The State of Texas: Dec. 2, 2013
Good Fortune Award
There’s no better feeling than scoring a touchdown, particularly if you’re back in pads after suffering two strokes, being put on life support, and shedding about fifty pounds. Such was the case for Lubbock High School senior Kenbriel Hearn, whose inspirational never-stay-tackled story rivals that of Rudy.
The Mercy Rule — Mercifully, the football season is almost over. The former superhero, Johnny Manziel, had his Superman IV moment this Saturday against Mizzou. Already suffering from a cavity-threatening injury (his thumb was so busted he had trouble brushing his teeth), Manziel had “a career-low for a complete game” in what could very well be his final game as an Aggie. Texas Tech, God bless them, took one for the state, getting clobbered by the Longhorns on Thursday, which allowed UT to keep its Big 12 title hopes alive. Still, no one was pretending it was a real rivalry, with blunt headlines like, “Thanksgiving game … not same as Texas A&M.” Baylor, too, managed to stay alive but it was an ugly win following the “targeting” by the Bears’s Ahmad Dixon, who was ejected from the game as a result. Except he may have taunted the other team afterwards and never actually left the sidelines. During the post-game press conference, TCU coach Gary Patterson went off on Dixon and Coach Briles for not having any “class.” Class or not, at least someone was gentlemanly enough to make a gif of the original incident.
State of la Unión — The Dallas Morning News‘s Mexico Bureau has an informative look at the country’s president after his first year in office. The piece lays out what Peña Nieto has done so far in his term and how much more he has to do (spoiler: a lot). But Peña Nieto has gone “after powerful telecommunications monopolies and a flawed education system” and he’s passed foreign investment and potential energy sector reforms that were “once unimaginable.” Unfortunately, it’s not all Mexican roses. For one, “an economy once expected to grow by 3.8 percent is now expected to grow by a feeble 1.3 percent.” Then there’s the crime, which is still terrible, with a homicide conviction rate at five percent. Then again, perhaps promising to drop the murder rate by fifty percent, as Peña Nieto had done, was a bit optimistic.
Texas Supreme Internet Monitors — An odd case over Internet anonymity has made it all the way to the Texas Supreme Court … from Ohio. A company from the Buckeye State is requesting the S.C. force an anonymous blogger to reveal his identity so that the company can sue him. Though neither the company nor the blogger, known as Trooper, have any firm Texas ties, the suit against Google, which hosted the blog, was filed in Houston. Perhaps the craziest thing is that the blogger has managed to actually stay anonymous throughout the various proceedings—original suit, the appeals, etc. The case should be of particular interest to those following Internet privacy law, although the biggest question from the court thus far seems to have been, “Um, shouldn’t Ohio deal with this?”
School For Lobbyists — The AP crunched the numbers and found that there was a “surge” of political contributions just before the expansive new law promoting charter schools in Texas. “[C]harter school-affiliated donations to officeholders and key candidates peaked during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles with a combined $518,000—nearly double the total from the election cycles of 2006 and 2008,” according to the report. So yes, maybe charter school are a good “alternative” to traditional institutions, but it’s easier to believe when you haven’t paid off the teacher for those passing grades.
The End of History — Our best and most well-known historian, T.R. Fehrenbach, went to that Big Library in the sky on Sunday. The Thucydides of Texas, Fehrenbach wrote Lone Star: A History of Texas and Texans, one of most definitive accounts of … well, you know; say nothing of his expertise in Mexico and Comanche Indian history, as well as his position as commissioner emeritus of the Texas Historical Commission. Unlike history, Fehrenbach’s amazing efforts probably won’t be repeated.