Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

LinkSwarm for October 9, 2015

Friday, October 9th, 2015

If you want to attend tomorrow’s blogshoot/meetup/tweetup, try to drop me a line (lawrenceperson at gmail dot com) so I’ll know how many will attend.

Now the LinkSwarm:

  • ObamaCare co-ops are going bankrupt.
  • Thanks to The Magic Power of Socialism™ and an estimated 800% inflation rate, Venezuela is now the most expensive place to live in the world, at least going by the official exchange rate. “Depending on which exchange rate you use, Venezuela can either be one of the cheapest countries in the world, or the most expensive.”
  • Democrats last year: “All those gun-toting white racist redneck freaks from Jesusland will be lining up to vote for Hillary!” Pollsters this year: Not so much.
  • Hillary Clinton now totally opposes the very Tran-Pacific Partnership she helped negotiate.
  • “Let’s take Malcolm Turnbull at his word that it’s only “a very very small percentage of violent extremist individuals”. What is the actual percentage? In the aforementioned Malmo, where up to a thousand mostly young male “refugees” arrive each day, suppose the “very very small percentage” is two per cent. That’s 20 brand new “violent extremists” per day. During the Northern Irish “Troubles”, MI5 estimated that there were no more than a hundred active members of the IRA at any one time – that’s to say, people actively involved in shooting and killing. So Malmo is taking in the equivalent of the entire IRA every week.”
  • How spree killers get their weapons. Or, once again, the New York Times twists facts to fit the narrative.
  • Speaking of the Times, this is what happens when the professional editors and proof-readers edit and proofread professional writers.
  • Wendy Davis thinks the reason she lost is she didn’t talk about abortion enough. Sure, Wendy, that’s it. Go with that… (Hat tip: Perry vs. World).
  • The Nairobi mall attack revisited. If this report is to be believed, armed civilians actually contained the threat, then army and security forces showed up and promptly managed to start shooting each other.
  • “In zombie world, the man who relies on the government for his safety will be zombie chow in short order…In zombieland, there are three kinds of people: those who know how to use guns, those who learn how to use guns, and zombies.”
  • Remembering the Yom Kippur War.
  • Waco Biker Shootout Update

    Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

    More than four months after nine people were killed in the biker shootout at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, the details of who did what to who and why remain as murky as ever.

    Of 170 (per the Dallas Morning News, 177 from other news sources) bikers arrested, all are now out of jail and none have been charged with murder.

    As far as I can tell, ballistics reports for the shooting have never been released, and a gag order on all attorneys involved in the case remains in place, and restaurant surveillance video of the shootout has never been released to the public.

    Something isn’t adding up here.

    We know that at least some of the bikers involved were hit by police bullets. In a piece by Nathaniel Penn in GQ, he suggests that the vast majority of deaths from the shootout came from law enforcement.

    Now, the first two or three pops—me and half my crew being ex-military, we know what small-arms fire from pistols sounds like. We also know what squad automatic weapons [typically used by the military and law enforcement] sound like. After the third pop, it was nothing but squad automatic weapons.


    Not a single law-enforcement person lifted a finger to help any of the wounded. And they made it pretty clear that they were going to be violent if we tried to take our guys to the ambulance. Three men were bleeding out before our eyes. If those men were still alive 30, 40 minutes after being shot, they could have been saved. A prospect named Trainer from out of Tarrant County chapter was shot. They zip-tied him and laid him on the ground next to a Bandido they had handcuffed. I noticed him jerk a few times, laying there. We were sitting there, 30 feet from him, and weren’t able to help him. About two hours later, somebody walked over, looked at him, and covered him with a yellow sheet.

    Nor has the post-shootout response of the local criminal justice system been a model of impartiality:

    Justice of the peace Walter “Pete” Peterson’s across-the-board imposition of $1 million bonds—“to send a message,” he said—was almost certainly illegal. Waco P.D. officer Manuel Chavez later admitted in court that Peterson signed all 177 of the so-called cookie-cutter probable-cause affidavits in bulk, without specifying the evidence against each individual defendant. Peterson, it turns out, is a former state trooper with no legal training.

    Nevertheless, the Waco 177 still have their work cut out for them. The judge in the case, Matt Johnson, is the former law partner of district attorney Abel Reyna. Incredibly, the foreman of the first grand jury to be convened, James Head, is a Waco P.D. detective. “He was chosen totally at random, like the law says,” Reyna insisted to local reporters. If this seems brazen, consider that the commission to appoint jurors was originally going to be led by Reyna’s own father. Reyna only backed down under pressure, acquiescing to the process that led to Head’s selection. Asked why he’d permit an active police officer to lead a grand jury investigating possible police misconduct, state district judge Ralph Strother said, “I just thought, ‘Well, he’s qualified. He knows the criminal-justice system.’”

