Archive for the ‘Austin’ Category

Texas vs. California Update for April 18, 2016

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Time for another Texas vs. California roundup, with the top news being California’s hastening their economic demise with a suicidal minimum wage hike:

  • Jerry Brown admits the minimum wage hike doesn’t make economic sense, then signs it anyway. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Who is really behind the minimum wage hike? The SEIU:

    California’s drive to hike the minimum wage has little to do with average workers and everything to do with the Golden State’s all-powerful government employee unions.

    Nationally, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is known for representing lower skilled workers. But, of the SEIU’s 2.1 million dues-paying members, half work for the government. In California, that translates to clout with much of the $50 million SEIU spent in the U.S. on political activities and lobbying spent in California. In fact, out of the 12 “yes” votes for the minimum wage bill in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations on March 30, the SEIU had contributed almost $100,000 out of the three-quarters of a million contributed by public employee unions—yielding a far higher return on investment than anything Wall Street could produce.

    Unions represent about 59 percent of all government workers in California. Many union contracts are tied to the minimum wage — boost the minimum wage and government union workers reap a huge windfall, courtesy of the overworked California taxpayer.

  • “The impacts of the increase in minimum wage on workers at the very bottom of the pay scales might be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the ramifications of the minimum wage increase.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Indeed, that hike will push government employee wages up all up the ladder.
  • “California minimum wage hike hits L.A. apparel industry: ‘The exodus has begun.'” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Texas’ job creation has helped keep the unemployment rate low at 4.3 percent, which has now been at or below the U.S. average rate for a remarkable 111 straight months.”
  • “Number of Californians Moving to Texas Hits Highest Level in Nearly a Decade”:

    “California’s taxes and regulations are crushing businesses, and there are more opportunities in Texas for people to start new companies, get good jobs, and create better lives for their families,” said Nathan Nascimento, the director of state initiatives at Freedom Partners. “When tax and regulatory climates are bad, people will move to better economic environments—this phenomenon isn’t a mystery, it’s how marketplaces work. Not only should other state governments take note of this, but so should the federal government.”

    According to Tom Gray of the Manhattan Institute, people may be leaving California for the employment opportunities, tax breaks, or less crowded living arrangements that other states offer.

    “States with low unemployment rates, such as Texas, are drawing people from California, whose rate is above the national average,” Gray wrote. “Taxation also appears to be a factor, especially as it contributes to the business climate and, in turn, jobs.”

    “Most of the destination states favored by Californians have lower taxes,” Gray wrote. “States that have gained the most at California’s expense are rated as having better business climates. The data suggest that may cost drivers—taxes, regulations, the high price of housing and commercial real estate, costly electricity, union power, and high labor costs—are prompting businesses to locate outside California, thus helping to drive the exodus.”

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • More on the same theme. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • It’s not just pensions: “The state paid $458 million in 2001 (0.6 percent of the general fund) for state worker retiree health care and is expected to pay $2 billion (1.7 percent of the general fund) next fiscal year — up 80 percent in just the last decade.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Texas border control succeeds where the Obama Administration fails. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • California and New York still lead Texas in billionaires. But for how long?
  • “The housing bubble may have collapsed, but the public-employee pension fund managers are still with us. If anything they’re bigger than ever, still insatiably seeking high returns just over the horizon line of another economic bubble.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • How to fix San Francisco’s dysfunctional housing market. “Failed public policy and political leadership has resulted in a massive imbalance between how much the city’s population has grown this century versus how much housing has been built. The last thirteen years worth of new housing units built is approximately equal to the population growth of the last two years.” Also: “The city is forcing people out. Only the rich can live here because of the policies created by so-called progressives and so-called housing advocates.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • UC Berkley to cut 500 jobs over two years.
  • What does BART do faced with a $400 million projected deficit over the next decade? Dig deeper. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Stanton, California, is the latest California municipality facing bankruptcy. “One of the main reasons the city can’t pay its bills without the sales tax is that it gives outlandish salaries and benefits to its government workers.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Yesterday was Tax Freedom Day in Texas.
  • Politically correct investing has already cost CalPERS $3 billion. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “A federal jury on Wednesday convicted former Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka of deliberately impeding an FBI investigation, capping a jail abuse and obstruction scandal that reached to the top echelons of the Sheriff’s Department.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Top California Democratic assemblyman Roger Hernandez accused of domestic violence.
  • Calls for UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi to resign, she of the supergenius “pay $175,000 to scrub the Internet of negative postings about the pepper-spraying of students in 2011” plan.
  • California beachwear retailer Pacific Sunwear files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
  • California retailer Sport Chalet is also shutting down.
  • 75% of current Toyota employees are willing to move to Texas to work at Toyota’s new U.S. headquarters.
  • California isn’t the only place delusional politicians are pushing a “railroad to nowhere.” The Lone Star Rail District wants to keep getting and spending money despite the fact that Union Pacific said they couldn’t use their freight lines for a commuter train between Austin and San Antonio. The tiny little problem being that the Union Pacific line was the only one under consideration…
  • LinkSwarm for April 1, 2016

