On behalf of thousands of rude drivers who refuse to share the road and get angry at bikers—forgetting they’re the ones surrounded by metal—there is this Houston women, who left a pretty heartfelt apology to a biker-stranger. And the world is not as terrible as we thought.
— Kyle Shelton (@kylekshelton) February 23, 2016
Texas By the Numbers
Bridges Over Untroubled Waters — Number of Texas bridges with a “deficient” rating by the federal government: 1,008. Number of rated bridges in the state: 53,209. Portion of deficient bridges: two percent. Only state with a better percentage: Nevada. Portion of bad bridges: 1.8 percent. Worst state: Iowa. Portion of bad bridges: 21 percent.
Dead Music Capital of the World — Number of jobs the Austin music industry lost in the past four years: 1,200. Amount made by artists, venues, and related businesses in 2010: $856 million. In 2014: $726 million. Drop: 15 percent. Only area of music that’s making money: “festival economy.”
Highest Ed — Number of public universities in Texas among the top 250 in the latest rankings by Business First: 13. Top-ranked university: UT-Austin. Rank: Fourteenth. Runner-up: Texas A&M. Rank: Thirtieth. Third place: UT-Dallas. Rank: Fortieth. Number of universities ranked among the top 251-477 schools: 17.
Ménage à Trois — A day after one man “who just wants to go” to the Dallas sex expo filed a lawsuit against the city for banning the event, the organizers of the sexpo are finally getting into the scrum. To be fair, “rather than dropping his suit directly on the city’s head by way of a federal court filing … [Exxxotica CEO J] Handy has given the city an ultimatum,” writes the Dallas Observer. Through his lawyer, Handy (this story really is the best), explained that the “dispute remains a relatively simple matter of whose convention center it is, how might the convention center be managed or marketed.” Said Handy’s lawyer, according to the Dallas Morning News: “This is not a lawsuit which I want to file nor do I think this litigation is in the best interest of the city.” As the Observer notes, at least one city council member had previously warned that “those fighting Exxxotica [are] providing free promotion for the convention. In a sense, Griggs was proved right when the ban blew up in the face of the council members who voted for it.” For big city standards, even Texas ones, the city council and mayor have shown to be particularly prudish about the whole matter. Sex is big business, and Handy would prefer to get the green than get off on a lawsuit, but what’ll happen next is still unclear. “If the council agrees to reconsider the matter, they likely would take a final vote on March 23 because of a two-week council spring break scheduled to begin March 7,” writes the Morning News. “That’s all hypothetical, however.”
The Lawful Border — The border is super safe(r), y’all! And that, apparently, brings its own problems. “If nothing else, the money and manpower being deployed to keep unauthorized immigrants, terrorists and drugs out of the country have flooded Texas border counties with law enforcement. Crime has dropped, and the Texas side of the border apparently is now safer than the state’s larger cities,” writes the Texas Tribune. “But a political tug-of-war about the security needs of the region remains full of fiery rhetoric and competing views about how safe border communities really are.” The piece is super fascinating for those curious about border politics, noting that both federal and state figures of violent crime rates, show stagnation or drops at the border. And while Houston sees “991 [violent] crimes for every 100,000 residents,” and Dallas “665 crimes for every 100,000 residents … Border communities like Laredo, El Paso, Edinburg and Brownsville all saw fewer than 400 crimes for every 100,000 residents.” As the story points out, the results have put politicians on both sides of the aisle in a pickle. The law-and-punishment approach by Republicans may have actually, like, worked, so perhaps they need to tone down their fear-mongering now that they’ve “fixed” a problem that may or may not (probably not) have actually had anything to do with undocumented migrants. On the other hand, Democrats basically just demonstrated how limp-wristed their bleeding heart rhetoric actually is. Ain’t border politics fun?
Back at It — Attorney General Ken Paxton’s all-star team of lawyers have filed yet another petition to have his felony charges dropped, dragging out Paxton’s never-ending legal battles even further. “The brief, filed late Monday to meet the court’s deadline, argued that two charges of securities fraud and one charge of failing to register with state securities regulators should be tossed out because the Collin County grand jury that indicted Paxton was improperly formed,” writes the Austin American-Statesman. “Three other arguments focused on the failure-to-register charge, saying it is based on an unconstitutional law or was improperly applied to Paxton.” Gotta love those technicalities! The Houston Chronicle frames the brief as arguing that “state law is too vague for the case to proceed. In the 77-page brief, the lawyers argue that “state law ‘unconstitutionally regulates free commercial speech,'” and “does not properly define the term ‘investment adviser representative’ [or] how solicitations should be handled.” As the Statesman notes, “prosecutors have until March 14 to file a response. The court has no deadline to issue a decision and can rule without hearing arguments.” And as the Chronicle notes, the brief has been filed with the same judge “who earlier rejected Paxton’s request to dismiss the indictments.”
Judge Be Judged — There’s been so much attention paid to affluenza teen Ethan Couch that we almost forgot that the judge who handed him an incredibly light sentence is a person too. And she’s just like us! So documents the Daily Mail in all its splashy glory, in a piece that immediately begins with former judge Jean Boyd’s hobbies and daily activities of “Paying her cleaner, relaxing in the Texas sunshine and doing her shopping.” Perhaps more importantly, she has no regrets about the judgment that ticked off an entire state/country/universe. “Speaking outside the white stucco home she shares with her dentist husband John, also 63, she claimed people who ‘don’t have all the facts’ simply don’t understand the logic behind her decision,” according to Daily Mail. “‘I had all the facts – most people don’t. They just don’t understand.’ Asked whether she regrets handing Couch probation in light of his fleeing to Mexico and being handed over to an adult court and remanded in custody, she said: ‘No. I have nothing else to say.'” Not that there’s not more article to read (complete with pictures!).