AFTER CRISIS WILL WE EVER BE THE SAME?

Just two weeks ago, the scenes which played out in front of us were unimaginable. Shoppers fighting over toilet paper. Toilet paper. Brawls in parking lots.

Insanity.

We have seemingly passed through our society’s modicum of civility on the road to insanity.

Lifelong friends have been attacking each other online, defending other people who they’ve never met, and will probably never meet.

Politicians have pitted us against each other for their own short term political gain. Like when Chuck Schumer lambasted the administration a month ago for stopping flights to and from China. Then today lambasting him for not doing it soon enough.

Reporters, such as Jim Acosta, said it was racist to say the coronavirus started in China after the President did, but not before just a week earlier he tweeted an almost identical sentence. (It’s only racist when Trump says it, I guess).

This nonsense, this retreating to our ideological corners, has got to stop if we are to remain a civilized society.

I, for one, will smile a bit brighter, open doors a bit longer, and try to be a bit more understanding of my fellow Texans (and Americans). Maybe we could all do the same.

SHOULD CONGRESS GO ON VACATION DURING CORONAVIRUS CRISIS?

According to multiple news agencies, including Politico, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has no plans to cancel the Spring Recess (read Spring Break) for Congress slated to start next week.

This recess, presumably, will occur whether or not Congress manages to pass any sort of legislation to prop up the economy, increase Coronavirus testing, or anything else.

Must be nice being able to take a vacation while the world is burning.

If you desire, you can call your representative of Congress at 202-225-3121 and demand they stay at work until this crisis is over.

CORONAVIRUS FEARS SHUTTING DOWN MUCH OF TEXAS

HOUSTON: Because of the coronavirus, here are all the school and event closures as of this morning:

Schools:

Rice University announced Sunday that in-person classes and undergraduate teaching labs would be canceled this week to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, but staff and faculty were also still required to work. The announcement came days after an employee tested positive last week for COVID-19.

Prairie View A&M announced via Twitter Wednesday that it would suspend classes until Monday, March 23, but that faculty and staff are still required to work.

South Texas College of Law Houston has canceled all on-campus classes and will conduct its classes only online starting Thursday according to a university release. The law school will re-evaluate its decisions on March 23 after its spring break, but the campus will remain open and business operations will continue.

University of Houston classes are canceled for next week. University will remain open but faculty/staff have option to work remotely. Classes will resume online March 23. Resident students are encouraged to stay home but dorms are open for those returning, according to an official tweet by UH President Renu Khator.

All Montgomery ISD campuses and departments will close this Thursday and Friday ahead of spring break. Montgomery ISD after-school activities are cancelled for Wednesday, and all sporting events and practices are cancelled through Saturday.

Saint Thomas’ Episcopal School in Meyerland is closed for the next two weeks, including next week’s spring break.

The Joy School in the Museum District is closed for the next two weeks, including next week’s spring break.

Texas A&M has suspended classes until March 18.

Prairie View A&M has suspended classes until Monday, March 23, the university announced via Twitter. Faculty and staff are still required to report to work.

The University of Texas at Austin has extended Spring Break with plans to finish the semester with 100% online courses.

Hospitals:

The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston has updated its visitor policies; patients are permitted two visitors 18 years or older and only healthy visitors are allowed to accompany patients in ambulances or for outpatient procedures, UT authorities said.

The Veterans Administration canceled all scheduled Friday and Saturday veterans legal clinics held at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) until further notice, according to an official press release.

Community Meetings:

Lakewood Church canceled public services this weekend, instead opting to broadcast the events online in the wake of the public health emergency declaration in Houston, according to a Facebook post from the church.

The city’s remaining Capital Improvement Project (CIP) meetings have been cancelled. The meetings will be rescheduled for a later date, according to an official tweet.

The Alief-Westwood Complete Communities meeting scheduled for this evening has been cancelled in light of Mayor Turner’s announcement about the cancellation of city-sponsored meetings due to public safety concern. The meeting will be held at a later date, according to an official tweet.

Events:

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is cancelled for the remainder of the 2020 season.

The Tour de Houston is cancelled.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has canceled or postponed all city-sponsored or permitted events through the end of March.

The Bayou City Arts Festival has been postponed.

All Overwatch League events scheduled for March and April are cancelled, the organization said via Twitter.

The Japan Festival will be postponed, according to a Facebook post from the organization.

NCAA Division I basketball tournament games will not be open to the general public. This includes a stop at Houston’s Toyota Center for the South Regional.

The city of Tomball and Tomball German Heritage Festival announced the three-day festival slated for March 27-29 has been canceled amid efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus. It will not be rescheduled.

The event with Robert Reich on April 6 has been cancelled according to an official email. All ticket buyers will receive an automatic, immediate refund, including fees.

The McDonald’s Houston Children’s Festival, scheduled April 4 and 5, was postponed.

Levy Park and the Levy Park Conservancy have canceled all events and park programming through March 31 including:

St. Patrick’s Day Festival (3/15)

Spring Break at Levy Park (3/16-3/20)

Recurring programs including: Zumba, Yoga, H.I.I.T, Body Barre, Bollywood/Bhangra Dancing Class, Family Storytime, Tai Chi, Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS), Young Audiences of Houston (YAH), Children’s Bingo, Houston Center for Photography Workshops, Public Piano Play, and Goodies from the Garden.

Table Tennis, the Reading Room, Foosball, the Arts and Games Carts, Imagination Playground, and Levy Park Water Feature will be closed.

PRESIDENT TRUMP WILL TACKLE CORONAVIRUS IN ADDRESS TO NATION TONIGHT

President Trump says he will be delivering an address to the nation this evening where he will unveil his plans to counter the effects of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

“I’ll be making a statement later tonight,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with banking executives. He said it would take place at 8 p.m., but did not elaborate on the content.

Trump tweeted several times Tuesday afternoon about the coronavirus, saying he is “fully prepared to use the full power of the Federal Government to deal with” the disease.

White House aides have been negotiating with lawmakers on legislation to address the economic fallout of the spreading virus, which has rattled markets and sparked concerns among workers who may not have paid sick leave or the ability to work remotely.

Here in Texas, the effects are starting to feel real to many.

One local pastor writes this:

How dangerous Covid 19 is, is irrelevant at this point. Today, the City of Houston FORCED the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to shut down. Last week it was SXSW in Austin. This same kind of thing is happening across the country. The panic that has been caused by this virus has had, and will continue to have, a horrible and long lasting effect on our country.

People won’t be flying, going out to restaurants, etc. Local governments will continue overreacting and destroying their local economies. A LOT of small businesses are going to go out of business, and people will lose their jobs.

A lot of you know that besides pastoring, I do Uber on the side to pay the bills. Shutting down the Rodeo will DESTROY Uber drivers in the month of March. I am wondering if when I go to work tomorrow, if I will be able to make money. Maybe not. If not, within two to three weeks my family will be broke. Im sure others have it even worse.

So DO NOT take this pandemic lightly. Conserve your cash, folks. Keep food stocked up. Be ready for a very slow economy for the next few months. No, its not going to be the apocalypse. But it will likely be very tight for a while. Lets make a point to help each other out, when we can. Lets also not freak out and make things worse. Lets encourage our elected leaders not to overreact.

Together, we can get through this.

The administration is also said to be considering a national emergency declaration to free up additional resources to fight the coronavirus, which the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday declared a global pandemic.

There are more than 1,000 confirmed cases in the U.S.

Aides had been considering whether Trump should deliver an address to the nation about the virus, according to an adviser familiar with the discussions.

“I think Trump should give a national television address tonight or tomorrow night and be the commander in chief and really lay out a set of prescriptions,” the person said.

The administration has for weeks attempted to project a sense of control as the coronavirus spread across the country. But health officials have in recent days sounded the alarm about the severity of the virus, warning that things will get worse before they get better.

Trump has repeatedly urged Americans to remain calm, while at times offering contradictory information about the virus. He told reporters two weeks ago that he expected the 15 confirmed cases in the U.S. would soon decrease to near zero.

CORONAVIRUS KILLS HOUSTON RODEO

As coronavirus panic spreads in Texas, Houston officials have called off the remainder of the city’s biggest annual event, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

The announcement came Wednesday amid a seven-day emergency health declaration in the state’s biggest city, which comes after the state saw its first suspected case of community spread of the virus in nearby Montgomery County. It’s another devastating economic and cultural blow to another major Texas city as the state — which has more than 30 confirmed cases — continues to suffer the impacts of the novel coronavirus. On Friday, Austin canceled South by Southwest, the annual international festival of music, technology and film that brings hundreds of thousands of people from across the world to the state capital every March.

