The State of Texas: May 13, 2014
Charles ‘Charlie’ Brown, the first black athlete at both the University of Texas at El Paso and to play a major sport in the old Confederate Southern states, went to that big basketball court in the sky. Brown enrolled in UTEP in 1956 and was a real pioneer — it would be another ten years before a black SMU football player would join the old Southwest Conference and eleven years before the sports color line was broken at the University of Kentucky. Brown was much more than just his race, obviously. Hall of Fame college coach and El Paso native Nolan Richardson, called Brown his “idol. … And he could play.”
Photo of the Day
A gun shop in Katy is making a little national ruckus for its “funny,” triple-shooter sign that’s pro-gun, anti-Obama and anti-immigration. It reads: “I like my guns like Obama likes his voters: undocumented:”
Panhandle Burning — The wildfire that ravaged the community of Fritch yesterday has, for the most part, finally been tamed. “The fire destroyed 156 structures, at least 89 of which were homes. … About 2,100 people remain evacuated from roughly 1,300 homes,” according to the Associated Press. A standing-O goes to emergency personnel and the Texas Forest Service, who beat the fire into submission. On Monday morning, the disaster was just 35 percent contained, but that number reached about 65 percent by the end of the day. The real good news: not a single injury has been reported. Officials are looking into the cause but say it “could have been started by a burning shed.” And in case anyone needed an example of just how two-faced Texas weather can be, the north side has been hit with massive amounts of water. In Dallas, the weather is all anyone can talk about, but that makes sense as residents have experienced flooding rain, hail, canceled flights and power outages. Austin, too, took a little hit last night, with lightning strikes that caused three house fires and one unfortunate man who was hospitalized after being struck. Keep safe, y’all!
Selecting Impeachment — Yes, it’s been a long, drawn-out affair, but the Wallace Hall hoopla may (may!) be one step closer to ending. “In a 7-1 vote, the Texas House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations voted Monday that there are grounds to impeach University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall,” according to the Texas Tribune. But, the Trib‘s Reeve Hamilton reports, actual momentum stopped right there. “The committee adjourned without voting on whether to draft articles of impeachment” and even the committee co-chair said, “We still have a long way to go in this process.” That process includes bringing the impeachment articles to a vote in the House, which would send the case to the Senate, which would then hold a trial. In the meantime, Hall appears to be picking up a little national support. The Wall Street Journal had an editorial earlier this month stating that Hall’s “real offense has been to expose a cozy and possibly corrupt relationship between politicians and the university” and late last month the National Review‘s Kevin D. Williamson wrote about the “shameful persecution,” a story that’s still making the social media rounds. For his part, Hall made a rare public statement following the vote, making it rather transparent that he’s not backing down.
Death Becomes Us — Barring a last minute stay, Texas will execute the first death row inmate since the botched execution in Oklahoma late last month. In their two appeals, attorneys for the condemned—who abducted, raped and murdered a woman in Houston—are arguing that the Oklahoma incident is evidence that “the drugs put the inmates at risk of being subjected to inhumane pain and suffering,” according to the Associated Press. The other appeal, much like other recent suits, argues that the identy of the drug’s source should be revealed in order to assess the poison’s safety. There are, of course, two issues with those arguments. For one, Texas uses a single lethal dose, while Oklahoma (currently on a six-month execution hiatus), uses a cocktail. The other problem? State officials from Governor Rick Perry on down are pretty pleased with their killing program and the courts have repeatedly denied similar last-minute appeals. Or, as put rather harshly in the New York Times‘s headline: “Texas Proudly Says It Kills Efficiently.”
The 13th Man — Johnny Football’s didn’t go as he might have planned, but he might get a consolation prize that’s about a million times better than anything Cleveland has to offer (a low standard, to be sure). Updating the public on the stadium renovations, Texas A&M regent Jim Schwertner said “he hoped one day Kyle Field is renamed ‘Kyle Field: The House that Johnny Built,'” according to the Houston Chronicle. Silly as it sounds, Schwertner made a good point. “A&M would not have been able to come up with the $450 million so readily over the past two years without Manziel,” during whose reign the university raked in a record $740 million in donations. Manziel, too, might have some extra time on his hands to help endorse the cause. At a press conference Monday, Cleveland Brown’s owner, Jimmy Haslam, relayed the rather stern and preachy talk the team apparently gave Manziel. “We were very frank with him that `You’re the backup quarterback. This is a hardworking, blue-collar town. This isn’t Hollywood,'” reported NBCDFW. “‘We want you to come in here, work hard and work as hard as anybody on the team.’ He’s not the starter. Brian Hoyer is our starting quarterback. Johnny is the backup.” In this case, “preachy” is rather appropriate since Haslam had a priest deliver a pre-press conference invocation for which the Father “asked for a special blessing for new quarterback Johnny Manziel.”