The State of Texas: December 16, 2014
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Cool Of The Day
Just in time for the Christmas wish list, some beautiful genius has created a real-life hoverboard. Austinite Ryan Craven made his own using nothing fancier than a few leaf-blowers and the result, while slow, is quite promising. Here’s hoping next year someone duct tapes a bunch of drones to their Kia to create a flying car.
The Dallas Morning News has a great photo from the city’s Sunday marathon showing high schooler Trace Greerhelping his sixth-grade brother Judson cross the finish line in the biggest brother way possible.
A Three-Hour Cruz … — Yesterday Senator Ted Cruz ruffled a lot of Republican feathers while becoming the toast of Democrat dinners throughout Washington. Aiming to block funding for President Barack Obama’s new immigration order, Cruz pulled some Senate maneuver (it’s so complicated even professional political writers are, like, “meh, let’s move on”) that allowed Democrats to push through two major—and rather controversial—nominations. “Among them are nominees that Republicans have sought to block for two relatively high-profile posts. They are Vivek Murthy to become surgeon general and Sarah Saldaña to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that will oversee the new administration policy on immigration that Cruz wants to defund,” notes the Associated Press. (This backfired tactic might also allow Dems to make a dozen new judicial appointments.) Lest anyone think this is just an exaggerated pile on by mainstream media, numerous Republican Senators spoke on the record about their distain for the effort. What’s more, publications ranging from the Washington Examiner, Breitbart News, and The Daily Caller didn’t mince words when it came to the Senate’s new Dr. No. But hey, a new year, a new Senate, and a new start is just around the corner, Cruz.
Family-Friendly Lock-up — Cross our borders once, shame on you. Cross them twice … and we’ve got a nice facility ready. A family-oriented immigraiton detention facility, formerly an oil field workers’ camp in Dilley, had something of a ribbon-cutting cermony yesterday. “Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson visited the 50-acre compound featuring 80 tan, two-bedroom, one-bathroom cottages connected by dirt roads and newly laid grass,” according to the Associated Press. “The first wave of about 30 immigrants will begin arriving in coming weeks and the cabins will eventually hold up to 480 people. Housing being constructed nearby will push capacity to 2,400 by around May.” The San Antonio Express-News has a cheekily detailed write-up of the unveiling, noting that the facility was known as a “man camp,” now with “a library with books ranging from fiction to tomes by poet Victor Hugo and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche” and that “In a holiday touch, the entry doors are decorated with big red Christmas bows.”
Special Ed — Because they’re apparently so ill-prepared to function in normal society and because universities love pouring money into atheletic programs, “The University of Texas at Austin announced on Monday it is launching a new center to help its athletes—as well as high school student athletes—with character development, financial literacy and responsible decision making,” according to the Texas Tribune. “The Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation will … promote research into sports, including decision-making by athletes. The university president’s office will spend $300,000 a year to run the center, largely using revenue from The Longhorn Network, UT officials said.” To recap: in order to demonstrate to student-athletes that they need to conduct themselves like everyone else, the university is spending a bunch of money to give them their own private life-courses.
Bad Scout — The Irving-based Boy Scouts might not be able to afford that trip to camp this year. A man won a $7 million verdict against the troop in a sexual abuse case from the seventies. “Lawyers for the man said the decision, handed down Friday in Waterbury Superior Court [Connecticut], was the largest verdict for compensatory damages against the Boy Scouts’ national organization. The jury also found the organization liable for punitive damages, with the amount to be determined by a judge,” according to the Associated Press. “Officials with the … national Boy Scouts organization disagree with the jury’s findings and will be reviewing the decision, said spokesman Deron Smith. He said the Scouts now have several measures in place to prevent abuse, including criminal background checks, mandatory reporting of abuse allegations and a comprehensive education program.”