Follow-Up On Abbott-Davis RGV Debate

September 20th, 2014

The Abbot campaign sent around this two minute exchange from the debate as being Davis’ most cringe-worthy performance:

The Houston Chronicle says that Abbott is right on the facts in that exchange:

Shot: Davis said “the only thing right now coming between our children and appropriate funding of their schools is (Abbott).”

Fact: It’s a little more complicated than that. This charge came in the lead-up to her sole question of her Republican opponent, which was whether he would drop the state’s appeal of a judge’s ruling that Texas’ school finance scheme is unconstitutional. Abbott is defending the law passed by the Legislature – as is the job of the attorney general. So while Abbott may get pinned with continuing to legally vouch for the state’s $5.4 billion in cuts to Texas public schools in 2011, he retorted that it was the Legislature that stood between the children and appropriate funding. Abbott also correctly pointed out that the Legislature passed a law last session that limited the attorney general’s ability to settle cases like the one over school finance.

Even a friendly press is saying that Davis “fails to land blows on Republican rival.”

Dallas Morning News: Davis “failed to rattle a poised Greg Abbott…At one point he asked Davis if she were still glad she had voted for the president, whose deep unpopularity in the state is a headache for Democrats. Davis laughed at the question but didn’t answer it.”

WendyBot5000. Will. Continue. Speaking!

September 19th, 2014

Well, if Wendy Davis was hoping the Rio Grande Valley debate would help her catch up to Greg Abbott, she probably should have worked to have a voice other than the pre-programmed monotone she used. She also loses points for the lack of discipline at having answers that extended beyond her allotted time (which I commend the debate hosts for strictly enforcing), and then continuing to talk rudely over their attempts to shut her off.

Abbott won by a comfortable margin. Davis wins points for actually knowing the Mexican Water Treaty of 1944, but loses even more points for flat out lying about Republicans wanting to repeal the Voting Rights Act of 1964, as opposed to ending the preclearence requirements.

I doubt terribly many minds were changed by the debate, except possibly those of donors who previously thought Davis might be worth giving more money more to…

Greg Abbott Debates Wendy Davis Tonight At 6 PM

September 19th, 2014

Tonight Greg Abbott faces off against Wendy Davis in the Texas gubernatorial debate. In Austin it should be broadcast here live starting at 6 PM.

The NFL and Domestic Violence: A Ginned Up Moral Panic

September 19th, 2014

I had been reading less and less of Sports Illustrated for a while now, partially because of their increasing politicization (see Peter King, Gun Control Zealot), and partially because each redesign was worse than the last. The most recent one, the one with all the boxes that makes them look like http://www.zergnet.com/, pretty much made me swear it off and use Fox Sports instead.

But I wandered over there yesterday, only to find this list of linked stories on the front page of the NFL session:

SI091714

Of 15 stories, 12 deal with accusations of off-field player malfeasance in some way or another as opposed to actual play on the field. It’s as though talking about football games isn’t nearly satisfying enough for Sports Illustrated writers who want to push a “social justice” agenda instead.

Domestic violence is a real issue, but there is no indication that football players are more notably prone to domestic violence than players in other sports, or the population at large. What we’re seeing now is a moral panic ginned up by left-wing activists and their journalistic enablers. The left hates football in general, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for not bending to their politically correct will (see, for example, the fight over the Washington Redskins nickname).

America has a criminal justice system for a reason. Players accused of crimes have a right to be judged by a jury of their peers, not a high tech left-wing lynch mob who have already determined they’re guilty merely because they’ve been accused.

Noah Rothman has similar thoughts over at Hot Air.

Democrats Pull Out The Knives for Debbie Wasserman Schultz

September 18th, 2014

There’s nothing quite so entertaining as Democrat-in-Democrat mud fights, so take a few minutes to enjoy Edward-Isaac Dovere’s takedown of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. It’s something of an clinic on the insider hit-piece form, full of anonymously sourced catty slams and putdowns of DWS from fellow Democrats, who only now seem to have noticed her ongoing manifest incompetence.

