The State of Texas: June 9, 2015
San Antonio’s Kacy Catanzaro was the first woman to make the finals of the American Ninja Warrior obstacle course during its past season, and last night NBC aired her qualifying run. Unfortunately, #Mighty Kacy, as the social media sensation is known in hashtag circles, was struck down by some sort of swinging-net-over-moat contraption (very ninja). Still, it was an impressive effort and, obviously, she plans to return after some Rambo-like training.
The Deep End – The McKinney pool incident is obviously going to be with us for a little bit. (The TMDP’s own Dan Solomon wrote a comprehensive summary of what occurred over the weekend.) Although the officer at the center of the unnecessarily rough handling of a young (black) girl is on leave pending an investigation, “hundreds of demonstrators marched Monday night to the pool where a white police officer pinned a black teenage girl to the ground and pulled a gun on others over the weekend,” writes the Associated Press. “The protesters carried signs that included the phrases, ‘My skin color is not a crime’ and ‘Fire Eric Casebolt.’” The New York Times, too, has come down for its own little report. If public image is a lot about timing, Austin’s police couldn’t have mistimed their own ugly incident; “
footage shows police on horses circling the [bar] area and pushing people back,” according to the Dallas Morning News. “One of the mounted officers grabs a man’s cellphone and tosses it down to the ground. Another on foot appears to mace or pepper spray him.” The APD said it is investigating the incident.
Compassionate Conservative? – No, George! Our former president and governor had being doing so well since his much-maligned tenure, dabbling in the world of fine art and generally acting like your recently retired father. But some bad PR has finally come his way. Like every other former president, George W. Bush has been supplementing his income with speeches. Unfortunately, it would seem that he charged a homeless shelter $100,000. To be fair, that sort of headline is a bit misleading. Bush was speaking at a gala hosted by the shelter and “Lynne Sipiora, the shelter’s executive director [said] she considered Bush’s $100,000 “regular fee” for the February appearance a “bargain” in comparison to other ‘entertainers and political figures,’ including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who was charging about $250,000,” according to the San Antonio Express-News’s write-up. The original story comes from Politico, which takes a very “meh” approach to W. (though the context it gives about how the circuit business works is illuminating). In the past six years, Bush has “given at least 200 paid speeches and probably many more, typically pocketing $100,000 to $175,000 per appearance.” Though Bush came under criticism, his gala appearance apparently netted about $1 million for the shelter, and this speech certainly seemeed less controversial than “criticism leveled at both Bill and Hillary Clinton for taking huge sums for speaking appearances both at home and abroad, creating perceived conflicts of interest as the latter attempts to carve a path to the Oval Office.”
Scaling K2 – No, not the mountain—the terrible “synthetic marijuana” that’s been the most recent drug scourge in Texas and the rest of the U.S. The Austin American-Statesman takes an unfortunately short pass at the uphill battle that police and others face in trying to eliminate the problem. “Even as the recent surge in medical calls for the use of K2 entered its tenth consecutive day, Austin police said Monday they have few enforcement tools to tamp down street-level dealers of the synthetic drug,” according to the article. “Police are finding the drug is still legal under Texas state law until new laws go into effect Sept. 1. Though federal laws have banned the substance in broader form, those laws are aimed at larger distributors, police said.” The surge in hospitalizations is nothing new but the way in which authorities will enforce the laws will be. Last year included a few such incidents of overdoses and Texas saw the highest rate of reported exposures to synthetic marijuana than any other state, according to data from poison control centers. During the session, the Lege passed two bills that “strengthen the penalties associated with manufacturing and possessing synthetic drugs,” according to the Dallas Morning News. So, as the Statesman notes, it may just be a matter of time and patience.
One Person, One Spot – There is no fooling around at Franklin Barbecue. The food (and the wait) are serious business. Case in point: “Over the weekend, Franklin Barbecue released a firm statement that puts the kibosh on groups paying services for lots o’ brisket without the wait,” writes CultureMap. “According to its Twitter account, Franklin Barbecue doesn’t allow one person to hold a place in line for a group. Those who violate the policy get banned from the East Austin hot spot.” The new decree came after an enterprising thirteen-year-old began making $50 a pop to hold customers’ spots in line, gaining quite a bit of publicity for his effort too. While the edict from Franklin might sound tough, it’s actually great for the pop-up economy that’s unfolded around the Franklin line. Only being allowed to hold the spot for one person is not only fair, it means line entrepreneurs will need to diversify. Perhaps the young entrepreneur can even hire more staff.