Quote of the Day
Perhaps some kind of demonstrable handyman skill should actually be a requirement for any incoming president:
Rick Perry: "If you elect me, I will build a wall on the border with my bare hands."
— Sarah Westwood (@sarahcwestwood) August 6, 2015
Primary Primetime — So how did the two overstuffed Republican primary debates go? Pretty great, from a Texas standpoint. Rick Perry was, of course, relegated to the second-tier, happy-hour discussion for which there appeared to be more people on stage than in the audience. Although he looked really confident, it seems the biggest takeaway was a so-called “oops” moment when Perry referred to Republican demigod Ronald Reagan as “Ronald Raven.” It was a minor flub, but the Internet pounced as if he’d vomited on the Prime Minister of Japan. Slate now has an admittedly fun app that allows you to “Rick Perrify your name.” But, you know, maybe it didn’t actually happen at all. “Rick Perry’s Campaign Denies He Said ‘Ronald Raven’,” reads the ABC headline. At the main event, there was even more Texas, with Ted Cruz and Texas’s second cousins of sorts, Rand Paul and Jeb Bush. The Texas Tribune‘s takeaway is that Cruz was holding back on spouting some of his famous fireballs in order to avoid “Republican-on-Republican violence.” Not that he was a pushover. “If you’re looking for someone to go to Washington to go along to get along … to agree with the career politicians in both parties who get in bed with the lobbyists of special interests, then I ain’t your guy,” Cruz said at one point. Perry and Cruz aside, Texas got a shout out from Paul! It was, however, to call out Houston Mayor Annise Parker over the city’s controversial HERO ordinance, or more specifically, the city’s controversial (and deeply unpleasant) “investigation” into pastors’s sermons. Expect Texas to represent again at the next debate, September 16.
The Jail That Was — The Frio County lockup will be made to close next month, “the third time in its 40-year history” the Texas Commission on Jail Standards has made such a decision. “The 5-3 vote came after commissioners were told that the jail in Pearsall, southwest of San Antonio, has failed four inspections since 2013,” reports the Texas Tribune. The reasons for the closure weren’t anything too egregious, i.e. haven’t drawn media attention. But “violations have included a lack of testing of generators, a non-working fire alarm control panel and, more recently, keeping inmates far longer than 72 hours. In some cases those inmates were being held 10 days and longer, according to Brandon Wood, the commission’s executive director.” But criminals and unlucky persons may not be able roam free in Frio forever. The two other jails that were previously shut down, in Calhoun and Howard counties, “later came back into compliance.”
Shopping Spree — Texas’s favorite state holiday is here — tax-free shopping weekend! Buy anything under $100 and you get to play hooky from The Man, saving “8.25 cents for each dollar spent.” That might sound like mere — and, actually, literal — pennies but “this year’s tax-free weekend is expected to save Texans $87 million, according to the state comptroller’s office,” writes the Austin American-Statesman. The story has some other interesting tidbits about our buying habits, too. “The average family will spend $630.36 on back-to-school electronics, clothing and school supplies this year, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s down from $669.28 last year.” For those who happen to like a little history, the Dallas Morning News offered a few factoids about the weekend. It’s “been a tradition in Texas since 1999. Seventeen years of sales tax holidays makes Texas one of the oldest states to offer the break. ” So go out and buy stuff. It’s your duty (free) as a Texan!
A Stuffed Suit — Speaking of poorly constructed politicians filled with nothing but sugar, the Donald Trump piñata craze is slowly making its way north of the border. At the end of June, Texas Monthly‘s own John Nova Lomax detailed the rise of such fun-filled effigies that were being produced in Reynosa before finally becoming available in McAllen. Now Austin’s gotten hip to the craze. The Statesman details the swift business of Piñata Party Palace, the owner of which “ordered 40 Trump piñatas about a month ago, they’ve been a strong seller. About half of his Trump stock is gone … and he’ll have to put in another order at the end of the month.” The former owner of Jumpolin piñata store (unceremoniously torn down to make way for some feline gentrifurrcation) said she’s doing pretty well, too, working out of a temporary location. “She’s already sold around 25 Trumppiñatas [sic], starting at $45.00 each, and the orders keep coming. She hasn’t even been able to make enough piñatas to keep them up for display, she said.” It is, of course, all about the small details that make a good Trump piñata. The former Jumpolin owner makes her’s “a little bigger and includes more comical touches, like a boot print on Trump’s left backside and an ‘Hecho en México’ sign on the other butt cheek.”