Right now Austin is enjoying our traditional “two weeks of flooding following three months of drought” fall. Enjoy a Friday LinkSwarm:
— Gerard McDermott (@McDermie) October 28, 2015
Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:
The missed payments illustrate the trend among cities in bankruptcy to favor payments to pension funds over bondholder obligations, which has increased the hostility between creditors and municipalities.
San Bernardino declared last year that it intends under its bankruptcy exit plan to fully pay Calpers, its biggest creditor and America’s largest public pension fund with assets of $300 billion.
The city continues to pay its monthly dues to Calpers in full, but has paid nothing to its bondholders for nearly three years, according to the interest payment schedule on roughly $50 million of pension obligation bonds issued by San Bernardino in 2005.
If you’re a bank, a retirement fund, or a hedge fund, why on earth would you buy California municipal debt when there are safer alternatives? (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ Doom roundup.)
I don’t know how I missed this Mike Gonzalez editorial in the Dallas Morning News from early September, but it’s well worth your attention. It goes into some detail on how Texas Hispanics are radically outperforming California Hispanics.
The relative advantage that Hispanic Texans have in key cultural indicators is strongly related to the state’s dynamic economic growth and small government. But because Texas’ smaller government has allowed civil society to grow organically, there is a strong cultural background that must be considered.
In fact, when factoring in both economic and cultural factors, one can say that California and Texas stand for two completely different faces of the Hispanic experience in America or, more to the point, the Mexican-American experience. The question is whether the two states will continue to lead two different Mexican-American subcultures in the future, or whether one approach will come to be the dominant one nationwide.
Let’s first look at the statistics, starting with one of the most important ones: unemployment. In 2013, Texas’ Hispanic population boasted an unemployment rate of 6.9 percent. That was more than 2 percentage points lower than the national Hispanic average (9.1 percent). More important, it was better than the overall national average of 7.4 percent and only six-tenths of a percent higher than Texas’ overall rate (6.3 percent).
Meanwhile, California’s Hispanics lagged across the aboard. Their unemployment rate of 10.2 percent underperformed all the national averages and was 1.3 percentage points higher than California’s overall unemployment rate of 8.9 percent.
One thing that may account for the lower Hispanic unemployment in Texas is that Hispanics in the Lone Star State are much more entrepreneurial than those in the Golden State. Texas’ rate of Hispanic-owned businesses as a percentage of the Hispanic population is 57 percent, whereas California’s is 45 percent.
Texas Hispanics also do better when it comes to social statistics than do their California counterparts:
Hispanics in Texas are 10 percent more likely to be married than those in California (47 percent to 43 percent), and close to 20 percent less likely never to have been married (36.9 percent to 43.5 percent), one-third more likely to have served in the military (4.1 percent to 2.8 percent), and one-third as likely to have received Supplemental Security Income public assistance (2.4 percent to 6.2 percent).
One of the most eye-popping statistics I have come across is that Hispanics in Texas are much more likely to live in an owner-occupied home than those in California (56.8 percent to 42.9 percent).
Education? Same thing:
The educational gap between Hispanics and non-Hispanic white students is much smaller in Texas than in California, where it is statistically significantly higher than it is in the rest of the nation.
The fourth-grade mathematics gap for Texas was 20 points, below the national average; in California it was 28 points. For the eighth grade, the Texas gap was 24, compared with California’s 33. In reading comprehension, the fourth-grade Texas gap was 22 and California’s was 31, and for eighth-graders, Texas’s gap was 22 and California’s was 28.
The difference in welfare recipients between Texas and California is dramatic:
With 12 percent of the total U.S. population, California has 34 percent of the welfare caseload, for an overrepresentation of 238 percent. Or, to put it another way, though only 1 of 8 Americans lives in California, 1 in 3 welfare recipients lives in California.
California’s 34 percent is not just the highest; the state is the only one in double digits. New York, which has the second-largest percentage of active welfare cases in the country, has a comparatively miserly 7 percent of the nation’s caseload.
By contrast, Texas, with 8 percent of the U.S. population, has only 3 percent of the U.S. welfare caseload, for an underrepresentation rate of 35 percent.
Read the whole thing.
More news from inside the handbasket, including the dust-up in Gaza and the illegal alien surge at the border:
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) July 10, 2014
— YCT-UT (@YCT_UT) July 10, 2014
Evidently the slow-burning University of Texas admissions scandal will finally cost President Bill Powers his job. “UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa has told Powers, 68, to resign before Thursday’s meeting of the Board of Regents or be fired during it.”
I doubt Powers counteroffer to step down in 2015 will be accepted. (I do wonder what makes Houston Chronicle writer Benjamin Wermund proclaim that Powers is “widely supported by students”? Has he seen polls on Powers popularity on students? (Online petitions don’t count) I would think they would be more concerned with lowering tuition costs than support a President resisting calls to lower them.)
