Politics

Graphic by Jacob Villanueva

The New Tenthers

Conservatives in Texas are invoking the 10th Amendment at every whistle-stop. But what rights does it actually protect?

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Graphic by Jacob Villanueva

We Like It Better Here

A majority of Texans believe the state is on the right track, while a plurality thinks the country is on the wrong track, according to a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

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Graphic by Jacob Villanueva

Perry Up by 9 in New UT/TT Poll

Gov. Rick Perry leads his Democratic challenger, former Houston Mayor Bill White, 44 percent to 35 percent in the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, which was conducted May 14 to 20. Fifteen percent of the 800 registered voters surveyed are undecided about which of the gubernatorial candidates to support, while 7 percent prefer "someone else." Perry leads among men, women and Anglos. White leads among African-Americans and Hispanics. In five other statewide races polled, each Republican leads his Democratic opponent by a double-digit margin.

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Caleb Bryant Miller

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Thevenot on the ideological backbiting at the internationally famous State Board of Education; Stiles, Narioka and Hamilton plumb employee salary data in Texas colleges and universities; Grissom looks at the problem of insufficient indigent defense; Cervantes on the push for "veterans courts" emphasizing treatment and counseling over punishment; Aguilar finds border congressmen asking the governor for a fair break on federal homeland security dollars; M. Smith on another BP rig in the Gulf; Ramshaw reports on nurse practitioners trying to get permission slips from doctors; Hu follows up with lawmakers poking at whistleblower allegations of trouble in the state's workers' compensation regulation; Hamilton stops in on Luke Hayes and his efforts to turn Texas into a political powerhouse for Obama; and Ramsey writes on generation changes at the Capitol and on political pranksters: The best of our best from May 17 to 21, 2010.

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Caleb Bryant Miller, Callie Richmond

2010: Poll vs. Poll

On the heels of a Rasmussen Poll that had Democrat Bill White well behind incumbent Republican Rick Perry in the race for governor, Austin-based Opinion Analysts released a survey showing a nine-point lead for Perry. But that Democratic polling firm adds a fat caveat, reading the Guv's favorability ratings as negative and pointing out that 48 percent of voters want a change in the state's top office, when asked if they prefer Perry or "someone else."

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Caleb Bryant Miller

Neener-Neener

It's an impulse most of us learn to suppress in the seventh grade — the need give your enemies wedgies, to tape "kick me" signs to their backs, to put lizards in their lunchboxes. Political people don't suppress it — they channel it into goofy stunts to attract attention, ridicule opponents and blow off steam.

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A Matter of Trust

The D.C.-based Texas Democratic Trust began as an attempt to revive flagging Democratic institutions in Texas and is now a critical source of funding for them and a host of consultants. That has made its director, Matt Angle, as powerful as most political bosses in other states. Maybe too powerful, his critics say.

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Jacob Villanueva

The Shell Game

If history is any guide, the Legislature will turn to accounting illusions to mask large portions of a budget shortfall of at least $11 billion. Trouble is, such trickery is a bet on the economy roaring back to life — and that's no sure thing.

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Sarah Palin in Austin

The former Alaska governor was in Austin last night speaking to and raising money for an anti-abortion group. Mose Buchele of KUT News talked to people who had come to support and protest her appearance.

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Jacqueline Mermea

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

E. Smith interviews Gov. Rick Perry for the Trib and Newsweek, Philpott dissects the state's budget mess in a weeklong series, Hamilton looks at whether Bill White is or was a trial lawyer, M. Smith finds experts all over the state anxiously watching a court case over who owns the water under our feet, Aguilar reports on the battle between Fort Stockton and Clayton Williams Jr. over water in West Texas, Ramshaw finds a population too disabled to get on by itself but not disabled enough to get state help and Miller spends a day with a young man and his mother coping with that situation, Ramsey peeks in on software that lets the government know whether its e-mail messages are getting read and who's reading what, a highway commissioner reveals just how big a hole Texas has in its road budget, Grissom does the math on the state's border cameras and learns they cost Texans about $153,800 per arrest, and E. Smith interviews Karen Hughes on the difference between corporate and political P.R. — and whether there's such a thing as "Obama Derangement Syndrome." The best of our best from April 19 to April 23, 2010.

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Fee for All!

Every candidate vying for a legislative seat knows what lies ahead in 2011: a budget shortfall of at least $11 billion, probably higher, and state agency cuts to save as much of that amount as possible. But new revenue is a possibility as well, even if lawmakers are expert at the old sleight of hand, employing creative accounting and semantic trickery to avoid stepping on that political third rail, the tax hike.

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Ross Ramsey

The Runoffs: HD-83

Delwin Jones, who was first elected to the Texas House in 1964 after two unsuccessful attempts, says he has handed out 765,000 promotional emery boards since his start in politics. His tenure and those files weren't enough to win a bruising primary outright last month, though, and the veteran legislator now finds himself in a runoff against Tea Party organizer Charles Perry, who's capitalizing on voter anger at incumbents.

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Ross Ramsey

The Runoffs: HD-84

The runoff between John Frullo and Mark Griffin shares one important characteristic with the adjacent race in HD-83: It pits inside-the-tent Lubbock Republicans against a coalition of social and libertarian conservatives who are distinctly unhappy with government in Washington and Texas. In that frame, Frullo's the insurgent and Griffin represents the establishment.

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