Quote of the Day
“It’s not a big deal.”
-George Gomez, CEO of Billy L. Nabors Demolition in Rowlett, to WFAA on Thursday, referring to his company’s demolition of a tornado-damaged duplex that wasn’t actually supposed to be demolished, leaving homeowner Lindsay Diaz with nothing more than a heap of rubble where her house once stood. Understandably, Diaz felt it was, in fact, a very big deal.
Boomtown, Texas—Everything is bigger in Texas, and Texas itself is getting even bigger. Citing U.S. Census data released on Thursday, Reuters reported that Texas gained nearly 500,000 residents from July 2014 to July 2015, with its four biggest cities totaling 412,000 newcomers between them. Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth were the two U.S. metro areas which grew the most, adding 159,000 and 145,000 residents respectively, while Austin grew faster than any Lone Star city, adding a pretty astounding 157 people per day, according to CultureMap. The Texas Tribune reported that Texas’s suburbs are exploding even faster than its cities, though, noting that Hays County—which is basically all ‘burb—has grown 23 percent in the last five years. Of the twenty U.S. counties that saw the biggest population bumps, eight were in Texas. The boom is somewhat unexpected, since it came in the middle of the oil bust, but according to Bloomberg, Texas has made it out alright so far because of the state’s cheap housing and “diverse labor market.” However, the population boom might not push into the next data collection year. Writes Bloomberg: “Even if the broader economy remains strong, the weakened energy industry will limit the state’s drawing power.”
Crash Landing— On Thursday, United Airlines pilot Bruce Wayne Wallis (definitely of no relation to Batman) was arrested and accused of operating six brothels in apartment complexes and office buildings throughout Houston, involving up to ten women in each. According to law enforcement officials, the size and scope of the pilot’s alleged trafficking ring is like nothing they’ve seen before. “It’s the largest operation that I’ve ever worked on,” one Harris County assistant district attorney told the Houston Chronicle. “It’s massive.” Wallis allegedly used his flight school and charter business in North Houston as a front for his illegal side job to ensure the women he was selling for sex had “legitimate” work records and financial statements. The purported pilot pimp’s arrest comes at a time when Texas is seemingly devoting more resources to cracking down on human trafficking. Attorney General Ken Paxton announced a new partnership on Thursday with two state trucking organizations to curb the criminal practice. According to the Attorney General’s press release (which was unrelated to Wallis’s arrest), Texas has the most trafficking victims in the country. Needless to say, Wallis was grounded promptly after his arrest—United Airlines told the Chronicle that he has been taken off of flying duties.
Trashy Talk—Donald Trump took his Twitter-targeting of Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi, to a new low on Thursday when he retweeted an unflattering photo of her, implying that she is unattractive. Trump was responding to a political ad from a pro-Cruz PAC that mocked a nude photoshoot Trump’s current wife, Melania, did for British GQ magazine fifteen years ago. On Tuesday, Trump first threatened to “spill the beans” on Heidi Cruz in retaliation, before retweeting the mean photo of Heidi on Thursday. It was in poor taste, to put it mildly, so Cruz took the Twitter beef offline, calling Trump a “sniveling coward” during a press conference and warning him to “leave Heidi the hell alone.” However, at the same news conference, Cruz was asked if he would support Trump should the New York businessman be the Republican nominee, and Cruz simply responded that Trump “will not be the nominee,” which sounds sort of like “yeah, I’d support him, but I sure wouldn’t like it.” In more Cruz news, the New York Times published a very well-reported and eye-opening story about Cruz’s late half-sister, who struggled with drug addiction and lived in a startlingly different world than her Ivy-educated sibling.