Archive for the ‘Texas’ Category

LinkSwarm for December 29, 2017

Friday, December 29th, 2017

Welcome to the last LinkSwarm of one wild year!

  • Five Great Ways Trump Shook Up Washington in 2017.” (Hat tip: Mark Tapscott at Instapundit.)
  • “The RNC closed November 2017 with $39.9 million cash on hand, while the DNC closed November 2017 with $2.6 million in debt.”
  • Democratic Party voter registration is down in a number of states. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Panic at the Washington Post as even they start to realize that the Russia-Trump fantasy is bunk. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Trouble in Texas: “Public Schools Using Taxpayer Resources to Defeat Republicans, Elect Democrats.”
  • Islamic State bombing in Kabul kills 40.
  • Why #NeverTrump should get with the program.
  • This weeks example of liberals bigwigs acting like sexual creeps comes from: Vice. Gee, with a name like that, what are the odds?
  • “Stephen Henderson, the managing director of opinion and commentary at The Detroit Free Press and a Pulitzer Prize Winner, was fired for alleged sexual misconduct.”
  • The link between polygamy and war.
  • Australia ends airstrikes against the Islamic State. That happens when you run out of targets. Thanks for the help, Australia!
  • “Democrat run Baltimore had 343 homicides in 2017, sets record for killings per capita.” A singular achievement for a city that already gave us Homicide: A Year in the Killing Streets, The Corner, and The Wire… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Here’s a real sweetheart: An Egyptian lawyer who says its a duty for Muslim men to rape women who wear revealing clothing.
  • How the beloved Charlie Brown Christmas Special almost never happened. Network executives hated the jazzy score and all that Christ stuff in Linus’ speech…
  • John Nolte on how hard Hollywood sucked this year. Though #6 should probably be #1…
  • Happy 2018, everyone!

    Quick Impressions: Texas Fifth Congressional District Race

    Thursday, December 28th, 2017

    This is the seat Jeb Hensarling announced he was retiring from a couple of months ago, meaning most of the candidates have had to scramble to get campaigns off the ground. The Fifth Congressional District runs from southeast Dallas all the way down to Nacogdoches, and is so safely Republican that Democrats didn’t even bother to field candidates in 2014 and 2016. This race features both a former and a current State Representative, neither of which is likely to be the favorite.

    Republican U.S.

  • Danny Campbell has a military background (a plus), but no evident political experience or a proven ability to self-fund.
  • Sam Deen is another veteran, and as a serial entrepreneur, he might be able to self-fund, but it’s unclear he has U.S. Congressional race money at his disposal.
  • Lance Gooden currently represents the 5th state House district. Gooden and Stuart Spitzer have spent turns knocked each other off the Republican primary, with Gooden winning in 2012 and 2016, and Spitzer winning in 2014. His Empower Texans ratings have been all over the map (29% in 2011, 89% in 2013, 42% in 2017), and they’re not fans. Irritatingly, Gooden’s webpage currently features a donation form you can’t bypass to find out such trivia as his stand on issues…
  • Charles Lingerfelt doesn’t have a web page, only a Facebook page, where he’s been endorsed by former Dallas Cowboys Lineman John Niland. Well, that’s something…
  • Bunni Pounds is Hensarling’s former fundraiser, and he’s endorsed her, so she should be a serious contender.
  • Kenneth Sheets is the former state rep in the race. Another impressive military resume, having served as a marine in Fallujah in 2007. He used to represent the 107 state congressional district, where he racked up a reasonably conservative record until he lost to Victoria Neave by less than 900 votes in 2016. A law partner, Sheets should be able to self-fund, and he got endorsed by Empower Texans in 2012.
  • There’s a candidate named David Williams…with no webpage. Sorry, got nothing.
  • Jason Wright was Ted Cruz’s eastern regional director and Cruz endorsed him. A serious contender.
  • Democrat

    The only Democrat running is Dan Wood, a former DA for Kaufman County and a former city councilmen for Terrell (population around 15,000). Wood has raised $27,737 so far in the election cycle, getting a jump on Republicans who came in after Hensarling’s announcement. Except a competent but losing campaign.

