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Sometimes, you have to do whatever it takes to get that bagged buck home.
— Kolten Parker (@KoltenParker) January 4, 2016
Big Bent — Bad news for some odd bedfellows in Big Bend: Despite objections from the likes of ranchers and environmentalists, “Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff offered a key endorsement of a stretch of the Trans-Pecos Pipeline, writing that it ‘would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,’ in a draft environmental assessment issued Monday,” according to the Texas Tribune. On paper, it doesn’t seem like that big of an intrusion. “The 42-inch-wide pipeline would start at the Waha storage hub near Fort Stockton and cut through Pecos, Brewster and Presidio counties before crossing beneath the Rio Grande near the town of Presidio. It could bring up to 1.4 billion cubic feet of gas each day into Mexico, where officials have recently opened up the energy sector to private companies.” Proponents, as they are wont to do, are touting the jobs the project will bring. Meanwhile, opponents “say the pipeline will at least temporarily mar the near-pristine landscape and come with safety risks such as explosions and wildfires. Others simply don’t want to lose their land to eminent domain.” A legal challenge to the decision is being put together.
Bad (Dance) Move — People are pretty sensitive to the whole “glorifying the Civil War thing,” because of minor things like, oh, slavery and the systemic marginalization of an entire race. But sometimes that’s a little hard to see when all you want to do is have a little charity ball. The news of Georgetown’s “Old South Ball,” which would feature Antebellum clothes and lots of drinking, was first reported by the Austin American-Statesman and is starting to spread like Sherman’s March. The ball is scheduled to be held in the Williams County courthouse and planned by as a fundraiser for the Williamson Museum, which currently has a Civil War exhibit. Lovers of such fine historical reenactments say there is nothing malicious or racist about what they’re trying to do. “Mickie Ross, head of the Williamson Museum, said she is shocked to hear some call the dance a divisive event, adding it does not promote the war or slavery,” according to KVUE. Those conscientious objectors aren’t rattling sabers, but suggest that maybe the museum didn’t really think things through, even on an historic level. In a petition being signed to protest the ball, it notes that a “grand Southern Ball with uniformed soldiers and ladies in grand antebellum dresses does not in any way accurately reflect the period or time in Williamson County. Back in the 1860s, a party would more likely have been a small dance in day clothes at someone’s house. What is being created is a slaver’s plantation ball with all the finery and trimmings and glory of the Deep South.” As one retired minister told the Statesman, “It feels like it’s a party for white folks, although they probably didn’t intend it to be that.” It’ll be interesting to see what happens. More than 30 tickets have been sold already (out of about 100), and the city council itself gave $1,500 to help promote the ball.
Parent, Trapped — Details of the Affluenza case are likely to slowly surface for some time now. In the latest mini-development, Ethan Couch’s mother, Tonya, is appearing in a Los Angeles court today, where prosecutors are expected to recommend extraditing her to Texas after she was caught in Mexico with her son. Her lawyer had some very unpopular things to say about his client, noting in a statement that, “While the public may not like what she did, may not agree with what she did, or may have strong feelings against what she did, make no mistake — Tonya did not violate any law of the State of Texas and she is eager to have her day in court,” according to the Statesman. Family of the victims also want a day in court, but they’re pushing to have Ethan tried as an adult this time around. Meanwhile, poor Tarrant County has its hands full with the case, and it’s interfering with other business. Sheriff Dee Anderson had to back out of a candidate forum Monday, citing his need to focus on the case.