Politics

Politics
10:44 am
Sat September 29, 2012

Austin Supports Gay Marriage. So What Happens Next?

Gay rights advocates in Texas say federal action - not the Texas Legislature - is the best hope for legalizing same-sex marriage.
Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Proponents of gay marriage in Texas scored a symbolic victory this week when Austin City Council became the first in the state to adopt a resolution supporting same-sex marriage. But what does that actually mean for gay rights in a place that – as Gov. Rick Perry claims – is “the most conservative state in America.”

Gay rights activists believe their best hope for legalizing same-sex weddings in Texas will come in the form of a Congressional action or a U.S. Supreme Court ruling to declare prohibitions of gay marriage unconstitutional. Texas voters approved an amendment to the state constitution in 2005 that defines marriage as the “union of one man and one woman.” (Travis County was the only county statewide to vote against it.)

But same-sex advocates see political opportunities in seeking smaller legislative successes. Equality Texas – the gay rights lobby group – has identified two priorities: making it illegal to fire someone because they’re gay, and allowing gay parents to adopt children as a couple.

Right now, state law doesn’t prohibit employers from firing people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Gay couples who adopt children must do so as a single person, and only one of them can be listed on the birth certificate as the parent.

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2012 Presidential Election
4:16 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Presidential Debates: The One Area Where Campaigns Pitch Their Weakness

Sen. John McCain and then-Sen. Barack Obama, at one of their 2008 presidential debates.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 2:19 pm

An oddity of U.S. presidential politics is that candidates and their campaigns spend nearly all their time telling voters how superior they are to their rivals in virtually every area: the wisdom of their policy proposals; the soundness of their characters and judgments — everything, really.

Except for debating.

It's the old game of setting the bar high for your opponent and lower for your candidate, of course. That way, anything short of a disastrous debate performance can be claimed as a knockout victory.

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2012 Presidential Election
8:23 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Obama, Romney Mine For Swing Voters In Ohio

Coal miners listened as GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney spoke during a rally last month in Beallsville, Ohio. Both Romney and President Obama have made the state a focal point of their campaigns.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 10:15 am

Undecided voters in Ohio got a lot of attention this week from President Obama and GOP rival Mitt Romney. Coal may be the key to many swing voters in the Buckeye State, which remains a top coal producer.

It's an issue weighing on coal miner Rick Carpenter's mind at the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival in southeastern Ohio.

"Save coal — fire Obama. Yeah, I've got one of those signs in my yard," he says.

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2012 Presidential Election
12:09 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

2012 Gender Gap Could Be Historic, But Maybe Not For The Reason You'd Think

Supporters of Planned Parenthood wave banners during a rally for President Obama in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 4, ahead of the opening of the Democratic National Convention.
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 12:26 pm

A slew of new presidential polls released this week not only confirm a long-established gender gap among voters, but also suggest that the male-female preference divide in this year's presidential contest could hit historic levels.

It may surprise that that divide appears not driven by social issues and arguments over reproductive care or choices, analysts say, but largely by the national conversation over the size of government.

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Politics
11:30 am
Thu September 27, 2012

TribCast: Satan, $10,000 Degrees and The Oops Diaries

Texas Tribune

Ross, Reeve, Jay and Ben review The Texas Tribune Festival, which featured talk of Satan and college costs, and Jay's new book, which goes behind the scenes of Gov. Rick Perry's doomed presidential campaign.

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Immigration
4:48 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Young Illegal Immigrants Seek Work Permits

Carlos Martinez, 30, shows off his new work permit, which he received after applying for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Mamta Popat Arizona Daily Star

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 4:54 pm

It's been more than a month since the government began accepting requests for its Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Obama administration's policy for young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Hundreds of thousands of people are eligible for the program. So far, only 82,000 have applied.

Carlos Martinez is one of the 29 people who have actually gotten deferrals. It means that he won't be deported, and that he can get a work permit. Martinez applied for the deferred action program the first day.

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2012 Presidential Election
11:29 am
Tue September 25, 2012

Romney's Medicaid Remarks On '60 Minutes' Raise Eyebrows

Mitt Romney talks with 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley.
AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 3:21 pm

It's not so much what Mitt Romney said about whether the government should guarantee people health care in his interview on CBS's 60 Minutes Sunday that has health care policy types buzzing. It's how that compares to what he has said before.

