The 2023 Turkey Awards

dfwnewsa | November 22, 2023 | 1 | 25th Annual Fort Worth Weekly Turkey Awards , 817 , arlington , city , Feature , features , Fort Worth , Fort Worth News , life , local , people , Tarrant County , Texas

The 2023 Turkey Awards

Dig In

Everyone makes mistakes, but the antics we point out in this issue aren’t just slipups. Most of them have been committed by bad actors with malicious intent or rampant, perhaps even temporary stupidity in their brain pieces. Or both.

Don’t worry. We don’t expect anything to change. We’ve been writing about local corruption and dumb decisions for decades, and Fort Worth, North Texas, and the entire state are now worse off than they’ve ever been. Christian Nationalists have taken over the highest elected positions in Tarrant County, and several local school boards have fallen under the sway of these warped, racist bigots. When Fort Worth becomes a Christian caliphate, it won’t be because we didn’t warn you. We have. And we will continue to do so. It’s our job. Just remember to set a reminder next time an election rolls around, mmkay? Our founding fathers sure would appreciate it.

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And now for the 25th Annual Fort Worth Weekly Turkey Awards …  — Anthony Mariani

 

Culture Vultures

The message from Near Southsiders couldn’t be clearer: Christian Nationalists, get lost. Keep your latte-toting, essential oil-loving cult at your Mercy Culture Church compound because your obsession with Pastor Landon Schott’s prophecies and QAnon-tinged Instagram stories may make for great convos after church, but the rest of our fair city is moving forward with crazy notions of equality and the strict separation of church and state/hate.

In June, residents of Fort Worth’s most progressive neighborhood learned that a local outdoor market had booted a vendor because she’s queer. Carlie Alaniz was shocked to be kicked, largely because the married couple behind Roots Market never showed their disdain for the queer community to her. Another queer person, Madelaine Klein, was similarly tricked by the owners and left after Alaniz.

If Mercy “Cult” followers were initially ignorant of the unapologetically LGBTQ-affirming Near Southside community, the charismatic churchgoers got schooled this summer as dozens of loud and proud protestors took to peacefully protesting Roots Market’s weekly events that drew fans like LaunchBox Collective’s co-owners and Westside Garments, a pop-up retailer that sells clothes “stained by encounters.” Hope they have a good return policy. #gross

Roots Market’s last appearance on the Near Southside was in August. As out of touch as Mercy Cult’s congregants are, they appear to have gotten the message that the only thing Near Southsiders hate is hate. Cults and other misguided populist movements thrive when decent-minded people tolerate intolerance. The backlash against Roots and Mercy isn’t an attack on organized religion but rather righteous resistance to crazies hiding behind the Bible to disparage people who aren’t straight (and rich and white), so a heaping helping of tasty turkey breast to the feisty Near Southsiders who spoke out and stood up for vulnerable and marginalized groups and nothing but gizzards for Roots and Mercy.

Mercy Culture followers lack the self-awareness to realize that they, not our awesome gayborhoods, are the main source of evil in this town.
Courtesy Instagram

 

Gobbling Up Girls’ Futures

Add misogyny to the long grocery list of deplorable acts committed by Republican county leaders over the years. In early October, three right-wing county commissioners voted to block $115,334 earmarked for Girls Inc. of Tarrant County, a nonprofit that helps young women lead healthy, educated, productive lives. Nowhere in the charity’s programming are signs or even hints of “Marxist indoctrination,” but that didn’t stop a few Southlake Trumpanzees — most notably County Judge Tim O’Hare and Leigh Wambsganss, who leads Patriot Mobile, a far-right PAC masquerading as a cell phone service provider — from spreading lies about the nonprofit.

Wambsganss, who has tirelessly worked to turn Southlake into a safe zone for fragile white racists, described Girls Inc. as an “extremist political indoctrination machine advocating for divisive liberal politics.”

With the three Republican commissioners outvoting the two Dems, Girls Inc. lost around 20% of state funding to support STEAM programming along with stress management classes and other important resources — all due to bullshit peddled by the racist Southlake trash in charge.

Life in tony Southlake affords a buttress against life’s dangers and stressors for O’Hare and Wambsganss, and for the Southlakers to use their privilege and influence to snub economically disadvantaged girls speaks to the vile and sadistic motivations driving politics in Tarrant County these days. Repressing girls and women places Tarrant County squarely in line with Taliban values at a time when commissioners O’Hare, Gary Fickes, and Manny Ramirez paradoxically laud our county as a destination for business and families — yeah, rich, straight, white or *gag* white-adjacent families who claim they follow Jesus but with all the hate in their hearts act more like Satan.

