Yesterday’s Comissioners Court Meeting - Landfill Edition

Posted in Commissioners Court, Bad Government Republicans, Landfill, Williamson County at 9:53 am by wcnews

There are two media accounts of yesterday’s meeting regarding the issue of the new landfill contract. With the public finally able to air their grievances with about the contract to their elected representatives, the commissioners decided to punt the issue down the road a bit, Williamson County landfill vote put off until August 28.

After a roomful of people told Williamson County commissioners that they weren’t happy with a proposed contract with the county’s landfill operator, the commissioners decided to postpone a vote on the contract two weeks.

Commissioners Valerie Covey and Ron Morrison asked for the delay until Aug. 28, but neither would say whether the concerns brought up in court Tuesday prompted the move. The vote was originally set to be taken Aug. 14.

“I’m listening to all the input, and we’re trying to get the best contract for the taxpayers that we can,” Covey said.

Although a county attorney argued that there are only two options, that didn’t stand up to scrutiny.

Stephen Ackley of the county attorney’s office told the commissioners Tuesday that only two options existed: remain with the current contract that has no end date and allows the county little control over the landfill; or accept the new contract, which has at least 18 provisions that could lead to Waste Management defaulting on it.

Many of those who spoke Tuesday mentioned another option for commissioners to consider:

“Pull down the expansion permit, and Waste Management suddenly has an incentive to sit down with you,” Hutto resident Mahlon Arnett said.


“You folks act like you don’t call the shots, but you do,” Robin Schneider, head of Austin-based Texas Campaign for the Environment, told the commissioners Tuesday.

There is more that the county can do to negotiate a better deal, the citizens know it, and that’s what causing most, if no all, of the frustration with the court. There are many ways to make the other side bargain in a negotiation and the county’s inability to use any of those tactics is what makes people start wondering what’s going on. It also appears, because of his unwillingness to take his constituents seriously, that Judge Gattis has gotten his feelings hurt.

The group brought signs calling the landfill “Mount Gattis,” after County Judge Dan A. Gattis.

Gattis said he heard “no big flaws in the contract” Tuesday and that many of the issues are problems with the expansion permit.

He called some of the comments personal attacks.

“They’re not worrying about what’s good for Williamson County, and they’re trying to make it a personal vendetta,” Gattis said.

That goes both ways Judge. It is personal Judge when the county wants to increase the size of a dump near a citizens house and the county won’t listen to them. It’s also politics and you didn’t have to run for office.

The Hutto News also has a story on yesterday’s hearing, County hears concerns on new landfill contract“>County hears concerns on new landfill contract. Not much new in this article but there are a couple of good items from the meeting.

“Waste Management feels they have you over a barrel,” Carl Liddel of Jonah said. Liddel served as Pct. 1 county commissioner during the late 1970s and through the ‘80s, when the operation of the landfill was first contracted out to the company later absorbed by Waste Management.

“Either you are going to take the old contract or the new contract,” Liddel said during his comments against many amendments within the new landfill agreement.


“We seem to be put to this question of two choices: a horrible 2003 agreement or a bad new agreement,” said Hutto resident Jeff Maurice, landfill committee chairman for the Hutto Citizens Group, a grassroots organization fighting the landfill contract and proposed expansion. “Where is the option for the best agreement?”


The lack of an open, competitive bidding process is the most concerning issue, Pct. 4 Commissioner Ron Morrison said, but he said “it’s just not something we really can do right now.”

The county attorney’s office had previously stated that Waste Management could sue the county if the agreement was broken and put out to bid. The value of such a suit could be $200 to $400 million - the estimated revenue over the life of the landfill, Ackley said in a previous interview.

Morrison’s precinct includes the landfill, which is just north of Hutto, and although the other commissioners may look to him to take the lead on the decision, Morrison said the issue is countywide and possibly one of the most significant decisions facing the court.

“Any way we go, we’re going to have second thoughts on our choice,” he said.

Yes, Ron Morrison can talk, the silent one speaks!

