March 6, 2018 Travis County, Texas Primary Election Voters Guide

As usual, this is me publishing the notes I make for myself, to make my life easier in the future and help out anyone else who might trip over this little blog by accident looking for some help making their decisions.

These are only the races where I live.  In other places there are other races, so check to see what will be on your own ballot.


United States Senator
This one is easy.  Ted Cruz by a mile and it’s not even close.  I’m 0% interested in any of the other candidates on this ballot.  Cruz was my guy for POTUS but if he’s not POTUS I at least want to keep him as Senator!

Again, this one is a no-brainer.  Governor Abbott is still /ourguy/ for %currentyear% and there’s not been anything that I knew he has done yet, that makes me want to be rid of him.

Lieutenant Governor-REP
Dan Patrick is better for Texas values than Scott Milder.  Milder will possibly take a bunch of votes in the cities but hopefully not the nomination

Commissioner of the General Land Office
Jerry Patterson – I endorsed him in 2010 and I’ll do it again now. 
He’s right over the target on his position statements.  He didn’t want to come back and do this job but Bush has flubbed it so bad it’d got Patterson to come out of retirement!
Davey Edwards – Maybe 2nd behind Patterson, but maybe he should keep being the official surveyor where he lives and let someone who knows the job, have the job again.
George P. Bush – No more Bushes in Texas public office or any other public office.  The whole family is from what I can tell a bunch of squishy/wobbly Republicans and there’s always a better candidate in a primary than the Bush, and it doesn’t matter which Bush is running for what!  Significantly this time he is apparently trying to muck up the Alamo, which is one of the few things he is specifically supposed to protect (!?)
Rick Range – Seems to be running on a rather thin “save the Alamo” platform which is good as far as it goes but it’s not very far.

Commissioner of Agriculture
Sid Miller – Keep him in this position. He sometimes comes out with slightly whacky statements, but I don’t hear any complaints about the job he has been doing for us.
Jim Hogan – appears to be a Democrat (?) not even sure what he’s doing on my ballot if I’m honest.
Trey Blocker – Has a relatively lightweight resume compared to a guy who seems to have been killing it as the Commissioner already.  Also, there’s something wrong with his face.  He looks like there’s a problem behind it.

Railroad Commissioner
Christi Craddick – As in previous years, this is not a solid *for* Craddick . . . but then- attorney General Abbot said she was a great choice, a few years back.  There have been a few ethical questions raised but I note a distinct lack of legal action succesfully brought against her.
Weston Martinez – why not try to stay in his current job as a Real Estate Commissioner? I could vote for him in the General election but in the primary I’ll be for Craddic.

Presiding Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals
David Bridges – I’m going with Bridges on this ballot.
Sharon Keller – I give heavy weighting to being the incumbent in a judge’s race.  But this woman *barely* won the general election during a time when the R party was knocking other statewide elections out of the park – because in large part she has made some ugly calls.  As a judge.  That’s not great.  I can pull the lever for her in the General again if it’s her vs. a person who self-identifies as a democrat, but in the primary let’s go for Bridges who appears to be what we want from a judge: fairly unremarkable.

Place 8, Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals
Jay Brandon
– Judging (get it?) from what I find online, I think Jay Brandon has the right attitude and experience for this position.
Michelle Slaughter – I could vote for her in the general if you people send her there.  This race seems to have a solid set of candidates, which is nice.
Dib Waldrip – Waldrip may be a fine judge and he might be good for the supreme Court, even – but not better than Brandon, for this, now.

Place 6, Justice, 3rd Court of Appeals District
This is the only tough call on the ballot for me.  All of these seem to be good choices and I could go *for* any of them in the general election.
Kristofer Monson – seems like an ideal candidate.  Not a solid W but he gets my vote. It’s impossible for me to know if his lack of endorsements is from lack of funds, lack of trying, or just lack of political connections.  Plus, he takes selfies which matters to some people
Donna Davidson – also a good candidate
Jennifer S. Freel – The only one I have any reservation about, because she has little kids who need a mommy right now
Michael “Mike” Toth – also a good candidate


Republican Proposition 1
Texas should replace the property tax system with an appropriate consumption tax equivalent.
Yes.  I look for this one to not do as well as most of the others, but yes.

