The State of Texas: June 24, 2014
Video of the Day
There’s no greater father-daughter bonding adventure like chasing down a bunch of criminals. At least, that’s the case with a Houston duo. Happening upon burglars leaving their house, dad and daughter followed the getaway truck in their Audi. At one point, the burglars back up to hit the car and after the vehicle stalls, the father calmly tells his daughter to start the car and keep on chasing. You’ll have to read the whole story to see what happens. But all ends well, despite the very dangerous nature of the outing.
Hell hath no fury like a Texas football fan scorned. Because Dallas chose to pass on keeping Johnny Manziel in the state, a group of true-blue “Aggie and Johnny fans” decided to purchase a billboard in Manziel’s Tyler hometown. Put up at a major intersection, it is as quiet as it is subtle.
Border Invasion — The border situation continues to make news, and now it’s drawing a number of politicians to the area. Governor Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott, and Senator Ted Cruz all made a stop in West Texas (Abbot and Cruz tag-teamed their visit) to tour facilities struggling under the dire circumstances. Naturally, they all blamed the federal government and Barack Obama in some form or fashion. Our governor got in the most quote-worthy line about what many people are now calling a humanitarian crisis: “You’re going to see a trail of tears again, from Central America all the way to Texas,” Perry said. Not to be left out, gubernatorial hopeful Wendy Davis called for a state of emergency to be declared and joined the chorus of politicians urging a special session of the legislature to address the issue. To distinguish herself against the Republican crowd, Davis criticized the recently approved $1.3 million-a-week for border security, saying money should go toward the humanitarian efforts. Now that politicians have all gotten their fingers on the issue, expect the immigration problem to be fixed sometime next decade.
Land, Whoa — Loyal Texans worried that the federal government was going to take their land have been partially vindicated. In a letter to state officials, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has stated that nearly 90,000 acres on the Texas side of the Red River (once a part of Oklahoma) are indeed public lands and thus under the fed’s care. Landowners have previously said the BLM’s discussed move is an attempt to seize private lands, which the BLM denies. “The BLM is now in the process of putting together an analysis of possible land management alternatives, based largely on concerns raised by the public and released in a report in early June,” according to the Houston Chronicle. There’s a river full of legal questions surrounding the issue, but Abbot has declared his intention to make a stand. “The BLM’s inadequate response will force Texas to pursue other options to obtain the needed information—including litigation if needed,” said Abbott. It lacks the same force as “come and take it,” but this fight definitely ain’t over.
Violence Is the New Black — You’d think a drop in the prison population would mean nothing but good news. That is not the case. “[The number of criminal charges against inmates and correctional officers] generally appear to be holding steady so far this year, even as the number of inmates housed in Texas prisons has dropped during the same period,” reports the Houston Chronicle. “Officials attribute the figures to a much tougher population of felons serving time behind bars amid growing turnover and inexperience in the ranks of correctional officers.” The additional list of reasons for the high figures are all very disheartening. One retired prison guard said the crime rates remain steady because of the “high percentages of convicts with mental health issues, large numbers of gang members locked up with few programs to keep them busy, the soaring Texas heat that brings unrest and the fact that many more violence-prone convicts are serving longer sentences thanks to tough-on-crime laws enacted two decades ago.”
Climate Controlled — Once again, the Environmental Protection Agency has cooled an effort by Texas to limit federal oversight. On Monday, “the U.S. Supreme Court largely dismissed Attorney General Greg Abbott’s challenge of federal climate rules,” according to the Texas Tribune. “Seven justices agreed that the EPA is allowed to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from most large industrial facilities, like power plants and factories. Texas and an industry coalition had argued against the rules.” As with any Supreme Court case, the details are complicated and the Tribune has a great breakdown of what you need to know about the “landmark decision.” Suffice it to say, the agency got just about everything it asked for. “The agency had wanted to regulate 86 percent of greenhouse gases that come from large facilities; under the court’s ruling, the agency loses control over just 3 percent of those emissions.”
Be Like Mike — It’s a great feeling when your state is big enough to lay legendary claim on every major sport in the country. The Dallas Stars’s Mike Modano was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame yesterday. As if that should come as any surprise, since Modano has “scored more points than any player born in the United States” and “ranks 23rd all-time in NHL scoring with 1,374 points.” The Stars’s owner, Tom Gaglardi, put it best after the announcement was made. “Mike’s selection into the Hockey Hall of Fame cements what many of us here in Dallas have known for a long time he is not only a Stars franchise icon, he’s one of the finest NHL players of his era.” The official induction ceremony will take place November 17 in Toronto.