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Odd, strange, or bizarre news stories: Texas Edition

 
 
Reply Fri 8 Nov, 2013 08:17 am
Because Panzade didn't want to start up a new thread:
panzade wrote:

Texas rivals Florida for bizarre but there's no thread so I'll dump this here....


As a great philosopher once wrote:
Quote:
I cannot believe a thread of this nature has not been started before. If you read an off-the-wall or truly odd news story, there is an excellent chance it's out of Florida Texas.

Feel free to deposit them here.


I'll start things off!
An Abstinence-Only Class In Texas Suggests Students Who Have Sex Are Like Chewed Up Gum And Used Toothbrushes
http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/an-abstinence-only-class-in-texas-suggests-students-who-have

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Type: Discussion • Score: 6 • Views: 6,476 • Replies: 20

 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 8 Nov, 2013 10:23 pm
White guy wins after leading voters to believe he’s black

HOUSTON -- Dave Wilson chuckles as he talks about his unorthodox political campaign.
"I'd always said it was a long shot," Wilson says. "No, I didn't expect to win."
Still, he figured he'd have fun running, because he was fed up with what he called "all the shenanigans" at the Houston Community College System. As a conservative white Republican running in a district whose voters are overwhelmingly black Democrats, the odds seemed overwhelmingly against him.
Then he came up with an idea, an advertising strategy that his opponent found "disgusting." If a white guy didn't have a chance in a mostly African-American district, Wilson would lead voters to think he's black.
And it apparently worked. In one of the biggest political upsets in Houston politics this election season, Wilson -- an anti-gay activist and former fringe candidate for mayor -- emerged as the surprise winner over 24-year incumbent Bruce Austin. His razor thin margin of victory, only 26 votes, was almost certainly influenced by his racially tinged campaign.
"Every time a politician talks, he's out there deceiving voters," he says.
Wilson, a gleeful political troublemaker, printed direct mail pieces strongly implying that he's black. His fliers were decorated with photographs of smiling African-American faces -- which he readily admits he just lifted off websites -- and captioned with the words "Please vote for our friend and neighbor Dave Wilson."
One of his mailers said he was "Endorsed by Ron Wilson," which longtime Houston voters might easily interpret as a statement of support from a former state representative of the same name who's also African-American. Fine print beneath the headline says "Ron Wilson and Dave Wilson are cousins," a reference to one of Wilson's relatives living in Iowa.
"He's a nice cousin," Wilson says, suppressing a laugh. "We played baseball in high school together. And he's endorsed me."
Austin tried to answer the mailer with his own fliers showing Wilson's face, calling him a "right-wing hate monger" and saying he "advocated bringing back chain gangs to clean highways." But the campaign clearly caught him off guard.
"I don't think it's good," he said. "I don't think it's good for both democracy and the whole concept of fair play. But that was not his intent, apparently."
Just how much a role Wilson's mailers played in the campaign is unclear. Other incumbents running for re-election were forced into runoffs, perhaps because the community college system has come under intense criticism for insider business deals and spending money on overseas initiatives. And after 24 years in office, Austin's name should have been somewhat familiar to his constituents.
"I suspect it's more than just race," says Bob Stein, the Rice University political scientist and KHOU analyst. "The Houston Community College was under some criticism for bad performance. And others on the board also had very serious challenges."
Austin has said he plans to ask for a recount. But in an era of electronic voting, political analysts said Wilson's victory will probably hold and send him into office for a six-year term.
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  3  
Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2013 12:14 pm
@tsarstepan,
Great philosopher indeed!
I'm planning similar threads for Tico in Arizona, jespah in Mass, and Miller in Maryland.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Mon 25 Nov, 2013 12:00 pm
4 Signs It’s Winter And You’re Texan
http://www.buzzfeed.com/janeclaireh/14-signs-its-winter-and-youre-texan-cqtr
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Dec, 2013 01:06 pm
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2014 10:46 am
Quote:
[DW:] Texas is the US federal state which passes the most death penalties. Why is that?
[Kathryn Kase, Executive Director of the Texas Defender Service:]Some of that is our history. And our history is that we are very afraid of African Amercans and Hispanics. They are overrepresented on our death row. Texas has shown a tendency to kill those it doesn't understand, whether it was Mexicans during the Mexican-American war and African Americans after the Civil War. And our death penalty is unfortunately an extension of our history.
Source
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2014 10:56 am
@Walter Hinteler,
The Hispanic community could set the agenda in Texas politics, if only they would vote. They are vastly unrepresented at the polls.
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2014 11:38 am
@edgarblythe,
Are they afraid to vote? Why is that?
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2014 11:43 am
@panzade,
I can't speak for them. I don't know if they fear retribution, or if they just don't believe voting will do any good.
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  2  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2014 12:22 pm
Perhaps immigration issues will force a larger turnout, or a rising young Latino political star will come along and galvanize Texas voters. Its only a matter of time before Texas becomes a swing state.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2014 02:19 pm
The Texas Republican Party is considering endorsing psychological treatment that seeks to turn gay people straight:

Texas GOP To Consider “Reparative Therapy” For Gays
Quote:
FORT WORTH (June 6, 2014) The Texas Republican Party would endorse psychological treatment that seeks to turn gay people straight under a new platform advancing at the group's state convention on which delegates will vote Saturday.

