Archive for the ‘Texas’ Category

LinkSwarm for February 8, 2016

Monday, February 8th, 2016

I emptied the link bucket on Friday, but lo and behold, a whole new torrent of news has come rushing down the pipes:

  • You know all that “Ted Cruz is too unpopular to win” talk? Cruz is killing it with blue collar voters:

    According to entrance polling, among the roughly half of all Republican voters without a college degree, Cruz won 30 percent of the vote, eclipsing Trump’s 28 percent. Marco Rubio was a distant third, winning the support of just 17 percent of voters without college degrees. Cruz did 5 points better among voters without college degrees than among college grads (30 percent to 25 percent), while, among all candidates included in the entrance polling (Cruz, Trump, Rubio, Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders), Rubio was the candidate who had the lowest portion of his support come from those without college degrees—he did 10 points worse among voters without college degrees than among college grads (17 to 27 percent).

    According to the entrance polling, Cruz also fared better than Trump or Rubio among younger voters. Among voters under the age of 30, Cruz won 26 percent of the vote to Rubio’s 23 percent and Trump’s 20 percent. Among voters in their 30s and early 40s, Cruz won 30 percent of the vote to Trump’s 23 percent and Rubio’s 21 percent. (Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton got clobbered among younger voters, winning less than 30 percent of the vote among those under the age of 45.)

  • “A couple of days ago on the ONT we were reminded that Ted Cruz is only five months older than Marco Rubio. That’s one month for every case he’s won before the Supreme Court. So don’t let anyone tell you Cruz has no accomplishments.”
  • Five New Hampshire state reps who backed Rand Paul are now supporting Cruz.
  • Des Moines Register: “What happened Monday night at the Democratic caucuses was a debacle, period. Democracy, particularly at the local party level, can be slow, messy and obscure. But the refusal to undergo scrutiny or allow for an appeal reeks of autocracy.”
  • At least one Iowa delegate was unilaterally changed from Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton.
  • Hillary Clinton’s minions push polling Democrats in Nevada.
  • Hillary is bad at faking sincerity.
  • Gee, look how tremendously unpopular the name “Hillary” became after 1992.
  • “Marco Rubio Is Diminished by a Caustic Chris Christie.”
  • If you’re an Iraqi “refugee” who hasn’t had sex in months, do you: A.) Hire a prostitute, B.) Wank to porn, or C.) Rape a 10 year old boy in a public pool?
  • Meanwhile, in Belgium, seven men (including five “migrants”) danced and sang in Arabic as the took turns raping an unconscious 17 year old girl.
  • UK Muslim rape gang sentenced to collective 140 years in prison for raping a schoolgirl.
  • “In the Safe Spaces on Campus, No Jews Allowed.”
  • Obama Administration reinstates “catch and release” for illegal aliens. (Hat tip: Doug Ross.)
  • First confirmed case of Zika virus in Travis County. It’s funny how, just as with Enterovirus D-68, novel pathogens have a habit of showing up just when illegal alien populations do…
  • The effects of immigration on unemployment: “None of the net gain in employment over the entire 14-year period went to natives.”
  • The world’s most miserable economies: Socialist paradise Venezuela ranks first (which is to say last), followed by Argentina, South Africa, Greece and Ukraine. (Hat tip: NRO’s The Corner.)
  • Welfare mom complains about the free food and room service. (Hat tip: Doug Ross.)
  • Cherokee artist arrested for not being a real Cherokee artist. I look forward to the coming felony indictment of Elizabeth Warren…
  • For fans of the art of newspaper headline writing: “Former London Zoo meerkat expert fined for glassing monkey-handler in row over llama-keeper.”
  • Republican Lujan Beats Democrat Urasti in Special Election for San Antonio State Rep District

    Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

    Well, I’m not sure many people saw this coming:

    Winning in a district long held by Democrats, Republican John Lujan outpolled Tomás Uresti in Tuesday’s special runoff in Texas House District 118.

    Filling a seat vacated last year by former state Rep. Joe Farias, D-San Antonio, the GOP candidate will serve out the remainder of Farias’ unexpired term, through the end of the year.

    Another election is set for March 1 to fill the seat for a two-year term starting in 2017. Lujan and Uresti are seeking their parties’ nominations in that race, and each has a primary opponent, so the winner won’t be decided until Nov. 8.

