The State of Texas: May 21, 2015
Images of the Day
Senior picture season can be a miserable and embarrassing experience for everyone. Luckily, Conroe High School senior Jacob Holbert knows how to take the perfect Texas photo session. Obviously, it involves Whataburger. Well played, Holbert. Well played.
Unnecessary Meanness – Hey, thanks for working really, really hard in representing the school; now keep your feelings and opinions to yourself! That’s the message of Longview’s Le Tourneau University “an NCAA Division III school in [Longview that] has banned its gay student-athletes from dating,” according to SB Nation’s LGBT division. The anti-gay language is new to the student handbook and reads like something out of the Inquisition. In addition to no dating, the university also prohibits “public advocacy for the position that sex outside of a biblically-defined marriage is morally acceptable.” In other words, students advocating for men to have multiple wives, casting out divorcees and (temporarily) menstruating women, requiring widowed sister-in-laws to marry the brother—all those things are totes fine. As the Houston Chronicle, which picked up on the story, notes, “before anyone says, ‘well of course a Christian school banned same-sex relationships,’ realize that the first openly gay Division I men’s basketball player just transferred to a Roman Catholic university.” Outsports had its own zinger too. “Interestingly, the handbook also claims to stand for five principles: ‘Commitment, Excellence, Integrity, Respect, Community.’ A commitment to respect the integrity of the LGBT community doesn’t seem to be part of that equation.”
Downshifting – The rumble from the Waco brawl has somewhat dissipated as a majority of the national articles coming out focus on what little gang experts know or will reveal. The Twin Peaks company finally released the security camera footage of the shootout of which the details are what one might expect: running from windows, hiding in bathrooms, guns drawn. Some difference in the various stories is beginning to emerge. The video, which the Associated Press saw, shows a fairly empty interior, somewhat backing up the Twin Peak franchise, “who have said the fighting began outside the restaurant, not inside as police have previously said. The franchise did not release the video publicly, citing the ongoing investigation.” As several stories report, “investigators collected hundreds of weapons from the scene” (more than three hundred) hidden in “bags of chips, stuffed between bags of flour and into bench seating, hidden in shelves and trash cans, placed in stoves and tossed on floors.” With the initial shock dying down, upcoming biker-oriented events are getting a look-over. Twin Peaks has cancelled all its bike nights and the “incident has elevated security concerns for motorcycle events in general,” including a Memorial Day run in New Mexico and Austin’s Republic of Texas rally next month.
Medicaid or Medican’t? – Even with all the jargon and numbers, the state’s opposition to Obamacare is looking fairly grim for hospitals providing lower-cost care. The Texas Tribune crunched the numbers and found that “in fiscal year 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, more than three hundred Texas health care providers received a combined $3.9 billion for uncompensated care by way of the [federal program] 1115 waiver. Local funds made up roughly forty percent of that total, with the rest supplemented by the feds.” The piece is as detailed as it is depressing. “At the state’s largest safety-net systems in impoverished, urban communities, hundreds of millions of these uncompensated care dollars could be in jeopardy—in some cases, more than one-fifth of a hospital system’s annual revenue.” The top two hospitals are located in Harris County and Dallas, and the state’s decision not to expand health care has meant Harris Health System faces a “$71.8 million budget deficit” after already having “laid off more than two hundred and fifty employees.” The main victims in all of this, of course, will be the poor as their community health clinics will be hit the hardest. But wait, it’s not all doom and gloom! “Many health policy experts say they are confident the funding will continue in some fashion.”
Black Rhino Down – Well, it finally happened. After many long months of controversy over the Dallas Safari Club’s auctioning off a black rhino hunt, the crowning of the eventual winner, and then overcoming the legal issue of bringing it back to the states, the majestic beast has finally been taken down. And it was videotaped for posterity! The winner, Corey Knowlton, took CNN with him on the hunt for documentation, saying “I think it’s extremely important that people know it’s going down the right way, in the most scientific way that it can possibly happen.” Watch the whole hunt, if you wish. But for the Cliff Notes, USA Today describes the hunt taking “a farcical turn when one of the aging, aggressive rhinos designated ‘high-priority threats to the herd’ died of natural causes before Knowlton could reach it.” And thus ends the great and difficult hunt (the animal also charged the group the second time it was shot at) of a prehistoric-looking mammal, sacrificed so that other black rhinos could be conserved. With a price tag of $350,000 for the hunting permit, it was an expensive sacrifice indeed.