Posts Tagged ‘Austin’

LinkSwarm for February 23, 2018

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Another week in which I had zero free time! Enjoy a LinkSwarm, and hopefully I’ll have something a little more substantial next week.

  • “Officials Identify More Rotherham Victims, Number Up to 1,510.”
  • Nancy Pelosi wants you to know that keeping more of your own paycheck is “unpatriotic.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Speaking of Pelosi, just how did she triple her net worth during the financial crisis?
  • “President Donald Trump’s immigration hard-liners proved [last] Thursday it is possible to win even when the outcome of a battle is, on paper, a draw.”
  • On a per-capita basis, the United States doesn’t even rank in the top 10 of mass shooting fatalities.
  • “Florida Shooting Survivor Claims CNN Denied His Questions on School Safety, Provided Scripted Questions.” CNN: Potemkin Village media.
  • The experience of Israel proves that the NRA is right on school shootings.
  • “Republicans now sympathize with Israel (as opposed to the Palestinians) by a whopping 52-point margin over Democrats—79 percent to 27 percent—the greatest spread between the two parties in the last 40 years. Republicans have never been more favorably disposed toward Israel, while for Democrats, the opposite holds true.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Remember: When a powerful female liberal Democratic politician sleeps with a married subordinate, it’s different. Because feminism. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Also:

    Within months of taking office, Mayor Megan Barry recommended the adult daughter of the head of her security detail — the man with whom she later admitted to having an affair — be hired for a job in the city’s legal department.

    The daughter got the job.

    The position as an entry-level city attorney was the first newly created job in Nashville’s legal department in two years. It was not part of the existing budget. Barry approved the new job opening. No other candidate was considered.

  • “Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said too many young people do not qualify for military service due in part to obesity and criminal records,” and being too stupid to pass the ASVAB. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Another way in which President Donald Trump is like other recent Republican Presidents: ignoring deficits.
  • Austin experiences a significant uptick in violent crime since 2013.
  • Vox lays off 50 people. I didn’t know they even had 50 people to lay off…
  • Payoffs to college basketball players are widespread.
  • School enrollment at Evergreen State College drops 18.5%. How’s that “All Social Justice Warrior, all the time” format working out for you?
  • Billy Graham, RIP.
  • Boston Dynamics teaches robot to fight back against humans. Joke that follows should be: A.)”, find Sarah Conner,” B.) “What could possibly go wrong?”, or C.) “I for one welcome our new robot overlords!”
  • UK Kentucky Fried Chickens running out of chicken. Verily the endtimes are upon us…
  • LinkSwarm for February 16, 2018

    Friday, February 16th, 2018

    This has probably been my busiest February on record. Enjoy a complimentary Friday LinkSwarm, try the waitress and tip the veal:

  • “It’s doubtful you can find a more succinct example of TDS than a seemingly inebriated Democrat Senator asking the aggregate intelligence apparatus, during a public session of congress, to give specific details of U.S. covert intelligence efforts to thwart Russian, Chinese and North Korean cyber-warfare.” Democratic Senator Jack Reed continues to long, proud tradition of questionable Rhode Island political figures…
  • In January, the first month under the Trump tax cuts, the federal government pulls in record tax revenues and runs a surplus. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “The Genius Of Trump’s Food Stamp Proposal: You’re Not Supposed To Like Being On Welfare.”
  • Michael Leeden thinks the Islamic Republic of Iran is doomed. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Reminder: Everytown’s “school shooting statistics” are pure fabrication.
  • Democrats Fleeing Blue States, Infecting Red States With Failed Liberal Disease.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Not only are a new German frigate’s computer systems FUBARed, but the ship can’t even float right.
  • Wired writer doesn’t understand the difference between “Islamist” and “Muslim.”
  • “In Wake Of Corruption Trials, Maryland Ponders Disbanding Baltimore Police Department.”
  • For Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez, illegal aliens are more important than bullet-proof vests for officers.
  • Asian student at Harvard discovers that identity politics is a dead end.
  • Stop Trying To Shove Women Into STEM.” “There’s this big push to get girls into STEM — while there’s no commensurate push to get women into oil rig work, no complaints that there aren’t enough women hanging off the back of garbage trucks.” Also:

    We’ve recently found that countries renowned for gender equality show some of the largest sex differences in interest in and pursuit of STEM degrees, which is not only inconsistent with an oppression narrative, it is positive evidence against it. Consider that Finland excels in gender equality, its adolescent girls outperform boys in science, and it ranks near the top in European educational performance. With these high levels of educational performance and overall gender equality, Finland is poised to close the sex differences gap in STEM. Yet, Finland has one of the world’s largest sex differences in college degrees in STEM fields. Norway and Sweden, also leading in gender equality rankings, are not far behind. This is only the tip of the iceberg, as this general pattern of increasing sex differences with national increases in gender equality is found throughout the world.

