Good news, guys. Jon Stewart and The Daily Show will be making Texas the new (temporary) world news headquarters this week, just in time for midterm elections.
In a segment they've dubbed "Democalypse: South by South Mess," Stewart will be in Austin from October 27 - 30, putting all of Texas' embarrassing political news on blast. Given the political climate in our fair state, Texas will need to be on its best behavior if we have any chance of saving face, so perhaps should keep Rick Perry away from, well, everything for a couple of days.
But even if Perry manages to mind his Ps and Qs, there's still plenty of recent Lone Star news for Jon Stewart to rip on. Since we're bound to receive our fair share of ridicule anyway, let's give the good folks over at the Daily Show a few ideas, shall we?
Texas Official Freaks Out Over School's "Meatless Mondays" Soon-to-be ex-Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples criticized school districts earlier this year that have adopted "Meatless Mondays." In an op-ed written for the Austin American-Statesman, Staples called the move irresponsible, and suggested that that the "activist movement" is some "carefully orchestrated campaign" meant to force a vegetarian lifestyle on Texans.
"Restricting children's meal choice to not include meat is irresponsible and has no place in our schools," Staples wrote. "This activist movement called 'Meatless Monday' is a carefully orchestrated campaign that seeks to eliminate meat from Americans' diets seven days a week--starting with Mondays."
Or it could just be the school districts liked the idea of Meatless Monday, a nationwide campaign launched in 2003 with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health that is meant to promote a healthy lifestyle.
And while Staples claimed the district was irresponsible, we think there's a chance that Staples' little meatless-meltdown may not entirely be about an irrational fear of soy. Perhaps it was based on the $100,000 in contributions he's received from ranchers and beef producers in recent years instead.
Supreme Court Allows Texas to Disenfranchise 600,000 Voters Texas' so-called Voter ID law, which essentially makes it difficult for certain groups of residents to cast their ballot, has already been thoroughly scrutinized in the media, but that doesn't mean The Daily Show should avoid the subject altogether.
After all, the recent Supreme Court ruling did just rule that the law could remain in effect for the upcoming midterm elections. That ruling potentially disenfranchises about 600,000 mostly black and Latino voters.
The ruling was handed down with a scathing dissent from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who pointed how discriminatory the law really is. In her dissent, the Notorious RBG wrote that the law may be "purposefully discriminatory," and warned that it "likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters."
Greg Abbott on Interracial Marriage Hear that? Well, if you do, it's definitely just crickets, because it's certainly not Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott's answer on interracial marriage you're hearing.
When speaking to the San Antonio Express-News' editorial board about his stance on defending Texas' ban on same-sex marriage, and how he just has to rigorously defend every law the state passes, the state's similar prohibition on interracial marriage decades ago came up.
So naturally, Abbott wouldn't answer whether he would have defended that interracial marriage ban, too.
"Right now, if there was a ban on interracial marriage, that's already been ruled unconstitutional," Abbott told the paper. "And all I can do is deal with the issues that are before me ... The job of an attorney general is to represent and defend in court the laws of their client, which is the state Legislature, unless and until a court strikes it down."
Good thing Hearst's Peggy Fikac followed up on Abbott's answer. Here's what she wrote of the ed board meeting: "When I said I wasn't clear if he [Abbott] was saying he would have defended a ban on interracial marriage, he said, 'Actually, the reason why you're uncertain about it is because I didn't answer the question. And I can't go back and answer some hypothetical question like that.'"
Lovely. Our front-runner for governor won't answer whether he would have defended the state's ban on interracial marriage. Have fun, John Stewart.
But Abbott's not the only politician to stick his foot in his mouth lately. There is, after all, Senator Dan Patrick to contend with...
Dan Patrick and the Duck Dynasty Prophecy Dan Patrick, the former conservative radio host turned senate member, is now the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, and is very, very likely win that race.
Senator Patrick has made some pretty shocking comments on everything from Wendy Davis' filibuster to Islam, but what really takes a hunk of the crazy cake are his comments on Duck Dynasty and the show's patriarch Phil Robertson.
Robertson, a self-identified "bible-thumper," has made a fair share of controversial comments on homosexuality, both on camera and off.
Nothing drew more criticism than an the statement he made in early 2014, when he said, "It seems like, to me, a vagina-- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus. That's just me. I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical."
Calling homosexuality a sin is a huge, rainbow-colored fire most politicians would sidestep, right? Not Patrick, who jumped right in, validating Robertson's comments by claiming to have drawn divine inspiration from Robertson himself.
"This is an exciting time for Christians," he wrote on Facebook, under a photo of Robertson. "God is speaking to us from the most unlikely voice, Phil Robertson, about God's Word. God is using pop culture and a highly successful cable TV show to remind us about His teaching."
So, according to Dan Patrick, God is using Phil Robertson, the homophobic patriarch from Duck Dynasty, to teach bible lessons. It should be like shooting Texas fish in a barrel for Jon Stewart.
No-Knock Raids and the Death Penalty In 2014, Texas had two no-knock SWAT raids, or raids where officers essentially kick in the door of a home without warning, that resulted in officers being shot dead. The cases happened about five months and 100 miles apart, and both were drug raids.
But that's where the similarities end. You see, in one of the cases, the defendant is getting off scott-free for the shooting. Oh, and one of the defendant's is white, and the other is black. Can you guess which one is facing the death penalty?
In February 2014, Burleson County resident Henry "Hank" Magee shot a SWAT officer was shot during a predawn no-knock raid on his house. Police threw a flash-bang grenade and tried to enter the residence, where Magee was allegedly growing marijuana. Believing it was a robber, Magee, according to his attorney, shot and killed an officer with his semi-automatic .308 rifle in an attempt to protect himself and his pregnant girlfriend.
Magee was found with drugs -- "more than 4 oz but less than 5 lbs" of marijuana.
A few months later, a SWAT team in Killeen, Texas, ignited a flash-bang grenade outside Marvin Guy's apartment, and officers attempted to climb in through an open window. Guy, who was suspected of possessing cocaine, opened fire, hitting four officers. One was killed.
According to the arrest warrant, police suspected Guy of possessing cocaine after receiving a tip from an informant, who said he was selling. However, a subsequent search of his apartment turned up only an "orange glass pipe," and -- unlike Magee -- no drugs.
The grand jury in Magee's case declined to indict, citing self-defense. Prosecutor's in Guy's case are seeking the death penalty.
That Time Texas Hired a Discredited Abortion "Expert" to Help Shut Down Clinics In their attempt to defend the law that makes abortions much more difficult to access in Texas, the state hired Vincent Rue, a Florida marriage therapist who has been discredited by numerous courts for his theories on how abortion causes mental illness.
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Best known for coining the term "post-abortion stress syndrome" -- an alleged mental disorder that is not recognized by the American Psychological Association or the American Psychiatric Association -- Rue's testimony has been continually been discredited by the courts.
In one case, the judge described Rue's testimony as "devoid of ... analytical force and scientific rigor," and wrote that "his admitted personal opposition to abortion ... suggests a possible personal bias."
Still, Texas employed the discredited expert, and Rue was paid $42,000 in less than six months for helping the state defend its draconian new law.
We're sure The Daily Show will find plenty more material, but this should give them a good start. And Texas, for the love of Phil Robertson, can we please all mind our political manners so we can get through this with a little bit of dignity?