The State of Texas: April 23, 2015
Image of the Day
Perhaps this is what our agriculture commissioner, Sid Miller, considers farm humor:
Juvenile Punishment – Buzzfeed has a deep and depressing look at the “more than 1,000 Texas teenagers who have been ordered to jail in the last three years on charges stemming from missing school.” Just last year, “at least 300 Texas teenagers spent a day or more in adult lockup thanks to truancy charges.” As the story points out, it’s more than just punishing kids who fail to go to school; it’s a pretty obvious social problem that’s being handled with all the delicacy of a demolition. “The overwhelming majority of students charged are poor, and most are black or Hispanic,” and “it often has the opposite effect, driving many teenagers out of school.” On a frequent basis, the kids are jailed because they can’t afford the fines racked up from multiple truancies, a Class C misdemeanor, a sort of form of debtor’s prison. Significant reform, too, seems unlikely, even after complaints from the ACLU and a recently begun investigation by the Justice Department looking into “whether students in Dallas County truancy courts have had their due process rights violated.”
Black Ops on Aisle Nine – When the military announced that it was conducting training exercises in Texas, among other places, the Internet went a bit wild with conspiracy theories about the government planning a complete, military takeover of the Lone Star State. Now, apparently, that conspiracy has a new twist thanks to the recent (and admittedly mysterious) closings of several Walmarts around the country. The official line is that those stores—two in Texas—had plumbing problems, although many suspect it was related to the workers’ complaints about better wages. Bloggers, however, “have different ideas. The website Intellihub, the ‘Civilian Intelligence Agency,’ suggested the Walmarts are being converted into giant entrance facilities for a network of underground tunnels the military will use to transport troops across the country,” according to the Houston Chronicle. Other theories include the Walmarts being launching pads for missiles and cleared out in order “to house the headquarters of invading troops from China.” It all sounds like a big joke until one considers the actual scenarios in which “county officials who spoke with army command said they’d been notified that troops would be operating undercover among civilians, testing their abilities to blend in.”
Child Extradition – A rather unfortunate case of state-facilitated child kidnapping has thankfully come to a somewhat decent conclusion. “A 14-year-old Mexican girl who was taken by authorities and sent screaming to live in the United States was returned home Wednesday after DNA tests showed she is not the daughter of the Houston woman who claimed her,” reports the Associated Press. Video tape of the girl being forceably removed by authorities, at school, made headlines last week. Despite her parents not only insisting that the girl was their daughter but showing proper identification as well, the fourteen-year-old was taken to Houston. The details as to how the girl was identified, by a court, as the Houston woman’s daughter in the first place is, uncomfortably, unclear. Also uncomfortable is the fact that “[the Mexican Foreign Ministry] later intervened to request the DNA test because of the commotion the video was causing.” Even an effort by the girl’s parents to travel to Houston with a birth certificate still failed to get their daughter released. Reading the AP’s story, it seems as though everyone from Interpol to local officials would just prefer to forget that this whole confusing frightening mess ever happened.