Archive for the ‘Austin’ Category

LinkSwarm for August 31, 2015

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Welcome to the final week of traditional summer. Of course, it used to be that everything (school, football, the new TV year, etc.) started after Labor Day Weekend, but that’s not the case any more…

  • “it’s cute to pretend that Black Lives Matter is actually about making policing better when it’s really just another Democratic party constituency agitprop group.”
  • Texas mandates E-Verify for all state employees.
  • Ten questions about the Iran deal.
  • Indeed, the Iran deal stinks so badly that even Debbie Wasserman Schultz wants to keep the stink of Eue De Failure off herself and the DNC. (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • Europe has begun to reform its welfare systems. (Hat tip Instpundit.)
  • Thanks to government efforts, heroin is now cheaper than cigarettes in New York City. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • McCarthy critic turns out to be a Soviet spy. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • UK Labour leader candidate Jeremy Corbyn: Apologist for oppressive dictatorships.
  • Oh, and he wants to give the Falkland Islands to Argentina. Why, it’s almost as if the hard left yearns for nothing so much as undoing every conservative foreign policy triumph out of spite…
  • And he also called Osama Bin Laden’s death “a tragedy.”
  • Criticizing Muslim antisemitism? That’s a $750 fine in Denmark.
  • Widespread street protests in Kuala Lumpur over corruption and embezzlement by Malaysia’s Goldman-Sachs-underwritten Prime Minister.
  • Still another reason not to use Ashley-Madison: “For every 7750 men, there were 3 women.” “Sausage Fest” doesn’t even begin to cover it…
  • Speaking of sausage, San Antonio woman steals $3000 worth of sausage.
  • Conservatives push back on victimhood identity politics guidelines from the College Board and win.
  • Austin Bag Ban backfires. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • A look back at 1945 plans for the invasion of Japan. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Ten years of Tam.
  • Two Conservative Bloggers Who Need Your Help

    Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

    First off, Mandy Nagy, who you might remember from such hits as boy did I piss off convicted felon Brett Kimberlin, is being sued (again) by Kimberlin while she’s also in the process of recovering from a serious stroke.

    Meanwhile, Austinite Brandi Stokes is dealing with hefty legal bills from a nasty child custody case in which she was targeted by the Travis County Democratic Party establishment. Too long a story to summarize here, so go over and take a look. But those with some legal pull should especially take a look.

    Texas vs. California Update for August 5, 2015

    Thursday, August 6th, 2015

    Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • Oakland’s monthly rent has doubled in the last five years, but the Oakland police are laying off people and no longer investigate property crimes. (As Zero Hedge notes, average rent is now more than it was in San Francisco in 2012.) How’s that Blue State model of high taxes, high public union salaries, and declining basic services working out for you California?
  • Controlling big budget government programs through ballot initiatives.
  • Only voters can stop California’s union pension crisis. “Government union bosses are desperate to protect their gravy train at taxpayers’ expense. That’s why they are spinning a web of lies about the [ballot initiative].”
  • “With CalPERS’ actuaries demanding a pension funding increase from $3.7 billion to $7.25 billion by 2020, the state must either cut payroll by 30 percent or find a massive new tax source, like overturning Prop. 13.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Visualizing California’s staggering pension hole. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Need to make up the funding shortfall for CalSTARS means cutting into actual teacher salaries.
  • Finally, California beats Texas in job creations. For one month. And by some 6,000 jobs.
  • The Green Behind California’s Greens: A handful of superrich donors have created the illusion of a grassroots environmental movement.”
  • Cloud Computer company LiveOps is moving from Redwood City, California to Cedar Park.

    “Thanks to our low-tax, low-regulation environment that allows all businesses to thrive, the State of Texas has become the national leader for technology job creation, and we continue to attract tech companies from around the country and around the world,” [Governor Greg] Abbott said. “On behalf of the State of Texas, I am pleased to welcome LiveOps to the Lone Star State as the company seeks to transform cloud-based customer service. With their help, the State of Texas can, and will, continue to lead the nation in job creation within the technology sector.”

  • Bra-maker Fashion Forms is relocating from Ventura, California to Austin.
  • California-based Relativity Media files for bankruptcy. Forbidden Kingdom was pretty good. Skyline was a pile of crap…
  • Add California to the list of Democratic Party controlled polises trying to kill Uber.
  • The War on Photography continues apace in Northern California.
  • Facebook is opening a $1 billion data center in Ft. Worth This means they’ll be able to ignore your “Most Recent” setting and tag you in sunglasses spam ten times faster…
  • UT Admissions Scandal 10X Worse Than Previously Admitted

    Thursday, July 16th, 2015

    We’ve known, from the drips and dabs that slipped out, that the UT admissions scandal was worse than the Kroll report actually let on. But we didn’t know it was ten times worse:

    At least 764 applicants initially denied admission to the University of Texas were admitted thanks to a backdoor program for the wealthy and politically connected administered by former president Bill Powers.

