The State of Texas: September 19, 2014
Casting Call Friday
Alright, alright, alright: Looks like Richard Linklater is gearing up for the “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused that he’s talked about on and off for several years now. And guess what? You could be in it! You do, however, need to be about 18-25. “Baseball experience is a plus” as is “bigger/longer/fabulous hair.” Selfies accepted.
And It’s Off — “Historical” racing is here to stay. For now, at least. “A Tarrant County judge on Thursday declined to stop the Texas Racing Commission from installing historical racing machines,” reports the Texas Tribune, after “Rep. Matt Krause … sued in August to prevent the commission from installing machines that would allow people to bet on digital simulations of historical races.” The decision, however, is not a photo finish. The judge said “Krause did not have standing to bring the suit as a legislator” but he did “cast doubt on the legality of the machines.” The game is really not popular among certain groups of people: namely a handful of legislatures and charitable bingo groups, which filled a lawsuit Tuesday against the Texas Gaming Commission. “Opponents see historical racing terminals, which look like slot machines, as a form of gambling that must get legislative and voter approval before being implemented,” according to the Statesman, which notes, as does every other piece, that the groups really don’t like historical racing because it threatens their own business interests. Still, that hasn’t stopped their lawyers from having the chutzpah to write, “The phrase ‘historical racing’ is a euphemism for slot machines … Despite the enlightened-sounding name, a ‘historical’ race slot machine has no education or nostalgic value.”
Citizen Journalists/Criminals — Technology now allows us to manipulate the reflection of reality in ways that make a fun-house mirror seem quaint. The latest example is that of a Grand Prairie man whose arrest made news for two reasons: One, he had a standoff with police, who at attempted to pull him over in his car; and two (more importantly), he live-Whispered the whole thing. For the uninitiated, Whispering is an app that allows users to post comments and pictures. The guy was essentially live-blogging his own showdown with police. The result was a surreal, if somewhat disturbing, unfolding of events as reported by the perpetrator himself. At one point, the man posted a picture of a police officer aiming a gun in his direction with the text “F— the police no love. Real time pic.” And later, the company began Whisper-texting with the man, almost as a hostage negotiator (“that crazy,” meaning “that is crazy,” was one of their responses). The whole scene is something straight out of a post-modern, art-house movie but at least it didn’t have an ugly end. The man was taken into custody four hours after the standoff began.
Down Ranger — The NFL is embroiled in controversy, and now MLB has its own scandal. Weeks after suddenly resigning his position as the Texas Rangers manager, Ron Washington held a press conference yesterday to explain himself. “‘I was not true to my wife, after 42 years,’ Washington said as his wife, Gerry, sat nearby during the news conference,'” reports ESPN. “I broke her trust. I’m here today to own that mistake and apologize to her, and to those I disappointed, and those who have trusted in me, and I let them down.” Washington’s appearance lasted the better part of four minutes, before he walked off stage—his wife by his side—without taking any questions. He had previous troubles in 2009 after admitting to doing cocaine and had even offered to resign back then. The team also took the high-road (such as it is, in sports). “It’s hard to make any comment because it’s his personal life, but of course we’ll always support him because he was our manager for several years and he had our back in good times and bad,” said Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus. “We’ll do the same for him.”
All Quiet On The Southern Front — Midland Sheriff Gary Painter is pretty certain that ISIS is about to attack South Texas, or at the very least, has already crossed over the border from Mexico. The sheriff has been telling anybody who will listen (CNN, Fox, The Monitor, the Midland County Republican Women luncheon) that danger is imminent. One group, however, apparently disagrees with Sheriff Painter. That would be Homeland Security. “There is no credible intelligence to suggest that there is an active plot by ISIL (ISIS) to attempt to cross the southern border,” Homeland Security officials said in a written statement …,” according to the San Antonio Express-News. The disagreement over an actual or perceived threat seem to fall on party lines. During a congressional hearing last week, “Representative Jeff Duncan, Republican of South Carolina, pushed back strongly” against DHS and El Paso’s Democratic Representative Beto O’Rourke, saying “Wake Up, America,” according to the New York Times. As with most actual dangers, the real threat is likely to be out in the open, not lurking in the desert. “Counterterrorism officials say they are far more concerned that an ISIS militant will enter the United States the same way millions of people do each year: legally, on a commercial flight,” reports the NYT.