Posts Tagged ‘Democrats’

Texas vs. California Update for January 29, 2014

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

To a certain extent, this Texas vs. California roundup is incomplete, since we’re hot and heavy into the new legislative session and I haven’t had a chance to fully digest the proposed budget numbers yet. By the Legislative Budget Boards numbers, they’re only projecting a 1.5% increase in the 2016-2017 biennium budget over 2014-2015. But see the first link…

  • Setting the story straight on the Texas budget. TPPF uses a different baseline…
  • California’s public employee unions would prefer that you not know how well they’re compensated.
  • How California’s public employees use sick leave to spike their pensions.
  • Supreme Court may take on California union mandatory dues case.
  • Though not nearly as bad as California, Texas state and local public employee pensions are also in need of reform.
  • California’s Kern County declares a fiscal emergency over dropping oil prices. “Collapsing crude prices are squeezing the finances of Kern County, home to three-fourths of California’s oil production.” Thankfully, oil and gas extraction is a lot more widespread in Texas.
  • The City of Sacramento’s unfunded liabilities have reached $2.3 billion. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Fresno? No one goes to Fresno anymore!” Except for job growth percentage, that is, where Fresno outpaced Silicon Valley.
  • Remember the Newport Beach police department firing a whistler-blower? Via Dwight comes a followup: “A husband and wife who sued Newport Beach and its police department for alleged retaliation and wrongful termination have settled their lawsuits for $500,000, according to city officials.”
  • “Physician-assisted suicide has returned to California’s political agenda.” Well, why not? California’s ruling Democrats have been attempting fiscal suicide for well over a decade now…
  • Toyota breaks ground on its new Texas headquarters.
  • A public school in California is having a Hijab Day.
  • LinkSwarm for January 23, 2015

    Friday, January 23rd, 2015

    This week haw been incredibly busy, so enjoy a briefer-than-usual LinkSwarm:

  • Eric S. Raymond on how Social Justice Warriors use Kafkatrapping, which presumes you are guilty until you are proven guilty or admit your guilt.
  • Instapundit on why Jews are leaving France. “Because they don’t feel welcome, and because they don’t feel safe.”
  • More about Europe’s jihadist “no go” zones.
  • New York Assembly speaker and longtime Democratic Party power-broker Sheldon Silver arrested for taking over $4 million in bribes.
  • “America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence” says billionaire who flew his family to Davos on his private plane.
  • I have nothing significant to say on the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Abdullah’s “reforms” were so small as to not be worth talking about, the Saudis are not our friends, they continue to export violent, backward Wahhabism, and they are occasionally useful but untrustworthy allies in a region where sometimes they are among the least horrible of possible alternatives.
  • Hillary Clinton Is George Costanza. Every decision she’s ever made in her entire life has been wrong.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Marco Rubio is in. (Hat tip: Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt.)
  • Boy does the liberal media hate American Sniper.
  • Related: Chris Kyle Derangement Syndrome.
  • Like father, like son.
  • Guess what happened at a concert against violence? Go ahead. Guess.
  • Dilbert via Twitter:

  • LinkSwarm for January 19, 2015

    Monday, January 19th, 2015

    Enjoy a Monday LinkSwarm to get your week started:

  • Police conduct anti-terrorism raids in Germany, Belgium and France. Could this be the start of a real effort to halt Islamic extremism in Europe? I rather doubt it. Too many leftist parties across Europe need Muslim votes, and European elites still seem implacably hostile to the Euroskeptic parties pushing for an end to unlimited Muslim immigration.
  • Old and Busted: Never again! The New Hotness: More dead Jews? Meh.
  • The late Anwar al-Awlaki was good at two things: drawing up plans to kill innocent people in the name of Islam, and banging skanky whores.
  • The Prime Minister of France: “I refuse to use this term ‘Islamophobia,’ because those who use this word are trying to invalidate any criticism at all of Islamist ideology.” (Hat tip: JihadWatch.)
  • More from France’s PM on the new antisemitism:

    “There is a new anti-Semitism in France,” he told me. “We have the old anti-Semitism, and I’m obviously not downplaying it, that comes from the extreme right, but this new anti-Semitism comes from the difficult neighborhoods, from immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, who have turned anger about Gaza into something very dangerous. Israel and Palestine are just a pretext. There is something far more profound taking place now.”

