Archive for the ‘Austin’ Category

LinkSwarm for November 13, 2015

Friday, November 13th, 2015

The big story this week has been the Children of the Corn running amok in Missouri. I hope to have a longer piece on that by and by. In the meantime, enjoy your Friday LinkSwarm:

  • ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion is blowing holes in state budgets across the nation.
  • How the Clinton Foundation money-laundering machine works.
  • Maryland’s “bullet fingerprint” database cost $5 million to set up and maintain. Number of criminals caught by it? Zero. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • How much money each state is sending to the Presidential race. Texas is number one in SuperPAC money, and number two (behind California) in hard money.
  • Kurdish Pesh Merga forces retake Sinjar from the Islamic State.
  • China makes tiny under-reporting error on coal usage. Any by “tiny,” I mean “equal to entire U.S. coal use.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
  • Sell books critical of the Chinese government in Hong Kong? Prepare to be disappeared.
  • Secret Service agent arrested in child sex sting. The country is in the best of hands. (Hat tip: AceofSpadesHQ.)
  • Kafkatrap vs. Honeytrap. “If you are any kind of open-source leader or senior figure who is male, do not be alone with any female, ever, at a technical conference.”
  • Woman starts making documentary about Men’s Rights Movement. Funny things happens: When she starts making an actual, even-handed documentary, the funders who wanted a feminist hit piece drop her like a hot potato, but Kickstarter backers step up to the plate after a plug from Milo Yiannopoulos.
  • UT academic critics of open carry should step out of their ivory tower and take a look at the real world.
  • Dear Formula 1: If your race requires subsidies to survive in Austin, I’m happy to see you fold.
  • An inside-baseball look at the Ted Cruz super PAC ad buy that wasn’t.
  • Have Austin Taxpayers Finally Had Enough?

    Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

    One of the more surprising results from last week’s election was Austin voters defeated a courthouse bond package.

    Austin City Council Member Don Zimmerman, who led the opposition to the courthouse project, said the last-minute defeat of the bonds was an “absolute stunning result.”

    “The corporate downtown special interest lobby spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this,” he said. His anti-courthouse campaign through the Travis County Taxpayers Union barely spent anything, he said. “I think a lot of people heard that and said, ‘Well why are hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent if it’s such a good idea?’”

    He said part of the reason the bonds were rejected is that Austin-area voters are increasingly concerned about affordability and increasingly loathe to support tax increases.

    Because I live outside the city limits and in Williamson County, I was only vaguely aware of the Courthouse bond issue. As long as I’ve been in the Austin area, I can’t recall another bond issue going down in flames like this one. Could the People’s Republic of Austin finally have had enough of tax increases?

    “It is not that complicated,” said local attorney Mark Pulliam. “Travis County homeowners are sick of property tax increases.”

    “Only pompous, out-of-touch downtown lawyers — like those who belong to the Austin Bar Association — would think that a 14-story high-rise costing more than The Austonian, and almost as much as the just-completed JW Marriott, the largest in the North America, made sense,” he told

    The Watchdog piece suggests that the long overdue move to single City Council districts may have been a factor in defeating the bond issue.

    Also, Travis County suburbs may finally have become populous enough to balance out the liberal central city for county elections like this one. Indeed, that’s what this map suggests.

    There’s Your Hardcore Gun Control Vote

    Monday, November 9th, 2015

    I wanted to take a closer look at a few off-year election issues from last week, specifically the Proposition 6 “Right to Hunt and Fish” Amendment.

    Really, if you wanted a “safe” vote for people favoring gun control to cast, opposing Prop 6, a constitutional amendment that wouldn’t change a single law in hunting-friendly Texas, seems ideal.

    Just look at how the Houston Chronicle sneered at the amendment’s supporters in an editorial opposing it: “This amendment…is the most ridiculous on the ballot…[it’s] essentially a paean to the ‘black helicopter’ crowd that’s eager to harry and harass legitimate conservation efforts in Texas.”

    And after all the sneering by smart set urban liberals, how did Prop 6 do? It won with over 81% of the vote. Evidently more than four-fifths of Texans are part of “the black helicopter crowd.”

    That’s some fringe group.

    My quick scan of county-by-county results shows not a single county in Texas voted against Prop 6. In the smaller counties, Prop 6 passed by a ratio of about 10-1.

