Tag Archives: Texas

Texas ABC Fires 3 For Raid on Gay Bar

Back in June, officers of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission set out purportedly to inspect The Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth which had recently opened. An inspection; nothing more, nothing less. What actually took place was closer to a raid in which six patrons were arrested on a charge of public drunkenness and one man was arrested for resisting arrest.

Chad Gibson of Euless, aged 26, suffered a hairline skull fracture and now has a blood clot behind his right eye because of excessive force used by the officers while on the premises. The officers did not present themselves to the owner, they were not dressed as representatives of the TABC and far worse, they did not report the force used when subduing Mr. Gibson as is required.

In other words, several Texas cops went into a gay bar, beat the crap out of a guy til they broke his skull and then tried to cover it up by not reporting it. Chad Gibson was in the hospital for a week afterward.

Last Friday, the TABC ruled that the two agents, agent Christopher Aller and agent trainee Jason Chapman, were to be terminated. The TABC additionally terminated their supervisor, Sgt. Terry Parsons, for not ensuring that the two agents correctly filed a report regarding the force used.

It’s a relief to see that the city of Forth Worth is not turning a blind eye to this incident. Texas is becoming more and more culturally diverse, and it’s important to recognize that diversity for what it is: a positive step forward. I realize there are some who will likely never make the transition to accepting the fact that we live in a society that does not believe in repressing citizens merely due to their sexual orientation, but those people are no longer in the majority. It’s time to send the message that they are no longer allowed to perform actions or to condone actions that harm others based on their antiquated and baseless fears.

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Not a Christian Nation Redux

My governor is an idiot. I’ve known this for a while now, but today he was kind enough to cement that opinion with his latest idiocy. According to Gov. Good Hair, the state should stay out of the church, but the church definitely belongs in the state:

The notion that laws should not be informed by religion is an extreme one, Gov. Rick Perry said Sunday in remarks at a San Antonio church, where he challenged the faithful to “speak up to defend those whose rights are being eroded by an increasingly secular culture.”

Maybe someone can explain this to me. The people who wrote the Constitution weren’t extremists as far as I can tell, but the Treaty of Tripoli (1797) quite clearly states:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen [Muslims]; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Islamic] nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

In this passage, Adams is quite clearly addressing the Muslim nations as an envoy from a secular nation. There is no interpretation here. The man who wrote the majority of the Constitution of the United States viewed this country as having a secular government, not a Christian one. Others who worked on the document took a similar stance. We may have a majority Christian population, but that does not imply a Christian government.

Don’t let that stop you in your plunge to stupidity, though, Rick. Keep going.

Perry said it was important to understand the biblical roots of the conflicts in the Middle East.

“I fully believe that the situation there illustrates God’s powerful love for the nation of Israel and his desire for it to endure until the end of time. And it’s your passionate support, it’s your passionate support of Israel and your embrace of your Jewish roots — our Jewish roots — that make for an even deeper experience of the fullness of God’s love.”

Holy flaming morons, batman! The Governor of Texas thinks Christians are evolved Jews. The staggering arrogance of the man is unbelievable. Get this, Gov. You do not have Jewish roots. And your insistence that Christianity is evolved Judaism is insulting, both to Christians and to Jews. Jews do not, have not ever, and will not ever believe in a Trinity. They just won’t. Those who are Messianic don’t believe that the Messiah will be the son of Yahweh! Do you not get that? Also, you are totally misinterpreting the phrase “God’s chosen people.” From an email from a rabbi of my acquaintance:

But…”God’s Chosen People” only means that we’re chosen to follow the laws and commandments. It doesn’t mean that we’re first in line for the really nice condos with the views of the Elysian Fields in the afterlife or anything. Do they not get that?

Being “God’s Chosen People” isn’t a privilege*, it’s a duty.

*Ok, it kind of  is

No rabbi, sadly some people just do not get that. Apparently Christians feel it’s their duty to protect the Jews because a friend of the Jews is a friend of God, and if you take care of the Jews you get into heaven. Or something. Sort of like going clubbing. If you go with a hot girl, you get in and maybe get hit on by the wingman. So Christians are now equating themselves with the unattractive chubby hanger on. Just sad.

It’s 19° F Outside. Don’t WANNA Go to Work.

