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The State of Texas: Oct. 16, 2013

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Video of the Day

This spectacular video of a Tyler teen’s close encounter has been making the Internet rounds. A lightening bolt struck right next to the young fisherman as he was heading to shore and his boat camera caught the awesome sight.

Texas by The Numbers

Damned Condition — Number of dams in Texas: More than 7,300. Number inspected by TCEQ since 2008: 1,880. Number of those in bad condition: 245.

Cash Cruz — Amount Ted Cruz raised in last fiscal quarter: $1.9 million. Amount in final week of quarter: $222,825. Year total so far: $2.67 million. Fraction of funds raised after talk-a-thon: More than a quarter.

Oil Towns — July’s top oil producing counties, in order: Karnes County (4,530,197 million barrels); La Salle County (3,226,082 million barrels); Gonzales County (2,560,834 million barrels). State’s daily average for July 2013: 1.69 million barrels. Last year: 1.3 million barrels.

Daily Roundup

Gassed Up, Ready To Go — Texas gets its day in Supreme Court. And although the case isn’t all that sexy, it does involve classic Lone Star thumbing of the federal government. Yesterday, the Court agreed to hear Texas’ challenge of EPA regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from factories. “At issue is whether the EPA can use the Clean Air Act, which gives it the authority to regulate emissions of toxic air pollutants and to limit emissions of greenhouse gases as well,” according to the Texas Tribune in its easy-to-understand breakdown of the case. Consensus among experts is that both sides—environmentalist and industrialists—will win some and lose some. Current Attorney General (and likely future Gov) Greg Abbott, said “The EPA’s illegal regulations threaten Texas jobs and Texas employers” and was glad that “the Obama administration will have to defend its lawless regulations before the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Everybody Limbo! — The Lite Guv race seems to have become a limbo competition to see how low, how low low low the candidates can go. It’s all a bit Ludacris, but still an amusing spectacle. Jerry Patterson said Friday that rather than Texas secede from the Union (a talking point that was all the rage a few years back), the Union should expel a number of liberal states. If this joke flip sounds like a set-up to a Yakov Smirnoff bit, it’s because Patterson was being tongue-in-cheek. Then current Lite Guv David Dewhurst told Tea Partiers at a Monday meeting that “I don’t know about you, but Barack Obama ought to be impeached” over the Benghazi incident. He wasn’t kidding. “‘He feels very strongly about the tragedy in Benghazi and has said that Congress should consider impeaching the President over the tragedy,’ [Dewhurst’s spokesman later] said.” No word yet on how the remaining Republican candidates Dan Patrick and Todd Staples plan to top the first two acts. We can only hope it involves props and/or puppets.

Would You Like Poverty With That? — A report released yesterday found that “Fifty-nine percent of front-line fast-food workers in Texas rely on public assistance programs such as food stamps and Medicaid to support their families,” according to the San Antonio News-Express. Reporting on the exact same info, however, the Dallas Morning News sounds more like an unhappy customer that found a band-aid in their french fries. The paper begins its piece with “Taxpayers in Texas shell out more than half a billion to cover public assistance costs for low-wage restaurant workers.” Yeah, how inconsiderate of those workers! Thankfully Texas wasn’t number one on the Devalued menu. That would be Louisiana, with 73 percent of its workers unable to feed its families (Texas came in at seventh place). The report also found that these underpaid employees are also the main burger winners in their household. The larger debate is who should be doing the heavy flipping when it comes to these workers—states providing poverty assistance or companies providing better wages. Regardless, it’ll probably be a long time before a fast-food worker can have it their way.

Remember The Alamo (And To Also Unloaded Your Gun) Enjoy Texas tourist destinations? Have a rifle, shotguns or black powder pistol? Then, man, is this event for you. This Saturday, open carry advocates will take their stand (though certainly not their final one) at the Alamo. According to the San Antonio Current, the group (which could be up to 1,000 people) is protesting “SAPD and Chief William McManus for their ‘disregard’ for Texas law and the Constitution by infringing on their rights to open carry rifles.” It’s not going to be victory or death, however, since the SAPD is totally cool with the event and is “expecting it to be a peaceful gathering and within the limits of the law.” Some of the more famous Davy Crocketters speaking at the event will be Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Kathie Glass. Organizers expect the protest to be “peaceful” and a “family friendly event.” In other words, the gift shop will be open.

Clickety-Click These Extra Bits

“It’s like a biography of the earth with a couple of pages in the middle torn out.”

Reminder: TxDOT Begins Its Shame Campaign Today

If Dogs Run Free, Why Not … Dallas

Perry’s Upping His Frequent Flier Miles

How To Avoid Fun At The State Fair

Zing! (Halloween/Shutdown Edition)

Dallas Can’t Find Its Way Out of Plastic Bag

‘Baffled’ Escapee Humbly Accepts Punishment For Just Wanting a Cigarette

Did we miss something? Got a hot news tip? Send it our way: [email protected] Or tweet Texas Monthly and Jeff Winkler

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