The commissioners have extended the time before the final vote on this issue for two weeks. Why? Are they now saying they don’t have only two options? Are they actually going to go back to WMI and try and negotiate a better deal, a third option? Or are they just trying to buy a little more time in hopes that once the kids are back in school this whole thing will blow over? We’ll just have to wait and see.


What Did Senator Carona Expect?

Posted in Privatization, Bad Government Republicans, Road Issues, Commentary, Around The State, The Lege at 11:27 pm by wcnews

More from today’s Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee in Dallas. This article from the SAEN transportation writer Patrick Driscoll, TxDOT rides in hot seat as lawmakers fume shows how ridiculous this whole transportation debate has become. Ric Williamson certainly must think this stuff is funny. He’ll ignore Sen. Carona and the gang for a while, then show up for a hearing (or send a minion), let the legislators “fume” a little, hell he’ll even let the governor sign a bill that’s a “moratorium” on their pet project and then ignore it like it’s nothing more than a suggestion. I’m sure he’s shaking in his boots now that he’s made Sen. “all talk” Carona mad, again.

Just two months after the state’s transportation department got its latest marching orders from the Legislature, a leading state senator said Tuesday the agency is as arrogant as ever.

At a hearing of the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee, Chairman John Carona, R-Dallas, accused Texas Department of Transportation officials of circumventing legislative intent and even refusing to explain what they’re up to.

“What does it take to get TxDOT to listen to the will of the legislators?” he said. “It is a core attitude of arrogance that I believe still exists.”

Hmm…maybe not letting Ric Williamson linger as the Chair of TxDOT would have been a start. Then the article just gets down right sad.

Carona decided it was time for an update, and called a hearing on the first day of the annual Transportation Summit, which TxDOT boycotted two years ago because of disagreements with Dallas area leaders over where the Trans-Texas Corridor should go.

At the hearing, held at a Westin Hotel, Carona protested that his letters and phone calls to TxDOT about its speed-camera project have been ignored.

“All we’re asking for is the courtesy of an explanation,” he said.

He cast doubt on TxDOT’s hope of using availability payments.

“What I heard was you found another way to get around us,” he said.

Ric Williamson doesn’t do courtesy. But Sen. Carona already knows that. What it takes is for the Senator(s) to use their power to do something about it. Think George Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Alberto Gonzalez. Although on a smaller scale - we’re not talking civil liberties and wiretapping I hope - but that’s exactly what Perry and Williamson are doing here. It’s the equivalent of a signing statement. Sure, there’s a moratorium, but not on the TTC because we say so.

As referenced in the previous post, when Sen. Carona caved in to the the Perry/Williamson/Corporate toll crowd, and gave up all his bargaining power what did he expect? Williamson ignored Sen. Carona during session until he used his power to make Williamson stop ignoring him. It’s hard to believe he thought they would continue to play nice once he ceded that power.

If Sen. Carona, Sen. Nichols, and Sen. Shapiro really want to change whats going on in Texas, as far as transportation is concerned, words and friendly smiles won’t work, these people don’t understand and/or respond to that. Use your power and make them do what you want them to, that’s all they understand.

Transportation Orgy In Irving This Week

Posted in Election 2008, Bad Government Republicans, Privatization, 80th Legislature, Road Issues, Around The State at 4:54 pm by wcnews

Ahead of this week’s Texas Transportation Summit - a meeting of our elected leaders, the corporations they elect to give taxpayer money to, and transportation “gurus” - Sen. John Carona (R-Dallas), Chair of the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security, convened a meeting of that committee today at a hotel at DFW airport. DMN has the story, Carona calls for change in bridge, road funding.

Texas’ methods of financing its roads and bridges are “irresponsible” and must change, the chairman of the state Senate transportation committee said Tuesday.

Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, said he will call for an amendment to the Texas Constitution during the next session of the Legislature that will end lawmakers’ practice, now routine, of diverting gas tax revenues to pay for expenses only tangentially related to construction and maintenance of roads and bridges.