    In discussing the attacks on French synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses this summer, during the Gaza war, he said, “It is legitimate to criticize the politics of Israel. This criticism exists in Israel itself. But this is not what we are talking about in France. This is radical criticism of the very existence of Israel, which is anti-Semitic. There is an incontestable link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Behind anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”

  • Michael Totten quotes the late Christopher Hitchens. on the jihadist opinion of the current controversy: “Carving up grandfathers and granddaughters with an axe on New Year’s Eve can be okay if it’s done to protect the reputation of a seventh century Arabian man who heard voices.”
  • Bobby Jindal: “Islam has a problem.”
  • Victimology is the language and currency of our politics.”
  • All those Harvard professors supporting ObamaCare are shocked to discover they’re paying for it.
  • “In 2009, 76 Democrats represented primarily white working-class congressional districts. Just 15 of them are still in the House today.”

    A majority of the GOP gains since then have come from the Democrats’ near-total collapse in one set of districts: the largely blue-collar places in which the white share of the population exceeds the national average, and the portion of whites with at least a four-year college degree is less that the national average. While Republicans held a 20-seat lead in the districts that fit that description in the 111th Congress, the party has swelled that advantage to a crushing 125 seats today. That 105-seat expansion of the GOP margin in these districts by itself accounts for about three-quarters of the 136-seat swing from the Democrats’ 77-seat majority in 2009 to the 59-seat majority Republicans enjoy in the Congress convening now.

  • “It was not merely Democratic politicians who were wiped out in November. A plethora of liberal shibboleths were also massacred.”
  • Virginia voters won’t let a little thing like pleading guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor prevent him from regaining his seat in the House of Delegates. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
  • How big is Texas?
  • Three myths about Medicaid expansion. I hope that Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick understand that we didn’t elect them to cave in on ObamaCare…
  • Are your tweets University of Indiana-approved, comrade? (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Feminism’s empathy gap. Or the Shanley Kanes of the world reject the experiences of women that don’t fit their preferred victimhood narrative…
  • How a Global Warming true believer became a skeptic.
  • 10 bodies, 11 severed heads found in Mexico.
  • Pictures of empty Venezuelan store shelves, as Socialism continue to work its usual magic.
  • Liberal California billionaire Tom Steyer may run for the senate. Hopefully he’ll have the same luck as the politicians he donated to in 2014…
  • Only found out recently that Death by Government and genocide/democide expert R. J. Rummel died March 2, 2014.
  • Conservatives win several rule fights in the Texas House.
  • Rick Perry’s farewell address.
  • Gregg Abbott’s inauguration will have 4 tons of brisket. Or, as we call it in Texas, “an appetizer.”
  • Times when climbing down a chimney is a good idea: Your name is “Santa Claus.” Otherwise? Not so much.
  • A cure for cracked winter hands.
  • “My personality is as spartan as a Danish furniture catalog, why can’t yours be the same?” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • American Sniper kills at the box office:

  • John Kerry Deploys James Taylor To Fight Jihad

    Friday, January 16th, 2015

    So how did John Kerry apologize for the Obama Administration not sending a representative to the most important anti-Jihad rally in history?

    He had James Taylor sing “You’ve Got A Friend.”

    No. Really. That’s an actual thing that actually happened:

    I’m trying to think of the last music performance that generated such cringe-worthy embarrassment for all involved. It may have been this:

    I’m trying to imagine a musical choice that would have been more pathetic and I’m failing. Sir-Mix-A-Lot singing “Baby Got Back” would be more head-scratching, but at least wouldn’t have called for a double facepalm.

    Well, I guess Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” would have been slightly more insulting.

    A few Twitter reactions:

    Thank God Kerry was never elected President…

    Blogroll Addition: Social Justice Warriors: Do Not Engage

    Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

    Today’s blogroll addition is Will Shetterly’s Social Justice Warriors: Do Not Engage blog (or SJWar for short).

    Will is fellow science fiction writer, and not only is he a leftist, he’s an actual socialist. But he’s done a fine job documenting and opposing the ant-free-speech agenda of the SJW set, especially in the realm of science fiction.

    I kept meaning to add SJWar to the blogroll for a while, but every time I was about to, Will would go “That’s it, I quit, blog’s over!” only to start it up again a few days later to document the latest SJW offense logic or the principles of a free society. Here’s a bon mot on the Charlie Hebdo killings today: “Saying the speech of someone who was murdered went too far is like saying the clothes of a rape victim were too provocative.”

    I’ve created a new Victimhood Identity Politics category to list SJWar under, and have moved The Other McCain (which has featured R. S. McCain’s masterful dissections of core feminist texts and dogmas for quite a while) there as well.

    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…

    Bill Maher on the Charlie Hebdo Killings

    Friday, January 9th, 2015

    Bill Maher once again states the obvious to those unwilling to listen, harkening back to the days when liberals believed in free speech rather than labeling it “hate crimes.”

