Archive for the ‘Democrats’ Category

Texas vs. California Update for September 17, 2014

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • The Texas economy continues to hum along:

    During the second quarter, Texas employers added 148,200 net nonfarm jobs—an average of 49,400 per month. This amounts to an 18 percent share of all jobs created nationwide over this period in a state with only 8 percent of the country’s population and about 10 percent of total economic output. Over the last year, the addition of 382,200 net jobs in Texas was more new jobs than any other state. These employment gains increased the annual job growth rate to 3.4 percent, which is higher than those of the national average and other highly populated states.

  • The city of Los Angeles are at an impasse over police raises: the police union (naturally) wants raises, while the city says they can’t afford them. So what happens next? The issue goes before the Employee Relations Board, which just happens to be packed with union-approved appointees. In one party Democratic cities and states, it’s always government together with unions against taxpayers. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “The ugly reality is that so long as the boards of CalPERS and CalSTRS are controlled by public employee union loyalists, pension reforms enacted by state lawmakers and signed by governors will never live up to their billing.”
  • Jerry Brown lies about pension spiking.
  • Why San Antonio’s public-private partnerships are better at dealing with drought than Los Angeles.
  • A FAQ on Costa Mesa’s pension situation. Including answers to such questions as “How could the $228 million in unfunded pension liabilities affect the city budget?”
  • Watsonville, California passes a sales tax hike solely to pay for additional union pension payments.
  • A judge rules that bankrupt San Bernardino can cut firefighter pension benefits in order to exit bankruptcy.
  • A union-sponsored bill tries to increase liabilities for companies that hire contractors.
  • California is evidently cooking up a whole new batch of unconstitutional gun laws.
  • A look at phony baloney jobs numbers for California’s high speed rail boondoggle.
  • Firefly Space Systems is is relocating from California to Burnet County, Texas. “King said Firefly was attracted to Texas partly because of its business and regulatory climate.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out California offers a lousy climate for business. Or to put it another way: My day’s of underestimating California’s ability to improve its business climate are certainly coming to a middle…
  • Drone-maker Ashima is relocating to Reno, Nevada from California.
  • If you hadn’t heard, Tesla is building its battery factory in Nevada, not California.
  • An actual good law out of California: A law that prevents companies from suing customers for negative reviews.
  • North Carolina offered twice as much incentive money to Toyota but still lost out to Texas for relocating their HQ.
  • Your dedicated BART employee in action:

  • My Take On Foreign Policy’s Takedown of Obama’s Foreign Policy

    Monday, September 15th, 2014

    This piece in Foreign Policy has been making the rounds. It talks at length, in an inside-baseball manner, of how the Obama Administration’s feckless and incompetent behavior has damaged America’s interests around the world.

    A taste:

    The problem is that in seeking to sidestep the pitfalls that plagued Bush, Obama has inadvertently created his own. Yet unlike Bush, whose flaw-riddled first-term foreign policy was followed by important and not fully appreciated second-term course corrections, Obama seems steadfast in his resistance both to learning from his past errors and to managing his team so that future errors are prevented. It is hard to think of a recent president who has grown so little in office.

    That’s why many in the right wing of the blogsphere have been singing it’s praises. And indeed, many of the criticisms leveled are devastatingly on-target. However, I have a somewhat orthogonal take on the piece, and what it’s actually trying to do.

    Consider all of the foreign policy debacles either not covered by the piece at all, or else only mentioned in passing:

  • Benghazi
  • Or, for that matter, any of the embassy attacks
  • The failure to address the challenge presented by radical Islam (3 mentions of terrorism, mainly critical of Bush’s handling, and one of the Islamic State)
  • The Iranian nuclear program
  • Gaza (and, in fact, Israel is only mentioned once in passing)
  • Egypt is mentioned only once in passing
  • Ukraine is only mentioned in passing.
  • Broadly speaking, two viewpoints run through the piece, each of which acts, in their own way, as exercises in blame-shifting:

  • An inside-Foggy Bottom view of the embarrassing amateur-hour actions of Obama appointees screwing everything up.
  • “It’s not Hillary’s fault!”
  • As an example of the latter, take this sentence:

    “Concentrating power in the White House increases the likelihood of groupthink, especially in second terms like this one, when many of the stronger and diverse voices in the administration have left and have not been replaced by equally strong and diverse successors.”

