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Here’s Why You Should File a Hurricane Harvey Insurance Claim Before Friday

A new insurance law taking effect lowers the penalty on insurance companies for slow storm damage payments.

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A Jetski is used to help people evacuate homes after the area was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 27, 2017 in Houston. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Editor’s note: This story has been updated for clarity.

If your home or business has damage from Hurricane Harvey, you should notify your insurance company—in writing—that you intend to file a claim before a new law takes effect on Friday, according to the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. Even though the hurricane occurred before the law took effect, a claim filed on Friday or after will likely be covered by a new law that seeks to reduce frivolous insurance lawsuits.

On Friday, the penalty for an insurance company that doesn’t promptly pay a claim as a result of a lawsuit will be determined by a market-based formula that is currently at 10 percent. The former penalty was 18 percent. The new law also gives lawsuit immunity to insurance adjusters who low-ball a claim.

From the Texas Bar Association:

Texas property owners should be aware that House Bill 1774, passed by the 85th Texas Legislature, will change the law regarding how legal actions for certain insurance claims are handled, including some claims for property damages or losses caused by natural disasters. If you need to make an insurance claim related to Hurricane Harvey, you should study how the law may affect you. Claims made before September 1, 2017, will be subject to current law; those filed on or after September 1 will fall under the new law.

Texas Trial Lawyers Association spokesman Alex Winslow said the notice of a claim can be filed directly on an insurance company’s web site, by fax or certified mail, but it is best done in writing and with the policy holder retaining a copy of the filing. Winslow said the claim does not need to say anything more than that the policy holder suffered damage from Hurricane Harvey and intends to file a claim. The notice should contain the name and contact information of the policy holder and, if possible, the insurance policy number.

Winslow said the new law may not affect federal flood insurance or windstorm policies held on the coast by the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, a state-run consortium that provides hurricane coverage on the immediate coast. But Winslow said that because of uncertainty in the new law, the trial lawyers association is urging everyone to be safe rather than sorry, and file a notice with their insurance carrier before Friday.

Still, this new law won’t affect the bulk of policy holders. As the Texas Tribune notes, most homeowners’ policies don’t cover flooding in Texas. And the ones that do are usually through National Flood Insurance Program, which is not subject to state regulations.

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  • txasslm

    Does HB 1774 change the damage CLAIM process or does it change the LAWSUIT process? Does it change the way claims are adjudicated or does it change what happens if a property owner wants to dispute the claim by filing a lawsuit?

  • WUSRPH

    I suspect some legislators, especially The Good Listener kind, will try to cya on this by claiming that they did not know this would happen or it was not their intention…Some may even write public letters to the Insurance Commissioner…..but THEY KNEW…this is the purpose of the law…what they did not know was that it would happen his soon or in this massive number of cases…But, next time you talk to your good listener state reps., ask them how they voted on “the blue tarp bill”…..I bet they say they are not familiar with it.

    • WUSRPH

      P.S…..The headlines are bad…so are the stories, but for a little perspective…they keep talking about as many as 30,000 people forced into shelters…..Sounds like a lot…but how many million people live in the affected areas? Last number I saw was more than 6.6 million in the metro area. Using the old “percentage of what rule”, that means that less than one half of one percent are in shelters….

      • William PokerMonkey Souther

        Hotels hold a lot of people. Those are all full. Lots of people have friends and family that they are able to go stay with. Some most likely got in their cars, like I would have…because I have common sense and knew what was about to happen, and driven to safety. I’m wondering when they are going to start using the old Astrodome…which I believe still stands and could house 40 fo 50k people.

        • WUSRPH

          So, let’s more than triple the figure of people made homeless by the storm to 100,000 to include people in hotels and at friends and relatives…You would still be talking about
          0.00156% of the total population…..It’s bad….It will cost billions to fix…but it is NOT the end of the world….

          P,S, Any bets on how many times tomorrow Trump praises himself and his Administration (sic) with a bunch of “the greatest, fastest, most wonderful response in history ….?

          Bet Abbott has to do a lot of fast rolling to stay in the picture with him..

          And, as I asked before, where is Dan Patrick in all this? I cannot believe he would have willingly passed up a chance to a cheap, cheap shot at Sylvester Turner and the Democrats who are destroying our big cities.

          • WUSRPH

            As always, it all depends on where you live…My brother and sister-in-law live in West University Place….they have had some water up on their front lawn…still have power…and no flooding of the building…His son, etc. live in Southwest Houston, same story….The pictures you are seeing are primarily from areas near or along the various bayous that cut across the area….and lower lying areas that frequently flood….Of course, a couple of feet or rain over just a couple of days, will make it bad in those areas.

            A little more “government regulation” of where and how to build and of such dull subjects as impervious cover might have helped…but, Houston, the fourth largest city in the nation, has NO Zoning since that would deprive a man of his property rights..

            P.S. Did you see where just in time for Harvey the Trump Administration (sic) reversed a rule on rebuilding in a flood plain after such a disaster?…..I guess that means we can keep doing it over and over again….

          • Jed

            “100,000 to include people in hotels and at friends and relatives…You would still be talking about 0.00156% of the total population”

            i think you missed the decimal by three spots

          • WUSRPH

            Yep…I did the calculation on a very simple calculator and did not put the decimal point in the proper place….100,000 is 1.515% of 6.6 million… I’ll try to be more careful…But it is still only a small percentage of the total population…Of course, no matter how small the group may be…their impact is increased as it passes through society.

            My concern, as expressed in posts on other threads of BB, is with what will be the reaction by our state and national “leaders” (sic) to the need to try to insurer that something of this impact does not occur again and again. Trump will make his fly-by tomorrow and tell us how his personal role and that of his Administration (sic) to date has “been the greatest in history”…Abbott will force his way into as many photo ops as he can….and, if they let him near a mike to do other than praise Trump, talk about his own great leadership in calling out the guard….BUT I expect less than almost anything from them when it comes to sitting down and making the hard–and tremendously costly—decisions that will be required.

            P.S. I’m getting a little worried? Where is Dannie Patrick? I do not think I’ve seen a word from him—not even a statement issued by his office…

          • txasslm

            He’s with Steven Hotze. They’re laying low.

          • WUSRPH

            Has anyone asked them if it is okay for a transgender person to use a bathroom other than the one suggested by their birth certificate if the “right’ one is flooded?

          • Jed

            “Has anyone asked them if it is okay for a transgender person to use a bathroom other than the one suggested by their birth certificate if the “right’ one is flooded?”

            that would be the gas station clause.

          • Yellow Dog

            I heard Dannie on the TV yesterday, although I did not listen to a word that fascist said, he called in to KPRC.

    • txasslm

      There’s another question that will make them squirm: WAS TWIA sufficiently funded for a “big blow?” “They” have been working on … well, “at” would be a more accurate description … TWIA funding for several sessions.

      • WUSRPH

        Fortunately, for the windstorm insurance pool, it appears that outside a limited area, most of the damage is gong to be the result of “rising water”, which is not covered by its policies, rather than by wind damage which is….Of course, some will file claims that the water only rose into their house or building BECAUSE of the wind…Some of those claims will even be true. However, I think the TWIA can float thru this one (again). The real hit is going to be on the federal flood insurance program which is already in bad shape…but it probably only covers less than half of those who will have damages since usually the only people who buy such coverage are those who are forced to do so by their mortgage holders….

        As usual, I suspect that the largest number of those hurt will be in a “tough luck” situation unless they can qualify for some federal relief…(Texas has a “fund” is supposed to provide some of that kind of aid, but somehow our leaders never seem to get around to appropriating more than a few bucks to it)….

        What will be really fun to watch is how our two US Senators from Texas have to squirm when it comes to getting a bill through the Congress to provide some federal relief….especially since both of them voted AGAINST such aid for the people of New York and New Jersey when they were so devastated by Hurricane Sandy a few years ago. They are already being “reminded’ of that, but the folks from up there promise to treat Texas like Texas treated them.

    • WUSRPH

      P.S. Whenever a lobbyist says his proposal is a “reform” I am reminded of a story told about a Anglo member of the Texas Senate who represented a district with a just emerging Hispanic majority back in 1972 who was locked in a tight re-election race which he subsequently lost….He was decrying that he just could not seem to find an issue to capitalize one…so one of his supporters suggested “Why don’t you tell them that you are going to ‘reform’ x?” To which, the senator responded…..”No, that won’t work. These people down here know that when he tell them that we are going to ‘reform’ something it just means we have figured out another way to screw them.”

    • SpiritofPearl

      See above.

  • Chris M

    THIS IS FAKE NEWS SPREAD BY THE TEXAS TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION. This law has nothing to do with someone’s ability to file a claim – all it did was require written notice of a dispute with your insurance company AFTER a claim has been settled before you can sue them – a change which goes into effect Sept 1.