“That’s going to be probably the most important single issue in this next session, said Mr. Carona. “We’ve got to stop the diversion of gas tax funds for other uses. And I think we’ll have strong support for that.”

A previous amendment already restricts the use of those funds – which last year brought in $2.99 billion – for transportation-related expenses. But for years, the Legislature has steadily expanded the definition of what can be considered related to transportation.

Last week, Texas Transportation Commission Chairman Ric Williamson said nearly all of the annual budget for the Department of Public Safety, for example, is now funded from the motor fuels tax. “Just because it’s legal to do something, doesn’t mean it is what the Legislature ought to do,” said Mr. Williamson, who conceded he also supported using the funds for non-construction purposes while he was a member of the Texas House of Representatives.

But on Tuesday, Mr. Carona labeled the practice both irresponsible and potentially tragic, especially given the collapse of the bridge in Minneapolis last week.

To steal a line, “there he goes again”. In case you forgot we were all very happy when Sen. Carona used harsh, but very true, rhetoric when about tolls and PPP’s late last year and early in this year’s legislative session. Only to be disappointed when Sen. Carona caved on the transportation issue later in the session. Yes, Republicans all over Texas and the United States will be trying to make up for their neglect of our infrastructure during their reign, in the run-up to the 2008 elections. It’s up to us not trust what they say but to instead judge them on their prior actions.

It’s Ronald Reagan’s Fault

Posted in Election 2008, Had Enough Yet?, Commentary, Around The Nation at 11:11 am by wcnews

From today’s column in Common Dreams from Thom Hartmann, Roll Back the Reagan Tax Cuts.

Our bridges are falling apart (among other things), and its Ronald Reagan’s fault.

That may be oversimplifying a bit but it’s definitely the “conservative” movements fault and he is their saint. There are so many other things that have fallen apart or are falling apart since the Reagan revolution it’s hard to keep track. Health care, wages, good paying jobs, education, etc.. (see list below). The simplest way to put it is, that it’s been a war on the middle class for the last 30 - 35 years now.

Thom’s columns are always excellent with history. It’s a hard one to except because the whole thing is so good. He starts with FDR’s creation of a vast middle class in this country which was brought about by fairly taxing the uber-wealthy, of which he was one. The destruction of what FDR created, of course, has been the crusade of the “conservatives” ever since. Thom finishes by explaining that just rolling back what this Bush has done is not nearly enough to fix what Americans electing of mostly “conservatives” has done over the last three decades. We must roll back all the way to what St. Ronnie did:

And Bush, following closely in Reagan’s footsteps, is making things worse. As Senator Bernie Sanders pointed out at recent hearings for the confirmation of Bush’s new nominee for the Office of Management and Budget:

    Since Bush has been president:

  • over 5 million people have slipped into poverty;
  • nearly 7 million Americans have lost their health insurance;
  • median household income has gone down by nearly $1,300;
  • three million manufacturing jobs have been lost;
  • three million American workers have lost their pensions;
  • home foreclosures are now the highest on record;
  • the personal savings rate is below zero - which hasn’t happened since the great depression;
  • the real earnings of college graduates have gone down by about 5% in the last few years;
  • entry level wages for male and female high school graduates have fallen by over 3%;
  • wages and salaries are now at the lowest share of GDP since 1929.

The debate about whether or not to roll Bush’s tax cuts back to Clinton’s modest mid-30% rates is absurd. It’s time to roll back the horribly failed experiment of the Reagan tax cuts. And use that money to pay down Reagan’s debt and rebuild this nation.

Those numbers are truly despicable. Wages lowest since, as Thom calls it the “Republican Great Depression” of 1929. It took a great Democratic and Progressive leader to fix that one and it will take the same thing again. Hopefully one of th eight can become that leader.

