Politics

Middle East
7:33 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Israel Shoots Down Drone As Clash With Hamas Continues

A missile leaves an "Iron Dome" battery, Israel's short-range missile defense system, Monday. Israel shot down a drone Monday, using a Patriot missile to take out the unmanned aircraft.
David Buimovitch AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 11:24 am

  • Ari Shapiro on 'Morning Edition'
  • Hear Emily Harris on 'Morning Edition'

Exchanges of rockets and airstrikes continue between Israel and militants in Gaza, one week after violence broke out in the area. The Palestinian death toll is being reported at 172; no Israelis have reportedly died in the fighting.

From Haaretz:

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Obama in Austin
3:55 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

President Obama is Back in Austin Today

President Barack Obama addresses a crowd in the Paramount Theater in downtown Austin, Texas on Thursday.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Note: This post initially contained the White House livestream of Obama's speech. As the speech has concluded and is not yet archived, we have removed the embed.

A recap:

President Obama is flying back to Washington DC after spending the night in Austin. This morning, Obama attended a round table discussion at the home of Democratic activist Aimee Boone Cunningham and then drove the Paramount Theater to deliver a speech – the first time a president has spoken at the Paramount since it opened in 1915.

The president's speech focused on economic opportunity and the middle class. Obama attacked Congressional Republicans for not agreeing to increase the minimum wage, extend unemployment insurance benefits or pass equal pay laws. 

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Politics
12:29 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

GOP Selects Cleveland Over Dallas As 2016 GOP Convention City

The downtown Cleveland skyline on a clear day. The city was selected Tuesday as the recommended location of the Republican National Convention in 2016.
iStockPhoto

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 9:57 am

The Republican Party will hold its 2016 presidential convention in Cleveland, GOP chairman Reince Priebus announced Tuesday.

The GOP chose to locate its nominating event in an expected 2016 battleground state rather than in Dallas, Texas, the sole remaining competitor after Denver and Kansas City were eliminated from consideration in late June.

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Politics
8:10 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Free Tickets Available for President Obama's Speech During This Week's Austin Visit

President Obama during his last visit to Austin for a Civil Rights Summit in April
LBJ Presidential Library and Museum

Update: President Barack Obama will give a public address during his visit to Austin this week.

Obama will be at The Paramount Theater on Thursday for a speech on the economy. Tickets are free and available to the public. They’ll be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 8:30 Tuesday morning at The Paramount (713 Congress Ave). The White House will only distribute a limited number of tickets.

Doors will open for the speech on Thursday at 9:45 a.m. Tickets are required for entry and are not for sale or re-sale. The White House says all attendees will go through airport-like security.

Original Story (July 2, 2014): Austin filmmaker Robert Rodriguez will host a fundraiser for President Obama on Wednesday, July 9, according to a Democratic Party source who wished to speak on background. Tickets for the event will range from $5,000 to the legal limit of $32,400. The proceeds will go to the Democratic National Committee.

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NSA
4:55 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

U.S. Privacy Board Says NSA Internet Spying Is Constitutional

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 4:34 pm

A bipartisan privacy board that was appointed by President Obama following the disclosures made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has released a report (PDF) that says the security agency's Internet spying is legal and constitutional.

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Civil Rights Act
11:06 am
Wed July 2, 2014

How Twitter and Time Have Helped Americans Reassess LBJ's Legacy

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr., others look on.
LBJ Library photo by Cecil Stoughton

This post has been updated to include portions of an interview with LBJ Library Director Mark Updegrove.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act fifty years ago today.

"It's hard to realize that 50 years ago, people of color in many parts of this country, particularly in the Deep South, would not be accommodated at restaurants or at hotels or at motels, there were separate educational facilities and separate water fountains – we essentially lived in an apartheid state," LBJ Library Director Mark Updegrove says.

Both the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum in Austin and the LBJ Ranch in Stonewall are celebrating the anniversary of the signing.

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Immigration
4:09 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Influx Of Children Creates New Strain On Beleaguered Immigration Courts

Boys in a holding area at a Border Protection center in Nogales, Ariz. Generally, minors are put into deportation proceedings and given a "Notice To Appear" in immigration court, but they have permission to stay in the country while the U.S. decides their fate.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 9:55 pm

President Obama said over the weekend that he is seeking to fast-track deportations of unaccompanied immigrant children from Central America who cross into the United States.

More than 52,000 have been caught in South Texas since October, and hundreds more arrive daily, overwhelming Border Patrol stations and overflowing temporary shelters.

But once they get here, what happens? Do they just get to stay, as the president's critics charge?

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Immigration
4:32 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Obama's No-Win Immigration Predicament

President Obama, accompanied by Vice President Biden in the White House Rose Garden, lashed out at House Republicans for stalling immigration legislation.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 6:41 pm

President Obama's tough predicament on immigration is only getting worse.

He certainly didn't want to be dealing with an influx of unaccompanied minors illegally entering the U.S. across the Southern border, overwhelming the Homeland Security Department's ability to deal with them during a critical midterm election year.

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Texas
7:20 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Two Texans Weighing White House Bids Applaud Supreme Court Ruling

Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz at an April 2014 news conference at Fort Hood addressing a deadly gunfire incident
Sgt. Ken Scar Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System

The offices of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Rick Perry were quick to release statements lauding Monday’s Supreme Court decision on contraception. The ruling said family-owned and other closely held companies can opt out of an Affordable Care Act provision requiring they provide insurance coverage of birth control.

