Wyly Like a Fox

From the witness stand, Sam Wyly didn’t look like a man who could upend the way the federal government prosecutes white-collar crime. The 79-year-old Dallas billionaire cupped his hand behind his ear to hear his lawyer’s questions. He admitted repeatedly to confusion about some of the key business transactions that had made him a billionaire. “I sometimes get it garbled in my mind,” he said when asked by the judge about inconsistencies in his testimony.

The Runoffs Rundown

Thanks to the domino effect of Rick Perry’s retirement, an unusual number of high-profile Republican politicians have been vying for statewide office this year. Add to that the intensity that the tea party insurgency has brought to ideological debates within the GOP, and you’ve got a recipe for an extremely volatile primary season. Which is exactly what we’ve seen in the current election cycle, leading, as in 2012, to an atypically large number of runoff races. This year’s will be held on May 27.

Where the Jest Begins

For nine months, the same amount of time required to gestate a human being, real scientists at an actual university crunched data in order to answer a question that has never haunted anyone: Which big city in the United States is the funniest? They calculated the number of comedy clubs per square mile, surveyed comedians, and tracked visits to humorous websites.

The Effluent Society

As Kenneth McAlister drives down the buff caliche roads of Wichita County, he points out the changed landscape: Receding stock tanks wreathed with hoofprints. Dust whipping over a naked field and its failed cotton crop. Prickly pear multiplying like a virus, covering this country in a way it never has before. “It makes me wonder if the desert’s on its way,” he says.

Damn This Traffic Jam

When the INRIX company released its annual list of America’s most congested cities, the big news for Texans was that for the second year in a row, Austin was ranked the fourth-most-congested city in America—up from sixth two years ago and ninth the year before that. But though Austin is certainly home to migraine-inducing traffic jams, its ranking obscures the fact that in Texas, Houston (number seventeen on INRIX’s list) is, in many ways, the king of congestion.

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