Turkey Awards 2016
Every day, we find ourselves about to ask, “Can it get any worse?” But then we stop because we know it can. Boy, howdy, can it. With a megalomaniacal conman who sucks at business about to assume the White House, we’re left feeling that those of us who are not: 1.) rich, 2.) white, 3.) Christian, and 4.) straight are scared about not only our civil rights but our safety. The time is now to get moving. What we Weekly folk promise to do in our homes is stop talking and start acting. Worried about our homeless population and our senior citizens? Get involved. Afraid that an LGBT person you know might get attacked? Step up. Fearful that our very terra firma is going to be washed away by rising sea levels? Act now. At the national award-winning Fort Worth Weekly, we promise to continue putting pressure on local politicians and businessmen and -women who think the law doesn’t apply to them or who operate beneath the moral code by which we perhaps non-rich, perhaps non-white, perhaps non-Christian, perhaps non-straight citizens live.
There’s a lot to be outraged about here in the Fort and in Texas in general. Along with your moderate servings of real turkey (or tofurkey) this Thanksgiving season, please enjoy some of these delectable offerings. Here and elsewhere, folks, it will always be a good time for a killer roast. Dig. In. – Anthony Mariani
Carving Up Texas — in Two
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick – just like his equally creepy boss, Gov. Greg Abbott – likes to tweet his “authentic conservative” thoughts on everything from immigration issues to his love of Donald Trump and his disdain for Hillary Clinton and Democrats in general. Because, you know, Texans want their elected officials sitting around all day tweeting divisive, partisan political screeds instead of doing their jobs. The former radio talk-show host turned politico visited Fort Worth last spring to stick his pinched little face into our business. Patrick demanded that Fort Worth school Superintendent Kent Scribner resign for having the gall to clarify a school policy that allows transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identities. What was Patrick afraid of? That letting transgender teens use the bathroom of their choice would inevitably lead to girls being raped by, well, your guess is as good as ours. (Male-to-female trans students? Female-to-male ones? Cisgender straight guys dressed up like women? What exactly do these Austin clowns think will happen?) The hysteria of Patrick and his boy, Attorney General Ken Paxton, has done more than make them look like a bunch of third-graders afraid of catching cooties. Most tragically, it has given a green light to any students who decide it would be fun to beat up the trans kid in their class whenever nature calls.
Patrick has vowed to make bathrooms a major issue during the 2017 legislative session. Recently, he tweeted about how he and Paxton –– who is currently facing trial on suspicion of felony securities fraud –– have “been able to stop Obama’s bathroom policy in Texas schools and nationally.” Whatever happened to lieutenant governors who oversaw the Texas Senate and kept a close eye on the state’s budget rather than turning their offices into private platforms to espouse dogmatic doctrines? If you don’t know that saying “family values” equals “we don’t like you unless you’re rich, white, straight, and Christian, just like us,” you’re probably part of the problem.
No More Wattling on the Stadium
Isn’t it a shame that a great baseball team like the Texas Rangers has to play in a decrepit park like Globe Life? Built back in the dim, distant past of 1994, the place is in such bad shape that games are regularly interrupted when fans are killed by falling stadium debris. Oh, wait. That’s not true. The ballpark is still relatively new and is a great place to catch a game. Yet the Rangers announced this year that they want to move to a new stadium, also in Arlington. Apparently, Globe Life gets too hot in the summer, which is keeping fans away. “Fans,” we should say. If that’s the case, why not move the stadium itself to a cooler place? Montana, say. Or Idaho. That will likely cost less than building an entirely new park, which (of course) Rangers owners expect the taxpayers to partially pay for, selling it as an extension of the sales-and-visitors taxes already approved to fund The House that Dak and Zeke Are Building. Do club owners in Florida, Arizona, and Southern California ask their fans for corporate welfare because summer tends to get hot there as well? Meanwhile, the last World Series was just won by a team (the fifth most valuable in the league) that has been using a field in wintry Chicago for the last 100 years. Maybe the Rangers (11th most valuable) should wait until they win a title before they go around asking for a handout to be able to move into fancier digs.
