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My latest piece for the Observer, about the dispute over renaming Simkins dormitory, is now online!

Two public forums to inform an advisory committee to make a recommendation to the actual decision-makers might be the university’s version of expedient action, or they might be looking for some bureaucratic intestine where they can send this controversy to wither and die. Even at its very best, though, the dispute is still just a pressure valve, one that takes the pressure that has built up against prolonged, sustained injustice and diverts it into purely symbolic measures.

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.

Again?

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

Thank you, Onion

Right on.

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

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.