With Gov. Rick Perry threatening to call lawmakers back for a third special session if they don't pass a transportation bill by the end of July (it looks, at the moment, like they might make the deadline), we kick off this week's news-inspired playlist with "Three is the Magic Number," by De La Soul.
Downloading Spotify, a free program, is the easiest way to enjoy the playlist. But you can still follow along without it. Here are this week's other selections:
The fate of the transportation bill is in the hands of House and Senate negotiators. Despite bipartisan support for the bill, the two sides have yet to agree on how to pay for it, although lawmakers say they are close. In honor of this transportation stalemate, we offer "Road to Nowhere," by Talking Heads.
In other transportation news, Texas Department of Transportation officials on Thursday announced plans to convert 83 miles of asphalt roads in South and West Texas to “unpaved” roads. For TxDOT, we suggest "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road," by Lucinda Williams.
Willie Nelson continues our road theme with "Me and Paul." Singing about his "rough and rocky travelin'," Willie notes why police often stop him: "They said we looked suspicious, but I believe they like to pick on me and Paul." Former state representative Aaron Peña might relate. A traffic stop in South Texas last week led to Peña being questioned by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and the police impounding his truck.
In some bright news for Texas infrastructure, a new study ranks Texas first out of 41 states for modernizing its electric grid. Celebrate with "Shock Me," by KISS.
A roadway study near Austin's airport led to the discovery of a giant beehive this week. In honor of the 30,000 to 40,000 honeybees, which are being relocated to a safer area, we offer a double dose of bees: The Bird and The Bee covering the Bee-Gees' hit, "How Deep Is Your Love?"
There wasn't a lot of love from U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz this week for the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Cruz told a group in Iowa that conservatives should not approve funding for any government agencies unless the health care law is defunded. In light of Cruz's repeated opposition to the law, we offer "I'm Against It," by the Marx Brothers.
U.S. Rep. Robert "Beto" O'Rourke of El Paso wasn't feeling a lot of love this week either. Even though O'Rourke represents a district that is 80 percent Hispanic, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus will not let him join its ranks because O'Rourke lacks Hispanic heritage. In light of this, we offer "Gimme Some Lovin'," by Sam & Dave.
Some Texas prison farms are raising produce for nearby food banks. For this, we chose "The Family Gardener," by the Minus 5.
As Ross Ramsey noted this week, Attorney General Greg Abbott's fundraising for the governor's race is so far ahead of his competitors that he doesn't have to detail his positions if he doesn't want to. For Abbott, we offer "I'm Not Talking," by Mose Allison.
The O'Jays end this week's playlist with their hit, "For the Love of Money," since this week we updated our most popular data feature, the Government Employee Salaries database.