Slideshow of the Day

Your jokes about accordions and accordion players are invalid, particularly in light of these photos of the young challengers in the La Joya Big Squeeze competition.

Inspiration Tuesday

This may be the best way to get the creative juices flowing. Hollywood’s most famous beef-neck, Channing Tatum, is scripting a sequel to the hit Magic Mike. For inspiration, he apparently meditates/fixates on a bust of Matthew McConaughey, his co-star (aka “Dallas”) in the male stripper movie. That this chiseled sculpture of our most perfect, chiseled man isn’t available in every Texas store is a crime that needs to be rectified:

Daily Roundup

Under Siege — Following his recent push for increased border security, it would seem that gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott has been fortifying his own campaign turf, particularly against enemy attacks. Abbott took some hits from the press, the public, and other politicians after he said corruption in South Texas is like that of a “third-world country.” Standing his ground, Abbott defended his position (or, rather, expanded on it) at a campaign stop yesterday, saying, “It doesn’t matter where you are in the state of Texas; public corruption does mimic third-world” practices, according to the Texas Tribune. Perhaps seeing a weakness in Abbott’s security measures, Wendy Davis yesterday fired on the attorney general for another one of his positions of school finance. Davis said Abbott’s defense of the current educational financial system was “indefensible.” While Abbott “has said it is his responsibility as attorney general to defend the state in court,” according to the Austin American-Statesman, “…Davis charged he is hiding behind that excuse to protect an inequitable system and to avoid spelling out an education agenda beyond the blandest platitudes.” Finally past the heated (and nationally appealing) abortion debate, it would seem both sides are now involved in the kind of trench-warfare that Texas deserves.

Sayonara Cigarroa — In the continued shakeup at the University of Texas, an important official is resigning his position: Yesterday, UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa announced Monday that he’s stepping down after five years on the job. It’s hard to fault him for the exit, since he’s going back into medicine as head of pediatric transplant surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. But Just. To. Be. Clear: “Cigarroa said three years of turmoil involving UT-Austin President Bill Powers, the direction of the Austin campus, his bosses on the UT System Board of Regents and the state Legislature played no role in his decision,” according to the Statesman and just about every other related news item. Not that everybody believes Cigarroa. “Although I am confident that he will deny any disharmony, I am equally confident that [Cigarroa’s] decision was influenced by the continued negative circumstances at hand,” said Senator Judith Zaffirini, co-vice chair of the Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Ed. “[Cigarroa] has endured unmitigated stress from the rogue regents who want UT President Bill Powers fired.” Now, as the Austin Chronicle notes, the regents will begin looking for Powers’s new boss, which should have some pretty interesting consequences.

Ted Cruz, Take Two — The old Ted Cruz would rail, with laser-beam focus, against Obamacare. The new Ted Cruz wants to talk, big picture, about energy while politely telling his college to stop obessessing over the single issue of the Keystone XL pipeline. “As much as we need to approve the Keystone pipeline, we need to think far broader than that,” said Cruz, unveiling his new position at a conservative policy conference yesterday in Washington. Although he sounded rather diplomatic in his advocacy for broader policy, that’s not to say the old Cruz wasn’t still there. “Cruz dedicated most of his 30-minute address to extolling the virtues of private enterprise and outlining the perils of government regulation,” according to Fuel Fix. And the senator’s praise for the Keystone project contained some liberal (if slightly played-out) ribbing: “[Even] If you are a Birkenstock-wearing, tree-hugging Greenpeace activist, you should love the Keystone pipeline.” All told, the address—covered by several national news organizations—lasted thirty minutes, for which we should all hope is the norm. Not even the most dedicated Cruzer could take 21 hours of energy policy.

Phoenix Education — No, it’s not a mail-order college degree. The phoenix is the West ISD, which will soon rise from the ashes of last year’s explosion. Yesterday, it was announced that FEMA approved a $20 million grant to rebuild the high school and middle school, both of which were destroyed. U.S. Representative Bill Flores said the grant was “seed money,” and hard-won at that. “[FEMA] initially balked at providing money to help the town rebuild after the explosion [saying] the blast ‘is not of the severity and magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration,'” according to WFAA. The decision was reversed after Governor Perry made an appeal, although “The state initially requested $40 million to rebuild the destroyed campuses.” West ISD Superintendent Marty Crawford best summed up the feels of a town still trying to recover from the tragedy. “Our goal is to make sure our kids are happy,” he said. ” … we’re going to be ecstatic the day we cut the ribbon on the new school buildings.”

Clickity Bits

TxDOT’s Rush Hour Solution: Go Off-Roading!

New Braunfel’s River Can Ban Controversy Still Floating Along

Austinites Loves Lines, Hate New Things

Donkey Basketball: Animal Abuse, or Harmless Fun for Jackasses?

Our Little-Known Space Voting Laws

That Fake Snow Conspiracy Is Real And Happening in Texas

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