Which is not to say that Powers backers are giving up. Instead, they’re lashing out at the board of regents:
The more angry and indignant among the petition signers seem to think some organized debate about UT and its president is going forth, and that their champion is, unfairly, of course, getting the worst of it. It would be an odd thing to think. There isn’t anything like a public debate about Bill Powers going forward. There’s rancor and division — nearly all of it coming from the side that professes to despise rancor and division, the Powers side.
The admissions scandal has been building for some time on Powers’ watch. (Nor is it the only problem under Powers.) Instead of investigating it and fixing the problem, Powers decided the best move was to have his political friends attempt to impeach regent Wallace Hall in order to quash his investigation while Powers’ supporters launched an Astroturf campaign on his behalf that’s included no end of MSM editorials praising Powers while attacking Hall and Governor Perry for daring to hold him accountable.
The university academic complex evidently believe that they’re a special kind of hothouse flower that should be immune to all political pressure, with a right to public funding but not to public accountability. Powers has constantly resisted calls to make college more affordable, and to be more accountable to the Board of Regents who oversee his work and the state government that pays his bills.
It seems that Powers will be the latest official to learn that pride goeth before a fall.
Believe it or not, there seem to be a few actual glimmers of sanity in California in the latest roundup:
The witchhunt against UT regent Wallace Hall for uncovering cronyism and favoritism in UT admissions may be coming to an an end, thanks to Dan Patrick’s decisive win the Lt. Governor runoff. Patrick has constantly supported Hall in his investigative efforts and condemned the attempt to impeach him.
The effect of Patrick’s statement was immediate. The next day, a legislative committee that had met to draft articles of impeachment against Hall failed to do so. Several members of the committee were quoted saying that it would take a while. Others expressed hope that the Travis County District Attorney would, basically, take the case off their hands.
The piece goes on to note that it is unlikely for Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (who is up to his eyeballs in the scandal) to call a special session just to consider the impeachment of a regent who earns no salary. That would put off a House vote to send the formal charges of impeachment to the senate until next year, when then Lt. Governor Patrick, who controls the Senate agenda, would have numerous tools to delay or kill consideration of the impeachment charges.
In other Wallace Hall/UT Scandal news, the Dallas Morning News published an editorial by Joe Straus ally Charles Matthews in which he tut-tuts the scandal, saying “nothing to see here.”
Says Matthews: “A review has already been conducted by the UT system. After a nine-month inquiry, the report released to the public ‘did not uncover any evidence of a systematic, structured or centralized process of reviewing and admitting applicants recommended by influential individuals.'”
Translation: We’ve investigated ourselves and found ourselves innocent! At least in “the report released to the public,” which seems and awfully specific formulation. (And how about non-“systematic, structured or centralized” abuse?)
The biographical blurb on Matthews states that “Charles Matthews, a Dallas resident, is former vice president and general counsel of the Exxon Mobil Corp.” But the editorial fails to note that Matthews was the University system chancellor from 2005-2010 (i.e., at least some of the scandal presumably occurred on his watch), which would seem to be fairly important information for readers to judge his impartiality.
Also, Hall has threatened to sue one of his legislative critics for making false statements about him…
This is almost a non-story, but since I stumbled across it, and it takes place at my alma mater, and I possessed intimate knowledge of Objectivism during my college days, I thought I’d mention it.
Basically, UT has money available for chartered student groups, the UT Objectivist group applied for money to host a debate, and the UT Events board turned them down without telling them why.
UT Objectivism Society applied for funding support from the student-led Events CoSponsorship Board (ECB) for a planned on-campus debate. Titled “Inequality: Should We Care?,” the discussion was set to feature Yaron Brook, Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute, and James K. Galbraith, a UT professor and director of the University of Texas Inequality Project. ECB itself is funded wholly by student activity fees, to the tune of $70,000 per year—all of which is spent supporting the programming of various student organizations. The UT Objectivism Society applied for $1,920.64 in funding to support the event…In March 22, however, ECB emailed UT Objectivism Society president Jonathan Divin, informing him that ECB “is unable to fund UT objectivism Society at this time.” Divin responded, asking if ECB could provide any explanation as to why the group’s request for funding was denied. Troublingly, ECB replied only: “Unfortunately, ECB is unable to disclose any information regarding the deliberation process whether or not an event was funded.”
Enter the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which has frequently taken up first amendment and equal rights causes on campus. So they sent a letter, UT went “Yeah, we should be more transparent,” then said the reason the Objectivists were denied money was because the fund was already out of money. And they promised to do better.
