Image of the Day
This is why we can’t have nice things. As of yesterday, parts of Big Bend National Park were still burning.
Men Behaving Badly — Not a new story, true. But thanks to major backlash, an a rally encouraging the legalization of rape on private property was cancelled. It didn’t take long after the founder of a unbelievably misogynistic website and group “Return of the King,” called for organized rallies across the world—seven scheduled in Texas, including Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and El Paso—that Daryush “Roosh” Valizadeh cancelled the call to idiocy. Valizadeh, his website, and his career are pretty much the worst (the Express-News has a quick rundown for the unfamiliar). Governor Abbott himself issued an unequivocal response to the possibility of such rallies: “This pathetic group and their disgusting viewpoints are not welcome in Texas. I’ve spent much of my career protecting women from such vile and heinous acts [like the pro-rape comments made by the group], and it won’t be any different on my watch as Governor.” With the popular Edmund Burke quote in mind, it’s nice that everyone came together for once.
Path to (No) Immigration — So how exactly does Texas, and the 25 other states, plan to stop the Obama administration from enacting its looser immigration policy/executive order? Glad you asked! The Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller and “Chip Roy, the first assistant attorney general, sat down with The Texas Tribune recently to explain why the case isn’t as simple as some think, what the state is actually fighting for and why, contrary to what some immigrant rights groups say, what Obama did isn’t that same as actions taken by his predecessors.” The Q&A is pretty great at explaining exactly what the state will be arguing against when the Supreme Court takes up the case, which is expected to happen in a couple months. In a nutshell, the executive order grants “eligibility for benefits that violates the law” and isn’t about kicking anyone out per se (“removal priorities”). “This memo would mean hundreds of thousands of additional unauthorized aliens would become eligible for driver’s licenses and that would impose significant costs on the state of Texas,” explains Keller. “Another aspect for which we have standing on are costs from education and health care and law enforcement that are caused by additional unauthorized aliens being in the country.” Maybe the arguments’ll work! If there’s one thing people, especially judges, understand: it’s money. The whole thing is definitely worth a read.
The Never-ending Ovary Fight — Even when The Lege isn’t in session, Texas still finds a way to make the fight over abortions. In the latest update to the grand jury charges brought against the two anti-abortion activists who produced undercover videos of a Houston Planned Parenthood, at least one has been offered a plan B. Up for a second-degree felony that carries a possible 20 years, Sandra Susan Merritt was offered a pretty sweet deal as part of her charges in a lil’ citizens’ undercover operation. In any case, “the prosecutor said Merritt will be offered pre-trial diversion, a form of probation that typically does not require a guilty plea or stringent conditions,” writes the Houston Chronicle. “Typically reserved for low-level non-violent first offenders, like shoplifters, a suspect is diverted out of the court system. If they stay out of trouble, the charges are eventually dismissed. Merritt’s case was rescheduled until next month to work out the parameters of her probation.” In related news, Governor Abbott filed an amicus brief with the SCOTUS in support of the state’s highly controversial anti-abortion law. Abbott basically said without the law, which puts in place strict (and kinda impossible) restrictions on abortion facilities, the situation is unsafe for women. Meanwhile, thanks to the state’s attack on Planned Parenthood, “Women stopped using the most effective types of contraception and more babies were born on the government’s tab after Texas cut off funding from Planned Parenthood clinics,” according to a report from ABC News. “The number of claims for long-acting contraception plummeted by more than a third and births paid for by Medicaid rose 27 percent.” The medical researchers, the ones who actually know about women’s health issues—not, like, politicians—didn’t mince words. “This change is worrisome, since increased access to long-acting, reversible contraception methods is a priority of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.”