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Posts from ‘March, 2012’

Saturday video break: Wichita Lineman

Song #75 on the Popdose Top 100 Covers list is “Wichita Lineman”, originally by Jimmy Webb and covered by Glen Campbell. Here’s the original: Obviously a more recent recording than his original, but it’s the best I can do. Here’s Campbell’s cover: As was the case last week and as will be the case for […]

Harris County rejecting fewer voter registrations

In other lawsuit-related news: Harris County officials have rejected far fewer would-be voters since 2008, but Democrats are demanding more proof that voter rolls are not being illegally suppressed – particularly among Hispanics – as another U.S. presidential election approaches. The two sides [met] in secret mediation Friday as Democratic officials seek assurances the county […]

HBU wants a name change

Always a challenging task. Half a century after being founded by the Baptist General Convention of Texas as “a Christian college of the highest order,” Houston Baptist University may soon erase the religious designation in its name. Saying that the Baptist tag creates a barrier for potential students, university officials are exploring a name change […]

Presidential Pinterest

A while back I wondered if political campaigns would try to leverage Pinterest as part of their social media strategy. At least one well-known campaign has now jumped on it. In case you missed it, Barack Obama [Tuesday] officially became the first U.S. President to launch a Pinterest page. His campaign staff announced the move […]

Friday random ten: Opening day

Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains. But all the time, there’s Friday Random Ten. 1. Opening Ceremonies – from the “Chess” soundtrack 2. Opening: I Can’t Turn You Loose – Blues Brothers 3. Open All Night – Bruce Springsteen 4. Open Arms – Journey 5. Open Book – CAKE 6. Open Page […]

There’s only one Democrat running in CD22

We all need to be clear about that. Both candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for the congressional seat famously held for two decades by Tom DeLay, the former House majority leader, are unusual. K.P. George’s background makes him an improbable candidate — he was born in a village in India that still has no electricity […]

If it walks like a PAC and talks like a PAC…

…the odds are pretty good that it’s a PAC. A Travis County district court judge ruled this week that a Houston-based tea party group is not a nonprofit corporation as it claims, but an unregistered political action committee that illegally aided the Republican Party through its poll-watching efforts during the 2010 elections. The summary judgment […]

Rick Perry and pink slime

Two great tastes that taste great together. Gov. Rick Perry is defending so-called “pink slime” in a statement issued in conjunction with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman and South Dakota Lt. Gov. Matt Michels (on behalf of South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who’s on a trade mission to […]

Are you smarter than a Texas high school student?

Well, why don’t you take this sample STAAR test and find out? It’s very much non-trivial. I got 11 out of 15 correct – I punted on the two physics questions and on the first World History question, though in retrospect I might have gotten it right if I’d thought about it, and I guessed […]

Interview with Sarah Winkler

Wrapping up a week of conversations with candidates who hope to succeed Rep. Scott Hochberg in HD137, today we have Sarah Winkler. Winkler has served on the Alief ISD Board of Trustees since 1997 and on the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Board of Directors since 2001; she was TASB President in 2009-10. She […]

She showed me her manifesto, I had no reply

I got nothing. District E Councilman Mike Sullivan, until January by far the Council’s most conservative member, was so outflanked from the right by a Council newcomer Wednesday that he found himself uttering into his microphone: “I am not a communist.” The energy company Entergy is proposing raising rates on 1,500 of his Kingwood constituents […]

Bromwich on the Mayor’s crime lab proposal

Michael Bromwich, the author of the report that laid out all of the problems with HPD’s crime lab, expresses his approval of Mayor Parker’s proposal for an independent crime lab. Mayor Annise Parker and her administration have proposed removing the city of Houston’s crime lab from the Houston Police Department, where it has resided since […]

Texas blog roundup for the week of March 26

The Texas Progressive Alliane is wearing a hoodie this week as it brings you the blog roundup.

Interview with Jamaal Smith

Continuing with the candidates who hope to succeed Rep. Scott Hochberg in HD137 we have Jamaal Smith, whom you may remember from his time as Executive Director of the HCDP and as the Deputy Campaign Manager and Campaign Manager from the 2008 and 2010 Coordinated Campaigns. Before his stint with the HCDP Smith was the […]

The Sheriff’s office is hiring

Good. Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia says by balancing his department’s $392 million budget, he’ll be able to transfer 100 deputies from jail duties to crime-fighting jobs in the next year while hiring hundreds of new civilian jailers. During a news conference Monday, Garcia said when he took office in January 2009 the department was […]

Mobile broadband in Texas

For your perusal. Almost half of adult Texans, about 8.9 million, use mobile broadband devices — cellphones, laptops or tablets using a cellular network — to keep the Internet a constant companion, according to a survey by Connected Nation, a nonprofit that is working to map and improve broadband use in several states. According to […]

The bees are back

And that’s a very good thing. The bees were hungry. Months of sweltering heat with little rain blanched the landscape. Flowers withered, if they bloomed at all. The drought, a death rattle to so many farmers and ranchers in Texas, also deprived bees food to forage from, and honey production dropped. Lacking a well-balanced diet […]