    Friday, April 1st, 2016

    Happy April Fools day! No tricks here, just the usual Friday LinkSwarm:

  • ObamaCare didn’t do jack to lower costs. (Hat tip Instapundit.)
  • Indeed, Obamacare is the fail that keeps failing: “As a result of the ACA, between 4 million and 9 million fewer people are projected to have employment-based coverage each year from 2017 through 2026 than would have had such coverage if the ACA had never been enacted.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Great news! The Nigerian Army has rescued rescued 800 Boko Haram hostages. That’s compared to the number of those hostages rescued by the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag, which is (stops, counts, carries the one) Zero.
  • Bad news: They just kidnapped 300 more. (Hat tip: Weasel Zippers.)
  • Following the Brussels attack, the standard ruling class rituals of aversion are in full bloom.
  • Donald Trump suggested targeting the families of terrorists. Putin’s Russia does exactly that.
  • The Obama Administration treats Little Sisters of the Poor worse than Exxon, Visa and Pepsi, all of whom have health plans lacking the abortion mandate. Then again, as Instapundit noted: “To be fair, that was basically because they hate those groups and wanted to punish them.”
  • Xi Jinping has accumulated more power than any leader since Mao. “He has been fighting dissent with even more ruthlessness than he has been waging war on graft. Not since the dark days after the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 has there been such a sweeping crackdown on critics of the party.”
  • Belgium’s current crises sounds an awful lot like where California is headed: Expensive government that’s congenitally incapable of solving problems.
  • Canadian bank depositors are now officially at risk of bail-ins.
  • David Brin says the Amendment that most protects the right of citizens to film interactions with the police is the Sixth.
  • Rob Ford was more than just a loud-mouth drunk. “Ford was a political pragmatist who simply didn’t give a damn what anyone thought about him other than his constituents. It was that gumption that endeared him to hundreds of thousands of Torontonians.”
  • Supergenius New Yorker writer thinks Arizona is next to Texas.

    Screen shot 2016-03-23 at 10.56.52 PM

    (Screen shot has been included because the article has been edited and no notice made of the deleted error.)

  • Illegal alien rapes 12-year old. (Hat tip: Director Blue.
  • Lake Travis hits full again.
  • Hulk Hogan may have just destroyed Gawker.” Well, we can only hope…
  • Lunatic hoplophobe associate professor of English calls 911 to report ROTC maneuvers on campus at the University of North Dakota. (Hat tip: Tam.)
  • Old and Busted: The Suicide Prevention Hotline. The New Hotness: The Suicide Encouragement Hotline. Not an April Fools joke, alas…
  • Why grackles love supermarket parking lots.
  • Texas vs. California Update for March 31, 2016

    Thursday, March 31st, 2016

    Lots of Texas vs. California linky goodness, much of it via Jack Dean at Pension Tsunami, who’s been emailing me links of significant interest.

  • Texas continues to grow:

    As last week’s US Census Bureau population estimates indicated, the story of population growth between 2014 and 2015 was largely about Texas, as it has been for the decade starting 2010 (See: “Texas Keeps Getting Bigger” The New Metropolitan Area Estimates). The same is largely true with respect to population trends in the nation’s largest counties, with The Lone Star state dominating both in the population growth and domestic migration among 135 counties with more than 500,000 population.

    Snip.

    Houston, which is the fastest growing major metropolitan area (over 1 million population) in the nation includes the two fastest growing large counties. Fort Bend County added 4.29 percent to its population between 2014 and 2015 and now has 716,000 residents. Montgomery County grew 3.57 percent to 538,000. In addition to these two suburban Houston counties, Harris County, the core County ranked 16th in growth, adding 2.03 percent to its population and exceeding 4.5 million population.

