SXSW condemns Texas's state-level law banning "sanctuary cities" like Austin

SXSW has made good on its promises to walk the talk on supporting immigration rights, coming out in support of the city of Austin's lawsuit against the state of Texas over SB-4, the Texas law that bans "sanctuary cities" where law enforcement officers do not check or take action on arrestees' immigration status unless it is relevant to their alleged crimes. Read the rest

United insisted a passenger check her 17th C violin, then a supervisor got into a "wrestling match" with her

Yennifer Correia was at Houston airport waiting for her United flight to a gig with the Missouri Symphony Orchestra when a United gate agent told her she'd have to check her precious, 17th century violin (federal law requires airlines to allow musicians to carry on such instruments). Read the rest

Man kills Frogzilla, a freakishly huge Texas bullfrog

The South Texas Hunting Association shared Markcuz Rangel's photo of him holding this absolutely massive bullfrog that he apparently dispatched near Batesville, Texas.

Steve Lightfoot, spokesman for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, confirmed to Chron.com that the photo IS real, but that doesn't necessarily mean monster frogs are taking over South Texas.

"It's not as bigly as it appears," Lightfoot said... "[It's an] optical illusion created by extending frog toward the camera -- similar to what you see with fishermen holding up fish to make them appear larger. Still a big bullfrog, though."

Read the rest

Houston, I'll see you tonight on the Walkaway tour! (then Scottsdale, San Diego, Portland...) (!)

Thanks to everyone who turned up last night for a stellar event at Austin's Book People! I'm about to head to the airport to fly to Houston, where I'll appearing tonight at 7PM at Brazos Books, before heading to Scottsdale, AZ for appearance at Poisoned Pen (with Brian David Johnson) Read the rest

See you tonight in Austin! (then Houston, Scottsdale, San Diego...) (!)

We had a fantastic event last night at Denver's Tattered Cover -- thanks to everyone, especially the Denhack crew, for making it so great -- and now I'm headed to the airport to fly to Austin for an event tonight at Bookpeople with a special guest appearance from EFF-Austin! Read the rest

Texas official photographer is the most Texas guy of all time

Wyman Meinzer describes his journey from outdoorsman to renowned photographer in this inspiring profile. Below are a couple of examples of his wonderful photography: Read the rest

You can live in a giant cowboy boot for $40 a day

If Huntsville, Texas sounds like the kind of place you'd like to kick your boots off and sit a spell, you might rent this beaut of a boot, featuring two bedrooms, a bath, and an open-air deck on the top.

Read the rest

Dallas's 156 tornado sirens hacked and repeatedly set off in the middle of Saturday night

If you've ever witnessed an emergency siren test, you know how terrifying these things are: engineered to be bowel-looseningly urgent, to pierce through any sense that it's probably just a misfire, to motivate you to drop everything and rush for the emergency shelters, equally useful for tornadoes and incoming ICBMs. Read the rest

Photos from the Body Farm

Texas State University's Body Farm (AKA Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State University or FACTS) is a 45-year-old facility where the corpses of medical body donors are left to decompose so that researchers can observe the rate at which human remains are consumed by the elements, scavengers and microbes, allowing them to accurately date the bodies of murder victims and those who died accidentally. Read the rest

Woman Texas politician proposes rectal exams, fines, mandatory literature and masturbation ban for men

Texas state rep Jessica Farrar has introduced legislation that would fine Texas men $100 for "unregulated masturbatory emissions"; it forces men seeking vasectomies or Viagra prescriptions to undergo medically unnecessary rectal exams, and would require them to review a government pamphlet called "A Man's Right to Know." Read the rest

SXSW will remove contractual immigration threats for international artists who play the show

For many years, the SXSW festival's standard contract with its non-US artists contained an over-reaching, frightening clause that seemed to threaten them being turned over to immigration authorities if they violated the terms of their deal with the show -- say, by playing unauthorized gigs. Though the festival never invoked this language, it took on a new salience in light of the Trump administration's scapegoating of migrants. Read the rest

Texas lawmaker introduces bill chastising Texans for using the Chilean flag emoji

Texas and Chile have remarkably similar flags (though Chile got theirs first, by a matter of decades) and Texas doesn't have a Unicode-defined emoji for its flag (just a sprinkling of proprietary ones that do not cross platforms gracefully), so Texans have taken to using the Chilean flag emoji as a shorthand for the longhorn state. Read the rest

Trump wants to reinstate and expand civil asset forfeiture so cops can steal your stuff

Civil asset forfeiture is a perfectly foreseeable outcome of the overbroad War on Drugs: it allows the cops to seize your belongings and charge them -- not you! -- with being the proceeds of a crime. Then it's up to you to figure out how to prove that your cash, car, house, or other belongings are innocent, otherwise the cops get to keep your stuff and use it to fund their operations. Read the rest

For 13 years, Texas has been secretly, illegally denying kids special education

In 2004, under then-governor Rick Perry, the Texas Education Agency secretly instituted a plan to cap the number of students receiving special education support at 8.5% -- far less than the national average. Read the rest

Mom reports assault on her son to Ft Worth cop, who wrestles her to the ground, then arrests her and her daughter

On Dec 21, Jacqueline Craig called the Fort Worth, TX police to report that her neighbor had choked her 7-year-old son; the cop who arrived was belligerent and dismissive, blamed her son for littering and her for not parenting him adequately, and then, when she became upset at his refusal to take her report, he violently wrestled her and her teen daughter to the ground, cuffed them and arrested them. Read the rest

The Remains of the Day... Every Day: Texas's batshit abortion law

Welcome to another edition of “Mystery No Science Theatre 3000.” In this episode, the Texas Department of State Health Services, (a place where medical evidence is given the same weight as the results of a Magic 8 ball) has approved a regulation that requires burials for ALL fetal tissue that comes from a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or an abortion performed at a Texas healthcare facility.

Judge Reinhold arrested at Dallas airport for refusing a second TSA screening

Actor Judge Reinhold was flying out of Dallas Love Field on Thursday and his bag set off an "alarm" on a TSA scanner, so security personnel demanded to pat Reinhold down; Reinhold objected that he'd already passed through the naked scanner and didn't believe he should have to get a government-mandated genital massage as well. Police were called and he was arrested. Read the rest

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