Archive for the ‘Waste and Fraud’ Category

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…
  • Hampton, Florida: New Rome Reborn?

    Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

    You may remember the case of New Rome, Ohio, an infamous speedtrap that existed only to line the pockets of a corrupt family and their friends. The corruption was so bad, Ohio disolved the town on September 9, 2004.

    Now comes word that Hampton, Florida seems to be trying many of the same tricks.

    “A state audit of Hampton’s books, released last month, reads like a primer on municipal malfeasance. It found 31 instances in which local rules or state or federal laws were violated in ways large and small.”

    The big question seems to be where the ticket money went…

    (See also: Maywood, California.)

    LinkSwarm for February 25, 2014

    Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

    Another roundup of tab-clearing news, much of which got pushed aside by Ukraine updates:

  • Obama Administration admits that ObamaCare will screw small businesses. (Hat tip: Instapundit.) Why are any Republicans futzing around with any fix but full repeal?
  • Bobby Jindal: “Obamacare is giving low-income Americans fewer reasons to work.”
  • How ObamaCare is turning into the Democrats’ own forever war.
  • Two more congressional Democrats retire.
  • And that doesn’t count liberal Democratic fossil John Dingell, who’s also retiring after a mere 58 years in office.
  • And speaking of Michigan Democratic congressman, here’s how Rep. Gary Peters is trying to kill a woman with cancer:

  • Democrats in denial over ObamaCare unpopularity. Well, those who haven’t retired yet…
  • How unions and Democratic cronies looted Detroit’s pension plans.
  • Former Democratic congressman and convicted statutory rapist Mel Reynolds arrested on child pornography charges in Zimbabwe. (You might remember that Bill Clinton pardoned him on the way out the door…)
  • Deeply incompetent New Orleans Democratic Mayor Ray “Chocolate City” Nagin convicted on 20 federal corruption counts.
  • NJ’s Democratic Rep. Rob Andrews: The Washington Generals of Legislators.
  • The top special interest donors contribute to Democrats.
  • This week in the Democratic Liberal Media Complex Revolving Door.
  • There are few people liberals hate more than conservative black men.
  • Ted Cruz is winning.
  • Food prices continue to soar, yet another sign that inflation figures are significantly understated.
  • Record numbers of college graduates are living with their parents. Thanks, Obama!
  • “*Somebody* at Cover Oregon will end up going to jail.”
  • “The combination of UAW micromanagement and adversarial culture, not wages per se, is what helped to do in GM.”
  • “The UAW couldn’t even win an election it had been handed on a silver platter by management.”
  • Venezuela continues to stumble along at a repressive simmer.
  • Too bad they’re out of toilet paper.
  • Catholic priest in Venezuela beaten unconscious by socialist state thugs.
  • Michael Totten points out that Che Guevara is a murderous communist scumbag. Bonus: “Cuba’s maximum wage is less than one percent of America’s minimum wage”
  • Battle is joined between EUroskeptic UKIP and the EUrophilic Liberal-Democrats.
  • John Kerry: There’s no room in the religion of global warming for cost-benefit analysis.
  • UK Leftists want punitive taxes even if they bring in no additional revenue.
  • Detroit home-owner with an AR pattern rifle 3, stupid thugs trying to break into her home 0.
  • Portugal decriminalized all drugs 11 years ago. Result? Addiction cut in half, and “Portugal’s drug usage rates are now among the lowest of EU member states.”
  • “Diversity demands that diversity of opinion not be tolerated anymore.”
  • “Anti-male misandry, like anti-female #misogyny, is unjust and dangerous.”
  • Paying attention to the victimhood identity politics crowd, or how to murder your writing career.
  • Sarah Hoyt further dissects Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America idiocy. She touches on many of the reasons I didn’t renew my membership, the main ones being that SFWA is no longer important enough to be worth fighting for, and was certainly not worth $90 a year in dues.
  • “Human Resources has been very reluctant to respond to my complaints about being invisibly strangled by a cyborg space wizard.”
  • One more Tweet:

  • Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Ukrainian Dictators

    Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

    First word came that Yanukovich had left Ukraine for various rumored destinations from Russia to Dubai. Then came word that Yanukovich was denied exit from the country.

    But the delight of the day was ordinary Ukrainians touring the abandoned Presidential vacation palace, which such amenities as:

  • A classic car collection
  • A private zoo
  • A gold toilet
  • An actual galleon (helpfully named GALLEON; this pretty much confirms what we suspected of the vast range of Mr. Yanukovich’s imagination…) floating on an artificial lake.
  • Some Tweets on the theme:

    Also, Russia has a sad.

