› City Council meets today (Thursday, March 8), and electric rates aren't on the agenda! (It's considering those in a formidable series of work sessions.) Instead, council will take up the usual brace of zoning cases and a South-by-Southwest-related "temporary designated smoking area" on Auditorium Shores, after the morning briefing (10:30am) on the formal report of the Charter Revision Committee (see "The Charter, the Devil, and the Details," Feb. 24).
› Candidates have been campaigning for weeks, but the City Council election season officially began Tuesday with the drawing of the May 12 ballot order by the city clerk. Filing closed Monday, with a few dropouts and no great surprises – but six challengers for Place 5 incumbent Bill Spelman (see "Council Ballot Set").
› The second annual SXSWedu launched March 6. Public school advocates are expecting spirited discussions with keynote speakers U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Pearson CEO Marjorie Scardino, both controversial for their advocacy of high-stakes testing.
› Austin Police on Monday arrested and charged 26-year-old John Bateman with making terroristic threats in connection with a string of emailed bomb and shooting threats made to schools in Central Texas, President Barack Obama, and others.
› Redistricting hearings continue in Washington, D.C., with Congressional District 25 under the microscope again. Federal judges in the preclearance trial have ordered a March 13 hearing on whether the district is truly dominated by Anglo voters, as the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force claims. Any delay on preclearance could throw the primaries – currently scheduled for May 29 – back into flux. (See "Welcome to the Circus!")
› The war on women waged with gusto last year in the Texas Capitol has claimed at least one legislative aide. Allison Catalano, who began working for Denton GOP Rep. Myra Crownover last summer, resigned her post this week, citing Crownover's support for cuts to women's health funding. For more, see the Newsdesk blog.
› Mitt Romney continued his slow drag to the GOP presidential nomination, taking six of the 10 Super Tuesday states, and the two-week-long Alaska caucuses. However, three wins and a series of strong showings by Rick Santorum keeps the race alive.
› As that race proceeded, the national sideshow was dominated by hordes of advertisers fleeing Rush Limbaugh's radio show in the wake of his misogynist attacks on Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke for the crime of testifying before Congress about contraception. Could this mark the silencing of the Great Blowhard? If only.
› Meanwhile, the war frenzy from politicians and media grew, accompanying pressure from the Israeli government for a U.S. attack on Iran and President Obama's insistence that "everything ... including military force ... is on the table" to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.