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The Brief: April 29, 2013

Gov. Rick Perry has taken aim again at California — this time over a controversial political cartoon.

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Gov. Rick Perry has taken aim again at California — this time over a controversial political cartoon.

On Friday, The Sacramento Bee published a letter from Perry demanding an apology from the newspaper for printing an editorial cartoon Thursday linking the governor's business policies — "Low Regs!", as the cartoon put it — to the recent plant explosion in West.

"It was with extreme disgust and disappointment I viewed your recent cartoon," wrote Perry, who has long tried to lure businesses from California to Texas by touting the state's tax and regulatory climate. "While I will always welcome healthy policy debate, I won't stand for someone mocking the tragic deaths of my fellow Texans and our fellow Americans.

"Additionally, publishing this on the very day our state and nation paused to honor and mourn those who died only compounds the pain and suffering of the many Texans who lost family and friends in this disaster. The Bee owes the community of West, Texas an immediate apology for your detestable attempt at satire."

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst told The Associated Press that the artist, Jack Ohman, should be fired.

"I think it’s reprehensible for a member of the media to sit in safety and mock such a profound tragedy regardless of any 'point' he is trying to make," Dewhurst said.

In a blog post, Ohman fired back, saying the cartoon was deliberately provocative. 

"When I have to come up with these ideas, I can assure you that I am not really deliberately trying to be tasteless. I am not," he wrote. "What I am trying to do is make readers think about an issue in a striking way. I seem to have succeeded in this cartoon, one way or the other."

He added: "Gambling with the lives of innocent people is much more offensive to me. That's way worse than tasteless. It's reckless."


•    Travis County DA: "Hope to Complete My Term" (The Texas Tribune): "The embattled district attorney of Travis County, Rosemary Lehmberg, whose April 12 arrest for driving under the influence raised questions about her possible resignation, apologized Saturday in an open letter to her constituents — and insisted she hopes to complete her term in office."

•    Bel Air, Waldo, 'poor choice of words' spice up UT System records (Austin American-Statesman): "Jokes about the Chevrolet Bel Air and Waldo. A testy letter from alumni and donors who had been referred to as 'those people.' Disagreement on a philanthropic group’s independence from the University of Texas School of Law. These and other snippets emerged from more than 600 pages of emails and other records obtained by the American-Statesman from the UT System under the Texas Public Information Act."

•    GOP shakers urge Susan Reed to run for AG (San Antonio Express-News): "A movement has been building among local Republicans over the past few months to encourage Susan Reed to run for state attorney general in 2014. Reed, the hard-nosed, four-term Bexar County district attorney, would be the first female AG in the state's history, a historic point that some of her supporters have used to coax her to run, according to GOP sources."

•    Cornyn: Immigration op-ed 'complete bs' (The Hill): "Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is firing back at an op-ed criticizing his stance on immigration. After the DREAM Action Coalition, an immigration advocacy group, tweeted the article at Cornyn, the GOP senator on Friday responded, 'complete bs.' '[F]rom a politician, a vulgar outburst is often a sign of serious weakness,' the group tweeted back."

Quote of the Day: "If they don’t address all of these priorities by the end of the session, the governor is willing to keep them here as long as it takes to get it done." — Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle on what lawmakers should expect if they don't vote this session to fund water and transportation projects and cut business taxes


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