    I expect this race to come down to come down to Pounds and Wright, with the two state reps on the outside looking in, though if I were to pick one of them to edge into the runoff, it would be Sheets.

    Quick Impressions: Texas Third Congressional District

    Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

    Republican incumbent Sam Johnson announced he was retiring way back in January, so the field for this open seat has had a lot more time to develop than the Second or the Twenty Seventh. The district, made up of suburbs and exurbs Northeast of the Metroplex (including a good chunk of Plano) is heavily Republican; Johnson garnered over 60% of the vote in 2016, and Democrats didn’t even bother to run anyone against him in 2012 or 2014.

    Republicans

  • State Senator Van Taylor is probably a heavy favorite. He’s raised more than $1 million for the race and racked up a number of conservative endorsements, including Texans for Fiscal Responsibility and Texas Right To Life.
  • Roger Barone seems to be running as the “More Trump Than Thou” true believer, and has over 14,000 Twitter followers. Hedge fund guy, so he could theoretically self-fund, but I see no evidence of that yet. A quick look through his website suggests a lack of polish.
  • The same website concern (and then some) applies to Cyrus Sajna. While it’s good to see more African Americans involved in the Republican Party, Sajna’s website is a weird mishmash of fringe tax proposals (“NFL Concussion Tax”) with, at most, a one line descriptions. And “Plano School Bond Reform” does suggest a lack of focus on national issues…
  • Democrats

  • Since incumbent Republican Sam Johnson is retiring, would you believe that a different Sam Johnson is running as a Democrat? (You do if you remember the days of the perennial Texas statewide Democratic candidate named Gene Kelly.) A strong runoff contender based on (mistaken) name recognition.
  • Adam Bell was the Democratic candidate the last time around. He lost to Original Recipe Sam Johnson by about 85,000 votes.
  • Medrick Yhap is going to have trouble getting past his name.
  • Lorie Burch is “currently, the only North Texas attorney certified as an LGBT Business Enterprise by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.” Thus far she’s raised the most money among Democrats in this race with $30,274. Right now she’s probably the favorite to make the runoff against New Coke Sam Johnson.
  • Bottom line: Strong Republican hold.

    LinkSwarm for December 15, 2017

    Friday, December 15th, 2017

    Another week, another abbreviated LinkSwarm. I’m running out of year and a variety of tasks (including work) keep crowding more extensive blogging out.

  • Gallup poll shows support for decreasing immigration holding steady. (Hat tip: Mickey Kaus’ Twitter feed.)
  • More on that same poll (also via Kaus):

    An overwhelming majority of Hispanics opposes increasing immigration, but their position is entirely unrepresented in the Democratic party. It seems possible that the Democrats will throw away a winnable Senate seat in Alabama because they have nominated a pro-abortion extremist against a Republican who has been credibly accused of sexual assault and ephebophilia (probably better that you don’t look that up).

    Even ten years ago, Democrats were willing to nominate candidates who were culturally conservative (or at least willing to pretend to be culturally conservative) in order to replace conservative Republicans with somewhat-more-liberal Democrats. What changed?

    The first thing was the alleged coming of the “emerging Democratic majority,” which was supposed to be brought about by demographic change and a larger nonwhite share of the electorate. This Democratic majority has been a little late in arriving, but that isn’t the only important part of the story.

    Many liberal whites wanted to be rid of the culturally conservative, economically liberal, working-class white voters whom Democrats had courted in the previous decade. Upper-middle-class whites were embarrassed by these people. After all these centuries of white privilege, they never managed to get into a good school—or even a state college—and now they were making demands about trade and immigration.

    One of the themes that emerges from Shattered (a chronicle of the Clinton campaign) is that the Clinton operation didn’t want to make a strong play for working-class white voters in swing states. The Clintonites thought these voters were disposable. It was left to Barack Obama to point out that he had done better than Clinton in many heavily working-class white areas, because he had done those voters the courtesy of treating them as though they were as important as any other American.