Commissioners Will Get An Earful On Landfill Today

Posted in Bad Government Republicans, Commissioners Court, Animal Shelter, Landfill, Had Enough Yet?, T. Don Hutto, Williamson County at 9:37 am by wcnews

AAS has this story up regarding today’s Commissioners Court meeting where the new landfill contract is on the agenda, Williamson landfill contract gets airing.

Williamson County commissioners will hear today what residents think about a proposed contract with the county’s landfill operator.

They shouldn’t expect ovations, according to three groups fighting the contract.

“I am really fed up trying to help the court solve anything,” said Orlynn Evans, head of Mount Hutto Aware Citizens. Evans’ concerns prompted the county last year to renegotiate its 2003 contract with Waste Management of Texas to get a better deal.

But the draft of a revised contract that was released last week did nothing to assuage concerns, Evans said.

Although county officials say it’s the best possible deal, Evans’ group, the Hutto Citizens Group and Texas Campaign for the Environment oppose the new contract.

“I will be asking them to not take action on the contract until the numerous flaws in the contract are corrected,” Evans said.

As will many, many others we can be sure. The Texas Campaign for the Environment was calling residents to invite them to today’s meeting. I know because I got one.

The Hutto Citizens Group has a couple of items to read for anyone that won’t be going to the meeting. They have an analysis [.PDF] of the current contract, as well as, a nice chart [.PDF] comparing the current and proposed contracts in Williamson County with two recent contracts negotiated under similar circumstances with WMI in Arlington and Temple. Looking at that chart, it becomes pretty obvious that this is a poorly negotiated contract, financially speaking at the least, despite what Jana Duty and Stephen Ackley say.

Expanding the landfill, which would yield millions of dollars for Waste Management, was a point of leverage that the county was prepared to use had the company resisted renegotiating the contract, County Attorney Jana Duty said in an e-mail.

“When the media and all the neighborhood groups began their attacks, it was very tempting to just say, ‘Screw this, we have a contract, we are done,’ ” Duty said. “But that would not have been what was in the best interest of the people of this county.”

The new contract is the best deal “considering the circumstances,” said Stephen Ackley, chief litigator in the county attorney’s office.

Among the changes: The contract now has an end date, in 40 years; Waste Management must immediately give the county $250,000 for park development; and trash is to be measured more reliably, in tons, not yards.

Wow! That makes all the bad stuff so much better. Making the corporation do what it should have been doing all along and for the millions they will make off this deal they’re kicking back a meager $250,000 for a park. The contract our “Mayberry Machiavellis” have hammered out doesn’t seem to be close to being in the best interest of the citizens of Williamson County.

Two other issues that the CC needs to hear about are the continuing problems at the WCRAS and it might be nice to mention to them how much money imprisoning Mothers and their babies is making for CCA.

Management revenue from federal customers increased $20.7 million, or 16.0%, to $150.0 million during the second quarter of 2007 from $129.3 million during the second quarter of 2006, as a result of higher inmate populations from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (”ICE”) and the U.S. Marshals Service (”USMS”). Federal revenues were positively impacted by a new management contract from ICE at our Stewart Detention Center that began receiving detainees in October 2006 and a full quarter impact of a new management contract at our T. Don Hutto Residential Center that became effective in May 2006. Additionally, federal revenues were favorably impacted by the backfilling of the vacated beds in our Florence Correctional Center with additional USMS detainees as a result of the commencement of operations at our new Red Rock Correctional Center in July 2006.

That new contract was unanimously approved by this court.


More Problems At The WCRAS

Posted in Bad Government Republicans, Animal Shelter, Take Action, Had Enough Yet?, Williamson County at 12:33 pm by wcnews

From this article at KEYE-TV, Williamson Shelter Temporarily Closed, (link via Shelter Concerns), it’s safe to assume there are still major issues at the Williamson Count Regional Animal Shelter (WCRAS).

Since opening in March, the Williamson County Animal Shelter has been plagued by controversy over cruelty allegations and overpopulation — and claims of understaffing.

That understaffing could explain what happened on Sunday.

No one answered the door at the county-run shelter, where posted signs say an “unforeseen emergency” that forced the shelter to shut down.

