The State of Texas: September 23, 2014
Inspiration of the Day
Football season provides heaps of picture-perfect moments, but it also offers the occasional moment of true uplift, hope, and Internet memes. Case in point is the wonderfully named Apollos Hester, an East View high school wide receiver whose post-game speech is a mix of Rudy and TED talk:
The cadet who protected A&M’s mascot, Reveille, with an amazing block during Saturday’s game will get his just acknowledgement. For his efforts, Ryan Krieder will receive his “senior boots,” which “cost over $1,000,” grata, from none other than “Commandant of Texas A&M’s Corps of Cadets, Brigadier General Joe E. Ramirez” himself. More importantly, he’ll receive the thanks of a grateful Aggie nation.
One Small Shove Scoop For Man … — Even the Associated Press—so reliable for its dry delivery—couldn’t help but be a bit poetic when discussing the groundbreaking of the SpaceX facility in Brownsville: “With waves from the Gulf of Mexico crashing just over the dunes and crabs skittering around a tent erected for the groundbreaking,” reports AP, “[SpaceX owner Elon] Musk said he expects SpaceX to invest $100 million in the world’s first commercial orbital spaceport during the next three to four years.” With the future so bright, it seems everyone was pretty up front about their desire goals. “The commercial satellite launch revenue Musk anticipates generating at the Boca Chica Beach site east of Brownsville will fuel California-based SpaceX’s real objective. … ‘To take humanity to Mars and establish a base on Mars. So it could very well be that the first person that departs for another planet will depart from this location.'” Not one to forget his place in Texas history, Governor Rick Perry, also in attendance, reminded everyone, “The future of South Texas takes off right behind me.”
Not a McCrum of Comfort — Speaking of Perry, he may be feeling the pressure like a fifth-year senior in his supposedly final semester. While Perry “has assembled a defense team of nationally renowned attorneys,” according to the Austin American Statesman, it seems the special prosecutor overseeing the case is now filling out his bench with an all-star player of his own. “[Michael] McCrum filed a motion in Travis County State District Court about why he deems an additional attorney necessary to his team.” If the new-ish lawyer isn’t purely for weird political grooming purposes, then “David Gonzalez, a Stanford University law school graduate” and “2008 finalist for the American Bar Association’s Outstanding Young Lawyer Award” must be really good. New blood or not, McCrum is a no soft-summer breeze. Perry has asked to be excused from an October 13 pretrial hearing because he plans to be in Europe. Unfortunately, special prosecutor McCrum is treating this case as if it’s no special thing, i.e. that accused of a felony crime not be allowed to leave the country. Or, in the words of Perry’s lawyers, “Mr. McCrum stated that he believes that Gov. Perry should be required to appear on Oct. 13, 2014, and on each and every subsequent hearing.” Not that any decision really matters. “If the judge rules that Perry must be there [for the hearing], the lawyers said they would ask for a postponement of the hearing until the next week, when Mr. Perry returns from Europe.”
Scratch and Sniffle — After losing a dollar or so in scratch-off lotto tickets, some people just shrug it off and go about their day. Others get a lawyer. “The Texas Lottery Commission is facing accusations of misleading its players after dozens of scratch-off game players who thought they had won were told they were losers,” reports the Houston Chronicle. Long story short:”Scratchers believed that revealing either [of the scratch wins] would result in a winning prize. However, Texas Lottery Commission says the top prize would only result if both conditions were met. Players who had a ‘money bag’ but did not match three in a row above, were considered losing ticket-holders.” Frustrating as the loss is, it’s pretty clear there’s not much of a case beyond the state lotto is bad at explaining things. Even the group’s attorney tacitly admitted as much when he said “the Lottery Commission must step in before its reputation is seriously damaged” and “that’s not good PR and quite frankly, it’s not what we want our from our Lottery Commission.” As for getting any recompense because of the poorly written rules, the group of players would probably have better luck scratching off another card. “As of Monday, the Fun 5’s card is still in circulation at Texas Lottery retailers. The Texas Lottery Commission says it has no plans to remove it from circulation.”
The City of (Book) Hate — Just in time for national Banned Book Week, Dallas is actually banning books. “[Highland Park] school district temporarily removed seven books from its approved book list for high school students after parents complained at a school board meeting about sex scenes and references to rape, abuse and abortion,” according to the Dallas Morning News. Because high school kids will later be exposed to wild ideas (like reading) later in life when they’re able to actually commit such abuses, some parents didn’t want their kids to “feel uncomfortable” reading books like Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha or Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon (apparently, the parents already know how comfortable their children are with Kim Kardasian and/or the Syrian conflict). “The suspended books will not be taught in English classes, pending review by a committee of teachers, parents and students. The books are still available in the school’s library.” Lest anyone think the promotion of Banned Book Week has all been for naught, a reading liberation league has sprung up. Shortly after the books were banned, two parents organized “a meeting with about forty parents and students Sunday night. The group will launch an email campaign to object to the books’ suspension and show support for high school English teachers.” For the book haters out there, this conflict is kind of like the last battle scene in the final Harry Potter film (fyi: it was based on a book).
Cocaine Is a Hell of a Vote — The bumps keep on coming for the McAllen-area officials who tried to trade cocaine for votes. A Donna man was charged with conspiracy and voter fraud for attempting to trade cocaine for votes during school board elections in 2012, according to McAllen’s The Monitor. In the old days, it used to be a beer for a vote. Now, apparently, it’s “either a ‘dime bag’ of cocaine or $10 per vote,” according to authorities. Unlike cocaine, the controversy has actually stayed around for a little while. “Assistant U.S. Attorney James Leo, who is prosecuting the case, said [Francisco] Garcia worked for the same school board candidates as a Donna women arrested earlier this year. Guadalupe Escamilla, of Weslaco, and Donna residents Rebecca Gonzalez and Diana Castañeda pleaded guilty earlier this year to vote buying in the 2012 Donna school board election. The women told investigators they bought votes with cash, beer and cigarettes.”