The Arena

Exposing Government Waste In Texas
Posted November 06, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

Gov Waste contest logo greenThe federal government gets plenty of well-deserved flack for its wasteful spending habits. Some of the crazy projects the federal government spends your tax dollars on would make a drunken sailor blush. Try this on for size: The United States Centers For Disease Control gave $181,406 of your hard earned dollars to The University of Kentucky to study the impact of cocaine on the sex drive of Japanese quail.

Wait, what? That can’t be real.

Oh but it is. It’s all too real and you can read all about it at the linked article here.

Federal spending priorities have become a sad joke and we Texans aren’t shy in joining in the laughter. But here’s the thing we don’t usually acknowledge; we’ve got spending problems of our own. This shouldn’t come as a big shock. We’re a big state with lots of layers of government, too many taxing authorities, and too many special interests to count. It’s not just state government in on the overspending action; it’s counties, cities, school districts, community colleges, MUD districts, hospital districts…..the list goes on. There are too many possible sources of wasteful spending ...

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A Time For Choosing
Posted October 27, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

Today marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most memorable political speeches of modern times; Ronald Reagan’s “A Time For Choosing” delivered in support of 1964 Republican presidential nominee, Barry Goldwater. Check out the embedded clip to watch the most famous “Rendezvous with Destiny” portion of the speech. It’s amazing that all these years later the speech is still poignant, compelling, inspiring, and relevant.

In case you can’t watch the video, read this selected portion:

You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin — just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard ’round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn’t ...

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Keeping The Wolves Away
Posted October 03, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

Harris County man uses hunting rifle to repel home invasion: 

“The incident happened about 4:30 a.m. in the 23000 block of Botkins near Bauer in the Hockley area, said Deputy Thomas Gilliland, a spokesman for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

Gilliland said a woman was cooking breakfast when two men armed with guns burst through the front door of the single-wide mobile home. A 36-year-old man who lives in the residence grabbed a rifle and exchanged gunfire with the suspects.”

Read the whole thing at the Houston Chronicle here.

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TPPA Announces Contest to Expose Government Waste
Posted September 03, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson
TPPA_VECTOR (lightly distressed)Texas Public Policy Action Announces Contest to Expose Government Waste – Competition allows public to highlight examples of egregious government waste in Texas

AUSTIN – Texas Public Policy Action today announced the Texas Government Waste Contest, an open competition to allow members of the public to identify and describe examples of egregious and frivolous government waste at all levels of government in Texas.  The contest runs from September 3 to October 24, 2014, with winners announced by November 14, 2014.

“Even in Texas there is an incredible amount of wasteful spending, political favoritism, and crony capitalism.  This contest will help to expose waste and cronyism,” said TPPA Executive Director Nathanael Ferguson. “By creating a compendium of government waste we will arm taxpayers with the information they need to focus elected officials on solving problems and working to affect change.”

Contestants will submit stories of a wasteful spending item or program in either a written essay or in an original creative video.  Winners in each of the two categories will be awarded cash prizes, $4,000 for first place, $2,000 for second place, and $1,000 for third place. All entries will be included in the ...

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New Laws Take Effect
Posted September 02, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

A number of new laws in Texas became effective September 1st. Check out this ABC 13 Eyewitness News article for more details.

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Maryland: Where The First Amendment Does Not Apply
Posted by Nathanael Ferguson

In what The Atlantic aptly describes as a “Soviet Style Punishment” Maryland school teacher and novelist, Patrick McLaw was arrested, his home and school searched by police, was suspended from his job, and has been forced to undergo an “emergency medical evaluation” because of a novel he wrote. Again, to be clear, this happened in Maryland, USA. Government officials did not like the content of the teacher’s novel – which is by definition a fictional story – and consequently totally turned his life upside down using the brute force of the state. He is currently at an undisclosed location and unable to travel, whatever that means. The press, by and large, seem rather unconcerned about whether Mr. McLaw is in fact under arrest or whether the First Amendment still applies in Maryland. 

One wonders if the state’s central committee has already moved to strip Mr. McLaw of his party membership and booked him on the next train to the Gulag. One also hopes law enforcement officials in Texas would have better sense than this… 

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Another Epic Big Government Fail
Posted August 21, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

The bureaucrats at the FDA, in all their glory, have created this:

A court in Alabama has ruled that Pfizer Inc. can be sued over harmful side effects caused by generic versions of its drugs.

My first thought while reading the article was that this is outrageous judicial overreach in a state that has historically been somewhat known for being friendly to plaintiffs. It is, I thought, just allowing plaintiffs to go in search of the deepest pockets in the hopes of getting the largest possible recovery.

Then I read further. And it turns out that generic manufacturers are not allowed to put warning labels on drugs unless those warnings are also in the warning label for the original brand-name drug. That’s when I realized that this was a classic case of outrageous regulatory incompetence. Oblivious bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration created a ridiculous situation in which Pfizer can be sued for a product it didn’t make.

Then I read further. And it turns out that the FDA has proposed a new rule that would allow generic-drug manufacturers to add labeling to their products independently. And ...

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Staffing Up
Posted August 20, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

In November TPPA will start staffing up for the 84th Legislative Session. Check out our job post here and if you’re interested, submit your resume, cover letter, and two writing samples. The positions are full time temporary running from November 2014 through May 2015. If you’re liberty-minded and have an interest in helping legislators make quality liberty-oriented voting decisions, won’t you consider joining us for this next session?

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Restoring Our 5th Amendment Civil Rights
Posted July 28, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

Civil Asset Forfeiture is an egregious violation of our property rights as protected by the 5th Amendment. The government is not supposed to seize property without due process of law, and yet it is common practice in every state for governments – state and local – to do just that. Some states have enacted reforms to cut back on the practice, but unless there is an outright ban on asset forfeiture without due process, no reform is even close to sufficient.

Texas, even after having enacted some reforms, is still notoriously bad on the issue. Some local governments in Texas run what can only be described as highway piracy programs in order to seize property which they can then use to fund their city budgets.

That’s why we are pleased to hear, via The Corner at National Review Online, that Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, has introduced S. 2644 The Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act. According to Sen. Paul, the legislation “would change federal law and protect the rights of property owners by requiring that the government prove its case with clear and convincing evidence ...

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Our Lawless Federal Government
Posted May 07, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

Senator Ted Cruz has released a disturbing new report chronicling 76 specific instances of President Obama’s blatant disregard for the law. These violations of the law are terrible in their own right, but the precedent this behavior sets for future administrations is certain to have an incalculably bad impact on the future of our country.

It is troubling that the president thinks it is acceptable to ignore the law whenever he finds the law inconvenient. It is equally troubling that there has been no meaningful public outcry from nonpartisan sources. In decades gone by the national media would have been all over this, investigating, asking hard questions, and demanding accountability. In decades gone by a sitting senator would not have had to release his own compendium of presidential lawlessness because the competitive natured, curiosity driven, investigative journalists of the country would have been clamoring to be the next Woodward & Bernstein. The fact that they are not is very telling and deeply disturbing. The once fiercely independent watchdog national press corps has morphed into a monolithic, ideologically driven, lapdog media whose chief purpose seems to be to serve as an outlet for White House ...

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