The anti-gay language, which is partly aimed at rebuking laws in two states that ban so-called "reparative therapy" on minors, survived a key vote late Thursday at the Texas Republican Convention and will be up for final consideration Saturday.
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2014 02:57 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Great Caesar's Ghost!
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2014 06:16 am
@panzade,
Of course the Texas Republican Party has endorsed ‘reparative therapy’ for gay people.
Texas Republicans endorse ‘reparative therapy’ for gays
Quote:
One influential tea party group called Texas Eagle Forum had urged the party to support psychological treatments that seek to turn gay people straight. It comes after Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie last fall signed a law banning such therapies on minors, and California has a similar law.

The Fort Worth Convention Hall cheered when party leaders announced that Christie finished a distant 11th in a 2016 presidential straw poll.
[...]
Under the new plank, the Texas GOP recognizes “the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle.”
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Nov, 2022 10:38 am
@Walter Hinteler,
8 years later and nothing ODD happened in Texas? Seems fishy to me.

Odd and quite painful to the students who this happened to.
Dozens of SAT tests have been lost after flying out of an El Paso UPS truck
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Nov, 2022 01:54 pm
@tsarstepan,
Actually, it is a bit unsettling to hear about anything flying out of a UPS truck
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Nov, 2022 02:14 pm
It's so commonplace we just take it in stride. After all, when the pandemic first started, Dan Patrick urged old people to seek out the virus and die for the sake of the economy. Zoom Right over our heads. He got reelected yesterday. We're too stupid to understand bizarre.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Mar, 2023 01:00 pm
Quote:
It was tiny when it left the zoo and nearly 8 feet long when it returned: A Texas woman says she got an alligator from a zoo some 20 years ago, and has been raising it in her backyard ever since.

The woman, who lives in Caldwell County in central Texas, told Texas Parks and Wildlife officials that she treated the alligator as a pet, naming it Tewa. Authorities did not release the woman's name.

It's not clear whether the large reptile came when it was called. But, Texas Game Warden Joann Garza-Mayberry told NPR, "The gator was compliant with her as she had raised it since a hatchling."

It was Garza-Mayberry who first spotted the unlikely pet last month. Videos from the scene show the gator was living in a fenced-in area with an artificial pond — the type of water feature often found in a landscaped garden.


A Texas woman raised an alligator as a pet for 20 years. Now it's been seized
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 May, 2023 03:10 am
Quote:
Their tongues were cut off, but there was no spilled blood. No signs of struggle. No footprints or tire tracks were found. Investigators were stumped: who is going on a murderous rampage of cows in Texas, and how are there no clues surrounding their deaths?

It seemed a scene straight out of The Secrets of Skinwalker Ranch, the reality TV show on the History Channel about the Utah ranch that is supposedly the site of unexplained supernatural phenomena.

Across three Texas counties within the span of a few weeks, seven cattle were found dead under the same suspicious circumstances: lying on one side with the mutilated part of their face exposed, minus a tongue.

The cow-killing spree happened Madison, Brazos and Robertson counties – all located in east-central Texas. Each cow was from a different pasture and herd.

“A straight, clean cut, with apparent precision, had been made to remove the hide around the cow’s mouth on one side, leaving the meat under the removed hide untouched,” the Madison county sheriff’s office said.

“On two of the five cows, a circular cut was made removing the anus and the external genitalia. This circular cut was made with the same precision as the cuts noted around the jaw lines of each cow.”

Ranchers reported no predators or birds had scavenged the remains, a common theme in similar killings.

The official cause of most of the cows’ deaths is still unknown, but the freakish events have sparked memories of a long-held conspiracy theory about the mysterious deaths of livestock animals dating back to at least the 1970s in the US that lays the blame at the feet – or tentacles – of aliens in UFOs.


https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/may/08/cow-deaths-murders-texas
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Tue 30 May, 2023 02:37 pm
Quote opinion by Paul Krugmann in the NYT

How the Wind Became Woke
Quote:
The world is experiencing an energy revolution. Over the past 15 years or so, huge technological progress has, in many cases, made it cheaper to generate electricity from solar and wind power than by burning fossil fuels. The Inflation Reduction Act — which is, despite its name, mainly a climate bill — aims to accelerate the transition to renewables and also to electrify as much of the economy as possible; this effort, if it works quickly enough and is emulated by other countries, could help us avert climate catastrophe.

