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The Playlist: All A-Twitter

The week’s news, told through songs … and tweets! First up: Bobby Day singing “Rockin’ Robin.”

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:

A couple of weeks back, freshman state Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, found herself in the middle of a social media storm when, ahead of a regular and usually unremarkable civic exercise called Texas Muslim Capitol Day, she wrote on her Facebook page:

Screenshot of the Facebook post of state Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, on Jan. 29, 2015.
Screenshot of the Facebook post of state Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, on Jan. 29, 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following Monday, Tribune reporter Neena Satija interviewed White to hear what she had to say about it all. Here’s our first tweet pointing to the story:

.@MollyWhiteTX to @neenareports: I never thought comment on TX Muslim Capitol Day “was going to go viral” http://t.co/65Dpxjw7pL #txlege

— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) February 3, 2015

Yet another social media debate ensued around the likelihood of that, but we just thought of “Blindsided” by Less Than Jake.

Also on Monday, Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey wrote a column about how lobbyists can split tabs to avoid disclosing which lawmakers they’ve wined and dined:

In Ramsey’s piece, he linked to a story from late in the 2013 legislative session that made quite a splash on Twitter at the time, so we followed up with a tweet pointing to the original story,

prompting quite a round of retweets, with lots of comments on the juicy details in the receipt — reminding us of Jim Hall and Ron Carter playing “Receipt, Please.”

Elected officials aren’t the only ones with some interesting receipts, though. On Tuesday, reporter Terri Langford bookended the day with two stories out of the embattled Health and Human Services Commission, the first untangling the complicated story of an unfolding scandal, the second looking at the purchase of some rather expensive office chairs.

Such grand seating seemed to warrant some grand music, so we summoned up the title theme from HBO’s “Game Of Thrones,” composed by Lindsey Stirling.

Tuesday also saw a kerfuffle between U.S. congressmen Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., and Texas Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, turn into a source of national amusement when Hastings called Texas a “crazy state.”

Texas doesn’t usually concede first place in anything willingly to any state, but we think Florida’s pretty hard to beat in that category. Still, we turned to Texas artists for our song selection, with the Chris Duarte Group playing “Crazy” written by Austin blues guitarist George Rarey.

The big news Wednesday — at least for political junkies in Texas, which pretty accurately describes everyone at The Texas Tribune — landed in the afternoon when state House Speaker Joe Straus handed out committee assignments. There’s a lot of information to be parsed both from who gets assigned to what committee and who receives the various chairmanships, so the Tribune art department’s Todd Wiseman’s graphic showing Straus handing out chairs was received with some delight.

We don’t need much of an excuse to get up and dance to it, so we dialed up “Burning Down the House” by the Talking Heads.

Thursday started early when Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith interviewed the University of Texas System’s new chancellor, retired Admiral Bill McRaven. In a company town like Austin, there’s always a lot of interest around UT news, but McRaven comes to his new job from heading up U.S. Special Forces — and the team that brought down Osama bin Laden — so there was a full house for the conversation at the Austin Club, which we also livestreamed. Among those in attendance was an UT alumnus and Oscar-winner, which prompted this tweet from the Admiral himself:

In honor of the Admiral and Matthew “Alright Alright Alright” McConaughey, we remembered “The Kids Are Alright” by The Who.

Later that day, D.C. Bureau Chief Abby Livingston and our new media partners at The Washington Post sat down with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry for a wide-ranging interview that covered, among other things, ISIS, vaccinations for children and what Americans will be looking for in a presidential nominee in 2016:

 The combination of the Post and Perry’s all-but-certain run for president next year reminded us of two tunes: John Philip Sousa’s “Washington Post March,” played here by the United States Air Force Band, and Randy Newman singing “Mr. President (Have Pity On The Working Man).”

Despite billions of dollars and decades of effort, many along Texas’ southern border still want for reliably clean water, so on Friday, we announced a new project called “Undrinkable.”

As we did with our Shale Life series last year, we’re enlisting interested readers to help with the costs of covering this under-reported issue, which led us to yet another Austin band (which has among its members two regular contributors to the Tribune, Maurice Chammah from the Marshall Project and photographer/videographer Tamir Kalifa). Listen to Mother Falcon perform “I Dream Of Water.”

Friday afternoon, we published a story by reporter Jay Root that looks at the early days of newly-sworn in Gov. Greg Abbott’s term and finds there have already been significant departures from his predecessor Rick Perry’s long reign in office.

Friends and foes alike might have expected little more from Texas’ new governor than a continuation of previous policies, but Abbott clearly has some changes in mind, so we went with Aretha Franklin singing Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.”

You can find all of our reporters on Twitter here. If you follow them — and the other great reporters from newspapers all around Texas who cover the state Capitol — you’ll have a ringside seat to what one guy calls the best free entertainment around.

And with that, we leave you with Cab Calloway and his Orchestra performing “Twee-Twee-Tweet” — enjoy!

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