QUOTE OF THE DAY


“The King Cobra in Needville has been located. Residents in Needville may now come down from their roofs.”

—The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook. A ten-foot king cobra, one of the deadliest snakes in the world, was on the loose for a few hours in Needville on Wednesday after it escaped from someone’s home, according to the Houston Chronicle. Thankfully, it was caught before it had a chance to bite anyone or terrorize Indiana Jones. 


BIG NEWS


Gun activists march close to The University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas December 12, 2015.
Gun activists march close to The University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas December 12, 2015.

Drew Anthony Smith/Getty

Penetrating Message
Austin was certainly kept weird during Wednesday’s campus carry protest by students at the University of Texas. Hundreds of protesters wielded dildos of all shapes and sizes: short and thick, long and thin, pink, purple, beige, and black. They strapped them to their backpacks or simply held them in their hands and waved them around, chanting things such as, “If you pack heat, we’re packing meat!” according to the Austin American-Statesman. Organizers distributed 4,300 dildos in preparation for the protest, which the Dallas Morning News said was expected to be the largest anti-gun protest Texas has ever seen. The San Antonio Express-News has 45 photos and a video of the protest, which is probably more dildo imagery than you can handle this morning, but it’s still a once-in-a-lifetime sight. Earlier this week, a federal judge rejected a request from a group of UT professors asking for an injunction to stop campus carry before the semester started, according to the Statesman. The attempt to stop the campus carry law, which officially went into effect August 1, was pretty much expected to flop in court. In its sheer absurdity alone, the sex-toy protest is sure to send deep vibrations across the state. But it’s unclear if state lawmakers will be stimulated enough for real change to come.


MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS


Turning Against Ted
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told supporters at a private fundraiser in Austin on Tuesday that he thinks ex-governor Rick Perry could take Ted Cruz’s Senate seat in the 2018 election, according to the Texas Tribune. “I’ve been hearing a lot about that and I don’t know if he wants to do it, but boy, will he do well,” Trump was recorded saying in a 34-second audio clip released on Wednesday by left-leaning political action committee Lone Star Project. “People love him in Texas, and he was one great governor. I don’t know what he’s going to do but you are one popular guy all over, but in Texas in particular.” That’s high praise for someone who once called Trump a “cancer on conservatism” and a “barking carnival act.” Perry was reportedly in the room to support Trump when the real estate mogul made his comment, prompted by a question from the crowd about the two-time failed presidential candidate’s possible chances to win the Senate seat.  It’s unclear if Perry is interested in challenging Cruz, but a recent poll showed he’d have a really good chance of winning. Must be the glasses.

Trauma of War
Micah Johnson, the veteran who killed five officers in Dallas last month, had a number of mental problems likely attributed to post-traumatic stress disorder related to his military service in Afghanistan, according Veterans Affairs records obtained by the Dallas Morning News. Johnson reportedly told military medical staff that he was paranoid, couldn’t sleep, and repeatedly heard mortar fire echoing through his head. On July 7, Johnson shot and killed five police officers in downtown Dallas before he was killed by a police-operated robot bomb. According to the Morning News, Johnson’s mental health record stretches back to January 2011, before he was deployed, when he wandered into police headquarters in Mesquite looking “visibly upset and bouncing from side to side,” police records show. He began receiving treatment at the Dallas VA in 2014, shortly after he was released from service in Afghanistan. He told medical staff that he felt “stress, anger, road rage” and that his “heart feels like someone is pinching it,” but he said he wasn’t suicidal or homicidal, and VA doctors didn’t prescribe anti-psychotics.

Export Kings
Texas is tops when it comes to exporting, according to the Dallas Business Journal. A recently released report by a Waco-based financial analysis firm shows that Texas totaled $251.1 billion in export shipments of merchandise in 2015, beating out second-place California, which only took in $165.4 billion. The Tex-porting supported more than a million jobs, which was also way more than any other state. The Houston metro area was the biggest merchandise exporter in Texas, reeling in $119 billion. Dallas-Fort Worth came next, with $28.7 billion, followed by San Antonio and El Paso. Texas sent stuff to more than 200 markets around the world. Most of the outgoing merch was of the computer and electronics variety, which accounted for $45.4 billion of Texas’s exported merchandise. Petroleum and coal products weren’t far behind, garnering $44.1 billion, followed by the somewhat vague category of “chemicals,” which Texas exported $39.9 billion of. It’s unclear if Texas fares as well on the importing side of things, but we’re still basically the Art Vandelay state.


WHAT WE’RE READING


Texas’s maternal mortality rate is horrible, and African-American woman are disproportionately dying ProPublica

Maybe California and Texas aren’t all that different? Bloomberg

A search warrant reveals new details in the overdose death of a Texas A&M student KAGS

TCU closed down a fraternity believed to have had members who were dealing drugs, possessing guns, and “raging like no tomorrow” TCU360

An El Paso high school canned scheduled speaker Lou Holtz for his racist and xenophobic comments El Paso Times