Posts Tagged ‘environmentalism’

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.”

    Also:

    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.

    Further:

    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.

    Texas vs. California Update for February 13, 2013

    Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

    Busy day! Here’s a quick Texas vs. California roundup:

  • Texas economic success is no mirage.
  • More on Rick Perry’s California raid. “I’d take free-market capitalism over socialism any day, and that was the decision that we made,” said Waste Connections Inc Chairman and CEO Ron Mittelstaedt. “He added that it took Waste Connections 16 months to design and build a new, 11-story building in Texas, including eight weeks for permits. He estimated it would have taken three years just to get the permits in California. The California Environmental Quality Act is often cited by critics as a major cause of pointless delays on construction projects in particular.”
  • California’s aversion to both nuclear power and fossil fuels will probably cause blackouts in the state this year.
  • “Thanks to appointments by Gov. Jerry Brown, the Public Employment Relations Board has gone from an obscure agency to a union front.”
  • The Milkin Institute’s Kevin Klowden takes a brief look at which state has a better business climate. “California’s higher costs and a difficult-to-navigate regulatory system mean that a split has developed. While research and development and innovation are more likely to stay in California, companies often expand or move their back offices and new manufacturing to Texas.”
  • Texas vs. California: Dog Days of August Edition

    Monday, August 27th, 2012

    It’s late August, and California’s slide toward insolvency continues apace.

  • How badly underwater is CalPERS? Try $884 billion.
  • Speaking of California unions, here’s how they’re trying to block reform.
  • California’s recovery is much slower than the already slow pace of the rest of the nation.
  • Things have gotten so bad that Moody’s is rexamining the outlook on all California cities.
  • What California should learn from Wisconsin.
  • CalTrans spends $22.5 million on unneeded home repairs, with a hefty side-helping of graft. (Hat tip: Dwight)
  • So what happened to all those Solyndra glass tubes? Can you say modern art?
  • Texas snags it’s lowest bond interest rate ever at 0.225%. That makes sense. Broke ass California getting a 0.43% rating doesn’t.
  • Texas has five of the ten fastest growing counties (including Williamson).
  • California’s “urban forest” offset scam.
  • More Information on Possible Plano Bomber Anson Chi

    Thursday, June 21st, 2012

    Yesterday I noticed a large number of search hits for Anson Chi Plano Bomber, and various combinations thereof. And today a little bird told me that Chi is indeed the hospitalized bombing suspect. So let me post a little bit more about him.

    I’ve been following up on this story because I had initially guessed that the then-unknown bombing suspect might be part of Occupy Wall Street. When news outlets have revealed enough information to deduce that Anson Chi was the likely suspect, and it turned out he’s a Ron Paul supporter, then it seemed only fair to post that, since one of the guiding rules of blogging is to correct your own errors, even if it may temporarily hurt your “side.” The first side you should be on is the truth.

    Now that I’ve been able to round up more information about Chi, my initial guess that he might be part of Occupy is, if not right, somewhat less wrong than it appeared at first. Indeed, he’s posted some pictures from various Occupy encampments around the world. While he’s not a fan of Obama or the IRS, he’s also not a fan of Christianity, genetically modified food or corporations. Chi seems one of those people both deeply interested in, and deeply disenchanted with, contemporary politics:

    That, along with the other images in this post, are taken from Anson Chi’s Facebook page. If Chi is indeed the Plano bomber, he deserves to go to prison from a long time. But his web pages don’t give off the screaming capital letter fanaticism of some nuts; Chi actually comes across as a normal, intelligent, and ironic guy with issues about his own Asian heritage and a disenchantment with politics that, were it not for the bombing angle, would seem pretty normal.

    So here are a few pieces of information on Anson Chi, gleaned from his various web pages (and some of which are NSFW).

  • He’s the author of the novel Yellow on the Outside, Shame on the Inside: Asian Culture Revealed, which you can download for free.
  • He’s not an Obama fan:

  • He has an online resume that doesn’t seem geared toward seriously finding another job, subtitled “Crap that I’ve done” with sections labeled “Paid Slavery” and “Miseducation,” which reads “Postgraduate Work in Music 2002/University of Texas at Dallas – B.S. (Bullshit) in Business MIS 2000.”
  • He seems to have moved a lot. His Facebook location reads “Lives in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico [a joke?]. From New York, New York.” His resume shows a variety of jobs all over the country:

    IBM – Dallas, Texas 2005 – 2006
    Web Middleware Engineer

    Ameriquest Mortgage Company – Orange, California 2005
    System Engineer II

    Atos Origin – Hsinchu Science Park, Taiwan 2004 – 2005
    System Engineer

    Heartland Payment Systems – Frisco, TX 2002 – 2003
    UNIX System Operator

    Loudcloud – Sunnyvale, CA 2001
    NOC Engineer

    Alcatel – Plano, TX 2000 – 2001
    UNIX System Administrator

    The political section of that resume shows “Travis County District 149 Precinct Chairman” and “Ron Paul 2008 Grassroots Campaign – Austin, TX 2007-2008 Campaign Director.”