  • Moron thinks poor people are too stupid to cook food.
  • Do you need carbs for Thyroid health? Science says no.
  • Cool. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Texas Democratic state Rep. Dawnna Dukes’ campaign is more than $700,000 in debt due to legal fees from the (now dropped) felony charges against her. And she’s running for reelection.
  • Bill Crider, RIP.
  • Setting ablaze a giant matchsphere.
  • Every book I bought in the last half of last year.
  • LinkSwarm for January 19, 2018

    Friday, January 19th, 2018

    This morning starts with Republican house members calling for the release of a deeply disturbing secret memo that evidently relates to the whole FISA/Clinton/Obama misuse of America’s national security assets to spy on Domestic political opponents, including Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign. House members who have read the memo say the scandal unveiled is “worse than Watergate.” Those reading this blog should already be broadly familiar with the outlines of the scandal.

    However, since that memo hasn’t been released as of this writing, on with a regular Friday LinkSwarm.

    Oh, and Democrats are still threatening a government shutdown over illegal alien amnesty for Obama’s “Dreamers.” So you’ve got that to look forward to as well.

  • Speaking of “Dreamers” (which, by the way, is also the name of a porn store in north Austin), illegal aliens of “Dreamer” age have a crime rate double that of American citizens.
  • Including the accused cop killer who says he “wish he killed more of the motherfuckers.”
  • “Analysis: Leftism is a status machine. A very, very successful status machine. Conservatives have lost status battle after status battle, often because they fought it as a policy battle. It rarely is.”

    The media offers people clues about what things are high status within the areas they cover. People notice, and act accordingly. Yet most conservatives still don’t understand Trump’s response:

    If I lower the media’s status, I will wreck their power.

    So The Donald says that the media has “some of the most dishonest people” he has ever seen. Not an arm’s length complaint. A direct and personal status attack, rooted in truth.

    Trump also acts in ways that cause journalists to fulfill his pre-suasion labeling. He makes “outrageous” statements, which many people outside the Beltway Bubble agree with. Those statements receive over-the-top media attacks, which make his enemies look ridiculous. Then events swiftly show that Trump had a point. Trump rubs it in, using the media’s own “Fake News” term against them and pouncing on every sloppy and dishonest mistake. As a final topper, Trump makes the dishonest media a focus during every massive rally. Which strengthens his out-grouping effect among participants and viewers.

    He uses ridicule and lèse majesté, not bended knee and appeals — note that subordinating word — to logical argument.

  • Jim Goad offers a brief essay on comparative shitholes:

    In terms of life expectancy, Norway leads the pack at 81.8 years. Then comes the USA (79.3), with a sudden drop to 63.5 years for Haitians and a mere 55.0 years for Somalians.

    Norway also wins the blue ribbon when it comes to per-capita income, which is a staggering 38 times that of Haitians and 173 times that of Somalians.

    The noble Norsemen also win when it comes to their nation’s mean IQ, which is 100 compared to the USA’s 98. Somalia (68) and Haiti (67) both suffer a mean IQ that is below the commonly accepted cutoff line for “retarded.”

    The only category where the USA comes out on top is the percentage of the population with access to improved sanitation facilities—one index claims that 100% of Americans can find a functional toilet if they try. Next comes Norway at 98.1%. Haiti (27.6%) and Somalia (23.5%) are far, far worse. According to Wikipedia, “Sewer systems and wastewater treatment are nonexistent” in Haiti, which would mean the country is a literal shithole.

