The headline for Mac Engel’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram column could not be more honest:
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Seriously, forget Yankee groundhog Punxsutawney Phil and his depressing prediction of more winter. We do things differently down here, and that includes taking our meteorological cues from Armadillo Bob, himself overseen by The Benevolent Knights of The Raccoon. On Sunday, the leathery animal predicted a soon-to-arrive spring, but who got leprosy after handling Armadillo Bob is anyone’s guess.
Take Stock, Man — It’s difficult to gauge whether Steve Stockman is running a poor campaign, because, though he keeps going missing, he’s still keeping his name in the papers. But not always in the most flattering light. Ken Cope, one of Stockman’s Republican opponents in the Senate race, sent a letter to the Houdini of the House asking him to drop out. “The unserious antics you have engaged in since entering the Senate race have done damage to the Republican brand,” reads one of the nicer lines from the letter. As the Dallas Morning News notes, Stockman has refused to give interviews, missed House votes, and raised almost no money. Well, no real money. The representative, who accepts digital Bitcoins (aka “cryptocurrency”) for campaign donations, skipped out on yet another two votes to attend a “bitcoin promotion event in New York City.” So maybe all this hoopla is simple jealousy. Or, you know, not.
Nuclear Option — First came the water wars, then came the nuclear wars. Okay, not quite like that, but there is a battle brewing over whether Texas should house high-level radioactive waste. Speaker Joe Straus instructed the House Committee on Environmental Regulation to study the disposal of this kind of waste “and its potential economic impact and recommend state and federal legislation to make that happen in Texas,” according to the Dallas Observer. The news hit environmentalists like Enola Gay. Or, as the Observer so delicately put it, “A certain amount of NIMBYism is understandable when it comes to storing humongous quantities of spent nuclear fuel, which will remain dangerously radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years.” But money talks, and billions in revenue could outweigh the possibility of a later generation of three-eyed Texans. Plus, we’re already getting used to toxic waste dumps.
Give Us Your Less Poor — A “green” card may take on a whole new meaning if certain propsoals for national immigration reform are taken up. The AP, reporting from Edinburg, has a piece highlighting the costs and challenges faced by law-abiding foreign residents (and law-abiding illegal immigrants) attempting to become legit citizens. If new proposals are passed, people seeking citizenship could shell out thousands of dollars in fines in addition to fees associated with the already-expensive process. The AP story suggests that national leaders are playing hot-potato with the financial issue for the vary reason that it’s complex and controversial. God bless American ingenuity and small business, though. At least one Houston credit union is offering fixed-interest citizenship loans.
Gone, Postal — While nether snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will stop the mailman, the Postal Service is facing one serious obstacle—Houston’s explosive housing boom. Apparently, “hundreds of families in new developments surrounding Houston [are] being forced to wait for the U.S. Postal Service to install cluster mailboxes,” according to the AP. And “The Postal Service told developers in The Woodlands that the agency will be getting to everyone as soon as possible …” Part of the problem is the USPS’s effort at financial reform by erecting the cost-saving clusters rather than delivering to individual homes. This, coupled with the agency’s declining work force and the development boom, have left people jonesing for UPS and FedEx. On the bright side, forcing folks to go to the Post Office to pick up their mail, like in the good o’e days, could be a perfect kind of throwback effort to building a sense of community. Nothing unites people like shaking fists at the post office.
A Seahawk In Texas — Russell Wilson isn’t content with leading the Seahawks to a Super Bowl win. Now the QB wants to pull a Bo Jackson and play some baseball. Which is fine by us, since he plans to do it in Texas. “A day after winning Super Bowl XLVIII, Wilson’s agent confirmed that the Seahawks’ QB plans to report to spring training with the Texas Rangers later this month,” according to Fox Sports. The weird part is that Wilson hasn’t actually played bush league ball in three years. “The Rangers hope to lean on Wilson’s leadership skills,” says Fox Sports. “Will he play any baseball? Probably not.” If only the Rangers could confidently say the same of Nolan Ryan’s (possible) involvement with the Astros.