Category Archives: Texas News

Is that a real Poncho, or is that a Sears Poncho?

With apologies to Frank Zappa, Red reports on the sad demise of State Rep. Poncho Nevarez (D – Eagle Pass).  A warrant for his arrest on felony drug charges was issued on Thursday.  Nevárez was apparently caught on surveillance footage at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport dropping an envelope filled with cocaine as he was leaving the airport.  It is unclear if the drop was intentional or accidental but unfortunately for Poncho, the envelope had his official House seal on it and contained about 2 ounces of coke.

On September 6, two Texas Department of Transportation employees found the envelope outside the special entrance to the airport that is used by state officials.  Who knew?  After DPS got involved, they reviewed the CCTV footage showing Poncho leaving the airport getting into the car of his chief of staff and dropping the envelope.

Frighteningly, Poncho chairs the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee.  Soothingly, he announced last week he was retiring from the House.  And at least he has the cojones to admit he screwed up – big time.  According to  a statement released by Poncho, the news is correct.  “I do not have anyone to blame but myself. I accept this because it is true and it will help me get better.”

 

Trouble in Corny Dog Paradise

One of the true treats of attending the Texas State Fair in Dallas is the chance to chomp on a freshly fried Fletcher’s Corny Dog.  Careful not to burn the roof of your mouth.  But there is trouble brewing and a full-fledged corny dog war is about to break out it would seem.  Various wings of the Fletcher family are now fighting over the trademark name.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Texas federal court, Fletcher’s Original State Fair Corny Dogs have sued mother and daughter Victoria Fletcher and Jace Christensen for selling corny dogs under the name “Fletch” to confuse consumers into buying their products. FOSFCD claim that Victoria and Jace are “estranged members” of the Fletcher family and are planning to open a “Fletch” restaurant right before the Texas State Fair begins next week to capitalize on the confusion.  .

FOSFCD dates back to 1942 when two brothers who had previously worked as vaudeville performers began selling corny dogs at the Texas State Fair.  Victoria Fletcher is divorced from the grandson of one of the original founders and neither she nor her daughter have any ownership interest in the family business according to the complaint.  But since February Victoria and Jace have been selling Fletch Corny Dog at various events, causing “a substantial amount of actual confusion”  as to whether the two brands are related.   However, Fletch is not selling corny dogs at the State Fair, so the likelihood of confusion seems limited at that venue.

And for the record, Red loves a good corn dog.

 

Chocolate Penis Spells Trouble in Waco

The Waco Tribune-Herald reports that Thomas Gourneau of Cedar Hill has been charged with criminal harassment after sending a penis-shaped chocolate candy bar to a McLennan County Sheriff’s employee.  The prank, which targeted Tracy Chance who formerly worked for the Sheriff and is now a jailer, was based on a romantic rivalry between the two men over Gourneau dating Chance’s ex-wife.

The posting of the problematic pecker has been turned into a criminal case by an overzealous prosecutor likely because the target worked in law enforcement.  Even though there are allegations of long-standing animosity between Gourneau and Chance, it is hard to imagine that a local DA would be interested in such antics if the target of the prank had not been working for the Sheriff.  The chocolate cock was sent anonymously, so it required actual detective work investigating Gourneau’s bank and credit card records.  Red is glad to see that the McLennan County Sheriff and DA are doing God’s work after completely botching the prosecution of bikers in the wake of the fatal Twin Peaks shootout.  But it’s no laughing matter for Gourneau who faces up so six months in jail and a $2000 fine for his actions in sending the delicious dick to Chance.

Gourneau’s attorney, Cody Cleveland, questions the motives behind prosecution for sending a phony phallus. In his interview with the Tribune-Herald, Cleveland expressed his dismay with a complaint over a  succulent schlong.

“I question whether if I or somebody not involved in law enforcement had called 911 and said we had a matter that needed to be investigated and told them I had received a chocolate candy bar in the shape of a penis, how long I would be sitting before they arrived at my office or my house to investigate that crime,” Cleveland said. “I wonder whether or not there would be any kind of follow-up as far as a warrant issued or an arrest made.  I just think because this guy works for the sheriff’s office and it got delivered to him at the sheriff’s office that it was easy for him to walk across the hall and get a detective to look into the case. That’s the reason they went forward.”

Well, Waco has never been known as the most tolerant of Texas towns.  So if you are thinking of sending any edible genitalia (vanilla vagina?) in that direction, be forewarned.

 

Trump Picks Texas Toady for Director of National Intelligence

The Director of National Intelligence is a crucial job which calls for a steady hand who can analyze the threats to our national security and fairly and objectively advise the President and other officials regarding those threats and the best response to them.   Over the weekend steady Dan Coats was summarily dismissed. In fact it’s something a miracle that he hung as long as he did after repeatedly contradicted Trumph – the Insult Comic President on the threats posed by Russia to our elections and the threats emanating from North Korea and Saudi Arabia.   That a truth teller could survive so long in this Reality TV Show Joke of a Presidency is truly remarkable.  But something finally broke and Trumph ousted Coats.

So who does Trumph pick?  Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas 4th Congressional District.  Ratcliffe is a former small town Texas mayor and U.S. Attorney who apparently was bucking for Attorney General only to be out-sycophanted by Bill Barr.  So Ratcliffe upped his game during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony last week.  Ratcliffe has been a skeptic of the Mueller investigation into Russian election interference, but he made the headlines after his aggressive questioning of Mueller. Ratcliffe accused Mueller of denying Trump due process, stating that the president was not above the law “but he damn sure shouldn’t be below the law.” Good enough for Trumph to reward Ratcliffe this time despite his apparent complete lack of national intelligence experience.  To be fair, Ratcliffe was appointed to be Chief of Anti-Terrorism and National Security for the Department of Justices in that hotbed of international intrigue and espionage that is the Eastern District of Texas.

As directed by statute, “under ordinary circumstances, it is desirable” that either the director or the principal deputy director of National Intelligence be an active-duty commissioned officer in the armed forces or have training or experience in military intelligence activities and requirements.  See 50 U.S.C. § 403-3a.  Red goes back to the principals for any Trump appointment.  Qualification No. 1 – are you now and will you be in the future a complete and total toady for Trumph?  If yes, ask no more.

Another Austin Landmark Closing

First the Frisco and now this announcement that El Patio on Guadalupe is closing after 65 years.  Serving the finest in Lebanese Mexican food, Red and his friend DB (who for some odd reason always referred to it as El Greco) had many a lunch there.  Red would always order the fresh fried tortillas (instead of the somewhat bizarre offering of free saltines)  to go with the excellent salsa. The El Patio No. 1 -cheese enchiladas, chili con queso, beef taco, rice, beans and guacamole salad were the standard for Red.  Here is the announcement from the Joseph family.  It will be missed.

After more than 65 years in Austin and with hearts full of gratitude, the family of Paul and MaryAnn Joseph announce the closing of El Patio Restaurant at 2938 Guadalupe Street. Our last day of business will be Friday, August 9, 2019.
The iconic El Patio near the University of Texas, opened its doors on January 5, 1954. Paul Joseph was one of Austin’s early pioneers in the Mexican restaurant business. He had a vision of serving the best quality Mexican food. And we can proudly say our family has fulfilled that promise for over six decades.
Paul Joseph supervised the opening while MaryAnn delivered the first of their six children. The restaurant continues to be a true family run restaurant. Paul was the soft hearted one who would carry a crying child around while the parents enjoyed a meal. MaryAnn was the “Patrona”, who made sure everything ran smoothly.
The kids: Michelle, Paul, Michael, Roseann, Renee and David grew up in the restaurant and have played various roles over the years. If you step foot into El Patio today, you will likely be greeted with the warm smile of David, Renee or Roseann… or all three.
Another factor in the long-term success of El Patio has been the many great, long-time employees. Talk about loyalty and hard work. Some retired after almost 50 years of service. We are so grateful.
And of course, our loyal customers throughout the years have been another reason for El Patio’s longevity. We have shared generations of our family with yours. Our hearts are heavy because we will miss our beloved customers, who are truly extended family.
We are happy to be able to say the decision to close and retire was made by the Joseph family. It is not due to any external factors. Quite simply, we are proud of our legacy, but ready to move on to other endeavors.
Again, we want to extend our sincere gratitude to Austin and the surrounding area for your patronage. El Patio thanks you!

Texas is on the Front Line of the Abortion Abolitionists

Texas is looking more and more like ground zero in the coming civil war over abortion.  Red has long argued that overturning Roe v. Wade will lead to the second American Civil War.  That would leave it up to individual states to determine whether to outlaw abortion or lessen current restrictions.  In that case, you would have Pro-life and Pro-Choice states – much as you had Free and Slave states in the early 19th century.  The divide along geographic lines might not be as exact as in 1861, but it would be reasonably close in all likelihood.  And there is no other issue (at least that Red sees) that has the moral underpinning to cause people to think a war was justified (fortunately, the States have no real say on immigration issues).  So the more traction the Abortion Abolitionists gain, the closer we come to a bloody resolution.

The Texas Observer writes about a Texas group – Abolish Abortion Texas – that is gaining traction.  AAT argues for a complete abortion ban now with no exceptions – U.S. Supreme Court be damned.  The use of the term “abolitionist” here is key in drawing a parallel between slavery and abortion.

Bradley Pierce and Wesley Thomas draw a distinction between themselves and other anti-abortion activists. They are not “pro-life,” they’re “abolitionists.” The two leaders of the group Abolish Abortion Texas, founded three years ago, compare themselves to anti-slavery abolitionists in their crusade to outlaw abortion without exception. Texas must “ignore Roe,” Pierce said at the state GOP convention last year, in order to end “the Nile River of blood that is flowing through our land.”

UT Austin Announces Free Tuition Plan

Red received this in his inbox today from University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves:

Dear Longhorns,
I’m writing today with great news. The UT System Board of Regents — under the leadership of Chairman Kevin Eltife — has voted unanimously to establish a $160 million endowment to expand financial aid for middle- and low-income UT Austin students beginning next year.

Starting in fall semester 2020, in-state undergraduate students with need from families that earn up to $65,000 a year will receive financial assistance to completely cover their UT tuition as part of our Texas Advance Commitment. And students with financial need from families with incomes of up to $125,000 will also receive some amount of assured financial aid.

Half of the families in Texas earned less than $60,000 in 2017. So, today’s expansion of the Texas Advance Commitment program means that beginning in 2020, we will be able to cover the tuition for eligible undergraduate students from families earning at or slightly above the median household income level.

This action by the Board of Regents is an investment in the future of our students. It is also one of the largest commitments ever made to improving college affordability among the nation’s leading public research universities. I thank the Board of Regents for their decision today. And I am especially grateful to Chairman Eltife for prioritizing Texas students.

This is an important day for The University of Texas at Austin. You should be proud. I couldn’t be prouder.

Red is proud.  This is a big deal for many Texas families.   When Red and friends went to state schools in Texas (way back in the day) it was for all practical purposes free.  If you couldn’t scrape up the $250 or so per semester to pay for your tuition and fees, you weren’t really trying very hard.  Usually, the books cost more – but you could buy used and trade them back in at the end of the semester.  We were the lucky ones.  Thanks to previous Poor Idiot Governors (Rick Perry Red is calling you out) – tuition increases at state schools have strained budgets for many Texas families.  And the fact is – the UT System has had the money to do this for many years. It was way overdue.  Nonetheless, better late than never.