From a statement by the Texas Exes, the university's alumni association:
The terms of three distinguished members of The University of Texas System Board of Regents expired this past Friday. These appointments will be made by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
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If the new regents are anything like the last group, the appointments could set off another firestorm of criticism of Perry's governance of the university. Perry's most recent appointees opposed many of the goals of the university, including its commitment to research. The university has been in turmoil ever since Perry named Gene Powell as regents' chair, and Powell promptly made statements to the effect that UT doesn't need to produce a "Cadillac education," an old-fashioned Chevy Bel Air would be just fine.
If so, what is it?
Brad Watson of WFAA-TV in Dallas made big news with his report of a potential deal between Perry and Abbott. From the station's website:
In an exclusive WFAA interview Wednesday, [Jan. 31] Gov. Rick Perry said Attorney General Greg Abbott has told him he won't run against him in next year's GOP primary should the incumbent seek reelection.
Of course, just a few hours later, the story was updated to include a statement from Abbott’s spokesman, Eric Bearse:
A spokesman for Abbott's campaign issued a statement saying he wasn't familiar with any such deal, and called any speculation about the attorney general's political future "unproductive."
"Gov. Perry and Gen. Abbott are close friends, and talk frequently," wrote Abbott's spokesman Eric Bearse in the statement. "I am not going to comment on private conversations I am not privy to. General Abbott is focused on taking care of the business of Texas, and political speculation right now is unproductive. The time for politics is after the legislative session.
There is only one scenario that makes sense. Perry has told Abbott that he is not running for a fourth term. There is no deal. Abbott would not defer to Perry when the AG has enough money to win a primary in his campaign account, while Perry's fundraising has been anemic by comparison. The rest is theater: Perry can save face by saying Abbott promised not to run against him, and Perry can still pretend that he can win another term (which he can't).
It was no surprise that Texas's top officials denounced Judge Orlando Garcia's ruling, on February 26th, striking down the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage, and the ruling was bound to be appealed to the Fifth Circuit.
In a column by the Statesman's Ken Herman last week, three "unnamed" Republican sources who have been in state government for a collective 47 years admitted to him that "a generation of Republican rule" has left Texas in "kind of a mess." Herman identified their concerns: chronically underfunded schools; crippling water shortages; an inadequate transportation system; and other missed opportunities. Some of the worst actions taken by state leaders were the decimation of the public health system, including drastic reductions in the Medicaid and CHIP programs in 2003. Another really bad decision was the target revenue system for public schools, which choked school budgets across the state. Yet another fateful decision was Perry's refusal to expand Medicaid; had he done so, Texas's health institutions could be on the cutting edge of modern medicine, instead of struggling to make ends meet. A decade later, here we are, still last in the country in the number of people without health insurance, still stuck in court trying to develop an equitable school finance system. All of this is happening when Texas is enjoying boom times that should encourage state leaders to address the state's infrastructure needs, thanks to the bounty of the Eagle Ford shale, but there is no will to put the oil revenue to work by enhancing our transportation network, including oil-field roads that get heavy traffic. Perry is responsible for many of the failures, but the state's business community has only recently awakened to the reality that without infrastructure improvements -- in roads and bridges, in the generation of electricity, and in the effort to expand water supplies -- commerce in the state may grind to a halt. Texans do a lot of bragging about the number of people and businesses that are relocating here, but we don't have the ability to provide for their needs.
(Erick Muñoz, husband of Marlise Munoz, is escorted out of court by his attorney Heather L. King, right, Friday, January 24, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo via AP.)
At 11:30 a.m. yesterday morning, doctors at John Peter Smith Hospital ended life support for Marlise Muñoz, a pregnant wife and mother who had collapsed at her home in Haltom City on the night of November 26 while making a bottle for her fifteen-month-old son, Mateo. The details of this case are heartbreaking. Marlise, who was fourteen weeks pregnant at the time, appeared to be in good health but was apparently stricken by a pulmonary embolism. Her husband, Erick, discovered her on the floor of their kitchen perhaps an hour or so later. Though she was still alive, she had stopped breathing for an unknown period of time, which meant that her unborn baby wasn’t receiving oxygen either. And that’s when a terrible private tragedy for the Muñoz family began to play out in a very public way.