The State of Texas: May 1, 2015
Image of the Day
This is the picture that was being passed around Twitter during the final moments of the Spurs 102–96 loss to the Clippers last night, most likely because it perfectly encapsulates how many Texans were feeling. At least there will be another chance at victory tomorrow.
— Kolten Parker (@KoltenParker) May 1, 2015
The Alamo® – If you want to use an image of the Alamo or any similar likeness, you better ask the General Land Office first. “In a trademark case that could have broad implications, a federal judge ruled that the state of Texas, as the owner of the Alamo, also owns the image of the shrine and has grounds to challenge business uses that are likely to cause confusion,” reports the San Antonio Express-News. Land commissioner George P. Bush said the decision will protect the landmark “from improper use in order to preserve the honor of our beloved Alamo.” Oh, and it’ll also be a revenue generator, as companies wishing to use the trademark will need to pay a lovely licensing fee. What’s ironic is that the GLO only got involved in the matter because a beer company had sued another beer company for using the Alamo image. While dozens of companies use the image, the GLO “has not made any decisions on how actively it will enforce the Alamo trademarks, officials said.”
Object Early and Often – Republican representatives “abruptly pushed a new proposal . . . aimed at allowing clergy members to refuse officiating marriages that violate their beliefs,” writes the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The rush job comes after the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments over gay marriage, arguments many observers say gay marriage proponents appear to be winning. “Republican state Sen. Craig Estes said the timing of the bill he introduced Tuesday was coincidental.” As the story notes, “a big difference now is the muscle behind the clergy bill,” which was pushed through weeks after the filing deadline. It was Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick who “asked Estes to carry the proposal with a month remaining in the 140-day session.”
Hey, Teacher, Leave Them Kids Alone – The dishonorable class that received the full wrath of an angry professor is starting to fight back. Texas A&M University-Galveston business professor Irwin Horwitz’s attempt to fail an entire class as well as his long and pointed letter chastizing their behavior garnered national headlines earlier this week. Now TAMU-Galveston student body president, Jon Hoag, said “that students in Horwitz’s management class had been afraid to speak out for fear it might prevent them from graduating,” writes the Houston Chronicle. “‘The media has only given voice to the professor in this case, and the portrayal of our students as entitled or troublesome is simply not accurate,’ Hoag wrote.” Some students have come out saying that while there were certainly a few bad apples, those attitudes weren’t representational of the class as a whole. The university is still looking into the issue but has said it won’t fail the entire class.
Amazon Orbital Prime – So much attention has been given to Elon Musk’s space efforts in Texas and beyond that most everyone has overlooked the fact that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is heading to the final frontier as well. His private space company, Blue Origin, which tends to be pretty private when it comes to details, “launched an unmanned spaceship in its first test fligh,” from Van Horn, according to the Associated Press. “Video released by the company shows the spacecraft, called New Shepard, blasting off to an altitude of 307,000 feet before its crew capsule separates from a propulsion module. Named after the first US astronaut in space, Alan Shepard, the craft is meant to take off and land vertically, utilizing a reusable first-stage booster—the same approach SpaceX is using in its Falcon 9 rocket,” writes Wired in a great post about Bezos’s efforts. As the post notes, “this was not a successful landing of the reusable rocket,” as “the company was unable to recover the propulsion module.”
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