Quote of the Day
“When I opened the passenger door to get something out, I saw the snake sitting right on the floorboard.”
—Philana Williams to the Denton Record Chronicle. Williams found the 2.5-foot slithery beast in her SUV while her one-year-old daughter was sitting in the back seat. According to NBC DFW, animal control arrived to catch the “very angry-looking” snake, but “it eventually shed its skin and got away,” escaping somewhere into the frame of the vehicle. Um, nope. No thanks. Williams hasn’t been back in her car since this happened on Tuesday. We don’t blame her.
Communal Car Service
No Uber of Lyft? No problem! A month after the ride-hailing companies abandoned the city in a huff, Austinites are taking to Facebook to secure rides. According to the Guardian, about 32,000 members of the Facebook group Arcade City Austin are organizing rides peer-to-peer. Riders post to the page when they need a ride, drivers among the group post the time they will arrive, and they exchange cell phone numbers through Facebook. There’s no hard rule on payment—it’s either set by the driver, or the rider pays whatever he or she felt the service was worth. Arcade City is a New Hampshire-based organization intended to “decentralize” the ride-hailing industry, the Guardian says. It’s not the first car service to step into the void left by the departed Uber and Lyft, but it seems like the most unique. It’s unclear what the background check situation is for the drivers, though. Meanwhile, Uber and Lyft are now facing lawsuits on behalf of former drivers, alleging they violated federal labor law by bolting from Austin. According to KXAN, the drivers say Uber and Lyft left without providing proper notice, and they’re asking the companies to fork over up to 60 days in back pay and benefits to ex-drivers.
Texas is co-leading a lawsuit against tiny Delaware, claiming it owes the Lone Star State about ten million bucks. According to Reuters, the lawsuit basically alleges that Delaware and money transaction firm MoneyGram violated federal law because the service sent its un-cashed checks to Delaware, instead of the sending them back to states where the checks were originally purchased, thus shorting the other states out of a hefty bit of cash. On Thursday, Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a press conference that the amount Delaware owes its fellow states is at least $150 million, and could be more than $400 million. Texas and the other twenty states in the lawsuit aren’t messing around—they filed the lawsuit directly at the U.S. Supreme Court (apparently you can do that if the lawsuit involves a dispute between states). “Delaware has our money. They’ve kept our money,” Paxton said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “We’re just trying to get what is owed to us.” Go get ’em.
Grip and Grin
Christopher Johnson just wanted to put a smile on his face when he had his mug shot taken in Harris County, but apparently his jailers weren’t feeling it. According to KTRK, Johnson is suing because, he says, two jail employees were upset that his pearly whites were showing and choked him for about 30 seconds in an attempt to turn that smile upside down. The mugshot clearly shows a hand, which appears to be white, wrapped around the throat of Johnson, who is African American. The Harris County Sheriff’s Department has no policy prohibiting smiling during a mug shot, and, as the New York Daily News notes, there’s at least one documented case in which an inmate was allowed to smile sans-choking. In 2005, former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was booked in the same facility on money laundering charges. His mugshot looks like a school yearbook photo: suit and tie, hair combed neatly to the side, and a big, gleaming grin. If you look closely, you will see that no one is trying to choke DeLay. The department claims it did nothing wrong in Johnson’s case, and a spokesman told the Daily News that they routinely have to “assist impaired or uncooperative detainees during the booking photo process.” Johnson was being booked for allegedly driving while drunk.