Image of the Day

So, it looks like that whole “I’m just doing this to pay for college” story isn’t just a cliche! Here’s a new ad in the Texas State University student newspaper. The half-page ad “will run four times during the month of February in the University Star,” writes the Express-News. But how are struggling, young male students supposed to pay the bills?

Daily Roundup

Crystal (Cracked) City — No small amount of politicians and people in a public offices have been touched by corruption, but the officials in Crystal City beat any of them by a mile. “Federal agents arrested five current and former city officials and an eight-liner operator Thursday on bribery and kickback charges after a long-running public corruption probe in this low-income South Texas city,” writes the Express-News in a pretty epic story. “The predawn appearance of 80-some FBI agents and other law enforcement officials prompted cheers and applause from long-suffering residents who last year tried to recall three of those now charged.” At the center of the mess is none other than the city prosecutor/city manager (small towns often see people serving in multiple positions), who “was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and three counts of bribery.” In addition, four other officials, including the mayor(!) were “charged with one count [each] of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of bribery.” The story is pretty fascinating, and, sadly, probably not that unheard of in good ol’ boy, small-town politics. That said, even the FBI was sort of shocked by the pervasiveness of it all. “The breadth of the corruption was startling,” said on agent. “I think everyone who lives in Crystal City was a victim.” The full story isn’t just worth a read, it’s worth it’s own cable TV movie.

Judge Fest — The BorderFest controversy in Hidalgo just keeps on keeping on, with the McAllen Assistant City Manager Joe Vera III adding “fuel to the flames during the second and final day of the state court hearing Wednesday, alleging Hidalgo council members shook him down during a purported illegal meeting,” writes The Monitor. During his eight-hour testimony concerning the fight over which group and town gets to control the 40-year-old BorderFest, the city manager said he secretly recorded “council members [who] allegedly asked for 50 percent of the sponsorships for the three-day event and partial revenue from beer concessions and parking for personal gain.” The state district judge handling the case must now “untangle a messy relationship between Hidalgo, the BorderFest Association and the Hidalgo Chamber of Commerce,” though a decision is expected to be handed down Friday. “The city of Hidalgo was granted a temporary restraining order against Vera last month doing business as the BorderFest Association, following an announcement that BorderFest was moving to McAllen’s Convention Center.”

Home on the Range — Although things likely won’t ever be like they were in the good ol’ days, there’s been some progress for cattle ranchers since the historic drought ended. Currently at about 11 million head, the number of cattle in the state has increased by 600,000 since 2011. But that’s the relatively good news, since the overall figure in 2011 was still the lowest in 60 years. The struggle, in other words, continues. On the hooves of the annual stock show, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has a nice look at state’s industry as a whole. “While the industry enjoyed bumper profits in 2014, the market hit turbulence last year, with prices in ‘free fall’ [with] slackened export demand, a strong dollar, collapsing oil prices, a down stock market and competition from pork and poultry combined to lower what buyers would pay for live cattle.” The rest of the piece takes a look at some of the strategies ranchers are utilizing to stay afloat, apart from continually praying for more ran.

Vote Texas 2016 — With the New Hampshire primaries just around the corner but the Iowa caucus out of the way, politicians have started looking ahead to the important things, like Texas. Hillary Clinton’s effort here is “kicking into high gear” with less than a month to go before the primary. “Paid staff has arrived. Her endorsement list is swelling. And on Thursday morning, the campaign opened its first office here amid much fanfare about the outsize role the March 1 primary is expected to play in the Democratic nominating process,” writes the Texas Tribune, which tries to explain how and why Texas is so important this time around. It’s no surprise that since this is nearing crunch time, everyone’s pulling out all the stops. That includes poor Jeb! who has finally trotted out his older brother, who, until now, has mostly kept quiet in Texas.  Dubya has finally cut a video ad and “is expected to hit the campaign trail in [North Carolina] ahead of its Feb. 20 primary,” writes Politico. Pretty much everyone is politely (or not) saying that this is Jeb’s last, desperate attempt at relevance, particularly since even his request for people to clap hasn’t panned out. Meanwhile, our man Cruz is doing pretty good. He’s second in the latest New Hampshire polls, just four points down from Donald Trump. Maybe that’s why Cruz, so frequently accused of being a real jerk-face, pulled out a rarely used “personal” card yesterday, with talk of his half-sister, who died of a heroin overdose. In classic Cruz fashion, he managed to also (partially) blame big-g Government, and promised to crack down on both drugs and immigration(?), because, D.A.R.E. Or something.

Clickity Bits

Manziel’s Problem Just Keep Getting Worse with Release of Details

Planned Parenthood Videographer Turns Down Probation Offer

Border Bridge to the Twenty-First Century

Texas Judge Just Took a Bit Out of Apple

You Don’t Mess with Texas Homeowners, Especially If You’re a Burglar

Former Fetus Jonathan Strickland Also a Former Idiot Online

Trooper in Sandra Bland Case Set for Arraignment

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