Last month that the New York Times ticked everyone off with their pea-infused, gross guac recipe. Naturally, Texas Monthly responded with a series of Texas-tinged twists on dishes more familiar to New Yorkers. But now things have gotten a bit personal. The New York Times Magazine and Texas Monthly traded maybe smarmy, maybe civil tweets (it’s hard to tell without the respective accents) Wednesday afternoon. This is pretty much how Civil Food Wars get started. Not even our kolaches are safe.
— NYT Magazine (@NYTmag) August 26, 2015
— NYT Magazine (@NYTmag) August 26, 2015
Searches for “Jade Helm” in Texas make some sense. But Missouri, New Mexico — can y’all explain yourselves, please?
Flood of Lies — Just a few days away from the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Houston Chronicle takes a look at some misconceptions about the New Orleans refugees who flocked to the city after the floods. As displaced people came in droves, “politicians, police and the media quickly began blaming Katrina evacuees for a supposed crime wave taking over Houston in the weeks and months following the storm.” The Chronicle points to some of its own headlines, as well as comments and theories from residents and officials. “But criminologist Sean Varano says they’re probably wrong. ‘There’s very little evidence of a wholesale increase in crime,'” the Roger Williams University professor told the Chronicle. In a 2010 study, Varano found that “there was, in fact, a statistically significant increase in certain violent crimes — homicides and robbery — in the aftermath of the storm. But other violent crimes, like aggravated assault and rape, didn’t tick up in the same way. The number of property crimes like burglary, auto theft and arson didn’t change significantly either.” The rest of the piece is an interesting analysis of how cities try to find easy explanations for complex problems.
Dog Gone — It’s been a ruff week for Texas track betting. First there was ongoing the standoff between the Texas Racing Commission and the legislature, and now the Austin American-Statesman reports that the “Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque will be closing, ending dog racing in Texas.” “The dog track, which opened in 1992 near Houston and Galveston to great fanfare, has been struggling along with horse tracks across the state. Wagering is down 85 percent since its first full year in 1992, according to figures from the Texas Racing Commission.” The races will officially end at the first of the year. In a statement, the park’s manager said “we are unable to successfully compete with racetracks in surrounding states who offer expanded gambling opportunities,’ … adding that the Texas Lottery, Internet gambling and the proliferation of illegal slot machine-like ‘8-liners’ also have led to the track’s demise.” When the track first opened, wagers topped $300 million. Last year, that figure was about $40.2 million. “Between 250 and 300 jobs at the track likely will be lost, plus 11 nearby kennels will suffer due to the closing,” the track’s manager said.
American Hero — During a ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion Wednesday, the famous military sniper Chris Kyle was posthumously awarded the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor, the state’s highest military honor. Kyle was the Navy SEAL sniper credited with the most kills in U.S. military history, and his story was chronicled in the 2014 film American Sniper. He was killed in 2013 after a “fellow veteran, Eddie Ray Routh, gunned down Kyle and his friend at a shooting range in Glen Rose.” The medal, which was accepted by his widow on his behalf, is just the latest in a long line of tributes to Kyle. “A few weeks after taking office this year, Abbott declared Feb. 2 ‘Chris Kyle Day’ across Texas, marking the two-year anniversary of the sniper’s death,” writes the Texas Tribune. In June, Governor Greg Abbott designated a section of U.S. 287 in Midlothian, where Kyle attended high school, as the Chris Kyle Memorial Highway. In his birthplace of Odessa, the city is “raising funds and input in their effort to build a planned 2,800 square foot Chris Kyle Memorial Plaza” to be build adjacent to the veterans hospital. At the Austin ceremony, deceased WWII veteran and namesake of Abilene’s Air Force base, Lt. Col. William “Ed” Dyess, was also posthumously awarded the medal.
Muster Fluster — The somewhat-pride of Midland—a muster of peacocks that has apparently been roaming free around the area for decades—continues to cause problems. Earlier this month, the man who many consider to be the owner of the birds was taken to court on “about 30 misdemeanor charges for breaking an animal ordinance.” Last week, a jury found the man not guilty, arguing that the seventy-odd peacocks are “feral” and thus owned by no one (he did admit to feeding them). So what’s wrong with a flock of peacocks, anyway? As the Midland Reporter Times notes, “The blue and green birds have for months caused damages to nearby residents’ landscapes and gardens, who are now left with little resolve.” And now that the birds have been labeled “feral” like sparrows, pigeons and “other backyard birds,” the “city has no direct ordinances addressing the peacocks, leaving the birds be dealt with by the landowner, much like other common fauna.” It’s a fairly expensive problem, too. The birds cause $500 to $1,000 worth of damage to individual property owners every year. So far, there is no solution, only the majestic sight of strutting, feral males.