The State of Texas: May 20, 2014
Video of the Day
It wasn’t the song of the summer then and it sure as Shiner won’t be now, but Dangerous Minds has a video post reminding us all that Lou Reed was more controversial than Miley Cyrus could ever hope to be. Here’s the dark bard, during a Houston show in 1974 “shooting up” on stage as the band plays “Heroin.” As with John Spong’s wonderful January piece about the Sex Pistol’s visit, it’s proof that Texas has always been able to get good and surreal:
Our Texas King turned 62 on Sunday. What better way to celebrate George Strait’s birthday week than listening to all sixty of his number-one hits? How about reading Texas Monthly‘s commerative cover story (on newsstands Thursday).
Shrewdhurst — Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst finally publicly responded to the leaked medical records of run-off opponent Dan Patrick. Dewhurst said he thought it a bad idea to release the information when Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson approached him weeks ago with the records documenting Patrick’s previous battles with depression thirty years ago. But his reasoning seemed to have less to do with good taste and more to do with shrewd calculation. “[Dewhurst] advised against their dissemination back then for fear the move could backfire and damage his chances of winning reelection,” according to the San Antonio Express-News. Dewhurst said he told Patterson that “if you really feel that Dan Patrick is unfit to be lieutenant governor … don’t be doing anything that might confuse people and somehow indirectly hurt me.” And Dewhurst said, “If this speaks to the character and the capacity to govern and lead of Dan Patrick, then I think it should be on the voters’ minds. If it doesn’t, then it shouldn’t.” And just to be clear, Dewhurst hasn’t read “one piece of paper” from the record. As for what kind of effect all this controversy might have on the general election against Leticia Van de Putte, the Washington Post weighs in, providing some useful numbers, including its two cents. The general takeaway? As ugly as the primary run-off has been, a Republican will win before a Democrat gets elected.
Hall of Duty — Embattled UT Regent Wallace Hall reiterated his firm stance on his post: the only way he’s stepping down from it is if he’s shoved off. Hall, via his lawyer, sent a letter to the Board of Regents chariman saying, unequivocally, that he won’t resign and that he’s done absolutely nothing wrong. “Which approach benefits the UT System, asking the Board of Regents to address wrongdoing, or asking regents who uncover the wrongdoing to resign?” wrote Hall. “Will the public ever know the truth about problems in our institutions if legislators are allowed to impeach Board members who reveal them?” With that line scratched yet again in the sand, it’s now up to the Lege to make the next move. Last week, the transparency committee voted, 7-1, that there were grounds to impeach Hall. While they didn’t draft articles of impeachment, they are meeting Wednesday. It’s hard to image them not taking up the matter after such a public “come and take it.”
Prom Horrors — It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: a seventeen-year-old Houston high schooler was found dead the morning after prom in a hotel room. KHOU covered the story of Jacqueline Gomez, whose boyfriend that called police, who said they found drugs and alcohol in the room. Yesterday, KHOU reported that the mother of the boyfriend allegedly asked if Gomez “could spend the night at their house.” Even though Gomez’s mother said “no,” she never heard back. “The next call she got was from a homicide detective with the Houston Police Department.” The hotel room was reportedly booked by the boyfriend’s mother but police “do not believe the boyfriend played a role in the girl’s death.”
The Big Cheese Comes Home — In case you were painfully unaware, ballpark nachos were invented in Arlington in 1976 (why isn’t there plaque or statue?). And now Ricos Products has officially returned, though they’ve expanded somewhat in the proceeding years. On Tuesday, city officials celebrated the company’s $8 million investment, which includes a year-old production plant manufacturing “its international line of tortilla chip and popcorn products,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The gastronomy of the Texas Rangers, like everything else including the ballpark itself, has seen some changes over the years. So on the heels of the nacho announcement as well the ballpark’s addition of bacon on a stick, perhaps it’s appropriate that one brave USA Today writer undertook an effort to eat every item at the Rangers Ballpark. The list is mind- and stomach-boggling: the bacon stick, the “Boomstick,” frozen beer, the sausage sundae, and The Choomongous, “a 24-inch Asian beef sandwich with kimchi slaw and Sriracha on a bakery fresh bun.” The story is a fun, and slightly terrifying, read.
Drawn Out — Speaking of nachos, but for completely different reasons: Texas cartoonist Leo Garza, known for his Nacho Guarache strips, went to that big illustration in the sky on Saturday. For twenty years, Garza was a political cartoonist at the San Antonio Express-News, where his work was controversial as it was funny and recognizable. Garza was such dominant artist that a Texas Monthly piece on cartoonists in 2000 casually mentions the master with same ease as one name checks Tex Avery or Mike Judge.