Archive for the ‘Texas’ Category

LinkSwarm for December 19, 2014

Friday, December 19th, 2014

I trust everyone reading this has already heard about Sony Picture’s spinelessness in cancelling their release of The Interview, and Paramount’s even more-spineless refusal to allow theaters to show Team America: World Police in its place. This would be good reason to avoid paying for any Sony or Paramount products any time in the near future. And Cuba is a topic for another time. So here’s a quick look at the rest of what’s been happening the week before Christmas:

  • Obama’s taunting political opponents over how impossible it will be to overturn his illegal alien amnesty actually increases the chances it will be overturned.
  • Vermont can’t afford to pay for its socialist health care system.
  • Voters “prefer dysfunction to the alternative scenario of Democrats running both the White House and Congress.”
  • Democrats accept bribes to oppose Voter ID laws. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • It may be too late for investor’s to move money out of Russia in the wake of the ruble’s collapse, mainly because they already have.
  • Here are eight campus rape hoaxes that bear remarkable similarities to the Rolling Stone UVA rape hoax.
  • Was the entire hoax fabricated because one of “Jackie”‘s friends rebuffed her romantic overtures?
  • And the entire sad affair seems to have moved into farce now that it appears “Jackie” actually copied a Dawson’s Creek script for some of her catfishing.
  • The “campus rape epidemic” is “a male demonizing Gothic fantasy nurtured by several decades of hardline feminist theory”:

  • Meanwhile, in the real rape culture, the Islamic State hands out brochures on how jihadists are allowed to rape prepubescent girls.
  • The ex-wife of the Sydney gunman sought refugee in the U.S. right before she was murdered. “He was abusing her, having her wear the hijab, did not want her to talk with anybody.”
  • Executive director out at Texas Democratic Party.” Really? After such a swell job? (Hat tip: Push Junction.)
  • Amongst the Wikipedia editors.

    I am not exaggerating when I say it is the closest thing to Kafka’s The Trial I have ever witnessed, with editors and administrators giving conflicting and confusing advice, complaints getting “boomeranged” onto complainants who then face disciplinary action for complaining, and very little consistency in the standards applied. In my short time there, I repeatedly observed editors lawyering an issue with acronyms, only to turn around and declare “Ignore all rules!” when faced with the same rules used against them.

  • Pro-gun control Austin City Council candidate defeated.
  • Wonder why so many UT insiders went after Wallace Hall when it was obvious Hall was right? Maybe it’s because they’re involved in the scandal up to their eyeballs. (Hat tip: Push Junction.)
  • Science fiction writer Jerry Pournelle has suffered a strike. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
  • Texas vs. California Update for December 17, 2014

    Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

    Time for another Texas vs. California update:

  • California’s unfunded health care obligations for retired employees hits $72 billion. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Meanwhile, the state comptroller says that California’s unfunded pension liabilities has hit $198 billion. (Ditto.)
  • California may extend benefits to illegal aliens taking advantage of Obama’s amnesty.
  • Speaking of which, both California and Texas are on the hook for providing education for illegal alien children. “Today, those figures are $14.4 billion for California and $8.5 billion for the Lone Star state.”
  • California will go broke if it doesn’t adopt pension reform.
  • Lessons for California from Texas’ boom.
  • Costa Mesa police union tries to pin false DUI charge on City Councilman. Hilarity ensues. (Hat tip: Dwight.) And what caused the police union to go after him? Pension reform.
  • Pension spiking widespread in Cosa Contra County. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California’s high speed rail boondoggle won’t work with the current tracks.
  • Health industry software company vitaTrackr announces relocation of its headquarters from Baltimore to Austin.
  • Builders FirstSource announces expansion in San Antonio and Conroe.
  • Democrats Hate the South, And The South Hates Them Right Back

    Monday, December 8th, 2014

    With the defeat of Mary Landrieu, the Democratic Party no longer has a single national office holder anywhere in the South. In fact, with South Carolina re-electing Tim Scott, “there are now more black Republicans than white Democrats from the Deep South.”

    Moe Lane says we shouldn’t be surprised by this turn of events:

    It’s not demographics, and it’s certainly not gerrymandering, and shoot, it’s not even Barack Obama. It’s that the people who run the Democratic party [expletive deleted] hate the South.

    And Southerners have noticed. It really does astound me that the national Democratic apparatus apparently thought that they could defecate on an entire section of the country for fifty years and still get that section to vote for them at the end of it.

    And least you think that Lane is exaggerating liberal contempt for the South, along comes Michael Tomasky to provide an outstanding example of what Lane was talking about.

