News For July, 2010

Justin Dehn/Todd Wiseman

Sunset Grill

Physician fraud investigators inside the troubled Division of Workers' Compensation say state examiners failed to uncover serious problems there — and then recommended changes that would take key decisions away from trained physicians and give them to bureaucrats.

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Balking at Bacteria

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has voted not to allow higher levels of E. coli bacteria in the state's water sources, despite staff concerns that the current rules are unnecessarily stringent. Full Story 
Graphic by Jacob Villanueva

Air Splitting

The battle over Texas' environmental regulations came to a head as the Environmental Protection Agency shot down the state's air-pollution permitting regime for large plants. It's the latest episode in a larger cultural and political fracas pitting Texas against Washington — and business against government — that continues to take center stage in the race for governor. 

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Perry: I Work 24/7

In the face of criticism from his opponent, Gov. Rick Perry said he works 24/7 — despite his official schedule showing he worked about seven hours a week in the first half of this year.

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Courtesy of HBO

Josh Fox: The TT Interview

Josh Fox's movie "Gasland," which premiered on HBO last week, uncovers widespread concerns about water contamination associated with a new form of natural gas drilling known as fracking. Fox talks about how devastating it felt to drive around Fort Worth (home to the Barnett Shale), how refreshing it was to come across west Texas wind farms, and how federal regulators are tightening up.

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Graphic by Jacob Villanueva

The Tail on the Donkey

It's impossible to know exactly which elections will be close in November. But with Libertarian candidates in more than a dozen House races that are on the Republican and Democratic target lists, signed up for the two Texas congressional seats on the GOP's national target list, and in the statewide races, too, here's a question: Are the Libertarians giving Texas Democrats a electoral boost?

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Lone Star?

Though he gave a memorable speech, Bill White wasn't the only candidate at the Democrats' state convention in Corpus Christi. The question is whether he's the only one of consequence, or if this is a legitimate statewide ticket that can return the party to power.

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Border Battles

Historian David Romo calls both El Paso and Juárez home. The day after a gunfight in Juárez sent a bullet across the border — into the wall of El Paso City Hall no less — he describes how violence has changed local business in both cities, and his own life. Full Story 
Bob Daemmrich

The Brief: July 2, 2010

He may be able to stay on message politically, but Gov. Rick Perry might still have something to learn when it comes to staying on topic on the phone.

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Jacob Villanueva

TribBlog: Capitol Reopened After Bomb Threat

The Texas Capitol has been evacuated because of an early morning bomb threat. A spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety says someone called 9-1-1 and said there is a bomb in the building. Everyone inside was ordered out and people showing up for work this morning are being turned away for now.

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Todd Wiseman

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Grissom, Hamilton, and Philpott on the Texas Democratic Party's state convention, the two-step, the forecast, and the ticket; Galbraith on the political and environmental battle between state and federal environmental regulators, and on a new age of nukes in Texas; Burnson on signs of the times in San Antonio; Ramshaw on hackers breaking into the state's confidential cancer database; Aguilar's interview with Katherine Glass, the Libertarian Party's nominee for governor; Acosta on efforts to stop 'Murderabilia' items that sell because of the association with killers;  Ramshaw and the Houston Chronicle's Terri Langford on the criminal arrest records of workers in state-funded foster care centers; Hu on accusations that state Sunset examiners missed problems with workers compensation regulators because they didn't ask the right questions of the right people; Ramsey and Stiles on the rush to rake in campaign cash, and on political races that could be won or lost because of voter attraction to Libertarian candidates; and Aguilar's fresh take on South Texas' reputation for corruption. The best of our best from June 28 to July 3, 2010.

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