Texas vs California Bullet Trains

Larry Elder discusses two paths to Bullet Trains with Professor of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles and Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University — Lee Ohanian. Dr. Ohanian catches us up with the latest regarding Trump’s economy as well. I haven’t done audio of the sage for a while (job change), but it is good to catch up with this run. Here is the professors article on the trains:

Beto O’Rourke’s Campaign Using Funds Illegally

(Austin) Project Veritas Action Fund has released undercover video from current Congressman and US Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke’s campaign. The video exposes how his campaign staff appear to be illegally using campaign resources to buy supplies and help transport Honduran aliens. This is the eighth undercover video report Project Veritas has released in a series revealing secrets and lies from political campaigns in 2018. (PROJECT VERITAS)

  • “I just hope nobody that’s the wrong person finds out about this.”
  • “It’s f***ing happening.” O’Rourke Campaign Staff Uses Pre-Paid Cards for Honduran Alien Supplies
  • “Don’t ever repeat this…” Campaign Staffers Explain How to Hide Campaign Expenditures for Aliens
  • “If you get caught in some sort of violation that’s like a $50,000 fine,” “For me I can just ignore the rules and I’m like f**k it.”
  • Transporting Aliens to “airports… bus stations,” “None of this is like sh*t there is a rulebook for”
  • Staffer Says She Sent Confirming Texts to Director

Dinosaur Syndrome: Big Hearts, Small Brains

Senator Rand Paul gives a passionate speech about how congress should send money to Hurricane Harvey survivors but shouldn’t increase the debt to pay for it. Paul makes the case that the US should stop sending money to foreign countries before we pay for our problems. Paul believes Congress continually votes with their hearts and not their heads.

Swamp Buggy Police Blues

  • “We wanted to provide help to the people of hurricane Harvey by using the swamp buggies to take supplies to the people that did not leave their homes. We took things like diapers, food, water, baby wipes, etc. We were able to go places that boats and most vehicles could not. HOWEVER, WE WERE NOT ALLOWED TO DO SO.”

THE DAILY MAIL has more:

Two Illinois men drove 16 hours in an RV hauling two massive buggies to bring aid to people in Vidor, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey and massive flooding devastated the area.

On September 2, Jared Kirkendoll and Scott Green had four people on board their buggy and were bringing them to dry land when their vehicle was stopped by a law enforcement officer.

[….]

One comment from LiveLeak says: “Just leave it to FEMA and this friendly police officer and everything will be okay…”

[…..]

The Vidor Police Association said it has been inundated with messages about the video and that any complaints should be directed to the Orange County Sheriff’s department. 

Kirkendoll and Green left Illinois for Texas on August 30. Green posted a picture on Facebook of the two buggies and captioned it: ‘We’re Texas bound!! See If we can go give these folks a hand.’

[…..]

The two men left Texas on Sunday. Green posted on Facebook: ‘Unfortunately it’s that time for us to start heading north. It has been an experience that words can’t even describe. I have never seen so much gratefulness and love in one area before in my life. All the people that we got to help was nothing but thankful for us and let us know it!!!!’

‘It was truly an amazing feeling knowing we were making a difference. Want to thank everyone who gave us a hand and helped when we needed it on this trip as well. It was sad to see so many people loose (sic) everything they had but also heart warming to see everyone pull together and help in anyway they could,’ he continued.

‘Absolutely amazing . We’re tired and smell and been running on Mountain Dew . Buggys (sic) need work.. But all I want to do right now is jump back on the buggy and go find people who need us. God is so good!! Thank you all.’ …

Texas Supreme Court Strikes Down Same-Sex Marriage Benefits

DAILY CALLER has a story that will pick up steam across the Net:

The Texas Supreme Court struck down a lower court’s ruling that same-sex couples are entitled to marriage benefits Friday.

The Court ruled in Pidgeon v. Houston that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, while legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, did not adequately address the issue of government subsidized marriage benefits and whether states are obligated to extend such benefits to same-sex couples.

The city of Houston extended marriage benefits to same-sex couples days after SCOTUS’ ruling, but two Houston citizens, Jack Pidgeon and Larry Hicks, sued on the grounds that the legalization of same-sex marriage does not “entail any particular package of tax benefits, employee fringe benefits or testimonial privileges,” according to the Texas Tribune. The Texas Supreme court reversed a lower court’s ruling that commanded marriage benefits be offered to same sex couples by employers, but also sent the case back for reconsideration in a lower court.

“We agree with the Mayor [of Houston] that any effort to resolve whether and the extent to which the Constitution requires states or cities to provide tax-funded benefits to same-sex couples without considering Obergefell would simply be erroneous,” Boyd wrote in the court’s opinion.“On the other hand, we agree… that the Supreme Court did not address and resolve that specific issue in Obergefell.”

[….]

