The Arena

Texas Home Prices On The Rise
Posted August 14, 2013 by Nathanael Ferguson

Some are expressing concern that home prices in Texas may be rising too fast. Perhaps. Or perhaps the market is adjusting to basic laws of supply and demand. Texas is experiencing a population boom that is increased by domestic immigration from other states. These new Texans need housing so it makes sense that increased demand pushes prices up, particularly in the major urban hubs of Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston. It makes complete sense that prices are rising. If they are rising too fast, the market will sort it out.

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Another Travis County DA DWI
Posted by Nathanael Ferguson

Travis County ShameAnother prosecutor in Travis County has been charged with a DWI. Four months ago it was District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg who was arrested for driving while (heavily) intoxicated. Video from the traffic stop and the police station revealed that Lehmberg went to great lengths to embarrass herself, the office she holds, and the people of Travis County. Despite all of this, she refused to step down.

Today news has broken that Assistant DA Brandon Grunewald has been charged with his own DWI. This leads to a series of obvious questions. Is there a systemic problem with alcohol abuse in the Travis County prosecutor’s office? How can our top county law enforcement officials be trusted to prosecute the law if they have no respect for the laws they are supposed to enforce?

When the consequences for misbehavior at the top are insignificant it sends a signal that the consequences for those down the chain of command will also be insignificant. This creates a poisonous and potentially lawless environment in a place where laws are supposed to be enforced, not broken. Lehmberg and Grunewald should both resign immediately and someone needs ...

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The Color of Money
Posted by Nathanael Ferguson

It turns out that even the U.S. Treasury can’t correctly print the new $100 bill. Many are calling this a disaster but perhaps it’s a good thing. If even the folks who are supposed to print the bills can’t get it right, it sure isn’t going to be easily counterfeited!

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A Bait & Switch? Probably.
Posted August 13, 2013 by Nathanael Ferguson

Defending the haphazard implementation of Obamacare, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says “This is not a bait and switch.” When you have to go on a media offensive letting people know something is not a bait and switch, odds are it’s a bait and switch.

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Is Your Representative In Hiding?
Posted by Nathanael Ferguson

US CapitolIf so, demand a TownHall!

The sea change that was the 2010 midterm elections which wrested control of the United States House of Representatives from Nancy Pelosi’s grip had very little to do with election day in November 2010. Election Day was a mere formality. The wave that crashed ashore in November began as a ground swell in August as tens of thousands of concerned citizens confronted, questioned, and conversed with their Representatives in TownHall meetings across the country. What they found was a deeply dissatisfying lack of actual representation. As a result scores of incumbents were defeated.

Four years later many of the replacement representatives who benefited from the August 2010 energy and dissatisfaction are retreating from view, unwilling to hold the same TownHall style meetings from which they so greatly benefitted.

The best way for the electorate to hold public officials accountable is to be informed and engaged. The best way to be engaged is to meet officials in their districts and remind them how folks think outside the Beltway. If members of Congress are not quick to set up TownHall meetings during this August ...

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Tear Down This Wall
Posted by Nathanael Ferguson

Today in history: construction begins on the Berlin Wall.

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Yes And Yes
Posted August 12, 2013 by Nathanael Ferguson

The Texas ModelTexas Monthly wonders whether “The Texas Miracle” is real and, if so, whether Gov. Rick Perry should get credit for it. The answers to both questions are clear as day – yes and yes. For a lengthy, wonky, and rather comprehensive treatment of The Texas Miracle, interested parties may want to read Chuck DeVore’s The Texas Model. DeVore pretty definitively answers the first question. As for the second, it doesn’t take much imagination to realize that the longest serving governor of Texas, whose unprecedented term has coincided with a Texas jobs boom at a time when the rest of the nation faltered, deserves some of the credit. While no single individual merits full credit for Texas’ bucking the outgoing economic tide of the past half decade, a respectable portion ought to be reserved for “the governor [who] has been bird-dogging jobs for the past thirteen years.”

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Amazingly, Some Do
Posted by Nathanael Ferguson

I like the cut of this guy’s jib: Living without a cell phone in 2013.

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Growing Pains
Posted by Nathanael Ferguson

With one of the strongest and most stable economies in the nation and a reputation for welcoming entrepreneurs and visionaries of all strips, Texas is a magnate for people looking for a better life. The resulting population boom has made I-35 one of the most congested freeways in the nation. Booming economy + booming population = booming traffic. We will innovate ourselves out of the congestion and find a way to accommodate everyone. We are Texans, after all.

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Really?
Posted by Nathanael Ferguson

DPS Trooper reinstated after illegal cavity search. If this had been conducted by anyone other than a public employee, the offender would have suffered much more severe consequences. Public employees should not get lighter treatment than the general public, in fact they should be held to a higher standard of accountability.

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