The State of Texas: Nov. 12, 2013
Salute of the Day
Yesterday was Veterans Day and an opportunity for us to celebrate, among others, 107-year-old Austinite Richard Overton, the oldest surviving WWII veteran. President Obama paid tribute to him at Arlington National Cemetery, and we learned that Overton has spent the past seventy years living in the same house, that he “enjoys ‘a tablespoon’ of whiskey in his coffee each morning … smokes a dozen cigars a day [and] has an 89-year-old ‘lady friend.'” Mr. Overton, we salute you.
Quote of the Day
“Welcome to Texas, sir. You would fit right in” — Governor Rick Perry to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in town to swear in new Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht.
The Five-Year Plan — The case of Abigail Fisher, the woman who sued the University of Texas challenging its affirmative action policy, is retaking its 201 class. Tomorrow, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments in the case that the Supreme Court kicked back to them two years ago. As the Austin American Statesman reports, the “two sides … are stepping up their rhetoric,” with Fisher’s lawyers calling UT’s multi-factor scoring process for under-qualified applications “noxious” and university lawyers saying that while “UT in no way seeks to impugn Fisher’s credentials … she simply did not make the cut.” UT also makes another interesting point that the whole case is “moot” since Fisher graduated from Louisiana State University a year and a half ago. They also claim that “any court-ordered relief for her would amount to just a $100 refund for application and housing fees.” Of course, the case isn’t really about being a Longhorn, but affirmative action and all the hardships faced by average white people everywhere.
Swinging Pendulum — Margie Cantrell, “the driving force behind the prosecutions of the so-called Mineola Swingers Club cases,” appears in court today for a hearing regarding allegations made by her oldest foster daughter. The Mineola Swingers Club case, as you probably recall, involved children claiming to be victims of strip shows, sex kindergartens, and witch craft, an investigation that was called after Cantrell’s prompting. The oldest foster daughter, one of the children who offered details of those wild stories, now alleges that Cantrell and her husband physically abused her and other foster children. This new hearing, according to Texas Monthly senior editor Michael Hall, “means that the person who drove the at-times unbelievable investigation … is indeed a violent, controlling, unstable person. It means that Margie’s version of reality—calling her daughter ‘evil’—is often at odds with everyone else’s.”
Six Flags Over Crazy — It has not been a good year for Six Flags. New details recently emerged in the case of the woman who was killed after being thrown off of one of their rides, and official eyewitness reports that are more than a little disturbing. And now a man who has been banned for life from all the parks’s locations is getting his day in a San Antonio court. “The ban came after [Jay Marc] Harris asked three women at Six Flags Fiesta Texas if he could take their children on the flume ride.” Harris—who likes to be called “Flume Dog”—also chained himself to a tree (Six Flags over Atlanta) and slept in the park overnight (Six Flags over Chicago). Flume Dog is a Hasidic Jew and is claiming discrimination “based on gender and religion.” It certainly has nothing to do with his love of flume.
Shooting Developments — Two men have been arrested in connection with the Cypress shooting that left two teens dead and injured twenty more. The men, who are 21 and 18, were charged with deadly conduct and aggravated assault, respectively. According to the AP, “Investigators said they still believe the deadly shooting started as a result of celebratory gunfire, despite court documents that seem to indicate the incident started when the suspects shot at two individuals before then firing into the crowd.”
Welcome to Amarillo: Home of Dubai Real Estate Marketing Opportunities — “The city of Amarillo is reviewing its newly unveiled logo after officials learned Monday the city’s design is similar to one used by a Dubai company,” reads the first line of the most entertaining Globe-News article you’ll read all month. By “similar,” the paper really means “nearly identical” despite what the city spokesperson says about how “we designed a logo that we’re very proud of” and it being “an original one the city developed after meeting with focus groups.” The logo is from the Dubai real estate marketing company, Emaar, which filed for a trademark in 2006. “The city has reached out to Emaar.”