Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

Brexit Aftershocks

Friday, June 24th, 2016

It’s shaping up to be an interesting day:

  • Tory Prime Minister David Cameron is resigning. “Mr Cameron announced shortly after 08:15 BST that he had informed the Queen of his decision to remain in place for the short term and to then hand over to a new prime minister by the time of the Conservative conference in October.” Current favorite to replace Cameron is pro-Leave MP Boris Johnson.
  • Under terms of the Lisbon Treaty, it will take about two years to negotiate the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
  • World markets are going crazy.
  • The Pound Sterling is at its lowest exchange rate in 30 years.
  • Scotland, Northern Ireland and London voted heavily to stay in the EU, while Leave won pretty much everywhere else, including Wales. Now there’s talk of a second Scottish Independence referendum.
  • Euroskeptic parties across the continent are calling for their own independence votes.
  • Obama continues to demonstrate his magic touch at persuasion.
  • I would say the panic selling is largely unwarranted; there’s no reason that UK can’t negotiate an orderly exit from the EU and continue to participate in the European Economic Area the way that Norway and Switzerland do now. There was talk before the Brexit vote that the EU wouldn’t go along with this out of spite, but if the endless Greece crisis has shown, Eurocrats negotiate their non-negotiable demands all the time, and I doubt even Angela Merkel is willing to put Europe through a deep recession (which is to say, deeper even than the current one the Euro seems to have engendered in perpetuity) just to “teach the UK a lesson.”

    More later…

    Shotgun Brexit Megapost

    Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

    Imagine that there’s a thoughtful, in-depth introduction here that explains the pros and cons of the Leave and Stay positions.

    You’ll have to imagine it, because I have no time to write it and the vote’s tomorrow. Instead, have a quick-and-dirty shotgun scatter of Brexit links.

  • The economic case for Brexit. “The European project is controlled by statists and the one good thing it provides (free trade between members) is easily overwhelmed by the negative things it imposes (protectionism against outsiders, tax harmonization, horrible agriculture subsidies, bad fisheries policy, etc).” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Britain Doesn’t Need the EU to Thrive. (Hat tip: Zero Hedge.)
  • “The fight over Brexit is symptomatic of a much larger crisis facing out-of-touch elites on both sides of the Atlantic.” More:

    The European Union’s bureaucracy and paper-parliament were set up to be as insulated as possible from the concerns of actual voters. Representatives to the European Parliament are selected by party elites as a kind of highbrow patronage. They invariably defer to the permanent bureaucracy, which acts like a transnational cartel, one that happens to be composed of governments. As Daniel Hannan, the rare Euroskeptic skunk to infiltrate the garden party that is the EU parliament, put it, “faced with a choice between democracy and supra-nationalism, the EU will always choose supra-nationalism.”

  • Elites ignore the populist revolt against them at their peril.
  • “A substantial portion of the Leave campaign views the referendum as a rigged process and the EU as conspiring behind the backs of the British people to launch a new round of integration.”
  • Everyone knows the Brexit vote is a sham.
  • A generally good piece about the myths of both sides of the Brexit debate, but when he tags Geert Wilders as a “genuine fascist,” he’s talking out his ass.
  • Brits buying gold.
  • Here’s a debate between UK Tory PM David Cameron and UKIP head Nigel Farage on the subject:

  • Finally, here’s Brexit: The Movie, a 71 minute film that lays out the case for the UK leaving the EU. Haven’t watched any but a tiny bit of either of these videos, but offer them up here as a public service.

  • LinkSwarm for June 3, 2016

    Friday, June 3rd, 2016

    Another week, another Texas flood. Try to stay dry and enjoy a Friday LinkSwarm:

