The State of Texas: March 20, 2015
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There are plenty of sneaky ways to get people into the church pews. One recent banner attempt has gotten some attention for its interesting, er, phrasing. What the church apparently meant was “stripping yourself of whatever is holding you down.” But that’s not how it reads. “I guess we’re going to have to have some security to make sure people don’t show up naked,” said Pastor Williams.
Stranded – The steady urbanization of Texas has had some positive results—bustling economy, more culture—but as a result, rural areas are suffering in some very serious ways. The Texas Tribune highlights the plight of rural hospitals, which has created “a feeling of isolation that has crept up on other rural corners of the state following a spate of 10 hospital closures in the past two years.” As the story details, rural hospitals have faced a number of challenges over the years, including “undelivered promises of federal health reform, payment cuts by both government programs and private insurers, falling patient volumes . . . a declining rural population [and] Texas’ distinction as the state with the highest percentage of people without health insurance.” As the state continues to urbanize, closures are likely to continue (there was a similar drop in the number of rural hospitals thirty years ago) with few in the cities paying much attention until they’re in need of help halfway between Amarillo and Austin.
In the Hot Seat – The federal government has not had the easiest time in South Texas. In continuing the back-and-forth between the Obama administration’s immigration order and the Texas-led push by states to prevent the change, a Brownsville judge once again took the big boys from D.C. to task. The administration had started doling out approvals related to the new immigration order even before the policy went into affect. The district judge overseeing the case, Andrew Hanen, is none too happy about it. “You said it’s not happening,” he said Thursday, according to the San Antonio Express-News. “And like an idiot, I believed that.” It was more than a simple castigation too. He also threatened “to sanction the Justice Department if he finds that government lawyers misled him about the rollout,” according to the Los Angeles Times. On Thursday, Hanen said the government had 48 hours to file a response to the lawsuit against it and “Hanen’s barbed comments left little doubt that he sympathized with lawyers for the 26 states.”
On Their Tail – Dallas police are on the lookout for two women they suspect may have contributed to the death of another woman, who may have died due to butt injections she received from the back-alley cosmetology effort. It may read as a morbid joke, but the details of the specific case are rather unpleasant. According to an arrest warrant affidavit, a woman who received the unlicensed service described how “‘the injection holes were closed with super glue and cotton balls,’ and the woman was given two tubes of super glue to take home in case liquid leaked out of the injection sites,” reports the Dallas Morning News. “It’s unclear whether [the woman] died as a result of the butt injections. The medical examiner’s office said it won’t rule on the cause of death until it receives toxicology results, which could take another two months.” Regarding the arrest warrant, the two women “face a charge of practicing medicine without a license.”
One and Done – We’re normally so good at sports, so it was a bit of surprise when all five Texas teams were knocked out of the NCAA basketball tourney yesterday. “Fans of Texas, Baylor, SMU, Texas Southern and Stephen F. Austin can turn their attention back to the state’s pastime, the football season,” writes Yahoo Sports, with more than a little cheeky glee. In fact, the piece is rather hard on Texas in general. “Few expected 15th-seeded Texas Southern to beat No. 2 seed Arizona in the West Region. The Wildcats had way too much winning 93-72.” The piece also noted that No. 3 seed Baylor’s loss to No. 14 seed Georgia State was the only real upset of the group, although Stephen F. Austin was a popular upset pick against Utah. After documenting the state’s losses, the final sentence to the piece simply reads, “And the state of Texas was done.”