The Brief: March 15, 2010

The weekend slaughter in Mexico of two U.S. citizens with ties to the consulate’s office in Ciudad Juarez has sparked outrage from Washington, D.C. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have publicly condemned the attacks that left a pregnant consulate employee, her husband and a Mexican national dead.

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U.S. Census Bureau

Let the Counting Begin

Census Bureau questionnaires arrive at 8.4 million Texas homes this week. "Fill that sucker out," the bureau's regional director says, "so we don't have to come and knock on your door."

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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Thevenot on the non-stop wonder that is the State Board of Education and its latest efforts to set curriculum standards, E. Smith's post-election sit-down interview with Bill White at TribLive made some news and got the November pugilism started, Ramshaw on whether it makes sense for the state to call patients and remind them to take their pills, and on the state's botched attempt to save baby blood samples for medical research, Hamilton's interview with Steve Murdock on the state's demographic destiny, M. Smith on whooping cranes, fresh water, and an effort to use the endangered species act to protect them both, Grissom on potties, pickups, and other equipment purchased with federal homeland security money and Stiles' latest data and map on where that money went, Aguilar on the "voluntary fasting" protesting conditions and treatment at an immigrant detention facility, Kreighbaum on football, the new sport at UTSA, and Philpott on Rick Perry and Bill White retooling their appeals for the general election. The best of our best from March 8 to 12, 2010.

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Bob Daemmrich

TribBlog: Promises Broken? [Updated]

Texas border leaders on Friday unleashed a diatribe at the interim director of U.S. Customs and Border Protection for postponing a planned pay raise for federal agents and failing to beef up protection of the state’s border region.

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TribBlog: Border Leaders on Drone Bandwagon

A group of elected officials and business leaders from the Texas-Mexico border today joined Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar in calls for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to deploy unmanned aerial surveillance drones to monitor the border.

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Reeve Hamilton

Census and Sensibility

"You want a good count both because you want to have your representation and because you want to get the resources your community needs," says demographer Steve Murdock.

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Caleb Bryant Miller

Starving for Reform

For two months, inmates in a South Texas immigrant detention facility have been on a staggered hunger strike — what the government calls “voluntary fasting" — to protest alleged abuse, lack of medical care and near-nil access to legal resources.

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The Elefante in the Room

Railroad Commission Chairman Victor Carrillo, a seven-year incumbent with a background in the industry he regulates, got trounced in the GOP primary on Tuesday by an unknown, David Porter, who spent little money on the race. He's not the only one who thinks his Hispanic surname cost him his job.

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Carrillo: Hispanic Surname Caused Election Loss

"Early polling showed that the typical GOP primary voter has very little info about the position of Railroad Commissioner, what we do, or who my opponent or I were. Given the choice between “Porter” and “Carrillo” — unfortunately, the Hispanic-surname was a serious setback from which I could never recover."

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Primary Color: HD-43

Ideological purity is the big issue on March 2 in this South Texas district. Freshman state Rep. Tara Rios Ybarra, D-South Padre Island, touts her "moderate" approach and bipartisan tendencies, but her challenger insists, “The first thing we have to do is get rid of all the closet Republicans from the Democratic Party."

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Brandi Grissom

Primary Color: HD-76

State Rep. Norma Chavez, D-El Paso, is in the fight of her career, trying to hang onto her Texas House seat after a bruising year in which her public fights with her fellow lawmakers made headlines statewide. Her young opponent says it’s way past time for a change.

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Ante Vekic

On the Records: If You Can See This ...

... you aren't among the 40 percent of Texans who don't use the Internet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Only Mississippi and West Virginia have a lower percentage of residents using the Web.

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Jacob Villanueva

The Numbers Game

More than 373,000 Texans went uncounted by the 2000 census, resulting in a loss of $1 billion in federal funds. With eight of the nation's 50 hardest-to-count counties right here in our state, the coming 2010 census is a cause for concern — and an apparent lack of attention by elected officials is making matters worse.

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