Archive for the ‘Austin’ Category

LinkSwarm for January 30, 2014

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Already the end of January? How did that happen?

Some links:

  • Mitt Romney is not running for President in 2016. Good. Now the media can stop sucking all the oxygen out of the race running will-he-or-won’t-he stories.
  • In a way-too-early poll, Scott Walker is within three points of Hillary.
  • And speaking of Scott Walker: “In America, it is one of the few places left in the world where it doesn’t matter what class you were born in to. It doesn’t matter what your parents do for a living. In America the opportunity is equal for each and every one of us but in America the ultimate outcome is up to each and every one of us individually.” Liberal critic: “That’s racist!”
  • Swedish reporter assaulted while wearing a kippah to test attitudes toward Jews.
  • Mark Steyn: “Extending special privilege to Islam corrodes free speech.”
  • America has no strategy in the Middle East. Or much of anywhere else…
  • Actual New York Times headline: “Bomb Blast at Shiite Muslim Mosque in Pakistan Kills 56.” As opposed to all those Shiite Christian Mosques?
  • Union leader found guilty of “extortion, racketeering and conspiracy.”
  • “It’s not enough to punish men for things they haven’t done. Women must be kept away from men, for their own good, because of the crimes those men haven’t committed.”
  • Jonathan Chait is shocked, SHOCKED to discover liberals opposing free speech.
  • “I fought for women to be anything, but also for women to choose to be a stay-at-home mom.”
  • Russian bonds cut to junk grade.
  • Apple posts the largest quarterly profit in the history of the world.
  • Governor Abbott declares February 2 Chris Kyle Day.
  • Andrew Sullivan to stop blogging, an event almost as tragic as the cancellation of Cop Rock.
  • Related Iowahawk tweet:

  • Sports Illustrated lays off all its photographers. Maybe they should change the name to just Sports. Personally I stopped reading the online version when Peter King decided his column would be a fine place to pimp for gun control…
  • There was a rally in Austin for school choice:

  • I LOLed:

  • Hsoi/John Daub Shooting Follow-Up

    Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

    A bit more information on the Hsoi/John Daub self-defense shooting of autistic home invader Jared James has come to light that wasn’t in my original story.

    The original news reports said things like James “forced his way onto the threshold of one of the homes.” What they actual meant was he battered at the door so hard he broke the frame:

    Also, new information shows that the late Mr. James was not quite the “gentle giant” some reports tried to paint:

    This fall, for reasons that she [the mother] didn’t understand, [Catalina] Leverette [the mother] said her son had developed a tendency toward unpredictable outbursts, at times running through the house yelling. She knew the police had responded to calls about her son, and newly obtained police reports show two calls in 2014 for an “emotionally disturbed person” involving James.

    Also this:

    “On Dec. 11, [police] took James to a psychiatric hospital under court order.”

    The James shooting was a tragedy, all right, but it was a tragedy of the health system not being able to get a mentally ill man the type help he obviously needed.

    The UT Law Scandal: Bigger Than Previously Reported

    Monday, January 26th, 2015

    Back when the University of Texas Law School “forgivable loan” scandal broke, I said it was for all intents and purposes a slush fund and a serious ethical problem for UT.

    I didn’t know the half of it.

    This piece by Jon Cassidy at Watchdog.org (based in part on documents he obtained from UT) paints ex-UT Law Dean Larry Sager as wetting his beak even more than previously suspected.

    For years before a forgivable loan scandal forced him to resign as dean of the University of Texas Law School in 2011, Lawrence Sager was running up annual six-figure bills on a credit card paid for by the UT Law School Foundation.

    From 2007 to 2010, Sager racked up $401,498.29 on that card, all of it paid by the foundation, apart from tens of thousands in other expenses for conferences, computers, club dues, food, travel, storage units and other items.

    I can imagine numerous scenarios where a UT law school dean could rack up $400,000 in credit card expenses, but most of them involve words like “gambling,” “hookers” and “blow.”

    More from Cassidy:

    In all, the foundation has spent more than $1 million in compensating and reimbursing Sager. That’s just a fraction, however, of the $68 million the foundation has spread around UT during the past decade, most of it compensating the school’s faculty and administrators.

    The question the attorney general’s report does not answer, or even ask, is whether the members of the Law School Foundation have received anything in return for their largesse. Reporting by Watchdog.org has established that many children of generous foundation members have been admitted into UT Law, although there is little evidence that would cast doubt on their qualifications.

    More on that “forgiveable loan”:

    The report says that “under Dean Sager’s leadership the Law School provided incorrect or incomplete responses to requests for salary information by both University management and the public pursuant to the Texas Public Information Act. To settle a lawsuit, both Foundation and public funds were expended in order to paper over a climate of non-disclosure.”

