'Plumbing' Problems

Highlights from Hair Balls

Political Animals

Congressman Louie Gohmert is at it again. The East Texas representative is known for spouting his opinions with little regard for minor things like facts or reason or not making it look as if everyone in Texas is a bigoted, racist idiot, and he has been airing his views on the move to legalize gay marriage. Shockingly enough, he's not for it. The weird and classically Gohmert-ish thing about it is he's not for it because of plumbing.

Gohmert appeared at an event, "Conversations With Conservatives," put on by the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC, last week alongside the likes of Michele Bachmann and Steve King. But if you thought Bachmann's presence meant Gohmert wasn't going to get the chance to show off his own unique talent for saying stuff that makes absolutely no sense (see: Gohmert's comments after the Aurora shootings; his belief that caribou will appreciate pipelines for the warmth; his belief that Black Widows are coming to America to give birth to terrorists), you thought wrong. He opened his mouth and started talking about the federal judge who ruled the ban on gay marriage in Oklahoma was unconstitutional, and left us very concerned for him.

Gohmert elegantly stated that judges who have argued there's no biological proof marriage should be limited to a man and a woman are wrong:

"They need some basic plumbing lessons," he said, according to the website Raw Story. "For one omnipotent, omniscious, ubiquitous federal judge who is wise beyond his education to say — to make such a declaration about the law, I think, requires revisiting by each state and compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court."

Yes, folks. The elected official who has previously argued that legalizing gay marriage will put the United States "on the road to the dustbin of history" is still an elected official and he is out there representing Texas on the national stage. Even better, the guy who quoted Solomon in saying "there's nothing new under the sun" as more justification for why gay marriage should not be allowed in America was up on that stage because people actually paid to see him.

Last week, he added to his case against gay marriage by assuming, in an impressively narrow view of the institution of wedlock, that marriage is solely about "plumbing" and popping out babies (we're pretty sure he's mistaken there.) Worse still — and we may be reading into this — but his statement seemed to imply a lack of understanding about how all the human fun-time "plumbing" parts actually work that leaves us with real concern. If he still thinks marriage is only about sex and procreation and "plumbing," that's not good. We'll gladly send him some instruction manuals if that's the case. A little education can go a long way. Maybe he'll even stop talking about "plumbing." That would be cool.

Political Animals

Money Games
Spin and the Texas Governor's Race: Wendy Davis still unlikely to win.

Calvin TerBeek

Two weeks ago, Greg Abbott sent out an email to his supporters claiming that "Sen. Wendy Davis has raised $8.7 million from liberals in New York, California and Washington." Try as I might, I could not verify this claim. Indeed, the venerable conservative magazine National Review did not bother to fact-check this claim, instead just repeating Abbott's claim. Even a Rice political scientist did no more than perform a "he said/she said" recounting of Abbott's claims.

Wendy Davis did indeed raise $8.7 million in contributions during the last reporting period, but there is no evidence, as implied by Abbott, that all the money came from the liberal trifecta: California, New York (coastal elites) and the always-hated Washington. It is implausible, as Abbott wants you to believe, that all that money came from outside Texas.

But Davis is (sort of) playing money games of her own. In claiming that she raised $12 million to Abbott's $11.5 million, she counted the money that went to a separate PAC, Texas Victory Committee. Abbott's campaign called her out on this. But the PAC is largely a PAC that is going to funnel money to Davis. So truthiness abounds on both sides. As with any campaign, the partisans (attempt to) construct a reality rather than living in it.

And as with any politician, Davis is trying to buoy Democrats into thinking that they might actually have a chance to take their first statewide office since 1994. It's difficult to take this too seriously, however.

First, there just are not enough white Democratic voters in Texas. In 2010, most white Texas voters (51 percent) — not Republicans, but voters overall — were conservative. There are not enough Hispanic and black voters to make up for the fact that white more or less still equals conservative in Texas. (And in case you're keeping track, this is exactly why the Republicans in Texas passed voter ID laws making it harder for minorities to vote and easier for whites to cast their ballots; it's politics all the way down.)

Moreover, 2014 is an off-year election without the cachet of a presidential race to draw those more reluctant voters to the polls. This partially explains the Tea Party wave in 2010 — conservatives were anxious to go to the polls, and younger voters stayed home. This is not good for Davis since she is trying to broaden a coalition of voters.

After gaining national prominence for filibustering an abortion bill that was eventually going to pass anyway — and ask yourself why you had a different reaction to her filibuster versus Ted Cruz's megalomaniacal filibuster on a bill that had already been passed and tested in the courts — she sponsored a bill that would legalize sobriety checkpoints, but it never passed. She has introduced a number of bills, but even her own website talks about only a few of them. What's more, Davis has some skeletons in her closet vis-a-vis the law firm she runs and awarding contracts for public works. And now there are reports that she is publishing her memoir next fall. While this is a typical rite of passage for politicians seeking higher office, one wonders how thick this volume will be: What exactly has Wendy Davis accomplished? (And as an aside, who buys self-serving drivel like this from any politician?)

Would Davis be a better governor than Abbott? Yes, even though Texas is known for having a weak executive, Abbott is "severely" conservative. Is Davis perhaps a more energetic and charismatic candidate than the tripe Texas Democrats have offered up in the past? Yes. Is Davis likely positioning herself for future campaigns and making a statewide name? Yes, and that's fine.

But 2014 won't be the year the Democrats recapture the governorship.


Throwaway Life
Two shining examples of human race charged with throwing cat in the air, shooting it.

Craig Malisow

Two east Harris County men have been charged with animal cruelty after authorities say they threw a cat in the air and shot it January 18.

Alexander Marsh, 18, threw the injured cat into the air while Joseph David Morgan, 24, shot it with a shotgun, according to a Harris County Sheriff's Deputy's affidavit. Morgan is from Highlands, Marsh is from League City.

Well, now.

The affidavit states that "Morgan [said] the feline did not immediately die from its injuries and was flopping around in apparent pain after it was thrown in the air, shot with the shotgun, and then landed on some broken concrete and bricks that affiant observed to be approximately 20 feet below the area where the witness described the cat as having been thrown."

Morgan told the deputy that "he and Marsh shot the cat because the cat's eye was previously injured and they lacked the funds to take the animal to a veterinarian."

Morgan was arrested and subsequently released on bail (listed as either $10,000 or $15,000); Marsh is listed as not yet having been arrested.

The Houston SPCA took custody of the cat's body.


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