The State of Texas: July 25, 2014
Nature Attack of the Day
According to the Associated Press, a “street department worker [in Wichita Falls] has been stung about 1,000 times by aggressive bees that also attacked two co-workers who tried to help him.” Officials say the attack is a result of “Africanized honey bees,” which sounds like a terrifying reality but a really great Texas-based horror movie.
Fear not, the Mack-Attack is coming back. And in high-def! It was announced yesterday that the former UT football head coach “has signed a deal with ESPN to provide in-studio analysis on the network’s college football broadcasts.” Here’s hoping things aren’t too awkward when the Longhorns play.
Emerging Where? — Governor Rick Perry’s been shilling hard for companies to come and take it, the “it” being advantage of the Texas Emerging Technology Fund. And it’s working. Perry “has distributed $205 million in taxpayer money to scores of technology startups using a pet program designed to bring high-paying jobs and innovation” to Texas. But a closer look at the Texas Emerging Technology Fund “reveals that some of the businesses that received money are not all they seem,” according to an AP investigation. “One actually operates in California. Some have stagnated trying to find more capital. Others have listed out-of-state employees and short-term hires as being among the jobs they created. A few have forfeited their right to do business in Texas by not filing tax reports.” The AP’s investigation found that “the same companies credited with creating a share of the program’s 1,600 new jobs have actually stalled and in some cases blamed Perry’s office for their struggles.” The AP notes that the failed ventures are only a fraction of the fund’s efforts, but as the Perry administration glosses over these facts, it heaps “fresh doubts about transparency onto the fund, which has long been criticized as too opaque, including in a scathing 2011 report by state auditors.”
Texas Shootout — A suspected gang member in La Joya got into a gun fight with police on Tuesday, resulting in about “400 officers and agents … on hand” with “at least 16 blocks of Leo Avenue … closed off [and] just about every local, county, state and federal agency in the area was represented.” Breitbart Texas has a pretty detailed account of scene, including “a black police SUV … riddled with bullets and with a window shot out.” The shooter, suspected of being with the Texas Syndicate drug cartel, reportedly fired nonstop with a semi-automatic and “close to 500 shots” were exchanged. The crisis lasted about four hours until “tactical teams used tear gas to draw [the suspect] out from the barricaded house and neutralized him when he came out firing.” The two officers down are expected to make a full recovery, and police are still investigating the wild scene that took place.
Number’s Up? — The “Legislative Committee to Review the Texas Lottery and Texas Lottery Commission,” is a group of representatives that will doing just what it is named to do, according to the Houston Chronicle. The debate is a remnant of last session’s routine Sunset Commission evaluation, when the House voted to eliminate the lottery but then changed its mind. This attack on America’s favorite game of chance is apparently due to legislators’ deep concern for the poor. “Houston Democrat Garnet Coleman has accused the lottery commission of a cozy relationship with the game operator and criticized how most players are poor.” The article doesn’t really explain why a lottery fan’s income is of any importance, but it surely is. How this will play out is a roll of the dice. Speaker of the House Joe Straus said, “the House had a healthy and productive discussion about the Texas Lottery last year, and this committee will continue that discussion.”
Uber-Angry — Despite being almost universally praised by most customers, rideshare businesses like Uber can’t seem to catch a break. If it’s not cab unions then its local city government regulations. And now “a coalition of Texas disability advocates sued ride-share companies Uber and Lyft on Thursday as part of dozens of lawsuits filed around the state ahead of the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” according to the Houston Chronicle. “The suits were filed in Travis County, but theoretically could affect the rest of the state.” The lawsuits were filed “ahead of the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act” and “plaintiff David Wittie, of the advocacy group ADAPT of Texas” called the rideshare companies “socially irresponsible.” Not to be selective, the Austin-based Yellow Cab was also sued “as part of the coordinated effort.”
Homicidal Fantasies — Those accusing Governor Perry of saber-rattling political theater when he announced his plan to send 1,000 National Guards to the border might have evidence in their favor. During his press conference, Perry made numerous references to the violence happening at the border, but Politifact checked the accuracy of the statement “that more than 3,000 homicides had been committed by ‘llegal aliens’ since 2008.” If that sounds like way too many than anyone would ever stand, not to mention one of the biggest news stories of the decade, you’re absolutely right. Politifact’s conclusion is that “this claim is unsupported by the presentation he relied on. Pants on Fire!”