    “The district with about 87,000 voters handed Lujan the win by a 171-vote margin.”

    State District 118 is three-quarters Hispanic and largely suburban/exurban, and in the 2012 election it went 60/40 for Democrat Joe Farias, who resigned in August. Why he resigned, triggering a special election, is a good question, as he had already announced he would not run for reelection this year, and the House is not scheduled to convene until 2017.

    Despite the fact that the district is going to be hard to hold in November, it’s still an impressive feat for Republicans to have captured it at all. Proving that Republicans can win in clear majority Hispanic districts, and forcing Democrats to devote the time and resources necessary to effectively contest the seat, counts as a big win.

    (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)

    Rick Perry Endorses Ted Cruz

    Monday, January 25th, 2016

    Ted Cruz has picked up the endorsement of former Texas governor Rick Perry for President, and will help campaign as a surrogate for Cruz in Iowa. It’s not a huge endorsement, given how Perry’s own presidential campaign flamed out, but it’s a nice pickup for Cruz, and solidifies his odds for winning Texas on March 1. Also, it’s not as automatic a choice as some out-of-state commentators may believe, given that Perry endorsed (however tepidly) Cruz’s opponent David Dewhurst in his 2012 senate race. It may also indicate conservatives are coalescing around Cruz as the alternative to Donald Trump.

    In any case, it’s a worth a hell of a lot more than Lindsey Graham’s endorsement of Jeb Bush…

    LinkSwarm for January 22, 2016

    Friday, January 22nd, 2016

    Been a trying week. Have a Friday LinkSwarm, on me…

  • Mark Steyn reiterates his central thesis. Namely secular welfare state = low birth rates = import of Muslim immigrants = extinction of the west. “It’s Still the Demography, Stupid.”
  • Welcome to the ObamaCare gaming death spiral.
  • Krauthammer: Hillary’s email scandal is now now worse than what Snowden did, because she exposed information that was far more sensitive.
  • Mark Rich may be dead, but the Clintons are still raking in dough from his associates thanks to Clinton’s pardon of him.
  • Democrat-controlled Flint, Michigan knowingly poisons its citizens with unsafe drinking water.
  • Myth: Ted Cruz is unpopular outside the GOP: Fact: He has higher favorable ratings than Donald Trump or Jeb Bush.
  • “In today’s atmosphere there can be no greater reason to support Ted Cruz than the fact that so many entrenched Washington insiders hate him.”
  • National Review takes a short break from their Trump-bashing to look at how the mainstream media has made him such a big deal through saturation coverage. “The media that so thoroughly built up Trump as a contrast to his boring, predictable, consistently conservative GOP rivals might not find him so easy to tear down.”
  • “Are the Global Warmistas Simply Juicing Up the Latest Years’ Temperatures With ‘Adjustments’ While Reducing the Temperatures of Previous Years, To Always Make the Current Year ‘The Hottest’? Sure seems that way.”
  • Global Warming advocates latest excuse: stupid lying satellites.
  • Anti-GMO scientific papers may have manipulated data.
  • Female Muslim scholar says it’s just fine and dandy to rape non-Muslim women to humiliate them.
  • “Western Europe’s elites have pretended that importing millions of Muslims from countries ranging from Morocco to Afghanistan raises no issues and creates no problems. That this is untrue has been obvious for a long time.”
  • Warning: Pretty much every aspect of this story is horrifying and disgusting.
  • Law enforcement on Open Carry in Texas: “We have no concerns and we have had no problems.” (Hat tip: Push Junction.)
  • Slashdot: California Assemblyman Jim Cooper wants to add crypto-backdoors to your phone. Wanna guess which political party Cooper is a member of? Go ahead. Guess.
  • Remembering Sergei Korolev, the legendary “chief designer” of the Soviet space program. (Hat tip: Gregory Benford’s Facebook page.)
  • Science Fiction editor David Hartwell has died. He was a hugely important figure in the field…
  • Waco Shootout Update: The View From the Cossacks

    Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

    The Dallas Observer has two interesting pieces up on the Waco biker shootout:

    First, a profile of the Cossacks, which paints them as a tough but mostly mostly law-abiding group. Much of the piece covers Jake “Rattle Can” Rhyne, a Cossack who worked a day-job as an iron-worker and helped coach his children’s sports teams.

