The State of Texas: July 15, 2015
Image of the Day
There might be cooler ways to propose, but few could top the effort by a Portland, Texas, farmer who “had access to a plane, his bosses’ large ranch and mowers,” writes the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
Texas By The Numbers
Square Kids – Percentage of young adults ages 18 to 25 who disapprove of marijuana use, according to a new UT study: 22.6. In 2006: 40.5 percent. Use among ages 12 to 15: 4 percent. In 2002: 6 percent.
Casualty of Street War – Number of people killed in Texas by police so far this year: 64. Rank per capita: Fourteenth. Rank by number: second.
Most Wanted – Amount Mexican officials are offering for the capture of El Chapo: $3.8 million. In pesos: 60 million. Amount El Chapo spent to get out of prison in 2001: $2.5 million. Estimated amount he nets, per year, in Chicago alone: $10 million. Estimated total net worth: $1 billion.
Bass Bell – Our state’s favorite treat now has a sugar daddy. Numerous outlets are reporting that Fort Worth billionaire Sid Bass has made a huge investment in Blue Bell, which could help the company bounce back after its listeria disaster. “The investment by Mr. Bass comes after Blue Bell sought to secure a financial lifeboat without bringing in an outside investor that could dilute existing shareholders’ stakes,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Bass “has managed an oil-and-gas fortune for years and once was a major investor in Walt Disney Co.” and estimated to be worth about $1.66 billion, putting him at about 325 on Forbes’s rich list. So how much has he contributed to Blue Bell? They would say only that his help was “significant.” The privately held company is estimated to have lost between $130 million to $180 million in the disaster.
Baby Body Farm? – The last thing Planned Parenthood in Texas needs is a nutty-sounding controversy, but that’s exactly what’s happening. Governor Greg Abbott said officials will investigate whether the group’s local branches are “harvesting fetal body parts,” as the Houston Chronicle put it. “I have directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to conduct an immediate investigation of this alleged practice in addition to a separate investigation ordered by the Texas Office of the Attorney General,” Abbott told the Chronicle. The announcement comes after antiabortion activists posed as employees of a biotech firm, capturing footage of Planned Parenthood’s director of medical research discussing fetal tissue harvesting and possibly selling it off to researchers. Planned Parenthood appears to be on lockdown as few news outlets have received a response to questions. No surprise that presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Rick Perry have essentially tied the group to the public whipping post, with Perry not-so-subtly reminding people that it was he, as governor, who first defunded Planned Parenthood.
Come and Take It Over – If you notice black helicopters circling above and men with guns herding people into Walmarts today, don’t fear. It’s just Operation Jade Helm 15 going as planned. The multi-state military “training” exercise starts today, much to the joy of news organizations and fear of concerned citizens. Or not! “On the eve of the exercise, state Rep. John Cyrier, who represents Bastrop, said the frenzy has largely died down,” writes the Texas Tribune. “‘I think a lot of the questions have been answered since it first kind of hit Bastrop County Commissioners Court,’ said Cyrier, a Republican. ‘It seems like it’s been pretty quiet, at least on my end of it.’” Governor Abbott said the Texas National Guard would keep an eye on the military’s effort, but it looks like its going to be a lazy one. The monitoring “will amount to daily briefings,” notes the San Antonio Express-News. And for those who need a quick refresher before martial law begins, the Austin American-Statesman has an easy-to-read list of five things you should know about the operation.