Our girls and young women face tremendous challenges, whether it’s low self-esteem driven by social media and pop-culture norms of how “beauty” is defined or by the knowledge that way too many people in this country are somehow OK with women not being allowed to choose what to do with their own bodies. Our elected officials should do everything in their power to ensure that these future leaders have the resources and self-confidence to be independent and thriving women instead of using them as bogeymen to further warped political agendas.

 

Eat Crow

It’s a shame that national Democrats have given up on Texas for ’24, essentially handing this great, diverse state to a sexist, racist, felonious rapist/conman who cares only about himself and his billionaire (“billionaire”) cronies. (Remember, Donald Trump’s favorite Bible verse is “all of them.” #truechristian) Despite all the gerrymandering, Texas is still verging ever more closely toward purple every day, and while Grandpa Joe might not carry the state this time, his predecessor Hakeem Jeffries (please) may have a shot. Lay that groundwork now, Dems. Fuck Greg Abbott.

Yes, fuck him every which way. Easily one of the most despicable, loathsome, and evil U.S. governors in the history of this great nation, Abbott recently endorsed tRump for president, meaning that pretty much every wealthy, educated, white Christian in this state and every poor, uneducated, white Christian here and every wannabe[-]white Texan (gosh, must suck to hate the skin you’re in) will vote for the guy openly advocating for a dictatorship. That’s it. The end of democracy. And the beginning of the absolute rule of an utter POS whose brown shirts will jail you or worse for even thinking differently than Fox Nation. Fight back now because silence and apathy equal complicity.

We understand that Dems are always short on cash because most of them aren’t puppets to power-hungry oligarchs or to greedy billionaires and millionaires looking for tax breaks. Still, with the exception of this backwater, nearly every major Texas city is progressive. Where’s that foundation, Biden/Harris? The time is now.

Especially now because Abbott is hurting. Just last week, the Texas House voted 84-63 against vouchers, the governor’s billionaire-backed scam to defund public education to subsidize private/Catholic schools for wealthy whites. It’s a yuge loss for him and one from which he may not recover politically if you do-nothing Dems actually do something here. Cut the “they go low, we go high” bullshit. It should be “they go low, we go lower.” The very foundation of this nation is at stake. Time to get dirty, damn it.

So while we’re more than happy to pile onto Abbott’s plate a heaping helping of gruel, we’re also going to set aside a bowl of crow for him. Mmm. Rich, white, conservative Christian man tears. Tasty.

 

Side of Scabs?

Taylor Sheridan has made Yellowstone into an enormous hit among the kind of people who hang Don’t Tread on Me flags in their living rooms. We’re not putting the Polytechnic High grad on this list for that dubious achievement. No, the superstar Hollywood showrunner earns this bird because of his actions during the writers’ strike this summer. Sheridan publicly opposed the union’s demands for a minimum number of writers per TV show, declaring that he didn’t need a bunch of other scribes mucking up his vision. “The freedom of the artist to be creative must be unfettered,” he said in a line that he likely cribbed from Ayn Rand. Look, if he can handle the Sheridan TV universe all on his own, then bully for him. Even so, his disregard for the need of other writers to, y’know, feed their children and pay their mortgages marks him as the worst sort of successful person, the kind who thinks a problem doesn’t exist unless it directly affects him. For his actions, we give him a turkey covered with scabs.

 

Pickup Order

Pedestrian deaths are going up all over the country, including here. A big part of the blame goes to the vehicles so popular among Texans: SUVs and trucks. It’s one thing to be hit by a sedan that might kneecap you, but a pickup truck with a grill aimed at your upper body won’t be quite so forgiving. Because many of us buy vehicles we don’t need to pretend we’re manly, outdoorsy types towering over others, more people die.

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It’s not only the vehicles we choose. Since killing George Floyd a couple years ago, cops across the U.S. have taken a backseat on enforcing traffic laws. That might explain the increasing number of drivers we see now who think a yellow light signifies stomp like hell on the accelerator and that a red light isn’t really a compulsory stop, more like a different shade of green. Fort Worth police insist they’re cracking down on moving violations, but they should have never let them lapse. Social justice protesters weren’t calling on police to ignore traffic laws and put us all at risk. They just didn’t like cops killing unarmed Black drivers because of expired inspection stickers.

