The State of Texas: July 14, 2014
Conversation of the Day
The Austin Chroncle‘s story about President Barack Obama’s Franklin Barbeque visit has been coasting through the Internet this weekend, thanks to the quick wits of cashier Rugg Webb, a comedian, artist, musician, and occasional drag queen. Here’s Webb’s exchange with POTUS:
As the president approached, Webb threw his hand down and slapped the counter dramatically.”Equal rights for gay people!”
“Are you gay?” the president asked.
“Only when I have sex.”
“That’s when he laughed and said, ‘Bump me,'” Webb says.
Up From Tragedy — Human strength is amazing, perhaps even more so when that human is just fifteen years old. The lone survivor of the Spring Massacre, in which six family members were killed allegedly by the surviving victim’s estranged uncle, was released from the hospital Friday and is expected to make a full recovery, reports the Associated Press. What more, the girl, Cassidy Stay, spoke at her family’s memorial service and was nothing but positive. Quoting from Harry Potter, Stay said, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” According to NBC News Stay is “comforted knowing her parents, two brothers and two sisters are ‘in a much better place, and that I’ll be able to see them again one day.'” The alleged killer, Ronald Lee Haskell, made his first court appearance on Friday, during which time he “collapsed in court while listening to prosecutors outline the case against him.” Said an assistant district attorney after the hearing “Maybe reality is finally setting in. This is not television, this is not fiction. He is facing his consequence.”
Hazy Borders — It would seem the lines dividing politicians on Texas’s biggest issue at the moment isn’t nearly as defined as the border itself. It’s one thing to have Governor Rick Perry call out President Obama and insist he make a visit to the disaster zone. It’s quite another thing, however, to have a Democratic Congressman say the same thing. On Sunday, U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke, of El Paso, said on national television that Obama should have visited “ground zero.” O’Rourke said a tour “would have sent an important message to the rest of the country about seriously he views this situation.” The chorus of those seeking a humanitarian solution is growing, thanks in part by the solo effort of the U.S.’s most famous illegal immigrant, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who “outted” himself in 2011 in a New York Times Magazine essay. As explained in a must-read essay for Politico, Vargas went down to the border to investigate and it turns out he just might be stuck in McAllen, since he lacks the proper U.S. identification to get past the checkpoint. Like the border issue itself, Vargas’s story is very complicated. For more context, be sure to read Vargas’s Q&A with the Dallas Morning News.
Child Problem — Waco just passed a record, one that no one is eager to celebrate. “Through the end of May, the most recent figures available, [Child Protective Services] workers removed 232 children from their homes, breaking the McLennan County record of 223 for the entire year in 2005,” according to the Waco Tribune in an extensive story. “At the end of May, there still were four months left in the county’s fiscal year and [74th State District Judge Gary Coley Jr.] said CPS cases and new removals continue to come in weekly.” No one knows exactly why there’s such a huge bump—Texas saw a slight increase in such cases but nothing on par with Waco—but Coley, who presides other McLennan County’s juvenile cases says a lot of it appears to be meth-related.
When Humans Attack — Texas huntress Kendall Jones took a lot of flak for posting pictures on Facebook of herself and wild game she killed in Africa. Now, the nineteen-year-old Texas Tech cheerleader is apparently on a sort of re-imaging tour. This time, the animals are “cute, cuddly, and alive,” according to the San Antonio Express-News. The Facebook photos show Jones “holding a baby white-tailed deer, and anothe one with her Chihuahua, Nemo.” As expected, animal-lovers immediately attacked with snarky comments, though it’s not nearly as bad as the Facebook pages in support of the girl’s death. Jones does have one photo of her with a (dead) whitetail deer but “No word if Facebook is considering removing the photo. After all, Facebook did delete the photos of her with the leopards, lions and elephants she killed on her recent trip to Zimbabwe.” For her part, Jones isn’t really backing down all that much. “While pages and photos are being taken down left and right, Jones herself does not plan on removing herself from the spotlight anytime soon. In January, Jones signed a TV contact to debut for eight episodes in a Sportsman Channel series, she confirmed on Facebook.”