The State of Texas: October 27, 2014
Video of the Day
Alright, alright, alrighty then. Plenty of people have had fun teasing Matthew McConnaughey since his resurgence (see: Ellen and Patton Oswalt). But nothing demonstrates the slight McConnaughey fatigue like Saturday Night Live’s latest spoof of our homeboy’s Lincoln commercials. Featuring Jim Carrey, the ads flat out ask the question we’ve all been wondering: “Sometimes you gotta … take a big step back, like, go from winning an Oscar to doing a car commercial.” Also, “when I’m done rolling up this booger, should I eat it or throw it out.”
Final Stretch — The governor’s race ends, mercifully, is in just eight days, although there seem to be few surprises occurring. For one, the candidates spent oodles of money this year. The Austin American-Statesman has an great breakdown of where all the campaign cash came from this election cycle. Having garnered national attention, Wendy Davis received “nearly 30,000 donations from individuals outside of Texas, accounting for $6.2 million, or nearly 21 percent of her total haul — $30.5 million in donations and in-kind contributions.” Meanwhile, Greg Abbott isn’t taking any chances. he’s “outpaced Davis by nearly $6 million, for a total of $36.1 million.” With Davis behind by double digits, the national publications are already writing their postmortems on Texas Democrats. The Washington Post lays out a familiar argument, namely, that despite money doesn’t buy too much in Texas and that the state’s changing demographics might, one day, change things. So, how to note progress? “One benchmark … is whether Davis will do significantly better than 2010 Democratic nominee Bill White, the Houston mayor who lost to incumbent Rick Perry by close to 13 points.” That’s measure is exactly how the Texas Tribune begins its assessment of Democrats’s efforts in Texas. If — if — state Democrats are making any headway, “Election Day will be not their final test — just a midterm exam.”
Ebola Watch: Day 26 — Ebola might be in New York City now, but Texas is still feeling the ripple effect. Louise Troh, the fiancée of Patient Zero, is now trying to live a normal life again, a “new normal,” as she puts it. The process is understandably difficult. “She and her 13-year-old son and two older nephews had to move from their Vickery Meadow apartment after Duncan became sick. Nearly all of their possessions were destroyed during the apartment’s decontamination,” writes the Dallas Morning News. “They must buy new clothes and furniture. They must look for a new home.” Both nurses who became sick with the virus while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan have been declared Ebola-free, and one of them, Nina Pham, has returned to Fort Worth after being sent to a hospital in Maryland for treatment, reports the Star-Telegram. She’s still awaiting a reunion with her dog, Bentley, whose quarantine period ends November 1. As for preparedness, it’s not all smooth sailing. “A Texas health panel’s decision to entrust the operation of a new Ebola treatment center to two Dallas medical institutions with a record of infection control failures has triggered questions from concerned national health-care experts,” reports the Morning News. “They want to know whether Gov. Rick Perry’s Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response even considered that recent history before installing them at the helm of the Richardson facility.” Past violations at the facility included “poor hand washing to filthy patient rooms with overflowing trash bins, excrement and blood.”
Underemployed — That old line that immigrants will do the jobs that no one else will do is partially true. What’s overlooked is that many of them are doing jobs they’re overqualified for. “Many Latino immigrants who came to Texas with degrees or advanced training aren’t so fortunate [as some success stories],” reports the American-Statesman. “One of three such immigrants is unemployed or employed in a low-skilled job such as housekeeper, parking lot attendant, custodian or personal care aide, according to a study by the Migration Policy Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank in Washington that has dubbed the phenomenon ‘brain waste.'” What’s worse is that Texas doesn’t seem to be making an effort to rectify this problem. “Demographic specialists say the future health of the Central Texas economy depends on getting an increasingly Latino workforce the technical skills needed for 21st century jobs. Yet there is little or no outreach to assist immigrants who have obtained professional or educational credentials in other countries — not even for high-demand positions such as bilingual teacher.”
Return To The Alamo — Inconceivably, our new state hero is a British arena-rock star. As promised, Phil Collins is sending his impressive collection of Alamo memorbilia and the shipment is expected to arrive tomorrow. “The artifacts were boxed up and removed from the basement of Collins’ home in Switzerland earlier this month, and were en route to Texas as he spoke,” writes the Texas Tribune. “Their much-anticipated arrival in San Antonio this week will be marked with a black tie gala on Thursday.” Collins isn’t giving back everything he’s amassed over the years. He “admitted that he is keeping some things — in part, for his younger children, who share their father’s enthusiasm for the history. ‘Just some odd trinkets,’ he said. ‘Nothing the Alamo will miss.'” That said, the state will be getting back artifacts that include “Jim Bowie’s legendary knife, and one of only four remaining rifles owned by Crockett. Also in the crates are letters from William B. Travis and other historical documents,” according to the San Antonio Express-News.