Image of the Day
This is the Chase Tower in downtown Houston. In upper area of this photo, you’ll notice a tiny object. That tiny object is broken scaffolding that left two window washers dangling from harrowing heights. Luckily, the story ends well.
— Evan Getting Married (@evan7257) January 11, 2016
Calming Bells — Blue Bell would like you to know that all is fine and well and there’s nothing to be alarmed about, again. The company announced a few days ago that listeria was once again found in one of its three production plants. But this time, it definitely won’t kill people! In a statement released yesterday to reassure customers, Blue Bell said people “can be confident in our ice cream because of all the steps we have taken to ensure a safe product. Our enhanced testing program confirms that these procedures are working,” reports the Associated Press. “Carrie Williams, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, said Blue Bell told her agency that it found ‘a couple of instances of environmental positives for Listeria species at the Brenham plant over the last month’ in non-food areas such as floors and floor drains ‘and the instances were addressed.'”
Borderline Jilted — Reporters in Mexico and the border are apparently pretty unhappy with the bombshell Rolling Stone interview Sean Penn did with Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. The notorious drug kingpin was recaptured, thanks (perhaps) in part to El Chapo reaching out to film producers and actors (including Penn) while he was on the run. But one of the biggest critiques is that Penn and Rolling Stone magazine submitted the story for El Chapo’s approval first, and that’s saying nothing of the vague admiration in Penn’s story, according to a Washington Post article that quotes numerous critics. Closer to our borders is the understandable criticism of one of the state’s most entrenched border reporters, Breitbart Texas’s Ildefonso Ortiz. Ortiz told the Houston Press that “Rolling Stone‘s story is ‘insulting’ to journalists in Mexico and along the border who risk violent retribution from drug gangs simply for accurately reporting the news.” “I have friends who have been kidnapped. Sadly enough, I have had friends go missing just because they were real journalists, because they weren’t playing around and asked too many hard questions of politicians and drug traffickers … That’s why the media has been so silenced in Mexico,” he continued.
Taking Another Lap — It seems so long since the summer was here and black teenagers were being thrown around for daring to swim in a pool, but the wheels of justice move slower than a July day. “The Texas Rangers have completed their investigation into a McKinney police officer’s controversial handling of a raucous pool party last summer and forwarded the findings to Collin County prosecutors,” writes the Dallas Morning News. The rangers wouldn’t comment on what they found and it’s “unclear whether the case will be sent to a grand jury to consider criminal charges,” since the Collin County prosecutors won’t comment on the case either. The officer’s defense attorney did say that “it wouldn’t be unusual for the DA’s office to send the case to the grand jury, even if the Rangers’ investigation found no fault with Casebolt. Many prosecutors do this so that members of the public — the grand jurors — can look at the case and make a decision on whether to move forward.”
Bailing — Another day, another bit of Affluenza soap opera news to report. Per her request in court, the mother of Ethan Couch, Tonya, had her bail reduced from $1 million to $75,000. She did indeed post the bond and is expected to be released today. Learning their lesson from last time when she and Ethan fled to Mexico with $30,000 (some of which the younger Couch spent on strippers), Tonya “will be required to wear an electronic ankle monitor and remain at home except for appointments with her doctor and lawyer,” according to the Austin American-Statesman. The judge in the matter said that though the defendant did have a habit of skipping, the bond didn’t quite match the charge of hindering apprehension. Running from the law ain’t cheap. “Despite all of the previous testimony about the teen’s wealthy upbringing, his mother’s attorneys have argued that she had few assets to her own name and couldn’t pay the cost of a $1 million bond. Another of Tonya Couch’s sons, Steven McWilliams, testified Monday that the balance on a bank account belonging to her read “-$99 billion.”