HERO—the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance—passed last night. It’s been a bit of circuitous journey for the ordinance designed to protect the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Houstonians—with Mike Huckabee showing up to weigh in, serious questions about the parts of the bill that allow transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify, and votes to delay the vote occurring to let the attention die down. But shortly after 7:30 last night, Houston Mayor Annise Parker signed it into law after an 11-6 vote from City Council.
The meaning of the ordinance for the people of Houston is complicated, and there’s been a bit of confusion about what the law actually says. Here are the basics:
Robert Gates stepped into the role of President of the Boy Scouts of America with as impressive a resume as a person could hope to have: He’s been the President of Texas A&M University, the Director of the CIA, the Deputy National Security Advisor, and the Secretary of Defense under both Presidents Bush and Obama. He’s a high-profile leader for an organization in need of some high-profile leadership, as the Boy Scouts continue to face an ongoing PR struggle regarding their continued exclusion of gay men serving as scoutmasters.
That’s something that Gates—who, as Secretary of Defense, oversaw the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”—says he’d have supported overturning. Talking to the Associated Press on Friday, the day after he stepped into his new role with the organization, he said:
Former NBA star and current analyst Charles Barkley is no stranger to making controversial—some might dare say “dumb”—statements. And perhaps his most controversial (or dumbest) in some time was the statement he made about San Antonio recently, when he declared that “There’s some big ol’ women down there” and “that’s a gold mine for Weight Watchers.”
That statement is a couple of weeks old now, but the story has lingered for a few reasons: The continued dominance of the Spurs in the playoffs, the fact that Barkley, who—ahem—seems to enjoy being the center of attention, has refused to apologize, and also the fact that women in San Antonio have gathered to protest his remarks.
Even among the very wealthy, there is income disparity. That’s one of the takeaways from the list of the ten wealthiest zip codes in Texas that the Houston Chronicle compiled, based on Census data. Another takeaway: Wow, a lot of wealthy people live in the Houston and Dallas areas.
But first, income inequality among the rich is a real thing! That’s very clear from the list, which places the West University section at the top, with a mean income of $240,000 per household in the 77005. That’s a whole lot of money for the average family to pull down, and it’s almost $50,000 more than the mean household income in Austin’s Westlake Hills neighborhood, where families have to scrape by on a mere $191,000 per year.
I spent all afternoon on Saturday watching the NFL Draft’s final four rounds. This wasn’t a labor of love—even a die-hard football fan knows that watching Mel Kiper and Trey Wingo endlessly opine about lesser-known college ballplayers who are increasingly unlikely to actually have NFL careers is not exactly a recipe for a good time—but it seemed appropriate. If you’re going to enjoy the game at its best, it seems only fair to acknowledge the league at its worst, and watching the continued slide of Michael Sam, the Missouri defensive end and reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year who came out as gay in early February, definitely counts as the league at its worst.
Michael Sam, who played high school football in Hitchcock, Texas, was perhaps the second-biggest story of this year’s draft (behind, of course, Johnny Manziel), and the questions about what his future would hold dominated NFL discourse over the weekend—and the months that preceded it.
Real estate blog Estately.com has proven, incontrovertably, something that we all already knew was true: Texans like tacos more than anybody else likes tacos.
In a post on Estately called “The Most/Least Taco-Crazed Cities In America,” the blog analyzed the fifty largest cities in the U.S. to determine which cities loved tacos the most, and which city residents were content to drive through a Taco Bell. The methodology is perhaps a bit suspect, but quantifying taco love is an inherently subjective enterprise, and we’ll give them some credit for at least revealing how they came up with the list:
Stop us if this sounds familiar: An armed group in a Texas city, semi-automatic rifles strapped across their backs, descended on a place where you don’t typically see a bunch of large guns, scaring the hell out of the people who caught a glimpse of them. It’s no wonder that some people thought that perhaps the armed group might be up to no good—only to learn that the group was just exercising their right to carry a long-arm firearm openly in public in the state of Texas.
This latest example of the growing trend occurred at a Fort Worth Jack In The Box location. As NBC DFW reports:
Last week, the indie rock band Warpaint spent three sold-out nights in Austin, opening for The National at their stand at ACL Live. It was an introduction to the group for many Texans, and a high-profile way for the group to promote its self-titled second album. This week, the band made international headlines by attacking one of the most beloved Texans in the world: Queen Bey herself, Beyoncé Knowles Carter.
In an interview with British music magazine Q, the band’s guitar player Theresa Wayman decried female pop stars, singling out both Rihanna and Beyoncé for the “hyper-sexualization” of their music:
Sriracha is a tasty hot sauce manufactured by Huy Fong Foods that, for those with adventurous taste buds, makes everything from scrambled eggs to pizza a finer experience. But the process of manufacturing the substance has been unpopular among residents of Irwindale, California, a small town of about 1,400 just twenty miles outside of Los Angeles. And where Irwindale smells a spicy controversy, Texas cities smell spicy opportunity.
Sriracha hasn’t always been based in Irwindale—the company relocated to the city in 2010, after being offered a sweetheart deal to build a $40 million factory. As the Los Angeles Times reported in November:
We learned last year that Lance fatigue is a real thing for people in Texas, especially those in Austin, who went through the entire roller coaster of emotions as Lance went from an inspirational hero to a disgraced doper.
But the fact that Armstrong was once such a highly-regarded figure who fell from grace so publicly holds a lot of appeal to a public that loves redemption narratives. We love to raise people to “hero” status, we love the drama of watching them fall, and at some point—when we’ve seen them debased enough—we like to see them come back. That’s especially true in sports, where on-field success is often treated as shorthand for personal redemption. It runs contrary to our sensibilities that a bad person would be great at something we collectively adore, and so we feel compelled to adjust our perception of that person’s morals to match the glory we see on the field.