Archive for the ‘Democrats’ Category

Hillary Clinton and Sir Mix-A-Lot

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Sometimes I amuse myself:

Might have some real content coming later today…

Texas vs. California Update for April 15, 2015

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Hope you’ve finished your taxes already! Time for another Texas vs. California update:

  • Detroit and Stockton’s bankruptcies may signal further problems nationwide, says New York Fed President William Dudley. “While these particular bankruptcy filings have captured a considerable amount of attention, and rightly so, they may foreshadow more widespread problems than what might be implied by current bond ratings.”
  • The Texas senate approves a $211.4 billion biannual budget, which will need to be reconciled with the $209.8 billion House budget. Both budgets offer tax relief, but of different kinds.
  • The senate also zero funds two rogue agencies the Texas Racing Commission and the Travis County Public Integrity Unit. Expect Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, with deep ties to the gambling industry, to go to the mat to save the Racing Commission.
  • The Texas senate has also passed signifcant spending limit reform in Senate Bill 9.
  • CalPERS raises contribution rates by 6%.
  • California senate OKs yet another restrictive energy policy bill. Yet another in their continuing “Let’s send as much business to Texas as possible” acts…
  • Los Angeles Unified School District extends lavish employee benefits package another three years, despite existing underfunded liabilities. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California sets aside $261 million for cost overruns on its already pricey high speed rail boondoggle.
  • California’s drought is something environmentalist liberal elites have brought on themselves: “Those who did the most to cancel water projects and divert reservoir water to pursue their reactionary nineteenth-century dreams of a scenic, depopulated, and fish-friendly environment enjoy lifestyles predicated entirely on the fragile early twentieth-century water projects of the sort they now condemn.”
  • More on the same theme.
  • San Diego builds a desalinization plant (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • Central California is already starting to suffer water-related thefts.
  • In the wake of the Vergara ruling, California Republicans want to overhaul how teachers are hired and fired. Naturally teacher’s unions are opposed…
  • Judge rules that California must pay for sex change operations for prisoners on Eight Amendment grounds. “To contend that ‘forcing’ a prisoner to continue as a man violates the Constitution is absurd…It is nonsensical to grant imprisoned convicted felons health-care ‘entitlements’ that many law-abiding, hardworking taxpayers don’t enjoy.”
  • California prostitutes demand prostitution be legalized. You’d think they’d get a sympathetic hearing from California’s Democrat-controlled legislation, what with all they have in common… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Stanford student council candidate grilled over Colleging While Jewish. This could go in the regular LinkSwarm, but I noticed that both of these recent incidents took place in California.
  • John Wiley Price Update

    Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

    Remember John Wiley Price, the longtime Dallas Democratic political fixture arrested on bribery charges?

    Well, he’s now on his second court appointed lawyer.

    At taxpayer expense.

    Price is accused of taking $950,000 in bribes over a decade from businesses seeking county contracts or other approvals. He earns $141,236 a year as a county commissioner and owns various cars and two Oak Cliff houses.

    Federal agents seized more than $450,000 from Price in 2011 as part of their investigation. Price had about $11,000 in cash on him when he was arrested in July, authorities said.

    Yeah, that sounds like some serious grinding poverty Price is facing. (Just for balance, the lefty Dallas Observer says that politicians getting public legal aid after indictment is not all that uncommon. And Price’s case is complicated by having so many “assets” tied up via civil forfeiture.)

    Maybe he and Hillary Clinton could compare notes on being broke…

    Sad Puppies, If I Must

    Thursday, April 9th, 2015

    Being at the intersection of several overlapping roles of interest on the Venn diagram (science fiction writer, once-upon-a-time Hugo nominee, Social Justice Warrior mob victim, and conservative blogger), I suppose I have a one-eyed-man-in-the-land-of-the-blind duty to talk about the Sad Puppies Hugo Campaign now that it’s a major story.

    For those unfamiliar with them, the Hugo Awards are given out at the World Science Fiction Convention and voted on by the membership. Both Supporting and Attending members can vote for Hugos.

    The Sad Puppies are a group of science fiction fans lead by Larry Correia, author of the popular Monster Hunter series of books, and writer Brad Torgersen, to promote a slate of writers for the Hugo Awards for two reasons: To counter the Social Justice Warrior influence that has increasingly roiled science fiction, and to break up perceived cabal of the Same Old People getting nominated for the same awards every year largely at the behest of a small crowd of science fiction elites. (This post will largely address only the first point.) This year the Sad Puppies were wildly successful at getting most of their slate nominated for Hugos.

