The State of Texas: Oct. 23, 2013
Tweet of the Day
Get out your pitchforks. Maybe. Senator John Cornyn tweeted out something that, apart from using impressively youthful language, could be construed either as a little bit funny or a little bit xenophobic. At least he reportedly wrote the tweet himself:
POTUS sez you can get O-care questions answered in 150 different languages – is English one of them?
— JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) October 22, 2013
In The Pitts of Hell — What a brutal day for embattled UT Austin Regent Wallace Hall. Opening witness testimony of the House legislative committee began yesterday with representatives delivering a verbal flogging that would make fifteenth century Catholic monarchs proud. The whipmaster was Jim Pitts, who called Hall’s controversial investigation “a fishing expedition” and a “witch hunt,” in reference to records Hall sought, seeing if the applications of politicians’s kids received special attention. The most tempered comment of the hearing came from Eric Johnson, who “observed that the relationship between the system and the university’s open records officers appears to be ‘less than ideal.’” Of course, if Hall is eventually impeached, as seems pretty darn probable, it’d mark the first time a nonelected official has gotten the axe. As such, the committee seems almost giddy in its desire to interrogate Hall, perhaps as a warning to others. “[Rep. Dan] Flynn made it clear that they would take as much time as members feel is needed to complete the investigation.” In this case, the word “investigation” has all the fair-mindedness as “inquisition,” as Hall isn’t allowed to cross examine witnesses. The proceedings bring a whole new, Dark Ages meaning to “Don’t Mess With Texas.”
Language Bullies — Fort Worth parents of a Western Hills High School football player have all but ensured that their son will now be bullied for real, after they filed an official bullying complaint with the school, according to the Star-Telegram. The incident in question includes thousands of witnesses since it was not some random playground beating but the 91-0 thumping the Cougars received at the hands of Aledo High School. The story is making national news—Sports Illustrated, MTV, you name it—since the school is, by law, forced to investigate claims of the entire team “engaging in … physical conduct that occurs on school property, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity … and … is sufficiently severe, persistent, and pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student.” So yes, technically a football game qualifies. But then again, so does dentention and dodge ball. Not even Western Hills’s coach thinks the complaint has merit. To his credit, Aledo head coach, Tim Buchanan, said he tried to mitigate the lopsided victory and that the complaint is “not something you can laugh off or anything like that.” Well, the rest of us can.
Fetal Custody Battle, Cont’d — Lawyers for Planned Parenthood and the state continued arguments before a judge over the recent abortion restrictions. As with Monday’s events, the attorney general’s office shifted from arguing for women’s health and instead pushed the issue as a pro-life issue. Apparently, the Attorney General himself did not get the memo. During a campaign stop on Tuesday, Greg Abbott said, “the law passed by the state legislature takes a step forward by protecting women’s health.” U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel seems eager to get this thing over with, expressing his desire to reach a quick decision as to whether or not the new law should be delayed. He also seems a little annoyed with the tenure of arguments in general. “What I want is focused argument on this statute and why it lives or dies under the law as it exists at this time,” said the judge. Final arguments will be heard today.
Sid and Nugey — In what appears to be an obvious effort to out-kinky Richard Samet Friedman, ag commish candidate Sid Miller has hired Ted Nugent to be part of his campaign. Apparently, the Nuge and the former state representative are “American Blood Brothers.” As such, Nugent will serve, officially, as the “campaign’s treasurer and co-chair.” Unfortunately, Nugent probably won’t be doing too much in his new position (imagine the possibilities!), as it’s mostly symbolic. Fun fact: The San Antonio Express-News manages to get not one, but two, Nugent music references into the first paragraph of its story.