The State of Texas: March 31, 2014
Video of the Day
Nineteen years ago, a great performer was killed and a Texas legend was born. This one’s for Selena. We’re still dreaming of you, girl:
Image of the Day
“Forty-one years to the day after the last American combat troops left Vietnam, Texans who served there were honored with a 14-foot bronze monument on the grounds of the Texas Capitol,” wrote the Austin American-Statesman on Saturday, the day the statue was unveiled. “It took nine years, nearly as long the war lasted, to make the monument a reality.”
Over And Out (For Now) — The final chapter of the Lupe Treviño saga has come to a close, with only a possible epilogue or two left. “Months of speculation and weeks of intensifying rumors reached a crescendo Friday, as Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño resigned his post and aborted his decorated four-decade career in Texas law enforcement amid ongoing federal prosecutions of eight lawmen in addition to a former commander and Treviño’s youngest son,” according to The Monitor. In his two-page resignation letter, Treviño said he has been unable to give the job the “focused attention” it deserves. The distraction, of course, was likely the “drug-trafficking conspiracy scandal, which involved a corrupt anti-narcotics squad called the Panama Unit.” And, to repeat, Treviño’s own son. And a separate scandal involving Treviño’s reelection campaign likely led his chief-of-staff/campaign treasurer to resign Tuesday. In his goodbye note, Treviño alluded to “speculation [that] the resignation was a prelude to a federal indictment.” Things could get even more interesting. It is, to borrow cop-talk, an ongoing investigation.
Neighborhood Watch — Greg Abbott has made much of his office’s state-wide effort to crack down on online child predators. The only problem is, it’s not very statewide and doesn’t reach much farther than an afternoon drive from the downtown office, or so we learn from the Austin American-Statesman. The paper sat down and crunched the numbers on the cases the attorney general has pursued. The result? “[A]lmost six out of 10 of all cases over the past decade have been brought in a tight geographic circle around Austin,” according to the analysis. “Since the start of 2012, the concentration of cases has been even more marked: Of the 47 online solicitation cases developed and investigated by the attorney general’s Cyber Crimes Unit, records show more than two-thirds were arranged in Williamson County.” The Statesman doesn’t mess around with its conclusions, saying that with 75 percent of the such defendants coming from the Austin area, it “in effect [makes] his office more a local police unit than state agency.” The police captain in charge of the effort said it’s not an “orchestrated effort,” and the Statesman is kind enough to note that “while there is nothing improper about the unit’s limited focus, it raises questions about the agency’s commitment to pursue offenders statewide.” Chock-full of information, the piece is definitely worth a read.
Peak Tweak — Meth busts in El Paso have seen an unbelievable 1,300-percent increase. And, yes, KVIA knows you probably think that’s a typo. “You heard right, a 1300% increase,” said the anchorman after first quoting the figure. Mexican cartels have apparently found cheaper ways to make meth, and often transport it in liquid form. Thanks, police doggies, for sniffing that one out. “The dogs I believe are our best tools,” said Customs and Border Protection officer Cynthia Ralko. Perhaps the only silver resin of this meth cloud is that because of the imported crystal, labs in Texas proper are almost non-existent (unless you live in Tarrant or Bexar County). And despite this seizure increase, actual meth use in Texas seems to be relatively tame, particularly compared neighboring states (lookin’ at you, Arkansas and New Mexico). So, keep up the good work and remember: Breaking Bad, and its Mexican remake, is just TV.
They ‘Spec’s You Been Robbed — Liquor store robberies use to be a simple affair with a few guns and a getaway car. Not anymore. On Friday, the statewide company, Spec’s, reported that “[m]ore than half a million customers at 34 liquor stores … may have had critical financial information stolen in a sophisticated computer scam that persisted for a year and a half,” according to the Houston Chronicle. Spec’s is now part of an elite group of stores, which includes Dallas-based Neiman Marcus, that have been digitally burgled. However, it appears the Spec’s break-in may have been going on for as long as seventeen months, a new record! So there is now a new reason to pay for your booze in straight cash apart from the self-denial that comes in not reading an embarrassing monthly bank statement.