The State of Texas: June 18, 2014
Video of the Day
Wild sea monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Some even come in an unfixed shape and size. Although looking like it’s straight out of the movie The Abyss, the creatures below (caught on an oil rig camera in the Gulf of Mexico) appears to be a giant jellyfish and not a living blanket:
Texas By The Numbers
Vox Populi, Y’all —Figure of Texans in recent poll who think the Tea Party has too much influence: 32 percent. Too little: 28 percent. Figure of those Texans who would vote a Democratic candidate if the tea party became an official party: 38 percent. For a Republican: 20 percent. Figure of those Texans who think the country is “on the wrong track”: 65 percent.
He Bought the Ranch — Stanley Marsh 3, the eccentric Amarillo prankster who’s long held the fascination not only of Texas but the art world at large, has died at 76. As Texas Monthly‘s own Skip Hollandsworth writes of Marsh’s legacy, “[He] was simply a great showman who once made President Nixon’s enemies list after he wrote Mrs. Nixon to request that she send him dresses from her wardrobe to fill up the entire first floor of a Museum of Decadent Art that he said he was planning to open.” In recent years, however, Marsh became infamous for allegations of sexual abuse of teenaged boys. As Hollandsworth notes, rumors of Marsh’s involvement with underage boys had been swirling around for years, and in 2012 he was hit with lawsuits “on behalf of ten Amarillo teenage boys accusing him of sexual abuse.” The timing of the death is rather notable, since the fortieth anniversary of the Cadillac Ranch is in just a few days. Be sure, too, to read Hollandsworth’s first longform story on the Marsh controversy from 2012. There’s also the 1978 article from Texas Monthly legend Gary Cartwright.
Strait to the Bank — He’d never be so crass, but if George Strait wanted to make some serious dough, he could always bill concerts as his very last public appearance ever. The Arlington performance on June 6, the final show of the final tour, “racked up $18,194,374 in ticket sales,” according to the Dallas Morning News. Oh, and that figure “does not include concessions sold at AT&T Stadium or merchandise. It only accounts for the money collected for tickets and suites, and it’s a record for single-night sales for the country music legend. For a little bit of comparison, the ticket sales for other country superstars “might be in the ballpark of $500,000 to $800,000.” King George is makin’ it reign.
Prisoner’s Dilemma — The El Paso Times released some rather disturbing footage yesterday of a handcuffed prisoner being shot by a police officer at the downtown jail. The incident occurred about a year ago and the video “was released after the Texas Attorney General’s Office ordered the city to comply with an open-records request made by the El Paso Times in February,” according to the paper. “The video was requested after a grand jury declined to indict Officer Jose Flores in the shooting” of the the prisoner, Daniel Saenz. Saenz had been detained after his erratic behavior in public and this continued while he was at the jail. The video looks pretty bad (it appears to be a rather deliberate shooting at a moment that doesn’t look altogether life-threatening for the officers), but Flores’s lawyers have contended that the complete events of that day justified the action. The city argued in March against the release of the video because of the right to privacy of the deceased and the safety of the police officers involved.
Totally Fracked — After all the Azle earthquakes, the Texas Railroad Commission has finally “posted information online about injection wells in the Azle area [after] Mayor Alan Brundrett and other officials had complained that data such as injection volumes and pressures was updated only once a year and left them in the dark,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. But “the agency did not interpret the data,” so good luck trying to understand the numbers. It’ll be hard, if the commission’s English is any indication. Discussing the staff seismologist, they wrote that he is “facilitating the data exchanges between operators and academic institutions interested in conducting the research required to ultimately determine the cause of recent seismic activity in Parker and Tarrant counties.” And in other fracking news, yesterday, Midland’s city council approved a measure that would allow a fracking company to upgrade the city’s waste water treatment facility in exchange for using that recycled water.