In the fiction category tonight of the National Book Awards, Loise Erdrich won for The Round House. I’m sure it’s a great book. But I agree with Jack Bullion, who tweeted the following about Ben Fountain’s book Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk:
It may not have won a National Book Award tonight, but Ben Fountain’s BILLY LYNN is surely the greatest novel ever written about Irving, TX.
— Jack Bullion (@jackbullion) November 15, 2012
Okay, as Bradford and Tim pointed out, there is one sort of amusing fracking video at the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science. It’s located inside the Trevor Rees-Jones Foundation Dynamic Earth Hall (pictured), named for Rees-Jones of Dallas’s Chief Oil & Gas. But other fracking exhibits there–including a giant horizontal drilling rig–are pretty straightforward, fascinating even, certainly appropriate to a Texas science museum.
But if you’re going to label the fracking stuff “propaganda,” as Tim did in the comments, there’s also propaganda I guess in the Texas Instruments hall, where you learn to build a robot. In the Tom Hunt Energy Hall, where you crank the valves of a full-size wellhead. In the Children’s Museum classrooms, which is outfitted “proudly” with products from The Container Store. And at the Green Mountain Energy display, where you’re taught the virtues of the museum’s Green Mountain solar hot-water system.
UPDATE: The fracking video and other fracking exhibits are adjacent to, not actually inside, the Rees-Jones’s Dynamic Earth Hall. They’re located in the Tom Hunt Energy Hall, which was funded with a $10 million gift from Dallas’s Hunt Petroleum Corp. Mea culpa.
A North Dallas woman is claiming that the water from a Walmart toilet scalded her while she sat on a Walmart toilet. Sat on a Walmart toilet. Again, this whole situation seems like it could’ve beenÂ avoided by not sitting on a Walmart toilet.
…she bought a thermometer from theÂ store and went back to the bathroom stall to check the temperature of the toilet water.Â
She told police the thermometer read 109 degrees.Â Â Burns said sheÂ did notify the manager before making the police report.Â Â She was not seriously hurt.
- woman sits on toilet, does something that forces water to splash upon her bottom
- woman leaps off toilet, runs to thermometer department
- woman returns to bathroom
- woman sticks hand back in the toilet that bit her
- woman determines that the water was 109 degrees, a temperature at which most would consider their coffee luke-warm
- woman files police report
What a great country.
One tip: probably not the best idea to upload a video entitled “How To Blow Up a Church,” no matter your actual message.
At least that’s what Slate has to say. Their argument hinges on immigration, and the Latino vote:
Part of that is the Latino vote. Not only did Perry have a somewhat more moderate stance on immigration than Mitt Romney, he had it for the politically savvy reason that Romney’s view was heartless. In Perry’s eyes, Latinos–even immigrant Latinos and even undocumented immigrant Latinos–are human beings whose welfare is worthy of consideration. Not coincidentally, the Texas GOP has a much healthier relationship with its state’s Hispanic population than you see in the Arizona GOP. Romney went the Arizona route to his detriment.
If you want to sell a conservative policy agenda, Texas really is a smart place to point to show it in action. Texas has exactly the problem you’d think a very conservative state would have–a stingy safety net, meaning low living standards for poor Texans. But in exchange it really does have very rapid employment and population growth. Texas’ public school funding is very stingy, but its students results are somewhat above average–a great example of how efficiency matters to public service delivery. The basic infrastructure in Texas is solid. Texas even includes every liberal’s favorite city, Austin. Agglomerate a bunch of liberals in Texas together in one town, but still subject to the same Texas public policies, and liberals like the results. Its a good message.
So does that mean that Chuck Norris would have to settle for vice-president?
And what’s going on in the photo for this post?
Chuck Thompson, in The New Republic, isn’t belittling those who propose that Texas secede from the Union just because their favored presidential candidate lost last week’s election. If Texans are truly that unhappy, perhaps we could be given some level of semi-autonomy – like Scotland has from the U.K. – or perhaps we could become a U.S. territory along the lines of Puerto Rico or Guam.
Or maybe the solution is simply to give Texas and other secessionist-conservatives what they really want: free passage to the land of all their conservative fantasies. Send them all off with gratis one-way tickets (I’m happy to earmark some of my socialist tax dollars for the effort) to a country with: a small federal government with limited power and meager influence over the private lives of its citizens; extremely weak trade unions routinely sabotaged by the federal government (i.e., a “pro-business environment”); negligible income tax;Â few immigrants, legal or otherwise; a dominant Christian population, accounting for some 70 percent of the people; no mandatory health insurance or concept of universal health care; a strong social taboo surrounding homosexuality and a constitution that already states, “All individuals have the right to marry a person of their choice of the opposite sex”; and a gun culture so ubiquitous that you can find automatic weaponry displayed openly on the streets of its capital city and in many households.
Sound like a Texan secessionist’s dream? Well, it’s no dream. This country already exists. It’s called the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Human Rights Initiative ofÂ NorthÂ Texas executive director and friend of the show Bill Holston passed along this piece, written by the group’s legal director Chris Mansour:
Our client Lisa was raped by her stepfather for over a year, starting when she was nine years old. When he was finally caught, she courageously told the police what he had done to her, even though she was terrified that he would make good on his threats to kill her mother if she reported him. Now her stepfather is in jail and Lisa is a permanent resident who is attending college and hopes to be a pediatrician, veterinarian, or a police officer.
