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July 6th, 2013:

Saturday video break: Take Me To The River

Song #12 on the Popdose Top 100 Covers list is “Take Me To The River”, originally by Al Green and covered by the Talking Heads. Here’s the Rev. Al:

If you’ve seen The Commitments, you will recognize that this is what they were covering, not the Talking Heads version. Which makes sense given what that movie was about, but if you’re like me it’s the latter version that you’re more familiar with.

Slowing a song down is a common tactic for covering bands. Here in combination with the Talking Heads’ driving keyboards and David Byrne’s distinctive vocals, it really takes the tune in a different direction. Interestingly, the live version they did in the concert film Stop Making Sense had a faster tempo, closer to the original. Either way, great song, great cover.

Coming attractions in the Senate

From Jessica Luther, a guide to Monday’s Senate hearing on their version of the omnibus anti-abortion bill.

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On Tuesday, the House Committee had their hearing for HB2 (what a sham that was, huh?).

The Senate version of that bill – SB1 – will be heard by committee this upcoming Monday at 10am. Here is the Facebook event for the hearing.

(Note: I will NOT be in Austin on Monday so I will miss the hearing all together.)


What time does everything happen?

Doors to capitol open at 7am.


Registration for the hearing opens at 9am.

The hearing begins at 10am.

Where is the hearing?

Capitol Extension, Room E1.036. A MUCH smaller room than normal.

It is one floor above where we were this week for the House committee hearing. When you get to the capitol, take the elevators in the North wing DOWN to level E1. Walk down the long hallway and E1.036 will be at the end on the right side.

According to the Senate’s site, these will be the overflow rooms on Monday:

Capitol Auditorium, E1.004
E1.012 (Hearing Room)
E1.016 (Hearing Room)
E1.028 (Hearing Room)

What is different this time from the House committee hearing?

1) How you register. 

Unlike the House, which uses an electronic system to register people’s approval/opposition of the bill and their desire to testify, the Senate still uses good old-fashioned paper. You will be asked to fill out a witness affidavit card by hand. There will be plenty of people in orange there to help you fill out the card if you have any trouble. You must then turn the card into the clerk.

2) How much time you have.

This past Tuesday you had three minutes. This time you will only have 2 minutes.

3) How many copies of written testimony you will need.

This time: 20! (make sure your name is on each copy)

There’s a lot more useful information at the link, so click over and read it all. As Jessica and Juanita both note, bill supporters – having been caught flatfooted during the first special session – are making plans to turn out on Monday, so a good showing by the good guys would be nice. If you can’t make it to Austin, there’s a phonebanking event tomorrow that you can participate in from anywhere. Look, we all know this sucks, and we all know that the Republicans have the numbers to muscle this through in the end, but that doesn’t mean we should make it easy on them. Let’s not lose momentum now.

UPDATE: Nonsequiteuse has more.

Public Integrity Unit employees get layoff notices

What is to come if nothing changes.

Rosemary Lehmberg

Travis County commissioners are still holding out hope the state will fund the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, but took an early step to let employees know their jobs are on the line.

Voting unanimously Tuesday, commissioners are giving layoff notices to more than 30 employees whose jobs will end Sept. 30. Still, if the state ends up funding the unit — either through the Legislature or department grants — or if the county ends up paying the $3.7 million to keep the unit going, those staffers will come back.


State Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, filed a bill on Monday to override the governor’s veto, after filing a similar bill in the last special session to do the same thing. That bill was left pending in committee after a hearing. Deece Eckstein, Travis County Intergovernmental Relations Coordinator, said it’s not clear if such a bill can override the governor’s veto: “It’s a new parliamentary issue. … We won’t know until it gets to the House floor.”

[PIU Chief Gregg] Cox said the state’s Department of Insurance, which refers cases to the unit in Travis County, pays the salaries of attorneys in the District Attorney’s offices of Dallas, Harris and Bexar counties.

Commissioners discussed having other counties help pay for the unit, but did not get into details.

“A lot of these options we can deliberate in the future,” County Judge Sam Biscoe said.

Rep. Turner tried to override Perry’s veto in the first special session, but it did not get a vote, having come up late in the session. He had the support of Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts and at least the tacit support of Speaker Straus, so this effort does have a chance. I don’t know if he;ll be able to find enough votes, however, and as noted nobody knows if what he’s doing is legal, as it’s never been tried before. No time like the present, I say. If the Lege doesn’t override the veto, then Travis County will have to consider its options. Laying off all the employees is not a viable option, that much I know.

HBU and UIW make the leap to Division I

I wish them luck.

One of Dr. Louis Agnese’s earliest recollections of the University of Incarnate Word’s athletic program was quite memorable — and not in a good way.

In 1985, his first year as president of the school, Agnese said he went to watch a basketball game at the university’s Wellness Center. The game was canceled.

“It was stopped because of rain,” Agnese said, referring to water being on the basketball court.

Nearly three decades later, the school’s athletic program has a much brighter appeal.

UIW officially joined NCAA Division I and the Southland Conference on Monday, celebrating the occasion with a campus ceremony that included coaches, athletes, cheerleaders, alumni and fans.

The Cardinals were one of four schools making the move to the conference, joining Abilene Christian, Houston Baptist and the University of New Orleans to make up a 10-team league.

“We think this is a great partnership for the future of the Southland Conference,” SLC commissioner Tom Burnett said. “There are great days ahead for this university. We are as excited as can be.”

I had previously noted UIW’s interest in making the leap to Division I here and here, with Abiliene Christian (formerly College, now University) being mentioned in the latter link. HBU began its move at about the same time. Here’s the Chron story on their first day in the SLC.

Houston Baptist athletic director Steve Moniacci has been attending Southland Conference meetings for a year and a half.

At his next one, he’ll finally get to vote.

HBU officially became a member of the Southland Conference on Monday for all sports except men’s soccer. It makes the move from the Great West Conference.


Moniacci said the biggest advantage of the move is that HBU will play regional league competition.

“We will have fans visiting our campus from other schools who have never had a chance to visit our campus,” he said. “It also increases the ability of our fans to go to league games that they have not been able to go to in the past.”

Rather than get on a plane and fly 1,600 miles to New Jersey Institute of Technology or 1,400 miles to Utah Valley, the Huskies can load up a bus and drive 90 minutes to Sam Houston State in Huntsville or to Lamar in Beaumont.

Moniacci said the school will save six figures in travel costs. That was before it added a football team, which almost doubles those costs.

You don’t often hear about schools saving money by going this route. I don’t know if that will be true in the longer term, but for now at least I’m sure HBU will be happy to not travel to New Jersey and Utah. Like I said, I wish them well in their new conference home.