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July 30th, 2010:

Friday random ten: One through ten

I finished my tour of the alphabet a few weeks ago, and it occurred to me around that time that there was a natural extension of that theme once I got through the Zs. To wit:

1. Going For The One – Yes
2. Breaking Us In Two – Joe Jackson
3. Three Babies – Sinead O’Connor
4. Friend Is A Four Letter Word – CAKE
5. Take Five – Dave Brubeck Quartet
6. Number Six Driver – Eddie From Ohio
7. The Magnificent Seven – Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers
8. Eight Days of Hanukkah – Orrin Hatch and Madeline Stone
9. 9:45 – Mieka Pauley
10. Ten Cents A Dance – Julie Murphy

As you can see, the number 9 almost defeated me, but I pulled it out at the end. Anyone have a song with the word or number 9 in the title? Let me know if you do. I’ve got two more of these lists to follow.

Entire song list report: Started with “Kool Whip”, by the Austin Lounge Lizards. Ended with “Lay All Your Love On Me”, from the “Mamma Mia!” soundtrack. Have I mentioned how much Olivia loves “Mamma Mia!”? Yes, I believe I have. That was song #2778, for a total of 60 this week. The last “K” song was “Kyrie Eleison”, by the Oni Wytars Ensemble. The first “L” song was “L – Y”, by Tom Lehrer.

Ripping vinyl report: Way back when I first got the USB turntable, Greg Wythe ripped a couple of albums for me when he had some free time. Among them was Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run”. One thing we learned from that experience was that we needed to set the input volume level higher than the manufacturer’s recommendations, or you’d get a very low-volume playback. That’s not such a big deal if you’re just listening to that album on your iPod, but in any sequence that includes stuff from other sources, it can be painful. So, this week I decided to re-do “Born To Run”. Initial playback in iTunes on my laptop suggests I got the level right, or at least I got it closer, but we’ll see when one of these songs comes up in the rotation. In addition to this, I also did one side of The Boss’ “Darkness On The Edge Of Town”. I have side 2 of that and “Tunnel of Love”, before I can finally say I’ve got all my Springsteen collection ripped.

Interview with Judy Jennings

Judy Jennings

Completing our tour of the SBOE candidates, I bring you an interview with Judy Jennings, who is running for the open District 10 seat that the uber wingnut Cynthia Dunbar has vacated. Jennings has a PhD in educational psychology and has been an advisor to the Texas Education Agency on accountability and assessment issues. District 10 is a true swing district – Bill Moody got 49.2% of the two-party vote in 2006; Barack Obama got 48.2% and CCA candidate Susan Strawn won a plurality in 2008. Dunbar’s hand-picked wingnut successor failed to win in the Republican primary runoff, but GOP nominee Marsha Farney can only be called “moderate” by comparison, not because of anything she’s said or done. She’s also spent a ton of money so far, and likely will spend more through November. This race represents a huge opportunity for the forces of reason and sanity. Here’s the interview:

Download the MP3 file

You can see all of my interviews for the 2010 election cycle on my 2010 Election page.

Keller appeals to Supreme Court

She’s still going for full vindication. Because as far as she’s concerned, she did nothing wrong.

[I]n a Supreme Court petition filed Thursday, Keller argued that the commission acted in a “lawless” manner because the Texas Constitution forbids it to issue such a warning.

“The order violates the constitution and is void. At the very least, it is a gross abuse of discretion,” wrote Keller lawyer Chip Babcock.

Babcock asked the court to issue a writ of mandamus ordering the commission to expunge the warning from all records and to drop its charges against Keller. “The (commission) should not be given rein to wreak additional mischief,” he wrote.

Here’s the background on what this is about. All I can say is that I can’t think of a more bitterly ironic ending to this fiasco than Keller getting off on a technicality. Somebody pour me a drink.

UPDATE: Grits has more.

The Trib’s electoral three-parter

In case you haven’t seen it, I recommend the Trib‘s three-part series on the state of electoral politics in Texas, which was done in conjunction with the El Paso Times:

The Map: Can A Democrat Win?

The Map: The Giant Sleeps

The Map: Get Out The Vote

See also their interactive general election turnout map. Lots of familiar themes in these stories, lots of ground that has been visited here, all nicely put together and a fine overview if you’re just tuning in. Check it out.

How much do kids count?

In Texas, the answer is not much at all.

Between 2000 and 2008, the number of Texas kids living in poverty grew by 240,000, accounting for 23 percent of the total child population. The national child poverty rate is 18 percent. [Frances Deviney, president of the Texas KIDS Count branch housed at the Center for Public Policy Priorities] also said Texas ranks last in child food insecurity, meaning 1.6 million Texas children don’t know where their next meal will come from. According to the 2006-08 survey conducted by the KIDS Count data center, hungry children are more likely to miss school, be less attentive in class, and fail or drop out of school.

Other key indicators for Texas kids:

—Low birthweight babies have increased in Texas by 17 percent since 2000.

—Infant mortality has spiked by 11 percent since 2000.

—The number of children with special health or medical needs has jumped by 42 percent since 2001.

—Economically disadvantaged children are more likely to fail the TAKS test.

—About 72 percent of Texas fourth graders are not proficient in reading, putting Texas in the bottom quarter of reading proficiency.

During this time, we’ve created a multibillion dollar structural deficit by irresponsibly cutting property taxes, thrown hundreds of thousands of kids off of CHIP, and frozen allocations for school districts at 2006 levels. That’s even before we deal with the current budget shortfall and the fanatical desire among Republican base voters to ensure people remain uninsured. Yeah, we pretty much don’t give a crap about kids in this state. BOR has more.