By Lynn Ashby 20 December 2010
Thank you Tom DeLay, Joe Barton, candidates and crooks, for giving us a year we won’t forget, although we’d like to. Yes, it’s time to look back at 2010 with a Lone Star flavor and figure out who was to blame, before Texas Monthly steals all our ideas for its Bum Steers. Earlier this month Aggies cowered under their desks and campus police were called after a nearby classroom door was slammed followed by screaming about Jonah’s rage at God for not smiting the Assyrians. Alas, it seems Prof. Richard Stadelmann was only acting out anger in a religious studies class.
Houston’s George Bush Intergalactic Airport has gone from first to ninth in the Daily Beast’s rankings of best and worst U.S. airports. D/FW was 17th this year, down from 16th in 2009.
Art of the State: “Lone Star,” a Fox TV series set in – surprise! Texas — about an oil man with a family in Houston and another in Midland, was cancelled after two shows. “Enron,” the $4 million Broadway musical, closed after 13 days.
An inconvenient truth: Galveston and College Station suffered through their hottest August ever. But for Houston, Huntsville and Palacios it was the hottest month — any month, any year — since record keeping began. But the best weather news of the year: No hurricanes!
Texas hand surgery clinic owner and TV-ad face Michael Brown (“Daddy’s baby girl”) lost custody of two of his five children after being arrested for beating his fourth wife. Back in 2002, Brown pled guilty to assaulting his third wife with a bed post when she was seven months pregnant. PS: His medical license had been taken away after he tested positive for cocaine.
Walter Allen, Jr. tried to buy two Bentleys at a Houston car dealer, presenting a check for $500,000 from the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta, and using his own driver’s license as ID. Allen brought along a notary public to sign the papers. One problem: the Fed bank doesn’t deal in checks. Allen was arrested.
Dumbest Decision of 2010: Houstonians voted to abolish cameras that snapped a photo of red-light runners, who were then mailed a civil fine. After the vote, the cameras were still clicking and showed a 30 percent increase in red-light-runners.
Leigh Away: On the same day UT-Austin announced buyouts for tenured faculty, it launched a campaign for funds to restore five dresses Vivien Leigh wore in “Gone With the Wind.”
Keller Instinct: Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller was publicly rebuked by a state judicial commission for blocking a condemned man’s lawyers from filing a last-minute appeal in 2007, but she’ll keep her job.
The Hammer Was Nailed: Tom DeLay was convicted of dirty dealings.
Also in Austin, Joe Stack took a unique way to protest his taxes. He flew his plane into the IRS office. Fausto Cardenas, 24, visited Sen. Dan Patrick’s Capitol office acting strangely, then went to the south steps and opened fire at nothing in particular. Gov. Rick Perry is also armed and dangerous. He shot a coyote that, Perry said, was about to attack a pet. After much stonewalling by the Governor’s Office, it was learned that “security” (DPS bodyguards and bag carriers) for the Perrys on 23 foreign trips cost the taxpayers $928,477, but that doesn’t include five additional trips.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison blew a 20 point lead over Gov. Perry in the GOP gubernatorial primary, to lose by 20 points. Former Houston Mayor Bill White lost to Perry in the general election by 13 points. Meantime, the Texas Democratic Party got stomped across Texas. Even 10-term incumbent Chet Edwards of Waco got beat by an unknown, Bill Flores. Two gubernatorial candidates, Debra Medina (Republican) and Farouk Shami (Democrat), said they doubted the official government version of 9/11.
Winner in the Flip-Flop Dept.: Sen. Hutchison said, in October of ’07, she would resign her Senate seat to run for the GOP nod for guv. She promised again in July of ’09, then November. More promised resignation dates passed, including that she would step aside after the primary, win or lose. Last spring, after losing, Hutchison said she wouldn’t resign her job. Why? So she could fight unemployment.
Washington, We Have a Problem: Sealy lost its multi-billion dollar truck contract with the Army and the Johnson Space Center lost big bux for manned space flight. Perhaps our lack of stroke in D.C. stems from the pols we send there. For example:
Mia Gulpa (Oil on Troubled Waters Dept.): “I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday.” — Texas GOP Rep. Joe Barton, in apologizing to BP for what he called a $20 billion “shakedown” by President Obama for oil losses in the Gulf.
Quote of the Year: “Baby killer!” – Shouted by GOP Rep. Randy Neugebauer of Lubbock at colleague Rep. Bart Stupak who was explaining to the U.S. House why he changed his opposition to the Obama health care bill. Neugebauer later said he had actually shouted, “It’s a baby killer!” He also said he received a “tremendous outpouring” of support for his shouted insult.
Wish You Were Here: Liz Carpenter and Dandy Don Meredith.
The Texas Two-Step Program: Rip Torn (from Temple) was so drunk he broke into a Connecticut bank carrying a loaded gun and left his hat and boots by the door. He thought it was his home. Randy Quaid (Houston) and his wife were arrested in Texas for allegedly defrauding an inn-keeper, plus burglary and conspiracy, stemming from a $10,000 dispute at a Santa Barbara, Calif., hotel. The couple was released on bail later that evening. After the Quaids skipped out on their third court date, the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office filed bench warrants for their arrest and extradition from Texas. The Quaids ended up in Canada pleading for political asylum.
Gee, we haven’t even touched sports, Halliburton and the big hot wings theft, (worth $15) so let’s continue next week.
Ashby wins at email@example.com