Quote of the Day
“Will a Catholic priest be forced to remove his white collar when he takes a picture with Mickey Mouse?”
-Texas Values in a press release. This was just one of the many concerns expressed by the conservative religious activist group in response to the Governor of Georgia’s decision to veto an anti-LGBT bill, which the Texas organization apparently views as an attack on “religious freedom.”
Oops Part II–Texas’s Republican primary election was Rick Perry-less in more ways than one. The former governor saw his 2016 presidential campaign derailed practically before it even began, and now it appears he did not participate as a voter, despite endorsing Ted Cruz. According to the Texas Tribune, “there’s no record he voted in this year’s Republican primary in Texas.” Perry’s former campaign manager told the Tribune that Perry filled out a ballot and sent it by mail, but the County Elections Administrator where Perry is registered said she never received it. Perhaps Perry forgot the third and final step: fill out ballot, check; place in envelope, check; and… uh… oops. Could he have headed to the nearest mailbox, but decided to stop for ice cream instead? Or maybe the fashionister’s bifocals failed him, and rather than completing the ballot he really just scribbled a checkmark next to a “Ted Cruz”-shaped smudge on a used napkin. Then there’s the slightly romantic possibility of a Rick Perry ballot gone with the wind, prancing through the blooming bluebonnet fields in the Hill Country or floating across the Great Plains of North Texas or the desert scrub out west, searching for the sort of free and meaningful life that could never be found if it were stuffed inside a ballot box. Or maybe Trump savagely devoured it, like Cronus.
Whack-a-Mole—These guys just won’t go away. A few days after Crystal City’s allegedly corrupt ex-mayor announced he would again be running for the small town’s top political office, the former city manager, James Jonas III, landed another job on the public payroll. Jonas was indicted along with most of Crystal City’s leadership in February for allegedly soliciting bribes and participating in a kickback scheme. Now, he’s a public defender representing indigent misdemeanor offenders in Bexar County. Writes the San Antonio Express-News: “Jonas’s presence in the Bexar County Courthouse has created an intrinsically awkward situation: a public official who is under federal indictment for, among other things, allegedly facilitating the bribery of other public officials is now taking public money to represent clients before yet another group of public officials.” Sounds like corruption is a flat circle. As the Express-News notes, Jonas probably needs the cash after his insane $216,000 salary (or, about $28 per Crystal City resident) was frozen following his arrest last month. Yet somehow, a job application filled out by someone who is under federal indictment wasn’t automatically tossed in the trash. According to the Express-News, it’s now up to the county court judges to choose whether or not Jonas gets to stick around, and they’ll be meeting this week to decide.
Test Failure—Public school students all over Texas ran into some nightmarish problems during Tuesday’s standardized STAAR testing. According to the Austin American-Statesman, at least four Central Texas school districts “reported to the state that students have gone to submit their completed writing assessments online and have gotten an error message. After logging back in, the students’ multiple choice answers and at least in one case, the essay, had disappeared.” The trouble apparently extended to at least Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and the Rio Grande Valley. This is the first time the statewide STAAR tests are being administered by New Jersey-based company Educational Testing Services, which beat out Pearson to earn a $280 million contract last year. As students struggled with malfunctioning tests, the State Senate held a hearing to assess the college preparedness of Texas high schoolers. The general consensus? Things could be better. According to the Texas Tribune, Texas “lags behind most other states in preparing high schoolers for college and needs to update its readiness standards.” Might want to start with fixing those tests.