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The State of Texas: May 6, 2015

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Texas By The Numbers

Draft Measuring Contest – Number of Longhorn players drafted to the NFL this year: 5. Aggies: 2. Baylor: 2. TCU: 2. Texas Tech and U of H: 0.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Influence – Number of high-powered Texas contributors to political causes: 2,621. Rank among all 50 states: 3rd. Amount invested into the 2014 election: $98,000+. Number of the top 100 donors nationally who live in Houston: 5.

A Degree in Finances – The “added value” salary of an alumnus of Texas A&M: $97,700. Of UT: $96,100. Of Rice: $119,900. Of Abilene Christian University: $69,500. Of University of the Incarnate Word: $55,100.

Daily Roundup

As the Smoke Clears – Three days in and officials continue to try to piece together the exact details of Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi’s attack at the “Draw Muhammad” event in Garland. Involvement by the Islamic State was suspected, particuarly since it seemed to take credit for the failed attack, but now counterterrorism officials suspect they may have “carried out their own lone wolf-style strike,” according to the Associated Press. The New York Times clarifies this a bit by noting that “the brief statement from the Islamic State did not claim that it had ordered the Texas attack, though it called the gunmen … ‘two soldiers from the soldiers of the caliphate.’” That the two men were unaided apart from encouragement on social media platforms is both bad and good, said officials, as it “exemplified the kind of homegrown attack that is very difficult to prevent, but whose scale is small and execution not especially competent.”

Full Coverage – Having already shut down a significant number of abortion-capable hospitals last year, the Legislature is continuing its crusade to ensure that the procedure is almost impossible to obtain. On Tuesday, the state Senate passed a bill ensuring that “private health insurance plans and those offered through the federal Affordable Care Act’s marketplace could only provide coverage for abortions in cases of medical emergencies. Women seeking coverage for what [Senator Larry Taylor] calls ‘elective’ abortions would be required to purchase supplemental health insurance plans,” according to the Texas Tribune. If the bill becomes a reality, Texas would join “ten states [that] now prohibit all health plans from covering abortion, and 15 [that] prohibit abortion coverage on federal marketplace plans.” With the ideological stuff out of the way, it would seem the antiabortion crusaders would then have to focus on details like how much the supplemental insurance would cost and why abortion is singled out while other “elective” procedures aren’t mentioned. Neither one of the issues is addressed in the current language.

America’s Pastime – It is just not our year. A limited number of college players made it to the NFL draft, the Spurs lost, and, with summer coming, it looks like baseball season isn’t going to be much better either. At least not for Rangers fans. As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes, “The Texas Rangers, back-to-back American League champions just three years ago, have the worst record in the AL, even after Monday’s win against the Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston.” On the bright side, “The Houston Astros, a six-year doormat, have the best record in the American League,” which is kind of like getting really jazzed for hockey or soccer. For a real Cinderella story, however, it’s best to turn attention to high school baseball, specifically the Hurst high school baseball player Logan Herd, who will no doubt have a movie made about him one day. During last year’s season, the college-committed Herd “suffered two concussions within minutes that triggered significant retrograde amnesia,” according to the Star-Telegram. And significant means significant. Herd forgot everything—his family, his friends. “Usually, amnesia patients regain their memory within a year, Blueitt said. Herd hasn’t remembered anything yet. His injury, which caused no structural damage to his brain, essentially did what a select-all and delete function does on a computer.” Herd has had to relearn everything, including historical material like Martin Luther King, Watergate, and names of presidents. Despite the unbelievable accident, Herd’s muscle memory appears to be in good shape, as he’s back to playing shortstop this year. “Once he was [medically] released, as far as baseball fundamentals and baseball skill, he did not have to start over there,” said his coach.

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