Some Texans have long awaited their chance to secede from the U.S. in a “Texit” — you know you’ve seen those bumper stickers. So will the United Kingdom’s decision Thursday on whether to stay a member of the European Union have any effect on our state’s fate?
And a few Texas groups — like the Texas Nationalist Movement, the Republic of Texas and some Republicans — feel similar sentiments toward the U.S. government. Of the 27 million people that make up Texas, Daniel Miller of the TNM told the Guardian that 260,000 people support the idea of Texas secession. He said the arguments for Brexit and Texit are fundamentally identical.
“You could take ‘Britain’ out and replace it with ‘Texas,’” he said. “You could take ‘EU’ out and replace it with ‘US’. You could take ‘Brussels’ out and replace it with ‘Washington DC’. You could give you guys a nice Texas drawl and no one would know any different. So much of it is exactly the same.”
In this state where people still celebrate its independence from Mexico in 1836, those of TNM have called for Texas to decide whether to remain a part of the U.S. via a referendum. Just a few years ago, after President Obama was re-elected, the White House had to respond to a Texit petition that received more than 125,000 votes — of course, the answer was no.
Texas Standard spoke with Tom Dart, the journalist who interviewed Miller for the Guardian. Dart, a former British reporter and recent Texan, said there are important differences between Texas’ status in the U.S. and Britain’s status in the EU.
“Even if this is a relatively small part of Texas’ population, you could argue they’ve been making increasing amounts of noise in recent years,” Dart said. “They’ve been getting more organized, they’ve been having a bit more traction in the Republican Party of Texas – certainly among the Tea Party wing.”
He said Texas secession isn’t widely supported, though Texas rhetoric has been anti-federal government as of late. Texas Standard notes that “could be a consequence of Gov. Greg Abbott’s statement that he’s sued the federal government 40 times.”
The Dallas Morning News also said there is little parallel between Texit and Brexit. The article brings up the idea that Brexit could actually affect trade with the U.S., “which means Texas has a dog in this hunt.” The U.K. is one of the top countries receiving Texas exports but a “leave” vote might affect U.S. negotiations for a free-trade deal in Europe.
Many people wouldn’t mind speaking with the Queen’s English, but one Texas woman is trying hard to get back to her regular Texan accent.
Lisa Alamia lives in Rosenberg and is a native Texan, but speaks with a British accent. The accent started after Alamia had jaw surgery six months ago to correct an overbite. After the surgery, doctors diagnosed her with foreign accent syndrome, which has affected less than 100 people worldwide in the last 100 years, KHOU reports.
‘Mum’ is probably the one word I notice right away,” Alamia told KHOU. “’Kitten’ (is another). They think I’m talking about a baby cat. I’m not. I’m saying, ‘I’m just kidding.’”
Alamia was understandably shocked at the transformation at first, saying her children were intimidated by her new accent, but now they tease her about it.
“My daughter laughs at the way I say ‘tamales.’ I used to be able to say it like a real Hispanic girl. Now, I cannot.”
She was also worried about skeptics and people thinking she was faking the accent for attention, but her neurologist confirmed the diagnosis by making her repeat several tongue twisters while hooked up to an MRI scanner.
“I didn’t know the reaction I was going to get from people,” Alamia said. “So I didn’t know if they’re going to judge me. Are they going to think I’m lying or even understand how I’m speaking?”
Summer just started and Austin’s many swimming holes are calling. And frankly, it takes a lot of willpower not to call in sick and go for a dive.
This week, Food and Wine published a list of their top seven choices for the best swimming holes in America. Austin’s Hamilton Pool made the cut and rightfully so.
Though the pool recently implemented a reservation system and increased visitor fees until September, it’s still a popular spot for locals and out-of-towners. Why? Maybe because of the running waterfall, the emerald lagoon and the picturesque walk.
Chances are you you’re not thinking too much about the history of barbecue when taking that first bite of brisket, but just like any other cuisine the art form of smoked and grilled meats has a rich, delicious backstory. One, which food writer Robb Walsh asserts, is African-American based and increasingly outshone by the trendiness of the Central Texas barbecue scene.
