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May 11th, 2013:

Saturday video break: Der Kommissar

Song #20 on the Popdose Top 100 Covers list is “Der MKmmissar”, originally by Falco and covered by After the Fire. Here’s the original:

I guess I have to add this to the “originals I’d not heard before” list, since I didn’t know the original was in German. Unlike many other unknown-to-me originals, this one is the same basic song as the better-known cover, so other than the language it wasn’t a surprise. And 80s videos, man, gotta love ’em. Here’s After the Fire:

This is the first time in this series where I knew the cover but didn’t know the name of the covering band. All these years I heard that song on the radio, I can’t ever recall a DJ mentioning their name. How does that happen? Anyway, this video is even 80s-ier than I remember. Such a beautiful synergy between medium and art form, isn’t it?

Here are the HCDE hopefuls

JimHenley

Via Stace, here are the six finalists to succeed HCDE Trustee Jim Henley, who is resigning his position as of when a replacement is chosen:

  • Davetta Daniels, who ran for HISD Trustee against Paula Harris in 2007 and 2011
  • Sue Deigaard, who has been active in matters relating to public education funding
  • Louis Evans, UH-D Executive Director, Distance Learning and former HCDE Board member in Position 4, Precinct 3
  • Rey Guerra, engineer, community activist, and guest blogger
  • Traci Jensen, 2012 candidate for SBOE 6
  • Mubeen Khumawala, a former teacher at YES Prep who is now a project analyst for Deloitte

I know Sue, Rey, and Traci, and think any of them would be fine. Stace is supporting Rey Guerra; as he notes, the current Board lacks Latino representation. According to the Board Vacancy FAQ, the successor will be chosen at the next HCDE Board meeting on May 21. If you have a preference, you might want to contact your precinct Board member and the two remaining At Large members (Diane Trautman and Debby Kerner) and let them know.

No more inspection stickers

That’s the plan, and I think it makes a lot of sense.

Texas’ vehicle inspection stickers would become a thing of the past under legislation approved unanimously Monday by the state Senate.

But there’s a catch: Vehicles still would have to be inspected before they could be registered with the state, and diesel vehicles would, for the first time, have to pass an emissions test.

“Technology allows Texas to move away from vehicle inspection stickers, so we can combine the inspection with the registration,” said state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, the author of Senate Bill 1350.

Twenty-seven other states already use a single-sticker system, Department of Public Safety officials said Monday.

“It will mean there will be one registration sticker on your windshield, instead of that sticker and an inspection sticker. That’s one less sticker on your windshield that you can get a ticket for,” West said. “It’s about less stickers, less government.”

A study by DPS and the state Department of Motor Vehicles showed that the switch would reduce fraud, which has plagued the vehicle inspection system for years.

Here’s SB 1350, which still has to pass the House. The fraud issue is bigger and more extensive than you might think. By eliminating stickers and tying inspections to your vehicle registration, this would mean no more sticker stealing, and no more “surrogate” vehicles being inspected on behalf of some other car. I’m sure there will still be ways to cheat the system, but this is a step in the right direction. Plus, emissions testing for diesel vehicles is something we should have been doing for years. Good idea, good bill, let’s hope the House passes it.

Skilling’s sentence shortened

Jeffrey Skilling’s day in court will come to an end.

Responding to a federal appeals court mandate, lawyers for former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling and the U.S. Department of Justice Wednesday reached an agreement that could knock a decade off the disgraced CEO’s 24-year sentence.

Skilling, 59, was convicted in 2006 of conspiracy, securities fraud, making false statements to auditors and one count of insider trading in connection with the energy company’s 2001 collapse.

The new agreement provides for a jail term of 14 to 17 years and a financial penalty of $40 million. He would be credited for time already served. Skilling’s sentencing is set for June 21 in Houston.

“Today’s agreement will put an end to the legal battles surrounding this case,” Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said. “Mr. Skilling will no longer be permitted to challenge his conviction for one of the most notorious frauds in American history, and victims of his crime will finally receive the more than $40 million in restitution they are owed.”

See here for the background. Counting time served, which I presume began in 2006, would make him eligible for parole as early as 2020, which isn’t exactly soon but is a lot sooner than 2030. Fine by me, I guess. Hair Balls has more.