    One need not take every statement of motorcycle gang members facing possible capital murder charges at face value to believe that something went badly wrong with the police response in the Waco shootout…

    (Hat tip: Reason.)

    Texas vs. California Update for October 1, 2015:

    Thursday, October 1st, 2015

    Ah, that October chill…is not evident yet here in Austin. It’s supposed to hit 94° today.

    Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • The joys of working in Los Angeles: a $30,000 tax bill on $500 worth of freelance income.
  • California nears passage of another trial lawyer full employment act.
  • Texas had five of the ten fastest growing metropolitan areas in 2014. Austin isn’t on this list, but Midland and San Angelo are numbers one and two. (San Jose, California’s lone entry, checks in at eight.)
  • 72% of Californians polled thinks the state has a pension crisis. Too bad this thinking doesn’t seem to influence their voting patterns yet… (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • And yet a new bill would exempt some new hires from paying their fair share of pension costs. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • New pension accounting rules are about to show that a lot more California municipalities are insolvent.
  • “Instead of building freeways, expanding ports, restoring bridges and aqueducts, and constructing dams, desalination plants, and power stations, California’s taxpayers are pouring tens of billions each year into public sector pension funds.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Stockton’s bankruptcy didn’t solve it’s pension crisis.
  • Texas had a net gain of 103,465 people in 2014, the largest number of which came from California.
  • San Francisco wants to keep housing affordable…by restricting supply. Looks like somebody failed Economics 101…
  • Pension reform initiative to be refiled?
  • Unions are trying to undo San Diego’s voter-approved pension reforms. Because of course they are.
  • Texas is like Australia with the handbrake off. There is no individual income tax and no corporate income tax, which explains the state’s rapid economic and population growth. A recent downturn has sparked some concern, however. Apparently Texas will only create another 150,000 jobs during 2015 – about the same number as Australia, from a population only a few million larger. In a good year, that number of jobs is easily generated by a single Texan city.” Also: IowaHawk’s illegal human organ trafficking!
  • Texas ranks 13th in budget transparency. California? Dead last.
  • Even some California Democrats balked at increasing the state’s already high gas prices.
  • As part of the bankruptcy of northwest supermarket chain Haggen (which bought a bunch of Albertson’s stores just six months ago), they’ll be closing all their California stores. And if you guessed that Haggen is unionized, you would be correct.
  • Jerry Brown revives the state’s redevelopment agency…and its potential for eminent domain abuse.
  • Reminder: Texas is enormous.
  • A scourge spreads out upon California. Crack gangs? Illegal aliens? Try “short term rentals.”
  • Historical note: 105 years ago today, three union guys bombed the Los Angeles Times, killing 21 people.
  • Dewhurst Settles Lawsuit Against Michael Looney

    Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

    Former Lt. Governor David Dewhurst has settled his lawsuit against Houston oilman Michael Looney, who evidently received money embezzled by Dewhurst campaign adviser Kenneth “Buddy” Barfield:

    Former Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the once powerful Republican who was bilked by an adviser for at least $2.8 million, has settled a lawsuit against a Houston oilman who used a chunk of the stolen money to invest in a new business.

    The out-of-court settlement ends years of litigation by the three-term ex-lieutenant governor aimed at recouping funds embezzled from two campaign accounts by former adviser Kenneth “Buddy” Barfield, a Dewhurst spokesman said.

    Once a trusted consultant to one of Texas’ wealthiest politicians, Barfield was sentenced in February to more than seven years in federal prison for orchestrating a complex money funneling scheme in which he falsified records, bank statements, invoices and campaign finance reports.

    Dewhurst filed a civil lawsuit against Barfield in 2013 to get some of the money back. That lawsuit was settled when Barfield signed over his multi-million dollar West Austin home as part of the agreement.

    However, Dewhurst’s lawyers also set their sights on Houston businessman Michael Looney, who partnered with Barfield and, according to court documents, received “several hundred thousand dollars” of stolen Dewhurst money.

    The funds, according to the lawsuit, were used to start a new oil and gas business co-owned by Looney and Barfield that would make use of valuable seismic data under license from ExxonMobil.

    Dewhurst’s lawsuit was asking for an award of one-half interest in the seismic data and the new company. The exact value of the data was not released, but Looney’s lawyers said in a filing that Barfield “stood to make millions and millions of dollars” if the deal went through.