    • Yellow Dog

      You lie, it reduces any damages, making it more likely that the insurance companies will try to screw those filing claims.

  • oldtexasguy

    This doesn’t affect TWIA or NFIP, does it?

  • SpiritofPearl

    Here are the members of the Lege who voted to make it easier for insurance companies to reject homeowners’ claims:

    https://legiscan.com/TX/rollcall/HB1774/id/639889

  • WUSRPH

    A comment probably farther “off the thread” than I have ever made before:

    With two nighttime collisions with American sailors dead in crowded sea lanes in less than a month, it is time for the Navy when it is sailing in such crowded waters as those to “go peacetime” and to turn on all the lights and radar and other beacons. Warships, especially those like the Burke Class destroyers involved here, are designed to be hard to see and track but, when they deliberately douse all their identification systems in crowded, commercial sea lanes they are almost asking to be rundown….Of course, they need to practice for wartime conditions…but there is a proper place for that and that is not in the Straits of Malacca or just of the Japanese Coast.. There is plenty of open ocean in which to train and that is where it should be conducted.

    A as a side comment, while warships are designed to be stealthy….giant tankers and commercial carriers are not…Why then did our two ships not see them and avoid them?

    • WUSRPH

      Of course, the conspiracy theorists are suggesting that these collisions were the result of someone (North Korea?) hacking into our ship’s navigation systems…..That is what they would be in war time, if they can….and they could always be “practicing”….but these two incidents were many thousands of miles away from each. And, although I am not up-to-date on all the classified type stuff, I think we take every precaution to avoid that.

      It is nice to have someone outside the system to blame…..But running with limited to no lights and your radar transponder probably turned off, plus turning off your own-warning system on your bridge because, in crowded sea lanes like that, if is beeping almost constantly…..being low in the water, much smaller than the ships around you, etc. ADDED to the fact that the crews on the commercial ships have been reduced to save costs and that they rely heavily (probably too heavily) on the electronic detection and radar systems on which an Burke Destroyer is designed not to show up…in the most crowded sea lanes there are equals DISASTER… It is like picking the darkest spot on IH 35, on the darkest night of the year, clothing yourself in all black, hunkering down and trying to slowly walk on foot across the traffic lanes….Do it enough times and you are going to be rundown..

      I don’t know about you, but if I were sailing in such conditions I would have full lights one with all the warning devices operating and almost have some crew members up on deck waving flashlights…

  • WUSRPH

    A couple of thoughts on the event of Trump’s visit to Texas today:

    Based on these polls results there may still be hope:

    http://tinyurl.com/ycpv4rue

    I wonder if some of his advisors are thinking about when would be the best time for some “Reichstag fire” event….Maybe a “little war” (even if only a “trade war” with Canada and Mexico) or something else to try to stop
    this bleeding away of his support….They have obviously had to give up any thought of getting him to reign in his behavior…..and there is nothing on the congressional horizon that he can claim that much credit for…although, he will certainly try if something comes up to give him a chance.

    And, how do you turn your back to a motorcade if you want to show some disrespect?

    • SpiritofPearl

      I still have my “Obama 2012” sign . . .

  • WUSRPH

    By this time after an event like Harvey good, professional staff for a public official would already have produced at least the outlines of a “where do we go from here” report outlining possible future public (and in an non-public attachment) political steps to take to respond to the crisis (and/or milk it)… I wonder if Abbott’s staff has or is doing so? If so based on my observations from having worked for one or two, here, are a few of my suggestions:

    By now Abbott should have been talking not just about the events but he should have at least:

    *Ordered all state agencies to prepare reports on the immediate impact of the storm;

    *Ordered all state agencies to within 90 days prepared a report showing breakdowns in the system and their recommendations for fixes.

    *Declared that, as soon as those reports were completed, he would summon the Legislature to Austin to adopt them and any other emergency, immediate aid programs.

    *At least dropped hints that would commission a study—perhaps by a special gubernatorial commission—to develop “long-term” solutions to help insure that this kind of disaster does not occur again. (“we cannot control nature, but we can and must be better prepared to deal with its impacts”) with the panel to complete its work before the next Regular Session of the Legislature so that the Leg. can hit the ground running to enact the needed legislation; and

    *An outline of how his political, etc. office was going to milk the hell out of all of this.

    I don’t know about you, but has Abbott done any of this yet? I know he’s toured some shelters…maybe
    even helped serve a meal or two…but what else? He might have done this and more…but, a good officeholder/politician would have let the world know by now.

    • WUSRPH

      And, for those holding lower level offices:

      *Comptroller—-at the minimum he should have (may have) declared that his office will bend over backwards to help tax filers in the affected areas…..”Don’t worry about filing your reports on time’…..issued reminders to local officials about the various disaster impact provisions in
      local tax laws…Call on governor to call a special session as soon as possible.

      *Lt. Governor and Speaker—ordered the appropriate legislative committees to gather impact info….and work with state agencies and the governor—to develop plans….Urge governor to call a special session for “immediate impact” aid programs within 90 days; Talk about need for long-term solutions and express hope that a comprehensive plan can be developed before the next Regular Session.

      *Local reps/senators: Call on governor for “immediate” special session to address local needs
      and provide impact aid..

      Mayors/county judges: same as local/rep. senators.

  • Maisha Grinn

    Having been through Hurricane Andrew and the Insurance debacle that followed, your most lucrative and satisfying outcome will be found in these two words: LAWYER UP.

    • WUSRPH

      But ONLY if you can insure you are covered by the law in effect BEFORE FRIDAY. The legislature, under the leadership of Abbott/Patrick and the TLR did they very best to make it no longer economically feasible for an attorney to take most small cases after that date…….Wanted the industry wanted—and basically got from the State–was a system in which the person with a claim will get a “take what we offer or” reply with very little chance of getting more….But it will keep premiums down and profits up!

  • WUSRPH

    Did you see that the estimate is that 80 PERCENT of those with water damages DO NOT HAVE ANY INSURANCE COVERAGE? I thought the number would be high—and said so earlier—but that is more than I projected. This means either they get some direct federal relief (including low interest loans) are they are totally ON THEIR OWN….Of course, the State of Texas is not about to give them any monetary help…..So a lot of folks are going to be suffering for a long time……We can only hope that the senators from the States to which Ted and John said “SCREW YOU” when they needed disaster aid will not act the same way they did. I always enjoy seeing someone “hoisted on their own petard”….but not when it will be at the expense of several hundred thousand Texans.

    • WUSRPH

      Maybe Ted and John can follow the example set by former US Rep. and World’s Leading Libertarian Ron Paul when his district needed something like this….He, of course, would VOTE AGAINST and once more prove that he put the purity of his philosophy over bending to mere political necessity….Of course, he opponents and other liked to point out that somehow the area got the money anyway…..suggesting that Paul was always careful to make sure someone else put the right provision in the bill.

    • SpiritofPearl

      How will Texans vote next time who get shafted?

      • WUSRPH

        Maybe as many as a 100,000 or so who get really left hanging out there on there own…waiting for some aid (or even a low cost rebuilding loan) from the feds or fighting their insurance companies MAY get mad enough to vote for “a change”.
        But, based on my years working around and with these people and big issues like this, what wec can probably expect”
        * Cornyn and Cruz will be “fighting tooth-and-nail to get those liberals who control Washington to give Texas the aid it deserves “(as distinguished from the aid that NY and NY needed that they opposed)… And will probably get maybe $25 billion split between direct money to the cities to rebuild, etc. and long-term low interest loans to the many, many thousands with no insurance and will declare a great victory (despite the fact that a real, long-term solution will probably cost much more)….One would hope, however, that the congressional delegations from NY/NJ will make them eat a little in the process. But, with Nov. of 2108 safely passed, Cruz will be off the hook.
        *Abbott will be front-in-center attacking Washington and talking about putting some of the sacred Rainy Day Fund (but certainly not all of it) into one-time only infrastructure improvements. He may even go as far to pledge as much as $8 billion which on will sound really big unless you know (as most won’t) that realistic tab for doing what is really needed is probably closer to $100 billion AFTER the billions and billions have been spent on cleanup. He will also be lambasting local officials for how long it takes to process building permits, etc. as a “bunch of bureaucrats standing in the way of recovery”. He may—as I suggested the other day—kick-the-can down the road a bit with a special gubernatorial commission (or, if he wants to be able to duck accepting its recommendations, the existing one the Land Commissioner has) to develop a “long-term comprehensive plan to insure this can never happen again.” He, like Cruz, will be especially committed to the recovery effort right thru early November of 2018.
        Any even-semi professional legislator (especially those from the worst affected areas) will be ranting and raving both about the failures of the federal government and local officials….PLUS repeatedly calling on the President and the Governor “for action” at the state and federals…However, other than calling for money, money, money details of what those actions should be will be somewhat nebulous.
        Local government officials will be joining in on the attacks on Washington and Austin….but a few of them are going to have to pay the price for “not being ready for Harvey”.
        As such, with full confidence that their leaders have the situation in hand, the outcome of the elections next March and in November of next year will be about what they would have been otherwise. And things will stay just about the same until the next time something big like this happens…when the dance will start all over again.
        Too cynical perhaps? I hope so….but when you are dealing with a situation like this whose only real solution is gong to cost billions and billions and probably required both new taxes at every level of government PLUS those evil restrictions on what you can do with “your own property” that Abbott hates so much….it is going to take people showing a lot more leadership than any of them have demonstrated in the past.

