"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.
posted by matteo
on Jun 22, 2005 -
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
posted by mountainmambo
on Jun 9, 2005 -
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...
posted by C17H19NO3
on May 17, 2005 -
"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.
posted by amberglow
on Apr 13, 2005 -
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?
posted by rush
on Apr 12, 2005 -
"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?
posted by mudpuppie
on Mar 18, 2005 -
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?
posted by Doohickie
on Dec 16, 2004 -
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
posted by insomnia_lj
on Aug 27, 2004 -
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
posted by amberglow
on Jun 19, 2004 -
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")
posted by Irontom
on May 19, 2004 -
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.
posted by lychee
on May 15, 2004 -
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.
posted by nofundy
on Apr 28, 2004 -
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.
posted by rhyax
on Mar 10, 2004 -
"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.
posted by EmoChild
on Mar 9, 2004 -
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.
posted by nofundy
on Jan 6, 2004 -
Here are some ideas
for Thanksgiving dinner, though not a circumstance I'd like to participate in.
If ever there was a time to say Grace before dining, this certainly is one of those times.
Pumpkin pie anyone?
posted by bluedaniel
on Nov 27, 2003 -
Cue Banjo Music
Texas Democrats have again hauled ass across state lines, this time to New Mexico. Texas' governor and lt. governor have decided to hold a third special session of the state Senate, for which they will suspend the 2/3 supermajority needed for redistricting plans.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly
on Jul 28, 2003 -
Living The American Dream Bush gave his speech Monday at a company in Albuquerque called MCT Industries. “We’re standing in the midst of what we call the American dream,” he said. MCT is privately owned by the family of Ted Martinez, who founded it on a shoestring in 1973 and is now a wealthy VIP who hangs around with politicians. “The Martinez family is living that dream,” Bush said.
A familiar dream for Bush. Just ask the folks in Arlington, Texas about a certain stadium. Getting rich from special considerations and the taxpayer's money. And doing it during the times of those onerous tax burdens he would relieve all such dreamers of.
posted by nofundy
on May 16, 2003 -
22 year old schizophrenic Farrah Russell was rebuilding her life. But when the plug was pulled on the state program that allowed her to subsist, she took her life. Her heartbreaking story
is a cautionary tale of the dark consequences of state budget cuts. While politicians argue over tax stimulus proposals
that benefit the wealthy
, while wild numbers
are applied to war budgets, the States have been forced to cut social programs in order to survive. Whether it's California teachers
and New York
residents dreading tax hikes, Pennsylvania public transportation
, or Texas prescription drug coverage for the poor
, the States, supposedly United, have been left out to dry. While the States have been forced to cut their programs, groping for survival, Washington remains silent in its mission
. It does not remember history
. Why do we turn a blind eye to the hidden costs? What can be done about this? And how do we make it stop?
posted by ed
on May 5, 2003 -
A crackdown in Texas.
America - land of the free. And to guarantee that freedom, everyone has to be constantly watchful. Like the photo store clerk from Eckerd
who dutifully reported a Peruvian-born couple's lewd shots of their infants to the Richardson (Dallas/Texas suburbs) police. The photos showed the parents' two infants bathing naked, lying together in bed with their mother (again naked) and the 1-year-old Rodrigo suckling his mother's (naked) breast. So the couple was arrested -- the maximum prison sentence for the crime in question being 20 years -- and the children taken away. (verbatim k5
posted by The Jesse Helms
on Apr 20, 2003 -