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The State of Texas: September 30, 2014

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Meme of the Day

There were plenty of not-quite-forgettable moments at the lieutenant governor debate last night, but the people of Twitter really latched on to the moment Dan Patrick pantomimed his idea of a seesaw while comparing tax rate to tax value. Twice.

Photo by Amanda Voeller of The Daily Texan.

Crash Test Tuesday

Researchers at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute have a great job. For evidence, look no further than the Texas Tribune, which features the team responsible for developing “perimeter security devices,” a.k.a. barricades. Because the only way to test barricades is to hurl a large truck at it. Oh, and there’s plenty slow-mo, too!

Daily Roundup

Firework Display — The lieutenant governor debate between Republican Dan Patrick and Democrat Leticia Van de Putte was surprisingly exciting. At the very least, the format was more debate-like and the opponents did plenty of jostling. As with any modern debate, the perceived winner mostly just depends on who you came in rooting for in the beginning. Van de Putte was unapologetically supportive of groups like the uninsured, gays, and pro-choicers, giving into impassioned and heart-felt rhetoric that may or may not line up with the average Texas voter/undecided. For his part, Patrick also did well considering his radioman’s penchant for wild outbursts. Not that he didn’t manage to call the supporters at the Capitol abortion debate “anarchists” and said Van de Putte would “raise every tax she can find.” As for actual substance beyond the rhetoric, Politifact has a look the true/false of some of the debate’s remarks, along with the collected truthiness of both Van de Putte and Patrick. The San Antonio Express News perhaps summed up the debate in the best, most classical sense possible: “Throughout the one-hour event, both candidates were eager to engage each other and consistently traded jabs. But neither landed a knockout blow.” Too bad there won’t be a round two since one debate is apparently enough for what is arguably the most powerful job in Texas politics.

Beyond the Border — Looks like that Texan who breached the White House fence got a lot farther than had previously been disclosed. Just before a congressional hearing discussing the incident, “Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said Monday night that whistle-blowers told his committee that the intruder ran through the White House, into the East Room and near the doors to the Green Room before being apprehended,” according to the Associated Press. “Citing multiple unnamed sources, The Washington Post reported that [Omar J.] Gonzalez, 42, ran past the guard at the front door, past a staircase leading up to the Obamas’ living quarters and into the East Room, which is about halfway across the first floor of the building.”  It’s been a rough time for the Secret Service, which seems to be getting a little lax on the job. In fact, the incident wasn’t the first time Gonzalez made some sort of attempt. “Gonzalez was on the Secret Service radar as early as July when state troopers arrested him during a traffic stop in southwest Virginia. State troopers there said Gonzalez had an illegal sawed-off shotgun and a map of Washington tucked inside a Bible with a circle around the White House, other monuments and campgrounds. The troopers seized a stash of other weapons and ammunition found during a search of Gonzalez’s car.” Then again, a determined Texan is really hard to stop.

Dangerous Women — It was a tough week for wrathful women. The world-renowned cancer research doctor whose “fatal attraction” case made news statewide, was convicted for poisoning her fellow doctor/lover on Friday, and yesterday, a jury sentenced Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo ten years in prison. It could have been worse. Prosecutors were apparently seeking thirty years. In what is perhaps a bit of an understatement, “[Defense attorney Derek] Hollingsworth said he anticipates that as a result of her conviction, Gonzalez-Angulo will lose her medical license,” writes the AP. Maybe she’ll have an equally famous cellmate. Fort Worth’s Michelle Williams, dubbed “The Black Widow,” was convicted yesterday of murdering her husband to collect the insurance policy, along with evidence tampering. The defense claimed that the husband committed suicide. However, it took the jury about seven hours to come to a different conclusion, reports Reuters.

Ebola Scare — The thought that the Ebola epidemic in Africa might become pandemic is terrifying. That the second epicenter could be in Texas is downright panic-inducing. But don’t start fleeing to Canada just yet! “A patient in a Dallas hospital is showing signs of the Ebola virus and is being kept in strict isolation with test results pending, hospital officials said Monday,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. An entire state and nation on edge, the patient’s tests from the Centers For Disease Control should arrive today. Apparently, the “patient’s symptoms and recent travel” were a huge cause of concern. For those who like to stress themselves out, the Ebola virus has killed about 3,000 thus far in West Africa and infected another 3,000.

Clickity Bits

Abbott’s TEF Involvement/’Cover-Up’ Perfect Fodder For Davis Campaign

Oops: Perry’s Lawyer Tried To Interview Lehmberg While On State’s Dime

Investigation Into Softball Team Tragedy Could Take Weeks

Highland Park School Reverses Decision On All Suspended Books

You Will Soon Be Able To Own Stock in Dave & Busters, Game Ticket Not Included

Jaws Meets His Maker In The Form Of Bow And Arrow

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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