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The State of Texas: October 9, 2015

Wendy Davis inspires a TV show, and a new lawsuit is brought against the family of Stanley Marsh 3.

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Associated Press | Michael Schumacher

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A member of the Kansas City Royals grounds crew, now and forever known as “Tarp Guy,” was swallowed up during Thursday’s game against the Houston Astros. Consider it, if you will, a metaphor for Houston’s post-season play—slowly swallowing up opponents on its way to victory.

Daily Roundup

I Shall Be Released — The federal government is preparing for the largest release of prisoners in U.S. history, and a majority of the offenders are Texan. Of the 6,000 drug offenders scheduled for early release, more than 600 are from Texas, the San Antonio Express-News reports. In addition, “Nearly 4,000 offenders sentenced by judges in the Western District of Texas, which is headquartered in San Antonio and stretches west to El Paso and north to Waco, are likely eligible for reduced sentences. Judges in the Southern District of Texas, which includes Houston, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley, have granted the most reductions, 870.” A San Antonio defense attorney noted that the number is particularly high for Texas because the “two Texas judicial districts likely have so many offenders affected by the new guidelines because of the large number of low-level drug smugglers caught at the border.”

Das Lawsuit — For a state that has fought the EPA on emissions standards for years, Texas is really unhappy with international Volkswagen scandal in which the company bamboozled everyone about its cars’ environmental impact. “Following in the footsteps of Harris County and the city of Dallas, the state announced Thursday it is suing Volkswagen in connection with the German automaker’s admitted use of software that allowed its vehicles to circumvent emissions limits,” the Texas Tribune writes. “Attorney General Ken Paxton announced two separate lawsuits against Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. and subsidiary Audi of America, alleging violations of the state’s consumer protection laws and clean air standards.”  In keeping up with the irony, Texas is following in the steps of coal-burning West Virginia when it comes to a state-specific lawsuit. As the Austin American-Statesman notes, “The Attorney General’s office is seeking restitution, an injunction and civil penalties in the cases.”

Marsh Madness — If the legacy of Cadillac rancher and Roman numeral defector Stanley Marsh 3 wasn’t already completely tarnished, a new lawsuit pretty much takes care of that. Filed Tuesday against the Marsh family, the lawsuit alleges that, along with a former employee, Marsh’s wife and son “engaged in child sex trafficking when they knowingly received benefits from Marsh 3’s sexual conduct with nine underage boys from November 2009 to June 2011,” according to the Amarillo Globe-News. “The lawsuit seeks up to $50 million and possible additional damages for each of the nine plaintiffs.” The details are as bizarre as they are awful. “Court records filed by Pinkerton claim Marsh 3 would lure boys to his office with illusions of employment, pay $500 to each boy to sign nondisclosure agreements, then offer cash for them to undress and masturbate in front of him. The suit also describes incidents involving pornography, Viagra, drugs, hot tubs and zip lines.” The suit also details incidents in which Marsh would essentially offer cash prizes to boys for sexual favors and would have to rely on his financial adviser and family for more money “in the midst of a sexual frenzy.” Authorities say they have made no arrests related to the crimes mentioned in the lawsuit, but a separate plaintiff who claims to have been assaulted by Marsh has a hearing set for November. For an in-depth look at Marsh 3’s haunting past, be sure to read Skip Hollandsworth’s epic 2013 piece “Darkness on the Plains.”

Unstoppable — Considering Baylor’s controversy, the Longhorn’s inability to do anything, and the Houston Texans’ terrible record, there’s a lot of letdown in Texas football. But baseball fans can rejoice, because our Texas teams are kicking butt. The Houston Astros destroyed the Kansas City Royals 5-2 in the ALDS series opener. The Royals used five pitchers against the Astros, who still managed a win “after a wild night in New York and a late arrival in Kansas City,” the Houston Chronicle writes. ‘Cause that’s how they do. The Astros have their second game against the Royals at 2:45 p.m. Friday. The Texas Rangers, too, had a mighty good game on Friday, putting away the Toronto Blue Jays on their own field, 5-3. ESPN made a point of explaining why this defeat of the heavily favored Blue Jays was such a surprise, noting that “the Texas Rangers lost 95 games and finished in last place in 2014. They lost ace Yu Darvish for this season when he underwent Tommy John surgery. And they were two games under .500 and eight games back on Aug. 2.” Hey, we’ll take it! The Rangers’ game two is today at 11:45 a.m. so start working on the excuse for your long Friday lunch now.

The Wendy Davis Show — Texas political nerds went bonkers on Twitter Thursday at the news that a show is being developed based (very loosely from the sounds of it) around Wendy Davis’s unfortunate run for governor. According to Deadline, “the untitled project centers on a female Democratic senator who, after losing the Texas governor’s race, gets her world turned upside down.” Oh, don’t worry, this supposed dramedy gets better: “In the vein of The Good Wife, while she pieces her pride back together, she goes to work in the law firm of her best friend — a black male Republican — and discovers that with no political future to protect, she can unshackle her inner bad*ss.” Davis-haters had a field day cracking jokes, but take away the actual politics of it and Davis’s abject failure (along with phrases like “inner bad*ss”), and maybe the show’ll be pretty good! TV land needs more female and Texas-centric programming, and they can’t all be about Ann Richards.

Clickity Bits

Baylor Takes Back That Honor it Gave Bill Cosby, Obviously

Uncle Sam’s Border Patrol Brother Really, Really Wants You

Would You Like to Go To The Great Church of Lucifer’s Grand Opening?

Meet the New Director of the Texas Music Office

The San Antonio Courthouse is Crumbling to the Ground

UT Professor Quitting Because of New Gun Law

The State’s First New Death Row Inmate of the Year

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