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COVID-19 has killed 40,000 Texans, and Dan Patrick is worked up over the 'Star-Spangled Banner'

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Leave it to bomb-throwing culture warrior Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to fiddle the "Star-Spangled Banner" while Texas burns.

Patrick — the Republican author of the anti-transgender bathroom bill that made the state a national fucking embarrassment — on Wednesday announced that requiring that the national anthem be played at "at all events which receive public funding" will be among his top legislative priorities this session.

Let's repeat that last part: among his top legislative priorities.

This comes as the Lege grapples with a pandemic that's already claimed the lives of 40,000-plus Texans, an education system that's among the worst funded in the nation and a medical-insurance crisis caused by the refusal of the state's Republican leadership to accept Medicaid expansion.

Apparently driving Patrick's insistence that state lawmakers drop everything to pass his yet-unfiled "Star Spangled Banner Protection Act" is his ire at Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. The billionaire became a GOP target after sports site The Athletic reported that the Mavs hadn't played the national anthem before 13 home games this season — most of those carried out in an empty arena due to the pandemic.

It's also worth noting that Cuban has been in conservatives' crosshairs for his frequent criticism of Donald Trump and his verbal support for athletes who kneel to protest police murdering Black people.

The NBA announced Wednesday that it's requiring all teams, including Cuban's Mavs, to play the anthem before games. Which one would assume kinda addresses the grievance.

But, with characteristic mouth-farting bluster, Patrick tweeted Wednesday that Cuban's decision not to pipe anthem into a largely empty arena was "a slap in the face to every American." He added: "Sell the franchise & some Texas Patriots will buy it. We ARE the land of free & the home of the brave.”

And, so, Patrick is forging ahead with his bill.

Texans may not have health insurance, jobs or well-funded schools, but if Dear Ol' Dan gets his way, we'll be guaranteed to hear the national anthem crackling from loudspeakers at sporting events, swap meets and bake sales — assuming we ever get enough vaccines to attend them again.

Such patriotism brings a tear to the eye, doesn't it?

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