Even before the I.R.A. started to take effect, however, America was experiencing a renewable energy boom. And the boom has been led by a surprising place. Here’s a map showing renewable electricity generation other than hydroelectric by state (darker means more generation):

Yes, Texas is in the lead. To be fair, California has more solar power, and a lot of geothermal electricity, too. But Texas dominates in wind power. And overall California is, even progressives have to admit, a state where NIMBYism sometimes seems to slide into BANANA territory — as in “build absolutely nothing anywhere near anyone.” That’s why housing is so scarce and expensive, and red tape has snarled green energy, too. Texas, whatever its flaws (which are many), is a place where things can get built, and that has included a lot of wind turbines.

You might think, then, that Texas politicians would be celebrating the renewables boom, which is both good for the state’s economy and an advertisement for the state’s laissez-faire policies.

But no. Republicans in the Texas legislature have turned hard against renewable energy, with a raft of proposed measures that would subsidize fossil fuels, impose restrictions that might block many renewable energy projects and maybe even shut down many existing facilities. The worst of these measures don’t seem to have made it into the latest legislation, but even so, that legislation strongly favors fossil fuels over an industry that arguably reflects Texas’s energy future.

So what’s going on here? Why do Texas Republicans now see the wind as an enemy? You might think that the answer is greed, and that’s surely part of it. But the bigger picture, I’d argue, is that renewable energy has become a victim of the anti-woke mind virus.

First, about greed. Yes, Texas is a state where what big business wants, big business gets. And the fossil fuel industry has a long history of doing what it can to block climate action, not just by lobbying against green energy policies but also by promoting climate denialism.

Yet there are several reasons to doubt whether Texas’s turn against renewables is a simple story of corporate greed. For one thing, renewable energy in Texas is already a big business itself, having attracted billions in investment and employing thousands of workers, which should act as a counterweight to fossil fuel interests.

Furthermore, a lot of Texas investment in green energy is actually coming from companies with roots in fossil fuels. So even some oil and gas companies have a financial stake in allowing the renewable boom to continue.

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Finally, oil and gas are traded on world markets. The prices producers receive, and hence their profits, are determined more by global events like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine than by where Texas gets its electricity (although this obviously matters for the owners of power plants).

So I don’t think Texas’s rejection of its own energy success is entirely, or even mainly, about greed. Instead, renewables have been caught up in the culture wars. In a way, it’s a lot like Ron DeSantis’s confrontation with Disney, which looks just crazy from a policy point of view — why undermine tourism, one of the pillars of Florida’s economy? But these days it’s often important not to follow the money.

Right-wingers like Elon Musk and Ron DeSantis have become fond of citing the alleged power of the “woke mind virus” to explain why major corporations are tolerant of and even cater to social liberalism. They need to invoke this mysterious contagion to avoid accepting the obvious explanation: Most Americans have become relatively liberal on social matters — look at the transformation of attitudes on same-sex marriage — and corporations have been adjusting to their customer base.

But while talk of the woke mind virus manages to be both sinister and silly, I’d argue that there really is what we might call an anti-woke mind virus — a contagion that spreads not across people but across issues.

Here’s how it works. A significant faction of Americans, which increasingly dominates the Republican Party, hates anything it considers woke — which in this faction’s eyes means both any acknowledgment of social injustice and any suggestion that people should make sacrifices, or even accept mild inconvenience, in the name of the public good. So there’s rage against the idea that racism was and still is an evil for which society should make some amends; there’s also rage against the idea that people should, say, wear masks during a pandemic to protect others, or cut down on activities that harm the environment.

This rage is somewhat understandable, if not forgivable. But the weird thing is the way that it infects attitudes on issues that don’t actually involve wokeism but are seen as woke-adjacent.

The now-classic example is the way hostility to mask mandates, which were mainly about protecting others, turned into highly partisan opposition to Covid vaccination, which is mainly about protecting yourself. Logically, this carry-over makes no sense; but it happened anyway.

The same thing, I’d argue, applies to energy policy. At this point, investing in renewable energy is simply a good business proposition; Texas Republicans have had to abandon their own free-market, anti-regulation ideology in the effort to strangle wind and solar power. But renewable energy is something environmentalists favor; it’s being promoted by the Biden administration. So in the minds of Texas right-wingers the wind has become woke, and wind power has become something to be fought even if it hurts business and costs the state both money and jobs.

If all this sounds crazy, that’s because it is. But that’s Texas — and, I fear, much of America — in 2023.

0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Jul, 2023 01:52 pm
Remember when Republicans claimed to be the party for the working class?
Amid a record heat wave, Texas construction workers lose their right to rest breaks
 

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