The State of Texas: September 12, 2014
Drink Of The Day
It’s that time of year when UT messes with Oklahoma in the best way possible: with beer. As per traditional, Austin Independence Brewing Co. has released its seasonal “Oklahoma Suks” beer. Even if you’re not a UT fan, beer is beer. That, and our attic neighbor really does suckL=:
This marking of college kids has gotten out of hand. “Texas A&M sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill’s folks have applied for a trademark for ‘Kenny Trill,'” reports the Houston Chronicle. Everyone seems to have opinions about what special nickname Hill should take. “Asked if there was one he actually preferred over others, Hill shrugged and said Kenny Trill, he supposed.” Thankfully, Hill has support from the trill-master himself, Bun B, who issued this supportive Tweet last week:
Like the idea of “Kenny Trill” but I think @coachsumlin would agree one good game alone doesn’t make you trill. He’s on his way though!
— Bun B (@BunBTrillOG) September 2, 2014
Borderline Trouble — The border might be less popular than it was during the early part of the summer, but that doesn’t mean things still aren’t a-buzzin. According to new figures, “The number of unaccompanied children apprehended at the southwest border by federal agents in August dropped to its lowest level in 18 months. … Just more than 3,100 children traveling alone were detained in August,” reports the Houston Chronicle. “That compares to more than 10,500 in both May and June.” Federal officials say they want to build a “new South Texas immigration lockup for families amid an unprecedented surge in the number of youngsters pouring across the U.S. border,” according to the Associated Press. Naturally, “ICE isn’t discussing further details, including how many adults and children the 50-acre facility would house, how much it would cost or when it might be ready.” So Texas could start (and finish) a war with Mexico by the time anythings gets built, which may be the case if Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has his way. Dewhurst lashed out at our neighboring country for its highly “offensive” comments, right on the heels of 9/11. And what slanderous thing did Mexico say? Only that it thought the deployment of the Texas National Guard was for “political purposes” and fails to really address the issue from a “comprehensive” perspective.
Bikes, Bands, and Benjamins — As if anyone doubted, South By Southwest is a financial juggernaut. A new report says the festival “generated $315 million in economic activity for Austin in 2014,” according to the Austin Business Journal. That’s “an increase of $97 million over 2013” and about a 44 percent jump in revenue. However, the Music Times, a debbie downer, notes that the figure doesn’t compare to, say, the Electric Daisy festival in Las Vega, which brought in $322 million in a single weekend. Also, “Don’t expect a similar rise next year but numbers in the range of $315 million should happen again.” While SXSW is doing gangbusters, some popular Austin moneymakers aren’t doing so hot. Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong “is reporting a sharp drop in donations and revenue,” according to the AP. The organization’s “2013 donations dipped 34 percent, from nearly $23 million to $15 million” and “donations have fallen 63 percent from $41 million in 2009.” And why-oh-why is the charity having problems? “Without specifically referring to Armstrong, Livestrong blamed the financial downturn on fallout from ‘revelations and disclosures’ made in January 2013.”
Armed And Registered — Voter-related politics in Texas is serious business. A trial pitting the state against the Department of Justice in regards to the newest vote ID law is one thing. Targeted raids is something else entirely. “Democratic congressmen from Texas have asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate a raid by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office that targeted a nonprofit voter registration group,” according to the Dallas Morning News. The non-profit, Houston Votes, “was accused of election fraud. The probe was closed one year later, with no charges filed.” The raid, however, had an effect. Its funding dried up and “Its efforts to register more low-income voters in the state’s most populous county, Harris, ended. The group’s records and office equipment were destroyed under a court order obtained by Abbott’s office last year.” For his part, Abbott says the group’s leader pretty much admitted to fraud and “has defended his office’s investigation, noting that Houston Votes had fired more than 10 people for ‘either falsifying or inappropriately duplicating registration forms.'”
Sad Highway — Share the road has a different meaning in Texas. “As recently as 2005, Texas was one of 10 ‘donor’ states that sent Washington more gas and diesel tax revenue than the federal Highway Trust Fund returned,” reports the DMN. “Now, just four states fall into that category. In fiscal 2012, the most recent year for which data was available, Texas received 89 cents for each dollar of revenue,” which is “the poorest standing” among our fifty friends. Getting short-changed on federal funding has long been a problem for Texas since it’s got so much highway in it. Any solution, however, is as likely as deregulating the speed limit. “Still, Texas took in the second-highest amount from the federal government at $3.1 billion. Alaska received $565 million. State officials say temporary funding from Congress is problematic, particularly as the nation’s highways age.”