“Only” in Texas – what the f*ck are “we” doing?!?

  • 2021-09-17 “Bara” i Texas – vad i h-vete håller “vi” på med?!? – original email, in Swedish
  • 2021-11-06 “Only” in Texas – what the f*ck are “we” doing?!? – email translated into English
  • 2021-11-26 Variant tweaked and posted here.

Howdy Guys!

Sitting here on a nice but so-far rather chilly Saturday in Austin. (It’s 5C/41F close to 9 o’clock in the morning. Forecast is 20C/68F and we plan to go out on the lake after noonish, in the glorious sun. :smiley:)

Anyhow, catching up with personal emails et c and just read another thing my dear wife had sent me some time ago. Yeah, as I wrote – I am catching up…

The one I just read was ‘Texas, this is not the Innovation you’re looking for…’, from Oct 1. https://austinstartups.com/texas-this-is-not-the-innovation-youre-looking-for-2e4eaa70d33b

All this reminded me that I created another email – in Swedish – and sent to family and friends over there in Scandinavia.

That was sent in September but since then have talked to many English-native-and-definitley-not-Swedish-speaking people about the situation in Texas and ever since though I really should take time to translate the original email. So here goes:

This whole email was initially written in Swedish and intended for closest relatives and friends.

Then realize other friends around the world maybe could be a little bit more enlightened how crazy things can be in Texas, and US.
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Austin Sunday 2021-09-12
Started thinking about writing this email in early August (2021) after an “incident” at IKEA.
A little bit about how Texas and the United States has evolved in recent years.

IKEA (USA) and “New” rules
Nowadays, you can NOT just buy certain furniture at IKEA without first registering and accepting terms.
So we have to end up in a register to buy furniture, and this in a country that allows the sale of one’s private information anyway, no GDPR here.
Ok, furniture can be dangerous things, especially in the hands of total idiots… But, in comparison with (eg) weapons… (more below).
And where is this idea that the individual should take responsibility, no one else – authority, company, or individual should tell “me” what “I” can or can not do.
Far too many lawyers in this country.

WARNING: A newly installed and unsecured dresser in a guest room.
Weapons in Texas
Since September 1 (2021), “we” can now “finally” acquire weapons without any permit or training requirements.
(If you buy a weapon in a gun store, a federal background check must be made that you are not more heavily criminally charged, but then you only go to a weapons fair or buy from a private person.)
That is, any idiot can now crawl into a store, get the background check done – can take a few days, takes minutes for me as already approved, buy a weapon, take it home and carry it – sharply charged – completely open.
Feels safe, right?
It is easier to get weapons than drawers at IKEA. (It is the arms store that does the work of arranging background checks, compared to the fact that it is I as an individual who must register and show proof of registration when shopping at IKEA.)
* Constitutional Carry (Texas Law 2021) – we have a constitutional right to have weapons, in reality no requirements for anyone as a whole education
* Open Carry (Texas team 2016) – carry weapons open (loaded, eg on the hip)
* Campus Carry (Texas law 2016) – have loaded weapons in schools (the slightly higher education institutions – College, University)
Abortions, in Texas, with several states
Now we have basically banned abortions in Texas – the toughest rules in the United States.
What makes this extra sick is how the law is designed in the details.
– It is NOT the state that must “bring an action” without any citizen being able to do so.
(As far as I know, there is NO other context when anyone can be the one to “bring an action” but you must be a directly affected party to be able to pursue a legal process (civil law).)
A little harshly, it can be said that we all people in Texas have now been given the right to rule over all women’s bodies.
And not only the women directly “affected” but everyone who helps can also be sued and forced to pay both fines and the other party’s legal costs. Totally DEVIL sick.
Legal society in total decay.
And that in a state that already has relatively very poor healthcare specifically for women.
Child mortality in the US compared to Sweden is 4 times higher (2018)
Maternal Mortality and Maternity Care in the United States Compared to 10 Other Developed Countries, Nov 18, 2020
US Ranks Worst in Maternal Care, Mortality Compared With 10 Other Developed Nations, December 3, 2020
Texas Has The Highest Maternal Mortality Rate In The Developed World. Why ?, Aug12, 2017
A few years old article and “we” have gotten a little better, I think, since then. Wait, nix – the problems continue:
Maternal Deaths: First U.S. Data Since 2007 Shows Serious Problems Persist, Jan 30, 2020
Alcohol, in Texas
No, let’s focus on something really important – when we can buy alcohol!
Per a new law since Sep 1, we can now buy beer and wine already from 10 am on Sundays, from earlier at 12. Finally! Those two hours on Sunday mornings have been pure hell!
But, why do something simple, “streamlined” around here, e.g. from 7 am to midnight every day of the week, when they were still running and rowing with the team…
No, 7 to midnight Mon-Fri, on Saturdays get 07:00 to 01:00 Sunday morning, and now 10:00 to midnight on Sundays.
It’s like you can not do anything easier in the United States, everything should be complicated.
(Taxes and yearly income statements are a well-known area and comparing with our Swedish statements on 4 pages, and filing is done by SMS, to here in the US with the latest statement that ended with 36 pages, took days to finally compile and send off.)
(The above refers to the sale of beer and wine, not spirits, and in grocery stores and the like. Dedicated liquor stores are still closed on Sundays, and may only be open from 10:00 to 21:00 Mon-Sat. See, they can streamline when they wants!)
https://www.tabc.texas.gov/faqs/ – What are the legal hours for sale and service of alcoholic beverages?
Now Texas is not entirely unknown for confusing laws, including alcohol – a few years old article highlights it a little more:
(“Blue Laws”
Learned myself about this when reading the article in keranews 2019-04-17, the link above,
“Forty-three other states allow liquor sales on Sundays. But Texas is one of the few remaining states with” blue laws “in place, which limit the sale of certain goods on certain days of the week. Most blue laws were repealed in 1985 , with two exceptions – liquor stores and car dealerships. ”
More to read
Texas’ “Free market”
Occasionally and on the whole, Texas is among the more business-friendly states, but there is no shortage of clumsy and complicated laws that must be taken into account.