  • Paglia on Clinton: “If it were a Republican in the crosshairs, Hillary’s shocking refusal to meet with the Inspector General (who interviewed all four of the other living Secretaries of State of the past two decades) would have been the lead item flagged in screaming headlines from coast to coast. Let’s face it—the genuinely innocent do not do pretzel twists like this to cover their asses.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • New York Magazine massively re-edits article on why Hillary won’t debate because the original wasn’t fawning enough.
  • Eight reasons Hillary sucks. Including Obama: “she does not seem to want to run on Ben Rhodes’s foreign policy, Jonathan Gruber’s Obamacare, Lois Lerner’s IRS, Lisa Jackson’s EPA, Eric Holder’s Justice Department, or Barack Obama’s racial healing. And yet she needs Obama’s hard-left base. So far she has rejected her 2008 Annie Oakley, Reagan-Democrat schtick, gambling that her Black Lives (alone) Matter and transgenderism pandering can ensure that she will match Obama’s historic share of the minority vote. But so far it seems just as likely that she will lose more voters among the white working class than she can lease from Obama’s core.”
  • College students are allowed to ask Hillary Clinton original, spontaneous questions that just happen to be scripted by the Clinton campaign. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • At judge’s order, 20,000 documents related to Fast and Furious scandal released. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Trump is right: Some illegal aliens are being lavished with more benefits than our own veterans.
  • How a naval contractor named “Fat Leonard” infiltrated the Navy with bribes, prostitutes and lavish parties. “The Soviets couldn’t have penetrated us better than Leonard Francis.” Our country is in the best of hands. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Oberlin students are among the most precious of snowflakes.
  • More on the same theme. Alas, this morning I just don’t have time to explicate all the manifest idiocies on display by the Social Justice Warrior Campus Cadets…
  • Obama Administration bitch-slapped for attempting ex-post facto regulation. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Columbia was once a basket case and Venezuela a thriving nation on the rise. Thanks to The Magic Power of Socialism™, they’ve switched places.
  • This bitch is so crazy I can’t even keep up with her crazy bitch shit.”
  • Enya: rich crazy cat lady.
  • Flooding-related blackout leads to Texas prison riots.
  • City Manager behind Dallas’ controversial city-owned hotel steps down.
  • If your political party openly calls for the complete destruction of the oil industry, maybe you shouldn’t have your national convention in Houston.
  • Science Fiction writer Gregory Benford on university host escort duties for G. Gordon Liddy, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, and a certain “Tom.”
  • Space City Comic Con turns into an actual con. As in the fraud kind…
  • Swiss open world’s longest tunnel with ceremony featuring marching uniform worker drones, a horned goat god, and a giant flying death baby.
  • Life in Venezuela is Murder

    Thursday, May 12th, 2016

    In the course of this piece on Venezuela’s bankrupt socialist government using tanks against “paramilitary” opposition, I came across this tidbit of crime information:

    The homicide rate in Venezuela is surging again in 2016, the Prosecutor General’s office warned in its first quarterly report of the year last week. Venezuela suffered 18,000 homicides in 2015 according to the Prosecutor General, but NGO’s put that figure closer to 28,000 murders for last year.

    Even given that Latin American murder rates are generally higher than North America and Europe, that’s shockingly high for a nation of 30 million. In fact, both figures are more murders than for all of the United States for 2013 (the last year full FBI figures are available). And U.S. figures include such idyllic peaceful environs as Chicago, Baltimore and Detroit.

    And life for Venezuelans who aren’t outright murdered continues to get worse. “The experiment with “21st-century socialism” as introduced by the late President Hugo Chavez, a self-described champion of the poor who vowed to distribute the country’s wealth among the masses, and instead steered the nation toward the catastrophe the world is witnessing under his handpicked successor Maduro, has been a cruel failure.”

    What our country is going through is monstrously unique: It’s nothing less than the collapse of a large, wealthy, seemingly modern, seemingly democratic nation just a few hours’ flight from the United States.

    In the last two years Venezuela has experienced the kind of implosion that hardly ever occurs in a middle-income country like it outside of war. Mortality rates are skyrocketing; one public service after another is collapsing; triple-digit inflation has left more than 70 percent of the population in poverty; an unmanageable crime wave keeps people locked indoors at night; shoppers have to stand in line for hours to buy food; babies die in large numbers for lack of simple, inexpensive medicines and equipment in hospitals, as do the elderly and those suffering from chronic illnesses.

    But why? It’s not that the country lacked money. Sitting atop the world’s largest reserves of oil at the tail end of a frenzied oil boom, the government led first by Chavez and, since 2013, by Maduro, received over a trillion dollars in oil revenues over the last 17 years. It faced virtually no institutional constraints on how to spend that unprecedented bonanza. It’s true that oil prices have since fallen—a risk many people foresaw, and one that the government made no provision for—but that can hardly explain what’s happened: Venezuela’s garish implosion began well before the price of oil plummeted. Back in 2014, when oil was still trading north of $100 per barrel, Venezuelans were already facing acute shortages of basic things like bread or toiletries.

