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The Brief: Oct. 13, 2014

Confirmation came Sunday afternoon that a second person has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus in Dallas.

An exterior view of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas on Oct. 1, 2014.

The Big Conversation

Confirmation came Sunday afternoon that a second person has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus in Dallas. This time, it's a health care worker who had what authorities were calling "extensive contact" with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first victim of Ebola who died last week. The announcement marked another sad milestone — the first instance of transmission from one person to another in the U.S.

The Tribune's Edgar Walters writes:

At a press conference, (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom) Frieden said the “deeply concerning” infection may have happened when the health care worker took off contaminated protective gear. Investigators will also examine how dialysis and intubation treatment Duncan received at the hospital may have caused the spread of infectious material, he said. 

“Unfortunately, it is possible in the coming days we will see additional cases of Ebola,” he said.

One other person had contact with the symptomatic health care worker, who missed two days of work before going to the emergency room, The Dallas Morning News reported.

And in other news, the fallout over Wendy Davis' new campaign ad that featured an empty wheelchair while talking about the legal settlement reached by Greg Abbott, her rival in the race for governor, after he was paralyzed by a falling tree.

Davis' pollster talked to a couple of news outlets, including the Tribune's Jay Root, to discuss the ad.

Root reports that Joel Benenson — who logged time with both of Barack Obama's presidential campaigns — claimed the ad is "working as intended" and that Abbott has also featured his wheelchair in his ads. “This ad is not about Greg Abbott in a wheelchair,” Benenson told Root. “This ad is about Greg Abbott’s behavior and actions with other victims after he had his opportunity and rightly sought justice and received a substantial amount of money.”

Still, the ad continues to receive criticism, even from some Democratic quarters. Root noted Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, who said on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos, “Look, I’m saying that I would not have used that wheelchair.”

The Day Ahead

•    Today is the observance of Columbus Day, a federal holiday. Mail delivery won't happen. Some schools and most banks will be closed.

•    Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis appears at 10:30 a.m. at a campaign field office in Fort Worth to continue the line of attack against her rival, Greg Abbott, raised first in a controversial campaign ad released on Friday.

•    The Senate Higher Education Committee meets at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to take up ways to improve college readiness among high school graduates. (agenda)

Trib Must-Reads

Texans Coming to Grips With Rising Water Costs, by Christine Ayala and Neena Satija

Struggling With State Exams, Students Still Advance, by Morgan Smith

Analysis: A Simple and Very Expensive Proposal, by Ross Ramsey

Opponents of Voter ID Law Ask Court to Deny Stay, by Edgar Walters


Would Dan Patrick’s tax plan lower your taxes?, Austin American-Statesman

Big Abbott donors among top law firm contract recipients, The Dallas Morning News

Wendy Davis role in Cabela’s deal may hinder attack on 'insider’ Abbott, Austin American-Statesman

Women seeking abortions scramble to find places to go, Houston Chronicle

Kennedy: Burton, Willis gaining speed but also veering wildly as Senate race nears finish, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Houston's air is cleaner, but the goal post is moving, Houston Chronicle

Critics frown at ICE jail contracts, San Antonio Express-News

Migrant deaths down in Brooks County, Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Quote to Note

“In an astounding move that would make any English-only proponent blush, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in the Lone Star State is actually the one opting for the language of Cervantes and García-Márquez to be the conduit by which the upcoming debate with his Democratic Party challenger is communicated to Texas voters.”

Gustavo Bujanda, the spokesman for Democratic Senate candidate David Alameel, on the wildly improbable possibility that the only televised debate between the challenger and incumbent U.S. Sen. John Cornyn could end up broadcast solely dubbed into Spanish.

Today in TribTalk

The Ireland-Texas connection, by Adrian Farrell

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With Sam Houston, 2014 Democratic Nominee for Attorney General, on Oct. 16 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation With state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, and state Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, on Oct. 22 at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches

•    A Conversation With Railroad Commission Candidates Steve Brown and Ryan Sitton, on Oct. 30 at The Austin Club in Austin

•    A One-Day Symposium on the Impact of the Shale Boom on Oct. 31 at the University of Texas San Antonio

•    A Live Post-Election TribCast, featuring Tribune editors and reporters on the election results, on Nov. 5 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation With Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick on Nov. 6 at The Austin Club

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Energy Environment Health care Politics Public education Dan Patrick Greg Abbott John Cornyn Wendy Davis