups.

Maternal mortality data by race and ethnicity is available through the CDC Wonder system.  These data are not available for the entire period (1999-2014) for each group. Chart 3 shows the maternal mortality rate by race/ethnicity (non-Hispanic White, Black, and Hispanic) over various time frames.

The trend line for each group is positive, i.e., the maternal mortality rate for each group is increasing over time.  On an annualized basis the maternal mortality rates for non-Hispanic Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics have increased by 11.0 percent, 8.0 percent, and 6.8 percent, respectively.  As the MMMTF study found, blacks experience a disproportionate number of maternal deaths.  The Black MMR is 3.2 times greater than the non-Hispanic White rate, and 5.0 times the Hispanic rate.


Since the release of the Recent Increases in the U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate: Disentangling Trends From Measurement Issues, both the national and state press have done front page stories on the dismal performance of this state with respect to maternal mortality.  The story in the New York Times, America’s Shocking Maternal Deaths, compared the maternal mortality rates of developed countries, the U.S., California, and Texas.

As shown in Chart 4, only Mexico had a higher maternal mortality rate than Texas and the U.S. among developed countries.  In fact, according to the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) almost every developed country had single digit maternal mortality rates.

Except for Turkey and the U.S., the entire developed world provides universal health coverage. I would expect that providing pre and post-natal care to mothers contributes to a substantially lower maternal mortality rate.

An explanation for the lower rate for California is that California has attempted to expand health care coverage by expanding Medicaid. Prior to expanding Medicaid, California had the largest number of uninsured residents.  In 2014 Texas had both the largest number of uninsured residences and it also continued to have the highest percentage of its population without insurance coverage.

We’re number one!

As shown in Chart 5, as the beginning of the century the maternal mortality rate for Texas and California were similar. In 2004 the California rate shot up, exceeding the Texas rate by over 15 deaths per 100,000 births.  After 2004 the California rate began to decline and by 2014, the rate had declined from 28.8 deaths per 100,000 births in 2004 to 17.5, a 39.2 percent decrease.  Over this same period the Texas rate increased by 191.5 percent.

While the Medicaid expansion didn’t occur until 2014, six states including California were granted an 1115 Waiver to implement an early Medicaid expansion. Along with this expansion California has two programs, the California Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative, established in 1997 and the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, established in 2006, which have focused on improving natal and maternal care.

I would expect these programs contributed to the reduction in both infant and maternal mortality rates and I would hope our 85th Legislature will direct the state’s Department of State Health Services to determine how programs similar to these California collaborations would reduce our state’s dismal maternal mortality rate.

While neither of the studies – nor this analysis – were able to identify exactly what factors and policies contributed to the dramatic increase in the state’s maternal mortality rate, we should all demand that further analysis will be undertaken to determine factors that affected this increase.

Will the state’s leadership who proclaim how extraordinary our economic performance has been also acknowledge how extraordinary this increase in maternal mortality has been and how less than extraordinary we’ve been at providing health care to residents?  How many of our representatives and senators during consideration of HB 2 in the 83rd Legislative session proclaimed to the heavens that the intent of this bill was to improve women’s health?

I hope and pray that during the upcoming legislative session, everything possible will be done to reverse the regression in Texas women’s health. How can we call ourselves “pro-life” if we don’t do that?

Dr. Stuart Greenfield holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas. He worked for three Comptrollers of Public Accounts and other Texas state agencies. Since retiring from the state in 2000, Greenfield has taught economics at ACC and UMUC.

By Dr. Stuart Greenfield

September 9, 2016      6:10 PM

Smith: Hide the Apple Pie: Texas leaders make motherhood more dangerous, What is next?

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith notes that state GOP leaders have given Texas the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world

When do we stop calling Texas part of the “developed world?” If there is a best indicator of a “developed” civilization in modern times, it is a low maternal death ratio. In Texas, that ratio doubled from 2011 to 2014 according to two new, devastating reports. The Texas rate is 35.8 per 100,000 live births, highest in the nation, highest in the developed world.

As Western civilization developed, maternal mortality ratios dropped. It was a prime reason that average life expectancy increased. In the 1600s and 1700s it was about 1,200 per 100,000 live births. By the early 20th century it had fallen to 600. In the U.S. it has risen from 15 to an unacceptable 24 in recent years. In Germany today it is 4.