    Dallas-Fort Worth, the second fastest-growing major metropolitan area has two counties among the top 20. The third fastest-growing county is Denton (located north of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport), which added 3.42 percent to its population over the past year and now has 781,000 residents. Collin County, to the north of Dallas County, grew 3.17 percent and now stands at 914,000 residents. Its current growth rate would put Collin County over 1 million population by the 2020 census.

    Travis County, with its county seat of Austin, grew 2.22 percent to 1,177,000 and ranked 12th. Bexar County, centered on San Antonio grew 2.01 percent and ranks 17th.

    Overall, Texas had four of the five fastest growing large counties, and seven of the top twenty. California had none. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • The Austin metropolitan area passes 2 million people.
  • The California Policy Center has a devestating roundup of what’s wrong with California’s economy. To wit:
    • “A now has by far the nation’s highest state income tax rate. We are 34% higher than 2nd place Oregon, and a heck of a lot higher than all the rest”

    • “CA has the highest state sales tax rate in the nation. 7.5% (does not include local sales taxes).”
    • “California in 2015 ranked 14th highest in per capita property taxes (including commercial) – the only major tax where we are not in the worst ten states. But the 2014 average CA single-family residence (SFR) property tax is the 8th highest state in the nation. Indeed, the median CA homeowner property tax bill is 93% higher than the average for the other 49 states.”
    • “California has a nasty anti-small business $800 minimum corporate income tax, even if no profit is earned, and even for many nonprofits. Next highest state is Rhode Island at $500 (only for “C” corporations). 3rd is Delaware at $175. Most states are at zero.”
    • “California’s 2015 ‘business tax climate’ ranks 3rd worst in the nation – behind New York and anchor-clanker New Jersey. In addition, CA has a lock on the worst rank in the Small Business Tax Index – a whopping 8.3% worse than 2nd worst state.”
    • “The American Tort Reform Foundation in 2015 again ranks CA the ‘worst state judicial hellhole’ in U.S. – the most anti-business.”
    • “CA public school teachers the 3rd highest paid in the nation. CA students rank 48th in math achievement, 49th in reading.”
    • “California’s real poverty rate (the new census bureau standard adjusted for COL) is easily the worst in the nation at 23.4%. We are 57.3% higher than the average for the other 49 states.”
    • “Of 100 U.S. real estate markets, in 2013 CA contained by far the least affordable middle class housing market (San Francisco). PLUS the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th.”

    It’s like a whole bunch of Texas vs. California roundup statistics all in one big green ball of fail. Read the whole thing. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • “California’s 50% [minimum wage] increase would eliminate nearly 700,000 jobs—which means higher unemployment for the poor and least skilled in particular.”
  • Why did Carl’s Jr. flee California? Taxes, regulations and lawsuits.

    CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder told the Wall Street Journal in 2013, “California is not interested in having businesses grow.”

    The article points out that many factors, including local building regulations, make one community less desirable than another for businesses.

    For example, it takes 60 days in Texas, 63 in Shanghai, and 125 in Novosibirsk, Russia for one of CKE’s restaurants to get a building permit after signing a lease. But in Los Angeles, Ca. it takes a whopping 285 days.

    Puzder added, “I can open up a restaurant faster on Karl Marx Prospect in Siberia than on Carl Karcher Boulevard in California.” The street in California is ironically named for the restaurant chain’s founder.

    California’s labor regulations may also play a role in a company’s desire to seek alternative locations. In that same interview with WSJ, Puzder said his company had spent $20 million in the state over the past eight years on damages and attorney fees related to class-action lawsuits.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • Justice Scalia’s death dooms the Friedrichs vs. California Teacher’s Association lawsuit.
  • “If a Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research’s estimate is accurate, public pension debt in California is even worse than feared. Preliminary calculations from a forthcoming SIEPR study peg the unfunded retirement tab for state and local government employees at more than $1.2 trillion.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Texas unemployment rates drops to 4.4%.
  • San Bernardino’s bondholders get screwed so the bankrupt city can continue sending money to CalPERS. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California’s colleges are so money-hungry they’re screwing in-state students out of admissions so they can charge more to out-of-state applicants, including those who wouldn’t normally be able to get in. Sort of like the UT admissions scandal, but less politically connected and more widespread and money-grubbing… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • But there’s one type of student California admissions isn’t keeping out: antisemites. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Even the supposed beneficiaries of California’s high speed rail fantasy have become disillusioned with it.
  • A hot relocation to Texas rumor just in: “Plano – new home of Toyota Motor’s North American headquarters – has been mentioned as a possible relocation site for a Wichita-based subsidiary of conglomerate Cargill.”
  • LinkSwarm for March 18, 2016

