Eat My Words |
August 22, 2011

Secrets of the (Texas) Sommeliers

(Editor's Note: This guest post about last week's Texas Sommelier Conference comes from San Francisco food, wine and spirits writer Jordan Mackay, a James Beard Award-winning author for his 2010 book with Rajat Parr, "Secrets of the Sommeliers." But we

Eat My Words |
August 9, 2011

High on the (Whole) Hog

Photograph by Jody Horton The bad news. Texas has a feral hog problem, with an estimated 2.6 million-plus animals roaming in destructive packs around our ranchland, woods and suburbs. The good news. They’re delicious. If you still haven’t picked up our August issue, check out

Politics & Policy |
August 5, 2009

Gallup ranks Texas as “competitive”

Inconvenient writing assignments have kept me away from the blog in recent days, so I have a lot of catching up to do. (I have stories in the September issue on the status of Galveston’s recovery from Hurricane Ike one year later and on the prospects for Gail Lowe, the

Politics & Policy |
June 14, 2009

Tort reform: two perspectives

The first is from the Wall Street Journal's Opinion page for Saturday, July 13. The second was sent to me, unsolicited, by a reader, Mary Silbert, a woman whose husband died of mesothelioma five years ago and who worked for the passage of the bill this session. I

Politics & Policy |
May 25, 2009

Deal struck on top 10%

Here are the elements of the deal: * Automatic admissions capped at 75% of resident admits for UT only, starting with the entering class of 2011 and ending in 2015. * UT may not use legacy status in its admissions process. * Cap % of non-residents enrolled in the freshman

Politics & Policy |
May 23, 2009

Will the Democrats walk on Voter I.D.?

Remember Albuquerque. The Senate Democrats found themselves stuck in New Mexico without an exit strategy. The situation is similar to congressional redistricting in that the governor holds the cards. He can call a special session on any subject and open the call to Voter I.D. Except that the House Democrats’

Politics & Policy |
May 14, 2009

Hog Heaven

Yes, the feral hogs debate was the House at its finest. No other parliamentary body in America could have produced that debate. Where else could you hear a hog hunt described as economic development? This turned out to be another urban-rural fight, with Sid Miller and Gattis warning of the

Politics & Policy |
May 8, 2009

GOPAC wants my opinion: Here it is

I came home last night to find a GOPAC survey in my e-mail queue. I tend to vote in Republican primaries (4 of the 6 elections starting in 1998), since that is the only election that matters for statewide candidates, so I assume that is how they found me. Here

Politics & Policy |
April 22, 2009

The transportation debate and the state spending cap

The Texas Public Policy Foundation testified before the House Transportation committee this week concerning the mammoth local option transportation funding bill that has passed the Senate. TPPF's Justin Keener expressed alarm about the rising cost of government (to no one's surprise): Between 2000 and 2008, the state’s total budget grew

Politics & Policy |
April 11, 2009

Batteries not included

When I read in Friday’s Statesman that Texas had lost its competition with Kentucky for an advanced battery project and the federal research funding that comes with it, I immediately wondered why the governor, who has made such a point of touting economic development, wasn’t more enthusiastic in getting behind

Politics & Policy |
April 1, 2009

The Guns-on-Campus hearing

This is a report from Texas Monthly's intern, Abby Rapoport, on the Public Safety committee hearing of March 30 on Joe Driver's bill allowing guns on campus. It was four hours into the meeting before Public Safety made it to the issue that had brought crowds. Joe Driver presented HB

Politics & Policy |
March 30, 2009

Stem cell issue heats up

Prompted by the Senate Finance committee's rider banning the use of state funds for embryonic stem cell research, 18 prominent Texas scientists have signed a letter addressed to all Texas lawmakers urging them to "remove the ban on funding for embryonic stem cell research in Texas from SB1, and to

Politics & Policy |
March 25, 2009

The Hole Ball Game

As lawmakers try to determine what can and cannot be done with the stimulus money, a crucial question has arisen. The purpose of the stimulus money is to help states fill holes in their budget. The question is: Does Texas have a hole–or, to put it another way, will the

Politics & Policy |
March 10, 2009

Vanishing Fiscal Note

It did not escape Judith Zaffirini’s notice that the Voter ID bill from last session carried a $671,000 annual fiscal note, but this year’s version has a a neutral impact.  What prompted the difference? she asks Fraser. “Good research,” he contends. Evidently, upon closer scrutiny, the Voter ID bill can

Politics & Policy |
February 18, 2009

Shopaholic, the sequel

The state’s Republican leadership appears to be warming up to the $17 billion in federal stimulus money, Gov. Rick Perry’s voluble aversion notwithstanding. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who breakfasted today with Perry and House Speaker Joe Straus, gave some insight about the leadership’s thinking to reporters in remarks

Politics & Policy |
February 4, 2009

Obama ups the ante in Medicaid debate

President Obama just lent a hand to the advocates in  Austin who have been arguing for 12-month eligibility for families signing up for Medicaid,  as opposed to having to re-up every six months. Obama today signed the SCHIP Reauthorization Act, which rewards states that reach more children with Medicaid. Currently,

Politics & Policy |
February 2, 2009

The Gallup Poll: Is Texas Blue?

The Gallup organization released a nationwide poll last week showing the partisan preference in every state. The daily tracking poll, conducted during the election campaign, sampled 19,415 adult Texans concerning their self-identification by political party and found that 43.4% identified themselves as Democrats compared to 41.0% who identified

Politics & Policy |
December 18, 2008

Abbott for Senate?

The Quorum Report today reports that the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call has a story saying that John Cornyn is encouraging Greg Abbott to join the Senate race to serve out the remainder of Kay Bailey Hutchison’s term. I was surprised to see this. Abbott supposedly has ruled out a

Politics & Policy |
December 7, 2008

Capitol Inside: Straus may run for speaker

I hope this won’t be seen as poaching; a lobbyist sent me the story from Capitol Inside. Here are the first two paragraphs: There’s speculation that State Rep. Joe Straus may be seriously considering a race for the Texas House’s top leadership post if no other candidate catches

Politics & Policy |
December 6, 2008

And now, for some football

I just heard a scenario for the BCS that would have Oklahoma and Texas in the BCS title game. The argument is that Florida, which trails Texas by .0372 in the BCS standings, does better than Texas in the polls but worse in the computer rankings. The question is, will

Politics & Policy |
November 29, 2008

Rush to Judgment

Jack Rains, whom some may remember as a former Secretary of State during the Bill Clements years, sent this commentary by Rush Limbaugh to his (Rains’) e-mail list. It pertains to the county-by-county map of the election (click on image for full map). I will comment following Limbaugh’s

Politics & Policy |
November 24, 2008

Shapleigh: “In my view you miss the point.”

I am going to publish below an e-mail and corresponding op-ed that I received from Senator Eliot Shapleigh. It requires no explanation. # # # # This is Shapleigh's letter to me: I’ve read your recent pieces on major issues, including tuition. In my view you miss the point. After

Politics & Policy |
November 3, 2008

Early Voting: Day Twelve (final numbers)

I am going to use this format to update daily the number of early votes cast in the fifteen counties with the most registered voters, ranked by the Secretary of State in the order of most to least registered voters. I am also going to include the numbers for the

Politics & Policy |
October 28, 2008

Craddick hoarding cash

NOTE TO READERS: The Quorum Report’s Daily Buzz has an update on Craddick’s cash on hand. Please refer to it for the latest information. I am not going to post it here because I don’t want to seem to be taking credit for Harvey’s work. The bottom line is that

Politics & Policy |
October 25, 2008

One more look at early voting

Fort Bend County is off the charts: up 142% compared to the votes cast here in 2004. Harris County is up 117%. The lowest six of the top fifteen counties (based on registered voters) have combined to cast just 4,000 votes more than Harris County. The six are Fort Bend,

Politics & Policy |
March 1, 2008

Bear Market

The historic showdown between Texas and California has been a cold war, a simmering ideological feud between two great powers. And the winner (for now) is . . .

Television |
August 31, 1997

No Show

Cash-poor PBS stations can’t seem to come up with innovative new ideas, so they ought to resurrect an innovative old one: Newsroom, the best local public- affairs program in Texas history.

Texas History |
July 31, 1997

Alamo Tome

This month Eakin Press will publish The Alamo Almanac and Book of Lists. Among the interesting items compiled by author William R. Chemerka is one that has nothing to do with history—not really, anyway: It’s the Top Twenty Most Frequently Asked Questions at the Alamo. 1. “Where’s the bathroom?” 2.

Style & Design |
May 31, 1997

Wore Stories

For her history of Texas fashion (see “The Way We Wore”), senior editor Anne Dingus began with—who else?—Sam Houston. “He’s always a good place to start,” she says, “and he distinguished himself by being sartorially flamboyant.” Then, drawing on library research and her personal archive of vintage postcards, ads,

Music |
June 30, 1996

Her Little Secret

Those whispers about Melissa Etheridge are true: She will play Port Arthur–born Janis Joplin in a forthcoming feature film. Director Mark Rocco (Murder in the First) has secured the rights to Myra Friedman’s 1973 Joplin bio, Buried Alive, and the rights to Joplin’s songs, and he’s talking to Etheridge’s label,

Art |
April 1, 1996

The Buckle Stops Here

“I always liked Western buckles,” says Robert Brandes, “and then one day it dawned on me to ask, ‘Hey—who makes these things?’” The Austin collector-investor set out to learn more about the silversmiths and engravers who made their mark on cowboy adornment in the form of weighty, elaborately decorated rodeo-style

Style & Design |
April 1, 1996

Buckle Up

The rodeo belt buckle is prized by cowboys and collectors alike. By the look of these handcrafted samples, it’s easy to see why.