Daily News
New Office, Same Battle
Sarah Wheat, long-time reproductive rights advocate, will be starting a new job next week when she takes over as public affairs director for Austin Planned Parenthood. For the past six years, Wheat has worked in a similar capacity with NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, where she served as political director for five years before taking over as the group’s executive director last year. In short, Wheat’s new job means moving to a new office where she’ll continue the same fight to ensure reproductive rights for all women.

4:49PM Wed. Nov. 15, 2006, Jordan Smith Read More | Comment »

No Parole for You!
Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, on Tuesday sliced the state’s Board of Pardons and Paroles during an intense hearing to review the Sunset Commission’s report on the Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice. Whitmire, a member of the Commission, took the BPP to task for its parole decision inconsistencies. “If you’d just followed your own guidelines, we wouldn’t have a [prison] capacity problem right now,” Whitmire told BPP members, reports the Houston Chronicle. Indeed, according to the Commission’s report, the BPP has failed to follow its own guidelines when making decisions regarding parolees – perhaps this shouldn’t come as such a shock, after all, these are the same people who think its perfectly fine to review death penalty cases without ever meeting together as a board, and who apparently think it is perfectly peachy to simply fax in their votes when deciding whether to grant clemency to the condemned.

4:07PM Wed. Nov. 15, 2006, Jordan Smith Read More | Comment »

Lotts of Problems There
As is being reported all over Left Blogistan, isn't there a certain troubling irony in having Sen. Trent "We wouldn't have had all these problems" Lott take the title of Minority Whip?

2:36PM Wed. Nov. 15, 2006, Wells Dunbar Read More | Comment »

Congress Avenue Bridge Named for Ann Richards
Earlier this week, an item on the forthcoming City Council agenda raised some eyebrows. Item 40 was a vaguely worded ordinance naming the Congress Avenue Bridge – yet for who or what, it didn't say. Well, the cat's out of the bag. At their Thursday meeting, City Council will move to christen the famous structure the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge.

At approximately 11am Thursday, following adoption of the consent agenda (normally a rote matter), Council will take top the "Mayor's Balcony" outside for a press conference, with members of the Richards family in attendance.

In a press release Mayor Will Wynn, Item 40's sponsor, had this to say: “Ann Richards was my friend, an adviser, and an inspiration ... Ann always worked to bridge the divides that separated people and I think it is very fitting that we honor her memory by naming the bridge where she began her inaugural parade in 1991, particularly knowing that we frequently refer to Congress Avenue as the ‘Main Street’ of Texas.”

The rest of the release, including reaction from all council members, continues below the fold.

1:23PM Wed. Nov. 15, 2006, Wells Dunbar Read More | Comment »

Poor Homecoming for Perry
Oh, how did we miss this one? Thanks to the Houston Chronicle for pointing out that while Gov. Rick Perry won 215 of Texas' 254 counties, the county of his birth – Haskell – wasn't one of them. Haskell County results: Bell 32.68%, Perry 30.61%, Strayhorn 27.48%, Friedman 8.86%.

1:19PM Wed. Nov. 15, 2006, Lee Nichols Read More | Comment »

Austin Round Up
Austin Business Journal: Cap Metro Goes Wireless

Granted, it's only for Express buses, but I guess the Metro pendulum has swung from broke-ass to cash-flush again. (It's so easily swayed, especially during labor negotiations!)

Grits for Breakfast: Red Light Cameras Targeted for Ban

Scott Henson sifts traffic-camera banning legislation from all the bills freshly filed for the next legislative session. Take that, Jennifer Kim!

ACLU Students Rights Forum

The stalwart freedom defenders host attorney Susan Heiligenthal to discuss zero tolerance policies, safety, searches and more. Thursday, 11/16, 6-7pm, ACLU of Texas headquarters, 1210 Rosewood.

11:01AM Wed. Nov. 15, 2006, Wells Dunbar Read More | Comment »

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The FOX 7 Pregnancy Edge!
Buried at the bottom of In Fact Daily, we see Rep. Mark Strama is clearing his CAMPO calendar around early February. Turns out his wife is preggers, their child due to arrive February 4. Nice enough – until you remember that his wife is none other than FOX 7 city hall reporter Crystal Cotti.

Damn. That's going to be one good-looking baby.

(For more FOX fun, check out Crystal's web bio here. "Like this copper and limestone building, Austin is weird!")

4:32PM Tue. Nov. 14, 2006, Wells Dunbar Read More | Comment »

Murder by Numbers
I was just analyzing some election numbers, which I love to do, and picked up on a couple of interesting tidbits:

1. So much for that "more conservative" Congressional District 25. After his district got realigned for the third time this decade, we noticed that Lloyd Doggett would be facing a somewhat more conservative electorate than ever before. Not enough to seriously threaten his re-election chances, since the district is still anchored in Travis County, but it looked like he might actually have trouble cracking 60%, as opposed to the blowouts he'd enjoyed in the past.

2:30PM Fri. Nov. 10, 2006, Lee Nichols Read More | Comment »

Call Blocker
And so it turns out the the most divisive figure of the campaign season is none other than Austin actress Johanna Goldsmith. Appearing in the Republican National Committee's smear ad against Tennessee Senate candidate (and African-American) Harold Ford Jr., her sign off at the end – "Harold! Call me!" – was widely decried as needling Whitey's racist fears of black sexual prowess.

On her role as the 2006 Willie Horton (with boobs and a melanin deficiency, natch), Goldsmith told the Statesman "I didn't see anything provocative about it... I've dated every nationality under the sun, so why would there be a problem?"

We hope this quote from her agent is accurate: "She's not a bimbo, but she plays one on TV."

12:47PM Fri. Nov. 10, 2006, Wells Dunbar Read More | Comment »

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