    Friday, March 18th, 2016

    I hope you’re not too hung over from St. Patrick’s Day (and didn’t get stabbed to death on the Ides of March). Here’s a Friday LinkSwarm:

  • Marco Rubio says that Ted Cruz is the only conservative left in the race. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • John Boehner calls Ted Cruz “Lucifer.” With that even-tempered perspective, it’s impossible to figure out why he’s no longer Speaker…
  • Ted Cruz unveils his national security coalition. Media reports on this have been particularly poor…
  • African-Americans living in poor neighborhoods cannot rely on Democratic leaders to take the decisive steps needed to ameliorate the problem as long as the Democratic Party can take the black vote for granted. The question, then, is how long can Democratic Party leaders and candidates continue to rely on African-American voters before African-American voters take matters into their own hands.”
  • No amount of primary wins will make Hillary Clinton’s email troubles go away.
  • And if the FBI doesn’t get her, the NSA might. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “The Tea Party movement — which you also failed to understand, and thus mostly despised — was a bourgeois, well-mannered effort (remember how Tea Party protests left the Mall cleaner than before they arrived?) to fix America. It was treated with contempt, smeared as racist, and blocked by a bipartisan coalition of business-as-usual elites. So now you have Trump, who’s not so well-mannered, and his followers, who are not so well-mannered, and you don’t like it.”
  • Got to hand it to Donald Trump: this is an effective ad. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Jews leave France in record numbers. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Obama Administration finally comes out and admits that the Islamic State has committed genocide against Yazidis, Christians and Shiites. That’s like Harry Truman finally declaring the Holocaust genocide two years after the liberation of Auschwitz…
  • Putin takes his toys and goes home.

    Contrary to his expectations of finding a pliable ally in Iran, he found the Iranians in control, glad to borrow his air force, arrogant and disdainful in Damascus (and Baghdad) and well on the path to dominating a vast stretch of strategically vital territory. And Iran has no interest in playing junior partner to anyone—least of all a traditional Christian enemy.

    Suddenly, Putin had a vision of a nuclear-armed, radical-Shia empire on Russia’s southern flank. Those Iranian missiles that can reach Israel? They can reach major Russian cities, too.

    Putin’s initial bet on Shia Iran also backfired by turning the Islamic world’s Sunni majority against him — not least Saudi Arabia, which can continue to hold down the price of oil and gas, punishing Russia’s economy far more than it wounds American fracking efforts. And Sunni terrorists have taken a renewed interest in Russia.

  • Hellfire missile intercepted in-route to Portland, Oregon.
  • Minimum wage hike causes fast food restaurants to start investing in automation. Just like conservatives said it would.
  • Texas Public Policy Foundation vs. Bureau of Land Management is now TPPF and The State of Texas vs. BLM. (More background here.)
  • Penny Arcade on Gawker:

    Gawker is poison AIDS cancer. In the same way that the Cross is the symbol for the redemptive power of Christ’s blood, Gawker is the symbol of a metastasized social media. Gawker is Nidhogg, the dragon which gnaws at the root of the World Tree. The causes they enunciate are tarnished, just for being in their mouths.”

    I don’t wish ill on anyone who works there, obviously. I mean, I guess their every action technically does sustain a legitimately evil beast of legend, some Revelations type shit, and they ruin lives for profit whenever they aren’t simply wasting your time.

  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton rules that state contractors must continue using E-verify.
  • Everything you know about Altamont is wrong. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • The story behind that memorial mural on the pillar at the Lamar underpass right before Fifth Street.

    Lamar Mural

  • Man the pollen in the air is really bad this time of year in Austin…
  • Dog shows up safe a month after being presumed lost at sea. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Will the last Elvis impersonator to leave Las Vegas please turn off the neon.
  • Where The Gun Owners Are In Texas

    Saturday, March 5th, 2016

    This nifty little map shows you where CHL/LTC owners are in Texas by zip code.

    Hint: Everywhere.

