The State of Texas: June 5, 2015
Border Blunders – It’s been awhile since immigration has been a highly publicized issue in Texas, but that doesn’t mean all is calm. Take the Karnes County Residential Center in South Texas, “a detention center for migrant mothers and children [that] remains in turmoil after the attempted suicide of a detained teenage mother and the abrupt release of five pregnant women as their detention and health care were scrutinized,” reports the McClatchy news service. The suicide attempt is “the latest to cast a shadow on the Obama administration’s family detention policy since the approach was adopted in response to last year’s surge of tens of thousands of migrant families fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. The release of the pregnant women and their children from the Karnes County center came hours after McClatchy reported Wednesday afternoon that the women were among the hundreds of mothers and children who have been locked up at three detention centers, in Karnes City and Dilley, Texas, and Berks County, Pa.” And since the troubles with migrant detention seems to have lost steam since the crisis was at full throttle last summer, these particular episodes are likely to continue without too much coverage.
Bikers And Barristers – The Waco shootout last month happened relatively quick, but the legal fight looks like it’s going to go on for awile. For instance, “a visiting judge Thursday denied an attempt by an attorney for nine bikers arrested . . . to remove McLennan County’s two felony court judges from presiding over the cases,” according to the Waco Tribune. The lawyer tried to switch judges because of “judicial bias” in releasing a few bikers on less than $1 million bail. That high bail is still a problem, too. The visiting judge did tell local authorities to get their act together, cautioning “McLennan County officials at the end of the hearing to try to expedite the bond issues.” As the Los Angeles Times noted, “Of the 177 people arrested in connection with the violence, 143 remain jailed.” At least one civil rights advocate pointed out that the ‘Let’s arrest them all and sort it out later,’ attitude recalls “roundups of communists and socialists in the ‘red scares.” The red scare comparison might be a tad of a stretch, but officials actions do seem to be drawing suspicions. As Yahoo News reports, Waco police are apparently “trying to clamp down on public information about the case,” yet documents obtained by Yahoo “appear to be haphazardously redacted. Even though required by law, the names of arresting officers are omitted. But the identities, addresses and other contact information of suspects’ next of kin are prevalent.”
Medical Marvel – Another scientific innovation emerges from research conducted in Texas. Houston doctors “say they have done the world’s first partial skull and scalp transplant to help a man with a large head wound from cancer treatment,” according to the Austin American-Statesman. “In a 15-hour operation by about a dozen doctors and 40 other health workers, Boysen was given a cap-shaped, 10-by-10-inch skull graft, and a 15-inch-wide scalp graft starting above his forehead, extending across the top of his head and over its crown. Any surgery around the brain is difficult, and this one required very delicate work to remove and replace a large part of the skull and re-establish a blood supply to keep the transplant viable.” The doctors said they did the operation back in May and the patient, Jim Boysen, was reportedly released yesterday. Boysen, by the way, is pretty happy with his new hairdo. “‘It’s kind of shocking, really, how good they got it. I will have way more hair than when I was 21,’ Boysen joked.”