SPORTS: The state of the Longorns. From Kirk Bohls’ column in the Statesman: "Steve Patterson has a vision for Longhorns athletics. A clear-cut, very defined vision for what lies ahead for a Texas athletic program that has struggled nationally on the playing fields, courts and diamonds to keep up with its runaway success off the field in the areas of television networking, fundraising, merchandising and potential sponsors. In short, marry money with titles. … Patterson fleshed out his mission statement for the coming years during a recent visit in his office where few things hung on the wall and welcome-to-Austin bags sat in a corner. It’s very obvious he will make his legacy on expansion in terms of marketing, exposure, branding and — he hopes — winning. He has already carved out his niche by hiring the first African-American coach in a major sport in the school’s history by luring 53-year-old Charlie Strong to Austin." http://shar.es/UVrMy(Amazingly detailed analysis and surprising goals.)

MUSIC: What’s up with the Black and White Years? From Deborah Sengupta Stith’s column in the Statesman: "It’s been more than three years since popular Austin art rock act the Black & White Years released an album, but singer and songwriter Scott Butler wants you to know that the band never stopped working. "It’s good to be able to release some music and be like, ‘Guys I haven’t quit. I’m not lazy,’" he said Sunday, two days after the band’s successful release party for their new album "Strange Figurines" at the Parish on Friday night. According to guitarist Landon Thompson, who oversaw the booking, the show was just 30 people shy of a sellout, not too shabby considering the doors opened less than 24 hours after an ice storm essentially shut the whole city down. It was particularly heartening as the band openly credits their success to the local music scene that supports them." http://shar.es/UV2SV (Charged to hear they are back at it.)

LAW: Video, documents raise questions in Tasering case. From Tony Plohetski’s story in the Statesman: "A grainy but dramatic security video raises new questions about the actions of a Bastrop County deputy sheriff who used his Taser on a high school student, resulting in brain damage to the 17-year-old, and casts doubt on official statements about what happened that day last fall. In the Nov. 20, 2013, video, Noe Niño De Rivera doesn’t appear to be displaying any aggressive physical behavior toward two deputies at Cedar Creek High School and might have been backing away when one of the two deputies fired his Taser, causing Rivera to fall backward and hit his head on the hallway floor." http://shar.es/UVqS3(Strong investigative report.)

TEXAS: How Marshall’s mayor turned the town vegan. From Robyn Ross’ story in Texas Monthly: "The side of Vicki VanDeCarr’s tote bag reads, "Only kale can save us now." In Marshall, a growing number of residents believe that slogan is not far from the truth. Barbecue and chicken-fried steak are a way of life in this corner of East Texas; so are obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. But because of the mayor, Marshall is becoming known as a stop on the national vegan speaking circuit and a small city where people who eschew animal products can order in restaurants. VanDeCarr, 52, came to Marshall from nearby Beckville last weekend for the New Year, New You Health Fest, which promotes a vegan diet. In its third year, the event attracted more than four hundred people from seventeen states and three countries. The agenda included exercise classes, cooking demonstrations and lectures by vegan celebrities like the runner Scott Jurek and the cooking instructor and author Colleen Patrick-Goudreau." http://bit.ly/1b4O1b0(Wow. Just wow. Marshall?)

USA: Mastering the art of serving the rich. From Austinite John P. Davidson’s cover story in Harper’s: "tranded between parking lots in downtown Denver two blocks from the state capitol, the Starkey International Institute is both a relic of the past and a portal into the alternate reality of our new Gilded Age. Redbrick with white trim, the mansion that houses the institute was built by a wealthy family in the Georgian style prevalent during the turn of the twentieth century. Mary Louise Starkey — who styles herself the "First Lady of Service" — opened the institute’s doors in 1981, just before the heady free-market reforms of Ronald Reagan’s first term. Now, after a generation’s worth of tax cuts, deregulation, and union-busting that have spawned a new class of the super-rich, the Starkey Institute (inevitably described as the "Harvard of private-service schools") claims to turn away many applicants from what the media has taken to calling its "butler boot camp."" http://bit.ly/1fwMiuK(Masterful long-form magazine story.)

NOTE: This Out & About post was published initially in an incomplete form. Gotta remember to change the time stamp.)