    Liberals in big cities should just get over their hyperventilating that a lawfully armed citizen might be somewhere near them, since the map shows it’s pretty much a constant certainty. Even the University of Texas at Austin, about which so hand-wringing over campus carry has been conducted, already shows 191 CHL/LTC holders in the 78705 area code.

    (Hat tip: Stuf from Hsoi.)

    Some Random Primary Results

    Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

    Not quite as down as I was last night. There’s lots of the commentary this morning on how Donald Trump under-performed vs. expectations.

    Here are some random primary results and links:

  • “So far, Trump wins open primaries and Cruz wins closed…and the calendar is starting to change toward more closed primaries.” Also: “So here’s where it potentially gets interesting. Although the media are looking forward to March 15, this Saturday (March 5) there are four Republican primaries/caucuses: Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Maine. All are closed.” If Cruz can take three of those four, it’s a whole new race. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Ted Cruz wins Alaska, despite Sarah Palin’s Trump endorsement.
  • It was generally a bad night on the anti-Joe Straus front. Straus won his primary, as did Jason Villalba, and Straus-backed Lance Gooden took out conservative Stuart Sptizer in the Texas 4th Congressional District, while Hugh B. Shine took out conservative (and bit of a loose cannon) Molly White. For a while it looked like Straus crony Byron Cook might lose, but he eked out a win over Thomas McNutt with 50.4%.
  • Michael Quinn Sullivan is a bit more optimistic:

    The chairman of the Licensing Committee, Wayne Smith, and the chairman of Special Purpose Districts, Doug Miller, are now facing tough run-offs against conservative challengers Briscoe Cain and Kyle Biedermann.

    State Rep. Debbie Riddle, a Straus loyalist on the powerful Calendars Committee, was defeated outright by Valoree Swanson in a four-way race.

    Meanwhile, decorated veteran Terry Wilson defeated liberal State Rep. Marsha Farney, who was rumored to have been tapped by Straus to helm the Public Education Committee in 2017.

    On the other hand, conservative fighters Jonathan Stickland, Tony Tinderholt, and Matt Rinaldi won big re-election fights. Stickland, Tinderholt, and Rinaldi were top targets of the establishment, with the opponents slinging copious amounts of mud to no avail.

    (Hat tip: Push Junction.)

  • Speaking of loose cannons, check out new Travis County GOP chair Robert Morrow.
  • Another Will Hurd (R) vs. Pete Gallego (D) matchup in the 23rd Congressional District. This is the only true swing U.S. House seat left in Texas, and it will probably come down to turnout. Gallego took the seat from Francisco “Quico” Canseco in 2012 and Hurd took the seat back for Republicans in 2014.
  • Shawn Dick beats Jana Duty for Williamson County DA.
  • Other Williamson County races: Robert Chody wins the Sheriff race over four challengers, Donna Parker and Landy Warren are going to a runoff for County Commissioner Precinct 1, and Laura Baker and Warren Oliver Waterman are going to a runoff for Williamson Court-at-Law No. 2 Judge.
  • Probably more later…

    Texas vs. California Update for February 25, 2016

    Thursday, February 25th, 2016

    Been too long since I did a Texas vs. California roundup, so here it is:

  • Dark Age California:

    There are large areas of Central California that resemble life in rural Mexico. Within a radius of five miles I can go to stores and restaurants where English is rarely spoken and there is no racial or cultural diversity—a far cry from Jeb Bush’s notion of an “act of love” landscape.

    With unemployment at 10% or more in the interior of the state, with the public schools near the bottom in the nation, and with generous entitlements, it is no accident that one in six in the nation who receive public assistance now live in California, where about a fifth of the population lives below the poverty line.

    One in four Californians also were not born in the United States; more than one in four who enter the hospital for any cause are found upon admittance to suffer from Type II diabetes. The unspoken responsibility of California state government is to bring state-sponsored parity to new arrivals from Oaxaca, and to do so in ideological fashion that ensures open borders and more government. It is the work of a sort of secular church, and questioning its premises is career-ending blasphemy.

  • “California has come a long way to dig itself out of budget deficits, but the state remains on shaky ground due to nearly $400 billion in unfunded liabilities and debt from public pensions, retiree health care and bonds.” More: “It’s California’s debt and liabilities that are concerning financial analysts, particularly the state’s rapidly growing unfunded retiree health care costs, which grew more than 80 percent over the past decade. California has promised $74 billion more in health and dental benefits to current and retired state workers than the state has put aside.” (Hat tip: CalWatchdog.)
  • And new accounting rules make those unfunded liabilities harder to ignore.
  • The problem might not be quite as bad as it is did not CalPERS and CalSTARS insist on politically correct investments. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • San Francisco political officials indicted:

    A retired city employee and a former city commissioner who are at the center of bribery allegations involving Mayor Ed Lee were charged with multiple felonies including bribery and money laundering, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon announced at a news conference Friday afternoon.

