The State of Texas: March 11, 2015
Tumblr Of The Day
The mixed feelz regarding Tinder have finally come to Texas, thanks to a Tumblr whose title says it all: “Austin on Tinder: Bizarre phone-based mating rituals, from a woman’s perspective.” H/t to @AustinBloggy:
Texas By The Numbers
Rigged to Fail – Number of oil rigs Texas lost last week: 32. Number of rigs state had previously: 538. Last time the number was this low: 2010. Rig count the same time last year: 860.
Rubbernecking – Number of crashes in Midland in 2014: 4,013. Numerical increase from 2013: 493. Percentage increase: 14 percent. Drop in crashes from 2012 to 2013: 203. Percentage: 5.5 percent.
Need for Speed – Number of speeding tickets issued in the state last year to drivers going over 100 mph: 5,714. Number one county: Sutton. Number of tickets: 331. Number twenty county: Hidalgo. Number of tickets: 68.
Nosebleed Section – Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones testified yesterday at the federal trial over Super Bowl XLV seating issues. Eight ticket holders filed suit after paying thousands for tickets but not being able to watch the actual game because a thousand temporary seats were never installed in the stadium. Jones was there for obvious reasons. The plaintiffs’ attorney “emphasized Jones’ power in the NFL and his role as a hands-on team owner,” and his desire to set a new attendance record, writes the Dallas Morning News. Jones repeated “the accounts of NFL officials [and] explained to jurors that he thought the seats would be completed even when fans were already in the stadium.” There were a few sparks, however. Questions by the plaintiffs’ attorney “often led to contentious back-and-forths between the two. Jones was often unhappy that he wasn’t allowed to expand on his answers and make his own case. In one instance, Jones asked: ‘Is that fair, your honor?’”
A Little Sunshine – How many outside vendor contracts does the Texas state government have? “The answer is clear as mud,” the Texas Tribune writes, as there’s no streamlined way to count them effectively. So why has there been no oversight in the past? In short: bureaucracy and politics. As the story notes, state officials looking into oversight found “widespread inconsistencies” in reporting and reported that a “simple directive like a state law requiring agencies to post information on contracts worth more than $100,000 has proved subject to wildly different interpretations. Some agencies, like the attorney general, post the dates and value of each contract. Others, like the Employees Retirement System, only post the names of the vendors.” Two lawmakers have filed bills “aimed at improving contract oversight and transparency.”
Best Lawyer Ever – What’s the only thing more interesting than being loud-mouthed, millionaire, sports-team-owning Mark Cuban? How about being his lawyer. “For 15 years, [Robert Hart] has been general counsel and executive vice president of Mark Cuban Cos., which comprises more than 100 business entities,” notes the Dallas Morning News in a fun, behind-the-screams profile, a version of a paywalled piece from TexasLawBook.net. “One day, he’s handling the legal paperwork from Cuban’s $41 million purchase of an airplane on the Internet … and negotiating contract terms with Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle. The next day, he’s doing the transactional work to help Cuban buy a movie theater chain, acquire an oil and gas services company or start a cable TV network.” And, as the piece reminds us, “don’t forget Shark Tank.”
Army Vices – The court martial for Fort Hood sergeant Gregory McQueen, a sexual assault prevention officer, is slated to begin today. Authorities have accused McQueen of running a prostitution ring, charging him with “21 counts of abusive sexual contact, pandering, conspiracy and adultery, among other charges,” according to the Austin American-Statesman. Given his position on the base, the nature of these charges thrust his case into the national limelight when they were filed last year. “The allegations against McQueen surfaced after a young private told authorities McQueen tried to recruit her into a prostitution ring and then sexually assaulted her during a meeting she described as an ‘interview.’” But it’ll be a short time in the hot seat for McQueen, as his trial is “expected to conclude on Thursday.”