The State of Texas: October 31, 2014
Slideshow of the Day
The Houston Chronicle is back in fine form with another amazing slideshow. This time, it’s the Halloween costumes that are acceptable to wear year-round, provided you’re at a pep rally. It seems that Seventeen magazine put out a list of the funniest school mascots, and Texas had five that made the final cut, including number one: the Mesquite High School Skeeters. The Chronicle, however, showed real school spirit by culling a list of 25 amazing mascots. Definitely worth a look for those needing a last-minute costume.
Want to spend a pleasant day sailing? Have a very large bank account? Then does Texas billionaire Jim Clark have something for you. Perhaps out to prove that Netscape still serves a purpose (it made him his fortune), Clark has taken his “state-of-the-art ‘super yacht’ to the seas.” Named Comanche, the sea-worthy compensator “took millions of dollars, 40 builders and one year to finish, resembling something akin to a tank/pirate boat mash-up.”
Election Treats — And tricks! With four days before the election, candidates will do either one to win. In Dan Patrick’s case, it sounds mostly like the latter. In a recent ad, Patrick said his opponent in the lieutenant governor race, Leticia Van de Putte, “actually voted to stop schools from removing teachers convicted of a felony.” Unsurprisingly, that claim is “mostly false,” according to an extensive breakdown by Politifact. As for treats, Greg Abbott got one in the form of a Washington Post profile that appeared yesterday. None of the details are likely to be a surprise to Texans who follow politics or, ahem, Texas Monthly, except maybe the take-a-gamble headline that says “Don’t be surprised if he runs for president.” Which, okay WaPo, not every Texas governor has national stars in his eyes. If Wendy Davis doesn’t have wider ambitions, then she might want to consider it. Not just down in the polls, Davis is apparently “only has $551,424 in cash left from the $7 million-plus she raised between Sept. 26 and Oct. 25,” according to the Washington Times. And recall, a significant portion of that money (24 percent) came from out of state. If Davis can spend half a million in four days, it’ll actually be kind of impressive. What won’t likely be impressive is voter turnout, if early voting is any indication. According to the Dallas Morning News, “Despite a governor’s race between Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis that has generated a combined $83 million in fundraising, and a massive voter outreach effort from the engineers of President Barack Obama’s re-election, early voting across Texas has stayed relatively flat.”
Lucky Dog — Great news on the Ebola front. It would seem that all of Texas is free of the virus! The final Lone Star resident, Bentley, was given a clean bill of health yesterday. Bentley is, of course, the dog of Dallas nurse Nina Pham, who had contracted Ebola after assisting with patient zero Thomas Duncan. “As expected, the year-old King Charles Spaniel’s stool and urine were tested for Ebola one final time before the end of his 21-day quarantine at the former Naval Air Station. And all three samples came back negative today,” reports the Morning News. “This is the second time his tests came back negative.” Pham will reunite with Bentley on Saturday, an event that’s sure to include a red carpet, roses and more than a few doggie treats.
No Means No — It also means no to suggestive t-shirts. “The Arlington Independent School District has banned a high school football team T-shirt with the slogan ‘Shhhhhhh just let it happen’ after the school newspaper’s editorial staff questioned whether the message were a rape innuendo,” according to the local NBC affiliate. “The shirt reads ‘Martin Football’ in big gray letters above an image of a Native American man that represents the school’s Warrior mascot. To the left of the man is a pirate flag, with a skull and crossbones, along with the words ‘We take what we want,’ and below the flag is the phrase ‘Shhhhhhh just let it happen.'” Not only is the message questionable due to its potential second meaning, but isn’t this the antithesis of the sentiment behind pre-game chants, bursting through banners, and every other aspect of sports’s grunt-filled posturing? Regardless, “Both Martin coach Bob Wager and booster club president Kevin White told NBC 5 they never considered the message on the shirt to be potentially inappropriate, saying that if they had, they would have never allowed it to be made or worn.”
Biting Back — Cleburne is learning that if you shoot a dog, you might get bit by the Internet. Hackers “have been attacking the city’s computers, email network and emergency dispatch system since a video of a police officer shooting a dog circulated widely online,” reports the Associated Press. As Texas Monthly‘s own Dan Solomon covered earlier this month, the body-camera video of a police offier shooting a dog to death did not go over well. The video went viral thanks mostly to its graphic nature and perceived cold-bloodedness by the cop. “The officer attempts to summon the dogs by clicking his tongue against his teeth (you know, with ‘here, boy!’ kissy noises) and then, as the dogs look up at him, tails wagging, he fires three times before we can see what happens.” Apart from going viral, it also inspired some vigilantes. “Mayor Scott Cain said Wednesday that the city has suffered five cyber attacks since Oct. 17. The attacks have slowed some of the services and have nearly shut down the city’s website.” The story doesn’t say if the cyber attacks are connected to the Internet non-group, Anonymous, or that the attacks are specifically a result of the video, although Mayor Cain has his suspicions and it is difficult to see why hackers—Chinese, Russian, or otherwise—would care much for Cleburne. Pranksters be warned though. “The Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed it is assisting with the cyber-crime investigation.”