Texas vs. California Update for May 21, 2015

May 21st, 2015

Time for another Texas vs. California update:

  • “March marked a phenomenal run of 99 consecutive months when Texas’ unemployment rate was at or below the national average.” Also: “Texas employs an impressive two and a half times more people since December 2007 than the rest of the nation combined.”
  • The Texas state legislature is on the verge of passing an actual conservative budget.
  • Will Franklin looks at local bond debt in Texas. It’s creeping up, partially due to big government advocates scheduling off-year bond elections when fewer people are voting. Even so, voters seem willing to reject big-ticket bond items.
  • San Bernardino’s bankruptcy plan: CalPERS gets theirs, bondholders get screwed.
  • And San Bernardino is planning to outsource their firefighting operations, not least of which because the fire department sucks up $7 million worth of overtime a year. And the fact their union stopped participating in bankruptcy talks didn’t help… (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • How a few wealthy California environmentalists give the illusion of a mass movement.
  • How retroactive pension increases destroyed California budgets. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California is a victim of repeated short-sighted thinking.
  • Los Angeles joins the minimum wage hike bandwagon. Expect another wave of small business closure stories over the next few months…
  • Why public employee unions are the elephant in the room for California’s debt crisis. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California’s majority Democrats shelve legislative transparency bill written by Republican. This is my shocked face.
  • Compton teachers get laid off, Do-Da, Do-Da…
  • “In another corporate exodus from Torrance, California, to North Texas, Kubota Tractor Corp. and Kubota Credit Corp. announced Thursday that they will move their headquarters to Grapevine from the Los Angeles area.”
  • “The number of young adults admitted to California hospital emergency rooms with heroin poisoning increased sixfold over the past decade.” (Hat tip: Cal WatchDog.)
  • The Weinstein Company hit with $130 million lawsuit. File under: Hollywood Accounting.
  • Bill Seeks To Turn Texas Into Two Party Notification State

    May 20th, 2015

    Senate Bill 1223 seeks to turn Texas into a two-party (rather than one-party) notification state for recording communications. This is a bad idea, for much the same reason that Jason Villalba’s House Bill 2918 was a bad idea, though SB 1223 has much broader implications.

    In addition to making it illegal to secretly record interactions with government officials (including police) without informing them, it would also make most secret investigative journalism illegal (including pretty much everything James O’Keefe has recorded to embarrass the Democratic Party), recording interactions with corporate customer service representatives, and recording illegal activity would itself become illegal.

    Or take this recent video of a counselor threatening to file harassment charges against a student merely for waiting for his adviser:

    That too would be illegal under SB 1223. It’s a bad idea that should be quashed.

    (Hat tip: Push Junction.)

    Waco Biker Shootout Follow-Up 4

    May 19th, 2015

    A few more tidbits about the Waco biker shootout:

    And still more background on the Bandidos/Cossacks beef:

    Earlier Monday, Dallas TV station WFAA reported that the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Joint Information Center issued a bulletin May 1 that cautioned authorities about increasing violence between the Bandidos and the Cossacks. McNamara has said all nine people who were killed in the melee Sunday were part of those two groups.

    The bulletin said the tension could stem from Cossacks refusing to pay Bandidos dues for operating in Texas and for wearing a patch on their vest that claimed Texas as their turf without the Bandidos’ approval.

    “Traditionally, the Bandidos have been the dominant motorcycle club in Texas, and no other club is allowed to wear the Texas bar without their consent,” the bulletin said, according to WFAA.

    The bulletin said the FBI had received information that Bandidos had discussed “going to war with Cossacks.” It also outlined several recent incidents between the two groups, including one instance in March when about 10 Cossacks forced a Bandido to pull over along Interstate 35 near Waco and attacked him with “chains, batons and metal pipes before stealing his motorcycle,” WFAA reported.

    That same day, a group of Bandidos confronted a Cossack member fueling up at a truck stop in Palo Pinto County, west of Fort Worth, the bulletin said. When the Cossack member refused to remove the Texas patch from his vest, the Bandidos hit him in the head with a hammer and stole it.

  • This Dallas Morning News piece suggests that the Cossacks showed up uninvited to the Waco meeting.
  • Anyone trying to make a shootout between two (or more) biker gangs about “race” or “white-on-white violence” is talking out their ass. Remember that this morning’s follow-up showed 11 Hispanic and one black suspect among those arrested. So the liberal race-hustler /victimhood identity politics/Social Justice Warrior crowd is wrong not just conceptually (as they are 100% of the time), but on basic incident facts as well.
  • Waco Biker Shootout Follow-Up 3

    May 19th, 2015

    And still more on the biker gang shootout in Waco that left nine people dead:

  • According to The Wall Street journal:

    The tensions reached a boil recently when some Cossacks members began wearing a patch with the word “Texas” emblazoned at the bottom of their biker jackets and vests.

    Those “bottom rocker” patches, as they are called in biker parlance, were a direct affront to the Bandidos, a larger gang with a long history of criminal activity in several states, Mr. Cook said. The Bandidos had claimed the sole right to display the patch as a sign of their turf, he said.

    “The fact that the Cossacks would put on a bottom rocker with the state of Texas is basically saying, ‘We don’t respect you, and we won’t answer to you,’ ” Mr. Cook said. “It was a powder keg.”

    So if Mr. Cook is correct, nine people just got killed over this:

  • “Steve Cook, a police detective in Independence, Mo., who heads the Midwest Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association—a nongovernmental group of law enforcement experts that tracks biker gang activity and shares intelligence among members.” And ironically, he was already scheduled to hold a seminar on outlaw biker gangs in Waco in June…
  • Although initial pictures of detained bikers them to be overwhelmingly white, eleven of the mugshots show people with Hispanic surnames, and one of the suspects appears to be black. America: So diverse even scumbag outlaw motorcycle gangs are integrated!
  • This report says that members of the Vaqueros were involved in the fight. Assuming that this website is for the same gang, they claim to be “family men engaged in legitimate business.” Fat Tony nods approvingly.
  • Here’s a piece on a Bandidos funeral from 2007. “Bandidos parked their bikes and began hugging and kissing one another on the mouth—the traditional Bandido greeting.” Uh huh…
  • Waco Biker Shootout Follow-Up 2

    May 18th, 2015

    A few more tidbits on the Waco shootout:

  • ABC offers some additional information on the gangs involved:

    The U.S. Department of Justice identifies the Bandidos as one of the two largest “outlaw motorcycle gangs” in the U.S., with about 900 members in 93 chapters.

    According to the Department of Justice website, the Bandidos are “involved in transporting and distributing cocaine and marijuana and are involved in the production, transportation and distribution of methamphetamine.” The group is most active in the Pacific, Southeast, Southwest and West Central U.S.

    The Bandidos gang also has members in 13 other countries, according to the Department of Justice.

  • Some of the biker gangs involved are evidently threatening the Waco police following the shootout. I don’t see that ending well for the gangs involved…
  • Via Dwight comes word that Twin Peaks corporate has revoked the Waco location’s franchise license.
  • Also via Dwight comes word that some 30 bikers walked a $179.94 tab at a Waco Denny’s.
  • Waco Biker Shootout Follow-Up

    May 18th, 2015

    A few more details have come to light about the Waco biker gang fight that left nine people dead:

  • Evidently the “clash was reportedly sparked over a parking spot.”
  • At least 192 people are facing organized crime charges.
  • Evidently that particular Twin Peaks was a known recruitment spot for biker gangs. Waco police had known about the meeting between the Cossacks and Bandidos, asked for help from restaurant management, and been refused.
  • Twin Peaks corporate “is ‘seriously considering revoking’ the Waco location’s franchise agreement.”
  • “A McLennan County official said the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has revoked Twin Peaks’ alcohol license for seven days while the investigation continues.”
  • “Police on Sunday afternoon received reports that possibly hundreds of members of the biker gangs from around the state were headed to Waco.”
  • Vox provides some not entirely useless context.
  • Nine Dead in Texas Biker Gang Fight

    May 17th, 2015

    What the hell?

    “Nine people are dead in what was described by witnesses as a “war zone” battle between rival biker gangs outside a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas. All of those killed were members of the biker gangs.”

    Twin Peaks is a lot like Hooters, but without so much refinement and class.

    It appears that the gangs involved were the Cossacks and the Scimitars, neither of which I’m familiar with. Though if the images are any indication, both are distinctly pale of hue.

    Considering the fact that there were a grand total of six murders in all of Waco in 2012, it’s a pretty big story.

    More later, maybe.

    Update The Waco Tribune says the Bandidos motorcycle gang (a gang with a famous and lengthy rap sheet) was involved fighting with the Cossacks.

    Update 2: Now seeing reports that at least five biker gangs were involved in the Waco shootout.

    Also the gangs appeared to be there as part of a “peace meeting”:

    Swanton said at least five rival gangs gathered at Twin Peaks for a meeting that he said focused on turf and recruitment, two areas where the groups have often clashed. Preliminary findings indicate a dispute broke out in a bathroom and then spilled into the restaurant where it escalated to include knives and firearms, he said. There were 150 to 200 gang members inside the restaurant at the time.

    I think we can mark this meeting as way more exciting, and less successful, than the average work meeting…

    Update 3: Here’s a Stratfor piece from 2009 that links the Bandidos to Mexican drug cartels.

    Update 4: This Daily Mail piece offers up more pictures, and deduces the names of additional gangs from their leathers: “The Pirados, the Veterans (one sitting), and the Leathernecks.” All three show up on this list of Waco motorcycle clubs. Note that a whole lot of those (probably the majority) appear to be law-abiding organizations.

    Update 5: Heavy has put up 5 Bandidos Facts You Should Know (including that they had a “Nordic Biker War” with the Hells Angels in Scandinavia in the 1990s) and 5 Cossack facts Your Should Know (less useful); the 5 Scimitars Fast Facts You Need to Know is almost completely a repeat of the other two.

    Morsi Sentenced To Death in Egypt

    May 17th, 2015

    Muslim Brotherhood leader and deposed President of Egypt Mohammed Morsi has been sentenced to death, along with more than 100 other people.

    Most of the time, sentencing a popularly elected President ousted from power by the military would be a bad thing. This is not one of those times. Morsi tried to undermine Egypt’s democratic constitutional strictures (however weak and imperfect they were) in the name of turning the country into a radical Islamist state, following the classic African strongman blueprint of “One Man, One Vote, Once.” He lost an existential power struggle with the military and, in the long-standing traditions of the Arab world, he’ll be paying for losing with his life.

    Both Egypt, and the world, will be better for his death, and the ruthless suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    LinkSwarm for May 15, 2015

    May 15th, 2015

    I knew if I was just lazy enough, I could get the Friday LinkSwarm back to Friday!

  • “If Baltimore wants to get its economic act together, it has to get something else right first: policing.”
  • What the left says is the same thing the 9/11 hijackers told the passengers: “Stay quiet and you’ll be OK.”
  • ObamaCare exchanges are melting down across America.
  • Coalition airstrikes against ISIS are increasingly targeting frontline fighting positions.
  • ISIS list of states to be attacked strangely doesn’t include Texas. Gee, I wonder why…
  • Is Hillary the new Bob Dole? Without, of course, the war service or dry wit…
  • Real editorial, or masterful New York Times trolling? “Let Syrians Settle Detroit”.
  • Mark Halperin asks Ted Cruz to play “Babalu.”
  • This is America: You can go to the bookstore and buy yourself copies of everything from The Basketball Diaries to The Motorcycle Diaries to The Turner Diaries.”
  • On the other hand, the DEA can just take your money without a trial.
  • Verizon buying AOL. Remember when AOL was important enough to merge with Time Warner as an equal?
  • I chuckled:

  • It’s not enough to believe in climate change, you must also abjure cost-benefit analysis of how to tackle it.
  • George Stephanopoulos: It’s conflict of interest all the way down. What, did you expect Renfeld to actually serve any other master? (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “The vile dishonesty of the Democrat-Media Complex is exceeded only by the vile hypocrisy of the Democrat-Media Complex.”
  • Ben Carson gets to pandering early.
  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has said UT must turn over requested documents to its own regent Wallace Hall. So why haven’t they?
  • Bill to mandate E-verify for all Texas agencies moves forward.
  • Psychologist discusses porn and video game addition and a discussion of modern manhood’s discontents breaks out.
  • Seattle pizza shop closes due to minimum wage hike.
  • So former Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan is going to form a tranny wrestling league? The proposal seems as ill-conceived as his entire post-Melon Collie career…
  • Greece Debt Crisis Update for May 14, 2014

    May 14th, 2015

    Greece managed to make its scheduled IMF loan repayment of around €750 million ($837 million) which “buys the country a few more weeks to reach a deal with creditors on fresh financing.”

    Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said “Greece must escape the ‘strictness trap’ of budget measures that might hurt the economy and so prevent the country from reducing its debt mountain to manageable levels.” In other words: “We absolutely refuse to stop spending other people’s money to prop up our welfare state.”

    So the farce will continue on a little longer, at least.

    In other Greek debt news:

  • Greece is “back” in recession. Assuming you believe it ever actually left it.
  • Europe wants €3 billion in budget cuts from Greece.
  • “The German Finance Ministry is supporting the idea of a vote by Greek citizens to either accept the economic reforms being sought by creditors to receive a payout from the country’s bailout program or ultimately opt to leave the euro.” Hmm, recognize economic reality or exit the Euro. Decisions…
  • And if you thought Greece had abandoned their stupid “German war reparations” idea, think again: “Archival video footage highlighting Nazi atrocities in Greece is being shown to commuters on the Athens subway as part of a campaign demanding war reparations from Germany.” I’m sure that will get them on Angela Merkel’s good side.
  • The Two Greeces: “Official Greece is dysfunctional; unofficial Greece works quite well. The official, theoretical Greece has checks and balances. The unofficial, reality-based Greece turns a blind eye when people break rules and dodge taxes.” I’m not nearly as positive as the author that the corrupt one can be swept away, or that Syriza wants to.
  • The Ghost Factories of Greece.