To back up a bit, Scott Pelley asked the former Massachusetts governor if he thinks "the government has a responsibility to provide health care to the 50 million Americans who don't have it today?"

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Politics
10:34 am
Tue September 25, 2012

It's National Voter Registration Day - Are You Registered?

Voter Registration Day comes two-weeks before the Oct. 9 registration deadline.
flickr.com/athrasher

Several voter registration events are scheduled around town today for National Voter Registration Day.

The Travis County Tax Office on Airport Boulevard will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. to register voters.

The League of Women Voters and the Austin Community College student chapter of Unite Women will help people register to vote on ACC campuses today.

And both the Travis County Republican and Democratic parties are opening up their headquarters to help people register.

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Politics
3:39 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Thousands of Texans Registered to Vote at Wrong Addresses

State lawmakers heard testimony about the benefits and risks of mobile voting.
flickr.com/whiteafrican

Texas lawmakers heard today that there are at least 4,100 people in the Houston area alone that are registered at an address that is not their home.

Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart told the House Elections Committee this morning that many of those people are registered at addresses at places like Mail Boxes Etc. or UPS. The problem is, he says, that these voters then may be casting a ballot in the wrong district.

Stanart said that state law gives voters too much latitude with their registration address  –  which he argued could lead to abuse and fraud.

“A number of people actually saying ‘I’m going to register at this UPS location’ and if a significant number of people actually did something like this, you could actually turn a state rep’s election," Stanart said.

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2012 Presidential Election
2:15 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson at UT Tonight

Former governor and Presidential candidate Gary Johnson makes the Libertarian case on the 40 Acres.
garyjohnson2012.com

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is coming to the University of Texas tonight.

Johnson, who served as governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, initially vied for the Republican presidential nomination this election cycle. By late 2011, Johnson dropped out the crowded Republican field and announced plans to run as the Libertarian nominee, with California judge Jim Gray as his vice-presidential running mate.

U.S. News and World Report writes today that Johnson has sued to gain entry into the nationally televised debates between President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Those debates kick off on Oct. 3.

Johnson will be speaking at an event at Hogg Auditorium this evening, from 5 to 7 p.m., sponsored by the Libertarian Longhorns

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Politics
12:32 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Report: 10 Million Latinos Impacted By Voter ID Laws, Other Measures

Over 3 million Texas Latino votes were left on the table in 2010, according to a report from the Advancement Project.
clockwise from left: Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News, flickr.com/sarowen, KUT News

A new report says the combined impact of voter ID laws, proof of citizenship requirements, and inaccurate purges of voter registration rolls could prevent over 10 million Latino Americans from registering and voting in elections this year.

The report is authored by the Advancement Project, a national civil rights organization that opposes measures like voter ID. It argues that “voter suppression laws and policies threaten to relegate eligible Latino voters to second-class citizenship and impede their ability to participate fully in American democracy.”

Texas laws and actions are targeted by The Advancement Project, including the state’s voter ID law (which was overturned by a U.S. district court, and is unlikely to be implemented this November). The report also lists Texas as among 14 states that have requested U.S. Department of Homeland Security data “for the purpose of conducting state voter purges based on citizenship.”

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2012 Presidential Election
7:53 am
Mon September 24, 2012

Debate Preview: Obama And Romney Shadow Box On '60 Minutes'

CBS News' 60 Minutes

Originally published on Mon September 24, 2012 7:40 am

The first official presidential debate isn't until Oct. 3 in Denver. But as The New York Times writes, last night on CBS News' 60 Minutes there was something of a "shadow debate that offered a likely preview of the tone and substance" of what will happen on stage next week.

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2012 Presidential Election
3:48 pm
Sat September 22, 2012

Romney's 2011 Tax Return Gives More Fodder to Critics Who Already Had Surplus

Mitt Romney waves to supporters as he arrives at a rally Friday in Las Vegas.
Julie Jacobson AP

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 6:34 pm

Mitt Romney's Friday release of his 2011 tax return puts that issue back in the headlines just when it had slipped largely off many people's radar screens.

