The State of Texas: June 12, 2014
Fort Worth-born actress Martha Hyer went to that big scene in the sky on May 31. Hyer was an Oscar nominated actress who worked with the like of Frank Sinatra and Humphrey Bogart, and once she “reportedly once turned down a date request from a young Sen. John F. Kennedy.”
Photo of the Day
The drought is nothing if not egalitarian. A $700,000 mansion overlooking San Antonio’s Lake Whitney is perilously close to taking a dive as waters continue to recede. “The lake was 100 percent capacity or more for 154 days in 2007, when the home was built,” reports the San Antonio Express-News. However, the receding shoreline has created a chalk-like cliff that’s beginning to crumble. At least it’s still a heckuva view:
Justice Not Blind. Or Bilingual — Another day, another area in which non-natives suffer. This time, however, one pillar of the community isn’t taking it anymore. “In an unusually blunt condemnation, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Elsa Alcala rebuked her court Wednesday for endangering the rights of non-English speakers and for being ‘a stumbling block in the path toward a better criminal-justice system,'” according to the Austin American-Statesman. The case that sparked Judge Alcala’s anger considered a murder defendent who, not understanding the proceedings, declined an interpreter for his original trial because the court didn’t fully advise him of his rights. The six-judge panel still upheld the man’s conviction. As the Statesman notes, “Dissenting opinions are common on the state’s highest criminal court [but] Alcala’s condemnation of her fellow judges was notably stark.” Alaca, the only Hispanic judge on the court, said “This court will continue to constitute the stumbling block in the path toward a better criminal-justice system in Texas until a majority of the judges on this court consistently enforce the federal constitutional right to an interpreter.”
There’s No Place Like Home — It would appear that the Wendy Davis campaign is realizing that no amount of national support from progressives is going to help win the biggest race in Texas. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate, “signaled Wednesday that she might switch to a more Texas-centric campaign when she replaced her Washington, D.C.-based campaign manager with a state representative from a Dallas suburb,” reports the Statesman. Representative Chris Turner is his name and appealing to Texas moderates will be his game. As with the departure of the team’s spokesman back in May, however, there could be a more unpleasant reason for the changing of the guard. “It’s never a good sign when less than six months away from election, you fire the head coach,” said Rice University political science professor Mark Jones. “It signifies that things aren’t going the way you want them to go.”
Children Supported — Texas leads the nation in collected child support, collecting nearly $3.6 billion. The ranking is based on “the amount of child support collected per employee; and cost effectiveness,” according to KGNS. The news won’t be too surprising to those in-the-know, since Texas has been number one for seven years in a row. “Between 2012 and 2013, Texas’s collections grew by $226 million and accounted for more than 72 percent of the $312 million national increase. Texas’s collection growth is especially significant in an economic climate that has resulted in most states experiencing year-to-year declines in child support collections since 2008.” That’s $30 billion since Greg Abbott was elected—his office is in charge of collecting—who praised the effort as “a remarkable achievement.” And imagine, some people think the traditional family is under threat.
Breezy Used Car Dealers — A few ladies in Houston are breaking the glass windshield. It was a bit by accident, but since its opening in January Victory Auto Smart has been entirely staffed by women. It says more about us than it does about the women, but the lack of men does cause people to momentarily hit the breaks. “Most of [the customers] are amazed. They say, ‘Oh wow, all women?’ Or they come because of that and say they just wanted to see what it was all about,'” said the sales manager. The coincidence seems to have turned into a working business model. “Fifty percent of sales are now attributed to referrals so their plan seems to be working, and it’s not just women customers but men also.” If we’re so lucky, the future may include the stereotype of a used car saleswoman along side her equally slimy male counterpart.