  • Andrew McCarthy goes into great detail about what a nothingburger the entire Trump-Russia conspiracy fantasy is. Though larded up with the requisite National Review distaste for Trump, it does include a few valuable nuggets I hadn’t chanced across heretofore, including that the law firm of BakerHostetler was who was funneling payments from Natalia Veselnitskaya and Prevezon Holdings to Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson. (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)
  • Is Sweden contemplating sending the army to regain control over no-go zones?
  • Democratic Senator Patty Murray’s office: “We don’t care about anti-Semitism in this office,” Murray’s senior adviser said. “We care about transgenders, we care about blacks, we care about Hispanics, we care about gays, we care about lesbians, we care about the disabled.”
  • Switzerland Rejects Citizenship Bids of Residents Who Have Been on Welfare.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Speaking of which: “Swiss town denies passport to Dutch vegan because she is ‘too annoying.'”
  • Why hasn’t power been restored to Puerto Rico? Maybe because Puerto Rican authorities were hoarding bital electrical equipment?
  • Austin on finalist list for Amazon’s second headquarters.
  • Baltmore’s mayor fires the police commissioner.
  • Dear Millennials: It has been scientifically proven that your music sucks.
  • East Coast Comicon bans Kevin “Hercules” Sorbo because he’s friends with Sean Hannity.
  • Dolores O’Riordan, the lead singer for The Cranberries, dead at the untimely age of 46.
  • Former Senator, Republican Majority leader, Presidential candidate and World War II veteran Bob Dole just received the Congressional Gold Medal. Best tweet from the event:

  • Gonna pass on the expedited shipping, thanks.
  • A little light today, but I want to hit publish on this before that memo drops…

    UT: Hey, Look At This Sweet Communist Chinese Money! Ted Cruz: DON’T EVEN! UT: 😥

    Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

    It’s been a few month since the administration of the University of Texas came up with a really bad idea, so naturally they were ready to latch on to a doozy (accepting propaganda money from Communist China) until Ted Cruz made them back off:

    After months of internal uproar and a letter from U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the University of Texas at Austin has declared its China center will not accept funding from a Hong Kong-based foundation that the Republican from Texas said helps spread Chinese government propaganda abroad.

    The decision – first reported in an article in the “Opinions” section of The Washington Post – was disclosed in a letter sent Friday from UT-Austin President Greg Fenves to Cruz.

    The school must “ensure that the receipt of outside funding does not create potential conflicts of interest or place limits on academic freedom and the robust exchange of ideas,” Fenves wrote. “I am concerned about this if we were to accept funding from [the foundation].”

    The week before, Cruz had written to Fenves to “express concern” about UT-Austin’s new China center’s relationship with the China-United States Exchange Foundation – a “pseudo-philanthropic foundation,” Cruz wrote, that has ties to an arm of the Chinese government that manages “foreign influence operations.”

    In his letter, dated Jan. 2, Cruz wrote he’d heard that the UT-Austin center was considering a partnership with the foundation. Launched around the start of the fall semester, the China Public Policy Center was charged with making “fresh and enduring contributions to the study of China-related policy topics while advancing U.S.-China relations and Texas-China relations,” according to a UT news release.

    Its executive director, David Firestein, was formerly a U.S. diplomat and senior vice president at the EastWest Institute. He forwarded requests for comment to a university spokesman.

    Cruz said in his letter that he was worried about the center’s collaboration with the foundation and that it would disseminate “propaganda within the center and compromise its credibility.” The same concerns were raised in emails circulated on an internal UT-Austin faculty e-mail list in December, just four months after the China center launched.

    An ugly spat played out in one email exchange obtained by The Texas Tribune, with several faculty members voicing or agreeing with concerns about the center’s activities and funding from the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation. One lengthy email suggested an event held by the China center in November was infused with propaganda, and said it had upset students and led some to send concerned emails to the dean.

    UT’s scheme would be far from the first time a western university accepted money from a brutal foreign dictator, but it would be an unnecessary and cringe-worthy example. Good for Ted Cruz getting them to slam on the brakes.

    (Hat tip: Cahnman’s Musings.)

    (And yes, I realize I just used an emoji in a headline. Come spring I’ll surely explain it away as cabin fever brought about by #Icepocalypse2018…)

    Dukes Case Ends With Wimper

    Saturday, October 28th, 2017

    “Travis County prosecutors dropped all of the remaining charges against longtime state Rep. Dawnna Dukes on Monday, bringing an end to a legal soap opera that could have put the lawmaker behind bars.”

    Snip.

    “Moore pinned the case’s collapse on conflicting statements given by Steve Adrian, a top official in the Texas House, who had told prosecutors that travel to the Capitol was required to earn the per-diem payments but later recanted in a statement to Dukes’ lawyers.”

    This is odd, as a most of the charges against Dukes had nothing to do with the per diem abuse issue.

    (Hat tip: Dwight.)

    Happy 111th Birthday to Veteran Richard Overton!

    Saturday, October 21st, 2017

    BattleSwarmBlog would like to wish a happy (belated) 111th birthday to fellow Austinite Richard Overton, who, at the spry age of 111, is America’s oldest living veteran!

