Video of the Day
Houston has Beyoncé, but Dallas raised a different type of Texas music queen. St. Vincent now has her own mini-documentary that focuses on her love of her home state.
Texas by the Numbers
More With Less — Number of Texas barrels of oil produced in July: 111.2 million. Increase from July 2014: 14.5 million. Number of active drills: 369. Last year: 892.
Top of the Class — Number of Texas universities ranked in top 200 worldwide: 9. UT-Austin’s rank: 30. Score out of 100: 62.7. Rice University’s rank: 120. Score: 50.94. Texas A&M’s rank: 102. UT-Dallas’s rank: 139. University of Houston’s rank: 184.
Full Steam Ahead — Will Texas ever get its bullet train between Dallas and Houston? The Texas Tribune shakes the magic eight ball and the answer seems to be “ask again.” The private company in charge of the dream, Texas Central, has been working on the effort for the past three years, calling it “the country’s most financially viable prospect for a profitable high-speed rail line,” and big city officials are on board. Naturally, it’s the smaller communities—the ones that would be skipped over as there are only three stops on the line—that are protesting the project. Texas Central says its toughest obstacle now is getting Texans on board with the project, with the president of the private company saying, “I think my biggest challenge is conveying an abstract idea to Texans.” That’s not at all patronizing! Particularly since it’s clear one of the more immediate challenges may be getting the $12 billion needed in funding, an amount the company insists it will procure all on its own (it has currently raised about $75 million). Another obstacle on the track? Red tape. Darn those pesky “federal safety regulations at odds with a Japanese-designed bullet train traveling 205 mph, faster than any other train in the country”! Regardless, Texas Central is hopeful that it will get approval for its route this fall, promising to use eminent domain only as a last resort. All we need now is a little, you know, leadership from our leaders, who so far have steered clear of the issue. As the story makes clear, though, “transportation advocates around the country are closely watching Texas Central to see if it can overcome” its multi-pronged challenges.
Coached? — More details have emerged in the referee hit at Friday’s game between John Jay High School and Marble Falls. The San Antonio Express-News reported Tuesday that “Jay football assistant Mack Breed has been placed on paid administrative leave” after officials with Northside ISD discovered that “Breed allegedly told players ‘that guy needs to pay for cheating us.'” The fate of the students is still up in the air, with the Washington Post reporting that “according to the school district, assault consequences range from placement at a discipline alternative setting up to expulsion from NISD and assignment to the Juvenile Justice school that is run by Bexar County.” The students will go through a disciplinary hearing and “the incident will be treated as an assault on a school official,” writes the Associated Press. Those players are singing a slightly different tuned explanation as to why they seemingly targeted the referee, telling officials that the ref had directed racial slurs at them.
Educated Guess — The general pattern seems to be that if you stand to make a lot of money from the fracking boom, chances are you’re going to object to studies suggesting that fracking isn’t so great. Such it is with the University of Texas, which announced that “a report about the environmental impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas on University of Texas System lands is one-sided and of questionable scientific validity,” according to the Austin American-Statesman. The declaration is a bit confusing, because UT System’s CEO of the university lands said that, regardless of their feelings, “system officials would carefully consider the recommendations in the report by an environmental group and a think tank.” He “stopped short of asserting that [the report] contained factual errors—but with the caveat that he wasn’t saying it lacked errors, either.” Which one is it, man?! “The report—by the Austin-based Environment Texas Research and Policy Center and the Frontier Group, based in Santa Barbara, Calif.—said the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, boom on the UT System’s vast West Texas lands has polluted soil, groundwater and air. At least 1.6 million gallons of oil and other pollutants have spilled from wells and associated equipment since 2008, it said.”