Image of the Day

The House of Bey conducted another royal wedding. Solange Knowles, sister of the country’s (and Texas’s) most powerful woman, got hitched yesterday in New Orleans. As should be expected, photos of the bridal party are not only really, really gorgeous, it also looks like a photo from a distant, better future in which the world is ruled entirely by women. From the Queen’s Instagram account:

A photo posted by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Nov 11, 2014 at 7:27pm PST

Bandcamp Monday

Compared to the football action, watching the marching band come out during half-time can seem a bit slow. Thankfully, technology now allows us to speed up that tube-tootin’ high-step so that it looks particularly cool. Case in point is the Austin American-Statesman‘s hyperlapse video of Texas A&M’s fightin’ Aggie band, which when sped up looks vaguely like a swarm of ants:

Daily Roundup

Schoolhouse Mock — Be wary, children. Your education is in the hands of adults. For starters, charter schools that failed to “meet state academic standards” and subsequently “could no longer operate as a public school district,” are, in fact, still operational, reports the Texas Tribune. The state had revoked the charter of Honors Academy Charter School District back in June because of institutional failures, but “[w]ell into the new school year, all seven Honors Academy schools, which enroll a total of almost 700 students in Central Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth area, are still open.” Flying under the state-sanctioned radar seems to be this year’s school theme. As the fight over controversial textbook material continues, the Dallas Morning News reports that “more school districts and public charter schools are utilizing a 2011 law allowing them to purchase books on their own with or without board approval.” As the story notes, “This school year, Texas districts spent $284 million getting both board-approved and non-approved materials independently before seeking state reimbursement — 3.7 percent more than what the state spent on providing approved-only textbooks.” If you thought the State Board of Education committee fights were a big deal, the increase, while small, looks like it could lead to some serious controversy in the future as to how independent ISDs can get. Of perhaps greater significance, “as the board’s influence wanes in Texas, its mark on the national book market is also declining.”

Quack Care — The state really should get a second opinion. The office “charged with investigating Medicaid fraud and waste, criticized this week by state auditors and legislators as dysfunctional and ‘broken,’ is finalizing a $90 million contract with an Austin analytics company that had no experience with Medicaid before its deal with Texas,” according to a pretty scathing piece in the Austin American-Statesman. “If the state finalizes the deal, it will be the second big payday for 21CT, a federal defense contractor and virtual unknown in the Medicaid fraud business before 2012.”  At least the state is consistent when it comes to possibly poor decisions. “The most recent contract [with the company] is a boost to a 2013 initiative that cost taxpayers $20 million [and] has proved largely ineffective, with 1,156 open cases taking, on average, three years to complete.” What’s more, the company man leading the initiative, “was publicly castigated in two legislative hearings this week for myriad failures, including for an ongoing investigation of an actuary under his command who admitted falsifying numbers used to bring cases against alleged fraudsters.” “In the fiscal year that ended in September, 14 of the 517 Medicare-certified hospitals in Texas received immediate jeopardy findings,” but “only one was eventually decertified,” according to the Dallas Morning News. “Immediate jeopardy” are hazard citations for a hospital, which “signals a crisis situation that risks the health and safety of patients.”

Working Hazards — Texas witnessed another industrial tragedy, albeit one less fatal than the West explosion. Four workers died Saturday after a chemical leak occurred at the DuPont industrial plant in LaPorte. Methyl mercaptan “used as feedstock to make insecticides and fungicides … began leaking from a valve around 4 a.m. in a unit at the plant … Five employees were in the unit at the time of the incident and were exposed to the chemical,” reports the Associated Press. The fifth worker was hospitalized. By Sunday, “A seven-member team from the Chemical Safety Board, an independent federal agency charged with examining industrial chemical accidents resulting in death, serious injury or substantial property damage, began arriving.” The board’s director said “this investigation appears to be the first his agency has encountered of a fatal methyl mercaptan release.” As WFAA reports, two of the dead are brothers and “employees’ tenures ranged from eight months to 40 years, and that all employees undergo ‘very extensive training’.” This industrial tragedy occurs just two days after an explosion in Missouri City, on the opposite side of Houston, injured two at a “massive blaze at an asphalt manufacturing plant.”

Off the Mark — The Dallas Safari Club, which made headlines for auctioning off the chance to hunt an endangered black rhino, may have to pull the plug on the whole adventure if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service thinks the hunt would encourage poaching. After the winner of the auction applied from a permit from the federal agency, it appears the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is “applying extra scrutiny” to his request beccause of the rise in poaching, reports CBS.News. If the agency rules against the permit, the club will return the $350,000 the winner paid, which, don’t you know, was going toward the rhino’s conservation efforts. In the meantime, the club’s executive director is trying to sight a very difficult shot in his cross-hairs, explaining that “Most people that have an animal mounted, it’s their memory of their experience. … It’s not always, ‘Look at what I’ve shot.’ When they look at it, they remember everything. That’s what he bid the money on, that opportunity.”

Clickity Bits

Another Teacher Is Being Called Up For Disrupting Class

If You Have $3.2 Million, You Can Buy the Jonas Brothers’s House

We Might-Could-Possibly Have the Ultimate Texas v. Texas Game

Biting (or Suing) the Hand of the Owner Whose Dog Got Bitten

Manhole Theft Caught On Camera, Could Be An Area Crime Trend

New York Times’s Three Texas Gems (From a Texan!)

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