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Frustrated Texans cope with humor as #TexasFreeze trends before winter storm

(Evil Mopac/Twitter)

Texans have been here before: subfreezing weather is ahead, and many are worried that the power grid will once again crumble under the weight of a decidedly un-Texan freeze that until last year, had been largely foreign to the Lone Star State.

Taking a break from the panic and PTSD from last year's Winter Storm Uri, which left millions without power and thousands in Austin without water for days in February 2021, many Texans are taking to Twitter to vent their frustrations—and poke fun at Texas leadership.

Dominating the #TexasFreeze hashtag on Twitter, which is pumping out 100+ new Tweets an hour, are jokes about Sen. Ted Cruz. Over 200 Texans died during the winter freeze, including 28 in Travis County, so many Texans weren't pleased to find Cruz and his family had booked a trip to balmy Cancun, Mexico during the February 2021 freeze.

Even Cruz himself got in on the joke, merging a Cancun reference with a not-so-well-received tweet on Wednesday morning.

Others are throwing fewer punches with their pop-culture quips about the upcoming freeze. Topics including "PTSD" and "ERCOT," referencing the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which is in charge of the state electric grid, are trending in Texas.

Popular Austin accounts including Evil Mopac have put in their two cents on the upcoming storm.

Receiving even more hate than Cruz on social media is Gov. Greg Abbott, who has been accused of failing to properly reform power grid issues in the wake of the 2021 storm. Abbott, who said in November he could "guarantee the lights won't go out," said in a Monday press conference that he was confident in the state's grid but that "no one can guarantee that there won’t be a load shed event."

While jokes have been well-received among stressed-out Texans, some took to the trends to remind users, especially out-of-state residents, that the Feb 2021 winter storm was a devastating disaster that took lives, revealed glaring errors in Texas' power grid and gave many Texans permanent fear of a repeat event.


With deposition and trial looming, Elon Musk has offered $44B for Twitter, again

Elon Musk has proposed once again to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share.

The news that Musk is offering to carry on with the $44 billion buyout was first reported by Bloomberg. Now, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows Musk made the proposal in a letter to the tech giant on Monday.

The New York Stock Exchange temporarily halted trading in Twitter stock twice Tuesday, first because of a big price move and the second time for a news event, presumably the announcement of Musk's renewed offer.

While the per share offer price on this latest proposal remains the same as the original offer, it’s unclear if Musk has made other term changes or if Twitter would reject it. According to other reports, a deal could be reached this week.

The stock closed at $52.00/share Tuesday, indicating market uncertainty around the $54.20 offer.

After Musk informed Twitter of plans to terminate the original agreement in July, Twitter sued. A trial has been expected in Delaware Chancery Court on Oct. 17.

With the proposition of a buyout on the table again, it revives the question of whether Musk might move Twitter from San Francisco to Central Texas.

He’s done so with some of his other companies. Tesla’s headquarters in southeast Travis County had its grand opening earlier this year and tunneling business The Boring Company moved to Pflugerville. At least two other Musk companies, SpaceX and Neuralink, have a Central Texas presence without being headquartered here.

Technology journalist Nilay Patel this afternoon voiced concerns that owning Twitter and Tesla together could be problematic for Musk, as his Tesla manufacturing facilities in Germany and China are both in countries that have disputes with Twitter over content moderation and censorship.

Telsa shares fell after the Twitter news became public, before rallying to close up, at $249.44.

Austin rents nearly double in a year and are now in the top 5 nationwide

While searching for a place to live, Austin renters will face monthly rates of nearly $3,000, a recent guide from rental marketplace Dwellsy shows.

The median rent in August this year was $2,930, a more than 86% increase since August 2021. That’s $820 more than the nationwide median asking rent in August and puts Austin just below the Bay Area, Boston and New York for large cities with the most expensive asking rent.

“Within this group, Austin, TX stands out for the highest increases in asking rent, which has nearly doubled since this time last year,” the study notes.

Outside of those large cities, however, others are seeing even higher rent spikes. Metro areas that ranked above Austin in one-year increases include those like Kansas City, MO with a 112% change in rent since last August and Tucson, AZ with a 124% change.

The data reflects large apartment communities, single-family homes and 2-6 unit buildings.