Chapter 8 of THE STAND. This is how it works. Heed. (But remember COID-19 is not as lethal as the superflu.)https://t.co/yqvwbjoVMs— Stephen King (@StephenKing) March 22, 2020
Greg Abbott's COVID-19 presser yesterday declared war on Louisiana travelers.
Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday ratcheted up travel restrictions into Texas during the new coronavirus pandemic, while announcing the state's first pop-up hospital to deal with the crisis. https://t.co/eSuK6ZMwly— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) March 29, 2020
Gotta love the rolled-up sleeves. He's hard at work,
Abbott said he was dramatically expanding a previous executive order that requires a 14-day self-quarantine for anyone flying into Texas from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or New Orleans. Now, the state is also mandating a 14-day self-quarantine for anyone driving into Texas from anywhere in Louisiana and for those flying in from Miami, Atlanta, Detroit and Chicago, as well as anywhere in California and Washington.
Enforcement of this directive falls to the DPS, but I have lots of unanswered questions. Update:
NEW: @TxDPS says it "will not be establishing checkpoints along the Texas/Louisiana border." This addresses what @KPRC2Taisha and @KrisGutierrez have been seeing at the border: No drivers being stopped to be given quarantine paperwork. https://t.co/TAQGMcbKBY @KPRC2 #hounews— Aaron Wische (@KPRC2Aaron) March 30, 2020
To be fair, I'm of the opinion -- authoritarian concerns remaining -- that this measure might actually be a good idea after reading this story.
Moving on, the governor also pre-empted any plans of releasing people from incarceration in order for them to avoid contracting the virus.
"Releasing dangerous criminals from jails into the streets is not the right solution and doing so is now prohibited by law by this declaration," Abbott said at a Sunday afternoon briefing, hours after officials announced that a 39-year-old man had tested positive for the coronavirus. The order said such a release “would also hinder efforts to cope with the COVID-19 disaster.”
Orwellian, that last sentence is (in my best Yoda voice).
“There’s a lot of flow in and out of our communities and our prisons. And if we see an outbreak in a prison or a jail, it’s going to continue to affect the community, and the community health.” https://t.co/dVKmQ79Wrs— Texas Standard (@TexasStandard) March 28, 2020
The newly appointed monitor over Harris County’s misdemeanor bail protocol, Duke law professor Brandon Garrett, said the decree violated “many state and federal constitutional provisions.”
Alec Karakatsanis, a civil rights attorney who represents thousands of indigent defendants awaiting trial at the lockup on felony charges, called the governor’s stance illegal and perilous.
“The edict is dangerous, unprecedented, chaotic, and a flagrantly unconstitutional attempt to infringe fundamental constitutional rights,” he said. “If enforced it would have catastrophic public health consequences.”
This diktat is more in line with Herr Abbott's (and General Paxton's) catering to the TXGOP primary voting base. 'Three hots and a cot, bust rocks, no a/c for you'.
Before we go any further down the path of conflating Darwinism and eugenics, perhaps we ought to read Ross Ramsey's latest.
Political people have noticed the dissonance on Gov. Greg Abbott’s support for local control in the face of the new coronavirus and his disdain for it in recent battles over property taxes, rideshare regulations, paid sick leave, and other local policies.
But the range of local reactions to the coronavirus, ranging from stay-home orders of various strengths to business-as-usual responses elsewhere, have the governor hesitating to impose statewide directives.
Over here are Dallas County and the city of Austin, telling residents to stay inside. Some Austin leaders have even told residents not to walk on the popular trail around Lady Bird Lake for exercise, for fear they’ll come within six feet of one another.
And over there are places like Midland and Palestine, where restaurant dining rooms are closed but many stores are bustling with customers.
From Ramsey last week:
Those local differences help explain why (Abbott) has been so reluctant to issue statewide stay-at-home orders. Metropolitan areas are aggressively putting social distancing rules in place, while less populated parts of Texas are more reticent.
Kuff also noted the different attitudes toward stay-at-home orders in some parts of the state, and pointed out that coronavirus doesn't care about anyone's attitude or ideals.
While this may be about geography or political affiliation, I think both Kuffner and Ramsey buried their ledes. Let's start with Abbott: he's at least smart enough to filter his every twitch through a Lone Star uber-conservative cheesecloth. Operation Jade Helm was one of our early clues. And everybody should understand that if you can't get to that thought process, you'll never understand his (and by extension, their) motivations.
Here's today's example.
