The Texas Bathroom Bill: An Update

The Texas Legislature’s Special Session isn’t quite over yet, but it’s looking like efforts to pass the “Bathroom Bill” may have failed yet again.  From The Texas Tribune:

With just days left in the 30-day special legislative session, controversial proposals to regulate bathroom use for transgender Texans appear to have no clear path to the governor’s desk. As was the case during the regular legislative session that concluded in May, efforts to pass any sort of bathroom bill — a divisive issue pitting Republicans against business leaders, LGBT advocates, law enforcement and even fellow Republicans — have stalled in the Texas House.

And it’s unlikely that will change in the coming days.

Big business, LGBT advocacy groups, and moderate Republicans all contributed to the failure of the extreme right-wing faction of the state’s legislature to pass the bill.  Though this particular attempt at passing the “Bathroom Bill” may not have succeeded, the faction behind this discriminatory bill isn’t giving up.  From The Advocate:

“Still, Equality Texas, the state’s main LGBT rights group, is urging opponents to keep up the pressure. The House is also sitting on two other “bathroom bills,” the group notes, and Abbott could even call another special session.”

As philosopher Jean Kazez concludes in her recent Op-Ed in The Dallas Morning News: “I suspect [the bathroom bill] simply functions to allow conservatives to express outrage about a phenomenon that they don’t understand and can’t (yet) get used to.”  Which leaves us wondering if they ever will.

Steampunk Decorating Ideas for the Holidays?

In “I need a break from politics and impending nuclear war” news:  The cicadas have been shedding at quite an impressive rate this summer.  Or I’ve just been outside more to notice.

We usually put “Darwin finches” on our All-Purpose Winter Holiday Tree, but I’m thinking maybe we need to collect these guys, get some little brass gears and a glue gun, and go with a steampunk theme this year?

Though I’m not sure how the cat, who seems to enjoy the plastic tree full of feathery things, would feel about this.

A group of cicada shells

They’re already putting together a garland….

 

More Destroying Science Fiction!

The Destroy! series of science fiction anthologies continues, this time from the folks at Uncanny.  From the Kickstarter:

Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction will be in the same vein as the previous Destroy special issues (Women Destroy Science Fiction, Queers Destroy Science Fiction, and People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction), featuring editors, writers (both solicited and unsolicited), and artists with representation from all across the sliding scale of disability.

The project has already funded, which is great to see.  But alas, the “Bespoke Space Unicorn Art of You” reward has already been claimed.

From Around the Web: 3 July 2017

A few links of interest from around the web:

The Texas Special Legislative Session vs. the Bathroom Bill

It’s “good news, bad news” time here in the Lone Star State, y’all.  The good news?  The Texas 2017-2018 legislative session has ended without passage of the bathroom bill.

The bad news?  Gov. Greg Abbott has called a special session, and on the agenda is Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s obsession: the bathroom bill.  If certain legislation doesn’t pass during a session, the governor can call the legislators back in order to finish up the job.  Mr. Patrick took advantage of this fact.  From The Texas Tribune: “Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had been pushing Abbott to call a special session on the bathroom issue, as well as property taxes.”

Fortunately, the Texas House doesn’t seem terribly interested in passing the bill.  It’ll be bad for the economy and bad for privacy rights.  Unfortunately, the governor can keep calling special sessions until he deems the work of the legislature complete.

Can You Recycle Campaign Yard Signs?

Yes, or at least around these parts.  I’ve displayed campaign yard signs for a number of election cycles now, and some of the signs I’ve kept (for sentimental reasons?  to clutter the garage?) and some I’ve passed along to our party precinct chair for use at the polling locations on election day.

Alas, the garage is filling up, so after May’s municipal elections, I decided to ask the city in which I reside if I can recycle them.  And the answer is yes.  File under “good to know.”  I’ll be carting a bunch of ’em out to the curb soon….

