QUOTE OF THE DAY
“There was some drama there. Sorry to have added to the drama and distracted you for a minute. I was paying enough attention there that I dumped a Dr Pepper on Senator Cruz. So, that’s what was—uh—distracting us on this side of the dais.”
—U.S. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, during a gathering of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Sasse apparently spilled his drink on Cruz, prompting some, uh, strange Twitter activity between the two senators.
A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that the Trump administration can’t prevent an undocumented teen in federal custody in Texas from getting an abortion, according to the Washington Post. The ruling comes after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of the seventeen-year-old, who was assigned to a shelter in Brownsville after she was caught by immigration authorities. According to the Texas Tribune, the teenager’s attorneys allege that the shelter and the Office of Refugee Resettlement blocked her from attending pre-abortion medical appointments, so she had to go to a crisis pregnancy center instead, where she was advised against getting an abortion and given unnecessary sonograms without her consent. Attorneys for the Justice Department argued that the undocumented teen didn’t have the same constitutional rights—including access to abortion services—as a U.S. citizen, an argument that District Judge Tanya Chutkan clearly wasn’t buying. Chutkan said during a hearing that the government was basically offering the teenager only two choices: voluntarily return to the nation she fled to have an abortion, or carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. “I am astounded by that position,” Chutkan said. She ruled that the feds must transport or allow the girl to be transported to her abortion appointments “promptly and without delay.” The teen is expected to attend a mandatory abortion counseling appointment on Thursday and have the abortion on Friday or Saturday. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is taking the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, asking the court to stay Chutkan’s order by 9 p.m. Thursday.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Leading the Pack
Austin appears to be the frontrunner to land Amazon’s new headquarters, at least according to one recent analysis. The financial-services division of Moody’s Analytics looked at 65 potential locations for Amazon’s new “HQ2” project, and Austin is at the top of the list, according to Business Insider. Moody’s measured a number of factors on Amazon’s wish list, including business environment (economic growth, the city’s history of corporate tax incentives, and the region’s credit ratings), a skilled workforce, costs (pertaining to real estate, taxes, energy prices, and labor), quality of life, and transportation. “Austin has a much lower cost of living than places such as Silicon Valley,” Moody’s analysts wrote. “Even though house prices have been rising and are high for Texas or the South, they are well below those in California or the Northeast. Anecdotally the quality of life is high, and many want to live in the ‘Silicon Hills.’ Further, being in Texas, Austin resides in a business-friendly state that seeks to attract and keep companies. Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods, which is headquartered in Austin, is another factor in the metro area’s favor.”
The NFL announced on Wednesday that Dallas’s AT&T Stadium will host the 2018 NFL Draft. There’s no surprise here, as the Big D and the Dallas Cowboys were long considered a heavy favorite to land the NFL’s premier offseason event. Dallas’ suitability to host the draft was further solidified after the Texas Legislature failed to pass a bathroom bill, which had reportedly threatened the city’s viability for the event. But, as the Dallas Morning News notes, the host franchise has had a rocky few months, marred by controversies surrounding national anthem protests and a legal challenge to the NFL’s six-game suspension for star running back Ezekiel Elliott amid domestic violence allegations. The three-day event will be in late April, and should inject around $100 million into the North Texas economy. It’s the first time in league history that the draft will be held at an NFL stadium.
On the Ropes
Welp, the Houston Astros are now one game away from elimination in the MLB playoffs. After winning the first two games of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees, the Astros lost the next three games in New York. Wednesday’s loss was particularly rough, a 5-0 shutout in which they were thoroughly beaten by the Yanks. Despite deploying ace Dallas Keuchel, who has dominated the Yankees and pitched incredibly in the playoffs up to this point, the Astros still couldn’t stymie New York’s bats, as Keuchel yielded four runs and seven hits in four and two-thirds innings. And the MLB’s best offense simply didn’t show up. The Astros were shut out for the first time in the playoffs since the final game of the 2005 World Series, according to the Houston Chronicle. They only had four hits on Wednesday, after managing just three hits during Tuesday’s game. The team went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position in the 5-0 loss, and they’re batting just .147 in the ALCS. They’ll try to turn things around during game six in Houston on Friday.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
Life on a Texas exotic game ranch The New York Times
An energy company in Irving landed a contract to restore power in Puerto Rico Dallas Morning News
Reported rapes at Texas A&M have quadrupled since 2014 KBTX
Ted Cruz took on Bernie Sanders in a tax debate Wednesday night Texas Tribune
A mother and her five young children were killed in a house fire near Silsbee Beaumont Enterprise