California 4, Texas 0. At Least In Basketball.

If you’re a basketball fan in Texas, particularly a Democrat, well, I feel for you.

For the first time in the 30 years since the state had three NBA franchises, none of them are playing in the playoffs.   While in the same week, you’re seeing played out this tragically flawed sequence of news items, per Time’s Solcyre Burga:

The fate of an Army sergeant Daniel Perry, who was found guilty of fatally shooting a protester at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in 2020, is up in the air as the Texas pardon board reviews the conviction for a possible pardon at the governor’s request and Perry’s attorney pushes for a retrial. 

On April 7th, Perry, a 35-year-old active duty sergeant at Fort Hood, was convicted of murder in connection with the death of Garrett Foster, 27, who was killed after Perry shot him during a protest in Austin, Texas, in July 2020. Perry claims he acted in self-defense because he feared for his life after Foster, who was carrying an assault rifle under Florida’s open carry law, allegedly made him feel threatened.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott believes that Perry should be exonerated based on Texas’ stand your ground law, which allows using deadly force to defend yourself if you feel you’re in danger.

Abbott called for an expedited review of Perry’s conviction on Saturday. “I am working as swiftly as Texas law allows regarding the pardon of Sgt. Perry,” Abbott tweeted. “I look forward to approving the Board’s pardon recommendation as soon as it hits my desk.”

Travis County District Attorney José Garza said in a statement that Abbott’s attempted intervention in the case is “deeply troubling.”

What’s even more troubling could be what the Houstom Chronicle’s Jeremy Wallace postulated:

Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to call for a pardon for a man convicted of murdering a Black Lives Matter protester in Austin is just the latest example of the influence Fox News host Tucker Carlson appears to have on GOP politics in Texas.

Last Friday night, Carlson was on air calling out Abbott for not agreeing to appear on his show to address the murder conviction earlier that day of Daniel Perry. Carlson said Abbott’s office suggested they talk to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton instead.

“So that is Greg Abbott’s position — there’s no right to self-defense in Texas,” Carlson told his estimated audience of over 4 million viewers.

Less than 24 hours later, Abbott took to social media to make his first public comments on Perry’s case and declare Texas has one of the strongest self-defense laws in the nation.

Coincidence?  Couldn’t be…

And if you happen to be a Republican NBA basketball fan in a state which 30% of the non-playoff teams call home, you’re probably even more agitated about this fact, per Zach Wolpin of Basketball Insiders:

With the Lakers earning the seventh seed, they helped make some history for California. All four NBA teams in California have made the playoffs in the same season for the first time ever. 

The entire Pacific Conference in the West made the playoffs this season and the last to do so were the Lakers. Sacramento is the highest seed out of all four California teams at #3. They have a first-round matchup with their in-state rival, the Warriors. Taking the #5 seed was the Clippers and the Lakers locked up the #7 seed last night with a win vs Minnesota.

So, yeah, not a good week basketball-wise.  And in Northern California tonight, the two teams from the region will square off in a post-season series for the first time, with the AVERAGE ticket price nearly $700 for a FIRST round game.  That’s more than seven times the price of an average regular season ticket, including the beam.

But, fear not, Tex.  You might be able to at least take some solace that California’s governor hasn’t exactly been ordaining himself as a saint, either, at least according to the Washington Examiner’s David Freddoso:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is traveling across the South, criticizing Southerners’ choice of leaders. While in Florida last week, he pointedly attacked the man he has decided will be his arch-rival, Gov. Ron DeSantis. Imagine going to your arch-rival’s state to denounce him as a tyrant, only to have a court decision like this one handed down:

California church must pay $1.2M for breaking COVID rules

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A California church that defied safety regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic by holding large, unmasked religious services must pay $1.2 million in fines, a judge has ruled.

Calvary Chapel in San Jose was fined last week for ignoring Santa Clara County’s mask-wearing rules between November 2020 and June 2021.

Given that the science has discounted whatever benefits people once believed came from mask-wearing, it seems especially petty and stupid for local California governments to pursue violators in this manner. But that’s what happens when your weak and ineffectual governor lets municipal, and county governments run wild with stupid and unscientific rules that take away ordinary people’s rights to gather, worship, and enjoy community.

Touche, Stuart.

And, as NPR’s Tom Goldman reminded in an interview with colleague Juana Summers  you’re only a few weeks away from an NBA draft that has the chance to change things around, and quickly:

We did mention those three Texas teams that did not make the playoffs – Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. But for them and all those teams that did not qualify, I understand that they are taking a longing look at France as they try to rebuild.

GOLDMAN: (Laughter) A longing gaze directed at 19-year-old Victor Wembanyama. Get to know that name, Juana. None other than LeBron James called Wembanyama a generational talent. He’s seven-feet-five in shoes.


GOLDMAN: He has an eight-foot wingspan, phenomenally skilled with his dribbling and shooting. He blocked shots like someone seven-foot-five should. Now, May 16 will be smack dab in the middle of the playoffs. But it’s also the day of the NBA draft lottery, when it’s decided what the order of the next draft will be for this season’s worst teams and which of those teams will win the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. You know, no team wants to finish near the bottom of the standings, but if you got to stink, this is the year to do it…

SUMMERS: (Laughter).

GOLDMAN: …If it means you can draft the French phenom.

So yeah, Gavin.  Enjoy it while you can.  Odds are good Wembanyama will, like Tesla, be in Texas.

But, Tex…just remember…you might get your draft pick, but you’re still stuck with YOUR leader.

So I guess the scoreboard reflected in today’s headline does matter?






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