The State of Texas: July 29, 2014
Photos of the Day
Hot ladies with guns was so yesterday. For the best oogling, go noodling. The Bare Knuckle Babes is an all-woman group of catfish noodlers, and these ladies are the real deal. “A lot of people thought we were too cute or too citified to be noodlers. But we have videos to show we really do hand fish,” said Jennifer Drake, the mastermind behind the project.
Bordering on Solutions — As the summer wears on, it seems politicians, local officials, and border communities are still struggling to get a handle on the undocumented migrant crisis. Local militias, tired of the inaction and perhaps their own talk about guarding the border appear to be doing just that. Photos were released yesterday “showing dozens of members of the militia groups on the U.S.-Mexico border carrying semi-automatic rifles and wearing masks, camouflage and tactical gear,” reports the Houston Chronicle. The photos “provide one of the first glimpses into the group’s activities” although they still remain fairly anonymous, a caution, they say, against drug cartels. The groups, whose names sound a little like motorcycle gangs, include the “Oathkeepers, Three Percenters and Patriots.” On the more “civil” side, Representative Joaquin Castro is trying to assemble his own Avengers group. Castro invited Governor Perry, along with the entire Texas congressional delegation, to have a sit-down to discuss the crisis. The meeting sounds as if it’s as likely as a comprehensive immigration solution. “The invitation, which a Castro aide said is open-ended and would accommodate Perry’s schedule, is as much a push for Perry to meet with Texas lawmakers as it is a response to his accusation that Castro misunderstood the governor’s intent when he decided to deploy the National Guard,” according to the Texas Tribune. And while the top politicians fiddle as the border burns, state lawmakers are meeting today to figure out just exactly how they’re going to afford sheltering and educating the wave of migrant youth. “‘Are these immigrant children going to be enrolled in schools in Texas?’ asked Gene Acuna, director of communications for the Texas Education Agency. The agency has “not received any answers from the federal government,” according to KXAN. It’s no ideal question, especially when federal and state grant money are involved. “What grade level do they start? How much do they know? Do they have to take the STAAR test and what will that do to a campus’s accountability rating?”
Very Blue Oyster Cult — It has not been a good year for sweet, succulent Texas oysters. “The Gulf Coast oyster industry is under siege from several directions, including drought, disease and over-harvesting,” reports The Monitor. “The result has been a scarcity of quality bivalve mollusks of the “eastern oyster” variety (Crassostrea virginica), which is usually what you’re eating when you’re eating Gulf oysters.” To make matters worse, even Louisiana is having some serious problems with harvesting. All this spells bad news for those with a taste for the mushroom of the sea. “It’s getting to the point that it’s a luxury now, not something that you want to eat regularly,” said the owner of one seafood store.
Traffic Woes — Houston has a serious problem with human trafficking. It was just last month that state officials, including Governor Perry, were in the city announcing a major state and federal initiative to crackdown on the epidemic. And maybe that effort is working. “A Houston psychiatrist who also practices in Tyler has been indicted in federal court on charges of human trafficking,” according to the Houston Chronicle. “Riyaz Mazcuri, 52, a.k.a. ‘The Doctor,’ is one of four men who were arrested Thursday and charged with one count of forced labor conspiracy and one count of visa fraud conspiracy, court records state.” As detailed, it’s a nightmarish scenario. “The men hired female dancers in India and brought them to the United States under the false pretense that they would perform Indian cultural programs. Once the women arrived, they instead were forced to dance in night clubs for 12 to 14 hours per night, seven nights per week, and some were pressured into prostitution, the indictment states. One night club was in New York and one was in Houston, records state. … The defendants confiscated the women’s passports and kept them confined in houses and hotel rooms when they weren’t performing, court records state.” As the piece notes, officials arrested thirteen people back in October under the suspicion of operating another Houston prostitution ring.