    Here that, John Kerry? That’s the sound of Hillary shoving a shiv right between your ribs.

    The groundwork for most (if not all) of the foreign policy failures of the Obama Administration’s second term were laid in its first. Clinton’s emphasis on “soft power” over the military, the premature withdrawal from Iraq, the failure to obtain a status-of-forces agreement there, the counterproductive-to-disastrous regime change in Libya, the lack of any strategy for the “Arab Spring” (and subsequent failure to stem the entirely predictable turn toward radical Islamization several Arab Spring countries took), the failure to foresee a post-Mubarak Egypt, the asinine embrace of Morsi’s obviously despotic Muslim Brotherhood government, the obvious failure of the “reset” with Russia; all occurred or had their seeds planted when Hillary was Secretary of State, and all have contributed mightily to America’s global loss of prestige and respect.

    But the whitewashing of Hillary Clinton’s record is no surprise, given that the author,David Rothkopf, “joined the Clinton Administration in 1993 as Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Policy and Development.”

    I’m also guessing that Susan Rice was among the sources for the piece, given that he follows criticism of her for calling the German Foreign Minister a “M@therf@cker” with the softball “It is a particularly frustrating Achilles’ heel for someone who is well known among her friends as having the capacity to be very warm, humorous, and engaging,” which just reeks of assuaging a source. (Really, did any serious policy profile of any high Republican administration official every use the phrase “very warm, humorous, and engaging”?)

    I also get the impression from this and other bits of Hillary apologia that she really, really has it in for former Deputy National Security Adviser and current White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough (he’s the guy that looks like Lurch in that “watch us kill Bin Laden” photo). Note that I’m not taking sides in this dispute; it’s entirely possible that both of them suck…

    The piece is worth reading for showing that even the long-time deep state apparatchiks at Foggy Bottom feel embarrassed at the Obama Administration’s gross foreign policy incompetence. But it also needs to be taken with several grains of salt as yet-another piece of battlespace preparation for Hillary 2016…

    “No One Is Allowed To Take Pictures of The Great and Powerful Wendy Davis!”

    Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

    Wendy Davis is signing at Austin book store Bookpeople tomorrow (September 11, 2014) at 12:30 PM. (Bookpeople, if you haven’t been there, is a nice independent bookstore that has all kinds of authors in for signings, not just liberal politicians, and Rick Perry signed there in 2008.)

    The signing itself is not odd, it’s the conditions for the signing that are odd:

    EVENT GUIDELINES

  • This event is a SIGNING only. Senator Davis will not give a public talk.
  • Tickets are required to join the signing line.
  • Tickets are available to purchase in-store and via bookpeople.com
  • Tickets cost as much as the price of one copy of Forgetting to Be Afraid plus tax.
  • Each ticket grants access to the signing line for ONE person and will be exchanged for ONE signed copy of Forgetting to Be Afraid at the signing table the day of the event.
  • There is a limit of one ticket/book per person.
  • The line for the signing will form first come, first served the day of the event.
  • Books will not be personalized.
  • Photos will not be allowed at the signing table.
  • No memorabilia will be signed at this event.
  • No talk, no photos, no personalization. It’s like it’s a privilege to be in the same room as her. And if I know Bookpeople, plenty of autographed copies will be available the next day for purchase, sans ticket.

    I know for a fact that such rules were not in place for signings there by Neil Gaiman or Neal Stephenson (both of whom, I’d estimate, are considerably more famous that Wendy Davis). Indeed, the “no personalization/no photo” rules were not even in place for Hillary Clinton’s signing there.

    Why does a failing gubernatorial candidate merit more high-and-mighty treatment than a former Secretary of State, First Lady and losing Presidential candidate?

    If I had to guess, it would be that her handlers are scared to death she’ll make a gaffe…

    Raining on the Viking Women Warrior Parade

    Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

    Last week a story made the rounds claiming that a new archeological examination of graves showed almost as many female Viking warriors as male Viking warriors.

