Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

LinkSwarm for February 1, 2016

Monday, February 1st, 2016

The Iowa Caucuses are today! Why they’re Monday rather than the usual Tuesday, I couldn’t tell you. (And speaking of elections, today is your last day to register to vote in the March 1 Texas primary.)

Here’s a LinkSwarm with more than a dollop of presidential election news:

  • ObamaCare is an exercise in moving goalposts:

    Back in 2015 the CBO estimated 21 million Obamacare enrollees in 2016. They are now estimating 13 million will sign up this year. How many will actually sign up is not going to be known for another year or so, but I wouldn’t particularly bet on it being more than 21 million, and I wouldn’t particularly counsel against thinking that it’ll be less than 13 million.

    Oh, the news gets better. The original claim that 11 million people signed up for Obamacare in 2015 has likewise been revised by this report, which now apparently reports 9.5 million. And here’s something that will really reassure folks worried about our deficits: the original assumption was that there would be 15 million subsidized plans and 6 million unsubsidized ones in 2015, or 71%/29%. The actual totals were 11 million subsidized, 2 million unsubsidized, or 85%/15%. Let me put it a different way: the Obama administration has managed to somehow simultaneously drastically miss their signup goals AND do so in a way where there won’t even a commensurate savings for taxpayers.

  • “The Clintons have made careers of defying our assumptions about how low they can go.”
  • Hillary’s emails disqualify her from the presidency. “There is near certainty that at least the Russians and the Chinese but also the Iranians and North Koreans were reading all incoming and outgoing email to Hillary in real time from almost the moment she hooked up her ‘home brew’ server.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • More on the subject by Guy Benson at Townhall.
  • Bernie Sanders: The bum who wants your money. “Despite a prestigious degree, however, Sanders failed to earn a living, even as an adult. It took him 40 years to collect his first steady paycheck — and it was a government check.”
  • Republicans are more engaged in Iowa than Democrats.
  • Jim Geraghty offers up a forest of links why each of Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio can win or lose tonight.
  • Ace of Spades is shocked, shocked that the Republican establishment is trying to take out Ted Cruz to help Marco Rubio.
  • Financial heavy hitter Sheldon Adelson is backing Cruz. (Hat tip: Conservatives4TedCruz.)
  • Watch Cruz turn around an Iowa farmer hostile over ethanol subsidies.
  • “If there is anyone with a chance of underperforming his 28 percent of the electorate (again, the new Register number), it is Trump. And if Trump does underperform, the question will be whether he falls enough for Cruz to catch him.” (Hat tip: Conservatives4TedCruz.)
  • Trump does poorly among Republicans with college degrees, but well among those with less education. “He is continually the candidate not only with the highest very favorable rating, but the highest very unfavorable rating. He is utterly unacceptable to a very significant portion of the Republican electorate.”
  • “Why there are so many things with titles like ‘Why I still believe Donald Trump will never be president.'”
  • “Jeb Bush kicks off 3 state farewell tour.”
  • Enivironmentalist predictions from 1970: “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • EU goes out of the way to insist that widespread sexual assault by Islamic men in Cologne had nothing to do with Islamic ‘refugees.’
  • Another day, another 100 Nigerians killed by Boko Haram.
  • Finland farked.
  • Tips for non-western immigrants to America. “Perhaps this little rhyme can help: To live here in the West, God willing, just say no to honor killing.”
  • A whole lot of hedge funds are shorting the Yuan.
  • Larry Correia reports from the SHOT show.
  • The last gunsmith. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Remembering Marvin Minsky, and how he cited Hayek in some of his work.
  • “Muslim Uber driver attacks pregnant woman’s service dog.”
  • Republican Lujan Beats Democrat Urasti in Special Election for San Antonio State Rep District

    Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

    Well, I’m not sure many people saw this coming:

    Winning in a district long held by Democrats, Republican John Lujan outpolled Tomás Uresti in Tuesday’s special runoff in Texas House District 118.