Assuming UT follows through, we’ll count that as a tiny win for fairness and transparency…
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of Michigan voters in banning Affirmative Action (i.e, discrimination based on race) in college admissions
Conservatives and libertarians have a very simple position on racial discrimination:
The liberal position can be paraphrased thus: “Racism requires racism, because racism.”
What, you think that’s a bit reductio ad absurdum? Fine. How about:
“Because the lingering effects of institutional racism continue to hold back historically disadvantaged groups*, the federal government must continue to impose preferential treatment for members of those groups.”
“*Historically disadvantaged groups” are those that in pre-PC speak were referred to as “minorities.” Except of course, the Democratic Party’s current formulation excludes Asians from preferential treatment, resulting in systematic discrimination against them by colleges that practice Affirmative Action compared to less qualified black and Hispanic candidates.
Left unsaid is when do we stop discriminating against people based on their race due to the “lingering effects” of racism? Why should someone born in 1996 (as those entering college this fall) be discriminated against due to laws scrapped three decades before they were born?
It is also obvious that Affirmative Action sets up minorities to fail by mismatching them with institutions desperate for “diversity” where they will be at a disadvantage compared to brighter students. So someone who could have been in the middle of their class at, say, Texas Tech, is instead at the very bottom of the class at Harvard or Yale.
Affirmative Action is a racist relic of bygone days and should be eliminated from a free, colorblind society.
Here’s one of those stories that buries the real news under bright, shiny affirmations of political correctness:
Texas State Board of Education member Ruben Cortez says he’ll propose a vote to decide whether to create a statewide Mexican-American studies course at the agency’s meeting next month.
If passed, the measure would mark a major victory for Latino education activists who have pressed for a public school curriculum more reflective of their state’s majority-Hispanic student body.
“This is it — we’ve been inching our way to a vote,” Cortez told The Huffington Post. “Just the mere fact that we’re going to have a vote is historic.”
The group Librotraficante, formed in 2012 to protest the banning of the Tucson Mexican-American studies program, started calling last year for the Texas SBOE to include a dual-credit Mexican-American studies course when the state agency took up the question of new course design.
The idea appealed to Cortez, a Democrat from the Rio Grande Valley who says too many Mexican-Americans go through their public school educations without learning about the achievements of Hispanic heroes.
Even before we start digging into the issue, there are a few problems here. First of course is the unspoken assumption that students should only identify with great Americans if they have similar skin-tones or ethnic makeups. Americans should look up to and admire George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King for their towering achievements, not because of ethnic solidarity; they’re heroes for the content of their character, not the color of their skin.
Second, if any Texas students “go through their public school educations without learning about the achievements of Hispanic heroes,” then it’s only because Texas teachers aren’t doing their jobs. Are students no longer taught that many defenders of the Alamo (Juan Abamillo, Juan Antonio Badillo, Carlos Espalier, José María (Gregorio) Esparza, Antonio Fuentes, Andrés Nava) were ethically Hispanic, or about the career of Juan Seguín? Are they not taught that Texans were initially fighting for restoration of the more liberal Mexican Constitution of 1824?
If so, these are indeed problems, but not ones a “statewide Mexican-American studies course” would be designed to address.
No, the real reason Democrats want such a course can be deduced from mention of that Tucson Mexican-American studies program whose cancellation has them so upset. Just what did that course consist of?
What is left out of traditional syllabi, of course, is the grievance and distortion. When Horne finally acquired the program materials he requested, they included texts with titles such as Occupied America and The Pedagogy of Oppression. And according to John Ward, a Tucson teacher who saw his U.S. history course coopted by the Raza Studies department, the Raza curriculum’s focus is “that Mexican-Americans were and continue to be victims of a racist American society driven by the interests of middle and upper-class whites.”
When Ward raised concerns about Raza Studies (which is part of TUSD’s larger Ethnic Studies department) he was, despite being Hispanic himself, called a racist and eventually reassigned to another course. Ward told a reporter from the Arizona Republic that by the time he left the Raza Studies class, he had observed a definite change in the students: “An angry tone. They taught them not to trust their teachers, not to trust the system. They taught them the system wasn’t worth trusting.”
How bad was it? “Che Guevara was openly displayed on the walls and schoolchildren were taught that Benjamin Franklin was a racist.”
“’It’s propagandizing and brainwashing that’s going on there,’ Tom Horne, Arizona’s newly elected attorney general, said this week as he officially declared the program in violation of a state law that went into effect on Jan. 1.”
And here we see the real reason for the course: Another chance for the far-left ethnic grievance lobby to get their hooks into students and indoctrinate them in Critical Race Theory’s victimhood identity politics.
It’s a bad idea that should be quashed. If you agree, write your state board of education representative and tell them so.