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Politics & Policy |
March 6, 2012

Craig Murphy on Lozano’s prospects

Mr. Murphy writes: Lozano is a long time contributor to the local GOP – yes GOP.  He is liked by Republicans. His opponent has had little involvement in the party and is virtually unknown.  To the extent he is known, it has something to do with a lawsuit he filed.

Politics & Policy |
March 6, 2012

Lozano’s prospects

I don’t think they are very good. First, the Coastal Bend region has been trending Republican in local races for some time, going back at least to 2008 and before. Second, the strongest-voting Republican county in Lozano’s  district is San Patricio.  Lozano switched parties knowing (presumably) that he already had a primary

Politics & Policy |
March 5, 2012

Jones’ campaign responds to Eppstein poll

From Patrick Isenberg with the Elizabeth Ames Jones campaign: Here is my response to Eppstein’s poll: Jeff Wentworth’s pollster released survey results today that are “half true”.  Many people in Senate District 25 do know who Jeff Wentworth is.  What they think of his siding with the Democrats’ biggest contributor

Politics & Policy |
March 5, 2012

Blue Cross girds for battle with ERS and UHC

From the Blue Cross release: For 32 years, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) has been honored to administer healthcare benefits for the HealthSelect of Texas health plan of the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS). BCBSTX has consistently provided Texas state employees, retirees and their families with broad

Politics & Policy |
March 5, 2012

What to do about TSU?

I recommend that readers take a look at Reeve Hamilton’s story about Texas Southern and its 3% graduation rate in Sunday’s Texas Tribune. TSU’s trials and tribulations over the years are an old and sad story in Texas state government, maybe the oldest and the saddest, and one which never seems to

Politics & Policy |
March 2, 2012

More on the ERS health insurance issue

The following is Blue Cross’s position on the cost to the state of UnitedHealthcare’s proposal compared to its own. Of course, if United wishes to provide a rebuttal, I will publish that. I remain concerned about the process that led to UnitedHealthcare’s getting the contract. Flawed analysis could cost the

Politics & Policy |
March 2, 2012

More strange dealings at ERS

I spoke to a knowledgeable ERS retiree today. Here is what I was told: 1. When you retire, you have one chance to choose a health plan. This retiree chose Blue Cross. Then, this summer, all retirees received a notice. It said that all retirees would be moved to Humana.

Politics & Policy |
March 2, 2012

NBCLatino: Cruz in danger of finishing 3rd, missing runoff

This is the assessment of author Nathan L. Gonzales, who also serves as deputy editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, a Washington-based newsletter. In a survey piece about Latino political prospects nationwide, Gonzales writes: In Texas, Republican Ted Cruz is beloved by national conservative groups such as the Club

Eat My Words |
March 1, 2012

Vaca y Vino Is Smokin’–Literally

You may think that as a Texan, you know beef and smoking and barbecue and such. Friends, you don’t know anything about it until you’ve attended the smoking of a whole,  entire, big honking steer. At Vaca y Vino, set for Sunday, April 22, from 1 to 6,

Politics & Policy |
February 29, 2012

R’s steamroll D’s in House redistricting

The last three seats at issue on the House map were Margo (El Paso), Legler (Harris), and Garza (Bexar). In the interim maps, Margo is pretty safe, Legler has a chance to survive, and Garza will have to fight to survive. Pena is a goner. The Democrats got very little

Politics & Policy |
February 29, 2012

Unhappy Fourth of July

The delay of the primary will throw the runoff elections almost into August (July 31) — 63 days from the May 29 primary date. This seems nuts: Why do we need a nine week runoff period? (I’m going to answer my own question, with help from a commenter. The reason

Eat My Words |
February 27, 2012

See Paul Win? See Paul Lose?

