The State of Texas: April 8, 2014
Quote of the Day
“I went to the drug store to fill a prescription, and there were two people hitting me up for tickets.”
— Ben Barnes, vice chairman of the LBJ Foundation, which has helped organize a summit this week to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, an event that will be attended by Barack Obama and three former presidents.
Photos of the Day
Over the weekend, the Houston Texans held cheerleader tryouts, which included “Over 1,000 women,” and “at least one guy in jeans,” according to the Houston Press. The Houston Chronicle was also there and took very important journalistic pictures of the event. Its resulting slideshow is, er, extensive.
Shot-For-Shot — Six days after the terrible event, officials have finally produced a detailed account of the Fort Hood shooting. Army investigators described Specialist Ivan López’s shooting rampage, which took place over just eight minutes. As has been reported, “López began shooting after an argument with members of his unit’s administration over a request for leave,” according to the Austin American-Statesman. López first opened fire inside the 49th Transportation Battalion headquarters, and then he “drove to his duty station at a nearby motor pool, shooting and wounding soldiers from his car as he drove. At the motor pool he killed another soldier and wounded two more, before getting back in his vehicle … López [then] drove away from the motor pool he fired through the windshield of an oncoming vehicle.” After stopping to kill another soldier, López again got back in his car and drove to a parking lot where, upon being approached by a military police officer, he shot himself. As the story notes, “investigators have recovered 35 rounds among 235 pieces of evidence and have interviewed 1,100 potential witnesses.” A memorial service, which President Obama plans to attend, will be held Wednesday.
UT’s Hall Of Blame — A draft report from the House committee investigating University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall finds that he “likely committed impeachable offenses, including abusing his office and possibly breaking state and federal law,” according to the Houston Chronicle. The 176-page report alleges “that Hall leaked confidential student information in apparent violation of state and federal law in an attempt to silence his critics in the Texas Legislature,” and that the regent manipulated and coerced witnesses during the investigation of his actions. Investigators who wrote the report find this “particularly troubling and potentially criminal in nature.” For now, the interested parties have kept relatively mum on the draft or what will happen, saying that they need to first read the novella-length denouncement before moving forward.
Best Kept A Secret — Death penalty opponents lost another round yesterday when the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that “the state doesn’t have to reveal where it gets its lethal injection drug,” according to the Associated Press. The decision comes a week after an appeal by two inmates—Tommy Lynn Sells and Ramiro Hernandez-Llanas—was denied last week (Sells was executed last Thursday). Lawyers “said they feared the prisoners could suffer unconstitutional pain and suffering if the drug weren’t tested.” The state said the secrecy was meant to protect the drug maker from threats of violence, despite the AP’s recent declaration that “Texas prison officials have offered scant evidence to support their claim” and that it “could find no evidence that any such investigations [into said threats].” Also the state noted that “the drug had been used ‘painlessly and successfully’ on [the inmate last week].” They also said that there was “no pharmacy, no drug and no assurance of quality that [the second inmate] would find satisfactory.” Satisfied or not, lawyers for Hernandez-Llanas have decided not to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court since it rejected the same request by Sells last week.
Game of Chicken — Burger wars between McDonalds, Burger King, and the like are so yesterday’s leftovers. The hot-outta-the-fryer new battle is the Chicken Wars. From the gourmands that brought you Pizza Hut and KFC comes the next, great American culinary tradition: Super Chix. The concept restaurant—set to open a single, test site in Arlington on Wednesday—may or may not become a direct competitor to Chick-Fil-A in the very near future. As the Dallas Morning News notes, this could turn into quite the cockfight: “[Chick-Fil-A], the Atlanta-based chicken chain, which counts North Texas as one of its largest markets, now rules the roost in the chicken world. Chick-fil-A has surpassed KFC as the largest U.S.-based chicken chain.” Also making its Texas debut this month in Frisco is the Florida-based PDQ, another breaded chicken vendor. And if pollo ain’t your thing, the KFC team in Dallas is also “working on another concept, an Asian-themed sandwich restaurant called Banh Shop.”