The State of Texas: Oct. 10, 2013
Bum Steer Nominee
There are untold ways to advertise alcohol products. Joking about domestic violence is not one of them, no matter how clever the pun. An employee at an Austin bar was fired after a photo of a street sign reading “I Like My Violence Like I Like My Beer: Domestic” went a little viral. It was particular poor timing since it is, in fact, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Heart-Warmer of The Day
Makin’ it Raaaain — After a period of traveling to other states in an attempt to siphon their workers and (maybe) prime the pump for another presidential campaign, Rick Perry is back home, kicking up dirt about the drought. Yesterday, with the incredible shrinking Lake Travis as his backdrop, the Gov pushed proposed ballot measure that would “transfer $2 billion from the state’s rainy day fund to help pay for water projects” across Texas, according to the Austin American-Statesman. If passed in November, Proposition 6 would change the state constitution, allowing for the creation of two government bodies to combat the drought. “While we can’t make it rain,” said Perry, clearly unaware of standard protocol when handling large amounts of cash, “we can take measures that extend our existing water supply and work to develop new water supplies.” That Perry was pushing for a proposition almost everyone seems to agree with was no splash of cold water. What did catch everyone off guard were Perry’s unrelated comments about politicians and government shutdowns. “[Americans] are frustrated with Washington right now. I think there was a poll that was just out that said … Witches and hemorrhoids and jury duty were better thought of than members of Congress,” said Perry. As the Statesman noted in another article dedicated entirely to the comment, Perry was indeed citing a real poll. What Perry failed to mention, however, was that “the poll also found that Republicans were more accepting of Congress over hemorrhoids compared to other voters.”
Death March — Nothing, I say, nothing will stop the state from executing its citizens. In what is perhaps one of the most depressing examples of grit and determination, Texas killed another man last night, almost in spite of the continuing controversy surrounding its lethal injection drugs. In mid-September, it was discovered that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice was running out of its main heart-stopper. Without explaining, they assured the public that executions would continue. A few weeks later, unable to get a pre-made supply, it was revealed that TDCJ hired a pharmacy to make a boutique concoction of the drug. When this was revealed by the press, public outcry ensued, and the pharmacy that made the new drug asked for it all back. TDCJ has refused. As our own Dan Solomon notes in a recent post, “the invisible hand of the market is increasingly uncomfortable participating in executions” and “the day could come when there just aren’t any more lethal injections to be had.” That particular outcome is going to be messy for Texas, which is required to execute prisoners by lethal injection. Considering how much TDCJ has been sticking to its guns, an attempt to change the law to allow firing squads doesn’t seem that implausible.
Don’t Show Us Your Tips — The Wednesday premiere of Big Tips Texas, the MTV “reality” show about the waitresses of Lewisville’s “breastaurant” Redneck Heaven received about as much local, gawking attention as a woman in a turtleneck. Perhaps it’s for the best. The Dallas Morning News recent item begins with a line from the Variety review, saying “The Lone Star State’s more conservative quadrants have discussed seceding from the U.S., and after Big Tips Texas, perhaps Texans should be encouraged to act on the impulse, and take MTV with them.” The A.V. Club simply notes TVGuide’s succinct summary of the first episode: “A brawl breaks out; a boss is stabbed in the back.” A woman who considers Texas her “spiritual home” wrote the closest thing to a positive local review, saying, “if you’re looking for a glowing recommendation of the people of this proud state, you’ve come to the wrong place. But if you’ve come to witness weave-pulling, girl-on-girl beat-downs, sassy pregnant goats … you have come to the right place.” As for quick-hit Twitter reviews, most of the comments appeared to come from the cast members themselves. The good news is the New Jersey Star-Ledger gave it a ‘B’ grade. The bad news is that its a grade from New Jersey, which has its own Snookie problems. Not that one can’t talk about boobs in a classy way. In light of the show’s premiere, Texas Monthly‘s published a big think piece on the state’s blossoming breastuarant industry.
This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the No. 2 of Us — Looks like the best little outhouse in Texas might have some competition. A pair of expensive commodes on the square of the Silver Springs courthouse may knock the New Braunfel’s Buc-ee’s bathroom off its perch as the state’s top toilet. “What makes the restrooms in Sulphur Springs … so special,” writes the Houston Chornicle, “is that they are all glass and constructed with one-way mirrors.” According to Sulphur Springs city manager Marc Maxwell, “The restrooms were a part of a downtown revitalization program.” The Chronicle noted that “the city was trying to find a way to mask the toilets so they would blend in with the new construction, and the idea hit Maxwell in a flash of genius.” The debate as to whether the new bathrooms are better than Buc-ee’s, which was inducted into America’s Best Restroom Hall Of Fame last year, continues to swirl. As our Lavatory Critic, Jason Cohen, recently observered, “All told, the men’s room has eight sparkling sinks, twelve always-humming automated EnMotion towel dispensers, and nine Buc-ee’s beaver–logoed pink-gel-soap dispensers (not to mention six additional public Purells). … and with four double-rolled dispensers of toilet paper beside each toilet, you’d never have to pass a roll between them anyway.” Since there aren’t any more ACL tickets available, you may as well dump whatever it is you have planned, pick up some quality reading material, and toot on over to these roadside attractions.
The Big Hurt — Over at SB Nation, Lana Berry has written a pretty scathing piece chronicling her experience at the Houston Astros’s ill-advised “Ladies Night.” As Dan Solomon noted on Texas Monthly‘s Daily Post, when the incident occured in late September, there was a serious backlash over the Astros’s plan to invite “The Ladies” to learn a little something about the man’s game. Berry got the full treatment—vodka samples, a pink goodie bag, mardi gras beads?—and came away with a pretty snarky takedown of the entire effort. To wit: “Maybe not as many women go to the games because they are smart enough to know that baseball is better watched on TV. Or maybe they are just smart enough to not spend money to watch the Astros lose. … It’s not events like these that are the problem. It’s the mindset behind them, and the idea that women somehow can’t enjoy and/or learn about sports in the same way men can, which feeds into the idea that women would need to be offered free beauty treatments to somehow lure them to a baseball game.”