The State of Texas: Oct. 28, 2013
Outside of Louisiana Creole country, the next best place for zydeco is Houston, and NPR’s “Accordions, Beer And God: Zydeco In Gran Texas,” is as educational a story as it is a fun playlist. Laissez les bon temps roulez, y’all.
Photos of the Day
Peein’ in the Reservoir — Those dam tea partiers! The hope of a $2 billion fund for water projects supported by every major politician on both sides of the political river could dry up faster than Texas lakes in August, thanks to a few fiscal conservatives. Despite its popularity among aquaphiles, Prop. 6 is facing a groundswell of opposition from groups like Michael Quinn Sullivan’s group Empower Texans, since the proposition would, among other things, allow local governments to borrow money they don’t have. Unlike Ted Cruz’s symbolic waterworks, this opposition ain’t no drop in the bucket. “The main concern is the low turnout for constitutional amendment elections,” the Associated Press reports. “Without candidates campaigning, most people don’t even know there is a vote on Nov. 5.” Meaning, of course, that it won’t take much for politically active groups to turn off the money faucet. If the fund does fail, says the AP, officials will just wait until the next water crisis, which’ll serve as a convenient umbrella for funding.
Tickets To The Gun Show (And Jail) — Johnny Cash was right, fellas: don’t bring your guns to town. Even if they’re as old as the Alamo itself. Several outlets reported that two men were arrested at the Capitol on Saturday, ostensibly for trespassing and not identifying themselves to police. Oh, and they were packing antique heat. Specifically, the two gents were part of an open-carry “rally” (estimated crowd size: 12) and brought along their pre-1899 pistols, which officers considered to be “suspected deadly weapons.” Something’s a little off-target about the incident, however, since the little group of mostly unarmed protesters were “surrounded by a visible trooper presence” and pre-1899 pistols aren’t, by law, “firearms.” Also, trespassing? On public ground? Still, if you’re gonna say “come and take it” don’t be surprised if/when someone, in fact, takes you up on that offer.
Always Scot-Free. Always. — Walmart heiress Alice Walton is asking that her 2011 Texas DUI arrest be expunged. And, surprise, “prosecutors say her request will likely be granted,” according to the Associated Press. The charges were dropped on October 9 because “Parker County … prosecutor John Forrest said he didn’t pursue the charge.” Apparently, “the state trooper who arrested Walton wasn’t available to testify.” Nevermind that Walton publicly admitted to the crime. “There’s no conspiracy,” as one sheriff’s official said after it was discovered in 2011 that Walton’s mugshot wasn’t online like all the other poor saps. Being a member of Sam’s Club really does have its benefits.
Remedial Work Required — The headline for a weekend enterprise Austin American-Statesman‘s story reads “Growing number of Hispanic students reshapes Texas education.” The report itself predominantly deals with Central Texas. (How Austinite to conflate the cultural and political capital of Texas with all of Texas.) So while none of this “special report” is breaking news to South Texas or larger, inner-city urban areas, the reporting on Central Texas’s recent Hispanic population explosion and how local schools are dealing with the changing environment is quite thorough. It’s certainly an informative look (subscription required) at the new challenges — often financial as much as linquistic — facing Central Texas and Austin education. After all, “Between 2000 and 2010, Austin grew by 28,000 children under the age of 18. Of that increase, 92 percent were Hispanic” with “a corresponding rise in the number of students who are economically disadvantaged.”
Going Broke In Detroit — Ten-point lead in the final quarter … four turnovers by the opponent … At least it wasn’t a blowout? That’s about the only positive thing you can say about the Cowboys’s 31-30 loss to Calvin Johnson, er, the Detroit Lions. And the last second heroics of Detroit’s Matthew Stafford only made Tony Romo’s “failing to complete half his passes for the first time since 2009” all the more unpleasant. If that’s possible.