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It was a tough weekend in Texas. Governor Greg Abbott found himself directly confronted with problems that took him away from his real purposes in office—making sure brown people can’t vote and making sure they disappear entirely from the history of the state as taught to its children. Priorities, people. Anyway, first, on Sunday, Austin got hit with a genuine gullywasher of a rain storm. This caused a portion of the state capitol building to turn temporarily into a canal. From the Austin American-Statesman.
Shortly before 2 p.m. a flash flood warning was issued for Austin and Travis County and heavy rain pummeled the area. According to the National Weather Service, Austin received between 2 and 5 inches of rain, with the highest amounts reported over downtown. The downpour led to flooding in the underground extension of the Capitol and other areas. "A storm drain became clogged and backed up water into one of the skylight drain troughs, and water came into the building," Chris Currens, a spokesman for the State Preservation Board, the government entity that maintains the building, said Sunday.
Things got even more spectacular on the campus of UT, where students at the gym discovered a geyser in their midst.
There were also social media reports of flooding at Gregory Gym on the University Texas campus and at Shoal Creek on Sunday. Video shared by UT students on Twitter showed a spout of water coming up from the floor of Gregory Gym. Eliska S. Padilla, a spokesperson for the university, said the "volume of rain in a very short period" caused the flooding which "showed itself as a geyser" in the gym's main hallway. The Gregory Gymnasium & Aquatic Complex was closed at 2 p.m. on Sunday and will remained closed through Monday and possibly longer."We have damage in the building, including (Gregory Gymnasium) basement," she said, adding that at least one racquetball court will need to be replaced. The university's facility team was on site assessing damage Sunday evening.
But you’ll be happy to know that the state legislature got right back to the business at hand on Monday, resuming the special session aimed at giving Abbott and the Republicans the electoral safe-space they increasingly need. This is due at least in part because Abbott and his pet legislature have handled the pandemic so deftly that there are hardly any pediatric ICU beds left. From CBS News:
"In Dallas, we have zero ICU beds left for children," Jenkins said Friday at a virtual news conference. "That means if your child's in a car wreck, if your child has a congenital heart defect or something and needs an ICU bed, or more likely if they have COVID and need an ICU bed, we don't have one. Your child will wait for another child to die." He said the same is true for pediatric ICU beds in the 19 surrounding counties as well, mentioning that young patients may have to be transported farther away for care.
"Your child will just not get on the ventilator," he said. "Your child will be CareFlighted to Temple or Oklahoma City or wherever we can find them a bed, but they won't be getting one here unless one clears and that's been true for 24 hours."
Meanwhile, on Monday morning, the state supreme court struck down any mask mandate put in place by local city and town officials in defiance of Abbott’s preposterous executive order forbidding such mandates, a truly authoritarian measure that profanes any idea about “liberty” that it pretends to protect. Also from the A-S:
However, a growing number of local jurisdictions — including Austin, Travis County and numerous area school districts — have implemented mask mandates despite Abbott's order as the highly contagious delta variant has produced a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections, overrunning intensive care units in adult and children's hospitals across Texas. Many local mask requirements focused on schools because children under 12 lack access to the COVID-19 vaccine, and officials outside of Dallas and San Antonio said Sunday that they intended to continue enforcing mandatory masks.
“Under Executive Order GA-38, no governmental entity can require or mandate the wearing of masks,” said Governor Abbott. “The path forward relies on personal responsibility—not government mandates. The State of Texas will continue to vigorously fight the temporary restraining order to protect the rights and freedoms of all Texans.”
“This isn’t the first time we have dealt with activist characters. It’s deja vu all over again,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Attention-grabbing judges and mayors have defied executive orders before, when the pandemic first started, and the courts ruled on our side – the law. I’m confident the outcomes to any suits will side with liberty and individual choice, not mandates and government overreach.”
These two are priceless. For god’s sake, Paxton’s been under criminal indictment since 2015. Kids are getting sick and dying and there are no beds for them in the appropriate medical facilities and we get prattle from a governor with 2024 in his eyes and an indicted AG. Maybe you can reach higher office if enough bodies pile up beneath your feet. There are all kinds of cascades, after all, and some of them are not natural disasters.
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