I Voted in the Midterm Election or The Big Yawn

And the winners are (the Republicans of course):

United States

Senator: John Cornyn

Representative (District 17): Bill Flores


Governor: Greg Abbott

Lieutenant Governor: Dan Patrick

Attorney General: Ken Paxton

Senator (District 5): Charles Schwertner

Representative (District 14): John Raney

Comptroller of Public Accounts: Glenn Hegar

Commissioner of the General Land Office: George P. Bush

Commissioner of Agriculture: Sid Miller

Railroad Commissioner: Ryan Sitton

Chief Justice, Supreme Court: Nathan Hecht

Supreme Court, Place 6: Jeff Brown

Supreme Court, Place 7: Jeff Boyd

Supreme Court, Place 8: Phil Johnson

Criminal Appeals Court Place 3: Bert Richardson

Criminal Appeals Court Place 4: Kevin Yeary

Criminal Appeals Court Place 9: David Newell

10th Court of Appeals Place 2: Rex Davis

85th District Judge: Kyle Hawthorne

361st District Judge: Steve Smith

Brazos County

County Judge: Duane Peters

County Court at Law #1: Amanda Matzke

County Court at Law #2: Jim Locke

District Clerk: Marc Hamlin

County Clerk: Karen McQueen

County Treasurer: Laura Davis

County Commissioner Precinct 4: Irma Cauley (D)

Justice of the Peace #4: Louis Garcia

Constable Precinct 4: Isaac Butler (D)

Texas Propositions

Proposition 1 – Transportation Funds: Passed

City of Bryan Propositions

Charter Amendment, Proposition 1: Passed

Charter Amendment, Proposition 2: Passed

Charter Amendment, Proposition 3: Passed

Bryan ISD

Voters in Bryan approve a $132 million bond proposal.

The money will be used to build a pair new school buildings and make improvements to every school in the district, including security and heating and air conditioning.

Voter ID Law in Texas

In 2011 the Texas state legislature passed a voter ID law which said voters had to present a government issued (picture) identification in order to vote in person; they wanted to prevent voter fraud. This year Democrats successfully appealed to have the law blocked; the judge said it was a poll tax.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, an appointee of President Barack Obama confirmed to the bench in 2011,  struck down Texas’ voter ID law on Thursday [10/9], calling it an “unconstitutional poll tax” intended to discriminate against Hispanic and African-American citizens that creates “an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote.” Source: The Huffington Post

As I see it there are two types of burdens: physical and financial. Physically, there are people who don’t drive and/or don’t need picture identification: elderly, poor, big-city dwellers, and college students. Also, there are people in rural areas unable to get to a identification office. These are all legitimate reasons not to have identification.

There are several aspects of financial burden, but I’ll just say I think the State can issue voter ID without driver’s licence – free of charge. If not, they should. This reason is less of a reason not to have a licence/ID.

In that same article, Ryan P. Haygood, an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said the law imposes costs and burdens:

“The evidence in this case demonstrated that the law, like its poll tax ancestor, imposes real costs, and unjustified, disparate burdens on the voting rights of more than 600,000 registered Texas voters, a substantial percentage of whom are voters of color.”


Let’s Do Some Math

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, before the 2012 election there was 235 million people 18+ years of age, 215 million citizens (18+ years of age), and 143 million registered voters (65% of voting age population). If the NPR news story Why Millions of Americans Have No Government ID is accurate, then there were 3 million Americans without government ID in 2012; assuming they are citizens 18+ years of age. That’s 1.4% of citizens able to vote. That’s not a lot, but still, every American has the right to vote.

We read/hear stories about how these few people want to vote – try to vote – but get denied because they don’t have acceptable identification. The whole point of showing ID (aside from showing a voter ID card) is to show proof of residency and prevent multiple votes. They don’t want people voting in the wrong district or voting at several polling places.