  • WUSRPH

    And to make it all even better…the federal flood insurance program EXPIRES on Sept. 30 and is already over $24 billion in debt….Right on deadline with the threat of shutting down the federal government and hitting the debt limit ceiling….Talk about a workload for Congress..

  • Mo City

    We had a mandatory evacuation and I do not know the damage. I was going to come back after getting the all clear but now I think I’ll go back early so that I can document my claim and beat this deadline.

  • WUSRPH

    The following is probably excessively long (much of my stuff is too lengthy) but I thought with the talk about what impact HB 1774 might have on insurance claims resulting from Harvey, I thought a few of the younger readers ight appreciate a little history of the background behind this and similar such laws (including one that gives special protections to the handful of firms that restore our beaches by refurbishing sand that has been washed away that, because he opposed it, was used to help defeat an acquaintance of mine in the Texas House):

    Texas Constitution. Art. 1 § 13 “All courts shall be open, and every person for an injury done him, in his lands,
    goods, person or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law.”

    Many years ago when I first started working around the Legislature some people used to talk about how we in
    Texas had enshrined in our State Constitution that “guaranteed every man his day in court”….and point to Art. 1, Sec. 13 (see above) which had been placed in our Bill of Rights and which, by another provision of the Constitution, Sec. 29, had been declared “shall forever remain inviolate”.

    Of course, it was never that simple and other states have similar provisions but somehow people used to take a little extra pride in knowing that they had an inviolate constitutional right to sue any SOB who did them or their property harm.

    The discussion over the past few days of how HB 1774, might affect the ability of those who have suffered damage as a result of Hurricane Harvey, is just one example of how that that inviolate right has been chipped away at session-by-session in recent years until many question whether we should just forget the idea that, if you are abused, you can sue.

    I guess I first noticed that “open access” was under attack in the mid-1970s when business interests began to fight back against the “Texas Consumer Protections Act” which the Legislature in one of its temporary fits of concern for consumers and individuals had enacted to give them some protection from unscrupulous individuals and businesses who might mistreat them in a commercial transaction…The bill was actually quite strong, with a low dollar level for offenses it covered and up to triple damages for a successful plaintiff….but it had been on the books for what seemed only to be days before the business community launched a fierce counterattack that, within a few years, resulted in another legislature gutting it.

    The problem was that, by including triple damages and attorney fees in the law, it made filling lawsuits under the CPA a financially attractive proposition to the many “Baby Boomers” who were pouring out of our law schools….Thus, there was an explosion of lawsuits as young trial lawyers (soon to become a term of abuse)
    eagerly sought out plaintiffs who so often in the past had been unable to get regress of their grievances because they could not find a lawyer who would take their case….but now, they could “get their day in court” and sometimes even win substantial damages.

    This, needless-to=say could not be allowed to continue….And, it did not, as the business/commercial interests soon launched a comprehensive attack on the law which they charged was widely abused and which was doing great damage to the “bidness climate”…driving up insurance premiums (but somehow not apparently by driving down insurance company profits)…and dragging to the forefront the “small businessman” who, because of a minor dispute or a simple mistake, was being driven out of business by “greedy trial lawyers”. Of course, those attacking said that e it was not because they opposed protecting the consumer, it was because the system was
    out-of-balanced and needed “reform”…..And, reform they got as the Legislature before the decade was out “fixed” the CPA. ( I watched with some bemusement while my legislature boss at the time tried with little success to find some positon where he could be both be for reforming the CPA and for maintaining its core protections.)

    With their victory over the CPA, the business interests and the trial lawyers moved onto new areas of conflict….

    First, and almost in tandem with the battle over the consumer law, was a bloody battle on the floor of the legislative chambers over “reforming the workers compensation” system which went thru the full regular session and two special sessions in 1979 before it has been sufficiently “reformed” to, just as with the CPA, remove much of the incentive for a trial lawyer to take most cases.

    This was quickly followed by the most titanic struggle of them all—medical malpractice—which, over a period of several sessions, even saw the enactment of new amendments to the State Constitution to overcome problems created by “open access” and to place financial caps on the amount of damages an injured patient or survivor could receive. (This one got particularly nasty with at one point in the late 1970s some doctors literally refusing to treat legislators who opposed their bill and hundreds of thousands of pamphlets being distributed thru doctors’ offices.)

    (Of special note was a massive battle for control of the courts after the trial lawyers, using the power of the ballot, staring electing judges whose rulings might be more favorable to their views, including at one time, a working
    majority of the Texas Supreme Court. However, as I once told the then chief political strategist for the TTLA (Texas Trial Lawyers Association)…”In the end all you may have accomplished was to wake up a sleeping bear who rolled over and crushed you”…so successfully, in fact, that today the Texas Supreme Court is known far and wide as being probably the most pro-business in the country.)

    And, then, session-by-session since then as, led by the group calling itself, Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TRL), have pushed thru bill-after-bill for groups as small as the few companies that restore our beaches by replenishing washed away sand to, this year, the adoption of new controls on lawsuits over insurance claims for rooftops damaged by a windstorm with HB 1174 AKA “the blue tarp bill”.

    All of which have had the same goals of reducing the ability of a plaintiff to get into the courts by drying up the pool of lawyers who will take his case, worthy or not, and by substituting “binding arbitration” in lieu of a court
    suit. (often thru consumer purchase agreements hidden in the legendary ‘small print’ of contracts.)

    This practice of diverting lawsuits into arbitration reached its zenith with the passage of a bill at the bequest of the late Houston home builder Bob Perry (then the state’s largest single political contributor) to create a special
    state agency to license contractors and hear complaints against them. It went so overboard and the complaints against it were so loud that the next legislative session repealed it. (A side note—one lawyer friend of mind suggests that what happened was just what Perry had in mind, as it left an aggrieved home buyer only the slim chance of winning a legal action.)

    Throughout this struggle we have heard (often thru highly sophisticated and skillful –and vastly expensive–public relations campaigns) the same arguments raised again and again to justify adding just this one more little restriction on the idea of “open access”.

    Most prominent, of course, has been the claim that a “handful of greedy trial lawyers” is abusing the law and the court system to line their pockets…..filling the courts with doubtful cases in the hope that sympathetic juries will be swayed by some tale of woe to “stick it to the insurance companies” or in the hope that they can “shake down” the defendants and/or their insurance companies to settle out of court in order to avoid a long and costly lawsuit. (That was a prime charge used against the Consumer Protection Act and has been repeated throughout.)

    They have also laid on story after story of the impact on the small businesses man as well as highlighted massive financial judgements without noting that the large majority of the lawsuits in question either never come to trial and that those big judgements are very, very rare.

    The claims of excessive judgements and juries being swayed (and not paying attention to “expert” testimony) were especially common during the medical malpractice battle as was the threat that the quality and quantity of medical care itself was threatened….with repeated tales of special woe of pregnant women who lived in the rural areas of the state who were losing OB-GYN services. Of course, the ability and cost of medical care was supposed to be greatly enhanced by the “reform”….

    Another tactic has been to play up an “gigantic increase in the number of law suits filed” to suggest that the courts are being overwhelmed with new cases….This was an often heard argument in the case of the Blue Tarp Bill where a claim was thrown around of a multi-thousand percent increase in such cases that, in total disregard of the law of “percentage of what” failed to point out that the number had grown from a mere handful to a few hundred.

    To be fair, some of that has happened…There have been abuses of the system….and greedy trial lawyers…and small businesses affected thru no fault of their own…and doctors forced to pay exorbitant insurance premiums because of the mistakes or malpractice of a few….(overlooking the fact that doctors, as a group, are some of the highest paid people in America)

    In fact, there are and were and always will be some “greedy trial lawyers” but, as one old legislator explained it: “Of course, they are greedy SOBs, but don’t ever forget that they are also protecting the consumer and, if I have to choose between them and big insurance, I’ll go with the trial lawyers.”

    BUT what gets overlooked is that the result has been that it has gotten increasingly harder for an individual (or even a small business) to “get their day in court” even though our constitution says we all have access to the
    courts. (If this trend continues I suspect that one day most people will think it refers only to the right of the public to view a trial.)