In a recent piece for First We Feast, Walsh says, “The relentless fawning over Austin’s ‘cue scene paints a narrow picture of the Texas tradition, as does the maniacal focus on brisket.” According to Walsh, barbecue was first introduced to Texas by black slaves in the 19th century. Since then, Central Texas has become the “darling of the national food press” and its golden boy pitmaster Aaron Franklin has won the James Beard Award for Best Chef.
Walsh believes this focus overlooks East Texas where “black barbecue is booming,” because when food writers cover barbecue, they come straight to Austin.
Additionally, brisket, which has become the “yardstick” by which publications like Texas Monthly judge a pit’s prowess since its 1970s debut, is a fixture of “mostly white-owned, joints of Central Texas.” Instead of these prime cuts, black barbecue is still centered around beef links and “inexpensive meats made delicious by slow cooking.” As you might already know, in Central Texas “prime brisket and beef ribs are selling for $20 to $25 a pound.”
So how are black pitmasters responding? According to Walsh one of Houston’s “hippest,” Greg Gatlin, remains on-trend with spins on traditional black barbecue fixtures and items like “smoked deviled eggs” and “barbecue eggs Benedict.” He’s even said he’d serve beef links on cronuts.
Dallas police are searching for an angry Burger King customer today after he reportedly punched a 62-year-old employee for not making him a good enough milkshake, according to Fort Worth’s NBC5.
Surveillance video shows the customer throwing things past the order counter at the employee, identified by NBC5 as Alejandra Estrada. At one point, he jumps over the counter and chases her into the back of the restaurant, where Estrada says the man “hit [me] like seven times.”
Estrada said the man complained about the milkshake and two other replacement drinks Estrada made for him. Estrada said the man also threatened to kill her.
Romero’s sermon was a response to San Francisco Pastor Roger Jimenez who said in his own video that “the tragedy is that more of them didn’t die,” which has been seen more than 60,000 times.
Romero said in the video that the victims “were all perverts and pedophiles and they are the scum of the earth.” He said he is praying for the deaths of the surviving victims who are still in the hospital.
The pastors have received criticism for their statements from YouTube commentors and other church leaders. Dallas Cathedral of Hope Pastor Rev.Dr. Neil Cazares-Thomas addressed Romero’s sermon during his own on Sunday.
“There is no Jesus in that language,” he said. “There is no God in that language.”
“Just like if there was a building that had a bunch of rapists or a bunch of evil murderous people, and the building collapsed on them, or something happened where they were all killed, I don’t think that’s something we should mourn over, because they’re evil people,” he said.
Fox4 also spoke with theologian Steve Kellmeyer, who has studied religion for 20 years. He said no Christian with a formal understanding between the Old and New Testament of the Bible would say what Romero has.
“He’s just one more in a long list of people who don’t get what it means to be Christian,” Kellmeyer said.
Today, the first official day of summer, happens to mark the start to another season. Gas up, snack up and mute that annoying voice command on your GPS app, because it’s road trip season.
If you thought, however, that living in Texas meant living in one of the best states to hit the road and get away, WalletHub has compiled a list that says otherwise. According to the personal finance company’s site, Texas ranks No. 30 on 2016’s “Best States for Summer Road Trips” list. What about those beautiful, endless highways (one of the many things we love about Texas) isn’t cutting it for WalletHub?
In listing the states the site averaged each one’s rankings in three different criteria groups: “driving and lodging costs,” “road conditions and safety” and “fun and scenic attractions.” Unsurprisingly, Texas’ cheap gas prices and slew of seedy motels secured it the No. 8 spot in the first. Similarly unsurprisingly, it took the No. 42 spot for safety and conditions.
Texas roads aren’t exactly renowned for their safety. In fact, in a 24/7 Wall St. piece from December 2015 Texas was the only state to have more than 3,000 traffic fatalities. Adjusting for population, the state came in 17th as the most dangerous state to drive in. Whether it’s the fact that we boast the U.S.’s fastest speed limit or the sheer expanse of highway, we can’t deny that road tripping in Texas might pose a higher risk than other states.
