Quote of the Day
“I just go and sit. Sometimes I sit cross-legged on a stone or something. This time I chose to sit on the bench because I think my pants were too tight.”
-Andy Seremetis to the Dallas Observer. Seremetis likes to meditate in downtown Dallas during his lunch break, but on one recent serenity trip, his pants were the least of his worries. As Seremetis sat in his poorly fitting trousers, a Dallas Police officer approached him and threatened him with a ticket for sleeping in public. Seremetis luckily got off with just a warning, and he didn’t seem too upset afterward. “I was still really calm from my meditation,” Seremetis told the Observer. “I just kind of looked at him and smiled.” Good thing he didn’t make a run for it. Because, you know, the pants.
Veepstakes—Ted Cruz is in a distant second place to Donald Trump in the race to be the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, but that didn’t stop him from announcing his running mate on Wednesday. Carly Fiorina will share Ted’s ticket and serve as his vice president if Cruz ever makes it to the White House (biggest “if” there ever was). Cruz sang the former Hewlett-Packard CEO’s praises during his introduction speech, extolling her character, judgment, business acumen and even her emoji usage. In her own speech, Fiorina sang an actual song. Cruz also applauded Fiorina’s Lone Star roots, saying, according to the Texas Tribune, “Born in Texas…the very first thing I liked about her.” So, Cruz likes Fiorina. But does anyone else? Critics of Cruz’s veep choice brought up Fiorina’s failed campaign (she ended her bid for president earlier this year) and low likability. One Democratic senator from California referred to the pair as “mean and meaner.” Even the New Yorker‘s satirist Andy Borowitz piled on, mocking Fiorina’s general unpopularity. Cruz is so far behind at this point that Fiorina’s veepability may not even matter. According to the New York Times, his early decision is a sign of “desperation.”
Uber and Out—Houston is the latest Texas city Uber has threatened to abandon. Writes the Houston Chronicle: “The company and city have sparred since Uber came to Houston in February 2014, notably after city regulations went into effect in November of that year that required all drivers to submit to fingerprint background checks. Uber prefers another background check method, and the company and city disagree on which is more successful in securing rider safety.” Uber issued a press release on Wednesday warning that if the city doesn’t repeal the background check requirement, it will cease operations there. Uber has already pulled out of three Texas cities (Corpus Christi, Midland, and Galveston), and could soon bolt from Austin if residents vote down a city ordinance pushed by Uber that would prevent Austin from requiring the same sort of background check process that Houston has. Uberless streets would be a particularly big deal in Bayou City. The public transportation situation is woefully weak, riding a bike could get you killed and it’s basically impossible to walk. According to the Chronicle, Uber usage in Houston keeps climbing, “something both sides have said bolsters their case… the city argues use means Uber is profitable even with the regulations, though the company says they stifle supply of drivers.”
Poor Marks—We already knew about the computer glitches that wiped out test answers for more than 14,000 students across Texas taking STAAR exams last December, but it turns out that gaffe was just the tip of the iceberg. According to the Dallas Morning News, nearly 50 school district superintendents sent a letter to the Texas Education Agency outlining their issues with the tests. “Some people are convinced that placing a letter grade on a campus and school district based on test scores is the solution for improving student outcomes,” the letter says. “If we apply the same logic to our current testing system, then it could be argued that it should earn a letter grade of ‘F.’” According to the Morning News, the letter says that in Houston, one shipment of tests “was sent to a church before it was eventually delivered at 8 p.m. to the district in a pickup covered with a tarp. One educator said 7,000 student results were included in another district’s data. A question on the English portion of the test had no correct answer,” and officials in two school districts said “some high school English tests were scored incorrectly.” Testing materials were sometimes delivered to the wrong district, and the shipments weren’t labeled clearly. One shipment showed up in “in a small Home Depot moving box.”