    Also charged Friday was political consultant and former San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education President Keith Jackson, who pleaded guilty last year to racketeering charges.

    The district attorney’s office charged recently retired Human Rights Commission employee Zula Jones, ex-HRC commissioner Nazly Mohajer and former political consultant Keith Jackson.

    Remember that Zula Jones and Nazly Mohajer were fingered by Leeland Yee’s attorneys as being the go-betweens for bribing Lee. This brings up the question (yet again): Why hasn’t Lee himself been indicted?

  • And speaking of California government officials being indicted: “Retired Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca pleaded guilty Wednesday to lying to federal investigators, a stunning reversal for the longtime law enforcement leader who for years insisted he played no role in the misconduct that tarnished his agency.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Jerry Brown vetoes kangaroo court minimums for college sexual assault cases.
  • “Brown pushed for the giant pension fund CalPERS to lower its assumed investment return from 7.5% to 6.5%. Given that the world is headed towards deflation and that CalPERS earned only 2.4% for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2015, Brown’s request seemed entirely reasonable. Instead, the board approved a staff proposal to move to the 6.5% target over 10 years.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • CalPERS board President Rob Feckner, serving his twelfth term, casts deciding vote against proposal for term limits for board members. “Feckner was president of the California School Employees Association for four years and executive vice president of the California Labor Federation for five. Such a conflict of interest wouldn’t be tolerated with the president of other boards of directors. But with CalPERS, it’s par for the course.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • San Diego voters: We want pension reform! Union-stacked Public Employment Relations Board (PERB): Get stuffed, peasants! Result: Lawsuit. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • The middle class is fleeing California. “In 2006, 38 percent of middle-class households in California used more than 30 percent of their income to cover rent. Today, that figure is over 53 percent.”
  • California tech industries continue their exodus to Texas:

    The tech industry in the Bay Area has become a victim of its own success – and state policies. Like many other California businesses, tech firms are relocating or expanding operations in others states – particularly Texas – at an alarming rate.

    Some companies spend significant amounts of time and money finding and training the right workers, only to see them poached by a flashy startup within a number of months. The need for a more stable workforce was one of the main reasons cloud-computing company LiveOps Cloud moved from Silicon Valley to a suburb of Austin, Texas, CEO Vasili Triant told the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Other reasons to move or expand out-of-state are government-created: high taxes, burdensome regulations, unaffordable housing due to excessive development fees and restrictive land-use policies. California’s highly-educated workforce is not so unique anymore, and its quality of life has been tarnished by regulatory and affordability issues. Texas, by contrast, has no personal income tax and no corporate income tax (though it does have a less-onerous gross margins tax), and is universally hailed for having one of the friendliest business climates in the nation.

    Google, Facebook, Apple, Dropbox, Oracle and nearly two dozen other Bay Area tech companies have all built or expanded facilities in Texas just since 2014, the Chronicle reported. There have been more than 1,500 publicly reported California “disinvestment events” across all industries over the past seven years, according to a November report from Spectrum Location Solutions, an Irvine-based business relocation consulting firm, although it estimated the actual tally at as high as 9,000. A California business “can save 20 percent to 32 percent of labor costs by relocating a facility out of state,” Spectrum president Joe Vranich told us last year.

  • More on the theme:

    Between 1997 and 2000, during the peak of the dot-com boom, the Bay Area was a net importer of Texans: About 1,500 more households moved into the region from Texas than vice versa, bringing an additional $191 million (2015 dollars) in taxable income into the region, according to IRS data, which tracks the movement of taxpaying residents.

    The trend changed in the early 2000s, and Texas has been a net importer of Bay Area households ever since. Between 2009 and 2012, as the recession was winding down and the second tech boom was revving up, the region lost about 1,430 households to Texas, and nearly $390 million in taxable income.

    Snip.

    I had a guy working for me (in the Bay Area) making $200,000 a year, struggling to pay his bills,” company CEO Triant said. “In lots of places in the country you’re living high on the hog on $200,000. … As far as work life balance and employee morale, we have absolutely seen a remarkable increase since moving here; it’s night and day.”