For the kids and older Rangers fans, yes, the retractable roof might keep you around long enough to order one more $12 Miller Lite or another $6 hot dog. Anyone who has experienced a July game in Houston’s retractable roof-equipped Minute Maid Park will tell you it’s somewhat mind-blowing when compared to watching in an open-air stadium. But for the residents of the city where the new stadium will sit, life will not be as easy-breezy. Tons of sports and business reporters, local and national, picked through the proposed deal and published story after story about how bad it would be for Arlingtonians, but to no avail – A-town voters approved the funding on Election Day, and the city may have its new ballpark as soon as 2020.
Arlingfun! also will have an entertainment district between the new park and AT&T Stadium. Texas Live! already has its first tenant on board: Guy Fieri has committed to building a restaurant to anchor the complex.
It looks like slugger Josh Hamilton might have been right all along. Arlington isn’t a baseball town. It’s Flavortown.
Outing a Big Bird
State senator and Tea Party wingnut Konni Burton of Colleyville is no fan of the Fort Worth school district’s “coddling” of LGBT students. So, of course, she penned a law that would effectively out LGBT students to their parents.
The Fort Worth district recently adopted new guidelines that require faculty to acquire a student’s permission before a school counselor can disclose a transgender student’s identity to his or her parents.
But Burton, who has the moral sensitivity of a guillotine, proposed SB 242 to break down trust between students and faculty, ensure that LGBT kids have no responsible adults outside of their parents to confide in, and put Texas LGBT students at risk of bullying, punishment, and social isolation at home and at school.
If passed, her bill would make it mandatory for counselors or faculty members to out LGBT kids. Any school employee who fails to disclose a student’s sexual or gender identity to his or her family would face disciplinary action, even if the student specifically asks for the information to remain private.
Burton claims that the proposed law “undermine[s] a parent’s right to know.” But pretty much every equal rights proponent is calling her piece of hate legislation what it really is: a veiled attempt to discriminate against LGBT kids. As if they aren’t in enough danger. For lesbian/gay/bisexual youth, the rate of suicide attempts, according to The Trevor Project, is four times greater than that of straight youth, and every time an LGBT kid is bullied, including via “physical or verbal harassment or abuse,” he or she is more than twice as likely on average to engage in suicidal behavior.
Didn’t a great man once say, “When you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me”? Hmm. Maybe we should google him.
Cosmopolitan Dallas’ glossiest and glitziest magazine had a little fun at Fort Worth’s expense recently. D devoted the March issue cover and a dozen pages inside to a celebration of all the cool stuff in Cowtown. That was nice. The headline, however, referred to our fair city as the “best suburb of Dallas.” That was mean, rude, and, worst of all, very click-baity. An editor at D told us the headline was an expression of love. How perfect! This Turkey Award is our token of our “love” in return.
Nodding Off at the Table
The federal government’s war against marijuana – also known as the feds’ pleasuring of Big Pharma – continued on its illogical course this year. In August, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency ignored the surge of states that are legalizing medical marijuana and instead announced it would keep pot listed as a Schedule I drug. In the DEA’s opinion – and in defiance of countless studies and reams of anecdotal evidence – Mary Jane has no medicinal value and will remain categorized right alongside heroin and crack cocaine as a dangerous drug. Studies show that the majority of Americans have smoked weed at least once, which means most Americans know that burning some sheeba, giggling at Family Guy reruns, and devouring bags of Cheetos is nothing like mainlining heroin and nodding off in a bus stop bathroom while a smelly stranger goes through your pockets. The DEA says there are no “adequate and well-controlled studies” proving pot’s medical usefulness. Hell, Willie Nelson is a walking lab rat. The guy quit hard drugs and booze decades ago and began relying on the grass. Now 83, he plays 200 shows a year worldwide, out-golfs men half his age, and has one of the sharpest minds around. Two of Nelson’s old buddies, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash, preferred pharmaceuticals and hard drugs. Where are they now? Not with us. What other proof do the feds need?
