A few weeks back, I wrote about the hubbub generated by the only Supreme Court we have in the wake of the decision to send the question of abortion to the various states to wrestle with; yes, even Mississippi. Now, there may still be some who think that Roe vs Wade is the pitching match up for tonight's Astros game, but for everyone else, it has been a firestorm that has motivated women voters like nothing since Ted Cruz's face first appeared on a campaign poster. And now, some anti-abortion candidates are furiously back-peddling on their vociferous opposition to abortion or anything that might sound like it... absolution, abdominal, the abominable snowman.
Well, into this frenzy of retrenchment, enters the Blanche Dubois of modern governance, Lindsay Graham, of the South Carolina Grahams.
Showing the kind of political timing that moved Walter Mondale to admit he'd raise taxes if elected, Lindsay decided to give every Republican a case of the vapors by saying that if the GOP won back the congress he would propose a national ban on the procedure. Fortunately Mitch McConnell was not armed at the time or Washington might have seen the first duel since that guy they wrote the musical about.
Now, adding another brick in the wall concealing any discussion of the perils of Texas' new abortion law, the Texas Department of State Health Services says it will delay reporting maternal death data, which was due now. Most estimates put the Texas maternal death rate among the top 10 in the nation. So, how long will it be before we learn how many women have died due to problem pregnancies? Oh, at least after the mid-term elections, and probably the next legislative session. You know, when some adjustments to the law might be made? This is a concerted coverup operation that makes Nixon look like Diogenes.
And as I write this on the 16th, a Travis County judge has declared the Texas abortion bounty law violates the state constitution. Stay tuned.
UNDER THE SEA
Have you seen the trailer for a the new, live action version of Disney's The Little Mermaid? The animated one was one of my daughter's favorites growing up, and now there is a new Ariel. She is played by; how do I put this for those of tender sensitivities, a young actress of color. And like those who wrote in protest of black characters in the latest Star Wars entries and the TV version of Lord of the Rings, the controversy has begun.
Now, you might be forgiven for wondering aloud, What? Well, my friend, that's because you haven't been paying attention to the progressive cancellation of straight white people in this society. Yes, those of us who lack melanin, well, more than Johnny Winter, but are still behind our black and Hispanic brethren and sisteren, are being edged out of the picture in the culture. Oh, I know, we still run the joint and make the most money and, all that stuff, but look around, do your own research. Does the name Mr. Potato Head ring a bell? An alarm bell? Black Santas, for crying out loud! Personally, I think it began with Malibu Barbie, but I digress.
Now, the possibility of a black Ariel has spurred conservative commentator, and professional hemorrhoid on the body politic, Matt Walsh, to lead the mob with pitchforks protesting this offense against, well, Aqua-Americans.
Walsh actually spent precious earthly oxygen on his podcast, claiming a black mermaid is not scientific, since she lives in the ocean depths. Well, OK, she doesn't live there really since she doesn't exist, but the science is there, for crying out loud! Never mind that there are plenty of dark fish in the ocean, Walsh doesn't address the science behind the whole half-fish, half-human thing, much less the science behind singing crustaceans and Ursula the sea witch. Never mind that there are no mermaids, Santas, Jedi or Hobbitts, the anger is building. Will there be protests? I'll bet you an order of Freedom Fries that there will.
By the way, I checked with my now 25-year-old daughter about the production. Her only objection is the bra is all wrong. As she put it, "It is supposed to be made of sea shells not some kind of gauze or something. That's my stand, and I'm prepared to die on that hill."
Let's talk about something more serious, staying warm in the winter. Hard to remember, given our blistering summer, how rough the winter of 2021 was. Well, it's hard unless you are related to any of the 246 people who died during those weeks of freezing cold. Incidentally, for the record, none of those deaths occurred in Cancun.
Following that failure of the comically named Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the Texas Legislature, which resembles Groucho's Parliament in Duck Soup, leapt into action. Well, leapt might be overstating it. They slouched into action and ordered, ordered mind you, power plants to winterize their operations to make them able to withstand the cold. OK, great. But what do they use for fuel? Half of them use natural gas, and Texas has plenty of it. But the problem that winter was that the gas generating and pipeline operations froze as well. You can't burn what you can't get. Well, of course, the Legislature covered that as well, right?
Holy cow, buddy, what are you thinking? This is the oil and gas industry. They were given a complete pass, all the way until next year, so keep your fingers crossed for this one. So, why not tackle both ends of the power problem? Especially since the gas companies made billions off a disaster. WFAA TV in Dallas did a great story on the subject and the answer is as simple as a million-dollar check.
The check in this image from the WFAA story came from one single pipeline company directly to Governor Ironside. Industry donations also went to all the members of the Texas Railroad Commission, whose job is overseeing this stuff.
Much of that oversight is handled by the father-daughter tag team of Tom and Christi Craddick, he in the legislature, she as a member of the Railroad Commission. These crazy kids from Midland both make money from the industry, a lot of it.
So, when the state proposed some mild oversight to ensure the readiness of the gas and oil industry for another winter like that one, Tom Craddick cried foul. That, he opined, was interfering in a private business. You know though, when that business is given huge incentives by us taxpayers and holds the lives of Texans in its hands during a freeze, I say interfere away.
Now, the Permian Basin is the King Solomon's Mines of fossil fuel and makes the state a lot of money. That is indeed true. It also employs a lot of folks, and that's a good thing. And the EPA says it emits a lot of noxious stuff into the air. Whoa, there Vladimir, what are you driving at? Well, they found that after inspections and overflights by "sniffer" aircraft, the components of ground-level ozone are being spewed out in amounts well above allowed limits. Not hoity-toity greenhouse gases, but good old-fashioned pollution. So, they are preparing to declare the area out of compliance and requiring producers to, you know, fix it.
Well, Comptroller Glenn Hegar rose up in a fit of righteous dudgeon and declared this was simply over the top and a job killer. He vowed to fight any regulation that every other producer in the country has to accommodate because, well, you know, Texas, Crockett, communism and stuff. Oh, and don't forget the Green New Deal, yeah, that, too. Never mind that solar power made much of the difference between a record summer heatwave that generated rolling blackouts, and one that didn't.
So, thanks to their generosity, the folks in the Permian are safe from pretty much everything for now. Don't get me wrong, I want these folks to do well because until we are really ready to clean up our act and do something about the climate, gas is the least harmful fossil fuel to use. I just wish it were a more honest conversation. So, as the weather cools, we cut back on the AC, anticipate the holidays and at least one member of our congressional delegation is checking Aero Mexico fares and room rates at the Fiesta Americana Condesa, Texans hope the winter will be a mild one. If not, buy some sweaters and hope for the best.
MI ESTADO ES TU ESTADO
As I finish this, we have just learned that glow-in-the-dark Irish folks like me, and every other flavor of Euro-esque Texan is now a member of a minority. According to the American Community Survey, part of the US Census, 40.2% of Texans are Hispanic, compared with 39.4% who are white. In fact, Texas hasn’t been a 50% majority white state since 2004. So despite the best efforts of the bloviating artist formerly known as President, Hispanics are the largest ethnic group in the state. And I think I know why.
So, now, in light of the governor's demonstrated solution to the immigration issue, the next legislative session has another huge item to work into the upcoming budget talks. Given these census numbers, they're going to need a lot more buses.
Now, he is part of the Texas Outlaw Writers, and if this doesn't pan out, the outlaw part will still work as he will indeed resort to robbing banks.