Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Texas vs. California Update for August 30, 2016

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
  • A new ranking of Freedom in the 50 states is out. Texas ranked 28th (too low, IMHO) while California ranked 49th:
    • Texas:

      Texas’s fiscal policy is very good. It is a fiscally decentralized state, with local taxes at about 4.5 percent of personal income, above the national average, and state taxes at about 3.6 percent of income, well below the national average. However, Texans don’t have much choice of local government, with only 0.36 jurisdictions per 100 square miles. State and local debt is above average (with the biggest problem being local debt burdens), at 23.1 percent of income, but it has come down slightly since FY 2011. Government subsidies are below average. Public employment has fallen significantly below average, at 11.8 percent of private employment.

      Texas’s land-use freedom keeps housing prices down. It also has a regulatory taking compensation law, but it only applies to state government. The renewable portfolio standard has not been raised in years. Texas is our top state for labor-market freedom. Workers’ compensation coverage is optional for employers; most employees are covered, but not all. The state has a right-to-work law, no minimum wage, and a federally consistent anti-discrimination law. Cable and telecommunications have been liberalized. However, health insurance mandates were quite high as of 2010, the last available date. The extent of occupational licensing is high, but the state recently enacted a sunrise review requirement for new licensure proposals. Time will tell whether it is at all effective. Nurse practitioners enjoy no freedom of independent practice at all. Texas has few cronyist entry and price regulations, but it does have a price-gouging law, and Tesla’s direct sales model is still illegal. The civil liability system used to be terrible, but now it is merely below average. The state abolished joint and several liability in 2003, but it could do more to cap punitive damages and end parties’ role in judicial elections.

    • California:

      Although it has long been significantly freer on personal issues than the national average, California has also long been one of the lowest-scoring states on economic freedom.

      Despite Proposition 13, California is one of the highest-taxed states in the country. Excluding severance and motor fuel taxes, California’s combined state and local tax collections were 10.8 percent of personal income. Moreover, because of the infamous Serrano decision on school funding, California is a fiscally centralized state. Local taxes are about average nationally, while state taxes are well above average. Government debt is high, at 22.8 percent of personal income. The state subsidizes business at a high rate (0.16 percent of the state economy). However, government employment is lower than the national average.

      Regulatory policy is even more of a problem for the state than fiscal policy. California is one of the worst states on land-use freedom. Some cities have rent control, new housing supply is tightly restricted in the coastal areas, and eminent domain reform has been nugatory. Labor law is anti-employment, with no right-to-work law, high minimum wages, strict workers’ comp mandates, mandated short-term disability insurance, and a stricter-than-federal anti-discrimination law. Occupational licensing is extensive and strict, especially in construction trades. It is tied for worst in nursing practice freedom. The state’s mandatory cancer labeling law (Proposition 65) has significant economic costs. It is one of the worst states for consumer freedom of choice in homeowner’s and automobile insurance.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • Texas tops yet another list as the best place to work and live.
  • “This notion of California as a land of outsiders is being turned on its head, our state’s dream repackaged – often with the approval of its ruling hegemons – as something more like a medieval city, expelling the poor and the young, while keeping the state’s blessings to the well-educated, well-heeled and generally older population”:

    California has been bleeding people to other states for more than two decades. Even after the state’s “comeback,” net domestic out-migration since 2010 has exceeded 250,000. Moreover, the latest Internal Revenue Service migration data, for 2013-2014, does not support the view that those who leave are so dominated by the flight of younger and poorer people.

    Of course, younger people tend to move more than older people, and people seeking better job opportunities are more likely to move than those who have made it. But, according to the IRS, nearly 60,000 more Californians left the state than moved in between 2013 and 2014. In each of the seven income categories and each of the five age categories, the IRS found that California lost net domestic migrants.

    Nor, viewed over the long term, is California getting smarter than its rivals. Since 2000, California’s cache of 25- to 34-year-olds with college, postgraduate and professional degrees grew by 36 percent, below the national average of 42 percent, and Texas’ 47 percent. If we look at metropolitan regions, the growth of 25- to 34-year-olds with college degrees since 2000 has been more than 1.5 to nearly 3 times as fast in Houston and Austin as in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. Even New York, with its high costs, is doing better.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit, who also notes “I remember talking to the Investor’s Business Daily folks a few years ago — they were headquartered in Marina Del Rey, a lovely place but one where they were constantly visited by inspectors, tax people, etc., all posing problems. When they opened an office in Texas, the state and local government people were all ‘tell us if we can help you.’ Very different experience.”)

  • “IRS Data: More Americans are relocating to Texas.” Though why an article datelined El Paso, and quoting only El Paso experts, uses a photo of Austin’s skyline to illustrate the story is a mystery…
  • The California Teacher’s Association: the worst union in America:

    Seen as a national leader in the classroom during the 1950s and 1960s, the country’s largest state is today a laggard, competing with the likes of Mississippi and Washington, D.C., at the bottom of national rankings. The Golden State’s education tailspin has been blamed on everything from class sizes to the property-tax restrictions enforced by Proposition 13 to an influx of Spanish-speaking students. But no portrait of the system’s downfall would be complete without a depiction of the CTA, a political behemoth that blocks meaningful education reform, protects failing and even criminal educators, and inflates teacher pay and benefits to unsustainable levels.