    Practically the whole region has rejected nearly everything that’s good about this country and has become just one big nuclear waste site of choleric, and extremely racialized, resentment. A fact made even sadder because on the whole they’re such nice people! (I truly mean that.)

    With Landrieu’s departure, the Democrats will have no more senators from the Deep South, and I say good. Forget about it. Forget about the whole fetid place. Write it off. Let the GOP have it and run it and turn it into Free-Market Jesus Paradise.

    And there’s your window into the Democratic Party’s id. The most economically dynamic part of the country is a “Fetid Free Market Jesus Paradise.” Tomasky has some advice for the Democratic Party: “At the congressional level, and from there on down, the Democrats should just forget about the place. They should make no effort, except under extraordinary circumstances, to field competitive candidates. The national committees shouldn’t spend a red cent down there.”

    I heartily endorse this strategy for the Democratic Party (with the exception that they should continue to pour money down the rathole that is Battleground Texas). Because what could possibly go wrong with that strategy? Besides Republicans making significant inroads among Hispanic and black voters in those states?

    It’s also revealing that Tomasky quotes (approvingly) that Democrats are “not going to ever be too good on gays and guns and God.” Well, good thing only 73% of Americans identify themselves as Christian. And unremitting hostility to gun ownership hasn’t exactly been a surefire electoral winner for Democrats…

    It’s not just national-level Democrats either. The Statesman notes that there will be only seven “non-Hispanic white Democrats in the Texas House and Senate when the 84th session of the Legislature convenes in January.” That piece also notes that “In 1983, white Democrats held 21 of the 31 state Senate seats and 85 of the 150 House seats.”

    In this really interesting interview with former Texas GOP chair Wayne Thorburn about his book Red State: An Insider’s Story of How the GOP Came to Dominate Texas Politics (which I’m going to have to pick up), he talks about how liberal Democrats actively drove conservatives out of their own party so they could take control of it:

    Q The most ironic part about “Red State” for me is how Democratic liberals actually encouraged their followers to vote Republican as a way of driving conservatives out of their own party. That doesn’t appear to have been too smart in the long run.

    A For many years beginning in the 1940s Texas politics consisted of contests between conservatives and liberals in the Democratic primary. The more ideologically committed liberals saw themselves as the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party,” meaning that they were more in line with the northern wing in control of the national party. To gain control of the Texas party they needed to drive conservatives out of the Democratic primary, something that could be done only if the Republicans were a viable alternative. Thus, some prominent liberals endorsed a GOP candidate when the Democrats had nominated a conservative. This pattern began with John Tower in 1961 and continued on to include George H.W. Bush when he ran against Lloyd Bentsen for the U.S. Senate in 1970. Two old sayings come to mind: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” and “Be careful what you wish for.” The liberals succeeded in gaining control of the Democratic Party by 1976 when the contest between Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford drew nearly a half-million voters into the GOP primary. Two years later in 1978 their candidate knocked off Gov. Dolph Briscoe in the Democratic primary. The result of that, however, was the election of William P. Clements as the first Republican governor in 104 years. What the liberals failed to recognize was that most Texans were conservatives and to them ideology trumped party tradition and loyalty. As the Texas Democratic Party became more clearly liberal, the Republican Party was seen as the only conservative alternative in the state.

    In short, it was the intolerance of liberal Democrats that drove voters away and turned Democrats into what Instapundit has dubbed “a dying regional party”…

    Postscript: Actually, that first link says there are no more white Democrats holding office in the Deep South, however they define that. But there are still two white Democrats in the U.S. House from Texas: Lloyd Doggett and Beto O’Rourke, both of whom (I think) represent majority minority districts.

    Imagine a Highly Insightful Post on the Texas Budget Process Here

    Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

    The folks at the Texas Public Policy Foundation are cranking up the analysis in advance of next year’s budget fight. So this would be the perfect time to offer up a deep, insightful delve into the labyrinth structure of the Texas state budget process, from the roles of the Legislative Budget Board and the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts all the way to the Governor’s desk, to the intricate details of the biannual and supplemental budget processes. Such a piece would also break down the various revenue streams, from oil and gasses leases, property tax, sales tax and federal grants.

    Too damn bad I’m not doing that.

    It’s not for lack of material. Just in the last few days, TPPF has produced:

  • A detailed call for greater transparency in the Texas budget (funny how government always seems to spend more (never less) than the legislature actually authorized)
  • A look at what an actual conservative Texas budget would look like; and
  • A real Texas Budget Worksheet, with lots of tiny little rows of historical budget data.
  • But frankly, I’m still recovering from Thanksgiving and have fallen behind on a ton of stuff I need to do (raking leaves, vacuuming, cooking and book cataloging, to name but four), so I’m going to pass on the heavy analytical lifting today, thank you.

