THE BIG CONVERSATION:
Summer — and late summer at that. That’s when some officials are predicting the BP oil spill spewing crude from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico will be clamped once and for all. Following yet another failed attempt to plug the leak last weekend, a report today said the company is planning another patchwork attempt that could begin as early as Wednesday. The report indicates the ultimate fix, which ironically requires the drilling of two additional wells at the same surface level, won’t be possible until August.
According to the report: “But the best-case scenario of sealing the leak is two relief wells being drilled diagonally into the gushing well — tricky business that won't be ready until August. ‘The probability of them hitting it on the very first shot is virtually nil,’ said David Rensink, incoming president of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, who spent most of his 39 years in the oil industry in offshore exploration. ‘If they get it on the first three or four shots they'd be very lucky.’”
So just when did the current tragedy begin? April 20. That means millions of gallons of crude oil began billowing out of the well before Gov. Jan Brewer signed the controversial immigration bill into law, before former State Rep. Terri Hodge was sentenced to a year in prison, before Gov. Rick Perry revealed he goes on coyote-hunting jogs near his rented mansion, and before the State Board of Education finalized its social studies curriculum, to name a few. Chances are we’ll have just as much fun keeping up with the quirkiness Texas politics and culture have to offer before the worst oil spill in U.S. history stops inching closer toward our shores.
- UT Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Hospital are under federal investigation for possible billing violations. A report published Sunday in The Dallas Morning News indicates the investigation revolves around Medicare and Medicaid billing for procedures that might not have been performed by qualified medical faculty. According to the report, millions of dollars in potential fraud claims have already been identified.
- Maj. Nidal Hasan, the U.S. Army psychiatrist accused of killing more than a dozen fellow soldiers during a November shooting rampage at Fort Hood, is scheduled to appear before a military courtroom today. The Associated Press reports that Hasan and his defense team will meet with prosecutors to outline how the case will proceed. The report suggests a trial could begin as early as this summer.
- The influence Texas textbooks has on the multi-billion dollar textbook industry has waned considerably, according to a report by The Associated Press. That should leave several educators around the country plenty happy, as some held fast to the belief that what Texas determines for its textbooks would be the national standard. In late March, when the State Board of Education had yet to become the national focus of ridicule and outrage it is now known for, the Tribune’s Brian Thevenot debunked the myth about Texas books and their overblown influence. His report is here.
Houston region closer to large storm surge project — Houston Chronicle
'Spiritual but not religious' becoming more common self-identification — Austin American-Statesman
2 brothers with ties to drug cartel arrested — El Paso Times
Houston area tops Texas in prescriptions for 'heroin high' drug cocktail — The Associated Press
Threatening the Safety Net? — Texas Tribune