Archive for the ‘Waste and Fraud’ Category

LinkSwarm for January 19, 2015

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Enjoy a Monday LinkSwarm to get your week started:

  • Police conduct anti-terrorism raids in Germany, Belgium and France. Could this be the start of a real effort to halt Islamic extremism in Europe? I rather doubt it. Too many leftist parties across Europe need Muslim votes, and European elites still seem implacably hostile to the Euroskeptic parties pushing for an end to unlimited Muslim immigration.
  • Old and Busted: Never again! The New Hotness: More dead Jews? Meh.
  • The late Anwar al-Awlaki was good at two things: drawing up plans to kill innocent people in the name of Islam, and banging skanky whores.
  • The Prime Minister of France: “I refuse to use this term ‘Islamophobia,’ because those who use this word are trying to invalidate any criticism at all of Islamist ideology.” (Hat tip: JihadWatch.)
  • More from France’s PM on the new antisemitism:

    “There is a new anti-Semitism in France,” he told me. “We have the old anti-Semitism, and I’m obviously not downplaying it, that comes from the extreme right, but this new anti-Semitism comes from the difficult neighborhoods, from immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, who have turned anger about Gaza into something very dangerous. Israel and Palestine are just a pretext. There is something far more profound taking place now.”

    In discussing the attacks on French synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses this summer, during the Gaza war, he said, “It is legitimate to criticize the politics of Israel. This criticism exists in Israel itself. But this is not what we are talking about in France. This is radical criticism of the very existence of Israel, which is anti-Semitic. There is an incontestable link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Behind anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”

  • Michael Totten quotes the late Christopher Hitchens. on the jihadist opinion of the current controversy: “Carving up grandfathers and granddaughters with an axe on New Year’s Eve can be okay if it’s done to protect the reputation of a seventh century Arabian man who heard voices.”
  • Bobby Jindal: “Islam has a problem.”
  • Victimology is the language and currency of our politics.”
  • All those Harvard professors supporting ObamaCare are shocked to discover they’re paying for it.
  • “In 2009, 76 Democrats represented primarily white working-class congressional districts. Just 15 of them are still in the House today.”

    A majority of the GOP gains since then have come from the Democrats’ near-total collapse in one set of districts: the largely blue-collar places in which the white share of the population exceeds the national average, and the portion of whites with at least a four-year college degree is less that the national average. While Republicans held a 20-seat lead in the districts that fit that description in the 111th Congress, the party has swelled that advantage to a crushing 125 seats today. That 105-seat expansion of the GOP margin in these districts by itself accounts for about three-quarters of the 136-seat swing from the Democrats’ 77-seat majority in 2009 to the 59-seat majority Republicans enjoy in the Congress convening now.

  • “It was not merely Democratic politicians who were wiped out in November. A plethora of liberal shibboleths were also massacred.”
  • Virginia voters won’t let a little thing like pleading guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor prevent him from regaining his seat in the House of Delegates. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
  • How big is Texas?
  • Three myths about Medicaid expansion. I hope that Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick understand that we didn’t elect them to cave in on ObamaCare…
  • Are your tweets University of Indiana-approved, comrade? (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Feminism’s empathy gap. Or the Shanley Kanes of the world reject the experiences of women that don’t fit their preferred victimhood narrative…
  • How a Global Warming true believer became a skeptic.
  • 10 bodies, 11 severed heads found in Mexico.
  • Pictures of empty Venezuelan store shelves, as Socialism continue to work its usual magic.
  • Liberal California billionaire Tom Steyer may run for the senate. Hopefully he’ll have the same luck as the politicians he donated to in 2014…
  • Only found out recently that Death by Government and genocide/democide expert R. J. Rummel died March 2, 2014.
  • Conservatives win several rule fights in the Texas House.
  • Rick Perry’s farewell address.
  • Gregg Abbott’s inauguration will have 4 tons of brisket. Or, as we call it in Texas, “an appetizer.”
  • Times when climbing down a chimney is a good idea: Your name is “Santa Claus.” Otherwise? Not so much.
  • A cure for cracked winter hands.
  • “My personality is as spartan as a Danish furniture catalog, why can’t yours be the same?” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • American Sniper kills at the box office:

  • “This is an Ex-EarthQuest!”

    Thursday, January 15th, 2015

    For those not up to speed on the EarthQuest saga, it was an attempt to build an “ecological theme park” northeast of Houston in Montgomery County. The fact that it was going to be built with a large dollop of taxpayer money via a special taxing district only enhanced the stench of Eu de Boondoggle EarthQuest gave off, as grandiose plans gave way to missed construction and funding dates, at least one bankruptcy filing and a complete halt to visible activity. It’s essentially been moribund since 2012.

