Archive for the ‘Austin’ Category

LinkSwarm for July 15, 2016

Friday, July 15th, 2016

Enjoy a Friday LinkSwarm, including some recent big stories:

  • Truck plows into Bastille Day celebration in Nice, France, killing at least 84, including a father and his 10 year old son from Lakeway.
  • The murder is evidently a Muslim from Tunisia. And his name is evidently Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. Try to contain your shock.
  • The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague rules against China in the South China Seas dispute. Whether China heeds the ruling is another question…
  • Another day, another Democratic congresscritter indicted. “Corrine Brown, the House rep from the 5th District of Florida, was indicted (along with Ronnie Simmons, her chief of staff) on federal charges of mail and wire fraud.”
  • Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are neck and neck in swing states.
  • “The U.S. State Department funneled tax dollars to a group that worked to oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a Senate report released Tuesday.”
  • Another ObamaCare exchange shuts down, this time in Illinois.
  • And six of the seven remaining exchanges are in trouble.
  • Philadelphia airport workers to go on strike during the Democratic National Convention.
  • Houston City Councilman calls for segregation in police shifts. Next up: Their own drinking fountains… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Previously deported illegal alien sentenced to life in prison for murder in Laredo.
  • Following in the footsteps of Annise Parker, Austin City Council wants to silence opponents who speak out on politics.
  • The left’s war on police. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • El Paso police chief Greg Allen calls Black Lives Matter “a radical hate group.”
  • University of Texas to return athletic ticket sales to a group previously proven to be corrupt.
  • Ghostbusters reboot toys already on clearance before the movie’s opening.
  • Strippers, arson and a potato. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Understatement of the Year Award:

    An inspection of the truck’s cargo revealed 169 bundles of marijuana with an estimated weight of 3,996 lbs. were on board.

    The estimated street value of the marijuana is between $1.6 million and $1.9 million. Perez was charged with Trafficking Marijuana in the Superior Court of DeKalb County, Georgia.

    Doraville Police say they are “pretty confident this would exceed personal use.”

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.

  • Texas vs. California Update for June 28, 2016

    Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

    Welcome to another Texas vs. California update!

  • California’s skyrocketing housing costs, taxes prompt exodus of residents.” “During the 12 months ending June 30, the number of people leaving California for another state exceeded by 61,100 the number who moved here from elsewhere in the U.S.” Plus this: “The majority of the people we are seeing are moving to states that don’t have state income taxes.” And this “My husband’s salary would be in the six figures, but six figures is not enough to cover the rent, day care (and) food prices.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • The middle class can no longer afford to live in the Bay Area.
  • “Orange County’s public city employees earned $144,817 on average last year.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • In a completely unrelated story, lavish pension hikes have resulted in exploding levels of Orange County debt. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “City employees working full-time in Long Beach earned an average of $128,731 in total compensation last year.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “A survey of 45 cities in Riverside and San Bernardino counties shows the average full-time city worker received $127,730 in pay and benefits last year.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • On paper, Nevada County, California, is technically insolvent (which is the best kind of insolvent.) (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • As good as Texas is doing compared to California’s profligacy, the people at the Texas Public Policy Foundation think the budget is still growing way too fast.
  • “Jacobs Engineering Group, one of the world’s largest engineering companies, is preparing to move employees from its Pasadena [CA] headquarters to Dallas, becoming the latest major corporation to relocate significant operations from California to Texas.”
  • “A California-based orthopedic goods manufacturer and distributor has decided to move its Ohio-based distribution hub to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which will give the company a place to significantly expand operations and possibly relocate its West Coast headquarters. The company, Santa Paula, California-based Hely & Weber, has signed a lease totaling nearly 40,000 square feet of space at 755 Regent Blvd. in Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.”
  • Still more companies leaving California. Plus why the “Bernie Sanders effect” will result in a veto-proof majority for Democrats in the California legislature. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Bankrupt San Bernardino, union fight over settlement payments.” Clip and save this headline, as you’ll be able to use it again and again over the coming years…
  • Marin County pension reformer launches GoFundMe campaign to sue the county over pension increases. Though his $198,000 request strikes me as excessively optimistic…
  • Texas scores three of the top five cities (Houston, Austin, San Antonio) for U-Haul destinations. (Hat tip: Ted Cruz on Facebook.)
  • California Democrats and Social Justice Warriors conspire to drive Christian colleges out of the state. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Once again, California leads the nation…in car thefts.
  • Which lead to this: “More than 71 percent of all recovered stolen cars in 2005 in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California were stolen by illegal aliens or by ‘transport coyotes,’ those who bring in illegals across the Mexican border.”
  • “Paul Tanaka, once one of the most powerful law enforcement officials in Los Angeles County, was sentenced Monday to five years in federal prison for interfering with an FBI investigation into jail abuses by sheriff’s deputies.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Oakland police chief resigns because at least 14 Oakland police officers (and 10 other law enforcement officers had sex with the same underage girl. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • And the guy Oakland found to replace him? He lasted…five days.
  • Bay Area law enforcement agencies have lost 944 guns since 2010. Maybe that’s the “gun control” Democrats should be focusing on… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Californians face rolling blackouts this summer…some of which could last as much as 14 days.
  • Shuttered California hospital files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • You could count this Silicon Valley robot pizza technology startup as a win for California, but the subtext here as that many human California pizza workers will never work a day under that new $15 minimum wage…
  • Austin Police Blotter Roundup

