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Texas Republicans Pass "Noodling" Bill

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Noodling. I've lived in Texas all my life and can say with certainty, and a small sense of pride, that before today I was unfamiliar with the act. Luckily Texas has an amazing education system called the Texas Legislature, which offers ample opportunity to broach important subjects such as transvaginal sonograms, helicopter hog hunting and, today, noodling, as the Texas Senate debated and passed a bill carried by Republican Bob Deuell to make noodling a legal activity in the state of Texas.

Noodling, according to Wikipedia, is "fishing for catfish using only bare hands." Other words for noodling from the Redneck Thesaurus of Bad Ideas include "stumping," "grabbling," "tickling" and the equal-opportunity "catfisting." Wikipedia, in all its simplistic glory, notes "noodling can be dangerous, particularly if something other than a catfish is in the hole." Intrepid noodlers have been known to lose fingers to snapping turtles and other creatures that lurk inside these glory holes, just waiting for some of Texas's God-fearing, red-blooded finest -- otherwise known as Republican primary voters -- to poke their chubby paws in them. This brings me to the one question no one in the Texas Senate dared to ask: given the potential danger to an individual's health, why not require sonograms for these holes?

Meanwhile, as budget negotiations fall apart and a hundred thousand teachers face layoffs across the state, a bill sponsored by another Republican, Senator Glenn Hegar, awaits being signed into law by Future President Rick Perry that would make lying about the size of a fish illegal in Texas. Objectors no doubt were concerned that this bill might encroach on their First Amendment right to lie about the size of other things.

With just a few weeks until the end of the 82nd Session, the Republican supermajority in Texas, with its run of the granite playground since January, has got to be feeling pretty proud of themselves. It's now legal to noodle without protection but it's illegal to lie about the size of it. If voters were expecting a new legislative body concerned with jobs, education and economic security when they voted in their Republican officeholders six months ago, they're about to find out just how flaccid this supermajority's policymaking has really been.

Perhaps, for voters, this will be a lesson learned. From fishing to the Texas legislature, it's not the size of your noodle but how you use it.

And, yes, that's what she said.