    For the last several years, a vocal minority of Social Justice Warriors has wrecked havoc on the fabric of the science fiction community. Taking their clues from the Alinskyite “direct action” tactics of far-left political activists, they’ve carried out a virulent campaign against anyone unwilling to toe the political correct line on victimhood identity politics. Their tactics have included doxxing, online mobbings, demands people be fired from their day jobs for non-PC transgressions, numerous calls for censorship, demands that only politically correct language be used when it comes to race, sex, ethnicity, or anything to do with Muslims, and follow-up demands for “official policies” and “committees” to enshrine their extremists demands as institutional law.

    Let me provide a few examples. They went after:

  • Norman Spinrad, for pointing out that, strictly speaking, Octavia Butler was no more African than Mike Resnick was. (It’s a shame that Butler, a first-rate writer capable of considerable subtlety and nuance, has been posthumously adopted as the totem of Social Justice Warriors evidently incapable of either). Several other writers (including the now-late Jay Lake) were viciously attacked for coming to Spinrad’s defense and saying that white writers could, in fact, successfully write about other races and cultures.
  • They attacked Orson Scott Card for opposing gay marriage, and for answering (truthfully) that the the Mormon Church considers homosexual acts sinful.
  • They forced WisCon, the feminist science fiction convention, to disinvite Elizabeth Moon as Guest of Honor (something that’s almost never done in the field) over the “crime” of penning an essay mildly critical of Islam and the planned Ground Zero Mosque.
  • They campaigned to get the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (an organization I formerly belonged to for many years) to institute a “sexual harassment policy“, even though SFWA (last I checked) only had one paid employee and no formal offices. Evidently they believe writers are such shirking violets they are unable to fend off unwanted advances with the time-honored tactics of saying “No” and the occasional slap.
  • Speaking of which, the mob got a Tor editor fired for “sexual harassment,” the nature of which has never (as far as I can tell) been elucidated, or elucidated as something so trivial that it would be laughed out of any court.
  • They got Locus Online, the electronic extension of the science fiction news magazine, to fire me from my part-time gig of reviewing movies on the site (frequently in collaboration with Howard Waldrop) because I made fun of WisCon over the Moon flap in an April Fools piece, which they convinced Locus‘s editor to take down. Because there’s nothing that refutes the image of Social justice Warriors as dour, humorless, thin-skinned avatars of political correctness with authoritarian tendencies like forcing a magazine to take down an April Fools piece.
  • They mobbed Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg for having the unmitigated gall to call 1950s SF editor Bea Mahaffrey “beautiful” (which she was) in the course of noting that was a big reason the wives of many SF writers started attending SF social functions. (Of course, what really riled up the SJW set was Resnick and Malzberg having the sheer gall to defend themselves rather than offering up the standard groveling apology.)
  • They got British comedian Jonathon Ross to resign from hosting the Hugo Award ceremony at the London Worldcon because some of his jokes might have been politically incorrect.
  • This is not an exhaustive list. Most of the people they have gone after (Spinrad, Malzberg, Moon) are political liberals. Science Fiction fandom has gone from a big, happy, occasionally fractious family where a far lefty like Harlan Ellison and a far righty like Jerry Pournelle could maintain friendships despite sharp political differences to one where Social Justice Warriors have injected constant discord into the community.

    To see an example of the havoc wrought by just one Social Justice Warrior, read this lengthy essay by writer Laura Mixon on Benjanun Sriduangkaew, AKA Requires Hate, AKA Winterfox. (When reading it, however, note that pretty much all the tactics described have been used by other Social justice Warriors, and that many of the people chiming in to support Mixon only spoke up when Requires Hate went after people on the far left and/or those with victimhood identity politics credentials.)

    More recently Social Justice Warriors have succeeded in bloc voting to get very minor writers with SJW/victimhood credentials onto the Hugo ballot. It’s at this point that Larry Correia and others started the Sad Puppies campaign, so I’ll let him provide the background:

    For those of you just joining us, Sad Puppies 3 was a campaign to get talented, worthy, deserving authors who would normally never have a chance nominated for the supposedly prestigious Hugo awards.