    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.
  • LinkSwarm for February 10, 2014

    Monday, February 10th, 2014

    These LinkSwarms tend to get pushed back to days when there’s not a big story jumping up and requiring my attention. It seems like the Olympics have created a bit of a news lull

  • Democratic congressmen abandoning ObamaCare in droves.
  • Obama’s fake recovery sucks in comparison to Reagan’s real recovery. Why? ObamaCare.
  • People who overestimate their income, thus getting a subsidy rather than thrown into Medicaid, might be in for a nasty surprise come tax time.
  • Today’s Democratic representative retiring after getting caught with his hand in the till comes to you from Rep. Ron Andrews of New Jersey.
  • Today’s example of a Democratic member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns being convicted of a felony (in this case bribery) also comes to you from New Jersey, in the form of Trenton Mayor Tony Mack. But as you observe all this Democratic malfeasance in New Jersey, never lose sight of the truly important thing: Chris Christie might have closed a bridge!
  • Here’s a fascinating piece from Ace of Spades HQ on class identification among the gentry left.
  • And this piece on “Love in the Time of Obama” is well worth reading on its own.
  • Massachusetts state Democrat Rep. Carlos Henriquez’s schedule: 1. Smack my bitch up, 2. Mark my bills up. Yes, assaulting a woman is evidently no reason to keep him from working as a legislator…
  • More black Chicago residents question what the Democratic Party has done for the black community.

    Heartening, but I can’t help but notice that some of the same people appear in this video as the one from that town hall meeting in December. Makes it hard to gauge just how widespread black America’s dissatisfaction with Obama is…

  • The Turncoat Diaries: “The conversions of Charlie Crist, from Republican to independent to Democrat, make up one of the least inspiring tales in modern politics. To take it seriously is to admit you’re the sort of person who takes Scientology stress tests and supplies credit card info to anyone who claims to need help from Nigeria.”
  • People move from high tax, high regulation states bleeding jobs to low-tax, low-regulation states gaining jobs. Gee, who knew?
  • How Russia is trying to keep control of Ukraine.
  • NBC calls the end of the Soviet Union “bittersweet”. Much like Hitler’s suicide…

  • Tweets from Sochi: Missing floors, open manholes, yellow tap water, and “cakes in ass.”
  • More: “Three of the nine mountain hotels have not been completed.”
  • Title company executive dead in nailgun “suicide.” Patrick Bateman wanted for questioning.
  • Inside the Red Light Camera Bribe Machine. Redflex has done business with several cities, including “Austin, El Paso, Plano, Corpus Christi, Grand Prairie, North Richland Hills, Hurst, Port Lavaca, League City, Carrollton, Killeen, Mesquite, and Longview.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Even Howard YEAGGGGHHH Dean thinks the Iran deal sucks.
  • When principled lefty Alan Derschowitz says the Dinesh D’Souza case is “selective prosecution,” perhaps we should listen.
  • New York City schools Harrison Bergeron a gifted students course because of their unacceptable albedo index. (Hat tip: Indapundit.)
  • Michael Totten visits some of the least-crappy parts of Cuba.
  • When I think “high tech giants,” certainly the first name that comes to mind is Chelsea Clinton. Nepotism much, SXSW? (Hat tip: Jim Geraghty in NRO.
  • Slashdot users in open revolt over a redesign. Take one look at the Beta site and you know why: It is indeed a big, festering mound of suck.
  • Adobe to release new DRM scheme that’s annoying, useless, and screws older customers.
  • Ten scenes from Blazing Saddles too politically incorrect to be made today.
  • Did Bill Clinton add Elizabeth Hurley to his list of in-White House conquests?
  • Round Rock ISD committee chairman tries to bypass laws to make changes to sex ed.
  • On tour with the Sex Pistols in Texas.
  • Meet the Kronies

    Monday, February 3rd, 2014

    The Kronies has already been blogged by half the rightospehre, but it’s so well done that I wanted to post it here on the off-chance you haven’t watched it yet:

    LinkSwarm for January 29, 2014

    Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

    Lots of news from around the world, where the global economy is handing like a Kia that’s just started losing traction on an icy hill:

  • Bundesbank: Don’t look at us, broke PIIGS, you’re going to have to screw your own people.
  • Does a big default loom in China?
  • Russian bank halts all cash withdrawals?
  • Meanwhile, reports that Chinese banks have stopped allowing withdrawals turns out to be a false alarm.
  • European earnings outlook: Zero.
  • Problem: Greek economy still sucking wind. Solution: change how GDP is calculated.
  • Japan hits record trade deficit. Remember when they were supposed to take over the world?
  • The ruble flirts with record lows.
  • Obama and the Democratic Party’s numbers are worse than they were in 2010.
  • Planned Parenthood wonders what’s the big deal with a little statutory rape among friends?
  • Florida heroin kingpin is an illegal alien on food stamps.
  • Another Democrat convicted of that vote fraud that doesn’t exist. (Hat tip: Dwight.)