    Now from dedicated EarthQuest watcher Sopboxmom comes news that the IRS has revoked Institute EarthQuest’s tax-exempt status:

    Exempt Organizations Select Check
    Automatic Revocation of Exemption Information

    The federal tax exemption of this organization was automatically revoked for its failure to file a Form 990-series return or notice for three consecutive years. The information listed below for each organization is historical; it is current as of the organization’s effective date of automatic revocation. The information is not necessarily current as of today’s date. Nor does this automatic revocation necessarily reflect the organization’s tax-exempt or non-exempt status. The organization may have applied to the IRS for recognition of exemption and been recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt after its effective date of automatic revocation. To check whether an organization is currently recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt, call Customer Account Services at (877) 829-5500 (toll-free number).
    Revocation Date (effective date on which organization’s tax exemption was automatically revoked):
    15-May-2014
    Employer Identification Number (EIN):
    26-2454184
    Legal Name:
    INSTITUTE EARTHQUEST
    Doing Business As:
    Mailing Address:
    21575 US HIGHWAY 59 NORTH
    NEW CANEY, TX 77357-8355
    United States
    Exemption Type:
    501(c)(3)
    Revocation Posting Date (date on which IRS posted notice of automatic revocation on IRS.gov):
    15-Oct-2014
    Exemption Reinstatement Date (effective date of tax exemption, determined by the IRS
    after the organization’s exemption was automatically revoked and the organization applied for reinstatement of exemption.):

    Finally, despite their zombie website, EarthQuest has ceased to be, and even nailing it back on the perch wouldn’t help.

    More information here.

    Texas vs. California Update for January 6, 2014

    Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

    Here’s your first Texas vs. California update of 2015:

  • Real personal income increased by 1.4% in Texas in Q3, the most of any state. And that with the oil bust just starting to bite, which I’m guessing helps explain why South Dakota’s personal income decline by .2%. (Well, that and getting six inches of global warming in September….)
  • Texas was the number one magnet state in the country for people moving here yet again.
  • “The real reason for the tuition increase is that the UC system needs funds to bail out the mismanaged pension system that covers retired employees of its ten campuses.”

    This is all the result of the regents’ irresponsible oversight. In 1990, UCRP had 137 percent of the assets it needed to meet its obligations, so regents suspended employer and employee contributions to the pension fund. State legislators also stopped allocating money to UCRP. This “pension contribution holiday” lasted 20 years. To top it off, during this period, university officials boosted pension benefits a half-dozen times. By 2012, more than 2,100 UC retirees were each collecting six-figure pensions for life.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • Former Pasadena (California) employees arrested on 60 count, $6 million embezzling charges. (Hat tip: CalWatchdog.)
  • More on outrageous California pensions: “In 2013, an assistant fire chief in Southern California collected a $983,319 pension. A police captain in Los Angeles received nearly $753,861.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami).
  • California’s doomed high speed rail boondoggle breaks ground today.
  • More on the same theme from Twitter:

  • Opponents of California’s statewide plastic bag ban have gathered 800,000 signature for a referendum to overturn it, which will also keep the law from going into effect on July 1.
  • California charity hospitals to be sold to for-profit company to keep them open.
  • LinkSwarm for November 7, 2014

    Friday, November 7th, 2014

    A Friday LinkSwarm after a very eventful week…

  • So exactly when was it that the UK became the child rape capital of the Western world? First Rotherham, now Manchester.

  • Government of Burkina Faso falls. Evidently people there thought that 27 years of rule for President Blaise Compaore was more than enough…
  • Russia sends more tanks into Ukraine. Looks like we’ll dealing with the fallout of Obama’s “flexibility” for decades… (Hat tip: Jim Geraghty).
  • The Pakistani version of Axe Cop sounds a whole lot less entertaining than the American version.
  • DSCC head blames Obama for Senate loss.
  • The DSCC decides that they’ll stop pouring money down the rathole that is Mary Landrieu.
  • “Salon Writer Condemns Arithmetic As Racist.” Or how Jonathan Chait ruthlessly used his Mansplaining Male Math Privilege to oppress Jenny Kutner.
  • Because their attacks on Koch were so successful, Democrats double-down on stupid.
  • U.S. hits targets in Syria. Not ISIS, but “the Khorasan group.” For such a reportedly “small” group, we seem to be bombing them a lot…
  • Fatah and Hamas thoughtfully take a break from trying to kill Jews in order to blow each other up.
  • I’m shocked, shocked that there’s abuse and fraud in the “Obamaphone” program.
  • In addition to national and statewide outbreaks of sanity, there was even an outbreak in Austin, where voters defeated a proposal to expand Capitol Metro’s toy trains.