    Filling a seat vacated last year by former state Rep. Joe Farias, D-San Antonio, the GOP candidate will serve out the remainder of Farias’ unexpired term, through the end of the year.

    Another election is set for March 1 to fill the seat for a two-year term starting in 2017. Lujan and Uresti are seeking their parties’ nominations in that race, and each has a primary opponent, so the winner won’t be decided until Nov. 8.

    “The district with about 87,000 voters handed Lujan the win by a 171-vote margin.”

    State District 118 is three-quarters Hispanic and largely suburban/exurban, and in the 2012 election it went 60/40 for Democrat Joe Farias, who resigned in August. Why he resigned, triggering a special election, is a good question, as he had already announced he would not run for reelection this year, and the House is not scheduled to convene until 2017.

    Despite the fact that the district is going to be hard to hold in November, it’s still an impressive feat for Republicans to have captured it at all. Proving that Republicans can win in clear majority Hispanic districts, and forcing Democrats to devote the time and resources necessary to effectively contest the seat, counts as a big win.

    (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)

    Rick Perry Endorses Ted Cruz

    Monday, January 25th, 2016

    Ted Cruz has picked up the endorsement of former Texas governor Rick Perry for President, and will help campaign as a surrogate for Cruz in Iowa. It’s not a huge endorsement, given how Perry’s own presidential campaign flamed out, but it’s a nice pickup for Cruz, and solidifies his odds for winning Texas on March 1. Also, it’s not as automatic a choice as some out-of-state commentators may believe, given that Perry endorsed (however tepidly) Cruz’s opponent David Dewhurst in his 2012 senate race. It may also indicate conservatives are coalescing around Cruz as the alternative to Donald Trump.

    In any case, it’s a worth a hell of a lot more than Lindsey Graham’s endorsement of Jeb Bush…

    LinkSwarm for January 22, 2016

    Friday, January 22nd, 2016

    Been a trying week. Have a Friday LinkSwarm, on me…

  • Mark Steyn reiterates his central thesis. Namely secular welfare state = low birth rates = import of Muslim immigrants = extinction of the west. “It’s Still the Demography, Stupid.”
  • Welcome to the ObamaCare gaming death spiral.
  • Krauthammer: Hillary’s email scandal is now now worse than what Snowden did, because she exposed information that was far more sensitive.
  • Mark Rich may be dead, but the Clintons are still raking in dough from his associates thanks to Clinton’s pardon of him.
  • Democrat-controlled Flint, Michigan knowingly poisons its citizens with unsafe drinking water.
  • Myth: Ted Cruz is unpopular outside the GOP: Fact: He has higher favorable ratings than Donald Trump or Jeb Bush.
  • “In today’s atmosphere there can be no greater reason to support Ted Cruz than the fact that so many entrenched Washington insiders hate him.”
  • National Review takes a short break from their Trump-bashing to look at how the mainstream media has made him such a big deal through saturation coverage. “The media that so thoroughly built up Trump as a contrast to his boring, predictable, consistently conservative GOP rivals might not find him so easy to tear down.”
  • “Are the Global Warmistas Simply Juicing Up the Latest Years’ Temperatures With ‘Adjustments’ While Reducing the Temperatures of Previous Years, To Always Make the Current Year ‘The Hottest’? Sure seems that way.”
  • Global Warming advocates latest excuse: stupid lying satellites.
  • Anti-GMO scientific papers may have manipulated data.
  • Female Muslim scholar says it’s just fine and dandy to rape non-Muslim women to humiliate them.
  • “Western Europe’s elites have pretended that importing millions of Muslims from countries ranging from Morocco to Afghanistan raises no issues and creates no problems. That this is untrue has been obvious for a long time.”
  • Warning: Pretty much every aspect of this story is horrifying and disgusting.
  • Law enforcement on Open Carry in Texas: “We have no concerns and we have had no problems.” (Hat tip: Push Junction.)
  • Slashdot: California Assemblyman Jim Cooper wants to add crypto-backdoors to your phone. Wanna guess which political party Cooper is a member of? Go ahead. Guess.
  • Remembering Sergei Korolev, the legendary “chief designer” of the Soviet space program. (Hat tip: Gregory Benford’s Facebook page.)
  • Science Fiction editor David Hartwell has died. He was a hugely important figure in the field…
  • Waco Shootout Update: The View From the Cossacks

    Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

    The Dallas Observer has two interesting pieces up on the Waco biker shootout:

    First, a profile of the Cossacks, which paints them as a tough but mostly mostly law-abiding group. Much of the piece covers Jake “Rattle Can” Rhyne, a Cossack who worked a day-job as an iron-worker and helped coach his children’s sports teams.

    That was until May 17, 2015, when a gunfight took his life, along with those of eight other men. The details are sketchy, and Waco police haven’t done much to answer the lingering questions, but a melee involving an “outlaw” club, the notorious Bandidos, left Jake dying in the parking lot of the Waco Twin Peaks, bleeding from bullet wounds to his neck and torso.

    Witnesses say he convulsed and bled for up to 45 minutes, receiving no medical help from police who swarmed all around him. Ambulances were parked nearby, but Rhyne spent his final moments with a young Cossack who desperately tried to staunch the bleeding with a bandanna. Jake Wilson, the “brother” who was with him, calls his death “a very big injustice.”

    Second, an interview with Wilson, one of the surviving Cossacks, who claims Waco police made no attempt to tend to the wounded, or even allow them to be tended to.

    John Wilson: … I ask him if several of us couldn’t pick up Jake along with some other ones that were wounded and carry them to the ambulances, and he basically told me that if I didn’t want to get shot, I wouldn’t.

    [So the police] made no attempt during that time to give first aid or any kind of aid to Jake.

    No. Absolutely not. Every one of those cop cars had some kind of first aid kit in ‘em. And not a single one at any time walked over, brought us a first aid kit, offered to tie a tourniquet on anybody, patch a hole, anything. Our guys were sitting there with nothing but bandannas in their hands trying to stuff bullet holes.

    Could you tell from your vantage point looking at Jake [Rhyne] if there was a lot of blood loss?

    Yes.

    So it’s possible — I’m not a doctor, of course, and neither are you — that he bled out.

    Well, I have to assume that those guys that were alive 30 minutes after the fact that died without medical care, you know, we can only make assumptions, but their odds of survival would have been better if they’d had medical care. Would they have died anyway? Maybe. As you say, I’m not a doctor. But they certainly deserved the opportunity to try to live. And to try to recover from it. And the opportunity was sitting right there in an ambulance 50 yards away that they weren’t allowed access to.

    This accords with previous reports of police not offering medical aid to the wounded.

    I’ve often defended police over unrealistic expectations that they always make the exact right call in split-second life-or-death situations. But there was nothing split-second in a Waco aftermath that saw people bleeding to death (some from police bullets) tens of minutes after the scene was secure. That smells less like incompetence and more like (at a minimum) manslaughter.

    I’ll reiterate something I’ve said before: 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.

    Texas vs. California Update for January 19, 2016

    Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

    Been a while since I did a Texas vs. California update, due to Reasons, so here’s one:

  • Texas ranks as the third freest state in the union, behind New Hampshire and South Dakota. California ranks second to last, just ahead of Massachusetts.
  • Texas added 16,300 Jobs in November.
  • How’s this for heavy-handed symbolism? California’s legislature plans to close one of its doors to the public, but continue to allow access to lobbyists. Because you’ve always got to see your real boss when he comes around…
  • California’s unfunded liabilities for CalPERS and CalSTARS spiked by $24 billion is fiscal 2014/2015. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • The much ballyhooed pension reform plan won’t make it on the ballot this year. Supporters are now aiming for 2018. Who knows how broke California will be by then… (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • That’s probably because the game is rigged against pension reform. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Jerry Brown unveils a budget in California. The budget increases are relatively modest, by California standards, but $2 billion into the rainy day fund isn’t even remotely going to cover California’s huge unfunded pension gap, and most of the structural bloat in the budget remains.
  • More on the same theme:

    While all the numbers are constantly in flux, in 2014-15, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System saw its status fall from 76.3 percent funded to 73.3 percent, likely due to the fact that investment returns fell far below expectations. The long-neglected California State Teachers’ Retirement System, as of June 30, 2014, was 69 percent funded. Combined, the systems report unfunded pension promises of more than $160 billion.

