The Playlist: Brand New Day
With the 84th Legislature starting next week and new faces in every statewide office, it feels like a "Brand New Day" in and around the Capitol, so that's how we started this week's playlist off of the week's news.
State lawmakers get to work on Tuesday, but the U.S. Congress is already sworn in, as are some statewide officeholders. On Jan. 20, Gov.-elect Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick will be inaugurated into office, marking a wholesale shift in state government. With all those new faces it feels like a “Brand New Day” — so that’s what we’re leading with, brought to you here by the Chris Duarte Group (with yours truly on the doghouse).
The easiest way to enjoy the playlist is to download Spotify, a free program. But even without it, you can still follow along. Here are the other selections for the week:
Reporter Reeve Hamilton sat down for an interview with retired Admiral William McRaven, the former head of U.S. Special Forces and the brand new chancellor of the University of Texas System. McRaven, who led the task force that brought down Osama bin Laden, wasted no time getting to work, sending an email blast out to the UT community saying it’s time to move past the conflicts of recent years, which reminded us of “Trouble In Mind,” sung here by Aretha Franklin.
On Tuesday, Morgan Smith reported on gun rights advocates’ plans to set up a gun-making 3-D printer at the Capitol on the opening day of the 2015 Legislature, leading us to “The Guns Of Navarone” by The Skatalites.
Tuesday night, reporter Bobby Blanchard followed three special elections — in Senate District 26, House District 17 and House District 123. Two — SD 26 and HD 123 — were triggered by Democratic legislators looking to move into the mayor’s office in San Antonio, while the third was to replace State Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt, who’s joining Sid Miller, the newly elected agriculture commissioner. All three races are headed to runoffs, so we thought of a very young Ella Fitzgerald singing “Undecided” with the Chick Webb Orchestra.
Earthquakes have been rattling North Texans all week, so early this week a team of researchers went to investigate. Since then, folks in and around Irving have experienced another round of a dozen or so quakes. That’s a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on, but we decided to save Jerry Lee Lewis for another time and instead went with Beck’s “Terremoto Tempo (Earthquake Weather)”.
Ross Ramsey broke the news that the state Senate might trim six committees this session, giving it a faster start on legislative business, making us want to hear “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones.
Border Bureau Chief Julián Aguilar discovered that instead of sneaking across the border or relying on smugglers, more people are trying to get into the U.S. using fake or borrowed documents, which brought to mind Miles Davis’ “Deception” from his seminal “Birth Of the Cool” album.
Eva Hershaw reported that the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles is prepared to cut loose some specialty plates that aren’t exactly selling like hotcakes — a “License To Kill,” if you will. We chose Elvis Costello’s cover of Bob Dylan's song.
Friday, at a panel hosted by a Texas think tank, outgoing Gov. Rick Perry was asked what three things he’d do as president. That’s a loaded question for Perry, wrote Ryan McCrimmon, given his infamous “oops” moment during his 2012 presidential run, so we settled on Nat King Cole singing “Three Little Words.”
Finally, the unfolding scandal at Texas’ Health and Human Services Commission took yet another turn when Terri Langford on Friday reported that an aide to agency chief Kyle Janek had his tuition to get an MBA paid up front — to the tune of $97,020 — against HHSC rules. That sounds like “Nice Work If You Can Get It” — sung here by Billy Holiday.
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