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THE STATE OF TEXAS 2009 average price of a kilowatt-hour of electricity SOUTHERN CITIES 11.6 DALLAS/ FORT WORTH 12.8 HOUSTON 15.6 U.S. AVERAGE 12.7Q Source: U.S. Department of Energy 2 READ MORE ABOUT Albert 1 Hawkins at SEE KARL ROVE at UT at that he threatened to take up the tea party cause. Since 1985, Inman has served on the board of Massey Energy, the company under fire after 29 workers died in a preventable disaster at its Upper Big Branch mine, which had some 3,000 safety violations since 1995. It’s been a nice side gig: Between 2006 and 2008, Inman collected $1 million as Massey’s lead independent director. He showed little patience with bad press of the company’s dismal safety record, or with calls from unions and others for the resignation of controversial CEO Don Blankenship. “My anger level is pretty high for the disinformation pushed by unions,” Inman told the Austin American-Statesman after the disaster. “I’m a political independent, but this is enough to make a teapartier out of me,” Blankenship joined up already. Last year he lavished more than $1 million on “Friends of America,” a tea party rally in West Virginia featuring Ted Nugent and Fox News host Sean Hannay. Blankenship mocked the government’s mining regulations as being “as silly as global warming.” Inman is standing by his man. Blankenship, he told the Statesman, is “without question the best coal miner in the business.” FORREST WILDER BUSHIES IN EXILE Rove in Clover A FEW MINUTES BEFORE KARL ROVE TOOK THE STAGE AT the University of Texas’ Texas Union Ballroom onApril 19, three protesters with posterboard signs”Arrest Rove,” “Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity”trooped in and planted themselves opposite the lectern so that Rove would have a clear view of them during his pre sentation. The restless audience was grateful, having waited for 30 minutes with little to do but peruse the pocket constitutions handed out at the door. It was the beginning of a smashingly successful evening for Rove, who gave a half-hour, on-message address about the evils of the stimulus, health-care reform and the Obama administration. He laced his outrage with folksy humor and, in a show of magnanimity, offered to answer a question from one of the “lunatics” at the back of the room after he had disposed of the pre-submitted questions. \(Rove cut the protester short when he began to ramble about a The evening was a smash, too, for Ryan Ellis, the president of UT’s chapter of College Republicans. Ellis had hoped for hecklers. He’d included a distorted, sinister-looking picture of Rove on the College Republicans’ flyers: “Come See ‘the Architect’ of the Bush administration!” It was a display of political symbiosis. Rove plugged his book \(Courage and Consequence: My Life as a College Republicans generated media coverage that might attract some new members. The protesters went away with the satisfaction of having taken a stand. But the human collateral of the policies that Rove’s clients have brought into beingforeign and domesticwere nowhere to be seen, and nowhere to be heard. ROBERT GREEN REVOLVING DOOR DEPT. The Budget Fixer LAST YEAR, ALBERT HAWKINS, COMMISSIONER OF THE Texas Health and Human Services Commission, retired from state service. This year, he started his own private consulting firm. And he’s landed a plum client already: the state of Texas. Republican House Speaker Joe Straus has hired Hawkins to consult on the state’s budget. His $5,000-a-month salary will be paid by the speaker’s campaign PAC, Texans for Joe Straus. What he advises Straus to cut or save will be important as legislators grapple next year with an $11 billion to $20 billion budget shortfall. Straus said in a press statement that Hawkins will use his expertise to scrutinize health and human-service spending: “Albert has given many years of public service to state and federal government, and his guidance and knowledge on budget and health care issues will be key as we deal with the budget shortfall and the added burden of a federal health care mandate.” Hawkins did not return the Observer’s calls requesting an interview. Some question the need for a private consultant, since Straus co-chairs the Legislative Budget Board, which is filled with state budget analysts. The question also begs: Why does a state official need to pay a private consultant \(who shares an office with a lobby parMELISSA DEL BOSQUE DEPT. OF ELECTIONS Schooled UNLESS YOU’VE BEEN WALKING THE EARTH LIKE KANE IN Kung Fu, you don’t need any reminding of what an embarrassment the Texas State Board of Education has been lately. But those days may well have ended after the runoff elections on April 13. Social conservatives, controlling seven of the State Board’s 15 seats, have consistently voted in a bloc to infuse their Christian worldviews into the social studies and science curriculums. But in the March primary, Christian conservatives lost two State Board races ENCE APRIL 30, 2010 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3