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The State of Texas: September 24, 2014

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Gif of the day

Height is no obstacle for Jose Altuve. During Monday’s game, the Astros five-foot-six second baseman added a little hop to his swing in order to hit a fastball that was nowhere near the strike zone. Though his judgment call might be questionable, his big-man skills are not. He came into the game as baseball’s leading hitter. This one should count as two hits:

Texas By The Numbers

Green Parties — Amount Wendy Davis has spent on TV advertising thus far: $4.8 million. Greg Abbott: $4.2 million. Total estimated amount spent on television advertising by Texas politicians during the same time in the 2010: $41 million. Current estimated figure: $38.6 million. Rank among all states: second. Highest spending state: Pennsylvania.

City Of Less Hate — Percentage drop in Dallas’s murder rate from last year: 26.73 percent. Burglary: 34.86 percent. Theft: 15.4 percent. Percentage increase in sexual assault from last year: 22.41 percent. Aggravated assault: 4.47 percent.

Texas Flood — Level of Lubbock’s Lake JB Thomas before recent storms from Hurricane Odile flooded West Texas: 0.9 percent full. After: 41.6 percent. Last time it held so much water: 1973. Level at Lake Alan Henry before: 56.6 percent full. After: 76 percent.

Daily Roundup

Misfire — Looks like that (poorly thought out) plan to allow alcohol sales at gun shows has been holstered. “After [officials were] inundated for weeks with negative feedback from Texans who believe guns and alcohol don’t mix,” reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. TABC has officially withdrawn the proposal, with the very diplomatic position that “The agency feels that this issue involves policy issues that are best left to the legislature. … We are hoping if it comes up again that it will be addressed by the legislature.” The proposed rule came from the Dallas Safari Club (yes, the same one that auctioned a black rhino hunt), and representatives for the club blame unclear, poorly-worded language for the proposal’s downfall, which apparently attracted some strange bedfellows. Even the open-carry gun rights group, Texas Carry, was against it. Partly because it believes the TABC should not regulate firearms and, more importantly, “[the gun show is] a fun family event.”

If Only You Sued — Patti LaBelle and her money are leaving the state. A federal jury ruled Tuesday that the R&B singer isn’t liable for the injuries a military cadet suffered after “a clash” with her entourage at the Houston airport in 2011, according to the Chronicle. During the scuffle, the cadet fell backwards and hit his head, suffering “a traumatic brain injury, which left him with permanent damage and led to him not being able to finish his final semester of classes and graduate.” LaBelle’s team, however, contended that the cadet had been drinking like a true college-aged cadet (apparently a bottle of Jack Daniels). The most difficult part for the cadet’s lawyer had to have been trying to convince the jurors that the “aggressors” included LaBelle’s hairdresser. It looks to be the end of a very long journey. The case has been making news for several years now, with some of the best action happening last year during the trial for LaBelle’s bodyguard. “Things got a bit tense in the courtroom when LaBelle kept addressing the prosecutor as dear. Assistant District Attorney Kaylynn Williford asked LaBelle to refer to her as Ms. Williford. LaBelle shot back, ‘whatever.'”

Animal House — The Phi Delta Theta house at Texas Tech is under investigation by the university after “inappropriate images” were displayed at a party over the weekend, according to the Huffington Post. Some of those images and items are just juvenile (like the “vagina sprinkler” that  “appears to be a cardboard cutout that sprayed water on the partiers.”) Others are not funny in the slightest, specifically signs that read “No Means Yes, Yes Means [sodomy].” The “slogan” caused controversy in 2011 at a frat in Yale. The only truly laughable aspect of this whole situation is Phi Delta Theta’s official statement: “Phi Delta Theta has zero-tolerance for any behavior that promotes misogyny or promotes a sexually hostile environment,” said the national office. “This action directly contradicts the values of Phi Delta Theta.” Oddly enough, the controversy started after the photos were found on the popular Total Frat Move website, itself founded by a then-Texas State frat bro.

Lived-Out — The CEO of Livestrong is leaving the charity, and no, that’s not Lance Armstrong. “[Doug Ulman is] leaving after 14 years, a period in which the small local charity grew into a $500 million global brand before it was rocked by founder Lance Armstrong’s confession that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career,” reports the Dallas Morning News. Apparently, “Ulman and Livestrong board chairman Jeff Garvey said Ulman leaves on good terms despite Livestrong’s recent struggles.” But it’s not like Ulman is packing up for a different chairty sport. Oddly enough, Ulman will leave “in January to become president and chief executive officer of Pelotonia, a Columbus, Ohio, charity bike ride that has raised more than $61 million for cancer research in its first five years.”

Clickity Bits

Dallas Fed’s Richard Fisher to retire in 2015

Despite Friction, EPA and Texas Have a Love That Remains Underground

More Personal Details of Texas White House Intruder Emerge

Good Boy: El Nino’s Set to Help Wash the Drought Away

Clear Headed: What It’s Like to Walk Away From a Football Career After Concussions

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