The State of Texas: June 10, 2015
Tweet of the Day
Houston can surprise you. Case in point is the beautiful old photo—and story-behind-the-photo—featured yesterday in the Houston Chronicle’s online magazine, Gray Matters.
— Lisa Gray (@LisaGray_HouTX) June 9, 2015
Texas By The Numbers
All Wet – Average rainfall in lower 48 states this May: 4.36. Number of inches above average: 1.45. Rank among the 121 years NOAA has been keeping track of wettest months: First. Record-setting rainfall in Texas: 8.81 inches. Previous record, in June 2004: 6.66 inches.
Drained – Well that was sudden. The officer at the center of the McKinney pool party controversy has resigned. McKinney police chief Greg Conley called Eric Casebolt’s actions “‘indefensible’… at a press conference after the officer submitted his resignation,” according to the Associated Press. “But Casebolt was not pressured to quit the force, Conley said.” As the Dallas Morning News notes, Casebolt’s “two-word resignation did not include an apology or acknowledgment of wrongdoing.” He’ll also be able to keep his pension and, presumably, apply for another policing job. From the police chief to church leaders, the Morning News can’t seem to find a single person sympathetic to Casebolt (or, rather, notably unsympathetic to discrimination). For that, one must visit Breitbart Texas. Continuing the very bad week for Texas police, which includes an incident in Austin still under investigation, comes news of an Addison police officer who was filmed back in May smashing someone’s car with his baton because the sovereign Texas citizen, who was pulled over for speeding, refused to give the officer identification. To be fair, the nitpicky these-are-my-rights driver was very much wrong about
certain most aspects of the law. In related news, Casebolt’s ridiculous barrel roll has been matched up with the Beastie Boys’s “Sabotage,” the video of which features a similar stunt performed by three seventies-era “cops.”
Still Restricted – There was another development in the long-gestating abortion debate yesterday. A federal appellate court judge in Waco “upheld some of the toughest provisions of a Texas abortion law on Tuesday,” writes the New York Times, “putting about half of the state’s remaining abortion clinics at risk of permanently shutting their doors and leaving the nation’s second-most populous state with fewer than a dozen clinics across its more than 267,000 square miles. There were 41 when the law was passed.” As the Austin American-Statesman notes, “The decision mostly reversed a ruling last year by … Lee Yeakel,” a.k.a. the troublemaking, liberal-ish Austin judge. Opponents of the law will most likely appeal. And that “sets the stage for an expected petition to the U.S. Supreme Court and a potential landmark case testing the limits of newly enacted abortion-clinic restrictions against a woman’s constitutional right to choose to end her pregnancy,” according to the Christian Science Monitor.
Holy Separation – The Amarillo Globe-News has an interesting look at three Texas churches that have “officially been dismissed from the nation’s largest Presbyterian denomination.” Religious news doesn’t often make headlines, but the story highlights how religious denominations don’t practice uniform groupthink (as if that needed to be stated) and how Texas Christians are separating from their national, more progressive, brethren. “The churches … voted to leave Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) because the organization has moved to the left theologically over the years. They are now part of the more conservative ECO, A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians.” As the story notes, the decision was not made lightly, or cheaply. Breakaway negotiations went on for about two years, and, for at least one church, the discernment process “ … ended with an agreed final gift of $400,000 to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). [Another church] ended its process with a departure settlement of $125,000.” The “left” theology includes the national church redefining marriage to mean “a unique relationship between two people, traditionally a man and a woman.” The three Amarillo churches aren’t the only Texas congregations to break away either. “In the Texas Panhandle … six churches have been officially dismissed from the presbytery.” It’s not nearly as bad as the Thirty Years’ War, but divorces (and celestial alimony) are never pretty.