    Also this:

    According to figures from the California Fair Political Practices Commission (a public institution) in 2010, the CTA had spent more than $210 million over the previous decade on political campaigning—more than any other donor in the state. In fact, the CTA outspent the pharmaceutical industry, the oil industry, and the tobacco industry combined.

  • California state appeals court rules unanimously that, yes, public employee pension benefits can indeed be reduced. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • The court giveth, the court taketh away, as the Vergara lawsuit ends with a whimper, meaning teachers unions can screw poor kids in California for the immediate future.
  • Meanwhile, California’s Democrat-controlled legislature passes a bill to get their fingers on private retirement funds create a plan to create a pension for private employee who don’t have one. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • No, it’s just to create more opportunities for graft through taxation. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California’s cap-and-trade program is a colossal failure, and it may take the high speed rail boondoggle down with it:

    California concluded its most recent cap-and-trade program auction last week. Out of 44,268,323 metric tons of carbon dioxide credits offered for sale by the state Air Resources Board, only 660,560 were sold, 1.5 percent of the total, raising a paltry $8.4 million out of a hoped-for $620 million. Last May’s auction was almost as bad, raising $10 million out of an anticipated $500 million.

    California’s carbon dioxide cap-and-trade auction program was expected to bring in more than $2 billion in the current fiscal year that ends June 30, 2017, a quarter of which is earmarked for the high-speed rail project narrowly approved by voters in a 2008 ballot initiative. As a hedge against uncertainty, a $500 million reserve was built into the cap-and-trade budget. But, with the August auction falling 98.5 percent short, the entire reserve was consumed in the first of four auctions for the fiscal year.

    It gets better:

    In the meantime, the High-Speed Rail project, currently promised to cost “only” $68 billion to run from the Bay Area some 400 miles south to Los Angeles may be looking at $50 billion in overruns. To fund the costly train, which was sold to voters as not costing a dime in new taxes, the expected revenue stream from cap-and-trade has been securitized, putting the state on the hook to Wall Street for billions in construction money advanced on the promise of future cap-and-trade revenue.

  • California spends $1.5 billion for Chinook salmon.
  • The corrupt city of Maywood, California hired an engineering firm whose employees were so hard-working they put in 27 hour days.
  • The collapse of high-end California wine merchant Premier Cru, a $45 million wine Ponzi scheme.
  • Three skilled nursing facilities in Humboldt County, California to close because they can’t find enough nurses. Humboldt County is up on the Northern California coast.
  • The Inland Empire in Southern California, still reeling from its foreclosure crisis, saw the biggest jump in income inequality in the state at more than 40 percent. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Toastmasters International to move from Orange County, California to Colorado.
  • And least you think Texas is complete immune from pension worries, the Employees Retirement System of Texas is set to run out of money as well…in 2063. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • If California farmland overvalued?
  • California judge faces recall over being being too lenient to a sex offender. If the recall succeeds, liberals may very well regret setting this precedent…
  • California Governor Jerry Brown may push “green” initiatives, but he’s more than happy to take money for doing regulatory favors for Chevron and Occidental Petroleum. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • From 2010: California’s abandoned wind farms.
  • LinkSwarm for August 26, 2016

    Friday, August 26th, 2016

    Welcome to another Friday LinkSwarm! We’re just weeks away from The Burning Time giving way to The Season of Football.

    Some links:

  • Here’s one forecast that has Trump and Clinton tied.
  • “Always correct election forecast model predicts Trump win, 51%-48%.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Average ObamaCare premiums surge 24% for 2017.
  • Well, not in Illinois. There, they’re going up as much as 90%.
  • In case you missed it last week, Pennsylvania’s Democratic attorney general Kathleen Kane resigned after being convicted of nine counts of perjury and obstruction of justice.
  • Silicon Valley CEO Gurbaksh Chahal allegedly hit his girlfriend 117 tiems, but was sentenced to probation. Oh, and he gives his political donations exclusively to Democrats. Why do so many Democrats commit violence against women?
  • George Soros hit up for money to sell the Iran deal.
  • Soros also celebrated the European refugee crisis being the new normal.
  • Obama wants to ban smoking in public housing. Hey, if you think we have riots now… (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Massachusetts takes rent-seeking to the next level, taxing ride-sharing services to subsidize taxis. Next up: Taxing cars to subsidize railroads and horses.
  • Germany in August.
  • July in the U.S. was one of the least hot months ever. Maybe not in Austin, but elsewhere…
  • Speaking of which, the 1936 heat wave must have been a nightmare to live with without air conditioning. It hit 121°F in North Dakota…
  • At one level, this piece is a good look at Gawker’s demise. At another, it’s shows New York media professionals at their whiny, narcissistic, incestuous, entitled worst. “It’s an inevitable consequence of living in today’s New York: Youthful anxiety and generational angst about having been completely cheated out of ownership of Manhattan, and only sporadically gaining it in Brooklyn and Queens, has fostered a bloodlust for the heads of the douchebags who stole the city.” Waaaah, the world owes me Manhattan real estate because I think I’m so much cooler than people who can actually afford it!
  • “NPR Deletes Comments, Says Commenters Are Too Old And Male.”
  • Google fiber hits reality: “Gee, wiring up that last mile is sure expensive! Why didn’t anyone tell us?”
  • Researchers say they can diagnose clinical depression from Instagram feeds. If they ever get to Tumblr, there won’t be enough Prozac left in the world…
  • “DNC Creates ‘Cybersecurity Board’ Without Any Cybersecurity Experts.”
  • Federal judge puts kibosh on Obama’s tranny bathroom plans.
  • What Canada needs is strict crossbow control laws. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • The Silence of the Jews in advance of the slow Islamicization of Sweden.
  • I know that when I think of Jewish history, I naturally think of Yoko Ono. And when I think of people who need Kickstarter to get funding, Yoko is way up there…
  • The tragic history of RC Cola. Too bad Diet RC tastes like crap. (That goes for that crappy offbrand Maine soda as well.)
  • Important Safety Tip: Don’t have sex on a neighbor’s roof, naked and high on meth.
  • I’m not going to pony up $200+ to attend the Texas Tribune Festival, and I doubt I could finagle a press badge. But Phil Collins being there does indeed make it more tempting, if only I could be sure I could get all my old Genesis albums signed…
  • Abandoned Olympic venues from around the world. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • This woman doesn’t have issues, she has a lifetime subscription and bound volumes.
  • And then there was one.
  • This Week in Clinton Corruption