    I started this campaign a few years ago because I believed that the awards were politically biased, and dominated by a few insider cliques. Authors who didn’t belong to these groups or failed to appease them politically were shunned. When I said this in public, I was called a liar, and told that the Hugos represented all of fandom and that the awards were strictly about quality. I said that if authors with “unapproved” politics were to get nominations, the quality of the work would be irrelevant, and the insider cliques would do everything in their power to sabotage that person. Again, I was called a liar, so I set out to prove my point.

    Snip.

    Basically, I did what the other side had been doing for years, only in public and with the wrong kind of fans, and everything unfolded just like I predicted it would. Especially vehement was the contingent of fandom that I took to calling Social Justice Warriors. This may offend the No Labels crowd, but oh well, it is what it is. The name has stuck in our culture.

    Snip.

    [Sad Puppies 3] is actually extremely politically diverse. That’s because this time our slate of suggestions was put together by a bigger group of authors and fans, and since Brad was running the show and trying to be all about getting recognition for quality, deserving authors, their personal beliefs were of no concern. Don’t take my word for it. Go through our list of nominees for yourself. You’ll find that we have liberals, conservatives, moderates, and question marks who’ve kept their politics to themselves.

    Indeed, the people fighting the Social Justice Warriors in science fiction are far more politically diverse than their exclusively far-left enemies. Will Shetterly, author of the invaluable Social Justice Warriors: Do Not Engage blog, is a dyed-in-the-wool socialist.

    Here’s the thing. This massive upheaval wouldn’t have ever happened if the moderates had done something years ago, but they didn’t. I can’t really say I blame them though. If they took a stand against the perpetually outraged crowd, they risked their career and their reputation. We’re talking about the same angry, entitled twitter mobs that ran off a famous comedian because he might tell a fat joke in the future. Those mobs are quick to outrage, slow to reason, and will turn on their allies, because attacking is what they are programmed to do. And the moderates—those who will admit it—are terrified of ending up on the wrong end of a witch hunt.

    Now it is okay to rail against my people for doing what the other side has done in the past, because we’re not going to sabotage anyone’s career or slander you. We actually believe in the concept of free speech and free expression.

    We’re getting condemned for bringing politics into the awards, but we all know politics have been in the awards for a long time. We just did it openly.

    I never expected us to sweep the awards. Frankly, I was shocked by the results. I didn’t realize just how many regular fans had been turned off for so long.

    Now the moderates are telling us we did it wrong, or telling us what we should have done better, but the thing is at least we did something.

    Correia is right. If the “good liberals” in the science fiction community want to know who brought about the current situation, they should look in the mirror. They were the ones who stood on the sidelines and remained silent while the likes of Spinrad, Moon and Malzberg were being smeared as “racists,” “sexists,” “homophobes,” etc. for not toeing the Social Justice Warrior line. As Martin Luther King, Jr. noted, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

    The Social Justice Warrior reaction to the success of the Sad Puppies slate was swift, vicious, and unreasonable, with a number of MSM outlets (most of whom have probably never printed a single word about the Hugo Awards before) writing stories condemning Sad Puppies, all parroting the same SJW line. Perhaps the worst example came from Isabella Biedenharn in Entertainment Weekly, which started out “The Hugo Awards have fallen victim to a campaign in which misogynist groups lobbied to nominate only white males for the science fiction book awards.” Not only was demonstrably false (as proven by the very links Biedenharn included in her story), it was so potentially libelous that Entertainment Weekly issued a correction, and Biedenharn deleted her entire Twitter account.

    And as a bonus, she essentially accused Brad Torgersen, a man with a black wife and a mixed-race child, of being a white supremacist.

    Says Torgersen: “Political correctness has gone to a place of destructive take-no-prisoners soul tyranny that could very well and permanently wreck this field; unless good men and women of conscience decide to stand up.”

    And this is why the Sad Puppies campaign is important. The Social Justice Warriors have been rampaging through the genre for years now, wrecking civil discourse, marginalizing institutions and destroying the professional lives of those who disagreed with them. But no one stood up to them in an organized, coordinated way until the Sad Puppies.

    Says one long-time liberal science fiction professional who was not associated with Sad Puppies: “This whole toxic mess has sickened me immeasurably, almost making me feel as if I had wasted my life by ever loving science fiction…All I can say is that the SPs have conducted themselves with humor, dignity and style, while the SJWs have sunk to new lows of hatred and pettiness and blind ignorance. They truly are a despicable cult.” And a lot of science fiction professionals who aren’t part of the Sad Puppies (many of whom emailed me privately over WisCon) feel the same way, but were just too intimidated to fight back.

    Now people of good will in science fiction, from all across the political spectrum, are finally standing up and saying “Enough!”

    That’s what the Sad Puppies Hugo campaign is about.

    Additional thoughts from:

  • Will Shetterly
  • Sarah Hoyt
  • Robert Tracinski
  • David French in National Review
  • LinkSwarm for April 6, 2015

    Monday, April 6th, 2015

    I might have an analysis of the the Iranian nuclear deal later, or I might now, depending on how my taxes are going…

  • UN Human Rights chief praises Islamic State for “diversity.” No, really, that happened. It’s not a parody from The Onion. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Professor finds that texts of Islam are, in fact, more violent than those of other religions.
  • The Columbia Journalism Review investigation of the Rolling Stone University of Virginia rape hoax story is out, and found massive problems with the reporting…
  • …many of which Ashe Schow highlights.
  • But despite the numerous journalistic problems with the piece, no one is getting fired. Lying to support the victimhood identity politics narrative means never having to lose your job…
  • Speaking of which: Fraternity brothers perpetrate vicious rape. Wait, did I say “perpetrate”? I meant “prevent.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Earlier: “Sorry I lead you on when I got drunk.” Later: “What I really meant was you raped me!”
  • The Obama Administration’s reckless engagement with Iran is probably the biggest reason Netanyahu won his surprise victory.
  • The Atlanta Federal Reserve forecast has cut Gross Domestic Product growth estimates in the first quarter from 2.3% to 0.0%. Unexpectedly!
  • Ted Cruz raises $4 million in 8 days. As the New York Times notes, the vast majority is from small donors and can be spent in the primary.
  • Being a liberal means never having to actually weigh evidence.
  • Muslim group kills Red Cross worker.
  • What town wanted: Statue of Lucille Ball. What town got: Statue of zombie lobotomized alcoholic Amelia Earhart.
  • Chicago Is Detroit Is California Is Greece

    Sunday, April 5th, 2015

    National Journal has a piece up by moderate lefty John B. Judis on all the problems plaguing Chicago.

    Perhaps more than any other major city in America, Chicago is facing a truly grave set of problems—problems that are essentially more extreme versions of the challenges confronting city governments across the country.

    But there’s a vital piece of information omitted from that sentence: “problems that are essentially more extreme versions of the challenges confronting city governments across the country run by the Democratic Party.” Though Republican cities are not immune to such problems, make no mistake that the very worst examples are cities run by the Democratic Party, most for a very long time (Detroit hasn’t had a Republican Mayor since 1962, Chicago since 1931), and most are in states with solid (if not overwhelming) Democratic Party majorities.

    The failure of America’s bankrupt cities is a microcosm of the failure of the Blue model of big government liberalism. And the reason I have spent so much time on covering California and Greece is that they are part of the same story: The failure of American liberalism is a microcosm of the bankruptcy of the welfare state, and the bankruptcy of the welfare state is a subset of the failure of socialism.

    The quandaries begin with Chicago’s dramatic social divide. To an even greater extent than is the case in, say, New York or Philadelphia, Chicago has become two entirely separate cities. One is a bustling metropolis that includes the Loop, Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile, and the Gold Coast, as well as the city’s well-to-do, working-class, and upwardly mobile immigrant neighborhoods. The other Chicago consists of impoverished neighborhoods on the far South and West Sides, primarily populated by African-Americans. These places have remained beyond the reach of the city’s recovery from the Great Recession.

    As we have known since Charles Murray’s Losing Ground in 1984, welfare programs don’t lift the poor out of poverty, but keep them ensnared in it. Indeed, a cynic might observe that welfare programs are designed to create a voting clientele for the welfare state and the liberal party that runs it.

    The problem, as Mark Steyn put it, is that “the 20th century Bismarckian welfare state has run out of people to stick it to. In America, the feckless insatiable boobs in Washington, Sacramento, Albany and elsewhere are screwing over our kids and grandkids. In Europe, they’ve reached the next stage in social democratic evolution: There are no kids or grandkids to screw over.”

