“Texas barbecue has no peer on earth. If you happen to be reading this in Texas, you may wonder why we need to state the obvious, but there are people who contend otherwise. In Kansas City they tout paltry slices of gray beef covered in sweet ketchup; the whole thing resembles cold cuts more than barbecue, which is why their arguments generally center on sauce rather than meat. In Memphis they grill ribs over charcoal and fret about whether to hide the product under a pool of sugary sauce or cover it with flavored dust. In the Carolinas they lift their noses and say through pursed, vinegary lips that they invented barbecue. They may have a claim there, but luckily we Texans came along to perfect it.” - Jake Silverstein, A Declaration of BBQ War
Love me some BBQ smack talk.
Craft beer legislation is on its way to the Governor. Craft breweries are popping up all over the state, and this new legislation will help them expand their reach in the market.
More info on Texas craft breweries here, here and here.
That is the question posed by Jonathan Backer of the Brennan Center. In response to the claim that big money lost in 2012 (also addressed here), Backer points to the $20 million spent by the NRA in 2012 and suggests that spending influenced the votes of Sens. Mark Begich (AK), Mark Pryor (AR) and Lindsey Graham (SC) on universal background checks. But is NRA spending really the catalyst for their votes?
Both Begich and Graham have “A” ratings from the NRA suggesting they have previously supported NRA stances on various gun legislation. Given this, why should we assume NRA spending is the reason for their vote as opposed to ideological reasons? Perhaps they are ideologically predisposed to support the NRA position.
And while Pryor has a “C” rating, other potentially vulnerable Democratic Sens. Hagan (NC), Landrieu (LA) and Rockefeller (WV) voted for cloture and have a “C” rating or lower. They also voted for the Manchin amendment. These are states where the NRA could potentially invest in spending against them in 2014. Why is the NRA a threat to Pryor but not these equally vulnerable candidates?
To assume the threat of NRA spending is the primary reason for their vote on the Manchin Amendment, we have to rule out all other possible motives, which is not reasonable when there are other alternatives, such as ideology or local political considerations.
Specifically, Twitter. I haven’t followed the #txlege on Twitter this year, and really haven’t been the worse for it. However, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Agency bill’s death lead to a Twitter brouhaha last night - involving slurs, fake accounts and general pettiness. Let this be an example of how not to engage on social media.
(h/t: Houston Chronicle)
Texas Monthly has rated the Top 50 BBQ joints in Texas, and I’ve picked out some that are close to Austin:
From this list, I have only eaten at Black’s and Kreuz, but for me, Smitty’s in Lockhart is better than either of those. And as many times as I’ve been to Fredericksburg (went just last weekend), I’ve never been to Cranky Frank’s. So, I have a new mission: eat lots of bbq this summer.
You can read the entire list here.
I came across this story the other day about New York City considering allowing green card and visa holders to vote in municipal elections. The story also noted several cities in Maryland and Massachusetts allow non-citizens to vote. Apparently this was the case many states until the 1930’s. Intrigued, I decided to read up on the issue a little more, and this paper by Jamin Raskin caught my attention. According to Raskin’s research, alien suffrage was common in the early United States and was part of the Northwest Ordinance, which was reenacted in 1789 by the First Congress. The Annals of Congress for this time show no debate on the issue in either the Senate or the House. Just some interesting history I learned this week that I thought I’d pass along.
Traffic unaffected, because it’s already horrible. This town really needs to work on its infrastructure.
The Texas Legislature is considering online voter registration legislation - SB 315 by Sen. Uresti (D-San Antonio). The bill passed the Senate on April 23rd (21-10) and is now in the House, where they have until May 26th to send it on to the Governor. If it becomes law, voters with a valid driver’s license or identification card can register online.
There are currently 18 states who have passed online registration legislation, and another 15 states are considering it - including Texas (Source). Arizona was the first state to adopt online registration in 2002, and their Secretary of State says that over 70 percent of voter registrations are completed online.
You can read more about Arizona and Washington’s online voter registration program here [pdf].