The ASAP Program & County Commissioner's Court
Another of Alex's bogeymen is the ASAP program. This is a kind of involved story, so bear with me.
ASAP stands for Absent Student Assistance Program. Basically what it means is that if a student is absent, a police officer visits the parent's home that evening. Now, you might say that this is a horrid waste of both the taxpayer's money and the police officer's time. And you'd be right. But, of course, Alex has to take it one step further.
When one of Alex's associates was visited by police officers when his kid was sick (he'd forgotten to call in), Alex and company went ballistic. Alex decided that he and the rest of the Texas Best Seminars crowd would go to the County Commissioner's Court to voice their grievances. OK, so far so good. Alex goes on-air and encourages people to come. Again, no problem.
The problem is that somebody at the Court was threatened, or at least claims to have been threatened, by someone they apparently thought to be associated with Alex. Which isn't terribly surprising; although Alex himself didn't advocate violence, many of his listeners presumably aren't so civilly inclined. Anyway, when Alex and crew show up, there's a few SWAT team members around (they're not decked out in body armor or anything; they're just wearing ordinary police uniforms with a little "SWAT" patch on their chests). One of the officers tells Alex to basically not be disruptive. To most people, this is a reasonable request -- government proceedings are entitled to a degree of decorum -- but not to Alex!
On Alex's next show, he (again) goes ballistic. Now he's pulling out videotape (Austin County Commissioner's Court is videotaped and shown on another cable channel) and screaming about how the officers violated his rights to free speech, etc., etc. Unfortunately, that's not true; it's pretty clear from the tape that the officers weren't trying to stifle the content of Alex's speech; they just didn't want him to make a circus of the proceedings. Which ought to be obvious: when it came time for Alex to speak, they let him rave on about how much evil and corruption there is in government.
He's also upset because the officers were SWAT officers. But so what? SWAT team members have to do something when they're not handling bomb crises or hostage situations. Apparently, the SWAT headquarters in next door to the court. So what's the big deal? Isn't it better to have them at the meeting doing something than resting idle at headquarters? Wouldn't the latter be a bigger waste of tax dollars?
So now Alex is at war with the Court. He and his associates go down to the Court every Tuesday and rant and rave.
The sad thing is, there are good points to be made against the ASAP program. As I said before, it's a waste of tax money and police resources. And it's largely ineffective. One of the good things that Alex and company did was catch the program's proponents in a fib: the program only yielded a very small increase in attendance, but when the proponents showed up to defend their program they used an extremely zoomed-in graph that distorted the true numbers. If Alex and company had focused on that, their position would be far more effective. Instead, they yell about the "Nazi-like" tactics of both the Court and the ASAP program, scream how this is another step toward the impending world government takeover, etc., etc. Bottom line: ASAP is a bum deal for the taxpayers, but hardly the fascist regime Alex and company claim.
UPDATE: Alex & company won a victory on the ASAP issue. Now, there will be a phone call placed to parents prior to a visit by a police officer. Somehow, I have feeling that Alex's ranting and calling the Commissioner's Court names had little to do with the new policy. Anyway, it's a victory for the taxpayers, and I guess I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. The "3-acre hangar"
This one I'm actually a little bit fuzzy on. Apparently, there's a project to build a large sheriff's department facility, and among the plans are a set-aside of three acres for a hanger. Alex has been ranting and raving about how big this is, and how it must be for an army of helicopters, or something like that.
There are at least two problems with Alex's perception. First of all, three acres isn't that big. My parent's home in Houston is built on 1/4 of an acre. So twelve houses in my parent's subdivision make up the same area as this facility. I've got news for Alex: that's really not that much space.
Second, it's pretty clear from the passage Alex quotes that it's not the hangar that is three acres, but rather the land for the hangar. Which makes sense: you've got to have some paved outdoors area around the hangar. At least, I've never seen a hangar without some surrounding outdoors space for the aircraft to sit.
All around, another of Alex's incoherent ramblings.