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The State of Texas: March 5, 2015

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Public Perception Of The Day

When you first hear that super-serious J.J. Watt has decided to train in a Wisconsin cabin, the image conjured is something out of Rocky 4. The related headlines aren’t much help, nor the fact that Watt said his sanctuary was “in the middle of nowhere” either. But a quick look at Watt’s cabin shows it’s not some outpost shack. Oh, and it’s “2.5 miles from Starbucks.”

Daily Roundup

Emergency Response – Earlier this week, “the Ebola Nurse,” Nina Pham, filed a lawsuit against Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and its parent company for, among other things, negligence and using her as a PR puppet. Yesterday, the company, Texas Health Resources, responded in an email to employees, reports the Dallas Morning News. CEO Barclay Berdan called the lawsuit “both false and irresponsible” and said the hospital had Pham’s “consent to share information about her [with] the public, including a video of Pham in her Presbyterian hospital bed.” Apart from the argument over Pham being a PR pawn, her lawsuit also challenges the testimony of Dr. Daniel Varga who indicated during his congressional testimony that the staff was fully trained and had the appropriate protective gear for an Ebola crisis. It feels like a very long time ago that Berdan said, “The hearts and prayers of everyone at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas are with Nina Pham and we are working tirelessly to help her in this courageous fight.”

[email protected] – The Hillary email scandal, in which she used a private email address almost exclusively for her State Department work, has caused the possible 2016 presidential candidate no amount of trouble. Apart from the legality of the practice, Clinton is also taking heat from opponents, including fellow presidential maybe Rick Perry. As the Texas Tribune notes, “Perry was among the first potential 2016 presidential candidates to chime” in about the scandal, calling the revelations a “pattern … of non-transparency.” The only problem? It appears Perry has the same pattern. “Perry is no stranger to using a personal email account to discuss state business, according to two lawmakers familiar with email exchanges involving the governor that surfaced two years ago. The extent to which Perry used his personal account over the years in unclear, but legislators and open-government advocates said it seriously undercuts his criticism of Clinton.” The obvious problem of those hoping to dog-pile on Clinton is that they expose themselves to the same kind of scrutiny, even if their emails don’t deal with hugely sensitive matters of international relations. Said state representative Trey Martinez Fischer, “I just think sometimes it’s wise for Governor Perry to sort of look in the mirror before he looks at his talking points.”

Trouble on the Grapevine – The shooting death last month of an unarmed Mexican immigrant–who had his hands up and asked police to stop cursing at him–continues to draw anger. “Nearly 100 protesters packed the City Council meeting Tuesday night … [waving] signs calling for ‘Justice for Rubén’ and [chanting,] ‘We want justice, we want justice,’ … demanding answers in the death of Rubén García Villalpando, 31,” according to the Morning News. Before the city council meeting, “Grapevine City Manager Bruno Rumbelow and Police Chief Eddie Salame issued a statement promising an ‘independent and objective review’ of the ‘high-speed chase and traffic stop’ that ended in the fatal shooting. Villalpando was in the country illegally but his death has garnered a “stern condemnation” from the Mexican government, “which called for a U.S. Justice Department inquiry into the shooting and two other fatal shootings of Mexican immigrants across the nation.”

Maybe Baby – The National Transportation Safety Board is considering reopening the investigation into the 1959 plane crash in Iowa that killed beloved Texan Buddy Holly (as well as Richie Valens and the Big Bopper). As The Guardian put it, “The official explanation for the crash … that a relatively inexperienced pilot made mistakes in difficult, snowy conditions–has always seemed too mundane for many people to accept.” Those who’ve always hoped it would be reopened can thank pilot L.J. Coon, a New England resident who did his own investigation into the crash. The NTSB hasn’t said much, except to write to Coon, saying “You have gotten our attention,” and telling reporters that “our cases are never closed, and we get these from time to time. The key is if there is new information not previously considered by the board.” According to the Des Moines Register, “a decision on whether to reopen the case could take several weeks.”

Clickity Bits

SAPD Detectives Wearing Silly, Non-Cowboy Hats, Ready to Catch Prohibition Bootleggers

6,000-Plus Kids Backpacks and Lunch Bags Seized in Houston

Denton County Man … Claims He Invented Pay-at-the-Table Tablets Adopted by Chili’s

Looks Like the Executives of Bankrupt RadioShack Are Getting Their Bonuses After All

Woman Known as ‘Half-Ton Killer’ Loses 800 Pounds, Still No Killer

American Sniper Killer Files Appeal

Did we miss something? Got a hot news tip? Send it our way: [email protected]. Or tweet Texas Monthly and Jeff Winkler.

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