    But don’t let me stop you…

    Texas vs. California Roundup for November 26, 2014

    Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

    Who knows how many people will read this in the rush of Thanksgiving travel:

  • Texas’ economy continues to kick ass.
  • In fact, Texas set a record for new jobs for the third month in a row. (Hat tip: The Twitter feed of Texas’ incoming governor.)
  • Texas also leads the nation in oil and gas jobs created. (Hat tip: Texas’ incoming Comptroller.)
  • CalPERS retirees will soon soon outnumber active workers. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California’s death by pensions.
  • Bankrupt San Bernardino caves in to CalPERS.
  • Still, court rulings make it possible that bankrupt cities may shed pension obligations in the future.
  • You know how California’s Prop 30 tax hikes in 2012 were supposed to prevent university pension hikes? Guess what? “Despite the massive tax hikes ostensibly to keep higher education affordable, the University of California Board of Regents just announced a sizable increase in tuition.” Let’s hope that students at California universities learn the proper lesson: tax hikes are never temporary.
  • Indeed, tuition will increase around $15,000 by 2019.
  • The underfunded liabilities across all California pension systems adds up to $130 billion.
  • Pension crisis divides California Democrats on UC tuition hikes.
  • Demands from union-backed environmental group torpedo plans for a Japanese-owned factory in Palmdale, California.
  • Education reform loses in California.
  • California is spending $33 million to get rid of 800 non-endangered birds.
  • Costa Mesa motel residents sue over a law requiring them to move every 30 days.
  • Some Tweets:

  • LinkSwarm for November 21, 2014

    Friday, November 21st, 2014

    Here in Austin, we’re enjoying a temporary respite from Winter in November, but I don’t expect it to last long.

    Links!

    All the lies of ObamCare:

    The growing impression that politicians don’t play straight with their constituents is completely toxic, particularly to Democrats, who actually want to use government to improve people’s lives. It’s one thing to downplay unpalatable choices made in the law; it’s another to never disclose the consequences of legislation until it’s too late for anyone to react. Combine that with the moustache-twirling of a Jonathan Gruber, saying that the idiots should be happy for what they got, and you have basically every conservative stereotype about liberal elites confirmed.

    Also: ObamaCare is designed for people buying insurance through it to get a nasty sticker shock in year two. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • House Republicans file suit over Obama’s unilateral actions on ObamaCare.
  • The administration is lying about ObamaCare signup numbers. Again.
  • “Why Texas Could Remain a Republican Stronghold for Another Generation.”
  • “The president’s promises have been proven to be worthless…How many illegal immigrants want to come out of the shadows and identify themselves to law enforcement based upon this promise?”
  • Jay Carney admits that with his illegal alien amnesty, Obama is doing something he previously called unconstitutional.
  • Mickey Kaus thinks the courts could very well act quickly to squash Obama’s illegal amnesty, much as they did with Harry Truman’s steel mill seizures.
  • Aaron Worthing thinks illegals will pass on Obama’s amnesty as a bad deal.
  • “These illegal aliens are willing to do the work that Americans will no longer do — namely, vote Democrat.”
  • How desperate are the Democrats? They’re saying Republican opposition to Obama’s illegal alien amnesty will lead to ethnic cleansing. (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • Top Obama bundler arrested on child rape charges.
  • Lefty lawyer Alan Derschowitz on Harvard’s kangaroo court sexual assault rules: “Harvard’s policy was written by people who think sexual assault is so heinous a crime that even innocence is not a defense.”
  • How come Bill Cosby gets convicted in the media for rape allegations by Bill Clinton gets a pass? “There is more sympathy for a white southerner like Clinton than a black comic like Cosby.”
  • A giant leap backward for woman-kind.
  • Price of ground beef hits record highs.
  • Oh lovely: Microsoft is deploying Daleks.
  • Guns and Crime Roundup

    Thursday, November 20th, 2014

    Another roundup of gun and crime news:

