Ch-ch-ch-change of the Day
— Austin Statesman (@statesman) January 13, 2016
Some beautiful human decided to technically “vandalize” a Bowie Street sign in downtown Austin by affixing “David” to the front. Credit goes to the city which saw the change and basically said, “Oh, that’s a pretty good idea,” deciding to keep the street honorarily renamed for a week.
The Chapo Effect — How will the re-capture of Mexico’s most notorious drug kingpin effect the border and Texas? Great question, Texas Tribune. As the story notes, little changed after Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s arrest last year (though Juarez did remain “relatively” calm). But “the dynamic could be markedly different this time because of Guzmán’s pending extradition to the U.S. Two years ago, former Mexican Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam said Guzmán would be extradited in ‘300 or 400 years.’ This time around, Mexican officials are being more cooperative … [and] the impact on the border could be different.” The other obvious question is where Guzmán will meet justice when he lands in the U.S. He’s wanted by authorities in several major cities, however, “He has been indicted by multiple offices of U.S. Attorneys, which are organized under the U.S. Justice Department, including the Western District of Texas.” Although numerous agencies will be aiming for the big kingpin score—including El Paso, which has filed more than a dozen, very serious charges—there is not yet any “indication where the kingpin will be sent.”
Less-Dirty Talk — Hoo boy, there’s a bit of justice not everyone will be comfortable with. Seven men had convictions reversed thanks to the Texas Appeals Court overturning a law in 2013 that made sexually explicit online conversation with minors illegal. Exactly what these men had been convicted of saying to minors isn’t spelled out, but the law had been far too broad to begin with. “The court said the law was written so broadly that it infringed on free speech rights, prohibiting things such as sexually explicit literature and film,” writes the Dallas Morning News. “Last year, lawmakers passed a new measure that requires prosecutors to prove an intent to act illegally on sexually explicit communications. Those convicted under the old law could have their cases overturned. It’s unclear how many convictions could be vacated as a result of the 2013 decision.” The original law, passed in 2005, has since been changed to require prosecutors to prove that the “dirty talk” was made with the intent to engage in illegal sexual activity with minors. The “new law applies only to acts committed since its adoption on Sept. 1, 2015. Those charged under the 2005 law could see their convictions overturned like the seven men who were granted relief on Wednesday.” In other words, all those predatory people roaming Texas might have a pass if they started early enough.
The Bad Apple — More details are emerging regarding the Palestinian refugee born in Iraq who was arrested in Houston earlier this month, along with another in California, for planning attacks. The Texas suspect “wanted to set off bombs at two Houston malls and was learning to make electronic transmitters that could be used to detonate explosive devices, a federal agent testified Wednesday,” according to multiple news outlets. The suspect “who came to Houston from Iraq in 2009, was indicted last week on three charges, including attempting to provide support to a designated terrorist organization. He pleaded not guilty to all three charges during a court appearance on Wednesday,” writes KXAN. In other news, the U.N. is coming to Texas to help the state deal with yet another huge influx of migrants streaming across the border. “Designed to head off migrants from three violence-torn countries in the region before they start traveling to the United States, the new refugee resettlement program will be announced by Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday in Washington,” according to the New York Times. “Under the plan, the United Nations refugee agency will work with the United States to set up processing centers in several nearby countries, where migrants would be temporarily out of danger.” Considering how well the U.N. handles problems, this plan is surely to go over quite well.