    Scott also faulted Sager for concealing the $500,000 forgivable loan he procured for himself, reporting that “the Law School maintained two forgivable loan lists — one that contained Dean Sager’s $500,000 forgivable loan and one that excluded that particular loan.”

    Keeping two sets of books is a classic indicator of financial fraud.

    Thus far I have only skimmed the official Attorney General report on the loan issue (much less dug through all of the appendices), but there are several other questionable practices highlighted, like an unrecorded, $25,000 payment to one faculty member.

    As Dallas Observer writer Jim Schutze notes, the state media continues to ignore the scandal regent Wallace Hall uncovered:

    Cassidy’s and Williamson’s reporting was uniformly ignored by reporters and editorial pages of the state’s mainstream media. Most of the state’s major editorial pages joined the exposed members of the Legislature in denouncing Hall. An ad hoc committee of the Texas House of Representatives labored for months to find a way to remove Hall from the board of regents. When their own lawyers told them Hall hadn’t done anything for which he could be impeached and was in fact carrying out the duties of a regent, the committee slapped Hall instead with a gratuitous and toothless “censure,” an act with the legal meaning and gravitas of “fuck you anyway.”

    And while he may no longer be Dean, Sager is still listed among UT law faculty.

    The report goes to show, once again, that Wallace Hall was right about the need for tighter and deeper board oversight at UT. And that UT’s stables still haven’t been fully swept out…

    Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick Sworn In

    Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

    Greg Abbott has been sworn in as the 48th Governor of Texas, and Dan Patrick has been sworn in as Lt. Governor.

  • Gregg Abbott’s inaugural address.
  • Dan Patrick’s inaugural address.
  • Annie’s List of Fail

    Monday, January 12th, 2015

    Via PushJunction comes word that Amber Mostyn (wife of rich trial lawyer Steve Mostyn) is stepping down as chair of Annie’s List. What’s Annie’s List, you ask? Essentially an attempt to do Emily’s List for Texas, i.e. elect liberal female Democrats to office.

    So how did Annie’s List do in 2014? By one measure they were quite successful: They raised 18th largest amount of money of any statewide political entity in 2014, raising $1,422,009.16 and spending $1,601,945.83.

    But by another, more important measure, namely winning elections…not so hot. Let’s look at the results for the candidates they endorsed

  • Wendy Davis – Candidate for Governor: Lost to Greg Abbott 2,790,227 votes (59.3%) to 1,832,254 votes (38.9%).
  • Leticia Van de Putte – Candidate for Lieutenant Governor: Lost to Dan Patrick 2,718,406 votes (58.1%), to 1,810,720 votes (38.7%).
  • Libby Willis – Candidate for Senate District 10 (Wendy Davis’s old seat): Lost to Konni Burton, 95,484 votes (52.8%) to 80,806 votes (44.7%).
  • Susan Criss – Candidate for House District 23 (Galveston Island, La Marque and Texas City): Lost to Wayne Faircloth 17,702 votes (54.6%) to 14,716 votes (45.4%).
  • Kim Gonzalez – Candidate for House District 43 (San Patricio, Jim Wells, Kleberg and Bee Counties): Lost to Jose Manuel Lozano 17,273 votes (61.4%) to 10,847 votes (38.6%).
  • Susan Motley – Candidate for House District 105 (Irving and Grand Prairie): Lost to Rodney Anderson 13,587 votes (55.4%) to 10,469 votes (42.7%).
  • Carol Donovan – Candidate for House District 107 (Dallas, Garland and Mesquite): Lost to Kenneth Sheets 16,879 votes (55%) to 13,803 votes (45%).
  • Leigh Bailey – Candidate for House District 108 (Dan Branch’s old district): Lost to Morgan Meyer, 24,953 votes (60.7%) to 16,170 votes (39.3%).
  • Celia Israel – Candidate for House District 50 (Austin, Pflugerville and Wells Branch): The lone bright spot among their endorsed candidates, she Won, beating Mike VanDeWalle 22,651 votes (58.7%) to 14,339 votes (37.1%). This is the district Democratic incumbent Mark Strama left to run Google Fiber Austin.
  • So Annie’s List racked up a winning percentage of .111 for the races they publicly supported, which is pretty far below the Mendoza Line, and their lone win came for a seat Democrats already held. Going through Annie’s List campaign reports for 2013-2014 (more about which anon) shows two other campaigns they backed at some point in the cycle:

  • Incumbent Mary Ann Perez’s campaign to retain House District 144 (Southeast suburban Houston area near the chip channel). She Lost to Gilbert Pena, 6,009 votes (50.7%) to 5,854 votes (49.3%). Maybe because it wasn’t a “new” endorsement, they didn’t do as much for Perez, but at just over 150 vote difference between the two candidates, this is one of the few races where additional support could have made a difference.
  • Incumbent Toni Rose’s successful attempt to win the Democratic Primary for House District 110, a 90% black southeast Dallas district that drew no Republican candidate in the 2014 general election.
  • One wonders how long Annie’s pale, middle-aged, female leadership can keep raising money with such poor results.