    The real culprit is chavismo, the ruling philosophy named for Chavez and carried forward by Maduro, and its truly breathtaking propensity for mismanagement (the government plowed state money arbitrarily into foolish investments); institutional destruction (as Chavez and then Maduro became more authoritarian and crippled the country’s democratic institutions); nonsense policy-making (like price and currency controls); and plain thievery (as corruption has proliferated among unaccountable officials and their friends and families).

    A case in point is the price controls, which have expanded to apply to more and more goods: food and vital medicines, yes, but also car batteries, essential medical services, deodorant, diapers, and, of course, toilet paper. The ostensible goal was to check inflation and keep goods affordable for the poor, but anyone with a basic grasp of economics could have foreseen the consequences: When prices are set below production costs, sellers can’t afford to keep the shelves stocked. Official prices are low, but it’s a mirage: The products have disappeared.

    When a state is in the process of collapse, dimensions of decay feed back on each other in an intractable cycle. Populist giveaways, for example, have fed the country’s ruinous flirtation with hyperinflation; the International Monetary Fund now projects that prices will rise by 720 percent this year and 2,200 percent in 2017. The government virtually gives away gasoline for free, even after having raised the price earlier this year. As a result of this and similar policies, the state is chronically short of funds, forced to print ever more money to finance its spending.

    Though much of it will be familiar to anyone who follows this blog, read the entire story, if only for the factory owner who got in trouble for not stocking his bathrooms with toilet paper as per union rules (because it was unavailable at government stores), only to get in even more trouble for “hoarding” when he bought it on the black market…

    LinkSwarm for April 1, 2016

    Friday, April 1st, 2016

    Happy April Fools day! No tricks here, just the usual Friday LinkSwarm:

  • ObamaCare didn’t do jack to lower costs. (Hat tip Instapundit.)
  • Indeed, Obamacare is the fail that keeps failing: “As a result of the ACA, between 4 million and 9 million fewer people are projected to have employment-based coverage each year from 2017 through 2026 than would have had such coverage if the ACA had never been enacted.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Great news! The Nigerian Army has rescued rescued 800 Boko Haram hostages. That’s compared to the number of those hostages rescued by the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag, which is (stops, counts, carries the one) Zero.
  • Bad news: They just kidnapped 300 more. (Hat tip: Weasel Zippers.)
  • Following the Brussels attack, the standard ruling class rituals of aversion are in full bloom.
  • Donald Trump suggested targeting the families of terrorists. Putin’s Russia does exactly that.
  • The Obama Administration treats Little Sisters of the Poor worse than Exxon, Visa and Pepsi, all of whom have health plans lacking the abortion mandate. Then again, as Instapundit noted: “To be fair, that was basically because they hate those groups and wanted to punish them.”
  • Xi Jinping has accumulated more power than any leader since Mao. “He has been fighting dissent with even more ruthlessness than he has been waging war on graft. Not since the dark days after the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 has there been such a sweeping crackdown on critics of the party.”
  • Belgium’s current crises sounds an awful lot like where California is headed: Expensive government that’s congenitally incapable of solving problems.
  • Canadian bank depositors are now officially at risk of bail-ins.
  • David Brin says the Amendment that most protects the right of citizens to film interactions with the police is the Sixth.
  • Rob Ford was more than just a loud-mouth drunk. “Ford was a political pragmatist who simply didn’t give a damn what anyone thought about him other than his constituents. It was that gumption that endeared him to hundreds of thousands of Torontonians.”
  • Supergenius New Yorker writer thinks Arizona is next to Texas.

    Screen shot 2016-03-23 at 10.56.52 PM

    (Screen shot has been included because the article has been edited and no notice made of the deleted error.)

  • Illegal alien rapes 12-year old. (Hat tip: Director Blue.
  • Lake Travis hits full again.
  • Hulk Hogan may have just destroyed Gawker.” Well, we can only hope…
  • Lunatic hoplophobe associate professor of English calls 911 to report ROTC maneuvers on campus at the University of North Dakota. (Hat tip: Tam.)
  • Old and Busted: The Suicide Prevention Hotline. The New Hotness: The Suicide Encouragement Hotline. Not an April Fools joke, alas…
  • Why grackles love supermarket parking lots.
  • Texas vs. California Update for March 31, 2016

    Thursday, March 31st, 2016

    Lots of Texas vs. California linky goodness, much of it via Jack Dean at Pension Tsunami, who’s been emailing me links of significant interest.

