We now go live to a new edition of WTF Friday, where your author is huddled, ensconced in his flannel onesie, in close proximity to the warm, welcoming glow of John Cornyn’s slacks.
If you’re chilly tonight, huddle near John Cornyn’s pants for warmth.
— Rep. Steve Stockman (@StockmanSenate) February 14, 2014
OK man, good tip.
Most of our fine state, though, is struggling not with cold this week but heat—the hot fires of oppression. It seems like wherever you go in this brave new America, there’s always someone telling you what to do. And I’m not just talking about the precipitous downfall of the Beaumont Assault Banana.
1) Take Sara James, the co-founder of the Richmond (Virginia) Tea Party, and the author of this week’s WTF Friday #longread. James moved to Texas a year and a half ago, and already she’s realizing we’re less free than we think. “Every time a white politician tries to talk about crime or corruption in predominantly minority communities, they are decried as racists,” says James.
James followed the recent brouhaha between Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis over the former’s characterization of corruption in the Rio Grande Valley as a “third world” problem. So she decided to check it out for herself. The Upworthy headline for this story would be: This White Tea Party Leader From Out of State Drove Through Harlingen For The First Time—And Her Conclusions Will Shock You.
After poking around Harlingen, McAllen and Rio Grande City for several days, I concur with Gen. Abbott […] the people I talked to, personally in random interviews seemed so unbelievably totally uninformed.
Most of the Valley outside of the two major cities does resemble a third world country; the one immediately to our South, the one full of narco and political corruption. [...] It appears to be a place where people have been indoctrinated to look to government to solve all their problems.
The rest of the post, including a nightmare-inducing run-in with a Chili’s whose tables needed to be cleaned—I’m not kidding—ranges from a little cringeworthy to very cringeworthy, but also includes the fantastic sentence “Stray dogs sauntered around in front of a mall cop,” so there’s that.
2) “If the 21st century had a Rosa Parks, her name might just be Catherine Engelbrecht.” So sayeth Ben Barrack, a blogger and Temple radio show host. Engelbrecht, if you’re unfamiliar with her, is a Houston woman whose life work consists of making it more difficult for some people to exercise their rights with her ‘watchdog’ group, True the Vote. Parks, if you’re unfamiliar with her, is a woman whose life work consisted of doing the opposite.
3) When Texas Tribune Editor in Chief Evan Smith asked agriculture commissioner hopeful Sid Miller why his strong support from pro-life groups mattered in his race at an event this week, Miller may have revealed a little too much about his strategy and ambition:
“I think it has everything to do with this race. First of all, it solidifies your Republican credentials. This is a primary race, not a general election. Also, it speaks to a man’s character, what’s in his heart. And, in past elections, in many cases, the Agriculture Commissioner goes on to higher state office.”
4) It’s always been tough for anti-gay rights activists to come up with compelling spin, so maybe we can’t blame Jonathan Saenz, the president of Texas Values, too much for whiffing this. Saenz had to respond to an effort to scrub an outdated legal requirement that Texas public schools teach students gay sex is “not acceptable” and illegal. You can almost see the 10-watt lightbulb flicker over his head: Gay rights campaigners who are gay, you see, are only campaigning for gay rights because they’re gay. It’s selfish, frankly.
“State Rep. Mary Gonzalez identified herself as a ‘pansexual’ after she was elected so it should be no surprise that she wants the state to ban students from learning that homosexual conduct is not safe for school-age children, and it’s sexual conduct that should be discouraged and not promoted in public school.”
We close this week with a benediction from one of Sen. Bob Deuell’s primary challengers in Senate District 2.
— Mark Thompson (@MarkThompsonTX) February 12, 2014