The State of Texas: Nov. 5, 2013
Over the weekend, a massive brawl between two rival high schools erupted after a local football game. It happened at the same Whataburger of a similar incident in September. Must be something in the coke machine.
Quote of the Day
“I drew my weapon … it was going to be either them or me.” — Corpus Christi resident Amanda Stoner, who was recently chased by a pack of coyotes. Like Governor Perry, Ms. Stoner takes appropriate measures before going on a light run.
Give’m Props — Today’s the day we celebrate democracy without first watching American Idol. It is, of course, election day. And if you can get around the new ID requirements, vote early and vote often. Kidding! The new voter ID law does, however, continue to incite debate. Although there’s been a few high profile cases of voting difficulties, Republicans maintain the complaints and fears are overblown. “Early voting has nearly doubled from 2011, the last off-year elections in Texas, according to state officials. More than 317,000 people have already voted in the state’s 15 largest counties, up from 168,000 two years ago, Secretary of State John Steen said.” Although the new ID law does disproportionately affect the poor, the old, and minorities, that’s not to suggest there isn’t any voter fraud. It’s just that the new law is useless. As for the civic duty at hand, here’s a nice summary of the proposed amendments. Plus, everything you need to know about the marquee proposition, Prop 6. And finally, TABC would like to remind you that there are no laws against selling alcohol on election day in this great state.
Popularity Contest — Congrats to prom king and queen, Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis, whom Texas voters recently named “Most Recognized Governor Candidates.” The real bit of new from UT/Texas Tribune‘s recent poll is the six-point difference in a head-to-head race. The experts, though, caution against any wild thoughts of a Democratic upset. “These numbers are not evidence that the underlying fundamentals are changing in Texas,” according to the poll’s co-director. “We have not seen a big change in party identification, and we don’t see any large-scale shifts in the underlying attitudes that are forming.” As a popularity contest, the General is either more popular or less unpopular, depending on how you view your glass of political water. Abbott’s unfavorable rating is 24 percent, compared to Davis’s 31 percent. But hey, there’s still plenty of time to strongly dislike both politicians!
Breaking Wind/Ground — Because wind farms are the first thing that comes to mind when discussing giant computer companies, Microsoft has announced that it will soon be powered the steampunk way. The company just signed a twenty-year deal to buy power for its data storage center in San Antonio from a soon-to-open wind farm. “Construction on RES Americas’ $200 million, 55-turbine wind power project … will begin in December and is expected to be operational by June 2015. Microsoft is buying all 430,000 megawatt hours of energy it produces — or enough to power up to 45,000 homes.” It’s so cute when Microsoft tries to play catchup with its competitors! Earlier this year, Google invested $200 billion in Texas wind energy. Maybe this effort will work better than Microsoft’s attempt to Bing down Google’s search engine dominance.
Beyond Good And Evil (And Fiscal Restraint) — Remember: If you have to ask the question in the headline, the answer is probably no. So when a Dallas Morning News item reads “Is Dallas City Hall more ethical thanks to $435,000 employee ethics training?,” it’s not hard to see where the story is going. “In the 15 months since Dallas City Council members approved a $435,000 program to teach employees to be more ethical, numerous ethics-related stories broke at City Hall,” writes Scott Goldstein, who then documents a few of the dubious acts. Perhaps unsurprisingly, council members called the training great practice, if not perfect. “The culture of ethics is a journey … It’s just a continuing journey,” said the chair of the Budget, Finance and Audit Committee. The city council also hopes to hire an “ethics officer,” who will be armed with … a copy of Plato’s Republic? Really, the only ethical thing a politician ever does is when (s)he quits politics.