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The Midday Brief: Dec. 21, 2010

Your afternoon reading: Texas nets four; Chisum wants a caucus vote; and a court halts the Willingham trial

U.S. Congress

Your afternoon reading:

  • "Because state lawmakers control the once-a-decade redrawing of congressional maps in most states, that puts Republicans in a position to decide the boundaries of about 194 House districts, more than double the number they controlled last cycle. Instead of popping the champagne corks, though, some GOP leaders are warning about the perils of too much cartographical authority." — For the GOP, Redistricting Carries Risks, The Atlantic
  • "For the past year, Texas Watchdog has followed the roughly $16.5 billion (this figure, too, is subject to some debate) from various federal agencies as it made its way into Texas. Texas Watchdog has written dozens of stories about the local, state and national impact of the stimulus. The stories have been guided by the two measures set out for the Recovery Act by the administration itself: that the money get into the economy, to stimulate it quickly, and that it create or retain jobs." — Texas Watchdog surveys the federal stimulus, and economists wish warnings had been heeded, Texas Watchdog
  • "Has the fiscal-centric tea party been co-opted by Republicans and turned into a social affair — complete with typical right-wing ‘family values’-oriented positions? Libertarian Party of Texas chair Pat Dixon thinks so." — Has the tea party turned into a social affair?

New in The Texas Tribune:

  • "The next speaker of the Texas House should be chosen by the Republican Caucus instead of the full House, according to state Rep. Warren Chisum, and he has prepared a letter with 10 signatures that he says will force a caucus vote." — Chisum Wants the GOP Caucus to Pick a Speaker
  • "Judge Charlie Baird abused his discretion when he didn't recuse himself from considering a motion challenging his authority to conduct a court of inquiry in the Cameron Todd Willingham case, according to a ruling issued today." — Appeals Court Says Willingham Judge Abused Discretion
  • "Texas' Medicaid program is in a 'state of financial crisis,' according to an analysis of caseload and costs published by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank. It's the latest addition to the debate over whether Texas should drop out of the federal Medicaid program." — TPPF Says Texas Medicaid Is in State Of Crisis
  • "Despite its relatively low number of people who walk and bike to work, Texas ranked 10th-highest among states in fatality rates for bicyclists and pedestrians in a recent survey. Lawmakers who worked on a failed 2009 measure to create a buffer zone, giving bicyclists more room on the road, will try again in 2011." — Cyclists Gear Up to Push Safe-Passage Laws
  • The president of Texans for Lawsuit Reform on why the group spends spend so much money on state elections, what it still wants from the Legislature, what he thinks the trial lawyers on the other side are after and what's wrong with the Democrats these days. — Dick Trabulsi: The TT Interview

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