Will Uchiko’s Paul Qui be the big winner on the season nine finale of Top Chef: Texas this Wednesday, February 29? Or will he be the big loser? Keep your fingers crossed for our Austin boy. If you want to really get in the mood, drop by

Politics & Policy |
February 26, 2012

ERS contract is sweet deal for Perry insiders

On Thursday, February 23, I wrote this brief post about the Employees Retirement System’s decision to award the health insurance contract for state employees and retirees to UnitedHealthcare: The Perry gravy train is back on the track. UnitedHealthCare is a client of … Mike Toomey. What a remarkable coincidence. I

Politics & Policy |
February 24, 2012

When did Texas politics go completely nuts?

The question came to mind when I read the NBC News story of the debate in the Virginia Legislature over a bill requiring ultrasound imaging. There was a huge fight over the bill, as there was in Texas. But something strange happened in Virginia. Here’s the story: State Republican

Politics & Policy |
February 24, 2012

Does Perry want Obama to win?

When Perry says he may run for president in 2016, the first thing that comes to mind is that the job will be not be open if Obama loses in 2012. If a Republican wins in 2012–Romney, Santorum, whoever–the job will not be available, because the Republican incumbent will presumably

Politics & Policy |
February 22, 2012

Perry “leaning” toward running in 2014

That’s what he says. I’ll believe it when he files. This seems more like a sign of weakness than a sign of strength — an effort to remain relevant in the wake of his failures in the presidential race, as if he is trying to fend off potential opponents. If

Politics & Policy |
February 21, 2012

UT/Trib poll: Dewhurst leads Cruz

Dewhurst 38% Cruz 27% Leppert 7% James 7% Jim Henson, co-director of the poll, writes, “David Dewhurst is roughly splitting the extremely conservative primary voters with Ted Cruz.  That’s not a sign of failure or defeat, but it is a yellow flag.” Maybe I’m reading this wrong, but it

Politics & Policy |
February 21, 2012

TLR responds

Sherry Sylvester of Texans for Lawsuit Reform submitted a response to my recent post, “TLR bets the farm.” I have edited portions of the response that did not directly address matters that were in my original post. Some of the omitted material appears in a comment posted yesterday

Politics & Policy |
February 21, 2012

The UT/Trib poll

It should come as no surprise that Rick Santorum is far ahead in the Texas primary. Evangelicals are a major factor here, and Santorum carries their banner. Neither Gingrich nor Romney has done anything to get back in the race nationally, although Romney has the most resources. Intrade, the Internet

Politics & Policy |
February 18, 2012

TLR bets the farm

Does  TLR’s jihad against Jeff Wentworth make sense? Forget that Wentworth has voted with TLR on all but a handful of occasions. Forget that Wentworth is a well known incumbent who will have the support of the local business community, and TLR is, in this race, a bunch of carpetbaggers

Politics & Policy |
February 15, 2012

Davis tweets: victory in SD 10

“Senate District 10 partners victorious in preserving&strengthening ’08 district. Lege damage repaired. Thanks to all who supported&believed.” [tweeted @ 1:33 p.m.] * * * * Just pointing out the obvious: The saving of Davis’s seat could take on added significance if senators choose the successor to Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst.

Eat My Words |
February 15, 2012

The Ten Best New Restaurants in Texas!!!

Starting in 2002, I have eaten my weight in lamb chops, roasted beets, pork belly, and micro-cilantro every year to come up with Texas Monthly’s annual list of the most innovative, exciting, and delicious new Texas restaurants. For 2012, our feature “Where to Eat Now” runs the gamut from a

Politics & Policy |
February 14, 2012

Ames Jones v. Wentworth: first shots fired

Lest anyone think that the race between challenger Elizabeth Ames Jones and incumbent Jeff Wentworth [a third candidate, Donna Campbell, is also in the race] is going to be a campaign characterized by mutual respect and a civil exchange of ideas, I herewith present the opening statements of the two

Politics & Policy |
February 9, 2012

LULAC’s version of its deal with Abbott

Note to readers: This material originally appeared on the Dos Centavos blog, the principal author of which is A. S. (Stace) Medellin. I am publishing it under the auspices of the doctrine of “creative commons distribution,” according to which others are free to copy, distribute, and transmit the

Politics & Policy |
February 8, 2012

Perry’s plans

Perry has been in the news this week, mainly about discussions of his future plans: Fox News ran a story on Monday, which begins: The governor and his wife, Anita Perry, in their first interview since Perry dropped out of the Republican presidential race, told Fox News that

Eat My Words |
February 8, 2012

The Good News Is that Texas Captured Four of Seventeen Finalist Slots in Food & Wine’s People’s Pastry Chef Online Contest. The Bad News Is that Only Austin and Houston Made the Cut. What’s Up With That?

Not bad at all: Texas captured four of seventeen finalist slots in Food & Wine’s new “People’s Best New Pastry Chef” competition.” That’s really impressive, considering that the Texans are up against chefs from Chicago and New Orleans, among other cities (we are in Central, one of three

Eat My Words |
February 7, 2012

Tim Love’s Woodshed Is Smoking Fort Worth

Moments after Tim Love’s late-afternoon announcement on Jan. 31 that he would open his long-awaited Fort Worth restaurant, Woodshed, that evening–a day earlier than anticipated–the indoor-outdoor smokehouse with a worldly menu of wood-fired foods was instantly swamped with hungry, thirsty patrons.

Politics & Policy |
February 6, 2012

San Antonio: Deal or no deal?

It depends upon who you talk to. Attorney General Abbott put out a press release today that strives hard to give the impression that there is a deal: “The proposed maps minimize changes to the redistricting plan passed by the Legislature and, as the U. S. Supreme Court required, makes

Politics & Policy |
February 4, 2012

Notes and Quotes from the Senate debate

The report below is based upon notes I took during the Texas Association of Business debate. It is not a verbatim report but it is substantially faithful to the candidates’ remarks. Opening statements Cruz began by defining the race as “a clear contrast between a “timid career politician”

Politics & Policy |
February 1, 2012

Great Scott!

The speech by education commissioner Robert Scott to the Texas Association of School Administrators on Monday will inevitably spawn considerable speculation about Rick Perry’s future involvement in education policy issues. The remarkable thing about the speech is that Scott sounded a lot more like a policy maker than a bureaucrat.

Eat My Words |
January 31, 2012

What You Need to Know About Dining in Texas This Week

We’ve been waiting. We’ve been watching. We’ve been reading the tweets. We’ve been following the FB posts. Finally, a few much-buzzed-about restaurants will be opening their doors this week. (One even decided to open tonight—a day early. Surprise!) We confess that we can’t keep up with every new restaurant in

Politics & Policy |
January 31, 2012

Will conservatives jump into the school finance fight?

I was talking to an attorney for the plaintiffs in the upcoming Supreme Court case, when he said that conservatives may intervene in the school finance lawsuit. Their contention, the attorney said, is that an efficient system could be achieved with school choice and vouchers. A school finance lobbyist told

Politics & Policy |
January 31, 2012

GOP looks to 2013 for redistricting

Nothing prevents the Legislature from drawing new maps. Redistricting is no different from any other bill, and it doesn’t have to be limited to the session after a census. That said, I don’t see the point of going through the exercise. So what if Republicans endorse a referendum to re-redistrict

Politics & Policy |
January 31, 2012

FLA polls show Mitt pulling away from Newt

From RealClearPolitics: 1/30 polls Insider Advantage: Romney 36, Gingrich 31 Public Policy Polling: Romney 39, Gingrich 32 Suffolk University: Romney 47, Gingrich 27 Quinnipiac: Romney 43, Gingrich 29 Gallup Tracking: Romney 27, Gingrich 28 1/29 polls Survey USA: Romney 41, Gingrich 26 NBC Marist: Romney 42, Gingrich 27

Eat My Words |
January 28, 2012

Oh no! Barbecue Stalwart Wild Blue Is Closing.

Little did I know when I wrote the following words nearly four years ago—“Please, patronize Wild Blue before it’s too late”—that my greatest fear would come true. One of the true stalwarts of Texas Barbecue–Wild Blue B.B.Q., located in the near-Brownsville city of Los Fresnos—will shut its doors