The State of Texas: November 3, 2014
Video of the Day
Though some may not want to relive the Texans’ 31-21 loss to the Eagles yesterday, this Vine video lets us watch this poorly planned route of two Texans’ receivers over and over again. All it needs is a little Benny Hill music to make it perfect:
End of the Road — The Texas Democrats’s body isn’t even dead yet, much less cold, and the obituaries are already beginning to roll in. The Austin American-Statesman looks at how Democrats are already tempering expectations. “The Davis campaign continues to insist it has the momentum and that victory remains within its grasp. But, by the end of last week, Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Will Hailer was attempting to put the race in a broader, more forgiving context.” The story also notes that “Democrats must contend not just with the probability of defeat, but with the possibility that Republicans might make inroads with the key constituencies — women and Hispanics — who are at the heart of long-term Democratic ambitions in the state.” Politico, the blood-thirsty company newsletter of D.C., is already asking questions like “Could Wendy Davis sink Battleground Texas?” The story is a fairly ugly look at how Battleground Texas lashed its reins to a horse that will almost assuredly limp across the finish line. Included are depressing scenes like this one: “A trip to what was described online as a Battleground training session and canvass launch led a reporter to a near-empty campaign office littered with Wendy Davis paraphernalia in south Dallas.” At least the Texas Tribune has an eye toward the future with its Q&A on what the aftermath of another Republican victory will mean for everyone in the state. Main takeaway: a man who was once blue himself will most likely be the state’s next lieutenant governor.
Gag Reel — Two Austin police officers received attention from some national media after their body cameras caught them “joking with each other about raping a woman.” Jezebel lays out the cringe-worthy details of the incident involving two police officers, who sat in their patrol car and talked the way no man should ever talk. “In the footage from May 24, the two officers are shooting the shit about their day … Then, a woman walked by their cruiser, and their response? Blowing a whistle, [with one officer saying] ‘Go ahead and call the cops. They can’t unrape you.'” Then they laugh. At least one of the officers knew that, in theory, they had done something wrong because his response is one we’re likely going to hear over and over again once body cameras really become standard: “You didn’t turn your camera off, did you?” The Austin Police Department has apologized and “launched an internal investigation.”
Border Insecurities — Yes, the Texas-Mexico border is really long, but there has to be a better way of patroling it. In an article the reminds everyone that we still haven’t figured out how to properly secure the area, the Associated Press lays out the problems not only with warrantless searches, but roving agents. “Border Patrol agents can stop and search vehicles without a warrant within 100 miles from the border … Between 2005 and 2013 … agents apprehended more than 40,000 people at nine of the inland Border Patrol stations, some located as far as 350 miles from Mexico.” Thankfully, “judges are throwing out some of the arrests because the reasons cited for stopping the suspects are as vague — including not waving or not making eye contact,” reasons that some argue simply amount to racial profiling. As for the roving agents, they “made 1,459 arrests last year, down from 4,448 in 2010 and 9,234 in 2005, according to information the newspaper obtained through Freedom of Information requests. In many cases, the arrests occurred more than 100 miles from the border. However, vague directives and policies allow agents to extend their range of action.”
Roadblock — The state’s future train has left the station, but everyone isn’t on board. “A proposed high-speed rail line connecting Dallas to Houston has encountered its first organized opposition, and it’s coming from a politically active group that formed more than six years ago to fight the then-proposed Trans Texas Corridor,” reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, in a detailed and informative piece. “The Sam Houston Tea Party, which includes more than 400 active members throughout rural Southeast Texas, showed up in force this week during a public meeting in Huntsville to oppose the 205 mph bullet trains. Many of the members, although they didn’t necessarily identify themselves by party affiliation, spoke against the proposal by Texas Central Railway to connect the state’s two largest metro areas, using Japanese rail technology.” It’ll be interesting to see how this opposition develops. For as the story explains, objections so far seem to be that the rail line ignores the country folk in favor of the city slickers. Considering that this shift from rural to urban is a countrywide development and there isn’t exactly much farming happening in the Texas prairies, “not on my wide-open land” is not the strongest argument against modern transportation. Still, proponents of the rail would do best to tread lightly. “These communities … produce the goods, both food and cloth, and everything else that services the world,” [said Sam Houston Tea Party representative Linda Thompson]. “To make light of our flat land by saying it’s undeveloped is criminal.”