Five stories that have North Texas talking: Edward Snowden beams into SXSW; Buc-ee’s backs Dan Patrick; Greg Abbott asked to weigh in on plastic bag ban; and more.
Edward Snowden beams into SXSW. The former NSA contractor, who revealed a massive government surveillance program, spoke via satellite from Russia about privacy and security on the Internet. KERA’s Jerome Weeks reports the crowd of tech developers and entrepreneurs gave Snowden a hero’s welcome. Snowden said that government surveillance on the wider public has been largely ineffective at stopping terror plots, like the Boston marathon bombing. “We’re monitoring everybody’s communications, instead of suspects’ communications. And that lack of focus has caused us to miss leads that we should’ve had,” he told the SXSW audience. Art&Seek has the full story plus other fascinating finds from SXSW, like printing 3-D Oreo cookies.
- Wylie teen may have been murdered over romantic rivalry. More details are emerging about the killing of 17-year-old Ivan Meija by two fellow classmates. Both WFAA and the Dallas Morning News report that Meija and one of the suspects may have been involved with the same girl. The murder may have also been planned for days, with the two suspects luring him before they choked him to death. Garland police had seen the pair of teens acting suspiciously near Firewheel Town Center mall before the two admitted to burying Meija's body in a nearby wooded creek.
- Buc-ee's backs Dan Patrick. The state senator posted on his Facebook page that the owners of the iconic chain of Texas gas stations support his bid to become the state’s next lieutenant governor. Included in the post were a photo of Patrick smiling next to the store’s beaver mascot and another with Buc-ee’s founders Arch “Beaver” Alpin and Don Wasek. Patrick praises the two men in his post for their business success and says they called him to express their support after winning his primary race. He says his wife “loves the clean bathrooms” and that he’s a fan of Buc-ee’s pastrami sandwich.
- The Texas attorney general is being asked to weigh in on the legality of plastic bag bans. The Texas Tribune reports that state Rep. Dan Flynn from Canton (about 60 miles East of Dallas) has sent a letter to AG Greg Abbott asking him to look into whether plastic bag bans violate part of the Texas Health and Safety Code. Already more than half a dozen Texas cities, including Austin, have enacted bans or fees for plastic shopping bags, and the Dallas city council is set to vote on a similar ordinance this month. Councilman Dwaine Caraway told KERA's Doualy Xaykaothao he wants a city-wide ban on these shopping bags. Although the Attorney General’s opinion does not have any binding effect on ordinances already in place, it could influence lawsuits against plastic bag bans and discourage other municipalities from adopting similar laws.
- The Dallas Museum of Art has the NCAA Basketball Championship Trophy on display this week. It’s a rare chance to get close to basketball glory, particularly if you’re not one of the lucky people with a ticket to the NCAA men’s final in Arlington next month. The DMA is also hosting its own Art Madness Tournament, in which famous works from the museum go head-to-head in their own tournament bracket, with winners determined by online voting from the public.