    More than 200 of those applicants were admitted despite having their applications cancelled by the Admissions Office.

    The total is more than 10 times the 73 applicants widely reported from an investigation paid for by the university and conducted by Kroll Associates. Kroll withheld the full findings from its 107-page final report.

    More:

    The Kroll investigation confirmed what had been common knowledge in the wealthy Dallas-area community of Highland Park, which includes UT Regent Wallace Hall and House Education Committee chair Dan Branch: students were getting into UT at extraordinary rates, despite bad grades.

    UT admitted seven Highland Park students with grade point averages below 2.0 and SAT scores below 800.

    Also this:

    The very worst of the students UT admitted, the investigation showed, were clustered in the districts of Branch, House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), and Sen. Kirk Watson, (D-Austin).

    Straus has gone to even greater lengths than UT to cover up the abuses. He authorized a special committee operating behind the scenes in an effort to impeach Hall for asking too many questions about the admissions process.

    A very cynical part of me wonders if this is the root of Straus’ stranglehold on the Speaker’s office: his power as the go-to fixer for getting unqualified students into UT.

    If you hadn’t heard, Wallace Hall, who uncovered the scandal, is suing UT chancellor William McRaven for access to the documents Texas attorney general Ken Paxton has already said he’s entitled to.

    Indeed, UT’s dishonest coverup may be a big factor in the Supreme Court in agreeing to hear an appeal on Fisher vs. University of Texas, “a 2008 lawsuit brought by a white student claiming the university’s diversity-seeking admissions system had unfairly deprived her of admission.”

    The Dallas Observer‘s Jim Schutze (who, unlike myself, favors affirmative action) explains:

    The court did receive a blistering friend-of-the-court brief (see copy below) from the Cato Institute, a conservative think-tank, in support of Fisher’s request to be heard again. The Cato brief called the court’s attention to an investigation of admissions at UT that grew out of the Hall disclosures. Cato told SCOTUS the investigation proved that UT’s “claimed diversity rationale is a sham.”

    That would be new evidence, maybe. But if it goes to the university’s core integrity – if the university has been lying to the courts about why it handles admissions the way it does – then maybe it’s not so new. Maybe it goes right to the heart of the existing case.

    We have talked here often before about revelations brought forward by Hall showing that the former president of the university and some of the regents were handing out undergraduate admissions to sons and daughters of influential state legislators the way favors of love are distributed in a bawdy house. But does that kind of corruption go to the affirmative action question?

    Nobody knows if the Cato amicus brief played any role at all in the high court’s eventual decision to rehear Fisher. But if it did, this would be why: When the Supreme Court ruled in 2013 to send Fisher back down to the 5th Circuit, the court said the lower court needed to take a tougher look at the university’s admissions policies. The Supreme Court told the lower court not to just take the university at its word but to examine the university’s admissions closely under a doctrine called “strict scrutiny.”

    The 5th Circuit basically said yeah, yeah, OK, we strict scrutinied them, and we still trust them. So the 5th Circuit upheld the university. Fisher appealed back to the Supreme Court saying the 5th Circuit hadn’t really done the strict scrutiny strictly enough.

    Then along comes the Wallace Hall evidence of an under-the-table secret admissions program the university forgot to tell the courts about. In fact, Hall’s investigation found evidence of lying, destruction of documents, coercion – enough story lines for an entire season of The Sopranos, all having to do with UT admissions.

    A Supreme Court case is likely to bring national attention to a scandal the local mainstream media has tried to downplay or bury. And if it turns out UT actually lied to the courts, well, that sort of thing tends to make federal judges a mite testy…

    (Hat tip: Push junction.)

    LinkSwarm for June 26, 2015

    Friday, June 26th, 2015

    The problem with doing a LinkSwarm is there’s just no end to links! I suppose I could post each and every one as I find it, but then I’d be be traveling in the wake of Instapundit, without his indefatigable will. (Or, this week, his army of star assistants.)