Asked what they missed about home, our soldiers overseas during World War II fell into the habit of saying, “Motherhood and apple pie.” In Texas, we ought to hide our apple pie. With motherhood itself suffering from the policies of the Republican leadership, you never know what will next be targeted.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Glenn W. Smith

September 7, 2016      4:27 PM

Emmert: Trump Will Be a Verb After This Election, But What It Will Mean Remains to be Seen

Former Dallas County GOP Chairman Wade Emmert argues anyone who's already made up their mind about the political legacy of Donald Trump is getting ahead of themselves to say the least

It’s pretty rare that a person’s name becomes so intertwined with something that it comes to represent that very thing.

“Gerrymandering” came from Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry after he signed a bill in 1812 which manipulated election districts to benefit his political party.

Charles Boycott was an English estate manager whose ostracism by his local community in Ireland gave us the verb "to boycott".

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Wade Emmert

September 6, 2016      10:33 AM

Coppedge: National poll shows voters want both candidates to release medical records

Dr. Coppedge also offers his clinical analysis of Clinton’s health issues

Donald Trump, if elected, will be the oldest President ever elected. Hillary Clinton would be the second oldest (barely younger than Ronald Reagan). That alone should occasion a good look at the candidates’ respective health and medical history.

In past election cycles, much has been made about the health of certain candidates.  Both Reagan and John McCain underwent intense scrutiny.  This cycle, both candidates have released brief letters from their private physicians. Neither has released their medical records.

This poll was commissioned by John R. Coppedge, MD, a retired surgeon in East Texas to ascertain the voting public’s thoughts about Presidential candidates’ health and the release of their medical records. 

The second goal of the poll was to determine what if anything the voting public knows about Hillary Clinton’s reported health problems.

The results show that the voters think the health of the candidates is important and that their medical records should be made public.

They further show that the voters know very little about Mrs. Clinton’s serious health problems.

And finally, the poll suggests that if the voters knew and understood the serious nature of Hillary Clinton’s Traumatic Brain Injury and blood clot at the base of her brain, along with the damage that caused, they would probably elect Donald Trump.

You can download the poll by clicking here.

The crosstabs are here.


By John Coppedge, MD

The only serious malady ever reported for Donald Trump was appendicitis at age 10 for which he underwent an appendectomy.  And the only things being reported concerning his health by the mainstream media are criticisms of his physician, criticisms of the length of the letter the physician wrote about Trump’s good health, the brief amount of time the doctor to took to write the letter, the fact that the physician has been sued for malpractice once in an unrelated instance and most damningly that the physician looks like the quack doctor in the Burt Reynold’s movie “Cannonball Run”!

There is a great deal out there about Hillary Clinton’s health. Some is pure fictional balderdash, some is highly speculative and not based on any substance, some are minor issues that should not concern voters but others are real and some are quite serious.

Her campaign, her supporters and her media allies are trying to pass the whole thing off as part of a new “Right Wing Conspiracy” inspired by FOX NEWS and MATT DRUDGE.

There in fact are numerous spurious, unproven and questionable allegations about Mrs. Clinton's health including Parkinson's disease, alcoholism, Multiple Sclerosis, seizures, and other things.  There is even a falsified letter purported to be from Clinton's doctor.  Voters should ignore both these false and spurious allegations and the "Right Wing Conspiracy" narrative.

Mrs. Clinton’s real and well-documented health issues include a seasonal allergy problem that is not an issue worthy of concern.  Her hypothyroidism is likewise not an important issue as long as she continues to take her thyroid medication and has regular checkups to monitor the status of the problem.

Her frequent coughing fits raise questions but alone are not all that troubling.  Her medical records would shed some light on that issue.

But other problems are worrisome.  And one is especially alarming.

She has a history of frequently falling, even breaking an arm in 2009.  And there are numerous occasions where she stumbles and loses her balance, requiring people to assist her and keep her from falling.  Some of those are as recent as this year. 

It is charitable to assign this to her being a "klutz".  Less charitable and probably more accurate is the suggestion that the balance issues are related to her Traumatic Brain Injury (see below).

More seriously, she has a history of repeated deep venous thrombosis (DVT- blood clots in her major leg veins). If a large clot broke free it can travel to the heart and lungs causing cardiovascular collapse and even sudden death.

This condition requires her to take longterm medication to “thin” her blood.  Such medication has potential side effects and complications that could be a problem under certain circumstances.

But by far the most serious issue is the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI-concusion) and Transverse Sinus Thrombosis (TST-blood clot at the base of her brain).

In December 2012, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lost consciousness, fell and struck her head. Press reports at the time said she was diagnosed as having had a syncopal episode because of volume depletion, struck her head and sustained a concussion.  (Some reports suggest she may also have suffered a skull fracture and/or a subdural hematoma at that time. 