These Magassholes are taking photos/videos of hospitals with slow traffic because they think they’re exposing a liberal hoax.— Steve Asbell #StayInReachOut (@steve_asbell) March 30, 2020
Hospitals are quiet because elective procedures have been canceled and not all hospitals have NYC levels of covid patients. Yet. Don’t #FilmYourHospital. https://t.co/ixLnJ9AUvX
If you laughed when you saw Fox News hosts calling the coronavirus a charade a couple of weeks ago before turning on a dime, then laughed again when Fox fired Trish Regan because she called the pandemic a plot against Trump, then you possess the required acumen to discern why rural Texans just think they're smarter than us city slickers. Oh, and why conservatives think liberalism is a mental disorder. (It kinda is, FWIW, which is why liberals -- you are aware I prefer 'neoliberals' -- keep trying to call themselves 'progressive'.)
I'll leave the rest of this theorizing to you. Let's extend last week's mockery of Dan Patrick's self-selection as a human sacrifice to Wall Street, courtesy Alice Embree at the Rag Blog.
Some Texas retirees and grandparents have a response to the Lt. Governor and hope it will go viral, so to speak. The Texas Alliance of Retired Americans (TARA) is launching a Virtual Cough-In Campaign for the week leading up to the Lt. Governor’s 70th birthday on April 4.
Retirees are not going to intentionally or accidentally spread contagion. They are urging everyone to phone or e-mail the Lt. Governor about his stupid, dangerous false dichotomy between health and the economy.
Below are TARA’s suggested scripts, timed for a message machine. The scripts are for grandparents and grandchildren, retirees and workers at essential jobs, and for those parents staying home with children trying to keep a virulent microbe from overwhelming our hospitals.
Pick up your phone. Dial one of these two numbers:
The Texas Lt. Governor Message Line: (512) 463-5342
The Texas Lt. Governor Office Line: (512) 463-0001
Cough or clear your throat and choose the script that suits you:
As a senior I am horrified that you would offer up my life for the sake of the stock market and the 1%. We are valuable, productive, and vital to our families and communities, and not the only ones at risk from Covid 19 as nearly 50% of those affected are in their 20s and 30s. If you choose not to represent, serve, and safeguard the health and well-being of all your constituents, you should resign.Version 2:
As a [son, daughter, grandchild, fill in the blank as best suits you], I am horrified that you would offer up the lives of senior members of our families and communities for the sake of the stock market and the 1%. Ignoring scientific evidence and advice is reckless. Advising the general population to do so goes against your duties to represent, serve, and safeguard the health and well-being of all your constituents. It’s time for you to resign.
If you don’t want to let Dan Patrick get away with murder, make a call. Do it from a safe distance so that you don’t become another ICU patient needing a ventilator. Do it so that you don’t spread a virus you may not know you have. Do it for your grandchildren.
New scripts are being written for each day and will be posted on the TARA Facebook page.
How Texas Republicans are responding to the coronavirus pandemic:— Texas Observer (@TexasObserver) March 29, 2020
- Dan Patrick performs on Fox News
- Greg Abbott dithers
- John Cornyn installs his foot in his mouth
- Ted Cruz, oddly, is relatively rational #txlegehttps://t.co/pQQbRduO3m
Nonsequiteuse, in similar fashion, minced no words with Patrick. And Stephen Young at the Dallas Observer had an early look at the worst Texas reactions to the coronavirus.
Texas House bungled 2015 plan for pandemics like #coronavirus by @BudKennedy @DrSchwertner https://t.co/cHn8mTmwam— Texas Medical Association (@texmed) March 29, 2020
"Abortion is time-sensitive health care," Planned Parenthood South Texas' CEO said. "We can't wait any longer."— San Antonio Current (@SAcurrent) March 26, 2020
A federal judge has temporarily blocked a provision of Texas' coronavirus response that prohibited most abortions.https://t.co/Pkn96eRjqf— Axios (@axios) March 30, 2020
COVID-19 is a concentrated crisis that sheds light on the slow-motion disaster of being poor in our state. Once the virus passes, writes @gusbova, there’s no reason to let the powerful return peacefully to business as usual. https://t.co/AQDzzQqYsJ— Texas Observer (@TexasObserver) March 22, 2020
David Collins, candidate for US Senate from Texas:
Capitalism is canceled, henceforth and forthwith. It. Doesn't. Work. For. Us.
