The State of Texas: August 19, 2014
Lawyers, Assemble! — Sounding like he’s put together something worthy of a superhero movie, Governor Rick Perry, who was indicted last Friday, “has assembled an all-star defense team with lawyers from Austin to Houston and Washington, D.C., and on Monday, they continued a public assault on the prosecution of the state’s top elected official,” reports the Austin American-Statesman. The San Antonio Express-News has a quick look (complete with slideshow) at the whole team while the Texas Tribune offers a glimpse of special prosectuor Michael McCrum. There’ll be plenty of lawyerese to come. For now, however, in “foreshadowing their legal defense, Perry’s attorneys hinted that the governor may have never directly threatened Lehmberg that he would veto the $7.5 million two-year state appropriation unless she step down — the crux of the prosecution’s case — but added that even if he had done so, he was still within his First Amendment rights.” As the Statesman notes, Perry’s all-star team will be “at least be partially paid by Texas taxpayers.” Thankfully, Texas taxpayers will get one thing in return: a picture of Rick Perry’s handsome mug, in a mugshot. His attorney’s confirmed that while an arrest warrant won’t be issued, Perry will be booked, fingerprinted, and snapped just like any other regular joe facing abuse of power charges.
Militia Mixup — It was revealed that militias down in the Rio Grande Valley area to “help” secure the border had a slight misadventure with actual law enforcement, something no one could have predicted. Border Patrol agents apparently ran into a militia decked out in the latest SWAT fashion and incorrectly assumed they were just your average team members of the Department of Public Safety. It wasn’t until after the two groups assisted in rounding up a few illegal immigrants from a canal that Border Patrol learned otherwise. “The situation ended peacefully with the immigrants getting arrested and the Border Patrol advising the militia members ‘to properly and promptly’ identify themselves anytime they encounter law-enforcement officers,” according to the Associated Press. “But the episode was unsettling enough for the Border Patrol to circulate an ‘issue paper’ warning other agents.”
Back on Top — Just in time for Rick Perry’s presidential warm-up laps, “Texas is back on top when it comes to U.S. job creation,” reports the Dallas Morning News. “With 46,600 jobs added in July, the state ranked No. 1 nationwide in job growth, according to state-by-state data released Monday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.” That’s about 16,000 more jobs than second-place California! A big booster for Texas jobs is obviously the oil and gas industry, but “Unlike some other states, Texas has seen job growth across all of its major industry groups, reflecting a generally healthy economy. Statistics show the state has a low unemployment rate, home prices have surpassed pre-recession peaks, its foreclosure rate has recovered faster and fewer homes are still underwater than many other states.” As analysists start talking about economies returning to “pre-recession levels” that special Texas thing is looking less like a miracle and more like a fact of life.
State Fair Of Delicious — A way to a Texan’s heart disease is through his/her stomach. “The State Fair of Texas announced its eight finalists on Monday for the Big Tex Choice Awards,” according to the Dallas Morning News. “… The list of finalists regularly includes eyebrow-raising ingredients such as this year’s ‘deep-fried Texas bluebonnet,’ which doesn’t in fact contain bits of our state flower: It’s a battered, fried blueberry muffin with a clever name.” Other mouth-watering, artery-filling debuts this year: “fried Sriracha, fried breakfast and funnel cake beer” just to name a few. Just in time for the end of bathing suit season, the fair will be open from September 6 to October 19.