Republican Proposition 2
No governmental entity should ever construct or fund construction of toll roads without voter approval.
Yes.  It would be nice if they had included “or take out a bond to build a road” here as well.

Republican Proposition 3
Republicans in the Texas House should select their Speaker nominee by secret
ballot in a binding caucus without Democrat influence.
Yes. This is some “inside baseball” stuff but it seems like a good idea.

Republican Proposition 4
Texas should require employers to screen new hires through the free EVerify system to protect jobs for legal workers.
No.  I don’t like electronic systems used as requirements for employment in general, as they are creeping ever-closer to the mark of the beast.

Republican Proposition 5
Texas families should be empowered to choose from public, private, charter, or
homeschool options for their children’s education, using tax credits or exemptions without government constraints or intrusion.
Yes. The dollars should flow to whoever is teaching the student, not to the school which happens to be nearest the student’s home!

Republican Proposition 6
Texas should protect the privacy and safety of women and children in spaces
such as bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers in all Texas schools and government buildings.
Yes. I think this is weasel words to say “no men in the ladies’ room”  but as written it is meaningless but it sounds nice, and it’s not legally binding so yes.

Republican Proposition 7
I believe abortion should be abolished in Texas.
This isn’t even an open question.  All through the court system you have to tack on a “health of the mother” clause or this gets swatted down for good reason.

Republican Proposition 8
Vote fraud should be a felony in Texas to help ensure fair elections.
Yes.  This is literally a crime against all the people.

Republican Proposition 9
Texas demands that Congress completely repeal Obamacare.

Republican Proposition 10
To slow the growth of property taxes, yearly revenue increases should be
capped at 4%, with increases in excess of 4% requiring voter approval.
Yes.  I would rather have it lower, but 4% is better than 8%!

Republican Proposition 11
Tax dollars should not be used to fund the building of stadiums for professional or semi-professional sports teams.
Yes.  This is a stupid thing to do but somehow we keep doing it.


Aaaaand heeere weeee goooooO!!! . . . (?)

I’ve been expecting the global economy to crash and the USA economy to stagnate, beginning maybe the middle of last year to the end of this year. The systematic problems that caused the 2008/2009 crash were never properly fixed, and the bubbles are being blown up again.

Here is one bit of speculation that puts the decline start pretty soon: Mid-February 2018. If (big IF) BTC is actually a useful leading indicator, look for the amazingly-overvalued DJIA to plummet soon. If on the other hand BTC and all the other cryptos are just a flash in the pan that was going to fizzle anyway, maybe the ongoing bloodbath in cryptocurrency markets won’t mean anything at all:

So, we’ll see, I guess.

Bitcoin as a leading indicator? Michael Shedlock
Crypto bloodbath, Michael Shedlock

In related news (the relation being upward trends heading downward), depending heavily on whom you ask, we could start to see undeniable global cooling starting around the year 2020. This of course would be greeted with pats on the back from people who made lots of policies that changed nothing . . . but actually it would be related to a natural phenomenon known as the MDO of the GMT, which is predicted by some to begin cooling soon. We’ll see.

CO2 vs. GMT speculation from Girma Orssengo, PhD

“Restoring Internet Freedom” . . . what actual Net Neutrality should be: getting government BACK out of the way!

Internet Service Providers should never have been declared to be public utility providers.  I commend Commissioner Pai for his courage to stand up to a flood of astroturfed commments and restore a measure of liberty to the network market.

Netflix and other big CDNs can suck it.

