DO YOU FEEL A HOPELESSNESS IN THINKING ABOUT TEXAS? No. I don't. The odds are not stupendous, but Texas could still get it together. It's already a majority-minority state, and as far as racial segregation, when it comes to immigration they're not as nuts as, say, Tea Partiers elsewhere. If they could get their act together and do something about schools — if they could carry that out in a sane way, and make it a commitment so deep that it involves raising and spending tax money — the state could turn. The odds are not great, but where Texas goes the country goes, so it's worth hoping.

CRAZY SHIT HAPPENS EVERY DAY IN TEXAS. WHAT WOULD YOU ADD TO THIS BOOK NOW THAT'S HAPPENED SINCE YOU FINISHED THE PROJECT? I'm still recovering from what I found when I was down there. Stuff happening now is interesting, but so is what happened in the '20s and '30s, when the federal government intervened to help build infrastructure that led to the state's modern day transformation. That's as interesting now as ever, considering Texas industry's desire to be left alone, and how that's become the core value of the Republican party in America.

IS IT OKAY TO LAUGH AT THIS STUFF? TAKE FOR EXAMPLE THE UTTER LACK OF FACTUAL SEXUAL EDUCATION IN TEXAS HIGH SCHOOLS, AND THE ALARMING TEENAGE PREGNANCY RATE. I have found over the years that it's my great mission to use humor in order to help people digest stuff that they might not otherwise want to read and digest. I started my career covering the Connecticut state legislature, which, as you might imagine, is something that takes some effort to get people to read about. With this book, it's not about getting people to laugh at Texas. It's about getting them to think about these issues.

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