Archive for the ‘Austin’ Category

LinkSwarm for February 8, 2016

Monday, February 8th, 2016

I emptied the link bucket on Friday, but lo and behold, a whole new torrent of news has come rushing down the pipes:

  • You know all that “Ted Cruz is too unpopular to win” talk? Cruz is killing it with blue collar voters:

    According to entrance polling, among the roughly half of all Republican voters without a college degree, Cruz won 30 percent of the vote, eclipsing Trump’s 28 percent. Marco Rubio was a distant third, winning the support of just 17 percent of voters without college degrees. Cruz did 5 points better among voters without college degrees than among college grads (30 percent to 25 percent), while, among all candidates included in the entrance polling (Cruz, Trump, Rubio, Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders), Rubio was the candidate who had the lowest portion of his support come from those without college degrees—he did 10 points worse among voters without college degrees than among college grads (17 to 27 percent).

    According to the entrance polling, Cruz also fared better than Trump or Rubio among younger voters. Among voters under the age of 30, Cruz won 26 percent of the vote to Rubio’s 23 percent and Trump’s 20 percent. Among voters in their 30s and early 40s, Cruz won 30 percent of the vote to Trump’s 23 percent and Rubio’s 21 percent. (Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton got clobbered among younger voters, winning less than 30 percent of the vote among those under the age of 45.)

  • “A couple of days ago on the ONT we were reminded that Ted Cruz is only five months older than Marco Rubio. That’s one month for every case he’s won before the Supreme Court. So don’t let anyone tell you Cruz has no accomplishments.”
  • Five New Hampshire state reps who backed Rand Paul are now supporting Cruz.
  • Des Moines Register: “What happened Monday night at the Democratic caucuses was a debacle, period. Democracy, particularly at the local party level, can be slow, messy and obscure. But the refusal to undergo scrutiny or allow for an appeal reeks of autocracy.”
  • At least one Iowa delegate was unilaterally changed from Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton.
  • Hillary Clinton’s minions push polling Democrats in Nevada.
  • Hillary is bad at faking sincerity.
  • Gee, look how tremendously unpopular the name “Hillary” became after 1992.
  • “Marco Rubio Is Diminished by a Caustic Chris Christie.”
  • If you’re an Iraqi “refugee” who hasn’t had sex in months, do you: A.) Hire a prostitute, B.) Wank to porn, or C.) Rape a 10 year old boy in a public pool?
  • Meanwhile, in Belgium, seven men (including five “migrants”) danced and sang in Arabic as the took turns raping an unconscious 17 year old girl.
  • UK Muslim rape gang sentenced to collective 140 years in prison for raping a schoolgirl.
  • “In the Safe Spaces on Campus, No Jews Allowed.”
  • Obama Administration reinstates “catch and release” for illegal aliens. (Hat tip: Doug Ross.)
  • First confirmed case of Zika virus in Travis County. It’s funny how, just as with Enterovirus D-68, novel pathogens have a habit of showing up just when illegal alien populations do…
  • The effects of immigration on unemployment: “None of the net gain in employment over the entire 14-year period went to natives.”
  • The world’s most miserable economies: Socialist paradise Venezuela ranks first (which is to say last), followed by Argentina, South Africa, Greece and Ukraine. (Hat tip: NRO’s The Corner.)
  • Welfare mom complains about the free food and room service. (Hat tip: Doug Ross.)
  • Cherokee artist arrested for not being a real Cherokee artist. I look forward to the coming felony indictment of Elizabeth Warren…
  • For fans of the art of newspaper headline writing: “Former London Zoo meerkat expert fined for glassing monkey-handler in row over llama-keeper.”
  • John Daub Covers The Day That Changed His Life

    Saturday, January 9th, 2016

    One year after they occurred, John Daub goes over the day that changed his life, when he was forced to shoot and kill a large man breaking down his family’s front door.

    From my perspective, the main thing I remember is hearing my wife screaming for me. Her words were saying there was someone at the door. But the way she said it — the sheer mortal terror in her voice — was something I had never heard out of her in the almost 20 years of our marriage.

    If you’ve been following this blog, then you probably know that the home invader turned out to be an autistic man, and that Daub was eventually no-billed by a grand jury over the well-justified shooting. Daub’s writeup on the incident is well worth reading for it’s insight of real-life self defense scenario unfolds under pressure.

    Five Gunfighting Myths Debunked

    Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

    Here’s a very solid piece on five myths of gunfighting by noted expert Massad Ayoob. Also includes a mention of Austin tower sniper Charles Whitman.

    Worth reading.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

    (Edited to add: Link fixed.)

    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 Watchdog.org.

    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.

    Ballotpedia:

    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.

    Ballotpedia:

    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.