Five stories that have North Texas talking: H-Town as microcosm of a no-majority, mixing-pot America; the second special session of the Texas lege begins, last words of condemned prisoners in Texas and more.
Texas’ biggest city has become the nation’s most diverse, according to a Rice University study. A mere 40 percent of the city’s people are non-Hispanic white. And the rest? A mix of black, Asian, and Latino with no dominant group. In fact, according to researchers, Houston’s racial and ethnic makeup is more evenly blended than that of New York or L.A.
NPR’s Elise Hu talked to Rice sociologist Michael Emerson to lead off a series about how shifting demographics in Texas could affect state politics and the country at large. He says in the past few decades, nearly 6 million people flocked to Houston - 93 percent of them were non-white. And that kind of growth is mounting in other places.
"Houston runs about 10, 15 years ahead of Texas, 30 years ahead of the U.S., in terms of ethnic diversity and immigration flows," Emerson says. "So it is fundamentally transformed in a way that all of America shall transform."
Houston’s museum and restaurant culture reflects this change. The New York Times noticed, ranking the city at #7 (after Bhutan) on its 46 Places To Go in 2013 list.
- Take Heart, Orphaned Astrodome: $194 Million Plan Could Save You: It was the first indoor sports stadium of its kind. Almost 50 years of history-making later, Houston's Astrodome was condemned as uninhabitable by the city in 2009. The Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation showed it's serious about saving the iconic structure last week with a $194 million proposal to take the abandoned stadium and turn it into a convention center. [Texas Tribune]
- Pink Shoes Were Made For Extreme Standing, Possibly Running For Governor? All eyes are on the Texas capitol as the second special session of 2013 begins today at 2 p.m. You can thank Sen. Wendy Davis for that barrage of attention, who many believe may run for governor after her bill-busting filibuster stalled her colleagues as they considered the abortion restrictions of Senate Bill 5 last week. But how many of those watching will reach into their pockets for Davis or associated groups like Battleground Texas? KUT’s Veronica Zaragovia reports on how difficult a governor's run would be for the Tarrant County native. Still, less than two days after the close of the filibuster, the @WendyDavisTexas Twitter account asked for “$10 or whatever you can today” and her camp probed for contributions on Facebook.
- Cruz Speaks – Preaches? - At First Baptist Dallas: Sen. Ted Cruz moved from the Right To Life Convention to the pulpit Sunday, imploring First Baptist Dallas goers to go beyond the “polite little golf clap." He was there to rally a defense of Christian values like the sanctity of life and traditional marriage at a special freedom service. Rev. Robert Jeffress, who leads the church, urged a crowd of 3,000 at First Baptist’s new building to pray over the abortion restrictions Texas lawmakers are considering today, according to Dallas News’ Megan Clark.
- We’ll Leave You With This: How did the 500 people put to death in Texas prisons since 1982 say goodbye? A collection of selected last words of the condemned assembled by the NY Times has some unintelligible quotes, some “thank yous” to chaplains or “I love yous” to family members. (You can read last statements of all the executed via the State Department of Criminal Justice.) The youngest of the group represented in the Times collection is a man named Napolean Beazley. He was convicted of carjacking and murdering a 63-year-old man. When the killing happened, Beazley was not yet 18. The East Texas native had the most last words to say, at 25 years old:
"There are a lot of men like me on death row — good men — who fell to the same misguided emotions, but may not have recovered as I have. Give those men a chance to do what's right. Give them a chance to undo their wrongs. A lot of them want to fix the mess they started, but don't know how. The problem is not in that people aren't willing to help them find out, but in the system telling them it won't matter anyway. No one wins tonight. No one gets closure. No one walks away victorious."