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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
July 17, 2013     Hays Free Press
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July 17, 2013

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THEY REALLY SAID THAT? "People think you're Satanic or mean when you dress this way. I just love Halloween and rock 'n roll and I like to celebrate them both everyday." -Andrew DeLeon, contestant on America's Got Talent, see story on 1C Hays Free Press July 17, 2013 Page 3A Of yellow dogs, Republicans and recent changes LETTERS FROM Tabge term "yellow dog" ecame common us- e after the CivilWar in the South. Manywhite folks in the South would say. "I would vote for a yellow dog rather than a Republican." As a result, the South became known as the Solid South and the Democratic Party was se- cure in those Southern states. Democrats in the South passed laws that kept African- Americans, Latinos and some poor white folks from voting. What measures were used? Gerrymandering districts for the state leg- islatures and the House of Representatives was the easiest. State legislatures drew the precinct lines and thus made sure minorities were dispersed so that they had no power in the elec- tion process. Another tactic was to invoke the literacy test- in two steps. The first test: po- tential voters were asked to read such documents as the U.S. Constitution, and the person's reading quality was judged. If the person read too slowly, he or she was deemed not literate enough to vote. Since many minorities in the South were not provided ade- quate schooling, literacy tests were a sure disenfranchising factor. The second step in- volved the interpretation of a portion of the Constitution. Those judging the interpreta- tion were the sole arbiters of the "correct" interpretation. A third way that the '~zel- low dog Democrats" disen- franchised minorities and poor whites was the poll tax Southern state legislative bodies enacted a tax on the fight to vote. The amount, while seemingly small, was a way to keep "undesirables" from voting. Employers fre- quently threatened the firing of minorities who paid their poll tax Others withheld pay so that the potential voter wouldn't have enough funds to pay the tax But why this history lesson in this day and age? Because those "yellow dog Demo- crats" have now become "yel- low dog Republicans." They will vote for a Republican no matter what the stance the candidate will take. Southern Democrats moved to the Republican column with the signing of the Civil Rights andVoting Rights Act under President Johnson and the "Southern Strategy" that was begun by Richard Nixon in the election of 1968. It reached its culmi- nation by 1990 when virtually every state legislature was controlled by the Republican Party. Here in Texas, the cur- rent govemor was slow in getting there, but, by 1989, he was a "dyed in the wool Republican." The Supreme Court's recent decision nullifying a portion of theVofing Rights Act gave some politicians the ability to again disenfranchise minorities. After the election of Barack Obama in 2008, the state legislatures controlled by Republicans began to take steps to reduce the impact of minorities. In addition to the usual gerrymandering, they took other steps to reduce Democratic voters - reduc- ing the number of precincts, reducing or eliminating early ' voting, making it more dif- ficult to register to vote, and introducing restrictive photo identification requirements. What we see now in the 21st Century is the same as we sawin the late 19th and early 20th century- attempts to limit the power of minori- ties and now young voters. TheYeUow Dog has just changed his name. iA FROM THE "f y'all recall from my last column, I recently took . a well-deserved, long- overdue vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC. As you may know, I always want to look present- able in public, and one thing I learned as I was modeling my new swim trunks down the aisles at Kohl's is that Justin boots hide ugly feet better than a pair of sandals, lust a day prior to our departure to the beach, Maw took a gander at my feet, specifically my toes. Once she recovered from an acute case of the vapors, Maw insisted that I had some major hoof trimmin' done before I set foot on a public beach. I regularly trim my toenails once they begin to interfere with walking or after Maw finds the sheets at the foot of our bed are tattered like the flag at the Alamo. I used to keep my hooves trimmed better, but for the past few months, my sciatica has pre- vented me from bending over and biting my toenails. Maw used to volunteer to trim my feet, but she doesn't have the hand-strength nowadays to snip through those talons. So, after much persuasion and the absence of a pair of socks without gaping holes in them, I agreed to visit a nail salon and get me a professional pedicure. I went to some fancy nail salon over in Kyle with Maw and my two daughters. I wanted someone with experi- ence in a chop shop to ac- company me to help place my order. All I wanted was a nail trim and absolutely nothing waxed or shaved, but I soon found out there's a lot more to a pedicure than a set of clip- pers and a rasp. As soon as I stepped through the door of the salon, the smell of acetone and mango was overwhelm- ing. Once my head stopped spinning and