    Thursday, June 16th, 2016

    More Dwight’s bailiwick than mine (and I think he’s covered two of these), but several stories of interest have popped up:

  • Suspected I-35 rock thrower arrested. “The Austin Police Department has made an arrest in the rock assailant case. Patrick Eugene Johnson a former tow trucker of Austin was arrested on Thursday by APD. Johnson has been charged with Attempted Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Third Degree Felony. He is currently being held in the Travis County Jail. Bond is set at $250,000.”
  • Austin woman killed in dog attack. Seems like she entered their yard on a business matter. Address is 12316 Fay Street, which is only a couple of blocks off East Parmer, but it looks pretty rural on Google Maps. It’s considerably different than a woman in Dallas being killed by a pack of Wild dogs
  • Austin closes their DNA lab due to concerns about being able to meet new regulatory standards.
  • Lawsuit Filed to Remove Jana Duty

    Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

    Via Dwight comes news that things are moving swiftly on removing Williamson County DA Jana Duty from office:

    Two Williamson County residents sued District Attorney Jana Duty on Monday, seeking to force her out of office.

    The Texas Constitution, according to the lawsuit, provides that county officials may be removed for incompetency and official misconduct.

    “Duty’s serial violations of court orders and the laws of the State of Texas, her history and pattern of dishonesty and untrustworthiness, and her dereliction and abandonment of her responsibilities of the office of the District Attorney have compromised the integrity and the effectiveness of the office of the District Attorney and the Williamson County criminal justice system,” the lawsuit said.

    The two Williamson County residents in question are Elizabeth Latham Schleder and Thomas Joseph Madden.

    The lawsuit itself offers an extensive list of Duty’s legal transgressions. Rather than listing all six pages from the PDF, here’s the Statesman summary:

    The lawsuit filed Monday says Duty broke the law when she made untrue statements to defense lawyers that time stamps were not available showing the sequence of events on a video in the Crispin Harmel capital murder case.

    “The District Court found the Duty’s representations regarding the video were untrue and that Duty knew they were untrue when she made the representations,” the lawsuit said.

    It accuses Duty of official oppression, aggravated perjury and tampering with physical evidence by not telling the truth about the time stamps.

    The lawsuit says Duty’s other acts of incompetence and official misconduct include being found guilty of contempt of court on Aug. 10, 2015, and being sentenced to 10 days in jail.

    Duty also broke a gag order in the Harmel case by speaking to a television station and a Georgetown newspaper, and then lied on May 29, 2015, saying she had not spoken to them, the lawsuit said.

    It said Duty has also abandoned her responsibilities as district attorney since she lost her re- election in November 2015 but continues to collect her $152,000 per year salary, the lawsuit said.

    “On information and belief, since November 2015, Duty has been unavailable and inaccessible to law enforcement, judges, court staff, county officials, and District Attorney office staff,” the lawsuit said.

    The only thing I don’t understand is the November 2015 date, since Duty lost to Shawn Dick in the Republican primary in March of this year.

    As for Duty neglecting her duties, her sister admitted there are days when she doesn’t go into the office. Certainly there are jobs where you can do most or all of your work remotely, but I don’t think that District Attorney is one of them.