Taxation For Different Reasons

Recently some have said, and I tend to agree, that the Revolutionary War cry, “No taxation without representation!” has a corollary, “No representation without taxation!” Early American history (sort of) had it this way. When the country was founded, in most states, only white men with property – paying property tax – were permitted to vote; freed African American slaves could vote in four states. Times have changed and more groups of people have been allowed to vote, but the idea of tax payers should be voters remains.

I believe those of us that pay taxes should have a say in how it’s spent (e.g. electing people we think will spend it wisely). If you don’t pay taxes you should not have a say in how other peoples’ money is spent.

Latest Development

On Tuesday, October 14, the Texas GOP successfully appealed the blocked law.

The ruling by a three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals allows the law to be used in the November election, despite a lower judge’s ruling that the law is unconstitutional. The 5th Circuit did not rule on the law’s merits; instead, it determined it’s too late to change the rules for the election. Source abcnews.com

They said while it may cause harm to some voters, the greater harm would come from disrupting the election statewide.

The NAACP vowed to appeal this appeal to the US Supreme court.

On Saturday, October 18, the Supreme Court allowed Texas to use its voter id law in the November election. They gave no reasoning. Justice Ginsburg – along with justices Sotomayor and Kagan – issued a six-page dissent. (Source: nytimes.com)

We haven’t seen the end of this argument. There will be more legal battles and appeals.

So, in the end, I showed my driver’s licence that I paid $25 for, and I voted early.

Texas General Election 2014

The General Election in Texas is November 4, 2014. Early voting runs October 20-31, 2014. From the Primary Election in March to the General Election in November, the candidates have been chosen. See who/what is on the ballot or table of candidates.

There are 5 possible party affiliations: R-Republican, D-Democrat, L-Libertarian, G-Green, and I-Independent.

U.S. Senate (Texas)

  • John Cornyn (R)
  • David M. Alameel (D)
  • Rebecca Paddock (L)
  • Emily “Spicybrown” Sanchez (G)

U.S. House of Representatives (District 17)

  • Bill Flores (R)
  • Nick Haynes (D)
  • Shawn Michael Hamilton (L)

Texas Senate (District 5)

  • Charles Schwertner (R)
  • Joel Shapiro (D)
  • Matthew Whittington (L)

Texas House of Representatives (District 14)

  • John Raney (R)
  • Andrew Metscher (D)
  • Bruce L. Pugh (L)

Texas Governor

  • Greg Abbott (R)
  • Wendy R. Davis (D)
  • Kathie Glass (L)
  • Brandon Parmer (G)

Texas Lieutenant Governor

  • Dan Patrick (R)
  • Leticia van de Putte (D)
  • Robert D. Butler (L)
  • Chandrakantha Courtney (G)

Texas Attorney General

  • Ken Paxton (R)
  • Sam Houston (D)
  • Jamie Balagia (L)
  • Jamar Osborne (G)

Texas Supreme Court

Chief Justice

  • Nathan Hecht (R)
  • William Moody (D)
  • Tom Oxford (L)

Place 6

  • Jeff Brown (R)
  • Lawrence Edward Meyers (D)
  • Mark Ash (L)

Place 7

  • Jeff Boyd (R)
  • Gina Benavides (D)
  • Don Fulton (L)
  • Charles E. Waterbury (G)

Place 8

  • Phil Johnson (R)
  • RS Roberto Koelsch (L)
  • Jim Chisolm (G)

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Place 3

  • Bert Richardson (R)
  • John Granberg (D)
  • Mark W. Bennett (L)

Place 4

  • Kevin Patrick Yeary (R)
  • Quanah Parker (L)
  • Judith Sanders-Castro (G)

Place 9

  • David Newell (R)
  • William Bryan Strange, III (L)
  • George Joseph Altgelt (G)

Texas Courts of Appeals (District 10)

Place 2

  • Rex Davis (R)

Texas State Board of Education Member (District 8)

  • Barbara Cargill (R) – Next election November 2016

Comptroller of Public Accounts

  • Glenn Hegar (R)
  • Mike Collier (D)
  • Ben Sander (L)
  • Deb Shafto (G)

Commissioner of the General Land Office

  • George P. Bush (R)
  • John Cook (D)
  • Justin Knight (L)
  • Valerie Alessi (G)

Commissioner of Agriculture

  • Sid Miller (R)
  • Jim Hogan (D)
  • David “Rocky” Palmquist (L)
  • Kenneth Kendrick (G)

Railroad Commissioner

  • Ryan Sitton (R)
  • Steve Brown (D)
  • Mark A. Miller (L)
  • Martina Salinas (G)

District Courts – Brazos County

85th District Court Judge

  • Kyle Hawthorne (R)

NOTE: Judge J. D. Langley is stepping down.

