Quote of the Day
“When I get home, I do a little camel-hugging… They come up and nuzzle on me, and you can imagine the slobbers and smell of their breath. Most of the time when you get through doing this, you’ve got to change your shirt.”
—Troy Chesnut to the Odessa American. Chestnut, a tax consultant and financial planner, owns two pet camels named “Duke” and “Cindy,” which roam his 45-acre pasture northeast of Odessa. Chesnut said he also once owned a pet llama named “Queen Latifah.”
Rivalry Renewed?— Texas A&M’s new athletic director recently left the door open to revive the storied Aggie-Longhorn football hatefest. At a public appearance last week, Scott Woodward, who was hired as A&M’s top athletics official three months ago, told the Horseshoe Bay Sports Club that he has “no objection” to bringing the matchup back to the gridiron. Here’s what Woodward said in response to a question from the crowd asking if he’d restart the rivalry, according to the Daily Tribune of Marble Falls: “Rivalries, I think, are healthy for the game,” he said. He later added that, “It’ll be something we’ll consider. It’ll be a discussion I’ll have to have. I have no objection to it. It’s something that has to work for us and for folks.” But don’t get too excited. Woodward said that he doesn’t see it happening in the “near future.” As the Dallas Morning News notes, A&M doesn’t have open dates in its schedule until 2022, and the Longhorn’s major conference opponents are solidly in place for the next eleven seasons. According to the Austin American-Statesman’s Brian Davis, “Both schools would need to get administrative blessings at multiple levels due to the highly-political nature of the matchup.”
Immigration Battle—The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on Monday in a case that could determine the fate of millions of undocumented immigrants. According to the Associated Press, 26 states have filed suit against President Barack Obama in an effort to block his executive orders protecting immigrants against deportation, and unsurprisingly, Texas is leading the way. Strangely, one of the key issues likely to pop up is, according to Reuters, “the rather banal subject of the money Texas pays for driver’s licenses.” In order for the case to have legal standing, Texas has to show that Obama’s reforms would cause the state some sort of damage. Attorney General Ken Paxton argued that the mass deferred deportations “would cause a spike in driver’s license applications, thus making those licenses much more costly to issue.” Writes Reuters: “If the Supreme Court finds that Texas lacked a sufficient ‘injury’ to sue, the case ends there and Obama wins.” Even if the court rules in Obama’s favor, it might be too late for immigrants. Obama has little time left in his last term in office to actually roll out these reforms, and, writes the Austin American-Statesman, “all that work could be undone after a new president is elected in November — or if immigrant families don’t apply because they fear their applications could be used against them.”
Explosion Fallout— It’s been three years since a fertilizer plant blew up in the town of West, causing widespread destruction and killing fifteen people. Despite regulatory reforms, the Dallas Morning News found that the industry still appears to be potentially dangerous. While some positive changes have been made since the explosion, fertilizer companies told the Morning News that new regulations have made it impossible to do business in Texas, and the newspaper found that “many of the recommendations made by safety investigators have gone unheeded,” and “despite calls for keeping stockpiles of ammonium nitrate away from populated areas, in up to eight communities tons of the chemical still sit near schools, houses, nursing homes and even a hospital.” That’s not good. Still, as the Waco Tribune reports, West’s community leaders seem to think the town has bounced back even stronger, with impoved infrastructure, better trained first responders, and revamped school facilities. The Tribune also has a pretty interesting Q&A with officials from the U.S. Chemical and Safety Board, which released its investigatory report of the explosion in January.