Today is Texas Independence Day
On March 2, 1836, the Texas Declaration of Independence
was signed at Washington-on-the-Brazos
. The document
was created by the Convention of 1836
while almost a couple hundred brave Texans at the Alamo held Gen. Santa Anna's army of several thousand at bay for 13 days
. On March 6, the Alamo finally fell
, slaughtered to the last man
. On March 27, 352 Texas soliders were slaughtered at the Goliad Massacre
. Finally on April 21, the untrained armies of Texas, outnumbered and under the command of Sam Houston
, decisively defeated the much larger and better trained and equipped Army of Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto
and captured the Mexican dictator Santa Anna
. Happy Texas Independence Day
Apparently. Strange BBC piece on Christian Texans converting to Islam. I have a hard time believing these people don't eat pork.
Townes van Zandt.
In some theaters now is a new documentary
about his life
called Be Here to Love Me
--a life that followed the all-too-typical path of a star that burns too bright: the promise of talent
, and untimely death
. (see the trailer here
). Townes van Zandt
was a singer/songwriter, often included in the folk or country genres, whose biggest accomplishment was when Willie Nelson
and Merle Haggard
took his song Poncho and Lefty
to the top of the charts. But even though he never was famous, he has achieved legendary status
. Steve Earle
once said "Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that."
If you hunger for more posts like yesterday's about Michael Rockefeller, here's another morsel: a student's interview with American expat and cannibal Kapal Nath
. Of course sometimes you get the impression that Nath will say anything in an interview
. I suppose you could always find some neighbors
to help you separate the hufu
from the chaff. 'Course you could just stick to the documentaries
A memo from the Department of Justice in Texas'
voting division reveals that, back in 2003 during the Texas GOP's redistricting push, the division unanimously agreed that the redistricting plan sponsored by the state GOP and Rep. Tom DeLay was illegal under the Voting Rights Act. The plan was pushed through anyway, being the most effective in securing additional House seats for the GOP.
"I have been framed in a capital murder case." Ruben Cantu
was executed in Texas in 1993 after being convicted of a 1984 San Antonio murder. A Houston Chronicle investigation suggests he was innocent
. His co-defendant and the only eyewitness now say he was innocent
and the judge, prosecutor, head juror and defense attorney acknowlege the case was built on omissions and lies. [more inside]
Dengue in Texas.
If it ain't the flu, it's the haemorrhagic fever. Disease info from WHO
Are Texans Poised to Ban All Marriage Altogether?
A group opposed to the Texas anti-gay-marriage ballot initiative is pointing out that the language in Proposition 2 (one of nine proposed amendments
to the Texas Constitution up for a vote November 8) might actually ban all marriages: gay, straight, whatever. The group -- Save Texas Marriage
-- is organizing phone banks, offering signs and fliers, and pointing to language in the measure that would ban "any legal status identical or similar to marriage" without specifying that the ban would apply to gay persons. Prop 2 supporters
, of course, are crying foul
Why were American military sent almost instantly when Rita threatens Texas but we were told that they could not be sent to Louisiana till requested? What is the history behind Posse Comitatus? Does the president have the authority just on his say so to send troops into a "sovereign" state? Nice summary of history here.
"Kinky Friedman's candidacy is bound to be something;
what that something is is still up for debate." The New Yorker
checks in on Kinky's gubernatorial campaign (previously discussed here and here)
My platform is to remember that when they went out searching for Sam Houston to try to persuade him to be the governor--and he was the greatest governor this state has ever had--rumor has it that they found him drunk sleeping under a bridge with the Indians.[more inside]
The Ballad of a Feller Named Oscar Wilde
( -mp3 link
-, 5.13mb )
Found from the homepage of Joe. R. Lansdale
, Champion Mojo Storyteller of Nagadoches, Texas (author of the story upon which Bubba Ho-Tep
was based) and is, apparently, based on an actual event. Linked here because, well, because honestly we could all use a little more Dr. Demento in our lives.