my eyes stopped watering, I noticed quickly that I was in a big room filled with women, and every one of them was staring at me, not so much like the looks George Clooney gets when he walks into a room, but more like the glares an old man gets when he erroneously wanders into the ladies room. I was in en- emy territory! My daughter chatted qui- etly with the receptionist who lit some incense as I was pull- ing off my boots. I'm not sure what those two were discuss- ing, but I think some money exchanged hands before I was led to the back of the salon to my chair. I had visions of a scene from "The Green Mile" as I walked through a gauntlet of women to get to my chair, and what a chair it was! This chair was a big leather recliner with a warm foot bath in front. Then my daughter told me to grab the remote control and press the red but- ton. Holy moly! That chair be- gan to s'himrtl~ ~iiitt shake, and then something began run- ning up and down my back, sorta like a small armadillo beneath your sleeping bag. I tried to jump out of the chair, but my feet were in a tub of hot water, and I couldn't get any traction. So I just sat there and enjoyed the massage from the robotic armadillo. I was still a bit nervous when this little gal asked me if I'd like a glass of wine. I asked if she had any cold Lone Star. This startled her, and she said no, so I settled for the wine and waited for my pedicure to commence. Now, have you ever tried to drink wine out of a glass while sitting in a massage chair? It's like sip- ping coffee while running a jackhammer. I was afraid of spilling wine on my favorite shirt, so I began to take it off. Even over all the rumbling of my massage chair, I could easily hear both of my daugh- ters scream "No, Dad!" from across the room. So I had to take sips when the armadillo was running across my but- tocks. I would've done much better with a longneck. Just sayin'. When my pedicurist showed up, she looked at my feet like they were something from a circus freak show. After 40 years of wearing cowboy boots, I had developed cal- louses that were bulging like a Kardashian keister in biker shorts. That little gal started rubbing those callouses with sandpaper, but soon excused herself and shuffled into the back room. She soon returned with a belt sander, and went to work on my corns and cal- louses. I don't know what grit that sandpaper was, but I bet she could've turned a mes- quite limb into a stripper pole right quick. The next task was to trim my thick toenails. The girl tried to use her clippers, but again she had to go into the back room and returned with some hoof trimmers. She also brought a hoof pick to scrape six months' worth of dirt and manure from beneath the nails of my big toes. Once the trimming was done, it was time to file down the jagged claws. The gal was a quick learner, and tossed her em- ery board aside, and pulled out the sander again. Good thing she was wearing goggles because shrapnel was flying everywhere. Finally, once all the clip- ping, sanding and filing were done, the gal applied some gritty, slimy lotion to my feet and lower legs and proceeded to rub it in. I waslft real keen on this procedure and began to worry about a vice raid, but it actually felt pretty nice. I don't know what was in that lotion, but I saw two ticks slide down my shins like kids on a waterslide. Once my feet dried and it was safe to walk again, I got out of the magic chair and headed to the exit. As I was leaving, I looked back and saw the manager had strung crime scene tape around my chair, and some guy in a Haz-Mat suit was carrying the nippers and other instru- ments out the back door. An EMT was giving my pedicurist oxygen and had started an IV drip. I'm not sure what they were thinking when they let this old cowpoke into the!r fancy salon, but I suspect they will have a farrier on call ifI ever step through their door again. "t's understandable that conservatives, from Chief .Justice John Roberts to chief pundit George Will, today think of racism as a thing of the past - a "post- racial" society, this is. After all, Jim Crow molders in the grave - he of the dirty dungarees, the night rides, the venal proxies in elected office. It's too bad that those who presume to have the nation's pulse on these matters don't notice how Jim Crow's great-grandson ].R. - J.R. Crow- sustains his great- granddaddy's influence. Dungarees? He is now dressed for success. Wholly respectable and harmless, ensconced away from harm in a lovely gated community, that's where J.R. resides these days. Racism? What? Gone are segregated lunch counters, literacy tests, and calculated intimidation of black voters in the South. Pose this question, however, to Congressman Iohn Lewis, bloodied while marching for civil rights in 1965. "Voting rights are under attack in America," Lewis said on the House floor - and not just the other day after the Supreme Court tossed YOUNG- out Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act: He said it in 2011 amid a flurry of vote-suppression efforts by Republicans. Which is how Jim Crow's heir runs the enterprise today- that, and redistricting efforts that zealously would marginalize voters of color if not for the Voting Rights Act. Quite a sight - the near- frantic urgency with which Voter I.D. bills were pushed in advance of the 2012 election. Proponents have yet to produce