The State of Texas: December 8, 2014
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We really do love our sea turtles here. Dozens of the little creatures have been given a little vacation in Galveston, having been flown in from Massachusetts after suffering from hypothermia, frostbite, and other ailments during their annual migration.
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All Protests Are Local — Dismay, frustration, and anger over the recent events in Ferguson and New York City have spread to Texas. The weekend saw several protests, including one at the Galleria in Houston, where “dozens” gathered and conducted “die-ins.” As the Houston Chronicle reported, “Photos on Twitter showed protesters holding signs near stores such as Gucci, Saks Fifth Avenue, Microsoft. … One ‘die in’ was held outside the Prada store … While ice-skaters glided on the Galleria’s ice rink, protesters a floor above lay on the ground in the pose.” (Photos here.) Meanwhile in Dallas, protestors went three days strong late last week. The big Friday march started in “Belo Park in downtown Dallas with about 70 people … An hour later, the group — which had grown to at least 200 people — started their march north on Griffin Street toward the American Airlines Center.” About a dozen were arrested for blocking roadways.
Big 12’s Big Mistake —Talk about getting sacked. Despite having stellar seasons, Baylor and TCU were passed over for an invite to the College Football Playoffs. Nope! The resulting confusion (a result of some highly complicated/nonsensical formula by the new College Playoff Committee) bumped both teams in favor of Ohio State, thanks to their ridiculous blowout game against Wisconsin. No one took the announcement well. The Dallas Morning News’s homepage features several playoff-related stories and Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the snub “will be catalyst for discussion for sure.” Meanwhile “Baylor AD Ian McCaw said his school deserved to be in the playoff and expects the league to review is tiebreaking procedures and possibly an eight-team playoff,” according to the Morning News. It’s not just about team pride either. “By not having a team in the semifinals, the Big 12 was deprived of $2 million.” On the bright side, both TCU and Baylor are playing in bowls games, and the national championship for all of NCAA ball will be held at the Cowboy’s stadium.
The South Will Sue Again — The Confederacy may have have lost the “war of northern aggression,” but it’s doing okay in the battle of legal recognition. “The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide whether Texas should be forced to offer license plates featuring the Confederate battle flag, taking on a free speech case that will have ripple effects across the South,” reports the Houston Chronicle. The court agreed to hear the case after the Fifth Circuit overturned a lower court ruling in favor of the DMV’s no-Confederacy policy (it’s about celebrating history, y’all!). “The decision marks the peak of a five-year legal battle between Texas officials fighting to keep the controversial symbol off state plates and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a Tennessee-based historical society and advocacy group.” The decision also marks near-peak irony: Lovers of an independent, state rights-happy country are hoping the federal government will force a state to alter its own decisions.
Our Slow Recovery — The Ebola summer seems so far away now, but there are occasional reminders of just how terribly the situation was handled. Speaking for the first time since patient zero Thomas Duncan came into the ER, Dr. Joseph Howard Meier explained how he initially missed the tell-all fever and how the subsequent results have been “a little bit like getting struck by lightning,” according to the Dallas Morning News, which apparently dogged the doctor until he agreed to a lawyer-led interview. “Meier diagnosed [Duncan] with sinusitis, prescribed antibiotics and sent him home,” with the doctor acknowledging that “As medical professionals we aspire to perfection in the diagnosis and treatment of all our patients and have regrets when an incorrect diagnosis occurs.” The most recent Ebola news isn’t regulated to medical professionals either. It’s also cropping up in murder investigations. “The general manager of a popular Italian restaurant received a cryptic cellphone text Nov. 9 from an employee, Joe Angel Ramos,” writes the Houston Chronicle. “The message said Ramos had contracted the Ebola virus at a funeral in Dallas and ‘was probably being sent to Atlanta.’ But just over a week later, his body was found in a retention pond in southwest Houston.” Up next will be $19,000 Ebola-free dog parks.