    There’s just one tiny problem with these claims: they’re bunk..

    This paper absolutely does not conclude that these women were warriors, or that the army had an even split of male and female fighters:

    These results, six female Norse migrants and seven male, should caution against assuming that the great majority of Norse migrants were male, despite the other forms of evidence suggesting the contrary.

    Note the use of the word “migrants,” not “warriors” or “fighters.”

    So this is a case of feminists taking good science and turning it into bad reporting by distorting what the original paper actually said.

    An academic reading the actual paper comes to the same conclusion: “Whenever we read second hand information, it is essential that rather than instantly spreading what may be misleading information, that we try to discover if it’s accurate first.”

    Eric S. Raymond expands on the theme:

    Reality is, at least where pre-gunpowder weapons are involved, viciously sexist….

    There is only very scant archeological evidence for female warriors (burials with weapons). There is almost no such evidence from Viking cultures, and what little we have is disputed; the Scythians and earlier Germanics from the Migration period have substantially more burials that might have been warrior women. Tellingly, they are almost always archers….

    If a pre-industrial culture has chosen to train more than a tiny fraction of its women as shieldmaidens, it would have lost out to a culture that protected and used their reproductive capacity to birth more male warriors. Brynhilde may be a sexy idea, but she’s a bioenergetic gamble that is near certain to be a net waste.

    Firearms changes all this, of course – some of the physiological differences that make them inferior with contact weapons are actual advantages at shooting (again I speak from experience, as I teach women to shoot). So much so that anyone who wants to suppress personal firearams is objectively anti-female and automatically oppressive of women.

    (Hat tip Instapundit.)

    LinkSwarm for September 8, 2014

    Monday, September 8th, 2014

    A Monday LinKSwarm to kick off your week with:

  • Surprise, surprise, surprise: Obamacare discourages work.
  • Media: ObamaCare is fading as an issue. GOP strategists: LOL.
  • “Obama has overseen a shocking decline in America’s standing in the world. Everyone is mad at, or disappointed in, the United States.” As far as I can tell, Obama’s foreign policy is to do nothing until Americans are killed, and then to do nothing some more…
  • More on the theme:

    “Obama says what he has to say to make reporters stop asking about it.”

  • Rotherham: “The local government tolerated sexual violence on a vast scale. Why? In part, because the criminals who committed these sickening acts were Muslims from the local Pakistani community, and noticing their depravity was considered insensitive at best, racist at worst.”
  • Illegal alien “children” with gray hair enrolling in public schools since the Obama Administration won’t let school districts check their ages.
  • After more than five years of Obama, the Los Angeles Times asks “Is economic stagnation the new normal?”
  • Obama starts the latest poker round by showing Putin his hole cards.
  • Iran bans women from many university courses. Now remind me what this whole “war on women” is about again…
  • Interview with the woman who runs the only Arabic language magazine of sex and erotica. Good luck with that…
  • Thanks to The Magic Power of Socialism, Venezuela is now importing oil.
  • Hey, remember when Bush attended three fundraisers and a wedding during the middle of the invasion of Iraq? Me neither.
  • “However stupid the creation of the euro was, undoing it will not be easy.”
  • UC Berkley wants to make sure “we can only exercise our right to free speech insofar as we feel safe and respected in doing so.” “And by ‘contentious’ speech, we mean ‘non-liberal’ speech. Or, as we like to refer to them, ‘hate crimes.’”
  • Military rifles, armor, and ammo sent to numerous Texas school districts. If anyone knows why Texarkana ISD needs a SWAT team, I’m all ears…
  • In a shocking and unexpected development, I actually agree with Keith Olbermann about something. Namely the idea that it was amazingly stupid for the Huffington Post to hire Donte “9/11 Truther” Stallworth to be a “National Security Fellow.”
  • This weekend there were numerous protests to wage fast food wages. What’s behind them? $3 million in union money.
  • Huffingotn Post fooled by scam story. Clip this headline out and save it and I’m sure you’ll be able to make use of it in the years to come…
  • Mandy Nagy, AKA “Liberty Chick,” is recovering from surgery following a stroke.
  • A little fun via the #ExplainAFilmPlotBadly tag:

  • John Bucy III Campaign Claims Lien Was Filed Against John Bucy II

    Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

    The John Bucy III campaign has issued another denial stating that the tax lien issued against 8609 Camelia Ln, Austin, Texas, 78759, was not, in fact, against candidate John H. Bucy III, despite his name being on the lien. But the press release does not go any farther.