  • Texas continues to grow:

    As last week’s US Census Bureau population estimates indicated, the story of population growth between 2014 and 2015 was largely about Texas, as it has been for the decade starting 2010 (See: “Texas Keeps Getting Bigger” The New Metropolitan Area Estimates). The same is largely true with respect to population trends in the nation’s largest counties, with The Lone Star state dominating both in the population growth and domestic migration among 135 counties with more than 500,000 population.

    Snip.

    Houston, which is the fastest growing major metropolitan area (over 1 million population) in the nation includes the two fastest growing large counties. Fort Bend County added 4.29 percent to its population between 2014 and 2015 and now has 716,000 residents. Montgomery County grew 3.57 percent to 538,000. In addition to these two suburban Houston counties, Harris County, the core County ranked 16th in growth, adding 2.03 percent to its population and exceeding 4.5 million population.

    Dallas-Fort Worth, the second fastest-growing major metropolitan area has two counties among the top 20. The third fastest-growing county is Denton (located north of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport), which added 3.42 percent to its population over the past year and now has 781,000 residents. Collin County, to the north of Dallas County, grew 3.17 percent and now stands at 914,000 residents. Its current growth rate would put Collin County over 1 million population by the 2020 census.

    Travis County, with its county seat of Austin, grew 2.22 percent to 1,177,000 and ranked 12th. Bexar County, centered on San Antonio grew 2.01 percent and ranks 17th.

    Overall, Texas had four of the five fastest growing large counties, and seven of the top twenty. California had none. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • The Austin metropolitan area passes 2 million people.
  • The California Policy Center has a devestating roundup of what’s wrong with California’s economy. To wit:
    • “A now has by far the nation’s highest state income tax rate. We are 34% higher than 2nd place Oregon, and a heck of a lot higher than all the rest”

    • “CA has the highest state sales tax rate in the nation. 7.5% (does not include local sales taxes).”
    • “California in 2015 ranked 14th highest in per capita property taxes (including commercial) – the only major tax where we are not in the worst ten states. But the 2014 average CA single-family residence (SFR) property tax is the 8th highest state in the nation. Indeed, the median CA homeowner property tax bill is 93% higher than the average for the other 49 states.”
    • “California has a nasty anti-small business $800 minimum corporate income tax, even if no profit is earned, and even for many nonprofits. Next highest state is Rhode Island at $500 (only for “C” corporations). 3rd is Delaware at $175. Most states are at zero.”
    • “California’s 2015 ‘business tax climate’ ranks 3rd worst in the nation – behind New York and anchor-clanker New Jersey. In addition, CA has a lock on the worst rank in the Small Business Tax Index – a whopping 8.3% worse than 2nd worst state.”
    • “The American Tort Reform Foundation in 2015 again ranks CA the ‘worst state judicial hellhole’ in U.S. – the most anti-business.”
    • “CA public school teachers the 3rd highest paid in the nation. CA students rank 48th in math achievement, 49th in reading.”
    • “California’s real poverty rate (the new census bureau standard adjusted for COL) is easily the worst in the nation at 23.4%. We are 57.3% higher than the average for the other 49 states.”
    • “Of 100 U.S. real estate markets, in 2013 CA contained by far the least affordable middle class housing market (San Francisco). PLUS the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th.”

    It’s like a whole bunch of Texas vs. California roundup statistics all in one big green ball of fail. Read the whole thing. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • “California’s 50% [minimum wage] increase would eliminate nearly 700,000 jobs—which means higher unemployment for the poor and least skilled in particular.”
  • Why did Carl’s Jr. flee California? Taxes, regulations and lawsuits.

    CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder told the Wall Street Journal in 2013, “California is not interested in having businesses grow.”

    The article points out that many factors, including local building regulations, make one community less desirable than another for businesses.

    For example, it takes 60 days in Texas, 63 in Shanghai, and 125 in Novosibirsk, Russia for one of CKE’s restaurants to get a building permit after signing a lease. But in Los Angeles, Ca. it takes a whopping 285 days.

    Puzder added, “I can open up a restaurant faster on Karl Marx Prospect in Siberia than on Carl Karcher Boulevard in California.” The street in California is ironically named for the restaurant chain’s founder.