    Thursday, August 25th, 2016

    Every week brings new evidence of Hillary Clinton’s corruption and proof she lied about her insecure, homebrew email server. So naturally the media is focused on something some athlete may or may not have done in Rio.

    Now on to this week’s Clinton Corruption:

  • Surprise, surprise, surprise! More State Department emails Hillary Clinton failed to turn over. The subject? Special favors for Clinton Foundation donors:

    (Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released 725 pages of new State Department documents, including previously unreleased email exchanges in which former Hillary Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin provided influential Clinton Foundation donors special, expedited access to the secretary of state. In many instances, the preferential treatment provided to donors was at the specific request of Clinton Foundation executive Douglas Band.

    The new documents included 20 Hillary Clinton email exchanges not previously turned over to the State Department, bringing the known total to date to 191 of new Clinton emails (not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over to the State Department). These records further appear to contradict statements by Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails were turned over to the State Department.

    The Abedin emails reveal that the longtime Clinton aide apparently served as a conduit between Clinton Foundation donors and Hillary Clinton while Clinton served as secretary of state. In more than a dozen email exchanges, Abedin provided expedited, direct access to Clinton for donors who had contributed from $25,000 to $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. In many instances, Clinton Foundation top executive Doug Band, who worked with the Foundation throughout Hillary Clinton’s tenure at State, coordinated closely with Abedin. In Abedin’s June deposition to Judicial Watch, she conceded that part of her job at the State Department was taking care of “Clinton family matters.”

    Included among the Abedin-Band emails is an exchange revealing that when Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain requested a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, he was forced to go through the Clinton Foundation for an appointment. Abedin advised Band that when she went through “normal channels” at State, Clinton declined to meet. After Band intervened, however, the meeting was set up within forty-eight hours. According to the Clinton Foundation website, in 2005, Salman committed to establishing the Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Program (CPISP) for the Clinton Global Initiative. And by 2010, it had contributed $32 million to CGI. The Kingdom of Bahrain reportedly gave between $50,000 and $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. And Bahrain Petroleum also gave an additional $25,000 to $50,000.

  • “Of the 154 non-government officials who met or had phone calls scheduled with Clinton when she worked the top spot at the State Department, approximately 85 either donated directly to the foundation or “pledged commitments to its international programs,” the AP reported, citing State Department calendars. Those 85 donors contributed a combined total of $156 million to Clinton-owned entities.” Also: “‘The 154 did not include U.S. federal employees or foreign government representatives. Clinton met with representatives of at least 16 foreign governments that donated as much as $170 million to the Clinton charity,’ the AP analysis noted, ‘but they were not included in AP’s calculations because such meetings would presumably have been part of her diplomatic duties.'” And just how hard do you think Hillary negotiated for U.S. interests as opposed to her own?
  • “Huma Abedin was working as ASSISTANT EDITOR at her mother’s radical Muslim journal when it blamed America for 9/11.” (Capital letters in original.) Man, there just seems to be no end to the number of jobs Huma Abedin can work (and get paid for) at the same time! (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Abedin was so concerned about data security, she left classified information in her car.
  • “This is not just traditional pay-to-play; this is now foreign money, giving foreign oligarchs access to our political leaders, through a mechanism like the Clinton Foundation.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Will Hillary be required to testify about why she set up her email server under oath? (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Bono asks Clinton Foundation for help hooking up the International Space Station for U2 concerts.
  • Colin Powell confirms Clinton is lying about her email server: “‘Her people have been trying to pin it on me,’ Powell, who was secretary of State under President George W. Bush, told People at an event in the Hamptons this weekend. ‘The truth is she was using [her email setup] for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did.'” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • FBI report that suggests that Hillary Clinton drove Vince Foster to suicide is now strangely missing from the national archives.
  • Did Google start censoring auto-complete phrases related to Hillary Clinton’s health after a New York Times reporter asked them to?
  • Speaking of which, why were employees at Hillary Clinton’s State Department asking for information on Provigil, a drug often prescribed for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s patients?
  • Delete it! (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Dallas Pension Fund Near Insolvenacy Thanks To Risky Investments

    Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

    Dallas Police and Fire pension fund are near insolvency thanks to shady real estate deals:

    The Dallas Police & Fire Pension (DPFP), which covers nearly 10,000 police and firefighters, is on the verge of collapse as its board and the City of Dallas struggle to pitch benefit cuts to save the plan from complete failure. According the the National Real Estate Investor, DPFP was once applauded for it’s “diverse investment portfolio” but turns out it may have all been a fraud as the pension’s former real estate investment manager, CDK Realy Advisors, was raided by the FBI in April 2016 and the fund was subsequently forced to mark down their entire real estate book by 32%. Guess it’s pretty easy to generate good returns if you manage a book of illiquid assets that can be marked at your “discretion”.

