Government Spending

  • Blogs

    September 25, 2014

    Texas Will Rake in the Green if it Legalizes Marijuana

    To legalize or not to legalize? That is the question voters in Alaska, Florida, Oregon and Washington D.C. will be deciding come November. Meanwhile, Texas is a long way off from getting into the whole recreational marijuana game. However, all hope is not lost (if you're one of those in favor of it) ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 11, 2014

    Behind Culberson, Federal Funding for METRO Blocked

    A debate on Houston transit was settled Tuesday, mostly by people who don't live here. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a transportation spending bill for fiscal 2015 Tuesday, 229-192, cutting off funding for METRO's proposed University Line in the process. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston ... More >>

  • News

    November 14, 2013

    The Alabama-Coushatta Still Exist and Are Doing What They Need to Do to Continue

    Beset by federal budget cuts, no written history and a general lack of recognition, the Alabama-Coushatta try to learn a different way of being indian.

  • Blogs

    October 28, 2013

    Houston FBI Could Furlough 600 Jobs, New FBI Director Says

    James Comey, the new director for the Federal Bureau of Investigations, has been doing what new directors of powerful programs (and monarchs) do, touring the country checking out the field offices for the FBI. Comey made a point of stopping in Houston last week, because Houston is a key city for th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 24, 2013

    Republicans and the Farm Bill: Socialism for the Rich, Bootstraps for the Poor

    One thing that has been a staple of congressional compromise over the past three decades or so was the farm bill. The Democrats would -- generally speaking -- hold their nose and vote for the bill, which included agricultural subsidies to "farmers" ( the policy actually largely benefits Big Agricult ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 21, 2013

    Perry Hates Obamacare, But He Still Wants Obamacare Money

    Gov. Rick Perry has a hatred for the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) that comes as natural as breathing to him, but it seems hate only goes so far when there's $100 million in federal funding on the table. When U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius came to Texas a few weeks ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 20, 2013

    NASA Budget Cuts Could Hit Johnson Space Center (First No Shuttle, Now This?)

    In recent years, NASA has been hit pretty hard, and another hit may be coming. We're a long ways off from the days when JFK told the nation that the United States would put a man on the moon, and in recent years, what with the Great Recession, space exploration seems to have taken a backseat. Hell, ... More >>

  • News

    October 4, 2012

    Retired Lab Chimps Pressed Back Into Service

    A San Antonio lab says primate research is necessary for curing diseases like AIDS and hepatitis. But what progress has really been made.

  • Blogs

    June 19, 2012

    Metro Board Gets Input On Whether To Keep Subsidizing City Budgets

    The recent outbreak of hysterical excitement around the city can only mean one thing: the Metro board will soon decide on ballot language for the General Mobility Program referendum. With this fateful day closing in, the board convened last night to accept more public input on the issue. Speakers ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 30, 2012

    Rick Perry's War on Planned Parenthood Suffers Setback

    A federal judge has put a hold on Governor Perry's war on Planned Parenthood, in part because he doesn't believe Texas will keep Perry's promise to make up for lost federal funding. Texas, of course, has banned Planned Parenthood clinics from receiving Women's Health Program funds, beginning tomorr ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 28, 2011

    Metro Gets the Light-Rail Federal Funding It Craved

    Metro had itself a party this morning, with tons of local officials making happy speeches and a federal official on hand to dole out cash. The transit agency announced it's officially been cleared to get $900 million in federal funds to build more light rail in town, funds that had been endangered ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 7, 2011

    Texas Cities and Nonprofit Entities to Get About $3.5 Million in National Settlement of JPMorgan Suit

    Settlement helps, a little.​Financial giant JPMorgan has agreed to pay $228 million to settle charges that it manipulated deals involving the government bond market, and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says the state's portion of it will be about $3.5 million. The money will go to Texas mu ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 16, 2011

    Comment of the Day: No Money For Schools, But Plenty For Formula 1 Racing

    ​We have some great commenters here on Hair Balls, and it's time we paid some damn attention to them. So we'll be highlighting a Comment of the Day each morning, from the previous day's work. Maybe two comments, even. This will all be determined by a highly rigorous scientific formula involv ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 28, 2011

    Tamraka McGriff: Judge Says No More Tattoos for School Administrator

    Tamraka McGriff's philosophy​Tamrake McGriff is the coordinator of transportation for the Beaumont school district and, apparently, she loves her skin art as much as she doesn't like her body. So much so, in fact, that a judge has barred her from getting any more tattoos or plastic surgery unt ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 21, 2011

    Comment of the Day: Liquor Laws and Church

    ​We have some great commenters here on Hair Balls, and it's time we paid some damn attention to them. So we'll be highlighting a Comment of the Day each morning, from the previous day's work. Maybe two comments, even. This will all be determined by a highly rigorous scientific formula involv ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 19, 2011

    Conservatives' Plan to Close Budget Gap: Sell Liquor on Sundays!!