    The current budget shows steep and consistent increases in state funding to the two systems. Whereas CalPERS is set to receive $4.3 billion in state contributions in the 2015-16 fiscal year, which ends June 30, it could receive $4.8 billion the following year. CalSTRS is to receive $1.9 billion this year and about $2.47 billion next year.

    In comparison, CalPERS and CalSTRS received $3.1 billion and $1.26 billion, respectively, in 2011-2012.

    While it is perfectly reasonable for costs to rise over time, the rate that costs have risen for the two giant pension funds is mainly a consequence of California trying to play catch-up for years of inadequate forecasting and planning, aggravated by investment losses. But because the pension systems are run for public employees – CalPERS’ board is full of former public employee union leaders – the necessary changes and adjustments have been made far too late to avoid calamity.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • On the actual mechanics of pension reform, and the impossibility implementing them at the state level in California. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Part 2, examining the possibility of reform at the local level. (Ditto.)
  • “California government, however, serves one purpose. It always reminds America what not to do.” Also:

    California has given us three new truths about government.

    One, the higher that taxes rise, the worse state services become.

    Two, the worse a natural disaster hits, the more the state contributes to its havoc.

    And three, the more existential the problem, the more the state ignores it.

    California somehow has managed to have the fourth-highest gas taxes in the nation, yet its roads are rated 44th among the 50 states. Nearly 70 percent of California roads are considered to be in poor or mediocre condition by the state senate. In response, the state legislature naturally wants to raise gas taxes, with one proposal calling for an increase of 12 cents per gallon, which would give California the highest gas taxes in the nation.

  • Federal judge rejects San Bernardino’s bankruptcy proposal, saying it doesn’t contain enough information.
  • Sacramento continues to ignore the needs of rural residents. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Half of California’s driver’s licenses are issued to illegal aliens.
  • After years at the top of the relocation list, Texas was only the 9th biggest relocation destination in 2015.
  • On the other hand, Texas was still the top destination according to Allied Van Lines.
  • But businesses continue to flee California:

    In California, costs to run a business are higher than in other states and nations largely due to the states tax and regulatory policies and the business climate shows little chance of improving. It is understandable that from 2008 through 2015, at least 1,687 California disinvestment events occurred, a count that reflects only those that became public knowledge. Experts in site selection generally agree that at least five events fail to become public knowledge for every one that does. Thus it is reasonable to conclude that a minimum of 10,000 California disinvestment events have occurred during that period….For about 40 years California has been viewed as a state in which it is difficult to do business. Gov. Jerry Brown’s Administration’s less than candid approach regarding the business climate has misled the Legislature, the news media and the public about the flight of capital, facilities and jobs to other states and nations.

    The study also shows that Texas had the most new facilities opening up in the nation in 2014, with 689. California, despite being the most populous state, tied for 12th with 170.

  • 85% of Marin County’s special district workers collected over $100,000.” Bonus: Their pensions are underfunded too. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Troubled California Wine Retailer Files for Bankruptcy. Premier Cru owes customers almost $70 million for wines it never delivered.”
  • This county-by-county breakdown of recession recovery is full of (very slow loading) data, and I haven’t come close to digesting it yet.
  • State Rep. Jason Villalba (R-ino) Garners a Primary Challenger

    Monday, January 11th, 2016

    Remember Rep. Jason Villalba, the ostensible Republican responsible for such hits as let’s make it illegal for bloggers and gun owners to photograph the police and I’m going to block my critics on Twitter?