And it has the Obama White House’s fingerprint all over it.

Some samples:

The perception of critics is that Wasserman Schultz spends more energy tending to her own political ambitions than helping Democrats win. This includes using meetings with DNC donors to solicit contributions for her own PAC and campaign committee, traveling to uncompetitive districts to court House colleagues for her potential leadership bid and having DNC-paid staff focus on her personal political agenda.

In 2012, Wasserman Schultz attempted to get the DNC to pay for her clothing at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, multiple sources say, but was blocked by staff in the committee’s Capitol Hill headquarters and at President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign headquarters in Chicago.

She asked again around Obama’s inauguration in 2013, pushing so hard that Obama senior adviser — and one-time Wasserman Schultz booster — Valerie Jarrett had to call her directly to get her to stop. (Jarrett said she does not recall that conversation.)

I’m guessing that little walk-back at the end is to distract you from the possibility Jarrett orchestrated this entire hit piece. Probably in vain, given often describes Jarrett at furious over various DWS decisions.

Many expect a nascent Clinton campaign will engineer her ouster. Hurt feelings go back to spring 2008, when while serving as a co-chair of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Wasserman Schultz secretly reached out to the Obama campaign to pledge her support once the primary was over, sources say.

Nicely done, that paragraph, since it accomplishes three goals: 1.) Suggests Hillary blesses tossing DWS under the bus as well (a lot more in the final third of the piece), 2. Paints DWS as a backstabber, and 3. Reminds you that DWS ran Hillary’s disasterous 2008 campaign.

Overall the piece paints a picture of DWS as using the DNC to garner perks and further her own political ambitions rather than focusing on the party. “’People know she works hard,’ said another House colleague. ‘But there’s this sense that she only works hard for herself.’”

It’s a shame that Democrats are finally catching on to what I’ve been saying since 2010: Debbie Wasserman Schultz simply isn’t very good at running political organizations. She does a poor job giving interviews, she doesn’t have good camera presence, she comes in at .2 Bidens in the Walking Gaffe Derby, she’s poor at recruiting candidates, and she doesn’t seem to know how to run a large organization like the DNC or the DNCC. Her incompetence was probably worth a good 3-5 seats in 2010.

I, for one, will be very sad to see her go…

Texas vs. California Update for September 17, 2014

September 17th, 2014

Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • The Texas economy continues to hum along:

    During the second quarter, Texas employers added 148,200 net nonfarm jobs—an average of 49,400 per month. This amounts to an 18 percent share of all jobs created nationwide over this period in a state with only 8 percent of the country’s population and about 10 percent of total economic output. Over the last year, the addition of 382,200 net jobs in Texas was more new jobs than any other state. These employment gains increased the annual job growth rate to 3.4 percent, which is higher than those of the national average and other highly populated states.

  • The city of Los Angeles is at an impasse over police raises: the police union (naturally) wants raises, while the city says they can’t afford them. So what happens next? The issue goes before the Employee Relations Board, which just happens to be packed with union-approved appointees. In one-party Democratic cities and states, it’s always government together with unions against taxpayers. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “The ugly reality is that so long as the boards of CalPERS and CalSTRS are controlled by public employee union loyalists, pension reforms enacted by state lawmakers and signed by governors will never live up to their billing.”
  • Jerry Brown lies about pension spiking.
  • Why San Antonio’s public-private partnerships are better at dealing with drought than Los Angeles.
  • A FAQ on Costa Mesa’s pension situation. Including answers to such questions as “How could the $228 million in unfunded pension liabilities affect the city budget?”
  • Watsonville, California passes a sales tax hike solely to pay for additional union pension payments.
  • A judge rules that bankrupt San Bernardino can cut firefighter pension benefits in order to exit bankruptcy.
  • A union-sponsored bill tries to increase liabilities for companies that hire contractors.
  • California is evidently cooking up a whole new batch of unconstitutional gun laws.
  • A look at phony baloney jobs numbers for California’s high speed rail boondoggle.
  • Firefly Space Systems is relocating from California to Burnet County, Texas. “King said Firefly was attracted to Texas partly because of its business and regulatory climate.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out California offers a lousy climate for business. Or to put it another way: My days of underestimating California’s ability to improve its business climate are certainly coming to a middle…
  • Drone-maker Ashima is relocating to Reno, Nevada from California.
  • If you hadn’t heard, Tesla is building its battery factory in Nevada, not California.
  • An actual good law out of California: A law that prevents companies from suing customers for negative reviews.
  • North Carolina offered twice as much incentive money to Toyota but still lost out to Texas for relocating their HQ.
  • Your dedicated BART employee in action:

  • While I Grapple With Rotherham, Pat Condell Brings The Noise

    September 16th, 2014

    So I keep try to pen a coherent essay on the Rotherham child rape scandal, and I keep getting too angry and/or disgusted to write about it.

    Pat Condell has no such problem.

    “If your 11 year-old daughter is regularly raped by organized gangs of Pakistani Muslim men, should you be concerned?”

    “This is how we roll in multicultural England, a green and pleasant land of tolerance, diversity, and Pakistani Muslim child rape gangs.”

    The reason these rapes were deliberately ignored year after year is because they were carried out by Pakistani Muslims, and because the police and social services in Rotherham are run by a bunch of cowardly ‘progressive’ cultural self-haters and racists who are so morbidly terrified of being called racist they will willingly sacrifice 1400 children to sexual predators, and then try to silence anyone who draws attention to it.

    View the whole thing.

    My Take On Foreign Policy’s Takedown of Obama’s Foreign Policy

    September 15th, 2014

    This piece in Foreign Policy has been making the rounds. It talks at length, in an inside-baseball manner, of how the Obama Administration’s feckless and incompetent behavior has damaged America’s interests around the world.

    A taste:

    The problem is that in seeking to sidestep the pitfalls that plagued Bush, Obama has inadvertently created his own. Yet unlike Bush, whose flaw-riddled first-term foreign policy was followed by important and not fully appreciated second-term course corrections, Obama seems steadfast in his resistance both to learning from his past errors and to managing his team so that future errors are prevented. It is hard to think of a recent president who has grown so little in office.

    That’s why many in the right wing of the blogsphere have been singing its praises. And indeed, many of the criticisms leveled are devastatingly on-target. However, I have a somewhat orthogonal take on the piece, and what it’s actually trying to do.

    Consider all of the foreign policy debacles either not covered by the piece at all, or else only mentioned in passing:

  • Benghazi
  • Or, for that matter, any of the embassy attacks
  • The failure to address the challenge presented by radical Islam (three mentions of terrorism, mainly critical of Bush’s handling, and one of the Islamic State)
  • The Iranian nuclear program
  • Gaza (and, in fact, Israel is only mentioned once in passing)
  • Egypt is mentioned only once in passing
  • Ukraine is only mentioned in passing.
  • Broadly speaking, two viewpoints run through the piece, each of which acts, in their own way, as exercises in blame-shifting:

  • An inside-Foggy Bottom view of the embarrassing amateur-hour actions of Obama appointees screwing everything up.
  • “It’s not Hillary’s fault!”
  • As an example of the latter, take this sentence:

    “Concentrating power in the White House increases the likelihood of groupthink, especially in second terms like this one, when many of the stronger and diverse voices in the administration have left and have not been replaced by equally strong and diverse successors.”

    Hear that, John Kerry? That’s the sound of Hillary shoving a shiv right between your ribs.