Bush comes out
in favor of teaching "intelligent design
" alongside evolution
in American schools. Is this the latest evidence of the White House willing to champion worthy but controversial ideas that have been sidelined by liberal bias
, or strictly from Paul Krugman's theoretical headline, "Shape of Earth: Views Differ"
? [Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Lone Star State, Texas educators ignite brouhaha by adding Bible study to the public-school curriculum].
Bird's Eye Views
: Hand drawn panoramic maps of 44 Texas cities circa 19th century in high resolution. Aerial mapping minus airplanes and cameras.
"In those days, there wasn't a lot of talk about gay priests. People didn't want to believe it."
On Dec. 4, 1982, a deeply suntanned man, about 40 years old, walked into the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Boise, Idaho, and readied himself for confession. As he waited, the man swallowed a cyanide capsule. A few minutes later, he was dead. He had no identification, and a note in his pocket said only that the $1,900 he carried should be used for his burial, with any remainder donated to the church. The note was signed with what turned out to be a false name. To this day, no one has been able to identify the man, nor to determine why he had come to the church to absolve himself of his sins. On the answers to that mystery may hang the fate of a small, quiet, meticulous man who now lives in South Austin
, and who spent 20 years in a Texas prison for a murder he says he did not commit
, but which investigators believe may be connected to the dead man at the Boise Sacred Heart Catholic Church. More inside.
Republican Congressman Pete Sessions from Texas introduced a bill
that would make all free, public, municipal WiFi illegal. Sessions, as it turns out, is a big fat recipient
of SBC funds. Why stop there? Should we privatize highways as well? How about subways? Glad the liberal media is all over this one. Here are a couple of links: Original post on DailyKos
, An informative editorial
from the Fort Wayne paper
Young man gets life sentence for helping his girlfriend end pregnancy.
The girlfriend was not charged. Under the Texas Fetal Protection Law
, a woman cannot be charged for causing the deaths of her own fetuses for any reason. The defense contended that Basoria punched herself while Flores was stepping on her
, making it impossible to tell who caused the miscarriage.
On the way to work today, I heard an advertisement for "the nation's first ever sex-offender-free subdivision
" (link to mov).
Milwaukee Ridge, the brainchild of I&S Investments
, will be located on the outskirts of Lubbock, Texas, and offer "the best features of a family-friendly lifestyle," including "background checks on adults buying homes and juveniles expected to live in the homes
I can't help but think of Stephenson's burbclaves
. When, if ever, does the definition of a private community become a public concern?
A high school senior
has been denied valedictorian status because she wasn't enrolled in the high school on the 20th day of her junior year. Why? Because she was in a treatment center receiving help for anorexia. Only in Texas...
looking to raise money for the school band discovers the local TXI cement plant is draining millions from the Texas school system
. This while getting paid burning hazardous waste
in their back yard. When she seeks to right these wrongs she finds that the environmental regulators include lobbyist for TXI
, and their House representative, Joe Barton, cares more about "economic development"
than her kids.
If we don't ban the sexy cheerleaders,
the terrorists will have won.
"It is our responsibility to make sure that we protect our most vulnerable children
and I don't think we are doing that if we allow a foster parent
that is homosexual or bisexual." The Texas state House
has approved legislation that would prohibit homosexuals and bisexuals from becoming foster
"Now members. Let me firm up my position..."
--from part of a speech in the Texas Legislature, by the unfortunately named Gene Seaman. Practice What You Preach will be airing this ad (with commentary) in Texas, trying to stop the proposed Anti-Gay-Marriage Amendment. (embedded WMP)
Practice What You Preach believes that the institution of marriage is under assault in Texas from the twin epidemics of divorce and domestic violence. We are not a gay-rights group. We are mainstream, straight Texans who want the legislative leadership to stop making cheap political points by ignoring real problems.
A new Texas bill
seeks to give pharmacists the right to object to dispensing emergency contraceptives. The bill was spurred by over a year's worth of debate about an incident in Denton
where a rape victim was denied a morning-after pill by a pharmacist at Eckerd's. Supporters say that pharmacists should be able to opt out of dispensing drugs that are used for abortions, but the opposition points out that the bill's definition of emergency contraceptives can be construed to include all birth control. Should pharmacists be allowed to morally object, or is this an anti-birth-control boondoggle?
Who is Warren Jeffs?
A look inside the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, who have built what is believed to be the first polygamist temple in Texas
. Led by a doomsaying prophet, the members of the FLDS are taught that wives are expected to be completely submissive, and outside cultural influences are forbidden (links via this post
on LiveJournal's exmormon
texas city timewarp...
... and my friend charley lou rattled in her bayou vista home 5 short miles away.
"On March 18  students prepared for the next day's Inter-scholastic Meet in Henderson. At the gymnasium, the PTA met. At 3:05 P.M. Lemmie R. Butler, instructor of manual training, turned on a sanding machine in an area which, unknown to him, was filled with a mixture of gas and air. The switch ignited the mixture and carried the flame into a nearly closed space beneath the building, 253 feet long and fifty-six feet wide. Immediately the building seemed to lift in the air and then smashed to the ground. Walls collapsed. The roof fell in and buried its victims in a mass of brick, steel, and concrete debris. The explosion was heard four miles away, and it hurled a two-ton concrete slab 200 feet away, where it crushed a 1936 Chevrolet. Of the 500 students and forty teachers in the building, approximately 298 died. Some rescuers, students, and teachers needed psychiatric attention, and only about 130 students escaped serious injury. -- From the Handbook of Texas Online
. (Other accounts
, personal recollections
, and photos
It was one of the worst disasters in Texas history. With Texans' love of superlatives, why is this a story no one tells?
Deep in the (dark) Heart of Texas
Is it a bar? a restaurant? a newsradio listening hub? a republican hangout? Is everything political these days? even your beer and chicken wings?
Misty Keasler's photographic essays
range from quirky views of her east Texas extended family and Japanese love hotels to unsettling essays on orphanages and the Guatemala City dump. flash. via gordon.coale.
and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
announced a pilot program to offer wireless Internet service at five Texas state parks... The wireless service will allow park guests while visiting the park to access the Internet to gain park information, send e-mail or pictures, or just surf the Web, without cords having to physically plug into a network."
Shouldn't be camping be more about nature than technology?
Texas officials wary of plan to hunt by Internet. Hunters soon may be able to sit at their computers and blast away at animals on a Texas ranch via the Internet, a prospect that has state wildlife officials up in arms. "We were looking at a beautiful white-tail buck and my friend said 'If you just had a gun for that.' A little light bulb went off in my head,"
First gay Hispanic woman elected as Dallas sheriff
I thought that this was a joke when I first saw the title. I'm way
verklemmt; talk amongst yerselves.
Remember the (Crawford, TX) Lone Start Iconoclast's Kerry endorsement?
Here's a second editorial, describing the fallout from it. Apparently some people took it pretty hard. The Iconoclast
published letters to the editor
Former Texas Lt. Gov. says he helped Bush dodge 'Nam. "I got...I got a young man named George W. Bush into the National Guard when I was the Lt. Governor of Texas, and I'm not necessarily proud of that. But, But I did it, and I got a lot of other people into the National Guard because I thought that's what people should do when you're in office and you helped a lot of rich people. And I walked to the Vietnam Memorial wall the other day and I looked at the names of the people that died in Vietnam, and I became more ashamed of myself than I've ever been because it's the worst thing I did was help a lot of wealthy supporters, and a lot of people who had family names of importance get into the National Guard. And I'm very sorry about that, and I'm ashamed. And I apologize to you, the voters of Texas."
Video available here
"DeLay is doing everything moral, legal and ethical to increase the Republican majority and advance conservative ideas,"
says his spokesman, Stuart Roy. Heck, we already know that Tom DeLay loves the children
enough to start a charitable fund to help pay for "late-night convention parties, a luxury suite during President Bush's speech at Madison Square Garden and yacht cruises" during the 2004 GOP convention (as well as the children, of course). Now, he's connected (via an email) to Enron, asking them for extra money in order to help fund the already-notorious redistricting in Texas. When will enough be enough?
is today, celebrating the emancipation of all slaves in Texas, on June 19th, 1865, 2 1/2 years after Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. With its lighthearted name and tragicomic origins, Juneteenth appeals to many Americans by celebrating the end of slavery without dwelling on its legacy. Juneteenth, celebrators say, is Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday without the grieving.