    That was until May 17, 2015, when a gunfight took his life, along with those of eight other men. The details are sketchy, and Waco police haven’t done much to answer the lingering questions, but a melee involving an “outlaw” club, the notorious Bandidos, left Jake dying in the parking lot of the Waco Twin Peaks, bleeding from bullet wounds to his neck and torso.

    Witnesses say he convulsed and bled for up to 45 minutes, receiving no medical help from police who swarmed all around him. Ambulances were parked nearby, but Rhyne spent his final moments with a young Cossack who desperately tried to staunch the bleeding with a bandanna. Jake Wilson, the “brother” who was with him, calls his death “a very big injustice.”

    Second, an interview with Wilson, one of the surviving Cossacks, who claims Waco police made no attempt to tend to the wounded, or even allow them to be tended to.

    John Wilson: … I ask him if several of us couldn’t pick up Jake along with some other ones that were wounded and carry them to the ambulances, and he basically told me that if I didn’t want to get shot, I wouldn’t.

    [So the police] made no attempt during that time to give first aid or any kind of aid to Jake.

    No. Absolutely not. Every one of those cop cars had some kind of first aid kit in ‘em. And not a single one at any time walked over, brought us a first aid kit, offered to tie a tourniquet on anybody, patch a hole, anything. Our guys were sitting there with nothing but bandannas in their hands trying to stuff bullet holes.

    Could you tell from your vantage point looking at Jake [Rhyne] if there was a lot of blood loss?

    Yes.

    So it’s possible — I’m not a doctor, of course, and neither are you — that he bled out.

    Well, I have to assume that those guys that were alive 30 minutes after the fact that died without medical care, you know, we can only make assumptions, but their odds of survival would have been better if they’d had medical care. Would they have died anyway? Maybe. As you say, I’m not a doctor. But they certainly deserved the opportunity to try to live. And to try to recover from it. And the opportunity was sitting right there in an ambulance 50 yards away that they weren’t allowed access to.

    This accords with previous reports of police not offering medical aid to the wounded.

    I’ve often defended police over unrealistic expectations that they always make the exact right call in split-second life-or-death situations. But there was nothing split-second in a Waco aftermath that saw people bleeding to death (some from police bullets) tens of minutes after the scene was secure. That smells less like incompetence and more like (at a minimum) manslaughter.

    I’ll reiterate something I’ve said before: One need not take every statement of motorcycle gang members facing possible capital murder charges at face value to believe that something went badly wrong with the police response in the Waco shootout.

    Texas vs. California Update for January 19, 2016

    Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

    Been a while since I did a Texas vs. California update, due to Reasons, so here’s one:

  • Texas ranks as the third freest state in the union, behind New Hampshire and South Dakota. California ranks second to last, just ahead of Massachusetts.
  • Texas added 16,300 Jobs in November.
  • How’s this for heavy-handed symbolism? California’s legislature plans to close one of its doors to the public, but continue to allow access to lobbyists. Because you’ve always got to see your real boss when he comes around…
  • California’s unfunded liabilities for CalPERS and CalSTARS spiked by $24 billion is fiscal 2014/2015. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • The much ballyhooed pension reform plan won’t make it on the ballot this year. Supporters are now aiming for 2018. Who knows how broke California will be by then… (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • That’s probably because the game is rigged against pension reform. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Jerry Brown unveils a budget in California. The budget increases are relatively modest, by California standards, but $2 billion into the rainy day fund isn’t even remotely going to cover California’s huge unfunded pension gap, and most of the structural bloat in the budget remains.
  • More on the same theme:

    While all the numbers are constantly in flux, in 2014-15, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System saw its status fall from 76.3 percent funded to 73.3 percent, likely due to the fact that investment returns fell far below expectations. The long-neglected California State Teachers’ Retirement System, as of June 30, 2014, was 69 percent funded. Combined, the systems report unfunded pension promises of more than $160 billion.

    The current budget shows steep and consistent increases in state funding to the two systems. Whereas CalPERS is set to receive $4.3 billion in state contributions in the 2015-16 fiscal year, which ends June 30, it could receive $4.8 billion the following year. CalSTRS is to receive $1.9 billion this year and about $2.47 billion next year.

    In comparison, CalPERS and CalSTRS received $3.1 billion and $1.26 billion, respectively, in 2011-2012.

