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The traveling Paxtons

Seriously?

Ski bunny

While millions of Texans languished in their homes last week without heat, many of them racking up astronomical electricity bills, the state official in charge of consumer protection left to take an out-of-state trip.

According to a campaign spokesman, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton left the state during the middle of the power outage crisis to meet with a fellow attorney general in Utah for a “previously planned meeting.” Hs wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, was also on the trip, reported the Dallas Morning News, which first broke the story.

The revelation marks the third instance of a Texas public official leaving the state during the disaster that affected nearly every one of the state’s 254 counties.

[…]

Ken Paxton spokesman Ian Prior said that Paxton met with Utah AG Sean Reyes to discuss several matters, including their multi-state antitrust lawsuit against Google.

Reyes’ spokesman Richard Piatt confirmed that Paxton was in Salt Lake City for meetings on Wednesday and Friday, and had “lengthy discussions” on the Google case.

Prior said Paxton also attended a demonstration of Utah’s law enforcement scenario simulator, which includes a wide variety of situations law enforcement must deal with and is used for training. He said Paxton is considering the program for Texas. Reyes said that meeting would have taken place in the suburb of Murray, about a 15-minute drive away.

“While there, AG Paxton had a number of meetings with the Utah Attorney General over the course of several days,” Prior said. “I cannot further share additional details or the specific reasons on the need for the meeting concerning Google as it involves an ongoing investigation.”

Prior did not respond to questions about the timing of the Paxton’s trip, why the trip was not postponed or whether taxpayers funded the trip.

I’ll bet he didn’t. Not likely to be any good answers to those questions. Oh, and did we mention that Mrs. Paxton, a/k/a State Sen. Angela Paxton, was also there?

On the day of Paxton’s Wednesday meeting, the state’s electrical grid operator reported 2.7 million households in Texas remained without power. Water infrastructure in many cities was also being strained. By Thursday, nearly half the state had had its water disrupted in some way. Many lost running water altogether, while others were issued boil-water notices.

“AG Paxton did lose power, but did not leave Texas until after power had returned to most of the state, including his own home,” Prior said in a statement.

Follow up questions about whether the attorney general was back in Texas on Monday were not answered.

A spokesperson for Angela Paxton confirmed that she was also on the trip, which she said “included meetings that benefit her efforts to promote human dignity and support law enforcement.”

While away, Ken Paxton’s office did send a handful of advisories about his office’s plans to investigate the Electric Reliability Council of Texas — the state’s grid operator — “and other entities that grossly mishandled this week’s extreme winter weather.”

“We will get to the bottom of this power failure and I will tirelessly pursue justice for Texans,” he said in a press release Friday. The release made no mention of his whereabouts.

I’m sure you’re aware that I have a very low opinion of the Paxtons, as I do of Ted Cruz and all the other malfunctioning members of our Republican state government who have no call to service. But even I would have expected them to have slightly better political instincts than this. State Rep. Chris Turner speaks for me:

I don’t begrudge people a certain amount of business travel, but come on. This very easily could have been done remotely, and let’s not forget we are still in a pandemic, which makes any kind of air travel highly questionable at this time. And all of that is before the refusal to answer questions about the specifics of this little jaunt. What is wrong with these people? The Current has more.

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15 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    I don’t get the fascination with which politician was where. What did we expect Ken Paxton to do here? Go to his nearest power plant with a blow torch and unfreeze pipes?

    Ken (torch in hand): Hey, y’all, I’m a politician, I’m here to roll up my sleeves and help.”

    Power plant personnel: “Great! What skills do you have that can help us in this crisis?”

    Ken: “I have a law degree.”

    Power plant personnel: Ummm……..

    Frankly, all this hysteria is going to do is encourage every Texas political leader to purchase and install a home generator, like a Generac, so they can “be with their people in sympathy.”

  2. Manny says:

    Wonder why the liars, aka Republicans, expect people to act differently than they do?

    Like all the so thinking they are alpha males, Paxton would rather flee, nothing new with the I can’t go to the store without my guns nuts.

  3. mollusk says:

    What are these elected officials supposed to do instead of going someplace warm?

    Two words: Their jobs.

    If they can’t figure out how to use the powers of their offices in crisis situations, then they need to retire and hand the job over to those who can.

  4. robert says:

    Bill,

    If this was a Dem, you’d be all over them. You’re so tiring…..why do we need Cruz or Paxton if they can’t do anything during an emergency, including being prepared for one,smh

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    Mollusk:

    What, exactly,was Paxton supposed to do in his official capacity? Sure, he can sue the Biden administration to let us blow and go in an emergency like this, pollution regs be damned, but by the time things work out in court, it’s a moot point, the crisis is over. There is absolutely NOTHING Paxton could have done by staying around….nothing. Hell, there was no court even open for him to fight in, even if he whipped out the ol’ manual typewriter and started drafting up a lawsuit.