I am fully prepared to admit that, being born and raised in Central California, I am somewhat spoiled when it comes to road conditions and weather. It rarely gets below freezing in the SF Bay area, and snow is something on the hills that you look at and say “ooo, how pretty.” This is my first winter in Dallas.

So. That said….I have just one question: How in hell do people here get anything done in the winter?! I mean, really! It is 19° outside, there is ice on EVERYTHING, the schools are closed, none of the businesses are opening til around 10am because of the ice storm last night…I’m sitting here with a mug of hot chocolate watching the news, and the idiots who ARE out on the road are only going about 30mph because of the half inch of ice on the roads.

I don’ get it. There have been more than 40 accidents since 5am. Every local station is advising that if it’s at all possible, people should remain home and wait for the ice to melt. The darling man, of course, is having none of it. “They always say that,” he shrugs as he bundles into his coat. “But…there have been a ton of accidents!” “I’ll be fine. The problem is other drivers, not me.” “Okay, did you actually hear what you just said?” He went anyway, of course. I told him he’d need a crowbar to get my ass out from under the electric blanket. He called me about five minutes ago. “Guess who made it to work alive and well?” “Great. And I was going to buy a Jag with the life insurance.” “You think we have life insurance?” Idiot. At least I know what to do in this kind of weather. I’m getting some more marshmallows for my hot chocolate and going back to bed with my book.

Texas Rejects God in the Science Classroom

I am still being surprised by my adopted state. I have had to reject my preconceived notions about Texas and recognize that, while some stereotypes do apply, when it comes to politics and sociological views, it’s as diverse as my home state of California.

Today Texas stepped firmly into the 21st century and embraced science without religion. Although it isn’t final, the fifteen member board voted to remove the “strengths and weaknesses” clause in the state’s science curriculum as it applies to evolution. The clause has previously been used to open the door to the “alternative theory” of Intelligent Design.

The article states:

The new science curriculum standards will take effect beginning with the 2010-2011 school year and last about 10 years.

[snip]

Instead of allowing teachers to teach the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolutionary theory, the proposed science curriculum standards would encourage students to apply critical thinking, scientific reasoning and problem solving “to analyze and evaluate scientific explanations using empirical evidence, logical reasoning and experimental and observational testing.”

In other words, YES, question evolutionary theory. YES, look for gaps in reasoning and facts. But use facts to get there. The original wording of the “strengths and weaknesses clause” reads as follows:

(1) good science education should prepare students to distinguish the data or testable theories of science from philosophical or religious claims that are made in the name of science; and

(2) where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why this subject generates so much continuing controversy, and should prepare the students to be informed participants in public discussions regarding the subject.


Never mind that were science simply taught as science, there would BE no controversy, or that religion and philosophy have no place in a science classroom, or even that the US Senator who originally proposed the clause was a huge proponent of intelligent design and felt religion should be re-instituted into public schools. Just go ahead and teach the kids that not everyone “believes in” evolution because we need them to know God’s there, too. No. If you want your kids to know that God’s there, too, YOU teach them that. Let the science teachers teach science. It isn’t their job to remind them that they need to feel guilty for learning there’s more to the universe than was covered in the Bible/Torah/Qu’ran.

So I think it is an astounding and wonderful and courageous move by the Texas Board of Education that in the face of knee jerk reactionaries and politicians who are too afraid of not getting re-elected and the near omnipresent church (you can’t go three blocks without seeing a church in Texas), they agreed to let the kids learn how to apply logic and reason in their studies. Of course there are those who disagree:

Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, who voted to keep “strengths and weaknesses,” said he wouldn’t rubber stamp recommendations from the experts.

“This is a battle of academic freedom. This is a battle over freedom of speech,” Mercer said. “It’s an issue of freedom of religion.”

No, Mr. Mercer. It is not an issue of freedom of religion, because there IS no religion in our classrooms. It is an issue of teaching science in the classroom without fear of religion being inserted. It is an issue of teaching our children to be competitive in a global market. Because we owe them that. We owe our country that. The US is falling behind in scientific development, and the blame can be laid squarely on the shoulders of those superstitious uber religious fundamentalists who have been allowed to push their agenda in our schools and our government. No more.