    While it is perfectly reasonable for costs to rise over time, the rate that costs have risen for the two giant pension funds is mainly a consequence of California trying to play catch-up for years of inadequate forecasting and planning, aggravated by investment losses. But because the pension systems are run for public employees – CalPERS’ board is full of former public employee union leaders – the necessary changes and adjustments have been made far too late to avoid calamity.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • On the actual mechanics of pension reform, and the impossibility implementing them at the state level in California. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Part 2, examining the possibility of reform at the local level. (Ditto.)
  • “California government, however, serves one purpose. It always reminds America what not to do.” Also:

    California has given us three new truths about government.

    One, the higher that taxes rise, the worse state services become.

    Two, the worse a natural disaster hits, the more the state contributes to its havoc.

    And three, the more existential the problem, the more the state ignores it.

    California somehow has managed to have the fourth-highest gas taxes in the nation, yet its roads are rated 44th among the 50 states. Nearly 70 percent of California roads are considered to be in poor or mediocre condition by the state senate. In response, the state legislature naturally wants to raise gas taxes, with one proposal calling for an increase of 12 cents per gallon, which would give California the highest gas taxes in the nation.

  • Federal judge rejects San Bernardino’s bankruptcy proposal, saying it doesn’t contain enough information.
  • Sacramento continues to ignore the needs of rural residents. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Half of California’s driver’s licenses are issued to illegal aliens.
  • After years at the top of the relocation list, Texas was only the 9th biggest relocation destination in 2015.
  • On the other hand, Texas was still the top destination according to Allied Van Lines.
  • But businesses continue to flee California:

    In California, costs to run a business are higher than in other states and nations largely due to the states tax and regulatory policies and the business climate shows little chance of improving. It is understandable that from 2008 through 2015, at least 1,687 California disinvestment events occurred, a count that reflects only those that became public knowledge. Experts in site selection generally agree that at least five events fail to become public knowledge for every one that does. Thus it is reasonable to conclude that a minimum of 10,000 California disinvestment events have occurred during that period….For about 40 years California has been viewed as a state in which it is difficult to do business. Gov. Jerry Brown’s Administration’s less than candid approach regarding the business climate has misled the Legislature, the news media and the public about the flight of capital, facilities and jobs to other states and nations.

    The study also shows that Texas had the most new facilities opening up in the nation in 2014, with 689. California, despite being the most populous state, tied for 12th with 170.

  • 85% of Marin County’s special district workers collected over $100,000.” Bonus: Their pensions are underfunded too. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Troubled California Wine Retailer Files for Bankruptcy. Premier Cru owes customers almost $70 million for wines it never delivered.”
  • This county-by-county breakdown of recession recovery is full of (very slow loading) data, and I haven’t come close to digesting it yet.
  • State Rep. Jason Villalba (R-ino) Garners a Primary Challenger

    Monday, January 11th, 2016

    Remember Rep. Jason Villalba, the ostensible Republican responsible for such hits as let’s make it illegal for bloggers and gun owners to photograph the police and I’m going to block my critics on Twitter?

    Well, he’s attracted a Republican primary challenger in Dan Morenoff.

    From his bio:

    Dan Morenoff is an unhyphenated, full-spectrum Conservative who grew up in the suburbs, went to the only public high school in America named for a baseball player, and married a girl who sat next to him in a 7th grade history class.

    He studied economics and political science at Columbia, while running the school’s Conservative newspaper (he believes it was the only one in Manhattan at the time) and working with a think tank on entitlement policy.

    After college, Dan worked again on entitlement reform with Senator Phil Gramm for a number of years,before leaving for law school at the University of Chicago. There, too, Dan led the institution’s leading Conservative organization.

    Since 2001, Dan’s lived in Dallas, where he’s worked as a lawyer and raised three girls with his wife Erica. In that time, Dan has led the local chapters of both the Federalist Society and the Republican Jewish Coalition, while serving on the boards of various local charities (including his kids’ Jewish day school and his synagogue).

    Dan, you had me at “Federalist Society.”

    (Hat tip: Push Junction.)

    “Refugee” Arrested As Terrorism Subject in Houston

    Friday, January 8th, 2016

    Another one of Obama’s “refugees” makes his presence known:

    Authorities said Thursday that two Iraqi refugees have been arrested on terrorism-related charges in Houston and California.