    As Steyn further noted:

    A government big enough to give you everything you want isn’t big enough to get you to give any of it back. That’s the point Greece is at. Its socialist government has been forced into supporting a package of austerity measures. The Greek people’s response is: Nuts to that. Public sector workers have succeeded in redefining time itself: Every year, they receive 14 monthly payments. You do the math. And for about seven months’ work – for many of them the workday ends at 2:30 p.m. When they retire, they get 14 monthly pension payments. In other words: Economic reality is not my problem. I want my benefits. And, if it bankrupts the entire state a generation from now, who cares as long as they keep the checks coming until I croak?

    The story of Detroit’s current bankruptcy is the story of Chicago’s coming bankruptcy, and the similar problems of California. All are dealing with bloated public sector pensions that are making their cities insolvent. All promised and spent money they didn’t have against their decedents, not realizing (or not caring) that the debt burden will ruin the worlds of those decedents before they could ever pay it off.

    The theme with all is that deficit spending destroys, and the only cure is to force governments to pare back the welfare state and stop spending money they don’t have. As the example of Greece shows, there reaches a point in welfare state dependency at which actually curtailing welfare state spending, even at the point of financial ruin, is politically impossible. The looting of the public treasury cannot be stopped because that looting is the only thing that holds left-wing coalitions in power anymore.

    One of the many reasons the Tea Party exists is to hold American politician’s collective feet to the fire to make sure the terminal phase of the welfare state Greece is now enjoying never gets that bad in America. (To this end, they’ve had the tiniest little glimmer of success.)

    Chicago is Detroit is California is Greece is, eventually, America. It’s all part of the same story, and one any voting public ignores at its peril.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

    Privilege Theory and Progressive Antisemitism

    Saturday, April 4th, 2015

    Once upon a time, American anti-antisemitism was seen as a bastion of the poorly-educated nativist right. (This was never entirely true, as quotas limiting Jewish admissions were imposed at many Ivy league universities in the 1920s, and Father Coughlin, perhaps the most prominent American anti-Semite of the 20th century, founded the National Union for Social Justice.) But William F. Buckley was fairly diligent in excluding anti-Semites from the modern conservative movement, a vigilance that continued well into the 1990s, as Joseph Sobran and Patrick Buchanan (cast out for tiptoeing up to the line) can attest.

    Conversely, antisemitism has been rising on the left, both here and in Europe, as John-Paul Pagano details:

    Israel’s stunning victory against combined Arab armies in 1967 set in motion streams of hostility—some anti-Israel, some “anti-Zionist,” some anti-Jewish—which would pool, roil, and gather strength until the turn of the millennium, when the Second Intifada unleashed them in a cataract of anti-Semitism. Two groups were swept along most forcefully by the current: Arabs and Muslims; and Left-wing radicals, who took their cues on Israel and Zionism from Moscow, where “anti-Zionism” assumed a central place in the Soviet anti-colonial catechism.

    That’s the first strand. Pagano then offers a section on the rise in the unassimilated Muslim immigrant population in Europe, and the increasingly open antisemitism and attacks against Jews by those populations over the last decade. Then he gets to the meat of his argument:

    I think there are three main drivers guiding progressives like [Freddie deBoer] who have similar responses to the very real injuries suffered by Jews who are targeted, excluded, abused, and sometimes murdered for reasons that are clearly the result of hatred: an excess of rationalism, the way anti-Semitism short-circuits the “privilege” analysis of racism, and a prioritization of some victims of racism over others.

    But it’s the “privilege” theory so beloved of Social Justice Warriors that really ties it all together:

    Paul Berman made the point in Terror and Liberalism—a book the mere mention of which sends deBoer types running for the bathroom—that we in the West are inheritors of Enlightenment rationalism, and as such we find it difficult to understand and constructively respond to irrational political movements. In this respect “we are all Noam Chomsky,” Berman wrote in reference to the man who has done the most to advance this reductive Weltanschauung. In politics Chomsky proposed two warring innate ideas—an instinct for greed (embodied by the corporatized West) and an instinct for freedom (embodied by those opposing the West)—and honed this analysis by applying it to the abattoir in Cambodia during the 1970s. There have been few enormities that more clearly exhibit irrationalism than the Khmer Rouge auto-genocide; but in Chomsky’s hyper-rationalist view, no such movement of self-cannibalizing lunacy could exist (at least not among victims of American imperialism). So, he wrote that there was no genocide to speak of in Cambodia, and if there was violence, it was because greedy U.S. war-making had driven the Cambodians to it.

