News For May, 2010

Graphic by Jacob Villanueva

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Stiles and Thevenot's searchable database of more than 5,800 public schools, Thevenot on why smaller high schools are better, Garcia-Ditta on the possible unification of Big Bend National Park with Mexico, Grissom on what's likely to happen on immigration reform this year (nothing), Hamilton on how Admm Bobby Ray Inman is managing a crisis, Hu on the health care reform straw man, Ramsey on the no-shoo-in-for-the-experienced-guy special election in Senate District 22, Philpott on the likely post-Arizona immigration brawls, Ramshaw on the emergence of concierge care as a response to health care reform, Aguilar on how Texas will soon become Cuba's top U.S. trading partner, Stiles and Babalola's searchable database of more 160,000 inmates in Texas prisons, M. Smith on the depressing fact that every single U.S. Attorney position in Texas is now vacant, and my on-camera sit-down with Texas Transportation Commission chair Deirdre Delisi. The best of our best from April 26 to 30, 2010.

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Magical Accounting

It's 1983. Oil prices are in the toilet. The Texas economy is suddenly and unexpectedly reeling. Lawmakers, who happen to be in session, have a choice between big cuts or new taxes or something creative. Comptroller Bob Bullock and his top propeller-heads find a creative out — a way to balance the budget without big cuts or tax hikes.

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Gage Skidmore

Bombs Away!

In November 2007, when the presidential campaign of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Surfside, raised more than $4.2 million in a single day, the grassroots-fueled "money bomb" became part of the national political conversation. But while the tactic was in greater use this cycle, the underwhelming showing of candidates who employed it reveals its limitations.

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Jacob Villanueva

The Shell Game

If history is any guide, the Legislature will turn to accounting illusions to mask large portions of a budget shortfall of at least $11 billion. Trouble is, such trickery is a bet on the economy roaring back to life — and that's no sure thing. 

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Reuters File Photo

TMA Supports HPV Vaccine For Boys

The Texas Medical Association's leadership body voted this weekend to support vaccinating not just young girls but young boys for the human papillomavirus. But organization officials were quick to note that the vote did not include making such vaccines mandatory, which Gov. Rick Perry tried to do for Texas schoolgirls in 2007.

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Caleb Bryant Miller

Is Texas a Sanctuary State?

Aides to Gov. Rick Perry's re-election campaign have accused his Democratic challenger, Bill White, the former mayor of Houston, of running a “sanctuary city," where officers don't inquire about immigration status during routine patrols and investigations. But Houston's policy is remarkably similar to that of Texas DPS under Perry. If Houston is a sanctuary city, why isn't Texas a sanctuary state?

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A Conversation with Francisco Cigarroa

For the eighth event in our TribLive series, I interviewed the tenth chancellor of the University of Texas System about the big three concerns of anyone in a leadership role in higher education these days: access, affordability and excellence.

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N.A.S.A.

Spill, Baby, Spill

A trio of pieces from our partners at public radio station KUT in Austin examines the potential impact on Texas of the disastrous oil spill off the Louisiana coast. Ericka Aguilar reports on Attorney General Greg Abbott’s meetings with other Gulf Coast states on potential legal action against British Petroleum, Nathan Bernier asks whether the oil might make its way to Texas — possibly driven by a hurricane, and Jennifer Stayton looks at the effects on fisheries. 

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TribBlog: An Off-Track Bet

The Speaker doesn't have anyone studying gambling in advance of the next legislative session, and a leading Democrat says legislators ought to get together on their own to consider the issue.

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Graphic by Jacob Villanueva

Keeping Their Bottom Lines Healthy

With health care reform expected to place up to 1 million more Texans on the state rolls in the next several years, experts predict a surge in the number of doctors who opt out of accepting Medicaid and Medicare patients, thanks to reimbursements well below private-payer rates.

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wikipedia.org

Stolen Bases

If you're wondering about the economic impact of the federal military base realignment and closure effort, look only as far as Texas, where two cities with shuttered bases are struggling to keep residents employed and spirits up, while one city with an expanded base is booming.

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