Politics

Politics
3:06 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Dewhurst Tells D.C. Crowd Prayer Rugs Found on Border

Candidate for Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst addresses the media in the parking lot of an Austin HEB before voting early in the 2014 runoffs, May 19, 2014.
Credit Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

In a speech in Washington, D.C., on Friday, outgoing Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst doubled down on claims that Muslim prayer rugs had been found on the Texas-Mexico border.

"Prayer rugs have recently been found on the Texas side of the border in the brush," Dewhurst said at the Values Voter Summit, according to a report on Friday by Talking Points Memo, a liberal news site.

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2014 Elections
10:39 am
Fri September 26, 2014

What Exactly Can Candidates Do With Their Campaign Cash After Election Day?

There are plenty of things a candidate can't do with campaign cash, but there are also plenty of loopholes.
Tracy Olson/Flickr flickr.com/tracy_olson/

With less than six weeks before the general election, candidates are burning through their campaign cash to make that final push to win. But, when the race ends, some still have money left in the bank.

So what are lawmakers allowed to do with that money? 

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Breaking
9:43 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Eric Holder To Step Down As Attorney General

Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during a Sept. 4 news conference at the Justice Department in Washington.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Fri September 26, 2014 7:29 am

This post was last updated at 4:44 p.m. ET.

Eric Holder Jr., the nation's first black U.S. attorney general, will resign his post after a tumultuous tenure marked by civil rights advances, national security threats, reforms to the criminal justice system and 5 1/2 years of fights with Republicans in Congress.

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ISIS
4:10 am
Tue September 23, 2014

U.S., Allies Hit Islamic State Targets In Syria, Pentagon Says

An Islamic State militant, left, stands next to Raqqah residents Sept. 16 as they hold pieces of wreckage from a Syrian war plane after it crashed in the northeast Syrian town.
Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 9:55 pm

The United States and its allies expanded their assault against the Islamic State on Monday, striking targets inside Syria for the first time, the Pentagon said.

In a statement, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the U.S. had used "a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles."

Kirby said that because these strikes are ongoing, he could not go into details about where in Syria the allies were attacking. But a Pentagon official tells NPR's Tom Bowman that the strikes occurred near Raqqah, an Islamic State stronghold.

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Texas Standard at Tribune Fest
3:13 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

State Sen. José Rodríguez: 'Education is the Highest Priority'

Texas Standard Host David Brown, left, with Senator José Rodriguez (D-El Paso)
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Even after a weekend full of panels and discussion of Texas politics and policy at The Texas Tribune Festival, many political wonks are looking to the main event: January's new legilative session. 

State Senator José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, sat down with Texas Standard host David Brown during the festival to discuss the upcoming legislative agenda, the state's budget surplus, the upcoming election for governor and more.

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Scottish Independence
6:15 am
Fri September 19, 2014

As Scotland Rejects Independence, Cameron Promises More Autonomy

Dejected "yes" supporters sit in George Square, Glasgow, Scotland, on Friday. Scots voted decisively against independence from the U.K.
Robert Perry EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 10:27 am

Updated at 11:27 a.m. ET

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the Scottish vote to remain in the United Kingdom has put the question of independence to rest "for a generation," but he pledged constitutional reforms to give Edinburgh greater control over its own affairs.

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Politics
12:12 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Dempsey Says If Needed He Would Recommend Ground Forces In Iraq

Members of the anti-war activist group CodePink interrupt a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (left) and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 1:57 pm

Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers today that while the president has ruled out "boots on the ground" as part of a campaign to destroy the Islamic State insurgency in Iraq, he was prepared to recommend a combat role for U.S. advisers or ground troops if the situation warrants.

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Politics
6:01 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Obama To Announce Buildup In U.S. Efforts To Fight Ebola

Workers unload medical supplies to fight the Ebola epidemic from a USAID cargo flight in Harbel, Liberia, in August.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 8:43 am

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is already the deadliest on record, having killed more than 2,400 people. Health experts warn it could get much worse, if the spread of the disease isn't contained quickly.

That alarm has President Obama meeting today with experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Obama is expected to announce a major buildup in U.S. efforts to address the threat of Ebola.

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Texas Standard
2:28 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Emily Ramshaw Discusses Ted Cruz, Wendy Davis, and Medical Marijuana in Texas Politics

Senator Ted Cruz
Flickr User Gage Skidmore https://flic.kr/p/av6uvr

In Texas politics this week, Emily Ramshaw, editor of The Texas Tribune, speaks with Texas Standard’s David Brown about The 2014 Texas Tribune Festival, Ted Cruz, Wendy Davis, and medical marijuana.

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Texas Standard
2:47 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

When LBJ's Infamous 'Daisy' Ad Changed Politics Forever

Broadcast only once, LBJ "Daisy" still packs a punch.
Lyndon B Johnson's 1964 Presidential campaign

Half a century ago, Pres. Lyndon Johnson teamed up with the ad men of New York to produce one of the most famous – and controversial – political ads of all time.

A young girl lackadaisically plucks the petals off a flower, counting as she goes. But soon, her count is interrupted by a mission-control style countdown: when it ends, a mushroom cloud envelops the screen. "These are the stakes," Johnson intones. "To make a world in which all of God's children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die." 

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City Council
9:58 am
Wed September 10, 2014

City Council Adopts $3.5 Billion 2015 Budget

The Austin City Council Approved a $3.5 billion budget for 2015 yesterday, lowering the tax rate to 48.09 cents per $100 of taxable valuation.
Credit Austin Monitor

This story comes to us from our city hall reporting partner, the Austin Monitor.

City Council adopted the Fiscal Year 2015 budget and tax rate Tuesday, despite Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s dissent.

Council members voted in favor of an operating budget with an $854 million general fund after approving a set of amendments this week that totaled $3.4 million. They also increased combined enterprise and internal service fund spending by $1.2 million, and critical one-time expenditure fund spending by $3.3 million.

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Texas Standard
1:36 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

What Scotland Can Learn From Texas Independence

The European Union, Scottish and Union Jack flags fly in this 2009 photo. On September 18, Scottish voters will decide their fate: whether to remain part of the United Kingdom, or to move toward independence.
Flickr user Barney Moss, https://flic.kr/p/gnBD1o

On September 18, Scottish voters will decide on the future of their country – whether Scotland should be an independent country, or remain part of the United Kingdom.  If a simple majority of votes is cast in favor of independence, then a process of negotiations would begin to grant full independence to Scotland.

Here in Texas, we’ve got some experience with declarations of independence from major nations – so we should have some advice to offer to our Caledonian friends.

The Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with Dr. Stephen Hardin, a professor of Texas history at McMurray University in Abilene.

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2014 Elections
11:50 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Greg Abbott Asks If Wendy Davis Book Tour Illegal

Attorney General Greg Abbott says Wendy Davis' book tour is illegal because, he says, her publisher will use private funds while she uses political funds.
Marjory Kamys Cotera & Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott's campaign manager is requesting a ruling from the Texas Ethics Commission on whether Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis' book deal and tour are illegal corporate campaign contributions.

In the three page letter sent Monday morning, Abbott campaign manager Wayne Hamilton argues the book is tied to her campaign. Corporate campaign contributions are illegal in Texas elections.

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Border & Immigration
7:31 am
Mon September 8, 2014

U.S. Border Patrol Apprehending Fewer Central Americans

A man looks out towards the US from the Mexican side of the border fence that divides the two countries in San Diego. The U.S. Border Patrol says it has seen about a 60 percent drop in the number of Central Americans apprehended at the border.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 7, 2014 8:51 pm

The number of Central American children and families being apprehended at the U.S.-Mexican border has dropped dramatically in recent months, according to the U.S. Border Patrol. There has been a 60 percent decline in apprehensions of minors since the record numbers making the illegal trek earlier this summer.

A lot of factors may be contributing to the dramatic drop, including heavy rains along the migrant route and media campaigns in home countries dispelling rumors that kids can stay in the U.S.

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Lt. Governor Race
3:30 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

On The Airwaves: Another Statewide Candidate Debuts TV Ads

Texas State Senator and Democratic Lieutenant Governor nominee Leticia Van de Putte released her first two campaign television ads, one in English and one in Spanish this morning.

In “Twice”, Van de Putte calls out Republican Lieutenant Governor nominee Dan Patrick for the cuts to the education system he supported in past budget sessions:

The ad points to Patrick’s 2011 vote to cut more than $5 billion from public education in Texas. The cuts came on the tail end of the Great Recession, which dramatically lowered state tax collections. Patrick has defended his vote, saying the state had to balance the budget and no choice but to cut spending to do it. Van de Putte voted against the cuts in 2011.

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2014 Elections
1:46 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Technology Teaches Old-School Door-to-Door Campaigns New Tricks

Block-walking may still be a part of any political campaign, but voter data provides campaigns with invaluable insights to find sure-bet voters.
Callie Richmond/Texas Tribune

Campaigning for the November elections usually hits high-gear around this time. Political ads and mailers proliferate, which is followed by more one-on-one campaigning.

The nostalgic view often depicts politicians walking through a neighborhood, knocking on doors, shaking hands and kissing babies. But, in a world filled with smart phones, email blasts and geo-targeting, how has technology changed the door-to-door campaign?

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2014 Elections
3:25 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Davis Agrees to New Sept. 30 Debate With Abbott

After rebuffing a chance to debate last week, Attorney General Greg Abbott has agreed to a Sept. 30 debate against his Democratic opponent State Sen. Wendy Davis.
Stephen Spillman & Cooper Neill/Texas Tribune

There will be a late September debate after all between gubernatorial hopefuls Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis.

Davis' campaign announced Wednesday that it had agreed to a Sept. 30 debate in Dallas with Abbott, an event that will be sponsored by KERA, NBC5/KXAS-TV, Telemundo 39 and The Dallas Morning News.

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2014 Elections
11:06 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Are Incumbent Council Candidates Campaigning on the Clock?

Four candidates for city office in the November elections currently have seats on the Austin City Council, but does that prominence give them an unfair advantage?
Bryan Winter/KUT

Of the seven current Austin City Council members, four are running for city office this November. Their current positions give them the name recognition, branding and political resumes an unknown challenger may not have.

But they also tow a fine line between their everyday council duties and their campaign duties.

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Politics
8:59 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Cities & Counties Are Left Holding the Bag When State Money Dwindles

Campaign promises of no new taxes at the state level, don't address infrastructure needs in municipalities.
Graphic by the Texas Tribune

Lower taxes and less government spending are hallmarks of Texas Republican leadership, and any candidate hoping to get through a GOP primary in Texas.

But making cuts at the state level hasn't actually stopped some spending, or the need to raise revenues to pay for infrastructure projects that, without state and federal money, counties and municipalities can't shoulder on their own.

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Iraq
6:36 am
Wed September 3, 2014

U.S. Boosts Baghdad Diplomatic Security With 350 More Soldiers

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry greets U.S. Marines as he arrives June 23 at the American Embassy in the International Zone in Iraq's capital, Baghdad.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 9:12 am

The U.S. is adding 350 more troops to help protect the American Embassy in Baghdad and its support facilities in the Iraqi capital.

That raises the number of U.S. forces in Iraq to more than 1,000, officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The additional troops, which were requested by the State Department, will not serve in a combat role.

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