The San Antonio Book Festival has its inaugural run as a solo event this weekend. Last year the burgeoning book fest partnered with Austin's annual Texas Book Festival by adding a series of events locally.
This year, with 90 national and local authors, organizers are confident the event will again be a success and will top their 4,000 person attendance last year. Organizers want to turn San Antonio into a literary destination.
The gunman that shot and killed three members of the military at Fort Hood and injured 16 others has been identified as Spc. Ivan Lopez. Officials say the 34-year-old Iraq veteran was being treated for anxiety and depression and undergoing an evaluation for post-traumatic stress disorder.
As of April 1, San Antonio has its second poet laureate in Laurie Ann Guerrero.
"I’m the new poet laureate of San Antonio, and I’m working on a new book,” she said.
Guerrero is just getting used to the new title and the work that it entails, and she has plans for how she wants to go about doing it. Priority one:
“Getting poetry into the hands of our youth" she said. "And what I want to do is use different avenues to do that -- media, events. I kind of want to bombard the city with poems. Inspiration. Comfort.”
This morning the Supreme Court came down on the side of Shaun McCutcheon to the collective exasperation of campaign finance reformers. McCutcheon, an Alabama millionaire who challenged the Federal Election Commission's limit on how much money a person can donate in the aggregate. You can find the majority opinion here.
Update (4/3): In a last-minute decision Wednesday night, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the lower federal district court's decision to halt the execution of death row inmate Tommy Sells, who is scheduled to die today, Thursday, April 3.
The execution had been halted pending a privacy-disclosure case involving the pharmacy manufacturing the drugs being used in the execution. Sells' attorney says she will be taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
TV news anchor and author Jane Pauley is coming to the San Antonio Book Festival on Saturday. I spoke to her Wednesday, and it doesn’t take long before her Midwestern humility comes through.
“I’m going to be mixing with my betters, with authors and people who read books, and it’s very exciting to be in a crowd such as that." After a half step, Pauley added with a laugh: "And to be in San Antonio on top of it!”
She’s one of many authors who will be at the downtown library for what she calls not a speech, but a moderated conversation.
The Center for Reproductive Rights and other abortion-rights groups have filed a second lawsuit challenging another component of the Texas new Abortion Law that passed last summer in a special session.
This second lawsuit challenges requirements that all clinics become ambulatory surgical centers in order to operate in the State of Texas.
Equal pay for women has become a rallying cry for Democrats across Texas. Wendy Davis' campaign for governor has seized on the issue, making it central to her messaging.
Attorney General Greg Abbot, who is on the Republican ticket in the race for governor, has dismissed the issue, but was recently criticized when women in his own office were found to be paid less than their male colleagues for the same work.
Last year the Texas Legislature passed a state law allowing women who were discriminated against by their employers in pay to sue in state court. Gov. Rick Perry subsequently vetoed the bill, calling it redundant:
"Texas' commitment to smart regulations and fair courts is a large part of why we continue to lead the nation in job creation. House Bill 950 duplicates federal law, which already allows employees who feel they have been discriminated against through compensation to file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission." - Gov. Rick Perry
The federal law Perry refers to is the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which allows women to sue in federal court. The state version is better, said advocates, because it allowed for a quicker response at the local level, criticizing the federal court system as underfunded and slow. The Texas Association of Business wrote Perry to support a veto, arguing that the bill increased cumbersome regulation and frivolous lawsuits.
“Asking an employer to be responsible for decisions that were made 10 or 15 years ago just does not work. In many cases no one would be around that would know anything about why those decisions were made at the time. The lack of a statute of limitations for filing these cases is bad for business, and this bill is bad for business, pure and simple.” - Bill Hammond, president TAB