    For the sake of completeness, and providing a “one stop shop” for information about Annie’s List, here’s their official filing information via the Texas State Ethics Commission:

    POLITICAL COMMITTEE INFORMATION
    Annie’s List
    Account: 00053715
    Committee Type: General Purpose
    Files Reports: Semi-Annually
    8146-A Ceberry Drive
    Austin, TX 78759

    TREASURER INFORMATION
    Pinnelli, Janis W.
    P.O. Box 50038
    Austin, TX 78763
    (512) 478-4487

    And here are their electronic filings covering the 2013 to 2014 fundraising period:

  • October 27th, 2014
  • October 6th, 2014
  • July 15th, 2014 (semiannual)
  • May 19th, 2014 (runoff report; see how many times “The Mostyn Law Firm” appears in that list…)
  • February 25th, 2014 (very brief)
  • February 3rd, 2014
  • January 15th, 2014 (corrected semiannual report; uncorrected version omitted)
  • July 15th, 2013 (semiannual; another report where “The Mostyn Law Firm” makes many an appearance)
  • January 15th, 2013
  • Beyond Mostyn and Lisa Blue Baron, some of the names who gave significant amounts to Annie’s List include Obama bundler Naomi Aberly, Lee and Amy Fikes, and Serena Connelly, the daughter of late billionaire businessman Harold Simmons. So your usual batch of rich left-wing pro-abortion feminists. Fortunately for Texas, the state’s voters seem actively hostile to precisely the message they seek to push…

    If You’re Wondering Why Stuff From Hsoi is Down…

    Monday, January 5th, 2015

    this news story should answer the question.

    Short summary: John Daub, AKA Hsoi, had to fatally shoot a home invader who turned out to be autistic. It sounds like a justified shooting, but I’m sure one of the first things a defense attorney would say is “Take your gun blog down now.” Especially since he lives in Travis County.

    (I don’t know Daub personally, but he’s on the blogroll, we follow each other on Twitter, and we both know the folks at KR Training.)

    (Hat tip: Dwight via email.)

    LinkSwarm for December 19, 2014

    Friday, December 19th, 2014

    I trust everyone reading this has already heard about Sony Picture’s spinelessness in cancelling their release of The Interview, and Paramount’s even more-spineless refusal to allow theaters to show Team America: World Police in its place. This would be good reason to avoid paying for any Sony or Paramount products any time in the near future. And Cuba is a topic for another time. So here’s a quick look at the rest of what’s been happening the week before Christmas:

  • Obama’s taunting political opponents over how impossible it will be to overturn his illegal alien amnesty actually increases the chances it will be overturned.
  • Vermont can’t afford to pay for its socialist health care system.
  • Voters “prefer dysfunction to the alternative scenario of Democrats running both the White House and Congress.”
  • Democrats accept bribes to oppose Voter ID laws. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • It may be too late for investor’s to move money out of Russia in the wake of the ruble’s collapse, mainly because they already have.
  • Here are eight campus rape hoaxes that bear remarkable similarities to the Rolling Stone UVA rape hoax.
  • Was the entire hoax fabricated because one of “Jackie”‘s friends rebuffed her romantic overtures?
  • And the entire sad affair seems to have moved into farce now that it appears “Jackie” actually copied a Dawson’s Creek script for some of her catfishing.
  • The “campus rape epidemic” is “a male demonizing Gothic fantasy nurtured by several decades of hardline feminist theory”:

  • Meanwhile, in the real rape culture, the Islamic State hands out brochures on how jihadists are allowed to rape prepubescent girls.
  • The ex-wife of the Sydney gunman sought refugee in the U.S. right before she was murdered. “He was abusing her, having her wear the hijab, did not want her to talk with anybody.”
  • Executive director out at Texas Democratic Party.” Really? After such a swell job? (Hat tip: Push Junction.)
  • Amongst the Wikipedia editors.

    I am not exaggerating when I say it is the closest thing to Kafka’s The Trial I have ever witnessed, with editors and administrators giving conflicting and confusing advice, complaints getting “boomeranged” onto complainants who then face disciplinary action for complaining, and very little consistency in the standards applied. In my short time there, I repeatedly observed editors lawyering an issue with acronyms, only to turn around and declare “Ignore all rules!” when faced with the same rules used against them.

