Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Texas vs. California Update for October 23, 2014

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

With all this election news popping up, this may be the last Texas cs. California roundup until after November 4:

  • New poverty figures are out from the Census. To quote a Texas Public Policy Foundation email about them: “The government report shows that, when accounting for some cost of living differences from state-to-state, Texas’ poverty rate dipped 0.5 percent to 15.9, the national average. Meanwhile, California still has the nation’s highest poverty rate at 23.4 percent. ”
  • “Back in 2005, some 1,841 retirees pulled down more than $100,000 a year in pension checks from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. By 2009, this so-called “$100K club” had more than tripled, to 6,133 members. And by the end of 2013, membership had nearly tripled again, to 16,838, according to data from CalPERS.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami)
  • “How CalPERS ranks: average service, high costs.” (Ditto)
  • “With the Los Angeles Unified School District Board ready to fire Superintendent John Deasy, he resigned as head of the nation’s second-largest public school system just six months after he spiked his annual salary to $384,184 with $54,184 in buy-outs.” Bonus: Deasy came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he pushed Common Core.
  • The police union is suing the city of Vallejo for cuts made to their pensions during the city’s bankruptcy. if they win, they could push the city into bankruptcy again.
  • Among those 99 CalPERS pension-spiking buffs: Library Reference Desk Premium, Front Desk Assignment Premium and Audio-Visual Premium. “Hey look, I plugged the projector into my laptop! Give me a pension bonus, California taxpayers!” (Pension Tusnami again.)
  • California plows forward with drivers licenses for illegal aliens.
  • San Francisco landlords win in court: “A federal judge ruled Tuesday that San Francisco cannot solve its housing shortage by requiring landlords, through a relocation assistance ordinance, to retroactively pay massive amounts to evict tenants under California’s Ellis Act.”
  • A California athlete earning a gross of $20 million a year is down to $9,100,000 remaining after taxes and commissions.
  • Though Texas is doing better than California when it comes to pensions, there’s no reason not to move from a defined benefit plan to 401Ks for new hires.
  • Adventures With Wendy Davis Social Media

    Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

    The fun just won’t stop!

    So first the Wendy Davis Twitter account posted this:

    Oops!

    Then hilarity ensued.

    Anyone can make a mistake. But as of this writing, the Wendy Davis Twitter account still hasn’t apologized for stealing a Virginia college Republican photo and claiming it as their own…

    Wendy Davis Puts Down Jackhammer, Revs Up Backhoe

    Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

    You’ve really got to hand it to the Wendy Davis campaign. Every time you think they’ve sunk as low as they possibly can, they break out the heavy construction equipment and start digging.

    Now the campaign who asked if the guy in a wheelchair hated the disabled is wondering whether the guy married to a Mexican-American would ban interracial marriage.

    The reviews are in, and they’re not pretty:

  • Davis is “doubling down on a big blunder by defending the indefensible.”
  • “Republicans expected that Davis’s bid for governor would go nowhere. But the slow-motion seppuku that has been the Davis campaign has surpassed even the most optimistic expectations. It has been nothing short of schadenfreude-tastic.”

  • Then of course there’s the whole attacking Abbott over dildos issue. Look, from a libertarian viewpoint I happen to agree that the state’s rarely-enforced sex toy ban is pointless in the Internet age. However: 1.) Davis still doesn’t seem to understand what an Attorney General’s job is, and 2.) Everyone who would vote for Wendy Davis over dildos was already voting for her, so talking about it wins her no additional votes, and probably loses her a few among older voters.

    I’m sure there have been more incompetent campaigns than Davis’, but I’m wracking my brain trying to think of one so high-profile and well-funded that crashed and burned so spectacularly, or that managed to alienate so many people in such a short period of time with such sleazy and counterproductive tactics.

    Its almost as if Democrats know her campaign is doomed, and have encouraged this offensive incompetence as a means of distracting attention from their deeply flawed senate race candidates in other states.

    “I suspect her candidacy is an elaborate prank pulled on the people of Texas, and she is actually a middle-aged actress from southern California hired by Funny or Die.” [Disagree: There's precious little evidence the Funny or Die people are capable of coming up with something this funny.]

    Maybe she has a secret bet with a billionaire (ala Brewster’s Millions) that she can run a campaign so unbelievably sleazy and incompetent that she can get The Nation to endorse Greg Abbott. Or maybe she’s a Karl Rove plant.

