One of the enduring idiosyncracies of Texas politics is that behavior that would easily raise concerns over corruption in many states is legal, normal, and even encouraged, as when legislators argue that their concurrent business interests give them expertise rather than conflicts of interests.
Tonight, Hannah Overton—whose case has been chronicled extensively in Texas Monthly—walked free after serving seven years of the life sentence that she was handed by a Corpus Christi jury in 2007.
For the record, my favorite Bum Steers cover is from way back in 1976. It features Governor Dolph Briscoe smiling and waving from a herd of cattle with the line “Find the Bum Steer in This Picture.” I realize it’s not the most original joke or the smartest image—it’s entirely possible that I’m the only one who finds it funny—but its tone has always struck me as just right when it comes to capturing the spirit of the Bum Steers issue.
In November the citizens of the North Texas city of Denton went to the polls for the midterm elections. They filled in their ballots for the various political races—governor, senator, and so on—and then came upon a very curious proposition. They were asked to vote on an ordinance banning all fracking, a technique used in oil and gas drilling, within Denton’s city limits.
Shortly after the midterm elections, Willie Nelson confessed with characteristic humor that he was disappointed by the results.
“I’ve got a new song called ‘Y’all Got the Ball,’ ” he said, referring to the Republican takeover of the United States Senate.
This morning we released the cover of our January issue, which features our Bum Steer of the Year. The issue itself, which will be hitting newsstands and mailboxes in the next few days, includes a number of additional dishonorees—a real herd of clowns.
Greg Abbott is off to a great start as governor. He is doing exactly what a governor ought to do. He has started by addressing the major needs of the state, roads foremost among them, but also education. He has assembled a formidable staff of experienced hands who know their way around the Capitol. I’m optimistic that he will not be awash in ideology.