    So too with some interpretations of crises relating to radical Islam and the Middle East. Irrationalism is the wrong explanation, because it simply can’t be right; or if violence and hatred do exist, they assume the discrete and contingent form of being a rational (i.e., predictable and understandable) response by the victims of the United States and Israel. For deBoer and the segment of the Left he represents, anti-Semitism is not a coherent and meaningful force among Muslims—that is to say, a movement; or if it is, it is not a self-sustaining irrational movement, one founded on conspiracist racism against Jews and drunk on salvationist violence. Rather it is tightly correlated to the wrongdoing of Americans and Jews themselves, and thus acute in onset and understandable.

    Hyper-rationalism pairs well with the dogmatic underdog-ism of the Left, which assumes that weakness is a source or at least a marker of virtue. Yet just as the poverty of Chomsky’s political analysis became clear after the United States withdrew from Indochina, the silliness and toxicity of New Left ideas about race have become plainer as Jim Crow recedes.

    Perhaps the worst of these is the formula that racism equals prejudice plus power. People of color can’t be racist, according to this definition, because they are structurally disempowered by our racist-capitalist “system.” Whites are racist, wittingly or not, because they are existentially driven to oppress non-whites in order to preserve their “privilege.” Analyses of “structural racism” and “privilege” assert a kind of Wizard of Oz sociology that exhibits some elements of conspiracy theory—false consciousness, social determinism, and peoples of good and evil locked in Manichean struggle.

    In the mental shorthand of many, Muslims are people of color and Jews are white. That demarcation has fateful consequences. We in the West have a horrendous history of racism; in the United States the oppression of African Americans for hundreds of years is an enduring betrayal of liberal values. Responses throughout the educated West to the Arab-Israeli conflict have been warped by fear that Zionism is a form of racism—as the Soviet architects of that libel surely intended. We are prone to seeing Israeli violence as illegitimate per se, and to regarding violence, hatred, and illiberalism among Arabs and Muslims as a rational—predictable and understandable—response to Western and Israeli imperialism. We miss the part that is a will to power, aspirational imperialism in its own right.

    The “prejudice plus power” idea erases real anti-Semitism—a construct with its own history of horrific effects, which is often lumped in with racism, but is actually something else. To borrow from comedy parlance, most racism “punches down”—an incumbent group constructs and subordinates an underclass. The stereotypes that make up such racism diminish their victims. For example blacks, to the white racist, are inferior, criminal, stupid, lazy, and lusty. Anti-Semitism is often the opposite, envisioning the Jew as a preternatural creature—as evil, brilliant, controlling, connected, rich, and powerful beyond measure. Anti-Semitism is a conspiracy theory. As such, Anti-Semitism often “punches up.”

    When deBoer implies that anti-Semitism is not increasing in Europe and that the real problem is Islamophobia, he ties all of these threads together. Muslims, people of color, can’t be racist, at least not in any coherent and self-sustaining way; they are an oppressed people reacting to the depredations of Jews and other whites. Irrationalist movements that are powered by Jew-hatred don’t exist anymore; that sort of thing was the preserve of white people 70 years ago. Anti-Semitism today is embraced most frequently and fervently by people of color—but to note that is “the basic logic of bigotry,” blaming the victim while aggrandizing the powerful. As Chomsky put it himself, “Anti-Semitism is no longer a problem, fortunately. It’s raised, but it’s raised because privileged people want to make sure they have total control, not just 98 percent control.”

    Most people on the Left today prioritize the well-being of Arabs and Muslims over Jews.

    Read the whole thing.

    LinkSwarm for March 27, 2015

    Friday, March 27th, 2015

    Those two outstanding Obama successes, ObamaCare and Middle East foreign policy, just keep succeeding…