    Drink up and close that budget gap​The conservative-dominated Texas House has come out with its plan on how to close the state's massive budget gap, and it's not just full of silly stuff like "make state employees pay for parking." Although that is part of the plan. No, the conservatives who ... More >>

  • Culture

    January 13, 2011
  • Blogs

    January 10, 2011

    Texas Budget Gap: The Estimate Comes In, and It's Huge

    Maybe we could use less lighting on the capitol building​Let's harken back to the blissful days of autumn 2010, when Governor Rick Perry was able to deflect any talk of a looming budget gap by blithely noting no official estimate for it had been made. Democrats' talk that it might be as high ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 3, 2010

    Tea Party Congressmen From Texas Love Their Earmarks

    Damn those earmarks!! Except mine​Brave, insightful, brilliant, not-at-all-crazy U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann founded the Congressional Tea Party Caucus to save America from Muslim presidents and stop federal spending by stopping earmarks, the modern term for pork-barrel projects. Republicans i ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 3, 2010

    Annise Parker: Merry Christmas, Employees!! Take An Unpaid Furlough Day!!

    Mayor Annise Parker, celebrating Christmas​Mayor Annise Parker, in conjunction with a municipal union, is asking City of Houston employees to take voluntary furlough days before the end of the year to ease the city's budget crunch. "While the City has been able to withstand the current econom ... More >>

  • News

    December 2, 2010
  • Blogs

    October 28, 2010

    DWI: Getting Away With It Is Getting Tougher In Harris County

    Blood tests for drunk drivers will be the norm now that Harris County got a fat chunk of federal cash. ​Drinking and driving is serious business in Harris County, and to prove it, the District Attorney's office held a press conference this morning to promote some changes they've made. "A lot of dr ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 21, 2010

    Big Stop Sign On Metro's Light Rail Projects

    Photo by Bryan WilliamsMetro's light rail expansion plans are slowing down. Big time. ​More bad news, at least for people hoping for more light rail in Houston, came from Metro headquarters this morning when the agency's president, George Greanias, announced that the light rail expansion budget fo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 21, 2010

    Terry Grier Sticks HISD Principals With $19 Million Bill (Updated)

    UPDATE: News flash from Houston ISD: Summer School will go on, just maybe not in the way it previously operated. And the $19 million shortfall may not be quite that high. See end of post. Photo by Margaret Downing Terry Grier: you're on your own, principals​Houston ISD principals are going ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 2, 2010

    Houston And Texas Letting Money For Low-Income Housing Go To Waste

    The feds gave Houston money to clean up foreclosed houses, but the money isn't being spent. ​According to a new report from a low income housing group, the City of Houston may have to repay millions of dollars in federal funds that were meant to clean up neighborhoods hit hardest by foreclosed hom ... More >>

  • News

    May 27, 2010

    Train Wreck

    How Metro and its president Frank Wilson got so far off track.

  • Blogs

    May 18, 2010

    Mario Gallegos Continues His Anti-Terry Grier Letter Writing Campaign

    Gallegos is writing, but he's not hearing back from Grier​State Senator Mario Gallegos has continued to dictate letters since calling for Houston ISD superintendent Terry Grier to leave in an earlier letter, saying Grier was going to ruin the lives of students here.In his latest set of letters -- ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 28, 2010

    Frank Wilson Survival Watch, Day 3: Spanish Bombs

    ​How long will the embattled Metro president last? Hair Balls presents today's installment of the Frank Wilson Survival Watch. 1. The Federal Transit Administration sends Frank Wilson a damning letter. Dorval Carter, the FTA's chief counsel, alerted Wilson at the end of last week that the feds are ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 1, 2010

    HISD's Very Own Blackboard Jungle

    ​Fondren Middle School is "a blackboard jungle. The efforts that are required there are Herculean...The kids at Fondren have to learn how to come to school and where the school is located."Trustee Larry Marshall, not known for mincing words when he considers something unacceptable (famous Larr ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 25, 2010

