Fightin’ Words

The chow lines have been drawn in the battle of chili v. barbecue as the state’s official state food. In Texas Monthly‘s December Food Issue, Paul Burka restated his decades-long belief that “Chili is the most overrated, overhyped variation on beef stew ever concocted … .” Now, the Fort Worth Star Telegram has brought its heavy-hitter, Bud Kennedy, to weigh in. In a direct response to the barbecue call-to-dinner, Kennedy defends chili as the everyman (or, rather, every cowboy) dish, that eskews high-faultin’ talk of brisket’s “purity” by glossy monthlies. Kennedy notes that, “on a frosty January morning at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, the cowboys don’t line up first for barbecue. They start the day [with] eggs and chili.” Once this war pitting brother against brother really heats up, which side of the cantina are you gonna be on?

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Texas By The Numbers

Teacher’s Debt — Number of first-year teachers hired in Texas last year: 15,000. Number hired in 2008: 25,000. Percentage drop in past four years: 40 percent. Number of teachers lost due to attrition in 2011: 35,800. Number of new teachers hired: 24,871. Previous number of times Texas has seen more teachers leave than were hired: 0.

Minority Report — Number of Texans without health insurance: 1 million. Number of those who are Hispanic: 500,000. Percentage of country’s million uninsured Hispanic adults that live in Texas: 59 percent. Number of uninsured black adults in the country: 1.3 million. Number of black Texans without insurance: 150,000. That figure as a percent within Texas: 15 percent. That figure as a percentage in uninsured Americans overall: 12 percent.

Fully Stocked, Man — Number of available seats for people seeking Representative Steve Stockman’s old job: 1. Number of candidates in that Republican primary: 15. Number of actual Republicans: 12. Number of libertarians: 2. Number of Democrats: 1. Chance the libertarian will win the primary: 0. The Democrat: less than zero.

Daily Roundup

Friends With Benefits (And Lawsuits!) — The City of Houston is getting sued by a county GOP chairman after Mayor Annise Parker extended health benefits to homosexual couples. Full of chutzpah, chairman Jared Woodfill said, “This is one of the most egregious acts by an elected official I’ve ever seen.” Then he cited the city’s anti-gay charter amendment of 2001, the U.S. Constitution, and the Defense of Marriage Act, which has been struck down by the Supreme Court. A judge has put the “new policy on hold until the matter goes before [another] judge on Jan. 6.” The city’s district attorney says the plaintiffs don’t have much to stand on since the policy would not affect them and “being a taxpayer isn’t enough.” Also, that whole we-can’t-let-those-people-have-equal-rights didn’t work out 50 years ago, either.

Must Be Good With Failure — The Lower Colorado River Authority is looking for a new general manager. The job description is three pages long and asks the right candidate to do what others couldn’t with the billion-dollar organization — namely keep it from falling apart. With the drought, pissed off farmers, loss of revenue, and the sudden exit of the current GM, Texas Tribune has an unflinching look at all the miracles the new person would need to peform. Both walking on water and actually making it rain are important skills. So too, as the Texas Tribune noted at the end of its piece, is the “emotional capacity to deal with conflict at all levels.”

Missing the Mark — You can now expect less from Target. The store said that it’s not going to carry Beyoncé’s new album because the damn thing did iswell, too popular. Basically, our girl from Bey-o City put out her surpise, self-titled hit herself online first, and Target being rather old-school about things says that’s a big no-no for the kind of old school sales it wants to do. They want “physical” units of the product first, or it didn’t happen. Which kinda makes you wonder why the store has a nice website that allows you to purchase items without “physically” going.

Get Down! This Is Only A Drill! — Our man, Dan Solomon, reports on the story of Small Middle School in southwest Austin, which recently practiced a school shooting dril. The only problem is that nether parents nor teachers were informed with sufficient warning, which of course, made this traumatizing incident pretty real for a lot of people. Of course, no warnings are given in these types of situations, but, as Solomon asks, in preparing for the worst, “is it worth putting students through that for the drill?”

Clickity Bits

Deadly Mystery Illness in Montgomery County

‘Experts Say The Only Way to Fix Austin’s Traffic Problem is to Drive Less’

Texas No Longer Has Highest Insurance Rates, Florida Finally Good For Something

Federal Government Burrito Thief Arrested After Four Months on the Run’

On Second Thought, Procecutor Will Go After ‘Affluenza’ Teen Again

Jose Canseco Is Ready to Coach the Longhorns

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