  • Democrats actually polling worse than they were in 2010. And that’s from Dem pollster/booster John B. Judis.
  • Target’s part-time workers get ObamaCared.
  • We have a winner for troll of the year:

    Every time I hear someone say that feminism is about validating every choice a woman makes I have to fight back vomit.

    Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself? There’s no way those two things are the same. It’s hard for me to believe it’s not just verbally placating these people so they don’t get in trouble with the mommy bloggers.

    Having kids and getting married are considered life milestones. We have baby showers and wedding parties as if it’s a huge accomplishment and cause for celebration to be able to get knocked up or find someone to walk down the aisle with. These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them. They are the most common thing, ever, in the history of the world. They are, by definition, average.

    Amy Glass, come down and collect your coveted Trolly! (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • “Woman Takes Short Half-Hour Break From Being Feminist To Enjoy TV Show”
  • In case you didn’t notice, Iran’s mullahs are still lying, violent scumbags.
  • Strangely enough, Israeli’s trust Netanyahu more than Obama. Funny how a mere 40+ years Palestinians breaking every agreement they’ve signed will sour people on the peace process…
  • Michael Totten wanders around Cuba some more, where he let’s us know that Cubans can be arrested for unauthorized shrimp.
  • California Court determines that disgraced serial journalistic liar Stephen Glass is too dishonest to be a lawyer.
  • In other news, Eugene Volokh stuns Washington Post readers with non-liberal thoughts on guns and other topics.
  • Have you ever considered the possibility that Woody Allen isn’t a child molester?
  • Drive a Fit, a Prius, a Yaris, or a Fiat 500? Hope you’ve made out a will.
  • Anthony Weiner forced to downsize to an apartment whose rent is a mere 6 times my mortgage.
  • Texas vs. California Update for January 8, 2013

    Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

    Time for another look at the respective fortunes of the nation’s two biggest states:

  • Between 1992 and 2010, California lost $45.27 billion in income while Texas gained $24.94B. (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • That’s one of the many reasons Texas has a $2.6 billion budget surplus.
  • California’s Attorney General imposes some strange language choices on a proposed pension reform initiative.
  • California Governor Jerry Brown to shift money from a green “cap and trade” fund to the high speed rail boondoggle. “Brown, et al., apparently believe that diverting cap-and-trade fees into the bullet train may buy enough time to move some dirt and lay some track, with the hope that once construction begins, it will create a moral/political commitment to complete the project. But the proposed diversion is more likely to be dumping more money into a bottomless rathole.”
  • Remember: Spending money on green boondoggles means less is available for paying for luxuries like heating classrooms in winter.
  • Desert Hot Springs inches closer to bankruptcy. They’ve already eliminated their fire department, owe $4 million from last year, and are expected to run out of money in April.
  • How the California city of Pacific Grove broke the law and ignored voter wishes to accumulate massive pension debts. “Pacific Grove now has a new unfunded pension deficit of about $45 million, in addition to the $20 million in pension bonds. The deficit grows at 7.5% per year (about $3.2 million compounding).” A neat trick for a city whose entire budget is around $12 million a year. The first in what promises to be a 7 part series.
  • Orange County employees enjoy a whole bunch of plush benefits.
  • There’s a movement afoot in California to replace seniority with performance for determining teacher layoffs. Another group wants to make it easier to fire sex offenders. Naturally teacher’s unions are opposing both. (Hat tip: TPPF.)
  • California declares war on hot sauce maker Sriracha.
  • Is California’s 10 day gun waiting period unconstitutional? (Hat tip: Shall Not Be Questioned.)
  • Restaurant chain Mimi’s Cafe relocates their headquarters from California to Texas.
  • There’s a lot of talk (not yet confirmed) that Vista Equity Partners is planning to move Active Network, Websense, and Omnitracs to Texas.
  • Evidently Los Angeles can no longer support a WNBA team. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Allied Van Lines confirmed that Texas remained the number one destination for relocation in 2013.
  • 14 things non-Texans don’t understand.