And Your Bird Can Sing
This turkey isn’t for the musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra but rather their leaders. In 2010, the orchestra’s several dozen performers took a 13 percent pay cut to shore up losses related to the recession. Six years later, the North Texas economy is thriving, ticket sales are up, and musicians are now being asked to take another round of pay cuts. Under FWSO president and CEO Amy Adkins, development directors have come and gone like summer breezes. Instead of pushing back against rental rate hikes at Bass Performance Hall, Adkins simply added them to the list of woes now confronting her and her fellow staffers.
We’ve also saved a serving of bird for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In a September piece ominously entitled, “Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, R.I.P.,” the pro-business, pro-establishment editorial board described the proposal put forth by Adkins and company as “reasonable,” failing to mention that the pay for Adkins and her staff would not change. Every musician in town and their supporters cried fowl, arguing that Star-T publisher Gary Wortel also serves on FWSO’s board of directors and works closely with Adkins.
Here at the little ol’ Weekly, we will choose to remain optimistic about our world-class orchestra’s future. No one’s asking for a shakeup at the top of the FWSO, but any proposed pay cuts should probably start there.
By the Oven’s Burning Light
Thanksgiving calls to mind pictures of Native Americans sharing their bountiful supply of food with hungry English settlers. It’s one of the most enduring images of our country –– a nation founded on good Christian values like taking care of your neighbors and giving to the less fortunate.
Of course, in Texas, we see that hokey bit of schmaltz as liberals letting filthy immigrants have a free ride. After all, Texas opted out of a federally funded refugee resettlement program that provides much-needed aid to immigrants moving to our country. Gov. Greg Abbott said that the Lone Star State wouldn’t participate in the program until the feds dramatically overhaul the country’s vetting of refugees – even though we already have one of the strictest standards in the world.
Texas also sued the federal government in an attempt to block the resettlement of Syrians after President Obama pledged to take on 360,000 refugees from that war-torn country. A judge threw out the suit, and Texas has appealed.
Too bad our country doesn’t have some sort of gigantic symbol that encourages us to embrace the world’s tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free –– because some of us Texans could really use a reminder of who we are every now and then.
The Stock (and Show) of the Rodeo
In mid-July it was announced that, after nearly 100 years of providing the musical backdrop to bull ridin’, cattle ropin’, and barrel jumpin’, the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo Band would no longer be needed. After supplying the tunes for the rodeo since 1918, the band got the axe because of “limitations in this environment,” according to the stock show.
Citing a desire to “provide entertainment for all age groups,” the stock show will replace the 20-piece orchestra with a laptop. Gone are the days of “Deep in the Heart of Texas” and “San Antonio Rose.” Instead the cowboys and clowns will be moving around to more modern tunes, probably a steady dose of Florida Georgia Line and whatever a Cole Swindell is. You know, for the kids!
Sure, times change, but tradition is what the Stock Show & Rodeo is allegedly all about. For three weeks out of the year, Fort Worth is transformed to a simpler time, one when roping cattle and guessing the sizes of pigs are still ways to have a good time. Sadly, the 121st installment of the event this January will be the first without one of its oldest institutions. So to the stock show bosses, one Midway turkey leg to y’all.
Heard anything about police shootings recently? Sure, you have. The whole country is discussing how cops tend to shoot first and ask questions later, particularly when minority suspects are involved. Then, this summer, a wacko decided to gun down several Dallas police officers at a Black Lives Matter rally. In the heat of this social unrest, somebody at the Fort Worth Police Officers Association with an itchy finger and a prejudiced mind thought it was the perfect time to log on to social media and espouse hate and divisiveness. Along with encouraging readers to delete a streaming radio app that posted “#LoveAboveAll” and “#BlackLivesMatter” following the police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana the week before, the association poster called Black Lives Matter “an organization that chooses to murder American law enforcement officials.” Actually, the funniest part was the next sentence, when the poster pleaded for unity. Never mind that Black Lives Matter was formed as a response to African-Americans being killed by police in questionable situations. And never mind that branding all million-plus members of the entire Black Lives Matter movement as murderers was incredibly stupid, tone deaf, and racist.
