The State of Texas: June 26, 2015
Video of the Day
The Lake Texoma reservoir just witnessed a fascinating natural event: a swirling vortex! As the Houston Chronicle all-too-accurately put it, the lake “is draining like a toilet in a bathroom.”
Big Gay Texas? – Breaking news from the Capitol: the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that gay marriage is totes constitutional and that “states must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize same-sex unions that were legally performed in other states,” according to the Huffington Post. But hold your Texas horses because it was just yesterday that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton “made it clear . . . that he wants no rush to the altar,” according to the Austin American-Statesman. “Paxton recommended that county officials await direction from his office before issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples,” should the court rule for equality. Paxton, in a statement released Thursday, said, “The position of this office is that the United States Constitution clearly does not speak to any right to marriage other than one man and one woman.” The head-scratcher now is that, SCOTUS has said the constitution clearly does speak to that right. So will Texas rebel, as some conservatives have suggested doing? Who knows? But Paxton, who is very much anti-gay, yesterday called for “prudence” should gay marriage pass. Will that happen? Maybe! For example, Midland officials are “taking a more wait-and-see approach,” according to the Reporter-Telegram, while places like the Rio Grande Valley are, apparently, “ready for the change.” And Austin (duh) basically has had its celebratory streamers locked and loaded for quite some time. As of writing, Austin same-sex couples had begun lining up for licenses at the Travis County Clerk’s office, which announced that it would begin issuing them at 10:30 a.m.
Secret Tapes – The battle to get officials to release more information about the Waco biker shooting just took what could be a pivotal turn. Clint Broden, the lawyer behind a lawsuit against officials, announced yesterday that the city of Waco has moved to prevent him and his client from seeing security footage from Twin Peaks during the shooting that left nine dead. Officials have maintained since the beginning that details about the incident need to be withheld while the massive and fairly unprecedented investigation continues. In a press release, however, Broden said that “the only party that can move to quash a subpoena is the party to whom the subpoena is issued, in this case the Waco Twin Peaks franchisee.” And it appears Twin Peaks has indeed attempted to comply with Broden’s district clerk–approved subpoena. The obvious concern is that the video could, oops, somehow wind up in the hands of the press. Because Lord knows the press is trying! The City of Waco has already opposed a request from the Waco Tribune-Herald (and Yahoo! News) to see the video and the “matter has been sent to the Texas Attorney General’s Office for a ruling.” As the Tribune-Herald notes, by the end of the day on Thursday, “No date had been set for a hearing on the motion to quash… though Broden said in an email that he and [Patrick] Keating [the attorney for the Waco Twin Peaks franchisee] planned to be in 54th State District Court on Friday morning.”
Your Nightmare, Made Real – The almost-cult classic The Dentist is a pretty terrible nineties horror movie. So there’s no way it could happen in real life. Except … welcome to Texas! “Dallas police said Mario Alberto Sabillon-Mejia, 33, masqueraded as a dentist and denture-maker and offered discount oral care in Dallas and Houston,” reports the Dallas Morning News. “He and his alleged assistant, Tiffany Gonzalez, were arrested Wednesday and charged with practicing medicine without a license.” How did their arrest come about? A woman with a little toothache, little money, and no insurance says, “[Sabillon-Mejia], posing as a dentist, held her down inside her home and yanked out five teeth over an hour or two.” The details from police only get worse and are worth quoting at length. “On May 25, Sabillon-Mejia gave [Erika] Martinez an anesthetic and started pulling teeth. The pain was excruciating. She bled profusely. They held her down. Martinez said Thursday that she asked the pair to stop the procedure, but they said they had to keep going. At one point, Martinez fainted.The two allegedly cleaned their dental tools in Martinez’s bathroom sink and carried them around in an unsanitary bag. Afterward, Martinez said, the pair gave her a little post-operative advice: “‘Just not to eat pork, and that was it,’ she said.” The full nightmare story—including grainy photos of the tools—is a real rubberneck of a read. Have a great weekend, and be sure to brush your teeth.