    Also this:

    (Would have had this up yesterday, but too much news puffing up…)

    Buddy Barfield Pleads Guilty

    Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

    Remember Kenneth “Buddy” Barfield, the political consultant who was accused of embezzling over $2 million from David Dewhurst campaign funds? When last we checked, he had sold his house to settle a civil lawsuit from Dewhurst.

    Well, Barfield just plead guilty to embezzling $1.8 million from various David Dewhurst campaigns.

    “While working on behalf of the David Dewhurst Campaign and Dewhurst for Texas, Barfield knowingly and intentionally engaged in a scheme to defraud the entities of campaign dollars for his own benefit,” a plea agreement signed by Barfield stated.

    “Barfield used the stolen funds to pay for expenses such as his home mortgage, school tuition for his children, personal investments and other living expenses.”

    Dewhurst campaign officials said Barfield concealed his theft from the campaign accounts by falsifying bank deposit slips, vendor invoices and finance reports to make it appear that the accounts had far more cash on hand than they actually contained.

    In the meantime, Barfield and his side businesses, such as Alexander Group Consulting, were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for services that were never performed.

    As I noted in the original story, the embezzlement was a symptom of disorder in the Dewhurst campaign, not its cause. It also shows why it’s a good idea for any political campaign with funds of $1 million to have outside auditing…

    LinkSwarm for October 20, 2014

    Monday, October 20th, 2014

    I was at a writer’s workshop this weekend, so it’s slow going getting back into the swing of things:

  • Early voting in Texas starts today. Find your polling place here.
  • ObamaCare is failing to control costs.
  • Sure, it’s screwed over the many people who have lost their policies or seen their rates skyrocket, but besides Democratic Party functionaries, is there anyone who is happy with ObamaCare? Why yes, there is: Insurance companies
  • Department of Defense hid discovery of chemical weapons in Iraq. In other words: Bush was right, and his critics were wrong…
  • Looks like U.S. air power is finally making a difference in Kobane.
  • On the other hand: “U.S. Humanitarian Aid Going to ISIS: Not only are foodstuffs, medical supplies—even clinics—going to ISIS, the distribution networks are paying ISIS ‘taxes’ and putting ISIS people on their payrolls.” Let’s not do that…
  • A sign of how deadly Ebola is: “That Science article written by 58 medical professionals tracing the emergence of Ebola—5 of them died from Ebola before it was published.” (Hat tip: Jerry Pournelle via Instapundit.)
  • The Democratic talking points that “Republican budget cuts” helped create the Ebola outbreak are such obvious lies that the Washington Post gave it four Pinocchios.
  • Speaking of Ebola…

  • “Having Jimmy Carter out-hawk you is like having Joe Biden attack you for being verbally undisciplined…Doing nothing about the Islamic State was Obama’s foreign policy until the domestic political situation made his foreign policy untenable.”
  • Another Democratic Senate candidates refuses to say she voted for Obama. Hey, remember when all those Republican senate candidates refused to say whether they voted for Reagan? Me neither.
  • So just how much did Kay Hagan’s family get from a USDA energy program? USDA: We’re not going to tell you.
  • Democrats bringing in Marc Ellis is pretty much a sign they know they’re already breaking the law.
  • Tom Harkin is not pissing his campaign contributions down Bruce Braley’s rathole of a campaign.
  • Why should blacks turn out for the Democratic Party?
  • Real rape vs. “rape culture”:

  • Why Ezra Klein supports “An Enabling Act for the Salem Rape Culture Trials.”
  • Then Klein doubled down on stupid, proving how deeply over his head he’s in. Again.
  • FIRE‘s VP also takes a wack at Klein’s stupidity.
  • Is there any doubt that, under these new kangaroo court procedures, the innocent Duke lacrosse players would have been expelled labeled sex offenders? I suspect that for Social justice Warriors, this outcome isn’t a bug, but a feature
  • MoveOn.org has a “Get the money out of politics” ad contest. Unexpected conservative landslide ensues.
  • World’s least shocking news: New York Times reporters follow liberal Twitter feeds almost exclusively. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • The #GamerGate Hate Hoax. But it’s not like Robert Stacy McCain knows anything about online death threats…
  • Has PETA reminded us what insane lunatics they are recently? Well, they’re complaining about Google View using a camel.
  • ISIS kills ISIS.

