Outside Reading — Lone Star State of Disaster edition


Texas Could Have Kept the Lights On by Richard Parker

Texas Republicans like to obsessively point out problems at the border, but I have a feeling they’ll remain silent about the state line–related emergency pictures above. The middle of the roadway is the border that separates Texas and Arkansas. The latter state invests money in equipment to clear the streets of treacherous ice and snow on the rare occasions when it comes down. Arkansas officials occasionally offer to clear the Texas side of the roadway, too, because that would be a safer situation for Arkansans. Texas officials regular response is to threaten a lawsuit. The ludicrous scenario is emblematic of choices made by the state’s prevailing arch-conservative government leadership that had abdicated their responsibilities to provide basic services to the citizenry, all in the name of fealty to hideously warped principles. As a bonus, many of them have also taken to flagrantly lying about the core problems that have left countless Texans without power and heat. Richard Parker clearly succinctly lays out the particulars of the ineptitude and inaction that has led to misery and, in a few cases, needless death. This editorial is published by The New York Times.

U.S. May Honor a Black Soldier, 56 Years Later by Dave Philipps

Reporting for The New York Times, Dave Philipps shares the story of Paris Davis, a Special Forces officer during the Vietnam War who responded to a devastating firefight with levels of heroism that are astonishing. He was nominated for the Medal of Honor. The Army claimed they lost the nomination. So he was nominated again. And the suspicious misplacement of documentation happened again. Over half a century later, Philipps is still waiting for the recognition that is clearly due him. It’s inconceivable that this longstanding injustice can be attributed to anything other than pure, evil prejudice. There is progress worth celebrating, but it’s ignorance or folly to believe we are complete in the work of creating and fair, equitable society.

Rush Limbaugh Did His Best to Ruin America by Bob Moser

I remember the first — and likely only — time I listened to the radio show presiding over by the bloviating bigot who make a fortune convincing white conservatives that they were terribly oppressed. This was fairly early in Rush Limbaugh’s run as a widely syndicated radio host, and I remember puzzling over the detail that this supposedly skilled broadcaster was rustling papers as he talked, violating one of the most fundamental rules of the booth. When the microphone is open, minimize ambient sounds. Then I realized that the transgression was intentional. As he spat out his toxic bullshit, Limbaugh made the pages in his hands audible to imply that the lies he pedaled were facts read off some official paperwork. He was just sharing what was in front of him, folks. Bob Moser delves deep into the poison that Limbaugh firehosed into the public sphere, damaging the nation’s politics and accompanying governance, perhaps irrevocably. This article is published by Rolling Stone.

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