Triptophaning the Light Fantastic
For years, former Gov. Rick Perry’s handsome face and magnetic smile did much to hide the fact that he was a slimy, bought-and-sold elected official who would sell out teachers, schoolchildren, the environment, and anyone or anything for his own self-interest and for that of his industry buddies. Tax-hating, conservative Texans were OK with Perry pandering to Big Oil, hanging out at racist prayer rallies with right-wing evangelicals, thumbing his nose at federal Medicaid money just to spite President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, promoting Texas’ secession, and refusing to consider new evidence that might have prevented an innocent man from being executed. Perry’s mistake was thinking his act would play well on a national stage. In 2012, he ran for president, the most vetted job in the land. Oops. Uncovering Perry’s sliminess was easy for national reporters. His lack of depth and knowledge was glaring. Republicans nationwide said, “Go back to your backwoods state, pretty boy.” Last year, Perry nabbed some Clark Kent glasses and announced he was running for president again, but his campaign quickly petered out. This year, Perry became so desperate for national love that he agreed to go on the ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. But his dancing was so forced, inept, and campy that the judges sent him packing almost immediately. (Advice for future contestants: If someone suggests dancing to the Green Acres theme song, just say no.) Though the president-elect is considering Slick Rick for a cabinet position, the last we heard from him, he was sitting on his back patio, drinking gin from a bottle, and shooting at coyotes.
Bam on the Beard
By now, it would be hard to believe that even a casual sports fan has not seen “The Punch.” Video footage of the Texas Rangers’ Rougned Odor trying to separate the head of the Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista from his shoulders with a right cross has been viewed more than 3 million times. And that’s not even counting the Vines, gifts, and multiple designs that have sprouted up across the country.
Don’t get us wrong. Getting popped in the jaw isn’t enough to earn one of our coveted Turkeys. Bautista began his journey toward anti-glory last October, when Joey Bats thought it would be classy to flip his bat after blasting a series-ending homerun against the Rangers in the ALDS.
The problem isn’t with the circumstances. After getting beaned, Bautista slid violently through Odor at second base. Maybe the Ranger dropped his arm a bit as if to throw the ball at Bautista’s head. Maybe not. But Bautista bowed up on Odor, which you don’t want to do if you don’t want to finish the job. No, what’s wrong with this situation is Bautista’s postgame reaction, complaining that he had been sucker punched. Were you looking at Odor, Joey? Then that’s not a sucker punch, dude.
The real rub here is the fact that Bautista is now a 36-year-old free agent looking for what will most likely be the final big-dollar contract of his career, and had the past 13 months not played out the way they have, the team that would probably be the most likely to back the Brinks truck up for his services is our beloved Texas Rangers. So here’s a massive drumstick flip to you, Joey Bats.
Worse than Shark Soup
The recent Blake Lively movie The Shallows is about a Baylor student being threatened by a man-eating shark. As if the women at Baylor don’t have enough to be afraid of! When students went to the school authorities with sexual assault accusations against members of the football team, everything that the administration and Waco police did (or, far more often, didn’t do) made it painfully and abundantly clear that winning games was more important than girls being raped somewhere out of sight, even if it was on campus. The public outcry led to a number of officials paying with their jobs, including head coach Art Briles, athletic director Ian McCaw, and chancellor Kenneth Starr, yet Briles’ old staff remains in place, and the school has yet to give anything resembling a full accounting of where it went wrong. Maybe one of the avalanche of lawsuits currently being filed against the school will bring the truth to light. Meanwhile, we’re giving the Bears turkeys. All of them.
Too Hot in the Kitchen for Sweaty Teddy
While we’re loathe to give anything to Ted Cruz, except maybe the back of our hand, we’re giving him Donald Trump’s tiny drumstick to choke on for endorsing the conman in chief after swearing he never would. Sweaty Teddy made this vow because during the course of the Republican primary, Trump wasn’t very nice to him. Donny Boy came up with the creative nickname “Lyin’ Ted Cruz” and suggested that Cruz’s wife Heidi is unattractive. In February, Trump tweeted “How can Ted Cruz be an Evangelical Christian when he lies so much and is so dishonest?” At a primary debate the next day, Trump doubled-down on that question, telling Cruz: “You are the single biggest liar. You probably are worse than Jeb Bush.”
When an anti-Trump PAC aired a commercial that featured Trump’s wife Melania naked in an old GQ shoot, Trump sent out a tweet with a split-screen photo of Heidi and Melania: “Lyin’ Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a GQ shoot in his ad. Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!”
If that wasn’t enough, during a Fox and Friends interview on the morning of the then-crucial Indiana primary, Trump said Cruz’s father “was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being, you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right? Prior to his being shot? And nobody even brings it up! What was he doing? What was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting? It’s horrible.”
That accusation got a Pants on Fire rating from Politifact’s truth-o-meter. And Cruz lashed out at Trump in response, calling him “a bully” and “utterly immoral” and saying that, “This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth, and in a pattern that I think is straight out of a psychology text book, his response is to accuse everybody else of lying. The man cannot tell the truth, but he combines it with being a narcissist — a narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen. Donald Trump is such a narcissist that Barack Obama looks at him and goes, ‘Dude, what’s your problem?’ ”
Surprisingly, because it was the first inkling of character that Cruz had ever shown, he announced that he was not going to endorse Trump shortly after Trump won the Republican nomination.
“I am not in the habit of endorsing people who attack my wife and attack my father,” Cruz said.
And then, on Friday, Sept. 23, Sweaty Teddy got down on his knees in a Facebook post and wrote, “After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.”
With that, Lyin’ Ted tossed his wife, his father, and any shred of credibility he may have had right under the bus.
He also may have kissed away any dreams he had at national politics. So in a weird way, we should be thanking him.
Make Colleyville Bake Again
We admit that when we were high school teens, national politics barely moved the needle. We weren’t able to vote, after all. Why bother caring? So we’re not going to award a Turkey to the Colleyville Heritage High School students behind the “Make Colleyville Great Again” pep-rally banner that they trotted out before playing largely Hispanic Trinity High School a few months ago. (Trinity won 35-21.) No, this Turkey goes to Bobby Lindamood Jr. The Colleyville City Councilmember did what all responsible politicians do when their misplaced rage bursts through the surface of their consciousness: log on to social media. In his subsequent rant, Lindamood said it was actually the Trinity students who were making “bigoted racist comments” by daring to refer to CHHS’ players as, well, “rich” and “white.”
Now let that marinate.
After your head stops spinning, please join us in informing Mr. Lindamood that in no universe are “rich” and “white” pejoratives. No, a few “racist comments” fit for print include but are not limited to: Donald Trump’s description of all American Hispanics as “drug dealers and rapists” (and “killers,” too); when Jeff Sessions, Donald’s top pick for attorney general, called an African-American lawyer “boy,” as if they were on a plantation 125 years earlier; and Donald saying a judge couldn’t do his job because “He’s a Mexican.” (Even Tea Partier Paul Ryan couldn’t let that one slide. “Claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment,” responded the House speaker from Wisconsin.)
To Lindamood’s credit, he deleted his post and replaced it with an apology, one in which he claimed he couldn’t be racist because he has biracial cousins, a friend with a biracial son, a black friend, and a “red” friend, proving an old adage: that the closeted racist likes only the minorities he knows: “All of the blacks and Hispanics — and gays and Asians — out there in the rest of society need to stay away from me. The ones I know and love are cool. Just not the ones I don’t.”