Interview with Gene Wu

The second candidate running to succeed Rep. Scott Hochberg in HD137 that I interviewed is Gene Wu. Gene is currently a felony prosecutor in the Harris County District Attorney’s office, and he also has legislative experience, having previously been the Chief Clerk for the House Higher Education Committee for the Texas Legislature. He is currently […]

Examining the voter ID lie

I’ve complained quite a bit at how the media in Texas lazily reports the voter ID issue as a simple “he said/she said” dispute when a cursory examination of the facts shows how ridiculous the pro-voter ID case is, so I’ll give the Chron some credit for this story that asks whether the facts justify […]

There’s still a drought out there

Despite the rain, the state of Texas is still mostly in drought conditions, and the threat will remain for the next several years. Most of Central and East Texas beat long odds with heavy rains this winter, but experts warned state lawmakers Thursday that the drought is far from over. State climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said […]

San Antonio B-Cycle keeps on growing

It’s very cool to watch. [B-cycle and city officials announced] plans to add three bicycle stations in April, at HemisView Village apartments, the San Antonio Housing Authority park on South Flores Street, and the 1221 Broadway apartments, said Cindi Snell, executive director of San Antonio B-cycle and co-owner of Bike World. That will bring the […]

Interview with Joseph Carlos Madden

There’s one open Democratic seat in Harris County for the State House: HD137, in which State Rep. Scott Hochberg decided not to run for re-election. There are four Democrats vying to succeed Rep. Hochberg, and I will be presenting their interviews this week. First up is Joseph Carlos Madden, who currently serves as the Chief […]

Fifth Circuit rules against Farmers Branch

I almost missed this. A federal appeals court has upheld the ruling that struck down a Farmers Branch renters ordinance aimed at banning illegal immigrants from rental housing in the city. The decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday upholds the federal government’s right to control immigration laws through the Constitution’s supremacy […]

The Congressional Geezer Caucus

The DMN notices that a sizable portion of Texas’ Congressional delegation is, um, old. Of the most populous states, Texas has the oldest congressional delegation, averaging nearly 63 years old, while the average for Congress as a whole is about 58. North Texas accounts for a big slice of that, paced by Hall, a Republican […]

Fort Bend ISD goes iPad

I’m guessing stories like this are going to be increasingly common. [Three Fort Bend ISD campuses], all Title I schools that serve predominantly low-income students, are the launching pad for iAchieve, a school district initiative to create a tablet-based “e-curriculum.” Instead of simply distributing iPads to students and using educational apps already on the market, […]

Weekend link dump for March 25

I’d invest in the un-wiki if someone would be so kind as to invent it. What could go wrong with cloning a woolly mammoth? They’re not carnivores! Nothing like this happened to me while I was coaching Little League. I really miss “Calvin and Hobbes”, too. That’s some kind of pro-life philosophy you’ve got there. […]

Electing educators

This sounds good, but there are a couple of things missing. More than a dozen Republicans and Democrats who have sat on school boards are running for the Texas House this year, and a backlash over spending cuts and standardized testing might help them get there. Legislators sliced per-student spending last year, prompting schools to […]

Catholic schools doing the right thing

I’ve had a lot of disagreements with the Catholic Church on policy matters lately, but this is something I applaud. The organization that represents Texas’ Catholic high schools on Thursday called for a comprehensive review of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, calling TAPPS’ treatment of Jewish and Muslim schools unacceptable. “Failure to […]

Always in motion the future is

That won’t stop some people from trying to predict it. A Houston think tank has seen the city’s future. Make that two futures. One version shows the Houston metropolitan area in 2040 as beginning to grow after decades of economic stagnation, focused on improving the environment, education and quality of life, paid for through higher […]

When will Ashby rise?

Real Soon Now, developers promise. After more than four years in the works, the so-called Ashby high-rise is expected to break ground by year-end. A lawsuit keeping the project from being built was settled last week. The proposed building pitted the developer against the city of Houston and a well-to-do neighborhood – some of whose […]

Saturday video break: Always On My Mind

Song #76 on the Popdose Top 100 Covers list is “Always On My Mind”, originally by Brenda Lee and covered by the Pet Shop Boys. Here’s the original: I didn’t realize this was the original. I like this version, but it’s not the one I think of when I think of this song. I’ll get […]

HISD announces public meetings to address proposed school start time changes

From the HISD News Blog: HISD has scheduled 10 public meetings to gather community input on a plan to add 19 minutes to the average student’s school day by coordinating the bell schedule among the district’s 279 schools. If approved, the extra 19 minutes of daily instructional time would be equal to an extra seven […]

Abbott is the new KBH

I don’t know how you can write an entire story about Greg Abbott’s political ambitions without stopping to ask the basic question about whether he’ll need to take Rick Perry out in a primary to get what he wants, but Nolan Hicks managed it. Look, you may not believe Rick Perry when he says he’s […]

Tailgating downtown

Go for it! The Dynamo have been playing at the University of Houston’s Robertson Stadium and have always allowed tailgating prior to games. However, fans won’t have the same luxury at the soccer team’s new stadium because of a city ordinance against drinking in parking lots downtown. The city ordinance prohibits an open container or […]