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

Texas's terrible new abortion regulation is a con aimed at low-information/anti-abortion voters

Texas passed a new regulation requiring "cremation or burial" of fetal tissue after a miscarriage or medical abortion, and to hear the lawmakers who passed this idiotic rule, this requires grieving women to dress up minute scraps of tissue in little funeral suits and stand contrite over a tiny casket while a clergyman excoriates them for disappointing god with their selfish uteruses. Read the rest

The New York Times's GOP voter-suppression retrogame: "The Voter Suppression Trail"

Throughout the election cycle, The GOP Arcade has been releasing satirical 8-bit games about the GOP and right-wing politics in America; the New York Times commissioned a special one, based on the classic Oregon Trail, in which you play one of three voters attempting to cast a vote in either Texas (where you are a Latina nurse); Wisconsin (where you are a black salesman) or California (where you are a white programmer). Read the rest

Texas county commissioner candidate's election ad is pretty great

Gerald Daugherty, a Republican county commissioner in the Austin-area Travis County, has produced one of the best ad-spots of the season, depicting him as a politics-obsessed public servant whose long-suffering, side-eyeing wife can't wait for him to be re-elected so she won't have to listen to him drone on about how much he wants to help people and fix things in the county. Read the rest

As America's temperatures soar, prisoners are dropping dead

Most states have no maximum temperature standards for their prisons: combine that with a succession of hottest-months-on-record and a prison system that provides less water than is medically recommended even when it's not hotter than blazes, and you've got a carceral state that is roasting prisoners alive. Read the rest

5 years after Texas GOP's attack on women's reproductive health, TX leads developed world in maternal mortality

Remember when Texas governor Rick Perry and the GOP state government led an unprecedented assault on women's reproductive health in the name of preventing abortions, using dirty tricks to pass an unconstitutional law that led to a boom in unsafe home abortions and a black market for day-after pills, while ending Planned Parenthood's vital cancer-screening program, before defunding Planned Parenthood altogether? Read the rest

Man who shot up "Draw Muhammad" event was urged to "tear up Texas" by undercover FBI agent

Elton Simpson is one of the two men who fired assault rifles at people gathered for a "Draw Muhammad" event in Garland, Texas before being shot to death by an off-duty police officer; in the weeks leading up to the attack, Simpson had corresponded with an undercover FBI agent who urged him to "Tear up Texas." Read the rest

Gun nut mom went back for more bullets before executing daughter

Police say that Christy Sheats, the gun nut mom who shot dead her two daughters during a family confrontation that spilled into a Texas street, returned inside to reload before executing her child in view of horrified neighbors. She was still shooting when cops arrived, which is why they killed her.

Read the rest

Gun-waving cop who attacked black teenaged girl in her bathing suit faces no charges

Last July, McKinney, Texas police officer Eric Casebolt made headlines when video surfaced of him pulling his gun on a group of black children in their bathing suits at a pool party, tackling a young girl in her bikini. Read the rest

Supreme Court strikes down Texas abortion law

The Court ruled in Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt that the Texas law placed undue burdens on clinics that performed abortions by requiring them to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, use doctors with admitting privileges at local hospitals -- measures that led to the closure of three quarters of the state's abortion-providing facilities since 2013. Read the rest

Texas judge orders prison to provide inmates with safe drinking water

Texas's prison system must provide safe drinking water to its inmates, a judge in Houston federal court ruled Thursday.

The Associated Press reports on a case that saw Texas fight all the way to court to continue supplying arsenic-laden water to prisoners— a position U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison wrote violates "contemporary standards of decency."

In his 15-page ruling, Ellison wrote the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has been "deliberately indifferent" to the ongoing risk inmates at the unit face from prolonged exposure to "extreme heat" and from having to drink arsenic-laden water in order to reduce the risk from the heat. The drinking water at the Pack Unit has contained between 2 and 4½ times the amount of arsenic permitted by the Environmental Protection Agency, the judge said.

The prisoners have "demonstrated that (the prison system's) current and ongoing conduct violates contemporary standards of decency," Ellison wrote.

At least 20 prisoners have died indoors in non-air-conditioned Texas prisons from overheating since 1998, including 10 who died in 2011, Ellison said.

Other than fixing the tainted water, the prisoners asked for temperatures in the Wallace Pack Unit to be lowered to 88°F. See the aerial photo above: suburban Houston is hot, but it is not a desert.

American prisons are hell: violent rape camps operated by the depraved and indifferent, many of them private corporations. And these prisons are in Texas. Read the rest

Family of teen raising money to rescue her from pray-the-gay-away "boarding school"

When Sarah, a 17 year old in Texas, decided to take her girlfriend to the prom, her parents forced her into an "East Texas Christian boarding facility for troubled teens" from which she has repeatedly attempted to escape. Read the rest

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