By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
On a happier note for Smith, country star Randy Travis is said to have seen the video and plans to use her plight as inspiration in his forthcoming double album, Rooter to the Tooter: Life and Love on Farm-to-Market Road 922.
Hard to Be a Woman
The battle between Planned Parenthood and Texas conservatives brewed throughout 2012, as state leaders continued their quest to kick the family-planning organization out of the Texas Women's Health Program. It's hard to keep up, but we're pretty sure the latest rule prohibits giving state money to groups whose names include the letter "P."
Planned Parenthood leaders, whose clinics provide care to 40 percent of the women enrolled in the program, politely point out that no state funding has ever gone to provide abortions. To anyone. Ever. The organization is engaged in an ongoing court fight with the state over whether it can be kicked out of the WHP, which provides general health screenings and reproductive services low-income women and is 90 percent funded under the federal Medicaid program.
The feds have threatened to cut off federal funding for the WHP at the end of December if the state boots Planned Parenthood. But Rick Perry, leading the important fight against low-cost cancer screenings, says the state will create its own Texas-funded program. Money for the Texas program will eventually be cut, but in the meantime sources say it will be helmed by popular Texas radio personality Kidd Kraddick.
Oh, So Twinkies Do Expire
In November, Irving-based Hostess Brands, mired in labor disputes and red ink, declared bankruptcy, closed 33 plants and laid off more than 18,000 employees. According to company executives, the refusal by unionized bakers to accept an 8 percent wage cut led to the demise of the iconic brand.
Fans of the products were aghast, telling reporters, "Those things were made by bakers?"
Hostess' liquidation does not necessarily spell the end for its popular brands, as roughly 100 bidders have vied to purchase the company's assets, including its well-known product names, logo designs, patents, and absolutely zero plan for adapting to the passage of time.
Can't We Just Throw Old Twinkies at 'Em?
A record outbreak of infections caused by the mosquito-borne West Nile virus killed dozens across North Texas over the summer, prompting local officials to spray pesticides and prompting everyone else to freak the hell out.
Outraged environmentalists fretted about the pesticides' unintended effects on both animal and human life, particularly the fetuses of pregnant women hit by the chemicals. GOP leaders in Austin even threatened to intercede to block the spraying, but they backed down when they were assured that none of the chemicals started with the letter "P."
Dallas County health officials have vowed to carefully monitor the effects of the pesticide to determine whether it was helpful in stemming the outbreak. There remains fear that the local mosquito populations are developing a tolerance for the chemicals used in the campaign, which would suck for vulnerable old people but would make really good B material for our forthcoming screenplay, It's Raining Chem.
County health officials say they expect the chemicals are effective. But if not, sources indicate that there is a back-up plan: a fine misting of Trinity River water. If the chemicals don't get' em, the pig blood should finish them off.