  • Paul Ryan to retire?
  • Little appreciated is the fact that Ryan is also an expert fundraiser.
  • Former Massachusetts Democratic state senator Brian A. Joyce arrested on 113 counts, including “mail fraud, theft of federal funds, money laundering, scheme to defraud the IRS, 20 counts of extortion, seven counts of money laundering, and conspiracy to impair the functions of the IRS.” How did he do all that? He’s a coffee achiever! (Seriously. Read the story.)
  • The hard-left sorts over at Counterpunch are not at all impressed with the myriad serial flavors of liberal Trump Derangement Syndrome:

    This initial post-election propaganda was understandably somewhat awkward, as the plan had been to be able to celebrate the “Triumph of Love over the Forces of Hate,” and the demise of the latest Hitlerian bogeyman. But this was the risk the ruling classes took when they chose to go ahead and Hitlerize Trump, which they wouldn’t have done if they’d thought for a moment that he had a chance of actually winning the election. That’s the tricky thing about Hitlerizing people. You need to be able to kill them, eventually. If you don’t, when they turn out not to be Hitler, your narrative kind of falls apart, and the people you’ve fear-mongered into a frenzy of frothing, self-righteous fake-Hitler-hatred end up feeling like a bunch of dupes who’ll believe anything the government tells them. This is why, normally, you only Hitlerize foreign despots you can kill with impunity. This is Hitlerization 101 stuff, which the ruling classes ignored in this case, which the left poor liberals terrified that Trump was actually going to start building Trump-branded death camps and rounding up the Jews.

    Fortunately, just in the nick of time, the ruling classes and their media mouthpieces rolled out the Russian Propaganda story. The Washington Post (whose owner’s multimillion dollar deal with the CIA, of course, has absolutely no effect on the quality of its professional journalism) led the charge with this McCarthyite smear job, legitimizing the baseless allegations of some random website and a think tank staffed by charlatans like this “Russia expert,”who appears not to speak a word of Russian or have any other “Russia expert” credentials, but is available both for television and Senate Intelligence Committee appearances. Numerous similar smear piecesfollowed. Liberals breathed a big sigh of relief … that Hitler business had been getting kind of scary. How long can you go, after all, with Hitler stumbling around the White House before somebody has to go in there and shoot him?

    In any event, by January, the media were playing down the Hitler stuff and going balls-out on the “Russiagate” story. According to The Washington Post (which, let’s remember, is a serious newspaper, as opposed to a propaganda organ of the so-called US “Intelligence Community”), not only had the Russians “hacked” the election, but they had hacked the Vermont power grid! Editorialists at The New York Times were declaring that Trump “had been appointed by Putin,” and that the USA was now “at war” with Russia. This was also around the time when liberals first learned of the Trump-Russia Dossier, which detailed how Putin was blackmailing Trump with a video the FSB had shot of Trump and a bunch of Russian hookers peeing on a bed in a Moscow hotel in which Obama had allegedly slept.

    This nonsense was reported completely straight-faced, and thus liberals were forced to take it seriously. Imagine the cognitive dissonance they suffered. It was like that scene in 1984 when the Party abruptly switches enemies, and the war with Eurasia becomes the war with Eastasia. Suddenly, Trump wasn’t Hitler anymore. Now he was a Russian sleeper agent who Putin had been blackmailing into destroying democracy with this incriminating “golden showers” video. Putin had presumably been “running” Trump since Trump’s visit to Russia in 2013 to hobnob with “Russia-linked” Russian businessmen and attend the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. During the ensuing partying, Trump must have gotten loaded on Diet Coke and gotten carried away with those Russian hookers. Now, Putin had him by the short hairs and was forcing him to staff his Manchurian cabinet with corporate CEOs and Goldman Sachs guys, who probably had also been videotaped by the FSB in Moscow hotels paying hookers to pee on furniture, or performing whatever other type of seditious, perverted kink they were into.

