We have to shift the focus off Texas for a minute to declare that the week’s big winner is Israel. The weekend attack on Israel directly from Iran finally made it clear to foggy thinkers in both America and the world that what is going on in the Middle East is a war against Western Civilization. Israel didn’t “take the win” as the U.S. administration advised after it fended off the weekend attack. Instead, it fired back last night.

Shortly after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, two of my colleagues at TPPF, Chuck DeVore and Erin Valdez, along with Rabbi Dan Ain, discussed Iran’s role in the conflict and other issues. Six months later, almost nothing has changed. You can view the panel here.

The biggest losers of the week are Texas kids, who will continue to be able to find pornography in public school libraries after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a Texas law that would have required booksellers to rate books for sexual and violent content—just as movies are rated. The American Library Association, along with Texas librarian groups, falsely called the law a “book ban.” They celebrated the ruling and recently announced support for the most banned books in the country which include “All Boys Aren’t Blue” and “This Book is Gay.” “Gender Queer” is at the top of the list. If you haven’t read it and wonder if it belongs in a public school library, read my review here.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is a winner for being named to Time’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Although the left-leaning magazine called it a “stunt,” they could not ignore the fact that Abbott showed the country and the world the true impact of an open border when he began busing illegal immigrants to so-called “sanctuary cities” in the north. Abbott successfully changed the narrative on illegal immigration from a border state concern to a top priority in many of the nation’s largest cities.

Former President Donald Trump also made it to the winners list for his visit to a Harlem bodega after his court date in New York City this week that drew crowds and cheers. Following up on his successful visit to a Chick-fil-A in Atlanta last week, Trump again demonstrated that he knows more about how the media works than almost anyone—including the media.

There’s lots for conservatives not to like about Google, but it made the Winners List this week for firing 28 employees who staged a sit-in at Google’s New York and Sunnyvale, California offices to protest a Google computer contract with Israel. A great quote from Google CEO said Googlers need to be “more focused in how we work, collaborate, discuss and even disagree.”

Texas property taxpayers continue to be big losers as they bankroll the cushy salaries of public school superintendentsCypress-Fairbanks ISD, outside Houston, always tops the list. Their superintendent hauls in $546,000 a year, one of eight Texas superintendents who make close to a half million annually. Another 81 make more than $300,000. It might be easier to swallow if these same superintendents didn’t constantly show up at the Texas Legislature, hat in hand, insisting their schools are underfunded.

University of Texas at Austin students and faculty also made the Losers List for demanding that UT officials roll back the firing of almost 60 DEI officers by staging a campus protest. Fewer than 200 people out of 52,000 students showed up for the protest. The spokesperson was the head of UT Austin’s Queer Trans Black Indigenous People of Color Agency who said her group was not happy with the direction the university is going. But I’m betting the taxpayers of Texas who put $53 billion into higher education last session are ok with it.

Two more winners. Uri Berliner, a Senior Editor at National Public Radio, resigned this week after being sanctioned by NPR for pointing out that the outlet is biased and has lost the public’s trust. Berliner’s expose was not really news. NPR hasn’t had the public’s trust for years. In fact, I admit I giggled when Berliner reported that he took the time to check the voter registration of almost 100 of his colleagues in Washington, D.C. and was shocked to learn that all of them were registered Democrats. NPR’s CEO Katherine Maher, apparently no fan of free speech, didn’t try to make a case that NPR is unbiased. Instead, she called Berliner’s expose “hurtful and demeaning.” U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., is pushing to defund NPR so taxpayers don’t have to fund this nonsense.

Finally, Shaquille O’Neal makes the Winners List for refusing to join the grievance chorus lamenting that women’s basketball stars including Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese, who were just drafted into the WNBA, make only a fraction of what NBA players do. Shaq rightly says that fans need to show their support. The bottom line is that men’s basketball makes lots more money than women’s basketball. When that changes, salaries will change. Want to support the WNBA? Buy tickets, buy fan gear, watch the games!

Listen to Winners & Losers on the Cardle & Woolley show every Friday morning at 8:30 AM on 1370 Talk Radio in Austin. Listen live online here.


Sherry Sylvester is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and the former Senior Advisor to Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.

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