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Posts from ‘February, 2012’

Interview with Patty Quintana-Nilsson

My final interview with the Democratic hopefuls for State Board of Education District 6 is with Patty Quintana-Nilsson. She is a UH graduate with a degree in Radio & Television Communications, and she is a 15-year employee of the Spring Branch ISD. Currently she teaches Digital Film and Commercial Photography at the Guthrie Center, which […]

Lampson saddles up

It’s good to have him back. On Monday, former U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson told a crowd of about 40 supporters gathered at Texas City’s city hall that he was running in the newly drawn 14th District “because Congress is too polarized to find solutions to our serious problems, and I was there when we could.” […]

We have a long history of screwing public schools in this state

I’ve been meaning to post about this Texas Observer story about the current status of school finance, the litigation challenging it, and the story of how we got here. Here’s a little local angle to illustrate one of the many ways in which the system is messed up. Even one of the state’s most efficient […]

Who uses the white pages these days?

I’m an old fogey. I read the dead tree version of the newspaper. I’ve installed no apps on my cellphone. I drive a minivan. Yet even I couldn’t tell you the last time I used a phone book. When was the last time you used the white pages? Be honest now. I, for one, can’t […]

We have maps

From The Trib: Federal judges in San Antonio unveiled maps for the state’s congressional delegation and for the state House this afternoon, and they did it in time to allow the state to hold its delayed political primaries on May 29. The court also signed off on Senate plans agreed to earlier this month. Here […]

Interview with David Scott

Next up for State Board of Education District 6 is David Scott. Scott ia an A&M graduate who has a Masters of Library Science from the University of North Texas. He worked a variety of jobs in several industries, including as a reference librarian for the San Francisco Public Library, before becoming a full-time dad. […]

It’s all about Helena

Apparently, we have been living in Helena Brown’s world all this time. District A Councilwoman Helena Brown has voted against spending money on the renovation of a women’s shelter, a street’s reconstruction, the purchase of a police boat, payment to caregivers for the chronically ill, a study on people at risk for HIV infection, gas […]

UH moves closer to Tier I status

Good for them. The University of Houston is on the verge of accessing additional state money that could help catapult the school closer to prestigious Tier 1 status, according to a preliminary report from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Both UH and Texas Tech University have been cleared to access the new National Research […]

How you can help support policies and funding for public schools

From the inbox, sent by Sue Dimenn Deigaard: Over the past week I have heard several legislators make the misleading claim that they increased funding for public education this past session.  As a parent with a child that is in a classroom with 29 other students this year, and as a parent that regularly attends […]

More on uniform start times and other options HISD is considering

As we know, HISD is contemplating uniform start times as a way to save a few bucks for the next fiscal year. They do have some other ideas going, as well as a possible property tax rate hike, and they would like some input from you. From the inbox, from HISD Trustee Paula Harris: Implementing […]

Interview with Traci Jensen

We now move on to the State Board of Education, the one entity affected by legislative redistricting that is not at issue in the current litigation, as the new SBOE map was precleared. I don’t think I need to explain to this audience why the SBOE is and has been a hot mess and why […]

Who cares about women, anyway?

The state of Texas certainly doesn’t. If there was any hope that the state was seeking a compromise with the federal government over Texas’ Women’s Health Program, it’s fading fast. At the direction of lawmakers and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Texas Health and Human Services commissioner signed a rule on Thursday that formally […]

HISD to contemplate uniform start times again

They’re back. Bleary-eyed teenagers in Houston ISD could sleep later, but not everyone is cheering a budget-cutting proposal that would change school hours and bus schedules next year. The school board last year rejected a plan to tinker with the times after parents complained. But with the Houston Independent School District facing another multimillion-dollar deficit, […]

School finance lawsuit #5

The plaintiffs keep on coming. A lawsuit by a small group of parents claims Texas is not getting enough bang for its educational buck, and asks the state’s courts to address inefficiencies in how education funding is spent. Attorneys plan to file their litigation Friday in Austin on behalf of five families who say Texas […]

Weekend link dump for February 26

I hope your Valentine’s Day was not as exciting as theirs was. A proper apology for an honest screwup is never a bad idea. I guess investing in North Korea could be a good idea. Seems awfully risky to me, though. You go right ahead and keep alienating unmarried women, Republicans. Some more of this […]

Dry, not drought

Yippie! It’s official: According to the latest iteration of the U.S. Drought Monitor just released, the drought is over for most of eastern Harris County. Here’s the picture: Compare that to where we were at the beginning of the year and be amazed. But don’t get too cocky. Look at the chart accompanying the current […]

More than five million trees lost in the cities

More depressing numbers from the drought. It was a sight more common than usual this past summer: a tree too thirsty to live became another casualty to the drought. City workers would either remove the tree, or, if they were too late, it would fall, possibly on power lines, cars or a house. On Wednesday, […]

Snorting caffeine

The next frontier in caffeination: Caffeinated air. U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials plan to investigate whether inhalable caffeine sold in lipstick-sized canisters is safe for consumers and if its manufacturer was right to brand it as a dietary supplement. AeroShot went on the market late last month in Massachusetts and New York, and it’s […]

One good thing will come out of Craig James’ Senate campaign

He apparently won’t be brought back by ESPN. Sportwriters and fans alike rejoice.

