Ted Cruz Says He’s Worried Democrats Will Start Government Shutdown: Your Texas Roundup
Plus: The FBI busts a right-wing extremist allegedly plotting a mass shooting in Austin, the head of the state alcohol agency steps down amid controversy, and the Astros are off to their best start in team history.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Easter grass was not the only kind found on Easter Sunday in Pinehurst.”
—Pinehurst Police Chief Fred R. Hanauer III to the Beaumont Enterprise. Pinehurst police arrested a 23-year-old man from Orange after police found two guns, “contraband,” and marijuana in his car during a traffic stop on Sunday. Hanauer apparently could not resist the urge to be punny. Honestly, we can’t blame him.
Pot And Kettle
Senator Ted Cruz told reporters on Monday that he suspects his Democratic colleagues in the Senate could cause a government shutdown ahead of a deadline to vote on a spending bill. “You know, I very much hope we don’t have a shutdown,” Cruz said, according to the Texas Tribune. “I will say I’m concerned. I think [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer and the Democrats want a shutdown.” If anyone can sniff out the beginnings of a government shutdown, it’s probably Cruz. The guy is like the king of the filibuster. Back in 2013, Cruz was a key figure in a shutdown that lasted sixteen days. Cruz held the Senate floor for about 21 hours in a Republican attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act, at one point even reading from Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham to fill time. Obamacare of course wasn’t defunded, and instead Cruz’s marathon speech cornered Congress into a stand-off over the budget vote, triggering a government shutdown. “You know, one of the dynamics we’ve got is the Democratic radical left is demanding of Senate Democrats that they oppose everything, that they engage in across-the-board obstruction,” Cruz said Monday, per the Tribune. “And so I do have some concern that to appease the radical left, Chuck Schumer and the Democrats may do everything they can to try to provoke a shutdown.” If they want any tips, they could probably ask Cruz.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
The FBI arrested a man who was allegedly planning a mass shooting in Austin, according to the Austin American-Statesman. According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court on Monday, 50-year-old Steven Thomas Boehle was arrested last week on weapons charges after police, acting on a search warrant for a narcotics investigation, seized three guns and 1,100 rounds of ammo from his South Austin residence. A confidential FBI source alleged Boehle is a right-wing extremist who was plotting a mass shooting, telling the federal officials that he “exhibits sovereign citizen extremism ideology.” The court filing doesn’t say anything more specific about what, exactly, Boehle was planning, and the FBI has yet to release any more information. Boehle is also charged with making a false statement after he tried and failed three times to purchase a firearm in Austin, responding “no” each time to the question asking if he had ever been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. Boehle is banned from purchasing a firearm because he was convicted of assaulting his in Connecticut in 1993.
The head of Texas’s alcoholic beverage regulatory agency resigned on Monday, likely as a result of recent revelations that the Texas Alcoholic Beverage brass essentially used the agency’s publicly funded coffers as their own personal vacation fund. No one seems particularly upset that TABC Director Sherry Cook is out. “It’s time to clean house from regulators not spending taxpayer money wisely,” Governor Greg Abbott said in a tweet Monday afternoon, according to the Texas Tribune. “This is a good start.” Abbott called Cook’s departure a resignation, while the TABC said in a statement that Cook retired. The Tribune first reported the TABC’s spending habits back in March, uncovering the agency’s tendency to blow thousands of dollars on cross-country trips to party it up with liquor industry lobbyists at conferences in beach locales like Hawaii, San Diego, and Florida. Someone at the agency even created a bizarre illustrated cartoon thing for one conference, featuring top officials sharing a few six-packs of Lone Star in a private jet. Last week, TABC officials were grilled by the House for their frivolous spending.
Prepared For Takeoff
The Houston Astros won their fifth-straight game on Monday, propelling the team to a 9-4 record to start the 2017 season, tying the mark for the best start in franchise history, according to the Houston Chronicle. Pretty much everything is clicking for the Astros right now. As of Tuesday, they’re tied for the best record in baseball among teams that have also played thirteen games (the Orioles, 8-3, are the only team with a better winning percentage, but they’ve played two fewer games). They’re currently sitting atop ESPN’s MLB power rankings. They’re among the American League leaders in team batting average, ERA, and strikeouts, led by Jose Altuve (.320 average) and a resurgent Dallas Keuchel, who is 2-0 with a sparkling 0.86 ERA through 21 innings. To top it off, some of Houston’s bigger bats haven’t really gotten going yet—star shortstop Carlos Correa is hitting just .234 and Cuban third baseman Yuli Gurriel is hitting .243—so you know better days are on the horizon for that lineup. It’s only the second week of the season, but it seems like the Astros might finally be able to put it all together this year.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
After looting Venezuela, many corrupt “boligarchs” are hiding in plain sight in Houston Houston Press
Texas does a really bad job regulating crop dusters Texas Observer
It’s a strange moment for El Paso, Texas’s quintessential border city The Guardian
Spring Hill ISD in Longview is about to get a new football scoreboard for $490,000 Longview News-Journal
Permian Basin oil drillers are following new rules to keep the skies dark around a West Texas observatory Midland Reporter-Telegram