    Anyway, these are from the last few weeks:

  • Nothing says “religion of peace” quite like crucifying children for breaking a Ramadan fast.
  • Speaking of Ramadan, Muslims kicked it off in the now-traditional manner: Blowing up the mosques of other Muslims. (Hat tip: JihadWatch.)
  • ObamaCare has fallen short of its enrollment target, hiked insurance premiums, failed to cut down on ER visits, and flopped in its attempt to improve hospitals’ bottom line.
  • ObamaCare is sputtering.
  • Hawaii kills its ObamaCare exchange.
  • China’s dredging on Mischief Reef has united the rest of Asia against it.
  • China tries debt swap financing for the Ghost Cities.
  • “Barack Obama has been the most successful person in history when it comes to electing Republicans to Congress.”
  • Donating to a tsunami victim charity? Don’t forget that Bill Clinton gets his cut.
  • Bill and Hillary and The King of Gay Porn.
  • Not just Bill and Hillary: Even Clinton underlings got Arab money while working for the government.
  • 20 revelations about the U.S. and Israel from Obama’s ex-Israeli ambassador’s new book.
  • Americans prefer not to live where the law-abiding are disarmed.
  • Obama’s plans to muzzle gun-related speech.
  • Ted Cruz introduces legislation to eliminate Obama’s illegal alien amnesty slush fund.
  • “What we’re dealing with is a mayor who is universally acknowledged to be bumbling and incompetent.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • LOL.
  • The Huffington Post: Hell on earth. (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • You too can enjoy and spread “white privilege” to your children, no matter your color!
  • The “pecking disorder” among Social justice Warriors.
  • “He ain’t do no wrong — he just shot a cop.”
  • Remember that ultra-irritating piece on life on the Upper East Side? Not so fast.
  • Ouch.
  • Heh.
  • Don’t order the Chong Chin Chicken at Asia Cafe.
  • Belated News: Grand Jury No-Bills John Daub

    Thursday, June 25th, 2015

    I missed this good news when it came out on June 2, but a Travis County Grand Jury has declined to indict John Daub in the self-defense shooting death of a home intruder who turned out to be autistic.

    And his blog, Stuff from Hsoi, is available again.

    Hutto Police Officer Murdered On Duty

    Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

    Hutto police Sergent Chris Kelly was was killed in the line of duty today after being run over by a suspect during a traffic stop. (The suspect is in custody.) Kelly was a USAF veteran, and left behind a wife and two children.

    Police work is deeply necessary for civilized society, and occasi0onally very dangerous…

    Texas vs. California Update for June 24, 2015

    Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

    It’s been a while since I did a Texas vs. California update, so this is going to be a meaty one:

  • The Texas Comptroller has released a 50 state overview of how Texas stacks up to other states. There’s a lot of information to mine there. A few nuggets”
    • Texas ranks first as the best state for business, while California ranks 50th.

    • Texas ranks as the best state for net migration; California ranks 49th.
    • There are area in need of improvement. Texas ranks 49th in states whose residents over 25 hold high school diplomas. California? 50th.
  • Texas has enjoyed 100 straight months of unemployment below the national average. (Now it’s 101 months, but I can’ find a link right at the moment.)
  • The previously mentioned California pension reform ballot initiative has been filed.
  • Can it help California voters avoid pension armageddon?
  • “Low Taxes And Economic Opportunity In Texas Lead To Youth Population Boom.”
  • I was unaware that CalPERS owns its own planned community in Mountain House, California, and which it’s invested more than $1 billion in. A community that in 2008 was the most underwater in terms of mortgages in the entire country, and which was estimated to be worth only $200 million at some point. And now their water is being cut off due to the drought. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Speaking of the drought, California is running on empty:

    We suffer in California from a particular form of progressive immorality predicated on insular selfishness. The water supplies of Los Angeles and the Bay Area are still for a year longer in good shape, despite the four-year drought. Neither area is self-sufficient in water; their aquifers are marginal and only supply a fraction of their daily needs. Instead these megalopolises depend on intricate and expensive water transfer systems — from Northern California, from the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and from the Colorado River — that bring water and life to quite unnatural habitats and thereby allow a MGM or Facebook to thrive in an arid landscape that otherwise would not support such commerce and population. Without them, Atherton would look like Porterville.

    Quiet engineers in the shadows make it all work; the loud activists in the media seek to make it unwind. These transfers have sterling legal authority and first claims on mountain and northern state water. If Latinos in Lemon Cove are going without household water, Pyramid Lake on I-5 or Crystal Springs Reservoir on 280 are still full to the brim.