    Robert,

    I agree that if it was a Dem, I’d be all over them, and it would be just as hypocritical for me as it is for everyone here who gives Dems a pass on everything. Can we agree that we ALL have some partisan hypocrite in us? I admit it. Until recently, for some reason, every leftist was willing to overlook Gov. Cuomo mass murdering NY nursing home residents. You’re still overlooking the other Dem. governors that did the same. As to Cruz, all he could do is call the White House and ask Biden to toss out the rulebook completely and let Texas be Texas, and power our own state. Exactly how successful do you think a formal plea like that would be? You saw the 4 page garbage document Biden’s DoE sent out.

  6. Lobo says:

    MORE POWER TO THE PEOPLE, OR AT LEAST BIVY BAGS

    Bill’s home-generator idea is not so bad for the stratum of society that can afford it, including those on the public payroll. It would have to be implemented prophylactically to avoid a run on equipment at the inception of a freeze, and should be coupled with a requirement to use the generator in a declared energy emergency so as to relieve peak demand on the grid. Fuel storage may be a safety issue, though.

    Come to think of it, the same reasoning would counsel in favor of widespread installation of home solar systems, which will at least generate some power during the day, or solar-thermal systems, which could heat water with beneficial warming effects lasting post-sunset. These systems would not require fuel storage on site, and would avoid the associated health and safety issues.

    Thanks to the pandemic, many state employees are already working remotely from home, including appellate justices and their staff. A home generator could be made a condition of continuing public employment because without electric power, remote working can’t work. The State could provide a one-time allowance added to paychecks to support the capital investment, with ownership vested in the employee to provide incentive for wise selection of equipment (consumer choice in the market, if not State-procured and distributed) and proper maintenance and care of equipment.

    If broadly implemented, this capital expenditure would also have a stimulus effect for the economy. It could be phased in in waves (by not providing the allowance to all state employees at the same time) so as to spread out the demand for equipment and avoid price hikes. Large employers of computer-bound now-pajama-clad workforces could implement similar programs, and thus promote workforce availability and productivity during blackout days.

    BIVOUAC SACKS TO WINTERIZE THE MASSES

    As for those who can’t afford the micro power-generation equipment, there could either be a grant or subsidy program, or an alternative low-cost program that might be called DUVETS FOR THE MASSES to provide a means for body-heat conservation when the ambient temperature drops as a result of man-made (i.e. ERCOT-imposed) blackouts. This could be made part and parcel of an emergency preparedness package and could also be mandated for rental housing along with safety devices such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

    Note that evacuation by jet cum hotel stay at the destination (whether in Cancún, Florida, or Utah) is a very expensive and inefficient energy disaster mitigation approach. Investment in equipment would have long-lasting benefits by preparing the owner for future adverse weather events.

    LINGO NOTE: A duvet is a type of bedding consisting of a soft flat bag filled with down, feathers, wool, cotton, silk or a synthetic alternative, and typically protected with a removable cover, analogous to a pillow and pillow case. (Wiki)

  7. Bill Daniels says:

    Lobo,

    You’re whistling the siren song of socialism……the government will take care of your every need, and will issue you what you need, when the government thinks you need it. The only flaw in your plan, as I see it, is solar wouldn’t have worked when the panels are caked with ice and snow, so all that time and effort….useless when it would really be needed. Does your plan include workers to come by the house and chip off the ice from the solar panels?

    Having said that, if the government is going to hand out free $ 40,000 solar systems, I’ll get a job with the state long enough to get the solar system installed, then quit. Of course, you can defeat my evil plan simply by enacting your dream of excluding White people from society, and from jobs, just as Coca Cola has boldly announced, to “be less white.”

  8. Lobo says:

    ON SOCIALIZING WITH SEDUCTRESSES

    Bill van Rednecksville:

    Odysseus had a problem with the singing sirens and — on counsel of Circe — had his sailors plug their ears with beeswax and tie him to the mast. So they wouldn’t succumb to their wiles.

    A sailer en route back to the father(is)land I ain’t not, and I got my own wax up my ears. Nor do I have a problem with sensible social policy, sometimes called Socialism. Note also cognate use in Social Security. Insurance, by the way, is also a form of redistributive socialism and collective (socialized) risk mitigation: premium payers without claims provide the money to compensate the damages of others who have suffered harm, typically in excess of their own contributions to the scheme.

    Also be reminded of the mission-statement-type references to “general welfare” and “domestic tranquility” in the preamble of the epic Constitution of the United States of America (more specifically, the midriff of the northern portion of the continent, since the Estados Unidos Mexicanos are likewise united and likewise part of America). I would further posit that general welfare promotes domestic tranquility, securing for us all the blessings of synergy.

    Regarding solar, did you know they even use panels in Iceland?

    See here:
    https://www.iflscience.com/technology/solar-power-is-used-in-one-of-the-most-unlikely-places-on-earth-/

    SIRON SONGS FOR SOLAR (AND PEDAL POWER)

    At the minimum, a small solar panel on the front porch or balcony could power a person’s cell phone, so folks can receive emergency text alerts about having to get their moth-balled duvets ready for use (and perhaps to give out tips about de-icing, to the extent necessary, to owners of larger solar systems that are not designed for freezing conditions). More importantly, the cell missives could be used to tell them when their power will go off and come back on, and other critical info that will allow them to adjust their own crisis behavior appropriately.

