The State of Texas: Dec. 3, 2013
Tuesday Moment of ‘Aww’
Saffy Herndon may be the most intentionally funny eight-year-old in all of Dallas (and the world?). The third-grader does stand-up every Thursday at the Backdoor Comedy Club and even had a spot at the Amsterdam Comedy Festival. It’s not all funny aw-aw, though, since Herndon uses some salty languages and talks about shanking her classmates.
Photo of the Day
Bigger in Texas Dept.: Bryan is now home to the largest gingerbread house ever made. And that statement ain’t sugar coated either. The title comes straight from Guinness Book of World Records officials, who certified the structure over the weekend. The final tally: 39,202 cubic feet, “1,800 pounds of butter, 7,200 eggs, 7,200 pounds of flour… close to 3,000 pounds of brown sugar [and] 22,000 pieces of candy.” Also 36 million empty calories and enough potential cavities to build a dentist’s mansion:
Undocumented Assets — A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas found that “immigrants make up 21 percent of Texas’ workforce, but account for a much greater share of its economic growth.” So much for that idea of them draining social services and stealing our jobs. As a senior economist for the Dallas Fed put it, “The Texas economic success story wouldn’t be possible without migration from abroad and from other U.S. states.” The report discovered some other, perhaps less shocking, things, too. Sixty percent of the immigrants are from Mexico and 43 percent of the state’s foreign-born population is here illegally (about seven percent of the total population).
Zero Lark Dirty — The first court-martial in connection with the Fort Hood prostitution ring began yesterday, with plenty of finger-pointing (and, no, that’s not a fun euphemism). The scandal made national news in May when the Army began investigating Sergeant First Class Gregory McQueen on allegations of a “small-time” prostitution ring, involving a servicewoman he essentially pimped out to servicemen. The big irony is that McQueen was a sexual abuse educator (he’s since been relieved of that role). Now, Master Sergeant Brad Grimes is on trial for “conspiring to pay a female private for sex,” and “adultery”(?). Grimes denies the charges, however, saying he got cold-something just before the encounter and that prosecutors are simply leaning on him because he refused to testify against McQueen. Grimes’s lawyer has asked the charges to be dropped, blaming higher-ups of “exerted unlawful command influence by making inflammatory comments about military sexual assault around the time Grimes was charged.”
I-Make-a-Fuss Brief — When even Ag Commish candidates are toting their pro-life positions, it’s clear that all Republicans running for office must prove their conservative bona fides. And it would seem no candidate for Attorney General knows this better than state representative Dan Branch, who’s filed yet another brief amicable to conservative voters. Branch, “filed an amicus brief on Friday encouraging the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm abortion restrictions approved by the Legislature earlier this year,” according to the Texas Tribune. “This is the second such brief … on a hot-button issue since the start of his campaign. In August, he filed a brief with the Texas Supreme Court defending a state law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman in light of a case in which a same-sex couple married in Massachusetts was seeking a divorce in Texas.” Branch’s spokesman has denied allegations that these friendly briefs are political, to which the casual observer might say, objection.
Terms of Endearment (And The Mortgage) — Live in or relocating to Houston? Looking for a Southampton traditional home once owned by a Texas literary legend? Then have we got a deal for you! Larry McMurtry’s former residence (1964-1970s) is on the market. Though at a $849,000 asking price, you might be better off just getting a Cadialliac, Jack. Apparently, the “McMurtry connection won’t add any additional dollar value to the home, but it does bring ‘panache’ to the listing,” and it has “piqued buyers’ interest,” according to the real estate agent. They plan to post photos of the house’s study where McMurtry used to write. Which is only slightly more boring than showing contemporary pictures of Hemingway’s foyer.
Black Market Racing — There’s still a very western underworld in Texas. The racing commission “says as many as 50 illegal horse racetracks operate in the state,” according to the AP, which also noted the two recent, and major, raids on illegal racing establishments. About two unlicensed tracks are reported every year. Both the AP story and officials stress “concerns about illicit gambling, the safety of jockeys and horses and unfair competition for registered racing venues,” say nothing of the more sinister criminal element. Still, it’s hard to ignore the noirish and seedy allure of secret horse races.