    Regarding the other charges against Duty, I suspect that this particular case may be the straw that broke the camel’s back for some of those calling for her removal:

    On or about May 23, 2016, the State Bar of Texas suspended Mark Brunner – First Assistant to District Attorney Duty – from the practice of law (suspension probated for one year subject to compliance with the terms of probation) for professional misconduct, to-wit: untruthful communications to the District Court in his capacity as First Assistant District Attorney for Williamson County, Texas in conjunction with the prosecution of State of Texas v. Jessee Celedon Gamboa for aggravated robbery of the Schwertner State Bank in October 2013. Specifically, the State Bar found that Brunner lied to Williamson County District Judge Donna King in February 2015 about having contacted the victims in the State of Texas v. Gamboa aggravated robbery prosecution and having secured the victims’ approval of the plea bargain agreement between the District Attorney’s office and Gamboa’s criminal defense attorney when the victims in this case had not, in fact, approved the plea bargain and Brunner had not, in fact, contacted the victims or obtained their approval of the plea bargain.

    Yeah, when your DA lies about having obtained your consent to a plea bargain with the thug who robbed your bank, I can see someone taking that personally.

    Here’s a piece on the arrest of the Schwertner State Bank robber. And still more here. Though several news stories mention Gamboa as possibly being the “ZZ Top Bandit,” prison records show that he’s only serving time for the Schwertner heist.

    Duty supporters have said that all this is a big waste of time and that Duty will be out of office before the case ever comes to trial. However, I’m guessing that Duty is so unpopular around the Williamson County courthouse that they’ll manage to get the case fast-tracked…

    Jana Duty Hoist on Her Own Petard

    Thursday, June 9th, 2016

    Dwight beat me to this story on Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty being placed on probation for 18 months by the Texas bar, but I have a few additional bits of context for those coming in late on the Jana Duty Saga.

    First, let’s remember how widely unpopular Duty was (and is) with fellow Williamson County Republicans. Holly Hansen had this to say back in 2011:

    Republican Jana Duty was first elected to the office in 2004 and re-elected in 2008, but has developed increasingly antagonistic interactions with the County Judge, all four members of the Commissioners Court, all of the County Court at Law Judges, the Williamson County District Attorney, and pretty much any other judge handing an down unfavorable ruling.

    Since then, if anything she’s managed to become even less popular.

    Second, the fact that Duty was sanctioned for “withholding evidence in a murder case” provides a delicious bit of irony for those who have been following her career. For it was charges of “prosecutorial misconduct” in the Michael Morton case that allowed her to defeat incumbent John Bradley in the 2012 Republican primary, even though Bradley was only involved in Morton’s appeal process, not the original prosecution. The Morton case was a real miscarriage of justice, but Duty and several other dubiously-conservative challengers in 2012 seemed to view the case as a “get into office free” card.

    Finally, one tiny tidbit missing from the Statesman article Dwight linked to: Shawn Dick beat Duty in this year’s Republican Primary, so that probation is going to extend through the end of her term as DA, and beyond…

    Other UT Regents Back Wallace Hall Lawsuit

    Monday, June 6th, 2016

    Here’s an update on the University of Texas admissions scandal and their continuing attempt to stonewall regent Wallace Hall.

    Regents Alex Cranberg and Brenda Pejovich and former chairmen Charles Miller and Gene Powell filed a friend-of-the-court brief last week backing Hall’s lawsuit against UT System Chancellor Bill McRaven. The chancellor contends that Hall is not entitled to see confidential student records of the investigation into favoritism in admissions at UT-Austin.

    For those who haven’t been following the case, this Jon Cassidy piece from March lays out the issues.

    Lake Austin Closed

    Monday, May 30th, 2016

    “As a result of all of the heavy rains, and at the request of the LCRA Emergency Management Team and the City of Austin Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Fire Chief has decided to close Lake Austin, Lady Bird Lake, and the Colorado River downstream of Longhorn Dam. The flooding upstream and the threat of more rain has caused concern and the LCRA has already started releasing water from various dams around the Hill Country. The water will flow downstream of Austin and is not expected to worsen the current flooding situation on the Colorado River downstream of Austin.”

    Condolences to any of those who had their Memorial Day lake outing cut short. The lake is projected to be reopened at noon on June 1.

    UT, A&M Bid on Running Sandia Nuke Lab

    Thursday, May 26th, 2016

    Well, this is interesting: UT and A&M are part of a consortium bidding to help run Sandia nuclear weapons lab:

    A consortium that includes the Texas A&M University System and the University of Texas System announced Tuesday that it will compete for the contract to operate one of the nation’s nuclear weapons labs.