This story of survival and justice would not have been possible without the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA) which provides for U Visas for immigrants who are victims of violent crimes and cooperate with law enforcement to prosecute the perpetrator. This law, which has enjoyed broad bipartisan support since 1994, should have been reauthorized months ago, but stalled last spring because the Senate and House of Representatives passed different versions of the bill.
Today, Human Rights Initiative, along with a national coalition of organizations who work with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, is participating in a VAWA National Day of Action. Please call your Senator and Representative today and ask them to pass VAWA now! We are urging Congress to pass the Senate’s version of the bill before Congress’s special session ends on December 14.
For the rest of the post, and for more information onÂ VAWA National Day of Action, head to the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas’ website.
The Perot Museum of Nature and ScienceÂ invitedÂ the city’s media elite / anyone they could scrape together that wasn’t doing actual work to tour their stone edifice today. Tim, Zac, Liz, and I went to this morning’s session; a corduroyed arts editor was seen heading for the 11 a.m. session.
In short, it’s a great museum, well worth your time, and opens December 1. We spent less than two hours in the exhibit halls but could’ve spent three times that. Here’s some photos, so you can feel like you were there:
I’d read mention that CW33 recently overhauled its 9 p.m. newscast, moving from a more traditional format to a version full of the sort of irreverent attitude towards current events and fun-loving hijinks that are so popular with the youngsters these days. The program is called Nightcap,Â and Uncle Barky called its first show, broadcast Nov. 1, wildly inconsistent and messy:
One got the feeling this would be an entirely different animal when an opening rundown of the show’s activities made an “Oh Lancie Poo” reference to embattled biker Lance Armstrong.
There was also, apparently, a “reporter” posing for sexy pictures with fish sticks.
The ratings have not been strong so far, but then again, the station wasn’t getting good ratings for its old newscast. Ed Bark gives them credit for trying something different, and he actually liked some of the segments. But, based on one of their reports from last night, they still look a little lost.
The report (see video here) is about how some obese people may not be to blame for their own extra weight because they suffer from sleep apnea. Apparently they decided that the visuals of talking to an overweight man in his backyard and as he took a walk down his street weren’t exciting enough for their hip new mission. I won’t argue that point, but this is their solution?
Who’s up for a nighttime shopping adventure?
Last week, the ever-helpful, always beautiful Raya alerted me to the Candlelight Walk on Henderson, which sound like a very romantic evening for you and your credit cards. You getÂ discounts, cocktails, and snacky things at 14 participating stores, whichÂ include Gypsy Wagon, Milton Kent Antiques, Beaucoup, La Mariposa, ART is ART, Pandemonium, Emeralds to Coconuts, Glitz Salon, The Wooden House, Sputnik Modern, Form, The Pearl Cup, Milk & Honey, and We are 1976.Â And since it’s pitch black since 6 p.m., you can roll over there any time, since the stores are staying open uncharacteristically late.
Not too far away, Cru Wine Bar in West Village (also home of this stunning new boutique I can’t wait to check out) hosts a party for the newly stocked Beaujolais Nouveau wines.Â Per the venue, “Beaujolais Nouveau is not a wine to sniff, swirl, and contemplate; it’s a wine to pour and party with, which isÂ exactlyÂ what we plan to do.” I think that about sums it up. The party includes 15 different Beaujolais wines, live music, and food for when your party pants start feeling a mite too loose.
For more to do tonight, go here.
After all the bluster over White House petitions, race-baiting, and “Chuck Norris for President,”Â Foreign PolicyÂ filled a void that no one else has: It actually explained what would happen if Texas seceded.
“It would be the world’s thirteenth largest economy — bigger than South Korea, Sweden, and Saudi Arabia. But its worth would crater precipitously, after NAFTA rejected it and the United States slapped it with an embargo that would make Cuba look like a free-trade zone.
Indeed, Texas would quick become the next North Korea, relying on foreign aid due to its insistence on relying on itself.Â
On the foreign policy front, a seceded Texas would suffer for deserting the world superpower. Obama wouldn’t look kindly on secessionists, and would send in the military to tamp down rebellion. If Texas miraculously managed to hold its borders, Obama would not establish relations with the country — though he might send a special rapporteur. (We nominate Kinky Friedman.)”
Other buzz phrases: “narco state,” “direly impoverished,” “wracked with existential domestic and foreign policy threats.”
Prostitute Program Scrutinized. The Prostitute Diversion Program, used to rehabilitate prostitutes after they’re arrested,Â is five years old and has one staff member who is paid $76,000 a year. The program has only a 40 percent success rate, and John Wiley Price says that’s not good enough. He wants the program shut down. He was out-voted, however, and the program will continue under DA Watkins’ office.
Rare Gun Is Missing From Fort Worth Museum. I wouldn’t say the gun is stolen, per se. It’s just not where it used to be. At least, that’s according to this sentence from the story: “Officials at theÂ Fort Worth Museum of Science and HistoryÂ would not say that the 100-year-old antique weapon was stolen; only that it had been seen on Tuesday morning and was gone by Tuesday afternoon.” I’m sure it’s still there, somewhere.
Immigrant Dies; Friends Try To Raise Money To Send Her Body Home for Funeral. This story is heartbreaking. Feh Kidze, 30, has a husband and two kids in Cameroon. She’s a licensed vocational nurse, and has been working to create a better life for her family. Two weeks ago (just a couple days after she was told she was pregnant), she was driving to work when her car broke down in the middle of the road. A pickup hit her, killing her. She was the sole income for her family in Cameroon and now her friends are trying to raise enough money to get her body home so she can have a funeral with her family. (There’s info at the end of the story if you want to help.)