Likely presidential contender Jeb Bush is a former governor of Florida, but he was born, raised and mostly educated in Texas. In his story about Bush’s early years, reporter Ryan McCrimmon uncovered some interesting details. One in particular caught our eye for the purposes of this playlist based on the week’s news:
The roommates played poker, set up miniature golf courses in the hallway, and listened to jazz and Taj Mahal records on their stereo.
Our all Taj Mahal and jazz set starts with Mahal’s “She Caught The Katy and Left Me a Mule to Ride” — "Katy" meaning the K-T train line, which connected Kansas to Houston, where Bush first caught the political bug.
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:
On Tuesday, Ross Ramsey wrote about disclosure laws for Texas lobbyists. They’re full of loopholes that makes it easy to wine and dine lawmakers without disclosing much of anything. All that food and drink reminded us of Johnny Hartman singing “Lush Life” with the John Coltrane Quartet backing him up. Liquor came up again this week, when big box store Costco joined retail giant Wal-Mart and others’ efforts to loosen state restrictions that prevent them selling alcohol. Here’s Louis Armstrong playing “Knockin' a Jug.”
For the first 60 days of the state legislative session, the House and Senate can only consider “emergency items” designated by the governor. Last week was the first week in the 140 day-long session without that restriction, and neither chamber wasted any time getting to work.
On the Senate side, two big gun bills got approval, both along party lines. Open carry for people with concealed carry permits got the nod, and so did concealed carry on public university campuses. We remembered Taj Mahal was in a band with Ry Cooder back in the 1960s called the Rising Sons. Here they are playing “.44 Blues.”
Meanwhile, the House moved ahead on a broad border security bill. It passed overwhelmingly, 131 to 12, splitting Democrats, with some questioning its scope and cost. We settled on Weather Report’s “Port of Entry.”
Georgetown, Tex., a small city north of Austin, is joining a very small group of communities in the entire nation that are going all in on renewable energy. Officials pointed to cleaner air and reduced water use as considerations, but ultimately, a spokesman explained, the decision made good financial sense. We looked up the Miles Davis Quintet playing “Solar.”
Three state lawmakers last week filed bills aimed at encouraging the development of self-driving cars. Like a lot of us, they might be imagining all the things they could be doing if the car did the driving, so here’s Taj Mahal singing “The Car of Your Dreams.”
On Friday, Edgar Walters wrote about rural hospitals’ struggle to keep their doors open. Beset on all sides, some have already closed. Without funding, more surely will. “[W]ithout them,” Walters wrote, “people, inevitably, will die.” Here’s “Emergency,” played by The Tony Williams Lifetime.
In Undrinkable, reporters Neena Satija and Alexa Ura wrote about tens of thousands along the border who lack ready access to clean, safe drinking water. Last week, they went on the road to write about the same problem — this time just outside Houston city limits, in highly urbanized Harris County. That reminded us of Taj Mahal’s wind up of “You Don’t Miss Your Water (Till Your Well Runs Dry).”
This legislative session will offer observers their first sense of Gov. Greg Abbott as the state’s chief executive. Former Gov. Rick Perry was in office so long that much mystery left — lawmakers knew pretty well what they could and couldn’t get away with, but as Ramsey wrote, with Gov. Abbott much remains to be seen, so we turned to Herbie Hancock playing “Maiden Voyage.”
Saturday, Ura wrote about state Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, who “endorsed a bill that would clear the way for same-sex partners to both be listed as the adoptive parents of a child on Texas birth certificates.” Gay marriage activists are pleased to find an ally in the conservative East Texas lawmaker; Cook says it’s not about gay marriage, it’s about doing the right thing for kids, so we’ll close out this playlist with Taj Mahal’s wordless “Motherless Children.” Enjoy!