Today I can honestly state that I am proud of my adopted state; happy to be a Texan.

Texas Supreme Court Tells Libertarian Candidate to Sit Down and Shut his Piehole.

As reported at this site, Bob Barr, the presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party, has filed an injunction claiming that neither John McCain nor Barack Obama had submitted the necessary paperwork to be considered as candidates for President of the United States, and demanding that they be removed from Texas ballots, thus putting into question the status of Texas’ 34 electoral votes.

And as predicted, the Supreme Court of the state of Texas has told Barr to shut the hell up.

[But}…the Democratic and Republican state parties had filed official documents with the Secretary of State stating their presumed presidential candidates. The Democrats threw in Joe Biden’s name and the Republicans said they would report back with the name of their vice presidential contender, which they did.

Apparently, the Supreme Court felt that was sufficient, especially in light of the catastrophic alientation of voters if neither of the major party candidates could appear on the November ballot.

C’mon. Let us be honest. It’s not surprising, sure, but it isn’t about the “alienation of voters” nearly as much as it’s about the fact that McCain can’t win without Texas. He needs us BAD, as badly as Obama needs California. I don’t doubt, though, stubborn as the citizens of my adopted state seem to be, they still would’ve shown up, and still would’ve written McCain’s name in on the ballot if such was necessary.

Waiting on Ike

As a new Dallas resident, Ike is my first hurricane.

The darling man has reassured me that, as we’re to the west of the trajectory, we shouldn’t have to worry about much more than heavy rain and some lightning; the majority of the tornadoes centering to the east of the storm.

This is rather a new experience for me; I’m from San Francisco. When the earth gets pissed off there, it moves a few feet north or south, it’s over in 12 seconds or so, and then we clean up any glass shards. I’m not used to sitting around waiting to see what happens. That’s the major difference, I think, between then and now. You don’t anticipate earthquakes. They pretty much happen whenever pressure decides it’s time to happen, and your warning is the slight nauseous feeling that hits about two seconds before the first roll of the earth. Then it’s find a doorway if you’re close enough, or just relax and let it pass if it’s small enough (to a jaded Barbary Coast girl like me, anything less than a 5 isn’t even worth pulling off the road for).

I’ve tried not to act anxiously, but I cannot close the tab I’ve had opened at accuweather.com for the past hour. I’m not sure “knowing it’s coming” is all it’s cracked up to be.

I am interested in finding out if people react to hurricane threats the way they react to “possible earthquake activity” warnings in California. Water, toilet paper, candles and batteries seem to magically disappear from stores.

Thus far, the video and pictures from Galveston are not comforting. Many who should have fled did not, and will now require rescue. The projected numbers from authorities in four coastal counties put the estimate at 140,000. I can only hope for the sake of their families that they’re still alive and well, but much like landslide & flood victims, I have never been able to fathom why anyone would stay in the path of such destruction.

I had been hoping to be on a  plane this morning; obviously that isn’t happening anytime soon. Later I’ll round up the fam and head out to Costco to see if we can’t whip up some appropriate hysteria. In the mean time, I’ll stick to accuweather, hitting refresh and thinking for the thousandth time about how much better I had it with earthquakes. At least the bed shook in the middle of the night occasionally.

Texas out of the electoral process?

I’m not sure whether to be amused or impressed.

According to this story, the Bob Barr presidential campaign faxed the Texas Secretary of State office yesterday citing Texas Election Code § 192.031, which requires that filings must be submitted “before 5 p.m. of the 70th day before presidential Election Day,” listing the “names of the party’s nominees for president and vice-president.”  Neither the Obama nor the McCain campaign submitted ther paperwork prior to August 26, 2008, 5pm, and it looks as though Mr. Barr is going to be a stickler about it.

Now…don’t get me wrong. I’m sure the RNC and DNC will find loopholes and all will be well and all will be well and all manner of things will be well. But….what if they dont? Does it mean Texas’ electoral votes for Obama and McCain don’t count? Does it mean the popular vote will decide and voters will have to do a write in? Both possibilities are intriguing; without Texas, McCain can’t win the general. And what if it’s decided to go with the popular vote? Despite being a “red” state, there are plenty of Obama supporters here…the vote would be split.

I’ll be watching this story with interest….