    California’s labor regulations may also play a role in a company’s desire to seek alternative locations. In that same interview with WSJ, Puzder said his company had spent $20 million in the state over the past eight years on damages and attorney fees related to class-action lawsuits.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • Justice Scalia’s death dooms the Friedrichs vs. California Teacher’s Association lawsuit.
  • “If a Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research’s estimate is accurate, public pension debt in California is even worse than feared. Preliminary calculations from a forthcoming SIEPR study peg the unfunded retirement tab for state and local government employees at more than $1.2 trillion.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Texas unemployment rates drops to 4.4%.
  • San Bernardino’s bondholders get screwed so the bankrupt city can continue sending money to CalPERS. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California’s colleges are so money-hungry they’re screwing in-state students out of admissions so they can charge more to out-of-state applicants, including those who wouldn’t normally be able to get in. Sort of like the UT admissions scandal, but less politically connected and more widespread and money-grubbing… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • But there’s one type of student California admissions isn’t keeping out: antisemites. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Even the supposed beneficiaries of California’s high speed rail fantasy have become disillusioned with it.
  • A hot relocation to Texas rumor just in: “Plano – new home of Toyota Motor’s North American headquarters – has been mentioned as a possible relocation site for a Wichita-based subsidiary of conglomerate Cargill.”
  • LinkSwarm for March 18, 2016

    Friday, March 18th, 2016

    I hope you’re not too hung over from St. Patrick’s Day (and didn’t get stabbed to death on the Ides of March). Here’s a Friday LinkSwarm:

  • Marco Rubio says that Ted Cruz is the only conservative left in the race. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • John Boehner calls Ted Cruz “Lucifer.” With that even-tempered perspective, it’s impossible to figure out why he’s no longer Speaker…
  • Ted Cruz unveils his national security coalition. Media reports on this have been particularly poor…
  • African-Americans living in poor neighborhoods cannot rely on Democratic leaders to take the decisive steps needed to ameliorate the problem as long as the Democratic Party can take the black vote for granted. The question, then, is how long can Democratic Party leaders and candidates continue to rely on African-American voters before African-American voters take matters into their own hands.”
  • No amount of primary wins will make Hillary Clinton’s email troubles go away.
  • And if the FBI doesn’t get her, the NSA might. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “The Tea Party movement — which you also failed to understand, and thus mostly despised — was a bourgeois, well-mannered effort (remember how Tea Party protests left the Mall cleaner than before they arrived?) to fix America. It was treated with contempt, smeared as racist, and blocked by a bipartisan coalition of business-as-usual elites. So now you have Trump, who’s not so well-mannered, and his followers, who are not so well-mannered, and you don’t like it.”
  • Got to hand it to Donald Trump: this is an effective ad. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Jews leave France in record numbers. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Obama Administration finally comes out and admits that the Islamic State has committed genocide against Yazidis, Christians and Shiites. That’s like Harry Truman finally declaring the Holocaust genocide two years after the liberation of Auschwitz…
  • Putin takes his toys and goes home.

    Contrary to his expectations of finding a pliable ally in Iran, he found the Iranians in control, glad to borrow his air force, arrogant and disdainful in Damascus (and Baghdad) and well on the path to dominating a vast stretch of strategically vital territory. And Iran has no interest in playing junior partner to anyone—least of all a traditional Christian enemy.

    Suddenly, Putin had a vision of a nuclear-armed, radical-Shia empire on Russia’s southern flank. Those Iranian missiles that can reach Israel? They can reach major Russian cities, too.

    Putin’s initial bet on Shia Iran also backfired by turning the Islamic world’s Sunni majority against him — not least Saudi Arabia, which can continue to hold down the price of oil and gas, punishing Russia’s economy far more than it wounds American fracking efforts. And Sunni terrorists have taken a renewed interest in Russia.

  • Hellfire missile intercepted in-route to Portland, Oregon.
  • Minimum wage hike causes fast food restaurants to start investing in automation. Just like conservatives said it would.
  • Texas Public Policy Foundation vs. Bureau of Land Management is now TPPF and The State of Texas vs. BLM. (More background here.)
  • Penny Arcade on Gawker:

    Gawker is poison AIDS cancer. In the same way that the Cross is the symbol for the redemptive power of Christ’s blood, Gawker is the symbol of a metastasized social media. Gawker is Nidhogg, the dragon which gnaws at the root of the World Tree. The causes they enunciate are tarnished, just for being in their mouths.”