It's become a widely celebrated holiday
among African-Americans (but not even known by many whites), and Fourteen states have made it official--is it time for it to go national? Find an event
in your state or country
The driver, I found out later, was drunk, from Texas, and had only one arm.
[Warning: there are at least 35 megabytes worth of jpegs, which take some time to load. YMMV]
Via Presence Server
"I showed them everything from a simple hook to a nonfunctioning artificial hand to a $50,000 bionic arm," Agris says. "They all picked the bionic arm."
7 Iraqi men recieve tattoo removal and a bionic arm.
Unitarians denied tax-exempt status in Texas.
Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn ruled that Unitarian churches don't qualify as religious organizations because they lack a single creed. In issuing this ruling, Strayhorn ignored the fact that lower courts and the Texas Supreme Court have both ruled against the Comptroller's Office in an ongoing lawsuit stemming from a similar ruling (by a former Comptroller) in 1997. Strayhorn has vowed to continue the legal fight to the U.S. Supreme Court, stating that "Otherwise, any wannabe cult who dresses up and parades down Sixth Street on Halloween will be applying for an exemption." (if you run into userid/password issues, use "firstname.lastname@example.org" and "privacy")
Before Enron Houston, Texas had been the locus of a stock scandal
of a slightly different sort. Growing up in Houston in the 80s and 90s, I never associated the word "Sharpstown" with anything but a mall, but the area underwent a development
mired in scandal.
In the late 1960s Frank W. Sharp, a Houston businessman, negotiated a deal with a few Texas House Democrats; they would help pass a piece of legislation, and in turn, he would ensure that they would make a profit from his company's stock. In 1971, the dealings came to light
. Most of the public officials connected with the scandal were run out of office, but somehow one man beat
the resulting karma, even it was a a few decades later. But some good did come out of this, as the Texas Open Records Act
was expanded in the aftermath of the scandal.
The Blissful Life in Utopia SUGAR LAND, Tex. -- This is the home of Britton Stein, who describes George W. Bush as "a man, a man's man, a manly man," and Al Gore as "a ranting and raving little whiny baby."
Forty-nine years old, Stein is a husband, a father, a landscaper and a Republican. He lives in a house that has six guns in the closets and 21 crosses in the main hallway.
Diary of a Freeper. Fascinating read. Insightful.
Texas Dept. of Transportation is running one of the most graphic commercials
(3mb mpeg) I have ever seen, relating to drunk driving or anything else. The general campaign
page has more information about the girl. I don't know how to feel about this.
"Just consider what you're doing now. You don't want to have the freakin' president of the United States mad at you for the rest of your life...If you step off this cliff, gravity never goes up, it goes down."
Those were the words of, Larry Telford
, of the National Republican Congressional Committee threatening a Texas citizen who dared to run in the Republican primary for the US House of Representatives.
RumorFilter: Gov. Perry of Texas in bed with his Sec. of State
--for real! More on this brewing scandal here, here, here, here, and here.
Perry in 2002
called Texas' then-existing/now-illegal sodomy laws "appropriate."
And here's a rundown
on the rumor and non-response (from the kos link)
Fourteen killer whales were spotted about 90 miles off the coast of Texas on January 18 (Video/stills included)
. This is one for the record books: There are "only 9 reliable records of collected sightings before 1990. Another 14 have been collected since then," said University of Texas Marine expert Tony Amos. Larger stills from the video are available here
Affirmative Action Texas Style
Typically, anywhere from 1,650 to more than 2,000 A&M applicants a year receive legacy points, so called because they reward the grandchildren, children or siblings of A&M graduates. Such applicants receive 4 points on a 100-point scale that also takes into account such factors as class rank, test scores, extracurricular activities, community service and others.
Most A&M applicants admitted with legacy points don't need them to get in. But in 2003, 312 whites were admitted who wouldn't have been without their alumni ties. In 2002, that figure was 321.
The legacy program was the difference for six blacks and 27 Hispanics in 2003, and three blacks and 25 Hispanics in 2002.
I expect we will hear from the White House any day now about how wrong this is.