Gov. Rick Perry will be joined by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at a rally in support of his re-election campaign on Sunday, Feb. 7 in the Houston area.
“I look forward to standing with Sarah to promote our shared conservative values of limited government, low taxes and individual freedom,” said Gov. Perry. “Gov. Palin is a true conservative leader whose priorities and message resonate with Texans, and I am honored to have her in Texas supporting my campaign.”
Gov. Palin will campaign with Gov. Perry to highlight the positive momentum Texas is experiencing through conservative leadership that has cut taxes, created jobs, strengthened education and secured our border.
Governor Rick Perry issued a statement this evening on Republican Senator-elect Scott Brown's big win in Massachusetts:
“I want to congratulate Senator-elect Scott Brown on his historic victory in Massachusetts. His election, along with the election last November of Republican governors in Virginia and New Jersey, should send a loud and clear message that the states of this great nation will continue to reject the misguided policies coming out of Washington, D.C. The election of a 41st Republican to the U.S. Senate is especially significant to stop the ill-advised health care bill that will cost states billions of dollars. I fully support Senator-elect Brown’s pledge to stand with Republicans in Congress to stop this harmful piece of legislation.”
KERA held a Republican debate this evening and here is what Governor Perry had to say afterwards:
"Tonight’s debate gave Texans the chance to hear competing visions for our state’s future while reflecting on the remarkable success story our state has written over the last several years.
"As our nation’s economy continues to struggle, our best prospects lie with maintaining our job-friendly climate, continuing to strengthen our education system, keeping our border secure and pushing back against the flood of misguided policies pouring out of Washington.
"I hope that our success has earned the confidence of Texas voters and that they will continue supporting me in leading our state with hard work, innovation and careful fiscal stewardship."
Check out gubernatorial facts, reported by our team during the debate, along with corrections to misinformation presented by the other candidates, here.
The Obama administration wants to spend $25 million to figure out best practices in tort reform. A better idea would be to save the money and just adopt what Texas did six years ago to solve its medical malpractice lawsuit overabundance.
Tort reform is a term commonly used by the media, people at town hall meetings and now President Obama, but it is not clear whether everyone is referring to the same thing. Tort reform means eliminating frivolous lawsuits against physicians and hospitals.
The Texas Legislature in 2003 adopted sweeping changes to its civil justice system that significantly altered when, where and how many lawsuits could be filed. In the medical malpractice area, those reforms were basically threefold.
First, to sustain a lawsuit against the medical care provider, an expert report was required within 120 days of filing the suit stating that the doctor being sued committed a medical error that caused injuries.
Prior to 2003, such reports were left to the discretion of the judge handling the case. The Legislature made it mandatory and defined an expert to be someone actually practicing medicine in the same field as the doctor being sued, or a similar field.
The effect of this simple reform has been to discourage many frivolous lawsuits. Previously, a litigant could simply bring a lawsuit without any medical evidence to support the suit. Doctors were then forced to defend themselves in court at an average cost of more than $50,000 per suit. With one in five doctors being sued each year, the expense of frivolous suits was staggering.
Second, noneconomic damages were capped to control arbitrary awards on pain and suffering or loss of consortium. Though 30 states now have a cap on noneconomic damages, noneconomic damages now make up more than two-thirds of jury verdicts.
The Texas cap only applies to those damages that are not capable of an objective value, letting claimants still receive full compensation for out-of-pocket expenses, medical expenses, lost income and future expenses.
The combination of prohibiting doctors and health care providers from being exposed to unlimited and arbitrary awards, and requiring an actual medical report at the outset, have cut the number of medical malpractice lawsuits in Texas in half.
The third significant tort reform was to prohibit the introduction into evidence of phantom damages. The Texas rule of evidence, which previously allowed for the recovery of "reasonable and necessary" medical expenses, was being misused. The actual expenses were often much less than the billed charges, in the same way that no one pays the manufacturer's suggested retail price of an automobile.
Accordingly, the legislature changed the law to require that the damages are to be the actual expenses "paid or incurred" by the claimant. With the elimination of phantom damages, the law now requires the actual cost associated with any medical mistake be reimbursed.
These common-sense reforms have led to a massive increase in the accessibility of health care in Texas, huge growth in the capital infrastructure of hospitals and clinics, hundreds of millions of dollars more each year in charity care and Texas' adding more than 16,000 new doctors in just six years.