    I don’t wish ill on anyone who works there, obviously. I mean, I guess their every action technically does sustain a legitimately evil beast of legend, some Revelations type shit, and they ruin lives for profit whenever they aren’t simply wasting your time.

  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton rules that state contractors must continue using E-verify.
  • Everything you know about Altamont is wrong. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • The story behind that memorial mural on the pillar at the Lamar underpass right before Fifth Street.

    Lamar Mural

  • Man the pollen in the air is really bad this time of year in Austin…
  • Dog shows up safe a month after being presumed lost at sea. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Will the last Elvis impersonator to leave Las Vegas please turn off the neon.
  • LinkSwarm for March 11, 2016

    Friday, March 11th, 2016

    Here in Texas it’s rained every day this week, resulting in flooding along the Sabine. Try to stay dry and enjoy this complimentary Friday LinkSwarm:

  • Ted Cruz pegs the meter with this comment. (Hat tip: Conservatives 4 Ted Cruz.)
  • GOP squishes finally start backing Cruz as only way to stop Donald Trump.
  • Could our FBI director actually be doing his job, without fear or favor?
  • In related news: Could Hillary Clinton’s grand jury already be empaneled? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Marco Rubio is a horrible failure.”
  • There have been adultery accusations popping up on Rubio’s campaign trail, which doesn’t necessarily mean anything. However, I was surprised to read they date back to at least 2010.
  • Failed ObamaCare co-ops haven’t repaid $1.2 billion in taxpayer loans.
  • Think California is boned? Europe’s pension crisis is even worse:

    Europe’s population of pensioners, already the largest in the world, continues to grow. Looking at Europeans 65 or older who aren’t working, there are 42 for every 100 workers, and this will rise to 65 per 100 by 2060, the European Union’s data agency says. By comparison, the U.S. has 24 nonworking people 65 or over per 100 workers, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which doesn’t have a projection for 2060.

    Also this:

    The global decline of the blue model stands to inflict even more pain on Europe than on the United States. Europeans are worse at making babies than the United States, worse at integrating immigrants, worse at saving money to pay boomer retirement bills—but no worse at making promises to voters that they will be unable to keep.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • “Venezuela’s accelerating economic meltdown is rapidly turning into a full-fledged humanitarian crisis. For too many in that country, the pervasive shortages of food, medicine, electricity, and other basic goods are making everyday life a nightmare.”
  • How “liberation theology” was designed and run from Moscow.
  • Differences between Christian and Islamic eschatology.
  • If you have trouble firing handguns, you may find this gripping reading. (Hat tip: Stuff from Hsoi.)
  • “UC-Berkeley Law School Dean Resigns After Being Sued For Sexual Harassment.” (Hat tip: Instapundit, who asks “Why are leftist institutions such cesspits of sexual predation?”)
  • “The San Francisco Chronicle used to give out firearms as subscription premiums.”
  • Another Adobe Flash vulnerability in the wild.
  • It begins.
  • Inside Tokyo’s Nakagin Capsule Tower, the only remnant of a “Metabolist future” that failed.
  • Mr. T. says goodbye to Nancy Reagan.
  • LinkSwarm for February 29, 2016

    Monday, February 29th, 2016

    Happy Leap Day, everyone! Enjoy a yuge LinkSwarm, and if you’re in Texas or another Super Tuesday state, take time to dig out your voter registration card for tomorrow.