  • Is your religion approved by the City of Houston, comrade?
  • All about the man recreating the 1918 flu strain that killed 40 million people
  • Remembering Aitazaz Hassan Bangash, whose sacrifice saved hundred from a suicide bomber in Pakistan.
  • This looks like it could be an interesting book.
  • Holly Hansen has the rundown on Round Rock ISD board candidates.
  • SXSW would like to to keep the peasants from exercising their annoying freedoms during their festival. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • What every President drank.
  • Wendy Davis Stops Digging, Gets Out Jackhammer

    Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

    Once again, the Wendy Davis campaign is the gift that keeps giving to conservative pundits. It’s all over but the voting at this point, but Davis’ thrashing, flailing campaign is so ham-handed and tone-deaf that she keeps staying in the news for all the wrong reasons.

    First came this amazingly stupid ad:

    Reaction was swift and pretty much universally negative.

    Fox: “Absolute desperation…catastrophic.”

    Even ultra-lefty Mother Jones was appalled: “Wendy Davis just released an ad attacking Greg Abbott, her opponent for governor in Texas, which is, to be blunt, bullshit. It’s offensive and nasty and it shouldn’t exist. She’s basically calling Abbott a cripple.”

    MSNBC? “A huge blunder.” “Every Democrat I met down there was appalled.” “She’s gonna get creamed.”

    Indeed, the ad is so ill-considered and offensive that it may derail what I thought would be her next gig: a position at MSNBC.

    As Hot Air noted: “Perhaps Wendy Davis isn’t familiar with what an Attorney General does.”

    Also note that this ad didn’t come from an outside group or SuperPAC, this came from the Davis campaign itself. Her fingerprints are all over it and she has no deniability.

    So what did Davis do after this nigh-on universal condemnation? She doubled down on stupid.

    And this happened:

    And Abbott? He’s just shrugging over the whole thing, and why shouldn’t he? Never interrupt your opponent when they’re in the process of committing suicide. Also note that he eschewed the frequent liberal tactic of calling a press conference to talk about how offended he is. When you’re a front-runner with a comfortable lead and a big money advantage, you don’t need such cheap theatrics.

    Texas vs. California Roundup for October 9, 2014

    Thursday, October 9th, 2014

    Another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • If Stockton bankruptcy judge’s ruling is upheld, a lot of California cities could actually start working for citizens again, rather than public employee unions.
  • There are plenty of lessons to be learned from Stockton’s bankruptcy. Too bad Stockton’s officials seem unwilling to learn them:

    Pension contributions for public-safety workers now amount to 41 percent of payroll. That would put the total cost of salary, health benefits, and pensions at about $120,000 annually for a fifth-year officer…The long saga of Stockton’s decline dramatizes the inefficiency and illogic of union-dominated, monopolistic, government-labor markets.

  • But letting cities escape their crushing public sector union pension burdens doesn’t sit well with California’s looter class. Solution: propose eliminating Chapter 9 bankruptcy. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • According to the September labor report, California did manage to add 313,900 jobs between August 2013 and August 2014. But Texas added 395,200. (Hat tip: WILLisms Twitter feed.)
  • California legislature decides that students don’t need any of that stinking due process.
  • Hey, remember those “temporary” tax hikes Jerry Brown got voters to approve? Guess what?
  • California’s roads are among the worst in the country.
  • Someone should tell that to the city of Stanton, California, which reached for tax hikes rather than cutting the pay of unionized workers.
  • How San Jose reformed their finances using transparency. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • How California browbeat Toyota over closing a money-losing plant.
  • The California-based manufacturing facility of Colorado-based Boulder Electric Vehicle shuts down after receiving a $3 million grant from the California Energy Commission.
  • How California’s for-profit Thomas Jefferson Law School got itself into serious financial trouble through excessive dependence on loans (both the student type and the tax-exempt bond type).
  • Americans don’t want their state to secede so much as they want to kick California out of the union. (Hat tip: Karl Rehn of KRTraining.)
  • A look at PSAT participation rates in Texas. (Also via WILLisms.)
  • Californian Trip Hawkins, of EA, Apple and 3DO fame, filed for bankruptcy in 2011. This year, the 9th circuit ruled that a profligate life style (for certain values of “profligate”), does not, in fact, constitute a “willful” attempt to avoid bankruptcy. Mr. Hawkins seemed to be living well, but not necessarily living large
  • California owner of Akron, Ohio mall abandoned since 2008 declares bankruptcy. And since it’s the Halloween season, and abandoned malls are wonderfully creepy places, here’s a pic:

  • LinkSwarm for Friday, October 3, 2014

    Friday, October 3rd, 2014

    Here’s your Friday LinkSwarm of semi-random linkage goodness:

  • ObamaCare’s war on women: higher premiums, cancelled plans, fewer options.
  • ObamaCare has already cost $73 billion and counting.
  • And the Healthcare.Gov website cost 2.5 times what the Obama Administration told us.
  • The inequality police are worried that we are living in a new Gilded Age. We should be so lucky: Between 1880 and 1890, the number of employed Americans increased by more than 13 percent, and wages increased by almost 50 percent. I am going to go out on a limb and predict that the Barack Obama years will not match that record; the share of employed Americans is lower today than it was when he took office, and household income is down. Grover Cleveland is looking like a genius in comparison.

  • The middle class is poorer today than it was in 1989. Thanks, Obama! (Hat tip: Instapundit).
  • World Health Organization refuses to approve experimental drugs for Ebola patients. Because they might get sick…
  • CDC chief thinks a ban on travelers from Ebola-infected countries would be “wrong.” Wrong for who? People who won’t get infected?
  • Real Salon or parody Salon? “The problem with ‘Ebola’: The troubling, xenophobic language of disease.”
  • And if Ebola wasn’t bad enough, Enterovirus D68 has been found in four people who died.
  • And that Enterovirus D68 outbreak may be related to Obama’s decision not to deport illegal aliens.
  • Even 60% of Democrats think Obama is a wuss when it comes to ISIS.
  • U.S. troops fighting in the warkinetic overseas contingency engagement against ISIS are not eligible for campaign medals.
  • NRA’s Political victory Fund has released their ranking of candidates. That’s the one for Texas, but you can select all the other states as well.
  • Liberals are hypocrites when it comes to big bucks “dark money” fundraising.
  • The places where our self-appointed elites congregate are turning into precisely the places where actual voters are getting thinner and thinner on the ground.”
  • Despite what radical feminists would have you believe, sex crimes on campus are going down, not up.
  • Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott: voting fraud is real.
  • Appeals court finds Texas abortion laws constitutional.
  • “‘He’s from Texas, honey,’ I yelled at the television, startling the cats, ‘That’s not “armed”, that’s “dressed”, you island-dwelling herbivore! Jesus, you cud-chewing Eloi, how do you people open packages? With your teeth, like an animal?” For a bonus, try to work “cud-chewing Eloi” into your next conversation… (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • More domestic violence in the MSM than the NFL: ESPN, ABC, CBS, NBC and the New York Times.
  • Bill Maher goes after liberals being soft on Islam. “Saudi women can’t vote or drive or hold a job or leave the house without a man. Overwhelming majorities in every Muslim country say a wife is always obliged to obey her husband. That all seems like a bigger issue than an evangelical Christian bakery refusing to make gay wedding cakes. ”
  • What happens when you bail out of an SR-71 at Mach 3 and 78,000 feet.
  • Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions, but something about this film has “suck” written all over it…
  • Two words: Homemade flamethrower.

  • Texas vs. California: Hispanic Edition

    Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

    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.

    Politico Names Wendy Davis As One of Worst Campaigns of 2014

    Thursday, September 25th, 2014

    This Politico piece won’t reveal anything new to anyone who has been following the campaign, but it will probably prove quite a shock for out-of-state liberals who might still believe Davis has a chance:

    Davis’ June 2013 filibuster against a restrictive anti-abortion measure in the Texas Legislature endeared her to liberals nationwide, with everyone from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to actress Lena Dunham voicing support. All of a sudden, it seemed, Democrats had a high-wattage candidate capable of the seemingly impossible: turning Texas blue.

    It’s been all downhill from there for Davis, a candidate for Texas governor.

    A Dallas Morning News story in January raised questions about inconsistencies in how she recounted her life story. In March, she had a weaker-than-expected showing against an obscure and underfunded primary opponent. A month later she was dissed by her own party’s governors association. And in June, the state senator shook up her campaign.

    Meanwhile, in a conservative state that hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994, Davis has struggled to demonstrate that she’s focused on more than abortion rights.

    A recent New York Times poll showed Davis trailing Republican state Attorney General Greg Abbott by double digits.

    And Politico doesn’t mention the poor in-person appearances or the general lackluster nature of her campaign…