  • Yet another ObamaCare timebomb threatens small businesses.
  • In case you hadn’t noticed, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are intervening directly in Yemen with other Sunni Arab nations, raising the significant possibility that Iran’s Big Yemen Adventure will turn into a full-blown Sunni/Shia Civil War.
  • Don’t you hate it when a bomb goes off in your mosque right in the middle of your “Death to America” chant?
  • But Iran supporting terrorists and attacking America’s allies in the region won’t stop Obama and Kerry from giving in on every Iranian demand for their toothless Iranian nuclear weapon deal.
  • Also, the Obama Administration just declassified a report on Israel’s nuclear program. It’s almost as if Obama truly wants to punish America ‘s allies and reward America’s enemies.
  • Think the Israelis are pissed at the fall of Yemen? It’s nothing compared to the rage of the Saudis and other Arabs.
  • Even Turkey’s Islamic government has decided Iran has gone too far.
  • Obama’s superpower is ignoring reality.
  • Think UK Muslim child rape stories couldn’t possibly get any more creepy or depressing? A gang in Croydon targeted Down Syndrome girls. (Hat tip: JihadWatch.)
  • Is Obama hindering the fight against Boko Haram because he favors the Muslim Nigerian Presidential candidate over the Christian one?
  • Harry Reid to retire from Senate. That hissing sound you hear is the air rushing out of Democrats’ chances to retake the senate in 2016… (Hat tip: Jim Geraghty.)
  • Speaking of Democrats and the Senate, there are bruising primary battles heating up up between the party’s corrupt wing and the party’s insane wing. (Sure, National Journal uses the words “pragmatic liberal” and “progressive,” but we all know what they mean.) (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Of course Ted Cruz can win.
  • It doesn’t hurt that he’s running against corporate welfare.
  • Cruz set out a fundraising goal of raising $1 million the first week of his campaign. he did that in just over a day and has already hit $2 million.
  • Different jobs, different perks. If you work at a high tech start-up, you may get free snacks and catered meals. If you work at the DEA, you might get orgies with prostitutes paid for by drug lords.
  • An early leader for Mother of the Year.
  • A tale of two rapes, one that didn’t happen the media hyped, and one that did the media ignored.
  • Judging from the comments in this Slashdot thread, techies are getting tired of frivolous Social Justice Warrior lawsuits.
  • Since that was a mostly very depressing roundup of news, here’s a Golden Retriever puppy sliding down a ramp.

    Texas vs. California Update for March 26, 2015

    Thursday, March 26th, 2015

    Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • Forget all those snide liberal cracks about Texas’ public education system, since we have some of the highest graduation rates in the country.

  • “San Bernardino has defaulted on nearly $10 million in payments on its privately placed pension bond debt since it declared bankruptcy in 2012.”

    The missed payments illustrate the trend among cities in bankruptcy to favor payments to pension funds over bondholder obligations, which has increased the hostility between creditors and municipalities.

    San Bernardino declared last year that it intends under its bankruptcy exit plan to fully pay Calpers, its biggest creditor and America’s largest public pension fund with assets of $300 billion.

    The city continues to pay its monthly dues to Calpers in full, but has paid nothing to its bondholders for nearly three years, according to the interest payment schedule on roughly $50 million of pension obligation bonds issued by San Bernardino in 2005.

    If you’re a bank, a retirement fund, or a hedge fund, why on earth would you buy California municipal debt when there are safer alternatives? (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ Doom roundup.)

  • So how’s that San Francisco minimum wage law working out? Exactly like everyone who understands economics expected. “Some restaurants and grocery stores in Oakland’s Chinatown have closed after the city’s minimum wage was raised. Other small businesses there are not sure they are going to survive, since many depend on a thin profit margin and a high volume of sales.” Plus this: “Low-income minorities are often hardest hit by the unemployment that follows in the wake of minimum wage laws. The last year when the black unemployment rate was lower than the white unemployment rate was 1930, the last year before there was a federal minimum wage law.”
  • California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office suggests phasing out state health care for workers entirely.
  • California is dead last in spending transparency among the 50 states, with an F rating and a piddling score of 34. Texas ranks 13th with an A- and a score of 91. (Hat tip: Cal Watchdog.)
  • “North Texas gained an average of 360 net people per day from July 2013 to July 2014, a testament to the job-creating machine in the Lone Star state, according to the U.S. Census Bureau…North Texas and Houston were the only metropolitan areas to add more than 100,000 people during that one-year period.”
  • Just because California has some of the highest taxes in the nation doesn’t mean that the state’s Democratic legislature doesn’t want to add still more.
  • Meanwhile, the Texas Senate just passed a $4.6 billion tax cut.
  • California is rolling out more subsidies for Hollywood.
  • The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power not only has the highest employe costs in the country, it also ranks last in customer satisfaction. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • While Texas is certainly in much better shape than California on public employee pensions, things here are not entirely cloudless either. “The Texas Employee Retirement System is reporting unfunded liability of $14.5 billion in 2014, compared with liability of just $6.3 billion in 2013. By comparison, all of the state government’s general obligation debt as of 2013 was $15.3 billion. The Texas Law Enforcement and Custodial Officer Supplemental Retirement Plan is reporting unfunded liability of $673.1 million in 2014, compared with $306.7 million in 2013.”
  • Unlike California, Texas looks to get ahead of the curve on pension concerns with House Bill 2608, which restores control of pension funds to the local level by eliminating legislative approval for pension changes. I”nstead of locking up significant benefits in state statute, HB 2608 would allow city pension systems, like the Houston Firefighters’ Relief & Retirement Fund, to solve pension problems at the local level by changing benefit structures, if they so chose.”
  • “Support for the “bullet train” is ebbing across California, except, perhaps, in the Governor’s mansion.”
  • California raisin packer West Coast Growers files for Chapter 11.
  • American Spectrum Realty, a real estate investment management company that operates self-storage facilities under the 1st American Storage brand, has somehow managed to file for bankruptcy in both California and Texas. I think it’s safe to say that financial shenanigans are involved…
  • Lawsuit over misappropriated funds in a Napa Valley winery leads to a murder/suicide. It’s one of those stories that sounds too strange not to link to…
  • LinkSwarm for March 20, 2015

