Thursday Arts & Crafts
J.J. Watt’s face appears on an untold number of products and signs, and Lord knows his likeness has been recreated by fans across the state using everything from Crayons to cakes. But you know what we really needed? A Watt stand-in carved out of wood. And that’s is exactly what one La Porte woman delivered. You can check out the whole artistic process on her Facebook page.
Bad Advice — Ken Paxton just keeps running into problems. The latest is an investigation conducted by the Texas State Bar into the Attorney General’s ill-advised (and, like, law-breaking) response to a judgment from the highest court in the land. Recall that immediately after the Supreme Court struck down state bans on gay marriage, Paxton basically said clerks could ignore the ruling (which is, uh, not correct). A group of lawyers immediately went after Paxton with a complaint, and “although the Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s office originally dismissed the complaint, the group of attorneys appealed to the Board of Disciplinary Appeals, whose members are appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas,” writes the Texas Tribune. So now, “the case is … back in the Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s court, where the office will determine whether Paxton committed professional misconduct and ask Paxton to respond to the complaint.” In the unlikely scenario that a little back-door politicking won’t quiet the issue, Paxton could be disbarred. That, again, brings up an interesting question related to his felony charges: how would the public react to having a disbarred lawyer and/or convicted felon acting as the legal counsel for the state?
Presidential Politics, Y’all — As the March 1 primary day comes closer, Texas is finally getting some love from national candidates who’ve wasted their time in Iowa and New Hampshire. Not that we’ll necessary appreciate any of their craven efforts. Example one is Hillary Clinton, who is making the very surprising choice of having Sandra Bland’s mother campaign for her. Technically, the campaigning isn’t directly affecting Texas, as Geneva Reed-Veal is and will be in Chicago, according to the Associated Press. Still, it’s an interesting connection and choice. Being the people’s candidate, or whatever, Bernie Sanders is touching on Texas with the launch of TV ads. “Sanders has bought at least $26,000 worth of TV spots in Wichita Falls,” writes the Dallas Morning News, which notes that he is the “second candidate running for president to commit to air time in Texas. Jeb Bush’s PAC, Right to Rise, has already bought several million dollars worth of ads in Texas. There are no ad buys uploaded to the FCC’s website for Hillary Clinton, the front-runner who is leading Sanders by double digits in Texas according to a few scattered polls.” In other presidential news, the University of Houston is still on for hosting another Republican debate. “The university and CNN announced Wednesday that the final debate before Super Tuesday will be held Feb. 25 at the Moores Opera House on the UH campus,” according to the Tribune. “UH had previously been selected as the host by NBC News, but its status was thrown into question when the Republican Party cut ties with NBC in planning the event.”
City of Prudes — Bad news for those who appreciate great actors and cosmetic improvements to the human form: Dallas has banned the Exxxotica porn expo from returning to the convention center. “The Dallas City Council voted Wednesday afternoon to ban Exxxotica from returning to the city-owned downtown convention center,” reports the Morning News. Not all is lost, though! “In return, the council will get just what it was warned was coming: a lawsuit.” As a rule, a public entity can’t discriminate based on the personal kinks of its leaders. It was a pretty sticky situation leading up to the climatic vote. “The vote was in question until it was called — in large part because even those who supported Rawlings’ ordinance were told by Dallas City Attorney Warren Ernst that the city code regulating sex businesses does not apply here because Exxxotica is a temporary event in the convention center, not a permanent business setting up shop next to a school or church. Council members spent the last week wringing their hands over a likely lawsuit, which is why [councilwoman Jennifer Staubach] Gates was prepared to offer an alternative resolution if and when [Mayor Mike] Rawlings’ plan failed.” Mayor Rawlings, who pushed to ban the porn expo, was very fire and brimstone, saying he expected a lawsuit and clearly plans to fight it: he and a couple of council members bashed First Amendment-loving “activist judges” and evoked the Founding Fathers, because America. One council member was downright puritanical, calling porn “lethal.” As the Dallas Observer is fond of, and correct in, noting, “undercover vice cops saw no crimes at last year’s convention nor was there any Exxxotica-related spike in prostitution.” For those wanting great coverage, the Observer is on the issue.
What Science? — Wowzer, Texas really doesn’t like the idea of discussing women’s body parts. “Two state health researchers in Texas are under fire for co-authoring a study suggesting what Republican leaders have long disputed: cuts to Planned Parenthood are restricting access to women’s health care,” according to the Associated Press. “Texas Health Commissioner Chris Traylor has not said whether the researchers, one a high-level director with more than 20 years in state government, will be disciplined. But a spokesman made it clear that the agency agrees with outraged Republicans over the researchers’ contributions to a study that the GOP sees as flawed and biased. ” For what it’s worth, that study appeared in the premier New England Journal of Medicine. Those objecting to the study (i.e. politicians with no medical expertise), “dismissed the findings as invalid, in part because the research was funded by the nonprofit Susan T. Buffet Foundation, which is a major supporter of Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights groups.” Somewhat ironic, since politicians frequently take
bribes campaign contributions before pushing a cause. What’s particularly troubling (or revealing, depending on your position), is that the Texas Health and Human Services “completely agrees” with the outcries from Senator Jane Nelson, the architect of the state’s women’s health program. Planned Parenthood crowed, saying “the study showed the impact of ‘politically motivated’ decisions.”