The State of Texas: December 23, 2014

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Photo of the Day

The only thing cuter than a Texas baby is a Texas Whatababy. Feel free to read the backstory via the San Antonio Express-News. That is, if you can pull your eyes from this picture that’s so precious you want to just eat him up (like, literally, with Spicy Ketchup).

Oops Tuesday

Bless his heart, Sid Miller hasn’t even started his job as Agriculture Commissioner and already his pronouncements are holding up like Jello in July. As noted on Twitter, Miller posted the following photo and comment in his Facebook feed. The only problem? That’s a very healthy and super tasty school lunch from South Korea, where pickled cabbage, rice and tofu-laced soap are staples of the country’s diet. It’s basically like showing of a picture sushi and criticizing the fish for being raw. Or, if you prefer, showing a beef taco and wondering aloud why it’s not in a bun:



It’s happened to all Texas men at some point: one day we wake up and realize we’re not Matthew McConaughey. What’s odd about this particular case is that the man is British, and while he was in a coma, he thought he was Our Adonis. As the explains it, “In my head I thought I was Matthew McConaughey. When I went to the toilet I went to look in the mirror and I was shocked because I didn't look like him, I didn't know what I was looking at.” The lad is now his normal, less-glorious self.

Daily Roundup

Supply And Dead Men — Well, this is awkward. According to records obtained by the Associated Press, “Texas has enough of the execution drug pentobarbital to carry out the first five lethal injections scheduled for 2015.” The records state that “there were 12 doses of the powerful sedative in the prison system’s inventory as of the end of October, after the state carried out its 10th and final execution this year. Two doses are required for each execution, plus another two in reserve.  At least 13 inmates have execution dates in 2015, including four in January and two in February.” So does that mean we’re going to stop killing people? Probably not. Just that we’ll have to find a new death drug dealer by February 10. The ticking clock also ensures we’ll have plenty to talk about at the start of the new year. “A state judge in Austin, ruling this month in a lawsuit, ordered Texas to release the name of the compounding pharmacy providing the execution drug. That ruling is on hold pending an appeal by the state.”

Crumbling Foundation — How much did you pay for that lovely new home? Whatever it was, it was probably too much. “Fitch Ratings warns that Texas has the most overvalued home prices in the country and that a correction may be coming thanks to falling oil prices, according to the Dallas Morning News. Flinch has “Texas prices as approximately 11 percent overvalued” and “a lack of homes available for purchase coupled with North Texas’ fast-growing economy has caused residential prices to jump by 7 percent in just the last year, data from real estate agents shows.” To make matters worse, “Fitch analysts are fretting that the recent plunge in oil prices and energy company profits could kick the legs out from under Texas’ residential values.” And what could add insult to injury? How about being considered worse off than that giant, gleaming litter box to the west. “The ratings firm said that the Lone Star State has ‘vaulted past California and now has the housing markets deemed most overvalued.’”

Bad Crime King Wenceslas — For some, happy holidays will mean trying to avoid kidnapping or ransom. The FBI is warning that they’re expecting an uptick in kidnappings due to all the back-and-forth travel to and from Mexico people will be doing this Christmas season. “‘This is a crime of opportunity ... It is a guarantee that it will pick up during the holiday season,’ said one FBI special agent.” According to the Brownsville Herald, “Kidnappings have increased more than 600 percent from almost a decade ago. In 2006, the FBI investigated a total of 26 kidnappings in comparison to 199 so far this year, according to FBI figures.” For those on the wrong side of the law looking to sell a few “Christmas Trees,” y’all need to watch out, too.       “Border Patrol agents operating in Texas seized nearly 875,000 pounds of marijuana during fiscal year 2014,” according to the Express-News. Not only is that enough bong rips to put Colorado into a temporary McConaughey coma, it’s also the largest amount confiscated in the U.S.

Halli (West Was) Burton — For all you energy company and/or massive merger buffs out there, Fuel Fix has a behind-the-scenes look at how the Halliburton and Baker Hughes made their recent $34.6 billion deal. To Fuel Fix’s credit, they make a corporate deal, in which a measely $3.5 billion was in play, sound like a bunch of swashbuckling accountants commandeering a business (eat your heart out, Monty Python). “What Baker Hughes wanted – $36.1 billion in stock and cash – was 10 percent above Halliburton’s initial offer of $32.8 billion for the company. … For Halliburton, the shareholder’s became more than just an idea. … Halliburton quietly bought 100 shares of Baker Hughes to give it an ownership position in the company, which would allow it to nominate a slate of directors, if it needed. … but Baker Hughes would agree to a deal before a hostile takeover would become necessary.” The post-script, of course, being that “two weeks ago, Halliburton said it would immediately lay off 1,000 employees.” More men overboard are expected in 2015.

Most Wanted — The manhunt continues for the person who shot local a Waco weatherman this past Wednesday. Thankfully, NBC meteorologist Patrick Crawford’s forecast is looking much brighter. Crawford, still recovering from multiple gunshot wounds, spoke to the press yesterday, and gave a rather chillingly random account of the incident. “"The man that shot me didn't say any words to me," he said. "He just started shooting at me as I was leaving the parking lot. ... I did not know him." Despite the fact that Crawford’s recovery has been, as he put it, “a long process, a lot of pain,” his doctors say Crawford is an “’excellent patient’ who is doing ‘very well. He seems to have been in excellent spirits,’” according to NBC News. While police have doubled the reward money for information about the assailant, Crawford is expected to make a full recovery.

Clickity Bits

Off Target: Texas Hasn’t Been As Gun-Happy As People Think

More State Roadblocks For Cities Trying to Avoid Getting Run Over By Energy Companies

In Alice, A Barrel Of (Dead) Monkeys

That’s Me In The Pathway, That’s Me In The Spotlight, The Spur’s Dancing Usher

The Songlines Of The Mexican-American Border

Potpelly Pig Investigation Costs Round Rock ISD $16K

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