    Friday, March 20th, 2015

    Another Friday, another LinkSwarm. There’s almost enough news here to break out a separate “UK child rape cover-up update,” but I found the idea too depressing…

  • UK Police told not to investigate child rape in Sheffield, which was “bigger than Rotherham.” (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Indeed, child gang rape in the UK evidently evidently occurred on an “Industrial scale.”
  • More from the UK pattern of ignoring or downplaying underage rape, and punishing whistleblowers of same.
  • Collectors! Priceless antiquities can be yours at low, low prices thanks to Bernie’s Islamic State Discount eBay Shop! (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • “The Left that seems to believe Israel’s primary duty to the world is empowering Arabs that seek it harm.”

    What set off this new round of ominous Israel concern-trolling was Netanyahu’s assertion that leftist NGOs, billionaires and consultants were making sure that “Arab voters are going to the polls in droves.”

    Which was a fact.

    The leadership of the Arab front has openly stated that it wanted to pull together any and all factions of Israeli Arabs, including communists and Islamists, for the single political purpose of removing Israel’s prime minister. Arab political forces are free to rally to unseat Netanyahu, free to aspire to dismantle the Jewish State, but if Netanyahu mentions any of this he’s a racist undermining Israel’s formerly pristine democracy. Or so we’re told.

  • Charles Krauthammer on the same theme:

  • The Obama Administration is so desperate for a nuclear deal with Iran that they’ve dropped Iran and Hezbollah from the terrorist organization list.
  • Even Democrats are balking at Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran
  • …which is apparently every bit as bad as Netanyahu said.
  • Former CIA Director General David Petraeus agrees with Netanyahu that Iran is a bigger threat to us than the Islamic State. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Michael Totten things it’s time to partition Iraq.
  • France eliminates welfare benefits for 290 jihadists.
  • “If you want to know what Hillary Clinton would be like as president, you’re seeing it right now. There is no other Hillary. This is her.” Also: “What this utterly typical PR fiasco shows is that what they’ll actually get is familiar, tired, pathetic, dishonest, and embarrassing.”
  • “Hillary, I’m not disappointed that you’re lying. I’m disappointed that you’re phoning in your lies.”
  • Scott Walker couldn’t just be the next Reagan, he could be the next Calvin Coolidge.
  • When a college student said she’d been “raped” what she actually meant was she asked her “assailant” to tie her up and spank her.
  • TED Talk, or North Korea propaganda?
  • America’s Cup boat seized?
  • Some people just can’t learn from the mistakes of others. Even when the other is Anthony Weiner. And you’re a Democratic lawmaker. And you’re hitting on the same woman Weiner hit on.
  • The new, not-improved New Republic to create stories to order for advertisers? Honestly, selling the magazine to Rush Limbaugh wouldn’t have been quite so dishonorable to the magazine’s memory… (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • Bill filed in the Texas legislature to strip private toll road companies of the power to use eminent domain.
  • And that whole “Starbucks making their baristas talk about race” thing? I’m just going to leave this here: