The State Of Texas: Abortion Providers Sue Texas Over Fetal Burial Rule
Plus: Rick Perry gets the nod to lead the U.S. Energy Department, the Dallas Police Department is hemorrhaging cops, and some jerk ruins Christmas for a bunch of Texas kids.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Have fun in college.”
—Johnny Manziel to Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson when the two met on Saturday night, according to the Dallas Morning News. It’s a solid piece of advice from one Heisman trophy winner to another. But, if we may, Mr. Jackson, here’s another bit of advice that you probably won’t get from Manziel: have fun, sure, but please don’t have too much fun.
The Center for Reproductive Rights and Whole Woman’s Health filed a federal lawsuit on Monday in an attempt to block Texas’s new rules requiring fetal remains be buried or cremated, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The lawsuit alleges the rule “has no public health benefit… does nothing to improve public health or safety,” and is actually just “a pretext for restricting abortion access.” The rule has been heavily criticized by both pro-choice advocates—who say it strips access to safe abortion services by forcing women to seek out and pay for funeral or cremation services—and also groups in the medical field and funeral industry, who fear the rule will add unnecessary costs for everyone involved. The rule is set to go into effect next week, and it’s unclear if that timeline will be affected by the legal challenge. While the lawsuit comes at the eleventh hour, it certainly isn’t a surprise. The groups were reportedly mulling a lawsuit last week, and Whole Woman’s Health led the lawsuit against Texas’s omnibus abortion law, House Bill 2, which was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in a ruling earlier this year. Similar to that lawsuit, the groups are also arguing this time around that the fetal burial rule imposes “onerous, unjustified, and medically-unnecessary burdens” on women seeking safe abortion services.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Well, it looks like former Dancing With The Stars contestant (and Texas governor) Rick Perry is going to lead the U.S. Energy Department. On Monday, CBS reported President-elect Donald Trump selected Perry to be his energy secretary. Perry was long thought to be one of the top candidates for the gig, and if you’ve been following this news at all, then you already know the major point everyone has understandably been harping on: Perry once promised to dismantle the Energy Department, and it was also the government agency he blanked on during his infamous “oops” incident at a presidential debate during his first failed campaign in 2012. Given that information alone, this appointment is a little whacky. When you toss in the fact that Perry once called Trump a “cancer on conservatism” and a “barking carnival act,” plus the fact that the current energy secretary is an actual nuclear physicist and is going to replaced by a guy who willingly did this and this and deejayed for Vanilla Ice on national TV, then it’s just hard to wrap your head around the whole thing.
The Dallas Police Department is in trouble. According to the Dallas Morning News, 99 cops have retired or quit since October, which, after a similar string of departures last year, has left the department with just 3,252 officers, which is woefully short of its preferred mark of 3,500. The department wants to hire 449 new officers this year, but that goal seems like it will be difficult to meet. As the Morning News notes, working for the Dallas Police Department isn’t particularly lucrative—the department is dealing with a massive pension mess right now, doesn’t pay officers very well compared to other cities, and also has a rising crime rate. The entire department is feeling the impact of the shortage. There are only thirteen cops tasked with patrolling school zones on motorcycles to watch for speeding (nine less than last year), and specialty units have been spread thin or, in the case of one property crimes task force, completely disbanded.
When David Grisham arrived at an Amarillo mall last week and walked up to families waiting in line to see Santa, he didn’t exactly plan on spreading Christmas cheer. Instead, according to the San Antonio Express-News, Grisham did an objectively very bad thing: he told the kids, anxiously waiting to sit on Santa’s lap, that the North Pole’s most famous resident doesn’t exist. Apparently Grisham is a preacher at an evangelical church based in Alaska. (What’s he doing way down here? Who knows!) Thankfully, Grisham captured the mall incident on his own cell phone, Blair Witch-style, so we’ll forever have this record of supreme Grinchiness. “There are no flying reindeer, there is no workshop in the North Pole, there is no elves making toys, [parents] buy all the gifts and put them under the tree,” Grisham said while parents and their kids looked on, clearly confused. Eventually, parents got pissed, and a few of them came over and, uh, gently asked Grisham to cease and desist.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Very angry parents aired grievances about special education in Houston and Dallas Houston Chronicle
The iconic state symbol on I-20 is being removed due to safety concerns NBCDFW
This appears to have been a pretty questionable fatal police shooting in Beaumont Beaumont Enterprise
Apparently “paddling” is still a thing in Texas schools Houston Press
A fifteen-year-old was caught with $1 million worth of marijuana at the border McAllen Monitor