    Before the poor liberals had time to process this, the ruling classes launched “the Resistance.” You remember the Pussyhat People, don’t you? And the global corporate PR campaign which accompanied their historic “Womens’ March” on Washington? Do you remember liberals like Michael Moore shrieking for the feds to arrest Donald Trump? Or publications like The New York Times, Salon, and many others, and even State Satirist Stephen Colbertaccusing Trump and anyone who supported him of treason … a crime, let’s recall, that is punishable by death? Do you remember folks like William Kristol and Rob “the Meathead” Reiner demanding that the “deep state” launch a coup against Trump to rescue America from the Russian infiltrators?

    Ironically, the roll-out of this “Russiagate” hysteria was so successful that it peaked too soon, and prematurely backlashed all over itself. By March, when Trump had not been arrested, nor otherwise removed from office, liberals, who by that time the corporate media had teased into an incoherent, throbbing state of anticipation were … well, rather disappointed. By April, they were exhibiting all the hallmark symptoms of clinical psychosis. This mental breakdown was due to the fact that the media pundits and government spooks who had been telling them that Trump was Hitler, and then a Russian sleeper agent, were now telling them that he wasn’t so bad, because he’d pointlessly bombed a Syrian airstrip, and dropped a $314 million Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb on some alleged “terrorist caves” in Afghanistan.

  • Intelligence Leaks Reveal Erdogan Regime Arming Criminal Turkish Gangs in Germany.” He’s just a barer of light and joy all around… (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Where was that explosion on the “Arab Street” all those “experts” warned us about if President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?
  • Sweden has an antisemitism problem, but refuses to admit it’s a result of its Muslim refugee problem.
  • Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001. Is it working? Mostly. But it’s not a cure-all. Interesting piece.
  • How Jennifer Rubin turned into Dana Milbank. (Hat tip: Dr. Milton Wolfe’s Twitter feed.)
  • Police: “This man is a rapist!” Judge: “Were you just going to ignore the 40,000 texts from the alleged victim asking for sex?”
  • Senior Hamas leader arrested. Good.
  • Did a Long island woman launder money to the Islamic State using Bitcoin? (Hat tip: Director Blue.) (And let me apologize for ruining your previously Bitcoin-free LinkSwarm…)
  • More on the Wisconsin John Doe Witch Hunt.
  • Everyone’s favorite Tweeter, Texas Supreme Court justice Don Willett, was confirmed to the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Congrats, Justice Willett!
  • As was former Texas Solicitor General James Ho.
  • With Ho’s appointment, President Donald Trump broke broke the all-time record for first year judicial appointments.
  • This week’s winning pervert in the Sexual Harassment Sweepstakes is… senior Disney music executive Jon Heely. Now I feel even more conflicted about Devo 2.0.
  • Seven woman have now accused 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski of sexual harassment.
  • Speaking of sexual abuse, I really hope these horrific “blind” sexual abuse allegations against unnamed Hollywood celebrities are untrue. If not, life in prison for the perpetrators is too good for them…
  • Russia has a new stealth fighter, the Su-57. Too bad for them its engines won’t be ready until 2027… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • (screamingheadline)RUSSIA TROLLS BOUGHT ADS BEFORE BREXIT!!!! (in small type) All of 97¢ worth. And Slashdot thought this was worth a entire post.
  • “Net Neutrality” scrapped, Slashdot hit hardest:

  • The top-ranked restaurant in London, The Shed at Dulwich, is so exclusive it doesn’t exist. (Hat tip: Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit.)
  • Blake Farenthold Withdraws From Primary

    Thursday, December 14th, 2017

    Breaking news:

    U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, under fire over a sexual harassment lawsuit, will withdraw from the March 6 Republican primary.

    Mike Bergsma, chairman of the Nueces County Republican Party, told the Caller-Times he was told this morning by Farenthold’s campaign team he will not seek re-election next year.

    “It’s a damn shame,” he said. “He’s been an excellent congressman, and I’m sorry this has happened.

    “One wonders whether anyone could have survived scrutiny that intense.”

    A statement from Farenthold’s camp was expected later this morning.

