The State of Texas: January 7, 2015
Tweet of the Day
There’s a new sheriff in town (well, in Washington D.C. anyway). With the ringing in of a new Congressional session, Senator John Cornyn was promoted from Minority Whip to Majority Whip. No word yet on whether he actually gets a bigger whip now:
New gig pic.twitter.com/hDmGIXPyPU
— JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) January 6, 2015
Texas By The Numbers
Oil Toil — Number of oil rigs, nationally, that were closed down this week: 29. Number in Texas: twelve. Second-closest state, with six less rigs: California. Number of days in a row oil futures have declined: four. Amount West Texas Intermediate dropped: 4.2 percent. Last time price was that low: 2009.
All A-Twitter — Number of times Ted Cruz’s account was mentioned on Twitter: 4.5 million. Rank among politicians: First. Number of mentions for second-place Hillary Clinton: 2.8 million. Message in Cruz’s most popular tweet of 2014: impeach Eric Holder.
Small Business, Big Numbers — Rank of DFW for small business growth: First. Texas’s rank: Second. Decline in DFW growth from November: .64 percent. Nationally: .28 percent.
Housing Costs — Amount Texas jails spent to house undocumented migrants in a twelve-month period: $77.3 million. Number of detainees: 61,530. Amount for top-ranked Harris County: $22.9 million. Average daily cost of housing: $50 to $60.
KIA — In a moment that called to mind the tragic Fort Hood massacre, yesterday it was reported that there was yet another shooting at a military facility in Texas: a shooter killed a doctor and then himself at El Paso’s Fort Bliss Veterans Hospital. Officials have released no details about the shooter or his victim, according to the El Paso Times. “Douglas Lindquist, the special agent in charge of the El Paso division of the FBI, said agents were interviewing witnesses and FBI crime-scene investigators were working at the clinic. The FBI is leading the investigation because the crime occurred on federal property.” The lack of information hasn’t stopped speculation. “The El Paso Veterans Health Care System had been under scrutiny for long wait times,” notes the Times, as does NBCDFW.
City of Quake — No, that wasn’t Dallas’s traffic. That was an actual earthquake. Nine, to be exact. The quakes, “ranging in magnitude from 1.6 to 3.6 rattled North Texas over a period of less than 24 hours late Tuesday and early Wednesday,” writes Fox News. “A … magnitude 3.5 earthquake [was felt] at around 3:10 p.m. … in Irving, Dallas, Mesquite, Arlington and Coppell. That quake was followed by the strongest in the area in recent weeks—a magnitude 3.6 temblor just minutes before 7 p.m.” There were reportedly no injuries nor damage, although social media was shaking with a lot of “Um … did you feel that?” tweets and comments. While the number of quakes might be a surprise, that the Dallas Morning News’s Robert Wilonsky provided the best live coverage of events, is not. His breakdown is definitely worth a read.
Mayan Mysteries, Revealed! — No, we still don’t know when the Mayans meant for the world to end or what they actually learned from visiting aliens, but it appears we do have an idea as to why the impressive civilization just up and disappeared. According to a Rice University professor, “a study of minerals taken from an underwater cave in Belize known as the ‘Blue Hole’ … results show that an extreme drought between A.D.800 and A.D. 900 coincided with the Mayan collapse,” writes the Houston Chronicle. Despite the lack of aliens or a shift in mass global consciousness, Rice scientist Andre Droxler has some pretty cool details about the work. “The team drilled cores from the Blue Hole sinkhole and a nearby lagoon. They found that the ratio of titanium to aluminum changed in the ninth and 10th centuries, a period when the Mayan civilization in the Yucatan Peninsula went into decline. More titanium means that heavier rains were affecting the region, since the runoff from the area’s volcanic rock is rich in the element,” according to CNN. As the Chronicle reports, “Researchers think the drought was triggered by a shift in something known as the ‘intertropical convergence zone’ which dumps water on tropical regions while drying out the subtropics.”
No More For Gohmert — The battle was passionate, but alas, it was also short-lived. U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert had led the charge (i.e. promoted his own campaign) to oust John Boehner as the Speaker of the House. From the farther corners of conservative media, it was thought this would be the time the RINO would be hunted, and machine-gun-slinger Gohmert might be in charge. In the end, however, “The Ohio Republican garnered the votes of 216 GOP lawmakers. But in an embarrassing slap, 25 Republicans voted for other candidates or voted present. Gohmert received three votes.” And yes, one of those was his own vote. The Washington Post declared the vote amongst Republicans “the biggest revolt against a House speaker in more than 150 years,” which tells you just how exciting such events have been in the past. Speaking with his biggest media supporter, Sean Hannity, later that day, Gohmert said “Well, we had enough votes … Some of Boehner’s people were really scared they didn’t have the votes.” Maybe we’ll see another attempted coup again. Or, actually, count on it. In an op-ed, the honorable gentleman from Tyler wrote, “The fight does not end today. Our cause is a worthy one that we will continue.”