The State of Texas: August 27, 2014
Tweet of the Day
Most tweets are unfortunate, but more some than others. Take KSAT’s tweet about rappers that went a little viral. As the San Antonio Express-News explains, a tweet about a rapper’s arrest got everyone’s attention because the included photo was of a man Birdman, “who looks significantly different than Young Jeezy.” The Twitter jokes ran the gamut of KSAT being out of touch with contemporary rap music, to KSAT being out of touch with the identification of contemporary black men. To make matters worse, KSAT has apparently deleted said tweet. Not that mistakes ever go away on the internet:
Texas By The Numbers
So Much For Purple — Mean ideological position of Texas counties (one being extremely liberal, seven being extremely conservative): 4.56. Travis County’s position: 3.63. Nueces, Travis’s closest ideologically similar county: 4.21. Position of the most conservative county, Brazoria: 5.13
What’s Not In Your Wallet? — Percentage DFW residents have increased their credit card debt since last year: 4.7 percent. Nationally: 2.9 percent. Houston: 5.45 percent. Rank among top-ten metropolitan areas in nation: first.
Debatable Parenting — Number of Texas parents that opted out of at least one vaccine for their child in 2007: 10,404. In 2011: 32,616. Increase: 31.8 percent. Area that’s seen the largest increase in opting out: Denton County. Increase from 2007: 3,291.
The Perry Chronicles — In internet years, it took forever. But now the chin-scratchers and thinky pieces about Governor Rick Perry indictment have begun floating to the top of the press pool. Exhibit A comes from the New York Times, which has a solid piece by #txlege veteran David Montgomery that expertly explains the “complicated back story to the unfolding legal drama.” Detail-wise, the piece contains more nuts-and-bolts than a hardware store. Meanwhile, Washington D.C.’s company newsletter, Politico, gets creative with an article that compares Perry’s current predicament to the eerily similar case of Tom Delay. The article’s highlight is the great quotes, including one Delay lawyer keeping track of time by noting that “Kim Kardashian’s been married twice [since the case started]. … Lindsay Lohan has been to rehab a dozen times.” As for new news, Perry announced yesterday that despite considering having the state pay for the first part of his legal fees (at least $80,000) he’s going to cover it using his own campaign funds. Not that it’s out of the respect he has for the state’s taxpayers or anything. According to the Associated Press, it’s mostly “to keep from having folks grouse about it.”
Border, Guarded — Our border is now safe from the murderers and terrorists that would’ve come over if 1,000 National Guard hadn’t been called up for duty. Or not. “‘We can confirm that troops are at the border. We cannot confirm any information about troop size, troop movements or troop locations,”’ said an employee who answered the phone at the Guard’s public affairs office Tuesday morning,” according to the San Antonio Express-News. What can be confirmed is that the “cost of the deployment, which includes large numbers of DPS troopers as well as the agency’s air and marine assets, is $18 million a month.” To be fair, the Guard won’t be there to kick butt and take names but to offer assistance to the Border Patrol, which has been run ragged since the influx of migrant crossings began. In fact, the community may not even know they’re there. “During a similar deployment two years ago, [Rio Grande City Mayor Ruben Villarreal] said, he only saw the Guard when they arrived, showed up at a community meeting, and when they left.
Uncivil Citizen — Drug lords need passports too, it turns out. “Reputed drug kingpin Juan Garcia Abrego is taking the federal government and the state of Texas to court. He wants both agencies to declare him a U.S. citizen,” reports The Monitor. Abrego claims he was born in Texas. The government disagrees, holding that the birth certificate Abrego filed was a fake. The disagreement might have something to do with the fact that in 1996, Abrego “the original leader of the Gulf Cartel, was found guilty of 22 federal counts that included distributing more than 14 tons of cocaine into the U.S. and laundering more than $10.5 million.”
Bigger In Texas Dept. — Harris County Judge Ed Emmett has a fantastic idea for the Astrodome: turn it into ” “the world’s largest indoor park.” How could it be more Texan? How about providing “a place for traditional outdoor activities in a climate-controlled space.” The idea sounds wonderful, but at the moment it is just that. “The county’s top elected official did not present any blueprints or renderings on Tuesday, but discussed a loose concept” at a Tuesday press conference, according to the Houston Chronicle. Emmett is really keen on the idea. “It has been suggested that it might be better to wait until we have a fully detailed plan to roll this out,” Emmett said. “However, I believe it’s important to lay out the vision.” For now, it’s all ideas, including one that’s exaclty opposite of Emmett’s. The announcement comes a month after a “$66 million proposal [calling] for demolishing the Dome and installing an open-air structure around an area reminiscent of Discovery Green downtown.”
Crude Move — Oil so close, yet so far. “A Texas court Monday threw out an order to seize one million barrels of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan, potentially opening the way for its delivery to the U.S.,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Since last month, a tanker carrying $100-million worth of black gold has been floating off the Texas coast. It’s “one of a number of sizable oil shipments exported from Iraqi Kurdistan through a new pipeline to Turkey in defiance of Baghdad, which claims sole jurisdiction over Iraq’s natural resources and views the KRG’s bid for economic autonomy as a threat to its authority.” The Galveston-based federal judge declared that “Kurdistan’s unauthorized export of oil over land—and later overseas—may violate Iraqi law, but it doesn’t violate U.S. maritime law.” Iraq now has ten days to amend its complaint.