    HISD Employs Shazam-You're-a-Magnet Strategy In Effort To Save Schools

    Photo by Margaret Downing​Under a proposal unveiled today by Superintendent Terry Grier and his staff, Jones High School, for years now one of the most academically troubled schools in the Houston school district, will be turned into a science, technology, engineering and math magnet with a specia ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 28, 2009

    Milo, Maine Gets More Federal Stimulus Cash For Cops Than Houston

    Photo courtesy MiloMilo Town Hall​We've been reading all day about how Houston got stiffed on the latest handout of federal stimulus money for cops and were kinda blase about it.Houston, after all, has gotten its fair share of Homeland Security cash because of the port and our target-rich refineri ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 7, 2009

    Texas, Unfortunately, Leads The Country In Hungry Kids

    More than anywhere else the country, children in Texas don't know where they'll get their next meal.That's according to a recent study by Feeding America, the nation's food-bank network, which analyzed stats on "household food insecurity" published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. According to ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 20, 2009

    Neil Bush Wants Him Some Of That There Stimulus Money

    Love it, hate it, the federal stimulus money is coming and it's got to be spent on something.Why not Neil Bush?Bush, the wayward son of the Bush family (and that's saying something) is, of course, the guy behind Ignite!, the company that tries to get schools to buy its Schoolhouse Rock-like gadgetry ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 18, 2009

    The Battleship Texas Gets A Boost...If It Can Raise $4 Million

    The limping Battleship Texas, which has fallen into disrepair but has really been one of the underrated attractions in Houston, got some good news today: The state released $25 million in bonds for drydocking and repairs for the aging World War II ship.The not-so-good news: Supporters need to raise ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 11, 2009

    Ron Paul, Crusading Against All Pork But His

    Of all the Republicans in the US House of Representatives, who do you think has the most earmarks in the omnibus spending bill? Some RINO from up north?Nah. It's our own Ron Paul, stalwart criticizer of government spending (that's not in his district.)Fox News is touting the story of Paul's $73 mill ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 20, 2008
  • Blogs

    March 30, 2007

    Dead Voucher Walking

    Yep, you counted that right. One hundred and twenty-nine votes is quite a skunk. Yesterday we talked about the Virtual Voucher bill before the Senate sponsored by Houston Sen. Kyle Janek that would allow low-income students in urban areas to leave the public school system for the private, and pay ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 5, 2007

    Passing a Buck to the Smokers

    Daniel Kramer Dave Pickrell cuts through the smoke on the latest tax increase. No word on what he's doing about the mirrors. We asked Dave Pickrell, president of Smokers Fighting Discrimination, what he thinks about the $1 cigarette tax increase that went into effect throughout the state on Mon ... More >>

  • Best of Houston

    September 23, 2004
  • News

    June 10, 2004
  • News

    November 20, 2003

    Fixer-Upper Downer

    HUD hammers the city for botched house repairs for seniors and the disabled

  • News

    June 19, 2003

    Dueling Docs

    The city's top MDs collide, but the mayor sides with Shelley

  • News

    March 7, 2002

    Keeping On Task

    The DPS will oversee state drug forces troubled by a track record of abuses

  • News

    September 6, 2001

    Drug Money

    Narcotics task forces in Texas spend millions of dollars each year busting low-level users and dealers. Is it money well spent, or are officers just addicted to easy cash?

  • News

    July 26, 2001

    Tax Rebate Waste?

    Lest tax payers forget about the rebate, U.S. Rep John Culberson drives the message home with $36,000 worth of mailings

  • News

    October 28, 1999

    Broken Promises

    Fourth Ward residents are left with a harsh reality

  • News

    June 4, 1998

    No Relief in Sight

    Traffic congestion will remain a problem for westside streets as the Westpark Tollroad and the HOV-lane projects are stalled

  • News

    February 26, 1998

    What a deal!

    Joe Fuentes has no staff, no office, no documentation of the people he says he's helped, but hey, he's a good guy. Let's give him half a million dollars-plus.

  • News

    December 25, 1997

    Changing the Channel

    For years, homeowners, developers, environmentalists and the federal government have wrangled over a flood-control plan for Clear Creek. Now a compromise is in view -- but the creek's future is murkier than ever.

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