Once and for all, the city of Dallas is not in a state of panic and has no reason to be

Posted on 20 Oct 2014 at 4:44pm
Rawlings_Watson

Mayor Mike Rawlings, left, and County Judge Clay Jenkins

To hear Good Morning America tell it, “The city of Dallas is in a state of panic.” That piece of stupidity was how the show started one morning at the beginning of the media-driven Ebola panic and is the reason I no longer watch the show.

Here’s some of the things that went on in the city in a state of panic.

The State Fair of Texas —  which this weekend ended its run, roughly corresponding to the 21-day quarantine period for the family and neighbors of Thomas Duncan — set a record. Coupon sales were estimated at $41 million, up from last year’s $37.

Sounds like the city’s in a state of panic to me.

During the last three weeks, Southwest Airlines increased the number of cities it flies to from Love Field by 15 and increased daily flights to the city by 30. At the same time, Virgin America began flying from both coasts to Love Field.

That’s what happens during a panic — businesses expand and travel to the city increases.

Another good thing that happened over the past three weeks was just as an Ebola case was reported in Dallas, Gov. Rick Perry left the country. He spent the “Ebola crisis” in Europe, but that’s good news. Instead of having to deal with stupidity coming from the governor’s mansion, Mayor Mike Rawlings, County Judge Clay Jenkins and Dallas County HHS Director Zach Thompson only had to deal with stupidity and misquotes coming from national and local broadcast media.

The Dallas Morning News has done a good job covering Ebola. They’ve devoted quite a bit of space to getting out actual facts. Jacquielynn Floyd’s column on Ebolaphobia is brilliant.

But here’s something they did that seemed, well, peculiar: “Dr. Seema Yasmin answers Ebola questions on Twitter.”

If people have questions about Ebola — how you can catch it, how to prevent it, what precautions to take, why we should or shouldn’t panic while taking this dangerous and deadly virus seriously — how can anyone answer in 140 characters? If pages of articles don’t answer the questions, a tweet certainly won’t.

But I guess her column served a purpose. If people won’t read an article, maybe at least they’ll read a tweet — like this one: Hey, @MarkDavis, a travel ban won’t work. Happy to explain to you in person why it won’t work & how bad it would be for public health.

I guess her tweets do serve a good purpose — she’s using them to call out stupid. (Mark Davis is a local right-wing shock jock).

Here’s Rawlings’ message telling the rest of the world Dallas in not in a state of panic.

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Equality comes to the Equality State tomorrow

Posted on 20 Oct 2014 at 1:30pm

safe_imageEquality comes to Wyoming, whose nickname is The Equality State, on Tuesday, Oct. 21.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights brought suit against Wyoming to come into line with the rest of the Tenth Circuit after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear appeals from Utah and Oklahoma, also in that circuit.

The state announced that it would not appeal, clearing the way for marriages to begin at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

Wyoming becomes marriage equality state No. 32 after AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, ID, IA, IL, IN, ME, MD, MA, MN, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OK, OR, PA, RI, UT, VA, VT, WA, WV and WI, plus DC.

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Voting early with and nearly falling on Wendy Davis

Posted on 20 Oct 2014 at 12:13pm

I nearly fell on Sen. Wendy Davis at a press event this morning (see: second photo, sixth row). I was taking photos for the gallery below of the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, who was in Fort Worth to cast her vote on the first day of early voting. Of all the reporters, photojournalists and broadcast journalists there, clearly the staff writer at the LGBT publication would be the one to cause a scene.

I’d also like to apologize the Fox 4 News cameraman for bumping him multiple times.

Here are some photos of the rally in front of the Griffin Sub-Courthouse in southeast Fort Worth and from the press conference after she voted. Reporters were not allowed into the polling site.

If you see me at your voting location in the next few weeks, beware. I may fall on you.

Photos and text by James Russell.

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Elections 2014: Get ready, early voting begins today

Posted on 20 Oct 2014 at 10:45am

VOTEEarly voting begins today, Monday, Oct. 20, and runs through Friday, Oct. 31. There’s a whole lot on the ballot locally and statewide from contested races at the top of the ballot all the way down to local bond packages. Watch for coverage here at Instant Tea until Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 4.

But before I get to coverage, learn what you need below to vote per the Texas Secretary of State’s VoteTexas.gov, a clearinghouse of information on voting.

The deadline to register to vote in Texas has expired. But if you are registered, you must present one of seven valid forms of identification.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s  Saturday, Oct. 18 upheld the state’s voter ID law. This means Texas voters will be required to present one of seven types of photo identification to be eligible to vote.

The seven forms of identification permitted are:

  • Texas driver license—unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • Texas personal identification card—unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • Texas concealed handgun license—unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • U.S. passport book or card—unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • U.S. Military identification with photo—unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • U.S. Citizenship Certificate or Certificate of Naturalization with photo
  • Election Identification Certificate (E.I.C.)

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, if you do not have one of the first six forms of identification only then may you apply for the E.I.C. at no charge. (Getting to a D.P.S. location and standing in line is a whole different story, however.)

Learn more about the getting an E.I.C. here.

During the early voting period, you may vote at any designated voting site in your county.

On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 4. you must vote at your precinct’s designated voting site.

Need more information?

Collin County 1-800-687-8546 co.collin.tx.us/elections

Dallas County 214-819-6300 dallascountyvotes.org

Denton County 940-349-3200 votedenton.com

Tarrant County 817-831-8683 tarrantcounty.com/eVote

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London deals with Ugandan regime

Posted on 20 Oct 2014 at 10:19am
Museveni

Yoweri Museveni

Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni was in London for an economic summit. While his reservations were not canceled as they were in Dallas, his regime is not receiving a warm welcome in the British capital.

In Dallas, Museveni was turned away from the Four Seasons Hotel in Irving, the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine and the Irving Convention Center and instead had to pay $70,000 to rent a ranch in Collin County for the weekend.

In London, while Museveni’s reservations weren’t canceled because his event included other foreign heads of state, his homophobic Parliament speaker Rebecca Kadaga was turned away recently at another investment forum in London.

The level of stupidity and inappropriate garbage coming out of Museveni’s mouth included these latest comments reported by Pink News:

There were “more terrible things” than homosexuality in the West — like oral sex.

He said: “Oral sex! The mouth is for eating, it’s not for that purpose.”

So maybe that’s what Museveni was actually doing in Dallas.

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BREAKING: Judge strikes down Wyoming’s same-sex marriage ban

Posted on 17 Oct 2014 at 4:16pm

safe_imageA federal judge in Wyoming ruled today, Oct. 17, that the state’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.

As we reported yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl heard arguments on Oct. 16 to Wyoming’s ban on same-sex marriages. Judge Skavdahl initially said that he would issue his ruling by 5:00 p.m., Monday, Oct. 20.

But his ruling came sooner than anticipated.

Skavdahl stayed his ruling until Oct. 23 pending an appeal by state government officials.

According to the Casper Star Tribune, Republican Gov. Matt Mead, who is up for re-election, said in a debate on Thursday, Oct. 16, before Skavdahl released his decision, that the state should not appeal the ruling.

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Arizona is the latest marriage equality state

Posted on 17 Oct 2014 at 10:30am

arizonaArizona became marriage equality state No. 31 this morning when a federal judge struck down the state’s ban calling it unconstitutional.

There’s no word yet on when the state will begin issuing marriage licenses. Arizona is in the Ninth Circuit, which recently struck down marriage bans in Nevada and Idaho. Those states and Alaska became marriage equality states this week.

Suits are pending in Kansas, South Carolina, Montana and Wyoming. Decisions are expected in those states soon. By the end of next week, there may be 35 marriage equality states.

In Texas, we’re working hard to ensure that we go down in history as last in equality as No. 50.

 

 

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Candlelight vigil for Ebola-stricken nurses

Posted on 17 Oct 2014 at 9:15am

Ebola VirusBapnar, a company that does healthcare staffing, is hosting a candlelight prayer vigil for Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, the two Presbyterian Hospital nurses who became infected with the Ebola virus.

The event, called “An Evening for Our Nightingales” takes place at Dallas City Hall Plaza, 1500 Marilla St., on Sunday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. Everyone is invited.

Both nurses have been transferred to other hospitals — Pham to Emory in Atlanta and Vinson to National Institute of Health in Baltimore — that seem better equipped to care for them and are outside the media hysteria going on in Dallas. Both are being treated with experimental drugs.

We wish them both a return to good health soon and a quick return home.

Speaking of media hysteria, Dallas Morning News columnist Jacquielynn Floyd is about the only other writer here in Dallas addressing the Ebola cases with facts rather than frenzy. Here’s a link to her wonderful column: Good sense will inoculate you against Ebolaphobia.

And here’s an interesting fact. While the right wing wants to close the southern border so that no one can sneak in from Africa and wants to impeach President Barack Obama for his handling of the Ebola “crisis,” Obama is naming an Ebola czar after three cases in the United States. President Ronald Reagan didn’t mention AIDS until more than 20,000 gay men were dead from the disease.

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Wyoming federal judge to announce marriage equality decision by Monday

Posted on 16 Oct 2014 at 2:44pm

safe_imageMarriage equality may come to Wyoming as soon as Monday.

U.S. District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl heard arguments today, Oct. 16, to Wyoming’s ban on same-sex marriages. Judge Skavdahl said that he will issue his ruling by 5:00 p.m., Monday, Oct. 20.

“We are grateful that the court has moved quickly in handling our case, which affects so many families across Wyoming who are seeking equal dignity and full legal recognition. We are confident that the judge will give this important case the consideration it deserves, and we look forward to the court’s decision,” said Wyoming Equality Executive Director Jeran Artery in a statement.

The case was brought by Wyoming Equality and four same-sex couples who requested an immediate order directing state officials to comply with two decisions of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit establishing that a state’s refusal to allow same-sex couples to marry violates the U.S. Constitution.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear two appeals from the Tenth Circuit striking down marriage equality bans, meaning all states within the Tenth Circuit, including Wyoming, must comply with those decisions.

“The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that state laws prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying violate the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection of the laws. The State of Wyoming is obligated to follow the law as interpreted by the Tenth Circuit,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights attorney Chris Stoll. NCLR is one of the organizations representing the plaintiffs.

In 30 states, same-sex couples have the freedom to marry: AK, CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, ID, IA, IL, IN, ME, MD, MA, MN, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OK, OR, PA, RI, UT, VA, VT, WA, WV and WI.

In an additional five states, including Wyoming, federal appellate rulings have set a binding precedent in favor of the freedom to marry, meaning the path is cleared for the freedom to marry there: AZ, KS, MT, SC, and WY.

In an additional 8 states, judges have issued rulings in favor of the freedom to marry, with many of these rulings now stayed as they proceed to appellate courts. In Texas and four other states, judges have struck down marriage bans — AR, FL, KY, MI, and TX — judges have struck down marriage bans. In three states — LA, OH and TN — judges have issued more limited pro-marriage rulings.

In Missouri, the marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states are respected.

Courts have cases pending, but have yet to rule, in seven states: AL, GA, MO, MS, NB, ND and SD.

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Meeting set for destruction of Oak Lawn property

Posted on 16 Oct 2014 at 11:53am

IMG_6133The Dallas Board of Adjustment meets on Monday, Oct. 20 to hear oral testimony on granting variances to the property on Hall Street at Turtle Creek Boulevard. The owners would like to tear down the last remaining house facing Lee Park along with all of the trees to build a 10-story tower.

Plopping a 10-story building on this single-family lot will make Oak Lawn more oakless and more lawnless and make Lee Park less inviting.

The Oak Lawn Committee is already on record as not supporting the proposed changes.

The applicant proposes changing setbacks so that the tower will cover most of the property. While nothing in the status of the building prevents its demolition, there’s no reason to allow developers to violate new standards that have been put into place for properties around the park.

George Poston, owner of the property, applied for and was denied, setback variances in 1999.

In addition to input at the meeting, comments may be sent to the administrator of the Board of Adjustment, Steve Long. All correspondence sent will be distributed at the meeting to all board members.

The Board of Adjustment meets at Dallas City Hall, 1500 Marilla St. on Monday, Oct. 20 at 1 p.m. A guard at the desk near the west entrance will direct visitors to the right elevators and meeting room.

094 application materials application to destroy property

Oak Lawn Committee letter opposing variances

1999 minutes refusing changes by board in 1999

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