Here we go again: N. Texas under Winter Storm Watch for late Tuesday, early Wednesday


The above image was posted late Monday on the website for the Dallas-Fort Worth office of the National Weather Service. North Texas is now under a Winter Storm Watch for late Tuesday and early Wednesday. Here’s the full advisory:

A WINTER STORM WATCH FOR FREEZING RAIN…SLEET…AND SNOW REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM LATE TUESDAY NIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON.

PRECIPITATION WILL BEGIN AS A RAIN…SLEET AND SNOW MIX IN NORTHWEST PARTS OF NORTH TEXAS EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING AS PRECIPITATION OVERSPREADS THE AREA. AS TEMPERATURES FALL TO BELOW FREEZING WEDNESDAY MORNING…THE PRECIPITATION WILL TRANSITION TO A FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET MIXTURE BEFORE CHANGING TO ALL SNOW BY EARLY AFTERNOON.

TOTAL SLEET AND SNOW ACCUMULATIONS ARE EXPECTED TO RANGE FROM 2 TO 4 INCHES ACROSS THE AREA…WITH THE HIGHEST TOTALS EXPECTED NEAR THE RED RIVER. IN ADDITION…UP TO ONE TENTH INCH OF FREEZING RAIN COULD COAT ROADS AND EXPOSED OBJECTS BEFORE THE PRECIPITATION TRANSITIONS TO SLEET AND SNOW BY MIDDAY.

ALL WINTRY PRECIPITATION IS EXPECTED TO BE HEAVIEST IN THE MORNING HOURS AND TAPER OFF DURING THE AFTERNOON. FREEZING DRIZZLE OR SNOW FLURRIES MAY PERSIST INTO THE EVENING HOURS ON WEDNESDAY.

A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW…SLEET…OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL ACROSS NORTH TEXAS TUESDAY NIGHT OR WEDNESDAY… CARRY A WINTER WEATHER SURVIVAL KIT WITH YOU IN CASE YOU BECOME STRANDED.

—  John Wright

Obama coming to Super Bowl if Bears make it

Jets QB Mark Sanchez has what it takes to get the gays in Dallas excited about the Super Bowl.

I’ll be rooting for the Bears and the Jets this weekend, because, seriously, would you rather have a bunch of people from New York and Chicago in Dallas for the weekend, or a bunch of people from Green Bay and Pittsburgh?

Also, Jets QB Mark Sanchez and Bears QB Jay Cutler are way hotter than Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger.

Besides, the Packers beat my Eagles, so they deserve to go down in flames. And, on top of all that, if Chicago defeats Green Bay for the NFC Championship, the Huffington Post reports that the president will be here:

Many Chicago fans are confident that the Bears can win the NFC title and head to the Super Bowl in Dallas this year, and President Obama says if that happens–he’ll be there.

“If the Bears win, I’m going no doubt,” Obama told CNN in the Oval Office Wednesday morning.

The Bears face their ultimate rivals, the Green Bay Packers, this Sunday for the NFC championship. If they win, they’ll head to Super Bowl XLV in Dallas on Feb. 6.

—  John Wright

GLAAD: Chris Krok disciplined; station to apologize for anti-gay rant against Joel Burns

Chris Krok

The other day we brought attention to a homophic rant by Dallas radio host Chris Krok of KLIF 570 AM, who ridiculed Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns’ recent “It Gets Better” speech. According to a report from GLAAD on Monday, Krok has been disciplined for the rant, and the station is working toward an on-air apology:

On behalf of Joel and the many others whose life stories intersect with his, GLAAD made a phone call this afternoon to Jeff Catlin, the operations manager for Cumulus Media Dallas, KLIF’s parent company.  The conversation was a productive one; Catlin both understands and shares our concern.  As the person who oversees KLIF, Catlin acknowledged that he has the “responsibility to be responsible” for what airs on the station.

Without going into detail, Catlin said that he spoke with Krok and that he was disciplined shortly after the segment aired.  He also pointed out that Krok has not spoken about this since then.

After speaking with GLAAD, Catlin also realizes the need to issue some sort of on-air apology.  He wants Krok (who’s out of the office until tomorrow) to be “part of the solution.”  To that end GLAAD, Catlin and Krok will meet on Wednesday morning to discuss what such a solution will look like.  We’ll be certain to let you know in advance so you can be sure to tune-in.

—  John Wright

Roberto Alonzo files insurance nondiscrimination measure; no anti-gay legislation reported yet

Rep. Roberto Alonzo

State Rep. Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas, has filed one of the earliest pro-equality bills of the 2011 legislative session — and he didn’t even wait outside the clerk’s office for two days to do it.

Alonzo’s HB208, filed Monday, would add sexual orientation and gender identity/expression to the nondiscrimination provisions of the Texas Insurance Code, according to Equality Texas.