    A liberal data wonk sent out this tweet while voting was still going on.

    (Here’s a non-Tweet version of that map.)

    That’s your gun control vote right there: A white liberal urban core. Prop 6 passed Travis County, the deepest blue white liberal bastion in the state, by 44,128 in favor to 28,797.

    When actual citizens get to vote, gun control loses every time.

    If gun control loses in Austin, it’s hard to see where it wins outside San Francisco and New York City.

    Texas vs. California Update for November 2, 2014

    Monday, November 2nd, 2015

    California continues to suffer from drought while central Texas just suffered through torrential rains. Time for another Texas vs. California update:

  • Texas Adds 26,600 Jobs in September.
  • Texas and Florida rank at the top of education index for biggest states, while California ranks last.
  • The University of Texas is ranked the number one public university in America.
  • Meanwhile, at the University of California system: “The number of those making at least $500,000 annually grew by 14 percent in the last year, to 445, and the system’s administrative ranks have swelled by 60 percent over the last decade – far outpacing tenure-track faculty.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Another example of California’s perpetual trial lawyer enrichment act: “cumulative trauma” awards for employees after termination, even if they’ve never reported symptoms before. Shouldn’t every former member of the Raiders, Chargers and 49ers file a lawsuit?
  • Why CalPERS contributions are soaring. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • So now the California high speed rail boondoggle is going to cost $68 billion and require 36 miles of tunnels, including some dug right through an active tectonic fault. That’s ten times the length of tunnel Boston needed to dig for the Big Dig. And the cost is equivalent to the Gross Domestic Product of Sri Lanka. For a train line. It would probably be cheaper to buy cab rides for everyone traveling between Los Angeles and San Francisco, but that wouldn’t provide enough opportunities for graft…
  • “The parent company of the Orange County Register and Riverside Press-Enterprise filed for federal bankruptcy protection.”
  • Also filing for bankruptcy, yet another West coast grocery chain, Fresh & Easy.
  • Another bankruptcy filing: Fresno’s One Club Casino. California casinos are different from Nevada casinos, and I believe One Club is what is called a “card room”. Still, when you can’t make a profit off gambling…
  • California plastics company opens plant in Pflugerville. “Medway, founded in 1974, will also relocate its research and development laboratory to the new Pflugerville facility. Though Medway Plastics will continue operations in California, the company may consider relocating its headquarters to Pflugerville within the next five to eight years, the company said.”
  • Plans continue apace to build a Texas Gold Depository.
  • California Ballot initiatives weaponize emotion to centralize power.
  • LinkSwarm for October 30, 2015

    Friday, October 30th, 2015

    Right now Austin is enjoying our traditional “two weeks of flooding following three months of drought” fall. Enjoy a Friday LinkSwarm:

  • “In Iraq, Obama took a war that we had won at a considerable expense in lives and treasure, and threw it away for the callowest of political reasons. In Syria and Libya, he involved us in wars of choice without Congressional authorization, and proceeded to hand victories to the Islamists. Obama’s policy here has been a debacle of the first order, and the press wants to talk about Bush as a way of protecting him.”
  • Paul Ryan elected Speaker of the House. If Ryan decides to govern as an actual Republican, he could be a very effective Speaker…
  • The IRS has Stingray cell phone surveillance gear. Get ready for a whole new round of Tea Party audits…
  • Speaking of the IRS, the House of Representatives is justified in impeaching IRS chief John Koskinen.
  • At the most recent Republican Presidential debate, Sen. Marco Rubio said the H1-B visa program is badly in need of reform. One tiny problem: Sen. Rubio’s own H1-B bill doesn’t implement any of the reforms demanded by Presidential Candidate Rubio. “It does not require recruitment of American workers. It does not require employers to ‘pay more than you would pay someone else’…Rubio’s bill would provide Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his comrades ‘a huge increase in the supply of lower-cost foreign guest workers so they can undercut and replace American workers.'” Indeed, Rubio’s bill “would triple the number of H1-B foreign workers admitted.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Get ready for steep ObamaCare price hikes for 2016.
  • Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition is starting to come apart thanks to the refugee crisis.
  • Venezuela is selling gold to cover bond payments. (Hat tip: Commonsense and Wonder.)
  • Al-Shabaab Islamic militant group in Somalia pledge loyalty to the Islamic State.
  • The Islamic State schools ban: “math, music, philosophy, history, French and geography as incompatible with Islam.”
  • Not news: Journalist in Sweden gets stoned. News: The wrong kind of stoned.
  • Teacher’s hate Common Core. The only people that seem to love it are Washington bureaucrats and Jeb Bush…
  • Speaking of Jeb, He has not succeeded this year, and there is no particular reason to believe he will…Jeb just isn’t very good at this.”
  • “Even beyond the fact that Bush has spent almost a year and ended up among the statistical noise despite all of his organizational and financial advantages, this all but proved that he’s simply not a good enough candidate to run in the general election.”
  • Jeb Bush’s campaign also hasn’t knocked on any doors in Iowa.
  • Ben Carson’s campaign is working with other Republican Presidential campaigns to extract their debates from the liberal clutches of the MSM.”
  • How to fix the Republican debates: “First, cancel the rest of the debates. Instead, announce that the RNC will host the debates and pick the panel of questioners. Allow any news organization that wishes to broadcast it.”
  • A look at the Russian BMD-2 infantry fighting vehicle.
  • John Wiley Price trail delayed again.
  • Reminder: Most acts at SXSW don’t get paid.
  • Feminism is “a War Against Human Nature aimed at using the coercive power of government to bring about an androgynous ‘equality’ that ignores the actual differences between men and women. Feminism is a totalitarian movement to destroy civilization as we know it — and feminists say so themselves.”
  • Salon’s pro-pedophile agenda:

  • How to stamp out Cultural Marxism in a single generation.
  • Flash is dying. Netcraft confirms it…
  • 2015 Texas Constitutional Amendments

    Thursday, October 29th, 2015

    Did you know that there’s a Texas constitutional amendment election November 3rd? Indeed there is, and early voting extends through tomorrow. Someone, I kept thinking, should do a roundup of what’s on the ballot.

    It turns out that I am, in fact, someone.

  • Proposition 1 – SJR 1

    The constitutional amendment increasing the amount of the residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation for public school purposes from $15,000 to $25,000, providing for a reduction of the limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed for those purposes on the homestead of an elderly or disabled person to reflect the increased exemption amount, authorizing the legislature to prohibit a political subdivision that has adopted an optional residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation from reducing the amount of or repealing the exemption, and prohibiting the enactment of a law that imposes a transfer tax on a transaction that conveys fee simple title to real property.

    Recommendation: For. It’s a Republican amendment that lets homeowners keep more of their own money.

  • Proposition 2 – HJR 75

    The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a 100 percent or totally disabled veteran who died before the law authorizing a residence homestead exemption for such a veteran took effect.

    Recommendation: For. This passed the House unanimously and has garnered no real opposition.

  • Proposition 3 – SJR 52

    The constitutional amendment repealing the requirement that state officers elected by voters statewide reside in the state capital.


    The offices that would be affected by the repeal are the Attorney General, Comptroller of Public Accounts, Land Commissioner and ‘any statutory State officer who is elected by the electorate of Texas at large.’ The Texas Governor, Texas Lieutenant Governor, Texas Supreme Court and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals would still be required to live in the capital as mandated by other constitutional provisions.

    Recommendation: For. This Amendment recognizes that it’s the 21st century and not the 19th. There’s no reason state officials can’t serve effectively even while living elsewhere. And anything that gets them away from capitol groupthink is a good thing.

  • Proposition 4 – HJR 73

    The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit professional sports team charitable foundations to conduct charitable raffles.


    Under current law, only nonprofit organizations can hold raffles, which took effect after voters passed Proposition 15 in 1989.[1]

    The amendment would apply to teams in the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and the National Hockey League. Raffles would only be allowed at home games of the sports teams associated with the foundations.[2][3][4][1]

    House Joint Resolution 73, the enabling legislation for the amendment, outlines who could hold a raffle, how a raffle could be conducted and penalties for breaking the rules. The measure also mandates how the raffle revenue would be allocated:[5]

    • 50 percent or less would be awarded to the raffle winner

    • 40 percent or more would be donated to charity
    • 10 percent or less could be used for raffle operating expenses

    No Recommendation. The fact that the convoluted nature of the Texas constitution even requires a constitutional amendment concerning professional sports teams is somewhat irksome. On the plus side: More money for charities, less government prohibitions, and the scope for abuse seems small. On the minus side, it may open the door for gambling industry interests down the road, and a significant number of very conservative legislators (including Konni Burton and Don Huffines) voted against it.

