Texas vs. California Roundup for July 30, 2014

July 30th, 2014

Another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • How Los Angeles is killing itself. (Hat tip: Karl Rehn.)
  • Texas places five cities on list of top 10 growing cities: Austin, Dallas, McAllen, Houston and San Antonio.

  • California school officials are still grossly overpaid. Including 31 janitors who make more than $100,000 each. (Hat tip (for this and a few more): Pension Tsunami.)
  • And many of these munificently compensated employees are double-dipping: “More than 1,000 retired instructors who had already begun receiving their state-funded pension continued to work and receive a salary from districts in 2013.”
  • Only in California could a bill that requires 32 years to catch up and fund parts of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System’s current $74 billion in unfunded liability be hailed as a major reform.”
  • Essential school services in California are about to be cut to pay for doubled pension payments.
  • San Francisco landlords are suing the city over a law that requires them to pay as much as two years rent for evicted tenants. Of course, many landlords were evicting people because insane rent control laws make it almost impossible to sell a building that actually has tenants…
  • How the Texas model supports job creation.
  • Evidently male students simply aren’t welcome in California colleges. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Actual headline: “LA Councilman Convicted Of Voter Fraud Will Continue To Collect $116K Annual Pension.”
  • What a conservative Texas budget should look like.
  • California retail apparel chain Love Culture files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Evidently summer bankruptcies for retail stories are very unusual, since this is the time they start stocking up for the holiday season.
  • Another California for-profit university chain shuts down.
  • Oakland Raiders to move to San Antonio?
  • Are inherited IRA’s exempt from bankruptcy hearings in California? It depends on which precedent the judge chooses to follow.
  • Not news: Houston ISD holds job fairs looking for teachers. News: In North Carolina.
  • Salon Writer Complains That Democrats Are Corporate Whores

    July 29th, 2014

    Well well well, what have we here?

    It’s a jeremiad by Democrat Bill Curry about how his party has abandoned its soul for the sweet smell of Wall Street crony capitalist dollars.

    Democrats hooked on corporate cash and consultants with long lists of corporate clients were less attuned to Nader’s issues.

    Democrats today defend the triage liberalism of social service spending but limit their populism to hollow phrase mongering (fighting for working families, Main Street not Wall Street). The rank and file seem oblivious to the party’s long Wall Street tryst. Obama’s economic appointees are the most conservative of any Democratic president since Grover Cleveland but few Democrats seem to notice, or if they notice, to care.

    These days, says Curry, Democrats “don’t believe in ideas because they don’t believe in people” and calls for a Nader-esque populism. (Indeed, Nader’s latest book seems to provide the spine for his piece.)

    Curry actually sees the populist Tea Party energy on the right and laments its absence on his side of the aisle. “If there’s a true populist revolt on the left it is as yet invisible to the naked eye.” (Though I note one very hot populist issue, widespread opposition to the Democratic Party’s push for illegal alien amnesty, is conspicuous by its absence from his piece.)

    “Democratic elites are always up for compromise, but on the wrong issues. Rather than back GOP culture wars, as some do, or foreign wars, as many do, or big business, as nearly all do, they should back libertarians on privacy, small business on credit and middle-class families on taxes.”

    This advice is far from the worst Democrats have received, but they are congenitally unable to follow it for numerous reasons:

  • As a party, Democrats are all in on Big Government. Access to the Gravy Train and charging a transaction fee on robbing Peter to pay Paul are the only thing that holds their coalition together. Likewise, to say Democrats are unenthusiastic about cutting taxes is to vastly understate the case.
  • Democrats can’t embrace populism because both the political and cultural soul of the party is rooted in elitism. The people who run the party in D.C. are absolutely certain that they and their brethren can run peoples’ lives better than they can run their own. And the party’s biggest supporters in blue bastions like New York City, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco are convinced that they are manifestly smarter, more moral, and above all more sophisticated than those gun-toting redneck freaks of JesusLand. Asking them to embrace real populism (as opposed to candidates making meaningless promises every 2 or 4 years) is almost certainly futile.
  • A significant fraction of their supporters in those blue bastions benefit directly from the crony capitalism Currey decries.
  • There are also numerous areas where Curry appears unable to shed his blue-colored glasses:

