Politics

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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GOP Convention
10:24 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Mental Health Group Says Reparative Therapy Stigmatises Texas LGBT Community

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 10:13 am

Support and protection for reparative therapy has been included in the 2014 Republican Party of Texas Platform. But a leading mental health organization said this further stigmatizes and shames the Texas LGBT community.

The reparative therapy platform was introduced by Cathie Adams, executive director of the Texas Eagle Forum and adopted without any changes:

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GOP Convention
8:05 pm
Sat June 7, 2014

GOP Approves Hardline Immigration Stance in Party Platform

Delegates wave Dan Patrick posters advocating a more secure border on the Texas Republican Convention floor on June 7, 2014.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

FORT WORTH — After several hours of debate Saturday, the final day of the biennial state GOP convention, Republican delegates voted to remove the "Texas Solution" from the party’s official platform, reverting to a more hardline stance on immigration.

About 8,000 delegates gathered to consider the party platform and eventually rejected a proposed immigration plank that included language calling for a provisional visa program for immigrants. In its place, they adopted a plank that echoes the party’s 2010 platform. It does not call for a guest-worker program and instead calls for ending in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants and prohibiting sanctuary cities — municipalities that do not enforce immigration laws.

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GOP Convention
8:02 pm
Sat June 7, 2014

Cruz Runs Away with Straw Poll at GOP Convention

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas thanks Republican delegates in Fort Worth on June 6, 2014
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz easily won the presidential preference straw poll held at the Texas GOP’s state convention Saturday, crushing outgoing Gov. Rick Perry and several other early contenders for the 2016 nomination.

Cruz took 43.4 percent of the vote, according to results announced at the close of the convention. Ben Carson, a columnist and neurosurgeon from Michigan, came in second with 12.2 percent, edging Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who came in third place with 12.1 percent. In something of a surprise, Perry, who made a failed presidential attempt in 2012, came in fourth place with 11.7 percent.

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GOP Convention
3:32 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Plea for Party Unity as Texas Republican Convention Opens

Gov. Rick Perry kicked off the Texas Republican convention this morning in Fort Worth.
Ben Philpott/KUT

Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, kicked off the state GOP convention in Fort Worth today.

In a speech to the party faithful, Gov. Perry addressed the state's shifting demographics that Democrats hope will help them win big in election cycles to come – the "fight to keep Texas red" in the words of convention materials. "The national Democrats think Texas is the new battleground," Perry told the crowd. "Well let's be really clear, Texas will be their political burial ground."

Though he isn't seeking re-election in November, Perry has left the door wide open to a second presidential run in 2016. He told thousands of delegates gathered in Fort Worth that grassroots conservatives have already "changed Texas for the better" and urged them to do the same for America.

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Politics
2:18 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Senate Confirms Burwell To Top Post At Health And Human Services

Sylvia Mathews Burwell won Senate approval as the new secretary of health and human services.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 2:31 pm

The Senate has voted to confirm Sylvia Mathews Burwell to the post of secretary of health and human services, where she will replace Kathleen Sebelius, who presided over the troubled rollout of the HealthCare.gov website.

In a 78-17 vote, Burwell, who served most recently as White House budget director, was approved Thursday.

In a statement released by the White House press office, President Obama said he applauded the confirmation of Burwell.

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Politics
6:34 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Bergdahl's Hometown Cancels Celebration Of His Return

Hailey, Idaho: A sign announcing the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl outside Zaney's coffee shop, where Bergdahl worked as a teenager. A rally celebrating his return home has been canceled, after organizers received threats of protests and hate mail.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 7:48 am

The news of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release from five years of captivity had been welcomed as a reason to celebrate in Hailey, Idaho. But organizers of a rally held in Bergdahl's honor while he was a prisoner say they're canceling this year's event, citing backlash over the U.S. deal with the Taliban that freed him.

In recent years, the Bring Back Bowe Rally has been an annual June event in the small town of Hailey, where bikers and POW-MIA support groups gathered to call for his return. Last year's event reportedly drew a crowd of more than 3,000.

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GOP Convention
4:17 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Draft of State GOP Platform Cuts Guest-Worker Language

A fight on Immigration language in the party platform is expected this year.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

As Texas Republicans prepare to convene Thursday in Fort Worth for their three-day state party convention, an early draft of the party's platform shows that language, approved two years ago,supporting a guest-worker program could be removed.

The draft, which was obtained by the Texas Tribune, shows that the language calling for a guest-worker program has been replaced with language to support the enactment of a provisional visa program. The guest-worker program language in 2012 was an unprecedented change to the official state party platform. It called for a national temporary worker program, which would allow foreign nationals to come to the U.S. when jobs are available but citizens are unavailable.

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