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The State of Texas: Oct. 17, 2013

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Photo of the Day

Jane Kuykendall, 93-years-young, has still got it going on. A photo of the Texas Tech alumni cheerleader demonstrating her skills at the Raiders’ homecoming game last week is putting the current student bodies to shame. As she told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal last year: “I can’t sing, I can’t draw, and I’m not an artist. My only claim to fame is that I’m old and I can do the splits.”

Daily Roundup

Cruz’n For A Bruisin’ — Our sixteen-day national nightmare is over (for now). Legislation to reopen the gummit was quickly passed Wednesday with Republicans getting “a goose egg” out of the budget and Obamacare debate. And before officials could even access their bank account, blame for the shutdown was already being heaped on Senator Ted Cruz. Lest anyone think it was just Dems hunting the “Wacko Bird,” none other than our last great folk hero, Kay Bailey Hutchison, took aim at her successor. “We didn’t need to do a kamikaze mission on that,” said Hutchison, according to the Dallas Morning News. “I think the Republicans have learned you can’t have a few outliers hijack what the leaders are trying to do.” Of course, the condor in the room, Cruz, was never directly mentioned. Not that anyone had to guess, as he was the only Texas politician to peck at a microphone after the deal was made. Cruz’s peacock strutting was so reprehensible for some that the Houston Chronicle, which made a nest of its pages for Cruz when it endorsed him in 2011, wrote a critical editorial about the freshman senator. Which a whole flock of national publications took to mean that the Chron had made a shocking “un-endorsment.” After the item began to take flight, the Chron issued another editorial asking every news outlet to issue a correction. “Our evaluation of elected officials’ work is an active, ongoing process,” wrote the Cron in royal first-person. “An endorsement does not preclude sharp criticism.” After being hit with both public and bipartisan criticism, it looks as Cruz has few friends left in D.C. His antics did, however, earn him about 797,000 green friends.

Not F—ing Guilty — One of Texas’s favorite loudmouths, Mark Cuban, was found “not guilty” yesterday of insider trading in the ball court of justice. After the verdict at a federal courthouse in Dallas, the billionaire and Mavericks’s owner humbly avoided prying reporters. Kidding! “Hopefully people will start paying attention to how the SEC does business … Jan Folena, who represents the United States of America, stood up there and lied,” said Cuban. “It’s personal. You take all these years of my life, it’s personal.” Cuban was accused of dropping Internet stocks shortly before they all went bust, reportedly saving $750,000. If he’d lost the case, Cuban would’ve been made to pay about $2 million, about as much as his outburst-related NBA fines. The Feds, meanwhile, sulked away to their locker room with hardly any post-game commentary. A rematch is not expected.

Forum Tested, Darwin-Approved — The state’s pro-evolution advocacy group in the ongoing science book debate has said the recent list of proposed textbook changes get a passing grade. “None of the 14 publishers whose books the board will choose from offers any alternative theory to explain the development of life,” according to the Dallas Observer. “There’s just evolution.” In a press release yesterday, the Texas Freedom Network said the amendments to textbook material following September’s heated open forum, are all Darwin-approved. “Materials submitted to the Texas Education Agency … show that publishers are resisting pressure to undermine instruction on evolution … This is a very welcome development for everyone who opposes teaching phony science about evolution in our kid’s public schools.” The evolutionists haven’t made it to dry land just yet. The SBOE still has to approve the textbooks next month, and divine intervention is always possible.

A Post For Help — Most news organizations are reporting on the horrific incident that occurred yesterday at a north Austin high school. A Lanier student shot and killed himself yesterday “in the school’s courtyard during lunch in front of other horrified student,” according to the accounts. “He just pulled the gun out of his jacket and he was like, bam,” said one student witness to MyFoxAustin. The deceased teen apparently wrote a recent Facebook post apologies for being a bad son and stating his upcoming actions. The post also included a photo of the boy putting a gun against his head.

College Targeting — The Texas Tribune has a pretty wild story about the ongoing UT brawl that’s getting rowdier than a college bar. The news outlet reported Wednesday that former chairwoman of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (and a former U.S. ambassador!), Pamela Willeford, wrote a mass email blasting Governor Perry’s office for allegedly targeting UT president, Bill Powers, simply out of spite. A former chief of staff to Perry all but admits to the accusation, itself prompted by an op-ed, written by a Perry adviser, that blasts opponents for “public relations campaigns, political sideshows and defending the status quo.” The recent salvos are just a small part in the on-going battle for UT’s soul. For a better understanding of the situation, check back in with the Daily Post later for a more detailed look by our own Jason Cohen.

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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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