The State of Texas: July 2, 2014
Texas by the numbers
Shameful Record — Number of child abuse and neglect deaths in Texas last year: 156. Number in 2012: 212. Rank among other states: First. Abuse and death of foster children in 2013: ten. Number in 2012: two.
Soccer, Y’all — Number of stateside soccer fans who watched the U.S.-Belgium match: 24.7 million. Number that attended Austin’s blisteringly-hot outdoor watch party during U.S.-Belgium match: 2,000. Number that attended Arlinton’s watch party at JerryWorld: 20,000.
Big Fish — Weight of record-breaking red snapper caught by Texan near Corpus Christi: 38.75 pounds. Date of previous record: 1998. Weight of previous record: 38.13 pounds. World record for red snapper: 50.5 pounds.
Border Justice — ” A federal appeals court ruled Monday that a Mexican teenager killed by a Border Patrol agent was protected by the U.S. Constitution, even though the teen was on Mexican soil when he was shot,” according to the Associated Press. “The ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals means the family of 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca can move forward with a civil lawsuit against the agent.” The ruling hung the agent responsible out to dry, since the decision “relieves the agent’s supervisors and the agencies from responsibility.” The ruling could (could!) provide a little more clarity when it comes to altercations in those “zones of lawlessness” between the two borders. The only thing now is dealing with that giant zone of lawlessness.
The Kids Aren’t All Right — As the border disaster continues, expect more and more side issues to crop up. Case in point: the recent announcement that an eleven-year-old Guatemalan boy was found dead has brought attention to a pretty horrifying practice of illegal immigrants “renting” kids to help them get across the border, “in order to increase their chances of being able to stay in the U.S. once they cross over.” One Latin American professor notes that the practice has been going on for “years if not decades” with smugglers (coyotes) paying families “maybe a few hundred dollars you’re willing to give up your 7th or 8th child.” Sometimes, the kids are used purely as distractions, moved “into one part of the McAllen corridor into Texas and then you have your drugs moving in a few miles away.” Even as Texas tries to get a handle on the now-national issue, it looks like transporting immigrants has become a very contentious issue. A group of 140 undocumented immigrants were sent to a border patrol station in San Diego where they faced about 100 “protesters shouting anti-immigration slogans,” and blocking “the arrival of three buses carrying undocumented Central American families,” reports Reuters. As USA Today pointed out, it was a “chaotic start to the federal government’s plan to help alleviate overcrowded facilities in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley by transferring immigrant families into Southern California.” Protestors were vocal in their concern about the public safety threatened by these dangerous women and children. On the plus side, it appears most of the children aren’t even that dangerous health-wise. The state health commissioner said that “thousands of immigrant children placed in temporary shelters across Texas have been found to have only minor diseases such as scabies and chicken pox,” according ot the AP.
Dispirit Squad — Nineteen-year-old Texas Tech Cheerleader Kendall Jones likes to hunt exotic animals. She also likes posting those trophies on Facebook. What could possibly go wrong? The Cleburne native has been hunting big game for some time and is even developing a deal with the Sportsman Channel, but for some reason her Facebook feed has just recently caught the ire of animal rights activists and the attention of national outlets such as the New York Daily News and Gawker. In one of their more classic acts of toothless mobbing, these angry humans have also launched an online petition against Jones with about 31,415 supporters as of this morning. For her part, Jones, is staying on target, defending her work and pointing to her conservation work.
Ex-Senator — The UT alum association, Texas Exes, just got a big-time leader. Former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison was named the group’s president Tuesday. “In that unpaid position, the 71-year-old former senator is charged with promoting and defending her alma mater,” says the Austin American-Statesman, which rightly notes that that’s “Easier said than done. These are contentious times for UT-Austin.” The controversy even Hutchison alluded to in her first official statement is the Regent Wallace Hall affair. “All of us are troubled by the strife and division we see,” Hutchinson said. “I’m hoping we can have a steady hand at the wheel that will move us forward and beyond the acrimony we see in governance right now.” And this could open old battle wounds. The Statesman slyly notes that “Gov. Rick Perry has encouraged and defended UT System Regent Wallace L. Hall Jr. in Hall’s tussles with UT-Austin President Bill Powers. Hutchinson supports Powers. In another epic battle, Perry defeated Hutchinson in the GOP primary for governor in 2010. only last another couple of years.”
One Ring To Aww Them All — Today’s “aww” story is brought to you by Lubbock. “An 84-year-old Washington state woman will soon hold her 1953 university class ring [from Howard Payne University in Brownwood], lost six decades ago, after it was found in a dried-up West Texas lake,” according to the AP. “After years of drought, the ring revealed itself in the lake bed and it was found in March. Someone from the school’s alumni association drove to San Angelo to retrieve the ring and was able to identify it from the initials — AEL for Addie Elizabeth Little — inside the band.”