Saturday video break: We Can Work It Out

Song #80 on the Popdose Top 100 Covers list is “We Can Work It Out”, by The Beatles, and covered by Stevie Wonder. Here’s the original: I trust everyone is familiar with that song. Here’s Stevie’s version: Pretty cool to see Paul McCartney sing along in the audience, sitting next to the President, no? I […]

Property tax revenues still a year away

Getting better, but not quite there yet. Local governments should not expect an influx of property taxes to solve their budget woes this year, Harris County Appraisal District officials said Tuesday. Assistant Chief Appraiser Guy Griscom estimated the countywide tax base, based on a Jan. 1 snapshot that will be finalized this summer, will see […]


For the three of you reading this who know who Buddy Roemer is and were aware that he was running for President (other than Greg, who of course already knew), this announcement from his campaign may possibly be of interest to you. Tomorrow, I will formally end my bid for the GOP nomination for President […]

Corpus Christi discusses plastic bags

Add another city to the list of those seeking to reduce plastic bag usage and litter. [Corpus Christi] Mayor Joe Adame wants the community to work together on a solution within the next two to three months. “The easy decision is to ban plastic bags,” he said. “We have got to figure out a unique […]

Friday random ten: Tongue twisters

Somehow I got to thinking this week about songs that are challenging to sing because of lyrical density and/or complexity. Tongue-twisting songs, in other words. I came up with ten from my collection: 1. Mari Mac – Flying Fish Sailors Here’s the refrain: Mari Mac’s father wants Mari Mac to marry me My father’s making […]

Who’s on the Perry 2014 bandwagon?

Maybe not so many people. If he really wants to run for another term as governor — as he told The Texas Tribune on Tuesday — Rick Perry has some work ahead of him. While 39 percent of Texas voters said they would be likely to support him in 2014, 51 percent said they wouldn’t, […]

More fun with Helena

When I saw the headline about a clash between Mayor Parker and an unnamed Council member, I was pretty sure I knew before I clicked the link which Council member it was. I was right. District A Councilwoman Brown tried to replace one of the mayor’s appointees to the Spring Branch Management District, accusing him […]

The “Moneyball” approach to public education

Via Lisa Falkenberg on Facebook, SBOE member Thomas Ratliff uses the philosophy from Moneyball to analyze the accountability system for Texas public schools. The book says, “One absolutely cannot tell, by watching, the difference between a .300 hitter and a .275 hitter. The difference is one hit every two weeks.” In Texas public schools, you […]

Petition for safer walking and biking

From Marty Hajovsky: Stephanie Riceman with the Heights Kids Group, a 900-strong (at least) group of families in and around the greater Houston Heights, has put together an interesting online petition that says as much about how many new families there are in the Heights as it does about the need to make streets safer for bike riders […]

Still no voter registration cards yet

I’ve written about this before, but apparently there are some rumors running around regarding voter registration cards. Central Texas elections officials are warning against a rash of emails spreading false information about voter registration — an already confusing issue for many because of an ongoing battle over redistricting that has delayed every step in the […]

No, there won’t be a special session to help the public schools

Someone managed to catch Rick Perry during the few minutes he was in the office this week to ask about about having a special session to appropriate some of the extra Rainy Day funds to mitigate the cuts to public education. His answer was exactly what you’d expect. Perry said Tuesday that Texas is spending […]

Harris County GOP to harass Mayor Parker about gay marriage

Bring it. The Harris County Republican Party is calling on its members to tell the mayor to back off on same-sex marriage. In an email blast sent out Monday, Chairman Jared Woodfill asks recipients to call or email the mayor “and tell her to support the Constitution and stand up for traditional marriage.” Parker recently […]

Let’s party like it’s 2007!

Good news: The improving economy and steadily increasing sales tax receipts may mean that we won’t have another budget apocalypse in 2013. Bad news: The Republicans in the Lege will use this as an excuse to avoid fixing the state’s underlying revenue problems. The state’s rebounding economy should help Texas avoid another draconian budget session […]

Texas blog roundup for the week of February 20

The Texas Progressive Alliance will never be able to say the word “surging” again with a straight face as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Congrats to Ernie Manouse for reaching this milestone: Houston-(February 15, 2012) Over the past 10 seasons, the nationally syndicated award-winning series,  InnerVIEWS with Ernie Manouse hasentertained and informed audiences with interesting, intimate, and revealing conversations with some of today’s most captivating notables. Now,InnerVIEWS, and Emmy winner Ernie Manouse, get ready to celebrate their 150th episode with multi-award winning journalist Bill Moyers. The […]