The State of Texas: March 5, 2014
Video(s) of the Day
Some local political ads are always going to be bat-shoot insane (Hermain Cain, we miss you!). They’re like something from the mind of Thomas Pynchon if he’d drank too much moonshine and spend a week in Amarillo. Comparitively, Texas isn’t so bad. Still, ABC News does had a story simply titled, “3 Texas Political Ads You Have to See to Believe.” Here is Todd Staples bashing Obama and wielding a gun like a boss:
If you remember John Spong’s Texas Monthly profile on Matthew McConnaughey back in 2008, you’d know the Prince of Texas was already developing a rad, life-affirming line of clothing. Thanks to his Academy Awardr for Best Actor, the merch is back and stronger than ever. Now you you can buy a t-shirt that immortializes the lie he used not only in Dazed and Confused, but what he employeed during his “daddy’s dancing naked in heaven” acceptance speech. The shirts are available at your local Dillards:
Texas By The Numbers
Home Ruling — New Texas homes bought in 2013: Thirty percent from 2012. Increase from 2012: four percent. Increase of number of married home buyers in Texas in 2013: seventeen percent. In 2012: 69 percent. Percentage of first-time home buyers in the state in 2013: 33 percent. In 2012: 31 percent.
Tree-hugging Love — Number of visitors to Texas national parks in 2012: 3,939,160. Amount those visotors spent: $188.1 million. Number of jobs they supported: 2,592.
Can You Stomach The Rodeo? — Number of barbecue sandwiches sold at the 2013 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo: 146,000. Pounds of potatoes eaten: 50,000. Tamales eaten: 30,000. Cinnamon rolls:23,000. Chicken-fried bacon: 10,000. Orders of fried cookie dough: 6,000. Pounds of alligator: 200.
Primed and Ready — Yesterday was Fat Tuesday, which meants voters went crazy and stuffed the ballot boxes as full as they could with the hopes of general elections everywhere. For being the “first in the nation” when it comes to primaries, Texas didn’t do too bad, though the same could not be said of some candidates. First from the AP, which must’ve been running out of ideas for election headlines when it wrote: “It’s Official: Davis, Abbott set to face off for Texas governor.” Voter turnout, too, was a little slow, but not due to effort. Even Tim Duncan, yes, that Tim Duncan, got on the phone to encourage voters to cast their ballot for his “dear friend” Baxter County DA Nicholas La Hood. As with any election, there were as many losers as their were winners and surprisingly, political commentators got a few things right. Lite Guv David Dewhurst really is in the fight of his career, having to face Dan Patrick in a run-off after getting trounced by the state senator by about seventeen percentage points. Of course, the Texas Tribune, which went full political-wonk for the primary has a breakdown of all the other run-off elections that’ll have to happen (almost a dozen!). Despite his lack of campaigning, his off-the-crazy-farm remarks and possible campaign violations, Representative Steve Stockman did surprisingly well, with twenty percent of the primary vote. It wasn’t enough (duh) to knock down the Republican juggernaut John Cornyn, who stood tall like cornstalks before a harvest, pulling in a solid sixty percent. One upset that has some serious local implications is that of Hidalgo County DA. As Texas Monthly‘s own Pamela Colloff reported late last month, the murder case of Irene Garza, half a century old and criticized by many for its official handling, probably played a part in long-time DA Rene Guerra losing to Ricardo Rodriguez. For those who like to view political races as actual horse races, the Tribune has an easy-to-read scorecard and for the serious junkies, a basketball-style election bracket. What’s the main takeaway from all this primary nonesense? The Dean of Texas Politics, Texas Monthly‘s own Paul Burka notes that the Tea Party faction did impressively well last night and the “entire state has taken a turn to the hard right, and that is the immediate future of Texas politics. How long will it last? What does it mean for the Democrats? Those are the next big questions to ask.”
RadioShacked —There was once a place, where a person seeking electonrics, traveled in their car, met with a sales representatves and purchased their item right there on the spot. Against all odd, that place still exists, or at the very least, is kind of exisiting, though their outdated relevence matches that of a person with an AOL-based email address. Yesterday, Fort Worth-based RadioShack announced that it was closing 1,100 stores, a surprise to anyone who thought RadioShack actually had that many stores to “close.” Even the AP isn’t kind in its opening sentence about the move, saying, cuttingly, that “There will soon be about 1,100 fewer places to buy batteries.” The good news for RadioShack enthusiasts, however, is that there are still “4,000 U.S. stores, “which is still still far more than Best Buy (roughly 1,400 U.S. locations), and makes RadioShack stores nearly as common as Wal-Mart.” The Shack is still dealing with an image problem, namely that the stores and its wares resemble the kind of things you’d find in a pawnhop .. or shack. For the ultra pessimists, The Atlantic has an interesting piece on how retail, and RadioShack specifically, “is doomed.”
Ranger Danger — The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is trying real hard to play unbiased umpiree. But dang is it hard. Former Rangers Ian Kinsler is throwing some serious wildballs toward his old team. The ESPN story about Kinsler is quite detailed, but was really sticks outs is Kinsler calling the Rangers club president a “sleazeball” that pushed out legend Nolan Ryan, the man who “put us on the map. He brought respect to the organization.” Oh, and Kinsler also hoped the Rangers would end the season 0-162. The ESPN piece iteself is a nice look at Kinsler as a man and a player, but it’s also causing political problems within the Rangers operation. In response the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has a rather diplomatic piece, saying “Daniels wasn’t going to get into the name-calling battle Tuesday morning, but defended the way he does business in light of Ian Kinsler.” This, of course, have been taken “a little out of context,” according to Kinsler. But still, this really is the best kind of drama since Dallas relaunchced its series.