NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Met with Charlie Strong in Austin to Talk "Core Values" this Weekend

To describe the past month as a bad one, PR-wise, for the NFL would be one heck of an understatement. The opening weeks of the league’s 2014 season have been all but overshadowed by outrage over the league’s seemingly deliberate attempts to minimize, dismiss, and cover-up charges of domestic violence among several of its star players. On Sunday, perhaps, the narrative shifts to stories like, “Holy cow, did the Cowboys really just blow out the Saints on national television”—but by Monday, the story is once again about waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It’s a situation that the normally powerful NFL seems to have a difficult time spinning its way out of, as each week offers either the names of more players arrested on domestic violence charges or new reports of the extent to which the league went to minimize the severity of the charges against some of its stars. 

CPS Visited an Austin Woman Whose Kids Were Playing Outside Unsupervised

Over the past few months, the debate has intensified between parents who believe in so-called “free range children”—or allowing their kids to roam outside the house unsupervised, as children who grew up in decades past often did—and those who think that practice is criminal. 

The contentious issue reached critical mass over the summer, after Debra Harrell, a 46-year-old McDonald’s employee from South Carolina, was arrested and temporarily lost custody of her nine-year-old daughter for letting her spend time by herself in a nearby park while Harrell was at work. Harrell became something of a cause célèbre on the issue (a crowdfunding account on the website YouCaring.com raised over $45,000 for her legal defense and future childcare), which has been simmering at least since the 2010 publication of the book Free Range Kids, by Lenore Skenazy.

Why We Can't Celebrate the Great Performances By the Cowboys and the Texans With a Clean Conscience

Last week, buried as part of a late-Friday news dump, the worst PR week in NFL history got even worse: Adrian Peterson, the game’s best running back, was arrested out in Montgomery County on child abuse charges. That followed the horror show that was the release of the video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee in an elevator in New Jersey, and the subsequent questions about what, precisely, the NFL knew and when it knew it, and why Rice had only been suspended two games until the public saw the video.

All of this is well-established at this point, and it’s been so pervasive a story that networks have broken into regular programming to feature updates from embattled NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, whose job seems less and less certain as the days go by. 

SXSW's Economic Impact On Austin In 2014 Was Worth $315 Million

SXSW 2014 might have been the most controversial year in the festival’s 27 year history—but who cares about any of that right now, because a new report this week explains that it was also the most economically impactful event the festival’s ever seen by a wide country mile. The impact of SXSW 2014 on the city of Austin’s economy was revealed this week, following a study commissioned by the festival by Greyhill Advisors, to be a staggering $315 million, nearly $100 million more than the previous year. 

A 50% spike over the already full-to-bursting 2013 edition of SXSW is a hard figure to fully comprehend. To put it in perspective, SXSW Interactive director Hugh Forrest told the Austin Business Journal that the figure is roughly 65% of the impact that a city like New Orleans sees from hosting the Super Bowl. It’s nearly a third of the net impact that the 2012 Olympics had on London. And, as the report is keen to point out, those events are fleeting: the Super Bowl isn’t in New Orleans every year, and the Olympics move on pretty quickly, too. SXSW happens in Austin every year, which means that both the economic impact and the cultural cachet that the festival brings to the city are permanent fixtures.

Michael Sam Is A Dallas Cowboy*

The past few months couldn’t have been easy on native Texan—and freshly-signed Dallas Cowboy practice squad member—Michael Sam. The first openly gay football player to enter the NFL draft went from being the SEC Defensive Player of the Year when he was in the closet to having his talent dismissed and his orientation declared a “circus,” ultimately leading to a draft-day slide that finally saw him taken late in the 7th round by the St. Louis Rams

The Rams were never a good fit for Sam, a defensive end who joined the team with perhaps the NFL’s deepest roster on the defensive line. Sam soon found himself in a battle for the one available roster spot for a late-round or undrafted rookie on the line with Ethan Westbrooks, a former West Texas A&M standout who signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent—and Westbrooks, a revelation of a player, won the job after putting up the strongest preseason of any defensive end in the NFL, according to the stats-masters at ProFootballFocus. 

