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The Brief: Aug. 18, 2015

It's not known yet who shared a post from the agriculture commissioner's account suggesting using nuclear weapons on "the Muslim world" but expect no apologies from Sid Miller's camp.

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The Big Conversation

"Inappropriate" or "thought-provoking"? Descriptions of a Facebook post that suggested the U.S. use nuclear weapons against "the Muslim world" to make peace like the U.S. did at the end of WWII ran the gamut.

And those were just from the camp of Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who created controversy Monday when the post was shared from his account.

The "inappropriate" comment came first, from Luke Bullock, a special assistant to Miller. He told the Houston Chronicle's Lauren McGaughy that the share was made by a Miller campaign staffer without the commissioner's knowledge. "The posting did not reflect the views of Commissioner Miller and, as a result, it's been removed," he said.

Miller's campaign spokesman, Todd Smith, contacted McGaughy later to say that he didn't know if the post reflected the views of Miller, who is currently on a trade trip to China. "I'm not going to call it inappropriate or appropriate," Smith said. "I just think it was thought-provoking."

The Tribune's Jim Malewitz also reported that the Miller camp was rejecting calls from others to apologize for the post. “We’re not going to apologize for the posts that show up on our Facebook page,” said Smith. “I don’t know who did it, but I’m not going to start a witch hunt to find out who did.”

Trib Must-Reads

Analysis: Don't Discount the Value of Attention, by Ross Ramsey — Donald Trump is putting on a clinic on how to entertain and hold the attention of lots of voters. Don't discount the value of that — it's a vital first step to winning elective office, as several Texas candidates have shown.

Today's 31 Days, 31 Ways Story

Child Sex Trafficking Victims Get More Protection, by Morgan Smith — Under a new state law, law enforcement officials will be able to take children suspected to be sex trafficking victims immediately into protective custody instead of waiting for a court order.

The Day Ahead

•    Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire, D-Houston, hold a 10 a.m. news conference at the Capitol to announce an interim jail safety study committee.

Elsewhere

Blue Bell to return Aug. 31, faces new lawsuit, Houston Chronicle

Vandals hit second synagogue, San Antonio Express-News

Hood County clerk’s refusal to issue same-sex marriage license cost taxpayers $43,000, The Dallas Morning News

Reports against shuttered group homes included sexual abuse, Austin American-Statesman

Securities board cites Paxton to illustrate investment firm's deceit, Houston Chronicle

Dallas Fed names Harvard business professor as new president, The Dallas Morning News

Trump's immigration stance echoes state bills, Amarillo Globe-News

Gov. Abbott gets flak for Facebook post about Virgin Mary, San Antonio Express-News

States Move to Cut Funds for Planned Parenthood, The New York Times

Planned Parenthood fires back, Politico

Ted Cruz Megadonor Identified as Cellphone Executive, The New York Times

Quote to Note

"Thank goodness! I gained 10 pounds from the stress of not having Blue Bell when I'm stressed!!!"

— Deanne Jordan Martinez of Waco, in a note on Blue Bell Ice Cream's Facebook page after the company announced its product will return to market Aug. 31 after a listeria outbreak halted production of the iconic Texas food

News From Home

In this week's edition of the Trib+Health newsletter: Coca Cola is in hot water for backing controversial obesity study, rural Texas hospitals reach out to feds for funding help and an interview with Susan Hernandez of UT Southwestern University Hospitals.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•      The Texas Tribune's Trivia Night on Aug. 30 in Austin 

•      A Conversation with Austin Mayor Steve Adler and San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor on Sept. 4 in Austin

•      A Conversation on The Road from Hurricane Rita on Sept. 22 in Beaumont

•      The Texas Tribune Festival on Oct. 16-18 at the University of Texas at Austin

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