And in reducing the actual number of suits to those in which claims are meritorious — a recent Harvard study concluded that up to 85% of all lawsuits brought against medical providers were frivolous — we have created a more equitable system of justice.
So when people speak of tort reform, know that the effective reforms they should be talking about include expert reports, a cap on noneconomic damages and truth in expenses. These common-sense reforms are what have helped Texas bring fairness to its civil justice system.
President Obama, save our money. Follow Texas' lead.
• Nixon, an attorney, served six terms in the Texas House of Representatives, where he chaired the Committee on Civil Practices his last two terms. Considered the architect of Texas' medical malpractice reforms, he is now a senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
Tucked away in an anonymous Southeast Austin business park, scientists at HeatGenie Inc. are developing technology that heats soup with the push of a button to activate a warming element in the can — no stove or microwave needed.
In a laboratory in Cedar Park, Mystic Pharmaceuticals researchers are designing devices to deliver drugs through mists sprayed in the nose or eyes, a more precise method than drops for diseases such as glaucoma.
And at the Hornsby Bend wastewater treatment facility in East Austin, Sunrise Ridge Algae Inc. is testing ways to use algae to create renewable fuel.
Their work is far-ranging, but the three have one thing in common: Money paying their salaries and funding their research has come from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, which invests state money in promising startups in cutting-edge fields such as biotechnology, robotics and clean energy.
The Legislature started the fund in 2005 to support advanced research at Texas universities and speed the commercialization of that research to create companies and high-quality jobs.
So far, Central Texas has scored big, with 20 companies taking in about $28 million of the $110 million the state has invested in 88 companies. Another nine area companies are in the pipeline to receive more than $20 million in funding, according to officials.
As the region continues to be rocked by recession — with venture capital investment slowing and unemployment rising — the state money is supporting Austin's unique population of creators and inventors while seeding a crop of companies that might produce some home runs in the future.
"At a time when it's hard to get bank loans or raise money on Wall Street and the venture capitalists are in hiding, this money is keeping the dream alive," said Bud Weinstein, an economist with the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. "ETF represents a fairly modest investment by the State of Texas into companies that may one day yield significant payoffs in terms of new jobs and revenue for state and local governments as successful companies become taxpayers."
Austin's list of fund winners offers a glimpse into the intriguing mix of promising ideas. Among them:
• Terapio Corp. received $1.7 million to create a cream to treat hand-foot syndrome, a painful swelling and numbness of the hands and feet that can occur as a side effect of several chemotherapy drugs.
• Merkatum raised $1 million for fingerprint and facial recognition identity technologies.
• Agile Planet is using $1 million to create more responsive and intelligent robots.
"These startups represent the next generation of high-tech innovation, and this funding is crucial to helping them push forward," said Susan Davenport, vice president of business retention and expansion at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. "Without this funding, some very promising entrepreneurial companies might wither on the vine."
In return for the money, the state gets an equity stake in the company, but entrepreneurs say they give up far less ownership than they would with a venture capital investor. If the company eventually is acquired or goes public, the state gets a share of the return. If the company goes bust, the state is out its investment.
"There will be some winners, and there will be some losers," Weinstein said. "But in today's economic climate, when so much is shut down, ETF is helping small companies get started, and it's helping them to keep going."
Monebo Technologies CEO Dale Misczynski says his company, which makes wireless heart monitors, would have folded if not for the $500,000 grant it received three years ago. The company used seed money from its founders to develop its product, called Cardiobelt, which lets users obtain their own electrocardiogram while at home and wirelessly transmits the information to a doctor.
"We were in a very difficult position, because we needed funding to take our product to market, but most venture capitalists don't care to invest until you've got customers," he says. "ETF carried us through until we could get our first customer orders. It was the bridge we needed to survive."
Although Monebo has only six full-time employees, the company is already creating a ripple effect: It manufactures the Cardiobelt in Bastrop, and the device is being used by patients in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and China.
Misczynski is bullish about his company's future. "According to our plan, five years from now, we should be a $50 million company," he said.
The Legislature created the fund at the request of Gov. Rick Perry, starting with a $200 million allocation, and has renewed it twice. Since 2006, aside from grants to companies, the fund has given money to researchers and initiatives at the University of Texas, Texas State and other schools, and it helped the state attract top research talent.
"We're looking for the technologies that could be game changers," said fund director Alan Kirchhoff. "There is so much intellectual property at universities, or people's garages or inside companies. We're getting it into the hands of entrepreneurs and providing the capital to turn it into something."
Because most companies that have received money are still in the very early stages of development, Kirchhoff said, it's too soon to place bets on the investments.
"They could become the next Google, or they may not. That's part of the risk," Kirchhoff said. "If these companies are successful, the State of Texas, which put the riskiest early-stage money in, will get a return back."
So far, one company — Austin-based NanoCoolers Inc., which received $3 million to develop a semiconductor cooling device — has failed. It's a given that there will be others; that's the nature of investing in unproven, out-of-the-box ideas.
Keeping jobs in Texas isn't a sure thing, either. Although fund recipients must agree to remain in Texas, that's no guarantee that they'll expand here, as demonstrated recently by Xtreme Power, a 5-year-old green energy company based in Kyle, which has received $2 million in fund money.
In August, the company announced it would build a manufacturing plant for its power-storage systems in Wixom, Mich., northwest of Detroit, with the help of a state incentive package estimated to be worth more than $200 million.
Although Texas officials had lobbied the company to expand here, Austin attorney Pike Powers said that Texas could not compete with the size of Michigan's incentive offer.
Michigan officials say Xtreme might hire as many as 2,500 workers between late 2011 and 2014.
Xtreme is keeping its headquarters in Kyle. Because the company already had fulfilled the commitments it made to receive the technology fund grant, it faces no penalties.
Another Austin grant recipient, Molecular Imprints, is considered a candidate to become a home run.
The 125-employee company uses nanotechnology to develop advanced, extremely precise tools for the semiconductor and other industries. It has received $3 million from the fund. During its eight year life, it has raised a total of $90 million in backing. Executives say they expect record sales of $25 million this year, up about 50 percent from last year, and there is the promise of more growth in the next several years.
The money isn't meant to provide long-term sustenance for startups. Awards to Central Texas companies have ranged from $500,000 to $3.5 million. That's small by most venture capital standards, but the amount can be make-or-break for companies still deep in research.
"These are companies with real science, and as a result it's really tough to go out and get funding in the early days," said Paul Tobias, an attorney with Wilson Sonsini in Austin who works with startups. "Private investors will look for more progress and a demonstration, or even customers, before making an investment, so ETF really bridges a gap. It allows a company to add that one expert who can really push them forward or buy that piece of equipment that they wouldn't otherwise be able to afford."
HeatGenie founder Brendan Coffey's original laboratory was his two-car garage in Southwest Austin, where he spent nights and weekends developing energy storage technology for self-heating food packaging.
When the fund awarded the company $250,000 last November, Coffey, a battery industry veteran, was able to move to a formal facility and focus on HeatGenie full time.
The company recently received another $500,000 from the fund, as well as a $100,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, which allows the company to pay salaries for five full-time employees.
The company has had promising meetings with global food and beverage companies about partnerships, Coffey said. It recently added Dan Costello, former Nestle executive and now CEO of Austin-based Sweet Leaf Tea, to its advisory board.
Without the fund money, Coffey said, HeatGenie would not have been able to move forward so quickly.
"It really was a leap of faith on their part," Coffey said. "Now we want to be a success story, so we can help generate investment for the next round of entrepreneurs."
Central Texas recipients of Texas Emerging Technology Fund money
These Central Texas companies have received funding:
Agile Planet Combining standard factory controls with innovative software $1 million
to enable safe human-robot collaboration
AnaLogix Development Corp. Natural movement 3-D game controller for PC and gaming markets $1 million
Faradox Energy Storage Inc. New fabrication process for high-performance electrical capacitors $1 million
HeatGenie Technology for self-heating food packaging $1 million*
Image Trends Image correction and enhancement products $1 million
for commercial and amateur photographers
Merkatum Fingerprint and facial recognition identity technologies $1 million
Molecular Imprints Advanced technology for the makers of computer chips and disk drives $3 million
Monebo Technologies Heart monitoring device that enables users to obtain $500,000
their own electrocardiogram
Mystic Pharmaceuticals Devices to let patients self-administer precision doses of drugs $1.56 million
NanoCoolers** Thermoelectric cooling system to help cool semiconductors $3 million
NanoMedical Systems Tiny implantable capsules that deliver drugs a few molecules at a time $3.5 million
Quantum Logic Devices Using single-electron devices to analyze DNA, $600,000
protein and other molecular interactions
Receptor Logic Developing antibodies to improve understanding $2 million
of the immune system to lead to better drugs and vaccines
RF Micron Microchips that act as wireless bar codes for shipping items globally $1 million
Smooth Stone Inc. Using technology developed for cell phones to cut data center power use $1 million
Stellarray Flat-panel radiation source technology $750,000
Sunrise Ridge Algae Inc. Technology to turn algae into biofuels $1 million
Terapio Corp. Cream to treat hand-foot syndrome $1.7 million
Xtreme Power Power storage and management systems to cut $2 million
energy bills for large-scale users
Xitronix Advanced semiconductor testing technology $500,000
* Maximum grant over time **Closed in 2007
Source: Central Texas Regional Center of Innovation and Commercialization
How the Emerging Technology Fund works
The process is highly competitive — about 10 percent of Central Texas applicants win grants — and can take nine months to a year.
