The State of Texas: April 14, 2015
Texas music has many stars. However, there’s arguably only one person who brought it all together to make the state and its capitol an epicenter for great live music: Bill Arhos, the creator of “Austin City Limits,” who went to that big stage in the sky on Saturday. Arhos’s passing was not only noted by local publications but music news powerhouses like Rolling Stone and Spin recognized his accomplishments too.
Image of the Day
There is nothing cooler than watching nature do its truly awesome thing. For evidence look no further than this time-lapse of a severe thunderstorm in Lubbock a few days ago, courtesy of the National Weather Service.
This is a very impressive long-duration timelapse of the thunderstorm that brought severe weather east of Lubbock. Some very spectacular dynamic interactions between two supercells are evident with rotation evident. Plus, watch the rapid intensification of the storm complete with anvil development, updraft pulsing, and even lightning.
Posted by US National Weather Service Lubbock Texas on Saturday, April 11, 2015
The Gulf War – Despite experts predicting a quiet hurricane season, there will still be choppy waters in the Gulf of Mexico, albeit these will be man-made. The Galveston Daily News and the Associated Press have an interesting look at the “turf war.” At stake is “one company’s claim to some 23,000 acres of land at the bottom of Galveston Bay.” Sustainable Texas Oyster Resource Management’s (STORM) purchase of exclusive rights to dredge the area has been met with backlash as the area has “been populated for decades by public reefs and private leases controlled and monitored by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.” The confusing fight is based on a claim that would basically result in an oyster monopoly, or more specifically, “control of more than 452 acres of currently private oyster beds held by seven . . . competitors and more than 3,900 acres of public oyster reef under its supervision.” To further muddy the waters, the General Land Office has issued disputed opinions about what the company can and cannot control. One more shark in the water is the parched lawmakers who have begun drafting bills that would “create a legal framework for the construction of integrated saltwater desalination and power plants that could pull water from far offshore,” according to the Texas Tribune. If Gulf residents thought the weather was rough now, wait until the dust draggers start coming down.
The Chimes of Recovery – Sure, at least three people have died and products have been recalled from every major grocery chain from here to California, but the Texas-based Blue Bell company is apparently stronger than this listeria incident. Despite the cost of millions, “legal, food service, and retail experts expect Blue Bell Creameries to survive the current storm,” according to the Dallas Morning News. “Based on past cases, outside observers foresee a seven- or even eight-figure price tag ahead. But they see the brand’s loyal following among retailers, and almost cult-like adulation among consumers, as the dominant tailwind.” One precise expert guessed anywhere between $4 million and $10 million, excluding the cost of litigation “that attorneys say are certain to come.” Keeping the company afloat, said experts, is and will continue to be thanks to some rather intense product loyalty. That even goes for “retailers and other vendors [who] have remained steadfast, even as they have yanked Blue Bell products from the shelves.”
Anonymous in Grapevine – The officer-involved shooting death of an unarmed Mexican immigrant in Grapevine hasn’t garnered the kind of national attention as similar tragedies, but that doesn’t mean the controversy is going away. For the past two months, family and community members have been calling for the release of the police officer’s dashcam video that allegedly shows the incident. Now the hacker group connected with an Anonymous offshoot that “played a role” last summer in Ferguson is getting involved, according to the Morning News. In the video, “a narrator demands that the Euless and Grapevine police departments and the Tarrant County district attorney release the dashcam video.” While the video is done in classic Anonymous fashion—ominous music, robot voices that mispronounce words—no direct threat is made should the dashcam footage remain guarded evidence. Apart from “We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Tarrant County is expecting us,” that is. For their part, officials say the video hasn’t been released “at the request of the Tarrant County District Attorney, who cited an ongoing investigation.”
International Men of Mystery – It appears presidential candidate Ted Cruz isn’t even operating his campaign from the U.S. Yahoo! Politics has a fascinating story following the money of Cruz’s coordinated network of super-PACs. If you thought a president of Kenya was bad, how about three mysterious men living in tax-sheltered islands just off the U.S. coast and operating things from a distance like evil Bond villains. It doesn’t help that there’s
a henchman “an Austin lawyer” with the perfect-sounding name, Dathan Voelter, who has registered three of the four super PACs. “So far, little is known about who is behind the super-PACs, and Voelter declined to discuss the identities of any donors,” according to Yahoo! Politics. Not that they aren’t clueless. The primary donor, living in tax-sheltered Puerto Rico, is “Toby Neugebauer … the son of [Texas congressman Randy Neugebauer].” Another key player is “David Panton, . . . Cruz’s [former college classmate] . . . and later his business partner in a Caribbean holding company registered in the British Virgin Islands and operating out of Kingston, Jamaica.” As YP so wonderfully notes, “Panton did not respond to a request for comment. But in an interview with the Jamaica Business Observer this week, he described himself as ‘an active supporter’ of Cruz’s super-PACs.”