    Another point of congratulation: After 70 years in the same house in Austin, he just got air conditioning for the first time…

    LinkSwarm for September 22, 2017

    Friday, September 22nd, 2017

    Welcome to the first LinkSwarm of fall! Between a new job, car trouble, dog trouble and iPhone updates, you’re lucky there’s a LinkSwarm at all!

  • Final total for J.J. Watt’s YouCaring campaign: $37,131,967.
  • Death toll in the Mexico City earthquake hits 273.
  • Mexican rescue dog saves over 50 lives.
  • 100% of Puerto Rico is without power following Hurricane Maria.
  • Obama Administration official Samantha Power asked for over 260 unmaskings of American citizens. “She continued to seek identifying information about Americans caught up in incidental surveillance right up to President Trump’s inauguration.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • And Obama’s FBI Director James Comey was apparently eavesdropping on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “House IT Worker At Center Of Scandal Allegedly Abused Three Muslim Women.” “Multiple women in relationships with Imran Awan, the indicted former IT aide for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, have recently called Virginia law enforcement and alleged being abused by him, police reports obtained under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act show.”
  • President Trump didn’t forget Poland.
  • “The mainstream media failed to see the rise of Donald Trump in 2016. Now it’s overlooking another grassroots movement that may soon be of equal significance— the growing number of liberals “taking the red pill.” People of all ages and ethnicities are posting YouTube videos describing “red pill moments”—personal awakenings that have caused them to reject leftist narratives imbibed since childhood from friends, teachers, and the news and entertainment media.”
  • “Federal Prosecutors Say Anthony Weiner Convinced [15-year old] Teen To Strip, Touch Herself On Skype.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Evergreen State College has settled a tort claim against it from embattled Professor Bret Weinstein and his wife, Professor Heather Heying, for $500,000, according to an email sent to faculty Friday evening.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Article on the decline of NFL ratings offers and explanation in the comments section: “One after another, cogent, thoughtful comments clearly stating the exact reason that life long NFL fans have turned off the TV, dropped their cable subscription, and moved on.” Sample: “There will be no NFL at my house until the employment of players that disrespect our flag and anthem is terminated.”
  • More signs of NFL’s decline in popularity: Los Angeles Rams can’ even sell out their temporary stadium. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Flashback: Ted Kennedy, drunken serial sexual molester.
  • Wisconsin appeals court dismisses union lawsuit against right-to-work law.
  • Armed citizen stops would-be rapist near downtown Austin. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • “Scientists create world’s first ‘molecular robot’ capable of building molecules.” No indication these 150-atom “robots” can contain programming or self-replicate, so we’re still a long way from K. Eric Drexler’s nanotechnology…
  • Valerie Plame steps in it:

  • Your Tax Dollars At Work: Democrat Rep. Dawnna Dukes Spent $51,348 in Taxpayer Money on Telephone Psychics

    Thursday, September 21st, 2017

    Having been busy with Stuff and Things, Dwight beat me to the punch on the last news on the upcoming corruption trial against State Democratic Representative Dawnna Dukes. But the latest revelation is a doozy:

    As they prepare for state Rep. Dawnna Dukes’ corruption trial next month, Travis County prosecutors are prepared to present evidence that she showed up to work at the Capitol impaired, hid a cellphone from investigators and spent more than $51,000 on an online psychic.

    At least with regular draft, you can understand how the corrupt pol benefits. Blowing $51 grand of taxpayer money on Miss Cleao just adds insult to idiocy.

    More of Dukes’ Greatest Hits:

    In other “extraneous acts” listed in the filing, prosecutors say Dukes:

  • Was absent for roll call 65 percent of the time during the 2017 legislative regular session, and 36 percent of the time in the special session.
  • Responded to a search warrant for her cellphone by providing investigators a phone that did not match the identification number on the phone they had requested
  • Was noticeably impaired while trying to perform legislative duties at the Capitol and showed up late to a House Appropriations Committee hearing on March 29, stating, “I know I’m talking a lot. I’m full of morphine and will be headed out of here soon.”
  • Agreed to a contract with the Austin school district for her company, DM Dukes and Associates, to provide business evaluations but subcontracted the work to a consulting firm. The district paid Dukes $514,224 from May 2015 to March 2016.
  • Arrived late to court settings on June 30 and Aug. 21. Judge Brad Urrutia threatened to hold Dukes in contempt if she does it again.
  • Failed to submit in a timely fashion both a campaign finance report before the 2016 election and a 2017 personal financial statement. She was fined $1,000.
  • It’s a veritable buffet of bad behavior, and I look forward to Dukes appearing on Most Shocking: Legislators Out of Control.