Now all eyes are on San Antonio, whose annual Fiesta celebration — a more than weeklong citywide spree — is still on for now, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said Wednesday.

“For those of us who are Texans through and through, and from our area, from our region, you know just how much we love the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. You know this decision has not come easily,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a press conference Wednesday. “But the health and safety of the people in our region is paramount.”

GEORGE P. BUSH STILL HELL BENT ON TEARING DOWN ALAMO MONUMENT

Barely a week has passed since the voters of Texas overwhelmingly passed a resolution in the Republican Primary Election stating:

Texans should protect and preserve all historical monuments, artifacts, and buildings, such as the Alamo Cenotaph and our beloved Alamo, and should oppose any reimagining of the Alamo site.

But George P. Bush is pressing on with his “Reimagine the Alamo” plan which includes tearing down (and supposedly repairing and moving, although experts say that can’t happen) the iconic monument outside the Alamo known as the Cenotaph (empty tomb).

He even enlisted retiring congressman Will Hurd to shill for his plan.

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has recently stepped into the fray.

“I have asked people from all across this great state about their vision for this effort,” said Patrick. “The job of oversight for this project is the responsibility of the General Land Office headed by Commissioner George P. Bush. It is evident to me that both the design, planning, and execution of the project is badly off track.”

“Nothing defines the independent and the courageous spirit of Texas more than our iconic Alamo and, like most Texans, I treasure it. The history of the Alamo is a personal passion of mine. I do not intend to sit quietly and see this project fail,” Patrick continued.

Bush has long received criticism, largely from conservative Texans, over the General Land Office and the City of San Antonio’s plan to “reimagine” the site of the Alamo—specifically, over plans to relocate the Alamo Cenotaph, a monument commissioned on the centennial anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo that serves as a tombstone for the men who gave their lives in the fight for Texas independence at the storied site.

Bush continues on, confident that Texans will embrace his destruction of the Cenotaph.

He continues to defy to resolution passed by the SREC (State Republican Executive Committee) in December which reads:

WHEREAS, Senate Bill 1663, authored by SD4 Senator Brandon Creighton, passed the Texas Senate in a 19-12 vote of the Texas 86th Legislature; and

WHEREAS, we recognize the effort of our State Republican House Caucus to pass the House version of Senate Bill 1663; and

WHEREAS, Senate Bill 1663 was killed in committee despite the overwhelming passage within the Senate; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Republican Party of Texas decries efforts by those desiring to “Reimagine the Alamo”; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Republican Party of Texas send a strong message to our Texas leaders as well as the City of San Antonio concerning the movement of the Alamo Cenotaph: our beloved Alamo Cenotaph should “Not Be Moved, Not One Inch!”; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Culture, Recreation, and Tourism Committee and to the office of Land Commissioner George P. Bush, Daughters of the Republic of Texas, and to all members of the Texas Legislature.

It should be recognized that much of the “Alamo Master Plan” is good for the Alamo and for Texas. Most Texans support 70-80% of the plan, but take exception to moving (destroying) the Cenotaph, certain excavations, and walling off the Alamo compound so that the state can eventually charge admission. (They deny it, but there are ticket booths and gates in the “master plan”.)

It’s time for Texans to rise up. Call your legislators. Call the governor.

Remember the Alamo.

Not One Inch.

THE DEADLIEST SNAKES IN TEXAS

Spring is almost here, so let’s talk about those reptiles who are emerging from hybernation and looking for a mate right about now.

We’ve all heard the phrase “The only good snake is a dead snake”, and for many, just the thought of snakes is enough to evoke fear.

But did you know that the majority of snakes found in Texas are non-venomous? And did you know that all have an important stake in the ecosystem? It’s true!

Another little tidbit, is that of the 4 people in the United States in 2018 to die of snake bites, 3 were actively trying to kill the snake that bit them. This means you have a 300% greater chance of getting hurt by trying to kill a snake than just leaving it alone.

I’m just leaving that out there for you to think about.

Let’s talk about venomous Texas snakes for a moment.

