Illustration of the Day
Lamar County residents, be on the lookout for a robber suspect, six-feet tall, with muscles and tattoos. Oh, and he looks kiiiinda like a seven-year-old’s drawing of a man. Or maybe an alien. At least, that’s according to the police sketch from the local sheriff’s department that’s been making the Internet rounds. Even deputy Jeff Springer admits, “yeah, it looks like a cartoon,” but hey, “What we see is what we get … This is not a true likeness of the person.”
CultureMap Austin has a lovely list called “Ten Hot Austin Music Acts Looking to Break Big This Year.” Like Austin itself, the list is … eclectic. There are a couple duds, but there is one great gem: Latasha Lee & The Blackties.
Texas By The Numbers
House-ton — Total number of Houston single-family homes sold during all-time record-breaking year in 2013: 73,232. In 2003: 65,000. Availability of homes: 2.7-month supply. Amount considered even for both buyer and seller: six-month supply. National rate: 5.1-month supply. Increase in single-family homes sales from 2012: Seventeen percent. Median price of home: $180,000. Median price in 2003: $143,000.
Very Exportant — Percentage of Texas exports that are petroleum products: 22 percent. Export returns of Texas: $255 billion. Exports returns from Houston: $110 billion. Ranking in country: No. 1. Market share of Texas: 39 percent. Dallas export growth between 2009-2012: 40 percent. Dallas export returns: $28 billion.
The 12th Payment — Amount the Seattle Seahawks initially paid Texas A&M to license the “12th Man” trademark: $100,000. Number of contractually obligated installments: Two. Available refund for any pre-paid royalties: $0. Amount for every proceeding licensing year: $5,000. Total amount when contract ends in 2016: $200,000.
Grumbling Rumblings — Tired of all the earthquakes in their area (thirty since October), Azle residents decided to shake things up at the Capitol. Azle and Reno residents held a protest in Austin and attended a meeting of the Railroad Commission, the state’s oil and gas drilling regulating body. While a meeting in Azle a few weeks ago attracted 800 people, the commission members had fled like survivors of a natural(ish) disaster. This time, however, they were actually, “more receptive on Tuesday afternoon,” according to WFAA, “admitting that during an investigation inspectors have found at least one capped well in the area to be leaking or too pressurized.” Despite the groundswell of anger, however, the commission won’t implement a pricey ninety-day moratorium to study the effects of injection wells. So expect more earth-pounding from residents who seem capable of reading toothless regulatory bodies like a seismograph. “They’re going to wait weeks and weeks to hire a seismologist,” said one resident of the commission’s promise to “investigate” the matter.
Our Kids Canet Reed Gud — Texas is failing its high school students and, to make matter’s worse, it’s cheating on its final report. The Dallas Morning News‘s Terrence Stutz crunches the numbers on the End of Course figures from the Education Agency, whose own headline reads “Cumulative end-of-course passing rate rises to 76 percent.” What isn’t advertised, and which Stutz does a great job of breaking down, is how only fifteen percent of kids who retested English 1 actually passed and the agency boosted its overall English numbers by combining both English I and English II tests. That combined, score-on-a-curve is thanks to a decision by the Legislature’s education commission, without which, “those nearly 79,000 students would be included among those who still have not passed in English I and II.” But hey, the job market’s great! So who cares if you can’t read the pay stub?
Somewhat Navigated — Texas has finally laid down the rules for the state’s health care navigators, and the revise requirements are less expensive and time-consuming: twenty extra hours of training rather than forty; and no more $50 in registration fees for navigators. Thankfully, for both Democrat and Republican citizens, “The rules also prohibit navigators from charging consumers, selling or negotiating health insurance coverage, recommending a specific health plan, or engaging in electioneering activities or otherwise supporting a candidate running for a political office,” according to the Texas Tribune.
Death Row International — Nothing will stop Texas from executing inmates. Not expired lethal drugs and not, it would seem, pressure from two different governments. As the state moves forward with the planned execution of a Mexican national (and convicted cop killer), both the U.S. State Department and the Mexican government have “urged” officials to reconsider. The story is making national and international news, in no small part because Secretary of State John Kerry has asked both Governor Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott to halt the execution. Say nothing of Mexico’s foreign ministry who denounced the act as a “clear violation of the United States’ international obligations.” The execution is scheduled for today.