    To provide a little background, per the Dallas Morning News, Richard Tettamant served as the DPFP’s administrator for a couple of decades right up until he was forced out in June 2014. Starting in 2005, Tettamant oversaw a plan to “diversify” the pension into “hard assets” and away from the “risky” stock market…because there’s no risk if you don’t have to mark your book every day. By the time the “diversification” was complete, Tettamant had invested half of the DPFP’s assets in, effectively, the housing bubble. Investments included a $200mm luxury apartment building in Dallas, luxury Hawaiian homes, a tract of undeveloped land in the Arizona desert, Uruguayan timber, the American Idol production company and a resort in Napa.

    Despite huge exposure to bubbly 2005/2006 vintage real estate investments, DPFP assets “performed” remarkably well throughout the “great recession.” But as it turns out, Tettamant’s “performance” was only as good as the illiquidity of his investments. We guess returns are easier to come by when you invest your whole book in illiquid, private assets and have “discretion” over how they’re valued.

    In 2015, after Tettamant’s ouster, $600mm of DPFP real estate assets were transferred to new managers away from the fund’s prior real estate manager, CDK Realty Advisors. Turns out the new managers were not “comfortable” with CDK’s asset valuations and the mark downs started. According to the Dallas Morning News, one such questionable real estate investment involved a piece of undeveloped land in the Arizona desert near Tucson which was purchased for $27mm in 2006 and subsequently sold in 2014 for $7.5mm.

    It gets better: “Then the plot thickened when, in April 2016, according the Dallas Morning News, FBI raided the offices of the pension’s former investment manager, CDK Realty Advisors.”

    Also: “And of course the typical pension ponzi, whereby in order to stay afloat the plan is paying out $2.11 for every $1.00 it collects from members and the City of Dallas effectively borrowing from assets reserved to cover future liabilities (which are likely impaired) to cover current claims in full.”

    Want to guess which political party Richard Tettamant was affiliated with?

    Go ahead. Guess.

    Tettament Donations

    (Hat tip: Jack Dean of Pension Tsunami.)

    This Week in Clinton Corruption for August 19, 2016

    Friday, August 19th, 2016

    Too much Clinton Corruption news to put off a roundup this week, so enjoy this rather than the usual Friday LinkSwarm:

  • U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the man who took down New York Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, is investigating the Clinton Foundation.
  • The Clintons are Grifters, and America is Their Mark.”
  • Where did the Clinton Foundation end and the State Department begin?

    At no time did the U.S. State Department ever say to Bill Clinton that any of his unbelievably lucrative speaking gigs represented a conflict of interest – even if there was reason to believe a foreign government or entities closely allied with a foreign government were paying. Recall the State Department praising the progress of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan as the president’s ally invited Bill Clinton to give two speeches in exchange for $1.4 million dollars. The State Department’s generous assessment of Jonathan’s human rights record stopped after the last speaking gig for Clinton.

  • Five Clinton cronies who got special favors from Hillary’s state department. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Huma Abedin is the walking, talking, emailing embodiment of the conflict of interest between Hillary Clinton working as secretary of state while the Clinton Foundation laundered hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign donations. Let he who has never triple-dipped while pulling down a six-figure government consulting income cast the first stone…
  • Washington Post: “A porous ethical wall between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department.” Yeah, there was a “wall” there in the same sense there’s a wall between the grill and the front counter, with a nice big hole in the middle where things patrons have paid for can be passed through…
  • Mention uncomfortable facts about Hillary Clinton on CNN? Get your mic cut off. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • More sudden Clinton death syndrome?
  • Indeed, Gavin McInnes at Takimag has a more comprehensive roundup:

    Hey, guys, if you’re looking for murders, check out anyone who has ever crossed the Clintons. There are about 100 cases where some intern has slept with Bill or some lawyer knew too much or some investigator got too close and boom—he shoots himself in the back of the head at the top of a mountain at four in the morning.

    The media cared about the sheer number of cases when 57 women said Bill Cosby raped them. If we brought the Hillary kill list down to 57, you’d be dealing with only the really, really spooky ones. Like the one last month where a DNC staffer, who may very well have supplied Julian Assange with the classified emails that brought massive embarrassment to the party, was shot in the back of the head in the middle of the night.

    Seth Rich was talking to his girlfriend on the phone when a gunman came up behind him, shot him to death, and left without taking anything at all. Rich was in a nice neighborhood that I’m told hadn’t had a murder in six years. The Assange link got eye rolls from the left until he personally offered a $20K reward for any information leading to an arrest. A Dutch TV host pressed Julian on this and asked if it was a murder accusation directed at Hillary and the subject quickly died.

    The list of victims goes on and on and on, and Google is happy to tell you how serious the accusations are and how tenuous the link is.