    So, when you hear the charges that HB 1774 is going to keep consumers from “getting their due” and deprive them of their “day in court” just remember that is nothing new.

  • WUSRPH

    Now that Trump has reverted back to talking about tax cuts as another diversion from other more immediate problems such as the impact of Harvey, the possible impending crisis over the possible shutting down of the
    federal government and default on our debt, racial bigotry (and his response there to) or even the failure to “repeal and replace”, it might be a good idea to take a look at the myths he is going to rely on to make his arguments.

    Below are three articles and studies that are worth reading.

    http://tinyurl.com/ya79v3sn

    http://tinyurl.com/yc647nah

    http://tinyurl.com/2arl5sz

  • WUSRPH

    A good analysis about how unchecked, unregulated “Texas style” growth can result in disaster…..

    http://tinyurl.com/ycxv6z93

    As I said the other day:

    But I guess the smell of a flooded home or business is part of that “smell of freedom” that Governor Abbott loves so much.

    • Jed

      don’t forget the chemicals and oil floating in that flood water.

      i love the smell of freedom in the morning …

  • WUSRPH

    Talking about Ms. Trump’s shoes may have been just bit over the edge of tacky….but, as a male, I just have to ask: How do you women walk in such things? I cannot imagine what kind of back problems it must eventually create.

    • SpiritofPearl

      I don’t. Madness to do so . . .

  • WUSRPH

    $160 BILLION…and much of its uninsured…..And how big is the Rainy Day Fund?

  • WUSRPH

    The other day on another network I wrote about “Police Justice” in Germany during the very, dark days of that country’s history…..I said there were time in American history when some of the same philosophy had shown up here…The attached article shows how bad it can get even in this land of freedom….Sheriff Joe’s behavior was as bad or worse than much of what happened in Germany…And it has been cheered on and saluted by our president… just like the German Chancellor praised it there.

    Of course, the people tortured and abused were only foreigners and criminals (or people who had only been accused of crimes) and needed to be ”taught a lesson” as we insured law and order in America…So that makes it okay….

    And you wonder why some people talk about Trump as being an “authoritarian threat” to this nation.

    I know that the vast majority of police in the US are not like this….especially my niece the first female police chief in her home city…but a handful would be more than enough.

    http://tinyurl.com/ydbhcnnc

    • WUSRPH

      Of course, what happened in Arizona (and elsewhere but not to that extreme) raises the basic question :

      Where were all the “good people” of Phoenix while this was happening…..who re-elected him time and time again?

      Some may have had an excuse of fear—-as, based on this account from the article there may have been good reason to be frightened if you stood up to Joe:

      “Infamously, after a critical report on him had appeared in the Phoenix New-Times, Arpaio had his deputies stage late-night raids on the homes of the paper’s publishers, arresting them in front of their families. When the county Board of Supervisors cut Arpaio’s budget, Arpaio and the county attorney conspired to indict board members on dozens of bogus felony charges as an “anti-corruption initiative … When the wife of the mayor of Mesa criticized Arpaio, he immediately told a deputy: “We gotta raid Mesa again.” When the mayor of Guadalupe, one of the poorest cities in America, criticized Arpaio for an immigration raid in which he “descended on the town with multiple ‘command centers,’ approximately 100 deputies, and a helicopter,” Arpaio canceled the town’s policing services. When judges ruled against him, he filed racketeering lawsuits against them. When critical comments were made about Arpaio during the public-comment section of a board of supervisors meetings, audience members who applauded were arrested.”
      But, before, I condemn them, I must also ask Where was I when as a young newspaper reporter in Galveston I heard white police officers bragging to each other about how they were hassalli8ng a uppity black activist?
      The sad reality is that there are so, so many “where were” questions—ranging from the murder of the three civil rights workers to the time people were telling jokes about the Houston Police Dept.’s new “Buffalo Bayou Swimming Team” after officers there “taught a lesson” by throwing an handcuffed prisoner into the Bayou and watcher him drown…
      All I can say now is that, if the time comes again, I will have an better answer to the “where were you?”
      NEVER AGAIN….First, they came for….

      • WUSRPH

        If there is a God, let us hope that, as least in this case he is the one from Old Testament and that his standards for pardons for both Sheriff Joe and Trump are a lot more demanding than Trump’s were for Joe.

  • WUSRPH

    I feel sorry for their loss and the impact it will have on their lives…BUT I am not so much of a liberal (not one at all, in fact) who thinks individuals can or should expect “the government” to take care of all their needs. Somehow, some way I still believe that each of us have a responsibility to look out for ourselves as much as we can…

    With that in mind, what am I supposed to think about the fact that–after Katrina after Rita, after Sandy and all the pictures of the destruction they brought—and despite the tremendous growth in population and building in Harris County over those years….the number of federal flood insurance policies sold to residents of Harris County is more than 20,000 fewer than it was back then.

    I guess it really is true that most of us live by the last line of Gone With The Wind: “I’ll worry about that tomorrow for, after all, tomorrow is another day”.

  • WUSRPH

    In the midst of all this tragedy….one light of hope….SB 4 has been enjoined.

    http://tinyurl.com/y88tdabw

    • José

      The judge ruled that SB4 is likely unconstitutional. Abbott and Paxton says that the law makes Texans more safe.

      This, in a nutshell, is where we are. Even if Abbott and Paxton are correct—which is highly doubtful—that’s just not good enough. First and foremost our elected officials have a solemn pledge to uphold the Constitution. That’s true for the President (who promises to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution”) and the enlisted man wearing a uniform. It applies to the Governor and Attorney General of Texas.

      We’ve seen before what happens when politicians decide to exert authoritarian control in the name of public safety rather than follow the fundamental law of the land. Spoiler: it doesn’t go well.

  • WUSRPH

    The best laid plans of mice, men and Republicans often…..

    The GOP in the US House had a bill all ready to roll to give Trump his down-payment on his WALL by stealing $1 billion from the federal disaster relief fund…..

    Of course, the plan is now “being reconsidered”….

    Maybe they can give Trump another kind of a Wall—A SEA WALL—instead.

    P.S. An especially sweet aspect of all of this is the author of the bill is the same guy who authored the bill for aid to NY/NJ for relief from the impact of Hurricane Sandy that Cruz and Cornyn opposed…..What goes around….

  • WUSRPH

    Still no major news coverage of anything to do with our beloved Lt. Governor, Dannie Patrick….I am getting worried. Can Texas survive without him? Has he suddenly lost his ability to wrap himself in news coverage by uttering some outrageous thing? Why hasn’t he accused some local official struggling with Harvey of cowardice and used the fact that things were bad in Democratic areas to prove, once again, that Democrats are evil? (Of course, his ability to do that has been somewhat tempered by the fact that a whole bunch of GOP suburbs flooded too.) Has he given up trying to divide us? Or, in the midst of all this, has his insignificance finally been revealed?

    • WUSRPH

      Eureka: Dannie has emerged…

      Thanks to an reader, I now know that Dannie is alive and apparently well…..He was spotted in Victoria inspecting the damage to, as he explained it, highlight that all the damage was not in Houston….(I guess he gave up on trying to get coverage in the major media markets) and I am told was seen in the background at the Trump/Abbott love-in at Corpus Christi.

      His host in Victoria was the author of his bathroom bill….but there are no reports that the pair inspected restrooms in any of the shelters to make sure that transgender individuals were not taking advantage of the situation to use a bathroom for a sex other than that shown on their birth certificates.

      • WUSRPH

        Dannie’s problem in getting media coverage is a perfect example of what happens to a second-rank (rate) (and not just in protocol) officeholder/politician when the “big guys” are on the scene or the events like now are so great that they grab all the attention….Barring running naked thru the president’s news conference there is just not much a constant attention seeker like Patrick can do but be on the scene and hope that someone notices or that the president or governor point out that he is in the crowd.

        In the meantime, he has to concentrate on smaller media markets (such as Victoria) and probably use social media to at least reach his usual audience….but for front page and lead item stuff he is going to have to wait for an opportunity….and time to pass….But don’t get your hopes up that we won’t be hearing much from Patrick for any extended length of time….When you are as (unfortunately) as good as he is at milking the media he will certainly be back soon…..

        And, PLEASE, do not suggest that he is voluntarily standing aside so as not to distract attention from the crisis….. People like Patrick don’t do things like that…..

  • WUSRPH

    North Korea fires a missile…we respond by flying a couple of B-1 bombers across South Korea…It is getting to be a daily occurrence….And, of course, Trump stirs things up a bit by, once again, saying that “talking” to NK will do no good…..Is it possible that what we have going on here is two megalomaniacs who are both desperate for attention? If so, I have to be worried about what either or both might do if the rest of us stop paying attention to them.

