The State of Texas: May 28, 2014
Video of the Day
Some men watch sports; others tinker in their garages. Charles Fussell has a different hobby. He’s the Goose Man. For the past twelve years, the Dallas plumber has gone to White Rock Lake every day to feed and care for the water fowl. “It’s a way of giving back,” he says, coming about as close to a Zen master as Dallas may ever see:
Book Club Wendesday
The inevitable Wendy Davis memoir, which in a political lifespan actually took a surprisingly long time to appear, has a title and jacket. Clocking in at 272 pages, Forgetting to Be Afraid: A Memoir, is scheduled to hit book shelves September 2. And let the judging by its cover commence:
Texas By The Numbers
What Border? — Number of arrests by border patrol agents in the past eight months: more than 148,000. Average number of arrests per day between May 11 and May 17: 1,100. Number of arrests made in the Rio Grande Valley last week: 7,640.
Oil Up and Drill Down — Oil production, per day, in March: 2 million barrels. Increase from previous year: 25 percent. Number of drilling permits issued: about 1,900. Number from last year: 1,931. From 2012: 2,530.
Poor Texas Woman — Age of average Texas woman: less than 35. Location: urban. Average income: $35,363. Amount needed to live outside of poverty in Dallas: $44,000. Likelihood she’s in poverty, compared to male Texan: 1.2 percent more likely. Income difference compared to men: $9,158 less.
Runoff Rundown — That silence you hear is the state taking a collective deep breath before another election happens in five months. The biggest primary runoff election news is Houston senator Dan Patrick’s pounding of incumbent Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, 65 percent to 35 percent. It was, as more than one observer noted, a larger margin than the beating Dewhurst took during his Senate race against Ted Cruz. Some of the other stories of the day include the 91-year-old, seventeen-term Representative Ralph Hall losing to former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe, which, Politico notes, makes Hall the “first incumbent to lose renomination this cycle.” The Jewish, pot-loving cowboy constituency also took a hit when its champion, Kinky Friedman, was defeated “by just one point and fewer than 5,000 votes,” by Jim Hogan, who, according to the Beaumont Enterprise, “racked up the victory even after refusing to campaign or raise money.” Apparently, Hogan was “just making stew” when the Texas Tribune called for a quote. As for the other runoff races, concerns and/or excitment that the Texas GOP was headed further right were confirmed. Tea partiers had at least five big wins. And while there could be a kaleidoscope of reasons for that (you’ll want to consult Texas Monthly‘s Erica Grieder), at least one publication points to Ted Cruz’s influence on his flock.
Billboard CSI — Narco-like mannequins and drug trade messages were found on two signs in El Paso, vandalisms that caused quite a stir yesterday as folks speculated whether they were daring messages from actual drug gangs or daringly stupid attempts at film promotion. It would seem neither is the case. “A Las Vegas man has been arrested in connection” with the vandalism and authorities “believe [he] was making a political statement,” according to KFox14. The investigation involved police as well as the FBI. Tire tracks and “fingers prints left at the scene led police and FBI investigators” to the culprit who was apparently boarding a plane back to Las Vegas when he was apprehended.
The Blame Game — “The wife of a drunken driver has been slapped with a $25 million judgment by 225th District Court Judge Peter Sakai in a lawsuit filed by the widow of the victim,” according to KSAT. Because the wife of the drunk driver—he had three previous convictions and no insurance—let her husband drive her car, the judge said the she was indeed guilty of “negligent entrustment.” The lawyer for the widow said, “We hope it does set a precedent and we hope people take notice.” They surely will; this new precedent opens doors to people being financially responsible for lawless actions they did not commit. According to the report, the widow said “she wanted to make other wives of alcoholics to be aware, the same could happen to them if their husbands don’t seek the help they need.”
Dr. Ill — The murder trial of Mark Castellano has concluded, and it doesn’t look good for him. According to the Houston Chronicle‘s story on the trial, “The 39-year-old man is accused of killing [Michele] Warner in an argument, storing her body in a plastic container and then driving across Texas to bury it in an oil field near Midland.” Castellano would later claim his wife went missing. On the day he flew to California to appear on Dr. Phil, he learned that the body had been found, and, according to reports, “he called one of the show’s producers and confessed to killing Warner.” Castellano’s lawyer said, “‘He didn’t intend she would fall down and break her neck’ … After that, in a state of shock and panic, Castellano ‘does some stupid stuff.'”