Not only that, but Fort Worth has never done a good job of building sidewalks, especially in poor communities, or of reducing speed limits to keep vehicles from barreling through neighborhoods. All this proves once again that the city is more interested in serving the needs of wealthy developers than the people who actually live here.

We can three-way this Turkey — to the truck/SUV contingent, the Fort Worth police, and the city government itself. All of them deserve equal blame for the unnecessary deaths of far too many pedestrians.

 

Dodging the Chopping Block

Imagine living in a state where your top law enforcement official is indicted on multiple counts of securities fraud, being investigated by the FBI, and facing the possibility of disbarment. Oh, wait. We don’t have to imagine that because we live in Texas (woh woh).

State Attorney General Ken Paxton recently avoided impeachment, thanks to almost every Republican lawmaker in Austin (with the exception of Bob Nichols of Jacksonville and Kelly Hancock of North Richland Hills). Paxton was acquitted of 16 articles of impeachment, proving once again that accountability matters only to Democrats, never to Republicans.

While our crooked leadership punted, the FBI and criminal courts may well send him to the same place the disgraced former president is headed — the slammer. The FBI is actively investigating criminal complaints about a 2020 incident involving eight of Paxton’s top deputies, who said he abused his power to aid Austin real estate developer Nate Paul, a political donor and close Paxton friend. In what could amount to a bribe, Paul allegedly provided free home renovations to Paxton in return for favors that helped the Realtor delay foreclosures and investigate perceived enemies. The U.S. Department of Justice has not yet filed criminal charges.

Paxton’s long-delayed securities fraud trial is set for mid-April. He faces charges stemming from 2011 accusations that he solicited investors for a McKinney technology company three years before being elected to his current office. He allegedly did not disclose that the company was paying him to promote the stock. Paxton pleaded not guilty to two counts of securities fraud (a first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison) and one count of failing to register with state securities regulators (a third-degree felony with a maximum of 10 years in prison).

Our indicted AG is one of the biggest bootlickers of the disgraced former president, himself facing 91 felony indictments, and the Texas Bar is considering disbarring Paxton for abusing his office by filing frivolous lawsuits seeking to overturn President Joe Biden’s resounding 2020 victory. Texans have every reason to roll their eyes at a state justice system where the rot starts at the top and trickles down to our crooked district attorneys and judges, who criminalize poverty while condoning the over-policing of Black and brown communities.

It took decades for the civil courts to charge the Trump cartel for fraudulent business practices and years for the justice system to hold the former guy accountable for his criminal acts while in office and after. Paxton has a long and sordid history of misusing his title for personal gain, and while the gears of justice churn slowly, decent-minded Texans look forward to the day when our top law enforcement official is punished for his many misdeeds. Just like the rest of the bastards.

Ken Paxton’s and Donald Trump’s love of abusing elected office for self-serving reasons may soon land the corrupt duo behind bars.
Courtesy Facebook

 

Jonesing for a Turkey

An old photo surfaced recently showing Jerry Jones standing with a mob of white students blocking Black children from entering a Little Rock high school in 1957 during Arkansas’ hot racial integration controversy. We’re not giving him a Turkey Award for that — after all, lots of people do stupid stuff when they’re teenagers. However, his hiring record as the Dallas Cowboys’ owner doesn’t exactly scream “contrition.” During his stewardship, around 30 men have been head coach, offensive coordinator, or defensive coordinator, and only one of them has been Black — Maurice Carthon likely got the OC job through then-Head Coach Bill Parcells and him alone. You look at the demographics of the players in the NFL, and that figure looks real sus. And then Jones has the nerve to tell his fellow NFL owners that they have to do better at hiring Black coaches. Solving racial problems always seems to be someone else’s job, doesn’t it, Jerrah? Maybe if you’d made Eric Bieniemy or some other bright young mind your head coach, the Cowboys would have won a Super Bowl this century. But since you didn’t, enjoy your turkey dinner with all the fixins and with Alexandra Davis as well. Thanksgiving is for family, after all.