  • When he says “Oddly, the one system working relatively well, public education, is the object of our only sustained reform effort,” he’s ignoring the huge problems in teacher union controlled schools and curricula as documented everywhere from Waiting for Superman to Vergara vs. California. And in his conclusion, the very first member of his potential future coalition mentioned is “unions,” pointedly ignoring the populist revolt against fat cat public sector unions that have helped bankrupt Detroit and numerous California cities.
  • The plight of American workers pushed out of jobs by illegal aliens, and the popular revolt against busing them to communities across the country and amnesty? No mention.
  • He seems equally enthused about small business and fighting “global warming,” with nary a mention about how the EPA’s power grab thanks to the latter is crushing small business left and right, nor how many “green” firms are riding the crony capitalist gravy train.
  • Other populist “small ball” issues that never get mentioned: cheap light bulbs that work and toilets that flush. Though Shalt Not Question Washington’s Mandates.
  • Agribusiness subsidies, crony capitalism in almost its purest form? Not mentioned.
  • The Democratic Party faithful are never, ever, ever going to reengage with Nader, because their hatred for George W. Bush is far stronger and more visceral than their theoretical attachment to populist economic policies.
  • Of course, since it’s Salon, the piece has more than one inside-the-blue-bubble howler:

  • “Nader’s belief in convergence isn’t the same as Obama’s naïve pursuit of the holy grail of bipartisanship.” Obama has pursued “bipartisanship” with much the same fervor the late Amy Winehouse pursued “sobriety.”
  • “Republicans can talk values even while defending a corrupt status quo because, recent Tea Party convulsions aside, defending the status quo is their job. The Democrats’ job is to challenge the status quo; when they don’t do it, nothing they say sounds sincere. ” Republicans certainly defend many cultural status quos, but it is the Democratic Party that has consistently defended the status quo of the lumbering monstrosity that is Big Government.
  • When he says that until 1996, congress “had not enacted any major social or economic reforms since the historic environmental laws of the early ’70s,” he’s flat out lying. (Kemp-Roth was certainly reform.) What he actual means is “No reforms that far left economic populists like myself approve of.”
  • In the next paragraph he decries the deregulation of the airline, trucking and phone industries, missing the point that these were not only reforms, but populist reforms that ended monopoly profits by entrenched special interests, and ones which radically brought down prices for consumers.
  • “But Nader always hit hard; you don’t get to be the world’s most famous shopper by making allowances or pulling punches.” I would venture to guess that the world’s most famous “shopper” is probably someone like Paris Hilton, which is probably not the image he wanted to convey…
  • “Liberals have spent the intervening years debating macroeconomic theory.” Have they? As far as I can tell, the only debate in the ideological vineyards of the Democratic Party is over how much Keynesian vs. how much Marxism.
  • “Democrats must also learn to argue history. They chortle when Michele Bachmann credits the founders with ending slavery or Sarah Palin forgets who Paul Revere rode to warn.” Tiny little problem: By and large Sarah Palin got Paul Revere’s story right, no matter how much liberals might insist otherwise.
  • “The best template of populism remains the career of William Jennings Bryan.” Well, it’s not that Curry is necessarily wrong per se, but one must view with a certain jaundiced eye the idea that current electoral models can be found in a man who probably peaked in 1896.
  • Indeed, when you get right down to it, Curry’s piece could be boiled down to “Talk vaguely about populism while pushing the same Big Government, redistributionist schemes liberals always push.” Maybe the Nader book itself is bolder (and if someone wants to pay me to review it, I’d happily give it a go), but Curry’s piece is very old and undistinguished wine decanted into a slightly shinier bottle.

    No matter how many times liberals declare “This is it! I’m finally fed up with the Democratic Party!”, the party’s fat cats know the truth. Come November 8, 2016, they’ll remember they loathe Republicans far more than they love reform, and pull the (D) lever no matter how many jeremiads Bill Curry and his ilk pen.

    We’ve seen this movie before, and we know exactly how it ends.

    DC Handgun Ban Struck Down; DC Police Chief Capitulates?

    July 27th, 2014

    DC gun ban struck down in federal court:

    Judge Frederick Scullin concluded that current prohibitions are an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment right to bear arms, in a win for gun rights advocates.

    Based on previous court rulings striking down gun laws in D.C., Chicago and elsewhere, “there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny,” Scullin wrote in his 19-page decision, which was unsealed on Saturday.

    Now, via Ted Cruz staffer Josh Perry, comes two tweets that, if true, smell a whole lot like “Total Victory.”

    Now, via Josh Perry, come two tweets that, if true, small a whole lot like “Total Victory.”

    Still waiting for SMSM confirmation that D.C. Chief of Police Cathy Lanier has issued this order, but if true, this is the final culmination of the second amendment rights that DC vs. Heller confirmed finally being actually fulfilled.

    Breaking: John Wiley Price Arrested

    July 26th, 2014

    Dallas County Commissioner and longtime influential Dallas black politician John Wiley Price has been arrested:

    Price was under arrest, charged with eleven counts of bribery, mail fraud, and tax fraud.

    His life, and his image, had permanently changed.

    “All told, Commissioner Price took in more than $1.1 million that he did not report to the proper authorities,” said Sarah Saldana, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.

    “Mr. Price allegedly defrauded the citizens of Dallas County, the state of Texas, and the federal government,” said Diego Rodriguez, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Dallas.

    Kathy Nealy, a Dallas political consultant and long-time associate of Price, was prominent in the indictment. The charges allege she paid Price to sway votes before the Dallas County Commissioners.

    “At the same time, Ms. Nealy was paying bribes to Commissioner Price, she actively evaded nearly $600,000 in income tax, which she admittedly owes,” Saldana said.

    Between them, Price and Nealy face 16 counts of bribery, mail and tax fraud.

    The FBI has been investigating Price for more than three years.

    LinkSwarm for July 25, 2014

    July 25th, 2014

    Time for another random roundup of news and links:

  • Jimmy Carter looks like frickin’ Bismark next to the feckless dorm-room intellectual currently haunting the golf courses of the greater DC area.”
  • Even Thomas “What’s The Matter With Kansas” Frank calls Obama “ineffective and gutless.” (Warning: Salon Liberal Whining Ahead.)
  • Liberal law professor Lawrence Tribe thinks that ObamaCare is probably doomed due to the Halbig decision. “I cannot see how this Court could do anything other than decide the same way as the DC Circuit did. The statue is clear on its face.”
  • Even “ObamaCare Architect” MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber said the same thing back in 2012: “What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.”
  • Mark Steyn on the Halbig ruling:

    As to Mr Earnest’s point on “what Congress intended”, who can say? No Congressman who voted for the bill read it. Presumably, some legislator’s staffer wrote that actual line about “established by the State”. If we could locate him among the vast entourages of the Emirs of Incumbistan, we could ask him what his “intention” was. Until then, calibrating the competing degrees of deference to a corrupt bureaucracy, a contemptuous executive, a politicized judiciary and a feckless hack legislature brings to mind Samuel Johnson’s line about arguing the precedence of a louse and a flea, with a tick and a cockroach thrown in.

  • Missing from my Gaza roundup: “Shalom, motherf****r.” “I will not apologize for surviving.” (Hat tip: Josh Perry.)
  • Bill Whittle makes the case for Israel:

  • Obama won’t help arm Ukraine because he had a key role in disarming them.
  • Democrats plans for November: All race card, all the time.
  • 50 years of Democratic rule and now Detroit is cutting off people’s water. “Just goes to show that nothing is so expensive as when it is ‘free.’”
  • “That’s not funny.”
  • Republicans should stand firm and let the Export/Import Bank corporate welfare boondoggle expire. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Che Guevara, racist:

  • Maureen Dowd is never so readable as when she’s slamming the Clintons.
  • “Canadian Candidate Drops Out After Masturbation Video Surfaces.”