  • The Case for Cruz: The Math. “In the states where Cruz is ahead of Rubio in the upcoming Super Tuesday, he is either beating Trump or within striking distance. In the states where Rubio is ahead of Cruz in the upcoming Super Tuesday, Trump has a huge lead. Rubio doesn’t lead in a single state.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Sixteen Reasons Why Ted Cruz Is The Better Anti-Trump Than Rubio.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • The Millennial Case For Ted Cruz. “Polls show that Hillary beats Trump in a general election. On the other hand, Cruz beats Hillary in a general election.” (Hat tip: Conservatives for Ted Cruz.)
  • Cruz releases nine years of tax returns, calls on Trump to do the same.
  • Analysis of Ted Cruz’s positions on defense.
  • How Ted Cruz’s ads are so Hollywood slick.
  • Cruz has rebuilt his stump speech around the Scalia vacancy.
  • Lefty Robert Reich’s attacks on Ted Cruz provides yet more reasons to vote for Cruz.
  • Our cultural elites just can’t figure out why those ignorant gun- and religion-clinging redneck freaks of JesusLand keep flocking to Trump when he says he love them. It’s an insoluble mystery…
  • 40 reasons not to vote for Donald Trump.
  • Trump University was a scam. “Many people believe that higher education is a de facto scam. Trump University, Donald Trump’s real-estate institution, was a de jure one.”
  • Hillary heckled.
  • DNC vice chair steps down to support Bernie Sanders. An understandable move, given the DNC is so far in the tank for Hillary under Debbie Wasserman Schultz that supporting Sanders is probably looked on as akin to treason… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Mark Steyn lays out some grim election analysis: “No one loses as expensively as Republicans.”
  • 720,000 taxpayers have their tax form information stolen from the IRS. Our country is in the very best of hands!
  • Public employee unions are the establishment. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Left-wing protesters shut down lecture on welfare reform at London School of Economics. Here’s the book protester’s don’t want people to read: Adam Perkins’ The Welfare Trait: How State Benefits Affect Personality.
  • Muslim immigrants will cost Sweden fourteen times more than their defense budget. Good thing Germany and Russia are such historically peaceful neighbors…
  • Merkel must have a political death wish: “German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday defended her open-door policy for migrants, rejecting any limit on the number of refugees allowed into her country despite divisions within her government.”
  • Stratfor analyses China’s new military facilities on Woody Island. “While the media’s response to China’s actions on Woody Island suggests that they represent a watershed moment in the militarization of the South China Sea, in reality they are neither surprising nor particularly meaningful.”
  • How disasterous Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro could be removed from power.
  • The truth about the MiG-29. Longish but interesting piece. Turn out the Soviet super fighter was very good at basic fighter aircraft maneuvers, but had poor avionics that severely limited the pilot’s situational awareness.
  • Mass transit doesn’t actually save any energy. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Male feminism is a sort of disease.”
  • Joe Straus’ primary opponent Jeff Judson has a couple of major financial backers, including Alice Walton.
  • Beloved, innocent man shot down by Seattle police. And by “innocent” I mean “a convicted rapist with a gun, crack and heroin.”
  • “Turn down the fucking music.” “The more and more you attempt to compensate for the fact people have no social skills, making the music so loud conversation is impossible, the more and more intelligent and competent people you will drive away.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Soldier of Fortune magazine to cease publication.
  • Man makes video designed to show that SERPA holsters are safe, proves the opposite. (Hat tip: Tam via Dwight.)
  • Tweet 1: The bus is turning around. Tweet 2. The bus is on fire. Tweet 3. The bus exploded. (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • The OSS World War II escape knife.
  • Following Minimum Wage Rate Hike, Seattle Employment Declines…Unexpectedly!

    Saturday, February 27th, 2016

    Remember how liberals crowed about Seattle’s minimum wage hike was raising people out of poverty without any negative economic effects whatsoever?

    Not so much:

    Early evidence from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Seattle’s monthly employment, the number of unemployed workers, and the city’s unemployment rate through December 2015 suggest that since last April when the first minimum wage hike took effect: a) the city’s employment has fallen by more than 11,000, b) the number of unemployed workers has risen by nearly 5,000, and c) the city’s jobless rate has increased by more than 1 percentage point (all based on BLS’s “not seasonally adjusted basis”).

    Moreover, this occurred when the surrounding area was still adding jobs:

    While the city of Seattle experienced a sharp drop in employment of more 11,000 jobs between April and December last year [employment] in Seattle’s neighboring suburbs outside the city limits (Seattle MSA employment minus Seattle city employment) increased over that period by nearly 57,000 jobs and reached a new record high in November 2015 before falling slightly in December.

    [Additional] evidence showing that while jobs in the city of Seattle were tanking starting last April, employment in the suburbs surrounding Seattle was increasing steadily to a new record high in November. That departure in employment trends: job declines inside the city limits of Seattle compared to increasing employment outside the city limits suggests the possibility that the difference in labor costs could have been a contributing factor.

    Strangely enough, once again the economic laws of supply and demand are not repealed when liberals find them inconvenient.