evidence of voter fraud to counter Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe's depiction: "an expensive solution in search of a problem." Why have so many judges found problems with these laws? Because they impede the votes of minorities and the poor- as intended. Right, J.R.? In "Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy," University of Delaware historian Gary May points out that long before Jim Crow, oppressive majorities employed ways to curb voting by select groups - immigrants and Jews, and, of course, women. "But the African-American experience is unique," May writes. For though blacks were expressly granted the vote via the 15th Amendment, in the South, forces conspired at every turn to undermine their voting rights. And now? Barack Obama's ascendance, among other political achievements by blacks, serves to endanger the gains made, writes May. After all, if a black can be president, why is the Voting Rights Act necessary anymore? One of the gains May attributes in part to the Voting Rights Act is the rise of the Republican Party in the South, prophesied by Lyndon Johnson. When in the glow of civil rights victories, he told an aide, "We have lost the South for a generation." Demographics alone testify to the fact that we need the Voting Rights Act as never before. Watch how redistricting is done. Both parties know where the votes are. They are color-coded. And not in red and blue - try white, black and brown. Observe efforts to deprive some Americans of the vote by prohibiting bilingual ballots. Multiculturalism is a pet peeve of J.R. Crow, who won't acknowledge that unilingual ballots would be direct descendants of Great- Granddad's literacy tests. Meanwhile, the individual costs attached to some Voter I.D. measures share the lineage of poll taxes. The Supreme Court majority says Congress could reauthorize the Voting Rights Act to be nearly as potent as authorized in 1965, if not more so. However, with today's increasingly reactionary House, where redistricting has parceled out votes to provide invincible Republican districts, that prospect is as likely as J.R. Crow's demanding that his children be bused to inner- city schools. Some things respectable people just don't do. Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. THE EDITOR CAMPBELL MAY BE SURPRISED TO KNOW This may come as news to Donna Campbell, my state senator and Big Brother-government advocate, who shoved through midnight passage of restrictions on abortion in Texas despite vocal opposition. Abortions already are safer than childbirth in this state and there is zero evidence new laws, ginned up during an unneeded taxpayer-funded special session, were necessary. Also apparently coming news to her: Women are intelligent and do not make lightly the decision to have a child or seek abortion. We are smart enough to decide and don't need her brand of dogma foisted on us as care and concern for our safety. What won't come as news to her, if she's been reading her email, visitor logs and looking about the Capitol these past several weeks, is women are furious at intrusion on a Constitutionally granted right. Informed voters know that to make abortion rarer, we'll have to work to vote privacy-bashing government zealots like Donna Campbell out. In her place, we'll elect reasoned moderates who will support reproductive health education teaching in school, wide and easy access to birth control, and increased rights to privacy protection. On the bright side of this dark day for women, Campbell and other like-minded legislators have kicked a hornet's nest. Women are awake and engaged. We are eager to work for and elect people concerned about our issues (education, environment, health, families, and work- place). For that, I say thank you. Sara Shannon Buda, TX COMMENTS FROM, THE WEBSITE "This is a good story. The reafity, however, is that the Plum Creek Conservation District is integral to water interests in Kyle, Hays County and Central Texas." - Donn Brooks on Test well could pass on the salt: new legislation al- lows drilling, storage in saline aquifer "If she owed six years of taxes how was she not in debt until January 2013?" - Dawn on Selbera cen- sured by council peers, keeps office "Thank the guys for putting blaze out we pray for all is well" - Diverson Charles on Facebook re: Fire in Green Pastures Amazing voice/Got head to toe goosebumps when I heard him sing/Dude has some PIPES/ - Joyce Sunderland-Fish- er on Facebook re: Opera singer Andrew De Leon from "America's Got Tal- ent" is in the office today for an interview! I guess Time Warner will get there between 8 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. - Noel Rodriguez on Facebook re: Detour in downtown Kyle MANAGEMENT BARTON PUBLICATIONS, INC. Publisher Cyndy Slovak-Barton NEWSROOM Editor Kim Hilsenbeck Sports Reporter Moses Leos III Senior Reporter Andy Sevilla Community Columnists Sandra Grizzle Pauline Tom Columnists Bartee Halle Clint Younts Will Durst John Young Proofreaders Jane Kirkham Christine Thorpe OFFICE MANAGER Connie Brewer ADVERTISING Tracy Mack Debbie Hall CIRCULATION/CLASSIFIEDS Suzanne Hallam PRODUCTION Production Mgr. David White Assistant Designer Nick Trussalo Distribution Pete Sizemore Contact Us: FAX: 512-268-0262 BUDA 512-295-9760 KYLE 512-268-7862 METRO AUSTIN 512-262-6397 113 W. Center Street Kyle, Texas 78640