Now, we next need to work on getting monopoly/duopoly rules protecting local companies’ ISP stranglehold on their markets taken out of the way.  It shouldn’t be against the rules to start a new ISP in a market. Anywhere. People who say we should try to fix the monopoly system of local ISP service by adding bad regulations on top of it don’t understand things properly.



Read all about it:

November 07, 2017 Travis County Texas Voters Guide

As always, these are my notes for myself.  If you don’t know how to vote, I encourage you to not vote, or to do your own research before voting.


2017 Texas Propositions
Proposition 1
The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of part of the market value of the residence homestead of a partially disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a partially disabled veteran if the residence homestead was donated to the disabled veteran by a charitable organization for less than the market value of the residence homestead and harmonizing certain related provisions of the Texas Constitution.

I am voting AGAINST it, but this will pass. It continues to erode the tax base . . . a little. So I care, but only a little.. It would suck to have a house donated at minimal cost and then be whacked with a huge tax bill. Then again the number of times this happens can probably be counted on one hand per year so the total loss of tax revenue is probably pretty small.

Proposition 2
The constitutional amendment to establish a lower amount for expenses that can be charged to a borrower and removing certain financing expense limitations for a home equity loan, establishing certain authorized lenders to make a home equity loan, changing certain options for the refinancing of home equity loans, changing the threshold for an advance of a home equity line of credit, and allowing home equity loans on agricultural homesteads.

This is a bad idea for lots of people. I’ll vote FOR it. The way the lending laws are written now, it is probably preventing some people from making bad financial decisions. It is keeping some people in their homes and on their land, right now, no doubt. And it is their right to make bad decisions. Allow the people to ruin themselves financially, if they so choose.

Proposition 3
The constitutional amendment limiting the service of certain officeholders appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate after the expiration of the person’s term of office.

I’m voting FOR this. This means (approximately) that an office will be unfilled, when a person’s term expires, if the office hasn’t been filled. I like that. No excessive-duration appointees if the governor “oopsy” can’t quite get them filled, and hopefully a vacant seat will be a motivation to the legislature to go ahead and get an office filled.

Proposition 4
The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to require a court to provide notice to the attorney general of a challenge to the constitutionality of a state statute and authorizing the legislature to prescribe a waiting period before the court may enter a judgment holding the statute unconstitutional.

This introduces a 45-day delay in what could be a vital relief process for people who are suffering under a bad law. I don’t like it and I’ll go AGAINST it, but I think it will probably pass.

Proposition 5
The constitutional amendment on professional sports team charitable foundations conducting charitable raffles.

There are already raffles from sports teams, but only the bigly biggest sports teams in the State can do them. This opens it up to smaller teams. If you are against gambling, then you are AGAINST this proposition. If you want people to be able to gamble if they choose, then you should be FOR this proposition.

Proposition 6
The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.

As with Proposition 1, this will pass even though I go AGAINST it. The same reasons apply except that there are a few more of this kind of case every year than the kind in prop. 1.

Proposition 7
The constitutional amendment relating to legislative authority to permit credit unions and other financial institutions to award prizes by lot to promote savings.

If you are against gambling then you are against this proposition. If you are ambivalent on gambling then this single-industry special carve-out is not as objectionable. If you are against single-industry for-profit raffles in particular, then you should be against this.


Both of these are stupid. We are going to borrow money to build paths and shit that is going to be worn out and require rebuilding before the bonds are paid back. Then we’ll issue bonds to pay for those repairs. I say we are going to/we will because ofc both of these are going to pass. The way to get bonds approved for in Travis County is to get them on the ballot. The only exception is when the bonds are for light rail, but that never stops the top-down bureaucratic government types from trying to get it back on the ballot.