    Well, he’s attracted a Republican primary challenger in Dan Morenoff.

    From his bio:

    Dan Morenoff is an unhyphenated, full-spectrum Conservative who grew up in the suburbs, went to the only public high school in America named for a baseball player, and married a girl who sat next to him in a 7th grade history class.

    He studied economics and political science at Columbia, while running the school’s Conservative newspaper (he believes it was the only one in Manhattan at the time) and working with a think tank on entitlement policy.

    After college, Dan worked again on entitlement reform with Senator Phil Gramm for a number of years,before leaving for law school at the University of Chicago. There, too, Dan led the institution’s leading Conservative organization.

    Since 2001, Dan’s lived in Dallas, where he’s worked as a lawyer and raised three girls with his wife Erica. In that time, Dan has led the local chapters of both the Federalist Society and the Republican Jewish Coalition, while serving on the boards of various local charities (including his kids’ Jewish day school and his synagogue).

    Dan, you had me at “Federalist Society.”

    (Hat tip: Push Junction.)

    “Refugee” Arrested As Terrorism Subject in Houston

    Friday, January 8th, 2016

    Another one of Obama’s “refugees” makes his presence known:

    Authorities said Thursday that two Iraqi refugees have been arrested on terrorism-related charges in Houston and California.

    According to the FBI’s Houston office, Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, 24, was charged with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State, unlawfully attempting to gain U.S. citizenship and making false statements.

    Al Hardan, a Palestinian born in Iraq, entered the United States as a refugee in November 2009 and has lived in Houston since being granted legal permanent residence in August 2011, the FBI said in a prepared statement.

    Authorities said Al Hardan is accused of attempting to provide support and resources, including “training, expert advice and assistance and personnel — specifically himself — to a known foreign terrorist organization.”

    The FBI also said that Al Hardan lied on his application to be a naturalized U.S. citizen.

    “He allegedly represented he was not associated with a terrorist organization when, in fact, he associated with members and sympathizers of ISIL throughout 2014,” the FBI said.

    Somehow all these terrorists and rapists keep slipping through that “rigorous screening” Obama likes to talk about…

    Waco Biker Shootout Update: Top Bandidos Arrested

    Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

    Three of the top Bandidos leaders have caught federal charges.

    National leaders of the Bandidos biker gang were arrested Wednesday on charges of racketeering and waging a deadly “war” on the rival Cossacks gang, federal authorities said.

    An indictment announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Antonio accuses three Bandidos leaders of sanctioning a three-year fight that included violent clashes with rival gangs and distribution of methamphetamine.

    The accusations focus on a rivalry that came under renewed attention in May, when a meeting of biker groups at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, ended in gunfire that left nine people dead.

    Authorities believe that the fatal confrontation began when members of the Cossacks crashed a meeting of a confederation of biker clubs that included the Bandidos at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco. The dispute ended in gunfire between the bikers and police standing nearby.

    The federal indictment accuses John Portillo, the Bandidos’ national vice president, of using dues and donations to pay legal expenses of its members days after the Waco shooting. Portillo, along with national president Jeffrey Pike and national sergeant-at-arms Justin Cole Forster, are charged with racketeering, drug distribution and other crimes.

    None of those three shows up on the list of bikers arrested at the Waco shootout.

    “Using dues and donations to pay legal expenses of its members days after the Waco shooting…” Is that illegal? I’m actually asking here. I’m not aware of that violating any specific law, but I could be wrong.

    Federal charges are heavy, as Uncle Sam has essentially unlimited resources with which to investigate and make the case. As the Bandidos have been involved in drugs in the past, that may be the easiest charge to make stick. But it’s still mighty curious that no one has been charged with murder for a shootout that left nine dead….

    LinkSwarm for January 5, 2016

    Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

    I hope everyone else has had a happier New Year than I, since my father passed away after a long battle with cancer Sunday.