    However, I have finally received answers from Brent Grady of the John H. Bucy III campaign to questions I sent in yesterday, and he confirms that the lien was against John H. Bucy II, the candidate’s father.

    My questions are in italics, and Grady’s answers are in bold:

    1. Is it true that John Bucy III is the son of John Bucy II, and works at the latter’s law firm?
    John Bucy III is the son of John Bucy II and offices out of 6633 E. Hwy. 290, but John III owns his own company and is not employed by his father.

    2. Did John Bucy II live at 8609 Camelia Ln, Austin, Texas, 78759, and was the actual tax lien filed against him?
    – Yes.

    3. Travis County records show that 8609 Camelia Ln, Austin, Texas, 78759 was sold to John Bucy II on May 30 of this year, and then the lease assigned the same day to “The Jarrett-Simmons Irrevocable Trust,” whose address is the same building that both John Bucy II and John Bucy III show as their respective business offices (6633 Hwy 290
    East, Austin, Texas, 78723). Is that correct?

    – Unknown. This house does not (and never did) belong to John Bucy III, nor did he ever live there.

    4. Does John Bucy II still live at 8609 Camelia Ln?
    – Yes.

    5. Did the IRS accidentally put the lien as applying to John Bucy III when they meant to apply it to John Bucy II?
    The lien was properly applied to John Bucy II. There was just a typo on the form, which put “III” on it, instead of “II,” and we notified the Dale campaign a week ago that it was a typo and not John Bucy III, the candidate.

    Thanks to Brent Grady of the John H. Bucy III campaign for helping clear things up. The answers have the virtues of fitting all the facts, and government agencies committing typos are hardly unknown.

    Absent any additional information from the Tony Dale campaign that the tax lien is indeed against John H. Bucy III rather than John H. Bucy II, I would consider the matter closed.

    Update: Response from the Tony Dale campaign:

    “Mr. Bucy’s ‘shocked and appalled’ response to the revelation that the IRS filed a $163,000 tax lien against him for unpaid taxes is misdirected. Mr. Bucy is running for public office and is subject to public scrutiny. The federal government believes he has not paid his taxes. If the IRS is in error, he needs to produce proof in the form of the removal of the lien in his name, not ask the citizens of Williamson County to simply take the word of the Democratic Party Chairman or his dad.” -Corbin Casteel

    Update 2: Attached find an IRS document sent by the Bucy campaign, but I hardly find it conclusive…

    10616347_1468973480029706_6268223197445174577_n-1

    Untangling the John Bucy Property Lien Issue

    Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

    Given the John H. Bucy III’s campaigns strenuous denials that the $160,000 IRS tax lien was filed against their candidate, I thought I would further research the issue. It may be a case of a son being mistaken for his father, but I can’t say for sure without Bucy or his campaign answering some questions.

    Let’s look at the deed history of 8609 Camelia Ln, Austin, Texas, 78759 via the Travis County Central Appraisal District web interface:

    # Deed Date Type Description Grantor Grantee Deed Number
    1 5/30/2014 WD WARRANTY DEED BUCY JOHN H II JARRETT-SIMMONS IRREVOCABLE TRUST 2014093500TR
    2 5/30/2014 WD WARRANTY DEED REES BURKE BUCY JOHN H II 2014093499TR
    3 8/29/2008 WD WARRANTY DEED WEST GEORGE MARC REES BURKE 2008165059TR

    CameliaDee

    Some clarifications, given my modest research into the issue:

    1. Burke Rees was (is?) a real estate agent (also here, with a different company), but he shows up as the owner of the property.