There are just 4 varieties of venomous snakes found in Texas. They are the rattlesnake, the copperhead, the moccasin, and the coral snake. (There are many subspecies of each of these, but if you can learn to identify these 4 varieties and stay away from them, you’ll be safe).

First, let’s talk about the rattlesnake. These guys are usually identified by the rattle on the end of their tail. Best bet, leave them alone.

RATTLESNAKE

This is a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. There are approximately 14 species of rattlesnakes native to Texas, but all of them are easily identified by the rattle at the end of their tail. Give them a wide berth and they’ll leave you alone.

COPPERHEAD

There are a few species of copperheads in Texas, but they can be identified by the “Hershey kiss” pattern on their scales and the definitive triangular shaped head.

MOCCASIN

Contrary to popular belief, moccasins generally won’t chase humans. They can be identified by their distinctive markings, their triangular shaped head, and the horizontal lines on their mouths. (Vertical lines indicate a harmless water snake, even though the behavior and musky smells can be similar)

CORAL SNAKE

The Texas Coral Snake is pretty, but don’t touch! Their venom is the most powerful of all venomous Texas snakes. The saying “If red touches yellow it’ll kill a fellow” is generally true, but coral snakes with deviant patterns do exist, so don’t rely on that rhyme.

Bottom line, if you see a snake, your best bet is to simply leave it alone. Trying to kill it exponentially increases your chances of getting hurt yourself, and the chances of seeing any one snake twice are extremely low.

LOUD EXPLOSION IN NORTH TEXAS WAS GENDER REVEAL GONE WRONG

Citizens in Ellis County reported hearing a loud boom Saturday afternoon, and authorities believe it was caused by someone using an explosive called Tannerite as part of a gender reveal.

Tannerite is a “binary exploding target package,” and according to their website, “when shot with a high-power rifle it produces a water vapor and a thunderous boom resembling an explosion.”

A number of people in Ellis County reported their home shaking, and hearing a loud noise.

Ellis County Emergency Management Coordinator Samantha Pickett began investigating and said authorities believe the loud boom was caused by Tannerite being used in a gender reveal.

It’s not known if the couple is having a boy or a girl.

JOKE OF THE DAY: HOW THE WEST WAS WON

An Indian chief, Rising Sun, was concerned with how white men were expanding across the forests, plains, and mountains. His tribe was very small, but as every tribe and nation was being overpowered and sent to reservations, he came up with a plan to save the People. His son, Falling Rock, was a strong, intelligent, and trustworthy young man and Rising Sun loved him very much. Rising Sun asked Falling Rock to travel across the whole of the country and talk to every tribe he met. He was to convince them to join forces and repel the invasion of the white men. Falling Rock left in the spring with 4 other braves. 

When the leaves fell in late summer, one brave returned to Rising Sun to tell him that they had contacted all the tribes in the desert SouthWest. When the snow began, another brave returned telling of their success with the Great Lakes tribes. A third brave arrived home just as the spring flowers bloomed and told how the strong tribes of the Rocky Mountains were ready. Finally, the last brave returned in high summer from the Eastern tribes with their promise to fight. This last brave also said that Falling Rock was now racing back to all the tribes, telling them to meet at the Mississippi river in the spring for the great war.

Rising Sun’s small tribe prepared for battle and, when the snow melted, they traveled to the Mississippi. They waited there through spring and summer, but no other warriors arrived. At the end of summer, Rising Sun sent braves out in all directions to track down Falling Rock while the tribe waited. By snowfall, all the warriors had reached the other tribes and returned to Rising Sun. All the tribes had waited to hear when the war was to take place, but Falling Rock had not been seen by any of them so they had stayed put. This worried Rising Sun terribly since he loved his son and missed him terribly.

The small tribe was forced to wait there through the harsh winter and when spring arrived, so did the white soldiers. They surrounded Rising Sun’s tribe. Rising Sun knew they could never win without the other tribes so he talked to the leader of the soldiers. 

Rising Sun promised to go peacefully to a reservation if the white men would promise to help him find his lost son. This was a small price for avoiding a fight so the white men agreed and Rising Sun’s tribe did not resist.

To this day, Rising Sun waits for his son to return. And, to this day, the white men have held up their end of bargain struck that day. People across the country are still searching and everyone is asked to help. That is why you will see signs along the road that say, “Watch for Falling Rock”.

And now you know the rest of the story.
Sort of.