    The groundwork for most (if not all) of the foreign policy failures of the Obama Administration’s second term were laid in its first. Clinton’s emphasis on “soft power” over the military, the premature withdrawal from Iraq, the failure to obtain a status-of-forces agreement there, the counterproductive-to-disastrous regime change in Libya, the lack of any strategy for the “Arab Spring” (and subsequent failure to stem the entirely predictable turn toward radical Islamization several Arab Spring countries took), the failure to foresee a post-Mubarak Egypt, the asinine embrace of Morsi’s obviously despotic Muslim Brotherhood government, the obvious failure of the “reset” with Russia; all occurred or had their seeds planted when Hillary was Secretary of State, and all have contributed mightily to America’s global loss of prestige and respect.

    But the whitewashing of Hillary Clinton’s record is no surprise, given that the author, David Rothkopf, “joined the Clinton Administration in 1993 as Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Policy and Development.”

    I’m also guessing that Susan Rice was among the sources for the piece, given that he follows criticism of her for calling the German Foreign Minister a “M@therf@cker” with the softball “It is a particularly frustrating Achilles’ heel for someone who is well known among her friends as having the capacity to be very warm, humorous, and engaging,” which just reeks of assuaging a source. (Really, has any serious policy profile of any high Republican administration official every used the phrase “very warm, humorous, and engaging”?)

    I also get the impression from this and other bits of Hillary apologia that she really, really has it in for former Deputy National Security Adviser and current White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough (he’s the guy that looks like Lurch in that “watch us kill Bin Laden” photo). Note that I’m not taking sides in this dispute; it’s entirely possible that both of them suck…

    The piece is worth reading for showing that even the long-time deep state apparatchiks at Foggy Bottom feel embarrassed at the Obama Administration’s gross foreign policy incompetence. But it also needs to be taken with several grains of salt as yet-another piece of battlespace preparation for Hillary 2016…

    Texas Governor’s Race Update for September 12, 2014

    September 12th, 2014

    Reporting on the Wendy Davis campaign at this point is like reporting on the Titanic 80% of the way into the sinking (“And there goes the second smokestack under the waves!”). But someone has to write a first draft of those epic failures for the historical record, so let’s press on…

    Right now polls show Greg Abbott up a comfortable 18 points over Davis, 54% to 36%.

    It’s gotten so bad that the Davis campaign “leaked” one of those ridiculous, can’t remotely trust them “internal polls” that shows her a mere 8 points behind Abbott, 38% to his 46%. You know it’s bad when you can’t even pretend to be winning in your own fantasy land poll.

    Also, the Abbott campaign filed an ethics complaint against the Davis campaign for using her campaign funds to attend a book signing in New York City. (I wonder if her New York City signing had the same strict conditions as her Austin signing.) Since Davis did have one fundraising event on the trip, I doubt the complaint will succeed legally, but it does further the Abbott campaign’s picture of Davis as a woman who has more supporters in New York and California than in Texas.

    The big question at this point is: What’s the floor for how poorly Wendy Davis can do in the general election? I think she can drop below the 39.96% Tony Sanchez garnered in 2002. I don’t see her eclipsing the pitiful low-mark of Garry Mauro’s 31.18% in 1998, much less Chris Bell’s 29.79% in the 4-way Perry-Bell-Strayhorn-Friedman race in 2006. Davis has garnered a lot more fawning media attention than Sanchez ever got, and didn’t have the bruising primary fight Sanchez had against Dan Morales, much less one where her opponent ended up endorsing the Republican nominee, as Morales did. On the other hand, Davis doesn’t have $60 million of her own money to spend on her campaign the way Sanchez did.

    Meanwhile, in South Dakota…

    September 11th, 2014

    Rapid City just got an inch of global warming.

    An early September winter storm in the Black Hills has dumped more than 6 inches of snow in the area, while Rapid City received its earliest snowfall in more than 120 years.

    Jon Chamberlain, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Rapid City, said almost 1 inch of snow had fallen in downtown Rapid City by 8:30 a.m. while 2 inches was measured in higher elevations in town.

    The snowfall in Rapid City is the earliest in the city since 1888, the NWS said.

    At what point do all those cold weather anecdotes add up to climate?