    The two university systems, along with the University of New Mexico, the Boeing Co. and the Battelle Memorial Institute, will bid to run Sandia National Laboratories, based in Albuquerque, N.M., officials said. Sandia, which is owned by the U.S. Department of Energy, has a $2.9 billion annual budget and is currently operated by a unit of Lockheed Martin Corp.

    “This collaboration is a perfect fit, leveraging the research power of stellar universities as well as the expertise of Battelle and Boeing to elevate the already remarkable development coming out of Sandia National Laboratories,” UT System Chancellor Bill McRaven said in a written statement.

    The UT System, the A&M System and the University of New Mexico would provide research expertise, workforce training and independent peer review of the work done at Sandia, officials said.

    I was previously unaware that UT had missed out on running Los Alamos in 2005…

    LinkSwarm for May 23, 2016

    Monday, May 23rd, 2016

    This kept getting pushed out by other posts, so enjoy a heftier-than-usual LinkSwarm:

  • U.S. district court judge rules that House Republicans lawsuit against ObamaCare on separation-of-powers grounds can move forward. (Hat tip: Elizabeth Price Foley at Instapundit.)
  • You know how American leftists claim socialist Denmark is paradise on earth? Yeah, not so much. “Denmark’s suicide rate has averaged 20.8 per 100,000 during the last five decades, with its highest level of 32. The American suicide rate averaged only 11.1 during the last five decades, and has never exceeded 12.7. Danes are deeply deprived, driven by severe narcissism, and so more than 11 percent of adult Danes – the supposed happiest people in the world – are on antidepressants.”
  • Why the left hates the Jews:

    The Arab–Israeli conflict is a bitter and ugly one. My own view of it is that the Palestinian Arabs have some legitimate grievances, and that I stopped caring about them when they started blowing up children in pizza shops. You can thank the courageous heroes of the Battle of Sbarro for that. Israel isn’t my country, but it is my country’s ally, and it is impossible for a liberty-loving American to fail to admire what the Jewish state has done.

    And that, of course, is why the Left wants to see the Jewish state exterminated.

  • Vaguely related: “Frank Sinatra’s Love Affair With the Jewish People.
  • Brazil’s President impeached.
  • This just in: Europe is still screwed.
  • Greece approves new “austerity” measures that they’ll no doubt continue to cheat and ignore while spending money they don’t have.
  • Speaking of Greece, “More than one in five school-aged refugee children in Greece have never been to school, a study has revealed. Child refugees stranded in Greece have been out of school for on average 1.5 years, and many of them ‘cannot even hold a pencil.'”
  • Hezbollah operations chief killed by Syria, but nobody’s entirely sure by who.
  • Why did the feds give Bill Clinton’s pedophile friend Jeffrey Epstein a sweetheart deal?
  • Elijah Woods says there’s widespread pedophilia in Hollywood. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • One billionaire moving to Florida is going to cost New Jersey $140 million in tax revenue.
  • Electric cars don’t lower emissions overall.
  • No sign of a down ballot Republican crackup.
  • Target has shed $10 billion in stock value since announcing its tranny bathrooms policy.
  • Why feminists hate sex: “The new feminist puritans see heterosexual sex as confirming and reinforcing outdated gender roles. That men and women not only have sex but enjoy it is a threat to the notion that both gender and sexuality are merely social constructs, to be crafted and rejected as instinct takes us.”
  • Why did 16 Republican Senators save the agency that’s hell-bent on creating instant public housing slums across America?
  • More than 300 UK CEOs come out in favor of a Brexit.
  • Eye-open infographic on mass public shootings from John Lott.
  • More proof that Social Justice Warriors hate everything, no matter how cute.
  • World’s oldest woman, and last living American born in the 19th century, dies. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Listeria outbreak among frozen fruits and vegetables. “Some of the affected products were sold under brand names such as Earth’s Pride, Panda Express, Signature Kitchens and Trader Joe’s.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Meet the vegan Bernie Madoff. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Black Pimps Matter.
  • Safety tip: Try not to get killed over cutting in line for the taco truck.
  • Facebook bans conservative for saying that Facebook bans conservatives. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Canadian company working on 20km high space elevator.
  • Jim Geraghty visits NRRAM.
  • The Dallas convention center sucks.
  • Microsoft is gonna Microsoft redux. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Wikipedia editor contemplates suicide over toxic atmosphere of powertripping.
  • Rehab for Internet addiction. “The program costs $25,000 for 45 days at the center.” Obviously I can’t be addicted to the Internet, because there’s no way I could afford the rehab…
  • I’m stealing this from Ace of Spades HQ:

  • 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…