A subdural hematoma is bleeding between the brain and the membrane covering the brain- the dura. Once again, her medical records could confirm or rule out her having a skull fracture and/or subdural hematoma.  In emails to and from her staff at the time it was said she had a “cracked head”.)

She continued to have symptoms, including severe headaches over the next two weeks and a subsequent study identified a right Transverse Sinus Thrombosis.  She was hospitalized in New York on Dec. 30th, 2012.  The study cited above shows that the voters are generally unaware of this problem and do not understand it.

The two transverse sinuses are very large veins, located at the base of the brain that drain all the blood from the brain. A blood clot in one of these veins is a very serious medical issue. 

When this vein is blocked, the venous pressure in the brain increases, decreasing blood flow to the brain and causing the brain to swell. That frequently leads to neurologic problems such as memory loss, double vision, blurred vision, headaches, and balance issues and can even cause strokes or death. 

While she is downplaying all of that now and trying to laugh it off on comedy talk shows, her husband Bill Clinton, in 2014 said she had " a terrible concussion that required six months of very serious work to get over.”

The recent call by President Obama’s former physician Dr. David Scheiner (hardly a fan of Donald Trump) for Mrs. Clinton to have a thorough neurologic exam because of her Traumatic Brain Injury and the disclosure that she told the FBI investigating the email/private server issue that she could not remember things because of her concussion should be making the media and the public clamor for her to release her records. 

The silence from the media is deafening.

The short version is:


An examination of all of her medical records by an independent medical review panel is definitely in order.  And Donald Trump should be similarly vetted.  A brief letter from their primary care doctors does not cut the mustard.

Dr. John Coppedge is a physician from Longview, Texas.

By Dr. John Coppedge

August 30, 2016      3:35 PM

Emmert: If Kaepernick Truly Understood His Right to Sit, He Would Surely Stand

Former Dallas County GOP Chairman Wade Emmert says of the NFL player who protested the national anthem: “The Flag of the United States represents the sacrifices of the men and women who have fought to protect our freedoms – the very freedoms Kaepernick enjoys.”

Colin Kaepernick sat in protest Friday night during the National Anthem, moments before the San Francisco 49ers took the field for their preseason game against the Packers.

What was he protesting? Racial injustice, of course.

Born out of the Black Lives Matter movement, and a willful distortion of the facts, celebs like Kaepernick stand (or sit, if you will) in support of a narrative that has a tenuous relationship to the truth. To figure out what he was thinking, we need look no further than his own words:

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Wade Emmert

August 26, 2016      4:59 PM

Smith: What Happened to “Best?”

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith argues that while politics used to be seen as bringing out the best and the worst in us, there’s less “best” to be seen these days.

During years of reporting on and then working in political campaigns, I used to share with many the view that politics brings out the best and the worst in those involved. Now I wonder, what has happened to “the best?”

After each session of The Legislature, Texas Monthly still publishes “Best and Worst Legislators.” You have to admire their writers’ perseverance.

Medieval church scholars used to ask how many angels could be in the same place. If we ask that about the Texas Capitol we can quit with noting that there’s room for a lot more than there are.

There have been – and there are – angelic spirits in and around the Capitol. In fact, it was the passing of one such spirit, Nelda Laney, the kind and gracious wife of former House Speaker Pete Laney, that set me to wondering again about this. She – and the former Speaker as well – are among the all-time Best.

Don’t get me wrong.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Glenn W. Smith

August 22, 2016      5:43 PM

Emmert: Tortured Logic, How the Left Is Highjacking the Voter ID Debate

Former Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Emmert writes “How would the left, the media, or anyone for that matter, know how pervasive in-person voter fraud is? The answer is they don't, nor do they want to.”

I've grown weary of hearing how infrequent in-person voter fraud is nationally and particularly in Texas. I have a simple question for the people spinning that tale: How would you know?

I've heard the left's talking points for years now. They say, "Well, so few people are getting prosecuted for it, so it must not be happening." Then, recognizing the failure of logic in that statement, they throw in a few racial arguments about how minorities usually vote Democrat, and since minorities apparently cannot get a picture ID, this all must be a scheme by Republicans to keep them from voting.

Geez, give me a break.

The mainstream media is complicit in this fable. They write stories parroting those talking points and using the same tortured logic all while lamenting Texas' efforts to disenfranchise voters at the ballot box.

How would the left, the media, or anyone for that matter, know how pervasive in-person voter fraud is?

The answer is they don't, nor do they want to.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Wade Emmert