The Contrarian

Texas Budget Mess Now as Bad as California’s

It’s come to this: The Texas budget outlook has become so bleak that we’re comparing rather favorably to the one state where balanced budgeting goes to die. People, our budget deficit is now as bad as California’s. Yes, the over-spending, over-regulated capital of hippiedom now has a state fiscal outlook on par with the Lone […]

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Have We Learned the Lessons from 2003 Budget Cuts?

This is my first post in quite a while. I’m happy to report that I spent last week lying on a beach. I hoped to return from vacation to find Texas’ fiscal problems magically solved. Crazy thinking, I know. But, hey, when you’re staring at the ocean and daydreaming, it’s easy to fantasize that the […]

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DNA Could Show If Claude Jones Was Wrongly Executed

A state judge has ordered East Texas prosecutors to hand over key evidence from a 1989 murder case to the Innocence Project and The Texas Observer for DNA testing—analysis that may prove for the first time that Texas executed an innocent man. The Innocence Project and the Observer filed suit in 2007 to obtain a […]

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Perry: We’re On a Crusade

You can always tell a politician’s desperate to win reelection when he or she describes an election as good vs. evil, us vs. them, the fight of our lifetime. Or, as Gov. Rick Perry put it last night, “a struggle for the heart and soul of our nation.” Perry unleashed that beauty in a speech […]

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A Bill White Scandal?

The Bill White campaign today finally released the Democratic candidate’s tax returns dating back to 2004, after refusing to do so for the past three months. The tax documents—from the years 2004-2008—reveal a business relationship that could cause political problems for the candidate. The documents show that White profited from investing in a company he […]

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Perry’s Role in the Budget Mess

There’s no getting around it: Texas’ budget is a mess, and the worst is yet to come. We’ve gotten a preview this week of just how painful the budget process will be next session. (This Fort Worth Star-Telegram story has details on the first round of cuts.) State leaders are once again saying they intend […]

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Will Next Budget Be Worse Than 2003?

Texas’ budget situation is looking downright frightening. If you thought the 2003 session was bad—when the state faced a $10 billion budget shortfall—you ain’t seen nothing yet. The estimates for next session’s budget deficit keep rising—$11 billion, $12 billion, $15 billion. Earlier this week, House Appropriations Committee Chair Jim Pitts said the deficit could balloon […]

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ABC News Investigates Disputed Texas Arson Case

The ABC News program 20/20 will broadcast a report this Friday night about people wrongly convicted of arson. The segment—which airs at 9 p.m. central time—will feature the case of Curtis Severns, who was convicted in 2006 of starting a fire in his Plano gun shop. He remains in federal prison in Beaumont for a […]

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Paris Teen with 100-Year Sentence Wins New Trial

Aaron Hart has an IQ of 47. When Hart went to prison last year, his family described the then-18-year-old to reporters as profoundly mentally retarded. He couldn’t count money, didn’t know right from left, couldn’t shave and was illiterate. He played with toys made for 5 and 6 year olds. Yet Hart was found competent […]

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Law & Order’ Takes on Arson

You know the controversy over false arson convictions has truly penetrated the wider culture when it appears on Law & Order. Last night’s episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit featured the case of a man wrongly accused of setting a fire that killed his family.  I’ve been writing a lot about arson the […]

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