  • Campaign contribution records also show that he gave $6,479 to the Ron Paul campaign over four separate donations.
  • Among the groups he supports are several environmental and organic groups: California Certified Organic Farmers, Oregon Tilth (an organic group), Organic Consumers Association, and We Are All Green.
  • He posted several times in support of IRS protestor Tom Cryer, who believed the income tax was unconstitutional. Cryer died this month on June 4.
  • He also appeared on an Austin Internet radio show in support of Cryer.
  • He posted this image to his Facebook page February 6:

  • He put up several anti-SOPA posts.
  • The thing that strikes me most about spending an hour wading through Chi’s Facebook page (which was last updated June 16) is how perfectly normal everything he put there was, except for the fact that, as far as I can tell, there’s no description of personal interactions at all (maybe they’re there but set to private so his only friends can see them). But Chi strikes me as someone believing in some ideas on the middle of the far left and the middle of the far right, but not as someone who would blow up a gas pipeline.

    Texas Wins Another Round Against the EPA

    Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

    Texas wins another skirmish in the war the EPA is waging against the state’s prosperity, this one over “minor pollutants.” The EPA was suppose to file any objection to the state’s plans within 18 months, but instead, displaying the lightning speed the federal government is known for, they waited four and a half years to object. The actual 6th court ruling is here.

    As far as I can tell, this doesn’t affect the Cross-Border Rules (i.e., the one EPA ruling most likely to kill Texans in a heat wave, since it requires closing down power plants), which are (last time I checked) currently stayed.

    EarthQuest Fails

    Saturday, March 10th, 2012

    You may remember my mention of EarthQuest, the projected Montgomery County “environmental theme park” that was going to be partially financed with public money.

    Well, now comes word from Dwight that it is officially kaput. “No construction is planned; investors are nowhere to be found. Funding to EarthQuest consultants has stopped.”

    Who could have possibly predicted that? Well, beside the blogger who wrote “the entire project has “money-losing rathole” written all over it,” that is…

    LinkSwarm

    Monday, March 5th, 2012

    A busy weekend, so here’s a LinkSwarm to nourish the regulars:

  • The SEIU is helping fund and lead the Occupy movement, and their goal is to “abolish capitalism.” They’re also sneakily incorporating local branches, with names like “Good Jobs, Great Houston.” (Hat tip: Common Sense and Wonder.)
  • Also on on Commonsense and Wonder: an interesting piece about the history of Islamic conquest.
  • Add another member to Republican’s super-majority in the Texas House: Rep. J. M. Lozano of Kingsville (District 43) just announced his switch to the Republican Party.
  • In related news, here’s a piece from last year in the liberal Texas Observer talking about Republican outreach to Hispanics. That seems to be working out a lot better than the “inevitable Democratic majority” theory people like Ruy Teixeira have been pushing for the last decade.
  • Obama’s IRS attacks the Tea Party.
  • Iowahawk on Andrew Breitbart: “How did this socially liberal Jewish RINO from Brentwood become the Emmanuel Goldstein of the left’s unhinged 2-Minutes Hate? A big, lovable, random, generous, fearless, patriotic grinning goofball.”
  • Down With Wind: “If wind power was going to work, it would have done so by now. The people of Britain see this quite clearly, though politicians are often wilfully deaf. The good news though is that if you look closely, you can see David Cameron’s government coming to its senses about the whole fiasco. ” (Hat tip: Powerline.)
  • Texas’ outsized role in U.S. exports.
  • Debra Medina may run for State Comptroller? We could do worse.
  • How feminist dogma has hidden an obvious truth: the wide availability of contraception has increased illegitimacy, general to the detriment of women.
  • UT to student media director: Balance your department budget. Student media director: OK, how about we sell these TV and radio licenses? UT: Not that balanced. You’re fired. (Hat tip: Mike Godwin’s Facebook page.)
  • Correction: The Obama Administration Still Wants To Kill Texans

    Monday, September 5th, 2011

    It appears that my celebration was premature. I previously reported that the Obama Administration’s shelving of new, economically-destructive smog regulations meant Texas was off the hook. It now appears that isn’t the case, and we can still expect rolling blackouts (and likely additional heat-related fatalities) thanks to the completely different “cross-state pollution rules:”

    The controversial “cross-state pollution” rule, which aims at tightening emissions from power plants in Texas and 26 other states, remains scheduled for implementation in January. The cross-state rule targets nitrogen oxides, an ozone precursor, as well as sulfur dioxide, which is not an ozone precursor but can also cause lung damage.

    “The cross state air pollution rule is final,” Betsaida Alcantara, press secretary for the Environmental Protection Agency, which crafted the rule, said in an email.

    [snip]

    The cross-state rule requires Texas power plants to lower sulfur dioxide emissions by 46 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 7 percent compared with 2009 levels, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the state’s environmental agency.

    But the cross-state rule has stirred huge opposition from Texas officials, who say it is onerous and takes effect too quickly. In a statement Friday, the TCEQ said that it hoped the ozone rule pullback “signals that the EPA is beginning to consider science and common sense in their decisions, and we would hope that they would apply this to other regulations such as the proposed cross-state air pollution rule.”

    Last week the Texas electric grid operator reported that the cross-state rule could curtail the operations of some coal plants so severely that it could lead to rolling blackouts — an issue that carries heightened visibility as Texas comes off a scorching summer that badly stretched power supplies.

    “At least two” rotating outages would have occurred this summer had the pollution rule been in place, said Warren Lasher, an official with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the grid operator.

    So it appears that I was wrong when stating the EPA had come to its senses. In fact, he Obama Administration does still want to kill Texans in the name of radical environmentalism.

    BattleSwarmBlog regrets the error.