The State of Texas: July 6, 2015
Tweet of the Day
If you peeked at Twitter during the holiday weekend, you may have seen Rick Perry being more manly and more American than any other presidential candidate before or since. The only thing missing is a leather jacket and American flag bandana:
Happy 4th of July! pic.twitter.com/Uv5HAD7ROm
— Rick Perry (@GovernorPerry) July 4, 2015
The Dallas Morning News has a very interesting history of the Sting Soccer Club, the North Texas team that “for a decade was America’s primary international women’s soccer representative.” While celebrating America’s incredible victory, be sure to read up on the pioneers of that success.
Alamo, International – The Alamo has always been iconic, even outside of Texas. But now that recognition is official. The Alamo and the surrounding missions in San Antonio have been designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations. “The site includes the state-owned Alamo, or Mission San Antonio de Valero, and the four federally run missions … that each has an active Catholic parish. It also includes Rancho de las Cabras, nearly 100 acres of federal parkland about 25 miles southeast of the city by the San Antonio River,” notes the San Antonio Express-News. The new world seal of approval is “shared by such outstanding places as the Taj Mahal, Stonehenge and the Grand Canyon,” but it’s a particularly big deal for our state since “the missions are now the only World Heritage Site in Texas, and one of 23 in the U.S.” At least two Democrat leaders like the designation—state representatives Joaquin Castro and Lloyd Doggett—but no word yet on what Donna Campbell thinks. She had, after all, tried to prevent the U.N. overlords from getting their paws on our iconic site.
Who Holds the Gold? – Texas is getting back its gold. The only problem? Where, exactly, to store it. In late May, the Lege approved a bill that would bring back the state’s stockpile, currently being held in a New York bank. Missing from the legislation? All the important details of that move. “For the Texas comptroller’s office, which has to implement the policy, the catch is that the new Texas Bullion Depository exists in name but not reality,” writes the PBS’s Newshour in a rather amusing story. “The law doesn’t say where the depository would be or how it should be built or secured. No funding was provided for those purposes or for leasing space elsewhere. Further complicating matters is a provision allowing ordinary people to check their own gold or silver bullion into the facility.” Said a comptroller spokesman: “We are honestly at the phase where the questions we are answering are creating more questions that we have to answer.” The comptroller is creating a four-person task force to solve all the problems, including the estimated $23 million cost of building a facility.
Rainbow Warriors – It’s been over a week since the historic Supreme Court ruling, and it appears both sides in Texas’s same-sex marriage fight are preparing for some trench warfare. Per Attorney General Ken Paxton’s promise that there would be plenty of pro bono lawyers fighting to protect the religious rights of county clerks, it indeed appears “conservative attorneys are gearing up to defend such government employees, saying they are confident existing laws will ensure their religious freedom,” according to the Texas Tribune. “Conservative attorneys suggest these cases can be resolved by guaranteeing that the government official is offered a ‘reasonable accommodation’” for refusing to give marriage licenses to gay couples, i.e., that the task “be delegated to a deputy clerk or another qualified staff member who has no objections.” Lawyers think the law is on their side (they always do), but another contentious question is how to handle judges and justices of the peace who refuse to perform marriage ceremonies. Even Harris County’s attorney, a Democrat, says they are under no obligation. Some lawyers are rather unhappy with Paxton’s proposal. According to the Morning News, “More than 150 Texas attorneys have sign[ed] a missive that says they’re this close to going to the State Bar of Texas with a complaint concerning his opinion.” The letter states that Paxton “has violated several sections of the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Conduct by encouraging state employees in their non-compliance with the United States Supreme Court,” and some even think, rather wishfully, that he’ll be disbarred.
To Protect and Service the Garden – As reported last week, Texas is trying really hard to sell polygamist leader Warren Jeffs compound, for a cool $20 million. For that price, the buyer gets what basically amounts to a small city—1,691 acres and a 300-animal herd of livestock, among many other amenities. As the Associated Press (and the Salt Lake City Tribune before it) so wonderfully points out though, somebody has to take care of the property. And that somebody has become Schleicher County sheriff David Doran, whose Herculean task is all-but-literal. “No money has been set aside to maintain the property,” and Doran “does most of the maintenance himself, along with a few of his staff and a jail inmate he allows to work there.” The duties include regular patrolling, feeding the animals, and watering the orchard. So if you want to teach your child about personal responsibility and hard work this summer (and maybe warn them against the dangers of starting a cult), consider sending them to Eldorado.