Image of the Day
Texans have clearly not taken to Donald Trump and his 2016 presidential run kindly. Exhibit B, from Austin, is a great example:
2016 walks into a bar… pic.twitter.com/I4nqqVu0yl
— Lauren Luxenburg (@LaurenC_Lux) July 8, 2015
What’s Exhibit A, you might ask? Rick Perry, who offered a video response to Trump after he insulted the former Texas governor on Twitter. It’s not as entertaining as Perry’s previous video, but hey, they can’t all be winners/animated:
The Texas Miracle Cars – Despite all our traffic woes, it seems that companies like experimenting with car-related services in Texas. There have been three such examples this week alone. First, there’s a ghost car driving around Austin, but don’t be alarmed! It’s just one of Google’s self-driving vehicles. The car has already been making its way through downtown with two “safety drivers,” according to the American-Statesman. Austin was selected for obvious reasons: it’s not too big and super tech-friendly. Spanish speakers who prefer a human at the wheel are in luck too: Uber just launched its Spanish service in Texas after launches in California and Arizona. So long as you live in Austin, Dallas, Houston, or El Paso, you’ve now got a new alternative to cabs. As the Austin Business Journal points out, however, “the company doesn’t operate in San Antonio, one of the biggest Spanish-speaking markets.” Sorry, y’all. And lastly in car-related bits, good news for those who don’t want to leave their house to enjoy “Tex-Mex” fast food. Taco Bell will begin testing out a delivery service, and Dallas is one of four national markets picked as a guinea pig, according to USA Today. The downside (apart from the terrible food)? There’s an automatic $3.99 fee and “during limited testing at stores in Dallas . . . orders took roughly 38 minutes from when they were ordered to arriving at the customer’s door,” which is enough time to reconsider all of your immediate life choices.
Second Gear – The first (and, for a while, only) lawsuit related to the Waco shootout was dropped, but another has quickly taken its place. The family of one of the bikers who died in the May shootout has filed a lawsuit against Twin Peaks’s parent company, claiming it “recklessly hosted a meeting of motorcycle clubs May 17 after police warned of tensions between two biker gangs,” according to the Associated Press. The family is seeking unspecified damages. On the criminal side, “a Waco police detective was selected Wednesday to preside over a new McLennan County grand jury that could be the panel that considers the Twin Peaks shootings,” the Tribune-Herald reported. This isn’t in the least problematic, especially considering officials have fought tooth and nail to keep the details of the investigation under wraps, including any indications as to who shot who. As the story notes, “this panel, which will meet twice a month for the next three months, could consider indictments against the 177 bikers arrested in the wake of the May 17 Twin Peaks shootout that left nine dead and 20 wounded. A grand jury, at some point, also will review Waco police officers’ actions in response to the melee that broke out between rival biker groups that day.” The judge, perhaps recognizing how suspicious this looks, offered this verbal shrug: “There was nothing to prevent the detective from being a qualified member of the grand jury, just like there is nothing to prevent him from being a qualified juror. If there is nothing that challenges his impartiality, he is qualified.” At least one expert, former Appeals Court Justice Jan Patterson, said, “the detective’s service could be problematic.” The detective himself was in fine obfuscating form. “When asked if he had any involvement in the massive Twin Peaks investigation, [the detective] said, ‘Not really.’ He would not elaborate on that answer and deferred additional questions about the Twin Peaks incident to the Waco City Attorney’s Office.”
Retreat – So much for Jade Helm and the military takeover of Texas. The U.S. Army announced that it’s pulling back on the number of soldiers at forts nationwide due to budget cuts. The reduction means Fort Bliss will lose about 1,200 soldiers and Fort Hood will lose around 3,400. “The troop reductions are being made to meet budget targets and changed needs after the end of more than a decade of active combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq,” according to the El Paso Times. “[Fort Hood] represents 8 percent of the active-duty Army force and has lost about 11,000 soldiers since the first cuts were made [in 2011],” the San Antonio Express-News reported. The big concern for the areas around the forts is less about safety and more about the economic impact. The El Paso Chamber of Commerce is still working out the details of what the cuts mean and how it will impact local businesses and other bases, such as Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio. “The state is home to 15 active-duty and reserve bases with a $150 billion-a-year economic impact,” writes the Express-News. In El Paso, Fort Bliss and William Beaumont Army Medical Center “have an economic impact in El Paso of nearly $6 billion a year.” It’s still too early to definitively say how this will affect communities, but it certainly has people worried. The cuts, trickling down from Washington, D.C., began in 2013 and “triggered Pentagon furloughs of 800,000 workers over five months, around 30,000 of them in Texas. More than 20,000 civilian employees in San Antonio were furloughed for 22 days.”