The State of Texas: Nov. 19, 2013
Class Act of The Day
Forget Saban. Texas should court Kansas State’s football coach Bill Snyder. After Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro was injured in Saturday’s game against Baylor, the coach sent the tight end a handwritten note of support. Because he’s not only a good sportsman, he’s a good man.
Invisibility In Sight — One of your dorkier childhood wishes could come true: an invisibility cloak is a stitch closer to reality, thanks to researchers at the University of Texas. For now, the Texas invisibility cloak only makes objects invisible in one color frequency at a time. Still … we’re close! Let us know when the Texas cloak comes in poncho-style.
Solar Fail — Texas researchers say we’re all a bunch of dimly lit rubes when it comes to properly installing solar panels. Conventional wisdom about the sun’s movement dictates that such panels should aim South for maximum solar absorption, however researchers found that panels facing West gather two percent more electricity and reduce peak-hour electricity by 65 percent compared to the southwardly 54 percent. So go adjust those things immediately. It’s easy, right?
The Young Idiots of Texas — You can blame a lot of college conservatives’s childish behavior — drunken antics, quoting Ayn Rand — on the simple follies of youth. But staging a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” Day is inexcusable, according to, well, everyone. On Monday, the UT chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas announced plans for the Wednesday “game” in which students would be rewarded for turning in participants with “illegal immigrant” signs around their necks. The event is meant to “educate college students about a serious issue,” according to the YCT’s chairman, Lorenzo Garcia(?!), though the only thing it seems to be educating the public on is how tone-deaf college Republicans are. Professional Democrats pounced on the action as representative of the GOP—U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro has said the event demonstrates that the Republican Party is “fostering disturbing division,” according to the Texas Tribune—but Republican candidate for governor Greg Abbott also called it a “repugnant effort.” No word yet on whether the YCT will proceed with the event, but you can bet a future run for political office that this’ll be more damaging to the members’s careers than a few inappropriate party pics.
Welcome to the Gun Circus — Plenty of gun-related news in Texas this week, which is really saying something. First is the A&M professor who is surprised by the kickback after delivering a speech that included the line, it’s “time to consider replacing the Second Amendment,” according to the Houston Chronicle. The public was a bit trigger-happy with its excoriation, but the professor is actually in favor of more, conservative-friendly state’s rights, saying, “My proposal says that Texas is in the best position to decide for Texans what gun rights should be, presupposing that guns are a right.” What should be reconsidered, however, is allowing Sandra Bullock’s old mistake to sell guns in Texas. Jesse James has moved from chopping up motorcycles and relationships to starting a firearms company. And here’s some news that’s much more loaded: a Texas company has created the first metal handgun from a 3-D printer. It’s a huge step in the controversial practice, which was started a few years back by Cody Wilson, of Austin, who has already created 3-D plastic guns. The metal version works and yes, every group you’d expect to freak out over the development is freaking out. Welcome to the Brave New 2nd Amendment World.
No Good Ending — The blackmailer of an A&M professor, who killed himself to escape the harassment, has been sentenced to one year in jail. The scheme, which news accounts describe as elaborate, had the blackmailer chat up men as well as send explicit photos and videos of his underage niece, before calling the marks pretending to be an irate father. Then he’d demand money for his daughter’s therapy. One of the more shocking, made-for-TV details of this case is that the A&M professor texted,”Killing myself now. And U will be prosecuted for blackmail,” right before jumping from a parking garage. Before the sentencing, the blackmailer had asked to be sent to a mental hospital for his “twisted” mind.
What Assassination? — Having a “celebration” that clearly highlights the assassination of a president is, perhaps, a bit macabre. And now Dallas is trying to scrub any references to the assassination in preparation for the city-wide JFK “ceremony” in which officials are trying to attact a huge number of tourists without calling them tourists. Municipal workers scraped away the white Xs that marked the spots where Kennedy was shot, and action that probably unintentionally, but no less hilarious, appears to be a bit conspiratorial. According to the Dallas Morning News, “city officials declined to acknowledge the removal of the marks, saying only that the road work is being done for another reason.”