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2012 Presidential Election
3:43 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Tim Pawlenty Exits Romney Campaign To Lead Bank Lobbying Group

Tim Pawlenty at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 1:03 pm

With less than seven weeks to go before the presidential election, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is leaving his job as co-chairman of the Mitt Romney campaign to take a top Washington lobbying job.

Pawlenty, 51, will become the next CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, whose 100 members include many of the nation's largest banks and insurance and securities companies.

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2012 Presidential Election
11:44 am
Thu September 20, 2012

Hispanics Certain To Back Obama, But In What Numbers?

Four years ago, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was greeted warmly at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's awards gala in Washington, D.C. Polls show Obama retains strong Hispanic support this year, but also that many who are eligible don't plan to vote.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 9:13 am

There appears to be no question that President Obama will win the lion's share of Hispanic support. But there are still very big questions to be answered about how many votes such support will translate into.

"What we know is that we don't know," says Ruy Teixeira, a political analyst at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank.

"If you're the Obama campaign, there's cause for concern, because at least so far, [Hispanic support] is not translating into encouraging data on the turnout front," he says.

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Politics
6:52 am
Thu September 20, 2012

Justice Department Watchdog Blasts 'Fast And Furious' Operation

Attorney General Eric Holder testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., in June.
Mark Wilson / Getty Images

NPR's Carrie Johnson tells us more about the Justice Department report on the "Fast and Furious" gun-trafficking operation:

Justice Department watchdogs say a flawed gun-trafficking operation in which federal agents lost track of nearly 2,000 AK-47s and other weapons resulted from a series of "misguided strategies, tactics, errors in judgment and management failures."

The long-awaited report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz recommended that the conduct of 14 officials in Washington and Arizona be reviewed for possible disciplinary action. Horowitz placed most of the blame with leadership at the Phoenix field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona, which hatched the operation known as "Fast and Furious."

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Politics
12:47 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Texas Interim Maps

flickr.com/s_falkow

This morning the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a call from the League of United Latin American Citizens to bar the use of Texas district maps drawn by a panel of judges for use in the November elections.

The maps were drawn to replace maps put together by the Republican-led Texas legislature. In August, a Federal Court in Washington D.C. blocked their use.

But LULAC argues that the maps drawn by the judges were based on the maps drawn by the legislature so both should be thrown out.

"Everyone agrees. Everyone, including the state, agrees that these maps are flawed. There's something wrong. We all disagree over exactly what is flawed but, either way, there's flaws in them," LULAC's attorney Luis Vera says.

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Politics
8:00 am
Wed September 19, 2012

So What Happens If the Farm Bill Expires? Not Much, Right Away

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., talk to reporters about the farm bill at the U.S. Capitol in June.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 3:53 pm

Congress is set to make a brief appearance in Washington this week, then recess until after Election Day. That means a farm bill is likely to be left undone, just one of the many items on lawmakers' "to-do" lists that won't happen anytime soon.

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2012 Presidential Election
10:22 am
Tue September 18, 2012

Romney's Wrong and Right About the '47 Percent'

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney talking to reporters Monday in Costa Mesa, Calif.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 12:12 pm

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney told supporters that "there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what" because they are "dependent upon government ... believe that they are victims ... believe the government has a responsibility to care for them ... these are people who pay no income tax."

Who was he talking about?

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Politics
10:54 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Sadler Working to Remind Voters of Former Influence

Paul Sadler makes an appearance at the Guadalupe County Democratic Headquarters, September 9, 2012.
Jennifer Whitney via Texas Tribune

In 2002, state Rep. Paul Sadler of Henderson, was one of the most powerful Democrats in the Texas Legislature when he announced he was not running for re-election.

At the time, he was the chairman of the House Public Education Committee and a force that even the state’s governor had learned to be mindful of when it came to anything involving schools.

Ten years later, Sadler, 57, is the unequivocal underdog in his bid for U.S. Senate against Ted Cruz, a rising national star in the Republican Party. As he crisscrosses the state, Sadler is learning firsthand that before he can persuade voters to view him as a serious contender, he must first remind them of the power player whom he once was.

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