    The firm still keeps a small Bay Area office, and Triant speaks fondly of his hometown of San Diego and California in general.

    But when it comes to building a company and running a business, he has found a new home in Texas. “I want my employees to be able to have a good quality of life, live in a city with low crime rates, good schools,” he said. “And that’s what we’re doing here.”

  • “It’s no coincidence that Texas and Florida have thrived while New York and California have not. High levels of taxes, spending, and regulations make it more difficult for entrepreneurs to be successful. When entrepreneurs cannot expand their businesses and hire new workers, everyone is hurt, not just the rich.”
  • In the course of verifying a Rep. Joe Straus campaign ad, Polifact confirms that Texas has grown twice as fast as the rest of the country.
  • The University of California, Berkeley, is running a $150 million deficit this year. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • UC Academic Senate rejects task force’s proposed retirement benefits plan that, keeping with Jerry Brown’s modest pension reforms, would pay them a measly $117,020 pension benefit. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “What’s more important: High-speed rail or water? Proponents of a proposed ballot measure would force voters to choose just that. The measure would redirect $8 billion in unsold high-speed rail bonds and $2.7 billion from the 2014 water bond to fund new water storage projects.”
  • Speaking of water restrictions, looks like Californians will get to enjoy them for another year.
  • Sure, Covered California (California’s ObamaCare) may be incompetent. But it’s also corrupt. The state auditor “criticized the exchange for not sufficiently justifying its decision to award a number of large contracts without subjecting the contractors to competitive bidding.”
  • California is releasing many felons as part of a “mass forgiveness” program. Including a murderer who tied up a husband and wife and beat them to death with a pipe.
  • California adds Aloe Vera to list of cancer-causing substances. “The problem is that the 800+ chemicals listed in Proposition 65 are not devised to protect consumers, but rather serve as a cash cow for private trial lawyers to sue small business and reap the hefty settlement payout. Since 1986, nearly 20,000 lawsuits have been filed, adding up to over half a billion dollars in settlement payments by business owners.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • San Francisco’s planning process is designed for gridlock.
  • Bankrupt San Bernardino has reached a settlement with its firefighters union.
  • Heh. “The movement to emblazon state legislators with the logos of their donors has collected tens of thousands of signatures for its would-be ballot initiative.The measure, formally called the ‘Name All Sponsors California Accountability Reform (or NASCAR. Get it?) Initiative,’ would require all state legislators to wear the emblems or names of their 10 top donors every time they attend an official function.” The ballot initiative has already collected 40,000 signatures…
  • Huge soda pop collection is coming to the Dr Pepper museum in Waco.
  • Rick Perry Cleared of Phony Travis County Charges

    Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

    Travis County’s politicized District Attorney’s office loses yet again:

    Texas’ highest criminal court on Wednesday dismissed the remaining felony charge against former Gov. Rick Perry in the abuse-of-power case that he blamed for his early exit from the Republican presidential race.

    The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals tossed a charge of misuse of office that stemmed from Perry’s 2013 effort to force out the Travis County district attorney. And it upheld the decision of a lower court to dismiss a charge of coercion of a public official.

    The 6-2 decision appears to mark the end of Perry’s 18-month legal saga — one that outlasted the end of his record-setting, 14-year tenure as governor and his short-lived second bid for the White House.

    Snip.

    “The case centered on Perry’s threat in 2013 to veto $7.5 million budgeted for the Travis County district attorney’s office if District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, didn’t resign after her drunken-driving arrest.”

    The only corruption in this case was not Rick Perry using his constitutionally authorized veto power, but the Travis County DA’s nakedly partisan witch-hunt on behalf of a Democratic Party furious at how Perry consistently kicked their asses…

    LinkSwarm for February 17, 2016

    Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

    Early voting started in Texas Monday, which means I’m way behind on covering state and local races. Oh well, maybe later this week…

  • Hillary Clinton didn’t do as badly as expected in New Hampshire. She did worse.

    Sanders’s margin of victory — 60 percent to 39 percent — was the largest ever by a Democrat who wasn’t a sitting president. It was a come-from-behind win: Eight months ago, Sanders was at 9 percent and Clinton held a 46-point advantage. And Sanders overperformed the polls. Only 1 of the last 15 polls had him above 60 percent; the Real Clear Politics average in New Hampshire had him at 54.5 percent going into the vote.

