Posts Tagged ‘environmentalism’

Texas vs. California Update for September 8, 2015

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • Why Texas is awesome:

    First, there is no state income tax in Texas. Some people know this and some don’t—few really grasp what it means practically. It means that if you make decent money and decide to move here and rent something affordable, it’s essentially free to live in Texas. If you make $150,000 a year, your state income taxes in California are roughly $12,000 per year (in NYC it’s closer to $15,000). Or, you can put a thousand bucks a month toward your rent here. If you decide to buy, property taxes are high—but what you get for the money more than makes up for it. My editor at the Observer recently tried to cajole me into coming back to New York. Our house now—which has its own lake and is 29 minutes from the airport which never has lines—costs less than the rent we were paying for our lofted studio apartment in Midtown. Are you kidding?

    Also note the mention of walk-in gun safes…

    (Hat tip: Borepatch.)

  • 600,000 Californians have moved to Texas since 2009.
  • Another take on that data: “5 Million People Left California Over the Past Decade. Many Went to Texas.”
  • Austin and Houston are the top two relocation destinations in the country.
  • $15 billion for a fish tunnel?
  • “The average full-career California teacher receives a pension benefit equal to 105% of their final earnings. CalSTRS CEO says the plan isn’t generous enough.”
  • In 2012, Los Angeles passed some modest pension reforms for newly hired employees. Surprise! A new union contract undoes those reforms. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California, like Texas, has a homestead exemption built into their bankruptcy laws. Unlike Texas, California’s exemption doesn’t actually protect debtors.
  • The FBI raided Palm Springs’ city hall as part of a corruption probe.
  • Mining company suspends operations at California mine because rare earths aren’t.
  • Chief of tiny California fire district to have his $241,000 pension cut. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Enviornmental idiocy and California’s drought.
  • Texas’ 2016 Fiscal Year started September 1st. “Several taxes that were eliminated on September 1 include the Inheritance Tax, Oil Regulation Tax, Sulphur Regulation Tax, Fireworks Tax, Controlled Substance Tax Certificates, and the Airline/Passenger Train Beverage Tax.”
  • Meanwhile, California’s legislature is trying to raise gas and tobacco taxes.
  • Elderly poverty in California.
  • Evidently California’s Democratic politicians stay up late at night devising ways they can make the state go broke even faster. The answer: Host the Olympics again.
  • Korean-owned businesses in LA consider relocating to El Paso. “Kim makes the case that El Paso, once home to plants for denim companies including Levi’s and Wrangler, has abundant skilled laborers, fewer regulations, much cheaper rent and direct flights from Los Angeles.”
  • A cartoon via IowaHawk’s twitter feed. That is all.
  • LinkSwarm for August 31, 2015

    Monday, August 31st, 2015

    Welcome to the final week of traditional summer. Of course, it used to be that everything (school, football, the new TV year, etc.) started after Labor Day Weekend, but that’s not the case any more…

  • “it’s cute to pretend that Black Lives Matter is actually about making policing better when it’s really just another Democratic party constituency agitprop group.”
  • Texas mandates E-Verify for all state employees.
  • Ten questions about the Iran deal.
  • Indeed, the Iran deal stinks so badly that even Debbie Wasserman Schultz wants to keep the stink of Eue De Failure off herself and the DNC. (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • Europe has begun to reform its welfare systems. (Hat tip Instpundit.)
  • Thanks to government efforts, heroin is now cheaper than cigarettes in New York City. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • McCarthy critic turns out to be a Soviet spy. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • UK Labour leader candidate Jeremy Corbyn: Apologist for oppressive dictatorships.
  • Oh, and he wants to give the Falkland Islands to Argentina. Why, it’s almost as if the hard left yearns for nothing so much as undoing every conservative foreign policy triumph out of spite…
  • And he also called Osama Bin Laden’s death “a tragedy.”
  • Criticizing Muslim antisemitism? That’s a $750 fine in Denmark.
  • Widespread street protests in Kuala Lumpur over corruption and embezzlement by Malaysia’s Goldman-Sachs-underwritten Prime Minister.
  • Still another reason not to use Ashley-Madison: “For every 7750 men, there were 3 women.” “Sausage Fest” doesn’t even begin to cover it…
  • Speaking of sausage, San Antonio woman steals $3000 worth of sausage.
  • Conservatives push back on victimhood identity politics guidelines from the College Board and win.
  • Austin Bag Ban backfires. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • A look back at 1945 plans for the invasion of Japan. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Ten years of Tam.
  • Texas vs. California: Cali Goes Batshit Insane Edition

    Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

    California has long had a tenuous grasp of what the rest of us regard as consensus reality. But two new pieces of legislation suggest they’ve gone off the deep end into full Victimhood Identity Politics land:

  • First, they decided that police shootings wouldn’t be subject to the grand jury process, because what’s a little things like two centuries of due process and the fifth amendment to the Constitution when there are policemen to be railroaded to satisfy black protesters?
  • They also decided to purge the words “illegal alien” from state statutes, because what’s mere law when there’s political correctness to be pandered to?
  • Of course, that’s not all that’s new on the Texas vs. California front:

  • “California taxpayers paid out big bucks to state workers in 2014. How much? More than the Gross Domestic Product of 100 countries, according to new data published by the State Controller’s office. In 2014, more than 650,000 state employees earned a total of $32 billion in wages and benefits.” It gets better: “Nine hundred sixty-nine state employees earned more than the President of the United States.” Added irony:

    The lowest paid average workers represented agencies focused on the environment, women and people with disabilities. According to the state’s 2014 payroll data, the average salary for the 11 state employees at the California Commission on Disability Access was just $15,213 per year, slightly more than the $14,494 average salary paid to the four employees at the Commission on the Status of Women.

  • There is no California. Only Zuul…
  • Texas unemployment rate: 4.2%. California unemployment rate: 6.2%. (Hat tip: WILLism’s Twitter feed.)
  • Los Angeles’ new minimum wage has wrecked hotel employment. Or maybe just non-illegal alien employment… (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • Why Public Services in California Decline Even As Revenues Rise. “Until California’s leaders address the three elephants – retirement, healthcare and corrections costs — that are crowding out public services and causing unproductive tax and fee increases, citizens will continue to suffer and inequality will continue to grow.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Chuck Devore on what makes Texas friendly to business: less red tape and lower taxes.
  • Voters to San Jose City Council: We want pension reform! San Jose City Council to voters: Get stuffed! (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • TV’s CHiPS never seemed to be involved in ethics scandals the way the current administration is, including no-bid contracts to European companies. (Bonus: it’s also suitable for Dwight’s Art Acevedo watch.)
  • California’s “Green Jobs Initiative” spent $297 million to create 1,700 jobs.
  • More on the same theme, and Tom Steyer wasting $29.6 million of his own money pushing it, from City Journal.
  • California’s SFX: from billion dollar company to bankruptcy.
  • LinkSwarm for August 14, 2015

    Friday, August 14th, 2015

    Austin had a very, very wet spring, but August is shaping up in normal fashion: Bone dry and hot as hell. Try to keep cool and enjoy a Friday LinkSwarm:

  • “There is no real distinction between today’s Democrats and socialists.”
  • Democrats have an America problem.
  • The email scandal could very well sink Hillary:

    Politicized or not, the DOJ will be increasingly boxed in by the FBI and intelligence community investigations. Normally, when the intelligence community finds classified materials in unauthorized locations, it seeks felony prosecutions. Gen. David Petraeus was sunk for keeping his own personal calendars in an unlocked drawer at home. The calendars were deemed classified, even if they lacked an official stamp. President Clinton’s CIA Director, John Deutsch, lost his job and security clearance for using his portable computer at home. It had classified material on it. Those violations are trifling compared to Hillary Clinton’s exposure.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • Longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin may be joining her in the big house
  • Bernie Sanders up over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire? #WhiteVotesMatter
  • Ohio Democrats continue their youth movement by recruiting 74-year old Ted Strickland for a Senate race.
  • Someone spilled millions of gallons of toxic waste into a river! Call the EPA! Oh wait, it was the EPA.
  • Islamic State executes 300 electoral civil servants in Iraq. Good thing we’ve got Nobel Prize winner Barack Obama sowing peace and stability to the Middle East rather than that warmongering bungler Bush… (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • So why did the Obama Administration pretend Taliban-head Mullah Omar was still alive when he’s probably been dead 2 years? (Hat tip: Prairie Pundit.)
  • And why is the Obama Administration siding with the terrorists and against the Americans who have already won legal judgments against them?
  • A whole bunch of gun myths debunked. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Just why did the University of Minnesota think it needed grenade launchers? (Hat tip: Say Uncle.)
  • China devalues the Yuan. This is Big Freaking News, but hard to conceptualize, since China’s economic statistics are have not even a nodding acquaintance with reality, and haven’t for at least a decade. So is China’s current bubble bad, or super mega world-shatterling bad?
  • Your guide to global black market pricing.
  • Islamic State Worse off than Greece?
  • Brazil: Super-Duper boned.
  • Great Cthulhu emerges as surprise front-runner in Labour leadership contest.”
  • Tianjin, China Blows Up Real Good.
  • Jihadis kill four, kidnap six from hotel in central Mali. That’s really going to crimp your vacation plans. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Cop-killing inmate dies in prison riot. Alas, my electron microscope is being recalibrated, so I won’t be able to find the proper sized violin to commemorate this sad occasion… (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Social Justice Warriors continue their war on comedy on campus.
  • Man arrested for shooting at police in Ferguson was completely unarmed. Except for his guns.
  • Cool World War II radio intercepts story, via Instapundit.
  • Florida Man has been busy.
  • Texas vs. California Update for May 21, 2015

    Thursday, 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.
  • Texas vs. California Roundup for April 30, 2015

    Thursday, April 30th, 2015

    Time for another Texas vs. California roundup, albeit a somewhat smallish one:

  • UC-Berkley misused nearly $2 million in National Science Foundation funds on staff salaries, travel expenses, and booze.
  • How California teacher’s unions indoctrinate children with left-wing propaganda.
  • Thanks to overly generous pension rules, Vallejo may be headed for a second bankruptcy. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Eureka, California will be laying off police to pay for pensions. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Farmer Brothers coffee roasters is moving from California to Denton. (Previously.)
  • Jerry Brown has ordered a radical cut in California’s greenhouse gases. Evidently he wants all of California’s manufacturing to move out of state…
  • Though Texas does a vastly better job than California managing statewide finances, local debt is close to California’s:

    Among the top ten most populous states in the nation, local debt in the Lone Star State was the second highest overall, at $219.7 billion. Only California’s local governments had amassed more, at $269.2 billion.

    On a per capita basis, local debt in Texas ranked as the second highest ($8,431 owed per person), with only New York in tougher shape ($10,204 owed per person). The average local debt burden among all mega-states was $5,956 owed per person.

  • So California may use drought bond money to pay for water not for people, but for the Delta Smelt?
  • West Coast truckers strike over alleged millions in wage theft. You may have gathered that I’m not exactly a pro-union guy, but from what a relative has told me about the trucking industry, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the strikers were fully justified in this instance…
  • Texas vs. California Update for February 19, 2015

    Thursday, February 19th, 2015

    Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • U.S. bankruptcy judge presiding over the Stockton case says pensions are not sacred and can be cut in bankruptcy. “CalPERS has bullied its way about in this case with an iron fist insisting that it and the municipal pensions it services are inviolable. The bully may have an iron fist, but it also turns out to have a glass jaw.”
  • Public employee pensions: Stealing from the young and poor to give to the old and rich. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California’s entrepreneurs still think the business climate sucks. “In the 2014 survey, 63.5 percent called the small business climate poor, with just 10 saying it’s good. This year 60 percent still consider the business climate poor with 16.5 percent finding it good.”
  • By contrast, low oil prices won’t torpedo Texas’ economy. “Texas’ economy today is more resilient to oil price fluctuations thanks to industrial diversification and pro-growth policies.”
  • California’s combined capital gains tax rate is the third highest. Not third highest in the U.S., third highest in the world, lower only than Denmark and France.
  • How environmentalists made California’s drought worse.
  • Two unions are on different sides of a proposed sale of six struggling Catholic hospitals to a private company.
  • Defense contractor “Advantage SCI, LLC announced today that the company will relocate its headquarters to Alexandria, Virginia (Fairfax County in Old Town Alexandria) from El Segundo, California, after recognizing the high costs related to worker’s compensation, liability, and taxes that plague businesses in California.”
  • Coffee roaster Farmers Brothers is leaving California for either Oklahoma or Texas.
  • More on the Farmer Brothers relocation. “After surviving depressions, recessions, earthquakes and wars, Farmer Brothers is leaving California, finally driven out by high taxes and oppressive regulations.”
  • California Democrats file bills to force the state to get 50% of its energy from renewable energy by 2030. They’re basically putting up yet another big red sign to manufacturers: “We’ll make it impossibly expensive for you to do business here.”
  • Why health care in California is less affordable than elsewhere.
  • The mess that is California’s homeowner earthquake insurance.
  • California property owners aren’t wild about being forced to sell their land for the high speed rail boondoggle.
  • Arlene Wohlgemuth on why Texas should avoid the siren song of Medicare expansion. (Also, best wishes to her for a speedy recovery from her motorcycle accident.)
  • California’s top lifeguard pulls in a cool $236,859 in total compensation. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Lewd yoga dentist filed for bankruptcy.” A San Diego dentist, which is my pretext for including it here, but really, how could I not link a headline like that?
  • Texas vs. California Update for March 24, 2014

