The State of Texas: July 8, 2014
Quote of the Day
“Everybody goes out and has fun. Everybody goes out and does that and I’m not doing anything that’s putting myself in a harmful situation.”
— Johnny Manziel, in a lengthy defense of his weekend partying, which has drawn attention yet again.
Mistress Clara Carmack, a.k.a “C.C.,” a.k.a. The Alamo’s official mascot, went to that big scratching post in the sky. As KSAT notes, “C.C. was considered a celebrity. She’d been featured in numerous articles, was in the L.A.Times and was even on Animal Planet.” C.C. will not only be buried next to her predecessor, Ruby, but will have a plague dedicated in her honor during a memorial service in the coming weeks.
Powerful Friends — UT-Austin president Bill Powers knows how to rally powerful friends. After it was made public late last week that he had been asked to resign by a Board of Regents meeting on Thursday, some big Texas names have come out in his defense. Not only has the Texas Exes new president, Kay Bailey Hutchison, spoken out, but Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has said Powers should be allowed to step down via the president’s own proposed 2015 departure. State representative Eric Johnson has called the cries of removal “brutish,” “unprofessional,” and “amateurish.” The Dallas Morning News added a couple other names, too, including “Jodie Jiles, a Houston investment banker and former chairman of the influential Greater Houston Partnership investment group” and “billionaire Houston trial lawyer Joe Jamail, one of the school’s top financial donors.” And University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa finally shed the faintest of lights on why Powers is being targeted for removal, saying in a statement that there was “a breakdown of communication, collegiality, trust and a willingness to work together for the good of the university.” Maybe Cigarroa just wants a tennis buddy, as the chancellor himself is leaving the university system in October.
Buried Treasure — A New Mexico woman has settled a lawsuit with the University Medical Center of El Paso and two Texas Tech University doctors after she endured a cavity search for drugs. The lawsuit claimed the woman was “forced to undergo a body cavity exam during a failed drug search after being stopped at the border by U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” according to the El Paso Times. To add insult to injury and shame, the woman was also given a $5,000 bill for the procedure. The woman will not only receive $1.1 million, but “UMC officials announced major changes in the hospital’s policies and procedures as a result of the lawsuit. Changes included emphasizing patients’ rights, improving communication with law enforcement, continuing medical staff training to educate patients about their rights, and improvements in the hospital’s Electronic Medical Record system.”
Bordering on Militias — “A slew of anti-government groups—many of which participated in the standoff at Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch—are recruiting armed volunteers to travel to the Texas-Mexico border as a citizen militia to participate in ‘Operation Secure Our Border,’ which aims to stop the surge of immigrants into the country,” reports the San Antonio Express News‘s Kolten Parker in a wonderful side story of the border news. While the “U.S. Customs and Border Protection said they do not ‘endorse or support any private group or organization from taking matters into their own hands as it could have disastrous personal and public safety consequences,'” the group has promised to “secure the border in a ‘legal and lawful manner.'” And it sounds as though they plan to operate by the books (though it’s unclear what books they’re reading): “Chris Davis, a 37-year-old truck driver listed as commander for the militia group” said “volunteers are being vetted through criminal background checks.”
Grave Decision — Justice is finally being served, or rather, its being prepped for a long-overdue appearance. Charles Sebesta, the prosecutor in the now-infamous Anthony Graves case who withheld evidence and used false testimony to put Graves put on death row, will face his own judgment. And at least the system has given him the courtesy of being fair. Almost “twenty years after Graves’ wrongful conviction … the [state bar] took a small but significant step toward ensuring that Sebesta would have to answer for his actions,” reports Texas Monthly‘s own Pamela Colloff, who has, of course, been on the story since day one. “The bar’s chief disciplinary counsel determined that there was ‘just cause’ to believe that the former prosecutor had engaged in misconduct in Graves’ case. This finding followed a lengthy investigation, which the bar conducted after Graves brought a grievance against Sebesta this January.” There’s now going to be a legal proceeding and things go could any way for Sebesta, anything between a stern talking-to or disbarrment. As Colloff notes, Sebesta wants to the proceedings private even though he has refused Anthony Graves similar respects—Sebesta still claims publicly and on his website that Graves is a killer.
Sin City — There’s some serious moral hand-wringing happening in the Tall City, according to this Midland Reporter-Telegram story (“New businesses spur debate over Midlanders’ morals Tall City no longer wholesome, Midland woman says“). According to the “Midland woman,” the place used to be a “wholesome Christian town.” What changed was is expected grand opening of the Tilted Kilt (a breastaurant) and “a lingerie store that also sells sex toys.” Since the mayor and a few others interviewed seem to have a kind of “meh” attitude about the whole sordid affair, the exact point of the piece is not entirely clear. But it does allow the “Midland woman” and “mother of five” plenty of space to seriously question the integrity and foundation of her town and raise objections to “any establishment ‘that causes you to lust.'” She’s even working on a petition urging residents to demand that the city prevent ‘unwholesome’ businesses from coming to Midland.” The woman does have very legitimate concern, however. Namely, she “said she fears the Tall City is becoming more like Odessa.”