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Lead Stories

New York Times - October 19, 2014

Black Vote Seen as Last Hope for Democrats to Hold Senate

The confidential memo from a former pollster for President Obama contained a blunt warning for Democrats. Written this month with an eye toward Election Day, it predicted “crushing Democratic losses across the country” if the party did not do more to get black voters to the polls. “African-American surge voters came out in force in 2008 and 2012, but they are not well positioned to do so again in 2014,” Cornell Belcher, the pollster, wrote in the memo, dated Oct. 1. “In fact, over half aren’t even sure when the midterm elections are taking place.”

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Houston Chronicle - October 17, 2014

Ebola leaving little room for campaign politics

Statewide candidates took their biggest step yet Friday into the debate over how to stop the spread of Ebola, lending their voice to a story that has threatened to overshadow closing arguments to voters. To some political observers, the threat of the disease - centered on Dallas - has amounted to an October surprise, an unexpected issue competing for voters' attention at a crucial time. "Even though the candidates are still running ads, if you look at CNN or any of the major networks, the Ebola situation is dominating headlines," said Jason Casellas, a political science professor at the University of Houston. "When people are concerned about catching a potentially deadly disease, that's going to trump all."

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Dallas Morning News - October 19, 2014

Did Wendy Davis voter-registration efforts boost numbers in Texas? Survey says – not so much

Wendy Davis’ political blueprint depends in large part on an getting new voters registered, motivated and to the polls in the November governor’s race. Davis and allies at Battleground Texas promise an unprecedented voter-turnout program. Battleground Texas - which acts as Davis’ field operation - is the product of former Obama campaign operatives who are pledging to turn red-state Texas blue. My colleague Gromer Jeffers Jr. had a story Sunday about how both sides preparing for extensive voter outreach. Getting new voters begins with registering new people. When the secretary of state last week announced a record-high 14 million Texans are registered to vote, Battleground Texas trumpeted that number as evidence their efforts are working. Not so much, it turns out, according to the actual numbers.

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KHOU - October 19, 2014

Abbott, Patrick command big leads in KHOU – Houston Public Media Poll

As early voters head to the polls for a landmark election in Texas, a new survey conducted for KHOU-TV and Houston Public Media shows Republican Greg Abbott with a commanding lead over Democrat Wendy Davis in the race for governor. Abbott's supported by 47 percent of likely voters surveyed for the poll, compared to Davis' 32 percent. Another 15 percent were undecided. Green Party candidates Brandon Parmer carried 1.4 percent and Libertarian Kathie Glass .7 percent. About 2 percent of surveyed voters wouldn't say who they're supporting.

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State Stories

Washington Post - October 19, 2014

Greg Abbott ‘disappointed’ by Wendy Davis’s wheelchair ad

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) says he is “disappointed” in an attack advertisement run by his opponent, state Sen. Wendy Davis (D), that some have criticized as insensitive. The advertisement, sponsored by Davis, attacks Abbott for trying to limit the amount of damages that plaintiffs can receive in personal injury lawsuits, after Abbott himself won a multi-million dollar settlement from an insurance company. The ad begins with a shot of an empty wheelchair; Abbott has used a wheelchair since being paralyzed in a freak accident in 1984, when he was struck by a falling tree while jogging.

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Dallas Morning News - October 18, 2014

Slater: Davis ad focused on Abbott’s wheelchair raises legitimate questions

Wendy Davis sparked a political firestorm with her TV ad focused on GOP opponent Greg Abbott’s wheelchair. