TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of Nov 9, 2009

This week, Brandi Grissom detailed the devastating conditions and absence of hope on the Texas-Mexico border in a multi-part series.

Emily Ramshaw turned the spotlight on IT contractors paid lots and scrunitized not nearly enough for conflicts of interest at state agencies.

In the kick-off to our Stump Interrupted series, Elise Hu enlivened otherwise colorless campaign speeches by Kay Bailey Hutchison and Rick Perry through the use of pop-ups — and the occasional throwback cultural reference.

Speaking of Senator Hutchison: In the words of one of our commenters, her theme song officially became "Should I Kay or Should I Go?" Her announcement that she plans to remain in DC at least through the primary kept the dominoes standing ... but sunk the ambitions of at least a few statewide wannabes.

Elsewhere on the ballot, Reeve Hamilton contemplated the likely fate of Democrat turned Republican Chuck Hopson. Based on the scant consequences suffered by previous party switchers, Hopson probably has nothing to worry about. (Michael Banks might beg to differ.)

Matt Sitles posted a searchable database of fines levied by the State Ethics Commission and reported on the most-sanctioned elected officials (Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole, come on down!).

The new chair of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, Williamson County D.A. John Bradley, had a pleasant chat with Senator John Whitmire.

Also in the Trib: Brian Thevenot on our charter school cap-busting state schools chief, Abby Rapoport on why we may not be eligible for federal education funding, Matt Stiles and Ben Philpott on the debate over campaign finance limits, and Anne Dunkelberg, Arlene Wohlgemuth, John Zerwas, and Garnet Coleman on what we should do about health care reform

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