A county spokeswoman says one of the front desk workers had to leave yesterday — when she suffered a minor injury on the job. And the shelter is just too shorthanded to handle any clients for the day.

The shelter is supposed to have a staff of 12. They’ve been operating with just eight. Still, the closing was disappointing for some.

There was staff in the shelter caring for the animals, they just didn’t have enough staff to allow the public in, the article goes on to state.

This will be on the Commissioners agenda tomorrow morning. Not only can a citizen come speak out about the landfill, they can also voice their concerns about the animal shelter as well.

Summer (Texas) House News

Posted in Election 2008, 2008 Primary, Around The State, The Lege at 12:24 pm by wcnews

Clay Robison has this column up today regarding political positioning for the 2008 state house races, It’s not safe to assume battle-scarred Craddick won’t last in ‘09. I think most everyone can agree on that. The column starts out telling a story about one of the Craddick/Leininger targets from the 2006 GOP Primary is seeing signs that he may be in their sights again.

State Rep. Tommy Merritt, a Republican from Longview who gives Speaker Tom Craddick heartburn, is suspicious of visitors popping up in his East Texas district — at least those who come bearing critiques of his legislative voting record.


The Gregg County visitor was Michael Quinn Sullivan, president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, a conservative group advocating, among other things, tighter limits on state spending and taxes.

The group is led by Midland oilman Tim Dunn, a modest donor (by today’s standards) to Republican candidates and causes.

“I personally like Mr. Craddick a lot. I think he is a good, decent guy. But my organization isn’t interested in internal House politics,” Sullivan said.

He said he has visited a number of legislative districts, educating people about their lawmakers’ voting records on issues important to conservatives — as well as presenting awards to friendly incumbents — but hasn’t been recruiting candidates.

Right. First let’s not forget that Mr. Sullivan is the former head of the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), a Leininger funded right wing “think tank”, and his new “think tank” TFR is a recent spin off. For us to believe that a “former” Leininger lackey is going around the state, “educating” local Republican leaders on anti-Craddick GOP lawmaker’s not-so-conservative voting records is nothing for that lawmaker to be concerned about is naive at best. Anyone ever heard of a County Judge running for the Legislature?

What’s key to note here is that, again, for all we heard last session after Craddick was finally reelected about how things will change, this makes it obvious that nothing has. Craddick and Leininger working together to oust vulnerable Republican legislators that they think aren’t conservative enough.

The column also mentions the fact that some Democrats may be challenged for their allegiance to Craddick.

Among the so-called “Craddick Democrats” — Democratic House members viewed as loyal to Craddick, including a number of committee chairmen — those most likely to draw opponents in their party’s primary include Kevin Bailey of Houston, Robert Puente of San Antonio, Aaron Peña of Edinburg and Kino Flores of Mission.

This is the view of several Democratic consultants, who also believe that Dawnna Dukes of Austin and Norma Chavez of El Paso could be high on the hit list. A lot will depend on local political climates.

Armando Walle, an aide to U.S. Rep. Gene Green of Houston, is preparing to challenge Bailey, and San Antonio Councilman Roland Gutierrez is considering a race against Puente.

I agree with Robison that Craddick should not be counted out until all the votes are counted and he’s out. At this point it looks like Craddick will have to fight to get rid of as many Republicans that are against him as he can, and keep as many Democrats that are for him as he can. How many races we’re talking about it’s not sure, but if the Democrats can gain seven seats in 2008 it won’t matter.

Perry has more primary news here.

TX-Sen: 2008 Race

Posted in US Senate Race, Election 2008, 2008 Primary, Congress, Around The State at 11:27 am by wcnews

Which side of the fence is Sen. Cornyn on? This DMN article breaks it down Sen. Cornyn’s “evolving” position on the border wall, Is Cornyn shifting on fence? Nope, it appears Cornyn has flip-flopped. Nothing new about a politician trying to have it both ways.

