The State of Texas: May 27, 2015
Bad Choices Wednesday
Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers quarterback, really fumbled yesterday when he decided to pom-pom for the Golden State Warriors’ match against the Houston Rockets by posting the following picture (from Houston) and hashtagging it #7tormsComing. He was probably unaware that people in Texas are dead because of the flooding. As Deadspin so wonderfully noted, Kaepernick “followed up the gaffe with an apology and then shirtless photo.”
Texas By The Numbers
Flood Count – Number of deaths in Texas due to flooding: 13. Number of those missing in Central Texas: 11. Inches of rain in Houston: 11. Number of abandoned vehicles in Houston after flooding began: 2,500.
Texas Ratings – Average number of viewers for the Texas Rising miniseries: 4.1 million. Rank among calender year’s most-viewed cable premieres: second. Number of viewers for History’s 2012 Southern epic Hatfields and McCoys: 13.9 million.
No Trespassing – The back-and-forth over immigration between the Obama administration and multiple states continues, this time with local governments winning the point. “A federal appeals court in New Orleans has denied a request to lift an injunction blocking President Barack Obama’s executive action to protect millions of immigrants from deportation,” writes the Houston Chronicle. “In a split decision, two of three judges on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled to leave the injunction in place, finding that Justice Department attorneys had not done enough to disprove that Texas and 25 other states suing the government lack standing.” The Texas-led case began in Brownsville, in which the states argued “that Obama unconstitutionally sidestepped Congress in his November 20 plan on immigration to shield up to 5 million immigrants from deportation. And if his policies are allowed to take effect, attorneys for Texas argued that states would bear the financial burden of investment in health care, education and law enforcement.” No surprise, Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton are very happy about the decision. Meanwhile, the “Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said Abbott and Paxton ‘continue to waste taxpayers’ dollars with a frivolous lawsuit that goes after law-abiding families, not criminals.’”
Rain, Rain, Go Away – The state is still reeling from the sudden floods that have swamped North, Central, and Southeast Texas. Much of the focus has been on Wimberley, where thirteen people are still missing. Even USA Today has taken note, writing that “around 70 homes in Hays County were completely destroyed and 1,400 had some type of damage.” Thus far, at least seventeen are dead in Texas. In Wimberley, “More than 150 emergency personnel were involved in the search and rescue effort today, officials said, bolstered by scores of volunteers,” according to the San Antonio Express-News. Meanwhile, in D.C., President Obama “vowed to expedite federal aid,” according to the Washington Examiner. Said the president: “I assured Gov. Abbott he could count on the help of the federal government. We have FEMA personnel already on the ground.”
Censored – Sad news for anyone hoping for juicy nuggets of political intrigue. It appears Breitbart Texas won’t be releasing the secret video footage it has of state legislators after all. Breitbart Texas’s managing director, Brandon Darby, “did not elaborate on why he has changed his mind about the supposed 836 hours of video the American Phoenix group has…made of lawmakers since the group began filming in and around the Texas Capitol last December,” according to the Texas Tribune. “Two weeks ago, Darby told the Tribune that Breitbart had a copy of the video footage and had planned to publish it after the legislative session ends on June 1.” Breitbart had gotten the footage from the conservative Phoenix Foundation, which had promised to expose the “hypocrisy” of legislators. So far, it’s a lot of smoke and no fire, with the foundation’s president saying the videos are a hot national commodity and insisting that “it’s more than newsworthy.” So … stay tuned?
Hire, Fire, Man, Woman – So much for sexist explanations of powerful women. “Assistant City Manager Anthony Snipes has resigned following widespread criticism and national media attention over a training session he organized that focused on how to work with the female-majority Austin City Council,” according to the Austin American-Statesman. “The training included comments that were widely perceived to be sexist and stereotypical comments about women,” like how women don’t listen to financial advice and ask a lot of nagging questions. The hoopla over the sessions has garnered national attention and even got its own sketch on Conan O’Brien. As the Statesman story notes, “Much of the initial blame for the training session fell on Snipes because he was the organizer and he told the audience he had heard a version of this training session before.” Snipes’s last day will be in August.