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The Brief: June 8, 2010

Efforts to contain the oil still gushing into the Gulf of Mexico finally seem to be making headway, but the government is now warning that the remaining slick may have a mind of its own.

This photo from a NASA satellite shows the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico on April 25, 2010.

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

Efforts to contain the oil still gushing into the Gulf of Mexico finally seem to be making headway, but the government is now warning that the remaining slick, now threatening Florida coastlines, may have a mind of its own.

After numerous failed attempts at containing the spill, BP announced Monday that a cap lodged over the Macondo well on Friday was collecting up to half of the oil coursing into the Gulf, the Houston Chronicle reports. But Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander, said Monday at a White House press conference that the slick — now a monstrous, unpredictable web of oily water — has broken into "hundreds or thousands of patches of oil going in lots of different directions."

Allen's warnings aligned with previous forecasts from government and BP officials that cleanup efforts could be exhaustive and last for months. “We're adapting to an enemy that changes,” he said.

Environmentalists were heartened by word of a long-awaited successful containment effort, but Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, told the Chronicle his organization would like to see independent confirmation of the statistics. "BP hasn't been the most trusted source when it comes to accurate information," he said.

And those numbers have others calling for clarification, too, The New York Times reports. "How much that is, we’d all love to know," said Kent Wells, a BP executive, according to the Times. "It’s really difficult to tell."

CULLED:

  • Are you ready for some football … politicking? Amid reports that the University of Texas and other Big 12 schools could move to the Pac-10 conference, Baylor University President Ken Starr said Monday at a press conference that he hopes the Big 12, of which Baylor is a member, stays intact. And while it may only concern a game, the intrigue may have real political implications, the Tribune's Ross Ramsey notes.
  • The Texas Transportation Commission will meet today in Austin to target a highway-funding loophole allowing cities to pocket millions of dollars, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. That money, the state says, is needed for the already financially squeezed state highway system.
  • Data released last week indicated that Texas schoolchildren's performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills had improved across the board. But lowered state standards may have played a roll in that, according to the Houston Chronicle, causing some to cast doubt on the state's report card.

"Maybe the Legislature should start paying Perry on an hourly basis to encourage him to stop ignoring the budget crisis and get things done." — Katy Bacon, spokeswoman for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White, blasting opponent Gov. Rick Perry for what White's campaign calls the governor's light work schedule.

MUST-READ:

Abbott denies campaign rival's charge that he went easy on BPThe Dallas Morning News

RGV Border Patrol chief tapped to help lead agencyThe Monitor

Bid to put a Green in Texas governor race may be illegal, expert saysThe Dallas Morning News

Feds: Hempstead terror suspect thrived on secrecyHouston Chronicle

$3 million grant to promote college access in Fort Worth, San AntonioFort Worth Star-Telegram

Speaker's Race, Anyone? — The Texas Tribune

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