  • Pro-gun control Austin City Council candidate defeated.
  • Wonder why so many UT insiders went after Wallace Hall when it was obvious Hall was right? Maybe it’s because they’re involved in the scandal up to their eyeballs. (Hat tip: Push Junction.)
  • Science fiction writer Jerry Pournelle has suffered a strike. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
  • Texas vs. California Update for December 17, 2014

    Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

    Time for another Texas vs. California update:

  • California’s unfunded health care obligations for retired employees hits $72 billion. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Meanwhile, the state comptroller says that California’s unfunded pension liabilities has hit $198 billion. (Ditto.)
  • California may extend benefits to illegal aliens taking advantage of Obama’s amnesty.
  • Speaking of which, both California and Texas are on the hook for providing education for illegal alien children. “Today, those figures are $14.4 billion for California and $8.5 billion for the Lone Star state.”
  • California will go broke if it doesn’t adopt pension reform.
  • Lessons for California from Texas’ boom.
  • Costa Mesa police union tries to pin false DUI charge on City Councilman. Hilarity ensues. (Hat tip: Dwight.) And what caused the police union to go after him? Pension reform.
  • Pension spiking widespread in Cosa Contra County. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California’s high speed rail boondoggle won’t work with the current tracks.
  • Health industry software company vitaTrackr announces relocation of its headquarters from Baltimore to Austin.
  • Builders FirstSource announces expansion in San Antonio and Conroe.
  • Guns and Crime Round for November 11, 2014

    Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

    Veteran’s Day seems like a good time to have another gun and crime roundup. Includes some stuff held from before the election:

  • In case you missed it, Eric Holder’s Justice Department performed a 65,000 page Fast and Furious document drop on election eve.
  • The latest statistics on guns and crime shows that “the hypothesis of ‘more guns=more deaths’ cannot be true in the frame of reference of American society over the past 31 years.”
  • Anti-gun Democratic Missouri state Senator Jamilah Nasheed arrested for carrying 9mm while intoxicated. When Democrats say that average citizens can’t be trusted with guns, they seem to really be talking about themselves…
  • Six in ten Americans say that guns make a home safer. (Hat tip: Alphecca.)
  • Nine out of ten Americans support expanded gun purchase background checks–except for when they, you know, actually vote on them. (Hat tip: Say Uncle.)
  • The exception: Washington State, where Bloomberg outspent the NRA 10-1 to pass a ballot initiative that institutes additional complex and cumbersome background checks. And Bloomberg is going to try to roll the same model out in other states with ballot initiatives. (Hat tip: Shall Not Be Questioned.
  • Ways not to avoid police attention: Name yourself “Pazazu,” worship evil gods, and brag about buried skeletons in your yard.
  • What not to do after you’ve shot someone. (Hat tip: Tam.)
  • Three thugs try to rape man’s granddaughter. Result: one dead thug, two critically injured thugs.
  • Speaking of rapists who got what they deserved: Texas father who killed man raping his five year old will not face charges.
  • All other things being equal, you probably shouldn’t taunt police over your mugshot.
  • America’s oldest veteran is Richard Overton, a 108 year old Austinite who drinks whiskey and smokes cigars.

  • World’s Briefest Honeymoon.
  • If you can be thwarted by a can of bug spray, perhaps the thug life isn’t for you:

  • LinkSwarm for November 7, 2014

    Friday, November 7th, 2014

    A Friday LinkSwarm after a very eventful week…

  • So exactly when was it that the UK became the child rape capital of the Western world? First Rotherham, now Manchester.

  • Government of Burkina Faso falls. Evidently people there thought that 27 years of rule for President Blaise Compaore was more than enough…
  • Russia sends more tanks into Ukraine. Looks like we’ll dealing with the fallout of Obama’s “flexibility” for decades… (Hat tip: Jim Geraghty).
  • The Pakistani version of Axe Cop sounds a whole lot less entertaining than the American version.
  • DSCC head blames Obama for Senate loss.
  • The DSCC decides that they’ll stop pouring money down the rathole that is Mary Landrieu.
  • “Salon Writer Condemns Arithmetic As Racist.” Or how Jonathan Chait ruthlessly used his Mansplaining Male Math Privilege to oppress Jenny Kutner.
  • Because their attacks on Koch were so successful, Democrats double-down on stupid.
  • U.S. hits targets in Syria. Not ISIS, but “the Khorasan group.” For such a reportedly “small” group, we seem to be bombing them a lot…
  • Fatah and Hamas thoughtfully take a break from trying to kill Jews in order to blow each other up.
  • I’m shocked, shocked that there’s abuse and fraud in the “Obamaphone” program.
  • In addition to national and statewide outbreaks of sanity, there was even an outbreak in Austin, where voters defeated a proposal to expand Capitol Metro’s toy trains.