    Texas Gas Shortage Ends

    Monday, September 11th, 2017

    The short-lived post-Harvey gas shortage is pretty much already over:

    Long lines for gasoline in Austin and elsewhere in the state have dissipated for the most part along with the short-lived, social media-fueled frenzy over fears of a severe shortage.

    Motorists remain more likely than before Hurricane Harvey hit to encounter the occasional empty filling stations, and gas prices remain elevated, but “the run (on gas) has stopped,” said Cary Rabb, owner of the Round Rock-based Wag-A-Bag convenience store chain.

    “It’s the panic buying that has stopped — at some point, everybody has topped off,” Rabb said.

    In addition, gasoline supplies are becoming more accessible as Gulf Coast refineries and pipelines slowly come back on line after being closed since Harvey made landfall.

    Flint Hills Resources — which operates a Corpus Christi refinery that provides the bulk of gasoline dispensed at Austin area gas stations — “has resumed normal operations,” company spokesman Andy Saenz said Wednesday. The Flint Hills refinery had been shut down since the storm hit, leaving area fuel distributors to tap reserves.

    Flint Hills pumps gasoline to an Austin terminal east of Interstate 35 through a pipeline, where it’s picked up by distributors with tanker trucks and transported to local gas stations.

    Thanks to Hurricane Irma (now downgraded to a tropical storm), it’s Florida that’s suffering gas shortages, not least because Florida is dependent on those same gulf coast refineries idled by Harvey:

    Between 2007 and 2014, Florida’s daily gasoline consumption shrank significantly — by about 90,000 barrels. In 2012, two Caribbean refineries that had supplied Florida with a significant share of its gasoline were idled, leaving Florida more dependent upon refineries located along the Gulf Coast. That’s all well and good when the weather is fair, but Hurricane Harvey disrupted things. For one thing, it forced the shutdown of several refineries in the Houston area. For another, it made navigating the Gulf of Mexico treacherous — you don’t want to sail an oil barge into a hurricane. And there is no gasoline pipeline connecting those Gulf Coast refineries to Florida: that trade is conducted by boat. Pipelines are the cheapest and safest way to move petroleum products from producers to consumers, but America’s fanatical environmentalists, who oppose the development of new energy infrastructure categorically, have been remarkably successful in blocking or delaying the development of new pipelines.

    So far Irma seems to have devastated the Caribbean, but damage to Florida seems to be less than feared for such a large storm.

    Dukes Plea Deal Expires, Headed for Trial

    Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

    The plea deal for Austin Democratic State Rep. Dawnna Dukes on corruption charges has expired.

    The Travis County District Attorney’s office on Tuesday said its offer to drop all corruption charges against state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, in exchange for her agreeing to resign immediately had expired.

    In a statement sent to The Texas Tribune after 5 p.m. Tuesday, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore said she’d had no contact from the attorneys for Dukes.

    “The offer to resolve this matter has expired and is no longer available,” Moore said in a statement. “We will be ready for trial.”

    As a part of the deal, Dukes would’ve had to also pay $3,500 in fines and restitution and agree to a drug and alcohol assessment. Dukes has previously denied charges that she had her legislative staff run personal errands and that she was compensated for days she did not work at the Texas Capitol.

    Dukes seems awful confident of beating the rap, especially since her previous legal team bailed:

    On July 25, two of Dukes’ Houston-based lawyers filed a motion to withdraw as counsel, citing an inability to “effectively communicate with the defendant on matters essential to the representation.”

    State Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, put out a statement Tuesday night indicating he was representing Dukes, writing that the 12-term representative rejected the Travis County DA’s proposal because she “strongly reiterates her innocence,” adding that the “inexplicable request that she undergo some drug assessment is absurd.” He said neither Dukes nor her attorneys plan on commenting further.

    Oliveira has been practicing law since 1979, so presumably he knows what he’s doing.

    Maybe Dukes saw that John Wiley Price beat a federal rap and figured she could so the same for the comparatively piddling local charges. Given how quickly DA Margaret Moore was willing to sweep away the cobwebs of the Ronnie Earle/Rosemary Lehmberg era at the DA’s office, she may have miscalculated.

    The trial is currently scheduled to start October 16.