272nd District Court Judge

  • Travis Bryan III – Next election ?

361st District Court Judge

  • Steve Smith (R)

Justice of the Peace – Brazos County (Precinct 4)

  • Louis Garcia Jr. (R)

District Attorney – Brazos County

  •  Jarvis Parsons (R) – Next election November 2016

Sheriff – Brazos County

  •  Christopher C. Kirk (R) – Next election November 2016

Amendments to the Texas Constitution

Proposition 1:

Allocate to Fund 6 (The State Highway Fund) one-half of the general revenue derived from oil and gas production taxes that currently is transferred to the Economic Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund).

Also See



HighEdWeb 2014 Wrap Up

Portland-Old-Town-Sign It’s been 3 years since my last High Ed Web conference, and a lot has changed. This year I attended the 3 events – Welcome Reception: Punch Bowl Social, HighEdWeb AfterDark: Porto Terra, HighEdWeb Big Social Event: World Forestry Center – but I didn’t stay long at any of them. I had more face time with Texas A&M employees this year. I was also producing a vlog everyday in October. After the conference Barbie flew in to Portland, and we took a 3 night vacation around northwest Oregon.

The conference website: http://2014.highedweb.org/

The LINK blog site of the conference: http://link.highedweb.org/category/2014-conference/

I think the most comprehensive wrap up blog came from Karine Joly at collegewebeditor.com: Missed the #heweb14 conference? Check this selection of slides, posts & resources.

One big change was the track names. The new ones are:

  • AIM Applications, Integration and Mobile
  • DPA Development, Programming and Architecture
  • MCS Marketing, Content and Social Strategy
  • MPD Management and Professional Development
  • TIE Technology in Education
  • UAD Usability, Accessibility and Design

Here are the sessions I attended – note the heavy use of AIM track:

  • There Are No Break Points in Your Web Strategy: Going Responsive Without Screwing Everything Up #UAD1
  • Moving to Git-based Version Control with Small Teams #DPA2
  • Node.js + Higher Ed = Awesome! #AIM3
  • Connecting Reusable Disconnected Content: Our CampusData Project #AIM4
  • Automate all the things with Yo, Grunt and Bower #AIM5
  • Beyond the Buildings: A New Generation of Campus Maps #DPA6
  • Agile in higher ed? Yes you Kanban! #MPD7
  • Extreme APIs for a Better Tomorrow #AIM8
  • Putting students first: The uOttawa.ca redesign #UAD9
  • Taking the Web Offline #AIM10
  • Just another bughunt? Tools to improve your site without nuking it from orbit #DPA11
  • Building a room reservation system with a $0 budget #AIM12

Takeaways from #UAD1

Put call-to-action buttons (or emergency alerts) at the top, and keep them in the same place for all devices.

Beware the burger. Don’t just use the icon, add the word “menu.”

Remember that a cell phone is also a phone: click to call service is good to have
also, take advantage of features = enhancement

Dig into analytics and see what mobile is doing differently. That may drive their altered experience.

Subnavigation and breadcrumbs: alot of mobile sites drop them – no one clicked on them for psu.edu.