“Today’s unanimous ruling from the state supreme court is a huge win for Houston taxpayers and for those who support the state’s marriage laws,” Saenz said.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said of the ruling that he was “extremely pleased that the Texas Supreme Court recognized that Texas law is still important when it comes to marriage.”

Bubba Stock of Texas Catches the Famed Chupacabra

Before posting the Breitbart link, I wish to say the biologist, Brent Ortego, in the above story is wrong… because a canine doesn’t use it’s front paws like this. Here is more:

In the rural town of Ratcliffe, Texas, a couple believes they caught a mythical chupacabra.

According to numerous reports, Bubba Stock captured the creature on Sunday evening. The creature was eating corn in a tree at the time. Bubba’s wife, Jackie Stock, told local media outlet ABC7, “He told me to come look, and I said, ‘Bubba, that looks like a baby chupacabra.'”

The captured animal is hairless, blue-eyed, and growls.

KFOR-TV reported that Wildlife Diversity Biologist Brent Ortego thinks the creature is a dog or coyote with mange, a skin disease that causes animals to lose hair. Others have said the creature is likely a raccoon. But many Ratcliffe residents believe it could be an actual chupacabra.

According to local reports, resident Arlen Parma is puzzled by the animal’s growl.

“A raccoon don’t make that noise, or a possum,” Parma contended. “What makes that noise? I guess a Chupacabra does, I don’t know.”

…read more…

My bet is that it is a raccoon with mange.

The NYT`s Makes Mince Meat of History for an Ideology ~ JFK

Via NewsBusters:

The left will never get over the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald, a self-described Marxist who had previously claimed to be a communist, assassinated John Fitzgerald Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

The latest evidence of that detachment from reality came online Saturday evening at the New York Times, and appeared in today’s print edition. Writer James McAuley, described as “a Marshall scholar studying history at the University of Oxford,” wrote that Dallas collectively “willed the death of the president,” and that it has prospered disproportionately in the subsequent 50 years because of “pretending to forget.”

To give readers an idea of where McAuley is coming from when he isn’t engaging in dishonest guilt by association, he considers the financial meltdown of 2007-2008 a failure of the “neoliberal paradigm” of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher (yes, he calls them “neoliberals”). Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the U.S. government-sponsored enterprises whose mismanagement and comprehensive frauds by design actually caused the meltdown, are apparently irrelevant.

McAuley brings some personal issues into his anti-Dallas rant, as seen in the latter portions of the excerpts below. But what’s unreal is the late-in-the-game sentence which contradicts his opening premise (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

NYT's Hit Piece on History

FOR 50 years, Dallas has done its best to avoid coming to terms with the one event that made it famous: the assassination of John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. That’s because, for the self-styled “Big D,” grappling with the assassination means reckoning with its own legacy as the “city of hate,” the city that willed the death of the president. [1]

… Dallas — with no river, port or natural resources of its own — has always fashioned itself as a city with no reason for being, a city that triumphed against all odds, a city that validates the sheer power of individual will and the particular ideology that champions it above all else. “Dallas,” the journalist Holland McCombs observed in Fortune in 1949, “doesn’t owe a damn thing to accident, nature or inevitability. It is what it is … because the men of Dallas damn well planned it that way.”

Those “men of Dallas” — men like my grandfather, oil men and corporate executives, self-made but self-segregated in a white-collar enclave in a decidedly blue-collar state — often loathed the federal government at least as much as, if not more than, they did the Soviet Union or Communist China. [2] The country musician Jimmy Dale Gilmore said it best in his song about the city: “Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eye … a rich man who tends to believe in his own lies.”

For those men, Kennedy was a veritable enemy of the state, which is why a group of them would commission and circulate “Wanted for Treason” pamphlets before the president’s arrival and fund the presciently black-rimmed “Welcome Mr. Kennedy” advertisement that ran in The Dallas Morning News on the morning of Nov. 22. It’s no surprise that four separate confidants warned the president not to come to Dallas: an incident was well within the realm of imagination.

The wives of these men — socialites and homemakers, Junior Leaguers and ex-debutantes — were no different; in fact, they were possibly even more extreme. [3] (After all, there’s a reason Carol Burnett pulls a gun on Julie Andrews at the end of the famous “Big D” routine the two performed before the assassination in the early 1960s. “What are ya,” she screams, pulling the trigger, “some kinda nut?!”)

in the annals of my own family history, it was my charming grandmother, not some distant relation without a Neiman Marcus charge card, who nevertheless saw fit to found the “National Congress for Educational Excellence,” an organization that crusaded against such things as depictions of working women in Texas textbooks and the distribution of literature on homosexuality in Dallas public schools.

In a photograph taken not long after the assassination, my grandmother smiles a porcelain smile, poised and lovely in psychedelic purple Pucci, coiffure stacked high in what can only be described as a hairway to heaven. Her eyes, however, are intent, fixed on a target — liberalism, gender equality, gays.

Dallas is not, of course, “the city that killed Kennedy.” [1]

… For the last 50 years, a collective culpability has quietly propelled the city to outshine its troubled past without ever actually engaging with it. To be fair, pretending to forget has helped Dallas achieve some remarkable accomplishments in those years, like the completion of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the development of the astonishingly successful Cowboys franchise and the creation of what remains one of the country’s most electric local economies.

This year Dallas has a chance to grapple with the painful legacy of 1963 in public and out loud. [5] Unfortunately, that’s unlikely to happen.

…read the rest…

 

Bad News Squared ~ California

From HotAir:

The weekend produced a spate of dang-this-is-bad articles on the economic situation in California.  Steven Greenhut’s for the Orange County Register is entitled “California to middle class: drop dead.”  At The Daily Beast, Joel Kotkin laments that “As California Collapses, Obama Follows its Lead.”  (H/t – and a “Read it, people!” shout-out – to Ed Driscoll at PJM.)

But what does all this look like in terms of numbers?  What’s the how much and where and whom of the Golden State collapse?  Perhaps the most interesting and telling thing is that it really is as bad as it looks.  And the reasons are pretty much what you’d expect.  Here’s the California story, in numbers.

According to a March 2012 report, 855,000 is how many private-sector jobs California has lost since the recession started four years ago. (H/t: California Political News & Views.)  The state today enjoys an unemployment rate of 11%, compared with the official national average of 8.3%

Texas, by contrast, has added 139,800 jobs, posting the biggest absolute gain among the 50 states.  (California’s is the biggest absolute loss.)  Texas’ unemployment rate is 7.1%.

[….]

But we were talking about California.  How does California rank in terms of the average state and local tax burden? According to the Tax Foundation, in 2009, California had the 6th heaviest tax burden in the nation, at 10.6%.   (New Jersey was #1, followed by New York at #2.)  That’s the in-state tax burden, of course.  Federal taxes are on top of that.

Of course, business climate comprises more than the average individual tax burden.  The Tax Foundation looks at five forms of taxation – corporate tax, individual income tax, sales tax, property tax, and unemployment insurance tax – to index the business climates of the 50 states.  By this combined measure, the Tax Foundation ranks California 48th in business climate.  (New York is 49th, and New Jersey 50th.)

State regulatory environment? George Mason University’s Mercatus Center ranks the Golden State 48th in the nation.  New Jersey and New York are numbers 49 and 50, respectively.

How about other business costs?  California had the 5th highest state premium ranking for worker compensation insurance costs in 2010 (although the state’s position improved slightly in 2011 due to other states raising their state premiums).

California ranks 7th highest in electric utility costs, with Hawaii being the highest, followed by Connecticut and Alaska.

According to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, California has the third-highest per-gallon gasoline tax (Connecticut and New York are #1 and #2) and by far the highest tax on diesel, at 52.5 cents per gallon. (Some numbers below also come from the SB&EC report.)

California perennially has the second-highest gasoline prices at the pump (Hawaii is #1), although the state has regularly been ranked 3rd or 4th in oil production in recent years.  (In the past week the statewide average was $4.15 for a gallon of regular, down from $4.36 a month ago.)  In spite of having the third largest oil and gas reserves of any state in the nation, California is ranked dead last among all US jurisdictions for global oil investment.  The fact that California hasn’t issued a new offshore drilling permit for over 30 years is undoubtedly a factor, as is the fact that the Monterey Shale Oil Field, which holds 64% of all the recoverable shale oil in the United States, is hamstrung by lawsuits, a typical condition in the state for both drilling and refining operations.

In spite of the state’s natural bounty, California produces only 37% of its statewide oil consumption.  The rest comes from other states and countries, at added expense.

In terms of the employer burden of health-insurance mandates, California is 9th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.  (Rhode Island, Maryland, and Minnesota have the highest burdens.)

Meanwhile, California ranks 4th highest in state and local government spending per capita.  The District of Columbia is the highest, followed by Alaska, Wyoming, and New York.

Ah, yes, state spending.  California has by far the largest debt of any US state, at around $612 billion with state and local debt and pension liabilities included.  In terms of raw numbers, New York posts a pathetic second place with only $305 billion.  The size of California’s population allows the Golden State to slip to only 7th place in terms of per capita state and local debt.  The District of Columbia walks off with another prize in this category, having on the books 85% more debt per capita than the 50-state average.

The California debt spiral is due in part to the steep decline in state tax revenues.  The 22% year-on-year decline observed in February 2012 doesn’t tell the whole story either; California had already posted dramatic revenue losses in business and property taxes between 2007 and 2010.  Business-tax revenues dropped 18% in that period, and property-tax revenues fell 30% due to the real estate market crash.

Let’s talk population trends.  Many readers are familiar with the arresting Golden State statistics cited by a Wall Street Journal article in March:

….read more…