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The State of Texas: Arkansas Cheese Dip Beats Texas Queso In Unofficial Competition

Plus: Texas might soon have a law binding electors to their state’s vote, the Fort Worth orchestra ends its strike, and an Austin pizzeria somehow gets swept up in the fake news #pizzagate scandal.

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“It’s like Fox News. I report, you decide if it’s true or not. Y’all are holding me to the same standards as you are a news organization, and it’s just Facebook.”

—Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller to Austin’s NPR affiliate, KUT. Miller was attempting to defend the fake news he’s been pushing on his social media pages, a practice that was recently exposed by the Texas Tribune


A hot bowl of so-called "cheese dip" with tortilla chips.
A hot bowl of so-called “cheese dip” with tortilla chips.


System Is Rigged
On Wednesday afternoon, Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn battled against Arkansas’s two senators in the great war of our time: Texas queso vs. Arkansas “cheese dip.” The cheese beef started back in November, when Arkansas claimed via the Wall Street Journal that its “cheese dip” (which surely tastes as bland as it’s name suggests) is superior to our brilliant, beautiful queso. Normally, bringing cheese dip to a queso competition would be like bringing a knife to a gun fight. But to everyone’s surprise, after the rest of the Senate Republicans consumed the cheesy dishes in a blind taste test and cast their ballots, Texas queso somehow came out on the losing end, according to the Dallas Morning News (by the way, if you like cheese puns—and of course you do—then the Morning News’s recap is the one to read). The queso in question was supposedly from Dallas-based chain Uncle Julio’s, but we’re not sure if Senators Cruz and Cornyn made any alterations to the final product—perhaps it was a Trojan queso, and we’ll awaken tomorrow to find Arkansas’s bland cheese dip slaughtered in its sleep by our triumphant spices. Another possible explanation is that non-Texans simply can’t handle our queso’s awesomeness. “The chile con queso from Texas may have a little bit of spice in it,” Cornyn said. “And it may be a little too much for the tender palates here inside the beltway.” No matter what, this losing queso certainly is not representative of the constituency Cruz and Cornyn serve. Also, it’s important to note that this is a false result because the competition was unsanctioned, unofficial (remember, the Senate Democrats didn’t get to participate), and Arkansas clearly cheated. The system may be rigged, but Texas queso will always be king. Perhaps even more disconcerting than the actual competition is the R-rated, borderline erotic fiction imagery Cruz shared about queso. “Look, cheese dip can be served on a ritz cracker, or with one of those tiny Vienna sausages,” Cruz said. “Queso is made to be scooped up with tortilla chips, dribbling down your chin and onto your shirt.” Um, that is not how a normal human eats queso. The video of his statement is truly hard to watch, but you can do it anyway at your own peril.


Rogue Two
In reaction to a Texas elector’s refusal to vote for President-elect Donald Trump, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said on Wednesday that state legislators might try to pass a law that would bind electors to the statewide winner of the election, according to the Texas Tribune. Patrick clearly isn’t happy about Dallas elector Christopher Suprun’s decision, saying in a radio interview that it was a “slap across the face” to Texan voters. “We thought that people in Texas here who run for elector would keep their word,” Patrick said. Twenty-nine states already have a law in place that requires electors to be faithful to their state’s vote. Patrick’s potential bill is already facing pushback from electors. “It’s unconstitutional,” Alex Kim, a Bedford attorney and an elector this year, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “The founding fathers wanted the electors to be free to do what they wanted to do… It’s constraining the free will of voters and saying they are token voters. I think every voter in every election should be able to cast a vote freely.”

Curtain Call
The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra finally ended its three-month strike thanks to an anonymous donor who forked over $700,000 to cover the costs of the salary increase the orchestra members were clamoring for, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The new labor agreement includes a pay freeze for two years before “modest pay raises” in the last two years of the four-year deal. It was a bitter negotiation process that stretched more than a year. The musicians’ contract expired in July 2015, and they held protests and even a sit-in at the orchestra’s office before deciding to go on strike. Their demands were certainly reasonable given the fact they agreed to take a 13.5 percent pay cut in the deal they signed in 2010. But management had said all along that they just couldn’t afford to increase their pay. Props to the generous mystery donor for stepping in to fix things. The orchestra’s first official concert since the strike will be on New Year’s Eve.

Pizza Problems
An Austin pizzeria is somehow wrapped up in the #PizzaGate conspiracy, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The gist of #PizzaGate is that someone in the far-flung corners of the internet claimed Hillary Clinton and her “associates” were running a child sex-trafficking ring run out of pizzerias across the country, which was based out of Washington, D.C. pizzeria Comet Ping Pong. The lie spread like wildfire online, and now there are a disturbing amount of people who actually believe it, including one man who recently walked into Comet Ping Pong with a gun to “investigate” (he was arrested). Austin’s East Side Pies is for some reason part of this false conspiracy theory, and the owner is understandably worried for the safety of himself, his employees, and his customers. According to the Statesman, the pizza place is facing harassment on social media, and one of its delivery trucks was vandalized with “profane and sexual statements” written on it. The owner has had to contact Austin police and the FBI.


Houston is about to be underwater Texas Tribune/ProPublica

Texas State’s president said the university won’t report undocumented immigrants Austin American-Statesman

There is now an online searchable database with the names of people who died in Texas jails Houston Chronicle

Border Patrol just built a $3.8 million tent in Donna to house children and families crossing the border McAllen Monitor

For the second time this year, a Texas A&M student was found dead in a frat house Bryan-College Station Eagle

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  • José

    It’s been that kind of year when Official State Idiot Sid Miller and the Republican Party can get away with the idea that truth just doesn’t matter any more. This kind of nonsense is not normal. Texans deserve better.

  • Eric J. Francis

    Its, not it’s. 😉

    • José

      Say what? Are you referring to Sid Miller’s quote, “It’s like Fox News” and “it’s just Facebook,” where the word is a contraction of “It is”? Or the quote from the Bedford attorney, “It’s unconstitutional,” which is also “It is”? Or my comment “It’s been that kind of year…” where the word is a contraction of “It has”? Or did I miss one somewhere?

      When correcting folks you must remember Rule #2, which is to be clear and specific. Also Rule #1, which is to be sure that you are right and they are wrong in the first place.

      • Eric J. Francis

        Mea culpa! I was reading the cheese dip story and did, indeed, overlook Rule #2. Though not Rule #1: “which surely tastes as bland as it’s name suggests.”

        Just a bit of a poke from an Arkansawyer with a Texas-born mom. Love me some Texas Monthly… and some cheese dip.

        • José

          Dang, missed that one. Sorry, partner. Y’all enjoy that cheese dip. I’m going to have myself some queso.

          • Eric J. Francis

            No apologies necessary, my friend! Enjoy!