    Some of the Clinton Body Count stuff is just stupid speculation (like random people killed near the Mena Airport, which ties into the whole CIA drug running/Octopus/Clinton conspiracy theory). But others do indeed make you go “Hmmmm.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Flashback: Hillary’s crooked cattle-trading deal. (Hat tip: Zero Hedge.)
  • How Hillary could destroy gun rights. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Hillary: Colin Powell said my emails setup was A-OK! Powell: Which part of non-classified was unclear? (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • More on the same theme:

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

  • Ken Salazar, Hillary’s thug. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • You can’t expect the graft queen and her aides to take federally mandated ethics training, no can you? When is she supposed to find the time when there are all those favors to do for foreign benefactors? (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Austin’s Murder Rate Up 80%

    Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

    Well, this is not good news:

    Three homicides in the past 10 days. According to data from the Austin Police Department, the city’s murder rate is up nearly 80 percent from the same time last year.

    The Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday believes this upward trend is something the department needs to tackle immediately.

    “All you have to do is turn on the news. It seems like every night for the past several weeks its led off with shootings in north and east Austin,” said Casaday of the deadly shootings. “It reminds me of, back in the 80s and 90s, when we had a huge crime wave here in Austin.”

    Of the 23 murders so far in 2016, five are unsolved.

    Let’s take a look at the individual homicides this year (at least those up on the austintexas.gov website), starting with the most recent:

  • Unidentified female. “Suspects in this case have not yet been identified but are described as: One Black male, mid to late 20s, approximately 6’1” and 180-190 lbs. One Black female, late 20s to early 30s, approximately 5’9” and 220 – 240 lbs.”
  • Teqnika Moultrie, Black female (D.O.B. 11-23-85). Suspect: “Endicott McCray, a black male, 24 years of age.” (Since arrested in Atlanta.)
  • Felipe Leija, Hispanic male, D.O.B. 12-18-82. No suspects.
  • Felix Serrano, Hispanic male, (D.O.B. 11-20-50). “The only suspect description available is a Hispanic male who is thought to have been on foot around the noon hour.”
  • Alfred Matthews, black male, D.O.B. 2-24-88. “Murder charges are pending on Zachary Daniel Payne” who was apprehended, and appears to be a black male.
  • Sankirth Gundam, Asian male, (D.O.B. 5-11-92) “The suspect has been identified as 27-year-old Sai Sandeep Goud Kurremula, Asian male.” The apartment complex he was killed in is right next to the HEB I shop at.
  • Brandon D. Grant, Black male (D.O.B. 12/1/1985). “The suspect has not yet been identified.”
  • Joseph Anthony Lapaso, Hispanic male, D.O.B. 3-4-91. “APD charged Steven Johns with Murder and bond was set at $500,000.” Johns appears to be a black male.
  • Jose Angel Moreno, Hispanic male (D.O.B. 6-14-91). Though the austintexas.gov does not mention it, the suspect appears to be Bradford Gunn (a Hispanic male) and his girlfriend Brandi Nicole Harris (no description or mug shot available, mainly because the Statesman‘s booking photo gallery page is profoundly broken).
  • Gerald Leron Williams, Black male, D.O.B. 8-29-1992 (aka Ron Ron). “The assailant was described as a dark-skinned Black male, mid-20s, approximately 6 feet tall with medium build. The subject was wearing a black t-shirt and long denim shorts.”
  • Maria Ferrer-Mena, Hispanic Female (D.O.B. 10-26-1977). “The suspect is described as a Hispanic male with a light complexion, 5’8” to 6’0”, skinny build, and last seen wearing a grey hoodie sweatshirt and black basketball shorts.”
  • Russell Fulghum Jr., White male (D.O.B. 6-15-78), described as a homeless man. John Fredrick Mouton (a 22-year old black male) was charged with murder.
  • “Murder 8”: “You are not authorized to access this page.” Hmmmm. I’m guessing this was the murder of Haruka Weiser, the freshman dance major at UT, which was a national story. “Meechaiel Criner, 17, was charged with murder.” Criner is a black male.
  • Juan Jose Casimiro-Paxtor, Hispanic Male (D.O.B. 02-08-1990). “The suspect has been identified as Mario Garcia-Faustino, Hispanic male (26 years of age).”
  • Rigoberto Jose, Hispanic male (D.O.B. 02/08/1977). “The suspect has been identified as Osiel Benitez Benitez, Hispanic male, 42 years of age.” There were also two other people shot in the same incident.
  • Ishmael Mohammed, Other male (D.O.B. 12-02-1955). “Nikolas Ray Eller, White male, 38 years of age…has been charged with Aggravated Assault Felony 2.” (More info here.)
  • Jerry Don Summers, White male, (D.O.B. 06-30-61). “Suspect: Spencer Frank Carlton, White male, 52 years of age.” Also this: “The assault took place after Summers inappropriately groped Carlton’s wife while inside the Dogwood Bar located at 715 W. 6th St.” after which Carlton shoved Summers to the ground. Sounds like something that’s likely to get plead down to manslaughter, if that.
  • Carlos Swist, Black male, born 01/03/1973. “Arrested: Dedric Darnell Dixon, Black male, 44 years of age.”
  • David Loera, Hispanic Male (D.O.B. 07/31/1972). “The suspect was described as a White male, in his twenties, 5’11” – 6’0”, having a slightly muscular build, last seen wearing a camo hat, brown vest, dark long sleeved undershirt, and dark pants. The suspect vehicle was described as a newer model, dark, Chevrolet 4-door truck, possibly a 4×4.”
  • So what is the cause of Austin’s rising murder rate? Possibly just random statistical variation. Possibly the result of understaffing the police department. I considered the possibility that a “Black Lives Matter” reduction in policing and/or a refusal to deport illegal alien offenders might be factors, it’s hard to see that from the data. (And I haven’t delved into last year’s murder stats for comparison yet.)

    The city’s overall demographics are 47.1% white, 7.0% black, 36.5% Hispanic, and 6.8% Other. As elsewhere in the nation, crime victims and perpetrators of same are disproportionately black, with Hispanics slightly over-represented as both victim and perpetrator, and whites somewhat underrepresented for same.

    Texas vs. California Update for August 10, 2016

    Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

    Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • How California screwed itself:

    Then-Gov. Gray Davis and the Legislature had quietly, virtually without notice, decreed a massive, retroactive increase in state employee pension benefits, which was quickly emulated by hundreds of local governments.

    At the time, CalPERS was ringing up big earnings from the 1990s’ bullish stock market — so big that it had reduced contributions from member governments to near zero. Public employee unions hankered for a share of the bounty and pressed for a benefit increase.

    The CalPERS board, dominated by public employees and union-friendly politicians, sponsored the increase, Senate Bill 400, with assurances that it would cost taxpayers nothing. A state Senate analysis of the bill said CalPERS “believes they will be able to mitigate this cost increase through continued excess returns of the CalPERS trust.”

    Years later, it emerged that the assurances reflected the most optimistic of several scenarios developed by the CalPERS staff. More pessimistic scenarios were kept secret — but they were the ones that came true. By the time Seeling delivered his dark appraisal in 2009, the state was being hammered by an ultra-severe recession, and the CalPERS trust fund was losing what turned out to be nearly $100 billion in value.

    Seven years later, CalPERS and other pension funds still haven’t fully recovered, and they’re sharply raising mandatory “contributions” from state and local governments to cover the gaps left by meager investment earnings.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • California is deluding itself if it thinks it’s “turned to corner” and is on the path for sustainable growth:

    Between 2000 and 2015, Austin has increased its jobs by 50 percent, while Raleigh, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Nashville, Orlando, Charlotte, Phoenix and Salt Lake City – all in lower-tax, regulation-light states – have seen job growth of 24 percent or above. In contrast, since 2000, Los Angeles and San Francisco expanded jobs by barely 10 percent. San Jose, the home of Silicon Valley, has seen only a 6 percent expansion over that period.

    Obviously this runs counter to the notion of California being business friendly, since the ratio of jobs to workers is lower here than in Texas and the rest of the United States, and sometimes a lot lower.

    Snip.

    Gov. Brown has achieved bragging rights by suggestions of a vaunted return to fiscal health. True, California’s short-term budgetary issues have been somewhat relieved, largely due to soaring capital gains from the tech and high-end real estate booms. But the state inevitably will face a soaring deficit as those booms slow down. Brown is already forecasting budget deficits as high as $4 billion by the time he leaves office in 2019. As a recent Mercatus Center study notes, California is among the states most deeply dependent on debt.

    The state’s current budget surplus is entirely due to a temporary tax and booming asset markets. The top 1 percent of earners generates almost half of California’s income tax revenue, and accounts for 41 percent of the state’s general fund budget. These affluent people have incomes that are much more closely correlated to asset prices than economic activity, and asset prices are more volatile than economic activity generally. Brown’s own Department of Finance predicts that a recession of “average magnitude” would cut revenue by $55 billion.

    More critically, the state continues to increase spending, particularly on pensions. Outlays have grown dramatically since the 2011-2012 fiscal year, averaging 7.8 percent growth per year through FY 2015-2016. Seeing the writing on the wall, the state’s labor leaders now want to extend the “temporary” income tax, imposed in 2012, until 2030. This might not do much to spark growth, particularly in a weaker economy.

    During this recovery, California has made minimal effort to eliminate the state’s budget fragility. To use a recently popular term, this is gross negligence. It is, thus, no surprise that credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service ranked California second from the bottom in being able to withstand the next recession. Someday the bills will come due.

  • More on California’s business climate vs. Texas:

    Note that across the entire decade the unemployment rate in California was consistently greater than that in the United States, averaging 1.5 percentage points greater overall and maxing out at 2.9 percentage points in January and February of 2011. Except for the first six months of 2006, the same story holds true for California and Texas, although the differences here are more pronounced: an average of 2.5 percentage points greater and a maximum difference of 4.2 percentage points at various points in 2009 and 2010. Also note how long double-digit unemployment persisted in California (43 months) during this decade compared to the United States (1 month) and Texas (0 months).

    Also: “Texas outperformed California in 9 of the 10 years. And Texas had a CAGR of 3.1 percent, meaning its economy grew at more than twice the pace of California’s each year.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • Texas’ economic, labor Market, and fiscal situation. “The Texas model leads comparable states and U.S> averages in most measures.”
  • “CalPERS has not met its expected 7.5% rate of return for the last 20 years.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Things in Texas are very different than they were in the 1980s:

    This is what Krugman and others really get wrong about the Texas miracle.

    The state had its last major recession from 1986 to 1987, after oil prices collapsed and the real estate and financial sectors crashed. Back then, the mining sector, dominated by oil and gas activity, was directly related to about 21 percent of the real private economy and roughly 5 percent of the labor force. Today, mining is 15 percent of the real private economy and less than half of the labor force share. As a result, the combination of more economic diversification and pro-growth policies has produced a much more resilient economy. Texas in 2016 looks a lot different than Texas in 1987.