  • WUSRPH

    Speaking of not hearing from someone…I just noticed that I have not been seeing those wonderful words “This user is blocked” for a day or two…..I hope that the Troll has not been flooded out there in his good GOP suburb of Houston. Of course, it will be interesting to see how he blames this on the Democrats…

    • SpiritofPearl

      Haven’t heard from Mr. B or Jose lately.

      • WUSRPH

        Jose was on today. But not B. I hope all are okay.

        • SpiritofPearl

          Saw that Beaumont’s drinking water supply has failed.

      • José

        Hola

        • SpiritofPearl

          Buenos dias!

      • BCinBCS

        I assume that I’m Mr. B. (if not, sorry).
        I’m fine…been very busy.

        • SpiritofPearl

          You are “Mr. B. “. Glad you’re safe!

          • BCinBCS

            I appreciate your and W’s concern.

    • José

      He might be preoccupied right now since the storm just slapped his hometown on the other side of the Sabine River. (Unlike some of us he’s not a native born Texan, just saying.)

  • donuthin2

    It has been interesting to see the cuts to Senator Cruz. He, too, is not getting much attention except an occasional mention that he voted against funding the disaster in NJ and NY. Christy has called him an outright liar, which he undoubtedly is as is Christy. But if it weren’t so deplorable, it would be fun to watch him squirm.

  • WUSRPH

    No DACA tomorrow. Sorry kids but you must suffer for your parent sinned.

  • WUSRPH

    I did not know that Ted Cruz was a late-night TV show host quality comic….right up there with Colbert—but he’s certainly got anyone in Washington, DC, who has tried to work for or against him and anyone who followed his (thankfully) ill-fated presidential race rolling in the aisles with his defense of his vote against funding relief for residents of New York and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy…

    He gets the crowd rolling with his (false) claims about the nature of that bill….but he went over the top with his latest line:

    “FACTS MATTER”..

    I just can’t wait to see it he can top himself as The Congress considers some relief for Harvey’s victims.

  • WUSRPH

    I make a determined effort not to read of listen to their “s-word” blabber since I might somehow be counted as a member of their audience and allow them to charge more to their advertisers for their market share. BUT. I could not pass up this one sent to by a friend…

    http://www.breitbart.com/radio/2017/08/30/mike-cernovich-ive-heard-that-trump-is-on-house-arrest-in-the-white-house/

    .It seems, we are told, that the COUP has already taken place…and that Gen. Kelly has put Trump under house arrest and taken away his phone…..to insure that the word cannot get out and that Trump hears only what Kelly wants….

    I only hope this “report” does not stir up the “good old boys” into grabbing their guns and heading for Washington to free Trump. Of course it might be fun to watch the press secretary who combines the names of both a far left and far right politician in her last name trying to make a formal statement that Trump is still Trump and nothing has happened. But, then she has said more idiotic things than that already. .

    • WUSRPH

      Another view of what is going on in the WH…..Kelly is the “hero” or “villain” (depending on your viewpoint) in this one too….It looks like they need to find more people to play with Trump and keep him occupied….He needs the attention.

      http://tinyurl.com/yazm6vk4

      We sometimes had a need to “find someone for him to play with” with on of my former bosses.

  • WUSRPH

    The Economist did an excellent analysis of the world-wide problem of increasing flooding, using Harvey as a jump off point.

    http://tinyurl.com/ybm95qrb

    I did not find it that comforting to be reminded that the danger arising from short-sided, politically-based failures to face reality is not limited just to Texas and/or the US. But, I bet if we try harder we can be sure to be Number One in that category.

  • WUSRPH

    Estimated damages of over $160 billion (and still being incurred) and the Feds are talking about less than $6 billion in emergency aid.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/08/31/trump-lawmakers-considering-request-for-6-billion-in-emergency-harvey-related-aid/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_aid-request-945pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.c9240e7defad
    Admittedly this is supposed to be a down payment on a larger program later….BUT the signs are not good…..especially if anyone in Texas ever gets serious about the need for such things as: surge barriers, water containment facilities, restoring and preserving open space (including by prohibiting rebuilding in some areas), new and improvement drainage facilities–ranging from widening and deepening roadside drainage ditches to whole new systems of canals and pipes to move the water…and all the thousands of other things, big and small, that will be required to even greatly limit the possible impact of a future Harvey.
    Calling Cruz, Cornyn and all those GOOD Republicans in the Texas Delegation….

  • WUSRPH

    I do not know if there is any significant about the fact that, in the midst of saying not to nice things about Trump, I received an e-mail from the government of New Zealand announcing revisions in the rules they set for immigrants. The problem is that they seem to want people with usable skills and knowledge and, while I appreciate the thought, in looking thru their rules, etc. I find they have little place for a WUSRPH like me…but maybe one or two of you might find them of interest. You can contact them at:

    Immigration New Zealand

    • SpiritofPearl

      Had a neighbor from NZ years ago. He told us that NZ is quite strict about the funds her citizens can take out of the country.

      Check out Portugal. They give immigrants a ten-year tax-free period for retirement investments. Lots of retired Brits there who speak English.

      The Republic of Ireland just opened a consulate in Austin . . .

      • WUSRPH

        I’m entitled to Irish citizenship and an Irish passport…In fact, several members of my family have one….They travel a lot in Europe and it allows them to go straight thru without going thru customs, etc. unlike those of us on American passports. But, until they grab me up and push me across the border for being “un-American” I guess I will stay here and fight it out.

        • SpiritofPearl

          I have learned that “entitled” and “obtaining” are not the same.

  • WUSRPH

    One the eve of when president Trump is supposedly set to kill all the hopes of over 800,000 young
    people by cancelling the DACA program, I bet there are two really scared groups of Hispanics in this country tonight.

    The first, of course, are those hundreds of thousands who were called “out of the shadows” by PRESIDENT Obama and offered a place in our society…..Just cancelling the program must be a devastating blow….but it
    must be nearly deadly when you add on a the fears they must have about the Trump government using the names and addresses DACA put into its hands to round them up for deportation…

    The second is probably made up of the thousands—maybe many thousands—of residents of the flooded areas of Texas who either are here without papers or who may have lost their Green Cards in the flooding of their
    homes….With the symbolism of the DACA repeal as a waning, those without papers have even more reason to fear that knock on the door or that policeman, had SB 4 been implemented, asking “May I see your papers?” And, can you imagine the fears of those who lost that precious document about how they will be hassled and the possible lengthy delay or denial of its replacement?

    PS….Although I clearly enjoy it (and find it helps keep my mind active) and I really am not that concerned about whether anyone reads them or not, EVEN I clearly recognize that I have been posting too much lately…As such, I will be cutting back my entries somewhat…..After all, do you realize that it has probably been two months since I have read a good book (some magazines, but no books)….and that I have more than two complete overflowing, book cases of double and triple stacked books I have promised myself I would read and, with my slowly increasing age, less time to get to them…So, it is time to take down a good book or two..

    But–although I am certain it will disappoint some—let me make it clear that I do not intend to go away entirely….just cut back….

    • WUSRPH

      New reports say that Trump is going to try to show what a good heart he has but giving the DACA kids six more months….He might claim that gives the Congress plenty of time to Act, but he knows that it is not going to happen,….The sad thing is that maybe it will give some of these children time to hide.

  • WUSRPH

    BUT, as I was saying:

    Did you see where the Radical Right was almost crowing over State. Rep. Larry (Yes I am A GOPer) Gonzales announcement that he would not seek another term….They were almost jumping up and down in joy trying to suggest that was running away from the vengeance of Republicans out raged by his voting record and support for Speaker Straus…..I suspect he will hear something similar if any other representative who is not a darling of Empower Texas retires..

    It seems that the radical right “blessed candidate” for Gonzales’s seat is the chaplain for several Republican groups and the founder of something called “Campus Renewal”, a group that is supposed to help unite Christian groups on college campuses…..But how strong he will be is uncertain….since the Williamson GOP just this week overwhelming defeated the Empower Texas-backed resolution calling for the Straus’ ouster.

    But, the mere chance of the good people of Williamson County sending a chaplain to the Texas House brings back an old joke about a legendary member of the Texas Senate who, when he had a problem with someone’s bill, was supposed to have said:

    “Well, I guess I’m going to have to pray over this one for a while”

    The problem being, however, that most of the time he was spelling “pray” with an “e” instead of an “a”.

    It this guy gets elected he may put the “a” back..

    See you around.

    • WUSRPH

      Gonzales had a 43 score on the Empower-Texas rankings….4 points below average. State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg has also announced here retirement…but I doubt that ET will be crowing about how they chased her out of office since she had a 64 on their scale….

  • SpiritofPearl
  • WUSRPH

    We may FINALLY get some indication of what Gov. Abbott proposes to do about Harvey other than talk about how terrible it has been as he is holding a press conference at the Emergency Center today…..His staff should have had plenty of time by now to work up something of a little more substance for him to say….Of course, back in my Bullock days, if a Harvey had hit on a Friday, we would have been expected to have a complete package of proposals on his desk by 6 a.m. Monday, if not earlier…..But few folks operate on Bullock time.