  • Election News Roundup for October 27, 2014

    Monday, October 27th, 2014

    Since we’re in the home stretch, here’s a quick roundup of various election news:

  • A whole whopping 9% of Americans are “enthusiastic” about Obama. “Only about one out of 10 people who heads to the polls on Nov. 4 will go there being enthusiastic about the Obama presidency.”
  • Democratic pollster predicts disaster for Democrats, largely thanks to young voters abandoning their party in droves. “That’s the biggest concern right now for Democrats and progressives in particular, is that millennial voters look very, very discouraged. They don’t think that anyone has particularly spoken to them, anyone has been doing anything for them, it’s a bad economy, it’s expensive education, and all the kinds of concerns that millennials have.”
  • Nevada Democrats are just the latest Democrats that seem to be sitting the election out.
  • Even more evidence of Kay Hagan’s family benefiting from “green energy” stimulus pork. “A Carolina Journal examination of the JDC Manufacturing grant file at the N.C. Department of Natural Resources revealed that Tilden Hagan and William Stewart, Sen. Hagan’s son-in-law, had significant involvement in the project. Records from the stimulus file show direct payments to Tilden and Stewart of $12,785.”
  • “Immigration Activists” (i.e., supporters of illegal alien amnesty) are not happy at Hagan’s waffling and flipflopping either.
  • Boston Globe endorses Republican Charlie Baker for governor. (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • Texas vs. California Roundup for October 9, 2014

    Thursday, October 9th, 2014

    Another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • If Stockton bankruptcy judge’s ruling is upheld, a lot of California cities could actually start working for citizens again, rather than public employee unions.
  • There are plenty of lessons to be learned from Stockton’s bankruptcy. Too bad Stockton’s officials seem unwilling to learn them:

    Pension contributions for public-safety workers now amount to 41 percent of payroll. That would put the total cost of salary, health benefits, and pensions at about $120,000 annually for a fifth-year officer…The long saga of Stockton’s decline dramatizes the inefficiency and illogic of union-dominated, monopolistic, government-labor markets.

  • But letting cities escape their crushing public sector union pension burdens doesn’t sit well with California’s looter class. Solution: propose eliminating Chapter 9 bankruptcy. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • According to the September labor report, California did manage to add 313,900 jobs between August 2013 and August 2014. But Texas added 395,200. (Hat tip: WILLisms Twitter feed.)
  • California legislature decides that students don’t need any of that stinking due process.
  • Hey, remember those “temporary” tax hikes Jerry Brown got voters to approve? Guess what?
  • California’s roads are among the worst in the country.
  • Someone should tell that to the city of Stanton, California, which reached for tax hikes rather than cutting the pay of unionized workers.
  • How San Jose reformed their finances using transparency. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • How California browbeat Toyota over closing a money-losing plant.
  • The California-based manufacturing facility of Colorado-based Boulder Electric Vehicle shuts down after receiving a $3 million grant from the California Energy Commission.
  • How California’s for-profit Thomas Jefferson Law School got itself into serious financial trouble through excessive dependence on loans (both the student type and the tax-exempt bond type).
  • Americans don’t want their state to secede so much as they want to kick California out of the union. (Hat tip: Karl Rehn of KRTraining.)
  • A look at PSAT participation rates in Texas. (Also via WILLisms.)
  • Californian Trip Hawkins, of EA, Apple and 3DO fame, filed for bankruptcy in 2011. This year, the 9th circuit ruled that a profligate life style (for certain values of “profligate”), does not, in fact, constitute a “willful” attempt to avoid bankruptcy. Mr. Hawkins seemed to be living well, but not necessarily living large
  • California owner of Akron, Ohio mall abandoned since 2008 declares bankruptcy. And since it’s the Halloween season, and abandoned malls are wonderfully creepy places, here’s a pic:

  • Kay Hagan’s Family Dips Their Beaks Into The Stimulus Trough

    Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

    It’s no longer a surprise when Democratic cronies rake in the benefits from pork programs created by Democratic Senators and Representatives. After all, giving out taxpayer money to connected interest groups is pretty much the Democratic Party’s business model. However, the family of North Carolina’s Democratic Senator Kay Hagan has taken it to the next level:

    Sen. Kay Hagan’s husband and son created a solar energy contracting company in August 2010, and then, using $250,644 in federal stimulus grant funds, her husband hired that same company to install solar panels at a building he owns.

    Public records show that Green State Power was formed seven weeks before JDC Manufacturing — a company owned in part by Greensboro attorney Charles “Chip” Hagan III, Sen. Hagan’s husband — received the stimulus grant for the solar project at a 300,000-square-foot facility in Reidsville, N.C.