  • Proposition 5 – SJR 17

    The constitutional amendment to authorize counties with a population of 7,500 or less to perform private road construction and maintenance.

    Recommendation: For. While I’m always suspicious of using public money on private ventures, the Texas Constitution already allows counties with 5,000 or fewer residents to perform such construction, it’s usually for safety reasons, and the law requires both land owner permission and for them to reimburse the county for the work, so the scope for possible abuse seems small.

  • Proposition 6 – SJR 22

    The constitutional amendment recognizing the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife subject to laws that promote wildlife conservation.

    Recommendation: For. The NRA is fully behind this amendment, it provides a bit of a legal bulwark against overreaching federal regulators, and it’s driving the the usual urban gun grabbers buggy. What’s not to like?

  • Proposition 7 – SJR 5

    The constitutional amendment dedicating certain sales and use tax revenue and motor vehicle sales, use, and rental tax revenue to the state highway fund to provide funding for nontolled roads and the reduction of certain transportation-related debt.

    Recommendation: For. I’m always suspicious when industry sources flood my mailbox with pro-proposition flyers, which has been the case this year for Props 1 (realtors love it) and 7 (looks like the road construction industry). However, this is a case where the money does actually need to be spent to keep up with road infrastructure growth and maintenance needs, it limits discretionary (read: pork) spending by future legislatures, and is a better funding mechanism than drawing from the rainy day fund (which was authorized by a 2014 amendment).

  • Huh. It’s rare I support all the Constitutional Amendments on a ballot. I may have to cast a No vote on Prop 4, just on general principle…

    LinkSwarm for October 23, 2015

    Friday, October 23rd, 2015

    Another Friday, another LinkSwarm, heavy on Benghazi and Presidential race news:

  • Seven revelations from the Benghazi hearing.
  • You know who wasn’t happy about Hillary Clinton’s latest Benghazi testimony? The families of the Benghazi victims. Funny how that “absolute moral authority” the MSM bestowed on Cindy Sheehan doesn’t apply to families of the slain when they criticize Democrats…
  • China vs. the United States: a tale of two economies.
  • Longshot GOP Presidential contenders are running out of money. “Any burn rate over 100 percent is considered dangerous by campaign finance experts. Pataki’s was 226 percent, Graham 188, Paul 181, Jindal 144, Huckabee 110 and Santorum 101.”
  • Speaking of Presidential fundraising, here’s why Rick Perry had to drop out: “Perry spent more than a million dollars during the last reporting period – July through September – while raising only $252,000 in contributions. And the former Texas governor, who exited the race in mid-September, had only $45,000 cash on hand at the end.”
  • “When you vote in your first Presidential election, please remember which political party decided to make your lunchtimes a living Hell for a decade. Spoiler warning: it wasn’t the Republicans.”
  • Some people Hillary Clinton listed as endorsing Hillary Clinton have not, in fact, actually endorsed Hillary Clinton.
  • Ohio Senate race update: “Incumbent Rob Portman (R) raised almost eight million this year, with eleven million in the bank, while former governor Ted Strickland (D) raised about two and a half, with about a million and a half in the bank.”
  • Turkish opposition leader accuses Erdogan’s Islamist government of protecting the Islamic State.
  • Criticize Islam in your blog in Bangladesh? That’s an arresting.
  • Heh:

  • Alvin bond update: “Firm in cracked stadium debacle funds pro-bond propaganda.”
  • Texas Democratic trial lawyer Mikal Watts indicited over fraud related to the BP oil spill case.
  • Arthur Miller — Communist. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Bernie Sanders is “paying” bloggers.
  • Emus on the loose in Round Rock.
  • Reminder: Blog Shootup/Meetup October 10

    Friday, October 9th, 2015

    This is a reminder that Dwight Brown of Whipped Cream Difficulties and I are putting on a gunny/VRWC blog shooting meetup/Tweetup at the Eagle Peak Gun Range in Leander on Saturday, October 10, at 5 PM, to be followed by a group dinner at the Oasis at 7 PM. Bring ear and eye protection as well as any weapon you’d like to shoot (no full metal jacket ammo, as per range rules). You can come to the shoot and skip dinner, or vice versa.

