The State of Texas: April 10, 2014
Video of the Day
There’s nothing like living through a near-death experience head-on, except being able to relive said experience over and over and over again. That’s exactly what a professor in College Station can do thanks to his dash-cam, which recorded the terrifying moment when a cement truck flipped then barreled right into his headlights. Luckily, there were only minor injuries.
Image of the Day
This map created by the Atlantic gives new meaning to the phrase “everything is bigger in Texas:” “Points in the map’s red section are closer to somewhere in Texas than the opposite sides of Texas are to each other.” (And h/t to Texas Tweep @scATX.)
Nightmare Revisited — A memorial service was held Wednesday for those who died during last week’s shooting at Fort Hood and, as most don’t need reminding, it was a familar scene. “Five years later, President Obama was back Wednesday on the same field in front of the same building on the same Army post in the same state, with some of the same faces again grieving for soldiers killed in an act of senseless violence,” reads the New York Times opening sentence. Just as the shooting at Fort Hood five years ago, this latest tragedy made national news, with every major publication from coast to coast reporting on the service. Most note President Obama’s remarks that “Part of what makes this so painful is that we’ve been here before … This tragedy tears at wounds still raw from five years ago.” About 3,000 people—including Greg Abbott, David Dewhurst, John Cornyn, Ted Cruz, Shelia Jackson Lee, and Nancy Pelosi—attended the service honoring the three who died after Specialist Ivan López went on a shooting spree on April 2.
Who’s On First TV? — If you didn’t watch the Astros game against the Los Angeles Angels, hey, you’re not alone. “Once again the Astros played a game this week and, according to the Nielsen Company, nobody in Houston was watching on Comcast SportsNet Houston,” according to the Houston Chronicle. “Nielsen’s Houston ratings report for Monday shows a 0.0 rating … the second time, according to Nielsen, that the Astros have played a game on CSN Houston that no one watched.” The previous episode was this past September when the Astros/Cleveland game had to contend with America’s actual favorite pastime: football. Of course, no one didn’t watch the game (these players have moms, after all). It’s just that of the roughly 500,000 households with the CSN Houston channel, none of those with Nielson boxes, about 579, stayed to see any inning stretch. But those are figures only Moneyball‘s Billy Beane would challenge. It’s much more fun to say, “Literally No One Watched This Astros Game,” as the Chronicle did on its homepage.
Driving Illegally — Yesterday, the El Paso Times went national with an interesting story on deportation figures: “A majority of the 2.3 million people who the U.S. government deported in recent years were removed for immigration or vehicle traffic violations rather than for more serious crimes, according to a report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse in New York.” Crunching the TRAC report’s numbers, “43,090 out of a total of 368,644 deportations were for serious crimes, 53,259 were for immigration violations and 47,249 were related to vehicle traffic offenses.” The report also notes that only twelve percent of those deportees committed a serious offense like murder, robbery, or rape. The piece is chock-full of data and definitely worth a read, no matter where you stand on the immigration debate.
A Dry County — In a unanimous decision, the Fort Worth city council voted to enact permanent water restrictions. Among other dos-and-don’ts, citizens will only be able to water their lawns two days a week, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The city ain’t fooling around either. “The new ordiance will impose a maximum fine of $2,000 for irrigating on an off-day or for watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. each day. Compliance would focus on education and offer a ‘friendly reminder’ first, which would be followed by a violation notice and then locking the irrigation system and adminstrative fees.” As one of driest spells on record continues to ravage the land, peer pressure seems to be increasing just as water pressure decreases. Dallas already has similar restrictions in place and Arlington, long opposed to such measures and with no permanent regulations in place, is once again considering “measures designed to give officials the ability to quickly sanction those who break the [current, temporary] rules.” By 2025, expect nearly every city to have a SWAT team of Water Police.