The State of Texas: July 1, 2015
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What is there to say? Ted Cruz + Simpsons voice tryouts = Whoo Hoo! (Just a few points off for trying to be a hip, viral presidential candidate. Not even Obama gets a pass on that.):
Texas By The Numbers
Who Got the Sauce? – Amount Texas-based barbecue sauce, Stubbs, made in 2011: $20 million. Projected sales in 2015: $30 million. Amount company sold for this past week: $100 million.
Gun (Only Kinda) Nuts – Texas’s gun-ownership rate: 35.7 percent. National average: 29.1 percent. State with highest ownership rate: Alaska. Rate: 61 percent. Second place: Arkansas. Rate: 57.9 percent. Texas’s rank among all states: 33rd.
Real Quiet Biker – It looks like officials can’t suppress every single bit of information. Police and prosecutors have tried to squash a motion filed by one of the Waco bikers requesting video evidence from Twin Peaks during the shout-out. The city argued “that release of the video would impede its investigation,” according to the Waco Tribune-Herald, while the attorney for the biker who is suing the city said he needs the evidence to prove his client’s innocence. “[Attorney Clint] Broden told the judge it ‘boggles my mind’ that police and prosecutors can describe what is on the video but his client could not get a copy to help prepare his defense.” A judge cautiously agreed with the biker’s attorney, but also “placed the video under a protective order because he is concerned about tainting potential jury pools,” meaning nobody else can see it. Broden said he plans to appeal the protective order, arguing, interestingly, that the video isn’t so much evidence but the property of Twin Peaks, and thus authorities have no right to squash its release.
The Gay Place? – In our data-obsessed society, it seems we might not be able to track statistics on how many same-sex marriage licenses are issued in Texas. “The state, and some counties, do not plan to keep a separate count of same-sex licenses,” reports the Texas Tribune. “Though Texas collects detailed data on marriages by county and age, getting better information on same-sex marriage rates in Texas could take years since the state has no plans to separately track those unions.” As the Los Angeles Times writes, all over Texas, “officials responsible for issuing same-sex marriage licenses and officiating weddings were wrestling with … legal and moral dilemmas.” As one Kimble County Clerk put it, “Are you going to be afraid of getting sued, or are you more fearful of God?” That’s a deep question not even St. Anselm could answer! But, per Ken Paxton’s promise, there might be some help (or fire starters) for the religiously inclined. “The Liberty Institute, a conservative legal advocacy group based in the Dallas area, was advising county officials on how to respond Tuesday, but had no information about legal battles brewing.”
For Sale (Please) – This beautiful, palatial Texas compound could be yours … so long as you don’t mind that a cult leader once lived there with all his young brides. The Eldorado compound formerly owned and occupied by polygamist Warren Jeffs and his concubines has “appealed to a few potential buyers, but no agreements have been solidified,” reports the San Antonio Express-News. The state took control of the compound last year after first trying to seize the property in 2012. Now it looks like it could become part of the regular tour you take with a Realtor. “[District Attorney Allison Palmer] said the state is appraising and assessing the property ‘to decide what the best options would be,’ but she hopes the property could be listed within the next few months.” Whoever does eventually decide to buy the property sure gets a lot of extras, like a pond, an orchard, livestock, and, oh, right, a temple.
The Plates Will Rise Again – The Supreme Court may have said Texas has a right to deny Confederate lovers their own vanity plate, but groups are “still trying to work recognition for their group onto Texas license plates,” according to the Dallas Morning News. “Gary Bray, the division commander of Sons of Confederate Veterans in Texas, said that while the Supreme Court has ruled on the free speech issue, ‘we haven’t lost anything. … We are going to come back with another design for our license plate. And our battle flag is not going anywhere.” It’s still “too early to know” what the group’s new design might look like (a vanity plate that is just gray?), although Bray did say it might incorporate something related to Texas Rebels. It’s a pretty sneaky and ingenious route. “We’re trying some Confederate flags—lots and lots of Confederate flags. … Most people, if they saw them, they would have no idea what they are.”