    News of Farenthold’s decision comes as two prominent Texas Republicans, one a sitting member of Congress and the other a former congressman and presidential hopeful, are supporting challengers to Farenthold in the primary.

    Former Congressman Ron Paul, who retired after seeking the 2012 presidential nomination, said he is backing longtime Victoria Republican activist Michael Cloud.

    “I know him to be a man of his word, principled, trustworthy and hardworking,” Paul said in a statement distributed by the Cloud campaign. “I hope my former supporters will get behind him because our country desperately needs leaders with integrity, courage and moral character. Michael Cloud is that kind of leader.”

    U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, meanwhile, announced his support for Bech Bruun, the Corpus Christi native who last week resigned as chairman of the Texas Water Development Board to challenge Farenthold. Williams is the first member of the Texas GOP delegation in Washington to publicly break with the incumbent.

    “Bech is exactly the kind of person I would be proud to call a colleague in the United States Congress,” Williams, R-Weatherford, said in a news release distributed by Bruun. “Bech knows what it means to be a good steward of your hard-earned tax dollars.”

    Farenthold, who is seeking a fifth term representing the Coastal Bend, has been under intense fire since it was disclosed that he settled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former aide with $84,000 in taxpayers’ money. He has said the settlement was a strategic decision to put the matter to rest even though he insists the charges are untrue.

    It would have been better had Farenthold resigned ahead of the primary filing deadline, but since there were already six Republicans and three Democrats gunning for his seat, voters will not lack for choices…

    Texas Jihadi Arrested

    Thursday, December 14th, 2017

    Another Texas jihadi arrested:

    A Texas man was arrested Friday for “unlawfully distributing explosive making information and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS),” according to the Department of Justice.

    Kaan Sercan Damlarkaya, an 18-year-old U.S. citizen from Houston, engaged in online communications with undercover FBI agents and other sources he believed to be ISIS agents, according to charges outlined in a criminal complaint.

    Damlarkaya is accused of starting the conversations in early August 2017 and saying he wanted to fight for ISIS overseas or commit an attack in the United States.

    As part of the conversations, charges against Damlarkaya indicate he wanted to record a farewell video to help inspire others in the event an attack resulted in his death. Court documents also note he claimed in early November 2017 to have tried to get to Syria on two occasions but failed.

    He is accused of sharing information on how to build an AK-47 or AR-15 rifle from readily available parts in order to avoid detection from authorities, and of providing a formula to alleged ISIS supporters for the explosive, Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP), as well as instructions on how to use TATP in a pressure cooker device containing shrapnel.

    He doesn’t sound like the sharpest knife in the drawer. And speaking of knives:

    As an alternative to guns and explosive, Damlarkaya did not rule out the use of a machete or Samurai sword. The criminal complaint noted the Houston resident carried a knife on his person in the event of interactions with law enforcement and kept a machete under his pillow as he slept in case of a raid.

    Going Full Martyrdom with a samurai sword is probably a common fantasy among teenage jihadis, but it seems a whole lot less practical that using a gun. Especially in Texas.

    (Hat tip: Big Gator 5’s Twitter feed.)

    Quick Impressions: Texas U.S. Second Congressional District Race

    Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

    I was going to do one big roundup of competitive Texas U.S. Congressional races, but the more I started digging in, the more I thought each race deserved its own entry. So let’s start with the Second Congressional District.

    Republican

    This is the retiring Ted Poe’s seat in northern Harris County. It looks like an interesting race, because there appear to be several potentially credible candidates:

  • Houston businessman David Balat looks like he has the money to compete (he’s already raised $155,965) and has been lining up endorsements.
  • Ex-Navy SEAL Daniel Crenshaw is drawing some attention in his first race with a compelling personal story. Losing his right eye to an IED in Afghanistan, Crenshaw also has that Moshe Dyan visage thing going for him:

  • Another U.S. veteran is Jonny Havens, who’s also a lawyer, formerly with Baker Botts, one of the largest and most prestigious law firms in Texas. He might have enough money and pull to run a competitive race,
  • State representative Kevin Roberts has experience and name recognition. (Empower Texans is not impressed with his legislative record.)
  • Kingwood businessman Rick Walker. I actually received an email from his social media team touting his candidacy, so he has more campaign infrastructure than many candidates at this point.
  • Kathaleen Wall doesn’t seem to have a website up yet, but she’s well-heeled and well-connected, always a good combination, and was active into trying to take down Joe Straus lieutenant Charlies Geren. Plus I suspect 2018 will be a pretty good year for women running for office.
  • Just missing the cut: Justin Lurie. Venture capital background, so he could potentially raise the money necessary, but he’s a bit young and has more issues than endorsements or events at this stage.

