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Archive for June, 2010

This morning on the Texas Tribune’s front page:

The story is simple enough: Texas is facing a budget deficit of somewhere between $12 billion-$18 billion, and the big three in our state government (Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, House Speaker Joe Straus) want to cut our way out of the hole. They have already applied a “no new taxes” pledge to this session’s budget-writing process.

For the state to cut its way out of the hole, though, we’d have to start closing prisons or schools or, as Straus has obliquely suggested, withdraw our state from Medicaid.

The impressively jowly Talmadge Heflin has quite a history in this debate: in 2003, he was the chairman of Texas’ House Appropriations Committee when the legislature came up against a $10 billion deficit. The budget that Heflin and Perry pushed has since resulted in a disastrous experiment in privatizing state services (which ended up costing more money than it saved), more than 350,000 children cut from the State Children’s Health Insurance program, and a broken eligibility determination system for public services that will likely wind up landing Texas in court.

In the likely event that Perry, Dewhurst and Straus are all re-elected in November, and the legislature continues to be GOP-dominated, 2011 will be a replay of 2003, except worse.

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Again?

Apparently, we haven’t had enough of this pointless exercise.

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Thank you, Onion

Right on.

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Reading the comments sections of online news articles almost always gets me down: glad to hear that I’m not the only one.

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Any article that can elicit a comment like this must be a good one:

Your insightful perspective and the Apple path may help us finally jettison the “form follows function” delusion that guided much of modernity for too long, especially in architecture. Beauty of form is again being recognized as its own reward, and is a very fine criterion for the art that most enriches our lives. Steve Jobs and his colleagues have long been contributing beauties we can all resonate with.

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This past week was an exciting one at CPPP, for a couple of reasons. One: we took a road trip to Houston, which was a nice change of pace from the daily office routine. Two: cppp.org has seen the early stages of an infusion of multimedia content. The idea is that a short video or audio recording explaining a policy issue will be more engaging than a long, technical, footnote-heavy policy page on the subject.

With that in mind, I bought an audio recording of some testimony that our tax analyst, Dick Lavine, delivered this past week, edited it down, and posted it on the website alongside the powerpoint presentation that he gave to the committee members. This way, visitors can listen to the recording while they follow along with the visual presentation, kind of the same way that I remember the librarian at my elementary school reading to us from picture books while playing a recording (on actual vinyl!) of background sounds and music. Except about the merits of a state income tax.

Posting is here.

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This morning, I am catching up on three weeks-worth of “The Coversation,” the nytimes.com opinion blog by David Brooks and Gail Collins. The two have attained a plane of level-headed disagreement and verbal cleverness that makes them really fun to read. Sample dialogue from this week’s, on the Al/Tipper Gore divorce:

Gail Collins: I think the nation as a whole is thinking that if Al and Tipper split after 40 years, no marriage is ever safe. And the fact that Hillary and Bill outlasted them means that we’ve been lied to by a generation’s worth of Lifetime movies.

David Brooks: Both Tipper and Al seem to want this. They seem to have made the decision after mature consultation. Maybe they’ll both be happier now. And after all, the kids are grown.

Gail Collins: Maybe their kids have grown, but what about us? We liked having Al and Tipper walking hand in hand into the sunset. Couldn’t they have just pretended for our sakes? Their houses have gotten so big that they could probably go for months without running into one another.

Just thought I’d share that. More here.

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