There’s a possibility that the House will have committee assignments later this week. And Rick Perry will opine on the state of the state. Doped or un-doped … we’ll have to wait till tomorrow to find out. Till then, homework on a batch of bills in the Lege is underway. Oh, and a few news items from recent days …

» Chron: Alvarado, Garcia headed to a runoff for Gallegos’ seat
The only surprise here was how negligible the vote was for the “other six” candidates. Unfortunately, it wasn’t much of a surprise to see the piling on that “Hispanic voters” are getting for a low turnout special election. First off, not all voters in SD6 are Hispanic. A quarter of the district’s citizen, voting age population are Anglo. 17% are African-American. Yet I don’t seem to see as much head-shaking over that part of SD6 online. The net result is that the turnout is almost identical to the runoff turnout in SD22 when Brian Birdwell was winning that seat in June of 2010. The first round in that contest (in May) was only 6.85% turnout. And somehow, I don’t recall seeing a similar share of head-shaking over the patheticness of turnout among white Republicans. Bottom line: I think the reaction to turnout in this more recent contest highlights the prevalence of a bad stereotype that political junkies would be better off re-evaluating. Special elections are built for crappy turnout. I’d love to live in a world where that wasn’t the case. I’d settle for one where turnout was double what it is. But that just ain’t the real world.

» I’m still not sure what to make of the new redesign of The New Republic. But I am glad to see Michael Kinsley back with the rag. My sense is that the design is targeted toward tablet users/readers. It felt cozy to read on my Kindle browser on the ride between Austin & Houston. But on my laptop … not quite as inviting.

» NY Times: Chinese Graduates Say No Thanks to Factory Jobs
Interesting for context on how American college graduates need to “catch up” to Chinese if we want to see any of those iPod manufacturing jobs in America. Considering how many jobs will supposedly require some post-secondary education, it’ll be interesting to see how some of the definitions around these kind of projections change over time.

» Politico: Democrats launch plan to turn Texas blue
When I see a minimum of $50M being spoken of, a voter registration drive that makes sense in urban Texas, and a credible statewide candidate who can raise some dough to be on TV … I’ll believe it then. At first glance, however, I like Brad Bird’s involvement.

» Statesman: Tort reform foes team up to force insurance companies to pay promptly
Mikal Watts … still at it. I leave it for the reader to determine whether Watts would be a good fit for one of the open questions in the previous bullet point.

» Political Animal: Will Phil Mickelson Go Galt?
Oh good gawd, I sure hope so.

» Washington Post: Maryland Dream Act loophole increases costs for some Montgomery high schoolers
Always good advice to think through the unintended consequences of a poorly worded bill. Still, this is an easy fix.

» Washington Post: Dartmouth’s unresearched swipes at AP
A good follow-up from last week’s item on Dartmouth vs AP.

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