ISSUE #11: Texas Legislature Continues & Bud Light Backlash

Texas Legislature Headed for Multiple Special Sessions

With the impeachment of Ken Paxton taking up most of the news about the Texas Legislature, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the session ended Monday, and immediately transitioned into a Special session. Speaking of transitioning, one of the only policy victories Republicans got out of the Regular session was SB 14, which prevents doctors from prescribing trans hormones or performing trans surgeries. This is a good bill (which was unfortunately killed last session), but Republican voters shouldn’t be blamed for wanting more.

Per Governor Abbott’s statement Monday evening, the Legislature left “many critical items” remaining, and alludes to multiple special sessions. This is a good thing, because during session, numerous bills were killed relating to border security, school choice, property tax reform, and other priorities. Many voters are hoping the Governor will revive these important priorities.

Meanwhile, the Legislature is focused on Ken Paxton, and that hasn’t been going well. Primary challengers are practically coming out of the woodwork against those who voted for impeachment, and Speaker Phelan is down to 24% support in his own district, according to this poll by Defend Texas Liberty PAC.

After almost a decade of dealing with sham trials against President Trump, Texas voters shouldn’t be blamed for being suspicious of charges cooked up in a secret committee for 3 months, then announced 2 days before the vote. Speaking of which, Gillespie County’s own Representative Ellen Troxclair has been facing backlash over her Aye vote to impeach Paxton. These comments are on her post explaining her vote, including one from former State Rep. Biedermann.

I don’t think these people are happy. We’ll see what Troxclair does from here in 2024 and throughout the Special sessions.

Also, This:

Conservatives’ Protests Force Major Pro-LGBT Businesses to Rethink Marketing, Retail. After Anheuser-Busch collaborated with a trans TikTok influencer on April 1st, the company has received brutal pushback from across the nation, leading to a boycott of Bud Light and Budweiser which is still going strong two months later, seeing over a 20% drop in sales within the first four weeks. Anheuser-Busch has lost 11.9% of its share value in the market and over $15.7 billion dollars. Experts say the boycott will not last forever, but the company should expect about 12% volume decline until the year 2025. Meanwhile, the retail chain Target has been hit with similar outrage after contracting with a trans designer in London. As the store began stocking over 2,000 pro-LGBT products for “Pride Month,” conservatives lashed out over the designer’s “Satanic” and “violent” images, including a guillotine reading “Homophobe Headrest,” and slogans such as “Satan respects pronouns.” Although Target has canceled this particular contract and is moving some LGBT displays from the front to the back of their stores, the retail company still stocks a multitude of controversial products and has not seen boycotting to a noticeable degree.

88th Legislative Session in Texas Closes with Massive Proposed Budget. The proposed budget for the next biennium comes from the adjusted HB1. This budget increases State spending by 21.3% compared to the last budget. This is potentially the most dramatic increase in Texas history, totaling $321 billion. Advocates for fiscal responsibility say this would be bad enough by itself, but is outrageous when compounded with the dismally small property tax relief bills that floated around the floor.

Turkey Announces the Reelection of its President. After initially coming up short in the presidential election on May 14, incumbent Recep Teyyip Erdogan faced off against Kemal Kilicdaroglu in a run-off election and came away with 52% of the nation’s votes. Erdogan, who has been in the president’s seat for the past 20 years, will remain in office for the next five-year term as well. Many opposers to Erdogan claim he is largely responsible for the country’s increasing inflation and decreasing freedoms. Supporters say he has done well to increase Turkey’s political stance among the world. Outsiders believe online censorship by Edrogan’s government gave him an “unjustified advantage” at the polls.

Book Review

Venomous Snakes of Texas: A Field Guide by Andrew H. Price

With temperatures rising in the hill country, outdoorsy folks are starting to take extra precaution wandering around nature. Why? One reason is the increasing activity of venomous snakes. Think you know how to spot them all? Perhaps you can tell the difference between a dangerous Texas Coral and a benign King Snake and I’m sure you recognize the distinguishing pattern on a Western Diamondback, but are you familiar with the Mottle Rock and Northern Blacktail (two rattlesnake species also found in Gillespie County)? Think all venomous snakes have broad triangular heads? You might want to think again.

