The State of Texas: October 13, 2014
Implosion of the Day
It’s the ad heard ’round the country. Oddly, it sounds exactly like a balloon losing all of its air:
Ebola Watch: Day 12 — Just as we were all getting used to not seeing Ebola news on the front page, the virus comes rearing back. Dallas now has the distinction of hosting the country’s two recorded cases of Ebola. This second patient was the result of a “breach of protocol,” according to numerous news reports. It appears a health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital contracted the virus after interacting with Patient Zero, Thomas Duncan, even though she wore “protective gear” while treating Duncan. While it’s not clear how she contracted the virus, that question will be solved. Our nation’s Dean of Medicine, President Obama, “has ordered additional federal steps to help hospitals halt Ebola, and wants an expedited report into a breach of protocol that led to a second infection,” reports the Dallas Morning News. While President Obama takes care of this on a national level, Senator John Cornyn and Representative Michael McCaul have officially asked that the DFW and Houston airports be “included along with the five airports the administration announced this week will be the sites of enhanced [Ebola] screening,” according to the Houston Chronicle. Seeing as Dallas is now, clearly, Ebola central, this certainly seems like a prudent move.
Goin’ Muddin’ — Less than a month before the election the gubernatorial race, by many accounts, just got muddy and ugly. Just in time for the weekend, Wendy Davis released a real blockbuster, or “touched off a political firestorm,” in the words of the Texas Tribune, with a political ad that went there. The ad bashes Abbott for successfully suing the homeowner whose tree crushed his spine but then as Attorney general used “his power as a state judge and as attorney general to oppose disabled Texans and others who have sued for damages or court redress.” More than just Abbott’s team is unhappy about the ad. MSNBC hated it and even, as the Tribune notes, “liberal Mother Jones magazine unloaded on Davis.” For a great breakdown of the ad’s substance and actual point, be sure to read Texas Monthly‘s own Erica Grieder over at Burkablog. As Grieder explains, for such a controversial ad, it sure didn’t pick its examples well. “As others have noted, as a judge or an attorney general he has a role in an adversarial legal system, and would have been tasked with interpreting or defending the law, regardless of his own views. Beyond that, it’s interesting that one of the ‘victims’ cited is not actually a ‘victim.'” What’s more, one example used in the ad doesn’t mention the follow up. The woman’s case did eventually go to court and she lost. The ad sure was a gamble and, it looks like Team Davis went bust. Or, in the words of The Wire‘s Omar Little: “You come at the king, you best not miss.”
ID IDK — No idea what ID you need for the November 4 elections? That’s okay, because neither does the state! Because a federal judge struck down Texas’s new voter ID law, there is now a “rapid-fire legal race over whether photo identification will be required,” reports the Texas Tribune. “In a filing made public Sunday, the state of Texas wrote that declaring the law void only a week before early voting begins will seep confusion into this year’s election cycle,” according to the Houston Chronicle. Equally confusing: why the state would pass a seemingly unnecessary (“two convictions for in-person voter impersonation in one 10-year period”) and burdensome voter ID law in the first place. Regardless, the attorney general’s office is most definitely going to appeal the decision made Thursday. The question now is whether the the Fifth Circuit will also grant a stay to “prevent [the judge’s] decision from being applied to this election until the appeals court has a chance to consider it.” It’s unclear, however, if the court will even get involved before the election. So, this November 4, be sure to bring two forms of government issued identification, as well as Social Security card, birth certificate, DNA readout, full finger print set, and a note from your mother.
Royal Treatment — It’s not a consolation for losing a significant portion of your family, but any good news is great news for fifteen-year-old Cassidy Stay. On Friday, Stay, a “flutist in the Klein Collins High School Marching Band” was “named to her school’s homecoming court.” For those with short memories, Stay was the lone survivor of a July massacre allegedly perpetrated by a former family in-law who killed her parents and four siblings. For those looking for a silver lining, this is it. Stay appears to be getting through the tregedy almost entirely in tact, thanks in part to the community that has offered both financial and emotional support.
Pigskin Pickings — Finally, at least one weekend in fall wasn’t a complete disappointment for every Texas football fan. For some reason—reasons Texas Monthly‘s own football guru Dan Solomon tried to tease out last Friday—the Dallas Cowboys were the nine-point underdog going into their gam against the Seattle Seahawks. For those who stayed away from weekend scores, or somehow missed the sound of cheerful yelling coming from houses all over the state, the Cowboys crushed it. Or, as USA Today put it, “This is a statement win for the Cowboys, who should be considered legitimate threats in the NFC after beating up the defending Super Bowl champions.” The football fun started early, too, almost as if Texas Monthly writers knew what would happen. If you got to watch the amazing Baylor v. TCU game, in which the Bears had a come-from-behind victory in the final eleven minutes of play, be sure to go back and read Jason Cohen’s Friday post explaining exactly why Baylor-TCU is best in-state rivalry (finally, they’re both ranked at the same time!). As for the yearly UT-OU Showdown … it’s best no one bring that up, ever again. Perhaps the same should go for the Longhorn’s season at large, too.