Chuck Smith, deputy director of Equality Texas, said Wednesday morning that while there’s been a flood of legislation related to immigration and abortion, no anti-gay bills have been logged since the pre-filing period began Monday.

Some feel there is a danger of anti-gay attacks in the biennial session that begins in January, now that Republicans have a nearly two-thirds majority in the House, but Smith reiterated what he told us last week.

“It is untrue to assume that all Republicans are wingnut homophobes,” Smith said. “Some of them are, but I don’t know that there is a will certainly at the leadership level to gay-bash. I think their own polling numbers probably tell them what we see as well, which is that it doesn’t necessarily play well.”

—  John Wright

GLAAD: Tyler station to pull anti-gay segment; Joel Burns will appear on newscasts Friday

KETK, the NBC affiliate in Tyler, has agreed to remove from its website a segment that aired Wednesday morning in which the station asked viewers whether acceptance of homosexuality will be the downfall of America, according to GLAAD. KETK has also agreed to have openly gay Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns appear on its newscasts on Friday, GLAAD said. However, the KTBB 92.1 FM radio host who was apparently behind the segment, Garth Meier, has yet to take responsibility for it.

From GLAAD:

In response to GLAAD’s outreach and community outcry, here’s what KETK plans to do:

–For starters, at GLAAD’s request, KETK has removed from their Web site the eight-minute piece that ran yesterday – the re-airing of the KTBB segment and accompanying video.

–GLAAD pitched Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns to do an interview with the station.  Burns, who has garnered significant media attention and praise for his advocacy against anti-LGBT bullying, will appear on KETK newscasts tomorrow to discuss why potentially harmful questions like Maier’s should not be asked – and certainly not broadcast over public airwaves – in the first place.  (Please note that this blog will be updated as more time-specific information becomes available about when you can see Joel on KETK.)

–In addition to Joel appearing on KETK, General Manager Dave Tillery has also responded to our request that he appear on-camera to speak on behalf of the station.  Dave realizes how important it is that the station acknowledge in front of their viewers what they’ve acknowledged to GLAAD over the phone – that a segment like Wednesday’s has no place on the airwaves of a reputable news organization.  Furthermore, Dave plans to acknowledge the potential harm that could be caused by Wednesday’s report and will commit, on behalf of the station, to being more careful in the future.

–Lastly, KETK is rethinking how they will repackage KTBB Talkback content for future newscasts.  KETK General Manager Dave Tillery shared with GLAAD that he will be meeting tomorrow with Paul Gleiser, KTBB’s owner/general manager.

GLAAD appreciates KETK’s response to our outreach.  We applaud their willingness to learn from their mistakes.  We look forward to watching tomorrow’s follow-up and to recognizing the station’s improvement in days to come.

UPDATE: The president of KTBB 92.1 FM has issued an apology of sorts:

The Talkback question that aired on KTBB Radio and was simulcast on KETK NBC 56 television in Tyler on Wednesday, October 27 was unfortunate in its wording and unfortunate in the perception that it created among a large number of thoughtful individuals. The question, “Will the acceptance of homosexuality lead to the fall of America?” is poorly worded at best and inappropriate altogether at worst. For that, we apologize.

There are many issues surrounding homosexuality that are fair game for discussion in the media and in opinion journalism. The proper role, if any, for openly gay individuals in the military, the legitimacy of same-sex marriages and the public behavior by some individuals at gay and lesbian events held outdoors in public view are among topics about which reasonable people may disagree. These and other topics surrounding homosexuality are topics that talk radio hosts and opinion journalists may legitimately pose to their respective audiences.

With that said, the way our Talkback question was posed might be seen as asking, “Do homosexuals, by their very existence, threaten to bring down America?” We believe that such a question, posed in such a manner, is likely to generate more heat than light.

I understand how those who either heard, or heard about, KTBB’s Talkback question on Wednesday might have been offended. For the offense that was taken, we sincerely apologize.

Paul L. Gleiser, President
KTBB Radio


—  John Wright

Courage Campaign calls on NBC Universal to end affiliate relationship with KETK in Tyler

Courage Campaign, the grassroots LGBT equality network based in California, has launched an online petition calling for NBC to ends its affiliate relationship with KETK in Tyler.

The petition comes in response to a report that aired on KETK on Wednesday morning (above), in which the station asked viewers whether the acceptance of homosexuality will be the downfall of America. From the Courage Campaign:

The video is shocking. But the lack of response from NBC Universal — KETK’s parent network — is even more shocking. That’s why we need you to watch the video now and then sign our petition to NBC Universal executives Jeff Zucker and Steve Burke asking them to end NBC’s affiliate relationship with KETK immediately

Sign the petition by going here.

—  John Wright

Bill White’s big gay breakfast in Austin

Looks like the gays in Austin hosted a breakfast for Bill White, the Democratic candidate for Texas governor, on Wednesday morning. Above is a screen shot of the invitation from White’s campaign website.

If you weren’t invited, don’t feel bad, because neither was Instant Tea. But we’ll post pics or video if any turn up. And just because you missed the breakfast doesn’t mean you can’t help out, according to Equality Texas on Twitter. Make a contribution to White’s campaign on the site.

It’s nice to see White reaching out to the gays, and maybe he’ll duplicate this breakfast in other cities around the state. We understand the concerns about anti-gay Republican Gov. Rick Perry using this stuff against him, but White is trailing in the race by 7 points, according to the latest poll. What does he really have to lose?

UPDATE: We found some pics and they are here.

—  John Wright

Dallas County health chief calls for replicating 1980s model to combat rising HIV infection rate

In the face of Dallas County’s steadily rising HIV infection rate, which is the highest in Texas, health authorities are eyeing new strategies for treatment and prevention of the disease, according to Zachary Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services.

The county health department, along with Resource Center Dallas and AIDS Arms Inc., have announced a joint press conference Thursday morning to unveil a new HIV/AIDS partnership, which will include two upcoming community forums and two new mobile testing sites.

Thompson said rising HIV infection rates are of particular concern in the 13-24 age group, in the American-American population and among men who have sex with men (MSM).

“I think when we saw what was going on in the Oak Lawn area back in the ’80s, there was a lot of information, there was a lot of education, there was a lot of discussion about testing,” Thompson told Instant Tea on Wednesday morning. “I think that’s the model we need to look at Dallas County-wide. It’s not just in one area. We need to take that same model and look at the fact that we’re seeing new HIV infection rates throughout Dallas County. … You’ve got a young population that may feel they’re invincible, and they may have missed the message altogether.”

A media alert announcing Thursday’s joint press conference between the three agencies states that, “By joining forces, they hope to bring progress in prevention, testing and education, as it pertains to HIV/AIDS.”

Thompson said health authorities believe there are many people in Dallas County who need HIV/AIDS services but don’t know how to access them.

“We need to really dialogue with the community on what are lessons learned, what are things we need to do,” he said. “Is it more testing? Is it more information? Is it more linkage to resources? We think the resources are out there. People just may not be aware of them.”

The two community forums in October will be at Resource Center Dallas, 2701 Reagan St., and at the Urban League on Lancaster Road, Thompson said. Additional community forums will be announced soon.

The new mobile testing sites will be in two areas that are seeing rising HIV infections rates — East Oak Cliff and a section of North Dallas near LBJ Freeway and Coit Road.

“We’re going to have to look at the fact that with the state of all budgets, federal and state, we’re going to have to really focus on what’s going on in our community and how we can utilize existing services right now,” Thompson said.

Thursday’s press conference will be at 10 a.m. in Room 627A on the 6th floor of the health department, 2377 North Stemmons Freeway in Dallas.

For coverage of the press conference, see Friday’s Dallas Voice.

—  John Wright

Lambda Legal’s Ken Upton says today’s Prop 8 ruling will have little immediate practical impact

Ken Upton

We spoke Wednesday morning with Ken Upton, a senior staff attorney with Lambda Legal who’s based in Dallas, about the potential legal implications of this afternoon’s expected ruling in the Prop 8 case. Specifically, we asked Upton what the ruling could mean to folks in Texas, and why we should care.

Upton noted that even if U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker strikes down Prop 8, it’s likely that the decision will be put on hold pending appeal, meaning no same-sex marriages will be performed in California.

“In the short run, it’s not going to do anything as a practical matter because it will be stayed,” Upton said of today’s decision. “Nobody’s going to get married in California, and the decision won’t be the final decision, because it’s going to get appealed at least once. As a practical matter, it won’t really do anything, but it will start the ball rolling on a path that could eventually do something.”

Upton said he is optimistic Walker will strike down Prop 8.

“I read the transcripts, and I heard the arguments, and I read the briefs,” Upton said. “The law is strong in our favor and the evidence was I thought very persuasive in our favor, so it won’t surprise me if he rules for us.”

But Upton added that the key to today’s ruling is not whether Judge Walker upholds or strikes down Prop 8, but the manner in which he does so.

“The result won’t be the final one anyway,” he said. “At this point, he’s just firing the first salvo if you will. What will really be interesting is how far he goes. What will he say about the constitution and how it protects gay people? What level of scrutiny will he give it? Will he talk about marriage itself or will he talk about discrimination against gay people? The immediate effect of it will be more one for lawyers to dissect than it will have any practical effect. It’s going to be years before we know the ultimate result.”

Despite minimal practical impacts, Upton acknowledged that a victory today will give the LGBT community a psychological boost.

“It feels good to see courts do what they’re constitutionally required to do, and that is be a check on government and the political arms of government,” he said. “One colleague suggested that everybody have a bottle of tequila in their office, and once we win, every time the other side calls him [Walker] an activist judge, take a shot, and see how long it takes to get drunk.”

—  John Wright