The State of Texas: November 10, 2014
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University of Texas football coach Charlie Strong is not known for cutting loose. So it’s a bit surprisingly pleasant to know that Strong will body surf when his team has a 33-16 upset over a highly-ranked team like West Virginia. Just imagine what would happen if the Longhorns actually had a winning season.
Giant Sucking Sound — George W. Bush, our forty-third president, is beginning to come out from under his political rock, which may or may not be a sign that his brother Jeb is about to start his 2016 presidential run. On Face the Nation Sunday Bush said his brother is “wrestling with the decision,” which sounds more exciting than it probably is. Dubya also speculated on how history was judging his father, particularly his failed reelection bid in 1992. “I think he’d have won, and I just can’t prove it,” George Jr. said of his father’s loss thanks, in particular, to fellow Texan Ross Perot. Unfortunatley, Dubya hasn’t seen fit to speculate on why Democrats are losing spectacularly in Texas, an insight that even Democrats could really use. If the mid-term thumping wasn’t bad enough, state congressman Mike Villarreal announced Sunday that he is resigning in order to run for mayor in San Antonio. That race may turn into a real heavyweight brawl with hints from Leticia Van de Putte that she too may drop out of state politics to run. Maybe everyone sees it as a definite step toward a position in President Obama’s cabinet, a la Castro. Apart from the possible loss of two Latino representatives, Texas Dems also appear to be losing another demographic: “The tally of white Democrats in the Texas Legislature has been decreasing at a time when the legislative redistricting process and the state’s changing demographics have fueled the relative rise of minority winners from Democratic districts,” reports the Texas Tribune. “The party has been trying to broaden its voting base, in part by mobilizing Hispanic supporters and attracting politically unaffiliated Texans.” In contrast, state Republicans have made a “very calculated” attempt to attract white Democrats. All of this will in no way cause problems as the state becomes majority Latino.
Explosions in the Sky — … Not just a band from Texas, anymore. If you happened to look up at the San Antonio night sky at just the right time on Saturday, you may have noticed a giant green fireball heading straight for you. Even if you didn’t time your star gazing just right, plenty of people recorded the truly awesome sight. Unfortunately, it was not the arrival of the Green Lantern Corps but rather a cosmic fireball, “which by definition is a meteor brighter than the planet Venus,” according to CNN. “This event was so bright that it was picked up on a NASA meteor camera in the mountains of New Mexico over 500 miles away, which makes it extremely unusual. This was a very bright event,” said one NASA scientist. Based on data from NASA’s camera … the meteor was at least four feet wide, weighed about 4,000 pounds and burned five times brighter than a full moon.” In other words, deep in the heart of Texas, the stars at night are scientifically big, bright, and green.
Sneak Play — Somebody’s definitely going to get sacked. It seems some incredible stupid thieves made off with Texans linebacker coach Mike Vrabe’s three Super Bowl Rings Saturday morning while the coah was off watching his son’s basketball game. Not one to take the hit lying down, Vrabe tweeted out “To all the Houston area pawn shops: 3 super bowl rings are headed your way. Courtesy of the [m—–f—-] who smashed our back door in.” As Vrabe’s neighbor noted, this is not cool, y’all. “It’s really a travesty in that regard,” said the neighbor, according to KHOU. “Especially somebody like that who is kind of a celebrity in the neighborhood, new to Texas, new to Bellaire, to have something like that happen. I feel for him and his family.” The whole family appears to have the coach’s temperament, with Vrabe’s wife herself tweeting out, “Thanks to the thugs who busted out our back glass door while we were at our sons bball game this am and took @CoachVrabel50 SB RINGS #class.” Lord have mercy on whoever stole the family jewels.
Chemical Imbalance — Good news, Lubbock. Residents “can know the dangerous chemicals used and stored within the city that must be reported to the fire department,” reports the Avalanche-Journal. The bad news? “[T]hey just can’t know where, according to a recent Texas attorney general opinion.” The news isn’t that surprising consider the issue of chemical storage disclosure cropped up earlier in the year, with Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office ruling that the state could keep the chemicals’s location secret “because terrorists could use it to construct an explosive weapon.” The list of chemicals being secretly stored has come “in response to an Avalanche-Journal public information request [made in July] that the city must release an inventory list of hazardous chemicals companies are required to report to the state and local fire departments, with the business name and address redacted.” As a result of the original ruling, “The city used the same argument to justify withholding the information locally, which amounts to roughly 20,000-redacted pages.” But if you’re super curious and/or wildly paranoid about your children growing extra eyes, “The documents can be viewed in person without charge, or purchased for $2,576, according to an estimate provided by Piata Bryant, the city’s public information coordinator.”
Parody Advertising — Weird Al Yankovich is great for a laugh. But he’s not likely to save a company from ruin. RadioShack has turned to the parody star to help sell its holiday wares and/or keep the store afloat. As the Austin Business Journal ruefully notes, the advertising company in charge of the campaign “has turned to another star of from the 1980s in its work for [the] struggling electronics retailer.” In fact, pretty much every story about the holiday campaign seems quick to note the commercial sounds a lot like a very chipper death rattle. “Weird Al shocked the music world this summer when his 14th album, Mandatory Fun, entered the Billboard album charts at No. 1. RadioShack has followed a different trajectory,” writes Mashable. “In June, the company’s stock price dropped below $1, leaving it vulnerable to NYSE delisting. As of November, though, it is still listed on the exchange.”