Life and Death and the Case of Marlise Muñoz

(Erick Muñoz, husband of Marlise Munoz, is escorted out of court by his attorney Heather L. King, right, Friday, January 24, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo via AP.)  

At 11:30 a.m. yesterday morning, doctors at John Peter Smith Hospital ended life support for Marlise Muñoz, a pregnant wife and mother who had collapsed at her home in Haltom City on the night of November 26 while making a bottle for her fifteen-month-old son, Mateo. The details of this case are heartbreaking. Marlise, who was fourteen weeks pregnant at the time, appeared to be in good health but was apparently stricken by a pulmonary embolism. Her husband, Erick, discovered her on the floor of their kitchen perhaps an hour or so later. Though she was still alive, she had stopped breathing for an unknown period of time, which meant that her unborn baby wasn’t receiving oxygen either. And that’s when a terrible private tragedy for the Muñoz family began to play out in a very public way.

Primary Lessons

At long last 2014 has arrived, and with it comes the opportunity that all politicians long for: the chance to pursue higher office. For fourteen years, Rick Perry has stood in the way of every wannabe statewide official, and now the mad scramble to climb the political ladder is on as the March primary approaches.

Below the Surface

When Governor Rick Perry signed a landmark water-funding bill last May, he looked and sounded like a confident leader. “This is making history,” he said about the legislation, which would divert $2 billion of the state’s burgeoning oil-and-gas severance taxes toward low-interest loans for cities and water utilities.

A "Crisis" at Texas A&M

That's how a faculty group at Texas A&M described the situation on Thursday, and I suppose that by now I should never be surprised about the lengths to which Rick Perry will go to get what he wants. But his latest escapade -- attempting to install a longtime running buddy as interim president of Texas A&M -- is over the top even by Perry standards.

Rick Perry, Mike Toomey, and the Texas Enterprise Fund

UPDATE: A source familiar with this story suggested to me that the application for the grant has been withdrawn. I called the Governor's Office for comment, but was told it does not discuss TEF grants.

ORIGINAL POST: This is almost unbelievable. Rick Perry is going to give a Texas Enterprise Fund grant to a firm headed by, of all people, Mike Toomey, the governor's closest political ally. It is so brazen. Perry has given state tax dollars to his pals before, but Toomey? At least Perry is consistent. He always does what he wants to do and doesn't care how it looks. Here are the details:

AAA Auto Club--which is seeking a taxpayer handout from Perry--is headed by a Perry pal and patron...whose lobby firm is headed by Perry's former chief of staff and ex-roommate. [That would be Mike Toomey].

The Irrelevant Governor

Public Policy Polling's most recent survey shows that Rick Perry has virtually no support for president among Texans. Indeed, he is so poorly regarded that he would lose a head-to-head matchup with Hillary Clinton.

The days when Perry was actually relevant are long gone. No one pays any attention to him. His only interest seems to be his war on the University of Texas, plus barnstorming around the country on the taxpayers' dime. He doesn't even seem to care about badmouthing other states any more. What is the last thing he has done that mattered? He spoke up for Proposition 6, but the public official who drove that train was Joe Straus, not Perry.

Perry and Impeachment

Earlier this week, Rick Perry dismissed the ongoing impeachment hearings against UT Board of Regent Wallace Hall as "extraordinary political theater." But let us not forget how all this really started: Perry attempted to take control of the Board of Regents through his appointees. I believe the ascendancy of Paul Foster to the chairmanship of the UT Board of Regents should bring to a close a disgraceful chapter in the history of the university. Upon becoming chairman, Foster immediately moved to change the policy that allowed Hall to sift through untold volumes of documents in search of information that might be damaging to UT President Bill Powers. In short, Perry's attack on UT is over, and he has lost. But so has the university. Perry's war has cost the university money and prestige.

I think all of that leads to this question: Has Rick Perry meddled in the affairs of the University of Texas so deeply that he has committed impeachable offenses?


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