Message of the Day
Some beautiful strangers hacked a road sign in Austin to make it less of a road warning, and more of a general fact.
— KXAN News (@KXAN_News) February 16, 2016
The pope is coming to Juarez, which, of course, means he’ll need some appropriately papal footwear. And these El Paso boot-makers have just the item. This is not a joke (cowboy boots never are). Read all the details at the El Paso Times. Honestly, it’d be a cardinal sin not to wear these divine stompers.
— Jorge Santillan (@JorgeSa50435639) February 16, 2016
Texas By the Numbers
The Young and the Texan — Number of Texas cities in the top 20 best cities for young families: five. Number of those in the top 15: four. San Antonio’s rank: fifteenth. Dallas’ rank: fifth. Houston’s rank: second. Austin’s rank: first.
Hungry Children — Ratio of free and reduced-price school breakfast to lunch participation in Texas: 62.4. National rank among states’ programs: fifth. Number of Texas students who received free and reduced breakfast and lunch during the 2013-2014 school year: 1,556,343. Rank among other states: seventh. Numbers for 2014-2015: 1,596,202. Rank: fifth. Increase: 2.6 percent.
Different Kind of Rodeo — Is Houston is gettin’ really citified. The Livestock Show and Rodeo announced “that it will ban handguns carried by private citizens [both concealed and open carry] inside the RodeoHouston complex for the 2016 season,” according to the Houston Chronicle. For some crazy reason, the rodeo wants a family friendly environment and associates guns with danger (weird!). As the story notes, a variety of businesses and places have banned the new open carry law, but “RodeoHouston’s decision may be the biggest made so far involving a public event (especially an event that so vividly recalls the gun-loving mystique and lore of the cowboy and American West).” In related news, add Baylor and Our Lady of the Lake to the very long list of private schools that have opted out of next year’s campus carry, reports the Texas Tribune and the San Antonio Express-News, respectively. And just how long is that list? The Tribune has rounded it up!
American Conviction — It looks as if another chapter in the tragic story of American Sniper Chris Kyle could begin. Kyle’s convicted killer Eddie Ray Routh wants another trial. “Routh was suffering from severe mental illness at the time of the shooting and did not realize his actions were wrong, Routh’s attorney Warren St. John argues in a brief filed in December with the state’s 11th District Court of Appeals,” according to the Express-News. “Routh’s lawyers claim that the judge should not have allowed jurors to hear statements made by Routh to a Texas Ranger investigator after he killed Kyle and Littlefield because Routh never said that he would speak with the investigator and that he was ‘in a psychotic state.'” There’s also another objection concerning a vial that was presented to the jury without ever being filed as evidence. Prosecutors now have until March 11 to file a response.
The Real Border Wars — It sure is nice of politicians to grandstand about illegal immigration and pump $6 billion into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But as the Tribune wonderfully points out, it’s local sheriffs’ departments and jails that doing most of the hard work when it comes to the never-ending battle. The irony, of course, is that “Being at the bottom of the enforcement pyramid places tremendous pressure on them — political, legal and otherwise — sheriffs say, and with federal policy increasingly targeting serious, repeat criminal offenders, their role in the process has grown.” The latest trickle-down tool is a “detainer,” requiring local authorities to hold the most dangerous immigrant criminals until federal agents can pick them up. Of the 139,368 detainees pulled from local jails by federal authorities last year, “Many came from Texas, screened out of state prisons or found among the approximately 71,000 people who are booked into local Texas jails each month, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. On average, 3,724 undocumented immigrants were detained in Texas jails each month in 2015, according to a Texas Tribune analysis of immigration detainer reports from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.” The detailed story also looks at the entire detaining process, not to mention an examination of how much crime illegal immigrants are actually committing—which isn’t clear, and may even be relatively minimal in Texas, despite rabble-rousing to the contrary. For any one wanting a deep look at the issue, the story is a must read.