The State of Texas: October 1, 2014
Headline of the Day
— Seen on the San Antonio Express-News‘s homepage yesterday
They’ll write a book out of any thing these days. In this latest case, it’s the “abnormal brains belonging to former Texas mental patients dating back to the 1950s.” The coffee table book, a perfect addition to your home or doctor’s office, will be available in November. As for a visual excerpt:
Texas by the Numbers
Big Campus On Campus — Size of Texas A&M’s undergraduate class: 44,315. Rank among other American universities: fourth. Size of UT’s main campus: 39,979 students. Rank: seventh. Year A&M surpassed UT: 2013. America’s largest university: Central Florida. Size: 51,269.
Snoozeville, TX — Laredo’s rank among the country’s ten-most boring cities: Tenth. Plano: sixth. Irving: fourth. Lubbock: first. Percentage likelihood that the real estate blog, Movoto, which did the ranking, is completely and utterly wrong: 100 percent.
As Seen on TV — Total number of political ads the state’s two gubernatorial candidates have run in a two-week period: 10,330. From Abbott: 6,873. From Davis: 3,447. Number of ads that had anything of substance or value: 0.
Eb-hola — First there was the TB scare in El Paso, and now Texas—and the nation—sees its first case of Ebola, the discovery of which spread across news outlets like a plague. A man flew from Liberia to Dallas (to visit family), and last Friday, after suffering “nondescript, nonspecific symptoms,” he stopped by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. “He was evaluated at the hospital and given antibiotics, then left” reports the Dallas Morning News, which is doing some pretty extensive coverage. “On Sunday, he was taken to the hospital by ambulance and admitted.” Ebloa has killed 3,000 people in Africa since an outbreak occurred there, but officials here are doing a pretty stellar job at reassuring the public that all will be fine. “This is not transmitted by the air, there’s no risk to a person in this hospital who is walking or is a patient,” said the hospital’s epidemiologist, Dr. Edward Goodman. “…We’re perfectly capable of taking care of this patient with no risk to other people.” Goodman said the patient is in quarantine but that the hospital will continue operations as normal. Dallas itself has yet to burn due to panic and chaos. Perhaps because officials are being so professional. “We are monitoring the situation. We’ve spoken to the county, state, and CDC’s on the way. There’s a clear protocol laid out, and everyone’s making sure they are dotting every ‘i’ and crossing every ‘t’,” said mayor Mike Rawlings, who even tried to put a positive spin on thing. “I am saddened that the randomness of life has landed this in Dallas, but it’s a sign of how diverse and international we are as a city.” And just in time for an Ebola crisis here, “nearly 500 Fort Bliss troops heading to Africa to aid in Ebola outbreak.” For a basic understanding of Ebola, check out the New York Times easy-to-read “What You Need To Know” article.
Last Chance — Gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis had their second—and final—debate last night. As before, the “debate” mostly involved the candidates addressing not each other but the panel of journalists. Fiesty as the rhetoric was, the resulting format was more akin to angry, fighting parents using their child to relay their respective arguments. Being the front-runner by a large margin, Abbott mostly kept a cool demeanor, the safest approach by any will-be victor. Davis, fighting an uphill battle was in full-on, DefCon-4 attack mode, going after Abbott on several occasions, even after her time ran out. As the Associated Press noted, the “most pointed exchange was about the audit of Perry’s Texas Enterprise Fund.” Davis went to town with the recent revelations that Abbott may not have been fully forthcoming about his involvement in the sketchy business cronyism. In a judo move, Abbott shot right back, accusing Davis of “profiting from one of the awards,” when she worked at a Fort Worth title company. “You are not telling the truth right now, and you know you are not telling the truth,” replied Davis, whose other nitty-gritty attacks included, “Mr. Abbott, you are talking out of both sides of your mouth.” According to Real Clear Politic’s latest average polling data, Abbott is up by about 12 percent.
Security and Sanctuary — Now that the hoopla and panic over the border “invasion” has died down, it seems migrants—particularly children—will be getting some proper assistance. The White House announced yesterday that the U.S. will find and pay for attorneys represent unaccompanied minors from Central America. “The program starts today and will be funded with $9 million over the next two years. In all, the funds are estimated to be enough to pay for lawyers for more than 2,600 children,” reports the Morning News. “Dallas and Houston are two of a handful of cities where the money will be spent.” In another migrant-related development, Texas churches might start acting a lot more religious in the near future. Faith-based leader are pushing for a “multistate sanctuary movement patterned off a similar effort that took place in the 1980s,” according to the Texas Tribune. “Those leaders are calling on congregations to openly offer sanctuary to undocumented immigrants in the U.S. who could be deported under current immigration laws.” As expected, leaders of the movement hope to entice Texas congregations to join in, although their participation at this time is still largely undocumented.
Cruel And Unusual — Some absolutely inexcusable revelations out of Houston: An “inmate, jailed on a marijuana charge while on probation and in need of mental health care, was left in his cell for weeks without being let out, living amid heaps of trash, swarms of bugs, and piles of his own feces,” reports KTRK-TV/ABC-13, which details just about ever disgusting aspect of the case. “A criminal investigation was launched weeks ago by Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia,” but not because, you know, it was a serious and shameful case of “correctional” neglect; the investigation of the incident (which occured almost a year ago) was launched only after ABC-13 began asking questions about the inmate. Garcia “blames ‘a breakdown in operations'” and has vowed to figure out just what went wrong. As the story notes, Garcia “has long boasted about his jail’s treatment for the mentally ill and often celebrates his jail’s passing grades on state inspections.”