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June 16th, 2007:

Off to Melissa’s election night party

Polls are about to close, so if you haven’t voted by now, it’s too late. Turnout was miserable, with the weather not helping. I’m off to Melissa Noriega’s election night party. I’ll try to post updates as I can. Here’s hoping for the best.

UPDATE: With half of all precincts in, Melissa is leading with over 56% of the vote. She is winning today’s vote with over 60%. It’s looking very good right now.

UPDATE: It’s official – Melissa is the winner. Thanks to everyone who voted, and good night.

Today’s the day – Vote!

This is it. If you haven’t voted yet, you have until 7 PM to correct that oversight. You can find your polling location here. Please vote for Melissa Noriega, and please bring a friend or ten along with you. Thank you very much.

Here are the vetoes

Governor Perry officially broke out his veto pen yesterday.

Gov. Rick Perry made his final rulings Friday on legislation approved by Texas lawmakers, vetoing 49 bills that came out of the five-month session.

The Republican governor had until Sunday to decide whether to sign or veto bills, but he planned to get it all done before the weekend.

On Friday, Perry announced he’d signed the 2008-09 state budget into law, allocating $151.9 billion for state programs. He used his line-item veto power to get rid of $570 million from the budget that lawmakers passed.

Vetoing bills from Democrats and Republicans alike, Perry used his veto pen on some legislation before the 140-day session ended May 28 and announced Friday he was striking down dozens of other bills.

[…]

Perry set the known record for vetoes by a Texas governor in 2001 with 83, according to the Texas Legislative Reference Library. That was shortly after he ascended to the governorship in December 2000, once fellow Republican George W. Bush resigned to become president.

Bush had far fewer vetoes during his tenure as governor. His highest total for a legislative session was 38 in 1997.

Here’s the complete list of vetoed bills. I don’t see any new ones on that list that stand out to me, but there’s a lot of bills that get passed, and I can only follow so many. Anything there that outrages you? Let me know.

The very good news, as Pete happily notes, is that HB1919 got signed into law. Take that, TAB! This is very good news for many families across Texas today. My thanks to everyone who contacted their state rep to help push this through or the Governor to urge him to sign it. Y’all done good.

Coaches, schmoaches

First, congrats to the Spurs for winning yet another NBA title, and making it look easy. I don’t care what anyone says, four titles in nine years is a dynasty. Well done, guys.

Second, for those of you who thought these Finals had less zest than perhaps they might, Mac Thomason has a modest proposal.

Ban the coaches. Seriously. No coaching should be allowed during the game; the point guard can call the plays and the captain can call timeouts and make substitutions. Only active players and trainers can sit on the bench. The coach sits in the stands, and if he does anything to coach the team, it’s a technical foul and he’s asked to leave. He can meet the team in the locker room at halftime; that’s it. (I’m borrowing this rule from tennis, which allows only limited contact between player and coach during the match.)

Nobody goes to a sporting event to watch someone coach; they go to watch the players. Let the players play.

It’ll never happen, for any number of reasons, but it’s intriguing nonetheless. What do you think?

Will the dissing ever end for Pluto?

Jeez, what’s a vowel planet got to do to get a little respect around here?

Is this really the end for Pluto?

The former ninth planet was demoted yet again Thursday when scientists determined it no longer even reigns as king of the dwarf planets, a sub-class astronomers relegated Pluto to last summer after deeming it unworthy of standing alongside Earth, Jupiter and other larger bodies.

The bigger dwarf planet, Eris, is 27 percent more massive than Pluto, California Institute of Technology scientists reported in the journal Science. One of them, Michael Brown, led the discovery of Eris in 2003 that precipitated a reconsideration of the solar system’s familiar nine planets.

“I think this result definitely cements Pluto’s demotion into the dwarf planet category,” said Patricia Reiff, a Rice University astronomer and director of the Rice Space Institute. “There was an outcry in the beginning, but I think it’s died down.”

Well, I’m still outraged at the injustice of it all. Who will think of the mnemonics?

The International Astronomical Union will reconvene in two years.

Harvard University professor emeritus of astronomy and history of science Owen Gingerich said he’s still hopeful Pluto can get some recognition if it cannot be restored to its former status.

“I think these icy bodies beyond Neptune will eventually be known as Plutonians, thereby giving some nod to the historical status of Pluto,” he said.

A small gesture, if you ask me, but perhaps the best Pluto can do in these cold and uncaring days. How sad it is.