  • WUSRPH

    I see that second and third level politicians are beginning to break thru into media coverage of their comments on the impact of Harvey…I was particularly taken by Sen. Bettencourt’s prediction of a special session by January and an over $200 billion price tag…..Of course, since he is one of the loudest voices in the Senate for limiting the ability of both the local and state government to increase their revenues and spending I wonder where he expects the dollars to come from…..More CUTS and “deferrals” in health care spending? But, perhaps he always had an emergency out clause in mind for when a disaster struck his district…as Harvey did.

  • WUSRPH

    Speaking of political polls, as we were a few days ago, I have not read the backups, etc. and, it is
    a FOX poll, after all, but this is one I find no problem about agreeing with its results:

    http://tinyurl.com/y8ebkqxw

  • WUSRPH

    Speaking of having to have a set of proposals on Bullock’s desk by long before now:

    A modest proposal for funding what needs to be done to protect Texas from another Harvey:

    *A 1% increase in the sales tax to fund LONG-TERM IMPROVEMENTS and FACILITIES.

    * A $50 billion to $100 billion bond issue (while interest rates are still low) with half of the sales tax revenues used to pay it off.

    *$8 billion IMMEDIATELY out of the Rainy Day Fund for IMMEDIATE cleanup and repairs.

    *Putting the franchise tax rate back where it was before the last cut with half of the revenues to be dedicated to servicing the bonds.

    *New state laws prohibiting rebuilding in an area where the property was destroyed in a flood. (Sorry governor but that “smell of freedom” really stinks after an event like this). (And at a minimum banning building in a 100-year flood plan at all.)

    *Legislative action to reverse the Texas Supreme Court ruling that gutted the existing law and precedents on the impact of a storm on coastal properties.

    And that is just the start at the State level…..Much more may have to be done at the local level.

    • WUSRPH

      P.S. And to insure that it gets done RIGHT, perhaps drafting Jerry Patterson out of retirement to head up the program. His service as Land Commissioner gives him the knowledge of what needs to be done….and they had to call on him after the last storm…..so why not again.

      BYW, Just wondering….has anybody heard anything from the current land commissioner, Bush the 55th? Because of its unique role in dealing with the coastal areas that agency—at least under Patterson—had some real expertise about the problems and possible solutions….I hope it still does and that the reason we have not heard from him is that he and his staff are working night and day to work up a plan for Gov. Abbott and the legislature. At least one can hope.

  • WUSRPH

    Well, we got our answer about Abbott’s plans…NONE…and not even holding out the possibility of a special session to address the problems….LEADERSHIP..VISION…ACTION…ALL words I expect we will NOT see when Abbott is talked about except in his campaign literature.

  • WUSRPH

    There has been some talk since Harvey came ashore last Friday that it would represent a challenge to Texas and Texas’ “everyman for himself” conservatism…..The noise has grown so loud that today The National Review had to jump in with a piece trying to prove that the fact that the people of Texas are taking care of themselves, without the need for government action, proves that there is no need to change the way we do things here.

    Well, I am glad that my fellow Texans have risen to the challenge to help each other…I never had any doubt they would….but helping each other out in a time of need is NOT the threat to the way we do things in Texas that Harvey presents.

    That challenge will come when we, as Texans and as a State government ever gets serious about the
    need for such things as: surge barriers, water containment facilities, restoring and preserving open space (including by prohibiting rebuilding in some areas), new and improvement drainage facilities–ranging from widening and deepening roadside drainage ditches to whole new systems of canals and pipes to move the water…and all the thousands of other things, big and small, that will be required to even greatly limit the possible impact of a future Harvey.

    Of course, none of that will be that much good unless we face up to the FACT that we can no longer allow people to just sit down in flood plains whenever and wherever they want with the claim that doing otherwise violates “a man’s right to do whatever he wants with his property”….Or governor calls that “the smell of freedom” and its fragrance is indeed heady but sometimes the “smell of freedom” takes on the stench of flooded homes and businesses and filthy water after a Harvey. Relieving that stench and helping insure it does not come back time after time is going to require ACTION by the State Government and LEADERSHIP by people like Abbott
    whose response so far is to even rule out the possibility of a special session of the legislature to address the problem.

    As to the Rainy Day Fund, when Abbott or anyone else tries to sell the public the idea that the FDF will come close to covering even the small part of the cost to a long-term solution to future Harvey’s, all I can think of is “pass the lottery”, “allow horse racing”, “legalize bingo” and other knowingly false slogans to try to convince the voters they can have it but not have to pay for it.

    PS.. So you ask, when are you going to cut back, like you said you were yesterday? NOW!

    • SpiritofPearl

      New Orleans will never be like it was before Katrina.

  • WUSRPH

    Former State Rep. Paul Moreno has died, age 86. Few will remember him…and many of those who do will think of him as a radical, troublemaker who could not pass a bill thru the legislature. (In fact, the last part is partially true as Paul never made much effort to pass a bill since most of his were not those that the conservative—even Democratic conservative–leadership would favor.)

    But passing bills is not what Paul went to Austin to do…Instead, he was there to give witness to the way Hispanics and other minorities had been treated over the years. He may not have been able to pass many bills but when rolled his wheelchair to the mike to speak….SILENCE FELL UPON THE HALL AND PEOPLE LISTENED.

    I differed with Paul on many things but I always honored his service…

    One funny aside, one session some of Paul’s colleagues in the House, tired of hearing him labeled as the “legislator who had never passed a bill”, took it upon themselves to co-author one of his bills and, despite his half-hearted resistance, pushed in thru the House and to the Senate and ultimately onto the governor who signed it.

  • WUSRPH

    In some ways I am sorry to see Pete Gallego bow out of another race for congress….but I guess you can only go back to the (contributor’s) well so many time before you get labeled a “Harold Stassen”.
    Of course, Ralph Yarborough made many, many races before he was finally able to win a special session to the US Senate in 1957 but that was back in the days when money did not pay so much of a role in our
    elections….when people-power could make a difference. (When Yarborough made his last race in 1972 I wrote in a column that it had just struck me that he had been running for public office for longer than I had been alive.)

    When Ralph did win he was helped by the fact that, up till then, there was no requirement that a candidate get a majority vote in a special election for Congress or the U.S. Senate….It was treated like a general election and the top voter getter won, despite not getting 50% Needless-to-say, after Yarborough, who was branded as a dangerous socialist LABOR liberal by the likes of Alan Shivers, won, the Legislature quickly poured concrete into that loophole. And, with no federal Voting Rights Act to use to protest against it, the change stuck….Never again was a “liberal” to have the chance Ralph had…But then abusing the election laws to keep certain
    kinds of people out of office is a very old tradition in Texas.

    To those who do not understand the reference to Harold Stassen…LOOK HIM UP…. What is particularly sad about him is that had he won the GOP nomination in 1948 he would probably have beaten Truman and, based on his record, gone onto be a fairly decent president…

    Some of you will probably also have to look up Yarborough….when you do you will find that those of you who were able to go to college with the help of federal grants or student loans owe him something….You will also find that he was the ONLY DEMOCRATIC SENATOR from “the deep south” as it was called at the time to vote for the civil rights act….The other Texas US Senator at the time, John G. Tower. voted AGAINST It. Tower was our first Republican US Senator since the reconstruction period after the civil war.)

    The voters were reminded of Yarborough’s sympathy towards blacks and other minorities in TV commercials featuring burning cities and black rioters when Yarborough was eventually defeated by Lloyd Bentsen in the 1970 Democratic Primary.

  • WUSRPH

    Since Abbott says he will not call a special session to deal with Harvey, this puts even more pressure on our congressional delegation to convince their colleagues in the Congress to support an emergency aid program for Texas ASAP. But that has certain built-in problems not including the fact that most of our boys, led by Cruz, voted against the last big hurricane aid package and all those senators and reps. from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island remember it….That, alone, may require a little extra kowtowing by the Texas delegation…as the Congress slowly makes them repent their sins. (Of course, the attempts by Cruz and people like US Poe, whose district took a big hit from Harvey, to defend their earlier votes are not making it any easier.)

    But more important than the fact that few folks might enjoy watching Ted squirm (and maybe even beg a little) is the fact that the need to get a emergency appropriation for Texas comes at the same time when the Congress is already struggling with two much bigger problems.—i.e..–the need to pass at least a continuing resolution to keep the government operating before the end of the month…AND the need to raise the debt ceiling limit to avoid the US defaulting on its debts with a deadline right on the back of the first.

    The most sensible thing to do would be to add funding for Texas to the continuing resolution, but this is being opposed by the US House Freedom Caucus who–like Cruz in the past—oppose loading down that measure with new spending and who—again like Cruz in the past—insist that every penny of spending for things like the emergency aid program has to offset by cuts in existing programs… Thus, adding the money to that resolution might not work…And, getting a stand alone bill may take some time.

    (The passage of the continuing resolution is so important that even Trump, without saying so, has apparently backed off from his demand that money for his WALL be included in the resolution or he would shut the government down….and has, according to reports, allowed his staff to deliver a backdoor message to Congress that they can ignore his threats).

    All this means that, if Ted and John and the rest are able to get ANY emergency aid for Texas in even the not-so-distant future, they are going to have earned every penny of their congressional salaries….It would be nice to see that for a change.

    • WUSRPH

      Perhaps some good news…The WH has upped the request to more than $7.85 billion AND asked the Congress to almost immediately raise the debt ceiling. (It seems that they could not spend the emergency funds under the current ceiling.) Both House and Senate leaders have promised swift action….but there still may be a problem with Ted Cruz’s old buddies in the House Freedom Caucus who want a dollar-by-collar cut in current spending…and I just cannot believe that those he has offended so often in the Senate will be able to resist making him squirm just a bit…If they don’t, they are definitely better men and woman than him (or me). Of course, they will get another shot when Texas has to come back for funding for the long-term repairs and improvements. I would suspect that when that happens, Texas will have to explain and justify every 25 cents in the appropriation to guarantee that it is not loaded down with all that “pork” Cruz keeps claiming was in the bill he opposed.

  • WUSRPH

    I hope you who could got at least a preliminary claim field today….For those who did not, I only hope you do not wind up having to file a law suit….HB 1774 was specifically designed to make that harder…and I would hate for you to be the test case proving that it achieved its intention.

  • WUSRPH

    In honor of Trump’s visit to Texas today:

    Once upon a time—and not long ago—in times of crisis and chaos a LEADER would arise to give us hope and a vision of a better future beyond today’s confusion…

    Lincoln at Gettysburg and in his Second Inaugural…

    FDR with “All we have to fear…” and at Pearl Harbor….

    JFK in his Inaugural Address and with “man on the moon”

    LBJ at Kennedy’s death and with “We shall overcome”

    Ronald Reagan with “a new morning in America”….

    And George W. Bush at 9-11..

    But what do we have today….

    A president who brags about what great job he is doing and how history will proclaim the greatest of his response….

    A governor who bewails the disaster but refuses to offer any vision for the future or even a special meeting of the Legislature to address the people’s needs.

    Is it that the crises today are too big or our leaders to small.

    Of course, much of what we remember of those LEADERS of the past is myth….but it would be nice if someone were making a new myth today.

    • SpiritofPearl

      We do not have a leader. We have a game show host. It’s all about the ratings.

      We have the leader we deserve. Let’s do better next time.

  • donuthin2

    During the election the thought occurred to me, and I think I even voiced it, that the election of Trump would be devastating to the Republicans long term and the best thing for democrats. Now if the dems will just get a little more realistic and moderate some, they can capitalize. Will they? Doesn’t look promising.

    Incidentally, I really appreciated Senator McCain’s plea for bipartisanship and his candor about the president. More need to show some courage.

    • José

      If you’re like me there were umpteen different times last year when you said “Wow, Trump just lost the election today!” The guy may be incompetent and unfit in a multitude of ways but he has the staying power of something stinky on the bottom of your shoe.

      Truth and justice will win out eventually but I no longer expect it anytime soon. It’s disappointing.

      • WUSRPH

        I do not now about you, but I gave up the idea of the ultimate triumph of truth and justice years ago….Now I’d just settle for sanity.

  • WUSRPH

    “Trump administration reconsiders flood rules it just rolled back

    President Trump had derided Obama-era rules intended to reduce risks posed by flooding as useless red tape holding back the economy. But now, a potential policy shift underscores the extent to which the reality of this week’s storm has collided with Trump officials’ push to upend President Barack Obama’s policies.”
    (Washington Post)

    Believe it or not…Trumpites may be able to learn from experience…

    Now if we could only find a way to make Gov. Abbott realize that just cleaning up the mess is NOT a solution….But, of course, that might require doing something that might make him rethink his hate for government…..It is much easier to just patch things up and leave the hard work to his successors AFTER the next time this happens..

  • WUSRPH

    Still a little worried about Mr. B….and even a tiny bit about the Troll…..I had not heard that B-CS was that hard hit, but the Troll lives in an area where there was a problem…I would hate to see him lose his most cherished collection of photos of him with some politician or another….But, maybe if the has to resemble it, he can get Cruz to let him be in the same picture this time. Of course, both may be too busy with their volunteer work with storm victims to read BB. So, if you guys are okay, please do just a quick post…

    • SpiritofPearl

      Don’t grieve. Booksie’s photos are all in the cloud.

      • WUSRPH

        Heard from B…He’s okay….just a leaking roof on one of his properties….But still nothing from the Troll….

  • WUSRPH

    As some of you know, in addition to babbling all over the Burkablog, I have a captive audience with which communicate to by regular e-mails in lieu of maintaining my own blog as JJ has often demanded I do….Some of the posts they receive are repackaged from my BB posts….Others, however, are unique to those whom I term my “diatribe recipients” most of whom are people I worked with or around or knew back in my old capitol days. As part of my effort to cut back on the time I spend (many would say “I waste”) on these two posting sites….I may in the future just occasionally drop one of those “DR” items into BB rather than create something new….I hope you won’t be offended that it may be second hand and maybe a day or two old. Some of them may even be of interest or even “on thread”.

  • WUSRPH

    One of those musings from the DR list:

    I wonder how it feels to be a South Korean today….

    First Trump talks about going to war with your next-door enemy as it if would be a piece of cake with no impact on the US at all…overlooking the many millions of you who live within 70 miles of the border with North Korea—-most of whom are in range for artillery and rocket attacks from the north which experts say could result in millions of causalities…

    Then, he says he is going to cancel the trade deal with the US that was worked out over many years and that opened substantial new markets to US goods.

    And pile that on top of the recent conviction of the head of your biggest industrial empire and the impeachment and removal of your president…..

    I would think it would make one just a little depressed.

  • SpiritofPearl

    “Everyone’s a socialist after a natural disaster.”

    https://www.thenation.com/article/everyones-a-socialist-after-a-natural-disaster/

  • SpiritofPearl
  • WUSRPH

    As I said, I might post something from my DR list….Here is the one I did yesterday on the North Korean situation…..Since it was written the NK had said they also exploded a hydrogen bomb…Whether that is true is unclear, but it was clearly at least “enhanced” device like I mentioned in the post… However, that does not answer the questions I discussed yesterday…..You might also note that Trump is now attacking the South Koreans for not being tough enough….Of course, it is easy to be tough when are not the ones under the other
    guy’s guns:

    Yesterday’s post:

    The press—and Trump—are likely to make a fairly big deal out of the announcement by North Korea that it has mounted a hydrogen or thermonuclear warhead on an ICBM. While disturbing news, it does not answer
    several important questions:

    First, will it work? I am not aware of any evidence that they have successfully tested a thermonuclear weapon….so, even if they assemble all the components that is no guarantee that it will go off. Also, I
    have not seen any evidence that they are capable of miniaturizing such a warhead down to the size to fit on an ICBM….Our first hydrogen “bomb” was called a “device” rather than a “bomb” because it was as big as a small
    two-story building….It took us some time to get it down a missile warhead size…There have been published reports that at least one of their underground tests MIGHT have been of “an enhanced warhead” similar to the kind of souped-up atomic bomb we developed before we perfected a true hydrogen bomb…but I have seen no reports that they have demonstrated a thermonuclear capability.

    Second, can it be delivered? i.e.—do they really have a reliable ICBM and/or will the warhead survive reentry? We know they have tactical shorter range missiles and IRBM (Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles) but whether they have a true, workable ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile) is not so certain. They have shot a couple of missiles into space on long enough trajectories that in theory they could have reached at least part of the continental US….but that does not mean that they it is a reliable weapon that when fired will launch and reach its target.

    (Even the US had serious problems with that as I have seen reliable expert reports that, upon later testing, it is estimated that as many of 70% of our first generation Polaris submarine-launched ICBMs would probably have been DUDs if they had ever had to be launched against the Soviet Union…The problem was that, in order to overcome the alleged (but really non-existent “missile gap” with the Soviet Union we rushed them thru testing and deployment.….Of course, you really don’t know that until you launch them…and the purpose of deterrence is to insure you never have to do that..)