    Then there are the crosstabs. The exit polling for Clinton was brutal. Sanders won men by 35 points; he won women by 11. He won voters under the age of 30 by 67 points. People expect that of Sanders and his children’s crusade. Clinton took home senior citizens, 54 percent to 45 percent. People expect that of Clinton’s boomers. But in the big band of middle-aged Democrats, ages 45 to 64 (who made up 42 percent of the electorate), Sanders beat Clinton 54 percent to 45 percent. He beat her among Democrats with a high school diploma or less; he beat her among Democrats with postgraduate degrees. Among people who’d voted in a Democratic primary before, Sanders won by 16 points; among first-time voters, he won by 57. He won self-identified “moderate” voters by 20 points.

    Clinton made gun control a substantial part of her pitch in New Hampshire. Sanders won voters who own guns by 40 points. But he won voters who don’t own guns by 14. He even won voters who said that terrorism was their number one concern.

    The biggest problem for Clinton, however, came in the candidate-perception categories. The second-most important quality voters said they wanted in a candidate was someone who “cares.” Sanders won these voters by 65 points. The most important quality people said they wanted was “honesty.” Sanders took those people home 92 to 6. Look at that again. When asked “Is Clinton honest and trustworthy?” 53 percent of all voters — not just Sanders voters, but everyone casting a Democratic ballot — said “no.”

  • Bernie Sanders has more than ten times the number of staffers on the ground in South Carolina than Clinton does.
  • Lefty at The Nation: “Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote.”
  • The topic is the Clintons, so it’s time for another glimpse of Good Maureen Dowd: “It turned out that female voters seem to be looking at Hillary as a candidate rather than as a historical imperative. And she’s coming up drastically short on trustworthiness.”
  • Ted Cruz is very electable. “Cruz is electable because he’s the real thing.” (Hat tip: Conservatives 4 Ted Cruz.)
  • People who were actually paying attention during the Gang of 8 fight scoff at Marco Rubio’s assertion Cruz favored amnesty. (Hat tip: Conservatives 4 Ted Cruz.)
  • Only top Obama Administration officials with high security clearances knew about Hillary’s secret email server. And LinkedIn.
  • The NRA is saying gun-indifferent Sanders beat hoplophobe Hillary. Hmmm…
  • Remember how the Obama Administration swore up and down ObamaCare wouldn’t go to illegal aliens? Guess what?
  • I think this is quite an effective Donald Trump ad, targeting how black Americans have been hurt by illegal alien crime. Rick Perry did quite well with an ad highlighting an illegal alien who murdered a Houston police officer in his race against Bill White in 2010. Too bad too many gutless Republicans have been hesitant about running such ads for fear of being branded racists, xenophobes, etc. by the media.
  • Muslim immigrants are killing Sweden.
  • Germany to take in a half million more Islamic “refugees” in 2016. It’s like Merkel wants to destroy her own party… (Hat tip: JihadWatch.)
  • Police in the UK arrest man for criticizing Syrian “refugees” in a Facebook post. (Hat tip: JihadWatch.)
  • Boom! Headshot! (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • Current law prohibits transferring prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to the U.S., and the military won’t do so until the law is changed, no matter what Obama may want.
  • “Scalia was not only finest writer ever to sit on the Court, he was one of the best rhetoricians in history.”
  • Dear naive young voters: socialism sucks in real life.
  • Behold the ideal government worker under socialism! Every bureaucrat his own Wally….
  • A look at China’s new stealth fighters.
  • China is also deploying missiles on a disputed island in the South China Sea.
  • Huge explosion at a military barracks in Turkey. Just occurred before I posted this, so details are scant.
  • The ACLU continues its long retreat from defending free speech. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Talk like Reagan.
  • Venezuela’s socialist government appears to have authorized the military to form an oil company.
  • Notes on the collapse of a tech startup. More than a grain of truth here. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • The Coen Brothers aren’t fans of cramming diversity for the sake of diversity into individual movies. “Not in the least!” Ethan answered. “It’s important to tell the story you’re telling in the right way, which might involve black people or people of whatever heritage or ethnicity—or it might not.”
  • Science fiction writer has book rejected by Harper Voyager because robot characters dared to voice non-PC thoughts.
  • Because driving I-35 just didn’t suck enough already, enjoy being attacked by thrown rocks.
  • 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.”