The State of Texas: September 11, 2014
Slideshow of the Day
From the Bigger-In-Texas Department: “Fourteen of the most populuated high schools in the country call Texas home,” reports the Houston Chronicle, which has put together one of its slideshow to show just how many students are in each of these learning factories.
Anti-Social Studies — The Texas school year doesn’t really get going until there’s a State Board of Education-related controversy. Scholars from the left-leaning Texas Freedom Network Education Fund say the planned social studies textbooks for next year aren’t just revisionist but wildly biased. Based on this Austin American-Statesman story, the books have some pretty cringe-inducing details. “The issues that scholars point to in the textbooks range from the use of the antiquated phrase ‘Negro race’ to a cartoon that depicts space aliens coming to Earth because they’ll get preferential treatment here thanks to affirmative action policies.” Oh, and, “biased statements that inappropriately portray Muslims negatively, give a lack of attention to Native American peoples and culture, and give undue legitimacy to neo-Confederate arguments about states’ rights and the legacy of slavery in the South, among other concerns.” Conservative leaders and Republican representatives on the board are pshawing the results, indicating the scholars got paid good money to find problems and that “the Texas Freedom Network complains to the board nearly every year and its concerns will likely fall on deaf ears this year,” according to the Texas Tribune. The board is expected to approve (or not approve!) the books in November.
Conspiracies Are Born — Some conservative critics are turning against Wendy Davis and her recent abortion claims. As detailed by San Antonio Express-News’s Peggy Fikac in a nice explanatory piece, the standard, somewhat understandable claim from mainstream Republicans is that Davis has used the sad personal details as a crass political ploy. Meanwhile, Texas Right to Life has taken umbrage with, and a hard-line stance against, the abortions themselves. The really wild response, however, comes from those wondering if Davis’s abortion claims are even true to begin with. These new theorists aren’t coming from the fringe, but rather from places like the respected National Review, which called the story “convenient.” “Maybe she had the abortion, maybe she didn’t. Maybe her reasons were as compelling as she claims,” writes NRO’s Dustin Siggins. “But the reasons Davis gives for having had her abortions are unproven and statistically unlikely.” The lesson being, if you’re going to have an abortion and are also considering a future in politics, make sure you keep the receipts.
San Anto-NO — On the heels of its proposed panhandler/charity ban, San Antonio has another ban up and running. This one’s against “bandit signs,” which is a lot less devious than it sounds. As KSAT explains, “Bandit signs are signs illegally placed along roadways and often advertise anything from new homes to weight-loss products.” Based on the piece, there weren’t any complaints about the signs. They were just annoying city officials. “The director of the Development Services Department, says the signs are considered a safety hazard and require permits. District 8 City Councilman Ron Nirenberg also commented, stating, ‘Nuisance crimes proliferate when ignored. The City can and will reverse the troubling trend of littering in our rights of way through enforcement of the Bandit Sign Ordinance.'” For the crime, offenders face a Class C misdemeanor. And if you do want an annual sign permit, that’ll cost you $50.
Radio Silence — Poor Radioshack. It’s dying slowly, like that pair of your once-favorite headphones that sometimes work but are mostly useless. The company “stock dropped below $1 again,” reports the Dallas Business Journal, “after a Wedbush Securities analyst predicted that the company likely will go bankrupt.” The report told investors to expect “dismal results” and that “bankruptcy reorganization is imminent.” To make matters worse, its “lenders won’t let the Fort Worth-based retailer close the 1,100 stores it initially planned to shut down to save costs. Instead the credit agreement only allows the closure of 200 stores per year.” Another report last month said any turnaround was unlikely and—as a final insult—the company is “in danger of being delisted from the New York Stock Exchange after being warned for it’s low stock prices.” Out of mercy, someone really should just take the company out back and turn it into scrap.