    If you’re interested in attending, drop me a line (lawrenceperson at gmail dot com) so I know how many people to expect at the range and for dinner).

    Blog Shootup/Meetup October 10, 2015

    Sunday, September 20th, 2015

    Dwight Brown of Whipped Cream Difficulties and I are putting on a gunny/VRWC blog shooting meetup/Tweetup at the Eagle Peak Gun Range in Leander on Saturday, October 10, at 5 PM, to be followed by a group dinner at the Oasis at 7 PM. Bring ear and eye protection as well as any weapon you’d like to shoot (no full metal jacket ammo, as per range rules). You can come to the shoot and skip dinner, or vice versa.

    If you’re interested in attending, drop me a line (lawrenceperson at gmail dot com) so I know how many people to expect at the range and for dinner).

    LinkSwarm for September 11, 2015

    Friday, September 11th, 2015

    It’s the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and thanks to the super-genius foreign policy ofthe Obama Administration, radical Islam is more powerful than ever before!

  • The Islamic State attacks the Kurds with mustard gas Hey Obama: Big, bright red line here! What are you going to do about that? Nothing, eh? Just going to keep up your just-for-show pretend-war against the Islamic State?
  • The thermocline of truth at the Pentagon: “More than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military’s Central Command have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials.”
  • Mark Steyn: “Since I last appeared in Copenhagen, some three-quarters of those I shared the stage with that day have been shot at, firebombed or forced to retire from public life and go into hiding.”
  • If you hit a pedestrian in China, do you: A. Stop to render aid, B. Flee the scene or, C. Back over again to make sure they’re dead?
  • “The policies of Jeremy Corbyn, the old-fashioned socialist on course to be elected leader of the U.K.’s Labour Party, are wrong not because they’re left-wing, but because they’re delusional.”
  • Thanks to the Magic Power of Socialism(TM), in Venezuela there’s no justice like mob justice. (Hat tip Instapundit.)
  • Could Putin be undone by a European court rulings?
  • How Bush43 helped keep Russia from invading the rest of Georgia in 2008.
  • Islamic attack leaves leaves 30 dead in Cameroon.
  • Jihad kills 10 in Tajikistan, U.S. embassy shut.
  • “Tunisia is experiencing psychopath drain.”
  • Muslims riot in Rotherham. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Believe it or not, Republicans actually have the demographic edge in 2016.
  • Abilene cop killed in home.
  • This sounds super, super, super, super, super, super dumb.
  • After a long hibernation, Blue Dot Blue has awakened from her deathless slumbers.
  • Dwight has a pretty swell memorial to Oliver Sacks up.
  • Lawfully use your legal firearm to protect your foster kids in Nevada? Watch your kids get taken away.
  • Liberal writer discovers America. “I spent the night at the Chateau Motel & Liquor Store, which is a brilliant business idea that absolutely needs to come east.” #Merica (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “Here is the only important fact versus the hyperbolic claims about aspartame and health: There’s a correlation between sugar consumption and health problems. There’s no link between artificial sweeteners and health.”
  • The ghost homes of Japan. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Texas most-wanted sex-offender caught.
  • Creeper in Williamson County:

    Deputies are searching for a man that allegedly injured a 12-year-old girl at a Williamson County park over the weekend.

    It happened Saturday, Sept. 5 at around 5:50 p.m. on the Rattan Creek Park Trail, west of Parmer Lane at Dallas Drive. Investigators say the girl was walking on the trail at a bridge near where two paths intersect when she was approached by an adult male from the south. The Sheriff’s Office says he made several comments regarding the child’s beauty, saying she appeared older than she was, and asked various questions about her and any companions.

    The suspect grabbed the child by the arm, tight enough to cause minor injury. He let go when one of the child’s friends approached them, and walked away from the trail, heading north into the woods, investigators say.

    The subject was described as a white male, approximately 6’0″, with a slim to medium build, short brown hair, and believed to be in his late 30s. He was last seen wearing a white tank top, blue jeans, and had a large tattoo (possibly Old English text) on his left shoulder, extending down to his chest. The suspect was described as having unusually long fingernails.

    If this suspect is observed in the area, you are asked to call the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office Detective Jason Waldon at (512) 244-8631 or or after hours (512) 864-8302.

    Read More at:

    Keep an eye out…

  • The Shooter in Her Cooter.