    2. I confirmed over the telephone with Ress he did indeed lease the property to a John Bucy, but he didn’t know whether it was John Bucy II or John Bucy III.
    3. The house is sold to John H. Bucy II (not III) in 2014.
    4. John H. Bucy II is evidently a lawyer who “specializes in business law including formations, acquisitions, securities, employment and other contract issues.” Also: “Besides business practice, attorney John H. Bucy, II also represents clients in real estate matters, including the purchase and sale of undeveloped and commercial properties, finances related to real estate projects, and the negotiation of commercial leases.” His law office address is 6633 Hwy 290 East, Suite 208, Austin, Texas, 78723.
    5. There is only one employee listed by name at that record: “John H Bucy III” who is described as a “Principal.”
    6. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that John H. Bucy II is, in fact, the father of John H. Bucy III.
    7. Note that the same day the house is sold to John H. Bucy II, the deed is then granted to “The Jarrett-Simmons Irrevocable Trust.”
    8. There’s not a lot of information on the Jarrett-Simmons Irrevocable Trust, except that: A.) It seems to be associated somehow with Paddington Property, LLC, B.) Their address is listed as “6633 E Highway 290, Austin, Texas, 78723,” and C.) The principal is one Bryan Jarrett.
    9. 6633 Hwy 290 East, Suite 104, Austin, Texas, 78723 is listed as the address for the Texas Charter School Academic and Athletic League, which lists “John Bucy” as founder and president; presumably that’s John H. Bucy III, as per his campaign website.
    10. John H. Bucy III’s official campaign filing address is the same address: 6633 Hwy 290 East, Suite 104, Austin, Texas, 78723.
    11. A John Bucy is listed as the owner of “6633 E HIGHWAY 290 STE 104 AUSTIN , TX 78723-1157.” An appraised value of “$4,744″ suggests that he does not own the entire building, which seems to be a business condo.
    12. Bryan Jarrett seems to be involved with a number of enterprises run from that same 6633 Hwy 290 East address: Brant Management, Caretech International Inc., Complete Care Centers, Inc., Incolumus Inc., Texas Matrix Group, Mission Nursing Home Inc., Windcrest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Inc., and Plaza 290 Office Condominium Association (hmmm).
    13. In all these enterprises, he seems subordinate to an Anthony J. Langford.
    14. I note for the record that John H. Bucy III’s north Austin home he shares with his wife Molly is registered in the name of a Josh T. Brown of Santa Cruz, California.
    15. The house at 8609 Camelia Ln appears to be for sale (I say “appears” because you can never tell with real estate listings). The listed seller? Ellmaker Realty.

    What all this amounts to:

  • John Bucy III appears to be the son of John Bucy II
  • John Bucy II did own the house where the lien said John Bucy III resided.
  • Both Bucys appear to work out of the same building, which just happens to be the same building the trust which bought the house in question also operates out of.
  • I can think of a dozen different scenarios which fit the facts in this case, so I don’t want to speculate on which might be the case here.

    Yesterday I wrote the John Bucy III campaign, asking for clarification. I still haven’t heard back from them.

    But the big question remains: Why was the IRS lean against John H. Bucy III against the house lived in, and later owned, by John H. Bucy II?

    Finally, there is this set of court records for John H. Bucy II. I don’t know enough to decode the various charges listed. I merely include it for others to research.

    Update: The Bucy campaign claims that the lien is indeed against John Bucy II, not John Bucy III.

    Democratic State House Candidate John Bucy’s $160,000 in Unpaid Taxes

    Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

    What is it with Democrats and their recurring problems with paying their taxes? Certainly they seem more than capable of passing and raising taxes. But paying them on time? Not so much.

    Today’s example of a Democrat not paying his taxes comes from House District 136 candidate John H. Bucy, which a press release from his Republican opponent, incumbent Tony Dale‘s campaign (not yet up on his websites) identifies as owing $160,000 in back taxes to the IRS:

    John H. Bucy, III, the Democratic nominee for Texas House, District 136 in Williamson County, apparently failed to pay his taxes for at least 4 years and owes over $160,000 to the IRS. According to the IRS tax lien filed with the Travis County Clerk, Mr. Bucy owes personal income taxes dating as far back as 2008 and as recently as 2011. And there could be more.

    The Dale campaign also notes that “In addition to the IRS tax lien, Mr. Bucy has problems with the state of Texas as well. Every single business Bucy has registered with state of Texas has forfeited its existence for failure to pay the required taxes and fees, seven total businesses.” To me, this is not only several orders of magnitude less important than the taxes owed the IRS, it’s not necessarily an issue at all, as it could mean Bucy’s business entities are no longer active and he simply let the registration expire.

    I emailed the Bucy campaign for comment about an hour ago, but so far have not heard back from them.

    Note: Dale is my own state representative, and I endorsed him in 2012.

    Update: The Bucy campaign contends that Dale got the wrong John Bucy:

    Mr. Lawrence [sic],

    The accusations are false, and John has never had a lien filed against him.

    We are aware of the document that the Dale campaign claims to possess, and the “John Bucy” referenced in Tony Dale’s press release is NOT John Bucy the candidate. — Not only is John Bucy (the candidate) not the person to whom the lien attaches, he has also never even lived at the address to which the John Bucy in the lien attaches to.

    We spoke to the Dale campaign last week and made them aware of this. — The Dale campaign still chose to move forward. — They clearly do not care to be honest with the voters.

    To the other point of John’s companies, John has only been affiliated with 3 companies, and we do not know where the count of 7 comes from.

    One of the companies is his current company, which is in good standing, and the other two companies have been closed down properly.

    None of this information should be published, as it is false, and we are presently exploring all options to stop these false accusations.

    -Brent Grady.
    Campaign Manager, Bucy for Texas

    Update 1: My update on the still murky issue is here.

    Update 2: Bucy campaign claims that the lien was against his father, John Bucy II, which fits the facts in the first update above.

    In Which I Make Fun of Matthew Yglesias’ Fashion Choices

    Saturday, August 30th, 2014

    If you haven’t see Matthew Yglesias’ purple plaid sports coat and pastel plaid tie combination (which has been making the rounds for a while now), it is something to behold:

    Both Kurt Schlichter and I chimed in on it:

    It’s Labor Day Weekend, so this is what you get instead of actual content…

    LinkSwarm for August 29, 2014

    Friday, August 29th, 2014

    In addition to not having a clue, when it comes to ISIS, Obama says that “we don’t have a strategy yet.” I’m sure if someone asked Franklin Roosevelt in early 1942 what his plans were for dealing with Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany, he would have had a strategy. Then again, FDR’s polio probably severely curtailed his golfing

  • President of Ukraine dissolves Parliament. This happened before the latest Russian incursion.
  • Also, Ukraine seeks NATO membership. A little late for that…
  • Boko Haram beheads six year old boy because he’s a Christian.
  • Man threatens to slaughter Ohio school children with an AK-47 over Israel-Gaza conflict.
  • How and why journalists get the Israel story wrong. Namely because they want to. “Many in the West clearly prefer the old comfort of parsing the moral failings of Jews, and the familiar feeling of superiority this brings them, to confronting an unhappy and confusing reality.”
  • For all the talk of Obama’s suit, it wasn’t the worst fashion disaster this week.
  • “Women who are sane, normal and happy do not become feminists, because such women do not need feminism.”
  • It turns out that Louisiana Democratic senator Mary Landrieu doesn’t actually live in her home state. Awkward. And unconstitutional. See also: Lugar, Richard, electoral defeat of.
  • New Republic writer Yishai Schwartz wants to get rid of that fascist “innocent until proven guilty” nonsense. You know, if I were writing a piece that hinged on “the details of Missouri law,” I think I would actually cite, verbatim, the relevant sections of Missouri law that supported my central thesis. Having conspicuously failed to do so, evidently Schwartz feels that such niceties (like the presumption of innocence in criminal trials) are beneath him… (Hat tip: Legal Insurrection.)
  • Christian student groups are no longer welcome at Vanderbilt University.
  • You will be made to care.
  • British wind farms being paid not to produce energy:
  • A checklist for arguing with Social Justice Warriors.
  • Back when stewardesses were allowed to wear sexy uniforms. (Hat tip: Bill Crider.)
  • Everything you’ve ever known is a lie.