QUOTE OF THE DAY
“WHEREAS, Whether purchased at a drive-through in Fort Worth, ordered at a restaurant in Corpus Christi, or served by a loving grandmother in Del Rio, the breakfast taco has become a signature Texas food on a par with barbecue and chicken-fried steak, and it is enjoyed by countless residents of the Lone Star State each morning as the perfect way to start their day; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the 85th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby designate the breakfast taco as the official state breakfast item of Texas.”
—Texas State Representative Stephanie Klick, a Republican representing Haltom City, according to KLTV. On Thursday, Klick introduced a resolution that would make the beloved breakfast taco the official state breakfast item of Texas.
It’s official: Rick Perry is the secretary of the Department of Energy. The former Dancing With The Stars contestant (and Texas governor!) will now assume the top dog role of an agency he once promised to dismantle. Y’all know the story, right? Way back in 2011, during a Republican presidential candidate debate, Perry said he’d eliminate three federal agencies: “Commerce, education and the um, what’s the third one there?” The third one was the energy department, but Perry never made it to number three, offering only a sad apology and the now-infamous uttering: “oops.” The moment marked the beginning of what seemed like a tailspin for Perry’s political career. He would go on to run another doomed campaign for president in 2015, and at one point during the campaign he called President Donald Trump a “cancer on conservatism” and a “barking carnival act.” His awkward, sequin-heavy, Vanilla Ice-befriending appearance on the reality show Dancing With The Stars last year seemed to be the kiss of death to his serious political aspirations. Not so. Perry was tapped by his old enemy Trump to lead the Department of Energy in December. And after completely charming the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during his confirmation hearing in January, the Senate finally confirmed Perry on Thursday, voting 62-37, according to the Texas Tribune. There are really no words to describe how strange and surprising Perry’s political comeback is. Like, as recently as September, he was passing corndogs to a dance partner on live television. It’s anyone’s guess how Perry will run the energy department, an agency that primarily oversees the nation’s stockpile of nuclear weapons.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
In a tweet on Thursday, musician Felix Walworth said their band would be canceling its performance at the upcoming SXSW music conference in Austin, due to some contractual language that seemed to suggest SXSW would sic U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on international performers who violated the festival’s exclusivity policy. The tweet quickly went viral. An SXSW spokesperson told the Austin American-Statesman on Thursday that the tweet gave “a much worse impression than what is real,” and said the contract was merely “telling the acts what immigration (authorities) would do” if international performers violated the terms of their visas. “In the post-Trump era, it looks different than how it was intended, and how it was received in the past,” SXSW managing director Roland Swenson told the Statesman. “But we’ve come out strongly against the travel ban, and we’ve really been going the extra mile to make sure these bands don’t get screwed over when they enter the country.” Meanwhile, Walworth called for artists to boycott SXSW, and quite a few acts slated to perform have signed an open letter demanding the removal of the deportation language from the contract, according to Pitchfork.
Nothingburger With Cheese
Texas senators don’t seem to care that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn’t disclose two meetings he held with Russian ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak during the presidential campaign, while Sessions was advising Donald Trump on national security issues. The revelation was first reported by the Washington Post earlier this week, and, amid a firestorm of criticism, Sessions announced on Thursday that he would be recusing himself from any investigation into allegations that Russia messed with the 2016 presidential election, although Sessions maintained that he did nothing wrong. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz seem to agree. Cruz characterized the scandal as “political theater,” because, he explained to MSNBC, “the underlying meeting… is a nothingburger. It’s what senators do every day, meeting with foreign ambassadors. It’s part of the job.” Cornyn also offered his support to Sessions, telling reporters he believed Sessions didn’t lie about the meetings, according to the Dallas Morning News. He applauded the AG’s decision to recuse himself, saying in a tweet that Sessions “is a good and honorable person, who has done the right thing.”
Hot, Hot, Hot
Last month was unseasonably warm in Texas. In fact, it was the hottest February ever recorded in the Lone Star State, according to the Texas Observer. The average temperature was 57.3 degrees, about eight degrees higher than the historical average since 1895, while a whopping forty-two weather stations smashed all-time temperature records last month—nine of those records had stood for more than a century. For the first time ever, the daily average surface temperature in the Gulf of Mexico this winter didn’t fall below 73 degrees, and Galveston broke 31 high-temperature records during the season, according to ArsTechnica. Houston didn’t make it below forty degrees for the first time since 1950. Austin was a couple degrees higher than normal, and Dallas-Fort Worth recorded its warmest winter ever. This is definitely something to sweat about. As the Observer notes, the high temps caused wildflowers to bloom extra early, caused farmers to plant corn and wheat crops way ahead of schedule, and put much of West Texas and the Panhandle on high alert for dangerous fires. Still, a climatologist told the Observer that for as hot as winter was, it doesn’t necessarily mean Texas is in for an unusually unbearable summer.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
Ken Paxton is off the hook for one of his two legal battles Texas Tribune
Dan Patrick has a challenger for lieutenant governor KXAN
After being abandoned by Dr Pepper, the town of Dublin is back in the soda game Dallas Morning News
Dan McQueen went on a Facebook rant for the first time since quitting as Corpus Christi’s mayor Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Street ball legend “Hot Sauce” is hosting a clinic in Odessa this weekend, and everyone should go KOSA