    Monday, March 24th, 2014

    In California, I would say that March Madness is ignoring the looming pension crisis, except that madness extends to every other month as well…

  • Where is income inequality worst in the U.S.? Well, for one thing, in California:

    Perhaps no place is inequality more evident than in the rural reaches of California, the nation’s richest agricultural state. The Golden State is now home to 111 billionaires, by far the most of any state; California billionaires personally hold assets worth $485 billion, more than the entire GDP of all but 24 countries in the world. Yet the state also suffers the highest poverty rate in the country (adjusted for housing costs), above 23%, and a leviathan welfare state. As of 2012, with roughly 12% of the population, California accounted for roughly one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients.

    With the farm economy increasingly mechanized and industrial growth stifled largely by regulation, many rural Californians particularly Latinos, are downwardly mobile, and doing worse than their parents; native-born Latinos actually have shorter lifespans than their parents, according to a 2011 report. Although unemployment remains high in many of the state’s largest urban counties, the highest unemployment is concentrated in the rural counties of the interior. Fresno was found in one study to have the least well-off Congressional district.

    The vast expanse of economic decline in the midst of unprecedented, but very narrow urban luxury has been characterized as “liberal apartheid.” The well-heeled, largely white and Asian coastal denizens live in an economically inaccessible bubble insulated from the largely poor, working-class, heavily Latino communities in the eastern interior of the state.

  • The Myth of the California Renaissance:

    California also has the nation’s highest poverty rate and the most food stamp recipients, and policymakers have done little to address profligate spending, unfunded pensions, and ever-growing retiree health-care obligations.”

    Inland California, from Imperial in the south to Modoc in the north, remains one of the poorest regions in the nation. Though the state unemployment rate fell in February to 8.1 percent, inland unemployment ranges from 9.5 percent in Riverside to 25.9 percent in Colusa. Of the 20 counties in the United States with the largest unemployment rates, 11 are in California.

  • California only has the second highest taxes in the nation! Thank God for New York!
  • Unfavorable ballot language stymies a California pension reform effort
  • …but pension reform advocates are regrouping to make another push in 2016.
  • Indeed, pension reform will be the biggest issue for southern California voters this fall.
  • More on how government at the state and national level is destroying California agriculture in the name of protecting the Delta Smelt.
  • There’s speculation that California Governor Jerry Brown actually wants to see the illegal, underfunded, and ill-fated “bullet train to nowhere” die, he just doesn’t want to get the blame for killing it.
  • How Texas job growth has outpaced both the nation and California.
  • Occidental Petroleum is moving its headquarters to Houston and spinning off its California operations as a separate company.
  • Rick Perry raids again.
  • Telecom company Channell Commercial is relocating from Temecula, California to Rockwell, Texas. “Blaming California for an oppressive business climate for manufacturing growth, Channell said the costs to do business here have made expansion in this state no longer feasible.”
  • And I missed this story from last year on Chevron building a 50 story office building in Houston. That could mean the days of their California headquarters are numbered…
  • Greenpeace Activists Shocked To Discover That Actions Have Consequences

    Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

    Via Borepatch comes news of some super geniuses in Greenpeace who can’t understand why they’re sitting in a Russian jail. They illegally boarded a state-owned oilrig as part of a protest and were promptly arrested for piracy.

