Politics

Politics
6:13 am
Wed July 16, 2014

FCC Extending Net Neutrality Commenting Time After Site Buckles

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Thomas Wheeler.
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 9:32 am

A flood of comments about net neutrality crashed the Federal Communications Commission's commenting site on Tuesday, the original deadline for public comments on the controversial Internet proposal. But the tech problems are buying those who want to weigh in some extra time — the deadline for public commenting is now Friday at midnight.

Of the 780,000 comments submitted to the FCC, 100,000 came on Tuesday alone, which the FCC's outdated electronic comment filing system was not capable of handling.

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Middle East
6:47 am
Tue July 15, 2014

After Peace Deal's Failure, Israel To 'Expand And Intensify' Campaign

An Israeli soldier stands on a military vehicle near Gaza early Tuesday, when a cease-fire was meant to take effect. The deal hasn't been embraced by all of Hamas.
Ariel Schalit AP

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 5:26 am

This post was updated at 5:30 p.m. ET.

A day that dawned with hopes for a fragile peace is closing with hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians appearing to intensify.

Early Tuesday, Israel had accepted the terms of a cease-fire proposed by Egypt, but Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, continued firing rockets.

A Hamas spokesman complained to NPR's Ari Shapiro that Egypt's current government is hostile to the group and its proposal didn't deal at all with Palestinian demands.

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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

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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Islamic State
4:30 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

You Only Die Once: How ISIS Recruits Young Muslims

Rebels ride a motorcycle in northern Syria
flickr.com/syriafreedom

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, grabbed international attention of media this year after inciting a rash of violence throughout Iraq, gaining momentum and inspiring young Muslims to take up arms, even some right here in Central Texas

Oxford Brookes University modern history professor Roger Griffin tells Texas Standard's David Brown that ISIS, unlike their predecessor al-Qaida, has cultivated an international online brand that glamorizes jihad.

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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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