Monthly Archives: November 2013

Canceling of Plans Under Obamacare

tea party obamacare(Community Matters) The rollout of the federal website is indictable; best practices, even standard practices were ignored. As to health insurance going forward, my personal experience is a 43% reduction in EF’s health care insurance premiums quoted just last week.

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College Republicans Win in Virginia

Ken Cuccinelli(Community Matters) A friend has long talked about Rs out organizing on college campuses in Virginia. Ken Cuccinelli beat McAuliffe by 6 points among 25 – 29 year olds?  This represents an extraordinary vulnerability for progressive politics. A candidate who tries to criminalize oral sex, challenges the legitimacy of social security, medicaid, the dept of education . . . winning among college students?

Silverton Partners Raise New $75mm Fund

silverton(Community Matters) Bill, Morgan and Kip raise a new $75mm fund for Austin startups. 

ENDA in the Senate

government shutdown debt ceiling(Community Matters) Employment Non-Discrimination Act – a bill that prohibits workplace discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender Americans.  Seriously, this exists? You bet your ass . . . though I agree it’s very encouraging that not a single Senator would speak against the bill, not one.  Senator Harry Reid on why Republicans must capitulate if they ever hope to win elections outside tightly gerrymandered races. 


cuccinelli(Community Matters) TP: The Tenth Amendment Is Dead As A National Political Issue: Ken Cuccinelli, Mike Lee, Sharon Angle, Todd Akin, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz.

I never count true believers dead metaphorically.

HT: Lynn Meredith

“Why Terry McAuliffe Barely Won”

McAuliffe(Community Matters)  McAuliffe won, but by a sliver – why’d the polls show a much bigger margin? Politico on “Why Terry McAuliffe barely won,”

TOP TALKER – “Why Terry McAuliffe barely won,” by James Hohmann: “Most public polls leading up to Election Day had Terry McAuliffe coasting to victory, some by double digits, in the Virginia governor’s race. Instead he squeaked by, beating Republican Ken Cuccinelli by less than 3 percentage points. The much-closer-than-expected outcome blunts the narrative that this was a clean win for Democrats going into 2014 and guarantees an intense blame game among Republicans about what might have put Cuccinelli over the top. Based on a review of returns, exit polls and conversations with operatives, here are six takeaways from the surprise election of the night:

1) Obamacare almost killed McAuliffe. … When President Obama crossed the Potomac for McAuliffe Sunday, he glaringly avoided even mentioning his signature accomplishment … Exit polls show a majority of voters – 53 percent – opposed the law. Among them, 81 percent voted for Cuccinelli and 8 percent voted for Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis. McAuliffe won overwhelmingly among the 46 percent who support the health care overhaul. Cuccinelli actually won independents by 9 points, 47 percent to 38 percent, according to exit polls conducted for a group of media organizations. They made up about one-third of the electorate. … 2) Cuccinelli might have won if he had more money. Even before Cuccinelli delivered his concession speech, the candidate’s close allies were already beginning to blame outside groups for not helping out more. McAuliffe outraised Cuccinelli by almost $15 million … The Republican National Committee spent about $3 million on Virginia this year, compared to $9 million in the 2009 governor’s race. The Chamber of Commerce spent $1 million boosting McDonnell in 2009 and none this time. …

3) It was a base election. … 4) The gender gap mirrored the presidential. Exit polls showed McAuliffe only won women by 9 points, the same margin Obama won them by in the presidential election last year. … 5) Obama himself was a mixed bag. 6) The shutdown still hurt Republicans.”

Case Study: Obamacare

(Community Matters) Good summary of a case study about coverage. 

Commercial Property Tax Assessments

amd(Community Matters) Austin, AISD and Travis County should institute a process of suing commercial property owners who sue to lower tax appraisals and then sell their properties for substantially more than the lowered assessments. At the very least, any negotiated lowered assessments should include a clawback provision to recapture the lost property tax revenue if the property is sold for a higher price within some window of time.  AAS Large Companies Turn to Courts for Tax Relief. 

Last year, for example, through a protest to the appraisal district, Advanced Micro Devices got its valuation lowered for a third consecutive year by about $13 million, and its appraised “market value” now stands at $127.5 million. Yet in April, the company sold its complex for $164 million — $37.5 million more than the taxable value that AMD was disputing as too high.



in an email from our health insurance broker: I expect the renewal for EF to arrive in 30 days which will let us know if cost is going up or down for EF as a result of reform [Obamacare]. I had a preliminary estimate several months ago that indicated price for EF would go down dramatically.

update: Eddie Carter (our broker) saw my posting and wrote me. We’ve got to do a bit more analysis to make sure everything is apples to apples but appears our premiums are going down 43%.

As I’m looking at the various plans and premiums, appears there’s substantial incentive toward accountability. Plans with copays and deductibles are significantly discounted. Also appears costs for pay-everything-plans (no incentive to monitor or minimize costs) are increasing rather than decreasing. What the heck, set up a Health Savings Account (HSA), adopt a plan with at least a $1k deductible, help ensure good stewardship of health dollars, and bank the savings in your HSA – you can even invest those savings within the HSA, tax free!

Drive to Santa Barbara

(Community Matters) . . . unfortunately, turned into a trip around Central Texas. Tana and I detected car trouble after stopping at the Dollar General Store in Fredericksburg. MBrace told us we should head to the nearest dealership (Boerne, Tx) to have the situation further evaluated. They were spectacular to us – bumped us ahead of 13 other jobs and detected a fix that would take only 30 minutes. Unfortunately, it’d be Tuesday before they could have the part. We drove back to Austin, not without some car performance issues. Since I had a hard stop of returning home Tuesday for our Annual Entrepreneurs Poker Tournament on Wednesday and have a MPR board meeting in Marfa on Saturday, I’m out of the picture. Outside the 72 hours cancellation window, there’s a free room at the Santa Barbara Biltmore Hotel (Four Seasons) on Monday night. Also bummed we missed last night at El Capitan in Van Horne.

austin santa barbara

Sneak Peek, “Double Down”

double down(Community Matters) from Politico Playbook: 

SNEAK PEEK at “Double Down,” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, out Tuesday from the Penguin Press – Some of James Hohmann’s favorite nuggets:

–“Obama had little patience for the ‘professional left,’ and vanishingly close to zero for what one of his senior African American aides, Michael Strautmanis, referred to as ‘professional blacks’ (as opposed to black professionals). Apart from Georgia congressman John Lewis and Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, Obama had nearly as much contempt for the CBC as he did for the Tea Party Caucus. New York’s Charlie Rangel he derided as a hack; Jesse Jackson Sr. was effectively banned from the White House. Obama remembered all too well a conversation with [Cornell] West in 2009, in which the professor used the precious time to complain about his seating at the inauguration.” (39)

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Bon Voyage Tana & Joe Christie

(Community Matters) Tana & Joe Christie are moving to Santa Barbara for an undetermined amount of time – we’re hoping for a shorter period than longer but wish them much rest and relaxation along the Pacific. Last night we hosted a bon voyage party for family and friends. I’m driving with Tana to Santa Barbara, leaving today. We’ll meet Joe there on Monday, fly back Tuesday in time for Wednesday’s EF Annual Poker Tournament.