Andrew H. Price’s goal when researching and writing Venomous Snakes of Texas was to educate the public about the nature of venomous snakes and how to prepare for the possibility of meeting them. He gives visual descriptions next to color photographs of 15 kinds of native venomous species with their subspecies and lists their habitats, ranges, behaviors, predators, and prey. Interesting tidbits gleaned from the book include: coral snakes have a natural predator in bullfrogs and are the only venomous snakes in Texas that do not give birth to live young; roadrunners and domestic chickens often kill and eat Western Diamondbacks; skunks are immune to pit vipers; opossums will prey upon copperheads and cottonmouths.

While Venomous Snakes of Texas is well laid-out and fundamentally useful for area residents, it was published over 10 years ago and attests to its age with outdated information on snake bites and non-current range maps. Nonetheless, Price’s book is still a suggested read for learning about venomous snakes and can be checked out from the Pioneer Memorial Library as TX 597.96.

Die Deutsche Ecke

When attempting to (at least partially) decipher text in a foreign language, the first step is usually recognizing and distinguishing its letters/characters and learning what sounds they make. The second might be orienting yourself to the sentences (in Hebrew for example, this would mean starting at the right side of the page and scanning left). The next step I would take is picking out the most important parts by differentiating noun and verbs from the rest of the words. In German, finding nouns is pretty easy.

Whereas in English only proper nouns are capitalized, German nouns are all capitalized whether person, place, or thing, no matter if they’re at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence. This seems to be rather unique to the language. Indeed, one of the reasons why officials speculate that the writers of the ransom note for Charles Lindburg’s child were German is because of the random capitalization of certain nouns in the note.

With this in mind, I invite you to skim over the following text:

Unser Vater im Himmel! Dein Name werde geheiligt. Dein Reich komme. Dein Wille geschehe wie im Himmel so auf Erden. Unser tägliches Brot gib uns heute. Und vergib uns unsere Schuld, wie auch wir vergeben unsern Schuldigern. Und führe uns nicht im Versuchung, sondern erlöse uns von dem Bösen. Denn dein ist das Reich und die Kraft und die Herrlichkeit in Ewigkeit.

At the very least, you can now point to all the nouns scattered throughout that passage! (Hint: there are 13 of them, plus one plural form.) If you happen to already know that Unser Vater is “Our Father,” you probably followed along fairly well.

What about the pronouns, you ask? Okay, okay, there are exceptions to every rule, and clearly Germans do not capitalize pronouns like they do nouns. Thankfully, some pronouns are similar enough to English that they can be quickly learned. “I” = ich, “we” = wir, “us” = uns and its forms including unser, unsere, and unsern. I’ll present you with the entire table on pronouns in case any of you reading this are nerdy and want to familiarize yourself with the lot. I promise, there will be no test.

 NominativeAccusative (Direct Object)Dative (Indirect Object)Genitive (Possessive)Reflective
You singular, informaldudichdirdein-dich/dir
It (neuter)esesihmsein-sich
You plural, informal (y’all)siesieihnenihr-sich
You sing. & plural formalSie*Sie*Ihnen*Ihr-*sich

*Alas, here again is another exception to the rule. The German language distinguishes between the formal and informal “you.” Formal “you” pronouns are almost always capitalized.

The Good News

Adapted from Popular Commentary of the Bible: New Testament Vol. II. By Paul E. Kretzmann, 1921. CPH.

Romans 7:18-8:1

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing; for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would do I do not; but the evil which I would not do, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. St. Paul here, for the sake of emphasis, repeats and amplifies his statements concerning the struggle between flesh and spirit in the regenerate: For I know that there lives not in me, that is, in my flesh, anything good. He makes a distinction between himself, his real, regenerated self, and his flesh, his old, perverted nature. Inasmuch and in so far as he still has this nature in himself, nothing good lives in him. This implies, incidentally, that in the real self of the regenerated person there is indeed something good, something spiritual, something that agrees with the demands of the will of God. For the willing, the determination to do good, lies beside him, is ready for him, and its use offers no difficulty. But to perform that which is excellent he finds not, he does not know where it is, it is not to be found. So the purpose to perform the holy will of God is there, but the difficulty lies in the execution of that which he acknowledges as being excellent. For the good that he desires he does not perform, but the evil which he does not desire, that he practices. The determination to live in accordance with the will of God is not altogether without effect, the struggle is never given for an instant, although the evil is committed again and again. And so the apostle again concludes: If, then, I perform that which I do not purpose, then it is no longer I that do it, but the sin which dwells in me. The things which I do, when contrary to the characteristic desires and purposes of my heart, are to be considered as the acts of a slave. They are indeed my own acts, but not being performed with the full and joyful purpose of the heart, are not to be regarded as a fair criterion of character.