Criteria: Companies must have a tie to a Texas public or private university. A substantial percentage of any new or expanded manufacturing arising from the grant must be in Texas. Companies must meet certain milestones to continue receiving allocations.
Who decides: Austin companies apply to the Central Texas Regional Center for Innovation and Commercialization. The center vets applications and then forwards qualified ones to a 17-member state advisory committee.
Final approval requires the unanimous consent of the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the Texas House.
Monitoring:The governor's office checks up on the companies to determine if they are meeting the terms of their grant.
CORPUS CHRISTI — Gov. Rick Perry, in town for a Nueces County Republican Women’s fund-raiser, spoke in favor of fiscal conservatism and stemming the flow of undocumented immigrants into the country.
Perry criticized the federal government for bailing out failing businesses and banks.
“You can’t spend your way to prosperity,” Perry said.
Perry also promised to loud applause that he will push for a new voter identification billsimilar to one that failed in the Legislature earlier this year. It would require voters to show a picture ID to vote.
Republicans say it would reduce voter fraud. Democrats say it would suppress voter turnout, particularly among minorities.
By the Hon. John Jackson, Guest Columnist
(Originally published Aug. 28, 2009)
The Corsicana Daily Sun missed a golden journalistic opportunity on Thursday by merely reprinting the AP article with respect to the Cameron Todd Willingham murder case. The Daily Sun is in possession of its compete reportage of the early '90's trial and is in a much better position to examine the actual trial evidence elicited.
The Willingham trial has become a sort of cause celebre by anti-death penalty proponents because it seems to be an example of outmoded scientific techniques which led to a miscarriage of justice. In fact, the trial testimony you reported in 1991 contains overwhelming evidence of guilt completely independent of the undeniably flawed forensic report.
Always omitted from any examination of the actual trial are the following facts:
1. The event which caused the three childrens' deaths was the third attempt by Todd Willingham to kill his children established by the evidence. He had attempted to abort both pregnancies by vicious attacks on his wife in which he beat and kicked his wife with the specific intent to trigger miscarriages;
2. The “well-established burns” suffered by Willingham were so superficial as to suggest that the same were self-inflicted in an attempt to divert suspicion from himself;
3. Blood-gas analysis at Navarro Regional Hospital shortly after the homicide revealed that Willingham had not inhaled any smoke, contrary to his statement which detailed “rescue attempts;”
4. Consistent with typical Navarro County death penalty practice, Willingham was offered the opportunity to eliminate himself as a suspect by polygraph examination. Such opportunity was rejected in the most vulgar and insulting manner;
5. Willingham was a serial wife abuser, both physically and emotionally. His violent nature was further established by evidence of his vicious attacks on animals which is common to violent sociopaths;
6. Witness statements established that Willingham was overheard whispering to his deceased older daughter at the funeral home, “You're not the one who was supposed to die.” (The origin of the fire occured in the infant twins bedroom) and;
7. Any escape or rescue route from the burning house was blocked by a refrigerator which had been pushed against the back door, requring any person attempting escape to run through the conflagration at the front of the house.
Co-counsel Alan Bristol and I offered Willingham the opportunity to enter a plea of guilty in return for a sentence of life imprisonment. Such offer was rejected in an obscene and potentially violent confrontation with his defense counsel.
The Willingham case was charged as a multiple child murder, and not an arson-murder to achieve capital status. I am convinced that in the absence of any arson testimony, the outcome of the trial would have been unchanged, a fact that did not escape the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. While anti-death penalty advocates can muster some remarkably good arguments, Todd Willingham should not be anyone's poster child.