An example, from my time in digital forensics at Dallas County Community College, I learned that if you work with hard drives and try to produce data for a friend or company, you must have a “Private Eye” license. Otherwise you can get a hefty fine, thousands of dollars.

Another example is that Tesla is not allowed to sell cars in Texas. All cars must be sold outside of Texas, and the people who buy cars often do so online and then they are transported into Texas from another state.
It is so absurd that even cars made here (in Austin, as it happens) must be transported out of Texas and then in again, for those who want a Tesla made here.

Corona, healthcare, Texas with several states in the United States
From already being quite loose with restrictions (read None, from State of Texas level) to an even more heated debate and battle between the governor and different school districts.
Many schools, which opened as usual in August, have tried to have requirements with face masks but which have been opposed by the governor (the same is happening in Florida).
What has happened can be summarized with clear statistics, in the wake of the delta variant:
* Rapid increase in cases, in general, especially in Republican-controlled states such as Texas, Florida, Georgia,…
* Those who are now mainly affected are younger, who go to schools, and older – teachers who work in schools
* There has been a crying shortage of medical places again, at levels like in August a year ago, when we did NOT have a vaccine yet.
These 8 states make up half of US Covid-19 hospitalizations. And the surge among the unvaccinated is overwhelming health care workers, August 14, 2021
These 5 states have less than 10% of ICU beds left as Covid-19 overwhelms hospitals, Sep 1, 2021
(Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Florida and Arkansas have less than 10% left of their ICU bed capacity,)
A little interesting piece of time, regarding access to vaccines (nowadays, anyone who wants a vaccine can get it in the US), Pernilla mentioned that in San Antonio it is even easier.
Gather 5 people – family, friends, at work, etc. – so you can call and book a small bus that comes to you, and you get even to choose which vaccine you want.

Voting & Democracy, Texas with several states in the United States
Ok, the last catastrophic law change that has now been implemented in Texas and that I want to address here and now are our even tougher restrictions on how we can vote.
Everything that is done “to prevent cheating by voting” – for which there is no evidence, everything is just pure propaganda, but which makes it much more difficult for the less well-off to vote and participate in democratic processes.
Everything that is done in republican states for a minority to be able to retain power (whites, republicans).
Georgia implemented similar restrictions earlier this year https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/04/10/georgia-new-voting-law-explained/7133587002/ and it is an unfortunate trend in several Republican states.
Concerns are rising for upcoming elections (“midterm”, November 2022, and the next presidential election 2024) and whether the federal level can and / or has time to arrange more civil rights-level laws.
Details on HOW to vote will be decided at the state level, not federally.
Texas – good for business, less good for people
Second worst in a comparison from this summer:
These 10 states are America’s worst places to live in 2021
PUBLISHED FRI, JUL 16 202110: 42 AM EDTUPDATED FRI, JUL 16 202111: 58 AM EDT
Indiana (# 10), Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri and Nevada (tie), Texas (# 2), and Arizona (# 1, worst).
Another has Texas as # 31 of the 50 states
Strengths, according to this: Economy (# 9), Fiscal Stability (# 10)
Weaknesses, according to this: Natural Environment (# 40, flat and not beautiful, second self, not the best environment with a lot of oil and gas industry), Opportunity (# 39; rich have opportunities but many probably have to fight hard), Crime & Corrections (# 37), Education (# 34), Health Care (# 31).
666 new Texas laws go into effect Sept. 1. Here are some that might affect you.
The new laws will affect abortion access, social studies curriculum and cities that trim the budgets of law enforcement.
Ok, the above sounds quite deplorable – and it is !!
However, we both still thrive on the “lower” and more personal level. With daily life, friends and socializing, accommodation(s), boating with cruising and sailing, weather – well, we have definitely adapted, and when it is 38C (last weekend) we enjoyed as usual out on the lake, in happy friends law, etc – we definitely have a wonderful life here, do not get us wrong.
It is the bigger picture of how society is evolving, which has been going on for many, many, years with a definite deterioration under the former president and then (Republican) governors and other politicians (congresses, states and federal) that go in his wake (believe that such a strategy is good for the elections of 2022 and 2024), which make the differences between richer and poorer increasingly more extreme, the recurring legislative changes that limit democracy, which are above all made for a small minority of mainly white, older, men. And not so easy to steer back because they are in power now and have time to make voting even harder. (Our society would look significantly different – read democratically – if only more people voted, were – and could be – involved in the democratic processes.)
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At the helm,
Original subject was “”Bara” i Texas – vad i h-vete håller “vi” på med?!?”