 

Cutting Board

Like Southlake, almost as well-off Keller ISD is now run by Christian Nationalists who want to see public education demolished entirely and replaced with private schooling serving solely the wealthy elite, leaving poor minorities to work in factories or shovel shit, because don’t forget Republican lawmakers all over the country are legalizing child labor, too. God forbid a Black kid grows up to be president. Again. (Obama really, truly broke white America’s brain.) Keller trustee Chris Coker recently posted some insanity that the separation of church and state doesn’t exist and never has in this country. If Coker were just another MAGA-loving dumbass, we wouldn’t waste ink on him, but as an elected official, those types of statements are downright dangerous. It fires up the dumber asses. Public schools should not be politicized by any party or ideology, and school board meetings should not be grounds for unprovoked culture wars funded by privileged, reactionary, backward, old white trash who can’t stand the idea that their warped beliefs aren’t being peddled via public funds.

One major way Keller school leaders are goose-stepping right in line with other authoritarian regimes is by banning books. When Keller review committees failed to boot dangerous, “woke” books describing folks who aren’t straight, wealthy, Christian, and cisgendered, the board adopted a rubric that specifically targets mentions of gender even as human sexuality has always run along a spectrum. Under the current system, Keller ISD even banned the Bible temporarily along with the graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary. Even Romeo and Juliet was unceremoniously pulled from library shelves only to be returned when Keller ISD realized that Texas public schools cannot remove mandatory reading for high school freshmen. Thank Buddha for the TEA!

Our best guess is that some snowflake whined that the tragic love story and cornerstone of Western literature glorified teen suicide even though anyone who’s ever actually read the damn thing knows that Shakespeare made the ending a gut-wrenching reminder that families and society should look past our superficial differences and embrace our shared humanity. Where be thy contextualization, Keller?

The far-right Keller ISD trustees ran on a platform of guns (everyone needs a dozen — the higher the body-count capacity, the better), homophobia, and fearmongering that “Marxists” (lol!) are running public schools even as the suburb has always leaned conservative. The trustees, who are supposed to protect students from bullying, also went and codified harmful, hateful policies targeting trans youth. Several Keller parents told us that teachers had no issues with transgender students using restrooms, largely because the kids preferred the privacy of teacher or nurse facilities. To “fix” the nonexistent problem, the seven trustees adopted a policy mandating that Keller schools “maintain separate restrooms, locker rooms, and other similar facilities designated for and used only by persons based on the person’s biological sex.” No one is protected, comforted, or helped by the needless bullying of queer youths by asshole adults, but those poor leadership decisions allow school leaders to brag to Monte Bennett, Patriot Mobile, and other monied Southlake/Dallas Republican shitheads that Keller really stuck it to the woke mob! Because complaining like whiny-ass little bitches about how people choose to live their lives in a country where freedom of choice is supposedly paramount is all conservatives have. No solutions, just whining and demonizing. Like an adult seated at the kiddie table, you should be embarrassed, Keller ISD. We’re embarrassed for you.

 

Jive-Ass Turkeys

It takes a truly sadistic and warped mind to find humor in the abject suffering of parents fighting in family court to see their children. In August, several law firms and a handful of judges bought tickets to, ordered drinks at, and laughed their two-faced heads off at an annual event organized by the Tarrant County Bar Association.

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Nothing about the asinine skits mocking family-court clients at W.E. Scott Theatre at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center was funny to a normal person, but it was refreshing to see lawyers out themselves as the greedy scumbags we’ve always known them to be. One ditty featured female attorneys dressed — appropriately enough — as demons singing to a popular rap tune. Instead of “Wet-ass Pussy,” they warbled “Whiney-ass Clients.”

County Criminal Judge David Cooke joined in on the grossness, using Radiohead’s “Creep” as cover for crooning about the joys of bleeding parents dry.

“Just open your purse,” he sang. “Give me complete control / I’ve seen all your assets / Your stocks and your gold / I’ll take all your Bitcoin / I’ll get you to trust me / but you shouldn’t trust me.”

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A citizen journalist published leaked video of the fundraiser, inspiring thousands of horrified viewers to rage at attorneys and judges cracking up at the expense of broke and battered parents.

“One of the greatest aspects of evil is pride,” one comment reads. “When they’re that proud of themselves and their evil deeds, they cannot keep it to themselves. You may think these monsters would be mad about being exposed, but a part of them takes joy in the world knowing just how evil they are.”

In the comments, the lawyers and judges did a little whining themselves, claiming it all was “jUsT SAtiRe,” clearly misunderstanding that satire is the truth disguised as humor.

