Hanging out in the pastures at Mount Carmel for 52 days during the federal standoff with David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, I had a lot of time to talk to people, including fellow reporters. Two of the funniest lines I ever heard were during that horror show. Ken Herman, the Austin American Statesman’s columnist, who was working at the capitol, was the only reporter available to be dispatched. I ran into him a few hours later and he bragged about his early accomplishments on site.
“I’ve already set two Jewish world records,” he said.
“Most number of times peeing outdoors and total volume.”.
The other memorable quote came from a British tabloid reporter. He had been to Texas more than any other location since being assigned to the U.S. He told me they had a saying on Fleet Street in London, which I’ve found to be consistently accurate.
“The only two things you can count on for certain in journalism are death and Texas.”
Which, unfortunately, takes us back to voter fraud and Donald Trump. Texas has always been a fertile spot for grifters as much as dreamers, and Trump’s claims of massive voter fraud have found a proselytizer in a man who has been stopped from doing business with this state. Gregg Phillips says he has invented an app that can prove three million illegal votes
were cast in the presidential election. He has offered no proof of his claims, however. Texans for Public Justice describe Phillips as a “revolving door kind of hustler.” He also owes about $100,000 in back taxes, according to the Guardian of London.
I expect him to get a cabinet appointment.
One interesting bit of data that Phillips’ app did not pick up was that its inventor (Phillips) was registered to vote in three different states
, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas. This, of course, has been one of Trump’s main complaints. He sees people racing from state to state to cast multiple votes to influence election results, millions of people chartering jets and running around voting, repeatedly.
Phillips reportedly had previously put together a hustle in Mississippi that was about more than voting, which prompted a state report by the legislature to say, “Mr. Phillips’s actions create the appearance of impropriety, facilitating an erosion of the public trust… [that] could constitute a violation of state ethics laws.” Also, had to do with an app.
When Mississippi calls you out for being immoral, well, fill in your own analogy.
When LBJ finally stopped worrying about investigations into his stolen primary election in 1948, Landslide Lyndon, (who won with 187 rigged votes), used to tell a story about a boy named Manuel who was sitting on the curb and crying because his father had come to town and not visited him.
“But Manuel,” Johnson would ask, impersonating the boy’s friend. “Your father has been dead for ten years.”
“Si,” Manuel sobbed. “But he came to town last Saturday to vote for Lyndon Johnson, and he did not come to see me.”
“Doesn’t Texas sometimes seem to resemble a country like Saudi Arabia, with its great heat, its oil wealth, its brimming houses of worship, and its weekly executions?”
– Martin Amis, “The Palace at the End”
Der Gropenfuhrer Trump’s disdain for the rights of women (and anyone not wealthy, in general), is hardly the only political dynamic that led to massive marches around the country. In Texas, Gov. Gregg Abbott directed the Texas Department of State Health Services last summer, (right after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the state’s law assaulting Planned Parenthood), to require the burial of fetal remains after abortions. A federal judge in Austin placed an injunction on the requirement until a hearing to determine if it caused a “unique burden” on women and restricted a constitutionally protected right. (He needs evidence and testimony to reach this conclusion?)
Creative and angry women have communicated
with the governor on this matter. They have been politely sending him their used tampons, panty liners, and pads. (Now the headline you read above seems awkward, eh?) One anonymous sender wrote on her package, “Unsure about the fertilized status of these panty liners.”
Another said, “Bury this!” The post office says it is illegal to send “human waste” through the mails. Can someone explain why is it not illegal to govern through ignorance?
His name is Tony Tinderholt, a Republican state rep from Arlington, and he has filed a bill in Austin to make all abortion illegal. Tony, whose brain is apparently smaller than Trump’s hands, wants all you ladies to cut back on your sexin’ around
so he’s going to eliminate your “backup plan,” which is, you know, abortion.
“Oh, my god, this is awesome. So glad I can go get an abortion after I call you an Uber.”
The day sperm improbably met egg to begin the creation of Teeny Tiny Tony has led us to the introduction of a house bill that will criminalize all abortions, including those after rape or incest, and orders Texas prosecutors to ignore all laws that state otherwise, including the U.S. Constitution and Roe v. Wade. I’d like to say there is no way in hell for such a piece of legislation to ever become law but Trump became president, so……
Tony’s not really an outlier in the Texas GOP, though. His party’s platform in 2016 called upon all legal authorities in the state to “to ignore and refuse to enforce any and all federal statutes, regulations, executive orders, and court rulings, which would deprive an unborn child of the right to life.” The gathering of conservatives that wrote the platform also said homosexuality was a “chosen behavior.”
The room, it grows darker.
Cowards of the First Kind
What kind of weinie creeps up to a place of worship and sets it alight
in the dark of the night? A handful of hours after the current president of this country signed an Executive Order banning immigrants from seven Islamic nations, the Islamic Center of Victoria burned to the ground. Sure, just a coincidence.
Investigators won’t say it was arson. Yet. The Islamic Center of Lake Travis, which was under construction, also burned to the ground just three weeks previous. Nobody is saying that is arson. Yet. Two in one month. These things happen. Sure. In Victoria, in a matter of a few days, residents raised $900,000 for reconstruction, and the Lakeway community had donated $50,000 for that rebuild.
Texan pro tip: Freedom of religion does not mean you are free to practice just Christianity.