 

If Senator Cornyn is Appointed FBI Director

On the off chance that Senator John Cornyn is selected to be the next director of the FBI, Texas might just have the chance to fill his seat with a Democrat sooner rather than later.  From The Texas Tribune:

Gov. Greg Abbott would be tasked with a short-term appointment, but several months later the state would hold a special election to finish the duration of the term, which ends in 2021. 

The The Austin American-Statesman floats a couple possibilities as challengers to Gov. Abbott’s appointee: US Representative Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, who has already begun his 2018 campaign against Senator Ted Cruz, or US Representative Joaquin Castro of San Antonio.

That said, the scenario is unlikely to play out.  Again, from The Austin American-Statesman:

While Cornyn did serve as both a Texas Supreme Court justice and state attorney general before being elected to the Senate, he would seem among the least likely picks on the list.

Which leaves us here in the Lone State State waiting for the 2018 election for the next opportunity to elect a Democratic candidate to a Senate seat.

Guns, Girls, and Glory: Part I

At a recent book sale to benefit my local elementary school, I happened to find a copy of Herland near a copy of Nebula Award Stories 8, edited by Isaac Asimov. Both I grabbed, the former because my current copy is an ebook, the latter because the anthology boasted stories by Clarke, Anderson, Pohl, Ellison, and others.

Herland and Nebulas 8

Among those “others” in this 1972 paperback is Joanna Russ; her story “When It Changed” won the Nebula for best short story published that year. In this story, a planet populated entirely by women is visited by men. The men on the planet had died hundreds of years before, so none of the women had first-hand knowledge of men—a parallel to Herland.

What’s strikingly different is that while Gilman’s all-women society is a utopia, the society that Russ created, the planet Whileaway, is not. Children are communally raised in Herland; society conducts itself in a “feminine” manner. On Whileaway, a sense of individualism permeates the culture. The narrator considers her twelve-year old daughter’s imminent coming-of-age: “Some day soon, like all of them, she will disappear for weeks on end to come back grimy and proud, having knifed her first cougar or shot her first bear, dragging some abominably dangerous dead beastie behind her, which I will never forgive for what it might have done to my daughter.” Though men are absent from the planet, a sort of stereotypically male relationship between people and nature—and among the people themselves—remains.

Aside from the obvious differences between these two takes on women-only societies, one notable distinction between them struck me: guns. Guns are conspicuously absent from Herland—they’re not needed in a society without conflict. On Whileaway, they’re a part of daily life. And in spite of their presence, what guns they have are not enough to protect the women there: “Men are coming to Whileaway. When one culture has the big guns and the other has none, there is a certain predictability about the outcome.” Katy, the narrator’s wife, never touches her rifle, because, as she says after she nearly shoots one of the men who do come to their world, “’I knew I’d kill someone.’”

As a Texan following our current legislative session, I’m not surprised that I focused on this difference. A number of bills have been put forth that would make owning and carrying guns far easier than it is now—and that’s not to say that it isn’t already quite easy here. And as a Texan, I hope common sense will prevail and that these bills will not pass. And as a writer of science fiction, I’ve been considering the ways in which state and national bills and legislation will affect us in the future.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing posts about gun ownership and mental health, gun ownership as a signifier of social status among the middle class, and how gun training might be implemented in public and private schools.

In the meantime, y’all, I’ve got letters to write.  From The Dallas Morning News: “Texans could carry a handgun without a license under a House bill that’s stuck in the chamber.”

Regular Love vs Psychic Love?

Flier listing various services offered by a psychicSo, this is a first.  We’ve had our share of Christian proselytizers of various denominations around these parts, but never an advert for our local psychic.

Found this flier hanging on my door this afternoon.  Our yard is a bit of a mess, so I suppose it’s fine to assume that our spirits, loves, and auras could use a good once-over too, perhaps.

Maybe I’m being a bit pedantic here, but I think if I were going in for love spells, I’d like my intended target not to be psychic.  A bit of mystery keeps the magic in the relationship, right?