Clearly, the state of corruption in Tarrant County has reached a point where our judges and attorneys openly sing about their disdain for non-elites. While these crooked lawyers rack up exorbitant billable hours, society pays the cost of that sordid business when children are kept away from loving parents who can’t keep up with legal bills. Family court is designed primarily to generate revenue, not dispense justice. Based on our past reporting, multiple judges routinely fabricate information on court orders, deprive parents of due process, and admit lies as evidence as a means of keeping moms and dads tied up in court long enough for judges to place homes in abeyance (extra money for dirty court appointees) and liquidate every last penny from loving mothers and fathers. It is a dirtier scheme than any run by the cartels or Donald Trump because it routinely harms children, and the judicial acts are committed under the guise of “justice.” Bullshit. It’s about making money and subsidizing lawyers’ and judges’ summer homes. That’s it.

In a truly just world, Tarrant County’s family judges would be immediately removed from office and the Tarrant County Family Law Center would be overhauled. Cutting greedy attorneys out would all but eliminate the evilest elements of custody cases, and credible instances of domestic violence or abuse would be addressed through the criminal courts alone. The leaked video showed the country what we locals have long known — that our family court system places profits miles ahead of the best interests of children.

Tarrant County’s soulless family law attorneys have no problem mocking clients even while bleeding them dry.
Courtesy YouTube

 

Sloppy Seconds

“The Rangers won their first World Series, so let’s throw a parade!” sounded good on paper, but in reality, it was over half a million people lining the streets of Arlington with no way to actually see the players and/or trophy — and nowhere to piss. All that was really visible was the occasional tossed beer to someone riding past on a dump truck along with exhortations to “Chug! Chug! Chug!” If you’ve been to your high school alma mater’s homecoming game, where the local Chevy dealer drives the queen and her court around in a new Corvette, then that’s basically the Rangers’ victory parade. Meanwhile, there was nothing going on inside Globe Life Field or at the old ballpark that day. Could the Rangers’ logistics folks not have started at one stadium, ended up at the other, added more entertainment in between (maybe even a Creed Zoom on the Jumbotron), and made it a festival? We could have downloaded tickets, bought merch, food, and booze all day, and even had a place to take a leak. Win/win for everyone, right? No, the Rangers did the bare minimum, and now we’re an example of how not to throw a victory parade. Instead of full beers, we’re throwing the org this not-so-shiny Turkey Award. Enjoy. (Or don’t.)

 

A TAD Overcooked

Dealings at TAD (Tarrant Appraisal District) have become synonymous with corruption and gross mismanagement under the poor leadership of Jeff Law, who finally left in September under mounting public pressure. Rather than fire him, TAD’s five-member board allowed him to resign. Soon after he left, Hood County’s appraisal district hired him. Apparently, bureaucrats in Granbury love losers, which makes sense since the county is named after a yuge loser, Confederate trash John Bell Hood.

Based on our reporting, TAD devolved during Law’s tenure into a toxic workplace where leaders openly retaliated against non-submissive employees while influential law firms and attorneys raked in millions in fees in a government sector not typically known for high legal costs.

TAD’s former leader also oversaw or instigated some boneheaded moves, including the implementation of some new software that created a gazillion miscalculations and sent the number of taxpayer refunds soaring. An anonymous whistleblower wrote to us and said TAD leaders responded to the surge in refunds and complaints with subterfuge.

“Employees have been told to NOT tell the public the truth about the software problems,” the letter reads. “This is the administrative directive — to lie to employees and encourage them to lie to the public and taxing units.”

Equally bad, Law allegedly encouraged nepotism at TAD. Since his cousin had worked at the district since 1987, the rules had to be rearranged to accommodate Law’s hiring in 2008, violating TAD’s policies against nepotism. He found an easy fix by rewriting the employee handbook to leave potential nepotism decisions to the discretion of the chief appraiser, a.k.a. him.

Over the past several months, Jeff Law’s inner circle either resigned or was pushed out as growing public outrage over high property taxes and lackluster transparency boiled over. You would hope that the chief appraiser’s ignominious departure would mark the end of corruption at TAD, but this is Tarrant County. It’s probably only the beginning.