Submitted by John H. Jackson, Sr. Judge, 13th Judicial District. Jackson was one of the prosecutors for Navarro County in the Cameron Todd Willingham case.
“Bill White, a liberal trial lawyer and multi-millionaire, needs to release all of his income taxes for the years he has been in public service. First, Bill White said he wouldn’t release his tax returns because he wanted to protect his business partners. Today he released only his 2009 tax returns. What will Bill White’s excuse be now for not releasing all of his tax returns for his time in public service? The people of Texas need to know how much money Bill White made while in Washington serving in the Clinton Administration and during his time as mayor of Houston, and how he lined his pockets during his time in public service. The media has already uncovered one shady corporate board that Bill White served on where he made $2.6 million. How many other unscrupulous business dealings has Bill White been involved with? What is Bill White hiding? What is Bill White afraid of? Bill White needs to come clean and release all of his tax returns for the years he was in public service. No more excuses Mr. Bill.”
<em>Former Houston mayor says he supports President Obama’s goals for health care reform, but is silent as Democratic leaders prepare to ram legislation through Congress estimated to cost Texas up to $24 billion over next 10 years</em>
On Day 12 of former <a href="http://www.liberalbill.com/" target="_blank">Houston Mayor Bill White</a> refusing to release his income tax returns, he also continues to hide his support for President Obama’s health care reform, which Democratic leaders are preparing to ram through Congress and is estimated to cost Texas up to $24 billion over the next 10 years.
As a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2009, White said he supports President Obama’s goals for health care reform, and White’s health policy director said during the 2008 Democratic National Convention that “a national program would be the best way” to expand access to health care. (SOURCES: “Houston mayor vows to create jobs, fix health care,” El Paso Times, 8/18/09; “Texas remains No. 1 in uninsured,” Houston Chronicle, 8/27/08)
“As Obamacare draws closer, it is surprising that liberal trail lawyer Bill White is remaining silent on an issue he has publicly supported and the most important issue to his good friend and partner President Obama,” said Texans for Rick Perry spokesman Mark Miner. “The only thing Bill White has been consistent on during this campaign is not answering questions. Why is Bill White hiding his tax returns? What are the details of his shady position on a corporate board? Why has he been silent on Obamacare? What is Bill White afraid of? The people of Texas deserve answers.”
White’s sweetheart deal on board being described as “unusual,” “rare,” “ill-advised,” and “dangerous”
On Day 11 of Bill White refusing to release his income tax returns, the Houston Chronicle continues to report on the $2.6 million White made as a board member of an oil service company while he was Houston’s mayor.
Among the adjectives being used to describe White’s sweetheart deal to serve on the board of BJ Services Co. while also occupying the mayor’s office are “unusual,” “rare,” “ill-advised,” and “dangerous.” (SOURCE: “White's board seat falls on a fine line,” Houston Chronicle, 3/18/10, http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6918097.html)
“As we enter Day 11 of liberal trial lawyer and shady board member Bill White’s failure to release his taxes, it is time for him to come clean and release them,” said Texans for Rick Perry spokesman Mark Miner. “We already know about the $2.6 million Bill White received from being on the board of an oil services company. What other companies benefited from Bill White during his time as mayor of Houston? What is Bill White afraid of? What is Bill White hiding? Bill White needs to release all of his tax returns from his time in public service.”
Tax returns still hidden, but details emerging about millions White made while mayor of Houston:
Maybe this is why he is afraid to release his tax returns?
As the wait for the release of former Houston Mayor Bill White’s tax returns reaches Day 10, the truth about White’s secret side dealings is slowly being revealed.
“As details emerge about the millions of dollars liberal Bill White made from his business dealings, one has to wonder what else he is hiding and why he is afraid to release his income taxes,” said Texans for Rick Perry spokesman Mark Miner.
Bill White remains defiant, says “That’s not a real issue” as multiple media outlets call on him to release income tax returns
On Day 9 of Bill White refusing to release his income tax returns, the Beaumont Enterprise joined a growing chorus of media outlets calling on the former Houston mayor to stop hiding his taxes.
“Liberal Bill White should follow Governor Perry’s lead and releases his taxes,” said Texans for Rick Perry spokesman Mark Miner. “What is Bill White afraid of? The people of Texas deserve to know the truth about his finances, the conflicts that might arise if he were elected governor, and what shady business deals he is hiding.”