  • Washington state’s I-594 evidently makes it illegal to touch a gun you don’t own. Bloomberg’s long-term plan is to destroy gun culture by preventing new recruits. (Hat tip: Shall Not Be Questioned, which sees massive non-compliance in Washington state’s future…)
  • All about civil forfeiture abuse.
  • California gun control provision struck down. (Hat tip: Alphecca.)
  • Despite repeated legal rulings otherwise, it is still almost impossible to get a gun permit in Washington, D.C.
  • Girls just wanna have guns. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Oregon Democrats push for gun control. (Hat tip: Shall not Be Questioned.)
  • How can Milwaukee prosecute felons for illegal possession of firearms when there are so many Republican office-holders to investigate?
  • Texas State Senator Charles Perry files a bill to reduce the minimum CHL requirement caliber down to .22.
  • Facebook bans ads for gun safes. Because gun safes are such a gateway drug to buying guns…
  • Jay Leno folds like a cheap card table.
  • Armed citizens foils an attempted purse-snatching in Houston:

  • Man tries to rob veteran. Grounding and pounding ensues:

  • Dwight of Whipped Cream Difficulties visits the Wanenmacher’s Tulsa Gun Show.
  • Breaking into an armed homeowner’s house high on ecstasy, cocaine and alcohol is no way to go through life, son.
  • I’m thinking I may need to delink Sipsy Street if they’re going to call other gun bloggers “Judenrats”
  • A Real Texas Speaker’s Race? Don’t Count on It

    Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

    Despite a broad consensus that he’s too moderate and holding up important conservative legislation, conservatives in the Texas House failed to unseat Speaker Joe Straus in both 2010 and 2012. Since then, one Straus ally after another has fallen to more conservative challengers in the primaries. Will this session finally be the one where Straus is replaced?

    Well, conservative are certainly going to try to oust Straus from the speaker’s chair. “Scott Turner, the freshman state representative challenging Joe Straus for House speaker, affirmed on Tuesday that he will insist on a floor vote on Jan. 13, the first day of session, come what may.”

    Michael Quinn Sullivan makes the case for ousting Straus. (One would think that if Sullivan was as powerful as liberal reporters make him out to be, Straus would have been out of a job in 2011. But for all Sullivan’s considerable influence, Straus has managed to survive repeated attempts to kick him oust him.)

    And Texas Tea Party groups are threatening to hold Reps accountable if they vote for Straus as Speaker again. Indeed, the North Texas Tea Party said as much on their website. Unfortunately, they decided to do so in an overheated and poorly-formatted screed interspersed with ALL CAPITAL LETTERS FOR EMPHASIS. Guys, you’re not posting on a BBS in 1984. Things like this make it entirely too easy for the opposition (in this case Straus-backing RINOs and their media enablers) to dismiss you out of hand.

    However, as much as it pains me to report it, the more I read the tea leaves, the more I think Straus survives the challenge this time as well.

    Conservatives were less than thrilled when Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, who owes his seat in large measure to running against Straus and beating Straus ally Vicki Truitt in 2012, announced he was supporting Straus for speaker.

    Then Sarah Rumpf wrote that still more Republicans announced they were backing Straus:

    Joining Capriglione are Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound), Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton), Phil King (R-Weatherford), Myra Crownover (R-Lake Dallas), James Frank (R-Wichita Falls), and Drew Springer (R-Muenster), who emailed the release to Breitbart Texas with a short message that it was “from leading North Texas conservatives on our position on the 84th session.” Straus was first elected Speaker in 2009, largely on the votes of the Democrats and moderate Republicans in the House. Since first taking up the Speaker’s gavel, Straus has faced criticism from various conservative groups and grassroots activists who view him as more of a moderate.

    Now comes news that Straus theoretically has enough votes in the bag to stay speaker:

    The list of House Republicans who have publicly backed Straus in the past week include Trent Ashby of Lukfin, Cecil Bell of Magnolia, Giovanni Capriglione of Southlake, Travis Clardy of Nacogdoches, Myra Crownover of Denton, Tony Dale of Cedar Park, Marsha Farney of Georgetown, James Frank of Wichita Falls, Larry Gonzales of Round Rock, Jason Isaac of Dripping Springs, Kyle Kacal of Pearland, Phil King of Weatherford, Tim Kleinschmidt of Lexington, J.M. Lozano of Kingsville, Doug Miller of New Braunfels, Morrison, John Otto of Dayton, Chris Paddie of Marshall, Tan Parker of Flower Mound, John Raney of Bryan, Ron Simmons of Carrollton, Drew Springer of Muenster and Paul Workman of Austin. Three newly elected Republicans who will join the Legislature in January — Dade Phelan of Beaumont, Gary VanDeaver of Clarksville and Rick Galindo of San Antonio — have also pledged support to Straus.

    Et tu, Tony Dale? It’s disappointing that all three Williamson County Representatives (Dale, Larry Gonzalez and Marsha Farney) are backing Straus.