    Not a leading candidates: the guy who thinks he’s already running for President

    Democrats

    The clear Democratic favorite here is Todd Litton, because as a lawyer whose worked in investments he can scrape up the money for a competitive race, to which end he’s already raised over $200,000.

    The candidate that ran against Poe in 2016 was Pat Bryan. He raised a whopping $4,465 in 2016. (Way to support your candidate, Democrats!)

    It’s a heavily Republican district and none of the Democrats running look capable of flipping it. Keep in mind that the early fundraising totals may be misleading, since Poe only announced his retirement November 7. We won’t get a real bead on race finances until Q4 results are released in January 2018.

    Deadline Filing Passes: Quick Impressions on Texas Statewide Races

    Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

    Monday was the deadline to file for the 2018 Texas primaries. You have to give credit to whoever in the Texas Democratic Party was in charge of candidate recruitment: unlike many previous years, “Democrats put up candidates for every statewide elected post, except one open seat on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, an initial tally of filings showed Monday night.”

    Here are my quick impressions of some of the more competitive statewide primary races to be fought between now and March 6.

    Democratic Governor’s Race

    See this post. The press is going to cover this as an Andrew White vs. Lupe Valdez race. I think there’s a 50% chance Grady Yarborough makes the runoff.

    Republican Agricultural Commissioner’s Race

    This race has already turned nasty, with incumbent Sid Miller and challenger Trey Blocker launching nasty Facebook attack ads at each other. One of Blocker’s consultants is Matt Mackowiak, who was just elected to a 2018-2020 term as Travis County GOP chairman unopposed, and whose Twitter feed I follow.

    Republican Land Commissioner’s Race

    Former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson has filed to run against incumbent George P. Bush. Patterson is going to have a real uphill fight to unseat Bush, since Patterson lost badly in his last race for Lt. Governor, coming in fourth in a four man race, and the Bush family machine has a legendary fundraising network, having raised more than $3 million in a down-ballot race in 2014. But various Alamo controversies and the fact that Bush has never run in even a slightly competitive race might give Patterson a chance to make the race close. Even so, Bush is still the heavy favorite.

    Tomorrow (hopefully): A look at competitive U.S. congressional district races.

    Have Democrats Found Their 2018 Paul Sadler?

    Saturday, December 9th, 2017

    After having gay leather bar owner Jeffrey Payne and perennial candidate Grady Yarborough as their ostensible gubernatorial frontrunners, Democrats finally seem to have lured someone who’s won at the county level to the race in the form of Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. Valdez was elected to her current post four times, so she has as much electoral experience as Wendy Davis had in 2014. However, she lacks Davis’ celebrity status outside the state, so she’s unlikely to draw anywhere near Davis’ fundraising dollars, surefire donations from Emily’s and Annie’s Lists notwithstanding. Valdez is also a lesbian, so she might split the gay vote (small as it is) with Payne.

    Also, Mark White’s son Andrew has thrown his hat into the ring as well. His myriad political experience includes…being Mark White’s son. That’s it. He’s also making all sorts of bipartisan noises, but when you read his positions, they’re thinly disguised Democratic Party boilerplate, such as supporting the DREAM Act and boosting “sanctuary cities.” He also trots out the “personally pro-life” and “safe, legal and rare” canards, which always amount to “bring on the partial birth abortions!”