 

Cuban Sandwich

Look, we like Mark Cuban. We dig his willingness to go all out to help his Dallas Mavericks win. That’s what submarined their season last year. Some of us didn’t like the deadline-day deal for Kyrie Irving, but even the biggest of us Kyrie haters didn’t think it would go as bad as fast as it did. We’re also not completely sold on the idea that the Mavericks’ hot start to this season isn’t a mirage cast by weak opposition. No matter. We’re putting the Shark Tank guru here for reacting to the Taylor Swift/Travis Kelce romance by telling her to date a Maverick instead. We don’t often cite “bro code” here at the Weekly, but really, bro? You think one of your players is preferable to a two-time Super Bowl champ who’s easy to look at (in a traditional sense) and who’s going straight into the Hall of Fame if he stops playing football this second? Even if you do believe that (and, hey, we haven’t been intimate with him), telling the world’s biggest entertainment superstar she “can do better than him” as soon as the romance goes public is foul/fowl. For this, we’re serving the Mavs owner turkey pressed into Cuban sandwiches, though it would be better if he ate crow instead.

 

Tiny Tim

Former County Judge Glen Whitley was far from perfect, but he did get one thing right. He understood that managing a populace of around 2 million is a full-time job. Current County Judge Tim O’Hare felt that weekly commissioners court meetings were gobbling up his personal time, so he cut them to biweekly for him to chase ambulances in his hometown of Southlake.

So not only is O’Hare lazy, and greedy, but also, when he does deign to show up to county meetings, he’s unprepared. Go online and watch any commissioners gathering. You’ll see O’Hare fumbling through printouts in a limp attempt to pretend he gives a shit about his job or has any idea what’s going on. He tries to make up for his lack of preparedness with bluster, often verbally scolding county employees for allegedly wasting money or moving too slowly even as he clearly has little idea what he is talking about. This year alone saw our county elections administrator and auditor step down mostly because of our belligerent, ignorant county judge’s incompetence and the over-politicization of his office.

The handiest example of his dumbassery is when he wrote to the state comptroller in May and alleged — with zero evidence — that drag queens showed their privates to children at a Near Southside venue. Like a lot of sexually repressed “Christians,” O’Hare has a hard-on for drag queens, and for trans youths, and we really wish he would stop projecting his pent-up desires on the innocent.

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Affordable housing shortages, public safety, and better infrastructure to support our booming population are all serious needs we should be addressing, yet local conservatives voted in a clown who is more concerned with spreading Fox Nation bullshit and scoring points among the cousin-fucking unwashed than governing. Somehow, the county doesn’t have the scratch to settle wrongful death suits tied to our shithole jail or shore up nursing shortages at MHMR (My Health My Resource) which partly rely on local public funds, but there’s always money for Sheriff Bill Waybourn’s insatiable appetite for ammo, assault rifles, and armored personnel carriers to wage war against who the hell knows. The homeless? People smoking weed? “Antifa” (whatever that is, undoubtedly some Fox Nation bogeyman)? Seriously? Grow the fuck up.

We’re going to have to deal with this Southlake turkey for three more long years, but we can’t wait for that sweet moment when a younger, less racist local electorate finally gives this small-minded, small-dicked ass-hat the pink slip. That bright future, though, won’t happen until local Dems get their shit together and start raising funds on par with Tarrant County’s horrible Teabaggers.

 

Lit Party

Public libraries have enough bullshit to deal with, like book-banning nitwits and anti-intellectuals suspicious of all that dangerous, empathy-inducing learning going on between the pages of novels and other tomes, and now we can add the City of Fort Worth to the list.

After selling off the Central Library a few months ago, a shame because that wonderful urban oasis also hosted children’s programming, live jazz, and art exhibits, the city is still looking for a replacement venue, one that won’t have nearly the same footprint, to save money because everyone knows that when it comes to cutting costs, you always start at the bottom, folks. The city also relocated the Seminary branch library to, yep, a much smaller facility at La Gran Plaza, much to the chagrin of the area locals.

It’s not just the incredible shrinking or totally vanishing libraries. Many of us still like physical books, but good luck checking one out. Most of the library’s printed material has gone digital, and while we’re not against technology — because it does cut down on shelf space — ebooks, unlike hard copies, come with restrictive licenses that must be purchased over and over. This could lead to future funding problems.

Our fear is that we’re seeing the beginnings of an end: shoddier, much smaller facilities leading to fewer patrons, leading to less money appropriated, leading to closures. The Fort Worth Public Library may go the same route as the Fort Worth Botanic Garden — ignored to death by the public purse-string holders until only one option remains: privatization. Allowing our once wonderful library system to die earns the city not just one 2023 Turkey Award but a lifetime of them.

