The State of Texas: May 27, 2014
Video of the Day
Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst was doing so well in the viral video department, but then, a day shy of the primary runoff race, the incumbent has released the self-titled single “David Dewhurst: Lt. Gov You Gotta Love.” It sounds like Joel Osteen’s Sunday service band, if it were produced by Daft Punk:
Images of the Day
Far warning, these images can be a bit chilling. “El Paso Police are investigating the vandalism of two billboards overnight that included messages and hanging mannequins,” reports Borderland Beat, “consistent with drug gang messaging in Mexico.” There’s some disturbing debate as to whether this was a message from the drug world or a promotional stunt. Either way, police are taking the investigation seriously:
Runout — Primary runoff elections end at 7 p.m. today, and in this particularly case, yes, your vote can make a difference. “Less than 4 percent of Texans — 313,878 people — voted early in the state’s most populated 15 counties,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. These type of elections usually see less participation, but as one official said, “We are flip-flopping back and forth between elections and I think people get tired and confused.” To the rescue is the tea party. As the Associated Press notes in its nice election-eve breakdown, lest anyone was talking about the group being so last election-cycle, “Texas’ conservative insurgents are the front-runners in Republican primary runoffs for major statewide offices and positioned to bolster their ranks in the Legislature.” So it’s less votes and less ideological diversity, but no less important, as the heated nature of the runoff can attest. Although anecdotal (like much of the commentary), the Texas Tribune‘s runoff-eve retrospective pretty much sums up the feels of the public and pundits alike: this primary was personal. “Unmarked manila envelopes from campaigns to reporters, full of headline-grabbing historical tidbits — bankruptcies, government filings, medical records, police accident reports and rap sheets — outnumber the white papers detailing public policy issues that might be addressed by competent leaders performing their official duties.” Who’s ready for the general election!
Scouting For Trouble — The Irving-based Boy Scouts of America recently named Robert Gates as its national president and the former U.S. Defense Secretary under George W. Bush wasted little time in making news and opening up a possible quagmire. Speaking at the Boy Scouts annual meeting, Gates “praised the leadership vote last year that welcomed gay youth into scouting,” according to CNN. As the one of the main players in ending the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy,” will Gates trailblaze with the Boy Scouts and eventually allow gay leaders to serve? Don’t bet your badges on it. Despite his experience with ridiculous, unfeasible policies, Gates “has vowed to respect the democratic decision of the body to exclude openly gay adults and says he will oppose any effort to reopen the issue under his watch,” according to the Christian Post. Gates told the crowd, “I am, as you must already know, a hard-eyed realist,” which is exactly what you want in a general, but perhaps less so in a scout leader.
Fishy Holiday — Here’s hoping everyone had a good Memorial Day weekend. And to those who were in the Kemah and Seabrook areas of the Gulf coast, here’s hoping you had nose plugs. Those visitors “were met by thousands upon thousands of small, dead fish in the water nearby,” reports the Houston Chronicle. “The fish — and the stench — were a hot topic as families came to the area over the past few days.” While the stench may have been mildly unpleasant for those seeking the fresh salty air, there are a couple bits of good news. For one, the crab population is eating like they’re at an all-you-can-eat crab feast. And secondly, experts think the cause is a natural algae bloom. Said one Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologist, “Fish kills like this are pretty common at this time of year as the water heats up … I’m 100 percent sure it is not due to the oil spill.”
The Hunger Games: Catching Balls — Just like the movie, the best of Texas’s districts is meeting for a stadium death match. To be fair, this one’s on a diamond. “The NCAA Division I Baseball Committee went nostalgic Monday, setting up a mini Southwest Conference reunion with Texas and Texas A&M joining host Rice at the Houston Regional,” according to the Chronicle. That’s right, UT (No. 2) is battling the Aggies (No.3). As the Dallas Morning News notes, “It marks their highest-profile head-to-head meeting in a men’s team sport since A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC after the 2011-12 season.” Other Texas teams in the tournament include the University of Houston, TCU, Sam Houston State and Dallas Baptist. So you kinda hope and expect a Lone Star team to be the lone winner. It doesn’t get much better than this (unless this had all been about football).
Dark County — It’s a grim and upsetting story, but one that’s making the rounds on nearly every Texas news site. Details are still slim, but “Authorities said a [Ector County] man fatally shot his toddler and seriously wounded the child’s mother before turning the gun on himself,” late Saturday night. The Odessa American has the most detailed — and as such, dark — account, reporting that the child’s mother, also shot, “remains in serious condition at Medical Center Hospital.” NewsWest9 has a few reactions from residents of the small community. Send thoughts and good vibes to all those involved.