I've recently heard the US economy described as a "house of cards," and it seems like an apt description. But I have a quibble with it, because there's the economy on one hand, and there's the "economy" on the other. The latter is what the media means by the word: Stock market indices and the facts and figures that emanate from Executive Branch agencies. The former is what is actually happening at street level. Millions of underpaid, overworked American citizens and immigrants are holding the real economy together, and they're doing a damn good job of it.
Our nation, our society, and our government cannot solve this by throwing money at corporations who do not/cannot guarantee that they will continue compensating their employees at their regular rates. I am convinced that only direct payments from the government to individuals and families will keep them and the macro economy afloat. (EDIT: And, oh yeah, Medicare for All too. I left that part out earlier.)
A smattering of election and voting related-developments:
Transition to Centralized Polling Centers in Texas Suppresses Black and Latinx Voting https://t.co/xfRA5kParT #TXLege #HouNews— A Companion Unobtrusive (@PDiddie) March 24, 2020
Mustafa Tameez warned about the need for election protection.
Didn't change any resultshttps://t.co/MtUmnBD0E3— OR Coastal Bend (@CoastalBendBern) March 23, 2020
And more about the concerns and impacts of COVID-19.
#Gannett, owner of Austin American-Statesman, USA Today, plus 100 other daily newspapers, announced furloughing employees next month— Anna Núñez (@nunez_anna) March 31, 2020
U.S. newsrooms will lose local reporters every single week during biggest global health crisis ever.#coronavirus #TXlege https://t.co/5msbbmu97p
Patricia Sharpe at Texas Monthly talked to restaurant and bar workers about how they're coping.
From foundations like Southern Smoke to national and local charity efforts, here’s a list of resources for an industry crippled by the coronavirus.https://t.co/KL2g6fkoa2— Texas Monthly (@TexasMonthly) March 27, 2020
Loren Steffy also elaborated on why we didn't really need a crystal ball to know that Texas unemployment claims were going to spike last week.
Houston recession forecast shows economy losing tens of thousands of jobs due to COVID-19, oil price war https://t.co/PoyKTegt5M #hounews— Matt Schwartz (@SchwartzChron) March 24, 2020
Meanwhile, in an ironic reversal of fortune, Mexico says it's time to close the g.d. border to those filthy, disease-carrying Americanos.
Mexicans demand crackdown on Americans crossing the border https://t.co/izwx6Qj5FI— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) March 26, 2020
“It is important that in Mexico, and particularly at this border, we implement restrictive measures because United States residents and citizens are crossing every day to Matamoros to shop, go visit the doctor and their family and that means a greater risk for the families of Matamoros,” said Matamoros Mayor Mario Alberto López Hernández, in a recent news release.
Better Texas Blog says, once again, that everyone needs paid sick leave.
"Texas must suspend all evictions during the coronavirus emergency" - @AshtonPWoods#COVID19 #GeneralStrike https://t.co/izCr2627Oq— Sema #GeneralStrike (@_SemaHernandez_) March 24, 2020
For weeks, advocates and news outlets have been sounding the alarm: The homeless are profoundly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.— Texas Observer (@TexasObserver) March 30, 2020
The crisis should etch into our minds something that was always true. Housing is inseparable from health care. https://t.co/Zy1Kz6Rcya
And down-shifting to other state news ...
#Breaking -- A magnitude 4.7 earthquake shook the Big Bend area of western Texas on Thursday morning, with shaking felt throughout the El Paso area, according to the USGS. https://t.co/JZj50V5uwm— KVIA ABC-7 News (@abc7breaking) March 26, 2020
To see how the Koch brothers’ free-market utopia operates, look no further than Corpus Christi. (2012) https://t.co/RgRYbBM8zi— Texas Observer (@TexasObserver) March 30, 2020
And we mourn the passing of Texas playwright Terrence McNally.
Terrence McNally, the prolific playwright with Texas roots, passed away this week from coronavirus-related complications. His genre-defying work illuminated stories about domestic homosexual life—in an era when these stories had little to no visibility.https://t.co/LwvRcHKP0D— Texas Monthly (@TexasMonthly) March 27, 2020
The lighter items will wrap this edition of the Wrangle.
Brea LaVelle, and her teacher colleagues, really miss their students.
Rapper @ttbbyttbby on music, natural disasters, and his experience growing up in southeast Texas.— Texas Observer (@TexasObserver) March 29, 2020
Interview by @DaLyahJ: https://t.co/jzCYYcmdTf
If you need a good laugh to beat the stress, these San Antonio comics are happy to help. https://t.co/NuN2NOqjq0— San Antonio Current (@SAcurrent) March 29, 2020