Monday, August 29, 2011

Texans More Likely To Marry, Divorce, Remarry, Pressure Each Other To Do The Same

It turns out that Texans (and Southerners) are more likely to marry, and to divorce, in Texas and across the South than in other parts of the country, according to new census data released today. Second marriages last longer in Texas and the South, partly because people remarry more quickly than elsewhere. This is very interesting to note in a region and state that are constantly "defending" marriage.

These recent statistics come from the 2009 American Community Survey, which attempt to offer more detail about marriage, divorce and widowhood. The report complements the detailed data being released from the 2010 Census, which offers a window onto modern family life. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The median age of first marriage has risen sharply nationwide, up to 28.4 for men and 26.5 for women in 2009, compared with 22.5 and 20.6 respectively in 1970.
  • People in the Northeast wait longer to marry and, after a divorce, are less likely to remarry.
  • Those in the South, which includes Texas, marry at a younger age and remarry more quickly.
  • Higher marriage rates are inextricably linked to higher divorce rates.
  • People in the Northeast and on the West Coast are more likely to live together than those in the South and Midwest, so their break ups constitute a "non-statistic", without legal documentation to show for it.

As someone who was raised in the Northeast and began adulthood on the West Coast, I can assert that Texas is definitely the place I've felt the most societal pressure to marry my long-term partner. I have met many people in their 20s and 30s, regardless of political affiliation or social conservativeness who desire to marry, and imminently, even if they aren't in relationships (especially if they aren't in relationships). It's also a place where I've met a lot of people in the same age group have been divorced or are contemplating it, which surprises me - no kids or mid-life crises to drive spouses apart. That's not empirical evidence, but it's certainly interesting to see.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


So if you're in Texas like me, you probably sat around this weekend wistfilly looking at Hurricane Irene pictures, imagining yourself holed-up all for a few days listening to the pouring rain on your windows. But guess what, Texas? Relief is on it's way (60% chance!)

Forecaster confidence is increasing in the approach of a disturbance in the upper levels of the atmosphere. Several forecast models, including the Global Forecast System, show the predicted rains produced by this upper-level disturbance. This should bring a goodly amount of Gulf of Mexico moisture into southeast Texas by Wednesday.

The map below depicts accumulated rainfall during the next eight days:

The rain will start mid-week and be on-and-off through the weekend. We could get between 2-5 inches! And, if that doesn't make your day, you'll be pleased to see that we will see a drop in temperature up to 20 degrees!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Might Want To Rethink That Bus Slogan

The unemployment rate in Texas is now the highest it's been in 24 years.

“If Gov. Perry takes the credit, he should take the blame,” said state Rep. Jessica Farrar of Houston, who leads the House Democratic Caucus. “We’re actually headed toward an economy with low skills and low wages.”

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rick Perry Denies Climate Change, Turns Up A/C

Governor Perry revealed his suspensions on climate change and global warming to 250 people at a Politics & Eggs breakfast in New Hampshire today.

"There are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they would have dollars rolling in to their projects. We're seeing it almost weekly or almost daily, scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change," said Perry.

"The cost to the country and to the world of implementing these anti-carbon programs is in the billions if not in the trillions of dollars." He would refuse based on questionable research.

Greedy scientists, always after that cash flow! Pushing their agenda through "questionable research". Or...not?

The New York Times reports:
The average surface temperature of earth has increased more than 1 degree Fahrenheit since 1900 and the rate of warming has been nearly three times the century-long average since 1970. Almost all experts studying the recent climate history of the earth agree now that human activities [emphasis mine], mainly the release of heat-trapping gases from smokestacks, tailpipes, and burning forests, are probably the dominant force driving the trend. The gases add to the planet's natural greenhouse effect, allowing sunlight in, but preventing some of the resulting heat from radiating back to space. Drawing on research on past climate shifts, observations of current conditions, and computer simulations, many climate experts say that without big curbs in greenhouse gas emissions, the 21st century could see temperatures rise 3 to 8 degrees, weather patterns sharply shift, ice sheets shrink and seas rise several feet.
Hey Governor Perry! If you actually got back to Texas one of these days to do your job, you'd notice we've had 60 days of over 100 degree temperatures, and the drought level has been raised to exceptional. For a man who can believe in a god based purely on faith, is it too much to ask to also trust scientific reasoning?!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Truth About Rick Perry's Job Creation Claims

Today in Iowa, Perry said "Mr. President, you need to free up the employers to create jobs. Get rid of the regulations that are stifling jobs in America. Free up this country from these stifling regulations." Perry has claimed he is mostly (if not completely) responsibly for the than 211,000 jobs added in 2010, accounting for a large slice of the nation’s employment growth.

Why do companies love Texas? It's pretty easy to see if you are the owner of the company. Chief Executive magazine has published a survey of where 500-plus C.E.O.s identify the best and worst states to do business, assessing factors like taxes, regulations, workforce quality and living environment. The editor-in-chief, J.P. Donlon, says there has been one constant in all seven surveys: Texas comes in first.

You mean 500 of the most trustworthy, honest, compassionate, looking-out-for-the-proletariat C.E.O.s said Texas is the place to do business? Taxes, regulations, workforce quality - I doubt those CEOs are advocating on the side of the employee in these categories. Where are the taxes the lowest, but the minimum wage also? Where are there minimum regulations regarding sick days, paid time off, unions, overtime, healthcare, and other employee protections? Where can we hire migrant workers without punishment while simultaneously damning their illegal status? Do we really want to be the #1 place where 500 greedy, penurious C.E.O.'s want to give you (lucky you!) a job?

Once you've landed that coveted Texan job, you won't be able to live on what you earn! Of the 211,000 jobs added in Texas last year, 37 percent (or more than 76,000) paid at or below minimum wage, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Texas' minimum-wage is $7.25. That's $13,920 in annual income before taxes, at 40 hours per week. The Department of Health and Human Services puts the poverty line at collected (after taxes) $10,890 yearly salary for one person. That leaves mere pennies for emergencies. And how many minimum-wage employees do you know who are able to get full-time hours?

Texas now leads the nation in minimum-wage workers (550,000 in all). It still has a huge disparity between the extremely wealthy and the literally dirt poor. Guess how Perry has chosen to assist those less financially fortunate - you know, the ones who should be grateful for his minimum-wage job creation? By cutting funding for public schools and social services, most recently, family planning services to 180,000 women who lose their access to cancer screenings and birth control. Oh, and while we are talking about healthcare? One in four Texans lacks health insurance, by far the highest percentage in the nation.

Rick Perry for President? We'll all be working in and stealing from gas stations. But at least we'll have jobs. Shitty, shitty jobs.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Lake Travis, then and now:

Lake Travis, 1952 (drought of record)

1952, during the record-breaking drought

Lake Travis, 2011 (current drought)

August, 2011

Lower Colorado River Authority corporate archives, Ralph Barrera/AMERICAN-STATESMAN photos

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Perry's "The Response" Invokes Prayer, Weeping, and Other Empty Actions

Rick Perry held The Response, a Christian prayer event , on Saturday, to which 30,000 attended. M instances of Perry's hypocrisy and and poor leadership were obvious.

The El Paso Times reports:

Unlike at rock concerts, attendees generally did not leave drenched in sweat as air conditioning blasted through the 1.9-million-square-foot building the day after Perry asked Texans to conserve energy to help minimize power outages.

"Because of the extreme heat that has created an unprecedented demand on the state's energy grid, and with no relief in sight, all Texas residents and businesses are being asked to conserve electricity," Perry said in a statement issued Friday.

Perry urged people to conserve energy over the weekend and next week, "especially during the peak hours of 3 to 7 p.m." His prayer event ran from 8 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Protestors braced the heat outside, waving signs that read "Hate speech is not Godful," "Your prayer can't hide your hate," "Didn't a governor put Jesus to death" and "Pastor Perry must resign." Vicki Coffman, 59, a high-school teacher and Richmond resident, held a sign that read "Hey Rick, get off your knees and fund schools."

U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, said he did not plan to attend an event that was held simply for Perry's "own self-serving interest to bolster his national image before running for president."

"If he is sincere, I hope he prays for the Texas children who will have fewer educational opportunities, the elderly and the poor who will lose access to vital health-care services, and for the rest of us who will have to pay more in local taxes because of his desire to spare the wealthiest from new taxes at the state level."

Doesn't he just look like a slimeball?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Rick Perry Loves to Pray, Hate, and Not Work That Hard

Rick Perry has been spending his time doing really Christian activities, like ruining other people's lives, making up laws, hoarding all his money, and generally making the country uncomfortable with his extreme positions on just about every issue. Now, he's hoping to ruin your life and hoard his money from the Oval Office, but first, he's gonna pray about it.

NPR reports:
On Saturday, Perry, who is widely expected to enter the race for the White House, is hosting a religious revival in Houston to pray for what he calls "a nation in crisis." The daylong affair will be filled with prayer, inspirational messages, Scripture readings and praise music. More than 8,000 people have registered for the prayer rally, which is being held in the 71,000-seat Reliant Stadium, normally used for rodeos and NFL games. Perry invited all his fellow governors. The only one to accept was Sam Brownback of Kansas, but he is now backing away. His office says Brownback is "on vacation," and if he goes, "it's at his discretion and on his dime."

"With the economy in trouble, communities in crisis, people adrift in a sea of moral relativism, we need God's help," Perry said. "And that's why I'm calling on Americans to pray and fast like Jesus did."

That's right, evangelical Texans. Pray and fast in your temperature-controlled stadium, then return to your middle-class homes in your foreign-made cars. Just like Jesus would have.

The event is being paid for by the American Family Association, which describes itself as being "on the frontlines of America's culture war." The Southern Poverty Law Center characterizes the AFA as a hate group because of its fierce anti-gay agenda.

Of course they'll want to push the Jesus-hates-homosexuality agenda as well! I'm sure they'll find a creative way to proselytize an illogical correlation between gays and the economic downfall of our country. Those "facts" sure can be slippery! And as a tax-paying Texan, I obviously approve of the agenda to uphold the status-quo of "If times are troubled, politicians should probably organize prayer groups rather THAN DOING THEIR JOB OF FIXING THE STATE."

Glad we're still riding that wave.

Monday, August 1, 2011

FunFunFunFest 2011 Lineup Announced

FunFunFunFest announced it's lineup today and it looks to be fantastic! This year the festival moves from dusty Waterloo Park to the serenity of Auditorium Shores on Town Lake. If you missed it last year, here's my review and recommendation: Don't be as stupid this year!

Catch you at the blue stage!