    The Texas Tribune has a modestly irksome roundup of the race up. I couldn’t help noticing that one candidate the Texas Tribune omitted a picture for was the only candidate who had previously made it to a statewide ballot in November: Grady Yarborough, who in his 2016 Railroad Commissioner run did not do any worse (38.3% of the vote) than most statewide Democrats did in 2014. And he, like fellow gubernatorial candidate Cedrick Davis Sr., former Mayor of Balch Springs (in Dallas County south of Mesquite), who’s photo is also omitted, is black, while they included the picture of another longshot, distinctly pale former congressional candidate Tom Wakely. Another longshot mentioned in the piece, Dallas investment adviser Adrian Ocegueda (who I’m fairly sure is the only candidate whose webpage talks about contracts in virtual reality), also had his picture omitted.

    Other 2018 Texas Democratic Gubernatorial candidates not even mentioned:

  • Garry Brown, an assistant for Williamson County commissioner Terry Cook (and formerly for Rep. Lloyd Doggett)
  • Joe Mumbach
  • Lee Weaver
  • The press seems to want to this to come down to a White/Valdez race. My guess is they’re half right. I’m betting White does get into the runoff due to the electorate’s lamentable but demonstrated tendency to support political dynasties. However, right now I’d guess that, despite hostile press gatekeepers to the contrary, Grady Yarborough is more likely to make the runoff than Valdez…

    LinkSwarm for December 8, 2017

    Friday, December 8th, 2017

    Last night mother nature dumped a bunch of snow on Austin…very little of which stayed on the ground through this morning. Which is just fine for those of us who have jobs.

    I’ll still sorting out the latest DOJ/FBI revelations to have them all filed in the next Clinton Corruption update, which should be ginormous.

  • California is on fire.
  • “Traffic through central Mordor is slow but steady.”

  • The Wisconsin Witch Hunt was even worse than even conservatives feared:

    Wisconsin’s infamous John Doe investigation was more sinister and politically driven than originally reported.

    A Wisconsin Attorney General report on the year-long investigation into leaks of sealed John Doe court documents to a liberal British publication in September 2016 finds a rogue agency of partisan bureaucrats bent on a mission “to bring down the (Gov. Scott) Walker campaign and the Governor himself.”

    The AG report, released Wednesday, details an expanded John Doe probe into a “broad range of Wisconsin Republicans,” a “John Doe III,” according to Attorney General Brad Schimel, that widened the scope of the so-called John Doe II investigation into dozens of right-of-center groups and scores of conservatives. Republican lawmakers, conservative talk show hosts, a former employee from the MacIver Institute, average citizens, even churches, were secretly monitored by the dark John Doe.

    State Department of Justice investigators found hundreds of thousands of John Doe documents in the possession of the GAB long after they were ordered to be turned over to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

    The Government Accountability Board, the state’s former “nonpartisan” speech cop, proved to be more partisan than originally suspected, the state Department of Justice report found. For reasons that “perhaps may never be fully explained,” GAB held onto thousands of private emails from Wisconsin conservatives in several folders on their servers marked “Opposition Research.” The report’s findings validate what conservatives have long contended was nothing more than a witch-hunt into limited government groups and the governor who was turning conservative ideas into public policy.

    “Moreover, DOJ is deeply concerned by what appears to have been the weaponization of GAB by partisans in furtherance of political goals, which permitted the vast collection of highly personal information from dozens of Wisconsin Republicans without even taking modest steps to secure this information,” the report states.

    Snip.

