Archive for the ‘Regulation’ Category

Texas Election News Update for August 14, 2014

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

With all Obama’s manifest incompetence at the national and international level, it’s easy to neglect Texas election news, so here’s a small update to tide you over.

  • Even liberal MSM fossil Paul Burka says that the governor’s race is over and Wendy Davis has already lost. (Shhhhh! Don’t tell her national liberal donors! Let them keep tossing dollars down the hole…
  • Abbott wants to reform Texas occupational licensing schemes, noting that an EMT only requires 33 days of training, but cosmetologists and barbers require 350 days of training.
  • Lt. Governor candidates Dan Patrick and Leticia Van de Putte will be having debate in September.
  • Brandon Creighton wins special election for state senate.
  • In the Texas House District 136 race (my district), Democratic challenger John Bucy claims to have raised more money than Republican incumbent Tony Dale. But that’s only true by counting Bucy’ spersonal political expenditures as contributions, contrary to state law, counting his volunteer campaign manager’s non-existent $22,018.70 “salary” as a contribution, and counting a bunch of other in-kind contributions.
  • LinkSwarm for June 27, 2014

    Friday, June 27th, 2014

    A small LinkSwarm for a busy Friday:

  • Evidently Obama wants $500 million to arm the Syrian rebels that we’re supposedly trying to fight in Iraq. Oh, the article says he wants to arm “moderate” rebels. Has anyone seen these moderate rebels? Who are they? Kurds? Oppressed Christians? The problem isn’t that they don’t exist, the problem is that the actual moderates seem to have forces too small to affect the outcome of the fight, and I don’t trust this administration on, well, anything, but especially on their ability to discern the difference between “moderate” rebels and radical Islamic militias from 6,000 miles away….
  • Welcome to the ObamaCare Death Spiral.
  • The War Nerd suggests that Putin is mucking around in eastern Ukraine less to take it outright than to keep it at a simmer so he gets to keep the Crimea without a fight. Also include this epic quote: “Tom Friedman, the Michael Jordan of wrong.”
  • Obama gets unanimous beatdown from the Supreme Court. For the 13th time.
  • Even liberals are turned off by Hillary’s poor, poor pitiful me act.

  • As Hillary Clinton gears up for a Presidential run in 2016, ABC decides to make one of Bill Clinton’s chief aides a network anchor. Lovely.
  • Hillary’s book sells more than 100,000 copies, but woefully short of what it would need to earn back it’s whopping $14 million advance…
  • Did Obama Fail Black America?” Obviously the question mark is unnecessary, as the only question is whether that headline is one or two words too long.

  • Feminism: The Tiny Elite: “You don’t have to look far to realize that victimhood is the flavor of the moment in America. Deeming oneself a victim delivers an afforded reverence, especially if said victimhood is biologically based.” Today feminism is “a group working largely for the interests of elite white women.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • How the media discriminates against stories than indict big government.
  • Phil Collins donates his extensive collection of Alamo relics to the state. In fact, Collins is donating not only his existing collection, but stuff he continues to acquire. Three cheers for him.
  • Much like obeying the law, word problems are not Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings’ strong suit.
  • Texas man told to remove American flag from his balcony because it was “a threat to Muslims.” Get a rope…
  • Far-left cartoonist Ted Rall gets the axe. I’m not sure there’s a violin tiny enough…
  • Finally, you too can own the screenplay to Manos: The Hands of Fate.
  • I hope to have a longer post of the kangaroo court trying Michael Quinn Sullivan next week…

    Texas vs. California Update for June 20, 2014

    Friday, June 20th, 2014

    Believe it or not, there seem to be a few actual glimmers of sanity in California in the latest roundup:

  • Texas: Not just leading the nation in jobs, but doing it more equitably as well.
  • “The income gap between rich and poor tends to be wider in blue states than in red states.” More: “Texas has a lower Gini coefficient (.477) and a lower poverty rate (20.5%) than California (Gini coefficient .482, poverty rate 25.8%).” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Perhaps the biggest crack in the “Blue State” model this month was a state superior court judge ruling that California’s teacher protection laws were illegal, because they violated the equal protection clause for students. How the Vergara vs. California decision plays out on appeal is anyone’s guess, but just recognizing that union contracts that keep crummy teachers employed harms students is a huge step forward.
  • New California payroll and pensions numbers are now available. “The data shows that public compensation in California is growing more out of control, threatening the solvency of the state and local governments.” Let’s take a look at a few locales, shall we?
  • Will wonders never cease: CalWatchdog calls the just-passed California budget “fairly prudent.”
  • The legislature also passed a law almost doubling the amount of money school districts pay into CalSTARS.
  • But don’t let that fool you: California’s legislature is still crazy.
  • Especially since California Democrats just elected a new Senate leader guaranteed to pull them to the left.
  • But Republicans are poised to torpedo California Democrat’s Senate supermajority.
  • Desert Hot Springs is contemplating dissolving it’s police force to avoid bankruptcy. (By my count, 21 Desert Hot Springs police officers make more than $100,000 a year in total compensation. Including five officers who make more than the Police Chief…)
  • San Bernardino has evidently reached agreement with CalPERS in it’s ongoing bankruptcy case, but no details have been reported.
  • They also closed a gap in a yearly budget thanks to some union concessions. But one union is balking, and its members are threatening to join the SEIU instead.
  • The California town of Guadalupe considers bankruptcy. One problem is that the town has been illegally transfering money from dedicated funds (like water bills) to general funds. “If voters do not pass three new taxes in November, Guadalupe is expected to disband its police and fire departments, enter bankruptcy or disincorporate, meaning it would cease to exist as a city.”
  • Ventura County residents collection enough signatures to force a ballot measure on pension reform. Response? A lawsuit to keep it off the ballot.
  • Los Angeles 2020 Commission goes over what changes the city needs to avoid a future where “40% of the population lives in ‘what only can be called misery,’ ‘strangled by traffic’ and hamstrung by a ‘failing’ school system.” Response? “Meh.”
  • Sickout among San Francisco municipal bus drivers. Good thing poor people don’t depend on buses for transportation…
  • Huge growth in Texas apartment complexes.
  • California’s prison system illegally sterilizes female inmates against their will.
  • The Obama Administration Department of Education is driving the California-based Corinthian for-profit college chain out of business.
  • A Californian discusses why relocation to Texas might be attractive, and hears the pitch for Frisco, Texas.
  • “‘Building a business is tough. But I hear building a business in California is next to impossible,’ Perry says.”
  • California regulators can’t be arsed to come out and check flaming tap water.
  • California bill to add warning labels to soft drinks fails.
  • California-based nutritional supplement maker Natrol files for bankruptcy, mainly due to class action suits. I note this because I’ve found their 3mg Melatonin to be really effective as a sleep aid.
  • LinkSwarm for June 9, 2014

    Monday, June 9th, 2014

    Here’s a LinkSwarm to kick your week off with:

  • Gee, what could have possibly sent hospital prices skyrocketing? It’s an unsolvable mystery! (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Old and Busted: ObamaCare will save the government money. The New Hotness: “In its latest report on the law, the Congressional Budget Office said it is no longer possible to assess the overall fiscal impact of the law.”
  • “For Obama and his defenders to blame Bush — or anyone but Obama — 64 months into his administration deserves nothing short of lip-curling scorn.”
  • The New Narrative: Obama is just massively incompetent at everything but campaigning.
  • The VA Scandal displays “a systemic lack of integrity.”
  • Nothing says “socialism is a raging success” quite like rationing drinking water. Enjoy your socialist paradise, Caracas, Venezuela! (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • The idiocy of “white privilege.”
  • “It is not sufficient that transsexuals should be free to act on their delusions — the rest of us are expected to participate in them with unreserved enthusiasm, and the Left is willing to use the state to compel us to do so…The belief that members of minority political tendencies should be jailed for their views is very much in vogue for the Left at the moment.”
  • Steve Crowder: Having a Penis Doesn’t Equal Misogyny.
  • Another day, another Social Justice Warrior issung death threats against their political enemies.
  • 50 Years of Democratic Rule tracking Detroit’s decay using Google street view.
  • Once again, liberal Democrats oppose a project that might give burly blue collar men high-paying jobs.
  • Christopher Hitchens on Hillary Clinton. Yes, it’s old. (The fact Hitchens exited this vale of tears over two years ago may have been the first tipoff.) But I suspect this will not be the last time I repost it between now and 2016…
  • New York City now has more cops collecting pensions than walking the street.
  • The indicted friend of the Boston Marathon Bomber wired $71,000 to people in six countries using fake names. I think we can all agree that that’s not even slightly suspicious…
  • Best and worst paying college majors.
  • Vasser’s new Stalinist show trials.
  • The Texas Republican Convention occurred in Ft. Worth over the weekend, and delegates killed a down-payment on illegal alien amnesty, the so-called “Texas Solution.” How many time does the GOP establishment need to be told that actual voters reject amnesty, and demand that the border be secured before any changes are made to immigration law before they start listening?
  • Speaking of amnesty, all this “Dream Act” talk has sent children pouring over the border, where there are no housed in overcrowded and unhygienic holding facilities. Thanks, Obama!
  • Some of them are being dumped in Arizona.
  • Even Obama’s own immigration adviser says says his amnesty plan is endangering children. Plus “roughly 70 percent of swing-voters want tougher immigration rules.” Obama seems unwilling to stop the flood of illegal aliens because he views them all as potential Democratic voters…
  • 10 essential economic truths liberals need to learn.
  • Fight gearing up between the Bureau of Land Management and Texas.
  • Grammer Nazis.
  • Public Service Announcement: Try not to murder people for imaginary Internet memes.
  • Samuel L. Jackson takes a selfie at a an Israel Independence parade in New York City. naturally liberals freak out.
  • When I think “Hip-Hop” the first name that comes to mind is Ron Howard.
  • Al Sharpton vs. The Teleprompter:

  • Science Fiction Writer Jay Lake, RIP.
  • Texas vs. California Update for May 14, 2014

    Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

    Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • Chief Executive ranks the states for business friendliness. Once again, Texas is ranked the best state for doing business in. And once again, California is ranked the worst.

    “Texas is the best state for business and I don’t see anything to slow TX down. The education and quality of eligible employees is excellent right now. Business is booming and growing quicker and more rapidly in 2014 than any other year. It’s an exciting time in Texas.”

    “California goes out of its way to be anti-business and particularly where one might put manufacturing and/or distribution operations.”

    “California continues to lead in disincentives for growth businesses to stay.”

    “California’s attitude toward business makes you question why anyone would build a business there.”

    “California could hardly do more to discourage business if that was the goal. The regulatory, tax and political environment are crushing.”

  • California Governor Jerry Brown unveils a budget that takes baby steps toward actual pension and budget reform. Naturally Brown’s fellow Democrats in the state legislature are fighting him every step of the way.
  • Texas vs. California? Try Houston vs. California:

  • California state rep thinks the minimum wage in the state should be $26 an hour. I agree, especially if they call it the “Let’s Drive All Remaining Business to Texas Act”…
  • When he was a San Diego City Councilman, California Democrat Congressman Scott Peters not only underfunded the city’s pension plan while hiking benefits, he indemnified the pension board for doing so.
  • More on Peters, via an attack ad:

  • “A new analysis of California’s independent public retirement systems suggests they are more woefully underfunded than they appear, and that Los Angeles County is among the worst of all.”
  • Bankrupt Stockton’s last remaining big creditor refuses to take 1¢ on the dollar for debts the city owes. (Remember: State pension fund CalPERS didn’t take any haircut at all.)
  • In bankrupt San Bernardino, talks between the city and CalPERS are making the federal judge overseeing the case impatient.
  • Chuck DeVore on why Texans trust their state government more than most:

    Then factors that appear to explain from 13 percent to 30 percent of the differences in trust among the states: rate of union membership,with more trust in states with lower union membership; state’s level of soft tyranny, a measure of the power of state government over its people; percentage of state and local taxes as a share of income, with lower taxes leading to more trust; the right to keep and bear arms, with citizens trusting a government that trusts them to defend themselves; a business-friendly lawsuit climate; the days the legislature is in session, with less trust as the legislature approaches full-time; and the average commute time, with less time spent in traffic leading to more trust.

    Lastly, a combination of from two to four of the previous factors correlates to 34 to 41 percent of the trust in each state with a mix of four: taxes, gun rights, lawsuit reform and commute time, showing the highest link to trust. Comparatively speaking, Texas lawmakers have done well in these four areas of public policy.

    When building trust in state government, enacting liberty-minded legislation is a good place to start.

  • But it isn’t all sunshine in Texas Local debt continues to rise, though Eanes School District voters finally decide that they’ve had enough and defeat a bond proposal.
  • Texas vs. California Update for April 15, 2014

    Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

    Today sucks if you still have to finish your taxes. It sucks more in California than Texas, since you have to pay state income taxes as well. That includes a marginal tax rate of 9.3% for all those millionaires making more than $49,774 a year. As opposed to Texas’ marginal rate of 0.0% for all…

  • Rich Californians don’t seem to mind that their green fantasies are screwing the poor.
  • California Democrats are trying to write racial quotas into the state Constitution. Oddly enough, Asian Americans are actually objecting to their children getting screwed out of college admissions. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “A combination of unfriendly tax policies, military budget cuts and cutthroat competition is wreaking havoc on California’s storied aerospace industry, a new study cautions.” ​​More here, which notes that:

    Texas and Washington offer low corporate income tax and no personal income tax, while providing a stable business climate and skilled work force. Many high-profile corporations have relocated their operations to new states. Recent examples include Northrop Grumman, which moved its headquarters to Northern Virginia; Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, which moved its headquarters to McKinney, Texas; and Boeing, which moved two aircraft modernization programs, for the C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft and the B-1 bomber, from Long Beach to Oklahoma City.

  • CalPERS latest report proves conclusively that the fund spontaneously generates unicorns, rainbows and jobs. The Wall Street Journal examines the claims, wipes the vaguely yellow liquid off their legs and concludes “This political report offers one more reason why taxpayers and public workers shouldn’t trust Calpers with their money and would be better served by defined-contribution retirement plans that employees own and control.”
  • The California State Teachers’ Retirement System announced it faces $73.7 billion in long-term liabilities. “CalSTRS has a $71 billion unfunded pension liability.”
  • Both CalPERS and CalSTARS are desperately in need of reform.

    The state teacher pension fund, CalSTRS, needs an extra $4.5 billion each year for 30 years to pay off its unfunded liabilities. CalPERS’ local government members will see costs increase by 50 percent during the next six years. And the state needs to contribute $1 billion more per year for retiree health care benefits.

    These obligations for benefits already earned must be paid, and over the next decade, they will continue to drain funding from essential services such as education, public safety, transportation and health care.

    Yet, powerful interests remain all too eager to kick the can down the road and push our pension problems onto future generations.

  • Why California has an affordable housing crisis.
  • Is there a way out of Taxifornia? As such a solution would require liberals to stop acting like liberals, the answer is: probably not.
  • Bell’s corrupt officials agree to plea bargain deal. Bonus: Robert “Ratso” Rizzo gets 33 months on federal tax evasion charges. (Hat tip: Dwight, who has been all over the Bell story.)
  • At least 60 companies have relocated from California to Texas. But Elk Grove, California is striking back, trying to lure Texas companies to California. “The slogan: ‘Don’t wait for high taxes and stifling regulation to come to you, end the suspense and move to California’ just doesn’t seem too appealing to me.”
  • Continuing troubles with California’s high speed rail boondoggle.
  • Sports equipment maker MonkeySports is relocating from Corona, California to Allen, Texas, adding up to some 225 Texas jobs over two years.
  • A closer look at relocations to the Austin area.
  • Texas vs. California Update for March 24, 2014

    Monday, March 24th, 2014

    In California, I would say that March Madness is ignoring the looming pension crisis, except that madness extends to every other month as well…

  • Where is income inequality worst in the U.S.? Well, for one thing, in California:

    Perhaps no place is inequality more evident than in the rural reaches of California, the nation’s richest agricultural state. The Golden State is now home to 111 billionaires, by far the most of any state; California billionaires personally hold assets worth $485 billion, more than the entire GDP of all but 24 countries in the world. Yet the state also suffers the highest poverty rate in the country (adjusted for housing costs), above 23%, and a leviathan welfare state. As of 2012, with roughly 12% of the population, California accounted for roughly one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients.

    With the farm economy increasingly mechanized and industrial growth stifled largely by regulation, many rural Californians particularly Latinos, are downwardly mobile, and doing worse than their parents; native-born Latinos actually have shorter lifespans than their parents, according to a 2011 report. Although unemployment remains high in many of the state’s largest urban counties, the highest unemployment is concentrated in the rural counties of the interior. Fresno was found in one study to have the least well-off Congressional district.

    The vast expanse of economic decline in the midst of unprecedented, but very narrow urban luxury has been characterized as “liberal apartheid.” The well-heeled, largely white and Asian coastal denizens live in an economically inaccessible bubble insulated from the largely poor, working-class, heavily Latino communities in the eastern interior of the state.

  • The Myth of the California Renaissance:

    California also has the nation’s highest poverty rate and the most food stamp recipients, and policymakers have done little to address profligate spending, unfunded pensions, and ever-growing retiree health-care obligations.”

    Inland California, from Imperial in the south to Modoc in the north, remains one of the poorest regions in the nation. Though the state unemployment rate fell in February to 8.1 percent, inland unemployment ranges from 9.5 percent in Riverside to 25.9 percent in Colusa. Of the 20 counties in the United States with the largest unemployment rates, 11 are in California.

  • California only has the second highest taxes in the nation! Thank God for New York!
  • Unfavorable ballot language stymies a California pension reform effort
  • …but pension reform advocates are regrouping to make another push in 2016.
  • Indeed, pension reform will be the biggest issue for southern California voters this fall.
  • More on how government at the state and national level is destroying California agriculture in the name of protecting the Delta Smelt.
  • There’s speculation that California Governor Jerry Brown actually wants to see the illegal, underfunded, and ill-fated “bullet train to nowhere” die, he just doesn’t want to get the blame for killing it.
  • How Texas job growth has outpaced both the nation and California.
  • Occidental Petroleum is moving its headquarters to Houston and spinning off its California operations as a separate company.
  • Rick Perry raids again.
  • Telecom company Channell Commercial is relocating from Temecula, California to Rockwell, Texas. “Blaming California for an oppressive business climate for manufacturing growth, Channell said the costs to do business here have made expansion in this state no longer feasible.”
  • And I missed this story from last year on Chevron building a 50 story office building in Houston. That could mean the days of their California headquarters are numbered…
  • Texas vs. California Update for February 11, 2014

    Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

    Meant to put this up at lunch, but Stuff. And Things.

  • How California overprotects public employee union contracts. If the paper from Volokh the Younger is too heavy-sledding for non-lawyers, here’s a nice summary.
  • CalPERS is demographically doomed.
  • The people of San Bernardino vote all the bums out. “After Tuesday night, six of seven council members are now on record as saying they want to explore reducing San Bernardino’s pensions, along with [Carey] Davis, the new mayor, and a new city attorney, Gary Saenz.”
  • Another California city, Placentia, drifts toward bakruptcy. “Placentia has been papering over a structural $1.5 million deficit in its $30 million budget for at least five years, plugging the hole with lucky money (more soberly called ‘one-time revenues’).”
  • Stockton: Hey, we’re in bankruptcy! I guess that means we can just kill our shelter animals willy nilly. Federal judge: Not so fast.
  • Los Angeles firefighter compensation averages $218,000 an employee. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.).
  • Are even California’s Democratic legislators waking up to the problem?
  • California university workers plan a strike. See, no matter how broke you are, unions still want wage hikes…
  • Unions want to ensure that Bob Filner’s closest ally is elected Mayor of San Diego to keep their gravy train coming…
  • Union membership in California is down to 16.4% of the workforce.
  • Jerry Brown: Hey, Supreme Court, reverse that high speed rail decision! High Speed Rail Contractor: Thanks, Jer! Here’s $27,000.
  • Websense is relocating from San Diego to Austin. Dropbox is also moving additional jobs to Austin.
  • Charles Schuab is relocating jobs from San Francisco to Texas.
  • California industrial brush company relocates to Utah.
  • The Texas labor force keeps growing.
  • Rick Perry Comes Out For Marijuana Decriminalization

    Friday, January 24th, 2014

    Rick Perry has come out for marijuana decriminalization and for states rights on legalization (though he still opposes legalization himself).

    This makes Perry objectively more pro-legalization that former frequent choom-abuser Barack Obama.

    This will be a great surprise to people who know Perry only from the liberal caricature of him in their head, or who haven’t been following the intellectual debate among conservatives, which has leaned toward the “legalize it, regulate it and tax it” position for almost a quarter century now.

    Perry has been a staunch supporter of the Tenth Amendment and States Rights. To reiterate what I’ve said before, I oppose the War on Drugs for reasons of general principles (it’s not the purpose of government to save people from themselves), the specific application of constitutional federalism (the Commerce Clause should not apply to the regulation of drugs manufactured and sold within the confines of a single state), and for reasons of budgetary philosophy (making drugs illegal has expanded the size and power of the federal government while increasing the budget deficit; legalizing, regulating and taxing drugs would reduce both the deficit and the harm to individuals and society). My position is not uncommon among conservatives, Republicans, or members of the Tea Party.

    So liberals: Stop acting shocked when conservatives come out for decriminalization and legalization. The only reason it is a shock is that you refuse to listen.

    Hot Stuff

    Friday, January 10th, 2014

    A couple of days ago I mentioned that hot sauce maker Sriracha had been temprarily shut down due to more stringent California regulations.

    Now the followup: In good news for pho restaurants everywhere, Huy Fong Foods announced that Sriracha shipments will resume by the end of the month.

    Moreover, Texas Republican state representative Jason Villalba has invited them to come on over to Texas.

    Villalba, who has been in office for a little under a year, happens to be a Sriracha fan, but he’s looking to move the company for more than personal reasons. He notes in his letter that in Texas there are no personal or corporate state income taxes and a plentiful non-union labor pool. He also mentions that Forbes Magazine named Texas the best climate in the country to grow a business.

    “The great state of Texas would welcome you and your employees with open arms if you would consider moving…” reads the letter. “…Texas could provide you with exactly what you need to continue to grow, build and maximize the opportunities of Huy Fong Foods.”

    Houston Democratic state rep Gene Wu has also invited them over as well.

    No word on whether they’re considering moving or not, but plenty of California businesses have already relocated from California’s failing blue state model to Texas’ booming economy, so it’s certainly possible…

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)