His visit to the city wasn’t welcome by some of its politicians, especially since Trump’s comments on Hispanics and Mexicans have probably offended the city’s predominantly Mexican-American population. One San Antonio representative went as far as to create a video to “educate” Trump on the contributions of Mexicans to American society.
“Bienvenido a San Antonio, Mr. Trump!” is a just-under-two-minutes video produced by U.S. Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, and it wears its heart on its sleeve. Narrated by Sen. Joe Bernal (who served in the Texas legislature in the ’60s and ’70s), the video begins with “dump” written underneath Trump’s name in the title screen. And the shade gets thrown harder from there.
“In San Antonio, we value family, hard work, honor and respect. We inherited these values from the immigrants who built our city, and yes, Mr. Trump, that includes Americans of Mexican descent,” Bernal reads.
A highlight reel of Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants then plays, touching on his “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists” statements.
The kicker comes at the 50-second mark, as Bernal says, “While others already told you what to do with your wall”— cue a slide of Rep. Filemon Vela’s “shove [your wall] up your a–” comment— “We would rather give you something you seem to lack— an education.”
The video ends with a promise to Trump that the Mexican-Americans of San Antonio will continue to make their city and their country great again—by voting for Hillary Clinton.
Everything about Austin’s Little Free Libraries is charming. A lot of the “libraries” are shaped like glass-doored birdhouses and one of the only two requirements is that they’re little (read: adorable). The other, of course, is that they’re free.
Unfortunately, as several Austin owners of the tiny book depositories have come to find, free can mean different things to different people. To one guy in a pickup truck it means take them all and sell them at Half Price Books, KUT reports. An Austin homeowner, who caught the man clearing out their library on video, claims to be “the 8th library he has cleaned out and sold back to Half Price Books.”
Understandably, Austin’s volunteer librarians are upset. The Little Free Library organization encourages its participants to “build a literacy-friendly neighborhood” and always falls back on the “take a book, return a book” golden rule. Homeowner Jenny Hodgkins told KUT she was both disturbed that all the books had been taken and by the fact that whoever took them didn’t bother to shut the library’s door behind them.
Residents responded by stamping books to help local bookstores identify and pass on purchasing them, and (thanks to someone’s non-stop camera) printing flyers featuring a fairly good shot of the culprit mid-pilfer.
Although someone filed a complaint with the Austin Police Department, the case was closed earlier this week, because, as Detective Robert Burnham said, “I got a crook that found a loophole. You have a sign out there that says ‘free books.'”
We’re sure there’s an intro-to-economics-fallacy in here somewhere, but maybe it’s a little simpler than even that: If it’s “free”, it’s not stealing. Right?
Thousands in the sprawling Central Texas post paused for a solemn memorial held for nine fallen warriors June 16 during a service inside the Spirit of Fort Hood Chapel here.
Eight Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and one Cadet from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, were the victims of flash flood waters while conducting convoy operations June 2 on Fort Hood.
“Today, we honor and pay tribute to nine fallen comrades of the 1st Cav. Div.,” said Maj. Gen. John (J.T.) Thomson III, 1st Cav. Div. commanding general. “These exceptional cavalry troopers from Fox Forward Support Company … represent the best our nation has to offer.”
Thomson added that as the community mourns the lives lost, “We also praise them for who they were, what they stood for and how they honorably served our nation.
“They were many things to many people – sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and husbands, caring friends, trustworthy classmates and loyal comrades-in-arms,” he said.
Central Texas and the Army Family across the nation came together in the wake of the flood to support those in mourning and remember the lives of each victim. The venue for the service has a capacity of 1,500, which was not large enough to seat all those hoping to attend. To reach out to hundreds more, the ceremony was live-streamed to Howze Theater, the Phantom Warrior Center and several conference rooms within the chapel itself.
In addition to several thousand Fort Hood Soldiers, senior Army leaders also attended the event, including Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel Dailey.
During the memorial ceremony, several Soldiers gave tributes to their fallen comrades, including Capt. Andrew Garland, company commander, Co. F, 3-16 FA Regt.; 1st Lt. Johnnie Kaapuwai, Distribution Platoon leader, Co. F, 3-16 FA Regt.; and Sgt. Jordan Singh, ammunition ammo noncommissioned officer-in-charge for the Distribution Platoon.