  • Sarah Palin endorses Joe Carr against Lamar Alexander in Tennessee senate primary. I don’t think anyone who watched Alexander’s “Lamar!” flannel flameout in the 1996 Presidential race has ever really trusted him since…
  • A New York City cupcake truck seems a little unclear on who their clientele might be. (They’ve since deleted both this tweet and the one where they implored people not to “snitch” to cops when they see crimes committed…)
  • Evidently nobody is actually reading Thomas Piketty’s book.
  • In praise of Power Girl’s boob window.
  • Let No One Else’s Work Evade Your Eyes!

    July 24th, 2014

    So it turns out that current (appointed) Democratic Senator from Montana John Walsh plagiarized his master’s thesis for the United States Army War College

    Now the New York Times has gone through and marked up Walsh’s thesis, and it turns out Walsh isn’t just a plagiarist, he’s a shameless, ham-fisted, damn-dirty plagiarist.

    (And is it just me, or is 14 pages plus footnotes incredibly thin for a Master’s Thesis? In college I did a piece on Sandinista human rights violations that was about that length (with, granted, about half as many footnotes) in 24 hours on an electric typewriter…)

    And you’ll love his excuse: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    Hey, PTSD is a real thing, and I can imagine it make you jump at loud noises, lose sleep, drink too much, and snap at your friends and family over seemingly trivial items.

    But if it can make you steal someone else’s work and claim it as your own, then it’s an all-purpose “Get Out Of Any Crime Free” card.

    And did I mention that Walsh is up for reelection?

    Not only is he dishonest, he’s criminally stupid for thinking he can get away with it in a 21st century world where text searching tools are so powerful and easy to use.

    So what do I have to add to the story?

    Lobachevsky:

    (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)

    Israel/Gaza/Etc. Update for July 24, 2014

    July 24th, 2014

    A whole bunch of news related to Israel’s incursion into Gaza:

  • Protective Edge enters its seventeenth day.
  • Hamas turns down John Kerry’s ceasefire deal. Wait, you mean the designated terrorist organization that uses its own civilians as human shields as part of its jihad to exterminate world Jewry isn’t moved by the verbal blandishments of the Secretary of State for the most feckless U.S. Administration in history? Imagine my shock.
  • And why would they heed John Kerry when they just got $47 million from him? Just think of all the missiles and tunnels those “humanitarian” dollars will buy…
  • Hamas provoked the current round of conflict because they suck at everything else.
  • UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is shocked, SHOCKED that there are rockets at a UN school in Gaza.
  • Roger Simon calls for an investigation.
  • “Hamas hides its rockets in schools and places its command bunkers under hospitals. It wants war, and it wants civilian casualties.”
  • Even the Washington Post has a clue:

    The depravity of Hamas’s strategy seems lost on much of the outside world, which — following the terrorists’ script — blames Israel for the civilian casualties it inflicts while attempting to destroy the tunnels. While children die in strikes against the military infrastructure that Hamas’s leaders deliberately placed in and among homes, those leaders remain safe in their own tunnels. There they continue to reject cease-fire proposals, instead outlining a long list of unacceptable demands.

    One of those demands is for a full reopening of Gaza’s land and sea borders. While this would allow relief and economic development for the territory’s population, it would also allow Hamas to import more missiles and concrete for new tunnels.

  • Sayeth Instapundit in reference to the Post piece: “Because ‘the world’ basically approves when people kill Jews.”
  • Parisian supporters of Palestine hold respectful protests, call for peaceful resolution of Gaza crisis. Ha, just kidding! They go all Kristallnacht on Jewish shops and yell “Gas the Jews!” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Pictures from that “mostly peaceful” protest. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Previously: The Battle of Rue de la Roquette.
  • In related news, students in the West Bank shout “Jews back to Birkenau!” Oh wait, did I say the West Bank? I meant Boston.
  • Chief Rabbi in The Netherlands has stones thrown at him. Next up: Hunting down that Zionist Frank girl…
  • FAA bans American flights taking off or leaving from Tel Aviv Airport, then lifts the ban, but not before Ted Cruz calls the action a boycott of Israel.
  • Cruz also says that the Obama Administration is the most anti-Israel administration America has ever had. Probably, though I know Israel was really not happy with the Eisenhower Administration during the Suez crisis…
  • “Anyone killed or martyred is to be called a civilian from Gaza or Palestine, before we talk about his status in jihad or his military rank. Don’t forget to always add ‘innocent civilian’ or ‘innocent citizen’ in your description of those killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza.”
  • Why Black People Are Leaving Austin

