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The Midday Brief: December 18, 2009

Your afternoon reading.

Your afternoon reading:

• Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), a global warming skeptic who has been banging the drum on Climate-Gate, seems to be siding with China in its battle with U.S. negotiators in Copenhagen. — Joe Barton sympathizes with ChinaGlenn Thrush

• “When Kinky Friedman decides to do Texas Democrats a favor, he sure has a funny way of doing it. I guess that's what makes him a "humorist." — Kinky’s Curious CallPurple Texas

• “The days of Texas proudly holding on to its "conveyor belt of death" moniker may be numbered.” — Death penalty leader: Texas or California?PoliTex

• “Carole Strayhon wants to be Comptroller again, this time as a Democrat. But to say her political history is complicated is something of an understatement. She has run for everything from school board to governor, operating under three different political labels.” — Carole’s Complicated HistoryEmpower Texas

• “Former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm headlines a group of 18 Texas economists who signed a letter released Thursday by House Minority Leader John Boehner opposing another economic stimulus package.” — 18 Texas economists, including UH and Rice profs, protest Obama's new stimulus planTexas on the Potomac

New in The Texas Tribune:

• “Unemployment in Texas hit 8 percent in November — down from the 8.3 percent recorded the previous month and higher than the 5.4 percent registered in the same month of 2008, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. “ — TribBlog: Unemployment Drops in Texas —   The Texas Tribune

• “Texas has the worst rates of cargo and heavy equipment theft — thieves rolling away with anything from semi-trailer trucks full of electronics to a backhoe on a flatbed — in the country.  It also has the worst track record of recovering stolen heavy equipment. At 16 percent, its rate of recovery falls five percentage points below the national average.” — Keep On Trucking — The Texas Tribune

• “Shami, a millionaire hair products executive, is facing off against Houston Mayor Bill White for the Democratic nomination. He emphasizes jobs at every campaign stop, and this stump speech is no exception.” — Stump Interrupted: Farouk Shami — The Texas Tribune

• “When a Texas public school fails, the students are allowed to transfer — to leave and seek their educations elsewhere. Yet more than a decade after that policy was enacted, then later strengthened at the federal level, only a tiny fraction of eligible students ever take advantage of it.” — An Escape with Few Takers — The Texas Tribune

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