By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Grace Church (obviously) uneasy about giving LGBTQ community some protections.
Oh, the Riggles and their Grace Community Church anti-HERO movement. After sending out a three-page letter this month giving their followers some of the all-caps "truths" about Houston's equal rights ordinance proposal, they hosted a rally of sorts to instill fear of transgender folks using the bathroom with kids.
Based on those tweets and the letter sent out May 15 (not to mention Becky Riggle's odd appearance at City Council to take on Councilwoman Ellen Cohen about a business owner's right to discriminate against Jews if he or she wanted to), the event was a pure homophobic hoedown.
In case you're unfamiliar with the level of intellect of the pastors Riggle, here's a paragraph from that letter that nearly swayed us to the anti-HERO side.
"There is no comparison between this ordinance and a true Civil Rights bill. Instead, this bill would be the equivalent of forcing a print shop owned by African Americans to print KKK posters. As for those who say that gay is the new black, there is no behavior or lifestyle associated with being black, but there is a definite behavior and lifestyle associated with being gay."
Obviously, we're kidding about this making any sense to us. But we know that Grace Church's followers are not.
Lusting for Cable TV
How the CSN Houston broadcast map dooms the network.
The parties still await a ruling from Judge Lynn Hughes on the Astros' appeal of Judge Marvin Isgur's ruling that put the network into bankruptcy. Isgur, the bankruptcy judge assigned this case, still makes the necessary rulings that are keeping the network on the air and the employees and vendors compensated. The Astros and Rockets are still not being paid the dollars due them under their media rights deals with the network. Additionally, at some point Isgur will make a ruling as to whether he has jurisdiction over the fraud suit filed by Crane against Comcast and former Astros owner Drayton McLane. (For those really interested, there is a status conference before Isgur scheduled June 12.)
Spokesmen for DirecTV, AT&T and SuddenLink reiterated recently that while they would like to carry the network, the amount requested by CSN Houston is too much and not in the best interests of the companies' owners and their subscribers. Thus time passes and the network remains unavailable to most of the city, state and country. Jobs and livelihoods remain in jeopardy, and companies worry about whether they'll ever be paid all they're owed by CSN Houston.
The populace is sick of the whole matter and has basically placed a pox on all houses. But while the proceedings drag along, perhaps it's time to revisit what is perhaps the main issue preventing the network from achieving full carriage: the size of the CSN Houston broadcast footprint.
The footprint of CSN Houston encompasses more than the Houston area. It includes the entire state of Texas, Oklahoma, and parts of New Mexico, Arkansas and Louisiana. It's the same as the footprint established years earlier by Fox Sports Southwest and uses the same boundaries defined by MLB as the home territory for the Astros — those areas in which MLB games are blacked out on the Extra Innings and MLB.TV packages.
It's a huge footprint, and one the Astros — one of the network's owners — want very much to keep. But there's a slight problem: The NBA defines its markets a bit differently. It divides Texas into three markets split among the Rockets, Spurs and Mavericks. The state of Oklahoma gets the Thunder, and to Louisiana go the Pelicans. While Astros games can air over the entire footprint, the Rockets are essentially limited to a sliver of the map along the coast of Texas — even with games airing on a regional sports network different from that of the Mavericks or Spurs, Rockets games may not be broadcast into their territory — unlike with MLB, where the Astros and Rangers share the map and each team can air in the other's market.
Thus the statements from DirecTV saying it's not fair to make the people of San Antonio pay for a product (the Rockets) they can't watch. There has been discussion in the past about CSN Houston adopting tiered pricing that would have the people in the outer regions pay less for the network than those in Houston, and there was supposedly some talk that the Astros were amenable to this. But that aside, why would, why should people in El Paso be required to subsidize a network with a primary focus on sports centered on Houston and the immediate area around Houston?
For its faults — which include a Dallas-centric focus — Fox Sports Southwest is able to offer continuous programming to most of its map that features the pro teams that have been assigned to that market by the leagues. So El Paso gets to watch Phoenix Suns games. Laredo gets the Spurs, Tulsa the Thunder. All markets get the Rangers and the Dallas Stars and a steady diet of Big 12 sports. But CSN Houston can offer only the Astros; the Dynamo; and select C-USA, AAC and Southland Conference college events, while the Rockets are blacked out for most of the footprint.