The State of Texas: July 15, 2014
Time to pull out the tissue box. Houston photographer Robyn Arouty documented the final day of her dog, Duke Roberts, who was suffering from a massive tumor. It sounds a lot more morbid than the actual result. Instead, the series of photos—captioned by Duke’s “first-person” retelling of the day—unfold like a melancholic dream. Perhaps unsurprisingly, “This Story Of A Dog’s Last Day On Earth Is Beautiful And Utterly Heartbreaking,” is becoming an Internet sensation.
Craigslist Post of The Day
Another dog tale, this one slightly less heartwrenching. It seems Marfa’s “ambassador” Tic Tac has gone missing. A Craigslist post went up a day ago seeking the lost pup and it seems he “might” have accidentally been “rescued” back to Austin (Tic Tac doesn’t believe in wearing collars, man). If you’ve seen Tic Tac, tell him supper’s getting cold.
Drawing Battle Lines — A three-judge panel heard the opening remarks yesterday in the electoral map case accusing Texas Republican lawmakers of approving redistrcting maps that intentionally discriminate against the state’s non-white population. Although the original map has since been thrown out in favor of a slightly fairer cut-up, the issue could become more than just a local concern since the U.S. Department of Justice has recently put its full weight behind the case. According to the Associated Press, the DOJ hopes to prove “Republicans drew the original maps with the intent to discriminate. If so, Texas could be required to continue seeking federal preclearance under Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act. That section has rarely been employed because the same effect was formerly achieved through the better-known part of the law that is now eliminated.” The Republican defendants say the misunderstanding has been overblown. “Intentional racial discrimination means more than coming up with the wrong answer to a difficult legal question,” said an assistant Texas attorney general.
Deep Space, Y’all — Looks like that “T” in the t-minus countdown stands for Texas. Last week, “the rocket company SpaceX … received final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to construct a spaceport in South Texas,” according to the AP. “The proposed 56.5-acre launch site could blast up to 12 rockets a year into space, including two Falcon 9 Heavy rockets, which could begin flying in 2015. These launches would be for commercial, as well as possibly NASA, purposes.” There was slimmest of chances that another state, like Florida, might be the spot for SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s launchpad, but even the director of Florida state-run agency promoting all things aerospace said yesterday that the project is Texas’s to lose. Captain Musk has yet to make an official announcement, but Austin and the rest of Texas is already gearing up to become “a space economy hub.” No word yet on how we’re getting boots and barbecue into orbit.
Stars and Bars and Cars — The South shall drive again. That’s the verdict from an appeals court which yesterday said the “Texas branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has the right to have the state issue license plates adorned with the Confederate battle flag,” according to the Dallas Morning News. “The judges ruled that license plates are a form of ‘private speech,’ and thus protected by the First Amendment. The court also ruled that the Board’s rejection of the plate “favored one speaker over another.” As the Texas Solicitor General noted, however, “If the board was required to maintain ‘viewpoint neutrality,’ its members would have to issue specialty plates to anyone who applied for one or else scrap the program altogether.” The issue is probably far from settled. The case is now kicked back down to the lower court and “Texas could choose to appeal for a rehearing by the 5th Circuit judges or to the Supreme Court.”
Monster Marlin — From the Bigger-in-Texas Department: the state has a new record for Marlin, caught near Port Aransas and weighing 972.7 pounds. The catch, made during a billfish tournament, absolutely shatters the previous record from 1988 by about 100 pounds. Texas is on a roll this year with Loch Ness-sized seafood. Just a few weeks ago, a record-setting 38.75-pound red snapper was caught off the coast of Port O’Conner.