Things that happened a decade ago: Facebook was launched, Terry Nichols was convicted in the Oklahoma City bombing case, oh, and ninety million Americans saw Janet Jackson’s nipple. That’s right, this February marks the tenth anniversary of the famous “wardrobe malfunction” at Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston, and ESPN The Magazine has the kind of longform retrospective we truly deserve. Writer Marin Cogan‘s titillatingly perky piece examines the moment when “America collectively lost its damn mind,” from every possible angle, including an Oliver Stone-esque peek into the “nipplegate” conspiracy and a bureaucratic fallout on par with the Iran-Contra affair. Best read in a poorly lit room and with a snifter of cognac.
Texas By the Numbers
Just The Facts, Guv — Rank of Rick Perry among most-fact-checked politicians on PolitiFact: fifth. Number of time’s he’s been fact-checked: 143. Percentage of his statements have been labeled “true”: 14 percent. Percentage labeled half-true: 26 percent. Percentage of complete lies: 10 percent. Number of Republicans Politifact included in their top ten: seven. Number of Democrats: two.
The Job Fair — Number of jobs added in Texas last year: 252,400. In 2012: 337,500. Current rank among all other states: First. Jobs added in runner-up California: 235,700. Percentage of unemployment in Texas: six percent. In the United States as a whole: 6.7 percent.
Texas-bound — Number of people who moved to Texas from another state last year: 113,528. Total population gain: 387,397. Rank among other states: First. Net migration increase: 177,715. Number of internationals: 64,187. Rank among other states: second. Increase from 2010 census: 1.5 million. State that lost the most residents: New York. Number of New Yorkers who fled: 104,470.
Stand With Family — A hallmark of the political campaign is to parade family in front of the media, but the surprising thing about such an attempt by the Wendy Davis camp is that its being done so early in the campaign and for something so potentially trivial. Davis’s two daughters—ages 31 and 25—added fuel to the controversy surrounding the recent report about the politician’s bootstrap backstory by penning open letters defending their mom. “I hate that I feel the need to write this,” wrote the youngest daughter, “but I have been reading and hearing so many untrue things about my mom and I want to set the record straight.” The letters, strategically released by the campaign, mostly respond to the more rabid (and obliquely sexist) haters who say Davis “abandoned” her children for her career. Except the original Dallas Morning News story that started all this only pointed out a few discrepancies of Davis’s polished backstory. Did Davis embellish her narrative? Sure. All public figures do. But only the pros use their family as cover for their own ambitious missteps. So, except for losing control of the message, Davis has proven herself to be a true politican.
Inked and Irked — Like anybody who gets a tattoo, Little Pencil LLC wants show off their new body art, and they’re bring a lawsuit to be able to do just that. The religious group behind the controversial “Tattooed Jesus” billboard in Lubbock (digitally inked by Texas Monthly‘s own Sonia Smith) is suing the local ISD because “LISD would not show the ad on their jumbotron during high school football games. But [allegedly] allowed other faith-based organizations to advertise,” according to KCBD. The suit is a little confusing since it claims “district rejected the submission under a policy that bans tattoos” but also that “district has no policy that mentions tattoos,” according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. More curious than a neck tat is the official statement from the ISD, which claims that it “has not received any official notification of a lawsuit, nor has the district been served.”
Fighting Crime With Crime — In an effort to beat back the drug cartels running, and ruining, Mexico, President Enrique Peña Nieto has sort of deputized his entire country. The Dallas Morning News has a fascinating look at the “federal government’s predicament as it tries to restore security by sending thousands of federal forces to patrol the area alongside armed citizens.” AKA: Militias. Perhaps unsurprisingly, “Some analysts say the government’s tacit recognition of the self-defense groups ultimately undermines the authority of the state.”
Fighting Bullies With Bullying — There was a time when parents took care of bullying kids like adults. That time has passed. Making some national news is the story of a Klein High School student’s parents, who are suing six teenagers for bullying their daughter. “How many children is it going to take to commit suicide, to kill themselves, to hurt themselves … because of bullies out there?” said the mother. The family appeared on the Today Show with the New York Daily News and Fox Latino subsequently picking up the story. To be fair, the bullying on Instagram wasn’t all harmless—mean comments, lewd pictures—but neither is a libel lawsuit. The news items don’t say whether the parents first tried taking rational action against the bullies—talking to parents, teachers—but their lawyer did make it clear that the “idea here is not any profit for this family … The idea is just to make sure everything stops.”
True Detectives — Scientists at the University of North Texas Health Science Center have a dirty and rather macabre job ahead of them. The forensic detective will attempt to identify and designate a cause-of-death for fifty-five bodies discovered at the unmarked graveyard of a Florida reform school. “The bodies were buried between the late 1920s and early 1950s,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. And because this task isn’t creepy enough, the Star-Telegram notes that “There were ‘periodic descriptions of boys disappearing’ … and for many years, boys who had lived there gave periodic reports that ‘horrific’ events took place.” Try to sleep on that next time you complain about your workload.