Another four years, another inauguration. Here's a random break from whatever it is that I do when I don't blog.
» Chron: Again, Hall says he will challenge Parker
In case anyone wasn't aware ... Ben Hall really, really wants to be mayor. This story follows a Chronicle blog posting, where Hall had previously announced his intentions. And that follows the KTRK story from a month ago, where Hall had also previously announced his intentions. And that followed the KHOU story from November, where Hall had ... well, you get the point by now. And it's worth pointing out that this is still far from official since Ben Hall has yet to publicly announce and to officially file as a candidate. I'm sure that'll be worth two new pitches to the local media that he really plans to run this time. Can't wait to hear if he has anything to say about his candidacy outside of "Hey, I'm running!" But based on his initial foray into civic thinking, I doubt he has anything to offer that moves me off of my default choice.
» SSRC: Evangelicals who have left the right (Marcia Pally)
This follows up somewhat from Pally's 2011 book, with a little added context from the 2012 election. Responses by Pastor Joel Hunter and Professor David Gushee are also worth a read.
» Nate Silver: What Is Driving Growth in Government Spending?
Good wonky reading from Nate Silver. Nice to see him turn his analytical skills toward public finances. Of some interest:
Another surprise is how little we are paying in interest on the federal debt, even though the debt is growing larger and larger. Right now, interest payments make up only about 6 percent of the federal budget. In addition, they have been decreasing as a share of the gross domestic product: the federal government spent about 1.5 percent of gross domestic product in paying interest on its debt on 2011, down from a peak of 3.3 percent in 1991.
I distinctly remember a few conversations - both online and in-person - where many of my Republican friends rationalized the renewal of deficit spending under Bush-43 by stating how low the GDP percentage was in historical terms. Now, considering the spikes in deficits that began in Bush's last years in office but are now associated with Obama ... the argument is nowhere to be found.
» AZ Republic: Bruce Arians wants QB with ‘grit,’ leadership
Kevin Kolb gets his third head coach as an NFL QB. And the early read is uncertain as to what it means for his future as a starter in Arizona. Of course, even if he does start next season, it's an open question as to whether he can endure it without the kind of injuries that have ended his previous three seasons.
» NY Times: Dartmouth Stops Credits for Excelling on A.P. Test
» NY Times: Next Made-in-China Boom: College Graduates
Among the issues I get to track in the Lege is education. Both of these are good backgrounders on some issues in secondary ed.
» Chron: Political novices look to gain stature working for legislator (Patricia Kilday Hart)
» Texas Tribune: For Dean of Senate, Public and Private Blur (Jay Root)
Two good reads on matters pertaining to state government. On a somewhat related note, I also attended my first Trib Talk event with Michael Williams being in the hot seat next to Evan Smith. First impression is that the event is a bit too clubby for my taste, but watching Evan interview someone in person is pretty fun to watch.