Two years ago, Sen. John Cornyn said a border fence was a bad idea. Last month, he voted to build one.

Sen. Cornyn also made two shameful votes (SCHIP and Ethics Reform), make that three (Warrantless Wiretapping), in the Senate last week.

It was a Good week for Rick Noriega. He was at YearlyKos, making the rounds with the national netroots bloggers. He liveblogged at DailyKos on Thursday. He also was sworn in as the Commander of the 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment at the Alamo on Friday. Evan Smith of Texas Monthly spoke with Rick Noriega, be sure and read the comments as bloggers hold Mr. Simth to account on a couple of points in his post. Rick Noriega was also mentioned in this Moonie Times piece about YearlyKos:

Many at the Yearly Kos convention cared more about Democrat Rick Noriega than Sen. Barack Obama. They hoped Mr. Noriega will unseat Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, but still debated whether Mr. Obama is the best choice to be the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee.

Mikal Watts issued press releases on Sen. Cornyn’s SCHIP vote [.PDF]. TexasKaos has a diary of Watts’ visit to Victoria. And the Texas GOP has some thoughts on the Watts campaign thus far.

There’s still a long way to go to the nomination and much more fun to be had. Now you’re caught up.

New No-Bid Contract For Landfill Ignores Citizens Concerns

Posted in Take Action, Landfill, Had Enough Yet?, Commentary, Williamson County at 10:21 am by wcnews

The draft contract released last week by the county has now had time to be perused by the groups opposing, the now years long negotiations, of a new landfill contract. An analysis of the new draft contract and a list of 14 key problems with the new contract can be found here.

On Tuesday, July 31, 2007, Williamson County posted a draft Operating Contract with Waste Management for the Wilco landfill. In response to the recent pressure on the county in favor of a 30-day period for the public to review the contract, the county provided half a loaf, allowing about 13 days before the actual vote (on August 14) and about 6 days before the first opportunity for public input at the commissioners court podium. The contract can be downloaded from the main page at the county’s website: www.wilco.org

Unfortunately, the draft contract does not come close to addressing the many concerns that have been raised by Williamson County residents, and in some ways the draft contract is WORSE than the EXISTING contract.

The Texas Campaign for the Environment has a Take Action! page setup. The best action to take is to familiarize yourself with this issue using the links above and come to tomorrow’s Commissioners Court Meeting and voice you concerns. Here’s tomorrow’s agenda [.PDF], Item #52. Here’s the details about the meeting:

Concerned Williamson County residents should attend the August 7th meeting of the County Commissioners Court to show their opposition to the draft contract. The meeting starts at 9:30 am at 310 S.E. Inner Loop. You can make a comment or just come and show that you are opposed to this stinky deal.

Tessa Moll has an article up on this at the TDP, County sticks with Waste Management. While it goes through much of the same stuff already mentioned above, particularly about citizens concerns about the landfill being ignored, she does remind us of how this bad deal came about.

Despite the more than yearlong renegotiations, the county is still under the previous contract with Waste Management and could not simply break that agreement without facing litigation from the country’s largest waste disposal corporation, Ackley said.

“Everyone thinks we can just put this out for RFP [request for proposal] or request bids,” he said. “We can’t do that because there is a contract now, and if we try to do that, the county’s going to get sued.”

A lawsuit against the county could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue over the life of the landfill, according to Ackley.

The county is using as it’s excuse, for not opening the contract up to bidding, the horrible contract former Commissioner Frankie Limmer originally negotiated for the county. They purport they can’t open the contract for bids as long as it’s still under contract with WMI. Since neither party has violated the terms, all they can do is renegotiate, and take whatever concessions WMI is willing to give them. The Hutto Citizens Group has knocked down that claim [.PDF]. WMI has graciously allowed the county to renegotiate the contract, and thrown the county a bone or two, and now the citizens of Williamson County are expected to accept this as a much better and done deal.

