State of Texas: Sept. 30, 2013
The Dallas Morning News has an idea about the Texas Constitution that folks on both the left and right can probably agree on: burn it. The editorial suggests a complete makeover for the “bloated” document that’s “a relic of a bitter, bygone era after the Civil War and Reconstruction.” It’s a fun read, especially if you replace “Texas Constitution” with “UT Football Program.”
Texas’ First Lady, Mrs. Oops — It’s probably been an awkward few days around the Perry Family dinner table, what with the Guv recently signing off on sweeping abortion restrictions and the First Lady going around saying sweeping things about a woman’s right to choose. This weekend, at the Texas Tribune Festival—like the Aspen Ideas Fest, but less silly—Anita Perry told an audience that she thinks abortion is a woman’s right and that legislation, like the exact kind her husband lamazed through, is “really difficult for me.” As it was a big statement, her interviewer, Evan Smith, was all, like, “Ummm, whaa?” At that point, Ms. Perry kinda threw it in reverse but she kept on cruising. Though she said the law’s the law and defended one of its more controversial aspects, Mrs. Perry continously referred to abortion as a woman’s right that they should have control over, like men who want to have “some kind of procedure.” To be sure, Ms. Perry had some other great lines—referring to Texas as an entire country and making a comparison between Michelle Obama’s war on obesity with the war on women—but the gynocentric comments are sure to be given a media ultrasound in the coming weeks. So too will the law itself, which pro-choice advocates are hoping to terminate with a visit to the federal clinic. Pro-choice groups, including Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, filed a lawsuit on Friday to block the new law’s strictest measures, including stricter regulations on abortion-inducing medicine and the effective shutdown of most procedural centers. Expect Ms. Perry to be unavailable for comment. And you know what? That’s her right.
Brown is Getting Blitzed — Poor, poor Mack Brown. It seems everyone on the sidelines wants the UT football coach out of the game, and now they’ve put in another big player to help take him out. UT legend Earl Campbell targeted Brown, saying on Sunday, “Nobody likes to get fired or leave a job, but things happen . . . I’ll go on the record and say, ‘Yes, I think it’s time.’” The statements will be hard to shake, particularly since Earl Campbell is a former Heisman Trophy winner, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, and has his own life-like statue. The verbal rush comes in the wake of USC benching of Lane Kiffin, immediately following the Trojans loss to Arizona State. Now that USC is eyeing replacements, the need to find a new coach for UT has taken on all the importance of the Yankee/Ruskie space race. Campbell said he’d like to see Jerry Gray, UT alum and current defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans, in the number one spot. No one believes that’ll happen, of course, because unlike Nick Saban, there’s no grassroots website selling “Gray 2014” t-shirts. At the very least, officials could wait until Brown has made it past the airport tarmac before punting him to the curb.
Federal Courtside Antics — Jury selection begins today in the insider trading case of Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner who, we wish we could forget, also starred in the reality show Shark Tank. News reports concede that all the boring ins-and-outs of the actual case, in which the SEC has accused Cuban of dumping stocks right before they went flat, will most likely be overshadowed by the exuberant billionaire’s personality. The case is more than three years old and already Cuban has bashed the SEC, “suggesting that the insider trading case stemmed from an S.E.C. employee who questioned Mr. Cuban’s involvement in a documentary film that smeared ‘the good name of a patriot like President Bush,'” according to the New York Times. Finding people who don’t know much about Cuban is going to be difficult, especially in Dallas where the trial is being held. The Dallas Morning News says both sides are looking for an impossible mix: “[L]egal experts say the SEC will seek to identify and disqualify prospective jurors who are enamored of Cuban because he’s a self-made billionaire or the owner of the Mavericks basketball team or because of his celebrity appearances on television shows such as Shark Tank . . . By contrast, the defense will try to expose and remove those who might think Cuban is too rich or flashy.” Both sides also want jurors who are smart—but not too smart—when it comes to financial matters. Like Cuban’s antics, the trial seems to be all for show. In trading the stocks, Cuban avoided $750,000 in loses and should the taxpayer-funded SEC win after years of manpower and paperwork, the billionaire would pay about $2 million in fines. As the NYT notes, wily Cuban has “doled out about that much in fines to the National Basketball Association.”