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The Evening Brief: Sept. 7, 2012

Your evening reading: Texas Republicans slam Obama for weak jobless report; state's insurance commissioner answers bias charges; $29,000 salary bump over predecessor for new education commissioner

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•   Texas Republicans criticize Obama for ‘slow’ recovery after jobless rate drops to 8.1 percent (Houston Chronicle): "According to the report, U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose by 96,000 jobs and unemployment dropped from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent. … Some Texas Republicans were quick to go on the attack after the report was released, blaming the continued slow recovery on the president. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas, released a statement after the jobs report came out, saying Obama’s policies are ineffective and detrimental to the economy."

•   Newt Gingrich praises Bill Clinton’s speech and pre-emptively bashes Barack Obama’s (The Dallas Morning News): "Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, visiting Dallas on Thursday, hailed former President Bill Clinton’s Democratic convention speech with perhaps his biggest possible compliment — that it could have been delivered by a Republican. 'Clinton may be the best performer in politics today,' he told The Dallas Morning News' editorial board. 'His rhythm, his pacing. He’s a terrific talent. … I thought it was too much fun.'"

•   Just 21% of Latino voters view GOP more favorably after party highlights Latino speakers (Houston Chronicle): "During the past two week, both of the parties rolled out their Latino rising stars in an effort to woo the Latino vote. However, the most recent poll by Latino Decisions reveals that only 21 percent of Latino voters who watched the RNC had a more favorable view of the Republican party after seeing speakers such as Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Susana Martinez, and Texas Republican Senate candidate Ted Cruz. The majority, at 62 percent, said that these speakers had no effect on their view of the party."

New in The Texas Tribune:

•   Insurance Chief Answers Charges of Industry Bias: "Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman has been the subject of concerns raised by lawmakers and consumer advocacy groups. But she deflects the criticism, saying her focus is only on how to best serve Texas consumers."

•   Texas Schools Chief Michael Williams Will Make $215K: "New Texas Education Agency Commissioner Michael Williams will get a salary bump of about $29,000 over his predecessor, the governor's office confirmed Friday. Gov. Rick Perry has set Williams' salary at $215,000, about 15 percent above the amount appropriated in the agency's 2012-13 budget for the position  — and the $186,300 that former TEA chief Robert Scott took home last year."

•   Fort Worth Stretch Sets the Pace in List of State's Most Congested Roads: "The Texas Department of Transportation's annual list of the 100 most congested roadways ranks a section of Interstate 35W in Fort Worth as the worst stretch of asphalt in the state. Use our sortable table to look at TxDOT's list."

•   Budget Outlook is Better, but Not Necessarily Good: "Writing the state budget might not be as difficult next year as it was two years ago, but things haven't improved enough to make it easy."

•   At UT-Arlington, a New Way to Tackle Algebra: "In an effort to address lagging student success in required algebra courses, the University of Texas at Arlington is taking an approach that is becoming more common throughout the country: letting computers do the teaching."

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