The State of Texas: March 4, 2014
Listicle Of The Day
Dallas’s reputation as a hub for rich people grows ever stronger: the DFW area is packed with more billionaires than a secret Koch Brothers Illumanati soiree, and the Dallas Morning News has a slideshow of the top 25 local billionaires.
Prime-Time — Today is primary day! If history repeats itself, more Republicans will be out voting than Democrats. It’s all pretty relative, though. “[T]urnout in the state’s Republican primary has been 6 to 8 percent, while in the Democratic primary it has sunk to 3 to 6 percent over the past 15 years,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Not too surprising since many major Democratic candidates are only running against themselves. Even on the Republican side, some primary fights are expected to be a foregone conclusion: like every nutty candidate trying to corn-hole incumbent Senator John Cornyn (no word yet on whether Steve Stockman will even show up to vote). It can get a bit confusing, so thankfully the Dallas Morning News has an Idiot’s Guide to Primary Voting. For those looking for slightly advanced classes, the AP has a nice recap of the “5 things to watch during Texas primary elections.” Really, though, the only news portal you’ll need is Texas Monthly, with up-to-the-minute live coverage provided by Team Burka Blog.
We Don’t Need No (State-Approved) Education — There’s an interesting fight brewing in Dallas over the city’s school system, a battle that could make the recent debate about science textbooks look as harmless as a single mention of “intelligent design.” There’s a push to turn Dallas ISD into a “home-rule” district, which would free it of state control and allow it make up its own rules, standards and curriculum, essentially making it a charter school. Even the superintendent is kinda on board. But opponents have been doing some of their own homework and are coming out hard against it. “The proponents of this horrible idea are trying to say it will provide flexibility, which in reality means that corporate interests will seek to turn our neighborhood schools,” said one teachers’s association president, according to the Dallas Morning News. “This is a power grab, pure and simple.” No matter how it turns out, the real losers will be the students caught up in their parents’s jockeying for class president.
Fortuna’s Burden — The Texas Tribune has an interesting read on the state’s self-made lottery watchdog: a 63-year-old woman, Dawn Nettles, from Garland who started reporting lottery results as a hobby. Now she’s the lotto lady. “I’m in this position purely by accident … One thing led to another and another, and now I’m here.” The position has turned into a full-time job and she does a lot more than just publish winning numbers. “Her original desire to inform lottery players has turned into a mission to ensure that the system operates fairly,” according to the piece, which reports that the Nettles, “typically works 14 to 16 hours a day.” From keeping up with lottery legeslation, to calling out “any foul play with payouts, game rule changes or advertised jackpots.” Some of those effort led to a real jackpot: getting the commission’s executive director to resign. So next time you roll into a convenience store hoping for that winning scratch, be sure to thank the real Lady Luck, Dawn Nettles, for keeping chance honest.
Play Like a Girl — Though it might be a bit of surprise to some that a woman has joined in on the men’s football scrum and taking real hits on the field, it should be of no surprise that she’s Texan. Jen Welter is a five-foot-two, 130-pound running back for Allen’s indoor football team the Texas Revolution. She’s been making headlines as of late for her breaking barriers. “It’s not like I’m the superstar of the team and it’s not about how many times I carry the ball,” Welter said in the San Antonio Express-News fun profile. “ … I feel like I’m out front running the ball for all the women who love the sport.” She’s apparently a “Chihuahua out there fighting with a bunch of pit bulls” and when she got plowed by a defender, her first response was, “Is that all you got?” It’s clear that’s not all she’s got.