Takeaways from #DPA2

How Git works (master branch):

  • Working directory on desktop
  • Add these files to staging area
  • Then commit files to local repository
  • Then push files to remote repository

Three phases of going Git:

  • plan
  • execute
  • use


  • step 1: identify remote repository – external or self hosted
  • step 2: select a workflow – centralized, integration manager, feature workflow, others
  • step 3: identify users and roles
  • step 4: identify what files you want to commit – necessary to run website – ignore all others (.gitignore file)


  • step 1: steup hosting
  • step 2: create user account and setup machines
  • step 3: create repositories
  • step 4: implement a workflow
  • step 5: push first commit


  • step 1: commit, commit, commit
  • step 2: evaluate what’s working and what’s not

Takeaways from #AIM3

Look at

Gulp vs Grunt – the jury is still out. Gulp is awesome, but Grunt is stable.

Next year the conference goes back to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I’m not going.

They didn’t announce where 2016 was, but they said it will be “in the south.”

For reference, here is a list of the past 6 years’ conferences:

  • 2014 Portland
  • 2013 Buffalo (Did not go)
  • 2012 Milwaukee (Did not go)
  • 2011 Austin
  • 2010 Cincinnati
  • 2009 Milwaukee


Vlog Everyday October 2014 | Day 30

“Three Bullet Points”

1] Our cyber security campaign was a success. It got nearly 6000 sessions. Tomorrow is the official end of the campaign, but we decided to let it roll over to Monday.

2] Speaking of tomorrow – Halloween – it’s the last day of October and thus the last day of Vlog Every Day (in) October. I can’t say I’ll miss having to come up with ideas of what to talk about or producing video.

3] OMG TripIt – the trip help app – is getting creepy close to me. The Wife made a hotel reservation today (using my Honor’s number & email address) and they sent me a confirmation email. Well TripIt “saw the email” and told me “we noticed your email and added it to your itinerary.” That’s a little too personal.

#vedo14 or #vlogtober

Vlog Everyday October 2014 | Day 29

“One Bullet Point”

1] My busy week continues. I ate lunch at McDonalds – they ripped me off and I had a fly as a dining companion. I’m never going back to that place. Then I early voted. Then I sat for jury duty for over an hour on the hardest bench ever. The good news was they pleaded and I still got paid $6.

Vlog Everyday October 2014 | Day 28

“Three Bullet Points”

1] So many things are happening this week. I’m trying to write a blog to summarize my High Ed Web conference, and produce this vlog every day in October. I got a flu shot today. I plan on early voting before noon tomorrow, and I have jury duty in the afternoon.

2] Some TV shows are having their season finales while others just started their season a couple weeks ago. Fall sure is the season of change.

3] It’s the countdown to halloween – 3 nights left. It doesn’t feel like halloween. Next year, the Wife said, we’ll do something, but this year is too late – even to pass out candy.

#vedo14 or #vlogtober

Vlog Everyday October 2014 | Day 27

“Three Bullet Points”

1] Temperatures in Texas are above “normal” for fall. In Oregon temps were averaging 50 – 60. In Texas we’re still in the 80’s. That’s one for moving to the northwest.

2] It was funny watching The Wife trying to recycle in Oregon/Washington. She tried so hard to separate trash from recyclables. That’s how Oregonians and Washingtonians are though – not like Texans.

3] We agreed that we need to see more of the northwest and the rest of the country. In order to get there we need to work out, lose weight and get healthy.

#vedo14 or #vlogtober

Vlog Everyday October 2014 | Day 26

“Three Bullet Points”

1] That last 3 days we have been traveling. Please excuse the videos.

We came back and everything was fine (aside from the smell). We watched the the Purge 2 tonight. I figured now was a good time to purge old pictures and videos from my computer. I think the oldest was from 2010.

2] If your wife likes Oregon and your step-son like’s Washington – what do you do? Travel more! Both have seen a specific example of both states and neither has seen many examples of both states. More travels in both states will alleviate that problem.

3] Travel is cool but establishment is better. When we travel we see the here and now. When we rest we see the established order of things. Me and my wife both agree we like Astoria for its “wilderness” feel and not the Portland-city feel.

#vedo14 or #vlogtober

Vlog Everyday October 2014 | Day 25

We traveled from Portland to Dallas to College Station. It was a long day. No video or photos were taken.