    Why then do those who have access to water delivered in a most unnatural way seek to curtail supplies to others? In a word, because they are either ignorant of where their own water comes from or they have not a shred of concern for others less blessed, or both. We will confirm this ethical schizophrenia should a fifth year of drought ensue. Then even the most sacrosanct rights of transferred water will not be sufficient to accommodate the San Francisco and Los Angeles basins. Mass panic and outrage will probably follow, and no one will care a bit about the delta smelt, or a few hundred salmon artificially planted into the San Joaquin River watershed, or a spotted toad that holds up construction of an urgently needed reservoir.

    The greens who pontificate about the need to return the San Joaquin watershed to its 19th-century ecosystem will become pariahs. When the taps run dry in Hillsborough and Bel-Air, very powerful people will demand water for their desert environs, which will in fact begin to return to the deserts that they always were as the thin veneer of civilization is scraped away.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • Hey, remember how California’s are always saying “Sure, Texas has lower taxes, lower cost of living, and better job growth, but California’s awesomely moderate weather beats Texas’ summer heat hands down!”?

    Yeah, not so much this year… (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • California legislature votes to reinstate Kelo-like seizure of private property for private development use. Shamefully, 12 Republicans joined Democrats to vote for eminent domain abuse.
  • “Pension payments are starving basic city services.”
  • A Marin County grand jury wants more openness about government employee salaries and pensions. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Of the four “minority majority” states, minorities in Texas are doing best.
  • California farm workers are suing to get the United Farm Workers out of their lives and pockets.
  • Among cities with high prices and stagnant wage growth, California has the nine worst, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Jose.
  • Because California homes just didn’t cost enough already, new energy regulations are going to make them even more expensive.
  • The San Bernardino sheriff’s department has used a “stingray” to capture cell phone communication over 300 times in the past year or so without a warrant.
  • Apple continues expanding in Austin.
  • Texas is one of the states General Electric might leave Connecticut for.
  • California-based retailer Anna’s Linens files for Chapter 11.
  • California holding company Premier Ventures uses yet another bankruptcy filing to prevent an Akron, Ohio mall from being sold at auction. (Previously.)
  • Not news: California bankruptcy filing. Still not news: From a fraud judgment. News: For a lawsuit first filed in 1989.
  • Public Integrity Unit Oversight Removed From Travis County

    Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

    Democrats won’t be able to launch partisan witch hunts against statewide Republican officeholders from the Travis County Prosecutor’s Office anymore, as Governor Greg Abbott has signed the bill stripping oversight of the statewide Public Integrity Unit from the Travis County prosecutor’s office

    “Under House Bill 1690, the Public Integrity Unit would be shifted from Travis County to the Texas Rangers – part of the Department of Public Safety – which would take charge of investigating alleged corruption among public officials. District attorneys from the home county of the accused would prosecute the cases.”

    Travis County Democrats in general, and District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg in particular, have only themselves to blame. Both Lehmberg and equally partisan predecessor Ronnie Earle have pursued vindictive and flat-out-fraudulent cases against Republican officeholders, from Rep. Tom Delay (accused of violating a law that hadn’t been enacted at the time, and whose conviction was overturned and converted into an outright acquittal) to Kay Bailey Hutchison.

    But it was Rosemary Lehmberg’s actions that pretty much sealed the fate of the Public Integrity Unit. The video of following her DUI arrest (when she decided that rolling around Austin with an open bottle of vodka in the car and a blood alcohol level of .239 would just be a swell idea) lead to Governor Rick Perry demand for her to resign. When she refused, Perry carried through with his threat to veto funding for the Public Integrity Unit, at which point the Travis County prosecutor’s office indicted Perry for using his constitutionally enumerated veto powers.

    If it hadn’t been for Lehmberg’s poor judgment and criminal activity, and and the grossly partisan overreach of herself and Earle, the legislature would never have felt compelled to act.

    Given the sterling reputation of the Texas Rangers, the unit is now in far better hands, and the move to their oversight takes effects September 1.

    Gov. Abbott Signs Open and Campus Carry Bills

    Saturday, June 13th, 2015

    This afternoon, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the Open Carry and Campus Carry bills into law at Red’s Indoor Range in Pflugerville. (I can tell you from experience that it’s hard enough to get a shooting lane at Red’s even when the governor isn’t there.)

    Note that as per the actual text of the open carry bill, open carry for CHL holders goes into effect January 1, 2016. I’ve seen various commentators cite a date of September 1st, but that’s just the date for various Texas agencies to have administrative plans in place for complying with the new regulations. So don’t go wearing your holsters in public on September 1st, or you’re likely to receive a very rude awakening…