Fightin’ Words

Remember when the George W. Bush-Dixie Chicks beef? Though she isn’t one to look back, lead singer Natalie Maines has set her sights on the new crop of presidential hopefuls. Same song, different verse.

Daily Roundup

Unplanned — Looks like the siege on Planned Parenthood isn’t going exactly as anticipated. Not only was Planned Parenthood cleared of wrongdoing in the undercover video that launched a thousand fiery calls for defunding, but the two videographers behind the undercover video were indicted by a grand jury in Harris county. “The indictments — part of the county prosecutor’s investigation into allegations that Planned Parenthood was illegally selling fetal tissue — include charges against anti-abortion activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt for tampering with a governmental record, a second-degree felony that carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison,” according to the Texas Tribune. “The grand jury handed down a second charge for Daleiden for ‘Prohibition of the Purchase and Sale of Human Organs,’ according to the Harris County District Attorney’s office. That charge is a class A misdemeanor that carries a punishment of up to a year in jail.” Not that any of that is going to stop those (ahem, men in charge) who are adamantly against women’s choice. “Despite the grand jury’s indictments, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said the state would move forward with its investigations of Planned Parenthood, including inquiries by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.”

The Perry Edge — When you have Rick Perry in your corner, you get the full package. Perry came out Sunday to declare his support of fellow Texan Ted Cruz, endorsing both the presidential candidate and, um, punching animals. Now, Perry is going back on the campaign trail in his new capacity as cheerleader yell leader. “Perry will make seven campaign appearances with Cruz across Iowa on Tuesday and a couple more on Wednesday, culminating in a right-to-life rally in Des Moines,” writes the Austin American-Statesman, which offers a detailed look at the road for Cruz, especially when going up against Donald Trump and his New York values. The Dallas Morning News has an on-the-ground look at their first double-billed appearance on Tuesday. It’s pretty much what you’d expect. “They stumped together in an unheated barn, Perry dapper as always in khakis, brown leather bomber jacket over a green sweater, Cruz in barn coat, straw hanging off the seat of his jeans from the bale he’d been sitting on as Perry introduced him.”

Take Cover — Has Texas learned anything since the 2013 West, Texas, explosion? The short answer: no.  That’s according to federal investigators who looked into such operations around the state. “Nineteen facilities statewide that store five tons or more of fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate are within a half-mile of a school, hospital or nursing home, according to the report by the staff of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, which investigates industrial accidents; it did not identify the sites. The board concluded that there have been only limited improvements in the rules governing storage of the fertilizer since the disaster in West,” writes the Morning News. “The sweeping report chastised every level of government, including the city of West, the state of Texas and various federal agencies. All could have taken steps that would have made the disaster far less likely or harmful, according to the board, which does not have enforcement power.” The report also notes that one of Texas’s proudest attributes is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a real blind spot. “The board’s report noted that there has been ‘strong resistance’ in Texas to increasing regulation on facilities that distribute ammonium nitrate, and pointed out that unlike most states, Texas does not have a fire code.” That said, one patchwork effort suggested was free-market fodder, namely having insurance companies tighten up their own policies with regard to such facilities.

Clickity Bits

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The Texas Rockets Heard ‘Round The World

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