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May 16, 2020

Texas Coronavirus Lockdown Rebel Shelley Luther
Riding to Defense of Decertified Barber in Michigan

By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor

Texas COVID-19 Major Counties
  County Rates Per 100,000 Population
Ranked on Confirmed Cases
    Cases Deaths Tests
1 Potter 1,727 19.1 3,658
2 Randall 441 3.0 1,142
3 Dallas 269 6.1 2,089
4 Galveston 207 9.3 7,664
5 Tarrant 205 5.7 1,591
6 Lubbock 202 16.4 1,776
7 Brazoria 199 2.5 1,729
8 Travis 194 6.3 1,595
9 Fort Bend 197 5.2 4,511
10 El Paso 197 5.4 1,611
11 Harris 183 4.1 2,282
12 Jefferson 170 10.1 2,713
13 Taylor 159 4.4 2,003
14 Ellis 142 6.9 1,803
15 Brazos 140 8.1 1,064
16 Montgomery 140 3.2 1,772
17 Rockwall 138 5.2 1,537
18 Cameron 137 6.2 1,029
19 Denton 124 3.3 1.552
20 Bexar 108 3.2 1,512
21 Webb 171 6.2 1,130
22 Collin 104 3.2 1,517
23 Hays 102 1.4 1,354
24 Smith 83 1.3 1,353
25 Williamson 82 3.5 1,105
26 Midland 74 7.3 1,223
27 Johnson 73 2.4 1,496
28 Bell 71 0.9 1,536
29 Nueces 64 0.8 608
30 McLennan 39 1.6 1,055

 

Texas COVID-19 Rural Counties
  County Rates Per 100,000 Population
Ranked on Confirmed Cases
    Cases Deaths Tests
1 Moore 2,444 40.7 2.905
2 Panola 680 64.5 1,196
3 Shelby 674 20.0 2,360
4 Deaf Smith 632 10.6 716
5 Walker 516 26.3 1,549
6 Washington 511 62.8 1,283
7 Ochiltree 387 19.9 953
8 Gonazles 359 9.6 1,259
9 Nacogdoches 349 25.9 1,897
10 Castro 332 12.8 1,632
11 Harrison 300 28.5 1,023
12 Dawson 296 7.8 1,283
13 Coryell 295 2.7 1,283
14 Hansford 292 36.5 310
15 San Augustine 266 12.1 1,151
16 Titus 252 3.1 790
17 Grimes 225 3.6 1,045
18 Hardin 203 7.0 525

Texas hard right rock star Shelley Luther is taking her coronavirus liberation campaign to Michigan to rally support for a barber who lost his license this week for violating state law like she'd done herself in a Dallas case that culminated in a dramatic weakening of emergency restrictions here.

Luther is scheduled to appear on Monday afternoon with Karl Manke at his barber and beauty shop in the city of Owosso where he's claiming to be a victim of a police state that he says Michigan has become as a result of the lockdown that Governor Gretchen Whitmer has in place there.

Luther - a hair salon owner and suburban nightclub singer - became an overnight celebrity last week after the Texas Supreme Court freed her the Dallas County where she'd spent two days after repeatedly denying a state district judge's orders to shut down the beauty shop that she'd reopened in late April despite a temporary statewide prohibition that had shuttered it for several weeks.

The high court ruling prompted Governor Greg Abbott to eliminate the threat of jail time in the executive order that Luther had openly defied in a premeditated move that had made her a hero of tea party conservatives who'd been protesting state and local restrictions that they'd portrayed as an affront to freedom.

Luther has moved swiftly to capitalize on her newfound fame - appearing earlier this week at an event in Laredo on behalf of a couple of women there who'd been arrested a month ago for operating hair and nail salons illegally in their homes without permits from the state. Abbott had mentioned the unlicensed beauticians in the border city when he revised the executive decree in question and expressed outrage and disbelief that anyone could be forced to spend time behind bars for failing to comply with the order that he'd imposed with the possibility of punishment up to 180 days.

But Luther probably will discover that the first-term Democratic governor in Michigan won't be as easy to back down as her Republican counterpart in Texas. A former prosecutor who served in the Michigan state House and Senate, Whitmer has held her ground on one of the nation's most restrictive lockdowns in the face of intense criticism and demonstrations that have featured armed protestors waving Confederate and Nazi flags.

Whitmer is being mentioned as a possible running mate for presumed presidential nominee Joe Biden as a result of her performance in the midst of the coronavirus crisis and confrontations with President Donald Trump that it has sparked. Trump has needled Whitmer while encouraging lockdown opponents to rise up against her.

Luther shouldn't be surprised if Whitmer chooses to ignore her when she travels to the city where Manke lives and used to do business about 90 miles from Detroit. But Luther probably will consider the trip a success if it pays off with a significant sum of contributions to a GoFundMe web site page that generated about $500,000 on her behalf during the ordeal that she'd initiated in Dallas.

Luther portrayed Manke on Friday as a target of a "draconian shutdown of the state" that's threatening to destroy the 77-year-old barber's livelihood.

“Karl, like many of the barbers and hairdressers in Dallas, is a fixture of the community, and has cut hair for generations of Michigan families,” Luther said. “Governor Whitmer has taken away his way of life, and his ability to support his family. Like Texas, Michigan needs to open up safely, and it needs to open up now. I’m standing with Karl, and will help him in any way I can.”

Luther will be hoping for a more vigorous reception in Michigan than she received in the Democratic stronghold of Laredo where the turnout for the rally this week was minimal for someone of her status. Owosso is the largest city in Shiawassee County where Trump won 56 percent of the vote in 2016 when he defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton by one-fifth of one percentage point statewide.

 

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