Need some tracks as maniac-producing as the weather’s been? The Dallas Observer has you covered with its Top Ten Best Texas Psychedelic Rock Albums.
Tweet of the Day
All those photos of Russia’s poor attempts at hospitality (the toilet paper trash can, the yellow drinking water) are one thing, but when you have to make major physical adjustments to your door’s entry points, there’s a real problem. Such was the case of American bobsledder (and McKinney native!) Johnny Quinn, who tweeted the end result of being locked behind the Iron Curtain a cardboard bathroom door:
— Johnny Quinn (@JohnnyQuinnUSA) February 8, 2014
Poorly Protected — It has not been a good year for Child Protective Services, say nothing of the children its meant to protect. The Austin American-Statesman has a lengthy piece examining the state’s two-year investigation of 95 child deaths. “Mistakes by Child Protective Services caseworkers over the past year contributed to the deaths of two children and the serious injury of another,” begins the heavy piece, “while employees put numerous children at risk by failing to visit them and then lying about it, state records show.” CPS employees were cleared in but two cases, but apart from overlooking children in need, the department has also had an issue with general misconduct. A companion item from the Statesman reports that of 56 complaints “in which employees were accused of misconduct such as falsifying investigation or travel records … they found enough evidence in 34 of those cases.” While putting a spotlight on CPS troubling issue, the Statesman also provides some reasons as to why. Namely, the CPS is the perfect pressure-cooker: understaffed, overworked, high stress. “Nearly 38 percent of new caseworkers quit within the first year [while] more than a dozen CPS regions have “delinquent” investigations, meaning they are still open after 60 days.” Whatever the case, (or cases), it seems pretty clear that CPS needs its own form of protection.
Third-World Problems — Gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott has taken heat for his recent comments comparing South Texas’s corruption to that of a “third-world country.” While Wendy Davis came out strong against Abbott in a letter to the Monitor, the newspaper itself has an interesting story highlighting some of the ways that comment isn’t completely corrupt. The Monitor looks back twenty years after the high-profile conviction of Hildalgo County Sheriff Brigido Marmolejo for money laundering, racketeering and bribery. “Since Marmolejo’s conviction in November 1994, two sheriffs from Starr County and one from Cameron County, [as well as] various other local politicians and city employees have found themselves crossing the line into criminal activity.” Read through the piece, in which the reporter also tracks down the incognito Marmolejo for several comments, and it seems pretty clear that the publication is torn between acknowledging a local problem of shady officials and calling the attention a bit overblown. Perhaps the area is inviting trouble when it has police task forces named the Panama Unit.
Wishful/Dreadful Thinking — On Saturday Rand Paul Revere galloped through Houston, shouting the Democrats are coming! The Democrats are coming! Not literally, but he did sound the alarms at a fundraising dinner, telling a group of gathered Republicans, “Texas will be a Democratic state within 10 years if you don’t change.” The Kentucky senator and Texas-raised Republican’s message of embracing a “Big Tent” philosophy (which should sound familiar) garnered national attention. “We need to have people with ties and without ties, with tattoos and without tattoos; with earrings, without earrings … We need a more diverse party. We need a party that looks like America.” As the CNN piece notes, Democrats are working to build a diverse brand in Texas while Republicans seem unable to comprehend that their hold may not be a majority in the very near future. How did this little bit of medicine go down with Paul’s audience? “His line drew mild applause from the audience,” says CNN. “‘That was kind of tepid,’ [Paul] said.”
The Old Cookie-Cott Coots — It’s hard to imagine anyone being mad at the Girl Scouts, but the Daily Beast looks at those behind a Waco pro-life group’s boycott (aka “cookiecott”) of the organization. The reasoning itself—the national Girl Scouts tweeted about lists of awesome women that happened to include Wendy Davis (and Beyonce!)—is quite convoluted, but that that hasn’t stopped others Girl Scout-haters from joining in. “Pro-life groups have been after the Girl Scouts for years, misconstruing it as a pro-choice organization (along with a leftist, lesbian, and feminist one). Another point of contention is the Girl Scouts curriculum, a book series called Journeys. According to [the male, Waco Pro-life group leader], in one of the books ‘the only person applauded who was pro-life was Mother Theresa’,” writes the Daily Beast. And to think, the biggest problems used to only be the Girl Scout’s mafioso tactics in convincing you to buy a box (or five) of the deceitfully advertised “thin” mints.
Alms For The Alma Maters — You’d think after repeating the same grade over and over again, Texas would get it right when it comes to education. On Friday, a judge heard closing arguments in the case of 600-plus school districts taking the state to court of funding they call a mere band-aid. “The Legislature, for whatever reason, has faced this issue time and time again,” said the school districts’s attorney. “They have put a Band-Aid on a Band-Aid on a Band-Aid.” The latest band-aid is the $3.4 billion the Legislature restored, after it took it away. At issue is the constitutionality of the state’s school financial system which all but ensures that wealthier areas provide better support for their school while leaving the poorer areas behind. So much for the belief that everyone should chip in, “for the children.” The judge not expected to make a ruling until at least next month.