 

Selfie Stick

Spend significant time around hockey players, and you’ll eventually hear them talk about “accountability,” the need for even the biggest stars to acknowledge that they are part of a team and to take ownership when their actions hurt their teammates. It’s a great idea, but it starts to sound like so much crap when you look at what some hockey players actually do. Case in point: Jamie Benn.

The Stars captain has scored a lot of goals, but in the last Western Conference finals last season, he let his emotions get the better of him when he knocked down Vegas’ Mark Stone and then cross-checked him in the mouth while he was lying on the ice. Granted, Stone’s scowly “the refs need me to tell them what to do” schtick can wear thin over a series, but a stupid penalty committed in front of the zebras gave the Knights a power-play goal in a game the Stars could have won and earned Benn a two-game suspension with his team already down three games to none. Vegas eventually prevailed on their way to a Stanley Cup victory.

At least Benn apologized for his actions, admitted that he might have cost his team a shot at the Cup, and vowed to make it up to the fans. Just kidding. He whined about how unlucky he was to have landed stick-first into the other guy’s jaw, which may have caused the NHL’s disciplinary committee to increase his penalty. Now Benn can eat his Thanksgiving dinner while watching video footage of the Golden Knights’ victory parade down the Las Vegas Strip.

 

Gavel, Gavel

Gov. Greg Abbott appoints presiding judges to administrative regions for one reason and one reason only: to ensure that corrupt judicial acts are covered up and that crooked judges are protected. In 2018, he reappointed Judge David Evans to oversee North Texas, and Evans has done his best to live down to Abbott’s cruel standard.

This black-robed turkey routinely assigns constitutionally unqualified judges to cases. Many of these folks do not have oaths of office on file, which technically is not a crime but an egregious deprivation of defendants’ constitutional rights. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest court in the state along with the Texas Supreme Court, has repeatedly ruled that elected and assigned judges, including senior judges, must take the oath of office before hearing cases. Greedy retired judges ignore this constitutional mandate likely because filing the oath would pause their retirement pay as they earn a cool $750 per day as a visiting judge. We’ve pointed this out numerous times, and while Evans and his boss, crony Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, have ignored our findings, several Tarrant County parents have filed motions to dismiss visiting retired judges who have no oath of office on file due to our reporting.

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct is reviewing a complaint from Dallas attorney Stephanie Rhima alleging Evans broke constitutional laws banning government officials from holding two positions of profit. Evans, who is paid for his administrative position, often self-assigns himself as a senior judge (also a paid position) to rule on cases. Since the state constitution bans judges from holding two judicial positions at once, Evans forgoes his administrative role while self-assigned, yet court documents reveal he frequently fills both roles simultaneously.

Evans doesn’t give a shit about following the law, though, and no one in Tarrant County should have faith that our justice system is anything more than a money-grubbing racket for egomaniacal old white men in fancy black robes.

 

Butterball

There’s nothing like football in Texas, and the biggest gridiron birdbrains are the Aledo High School Bearcats.

In the most accomplished pigskin racket in the entire DFW area, the Bearcats pilfer inner-city football talent at will, offering the looted players’ parents or family “respite” from urban decay and low-income schools which folks like the citizens of Aledo created in the first place because they don’t want their little Jordan Bearcats and Dylan Bearcats sharing classrooms with inner-city (read: Black) kids.

But the denizens of Entitledtown do show face occasionally, adding a Black kid here and there to move the chains on Friday night so little Joshua Bearcat can nab a state championship ring and live sappily ever after. It’s a sight to behold, watching the complexions change under Aledo football jerseys every fall, and by November, the Bearcats are always headed to the playoffs. (Do the Black players have to ride in the back of the team bus, too?)

Everyone in Entitledtown knows this, so they occasionally erect feel-good statues of intellectually disabled players or elect intellectually disabled female students as homecoming queens, but this legerdemain is for the rubes in the cheap seats. The big game has been a sham and a shame in Aledo for years, but the community is shameless. And winning is always way more important than actually helping the unfortunate.

 

This column reflects the opinions of the editorial board and not the Fort Worth Weekly. To submit a column, please email Editor Anthony Mariani at Anthony@FWWeekly.com. He will gently edit it for clarity and concision.

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