The State of Texas: Julian Castro Passed Over For VP
Plus: Texas Democrats gather in Philly, people keep dying in Bexar County Jail, and the home of a Vernon woman is besieged by snakes.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Hatchlings really respond to bass.”
—Tom Backof to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Backof is part of Padre Island’s turtle patrol, which helps out the local turtle hatchling population each year. While transporting the baby turtles in his SUV from their hatching place to the shore, Backof blasts the Geto Boys’ “Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta,” which is apparently a favorite among turtle hatchlings.
Former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro was officially out of the veepstakes after presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton picked Tim Kaine, a U.S. senator from Virginia, to be her running mate, according to the Texas Tribune. Castro, who currently serves as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is considered a rising star in the Democratic party and was an early favorite to be Clinton’s VP. His perceived ability to lock up the Hispanic vote was particularly coveted by the Clinton campaign. But as it became clear that Donald Trump would be Clinton’s opponent in the general election and that Trump’s anti-Hispanic rhetoric could push Hispanic voters toward Clinton, Castro fell out of the running. By the time Clinton chose Kaine, few considered Castro a serious candidate. Still, Castro reportedly made it to the vetting stage, and even met with Clinton in Washington, D.C. for an interview a week before Clinton made her decision. Although he immediately expressed support for Clinton’s pick on Twitter, Castro was understandably bummed out. “It’s disappointing, of course,” Castro told the Washington Post on Saturday, “but it’s also easy to put into perspective. When I was 30 years old, I lost a very close mayor’s race. At the time I was completely disappointed and crushed. But a few years later I came back and I became mayor of San Antonio and it actually worked out for the better.” It’s unclear what comes next for Castro, but this more than likely won’t be the last we hear from him in big-time politics.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Texas Dems Take Philly
The Democratic National Convention has some big shoes to fill if it hopes to be as exciting as last week’s GOP Convention in Cleveland. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Texas Democrats are feeling pretty good about their own party convention after watching their Republican counterparts struggle through a week marred by inter-party discord. Still, as the Statesman notes, Trump’s a little too close to Clinton in the polls for Democrats to rest easy, so things will be all business when the convention starts today in Philadelphia. The Democrats aren’t without their own unity issues, which were exacerbated after leaked emails indicated the Democratic National Committee was a little impartial throughout the nomination process. The scandal led to the resignation of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. But Texas Democrats told the Texas Tribune they fully expect the center to hold in Philadelphia. A slew of Texans are scheduled to speak this week, including twin brothers HUD Secretary Julián and U.S. Representative Joaquín Castro, and U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston.
Bexar County jailers found the body of a 40-year-old inmate hanging in his cell on Friday, marking the facility’s fourth jailhouse suicide in less than four weeks, according to the San Antonio Express-News. The series of deaths, which included one stretch earlier this month that saw three suicides in just ten days, prompted a surprise visit to the jail by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards after the second suicide. According to the Express-News, the Commission found no violations after investigating the first three deaths. San Antonio’s University Health System, which provides mental health services for Bexar County Jail, told the Express-News that it is “evaluating our current practices.” The series of suicides comes almost exactly one year after Sandra Bland hanged herself in a Waller County Jail cell, sparking international protests and calls for reform, particularly in the ways Texas prisons handle mentally ill or suicidal inmates.
Snakes In A Kitchen
Deborah Burdette is an early favorite for Most Badass Texan of 2016. According to the Wichita Falls Times-Record-News, when Burdette found a snake in the kitchen of her Vernon home, she did not freak out and run away. Instead, Burdette went to get her phone to take a picture (clearly, the snake wasn’t the only one in the room with ice water running through its veins). When Burdette returned with her phone, the snake tried to make a run for it through a hole in her dishwasher. Burdette snagged the snake with her bare hands and tried to kill it with a knife, but that didn’t work, and the snake kept trying to slither away from her grip. Writes the Times-Record-News: “So she grabbed a new meat cleaver that was still in its plastic wrap and used her teeth to tear off the plastic while holding onto the snake with her other hand,” and struck a deadly blow to the foul beast’s head. If you enjoy having nightmares, see this photo of Burdette looking rather unimpressed as she dangles the six-foot poisonous water moccasin. Burdette: 1, Snake: 0. But that was just one battle in Burdette’s Snake Wars. Later that night, a snake sneak-attacked her and bit her on the hand (she’s fine, because she’s Deborah Burdette, the toughest homeowner in Texas). A few months earlier, she shot and killed a twelve-button rattlesnake invading her patio. She said she’s killed several snakes at her home over the years.
WHAT WE’RE READING
The Dallas Police Department has seen a 344 percent increase in job applicants Dallas Morning News
That time a bunch of Mongolian judges came to McAllen McAllen Monitor
A Chris Kyle memorial will be unveiled this week in Odessa Odessa American
No players or cheerleaders were on board when the Dallas Cowboys’ tour bus was involved in a fatal car crash Fort Worth Star-Telegram
A Texas lawsuit has made it a lot easier for immigrants to get birth certificates for their kids New York Times