7:47pm - Glass goes back to her answer on Medicaid, which is a shame. I wanted to hear more on Taj MaStadiums. She gave some answers, so did Shafto. Not gonna lie -- I'm losing a little steam.
7:46pm - Next question focuses on children's health care and how we can afford to provide more health coverage for Texans. I think. Kathie Glass just said "Taj MaStadiums" and I got a little distracted.
7:43pm - The next questions asks candidates to identify where they would collect $1 billion to stem the tide of the $23 billion budget shortfall. Shafto wants to tax the rich. White says that he would bring a more hands-on-style management to eliminate waste -- points to TxDot's $1billion accounting error. Glass would cut taxpayer services for non-citizens, or opt out of Medicaid.
7:37pm - Bill White answers the dropout question - "We ought to treat it as an emergency." Says he hasn't run into a single person who thought dropping out of school was a good decision. Calls for more flexible schools, to ensure that work is attending school -- hours on Saturdays and on weekends. Wants to make sure there are programs in place for early childhood education where students can go into the classroom -- says he would have signed the Pre-K bill that Perry vetoed. Says he would not lie about the dropout figures, which Perry has done -- and then Perry cut a program for summer school and after school tutoring that was proving to work. (The Texas Observer's Bob Moser wrote about that one in his feature on Bill White).
7:35pm - Dropout question -- how do the candidates plan to address the problem? Glass says to let the dropouts go, because sometimes people learn better out in the real world than inside a classroom. Shafto says we test people at Kindergarten and set students on paths to fail.
7:33pm - Bill white asked about the legalization of marijuana. White says no. Glass says not unless someone brought the bill to her. Shafto says yes, she'd legalize it.
7:29pm - Glass answers the question to raise taxes: "No, No, No, No!"
7:25pm - Next question is on school finance, and how to solve/address the issue with considering a state income tax and new tax system. Shafto is up first. She says she would consider it, but not good. White says any kind of proposal like that would be dead on arrival -- points out that 2006 plan led to gross inequities. White wants every school to have adequate funding, and says we have not had the balance yet.
7:24pm - White says he supports the death penalty, but we need to have clear processes for evaluating new evidence.
7:22pm - Shafto gets into the cost of executing someone and how it's bad. Let me just say this -- be glad I'm watching this for you.
7:20pm - Question #5: Gets into the death penalty, via the Cameron Todd Willingham execution case. Should capital punishment be continued in Texas, and if it should there be new safeguards to protect the execution of an innocent person? Glass is first up this time. She says she's in favor of the death penatly, but she's seen how it works and how there are some flaws in it and she would take all the time she needs to review everything and be fully confident that solid evidence and solid science was used before she went forward with an execution.
7:20pm - Shafto can't think of anything positive off-hand, says as a teacher she can't think of anything positive with the way he's handled the Teacher Retirement System or the State Board of Education. Can't think of anything positive.
7:18pm - Glass says she's heard that it's good Perry only keeps a seven-hour a work week, because if he kept a full work week the state would be even worse. Glass has all the most clever answers tonight, no question. Chides Perry for only talking and not acting.
7:17pm - Fourth question. Has Rick Perry done anything positive as Governor? (WTF?!) White says Perry has visited the military, when he represents all Texans and he respects the office of governor. But he goes back to the "lack of leadership and diirection in this state." Finishes with "We will never move our state forward with that kind of leadership. It's about theater not management" and returns to his greatest hits.
7:17pm - Rick Disco Chicken Perry.
7:16pm - Glass points out that the lottery may be a better bet than a 401k these days. Supremely charging, even if her positions are way out there. She says that if the Legislature passed a law to do gambling, she'd sign it, but that's not the way she would be going.
7:13pm - White goes to gambling question, points out that the governor doesn't make the law, that'd have to be a constitutional amendment. White says he's not going to go around promoting that law. White goes straight to Perry doubling state spending and increasing debt by nearly 2.5 times.
7:11pm - Third question is on the budget shortfall and where the candidates stand on gambling. Shafto is first. She does not support gambling, calls it "sleazy."
7:09pm - White talks about recent trip to Tyler, where people lost their jobs at the Goodyear plant -- the largest private employer in town. White points out that our unemployment is higher in neighboring states and almost double what it was when Perry took office. White pivots straight to Perry's ETF scandal -- saying how the folks in Tyler applied to Perry's office to get some of the funds, but none of them were big donors so they didn't get any money. BURRRN.
7:08pm - Shafto takes it on. Talks about investing in small businesses. her purple jacket is sublime. She shifts to clean energy incentives for small businesses.
7:06pm - Second question is about Texas' one million unemployed. Glass answers first: "I want to cut state spending in 50%." Glass hammerls Republicans for calling for a statewide property tax, says Republicans are "going to use this problem to institute taxes they wanted all along." Also wants to eliminate licensing laws, red tape barriers for businesses. Just hammering, hammering, hammering Republicans. "We're not in nearly as good a shape as we're being told by our government."
7:06pm - Deb Shafto answered, as well.
7:05pm - Glass, answering the same question, says she has a strongly worded letter she will give to Rick Perry the next time she confronts him. "We have to take these measures to get our fiscal house in order."
7:01pm - First question to Bill White is about children of illegal immigrants at Texas universities. (Really?!?! Not the $23 billion budget shortfall?). White: "It's in our best interests if all our citizens are as educated as can be." White immediately starts hitting Perry, chiding his 8-hours of work a week, saying that laws are not enforced when you have a slacker like Perry in charge.
7:00pm - Here we go! "Regrettably, incumbent Governor Rick Perry has declined to join us in this debate and for that we are all the poorer.
6:58pm Tonight is the 2010 Texas gubernatorial debate featuring Democrat candidate Bill White, Libertarian candidate Kathie Glass, and Green Party candidate Deb Shafto. The Chicken Party candidate, Rick Perry, could not make it here tonight because he had to sell some more taxpayer-funded deals to his donors.
I'll be live-blogging the debate all night. I'll also be making lots of Rick Chicken Perry digs, without shame, so leave a comment if there are any you want posted now or after the debate. As always, the newest updates will be atop the page.