    A story in late September on the Washington, D.C.-based website Politico revealed that JDC Manufacturing received “nearly $390,000 in federal grants for energy projects and tax credits created by the 2009 stimulus law, according to public records and information provided by the company.”

    The story reported that JDC “was one of 27 in North Carolina to be awarded funds for energy-efficient projects, to the tune of about $250,000. The company received the money in 2011, after the first phase of the project was completed in late 2010.”

    And needless to say, Kay Hagan voted in favor of the pork-laden stimulus her family so richly benefited from.

    From a purely amoral viewpoint, you have to admire the brazen efficiency of sucking down the maximum amount of taxpayer subsidies at every stag of the project pipeline. It’s like The Human Centipede of recycled graft…

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

    LinkSwarm for September 22, 2014

    Monday, September 22nd, 2014

    A Monday LinkSwarm of some recent(ish) news:

  • Surprise, surprise, surprise: ObamaCare covers abortions.
  • Alaska doctor shuts down practice due to ObamaCare.
  • Obama’s own Secretary of Defense says we left Iraq too soon.
  • Strangely enough, Gaza landlords are no longer wild about renting to Hamas.
  • Another day, another 36 people killed by Boko Haram in Nigeria.
  • “A Pakistani academic known for promoting liberal views on Islam has been shot dead by gunmen.” And people wonder why we don’t hear from more moderate Muslims…
  • The progressive media consensus on Islam is stultifying, and deliberately so. It’s a series of simplistic claims intended to drown out any adult discussion on the issue in favor of childish happy-talk which serves no purpose except to preserve the fragile progressive voting coalition.”
  • How well is the war against ISIS going? David Gergen compares it to the rollout of ObamaCare.
  • Meanwhile, ISIS continues to advance in Syria.
  • “The ‘social justice warriors are only happy when they’re destroying someone. That’s because they’re awful people with mental and emotional issues.”
  • Are you a whistle-blower who has spoken truth to power? Then expect to be investigated by the media, if the power you spoke truth to has a (D) after their name…
  • Global warming has been missing for 19 years.
  • Fareed Zakaria: Plagiarist. (Via Instapundit.)
  • Mary Burke: Plagiarist. (Also via Instapundit.)
  • C. David Heymann: Serial Liar. (Hat tip: Dwight.
  • Federal Reserve makes a $7 Trillion (with a T) cut-and-paste error. I would think that when you’re dealing with trillions of dollars, you’d want to have additional auditors checking your math. Silly me…
  • With antisemitism on the rise, Jews decide that Glocks go with lox.
  • The college rape “epidemic” is complete bunk.
  • Last year: Socialist Party Vice Presidential candidate. This year: Texas Democratic Party state House candidate.
  • Wallace Hall update: Remember how Rep. Dan Flynn was part of the “impeach Hall” committee? Guess what?

    Flynn, however, is one of the lawmakers who tried to pull strings for a family friend, and never disclosed that fact throughout his yearlong investigation, even as the question of legislative influence became the subject of two official investigations and independent media investigations, and ultimately led to the forced resignation of the university’s president, Bill Powers.

    Flynn wrote a letter to Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa on behalf of a family friend who was applying to UT; the name of the applicant and the letter’s date are redacted on a copy of the letter that was published Thursday by the Texas Tribune.

    The Texas Tribune published 112 pages of correspondence with Cigarroa’s office involving letters of recommendation; five of those letters were from state legislators: Reps. Flynn, Tryon Lewis and Brandon Creighton, and Sens. Carlos Uresti and Mario Gallegos.

    (Hat tip: Push Junction)

  • S. T. Joshi on why replacing H. P. Lovecraft’ visage on the World Fantasy Award statuette (an idea pushed by the usual radical feminist Social Justice Warriors) is a bad idea. Keep scrolling, there’s a lot of slagging of a very foolish idea at a very high level of diction…
  • Feminism is about women’s equality. Period. It’s not about capitalism or socialism or racism.” Well, first wave feminism, anyway…
  • Dripping Springs ISD administrators have decided that the children in their charges are the perfect laboratory for social justice engineering via “Meatless Mondays.”
  • We just passed the 40 year anniversary of Evel Knievel’s Snake River Canyon jump. Kids: Ask your parents what an “Evel Knievel” was. Or, urm, your grandparents. And get the hell off my lawn!
  • Austin wants to spend $1 billion to extend their toy trains. Citizens Against Rail Taxes explain why that’s a bad idea.
  • 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 is 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 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 days 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:

  • 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.