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The Midday Brief: April 8, 2010

Your afternoon reading.

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Your afternoon reading:

In the Panhandle, gusts reached 47 miles per hour and wind generators delivered a record 6,242 megawatts of power to Dallas, Austin and other population centers. At 1 p.m., 22 percent of all the electricity consumed in the Texas grid was coming from wind. To proud Texans like Public Utility Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman, such records document the state's position as the "epicenter of land-based wind production" in the United States, if not the world, as the chairman put it. — Is Texas Writing the Book on Wind Power?The New York Times

The Valero Energy Corporation, a San Antonio-based company that is one of the nation’s largest independent oil refiners and retailers, has contributed $500,000 to a ballot initiative that would halt the carrying out of the California climate law known as Assembly Bill 32, which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, signed in 2006. At least one other Texas oil company, Tesoro, with operations in California and a prominent antitax group are helping to finance the petition drive to place the initiative on the November general election ballot. — Texas Oil Firms Oppose California Climate LawThe New York Times

In a letter to Helgeson Enterprises, state program manager Lisa Elledge said the contract called for the vendor to host and maintain a Web site “with a minimum monthly uptime of 99.9 percent.” The vendor was also responsible for operating a call center with an average handling time of 5 minutes, an “abandon rate” of less than one percent and answer speeds of 20 seconds for at least 80 percent of calls, according to the letter. — Comptroller’s office ‘not satisfied’ with rebate programAustin American-Statesman

LifeStyles claims that its “Skyn Condom” line and its “Natural Desire Lubricant” are tailored for the environmentally-conscious. The idea, I suppose, is that you can feel good about the world just as you’re feeling good about yourself. — “How “green” is your sex life?” asks condom manufacturerAustin American-Statesman

New in the Texas Tribune:

Inmates serving time in Texas prisons can buy certain “free world” goods — snacks, clothes, even cosmetics — provided that people outside unit walls send them the money. — Buyers Behind Bars

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is reloaded with millions in Recovery Act dollars to continue its Operation Gunrunner, which they say helps stop Mexican cartels from procuring the weapons to fuel their murderous turf battles.  — Whose Guns Are They?

Voters in Central Texas, Dallas and Plano will get to vote for the third month in a row in May, in special elections for the Texas House and Senate. Three officeholders — Sen. Kip Averitt, R-Waco, and Reps. Terri Hodge, D-Dallas, and Brian McCall, R-Plano — resigned before their terms were up. Today was the deadline for candidate filing. — 2010: What's on the Special?



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