The State of Texas: June 2, 2015
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Video of the Day
Another day, another Matthew McConaughey parody video. At least this one is really weird, combining the Lincoln ad and rumors that McC will play the Green Goblin (née Norman Osborn) in the next Spiderman movie.
Frack to the Future – The state has decided that local communities can’t say no to oil companies fracking their lands, but it seems there will still be some aftershocks, particularly in Denton. “Activists and city officials said they aren’t precisely sure what’s next for the city of roughly 123,000, but agreed that its anti-fracking push—and the Legislature’s swift move to quash it—have fundamentally changed attitudes, stirring outrage and a conversation that could last for years,” writes the Texas Tribune. Three protestors were arrested Monday for blocking the path of a fracking company attempting to continue its operations, and tonight, ”Denton will weigh its next step … when its City Council takes up a measure that would remove the fracking ban from its books—a debate that’s sure to turn emotional.”
Sine Die – That’s a wrap, people! The Eighty-fourth Legislature is officially over, and sure, some bills were signed and nobody was completely happy–Tea Partiers wish things had been more conservative and everyone else is wondering when the state will turn into a Christian caliphate—but probably the most interesting (and foretelling?) end note came from Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who made it clear he will not be gunning for Greg Abbott’s job. Patrick told reporters, “I want to make something very clear. I am asked this more than I can possibly imagine, over and over. There is this thought I am going to run for governor in 2018 against Greg Abbott. Let me bury that today. Not only isn’t it true, I have never even thought about it.” Based on the various news accounts of the interaction, it doesn’t seem like any reporter actually asked Patrick if he planned on running for governor (the Tribune notes that he “made that proclamation unprovoked”), which makes the statement seem kinda suspicious, like someone saying your name and you responding immediately with “I didn’t do it!” Good thing we now have two years to speculate about the Eighty-fifth Legislature.
Drying Out – The focus now in Texas is how to handle living in a post-waterworld and, of course, there is both good news and bad. Clean-up has started in earnest, but although “the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have not released estimates on the damage,” writes the Dallas Morning News, “preliminary numbers from local authorities and the insurance industry indicate the cost will climb to hundreds of millions of dollars.” The story notes that “it will probably be weeks before the damage can be fully estimated.” There is one estimate everyone should already be bracing themselves for: an incredibly high number of bugs, insects, and pests. Also, once-interred caskets popping up. On the bright side, the lakes are now looking less like dunescape craters, and the state’s cattle industry might finally see growth after an all-time low. “While adding cattle can take more than two years, the revival of Texas pastureland is a key step in boosting supplies,” according to Bloomberg News. “The amount of pasture land in good or excellent condition in Texas, the biggest cattle-raising state, has doubled since the start of March to 71 percent as of May 24, the best weekly ratings since 2007 and more than the national average of 60 percent.”