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Politics
4:48 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Meet The Newest American Running Mate: The Rifle

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell holds a rifle on stage at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference earlier this year.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 12:32 pm

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Politics
7:17 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Austin City Council Calls for Legalizing Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana sold at a now shuttered dispensary in Long Beach, CA called the Dank Depot
https://www.flickr.com/photos/dankdepot/5457588964/in/photostream/

The Austin City Council is calling on the Texas legislature to legalize medical marijuana. The council passed this resolution Thursday, sponsored by council members Bill Spelman and Mike Martinez, who's running for mayor. The resolution calls for the city to change its state legislative agenda to include support for "legislation to legalize the use of medical marijuana."

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Politics
11:57 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Texas GOP Chairman Munisteri Speaks Out Against Reparative Therapy

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 4:18 pm

This week the Republican Party of Texas released it’s finalized 2014 platform, which includes a line item addressing support for voluntary "reparative therapy" for gays and lesbians.

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Politics
11:38 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Just What is 'Reparative' Therapy for Gays?

flickr.com/gazeronly

The Texas Republican Party made headlines when it included an endorsement of something called “reparative therapy” in its party platform. Supporters say the therapy can “cure” people of being gay. But the practice is extremely controversial, unaccredited and banned for minors in a couple of states.

If you've paid any attention to this topic over the last couple of weeks, you've seen dozens of stories and even a segment on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart talking about what reparative therapy is. The descriptions often mention aversion therapies, aimed at pairing homosexual feelings with something unwanted or painful, like electric shock.

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Obama on Iraq
12:40 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Obama: U.S. Forces Won't Return To Combat In Iraq Crisis

President Obama speaks about Iraq in the Brady Briefing room of the White House Thursday. Obama said the U.S. will send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq — but that U.S. forces won't engage in combat with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 1:56 pm

President Obama says the U.S. will send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq to help it cope with the Sunni extremist group ISIS, which has won several key battles in recent days.

Obama said Americans won't be taking up combat roles in the conflict — and he said the U.S. won't take actions "that support one sect inside of Iraq at the expense of another."

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Texas Politics
9:02 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Texas Court Of Criminal Appeals Weighing Tom DeLay's Overturned Conviction

Tom DeLay outside the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin.

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 4:33 pm

Former House Majority leader Tom DeLay and his attorneys argued the merits of whether Delay’s 2010 money laundering conviction should remain overturned or if the original punishment should stand.

DeLay was found guilty of taking money donated to his political action committee and feeding it into a number of Texas Republican's campaigns.

In 2013 his conviction was overturned because checks are not considered funds, therefore the prosecution lacked evidence. But earlier this year the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed to hear an appeal of that overturned conviction.

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Politics
2:40 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

District Profile: Texas's 23rd Congressional

Democratic Congressman Pete Gallego of Texas (left) will face Republican Will Hurd in November, in a race that's expected to be close. (U.S. Congress / hurdforcongress.com)

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 2:07 pm

In our weekly look at congressional races across the country, we turn now to Texas’s 23rd congressional district, where Democratic U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, the incumbent, will face Republican Will Hurd in November.

Hurd, a San Antonio native and former CIA agent, is attempting to shake things up in the Democrat-held district on the border between Texas and Mexico. The race is expected to be very close, in a district that has switched back and forth between Republicans and Democrats in recent years.

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Iraq
6:32 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Militants Attack Iraq's Largest Oil Refinery As Sectarian Clashes Spread

An Iraqi boy and other civilians look at the aftermath of a car bomb in Baghdad's Sadr City on Wednesday. The violence in the Shiite district comes as Sunni militants advance in northern Iraq.
Karim Kadim AP

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 10:06 am

The Sunni militant group that has stormed across Iraq invaded the country's largest oil refinery today, hitting it with mortars. The government is using limited air attacks to strike back at ISIS, which now controls large areas of Iraq's north.

"The oil refinery in Beiji has been under siege since the militant fighters of ISIS seized the town of Beiji in their sweep through northern Iraq," NPR's Deborah Amos reports from Irbil, Iraq. "In an offensive at dawn, ISIS fighters attacked the refinery with machine-gun fire and mortars, according to Iraqi security forces."

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Texas GOP
10:18 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Is the Texas Republican Platform Bad for Business?

RIck Perry gives GOP delegates at the state convention a thumbs up in June 2014.
Ben Philpott/KUT

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has made a career out of visiting, recruiting, and relocating businesses from California to Texas. But as the state's GOP continues to push further and further to the right of the political spectrum, could the state's ultra-conservative stance hurt recruitment from a progressive state?

First came the Texas Republican Party platform that said homosexuality is a choice and endorsed therapy aimed at "curing" people of being gay – a therapy banned in California.

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Politics
1:29 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Eric Cantor Says He'll Quit Majority Leader Post After Primary Defeat

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia takes the podium to speak to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Wednesday. He announced that he would step down as majority leader on July 31.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 4:50 pm

This post was updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, fresh from a stunning primary upset at the hands of a Tea Party rival, said today that he would vacate his leadership post by the end of July to make room for a successor.

"Effective July 31, I will be stepping down as majority leader," Cantor told reporters at a news conference. "It is with great humility that I do so."

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Politics
9:26 am
Wed June 11, 2014

'Stunning': Reactions To Eric Cantor's Election Loss In Virginia

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., left, and Dave Brat react after the polls closed Tuesday. Brat defeated Cantor in the Republican primary, a result that shocked many political analysts.
AP

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 9:00 am

"Dollars don't vote — you do." And with that statement to his supporters, college professor Dave Brat ousted seven-term Rep. Eric Cantor in their primary battle Tuesday night. The loss by the No. 2 House Republican shocked many political analysts and the congressman himself.

"It's disappointing, sure," Cantor told supporters after the results came in. "But I believe in this country. I believe there's opportunity around the next corner for all of us."

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