› City Council meets today (Thursday) with an unusually light agenda, but with a few hot-button items, including whether to authorize yet more taxicab franchise permits over drivers' opposition, and how to make peace on East Sixth between Cheer Up Charlie's and its neighbors. See "Council: Call Me 30 More Cabs?"
› The state-run Women's Health Program excluding Planned Parenthood is apparently ready to go, but Texas isn't so eager to give PP the boot before federal money runs out. State Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek announced Wednesday that the Medicaid-funded Women's Health Program will continue as-is until the courts rule that the PP exclusion violates the law and Medicaid funding ceases.
› Hurricane Sandy made landfall Monday night in New Jersey, leaving coastal communities from Maryland to Connecticut underwater and more than 8 million people without power. Three dozen Austin Energy workers have been dispatched to the Northeast to help in the restoration efforts.
› Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has faced harsh criticism over statements that he would cut back on FEMA and leave disaster response to the states. In another burst of untrammeled Tentherism, he is reported to be considering Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to head up the EPA – even though Abbott's only environmental experience is suing the agency.
› Early voting turnout in Travis County is back down to 2004 levels. With three days to go before early voting closes on Nov. 2, only 157,228 registered voters have cast their ballot, a little over half of 2008's turnout.
› Veteran Dallas Morning News reporter Wayne Slater had to stare down a Williamson County poll worker who refused to accept his current utility bill as proof of his right to vote. Remember, you do not need a photo ID to vote in Texas.
› Austin Kids First, the new school reform PAC, is throwing its money behind trustee candidates seen as most friendly to the AISD administration. AKF donated $12,500 each to Mary Ellen Pietruszynski and Sam Guzmán – that's 85% of all the cash Guzman raised in the last month.
› Temple's Lambert Borgardt has been jailed in connection with a September attack on two men at Roppolo's Pizzeria at Fourth and Colorado. The men believe the attack was motivated by sexual orientation; the District Attorney's Office will ultimately decide whether Borgardt should be charged with a hate crime.
› Three have been charged in connection with a string of hotel burglaries during this year's South by Southwest. Michael Allen Rush has taken a nine-year plea deal in connection with the burglaries; Nathan Winston and Ashley Cruickshank have also been charged.
› More are lining up to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case of Rosa Jimenez, convicted of choking Bryan Gutierrez in 2003. They say Jimenez's case presents a perfect opportunity to decide the standard for proving actual innocence. See the Newsdesk blog, Oct. 31.