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Travel Politics / Politics Travel / TSA / Airport Security / Airline Security / Texas / Texas Travel / → All Tags
As they'll be more than glad to tell you (at length) Texans are a freedom loving people. However sometimes however ardor for personal liberty goes a little farther than what good sense, or political reality, or federal law might advise. This is one of those times.
You'll recall that in March 2011 we openly ridiculed Texas lawmakers for introducing a series of bills that would have criminalized various TSA measures, from invasive pat-downs to full-body scans. We called the entire spectacle a "publicity stunt" and predicted that it would quickly die. Within a few weeks, and for a wide range of reasons, it had indeed died. Then a year later Rep. David Simpson of Longview introduced a bill that would have merely criminalized "inappropriate touching" by TSA. It too, predictably, failed to become a real thing.
Apparently now it's back. Rep. Simpson seems to believe that travel politics bloggers don't have enough easy content, and he's eager to help. God bless Rep. Simpson. The rest of you should be following his example and hooking us up, rather than scoffing and rolling your eyes like you're obviously doing right now.
San Diego Zoo / Animals / Los Angeles Zoo / Texas Travel / Texas / San Diego Travel / San Diego / Zoos / Green Travel / Nature Travel / → All Tags
Sumatran tigers are a critically endangered subspecies of tiger from the Indonesian island of Sumatra. There are less than 300 of them left in the wild, and all known population clusters are in decline. So when you have a chance to see one under any circumstances you should avail yourself of the opportunity. And if that chance somehow involves seeing a bunch of baby Sumatran cubs wrestling, that should conclusively settle whether it's worth your time to go wandering around the zoo for an afternoon.
This is all by way of saying that we realize it's been almost a month since we posted about zoos, and we owe you some cute things. Herein are three different parks across two different states, each with a pair of baby Sumatran tigers. We've even included embedded videos and links to picture galleries, because it's Monday and you deserve it.
Airline Security / Political Travel / Congress / TSA / Airport Security / Texas Travel / Full-Body Scanning / Texas / → All Tags
Today is the last day of the Texas House's special session, which means it's the last chance for Texas lawmakers to pass their TSA anti-groping bill. The bill, which would make conducting enhanced pat-downs a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine, was first passed by the House, then modified and passed by the Senate, and is now back in the House for a final vote. As of publication time there's still no news on whether the vote is yay, nay, or nothing.
Will Texas lawmakers hold a vote in time? Which version of the bill will pass? What will the Texas public think? Who cares. This law is moronic. It won't pass in any recognizable form. If it passes in any form at all it will be struck down by the courts. If it isn't struck down by the courts TSA will pressure Texas until the law is repealed. This is our third post on the topic, and frankly we're starting to resent Texas just a little bit for continuing with this charade.
Airline Security / Political Travel / Congress / TSA / Airport Security / Texas / Texas Travel / Full-Body Scanners / → All Tags
Our credibility on demanding TSA reform is pretty good - see here and here and here and probably here and here and maybe also here, and that's just the last month and a half. But what's going on in Texas seems like a silly distraction.
About 20 legislators have teamed up to author a series of bills criminalizing the use of TSA's full-body scanners and enhanced patdowns, and threatening to legally punish TSA workers who implement those policies. The immediate question that everyone asks when they hear about this: "wait, can they do that?"
Short answer: of course not. Longer answer: maybe, maybe, maybe legally, but definitely not after Congress gets involved.
Zoos / Dallas / Dallas Travel / Texas / Texas Travel / Animals / Nature Travel / Green Travel / → All Tags
It was a busy June at the Dallas Zoo, where the May 28 opening of the Giants of the Savanna habitat led to skyrocketing attendance and forced the zoo to extend their hours. The 11 acre section is just the latest addition to the 122 year old zoo, which itself covers over 100 acres. Now that things have calmed down a little bit, it's the perfect time to see the new exhibit, which brought more than 40,000 people to the zoological park in one month.
You can take a virtual tour of the entire exhibit here, via a fairly impressive animated video. During the tour you'll get to see how they've divided up the exhibits of various African animals - giraffes, lions, elephants, and so on. If you look very closely next to the giraffes you'll see a kind of balcony, which is the new feeding station. Visitors have the opportunity to climb up there and feed the giraffes lettuce leaves, which can be purchased on the spot.
Art / Museums / Dallas / Texas / → All Tags
With pieces like the above from American sculptor Jonathan Borofsky, the Nasher Sculpture Center gets high marks from us for bending the outdated perception that Dallas ain't got no art.
Designed by Renzo Piano, and celebrating only its third year of operation this month, the indoor/outdoor gallery features a collection of hundreds of modern and contemporary sculptures by plenty of important artists, Miró, Picasso and Rodin among them.
Now that the museum has established itself in the city's art scene, it's collaborating with the Dallas Museum of Art, as well as the Baltimore Museum of Art, to host "Matisse: Painter as Sculptor." The exhibition, which opens January 21, has hundreds of works from the Frenchman organized thematically to highlight his creative process. If a trip to Texas isn't in your future, not to worry. When the show wraps in Dallas, it's headed to San Francisco and then Baltimore.
Sports / Texas / Football / Travel Media / → All Tags
Does someone at the New York Times Travel section have a serious case of football fever? It would appear that as the leaves start to turn outside, editors at the paper are hankering for a tailgate party. In the last week, they've run stories on both Austin and College Station, Texas, home to the University of Texas and Texas A&M, respectively.
That's not to say that the articles aren't full of some good nuggets, including some background behind the official A&M gesticulation at sporting events:
Throughout, they flash the A&M hand signal, a fist with thumb upturned, and yell "Gig 'em, Aggies!" -- a 75-year-old gesture meant to evoke the act of impaling a horned frog, symbol of their archrival, Texas Christian University.Yes, impaling a horned frog. We'll look for a similar gesture at Foxboro this fall.
[Image via HeroicLife/Flickr]
· 36 Hours [NYT]
· Going to: Austin [NYT]