    And, even if the missile will successfully launch and reach its stated range, it will do little more than spread some debris in the upper atmosphere if the warhead (and accompanying decoys) burn up on reentry…

    It should be noted that the NK, like the Soviets and Hitler’s Germany before them, have perfected the art of displaying life-sized models and porotypes to give others a misleading impression of their strength…Both the Soviets and the Germans loved to impress outsiders about their new weapons (particularly aircraft) by flying them over their national parades and other big events attended by observers from foreign countries….Often they had built only a few or were showing prototypes which, in order to impress others with their numbers, they would fly in large numbers over the event by having the same planes make a wide circle back over the area again and again. Such “displays” worked wonders for Germany as people like Charles “America First” Lindbergh came back from his tours of German military bases and factories proclaiming Germany’ overwhelming might as just
    one of the reasons America should abandon Europe to Hitler….And in the mid-50s the Soviets used such tactics to create the myth of a massive “bomber gap” between the US and the Soviets….leading the US to conduct the infamous U2 spy plane flights over the Soviet Union in order to gather the evidence to disprove the claims….Of course, as soon as the “bomber gap” myth was disposed of, up popped a “missile gap”.

    There may be evidence of just what the NK’s capabilities are….and, you would hope that if there is, Trump will at least read the reports before he tweets some more threats about what he is going to do to them.

    Of course, this brings back a story…about one of the good, subtle jokes told by David Frost on the old US political comedy show “That Was the Week That Was” (TWTWTW) back in the 1960s…at the time many had
    the same kinds of fears being expressed about NK about the nation that was then just joining the “unclear club”, RED CHINA. (Remember this was back in the days when we had no diplomatic relations with Communist China and were blocking their attempts to move out into the world community, including their taking the seat on the UN Security Council reserved for China because we still recognized the remnants of the Chinese Nationalist Government hiding out on Formosa as “the government of all of China”.)

    It was, in fact, a fairly momentous time in that period as it was the week that the Red Chinese exploded their first nuclear bomb by dropping it from a 200-ft tower….Which, as Frost duly warned us was very disturbing news as it , “Means that Red China now has the power to destroy any city on earth…That is, if you let them build a 200-foot tower first.”

    I know I have told the Frost story before, but it is just too good of an example of how to put things into perspective to not refer to at least now and then.

    • WUSRPH

      By using the word “appeasement” to describe South Korea’s response to what is happening in NK, Trump—or whoever is briefing him—is playing on the image Winston Churchill used of a weak Britain and France dealing with Germany before World War II and is trying to shame them….BUT, he and whoever is briefing him forget what Churchill said about appeasement when we were the stronger party:

      “Appeasement from weakness and fear is alike futile and fatal. Appeasement from strength is magnanimous and noble, and might be the surest and perhaps the only path to world peace.”

  • WUSRPH

    Trump’s definition of an “ally of the United States”:

    Someone who when they are facing a deadly threat you treat with contempt and try to hurt their economy because you want to prove what a “great deal maker” you are and how you can “get a better deal” than the one Obama got…and they might be desperate enough to surrender to your terms.

    Sort of like how a real estate hustler might approach another hustler on the edge of collapse with a “good deal”.
    And you wonder why the LEADERS of most nations appear to have disdain for him.

  • WUSRPH

    It only took more than a week but Gov. Abbott has finally let a cost estimate for dealing with Harvey pass his lips…Of course, the $150 billion to $180 billion figure he let slip out is the amount of FEDERAL DOLLARS he wants…Still now a word about how much the State of Texas and local governments will have to come up with…..Nor any sign that he expects the State government, over which he supposedly presides, to put any REAL money into the pot….That would require a legislative appropriation, probably out of Rainy Day Fund, and he has already said he will not call the a special session but will leave anything like that up to the Regular session that does not even start until January of 2019. And even less of a hint about the fact that he even understands that making the changes to help limit the impact of any future Harvey is going to cost billions more……
    I guess, as I have said before, the only place we are likely to see Abbott’ name in any way linked to the words…..Vision…Action…Leadership is in his campaign literature…..But then maybe he is just waiting for Dan Patrick to take the lead since he showed so well during the recent special session that he would much rather follow Patrick then get out in front and lead himself.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Texans hate the federal government until situations like this occur, then they fall in love with D.C.

  • WUSRPH

    A DR post from last Friday:

    Sometimes when I am laying it on particularly a little heavy on people like Trump, Cruz, Patrick and Sessions, a scene from the left-wing anarchists’ favorite movie ‘“V” for Vendetta’” pops into my mind…You know the one in which the Thugs break down the door of the TV show host who just cannot avoid using sarcasm and ridicule against those in power and particularly the most hypocritical of them, and proceed to beat him senseless and drag him out. The look on his face when he realizes that all this is happening because he had a little fun with the man in power is priceless.

    Needless-to-say, things in the US are far from what they were portrayed as being in the British Isles in the movie….but one thing I learned a long time ago is that people like Donald, Ted and Dannie have a very stunted sense of humor….and are not likely to let what they consider an attack on their greatness go without a response…..Of course, I am far, far, far too far down the list of their tormentors to get on any modern version of
    Nixon’s Enemies List or be picked out for the kind of for treatment that Hitler and Mussolini (and the great leader in the movie) routinely used against anyone they considered their “enemy”. (You may have noticed how Trump uses the word “enemies” to describe what we used to call “the loyal opposition”..)

    (The Italians were particularly known for making their victims ingest massive doses of castor oil, although severe beatings and murder were not above them. The Germans primarily just used beatings and killings, lacking the Italians’ somewhat perverted sense of humor. Nixon basically relied on having the IRS hassle you and the FBI tap your phones and write anonymous letters to your employers trying to get you fired. But he hinted that he had bigger plans if his second term had not been so rudely interrupted by the Watergate Scandal.)

    I don’t pride myself as being anywhere nearly enough important for those kinds of treatment….and with the total lack of influence I have on anything it would be a massive waste to turn the FBI and the IRS loose on me…so I don’t worry that much about my door being kicked in or the IRS
    hitting me with an audit.

    But, it Trump’s world comes apart around him I would not put it pass him to “encourage” the remaining hardcore “Red Hats” to administer a little “unofficial justice” to those in the media and politics and any kind of public life who offend him. After all, he told them to beat up protestors at his campaign rallies. Is it possible that is what their type would like us to believe? But, be that as it may, I guess I will just keeping chip, chip, chipping away at their self-satisfaction and hypocrisy. At least it keeps me busy…if not out of harm’s way.

    Anyway, with my pessimistic tendencies, I like “1984” much more than “V” and “Animal Farm” tops both of them.

    Animal Farm’s “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others” has become one of defining statements of modern life….but that scene at the end of 1984 when Winston Smith is sitting on the park bench
    as the loudspeaker announces another great victory with tears of joy streaming down his face as he realizes that he now loves Big Brother is devastating. And, of course, anyone who wants to understand Fox News or the WH press office has got to read the chapter in 1984 in which O’Brien explains “Newspeak”…..which has become the language of politics today.

  • SeeItMyWay

    112 total comments at this point, excluding mine. I count 72 of them as belonging to WUSRPH. If I were counting words, I would imagine that about 90+% of them belong to him. He is smothering the life out of this blog site. Kinda hurts to sit back and watch it.

    • BCinBCS

      Typical of you JJ (SeeIt)…you complain about W’s contribution to this blog but don’t contribute anything yourself.

      • WUSRPH

        Actually, as I said the other day, I am cutting back…to one or two per day for now….both for the “good” of the blog and to make time for other things…

        It is nice to have both of you back…I was afraid you had been caught up in Harvey and was glad to hear that was not the case….Still nothing from the Troll, however.

        As to JJ, I figured he was okay…as I had heard nothing about “the 19th Hole” at his country club flooding.

        • José

          There’s a difference between crowding out other voices and filling a void.

          W, you go right ahead. Most of us know how to use the scroll bar to slide past anything we don’t care to read or comment on.

          • WUSRPH

            Okay…but FEWER..

            In that regard, the Quorum Report has a piece today on how Hurricane Harvey has given Gov. Abbott a chance to come out from behind the shadow of Dan Patrick and be a real leader himself…..You have to hope that happens… but my first thought was that I had never before seen the QR engage in science fiction.

          • José

            The great thing about being Gov. Abbott is that each and every day contains plenty of opportunities to show more leadership than before.

          • BCinBCS

            Oh, snap!

          • donuthin2

            Absolutely agree. I appreciate your historical perspective and insight.

  • donuthin2

    Way, way off topic, but I had to vent a little. I am sure many have seen the rant by the Tx A&M board member who apparently posted on facebook his frustration with the Aggie head football coach after a very frustrating loss after a substantial lead for 3 quarters. He is an attorney so should know better. A board member has a responsibility to the integrity of the group and should not be going it alone. It is inappropriate for board member to discuss individual staff members but keep their thoughts to themselves until they are in a Board meeting probably in executive session. It is probably his inappropriate way of bringing pressure on his colleagues. I’m have no idea what should happen, but I do know that his post is wrong. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised as I suppose he is a Perry appointee, if not an Abbott appointee, neither of which are noted for their strong appointments.