It would seem the county would have used the threat of opening up the contract for bidding as a bargaining tool for much better contract consideration. As the people’s representatives they should have tried to present their constituents case and not been so adversarial with them. The county seems to be on much friendlier terms with WMI than with their own constituents. It almost seems as if the county is using WMI’s line of reasoning not to open the contract up for bidding, instead of challenging them. I wonder which lawyers are telling the county this, and if that may be something that contributed to Jana Duty filing her brief with the AG? Calling WMI’s bluff, opening this contract up for bidding, would be the right thing to do.

It appears that the Commissioners are afraid to make the corporation mad. Our elected officials would rather keep us in a bad deal for 40 years and please a corporation and instead disappoint and incense their constituents. We’ve got more elected officials in Williamson County than these. It’s always seemed a little curious that all through this process Sen. Steve Ogden, and State Representatives Mike Krusee and Dan Gattis, Jr, (County Judge Dan Gattis, Sr. son, if you didn’t already know), have been non-existent. Their absence makes it appear like they’ve ceded this issue to the local “Mayberry Machiavellis” here in Williamson County to take care of this issue and don’t want to sully their reputations with this issue.

No matter whether they believe there’s a legal issue with this contract or the myriad of reasons there could be for these elected officials for siding with a corporation over their constituents it’s hard to deny the fact that ALL the elected representatives in our county are Republicans. That they side with business and corporations over their constituents is is a well-known, well-won, and well-deserved stereotype of the Republican Party.

Texas Blog Round Up (August 6, 2007)

Posted in Commentary, Around The State at 8:45 am by wcnews

It’s Monday, and that means it is time once again for the Texas Progressive Alliance Weekly Blog Round-Up, where we review the best in Texas blogging from our various member blogs. This week’s installment is brought to you by Vince at Capitol Annex.

TxSharon at BlueDaze brings us an interesting story about drilling companies in Wise County getting caught lying about water usage. Sometimes, the truth just slips out as it did when an oil field worker told TXsharon the truth about water usage in Barnett Shale drilling: Depleting and polluting our water in Wise County, Texas.

Texas Toad at North Texas Liberal asks “Will There Be Mercy For Kenneth Foster?

John C. at Bay Area Houston Blog tells us about the newest corporation and industry to exploit the Federal Arbitration Act- Comcast, in Another Consumer Scam: Comcast Arbitration.

If you want pictures of Rick Noriega at YearlyKos, Charles at Off The Kuff has them here.

McBlogger at McBlogger looks at the mortgage industry brouhaha and decides the sky isn’t falling after all.

Easter Lemming does another of his Liberal News Digest’s from progressive media. There really is a liberal news media, if you know where to look outside the mass media.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts regarding Williamson County County Attorney Jana Duty filing a brief with AG Greg Abbott regarding whether County Judge and Commissioners can use outside counsel without the County Attorney’s consent in County Attorney Asks AG Abbott For Opinion On Hiring Of Outside Legal Counsel.

Hal at Half Empty points out that if you want quality education don’t come to school bond issue meetings with box cutters.

Vince at Capitol Annex takes a look at the briefs filed before the Attorney General in the opinion request on the power of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

South Texas Chisme tells how FEMA dollars are being used to shill for Allstate agents.

And…Several Texas bloggers were also represented at Yearly Kos in Chicago, and did some great liveblogging. Here are some samples: Burnt Orange Report; Muse from Musings was liveblogging all over the place, including at her blog where she bings us the ePluribus interview with Rick Noriega; Markos of DailyKos’ special endorsement of Rick Noriega; a session on female bloggers; liveblogging of the the presidential forum; and at Capitol Annex where she blogged more on the female blogger session here, the MSN-blog panel (also here, here, and here); and on the Local Blogging Round-Table at Musings.

And, don’t forget about these other Texas Progressive Alliance Members: Three Wise Men, In The Pink Texas, Marc’s Miscellany, Common Sense, The Agonist, People’s Republic of Seabrook, B and B, Brains and Eggs, Texas Kaos, Feet To The Fire, and Who’s Playin’.

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