The State of Texas: March 3, 2015
Censorship Of The Day
That sound you hear is the rumble of musicians, filmmakers, and “disruptors” preparing to invade Texas for SXSW. And things wouldn’t be official without someone attempting to commodify every aspect, including the festival backlash. Until this past weekend, you could have purchased your very own “F*** SXSW” T-shirt (American Apparel crew neck, $24.99). Unfortunately, the item was taken down “due to content issues.” As luck would have it, we have an image: here is what the T-shirt looked like before the ninnies got their paws on it (we’ve scrubbed the curse word for those sensitive souls). Surely someone will find another way to mess with the former cool kid turned overgrown man.
The Cedar Hill Police Department has made a parody of Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln commercial. Is it a few months behind? Sure! But they were busy protecting and serving. What’s more, the bit is actually kinda funny and on point, for cops or a group of professionals in general.
Reasonable Riot – There are plenty of reasons prisoners, or anyone else, start riots. And it would seem that the main reason that the migrants staged one at the Raymondville prison was for personal safety. The prisoners, who were “mainly ‘low-level’ offenders who were in the U.S. illegally,” according to the Associated Press, “instigated the Feb. 20 uprising at Willacy County Correctional Center because they feared for their safety when released and wanted to be let go in a different part of Mexico.” This clashes with initial reporting “that the uprising was started after inmates complained about prison conditions, particularly medical care.” But prison officials really should’ve seen this coming. Not just because the riot was “formulated well in advance.” As Mother Jones reported last week, “this is at least the second protest at Willacy in two years” and “one prisoner told investigators from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) last year [that] ‘Sometimes they become so frustrated that they even speak of burning down the tents. But what’s the point? They’d build them back up.’”
No More Theatrics – Lawmakers are serious about this border issue and are thus offering more detail about how the proposed $815 million for operations would be spent. In short, there will be no more dramatic “surges” but rather a sustained and concerted effort. The proposed plan would “speed up hiring of more Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and establish a physical repository for crime statistics on the border,” according to the Texas Tribune. It would also “increase a typical workday for border DPS officers from eight hours to 10 for a five-day work week.” Said Representative Dennis Bonnen: “What we’re here doing today is we’re stopping the fits and stops, we’re stopping the surge. We are creating a long-term plan that Texans can count on.” Clearly, the current approach isn’t working. Case in point is a 22-year-old Reynosa man who has been caught by border patrol an impressive fifty times—“45 times as a juvenile,” according to the McAllen Monitor.
Old Folks’ Homes – All the cool kids may be moving to big Texas cities, probably stuffing four people into a two-bedroom rental, but it’s old people who are buying all the houses. According to a recent study from the Texas Association of Realtors, “homebuyers in Texas are older, more likely to be married and make more money than the national averages,” writes the Midland Reporter-Telegram. “Homebuyers in Texas are also two years older compared to the previous period, edging up to 45 years of age, and 72 percent of homebuyers are married, compared to 65 percent nationally.” Of little surprise is the appearance of the “Bigger In Texas” syndrome. “Texans are also buying larger and newer homes than other buyers across the U.S. In Texas, the typical three-bedroom, two-bathroom home had 2,100 square feet and was built in 2002, compared to the typical national home built in 1993 with 1,870 square feet.”
The Great Steer Robbery – Anyone who’s read Skip Hollandsworth’s fascinating story about Roddy Dean Pippin knows cattle rustling is still very much a thing. Those who still think it’s just a Lonesome Dove plot point, however, should look toward the Panhandle. “The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is investigating the disappearance of 1,121 steer calves from the [Braum Dairy’s] 24,000-acre facility near Follett on the border of Lipscomb County and Ellis County, Okla.,” according to the Amarillo Globe-News. The heist, worth about $1.4 million, was well chosen. “They don’t have any photos. The calves weren’t branded,” said a TSCRA spokesman. “They don’t even know for sure how much they weighed when they were stolen.” Also, it appears that the theft may have taken inspiration from Johnny Cash. “The cattle might have disappeared over time.” As the story notes, these young cattle are in high demand since the country is going through a bit of a beef shortage. Should you want to go rustler bounty-hunting, a “cash reward of $10,000 may be paid for information leading to the arrest and grand jury indictment of suspect(s).”