The State of Texas: August 1, 2014
Image of the Day
The El Paso Chihuahuas’s special “Bark in the Park” jerseys are ridiculous. Keith Olbermann is a ridiculous news/sports/rant-caster. But together, together they are a sight to behold:
Negative Charge — You can’t win them all. “Texas didn’t make the first cut for Tesla’s huge battery factory and its 6,500 jobs, as the electric car company on Thursday disclosed that it had begun clearing ground in June near Reno,” reports the Austin American-Statesman. A construction pad in Reno has been completed, but “the company wouldn’t be pouring concrete until it has made a final site selection in a few months,” according to Tesla’s founder Elon Musk. Governor Rick Perry’s been pushing hard for the factory but it looks like one factor in the decision to pass up Texas is the fact that the legislature won’t convene quick enough to give Tesla some electrifying incentives. On the bright side, Telsa could eventually set up a shop here. To be fair, though, that would be a lot of Musk for one state. The somewhat eccentric billionaire’s other pet project, Space X, is already coming to Texas.
Cruz-ing For a Bruising —Senator Ted Cruz is bipartisan in the fact that he’s not afraid to go after leaders of either party. John Boehner, the Speaker of the Republican-led House of Representatives, tried proposing a conservative bill covering emergency funding for the border crisis Thursday, but it was derailed. By other Republicans. “Boehner was always expected to have trouble overcoming objections of hard-line House Republicans—but Cruz’s surprise intervention made his job almost impossible,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “Cruz had been steadily stirring up opposition to the House GOP plan to approve the $659 million … As the afternoon unfolded, it became clear that House GOP leaders did not have enough support to pass the bill, and they abruptly canceled the vote. House GOP leaders bristled at Cruz’s interference on their turf.” Both the Times and the Washington Post offer colorful descriptions of the power plays at hand (in the doldroms of summer, reporters have more time to rhapsodize). The unrest within the GOP gave something the Democrats to target. Thanks to Cruz’s effort this past month encouraging fellow Republicans to oppose Boehner’s bill and “out-whipping the leader of the House,” Democrats now “jokingly referred to the senator as ‘Speaker Cruz.'”
All Dogs Go To Space — Hollywood is buzzing about Matthew McConaughey’s new role in the Christopher Nolan film Interstellar, but that isn’t the only cosmic news in Texas: “SpaceX’s proposal to develop a launch site at Boca Chica Beach in Cameron County took giant leaps forward with the submission to Cameron County of applications for commercial building permits,” according to the McAllen Monitor. “The developments are the third critical and telling ones this month regarding the progress of SpaceX’s plans to develop the world’s first private, commercial vertical launch site in South Texas. ‘Short of there being an official announcement, this is another indication that they are serious about locating in Cameron County,’ Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos said.” And humans aren’t the only Guardians of the Galaxy: in just a few months, Fido will be able to go to space too. “Memorial space flights for four-legged loved ones will start this fall by a Houston company that already sends human remains into space,” according to CBS DFW. “Celestis Inc. on Wednesday announced Celestis Pets. Rockets carrying cremated remains of dogs and cats are touted as a way for owners to ‘celebrate the life of their pet.'” The price to send Fido into the literal great beyond is $995, less than some purebred puppies, and the company is working on a moon expedition for a mere $1,200.”
12th Settlement — Off the field, Texas A&M looks to be undefeated, at least when it comes to protecting its trademark. “Today the headline is that Texas A&M has reached a settlement agreement with [Buffalo Bills fans] that will result in the 12thManThunder.com domain name and associated social media accounts reverting to Texas A&M,” according to a Fox Sport report/column. The disagreement made the news at the beginning of the month: Texas A&M was suing the group of fans for using a website with the “common football phrase,” a group led by Charles “Chuckie” Sonntag, “a double amputee and cancer survivor.” Sonntag told media, “My experience has proven two things: a handicapped person can accomplish just about anything – and Texas A&M will sue just about anybody.” Details of the settlement haven’t been disclosed, but Sonntag is reportedly, “pleased with the way the university handled the dispute and…fully recognize[s] Texas A&M is the owner of the ’12th Man’ trademark.”