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Texas Jeff

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  1. Not sure if this was covered earlier, but you can help if you don’t have power now by turning off switches, thermostats, etc around your house and leaving one light on to let you know that power is back. This lowers the “cold load” on the system when they re-energize a circuit and helps them by bringing load on gradually, rather than all at once. Once your one light comes back on, turn your stuff back on.
  2. In the past that was true. Intel today is a behemoth in decline. TSMC ran right past them on process technology, to the point where I think it is a national security issue. Intel continues to see the world through an x86 window, and the world has moved on to ARM and later will move to RISC-V. Intel is going to lose the client business (laptops) to ARM and probably eventually the data center too. They will go down trying to sell x86 version N+1 as long as they can. Apple did the right thing by moving on.
  3. Future Aggie alums are going to have to live with disappointment for a long, long time.
  4. I read a book on this recently, I think it was Empty Planet. The authors talked about most countries being on the same curve. Once women are educated, have birth control, and are reasonably assured that kids they do have will survive childhood, reproductive rates go below replacement value and population declines. Some countries are ahead of others on the curve, but almost all countries are headed towards lower birth rates and eventual population decline. I don't see fewer people as a bad thing, to be honest. Less stress on the planet. We need to figure out how to handle old people without overburdening young people. If we really want more people we need to be nicer to those of us who can create more of us.
  5. Do you have any experience pouring concrete for downtown drainage tunnels and forgetting the rebar? If so, let's talk...
  6. Forget the Zilker train ... it's time to gondola-ize the town, aka "The Wire" idea from a few years ago. Kids love gondolas... I have no idea how to do it, no experience doing this, and I am willing to throw out an unrealistic projection based on jack ($500 million for a 400 mile system that goes from wherever you live to the airport, feds will pay for half, opens in three years). Who's with me? Let's vote! A small caveat -- in a few years I may have to adjust my cost, timeline and scope a bit based on changing market conditions, but hey you voted for it...
  7. You are correct, for the part of school finance that pays for daily operations (like teacher pay). The part of school finance that is related to building schools is not part of Robin Hood. For operations, money comes in to the state based on property tax rates and money goes out to the districts based on a funding formula. The funding formula is the key to how teachers get paid in Texas. Right now the Robin Hood plan is bringing in more money than the state is obligated to give out. So if you live in Austin or Eanes or any other "rich" district, some of your school tax money is going to the state and just staying there as a budget surplus. It's not going back to the schools. So, there is room for property tax "reform" which might mean "compressing" tax rates more, which would mean that your school tax goes down, Robin Hood payments go down, and excess school tax doesn't just pile up in state coffers or go to other state programs. Balance the equation... Alternatively, the state could increase the funding formula. Keep tax rates where they are but raise the "entitlement" for districts so that teachers are paid more. This would also balance the equation. We would have to replace a few teachers that died of disbelief that this actually happened, but most would survive and be able to pay their rent. Or, the state could find a new source of revenue, like maybe a 1% state sales tax. They could lower property taxes and raise teacher pay. Right now there is a mismatch between the money coming to the state and the money going out to the schools. Most of the proposals that I have seen relate to resolving that mismatch, or shifting tax burdens between property tax and other taxes.
  8. I used to be involved with a non-profit and this will kinda suck for them. We had some cash flow from the Randalls card, but it was declining along with Randalls. The Smile proceeds were a hockey stick during COVID and they had already replaced our Randalls revenue and were becoming significant. It was easy revenue compared with other fundraisers.
  9. I don't think many folks are reporting infections these days. Testing poop may be the best measure we have: https://biobot.io/data/
  10. City council folks only run for re-election once and odds are in their favor. You get elected ... you serve four years ... you get re-elected ... four more years ... you're done. I think you can get a petition going to serve longer and you can come back later if the terms are non-consecutive, but for the most part that doesn't happen. Council members have a huge advantage when running for re-election. They are a known name and they have had four years to make inside connections. They usually run against maybe one worthwhile opponent and a handful of crazy people, or run against no one at all. Of the 11 people elected in 2014, five made it all the way to last week, one is now in the the Texas Leg, one left for the US House, and one left to become the county attorney. Of the three others, one didn't run for re-election and two lost re-election bids.
  11. I have no idea, but he’s leaving and she’s staying. Maybe he had a nicer office and she’s moving. He was there before she was. I have had many jobs where I finagled my way to a nice cubicle and watched someone pounce on my last day.
  12. Here are factors that I believe are causing this: Most of the the targeted school districts have "places", not "districts". So all candidates are running at-large. This allows PACs to create slates of candidates with similar views, since a single voter can vote for everyone on the slate. This can make it impossible for a minority viewpoint to have even one seat on the school board. I like Austin ISD's approach, where they have seven district trustees plus two at-large to look at the district as a whole. Most elections are in May, a time of historically bad turnout. In the May 2022 Grapevine-Colleyville ISD election, about 11,700 people elected 2 board members with almost identical results. County wide turnout was about 8.6%. The margin of victory was 300-600 votes. You only need a majority on the school board to do what you want. In GCISD's, the PAC has four out of seven members. The four in power are ignoring the other three when drafting policy and suspending normal procedure during votes to limit discussion. In one case, discussion was limited to one minute per trustee before a vote, which is the same amount of time the public gets to speak on an issue. These factors consolidate power into the hands of the majority that vote, and those elected leverage that power to disregard the other elected trustees. The solution, of course, is to show up and vote, then change the system.
  13. Almost anyone can: * Contribute to a 401(k) plan while at work (or similar plan - 403(b) plan, etc) * Convert your 401(k) to an IRA when you leave that job * Roll the IRA into a Roth, if you are willing to pay the tax to do so You are deferring income to when you want to take it, with the advantage of it ending up in a Roth where it will grow tax-free. You can wait until your assets are low and convert at a lower value, or wait until your income is low so you are in a lower bracket.
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