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The Midday Brief: February 1, 2010

Your afternoon reading.

Your afternoon reading:

 • Hundreds couldn't get down payment assistance through the state's hallmark programs, and there were slimmer pickings of decent rental units available through tax-credit and bond programs. Queasy investors just wouldn't pony up the dollars to repair and build. — State housing agency struggled to help needy families, draft report showsFort Worth Star-Telegram

• On Friday, I wondered if any of the media panelists at the second GOP gubernatorial debate would ask Rick Perry about the case of Cameron Todd Wilingham. — Perry Sidesteps Willingham AgainThe Contrarian

• Texas' House Judiciary Committee will host a forum on head injuries in high school and college football Monday in Houston, following two earlier hearings on the problem in the NFL. — Texas trying to make high school football saferUSA Today

• Friday started badly for John Bradley, the Williamson County district attorney selected last fall by Gov. Rick Perry to ride herd over the troublesome scientists on the Texas Forensic Science Commission. — The revolt of the scientists — Houston Chronicle

• If nothing else, Kinky Friedman is making agriculture sexy. — Kinky Friedman says run for agriculture chief is seriousTrail Blazers

• White House budget director Peter Orszag is defending the Obama administration's proposal to cancel NASA's program to return astronauts to the moon. — Obama budget director defends plan to cancel NASA's Constellation programTexas on the Potomac

New in The Texas Tribune:

• Since 2003, there has been a 750 percent increase in fever-tick infestations in South Texas, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture: There were 19 confirmed cases back then but 146 in 2009. It’s the worst situation in 37 years. — Ticked — The Texas Tribune

• The State Board of Education doesn't confine its dysfunction and discord to battles over what should be in history and social studies textbooks and how to teach science and grammar. The elected 15-member board also watches over the Permanent School Fund, an endowment of more than $23 billion that helps to pay for textbooks, salaries and the like. — No Experience Necessary — The Texas Tribune

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