State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, said this week that she will soon make an announcement about her widely anticipated decision to run for lieutenant governor. We’re going to go out on a very thick limb and start this week’s news-based playlist with Neko Case’s “Set Out Running."
This week’s guest DJs are Jim Henson and Rich Malley. The easiest way to enjoy the playlist is to download Spotify, which is a free program. But even without it, you can still follow along. Here are Henson and Malley with this week's other selections:
Even though it’s still 2013, The Playlist is dominated by 2014 campaign news. The formal process of candidate filing opened last weekend, accompanied by a flurry of press releases as candidates up and down the ballot signed up to run for office. In a nod to them, we follow with “Sign Me Up” from Ne-Yo.
Out on the campaign trail, Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican frontrunner for governor, rolled out his proposed ethics reform package, aimed at reducing conflicts of interest in the Legislature, which had us humming Steely Dan’s “Dirty Work.”
In his effort to secure the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, released his third TV ad, which focuses on his vigorous advocacy of gun rights. The Beatles’ “Happiness is a Warm Gun” as performed by the Breeders seems a natural here.
One of Patrick’s opponents, incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, also made news with his letter to members of Congress urging that they investigate whether the NSA snooped on Texas gun owners. Dewhurst invoked his time at the CIA in the letter, putting us in the mood for a little “Spy vs. Spy” by Combustible Edison.
We also learned this week that Greg Abbott has a private water well at his West Austin home, a way to avoid city of Austin water use restrictions. This led us to add Tom Jones’ “The Green, Green Grass of Home” to the playlist.
On the higher education beat, the sparring between the UT regents and the Legislature continued this week. In a hearing of the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Operations, some legislators questioned whether Regent Wallace Hall had violated privacy laws by sharing confidential student information. Hall’s lawyer denied it, but listen, we’re sharing Madonna’s “Secret” on the playlist anyway.
In less contentious (at least so far) higher ed news, the UT System released a list of proposed names for the new consolidated South Texas UT campus. This brought “The Name Game” by Shirley Ellis to mind, though we are definitely not suggesting, “The Banana-fanna Fouth Fexas Campus.”
The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, or CPRIT, was back in the news for finally being back in business. It had ceased operations for the better part of a year following allegations of lax oversight and non-competitive bid letting. Now, with overhauled leadership, CPRIT is poised to start funding cancer research projects again, to the tune of “Clean Money,” by Elvis Costello and the Attractions.
To round out the playlist, Texas Tribune news partner KUT News recorded an interview with Peter Baker, author of Days of Fire, a book focused on the relationship between President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. So we close with a wistful nod toward the pair’s better days, “The Way We Were,” by Barbra Streisand.