Car Talk Wednesday
Want to have a bigger truck than everyone else around you? Are you channeling the Terminator while changing lanes? Do we have a truck for you! A 1977 Mercedes-Benz Unimog, previously owned (and autographed, apparently) by Arnold Schwarzenegger, is being sold by a Texas dealer for a measly $350,000.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's $350,000 Mercedes Unimog up for auction on eBay. pic.twitter.com/F4HcG0WAYa
— ÇapaMagENG (@CapaMagENG) January 19, 2016
Texas by the Numbers
Winded — Portion of state’s electrical needs provided by the breeze during a record-breaking wind energy day in December: 45 percent. Total amount of power: 13.9 gigawatts. Number of 60 watt lightbulbs that can be lit with that much electricity: 230. Portion of average electricity generated by wind in Texas last year: 11 percent.
Bevo Bucks — Revenue the Longhorn athletics pulled in last year: $183.5 million. Profit: $458,367. Amount the athletic department sent the university in the 2014-2015 year: $9.8 million.
Bettin’ Men — On the heels of the Dallas Morning News story that detailed just how much the Texas Lottery Commission had been pursuing business opportunities with fantasy sports operations despite saying the exact opposite, now the (very arguably) third most important figure in Texas politics is making his own picks. Attorney General Ken Paxton issued another one of his completely non-binding legal opinions yesterday on the matter. “By paying entry fees, participants in the online contests are placing improper bets on the performance of athletes … said Paxton … adding that daily fantasy operators also violate gambling laws by keeping a portion of the fees,” writes the Austin American-Statesman. In his opinion, Paxton wrote that, “Simply put, it is prohibited gambling in Texas if you bet on the performance of a participant in a sporting event and the house takes a cut.” Not that the fantasy crowd was just gonna take it. “Peter Schoenke, chairman of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, which represents the fantasy sports industry, said that Paxton should ‘stop grandstanding and start working with the FSTA and the Texas Legislature on common-sense consumer protection issues like those being proposed in Massachusetts, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, California and other forward-looking states,'” according to the Texas Tribune. “Paxton’s deliberate misinterpretation of existing Texas law represents the type of governmental overreach that he himself professes to reject.”
Friendly Fire — It’s not every day you see officials put the blame on one of their own. Or, well, kinda. “When asked Tuesday whether Sandra Bland was at all to blame for a heated exchange with a state trooper during a traffic stop last year, Texas Department of Public Safety director Steve McCraw said officers are responsible for escalations,” writes the Texas Tribune. During a video interview, McCraw reiterated that “Encinia violated protocol, acted unprofessionally and allowed the interaction to escalate quickly,” saying that they “require professional courtesy and display at all times, and clearly he did not do it in that situation.” The department had previously taken swift action following the outburst over the treatment and death of Bland. Not that McCraw is going to give away the farm! As the Houston Press noted, “the DPS director doesn’t think law enforcement has a race problem—the public just thinks that they do.” The Press had a nice little sting, writing, “To McCraw, Sandra Bland’s traffic stop and subsequent arrest was a mistake. It’s just a mistake that apparently doesn’t mean anything.”
Comin’ Home? — Will Ethan Couch finally return home to join his mother in jail? Maybe! “Scott Brown, one of Couch’s attorneys here, said that the 18-year-old’s legal team in Mexico will no longer try and block his return to this country,” according to the Dallas Morning News. His lawyer said that “They believe that he has been treated fairly by the Mexican government and all his rights are being protected. A document has been filed to release the injunction and let the process go forward.” So that timeline is still TBD. But there is a small, sad twist to the story as well. His lawyer also said that “We are examining the facts … to determine whether he was taken voluntarily or involuntarily to Mexico,” according to Reuters. Presumably this means that Couch could put the blame on his mother, Tonya, who is currently residing behind bars in Tarrant County. “Tarrant County prosecutors contended Couch is responsible for his own absence by fleeing to Mexico. His mother was returned to Texas and faces a third-degree felony charge, accused of helping her son flee, that could result in a 10-year prison sentence if she is convicted.”