The State of Texas: January 12, 2015
Video of the Day
It doesn’t get more America-the-melting-pot than this. During an audition for American Idol, Garrett Miles, a white blind boy of Alabama, performed a countrified version of “Proud Mary.” The real treat, however, was his next song, Selena’s “Como La Flor,” which he sang in Spanish. Naturally, Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges, joined him in a momentary reprise of her role from eighteen years ago:
The Cowboys may not be going to the big game, but Texas might still be represented at the Super Bowl. El Paso native David Horowitz’s commercial, part of a Doritos-related contest, is one of ten finalists to run as an ad during the game. As the El Paso Times notes, “The finalists were chosen from about 5,000 entries in this year’s contest. People can vote for their favorite commercial through Jan. 28.” So, like real elections, vote eary and vote often.
Hearing Wedding Bells? — The big Texas story over the weekend was the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ reaction to the state’s case in the gay marriage ban. As Texas Monthly’s own Pamela Colloff noted Friday, “the prevailing wisdom was that the Fifth Circuit … would uphold the ban. But that notion quickly came undone after the panel’s swing vote, Reagan appointee Patrick Higginbotham, appeared openly skeptical of such laws. Texas solicitor general Jonathan Mitchell … came under fierce questioning from Higginbotham and Obama appointee James Graves.” Colloff does a great job at quickly laying out the state’s case (some odd stuff, legally and otherwise about “responsible procreation”) and the judges’ responses. At one point, the state called marriage a sponsored “a subsidy” that is not really a God-given right, before suggesting that it was too early for Texas to “join the fray” of the “social experiment” (gay marriage is now legal in 36 states). As Buzzfeed notes, lawyers in favor for gay marriage often spoke at length “without interruption from the bench.” So will gay marriage in Texas be legal this week? Probably not. Even the judge’s decision is still up in the air. “There is no set timeline for when the 5th Circuit would need to rule on the three states’ bans, and it is not immediately clear whether the 5th Circuit will issue a ruling on the appeals should the Supreme Court decide to review one or more of the pending petitions before it.”
Dallas Losers’s Club —For whatever reason, Dallas always seems to be at the center of controversial questions of national significance. Before, it was who killed Kennedy? And then who shot JR? This time around, the question seems to be: who killed the Cowboy’s Super Bowl run? It was the catch heard round the world (or, at least, Texas and the Internet) when Dez Bryant’s fourth-quarter, end zone territory save was ruled complete, then, after further review, incomplete. The decision effectively gave the Green Bay Packers the 26-21 win. USA Today maybe pushed it a little hard with its story, headline “Dez Bryant was robbed of a catch and we’re being robbed of football.” Kudos then to the Dallas Morning News, which played it a little bit safer, not only explaining the ref’s decision (Bryant didn’t have possession throughout the “the entire process of the catch”) and the well-known reality that the Cowboys’s defensive sucks. Once again, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was hanging out with his “football buddy” Jerry Jones, and perhaps the most devastating part of the loss is that the nation was deprived of another gloriously awkward old-bro hug.
Sticker Shock — We may still not have flying cars, but at least we’re getting better with vehicle inspection stickers. Come March 1, a new state law will turn those two annoying registration and inspection stickers into one annoying sticker. Will that do anything positive for Texas? Sort of. “The charge for inspection and registration will stay the same, although the portion of the inspection charge that belongs to the state will be paid during the registration part of the process,” reports the Associated Press. However, “under the current system, many vehicles have registration and inspection stickers that expire on different dates. The new regulations are crafted to ensure that owners don’t have to pay for two inspections in one year.” The state, according to the Dallas Morning News, will apparently save about $2 million. But the process sounds like a bit of a headache. “During the first year, from March 1, 2015, to Feb. 29, 2016, registrations will be renewed if an inspection sticker is valid during the renewal date,” writes the Morning News. “But beginning in March of next year, registrations will be renewed only if an inspection is done within 90 days before a registration renewal date. Yes, this is ultra confusing.”
Urban Cowboys — Greg Abbott might be warning against Texas becoming “California-ized,” but it’s California that should be worried about the Tex-ication of Hollywood. Our Lone Star state had plenty of stars at last night’s Golden Globe awards. Richard Linklater came away with the top prizes–(best movie drama, best director) for his groundbreaking film Boyhood. As the Austin American-Statesman notes, Linklater became the first Austinite to win in the category. “Boyhood went into the awards with five nominations: best motion picture drama, director and screenplay, with supporting actor nominations for Patricia Arquette [she won] and Ethan Hawke. Only Birdman had more nominations, with seven.” It was a big night for another Texan too: “Houston native and University of Texas graduate Wes Anderson picked up best comedy or musical award for The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Among the nominees, there was Mike Judge, Woody Harrelson, and True Detective in general. Of course, a Hollywood awards night wouldn’t be complete without a moment from the McConaissance. While presenting the best dramatic actress award, Matthew McConaughey’s voice was less its Texas drawl and more like a Civil War private from General Lee’s army (he’s apparently in character for an upcoming role).