A few days before Christmas, the president of the University of Texas at Austin, Bill Powers, debuted his new blog on the UT web site. (Not the best time to attract an audience, but like opening a play in New Haven, better to work out the kinks in soft-launch mode before the hordes descend.) Called "Tower Talk," the blog's purpose, Powers says, is to be "another way for us to stay in touch. I’ll be sharing news, as well as important information about our budget situation; our remarkable students, faculty, and staff; tuition; the admissions process and the Longhorns trip to the BCS Bowl Championship." So far, the blogger-in-chief has posted sporadically if enthusiastically — on topics ranging from the controversy over Mack Brown's salary to the award-winning Longhorns arrayed around campus. A two-part post published yesterday and today tackled the budget challenges facing every square inch of the Forty Acres, with Powers walking through his thinking on priorities and strategy and gloating ever so slightly ("We are not facing a budget shortfall of hundreds of millions of dollars, which the University of California System is confronting"). Certainly there's a P.R. angle to this — there would have to be — as well as an alumni and donor stewardship piece, but you have to give the guy props for 21st-century transparency (rare among his peers) and the university credit for not squelching negative comments.