  • “A major impediment to economic growth and a factor chasing people and businesses away from California is the state’s high tax rates and poorly structured tax code. California levies the highest top marginal income tax rate in the nation at 13.3% and has the country’s 6th highest overall tax burden. Such a hostile tax climate has consequences. During the last decade, from 2000 to 2010, California had a net outmigration of over 1.2 million residents move to other states. Those former Californians took over $29 billion in income with them.”

    Residents of San Diego, Newport Beach, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and many other cities and towns across California enjoy beautiful scenery and enviably pleasant weather year round; while folks in Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston ride out their hot and humid summers by staying indoors as much as possible. Yet Texas has been the number one recipient of California refugees. While the physical climates found in states that are the top recipients of California refugees don’t hold a candle to the Golden State’s, the business tax climates are far more hospitable.

    California imposes the nation’s highest income tax, while Texas is one of nine states with no income tax. While Texas has the 10th best business tax climate in the nation, according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation, California has the country’s third worst. During the last decade, over 225,000 people moved from California to Texas, bringing over $4.4 billion in income with them to the Lone Star State. After Texas, Nevada is the number two recipient of ex-Californians. Like Texas, Nevada can’t compete with California’s natural beauty and climate, but the Silver State makes up for it by having no state income tax and the nation’s 5th best business tax climate.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • The deregulated energy market is still working to lower costs for Texans.
  • California’s Democrat-dominated local governments are riddled with nepotism in their hiring practices. In San Diego, “Investigators uncovered an employee vetting process they allege was ‘abused’ — so that in a third of the cases reviewed, ‘friends and family members’ of city staff were hired ‘to the detriment of public job applicants.’” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Liberal complains about how San Francisco’s progressive policies killed affordable housing. “Instead of forming a pro-growth coalition with business and labor, most of the San Francisco Left made an enduring alliance with home-owning NIMBYs. It became one of the peculiar features of San Francisco that exclusionary housing politics got labeled “progressive.” Do note this piece is from a year ago. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Speaking of San Francisco, three of the city’s supervisors have decided that he would like to take the goose that laid the golden egg (i.e., the city’s high tech employers), smother it with locally source rosemary, thyme and organic butter, and broil it at 450° in the form of a payroll tax for those companies that earn $1 million or more in gross receipts.
  • “In 2014 there were 142,417 housing starts in the city of Tokyo (population 13.3m, no empty land), more than the 83,657 housing permits issued in the state of California (population 38.7m).” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “California To Proclaim August “Muslim Appreciation And Awareness Month.” So when do we get Christian Appreciation Month?
  • “Relocation of Highway 99 in Fresno, a key part of the bullet train project, is over budget, behind schedule and will cost millions of dollars more to complete.” (Hat tip: Cal Watchdog.)
  • DAE Systems is relocating its headquarters to Catawba County and intends to create 46 new jobs and invest $6.8 million during the next three years, Gov. Pat McCrory’s office announced Monday. The California-based company, which is moving to Claremont, will receive a grant of up to $110,000 from the One North Carolina Fund that is dependent on the company meeting job-creation goals.”
  • Nothing says “adult oversight” quite like playing strip poker with teenage camp counselors. Take a bow, Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva! (Hat tip: Dwight, who also notes that Silva is a member of the criminal-ridden “Mayors Against illegal Guns.”)
  • Noted for the record: Mayor Silva comes up twice at the very top of Stockton real estate developer Dan Cort’s Facebook page. (Previously.)
  • This Week in Clinton Corruption for August 9, 2016

    Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

    Another week, another roundup of Clinton Corruption links:

  • “Shut It Down: The Clinton Foundation Is Too Corrupt to Exist.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, the one used to funnel some $100 million of undisclosed donations to the Clintons, spends 72% of donations on “overhead” and only 28% on charity.
  • French company LaFarge, of which Hillary Clinton was once a director, may have helped fund the Islamic State. (I would insert a Madame Defarge reference here, but I’ve actually never made it all the way through A Tale of Two Cities.)
  • Former acting CIA Director criticizing Trump is up to his ears in Clinton ties.
  • Clinton Chooses Black Lives Matter Over Law Enforcement Support.” Well of course she did! My working hypothesis is that Hillary has been running Black Lives Matter since the very beginning as a desperate attempt to get black voters to the polls for a non-Obama candidate in November.
  • Feeble 68-year old Hillary needs help getting up a flight of seven steps. (Hat tip: Austin Bay at Instapundit.)
  • What’s wrong with Hillary? I know, the full answer to that question would take hours, if not days. So let’s rephrase that: What’s physically wrong with Hillary?
  • And who is Hillary’s handler?
  • The return of #SuddenClintonDeathSyndrome.
  • The New York Times lied about Clinton’s lies. Says who? The public editor of The New York Times. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • This falls more under “reported as a public service” than “here’s something I really believe”: Odds Hillary Won Without Widespread Fraud: 1 in 77 Billion Says Berkeley, Stanford Studies.” The problem with this sort of thing is that all the previous times I’ve seen similar reports, the methodology was seriously flawed. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that Hillary cheated her way to the Democratic nomination, but no, it’s not “scientifically proven.” Though I’m hardly going to march in the streets to debunk this one…
  • LinkSwarm for August 5, 2016

    Friday, August 5th, 2016

    Enjoy a Friday LinkSwarm! A lot of plane and weird news links this time around:

  • Aetna is losing $300 million a year on ObamaCare. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Air Force Declares F-35 ready for combat. (Hat tip: Borepatch, who is more than a little skeptical…)
  • Islamic State Sinai leader Abu Dua al-Ansari killed in Egyptian air strike.
  • Is there any greater bastion of 1%er elitism than New York Times wedding announcements?

