Sad comment – Texas man lynches “invisible Obama”

An Austin, Texas man managed to merge Clint Eastwood’s recent “chair as Obama” skit with one of the nation’s saddest racist traditions, lynching, by tying an empty chair to a tree in his front yard.

a fellow citizen expressed her concern over his method of protest, the
man, Bud Johnson, reportedly yelled, “I don’t really give a damn whether
it disturbs you or not… You can take [your concerns] and go straight to
hell and take Obama with you. I don’t give a sh*t. If you don’t like
it, don’t come down my street.”

The website Burnt Orange,
which first drew attention to this display of anti-Obama rhetoric,
explains how the transitive property of violent hate works here. You
know, just in case the meaning is lost:

One could easily argue “it’s just a chair, what’s the big deal? That’s not racist!”

However, in light of Clint Eastwood’s speech at the Republican
National Convention, in which he had a largely one-sided conversation
with an empty chair he pretended was Barack Obama, this imagery is now
associated with the President.

The image of the chair is associated with the President. Now, lynch
that chair from a tree, and you’ve got a pretty awful racist sentiment
calling for lynching the first African-American President!

Via Towleroad

Texas GOP platform: gays “tear at the fabric of society”

The just-published 2012 Party Platform for the Republican Party of Texas, which weighs in on everything from deep-water drilling to NASA to immigration and Israel is truly a sight to read.

Among the more key points is a lot of talk about marriage and family values (including a definition of marriage that certainly doesn’t include same-sex couples) and the affirmation “that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit.”

Homosexuality ― We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle, in public policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values.

Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) ― We oppose this act through which the federal government would coerce religious business owners and employees to violate their own beliefs and principles by affirming what they consider to be sinful and sexually immoral behavior.

TX: Teen lesbians shot, one dead

One of them has died. MSNBC reports:

teenage girls in a relationship were found with gunshot wounds to the
head in a south Texas park, with one of them dying from her injuries,
media reports say. Police were searching for their assailants. Mollie
Judith Olgin, 19, and Mary Christine Chapa, 18, were found in knee-deep
grass in a nature area in Portland by a couple Saturday, said Portland
Police Chief Randy Wright, who confirmed to details first
reported by the Corpus Christi Caller Times. Olgin, originally
from Ingleside but recently living in Corpus Christi, died; Chapa, of
Sinton, was rushed to a hospital where she had surgery and was in
serious but stable condition on Sunday, local NBC affiliate
reported. Wright said Chapa was still in the hospital on Monday.

Friends say the girls began their relationship five months ago. Police are investigating the shooting as a possible hate crime.

(via JoeMyGod)

Bill Nye – “The Science Guy” – booed in Texas for saying the moon reflects the sun

Bill Nye, the harmless children’s edu-tainer known as “The Science Guy,”
was recently in Waco, TX,  to participate in McLennan Community College’s
Distinguished Lecture Series. He gave two lectures on such topics as global warming, Mars exploration, and energy

Nye somehow managed to offend a group of adults in Waco when he suggested that the moon does not emit light, but
instead reflects the light of the sun.

As even most elementary-school graduates know, the moon reflects the light of the sun but produces no light of its own.

But don’t tell that to the good people of Waco, who were “visibly
angered by what some perceived as irreverence,” according to the Waco

Nye got people riled up when he brought up Genesis 1:16,
which reads: “God made two great lights — the greater light to govern
the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the

The lesser light  he pointed out, is not a light at all, but only a reflector.

At this point, several people in the audience stormed out in fury. One
woman yelled “We believe in God!” and left with three children, thus
ensuring that people across America would read about the incident and
conclude that Waco is as nutty as they’d always suspected.

This story originally appeared in the Waco Tribune, but the newspaper
has mysteriously pulled its story from the online version, presumably to
avoid further embarrassment.

Texas loses all Medicaid funding for Women’s Health Program

The Department of Health and Human Services announced on Thursday that it will cut off all Medicaid funding for family planning to the state of Texas, following Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) decision to implement a new law that excludes Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid Women’s Health Program.

The federal government pays for nearly 90 percent of Texas’ $40 million Women’s Health Program, and nearly half of the program’s providers in Texas are Planned Parenthood clinics.

But the new law that went into effect earlier this month disqualified Planned Parenthood from participating in the program because some of its clinics provide abortions, even though no state or federal money can be used to pay for those abortions.

According to Medicaid law, Mann said, a state cannot restrict women’s ability to choose a provider simply because that provider offers separate services — in this case, abortion — that aren’t even paid for by the Medicaid program.

More info here.

Texas’ debt growing faster than the nation’s

Texas Gov. Rick Perry

From ThinkProgress: For all his talk of fiscal conservationism on the national stage, Texas Gov. Rick Perry hasn’t been so parsimonious at home, where his state is racking up debt at a faster rate than the national government and in greater amounts than most other states.

Perry regularly attacks President Obama for engaging in “too much spending” and running up too much debt, but as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Mitchell Schnurman writes, Texas’ refusal to raise taxes has led to its own debt ballooning faster than Washington’s:

From 2001 to 2010, state debt alone grew from $13.4 billion to $37.8 billion, according to the Texas Bond Review Board. That’s an increase of 281 percent. Over the same time, the national debt rose almost 234 percent.

Still, the trend is undeniable. While Texas lawmakers have refused to raise taxes — and often criticize Washington for borrowing and spending — the state has been paying for much of its expansion with borrowed money.

While the state has had to borrow for infrastructure building to keep up with rapid population growth, as Schnurman points out, Texas didn’t have two wars, the budget-busting Bush tax cuts, recession-combating measurs, and other big-ticket national expenditures. And Texas’ “borrowing isn’t slowing.”

The state’s debt belies Perry’s boisterous rhetoric on his economic stewardship. While conservatives boast of Perry’s “Texas miracle,” California, which Perry often bashes as the antithesis of his approach, has seen faster GDP per capita growth than Texas under Perry.

Meanwhile, Texas’ obstinate refusal to raise taxes helped create the largest budget shortfall in the state’s history, leading to devastating cuts to government services — one town had to lay off its entire police force — and Perry using budget gimmicks and federal stimulus dollars to balance his budget.