Photo of the Day
How might you choose to honor a black history month and a trailblazing, recently deceased African leader? The obvious option is to construct a Rubik cube mosaic. Duh. And that’s exactly what a group of MBA students from Rice University did. As Nelson Mandela himself once said, “It always seems impossible until its done.”
Cash Crops — The old, expensive farm subsidies are dead. Long live the new, expensive farm subsidies! That’s the new federal farm bill in a nutshell (or wheat husk, if you prefer), legislation that “will bring about major changes for Texas farmers and ranchers,” according to the Texas Tribune. While farmers will no longer receive direct cash payments for real or imagined crops (Texas cotton growers received “upwards of $3 billion in such payments over the past two decades”) they will receive heavily subsidized insurance payments “which trigger payments either when prices dip below a certain level or when their overall revenues drop below a calculated average.” The new middle-man subsidy system is supposed to be more cost-effective for the government, but some aren’t so sure it will be a cost saver since a long-standing drought all but ensures a lower crop yield. The new plan is projected to save $23 billion over the next decade, but it’ll be up to Almanac-consulting growers to figure out if the reforms actually work. “It’s going to be pretty confusing, I’m sure,” said one Waco farmer so “We may lose [our safety net], we may not.”
The Texas Rangers Insurers — An OKC-based insurance company has bought the naming rights to the Texas Rangers Stadium, so say hello to the Globe Life Park, which actually does kinda roll off the tongue. Details on the deal are scant, except that the team “inked a 10-year, multimillion-dollar” deal, the value of which “stacks up well against other naming-rights deals for baseball stadiums in the past two decades,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Team co-owner Ray Davis says the deal will help the team in both the short and long term. Some wanted the ballpark to be named after Nolan Ryan (though the Astros may just steal that idea) and thankfully, most will probably still refer to it as The Ballpark. Plus, on the bright side, getting named after an insurance company sure beats having a stadium named after a for-profit prison operator.
Dead Woman Walking — Well, at least the state believes in gender equality when it comes to capital punishment. Last night, a 59-year-old woman was executed for the planned and brutal killing of a mentally ill man in 1998. The woman has the dubious honor of being just the fourteenth woman executed in the U.S. and the fifth in Texas, since the death penalty was resurrected in 1976. “About 60 women are on death row in the U.S., making up about 2 percent of the 3,100 condemned inmates,” according to the Dallas Morning News. The rarity of such an execution garnered national media attention — MSNBC, U.S. News & World Report, Al Jazeera, and the Daily Beast, among many others. One of the more interesting bits of coverage comes from the newish female-oriented news site Bustle, which breaks down some details. Specifically that female capital murderers—actually ten percent of all killers—usually kill a close family member. The latest woman is a notable exception, especially for her behavior, which is more “typical of male killers—torture; detachment; careful planning.”
Lesson Learned — As fun as the dispute over science textbooks was, the State Board of Education would just as prefer not to experience such lively public debates ever again. So they changed the rules. Before, a single activist could hold up the entire review process because of some deep-seated and totally unfounded reason. But “[u]nder the new guidelines, all portions of proposed books must be reviewed by at least two panel members so that a single volunteer cannot force change,” according to the Associated Press. The board hopes that the changes “should not only improve the selection process, but should also remove some of the politics and theology.” One can hope. Though likely, activists’s obstructionist tactics will just, er, evolve.
Signed, Sealed, Texaned — Despite losing some recruits and being ranked fifteenth thanks to the changing of the guard, consensus says Charlie Strong did pretty good during this year’s National Signing Day. In keeping with his declaration that UT is the “flagship” university of Texas (and nevermind the number-five ranked up-and-comers at A&M), Strong managed to lasso a raft of homegrown heroes for his first recruiting season — only six of the 23 recruits are from out of state. Aggie Nation went beserk on the Twitters after Arlington Martin defensive end (and top national recruit) Myles Garrett signed his service papers. Hopefully, Garrett will help A&M move on from the Manziel era. Just don’t tempt him with memorabilia!