In case you were lucky enough to miss it (or you happened to revel in it), UT lost its game against California by one, single, point. So sure were they of the extra point that would’ve tied that game, not even players (or Coach Charlie Strong) saw the missed field goal. And that gave us this clip, which might represent the entirety of the Longhorn football program for the past couple of years in four seconds:
Bush, Whacked — Poor George P. Bush. First were the (contested) allegations that he’s been missing a lot of work to help his dear ol’ dad run for president. But it seems that he’s taking hits even when he is at work. Under Bush’s reign, after his promise to tighten up the General Land Office, “at least 111 state workers have been fired, retired or have quit the Texas General Land Office—about 17 percent of the agency’s workforce,” writes the Austin American-Statesman. The commissioner would call this (and indeed, has called it) being fiscally conservative and/or responsible. Unfortunately, “the size of the exodus and the tenor with which it was announced has raised questions.” And by “questions,” the Statesman means public criticism from the former commissioner. Speaking to the paper, Jerry Patterson called the effort a “purge of the best agency in Texas government and a purge of people who have done wonderful things.” But it seems like a lose-lose situation for Bush, who is taking criticism for even those he hasn’t purged. The Associated Press reports that many of the “top staffers at the Texas General Land Office [who] routinely collected cash bonuses worth tens of thousands of dollars despite earning annual salaries exceeding $100,000 under [Patterson]” remain there after the agency’s trimming. Bonuses in the Texas government aren’t uncommon, notes the AP, but they are “often small pay bumps for employees who aren’t otherwise highly compensated.” It doesn’t help that when he began his effort in June, Bush “suggested the agency was hampered by entitled workers,” according to the Statesman.
No Coach Taylor — For the past few weeks, Texas high school football has been marked by a sad and twisted “whodunit”: did the two San Antonio players who sucker-tackled the ref do it on their own volition, or were they instructed to do so? On Friday, we got some partial version of an answer. In an appearance on Good Morning America, the two John Jay High School players responsible said a coach instructed them to hit the referee “because of missed calls that had hurt the team,” writes the Associated Press. They also “repeated earlier claims that the ref had used racial slurs” directed at a black player. During the interview, the two suspended athletes also offered their apologies. Although the former players didn’t name the coach, the school has obviously zeroed in on assistant coach Mack Breed, who has been on paid suspended leave after the players previously stated that Breed “made comments that could have led the students to make improper contact,” according to the statement from the University Interscholastic League earlier this month. In other words, this whole thing still seems like it needs an official review.
Water, Water, Everywhere? — Sure, we’re kinda out of our historic drought, but that probably won’t last forever (or never—sorry, North Texas). With that in mind, the El Paso Times has an interesting and important look at a proposed solution to keep a widespread water shortage at bay. “The state’s largest environmental group is voicing strong opposition to a proposed study of a state water grid—a network that would distribute water across the vast and often dry expanses of the Lone Star State,” according to the piece. “The study of the grid was proposed by Texas state Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, and state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock. An initiative to pass a bill that would have mandated it failed during the legislative session that ended June 1, but the lawmakers are said to be pressing forward with the idea in the interim preceding the 2017 session.” The Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, however, says what seems to be fairly obvious (if sorta impossible): that Texas needs to learn how to better manage, i.e., conserve, its water rather than leaning on an expensive solution with no concrete facts as to how effective it would be. The water resources chairman of the Sierra Club’s local chapter, Ken Kramer, says the grid idea “puts the cart before the horse; it contemplates a massive infrastructure project before taking more obvious steps.” It not only is cost prohibitive, say opponents, but also ends up tearing up the land as well. “If we’re going to do a study, we need a comprehensive study of how efficient we can become,” said Kramer. Some other ideas to mitigate our impending doom? “Incentivize conservation technologies,” or treat water like commodities on the stock market.
Disabling Cuts — Is there a worse scene for a politician than a packed room full of angry and scared parents and their disabled children? “At a social services building in North Austin, people packed a hearing room and an overflow room” Friday, to object to budget cuts to the state’s Medicaid therapy reimbursements, writes the Dallas Morning News. As the Texas Tribune explained, the cuts, scheduled to go into effect October 1, “amount to roughly $350 million over two years. The budget nixes $100 million in state dollars. When the state cuts its Medicaid funds, it loses federal matching dollars as well.” At the hearing, less-than-wealthy parents “called the cuts a menace to their children, many of whom have birth defects, genetic disorders or swallowing problems caused by premature birth,” and they certainly had some difficult stories to tell. Georgetown senator Charles Schwertner, who wrote the budget line, was unmoved, saying that “the therapy industry is hyping the potential harm,” according to the Morning News. It sounds pretty heartless, considering that disabled children don’t deserve to be on a political firing line. That said, the Texas Tribune does write that “representatives for home health companies . . . have launched an aggressive public relations campaign,” and the Morning News noted that “many of the families and employees protesting rode to Austin on buses paid for by home health companies.”