    At this point, it’s beginning to look like conservatives will need to knock off Straus in the 2016 Republican primary to get rid of him…

    LinkSwarm for November 14, 2014

    Friday, November 14th, 2014

    There’s been so many people offering up so much information on “GruberGate” that I assume anyone reading this blog has seen coverage of it already. The fact that Jonathan Gruber not only lied to the American voters he called “stupid” about ObamaCare, but also got paid $400,000 to do it certainly adds insult to injury. As does the fact that both Nancy Pelosi and members of Obama’s MSM praetorian guard like Vox’s Sarah Kliff are now lying about Gruber’s central involvement in ObamaCare despite having cited him in that capacity earlier.

    In other news:

  • Some really interesting nuggets of midterm statistical analysis from Sabato’s Crystal Ball. (Hat tip: SooperMexican’s Twitter feed.)
  • Republicans did very well picking up governorships, including some in deep-blue states.
  • Scott Walker just keeps winning.
  • More on the theme: “Does Walker sizzle? Not exactly. Is he a particularly charismatic speaker? No, he isn’t. But does he sit upon a throne made of the skulls of his enemies? Yes, yes he does.” (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • Britain is poised to silence “extremist” speech. And who gets to determine what’s “extremist”? Why, the government, of course!

    Last month, May unveiled her ambition to “eliminate extremism in all its forms.” Whether you’re a neo-Nazi or an Islamist, or just someone who says things which betray, in May’s words, a lack of “respect for the rule of law” and “respect for minorities”, then you could be served with an extremism disruption order (EDO).

    Why do I get the impression that people pointing out Pakistani Muslim involvement in the Rotherham child rape scandals will be among the first targeted by this new law?

  • It’s not just the British who fail to investigate sex crimes: New Orleans police only investigated 14% of sex crimes.
  • Professional feminists have spent more time and energy denouncing video games than the sale and rape of girls in Nigeria and Iraq.”
  • “Honest, decent and intelligent people rightly perceive feminism as a limitless doctrine of fanatical hatred….Feminism isn’t about equality. Feminism is about hate.”
  • “Twitter has empowered leftist feminists to have a censorship field day.”
  • Just when the authoritarian left thought they had finally won the culture wars along came #GamerGate.
  • Time has a poll on which word should be “banned” in 2015. “Feminist” not only gets the most votes, it pretty much gets as many votes as all the rest combined.
  • Ted Cruz was right about the shutdown. It turns out that showing Republicans are opposed to horribly unpopular Democratic programs is popular with voters. Who knew?
  • Fake Maine hate crime ends up with accuser charged with “reckless conduct with dangerous weapon and driving to endanger.”
  • Democratic state Rep. Ron Reynolds’ barratry case has been declared a mistrial.
  • Islamist suicide bomber kills 50 at a high school in Nigeria.
  • Via Dwight of Whipped Cream Difficulties comes this Jim Schutze piece on how The Texas Tribune’s vaunted independence meant bupkis when it came to the Wallace Hall case.
  • China Vows To Begin Aggressively Falsifying Air Pollution Numbers.”
  • Price manipulation in the gold market?
  • Correction: Last week I gave the impression that Republican Carl DiMaio had won his California U.S. congressional race. That is what the early returns indicated, but he ended up losing a close race.
  • Here’s a dog story that will make your blood boil.
  • Battleground Texas Pledges We’ll Be Able To Kick Them Around Some More in 2016

    Thursday, November 13th, 2014

    Battleground Texas says we’ll have it to kick around in 2016:

    The head of Battleground Texas is telling supporters that despite an Election Day-shellacking, the group plans to stay put for the next round of elections in 2016. In a memo posted on the group’s website, executive director Jenn Brown says Battleground Texas is analyzing what went wrong. “I know that the losses last week were tough, and there has been a lot of negativity in the aftermath of the election. But I want you to look forward with me. Because we have work to do,” said Brown.

    Funny how pouring tens of millions of dollars into a state, only for Democrats lose even more badly than they did four years ago, might be perceived as “negative.”

    Also: “[Wendy] Davis raised money for her campaign field operation and Battleground Texas spent it. According to campaign finance reports, nearly $400,000 went to a Chicago consulting firm, 270 Strategies, headed by Jeremy Bird, who helped create Battleground Texas.”

    So no matter how badly Davis did, I guess the campaign was a rousing success for Bird.

    That piece also says that Battleground Texas can work with millionaire lawyer Steve Mostyn’s Ready for Hillary super-PAC. I’m having trouble thinking of scenarios where Hillary could win Texas that don’t involve the phases “complete breakdown of civilization” and “widespread cannibalism”…