    The Department of Justice, however, recommends the John Doe judge initiate contempt proceedings against former GAB officials and the John Doe probe’s special prosecutor for “grossly” mishandling secret evidence. Schimel also recommends that Shane Falk, who served as lead staff attorney in the John Doe probes, be referred for discipline to the Wisconsin Court System’s Office of Lawyer Regulation. Falk took a job with a private law firm in August 2014, just as allegations of investigative abuse began to surround the political investigation.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • Perspective: Nancy Pelosi seems to think the GOP tax bill is worse than the Fugitive Slave Act
  • Another sexual harassment followup on Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen: “Hey, Nancy Pelosi knew all about my sexual harassment charges last year, and threw money at me anyway. So why’s she getting her knickers in a knot now?”
  • “Eye Doctor Tied to Bob Menendez Case Convicted in $100 Million Fraud Scheme.” And Democrat Menendez is still, as of this writing, a Senator.
  • Months after the Las Vegas shooting, and there are still dozens of unanswered questions about what actually happened.
  • 92 percent of illegal aliens arrested this year had ‘criminal convictions, pending criminal charges, were an immigration fugitive, or were an illegal reentrant.'” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Man Deported 20 Times Sentenced to 35 Years for Sexual Assault.” So when is San Francisco throwing him his parade?
  • “Swedish Government to Ban Websites that List Ethnic Origin of Criminal Suspects.”
  • Related: “Swedish lawyer Elisabeth Fritz claims that in the majority of rape cases she has had to work on the suspects have been individuals from migrant backgrounds.”
  • “Swedish Chief Prosecutor: No-Go Zone Rinkeby Is Like a ‘War Zone.'”
  • “You know who doesn’t have a refugee problem? Japan.” This year Japan has taken in three refugees. Last year it was 28.
  • Hmmmm: “A federal judge in Argentina indicted former President Cristina Fernandez for treason and asked for her arrest for allegedly covering up Iran’s possible role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people, a court ruling said.”
  • Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks to resign over asking staffers to consider being a surrogate mother for him and his wife? Franks, unlike Al Franken, has actually resigned, not merely promised to resign at some unspecified date in the future.
  • More on how Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman plans to revitalize the kingdom:

    Last Sunday premiered the newly formed Islamic anti-terrorism coalition, putting together leaders from Sunni Arab nations to denounce and combat fundamentalist terrorism throughout the Middle East and the world. It was another bold initiative towards the West of the young and energetic Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, coming on the heels of other bold moves that have looked to consolidate political and religious power in the Kingdom.

    Together, all of these initiatives couldn’t be more transparent. They represent a movement of the most economically powerful nation in OPEC towards social, cultural and economic change, the realization of the Saudi “Vision 2030”. It is a top-down Arab Spring movement that likely has a better chance of success than the populist movements that resulted in more chaos than change in 2010.

    However, the ultimate success for Vision 2030 will rely upon achieving the main economic goal of this revolution – the divestiture of Saudi Arabia from the singularity of oil revenues. Because we know that ultimately money – and lots of it – will be needed to drive the engines for change, we get a far better picture of just how important these latest production extensions agreed to in Vienna were for the young Prince.

    And here we’re brought back to the upcoming IPO of Saudi Aramco, still on tap for 2018.

    Even the planned 5 percent offering of the Saudi state oil assets could yield an instantaneous $100 billion dollars, if the $2 trillion-dollar valuation of Saudi Aramco is accurate. That’s a lot of capital to start the process of rebuilding a Saudi economy from one that is now virtually completely reliant upon the State. 75 percent of the Saudi public is under 35 years old, and they are starving for a new economic infrastructure that will bring job opportunities, cultural diversity, music, education – global access of all kinds – the kind of freedoms that the 2010 Arab Spring uprisings were supposed to deliver. Only this time, the push for change is coming from the top down, not as a populist movement from the people upwards.

  • “Tesla – which lost $619 million in Q3 – delivered only 3,590 vehicles in November in the US, down 18% from a year ago.”
  • In a rare moment of sanity for Sports Illustrated, they named J. J. Watt and the Houston Astro’s Jose Altuve as co-sportsmen of the year. Next week I’m sure they’ll get back to their usual Social Justicing…
  • Texas writer Bill Crider enters hospice care. Bill’s not particularly political, but he is a friend of mine, and I have frequently stolen some of the lighter LinkSwarm items from his blog. He’s a prince among men and he will be missed…
  • You’ve got to admire the designers of http://www.theworldsworstwebsiteever.com for having the courage of their convictions.
  • “Opossum breaks into liquor store and gets drunk as a skunk.”
  • Hell to the no
  • A tweet that tells you all you need to know to evaluate forthcoming legislation:

  • A shot of yuletide Archer cheer: