The State of Texas: July 31, 2014
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Some people are not taking to thrilled about the fact that Jesse Ventura, the former wrestler-turned-governor, won his defamation case against the estate of deceased Navy SEAL and author of American Sniper, Chris Kyle, a compensation agreement that will pay out $1.8 million to Ventura. Suffice it to say, Ventura is not welcome in Midlothian, Kyle’s hometown:
In keeping with his post-presidential life as an artist, it was revealed yesterday that George W. Bush has written a book. Unfortunately, it won’t be a Tom Clancy-like thriller or a four-hour-work-week self-helpie. Rather, it’s a biography of his own father. The book, untitled at the moment, is due out in November, according to the Associated Press. While it will be “heartfelt, intimate, and illuminating,” there’s no indication yet that it will be illustrated with 43’s own portraits.
All Gone To Pot — Officials recently made the largest pot farm bust in the history of Texas. Earlier this week, authorities in Polk county found a marijuana crop of “100,197 plants among 29 fields” with an estimated street value of about $175 million. Folks in Polk county are, apparently, not too surprised. “We always used to say that it was a neglected, unused area, and it was amazing that there wasn’t patches of marijuana there … but we never had any indication that anything was going on,” a 71-year-old resident told the Houston Chronicle. And of course everyone’s got an opinion about what to do with the haul, with one particularly ingenious and enterprising idea. “[P]eople in Livingston have suggested everything from smoking it, to burning it, to selling it to states where marijuana has been legalized,” reports KHOU. Unfortunately for the weed-loving crowd, authorities will most likely go with the second option, which “would take at least a couple of days.” For quicker disposal, we could always hand it over to Willie.
Border Tourism — A different kind of “surge” at the border is making the news. “I’ve met with more congressmen and senators in the last 60 days than I ever thought I would in a lifetime,” McAllen Mayor Jim Darling told the Dallas Morning News. As the Morning News notes, Darling’s had to play host to a “parade of state and federal officials [who] return to Washington and declare that, having seen the situation, they understand it better.” As Darling says (rather diplomatically), however, “I don’t think anybody’s changed their position” and “they’re learning things … There is a learning curve.” While all the glad-handing is going on, the Texas Democratic Delegation is saber-rattling, at least when it comes to certain aspects of the border crisis. “All the Democrats in Texas’ congressional delegation sent a letter [Wednesday] to the Republican gubernatorial nominee, Attorney General Greg Abbott, calling on him to denounce civilian militia groups moving to the Rio Grande Valley to patrol the border,” according to The Monitor. Images of militias members carrying guns and, in one case, wearing a lucha libra-inspired mask, have been circulating for the past week. The likelihood of Abbott condemning the groups, however, is as likely as officials finding a working solution to the border crisis. “An Abbott spokeswoman said the group was playing politics instead of acting to help the situation.”
I’m Suin’ It — “A Central Texas jury on Wednesday ordered McDonald’s to pay $27 million in actual damages to the families of two teenagers killed in a car accident while en route to a hospital after a fight outside the fast-food restaurant,” reports the Associated Press. How McDonald’s is responsible is a bit convoluted and takes some explaining. A fight broke out in the parking lot of a College Station McDonald’s. Two of the young men who were beat up were being driven to the hospital when their car “ran a red light and was hit by a pickup.” One of the young men was killed. Apparently, “evidence at the trial showed police were called more than 20 times to break up fights at the restaurant in the year leading up to the incident. The families believed McDonald’s should have provided better security at the restaurant.” McDonald’s, unsurprisingly, will appeal the decision.
Human Sentencing — The wheels of justice usually move slowly. But they do tend to pick up speed if you’re involved in a shocking and dehumanizing enterprise. “Three men have been sentenced to at least nine years in prison for operating a human-smuggling ring that held 115 people captive in a small Houston home,” reports the Associated Press. The other two leaders of the operation have already pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in September. It was only four months ago when authorities discovered the squalid stash house where desperate immigrants were, among other things, being held for ransom.
The Right To Bare Arms — … And breasts! The open-carry firearm protests have been making news for months now, mostly because the proponents appear in public strapped like they’re ready for combat. Now it seems that counter-protestors have found an equally eye-catching way of getting their opinions off their chest: going topless. “Topless women trolled open carry activists in an Austin protest, vowing to keep their shirts off as long as gun rights supporters touted firearms,” according to the San Antonio Express-News. “The women carried signs that read, ‘You realize that everyone thinks you’re overcompensating for your teeny tiny ‘gun’ right?’ and ‘Boobs for peace.'” Guns and glands? This is starting to sound less like Texas and more like Florida. And it appears this boobs against guns-thing might/maybe be on-going event. One of the organizers published a piece in The Guardian on Tuesday, explaining the purposes of their flash dance. Namely, taking pot-shots at the gun-rights activists’ manliness. As with firearms, it’s apparently legal for women to open-carry their breasts. And since “these ammo-sexuals feel it necessary to exercise their right to take a gun out for a date, Lola and I decided to exercise our own.”