That’s not just abstractly racist. It’s egomaniacal as hell. What makes you think your black and Hispanic (and “red”) friends are cooler than ours? Because ours are pretty damn cool, too.
Fake Turkey Shoot
An important part of the high school experience is having to suffer some dramatic reenactment of socially relevant teen issues (being tempted by sex at a party, being offered drugs at a party, being invited to a party). But a drama teacher at Indian Springs Middle School in Keller took things too far when she asked her students to improv a scene about a school shooting just days after such a shooting occurred at a South Carolina elementary school, leaving a 6-year-old boy dead.
When one of the students’ parents found out about the scene, he sent angry emails to the school’s principal and the district’s superintendent asking how such an insensitive assignment fit into his daughter’s curriculum. The school gave the angry parent the option of moving his daughter out of the class and launched its own investigation.
To make matters worse, a misunderstanding between the drama teacher and her husband, who thought there was actually a shooter at the Keller campus, caused him to call 9-1-1. Police were dispatched to the school and spent the rest of the day assuring parents that the call was a false alarm.
For being utterly tone-deaf and, well, over-dramatic, the theater teacher should have to pantomime eating turkey this Thanksgiving while watching her loved ones eat the real thing. Maybe then she’ll learn some sensitivity.
No one has ever accused Arlington of being progressive. Just ask anyone who’s ever tried to catch a bus there. (They’re still waiting.) So as cities around North Texas are being lauded for their inclusiveness of LGBT folk, of course good ol’ Arlington is still lagging way behind. A study of cities’ LGBT laws, services, and practices gave Fort Worth and Dallas perfect scores. Arlington? Ehh …
The Human Rights Campaign’s 2016 Municipal Equality Index, a national study of 500 major cities across the country, bases its scores on five major categories: nondiscrimination laws, employment practices, municipal services, law enforcement, and the city’s relationship with the LGBT community.
Fort Worth scored 18 of 24 points in employment practices because our city doesn’t offer trans-inclusive healthcare. But, hey, we got bonus points for municipal services and community relationships, giving us an overall total of 100. Woo-hoo!
Too bad A-Town brings us all down. With an overall score of 44, the “city” received zero out of 30 points for its lack of nondiscrimination laws and 12 out of 24 points for its arcane city employment practices.
For keeping its Dark-Ages LGBT policies in place, Arlington shouldn’t be allowed to take off for Thanksgiving dinner –– the staff should have to sit through some sensitivity training instead.
The Lady Is a Trump
Shortly after the U.S. presidential election, a large billboard popped up near I-30 and Beach Street that delivers a, um, well, a message. We started to say a “powerful” message or an “inspiring” message or a “regretful” message. But the message is fuzzy.
An illustration of the Statue of Liberty is shown in the middle. “Trump Lady” is written in big red letters on the left side. And on the right is, “One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for ALL.”
We called the billboard company and asked to speak to the person who paid to erect the sign, but the company spokesperson said she cannot release information about clients. We asked if the spokesperson would provide our contact information to the person who rented the sign, but she refused to do that, too.
The questions we wanted to ask were along the lines of: “Who is this message directed toward? What exactly is the message?”
It seems like a waste of money to pay for a big sign with an unclear message.
What is a Trump Lady? Is it the Statue of Liberty? Is it a woman about to be grabbed by the you-know-where? Why is the Pledge of Allegiance included? The pledge is considered a statement of allegiance to the American flag and our republic, but what does that have to do with Trump or his “Lady”?
And why is “ALL” in all caps? Is the sign a slap at Trump for dividing the country and threatening to deport people? Or is it an embracing of Trump for making us great again?
Five people might have five different interpretations. Why bother to put up some cryptic, vague billboard? Just to mess with our heads? We don’t know. All we know is that somebody deserves a Turkey Award, by God.