The State of Texas: October 10, 2014
Promo of the Day
Because “the only thing harder than getting a college kid out of bed before noon on a Saturday is getting a college kid out of bed before noon on a Saturday to watch a sub-.500 football team” Texas Tech is offering free waffles to students who attend tomorrow’s game. To really entice the kids, a Lil-Jon video was made. As Sports Illustrated notes, it’s a relatively sad effort. College kids may be cheap, bu no self-respecting student has ever been swayed by what appears to be boxed, frozen waffles.
Plano resident Comer Cottrell went to that big salon in the sky Thursday. One would be forgiven for not knowing Cottrell’s name right off the bat, but the entrepreneur is responsible for bring Jheri curls to the masses. His “Curly Kit sold for around $8 at barbershops, beauty parlors and drugstores while the salon price for a Jheri curl might run to $300,” writes the Houston Chronicle. “Cottrell ‘democratized the Jheri curl,’ said Lori L. Tharps, co-author of ‘Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America.'”
Ebola Watch: Day 9 — Following the death of patient zero, Thomas Duncan, Ebola news has taken a quieter more reserved tone. The sheriff’s deputy who feared he’d picked up the virus after visiting Duncan’s apartment and whose bellyache was treated with extreme caution has been cleared for duty. Officials had sent the deputy to the hospital “out of an abundance of caution.” Concern over Ebloa was surely the primary concern, but community criticism probably had an impact of the swift action as well. The Duncan family is calling for an investigation as to why the man was released from the hospital the first time he showed up. “Relatives have been concerned about his initial release from an emergency room, which put him on the streets of Dallas for two days until he returned in an ambulance,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “They also questioned why Duncan didn’t get an experimental drug earlier, noting that drugs have been given quickly to other Ebola patients treated in the U.S.” The hospital has defended its effort, while at the same time offering several different reasons as to why Duncan was released. As the story notes, any case against the doctors or hospital probably won’t hold up since “Texas [malpractice] law makes specific exemptions for emergency care.” As for the continuing fight against Ebola, be sure to thank a soldier (at a proximity you’re comfortable with). “About a third of the 3,200 U.S. troops deploying to Africa to set up field hospitals to deal with the deadly Ebola outbreak will come from two Texas posts — Fort Hood and Fort Bliss,” according to the San Antonio Express-News. “About 500 Fort Hood soldiers will be part of the military force” sent to Liberia to help contain the virus.
Problem ID’d — Just in time to make voting in the November 4 election super confusing, a federal judge has struck down the state’s fairly new voter ID law. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramo called the law “an ‘unconstitutional poll tax’ intended to discriminate against Hispanic and African-American citizens that creates ‘an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote,'” reports the Huffington Post. To be clear, the judge didn’t find any “smoking gun” but was confident the 2011 session was “racially charged,” which … ok? Because voter fraud is almost entirely nonexistent, perhaps there’s the slightly room for the judge’s argument that the legislation’s sponsors “were motivated, at the very least in part, because of and not merely in spite of the voter ID law’s detrimental effects on the African-American and Hispanic electorate.” As expected in such cases were Texas more draconian laws have run afoul of a high court, Abbott’s office said it would “immediately appeal” the decision.
Give Him A Hand — A sad day for Texans worldwide, particularly Texas Exes. “Harley Clark, the former Texas cheerleader credited with introducing the ‘Hook’em Horns’ hand signal … died Thursday at his farm outside of Austin,” reports just about everyone. Clark introduce the modified devil sign during a 1955 pep rally. Fun fact: “[The sign] also got him in some trouble. The dean of student life lectured Clark that the signal was considered a vulgarity in Sicily and might be misinterpreted in Texas.” Whatever their allegiances to Sicily, Texans got over them fast. As fitting for an icon-maker, UT wrote a lengthy obituary for Clark. Although he could have rested on his college laurels, he didn’t. “[Clark] went on to be a successful lawyer” and even “defended the University of Texas in the Hopwood v. Texas case that involved the school’s use of race as one of several factors in its admissions process,” writes the Dallas Morning News. For a rather lofty take perfect for a YA novel or small town community weekly, be sure to check out the Austin American-Statesman‘s recounting of that fatefully pep rally night, told in rousing present tense: “Friday night before the game. There’s a torchlight parade to Gregory … The student body is collectively berserk. The walls of Gregory quiver with sis-boom-bah. At the end, Clark gets the delirious crowd as quiet as possible and makes his big, surprise announcement. This … will ever more be the symbol by which we are known.”
Hands off — Abortion is still nearly impossible in Texas. Our local court of appeals said Thursday it won’t reconsider its previous ruling in favor of HB2. “The full court decided against taking up the case, letting stand the earlier ruling by a three-judge panel of the court that unanimously sided with the state on the admitting privileges provision and a requirement that doctors follow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s protocol, rather than evidence-based protocol, for drug-induced abortions,” according to the Texas Tribune. The twelve, of fifteen, judges who didn’t feel like reconsidering the law “provided no explanation for their decision.” Dissent judge James L. Dennis, however, had a 62-page dissent. As the Tribune notes, this was “abortion providers’ first legal challenge to the abortion law [and] the second setback for them in the last week after the same court, which is based in New Orleans, handed the state a temporary victory last Thursday in a second case against HB 2, which challenged a separate requirement that clinics meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers.” Abortion proponents “vowed to continue fighting the law.”
Our Pride And Joy — It only took forever, but Texas legend Stevie Ray Vaughan has finally been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. To be fair, an “artist’s first recordings must be at least 25 years old before he or she can be nominated,” writes the Austin American-Statesman. But SRV qualified six years ago. For a little salt wound, Green Day and String are also nominated. Regardless, SRV’s time has come. The eventual induction will be a great moment for Texans, particularly Texas Monthly‘s own Andy Langer who wrote of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s crimes against humanity back in June. “In the years since Vaughan became eligible, more than four dozen groups or artists, including such lesser lights as Bon Jovi and John Mellencamp, have been included on those ballots. Stevie Ray Vaughan, however, has not. Not once,” writes Langer. “To get a sense of how shocking this is, take a look at the December 8, 2011, issue of Rolling Stone, in which the magazine compiled its most recent list of the one hundred greatest guitarists of all time. Vaughan ranks twelfth. Every one of the eleven guitar players ahead of him—from Jimi Hendrix to George Harrison to Keith Richards to Eddie Van Halen—are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” Expect a Texas Flood to decimate the like God’s wrath if, for some reason, the Hall of Fame committee doesn’t do the right thing come June.