Video of a Homeless Austin Man Went Viral Because It Shows How Crappy Everybody Treats Homeless People

 

While the Daily Post was on vacation last week, Austinites Sandy Shook and Joseph Costello blew up on YouTube with a video that they made. Shook, a homeless man, went with Costello, a young filmmaker, to a local thrift store, where he bought a blazer and a pair of slacks. Costello than filmed Shook standing outside of the Scarbrough Building on Sixth and Congress, asking passers-by for a buck that he was short to pay for his Subway sandwich, or fifty cents he was missing for his bus fare.  

Invariably, the people Costello and his camera captured Shook interacting with are respectful, kind, and generous. Then they flip the exercise: Shook changes into a ratty t-shirt and dirty jeans and asks people the same questions, and suddenly no one makes eye contact with him. Many walk past without acknowledging that he’d addressed them at all. One shouts “No!” at him before Shook even opens his mouth to speak. 

Would Legalizing Gay Marriage Add $180 Million to the Texas Economy?

 

Anybody who has ever planned a big wedding has probably noticed that every aspect of it is expensive: The moment caterers, venues, chair-rental companies, DJs, etc, etc, etc, hear the word “wedding,” the prices seem to spike at least 20 percent. When you multiply that by the number of people on the guest list, the numbers add up. 

That’s bad news for young couples who are starting their life together underneath a considerable mountain of debt, but it’s great news from an economy that functions on people spending big chunks of money in a lot of different places. The wedding-industrial complex employs a number of people at all levels of the economy—staff at Men’s Wearhouse, bartenders, and otherwise-unemployable jazz musicians all sustain themselves through the wedding business. And then, of course, there’s sales tax on all of that activity. Which casts an interesting wrinkle on the question of gay marriage: How much of an economic impact would legalized gay marriage have on the Texas economy? 

It’s not the easiest question to answer for a few reasons we’ll get into momentarily, but at least one advocacy organization decided to go ahead and put a number on it, anyway, and that number is a bold $180 million:

"Down on His Luck Austin Celebrity" Romeo Rose Will Babysit for $10/Hour

When last we checked in with Austin Internet sensation Romeo Rose, things were good for the lovelorn goofball who liked to dress like the Count of Monte Cristo: He was proudly flaunting his bizarre, horrible criteria for seeking a mate on his website, SleeplessInAustin.com, and offering a $1,500 finder’s fee to anyone who could help him make the match of his dreams.  

Sleepless In Austin is down now, and so perhaps is Rose himself: Despite having once possessed $1,500 to entice people to set him up with a lady who was under 130 pounds; who had never dated a black guy (“that is ALMOST the same thing as beastiality”); had no children; and, of course, wasn’t black herself (“I don’t care if she looks like Halle Berry”), these days Rose is using the Internet to advertise something other than his availability as a lover: Namely, he’s taken to Craigslist to sell his guitars and solicit work as—get this—a babysitter.

The Texas Tech Cheerleader Who Likes Trophy Hunting Also Likes Cuddling Baby Animals

Kendall Jones has spent much of July an Internet celebrity. She inspired fierce, sexist tirades as a result of the photos on her Facebook page, which featured Jones posing with the dead bodies of a variety of magnificent exotic creatures that she’d personally shot and killed; she found defenders from both the likely suspects and unexpected corners; and she’s sought a development deal on a reality show, because obviously.

Facebook removed many of the more egregiously depressing photos in Jones’s albums—shots of her with dead elephants, lions, and rhinos (the site continues to host an image of Jones with a sedated rhinocerous)—but she’s gone on to include new photos in an act of perhaps expert trolling: Recent uploads include shots of Jones cuddling her pet chihuahua, and a baby whitetail deer. Facebook removes the pictures of her with dead animals, and Jones responds by adding new photos of her cuddling live ones. 

Beyoncé Gave $7 Million to St. John's Downtown in Houston to Help Feed and House the Homeless

Gushing about Beyoncé has become the currency of the Internet. Queen Bey inspires passion from fans and observers that is downright religious in fervor—which, perhaps, makes the fact that she’s taken to feeding and housing the poor of Houston something to be expected. 

Nonetheless, that was one of the takeaways from an interview with pastor Rudy Rasmus of St. John’s Downtown in Houston, who was on KHOU to promote his new book, Love Period. When All Else Fails. The pastor, who’s claimed Beyoncé as a member of his church since she was a child (“she had long braids, tennis shoes and jeans on. A far cry from what she is today,” he told the station), and who performed her marriage ceremony to Jay-Z, also talked a bit about her philanthropic efforts within his community:

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