    “They had never expected that they would face such consequences for their peaceful protest in a democratic state.”

    There are two tiny little problems with that statement:

    1. Illegally trespassing on someone else’s property is not exactly “peaceful.”

    2. Russia is not a democratic state, it’s dictatorial state with a thin veneer of democratic trappings. Did they not notice all the people that Putin has had bumped off over the years?

    Now they’re sitting in jail awaiting trail, wonder why they haven’t received the slap on the wrist they regularly get from other countries.

    Real activists should expect to do time in jail. Vaclav Havel spent plenty of time in jail, as did Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King. And they were pushing for real social change, not pie-in-the-sky trust fund environmentalism.

    Actions have consequences. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time…

    California: More Boning

    Friday, March 1st, 2013

    Naturally the day after I post my usual Texas vs. California update, I see this five part California in Crisis series by Conn Carroll in The Examiner.

    The first part is a general overview.

    In his state of the state speech, Brown claimed, “California lost 1.3 million jobs in the Great Recession, but we are coming back at a faster pace than the national average.” The first half of Brown’s statement is true, but the second half is not. California has only gained back 556,000 jobs since the recession ended, or 42 percent of those lost — well below the national average of 60 percent regained. As a result, California’s unemployment rate is still near double-digits at 9.8 percent. By comparison, Texas, which lost 427,000 jobs during the recession, has gained them all back and created an additional 265,000.

    California is no longer a model that other states want to or should emulate. It currently has the nation’s third highest unemployment rate, its highest poverty rate and more than one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients.

    What happened?

    To make a long story short, the same political constituencies that have made Brown’s Democratic Party invincible at the ballot box have also made the state unable to compete economically. California public employees, who are represented by the nation’s most politically powerful government unions, benefit from some of the nation’s most generous compensation packages. These unions have made it nearly impossible to keep spending down, thus making debt and higher taxes inevitable.

    These unions also make it impossible to improve how government services are delivered to taxpayers. As a result, while California once had the most admired education system in the nation, it now ranks near the bottom in almost every measured educational category.

    The state’s powerful environmental lobby has secured a slew of green energy regulations, including strict clean air rules, the nation’s first carbon cap-and-trade program and an ambitious renewable energy mandate. As a result, energy prices have shot up, consumers now have less to spend on everything else they need to survive, and many manufacturers can’t stay profitable in the state.

    Finally, wealthy urban environmentalists have completely inverted the infrastructure spending priorities that once made California an engine of economic and population growth. Endangered species of wildlife are now favored over farmers and food. Highways and suburbs are losing out to mass transit and urban centers. The emerging result is a disappearing middle class, and what’s left of the state is split between a highly educated, landed, wealthy and elderly elite, and a poor, government-dependent, uneducated lower class.

    The second part goes into how Jerry Brown’s budget surplus is illusory: “Since the recession began, governors’ budget projections have overestimated revenue by an average of 5.5 percent. Apply that average to Brown’s 2013 projections, and California’s budget would suddenly go from $1 billion in the black to $3.9 billion in the red.”


    California is controlled by the Democratic Party, and the California Democratic Party is controlled by the state’s government employee unions. You can’t win a statewide election there without at least the tacit approval of those unions. And for decades, the cost of their friendship has been protection from spending cuts in lean times and generous retirement package increases in good times.


    Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, government unions at the state level won huge increases in retirement benefits, including a lowered retirement age and more favorable benefit formulas. As a result, the state’s two biggest retirement funds, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, or CalSTRS, and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or CalPERS, are both underfunded by $64 billion and $52 billion respectively. According to a recent report, Brown would need to spend an additional $4.5 billion per year just to make CalSTRS solvent.

    The third part focuses on California’s expensive-yet-failing education system, while the fourth and fifth parts deal with green delusions. Including this gem: “fewer than 2,500 green jobs have been created in California since 2010.”

    There’s not a whole lot that will be unfamiliar if you’ve been following my Texas vs. California updates, but it’s a very solid overview series. And yes, Texas gets a mention.

    Read the whole thing.