    July 23rd, 2014

    Austin’s population is growing, but its black population is actually shrinking. Orisons are sounded to the usual liberal shibboleths (“disparities in public education, a distrust of police”) before the piece starts to touch on the real issues:

    “Barriers to accessing jobs in the city’s booming technology and construction industries.” Nice job conflating two very dissimilar industries into one sentence:

  • High technology generally require high school or college degrees, something the black community notably lags behind whites and Asians.
  • Construction jobs are one of the areas where American workers (including African Americans) have been hit hardest by the influx of illegal alien labor. 30 years ago, roofers used to reflect more ethnic diversity; if Austin is any indication, 90+% of roofers today are Hispanic.
  • “The report also suggested that the city’s history of racial segregation followed by gentrification of Austin’s historically black neighborhoods contributed to the decline.”

    That word “gentrification” needs to be bolded in 24-point type.

    “East Austin’s proximity to downtown has driven up property values and taxes in the area, prompting some longtime residents to leave.”

    And how.

    For years East Austin (and by “East Austin,” generally people mean “East of 35, north of the river, west of Ed Bluestein, and south of 290″ (though the tiny subdivision just west of the old airport generally got excluded for demographic reasons), set as it was on the far side of “Apartheid 35,” was overwhelmingly poor, black and Hispanic. Apartment complexes or condos catering to students might have made a few blocks worth of inroads near campus, but that was about it. But as the city grew by leaps and bound, and every boom brought more skyscrapers downtown, canny developers and real estate agents couldn’t keep from eying all that land a literal stone’s throw across I-35, and gentrification was on.

    Now if you walk down, say, East 11th street, you’ll see far more white hipsters than black or Hispanic residents until you’re a good mile or more away from the freeway.

    Here’s historical data for all Austin housing. Notice the relentless upward trend for houses. Though I haven’t been able to find historical trending data for just East Central Austin, I believe the trend is far more pronounced there, since prices there used to be far below that of the suburbs and are now far above them.

    And as for rising taxes and property values, don’t forget this epic bit of cluelessness:

    “I’m at the breaking point,” said Gretchen Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8,500 this year.

    “It’s not because I don’t like paying taxes,” said Gardner, who attended both meetings. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore.

    Yes, funny how voting for every liberal boondoggle to come down the turnpike raises one’s tax rates. But higher tax rates that may be a mild inconvenience for moneyed white liberals can be intolerable for poor black residents, who can find themselves priced and taxed out of their longtime neighborhoods.

    Those are the obvious, prosaic reasons black residents might be leaving Austin. There’s no reason to haul out the usual cast of Democratic politicians and critcal race theory grievance mongers to explain it…

    Breaking: Appeals Court Rules Against Federal ObamaCare Subsidies

    July 22nd, 2014

    D.C. Circuit court rules 2-1 against federal ObamaCare subsidies in Halbig vs. Burwell:

    In a case with potential to scramble the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that federal subsidies for health insurance were not properly designed.

    If upheld by the Supreme Court, the ruling could limit subsidies on the federal healthcare.gov exchange currently used by 36 states.

    This is breaking news that doesn’t even appear to be up on the Google News index, and I haven’t seen a direct link to the decision yet.

    Instead of invalidating ObamaCare outright, the federal judicial system seems to have successively gutted it in ways most likely to inflict massive electoral defeats on the Democratic Party while giving them nothing to show for it…

    Update: Here’s Jonathan Adler’s piece on the decision, as well as a link to the decision itself.

    Update 2: But wait! The 4th District Court has ruled in favor of federal ObamaCare subsidies in the King vs. Burwell case.

    Confused? You won’t be, after this episode of Soap the Supreme Court takes up the case…

    #AskHillary

    July 22nd, 2014

    Hillary Clinton’s “I’m running for President, I just haven’t declared it yet” campaign had a #AskHillary Q & A session on Twitter last night.

    Naturally I took advantage of it:

    Nor was I the only one: