The State of Texas: November 18, 2014
Meme of the Day
We all knew Charlie Strong was laying down the law when it came to players, but who knew he was doing the same with nature. Mike Finger, the Houston Chronicle‘s Longhorns beat writer, tweeted that during Strong’s pre-game speech, the coach amped up his players before their win over Oklahoma State by giving them the mental weather report: “They told me it was cold. I told them it wasn’t cold.” Thus spoketh UT’s savior and a meme was born:
Publicity-wise, the Department of Motor Vehicles can’t ever catch a break, but sometimes they deserve their mocking. This is particularly true when they prevent a super-cool tricycle from hitting the road. A newly designed three-wheeled vehicle isn’t allowed to be sold in Texas because, according to the DMV, it “does not meet street-legal requirements to be sold as a motorcycle” nor the “safety features you’d need to call it a car:”
The only thing more boring than a politician talking about net neutrality is said politician trying to make said talk hip. But here is Ted Cruz, who has clearly run out of sexy topics to use for rabble-rousing and is now dipping into his b-side collection. Unfortunately, not even porn stars can the issue interesting. What’s worse, Cruz used Vine to show off his street cred. Even worse, he blasphemed our state’s great slogan:
Stoppage — Details of the La Porte DuPont chemical leak that killed four are beginning to emerge. First and foremost we now know what happened to the workers who selflessly and instinctively gave their lives, as the Houston Chronicle provided a detailed and devastating account of the accident. Robert Tisnado heard a coworker scream for help in the operations building and he, along with Wade Baker, “rushed inside” sans protective gear. “After losing radio contact with his three co-workers, Robert’s brother, board operator Gilbert ‘Gibby’ Tisnado, 48, grabbed a gas mask and ran in to help, according to relatives’ accounts. He removed his mask and tried to place it on his little brother, but it was too late for all of them.” Apart from the four lives lost, things are looking grim for the chemical plant. “State records show that in the last five years, the plant has been cited at least two dozen times by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for violating state law,” according to the Texas Tribune. “It has failed to perform routine safety inspections, keep equipment in proper working order and prevent unauthorized pollution leaks, according to violation notices issued by the agency. In a few instances, the agency demanded fines of a few thousand dollars from DuPont for more serious lapses.” Legal troubles for the chemical plant have already begun, with a lawyer reportedly having already filed a lawsuit against DuPont on behalf of one of the victim’s mothers. In addition, the lawyer “also filed a temporary restraining order to preserve evidence at the scene of the accident,” according to Reuters.
Oil-Baggers — The obsession with Texas tea is in full swing. It was announced yesterday that “Halliburton will buy Baker Hughes for $34.6 billion in a cash and stock transaction that marks one of the biggest oil-field services mergers ever,” according to Fuel Fix. Baker Hughes is the second largest in the oil field service industry. Its new owner is the second. The super company might have a few problems down the road with antitrust concerns. “Analysts say the two will have significant antitrust hurdles to deal with, and will likely have to spin off, sell or divest in part of their businesses including well cementing, logging-while-drilling tools that capture subterranean data, and engines that control the direction of underground drilling paths.” If that mega-merger wasn’t enough, we’re also going to be overrun by a bunch of ivy-leaguers, at least on paper. “Harvard University’s endowment took new stakes in a dozen Texas-based oil and gas companies in the latest quarter,” according to Bloomberg News. “The holdings disclosed in the filing account for about 3 percent of the endowment’s assets, and may not represent Harvard’s broad investment strategy.”
Over-Patrolled — The instances of Border Patrol misbehavior have been surprisingly minimal considering the size of the immigration crisis earlier this year. As it happens, however, two examples have just crossed the judicial line. Two agents who were “well intentioned but overly zealous,” according to a state judge who recently ruled that being 150 miles away from the border is too far away to pull over people using some complicated “cross checkpoint” tactics commonly used for catching illegal immigrants. The Chronicle story says evidence in the case could be suppressed because of this violation of Fourth Amendment rights. In more lascivious patrol news, “A Laredo-based U.S. Border Patrol agent who dated a woman who was using fraudulent work documents pleaded guilty Monday to harboring immigrants who were in the country illegally,” according to the San Antonio Express-News. Fellow Border Patrol agents discovered that the “girlfriend and five other immigrants who were in the country illegally were living at the house.” The agent faces about five years in jail and roughly a quarter million dollars in fines.
Hearts (and Legs) As Big As Texas — In some much needed inspiring news, Rebekah DiMartino made Internet waves late last week for a story that’s less heartwarming and more leg-slapping. The Richmond resident was a victim of the Bostom bombing and suffered several injuries, including some nasty ones on her left leg. “After enduring several surgeries and pain, the 27-year-old made the decision to get her leg amputated,” according to the Huffington Post. “But before the operation, she decided to have a little fun and wrote a break-up letter to her leg in a Facebook post.” Apart from writing “It’s not you, it’s me,” on her leg, DiMartino knows when to kick up a good pun. “I love you. I really do,” she wrote in the Facebook note. “But I think I need to start on the next leg of my journey.” Maybe it’s something with runners and the good circulation to their heart. Over the weekend, Iram Leon, who is fighting terminal brain cancer, crossed the finish line of a La Porte half-marathon, sharing the moment with his seven-year-old daughter, Kiana, whom he pushed in a stroller the entire way.
Humbug — The holiday season is not off to the loveliest of starts, and we deserve it for trying to do it all so early. Downtown Fort Worth has already brought in its Christmas tree, where it’ll stand in the Sundance Square. Responsible citizens apparently had concerns about the premature arrival to which the president of the square responded, “a 58-foot blue spruce takes about a week just to decorate.” As punishment for tempting the gods (or, you know, climate change), Texas is actually starting the season relatively white. “Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport saw a record for snow Sunday,” according to KHOU. “It was the first time in 117 years that it has snowed on that date, Nov. 16. The record for snowfall in November was 5 inches, set on Nov. 22, 1937.” Thankfully, some tech-grinch has been having fun with the hopeful Texas children who shouldn’t be on social media in the first place. The Weatherford ISD had to issue a Facebook and Twitter message on Sunday saying that someone was announcing school closings on Monday via a fake Twitter account. Kudos to the punk kid that tried to pull that one off.