    And while we are at it, also recommended for disaster preparedness: crankable emergency radio and a mini-generator cum rechargeable battery attached to stationary bike for the lucky proprietors of such equipment.

    For those adept at using tools and fond of tinkering in the garage or backyard: There are multiple YouTube vids that show how to build a bike generator. Can even be a regular bike with back wheel off the ground. Again, once the capacity has been created, it will serve well in forthcoming crises and avoid spikes in demand for expendable commodities, such as batteries, and obviate hoarding behavior that aggravates scarcity.

  9. mollusk says:

    Bill, you underestimate the scope of what the AG and his office do (or are supposed to do), but it’s a whole lot more than filing lawsuits against the Federal government. Take a look at their website for a more comprehensive description of the office and its duties.

    In a nutshell, the AG is the head guy. His job in an emergency situation is to make sure that his employees are doing their jobs, allocating resources that may be impaired or inadequate, advising the other state agencies, and generally doing the things that The Boss does.

  10. league city says:

    i could be wrong, and happy to be educated if so, but isn’t the AGs office also responsible for pursuing (or whatever word you like) those who would take unreasonable advantage of the dire situation by price gouging (and similar behaviors)? things like hotels, plumbers, plumbing supplies, fuel, etc? I would think, if this is indeed true, there would be some preparation required and messaging out to discourage it? thanks.

  11. Bill Daniels says:

    Wolf,

    You’re quite right about Social Security. It’s an evil that was allowed to flourish here, with disastrous consequences, as people grew to tolerate, accept, and even desire socialism, which, when complete, kills nations. As a former big L and now small l libertarian/populist, I was firmly against SS, and often said I’d be willing to trade any future benefits if I could stop paying right now. Of course, the nearer I get to the finish line, the more I have the typical entitled attitude of, “I pays my money, I want my circus.” SS is the camel’s nose under the tent, a socialist Ponzi scheme that the whole country is forced to participate in.

    It’s interesting that you’re fully aware, eyes wide open about what it is, yet still support socialism. As to the ‘general welfare’ clause, we have to look at original intent……the Federalist Papers are a good start. And the people who crossed a frozen river, on Christmas, to go attack the most feared and awesome military on the planet at the time……you think those guys were sitting around in their spare time dreaming of Lone Star cards, ObamaPhones, and Section 8 housing? I’m thinking no.

    Mollusk,

    Are you expecting Ken Paxton to be directing his posse of underlings to be out in the icy roads, driving around collecting child support payments from deadbeat dads? I can’t see any function of the AG’s office that really could have gone on with no power and impassible roads. Heck, they wouldn’t even have been able to do anything about price gouging complaints…..until the power was back on and the streets were passable. The AG’s office was just as impotent last week as all of us plebes were.

  12. Bill Daniels says:

    Edit:

    Kuff, I really hope the thread title was a play on the Traveling Wilburys . I’m going to assume that it was.

  13. mollusk says:

    Believe it or not, Bill, the legal system is quite capable of addressing all sorts of emergencies. There are established procedures for doing so, there is flexibility built in for when those procedures can’t work, and there are many well qualified people who are quite willing to take on the job. It’s just not on brand for the current occupants of the top offices (I can’t use the word “leadership” to describe them).

  14. Lobo says:

    GENERALIZED WELFARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY: WHOSE DOING?

    @ Bill “Laissez-Mourir” Daniels:

    Blame the evil Krauts: Otto von Bismarck started it (to undercut the appeal of the socialist movement to the suffering working class). Be advised that this Prince of Bismarck was a Conservative. He engineered the first unification of Germany in 1871 and served as its first chancellor until 1890, having previously been Minister- President of Prussia (1862–1890) and Chancellor of the North German Confederation (1867–1871). His social welfare reforms were a tremendous success, but the political objective of diminishing the appeal of the Socialists, his political nemesis, failed. The Social Democratic Party became the strongest party in the Reichstag.

    Nowadays all of Europe takes the general welfare seriously and public policies reflect this commitment. At the EU level, the rich member nations, most notably Deutschland-no-longer-Reich, even subsidize the poorer ones in the South. Redistribution on a grand continent-spanning scale.

    Shocking?!

    For a basic lesson on state-sponsored welfare for the plebs, see here:

    https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-politicalscience/chapter/the-welfare-state/

  15. karenpl says:

    Unfortunately, the TX elected officials who believe that working for their constituents (rather than performing political theater) are primarily serving at the local level. There are R and D local officials who understand this is their job and do it capably. At the statewide level, we get stupid performance “art”. My hope is that as the state becomes more competitive between the two (or more) parties, people who prefer working over preening become more common.

    As to “what were they supposed to do?” questions, at the very least they should have been doing what tens of thousands of private citizen Texans were – anything they could to ease the suffering in their community. If you believe in less govt, you usually believe it’s the role of the citizen to step into the gap between community need and available resources. That means times of emergency are when you really step up and into the gap, whether as a public official or private citizen. Many Texans, regardless of political beliefs understood this.

    The most vocal state level pols could not be bothered to do anything. It is valid to identify as R and expect better governance. That’s what primaries are for.

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