    A few quotes:

  • “In 10 Muslim countries, you can get the death penalty just for being gay. They chop heads off in the square in Mecca. Mecca is their Vatican City. If they were chopping the heads off of Catholic gay people, wouldn’t there be a bigger outcry among liberals?”
  • “There are certain people in the world who want waivers on free speech.”
  • “Hundreds of millions of [Muslims] applaud an attack like this.”
  • The second half of the interview is Maher on the Bill Cosby accusations. But at least watch the first six minutes.

    (Hat tip: JihadWatch.)

    LinkSwarm for January 5, 2014

    Monday, January 5th, 2015

    Time waits for no man, so here’s your first LinkSwarm of the new year:

  • ObamaCare’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year.
  • “Democrats are grappling with the reality that the Obama presidency is nearing its end, and they don’t know what to say about it.”
  • Pricks in the Democratic party continue to prick people to donate.
  • Grand juries that examine hard facts live in a different world from mobs who listen to rhetoric and politicians who cater to the mobs.”
  • Thanks to The Magic Power of Socialism, Venezuela ice cream shop closes due to lack of milk.
  • Just as everyone who wasn’t a socialist predicted, France’s 75% tax on the rich has been a miserable failure. “Even by its own standards, the tax was largely a failure — the watered-down version brought in minimal revenue and did little to tackle wealth inequalities.” But it did succeed in driving Gerard Depardieu to Russia and Johnny Depp to England.
  • The top ten Jihad news stories of 2014. Though personally I would have found room for the Peshawar school attack…
  • ISIS executed nearly 2,000 people over the last six months.
  • “The mobs in New York, Ferguson, and elsewhere are not calling for metaphorical murders of policemen, but literal ones.”
  • If you want to “young black men to stop being shot,” perhaps they should refrain from aiming guns at cops.
  • Evidence suggests that the “Trayvon Martin Organizing Committee” was behind the “Dead Cops” chant.
  • Teacher’s unions are very upset that home schooling has allowed children to escape their clutches.
  • Excess vodka consumption killing Russian men. Stop the freaking presses! But aren’t the deaths of thousands of Russian men a small price to pay for unlimited quantities of amusing YouTube fail videos? (NSFW)

  • You know who fought “rape culture” in the 19th and 20th centuries? The KKK. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “Lying for a good cause doesn’t mean that you care; It means you’re a liar.”
  • More Inside Dirt on Battleground Texas’ Spectacular Failure

    Friday, January 2nd, 2015

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Liberal elitists confidently sweep into a new situation, arrogantly tell everyone they’re in charge, refuse to listen to advice, alienate all those around them, and make a gigantic hash of everything, worsening the problem they sought to “solve.”

    That could be a description of, well, just about everything the Obama Administration has done in the last six years, but in this case it’s a description of Battleground Texas’s spectacular failure in the 2014 elections from the left-wing Texas Observer.

    “Battleground was opaque in its dealings, shied from making firm commitments, negotiated with a heavy hand and was coy about its long-term goals.” Hmm, that sounds strangely familiar…

    Like a plane crash or an industrial accident, many things small and large had to go wrong to produce the dismal results on Nov. 4. The Davis campaign’s effort was bungled from the get-go, and it was certainly a bad year for Democrats nationally. But neither of these fully explain the scale of 2014’s loss. The most serious failing of the Democratic coalition this year was its inability to mobilize and turn out voters, a responsibility that fell largely to Battleground.

    As dozens of conversations with individuals associated with the party, local Democratic groups, campaigns and other progressive organizations make clear, Battleground Texas had a major part—though definitely not the only one—in contributing to Democrats’ terrible showing in November. The group, they argue, made critical and avoidable mistakes that cost candidates up and down the ticket.

    Snip.

    The models, the party staffers say, seemed to treat Bill White’s performance in 2010 as a floor, beyond which Davis could improve—failing to recognize that it had taken a lot of money and effort to reach White’s level.

    So in some parts of the state, Battleground volunteers spent time combing white suburban neighborhoods for “crossover” voters—soft Republicans and independents—while neighborhoods rich with potential Democratic votes went underworked.

    Snip.

    Battleground had a peculiarly fraught relationship with many county parties around the state. A huge number of Democratic voters live in the state’s 15 largest counties, so local parties are major footsoldiers of the Democratic effort, representing the permanent party infrastructure in Texas’ largest cities. Forging close cooperative relationships with them should have been a no-brainer, but Battleground wanted to dictate the terms of the relationship.

    Battleground tried to get county parties to sign formal working agreements, according to four individuals familiar with the negotiations, which included policies regarding data and sharing of volunteer resources. The common perception was that Battleground asked for far too much, and didn’t offer enough in return.