    On the plus side, I saw the new Star Wars and the Texans made the playoffs. Doesn’t quite balance out, though…

  • Remember: It’s OK to rape 13-year olds as long as you’re a well-connected Democratic Party donor. Remember, this is the case that had Bill Clinton taking the Lolita Express to Pedophile Island.
  • “Nobody needed criminal convictions to drop Cosby – just multiple accusations of sexual assault and some out-of-court payouts. But multiple accusations of sexual assault, out-of-court payouts and the loss of his law license are apparently not enough to bar Bill Clinton from another eight years in the White House.”
  • Hillary Cliton’s many conflicts of interest:

    At Hillary Clinton’s confirmation hearing for secretary of state, she promised she would take “extraordinary steps…to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.”

    Later, more than two dozen companies and groups and one foreign government paid former President Bill Clinton a total of more than $8 million to give speeches around the time they also had matters before Mrs. Clinton’s State Department, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.

    Fifteen of them also donated a total of between $5 million and $15 million to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, the family’s charity, according to foundation disclosures.

  • Six things a Washington Post reporter found out following Ted Cruz around. “The majority of the undecided voters I have spoken with have said they were very impressed after hearing Cruz speak. Many of them said they were undecided coming into a rally and supported him when it was over.”
  • Obama to judicial branch: “Screw you, I’m going to give work permits to illegal aliens you’ve ordered deported.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “Unfortunately, 2016, the little of it that we have so far seen, is already beginning to look like another year of Grim Slide, of a world stumbling down a slippery slope to become less secure, less stable, and less free.”
  • People are forgetting what an awful festering hellhole the Soviet Union was.
  • Iran and Saudi Arabia have severed diplomatic relations over Saudi execution of a Shiite cleric, and Kuwait has recalled their ambassador from Tehran; don’t be surprised if the other Sunni nations follow suit. Good thing we have a Nobel Peace Prize winner in the White House…
  • Turkey’s Prime Minister: Hey, you know who was a model of effective leadership? Adolf Hitler.
  • Swiss General: Europe “On The Verge Of Civil War,” Citizens Must Arm Themselves.
  • Oslo police: “We Have Lost the City.”

    It looks like Karachi, Basra, and Mogadishu all rolled into one. People sell drugs openly just next to the Gronland subway station.

    It’s not Norway or Europe anymore, except when there is welfare money to be collected. The police have largely given up. Early in 2010 Aftenposten stated that there are sharia patrols in this area, and gay couples are assaulted and chased away.

  • Mass sexual assaults involving up to 1,000 Arab men on New Year’s Eve in Cologne.
  • “IRS Employee Whose Job Was Assisting Victims Of Identity Theft Charged In $1 Million Identity Theft Tax Fraud.” (Hat tip: Instapundit)
  • Rahm Emanuel’s failure in Chicago is emblematic of the blue model failure in America’s cities. “The city’s bloated pension obligations have already forced Emanuel to make severe education cuts. It will continue to force cuts in city services in various cities, making it harder and harder for mayors to govern, and increasing the antagonism among various constituencies.”
  • Murder rates drop as concealed carry permits soar.” Plus this: “Between 2012 and 2014 the number of black permit holders increased from 10,389 to 17,594, according to the report.”
  • Mississippi Democratic City Councilman urges constituents to hurl rocks and bricks at the police.
  • Armed mother successfully defends home and children against three armed thugs. But gun-grabbers want to disarm her
  • Bahamas resort project gives in to Chinese demands to secure more construction loans. Result: Bankruptcy.
  • Ben Carson’s campaign staff quits. There’s a reason president of the United States isn’t an entry-level job…
  • Former feminist now a pro-life activist who is disillusioned with feminism. (Hat tip: John C. Wright.)
  • Confessions of a social justice warrior white knight. “Their communities thrive on self loathing disguised as elitism…SJWs insist their goal is to make everyone equal, and for a long time I believed it, but their communities actually enforce factionalism and division.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Wendy Davis: Still digging.