Dallas Police Chief States the Obvious About Open Carry

A sign informs patrons of this Austin, Texas establishment that smoking and guns are not allowed inside, November 3, 2012
A sign informs patrons of this Austin, Texas establishment that smoking and guns are not allowed inside, November 3, 2012 (Lars Plougmann)

Dallas police chief David Brown stated the obvious on Monday when he said open-carry laws make it harder for law enforcement to do its job.

“It is increasingly challenging when people have AR-15s slung over and shootings occur in a crowd,” Brown said, referring to a type of rifle that is commonly used in mass shootings.

And they begin running and we don’t know if they are a shooter or not. We don’t know who the ‘good guy’ versus who the ‘bad guy’ is if everybody starts shooting.

No doubt conservatives and gun owners, who only days ago praised Brown and his department for the way they ended a mass shooting of police officers in the Texan city, will take issue with his statement.

They argue that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

But that is only true when the good guy is a cop. Read more

Texas: The Real Swing State

The flag of the state of Texas flies in Dallas, January 20, 2011
The flag of the state of Texas flies in Dallas, January 20, 2011 (Thomas Hawk)

There are, in a certain sense, three big political regions in the United States: the Northeast, the Southeast and the Southwest. Read more

Could Republicans Lose Their Texas Stronghold?

View of San Antonio, Texas from the Tower of the Americas
View of San Antonio, Texas from the Tower of the Americas (Unsplash/Chandra Maharzan)

The victory of Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz in the Republican Senate primary election in Texas on Tuesday over the state’s lieutenant governor David Dewhurst, considered the establishment’s choice for November’s election, signals a potentially worrying trend for the state’s Republicans. The radicalization of their party coupled with changing demographics could prove an opportunity for Democrats to rebound in what is otherwise considered a Republican stronghold. Read more

EPA Continues War on Coal in Texas

Remember when then Senator Barack Obama said in 2008 that electricity rates would “necessarily skyrocket” as a result of his cap-and-trade system? He predicted at the time that he would also bankrupt the coal industry.

So if someone wants to build a coal power plant, they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

Since Democrats failed to enact cap-and-trade legislation before Republicans won control of the House of Representatives last autumn, the president’s Environmental Protection Agency has been working to make life harder for oil and gas producers. It is set to impose limits on carbon dioxide emissions regardless of Congress, citing authority to do so under the 1963 Clean Air Act. In April, the agency rejected Shell a permit to drill for oil in Alaska after the company had spent $4 billion in preparation and exploration already. Last year, the Obama Administration set national rules to improve auto fuel efficiency nearly 40 percent by 2016. The EPA is pushing for Renewable Fuel Standards which would prescribe that a particular measure of “renewable fuels” be blended into transportation fuel.

In Texas this summer, the EPA is placing even more stringent regulations on sulfur dioxide emissions that threaten the use of lignite coal in the state. The agency insists that its new standards shouldn’t disproportionately harm the industry but Kathleen Hartnett White, director of the Armstrong Center for Energy and Environment with the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, disagrees. She writes in the Dallas Morning News that retrofitting plants that use lignite would involve three to four years of engineering, fabrication and reconstruction at multibillion dollar costs.

Texas electric companies recently testified to the Texas Public Utility Commission that the rule may force closure of plants and limited operations of other plants.

More than 10 percent of Texas’ energy comes from lignite coal. 10- to 14,000 jobs in the state are supported by lignite mining. It is a $1.3 billion industry that contributes $71 million in state revenue. President Obama’s EPA is trying to destroy it with regulations because it knows that it can never win congressional approval for its irrational war on coal.