    How is it actually acceptable for an ostensibly liberal newspaper to conclude that wealthy, well-educated people’s lives are more interesting and worth more attention than non-wealthy, less-educated people? Everyone laughs about the Weddings section, even the Times itself. But joking aside, isn’t it morally indefensible to treat people as newsworthy in accordance with their elite social status… a paper run by liberals, who would profess themselves averse to inequality, openly treats most of the population as insignificant.

    (Hat tip: Dwight.)

  • Cahnman’s Musings has a really solid review of Jane Jacobs’ classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities and how central planning screwed everything up.
  • Clint Eastwood on various liberal whining over Trump: “Just fucking get over it.”
  • Frau Merkel ist nicht sehr beliebt.
  • Austin’s toy trains are a monument to government waste. (Hat tip: Push Junction.)
  • What Pokémon Go Teaches Us About Capitalism.
  • #BlackLivesMatters is all in against Israel. So what do George Soros and Tom Steyer have against Israel? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “A point of view should be based on its own merit, not dismissed by a lazy appeal to privilege.”
  • Funny or die mostly does the latter. (Funny or Die still has 95 staffers? Really? It takes that many people to produce mediocre comedy?)
  • Things you never knew about the World’s Strongest Man competition.
  • An Exciting History of Drywall.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Who would have won the battle between a Bismarck-class battleship and an Iowa class battleship? (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Butthurt level: Epic.
  • Airplane trick.
  • Feel good dog story of the day.
  • Behold the legendary crime spree of Dickface Johnson.
  • “Oh no! Not the bees!
  • Clinton Corruption/Election Update for August 4, 2016

    Thursday, August 4th, 2016

    Hillary Clinton corruption! The 2016 Presidential race! Two not-so-great tastes that taste absolutely rancid together!

    Let’s tuck in, shall we?

  • How the DNC used its illegal favoring of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders to break campaign finance laws:

    A joint fundraising committee called the Hillary Victory Fund, ostensibly designed to funnel money from rich donors to local party committees, had in fact been used as a cut-out to funnel money back to the national party and the Clinton campaign.

    As an example, take couples who paid or raised $353,400 to sit at a table with George Clooney, a sum that Clooney himself called an “obscene amount of money.” The figure represented the maximum allowable donation given the structure of the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint venture between the Clinton campaign, the DNC and 32 state committees.

    Donors can give a maximum of $5,400 per election cycle to Hillary’s campaign, $33,400 per year to the DNC, and $10,000 per year to each of the 32 state committees in the fund.

    If you assumed that the Clooney guests had already given their maximum $5,400 to the Clinton campaign, that left just over $353,000 for the DNC and the committees.

    But Vogel and Arnsdorf found that less than 1 percent of the $61 million raised by the Hillary Victory Fund went to the state committees.

    Actually it’s better to say that only 1 percent of the money “remained” with the committees. In talking to state sources, the Politico reporters found that large sums of money would sometimes appear briefly in state committee coffers, and disappear just as quickly, and then just as quickly be deposited into DNC accounts.

    The money sometimes came and went before state officials even knew it was there. Politico noted that the Victory Fund treasurer, Beth Jones, is also the COO of the Clinton campaign.

  • “Hillary Clinton’s relationship to the truth is akin to a mass murderer’s relationship with his victims. She is a Charles Manson of falsehood.”
  • The complete Huma Abedin report. Among her State Department duties: Determining if the speeches Bill Clinton gave for big while Hillary was Secretary of State were “appropriate” at the same time she was also working for the Clinton Foundation. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • How Hillary eased the way for Russian state tech company Skolkvovo to receive tech and money transfers from U.S. tech giants like Intel and Cisco. “Many of the key figures in the Skolkovo process—on both the Russian and U.S. sides—had major financial ties to the Clintons. During the Russian reset, these figures and entities provided the Clintons with tens of millions of dollars, including contributions to the Clinton Foundation, paid for speeches by Bill Clinton, or investments in small start-up companies with deep Clinton ties.”
  • “At least a handful of the State Department’s global health efforts relied on drug companies that were also major Clinton Foundation donors in arrangements that raise questions about the distance Clinton kept from her family’s philanthropy.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Hillary Clinton still hasn’t given a straight answer on her emails. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Walid Shoebat says that Khizr Khan has a long history of supporting Sharia law and the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Which explains why after he gave his DNC speech attacking Trump, Khizr deleted the website of his business supporting Muslim immigration.
  • Charles Woods, father of dead Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods: “I know who should apologize, and that would be Hillary Clinton, for lying to the American families who lost their loved ones as well as to the American public,”
  • Examining Trump’s “racism” it seems that a lot of Trump’s “racist” incidents have no objective proof they ever happened.
  • “We had a few stories on the front page yesterday that were critical of Clinton. Whenever those stories were in the top slot, traffic bombed. Put up a story about Trump, the traffic goes back up. Clinton’s actual presence is beside the point. Everything is about what prism you view the phenomenon of Trump through.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Trump is Fishtown’s revenge. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Leftwing Democrats now favor Palestine over Israel. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)