Image of the Day
Ebola fear is going to be with us for awhile, thanks in no small part to the unending news cycle. With that in mind, it’s always nice to have a visual of just how dangerous the virus can be. For those curious about a little science, NPR has an informative little piece on “R0” a “mathematical term that tells you how contagious an infectious disease is:”
Perhaps reliving his glory days as Coach Jack Lengyel in We Are Marshall, Texas actor and cosmic motivational speaker Matthew McConaughey recently showed up to a UT Longhorns practice to inspire the team (h/t @smartfootball). As expected, the talk before kneeling players was spectacular: Equal part McConaughey acceptance speech and Coach Taylor half-time rallying cry. “Ask yourself when you look in the mirror tonight, ‘why do I play this game'” said McConaughey “It’s amazing how easy the mind can go up and down.” Football player or not, the talk is sure to get anyone who’s feeling low back into fighting form. Or just do the Wolf of Wall Street chest-pounding that McConaughey gets the entire team to mimick. Full volume, clear computer screen, can’t lose.
Back To Banning — Those following the state’s abortion restriction news would be excused for having a case of whiplash. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that Texas could enforce the requirements while they face a proper legal challenge. The decision comes after U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled in favor of abortion providers” in August “who had asked the judge to block the ambulatory surgical center provision. That ruling came three days ahead of the measure’s Sept. 1 effective date,” according to the Texas Tribune. The court said Thursday that “the state could begin enforcing the abortion law because it had ‘shown a likelihood of success’ that it would prove the ambulatory surgical center requirement constitutional.” What this means for abortion providers is that there won’t be too many abortion providers left. As the Dallas Morning News notes, “Over a dozen abortion clinics will be forced to close immediately,” with only eight providers remaining open because they meet both the admitting privileges and ambulatory surgery requirements. All those clinics are “located in the Houston, San Antonio, Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin metropolitan areas. No clinics will remain open west or south of San Antonio.”
Ebola Watch: Day 3 — There’s been enough stories on Ebola’s first U.S. tour stop to fill a stadium. Some fresh news is coming out, of course, but much that’s being reported now qualifies as opening acts. According to the Houston Chronicle, “The family of America’s first Ebola patient initially did not comply with an order to stay at home.” This might explain why officials now believe that “Up to 100 people may have had direct or indirect contact” with the first U.S. Ebola patient Thomas Duncan. After it was reported that five Dallas students had had some kind of possible contact with Ebola, they were removed from Tasby Middle School. Understandably, more than a few parents are so concerned for their child’s safety that Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles said the district saw a 10 percent decrease in attendance. For those seeking vengeance to quell their fear, Liberian authorities said Thursday they “would prosecute the man for allegedly lying on an airport questionnaire.” If we get this Ebola virus under control, you’ll probably be able to thank Texan Dr. Maria Croyle, a UT professor who is “working to develop what could be the first Ebola vaccine … an oral strip to deliver the vaccine,” reports KVUE. “The vaccine has already proven effective in animal test subjects. Clinical trials are next.” Less than a week into the scare and some people are already cracking jokes. “I think the Cowboys are gonna get it first, so it’s to our advantage,” said New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch, whose team plays Dallas later in a couple weeks. What Tisch is really concerned about is the wrath of the Cowboy’s owner. “Tisch then started down a path to crack a joke about Jerry Jones … but stopped himself.”
‘Toldja So’ Tour — Our state’s fourth-greatest president, George W. Bush, is taking some time out of retirement to remind everyone how right he was. “Former President George W. Bush, who before leaving office warned against withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq too early, told Fox News that America has since learned the ‘lesson’ that Iraqis are not yet capable of providing for their own security,” according to Fox News. His appearance was in response to President Obama’s announcement that the U.S. would resume airstrike Iraq and Syria again, this time against ISIS. Bush said the Iraq people “are not ready” to “live in peace” on their own. “Bush, in 2007, had delivered a prescient warning about what might happen if U.S. troops withdrew too early,” says Fox. “He said at the time this would risk ‘mass killings on a horrific scale’ and potentially draw U.S. troops back into the country.” Asked how he knew this would prove to be true, Bush said, “I know the nature of the enemy.”
Here Sue Da Judge — It’s one thing to sue the state, it’s something else when the lawsuit is being brought by a judge on the highest criminal appeals court in Texas. Lawrence ‘Larry’ Meyers’s lawsuit, recently filed in Dallas, is a very interesting take on the voter ID law enacted last year. In short, Meyers claims the law is unconstitutional because “it attempts to ‘prevent’ voter fraud, something he says the state’s governing charter never intended,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Meyers’ lawsuit states that ‘the Texas Constitution gives the Texas Legislature power solely to ‘detect and punish’ election fraud when it has already occurred.’ In an interview on Wednesday, Meyers said the Constitution says nothing about preventing election fraud.” Even without the lawsuit, Meyers seems pretty interesting. As the story notes, Meyers has been on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for twenty-two years, as a Republican, although he’s running as a Democrat in this coming election. “Meyers dismisses possible criticism of his suit being a campaign gimmick. … ‘I’m not doing this for publicity. I am doing this because it’s completely legally unconstitutional.’”
Lizard Rule — Score one for self-policing environmentalism. A judge dismissed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service “by environmental groups claiming the [service] erred by allowing voluntary conservation agreements to eliminate threats to the dunes sagebrush lizard rather than ensuring its long-term survival under federal law,” according to the Associated Press. The environmental groups were understandably suspicious that oil and gas companies would voluntarily “eliminate threats to the dunes sagebrush lizard rather than ensuring its long-term survival under federal law.” This is especially true given that “Texas lawmakers and the oil and gas industry promised to protect vast expanses of the lizard’s shinnery-oak habitat in order to avoid the regulatory rigidity of the Endangered Species Act.” While the environmental groups say that the “pacts are not enforceable or verifiable,” the state’s head lizard in charge of endangered species “praised the ruling, saying the conservation plan ‘continues to be part of our ongoing efforts to help Texas strike an appropriate balance between environmental protection and economic growth.”