Garland began his Soldier’s tribute by announcing each of the fallen by name: Staff Sgt. Miguel Colonvazquez, Spc. Yingming Sun, Spc. Christine Armstrong, Spc. Brandon Banner, Pfc. Zachery Fuller, Pfc. Isaac DeLeon, Pvt. Eddy Gates, Pvt. Tysheena James and Cadet Mitchell Winey.
“I have nothing but good memories of them,” Garland said of his Soldiers. “These nine Soldiers shared the Army Values, but one value stood out among them – personal courage.
“The personal courage to undertake the challenge of being a Soldier in today’s Army,” he continued. “They all made the decision to join the Army out of selfless service to their nation.”
Sun, Garland said, was known for having a light and warm personality that radiated throughout the platoon and company, someone who always had a smile on his face.
“Sun used his technical knowledge to his advantage in helping his teammates accomplish the mission,” Garland said. “He was dedicated to Fox Company by always being ready to train and deploy at a moment’s notice.”
Kaapuwai began with talking about James, a New Jersey-native with an accent Kaapuwai said the rest of them admired.
“She was so motivated to learn as much as she could,” he said. “Especially from all of our NCOs in the platoon … she never gave up.”
Gates, Kaapuwai said, was unique from the very start.
“She will always be remembered as being the helping hand to her battle buddies in need,” he said.
As for Fuller, Kaapuwai said he was a proud Soldier who came from a rich military background.
“He loved being a part of something bigger than himself,” he said. “He truly was an athlete and a scholar who had big dreams of becoming an officer.”
Winey, who was assigned to Co. F during West Point’s annual Cadet Troop Leadership Training, was described by Kaapuwai as being immediately ready to get his hands dirty.
“During the short time Mitch was assigned to us, I came to admire him very much for his aspirations to become a leader,” the lieutenant said. “I could tell he would go far because of his interactions with the Soldiers and his enthusiasm to learn.”
A separate memorial was held June 9, a week before this event allowing Winey’s cadet brothers-and sisters-in-arms, who were also attending Cadet Troop Leadership Training at Fort Hood, to be able to attend. The cadets departed here June 11 for New York.
Singh took over for the remaining Soldier tributes beginning with Colonvazquez, saying he was the type of leader who always had a plan.
“He was an NCO who was always on the move, and always ready to train and lead Soldiers,” Singh said. “He let us figure out our own solutions to our own problems, but was there for guidance.
“Your leadership will never be forgotten,” he said. “I’ll keep it with me no matter where I go in the Army.”
Moving on to Armstrong, Singh said she was one of the hardest-working people he knew, and the one person in the platoon they could all count on to lift spirits.
“It didn’t matter the task, or the time,” he said. “Armstrong was the type to give you her all, even if she did not have anything left.”
DeLeon, Singh said, is someone who could not be easily forgotten.
“He never had a problem doing work, he was not afraid to get started,” he said. “DeLeon was always the first to jump into whatever we needed done and I knew I could count on him to put out information and relay the messages as soon as possible.”
Singh said Banner was known by more than a few Soldiers as a very close battle buddy and a friend to many.
“He was quiet when we first met him, but once he got to know us, he opened up,” Singh said. “He knew he was destined to be great – he had a determination to overcome anything that stood in his way, which exceeded many in our platoon.”
After the benediction by Chaplain (Capt.) Anthony Turpin, 3-16 FA Regt. chaplain, a solemn final roll call was conducted, with nine names now missing an answer within the Rolling Thunder’s formation. A traditional 3-round volley was fired by a rifle team honoring the fallen. Taps followed shortly after, before hundreds of Family members and loved ones walked up to the nine Soldiers’ Crosses to quietly and privately pay their respects to the fallen warriors.
“All nine of these Soldiers had the fortitude and endurance to accept and conquer the challenges the Army gave them each and every day,” Garland said. “They never gave up.
“In closing, to honor their memories,” he added. “I am encouraging you all to embrace that concept: as we move forward, inspire yourselves with their memories and dedication to our unit and our nation. We will never give up.”