The issuance of $93,445,000 of Road Bonds for the purpose of the construction, maintenance and operation of macadamized, graveled or paved roads and turnpikes, or in aid thereof, including acquiring land and rights-of-way therefor, road drainage, bike lanes, sidewalks and shared use paths, and replacement and improvement of road bridges and culverts, and the levying of the tax in payment thereof

Vote AGAINST Proposition A


The issuance of $91,495,000 of Bonds for the purposes of constructing and improving County parks and the acquisition of land and interests in land in connection therewith, including the acquisition of open space park land, and acquiring conservation easements on land for any authorized purposes, including, without limitation, to retain or protect natural, scenic, or open-space values of real property or assure its availability for agricultural, recreational, or open-space use, protect natural resources, maintain or enhance air or water quality, or conserve water quantity or quality, and the levying of the tax in payment thereof

Vote AGAINST Proposition B


Jeff Marsh – Has been doing a decent job for the short time he’s been in office.  Keep him there.
Adeline Bui – Strike one, she’s divorced from her family.  Strike two, she doesn’t maintain a homestead here. Strike three, she hasn’t been on this council doing a decent job already.  Sorry lady, you’ve struck out!  Oh and strike four, she’s just barely registered to vote.  ZERO hecks given about politics and then suddenly she wants to run for city council? Oh and she’s a 1st generation immigrant (read: hasn’t spent her life here) which means she can’t have the same feeling for this place as the locals. Sorry lady, you’re disqualified.

George Lueck – I’m not super enthusiastic about him, but I’d rather have him over Rudy.  I don’t much like his talk about taking federal dollars for local projects.
Rudy Metayer – I’ve voted against this guy before and I’ll do it again.  There’s something wrong with him and I can’t put my finger on it but I trust my instincts more than this guy.

OF PFLUGERVILLE – both of these seem like good candidates.  Oddly, both belong to different black-specific community groups, and neither is black.  Without a strong preference either way I think I am leaning more toward McDonald.
Jim McDonald – I like the noises he was making about not giving tax abatements and he sounds like he’s up on things in a way that I like.
Victor Johnson – recommended by Jeff Marsh, and (now this is important) this guy came to my house and was distinctly lacking in “creep” vibes.  But he definitely gives an “old white guy” air.

There are 5 fish

This was hilarious to the people in the car as I was driving the Zoo to school the other day, so #4 tried it on his class:

There are 5 fish in a pond.  Three of them died.  How many fish are in the pond?

Everybody is reported to have said there were 2 fish in the pond, including the teacher

[SOLVED!] Hisense 70-pint Dehumidifier Won’t Stop Running when Full or when Bucket is Removed DH-70KP1SLE (easy fix)

Recently our Hisense DH-70 dehumidifier spilled water all over the kitchen floor.  It had run all night, become full, failed to switch itself off, and overflowed.  The temporary solution to this was to dump the bucket more often, but that is a hassle.  Fortunately the permanent fix is free and fairly simple.

There is a microswitch inside the dehumidifier.  It was stuck.  It just needed to be poked from the back side.  Remove the back cover (a few screws on the back, a couple of screws on the bottom sides corners, pivot the bottom open first, there are clips on top that will break if you just pull!)

Looking at the rear of the machine, on the right side, about where the top of the bucket goes, corresponding to the other side of the wall where the “full” float in the bucket lives, is this switch:


The little metal arm on ours was pushed in (slanted red line).  Just touching it with a fingertip was enough to reset the mechanism (straight line).

It looks like this inside, if you have the same problem:  A white cylinder poking out into the bucket area, with a black dot in the middle.

This black dot is a plunger, and you should see this when you do not have this problem any more:

The air filters on the side are nice, but they are hardly HEPA filters.  Since I pulled both the covers off my unit because nobody has previously posted a guide for this repair that I could find and I needed to see what was happening in there, I took the opportunity to remove the accumulated hair and miscellaneous filth that got past the air filters over the past couple of years:

I recommend you do the same, if you are a handy sort of person.  I followed that wiping with a gentle blowing-out using compressed air because some smutz was between the hot and cold coils as well.  Gross.

You will know your fix was successful because the bucket will trip its sensor like it used to do, if you did this right.  Good luck, and remember that the Jesus loves you