    The Travis County Democratic Party signed a contract, which worked more or less acceptably, according to both sides. It’s unknown how many others did. The fact that Travis County had signed such an agreement with Battleground was well known in other parts of the state, according to three local party officials, but Battleground refused to share details of the agreement with other county parties—presumably under the belief that it would weaken their negotiating position. One county party leader describes it as a “divide-and-conquer” approach: another, as an attempt to “annex” local party groups.

    Snip.

    In largely Hispanic Nueces County, home to Corpus Christi, Republicans swept every contested race in an area that should be fertile ground for Democrats. One of the problems, local organizers say, was that the coalition didn’t spend enough time mobilizing Democratic base voters early on.

    The Nueces County Democratic Party struggled to build a relationship with Battleground, which didn’t know how to talk to Hispanic voters and was reluctant to use volunteers to support Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Leticia Van de Putte, says former Corpus Christi state Rep. Solomon “Solly” Ortiz Jr. When Battleground and the state party tried to compensate late in the game by running their own voter canvasses, they ended up unnecessarily duplicating each other’s efforts. “It was just a clusterfuck, man,” Ortiz says.

    Snip.

    Another ongoing dispute involves what may be Battleground’s greatest asset: the 34,000 Texans who have volunteered for the group since its inception. Even critics acknowledge that the scale of Battleground’s volunteer operation was impressive, and could prove helpful to future Democratic campaigns. Many who critique the group emphasize their appreciation and respect for the volunteers.

    But some Texas Democrats were operating under the belief that the list of volunteers would be shared with the party after the election. Their thinking is that the volunteer base should be a sort of communal property. Volunteers are the lifeblood of campaigns: Money can make campaigns viable, and data can inform strategy, but it’s volunteers who go out to walk blocks, make calls and keep people excited.

    Senior staffers with Battleground say that was never in the cards, that it would be virtually unprecedented to give away that kind of asset. The volunteers help give Battleground continued influence in the state—they are the group’s future.

    For all the talk of Hispanics being the key to turning Texas blue, Battleground Texas seemed distinctly uncomfortable reaching out to them.

    All in all, the piece offers a rich buffet of failure, and I’ve only skimmed some of the highlights here.

    So given the obvious and extensive dysfunction evident in 2014′s spectacular flameout, you’d think Battleground Texas’ backers would try something else.

    You’d be wrong.

    In the end, whether the group stays or folds comes down to one factor: money. Battleground’s operation, when in full gear, is extraordinarily expensive to run. The group’s most important financial backer is Steve Mostyn, the Houston lawyer. He has, according to those who know him, a great antipathy toward the Democratic Party itself. After the election, he pledged that he’d stick with Battleground.

    “I’m the guy who’s got the most money in it and I’m the one writing the checks,” Mostyn told the Houston Chronicle, “and I’m telling you I think it’s working.”

    He who calls the piper pays the tune. Presumably Battleground Texas will do precisely what one wealthy trial lawyer wants them to do, no matter what other Texas Democrats think.

    A growing number of Texas Democrats are worried that Battleground is getting ready to use its Texas volunteer base to help Hillary Clinton’s campaign nationally. Top Texas Democrats say Jenn Brown, Battleground’s executive director, has privately admitted that she sees Texas as an “export” state in 2016—meaning that the state’s money and volunteers would be best put to work elsewhere. Attempts to contact Brown through the group were unsuccessful. Sackin, Battleground’s spokesperson, told the Observer that “Battleground Texas was created specifically to keep resources in Texas—so that people didn’t feel like they have to leave Texas to volunteer or donate to make a difference. We’ve been saying that since we were founded, that’s why we were founded, and that hasn’t changed.”

    Bird, the group’s founder, and wealthy Houston attorney Steve Mostyn, the group’s most important financial backer, are prominent members of the leadership team of the Ready for Hillary Super PAC. If Battleground involves itself in a contested Democratic presidential primary, it could arouse indignation here, where not everyone has jumped on the Clinton bandwagon.

    But if Battleground Texas uses its volunteers to support Clinton’s campaign in other states during the general election, lot of Texas Democrats would be downright furious.

    So Battleground Texas is going to treat Texas Democrats the way Democrats treat taxpayers: As a pinata to bash and extract the goodies from.

    I wonder if Texas Democrats have other plans…

    (Hat tip: Push Junction.)

    Happy New Year!

    Thursday, January 1st, 2015

    To celebrate, here’s a few lite links:

  • Cher’s 10 Craziest Political Tweets of 2013. Including this gem:

  • Amanda Marcotte’s Ten Dumbest Tweets of 2014.
  • The automatic Thomas Friedman sentence generator.
  • (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ for the first two, Instapundit for the last.)