October 12, 2015
Saudi Oil Manipulation in the Texas Briar Patch
Remember when Saudi Arabia announced that they were going to keep oil production high to depress prices and, by their calculation, undercut the U.S. oil boom?
What the Saudis and the naysayers closer to home seem to have forgotten is that the free market is the greatest incubator of technological innovation. Energy producers in this country have gauged the challenges of lower prices, are working to tackle them, and itís paying off. Ö
Unfortunately for the Saudis, they don't understand the power of innovation and free markets. Perhaps that's because President Eisenhower gave them the innovation of American and British countries in the 1950's, and they haven't had to innovate for themselves since... ever.
The linked piece is another fine article brought to us by Opportunity Lives.
May 27, 2015
Tejas Levantamiento! (or, "American history as reimagined by the Tea Party")
I lived in Texas once - for a year. The year was 1986, which happened to be the Sesquicentennial of the Republic of Texas. I didn't really know what that was all about, except that Texas became a state fifty years before Colorado.
As a product of Colorado, educationally and culturally, my opinion of the Lone Star State was mediocre at best, being the source of a great influx of temporary and permanent visitation to my home state and preceding "Californicans" as the great scourge upon the Colorado countryside. Yet with age came wisdom and a new appreciation for the fiercely independent western nature of the people of Texas.
During my short residence there I did journey to the Alamo, and toured the old fort inside and out. But that's as far as my curiosity took me at the time. And so I was captivated by the early promos for History's 'Texas Rising' which said, "the Alamo wasn't the end, it was the beginning." I've now watched the first two of five episodes in this "epic series event" that aims to bring the fight for Texas independence to life.
It didn't take long for me to recognize that the portrayal of events would be unpopular in some circles. After all, the Mexicans and the Commanches "were there first." How could white men defeating those indiginous groups ever be considered "winning independence?" It's European colonialism, pure and simple, right?
"This movie isn't just bad -- the politics are dubious too," the liberal newspaper the Guardian wrote in a piece called "Texas Rising: American history as reimagined by the Tea Party." "Texas Rising is a movie that glorifies the campaigns of white settlers in land that technically belongs to Mexico and was initially settled by Native Americans. There is not an inkling of post-colonial reflection about what that means in the great scope of history. The line between good guys and bad guys is drawn as simply and thoughtlessly as it is in a backyard game of Cowboys and Indians."
But the charge of white-colonial bias fell flat during last night's segment. Portilla, one of Santa Anna's lieutenants [spoiler alert] was addressing Texian Colonel James Fannin. "You are a filthy wetback. You swam across the Sequin River, illegally. You are in my country now." Then Portilla murdered Fannin with a gunshot to the front of his head. One can almost imagine the NRA and Tea Party patches on Portillas sleeves as he parrots this modern nativist sentiment, in reverse.
Still, I am captivated. The story is compelling and the history captivating, whatever liberties may or may not be taken. It is a good background for future learning of the true history which, being from a time and place prior to internet and cloud storage, remains quite murky to this day.
And besides, not all the reviews are bad.
June 4, 2014
Mugged by Reality
Austin: The Boulder of Texas!
"I'm at the breaking point," said Gretchen Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8,500 this year.
July 13, 2013
Randal O'Toole, call your office!
Walter Russell Mead highlights what I consider an important milestone in the history of the world.
Houston has officially topped New York City as the greatest exporter of goods in the US--exports totaling $110.3 billion. The reasons for the shift should be familiar to anyone whoís been following the economic miracle in Texas. The FT reports:
My headline refers to Cato Hoss Randal O'Toole's praising of the city that nobody calls Paris-on-the-Gulf.
Houston has heat, humidity, and is the subject of derision from oikophobes. But with no zoning laws, O'Toole shows them relatively unaffected by the housing bubble. "That's because nobody wants to live there" suggests Jon Caldera, truly playing Devil's Advocate on his show of the same name.
Nope, explains O'Toole, it is the fastest growing city. I remember that many of the Katrina diaspora elected to stay in Houston where they were offered shelter because they enjoyed functioning and limited government and the concomitant opportunities.