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Lead Stories

Dallas Morning News - October 22, 2014

Jones: Why Wendy Davis’s pitch on public education isn’t working

Wendy Davis has two main campaign thrusts that, on occasion, cross paths. One is that Greg Abbott is a corrupt schmo who would be the ruination of Texas. The second is that she’s for strong public education, while he isn’t. Conventional wisdom might say negative campaigning works, but Davis’s attacks on Abbott have been turgid and monotonous. Her people look desperate to find good material, most recently insinuating that he might be a closet segregationist who’d defend a state law against mixed marriages. That’s a hard one to make stick against an Anglo who’s married to a Latina.

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Texas Tribune - October 23, 2014

UT/TT Poll: Abbott Holds Commanding Lead Over Davis

Republican Greg Abbott has a 16-point lead over Democrat Wendy Davis in the closing days of this year’s general election for governor, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. Abbott has the support of 54 percent of likely voters to Davis’ 38 percent. Libertarian Kathie Glass has the support of 6 percent, and the Green Party’s Brandon Parmer got 2 percent. “The drama of the outcome is not who wins, but what the margin will be,” said Jim Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. “Wendy Davis has not led in a single poll in this race.”

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Austin American Statesman - October 22, 2014

Texas early voting turnout is up, but who does it benefit?

As healthy early voting totals rolled in this week from the state’s most populous counties, underdog Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis linked the uptick to an organized statewide effort by Democrats to turn out voters, saying it’s a sign she will close a wide gap with Attorney General Greg Abbott in the final weeks before Election Day. Political experts, however, say it’s too early to tell who is benefiting from all those additional ballots or whether the uptick will continue until early voting ends on Oct 31. Abbott’s campaign also is touting its aggressive efforts to boost turnout.

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Austin American Statesman - October 22, 2014

State regulators open crowdfunding for Texas companies, residents

The Texas State Securities Board unanimously approved new rules Wednesday that will let Texas companies raise equity investments through online crowdfunding portals. The regulations provide a state-level alternative to the long-delayed federal rules for equity crowdfunding. They give Texas companies a new avenue for raising capital and give most of the state’s adult residents a new opportunity to take an ownership stake in those firms. Securities Commissioner John Morgan said the rules should go into effect around late November.

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Texas Observer - October 22, 2014

Houston Investors Hope the Legal Marijuana Industry Will Make Them High Rollers

If you’re going to host a conference at which entrepreneurs pitch marijuana-based products and services, you should definitely make sure your projection equipment is working. Otherwise, the young man describing his fast-acting, long-lasting, zero-calorie cannabis drink will lose legitimacy with every frustrated shake of the slide clicker. That would be true of any conference, but it’s especially pertinent at an event where everyone is acutely aware of the need not to seem stoned.

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State Stories

Longview News Journal - October 22, 2014

East Texas lawmakers muse on coming session

Transportation, education and health care spending once again will confront Texas lawmakers when they convene for the 84th time in January, an East Texas senator and representative told a forum audience Wednesday. Republicans Rep. Travis Clardy and Sen. Robert Nichols also partially agreed with a state judge who ruled in August the school funding formula is unconstitutional. “There certainly are inequities,” Clardy, of Jacksonville, told the audience, as part of the Texas Tribune’s Conversations series and livestreamed from Nacogdoches. “It’s all out of balance.”

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Marshall News Messenger - October 22, 2014

State reps talk future of education

A group of area school superintendents and administration officials from Marshall Independent School District met Wednesday with state Reps. Jimmie Don Aycock and Chris Paddie to discuss the future of education in Texas. Aycock, the author of House Bill 5, which he filed in 2012 for the 2013 session, discussed legislative plans and possible educational policy changes for the upcoming year. Before taking the floor, he said House Bill 5 was filed because “the time for Texas students to focus on learning instead of preparing for state-mandated standardized tests is now.”

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McAllen Monitor - October 22, 2014

Amid high turnout, Hidalgo County Dems rally for ticket

Hidalgo County Democrats hope the high voter turnout numbers during early voting will help their statewide counterparts. County Judge Ramon Garcia hosted candidates running under the Democratic banner for sheriff, state district court judge and constable, as well as the Texas Supreme Court and the state’s 13th Court of Appeals. County Democratic Chair Ric Godinez told the crowd that if statewide Republicans win, they’d cut funding for local law enforcement and education.

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Texas Tribune - October 22, 2014

Israel, VanDeWalle Head Into Rematch in HD-50

Here they go again. Less than a year after facing each other in a special election runoff, state Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, and Republican Mike VanDeWalle are squaring off again in Texas House District 50. The seat, representing parts of North Austin and Pflugerville, opened up after the 2013 legislative session when Democrat Mark Strama resigned to take a job with Google Fiber.

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San Antonio Express News - October 22, 2014

SAEN: Outside money and snake oil

The campaign in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District is a testament to the insidious, purposely befuddling effect of third-party money in elections and how corrupt the state’s redistricting process has become. The relentless intrusion of third-party ads is routine nationally in congressional districts in which either party feels incumbency threatened or the outcome in play. In this context, local and state races become national races, calculated to either hang on to congressional majorities, diminish them or, with Senate races this year, to flip them.

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San Antonio Express News - October 22, 2014

Contreras: Time to close the equality gap in Texas

In Texas, people pretend to see a strong economy, solid moral values and a robust educational system. Who will be brave enough to speak out against the emperor here? Are we fools because we dare to say that only the rich in Texas are thriving? In our economy, the inequality gap is increasing. The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. The rich have access to health care and to family planning — and always will. They have access to education at all levels. What about our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Don’t these rights apply to all American citizens, or are they only for a select few? We can’t allow those in power to pull the ladder of opportunity up behind them, especially in our home state of Texas.

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Texas Observer - October 22, 2014

Strict Texas Law Makes Ebola Lawsuits Unlikely

One of the unexpected lessons from the Ebola cases in Dallas may well be how thoroughly Texas protects hospitals—and their insurance companies—from answering for critical lapses in care. When Thomas Eric Duncan entered the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital’s emergency room on Sept. 25 with a fever and complaining of stomach pain, there’s a chance that proper treatment might have saved him from the Ebola virus that would kill him 13 days later. Instead, the Liberian man was sent home with only painkillers and antibiotics. Duncan’s family and his fiancĂ©e are haunted by the question of whether Duncan might have survived had he been properly diagnosed. Executives at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital have admitted to mistakes and apologized to Duncan’s family.

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El Paso Times - October 23, 2014

Early voting numbers for El Paso County spur conflicting interpretations

Two days into early voting, El Paso County turnout statistics are low — continuing a trend of weak participation in nonpresidential elections. Through Tuesday, 2 percent of the county's registered voters had cast ballots in heavily Democratic El Paso County. That's barely an improvement over 2010, which is widely regarded as a disastrous election for Democrats. Because 2010 was also a year when the governor's race topped the ticket, it is thought to be a good basis of comparison to this year. El Paso County voters traditionally turn out in better numbers in presidential-election years.

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Austin American Statesman - October 22, 2014

Rep. Dawnna Dukes files late campaign finance report

State Rep. Dawnna Dukes filed her latest campaign finance report early Wednesday, more than two weeks late. The Austin Democrat had acknowledged the infraction and said she would pay the $500 fine to the Texas Ethics Commission for missing the Oct. 6 deadline. The report showed Dukes raised $41,720.37 July 1 to Sept. 25 with much of the money coming from political action committees, such as the Texas Association of Realtors PAC, Texas Medical Association PAC and the Texas AFL-CIO State Cope Fund PAC.

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Ft. Worth Star Telegram - October 22, 2014

Dallas nurse Amber Vinson is Ebola-free, family says

Dallas nurse Amber Vinson was Ebola-free on Wednesday, according to relatives in Atlanta, where she is being treated for the virus. Officials at Emory University Hospital, where Vinson is in a biocontainment unit, said they could not comment on her condition. But Vinson’s family released a statement through a public relations consultant saying the 29-year-old nurse “is steadily regaining her strength and her spirits are high.”

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Austin American Statesman - October 22, 2014

Wife: Undercover ‘friends’ pressured Austin man to join ISIS

The wife of an Austin man who awaits sentencing on terrorism-related charges says he was pressured by federal informants into committing to travel to Turkey as a step toward joining a militia in Syria. Asked if her husband, Michael Todd Wolfe, was a member of the so-called Islamic State group, Jordan Furr, his wife of more than two years, told the American-Statesman in her first interview, “No, no, laughingly no. He doesn’t know anybody over there.”

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Dallas Morning News - October 22, 2014

Railroad Commission candidates differ on building trust for drilling

The leading candidates for a position on the state’s oil and gas regulatory panel both see a need for the agency to be more transparent and inspire more confidence in Texans as drilling issues lead to tensions between local communities and industry. And both say the first step is to change the Texas Railroad Commission’s antiquated name. From there, though, their blueprints differ. Republican Ryan Sitton, an oil and gas engineer and businessman, is advocating for a permitting process that is “more automated” and efficient. He plans to increase public engagement and use his background in the oil and gas industry to help teach the public about the science and technical aspects of drilling, he said.

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Lufkin Daily News - October 20, 2014

HAMMOND: Why we must establish a new transportation funding source

If you have tried to drive anywhere in any major city in Texas, and a lot of small towns too, you know why we need to invest more money into our transportation system. The cost of congestion in dollars is staggering. The Washington, D.C.-based transportation study group TRIP estimates that driving on deficient roads costs Texans $25.1 billion every year, and that number will only go up if we don’t do something about easing that congestion.

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Texas Tribune - October 22, 2014

First Bullet Train Meeting Focuses on Station Locations

DALLAS — The first public meeting on a private company’s plan to build a bullet train between Houston and Dallas drew unanimous support for the multibillion-dollar project, but also repeated warnings from residents and local officials that the locations of the stations are vital. More than 100 people were in attendance on Tuesday for the first of six public meetings being held jointly by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Texas Department of Transportation on Texas Central Railway’s plan. The FRA is leading a federally required environmental impact study of the proposed project, which aims to connect Dallas and Houston in 90 minutes or less with Japanese-manufactured trains traveling at more than 200 miles per hour.

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Texas Tribune - October 22, 2014

State Fights Release of Race Records

The Texas Department of Insurance is fighting The Texas Tribune’s request for records that could shed light on why it has failed to collect racial data on injured workers, despite a 1993 law that requires it. On behalf of its Division of Workers’ Compensation, the department is citing numerous exemptions to state transparency laws and has asked Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor, to keep the documents secret.

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Houston Chronicle - October 22, 2014

Texas Lottery pulls controversial scratch-off card after hundreds complain

The Texas Lottery Commission has announced it will pull the Fun Five's scratch-off card from circulation after hundreds of people complained the rules were ambiguous. Angry players started calling in just one day after the card was released Sept. 1, according to lottery watchdog Dawn Nettles of Lotto Report.com. About 300 people now are preparing for possible legal action to claim up to $10 million, action the Lottery Commission appeared to dismiss out of hand, Tuesday.

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San Antonio Express News - October 22, 2014

City cites ordinance to block abortion video in Alamo Plaza

The Police Department on Wednesday blocked anti-abortion activists in Alamo Plaza from displaying graphic images of late-term abortions on a large projection screen, citing a local ordinance that prohibits use of such devices on historic sites. Event organizers were prepared to violate the ordinance and accept a $500 citation, but Police Chief William McManus told them they wouldn't be allowed to bring their “Jumbotron” into the plaza. Mark Harrington, executive director of Ohio-based Created Equal, said his group would “consider all legal remedies” against the city.

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San Antonio Express News - October 22, 2014

In the race for DA, numbers don't add up to the same story

Hear Susan Reed tell it, and violent crime has plummeted since she was elected district attorney in 1998 and took over as the county's top prosecutor the next year. But listen to Nico LaHood, her opponent in this year's race, and you'll be told of skyrocketing violent crime. Reed, a Republican, said in an interview this month with WOAI-TV that “violent crime has been cut in half” during her tenure. Campaign advertising from LaHood, a Democrat, meanwhile, maintains violent crime is up 78 percent under Reed.

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Texas Tribune - October 22, 2014

Control Eluded State Leaders in Ebola Crisis

When the Ebola virus first arrived in Texas, Gov. Rick Perry greeted the grave news with trademark swagger. “There is no place in the world, I will suggest to you, that has better professionals, better ability to address this, than in Texas,” he said at a hastily called press conference, one day after Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan tested positive for Ebola while in isolation at a Dallas hospital.

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Texas Tribune - October 22, 2014

Little Help for Those Who Can't Make the Rent

For as many as 40,000 low-income Austin households being squeezed by high rents in a booming city, Wednesday offers the barest glimmer of hope. For eight days, the city will accept applications for its housing voucher program, something it has not done in eight years. From the 20,000 to 40,000 expected applications, 2,500 will be randomly selected to go on a waiting list.

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Politico - October 22, 2014

Wendy Davis: I’d welcome Barack Obama

Democrat Wendy Davis said Wednesday she would welcome President Barack Obama campaigning for her in Texas after largely keeping distance from him throughout her underdog run for governor. Still trailing by double digits in some polls with less than two weeks until Election Day, Davis is no longer so cautiously staying at arm’s length from Obama, who has gloomy approval ratings in Texas but still packs the ability to boost turnout among Democratic voters. ... “I would be thrilled if he or the Clintons, anyone wanted to come and help,” Davis said about Obama while speaking to reporters at Democratic headquarters in Austin. “I’m very honored to have their support and the support of so many prominent Democrats across this country. We are fighting for people in our state.”

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Houston Chronicle - October 22, 2014

Faircloth returns fire as ad war gets more negative

Wayne Faircloth, the Republican state House candidate in Galveston, returned the barrage of fire he has taken as an “insurance salesman” on Wednesday by launching a television advertisement that calls his opponent too close with “trial lawyers.” In the 30-second spot, titled “Criss Crisis”, Faircloth notes that an overwhelming percentage of Criss’ donatios have come from trial lawyers, including over $200,000 in the most recent campaign finance filing from Democratic megadonors and trial lawyers Steve and Amber Mostyn.

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Houston Chronicle - October 22, 2014

Davis says ‘I’ve never backed away from President Obama’

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis denied Wednesday afternoon she has distanced herself from Barack Obama as she closes in on Election Day, saying she’d be “thrilled” if the president joined her on the campaign trail. “I’ve never backed away from President Obama,” Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth, told reporters after an Austin get-out-the-vote event, citing her meeting with him while he was in town earlier this year. She said she used that encounter to share concerns with him about Texas’ strict voter ID law, which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Saturday can stay in place for the upcoming elections.

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Houston Chronicle - October 22, 2014

‘Moderate’ is a fighting word in west Texas U.S. House race

The ad war is anything but moderate in Texas’ only truly competitive congressional race between Democratic incumbent Pete Gallego and Republican challenger Will Hurd. The Hurd campaign cried foul Wednesday over Gallego’s latest 30-second spot, which touts his “moderate” voting record. “The bottom line is that he votes with Nancy Pelosi 71 percent of the time and with his party 80 percent of the time,” said Hurd spokeswoman Valerie Chicola. “No matter how many ways he tries to spin it – the facts are there.”

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Houston Chronicle - October 22, 2014

Davis TV ad again hits Abbott over education cuts

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is out with a new TV ad in which she directly faces the viewer and questions whether Republican opponent Greg Abbott would give students the same opportunities she had while working toward a college education. Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth, opens the 30-second spot by invoking her own life story, saying education led her from “a life of struggle to one filled with hope.” She then brings up a regular attack against Abbott, the attorney general: his defense of $5.4 billion in state budget cuts to education the Legislature made in 2011 but partially restored in 2013.

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Houston Chronicle - October 22, 2014

Ugly campaign in District 149 turns uglier with alleged assault

The rough-and-tumble campaign for state representative in District 149 escalated as police arrested a campaign supporter for Republican candidate Al Hoang for allegedly threatening his opponent’s supporter with a boxcutter. On Monday afternoon, a Hoang campaign volunteer, Peter Vo, reportedly brandished a boxcutter at an early voting location and cut through a banner that called Hoang a Communist. That’s quite the insult in this southwest Houston district, which is slightly under 20 percent Vietnamese. The campaigns have accused each other of not being sufficiently anti-Communist.

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Dallas Morning News - October 22, 2014

Infectious disease task force to hold first public meeting Thursday

The state’s infectious disease task force meets for the first time in public Thursday at the Capitol to continue discussing its recommendations for how the state should deal with infectious diseases. Among the topics up for discussion are how waste should be handled, the protective gear needed for healthcare workers, hospital preparedness and innovations in quickly identifying contagious diseases. Recommendations from the task force could be used to create state protocols to have in place when a infectious disease is identified.

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Dallas Morning News - October 22, 2014

Texas judicial nominees could get Senate committee vote in November

A Senate committee could vote as early as Nov. 13 on three nominees for lifetime appointments as federal judges in Texas. That’s the final step before the full Senate decides whether to confirm U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman of San Antonio, Texarkana lawyer Robert Schroeder III, and Sherman Magistrate Judge Amos Mazzant III. Unless Republicans object, the Judiciary Committee plans to hold the vote when it meets for the first time after the November elections. Under Senate rules, any committee member can postpone the vote by one week.

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Dallas Morning News - October 22, 2014

DMN: Ending the payday lending cycle

Each time we editorialize about the dangers of payday lending, we can count on at least one letter to the editor asking whether we’d prefer to send distressed borrowers underground to some guy who might break their leg if the money isn’t repaid on time. Of course the answer is no. But paying 400 percent interest on loans that roll over and pile up debt faster than the odometer on your car isn’t exactly a safe financial route either. Innovative alternatives exist, including one with tremendous potential that just received state approval to come to Dallas.

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County Stories

Houston Chronicle - October 21, 2014

Majority oppose spending money to turn Astrodome into park

The plan to turn the Astrodome into the world’s largest indoor park is politically unpopular with Harris County voters if the transformation requires any taxpayer dollars, according to a new poll released this week. Fifty-one percent of those surveyed by KHOU/Houston Public Media said they opposed spending any public money to convert the stadium. The plan hatched by County Judge Ed Emmett could include both public and private dollars if approved, but the poll suggests that voters would only support something that is entirely privately funded.

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San Antonio Express News - October 22, 2014

Eva Longoria campaigns for Bexar DA candidate Nicholas Lahood on South Side

Actress Eva Longoria helped Democratic district attorney candidate Nicholas “Nico” LaHood attract a large number of enthusiastic supporters to a South Side shopping center on Wednesday afternoon. LaHood is challenging four-term Republican incumbent Susan Reed in the Nov. 4 election, and early voting is already underway.

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San Antonio Express News - October 21, 2014

Garcia: Reed's mailer introduces the politics of tattoos

Nothing contained in a political advertisement gets there by accident. Every word, every photo, every graphic element is carefully considered to maximize its intended impact. So when Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed recently sent out a campaign mailer featuring a picture of challenger Nico LaHood wearing a white sleeveless undershirt that reveals muscular arms covered in tattoos, she was trying to tell us something. For LaHood, the piece of his biography that never goes away is his 1994 arrest for selling 200 Ecstasy pills to an undercover cop at a strip club, with a handgun in his vehicle.

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Houston Chronicle - October 22, 2014

Police union attacks Ogg in DA's race; Anderson accused of making 'back-room' deals

The already intense race for Harris County district attorney became more heated Wednesday with the Houston Police Officer's Union attacking Democratic candidate Kim Ogg, saying that during her time at Crime Stoppers she violated the privacy of victims she was supposed to help support. The 5,300-member group is endorsing GOP incumbent Devon Anderson, who declined to comment about the attack, which included a radio ad that was released earlier in the day.

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Dallas Morning News - October 22, 2014

Revenue drops 25 percent at Presbyterian Dallas, ER visits decline 50 percent after Ebola case

Revenue declined by a quarter and emergency room visits dropped by half at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas over the first 20 days of October, according to new financial disclosures. Presbyterian Dallas admitted its first Ebola patient on Sept. 28 and, subsequently, two of the hospital’s nurses also contracted the disease. In the disclosure, filed Wednesday, Texas Health Resources, the parent of Presbyterian Dallas, said revenue declined $8.1 million, or 25.6 percent, in the October period compared to business over the first nine months of year.

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City Stories

Wichita Falls Times Record - October 19, 2014

Mills: Denton fracking ban may be unconstitutional

The good citizens of Denton will be voting on Nov. 4 whether or not to ban hydraulic fracturing. They have been told by former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Phillips the ban on fracturing is unconstitutional. “Under the Texas Constitution, I do not believe that a municipality may ban all oil and gas drilling within its borders,” former Chief Justice Phillips said during a hearing before the Denton City Council on July 15. He said the ban is incompatible with state law, and it amounts to a government taking of private property of many mineral interest owners and operators. All of this could lead to years of litigation with the city of Denton strapped with the cost of defending an unconstitutional act and government taking of private proper without just compensation.

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Texas Observer - October 22, 2014

The Curious Case of the Ebola Troll

Is a silly Photoshop prank the equivalent of yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater? The Frisco Police Department seemed to think so when officers took a high school jokester into custody in early October. The student’s crime? Trolling his fellow Friscoans for their gullibility, playing on their willingness to believe hyperbolic news reports generated by a 24-hour news cycle ravenous for speculation about Ebola’s recent arrival in nearby Dallas.

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National Stories

Dallas Morning News - October 22, 2014

Ted Cruz trying to help Senate candidates, but his role is limited

Sen. Ted Cruz will spend Saturday in Georgia pitching voters on David Perdue. That will bring to three the number of Senate nominees the Texas tea partier has clasped hands with this fall. Republican hopes to reclaim the Senate hinge on eight to 10 crucial races. Cruz, one of several senators eyeing the White House in 2016 and by far the most divisive in either party, has been doing his part. He’s sent checks to some candidates, raised money for others, and donated generously to the party’s Senate campaign arm.

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Washington Post - October 22, 2014

2014 will be the most expensive midterm election ever

The total price tag for the 2014 midterms -- an election which almost no one is paying attention to -- will be nearly $4 billion, according to projections released Wednesday by the Center for Responsive Politics. That would make it the most expensive midterm election in history and set the stage for a 2016 presidential contest that could approach double-digit billions in spending. The vast majority of that sum -- $2.7 billion -- will be spent by candidates and parties. (Republicans are expected to spend slightly more -- $1.92 billion to $1.76 billion.) But an additional $900 million will come from outside groups, a sum that rivals the $1.2 billion those organizations spent in the 2012 presidential cycle.

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The Hill - October 22, 2014

Paul Teller is Cruz’s agitator in chief

Like his boss, Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) new chief of staff, Paul Teller, has a reputation for being a troublemaker. And for many conservatives who want to challenge the GOP establishment and Washington’s status quo, that’s a good thing. Cruz elevated Teller to chief of staff last month, a swift ascent for an aide who has worked in the Senate for less than a year, but the transition makes perfect sense. Even before Cruz was giving Senate leaders headaches, Teller had rustled feathers on the House side for years as a senior aide on the Republican Study Committee (RSC).

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Politico - October 22, 2014

The GOP’s 2016 tech deficit

Here’s an early reality check for Republican White House hopefuls: The party doesn’t have enough tech experts to staff up a wide-open primary campaign. What the aspiring GOP candidates will need to mount a modern-day tech race are campaign veterans with a wide range of seasoned digital skill sets — for fighting TV admen over budgets, writing fundraising email copy that doesn’t go straight to the trash bin and in using data the right way to find potential donors and voters.

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Bloomberg - October 22, 2014

The Man Who Invented the Republican Internet

Vincent Harris, 26-year-old GOP digital savant, wheels his black 2014 BMW 381 away from the curb of my Austin hotel, Lana Del Ray blasting on the stereo. We’re on our way from Austin to Waco so he can teach a political science class at Baylor University—his alma mater—and he’s explaining the complexities of his personality, the ones that have made him a very rare creature, both coveted and controversial, in the Republican universe. He made his name by making Ted Cruz’s name in his longest-of-long-shots 2012 Senate primary race, as well as by working for a passel of other well-known conservative GOPers. But he presents as a well-heeled Austin hipster, and some of the things that come out of his mouth—he can’t stand Fox News, for instance—make him seem almost ... Democratic. Now Harris is involved in the seemingly oxymoronic activity of coolifying Mitch McConnell. Along the way, he’s issued some very public critiques of the way the rest of the GOP relates to tech, and to millennials.

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CNBC - October 22, 2014

Political ads flood Pandora before mid-terms

If you live in Florida and spend much time on Pandora's streaming service, chances are you're hearing a lot of "Rick Scott for Governor" commercials. How often depends on how much you like country music. Meanwhile, with the 2014 mid-term elections just two weeks away, Pandora fans in Arkansas and North Carolina are hearing plenty about their states' U.S. Senate races. In an era of data-driven marketing and money rapidly shifting from old media to the Web, few companies are as favorably situated as Pandora is to take advantage of the transition, particularly when it comes to the advertising dollars that flood U.S. elections. According to consulting firm Borrell Associates, political ad spending this year will reach $8.3 billion, with half of that coming in August, September and October.

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Politico - October 22, 2014

Confessions of a Rogue Fundraiser

he drive along Interstate 40 from Vegas to D.C. snakes through some of the most fascinating territory in the country. The southwestern desert scenery is unreal, and the towns dotting the highway scream classic Americana. The trip gave me a few days to roll the windows down, smoke cigarette after cigarette and take stock of my life and my career. The Big Texan Steak Ranch sits along I-40 in Amarillo, Texas, but billboards start advertising it every couple miles along the highway back in Arizona. At first, they’re confusing as hell, completely random. But then I realized that the billboards are slowly telling a story and advertising a free 72-ounce steak (if you can eat it within the hour). They go on for miles and miles, hours away from the place. If you’re driving by yourself and thinking about life, it’s a welcome distraction. When I pulled into Amarillo, I couldn’t wait to stop.

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Politico - October 22, 2014

Lowry: The Poll Tax That Wasn’t

When the Supreme Court over the weekend rejected a petition to stop a Texas voter ID law from going into effect for the midterms, the left commenced its wailing and gnashing of teeth. In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called the law “purposely discriminatory,” and everyone piled in behind her with denunciations of the Lone Star State’s blatant racism. For the left, voter ID is tantamount to a poll tax. It is meant to suppress minority voters and is a last-gasp, unconstitutional scheme by the Republican Party to save itself by decisively shaping the electorate to its advantage. If all of this is true, the nation is

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Politico - October 22, 2014

If Democrats Lose, Blame These Guys

f Republicans capture control of the U.S. Senate, there will be many explanations for their victory: President Obama’s poor numbers, a great Senate map filled with attractive opportunities, a generally strong slate of candidates, the success of establishment-backed Republicans in primaries and others. But one of the biggest factors will have hardly anything to do with the national political climate or, really, the campaign as a whole. Five Democrats, all of whom are old enough to be eligible for Medicare, decided not to run for another term in the Senate. Their decisions, all announced before May 2013, are a huge but largely forgotten boon to GOP hopes.

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Associated Press - October 22, 2014

US gov't seeks supplies for immigration documents

The Homeland Security Department appears to be preparing for an increase in the number of immigrants living illegally in the country to apply for work permits after President Barack Obama announces his long-promised plans for executive actions on immigration reform later this year. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services confirmed to The Associated Press that it has published a draft contract proposal to buy the card stock needed to make work permits and Permanent Resident Cards, more commonly known as green cards. The proposal calls for providing material for at least 5 million cards a year, with as many as 9 million "during the initial period ... to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements." The contract calls for as many 34 million cards over five years.

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This article appeared on the Yahoo! News website


Washington Post - October 22, 2014

Evidence supports officer’s account of shooting in Ferguson

Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown fought for control of the officer’s gun, and Wilson fatally shot the unarmed teenager after he moved toward the officer as they faced off in the street, according to interviews, news accounts and the full report of the St. Louis County autopsy of Brown’s body. Because Wilson is white and Brown was black, the case has ignited intense debate over how police interact with African American men. But more than a half-dozen unnamed black witnesses have provided testimony to a St. Louis County grand jury that largely supports Wilson’s account of events of Aug. 9, according to several people familiar with the investigation who spoke with The Washington Post.

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Houston Chronicle - October 22, 2014

NASA silent on Smith request for information

On Aug. 27, Texas Republican Lamar Smith, chairman of the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee, wrote to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden asking for a status report on the new Space Launch System and Orion crew vehicle, key projects in returning the nation to preeminence in space. Other than a cursory acknowledgement that NASA received the letter, Smith got crickets. A September 10 committee deadline passed, and still no reply. So on Wednesday, Smith tried again, firing off a letter to NASA complaining that the agency has ignored a number of requests for information this year.

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Dallas Morning News - October 22, 2014

Leubsdorf: Supreme Court’s next move will reveal its true intent toward voting rights

The Obama White House won’t name a new attorney general or issue an executive order on immigration until after the Nov. 4 midterm elections. But other federal government branches are also delaying politically explosive decisions. Before going home to campaign, Congress sidetracked a number of divisive measures. So, too, has the Supreme Court. Recently, it allowed restrictive new voter laws requiring photo IDs to be used this year, including the controversial Texas measure a lower court just ruled unconstitutional and North Carolina and Ohio laws limiting early voting. But those rulings were short-term; its ultimate verdict on their legality is some months off.

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National Journal - October 22, 2014

Can Democrats Win a 'War on Women' Debate Against a Woman?

DES MOINES, Iowa — The night Joni Ernst won her party's nomination for Senate, she knew what was coming next. "Soon," she told supporters at her Republican victory party, "we'll be hearing about the 'war on women.' " Ernst, a state senator who served in Iraq as part of the Iowa National Guard, then fired a warning shot at Democrats. "I've been to war," she said. "I've seen the sacrifices our men and women in uniform make every day to defend our freedoms. If Democrats want to start throwing around a word like 'war,' they better be doing it to honor those men and women."

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New York Times - October 22, 2014

NYT: The Democratic Panic

After a few days of trying to ignore the question, Michelle Nunn, the Democratic candidate for the United States Senate in Georgia, acknowledged on Friday that she had voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. By this year’s standards, that’s pretty forthright, especially compared with Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat running for the Senate in Kentucky, who refuses to discuss her presidential vote. Only one Democratic Senate candidate this cycle has been willing to appear with the president on the stump: Gary Peters in Michigan. The others have spent months keeping their distance from Mr. Obama and some of his best policies. Even Ms. Nunn just started running a television ad complaining that an attack ad by her Republican opponent, David Perdue, featured a misleading photo of her and Mr. Obama. The photo was actually taken at an event honoring President George H.W. Bush, she said.

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Dallas Morning News - October 22, 2014

Ebola: President Obama speaks with Dallas healthcare workers

President Barack Obama today spoke with several “frontline healthcare workers” at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, including some who cared for Ebola patients. “The President thanked the healthcare workers for their unflagging dedication and for their tireless efforts to treat these patients despite the difficult conditions,” according to a White House aide. “More broadly, he also noted that our nation’s doctors, nurses, lab technicians, and other healthcare staff work long hours under stressful conditions, and are absolutely indispensable.”

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Copyright October 23, 2014, Harvey Kronberg, www.quorumreport.com, All rights are reserved