    According to the FBI’s Houston office, Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, 24, was charged with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State, unlawfully attempting to gain U.S. citizenship and making false statements.

    Al Hardan, a Palestinian born in Iraq, entered the United States as a refugee in November 2009 and has lived in Houston since being granted legal permanent residence in August 2011, the FBI said in a prepared statement.

    Authorities said Al Hardan is accused of attempting to provide support and resources, including “training, expert advice and assistance and personnel — specifically himself — to a known foreign terrorist organization.”

    The FBI also said that Al Hardan lied on his application to be a naturalized U.S. citizen.

    “He allegedly represented he was not associated with a terrorist organization when, in fact, he associated with members and sympathizers of ISIL throughout 2014,” the FBI said.

    Somehow all these terrorists and rapists keep slipping through that “rigorous screening” Obama likes to talk about…

    Waco Biker Shootout Update: Top Bandidos Arrested

    Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

    Three of the top Bandidos leaders have caught federal charges.

    National leaders of the Bandidos biker gang were arrested Wednesday on charges of racketeering and waging a deadly “war” on the rival Cossacks gang, federal authorities said.

    An indictment announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Antonio accuses three Bandidos leaders of sanctioning a three-year fight that included violent clashes with rival gangs and distribution of methamphetamine.

    The accusations focus on a rivalry that came under renewed attention in May, when a meeting of biker groups at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, ended in gunfire that left nine people dead.

    Authorities believe that the fatal confrontation began when members of the Cossacks crashed a meeting of a confederation of biker clubs that included the Bandidos at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco. The dispute ended in gunfire between the bikers and police standing nearby.

    The federal indictment accuses John Portillo, the Bandidos’ national vice president, of using dues and donations to pay legal expenses of its members days after the Waco shooting. Portillo, along with national president Jeffrey Pike and national sergeant-at-arms Justin Cole Forster, are charged with racketeering, drug distribution and other crimes.

    None of those three shows up on the list of bikers arrested at the Waco shootout.

    “Using dues and donations to pay legal expenses of its members days after the Waco shooting…” Is that illegal? I’m actually asking here. I’m not aware of that violating any specific law, but I could be wrong.

    Federal charges are heavy, as Uncle Sam has essentially unlimited resources with which to investigate and make the case. As the Bandidos have been involved in drugs in the past, that may be the easiest charge to make stick. But it’s still mighty curious that no one has been charged with murder for a shootout that left nine dead….

    Happy Open Carry Day!

    Friday, January 1st, 2016

    Happy New Year! Today the open carry law went into effect, meaning that if you have a Concealed Handgun License, you may now openly carry a handgun in most (but not all) locations where it was legal to conceal carry before. (It was already legal to openly carry rifles and shotguns without a CHL, and the open carry law didn’t change that.)

    The Houston Chronicle has some pointers on open carry, though annoyingly, they are in slideshow form. Some highlights:

  • Open carry of handguns is only allowed for those who already hold a valid CHL.
  • You need a belt or shoulder holster to open carry, even in your car. Your gun must be holstered while driving or otherwise hidden.
  • Primary and secondary schools, hospitals, sporting events, and nursing homes are still “gun-free zones.”
  • Handguns cannot be taken into amusement parks, churches, hospitals and bars and public meetings if they post notice it’s a gun-free zone.
  • CHL holders can open carry unless it’s been prohibited by the private property owner. (I am given to understand that HEB is allowing concealed carry, but not open carry.)
  • “If you do not leave you could be charged with criminal trespass and/or unlawful carry. You will also most likely lose your rights to carry a handgun too.”
  • A 30.06 sign means no concealed carry on premises but open carry is allowed.

  • A 30.07 sign ONLY means no open carry on premises but conceal carry is allowed.

  • And you still can’t carry (open or concealed) in an establishment that derrives 51% or more of its income from the sale of alcohol:

  • You can’t open or conceal carry beyond the security checkpoint in an airport (duh).
  • Reciprocity still applies, so if you’re licensed to conceal carry by another state, you’re licensed to open carry in Texas.
  • The separate campus carry law which allows CHL holders to conceal carry in most buildings at most public universities does not go into effect January 1, but rather August 1, but you still won’t be able to open carry on campus then. Private colleges and universities may opt out, and junior colleges do not need to comply until August 2017.
  • I think the touches all the highlights. If you think I missed something important, let me know in the comments.