    The terms of the lawsuit settlement were not disclosed.


    LinkSwarm for September 29, 2015

    Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

    Another LinkSwarm. And if you’re live in Austin, don’t forget the meetup/blogshoot on October 10th.

  • Theory: The people flooding into Europe are innocent families of refugees fleeing war. Reality: “young men [heaving] rocks at the authorities and showing up on YouTube videos shouting Allahu Akbar.”
  • “There is something shallow and decadent about a pontiff who prioritizes “climate change” even as every last Christian is driven from the Archeparchy of Mosul. What will they say of such a pope? That he fiddled with the thermostat while Rome burned?”
  • If the illegal alien crisis threatens to collapse the EU, it wasn’t very strong to begin with, was it?
  • Why are liberals in love with radical Islam?

    One theory:

    I increasingly think the Democrat/Muslim union has to do with old-fashioned relativism. Democrats don’t actually believe that women’s rights and gay rights apply to everyone; white people: sure. Arabs? Well, who am I to judge? And Muslims know this.

    When Robby George is just dumbfounded as to why all these Muslims support the party of abortion on demand and gay marriage, the answer seems pretty clear to me: They’re supporting the party of abortion on demand and gay marriage for infidels


    I think the issue is more that they see Muslims as a new potential mascot group that they can champion and therefore obtain that cheap sense of moral superiority that comes with riding in like a white knight. I think a lot of liberal attitudes towards minorities aren’t actually based on the good of the minorities, but how good it makes the liberals feel to champion them. Muslims are (as of now) a tiny, insignificant minority. They’re mostly kinda swarthy, so the “it’s racism” meme is easily transferable, and a significant chunk of liberals loathe Christianity.

  • A map of worldwide Islamic State attacks.
  • In the little town of Bethlehem/Things have gotten quite scary/Islamists have gotten out and torched/the local monastery.
  • You might want to hold onto your hate for this shocking revelation: Hillary Clinton lied under oath about her secret e-mail server.
  • And polls show that Vice President Joe Biden is way, way more popular than Clinton.
  • Reminder: Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign started the “birther” movement.
  • Ten times John Boehner caved into liberals.
  • Pacifica radio station institutes socialist democracy and promptly starts to spiral down toward bankruptcy. (Hat tip: Powerline.)
  • Dealing drugs while on the DEA payroll? Automatic firing? Ha! Remember: Obama Administration. 14 day suspension.
  • Cobynite solutions belong in the realm of fantasy.” Keep in mind that I disagree with possibly three-quarters of the writer’s analysis, but still share his conclusion….
  • The World According to Xi Jinping. Sounds like a whole lot of vague platitudes…
  • “German Rheinmetall shows off 80 kilowatt naval combat laser with four 20 kw laser barrels.” Though until they can demonstrate the system through actual field testing, I wouldn’t get too excited.
  • How did I miss the fact that McGruff The Crime Dog is currently doing 16 years for possessing a marijuana grow operation and a grenade launcher?
  • Rick Perry Suspends Presidential Campaign

    Friday, September 11th, 2015

    Former Texas governor Rick Perry effectively ended his second campaign for president Friday, becoming the first candidate to exit the race as his attempt to mount a do-over of his disastrous 2012 run fell short.”


    “Perry had struggled to rise in polls and failed to qualify for last month’s prime-time debate in Cleveland — a major setback. He appeared in the undercard debate, only to see Carly Fiorina, a former technology executive, have what many observers considered a breakout performance.”

    While I like Perry better than at least 2/3rds of the GOP field (and even made the case for him back in 2012), he couldn’t overcome his gaffes enough to get voters to take a look at his record as Governor.

    I bet Evan at Perry vs. World would like that prediction back…

    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.
  • Wallace Hall/Joe Straus Update

    Thursday, August 27th, 2015

    Got a bunch of links building up concerning Wallace Hall, Joe Straus and related topics that I’m just going to shotgun out here:

  • UT reforms admissions process so it can only admit unqualified, well-connected students if it really, really wants to.
  • Wallace Hall was not impressed with the reform. “This memorializes bad acts from a hidden admissions policy.”
  • Hall says that Joe Straus came after him to make an example of him.
  • Hall sues University of Texas chancellor McRaven for access to all of the Kroll report, not just the expurgated version.
  • Meanwhile, the UT system is sueing Attorney General Ken Paxton in turn, to keep their dirty laundry secret.
  • Former Texas Public Policy Foundation President Jeff Judson is running against Joe Straus for his state house seat. Here’s his website.
  • 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.