I find, then, a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the Law of God after the inward man; but I see another law in my members, warring against the Law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. I wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So, then, with the mind I myself serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. St. Paul now gives an explanation of the peculiar situation which he has just described. He has discovered and found, by experience, a constant fact, a rule, or law, that when his inclination and intention is to do good, evil is present with him, is always at hand. His desire and determination is to do good, but the evil, always present, offers itself, mixes with all his performing and omitting. He is not speaking of an unusual, an exceptional condition, but of one that is the rule, one in which he finds himself day after day, an experience, also, which is common to all believers. This statement the apostle both explains and confirms: For I find my delight in the will of God according to the inner man; but I see, I become aware of, another rule, a different norm, in my members, which struggles, battles, against the Law of my mind that forcibly subjects me, that brings me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. The inner man, the regenerated self, the new man of the apostle, rejoices over and finds his delight in the Law of God, in doing His holy will. But there is that other, that different rule and norm, represented by the will of the old Adam in his members. The rule in the members of the body is the law of sin, sin itself, in so far as it tries to govern and direct the actions of the members into sinful channels. The perverted mind and will, as represented in the old Adam, is anxious to keep the members of the body in subjection to its will and direction. And that brings on the struggle. As the lower nature prevails, it leads the person captive to the law of sin which exhibits and exerts its power through the members of the body. In the soul of the regenerated person the regenerated mind struggles with the perverted flesh, and the mind, though it wages incessant warfare against the flesh and always keeps the ideal of perfect sanctification in view, cannot free itself altogether from the dominion and power of the flesh. And therefore the regenerated person, chafing and fretting and struggling in his unwilling service, longs for the day when he will enjoy the final, complete redemption from the power of sin.

This thought brings on the last exclamation of the apostle: O miserable, afflicted, wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me, tear me out of this body of death, or the body of this death? All the longing of the believer for the final deliverance of his mortal body, which is still such an uncertain, weak organ of the Spirit and so easily becomes subject to sin, is here expressed. Every Christian is eagerly awaiting the day when his slavery to sin will definitely be at an end, when he, with transfigured body and in eternal life, will live unto God and will serve God without any hindrance. But the apostle’s cry for deliverance is followed by one of thanksgiving: Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! The deliverance has already been gained, the final redemption is certain, and its full consummation for every believer is only a matter of a few day or years. So, then, Paul for himself, according to his regenerated self, with his mind, with his new man, serves the Law of God, but with his flesh, with his old Adam, the law of sin. His real, willing service is therefore offered to God, even though his flesh still compels him to yield at times. And so the feeling of joy and gratitude prevails in the life of Christians. In the midst of their present sinful wretchedness they never give up the struggle against sin, they never lose sight of the fact that they are Christians, and therefore also always thank God through Jesus Christ, to whom they owe their present blessed state of regeneration.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  “Therefore,” an inference especially from the last verse of the preceding chapter. For since the Christians with their flesh still serve the law of sin and, on account of the weakness of their corrupted flesh, sin daily and much, the conclusion might be drawn, also by themselves, that they are heaping God’s wrath and condemnation upon themselves by their sins of weakness with which they are daily battling, that they, although in a state of justification through the merits of Christ, are in a state of condemnation and can never be certain of God’s fatherly affection. But this feeling, which would tend also to take away the certainty of redemption, is not justified. Although sin still rages in the flesh, yet it does not condemn, because the spirit is just and battles against it. This Paul declares with great emphasis: Condemnation is in every sense out of the question; there is none, of any kind or degree; no sentence of condemnation can touch them. It is true, of course, that all sins of the Christians, also sins of weakness, are in themselves under the judgment of condemnation, that the believers must daily seek forgiveness for them in the wounds of Christ. These facts, however, have been fully discussed in connection with the justification of a poor sinner before God. But here St. Paul is treating of the great work of sanctification, which follows upon justification. There are Christians that are deeply concerned about the fact that their life and works, their conversation of believers, is still so far from perfection, that their performance of God’s will remains so far behind their intention and desire. But here we are given the assurance that God, reconciled to all men in Christ Jesus, looks upon the justified sinners, upon the regenerated, believing Christians, as though they were altogether in the Spirit, as though they had no sinful flesh to hinder them anymore, To them that are in Christ Jesus, that are in Him vitally, by that wonderful union of which the Lord speaks John 15:1-7, that have their being in Him by justifying faith, to them that walk not, do not regulate their entire life according to the flesh, according to their sinful desires, but follow the commands of the Spirit, to these there is no sentence of condemnation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *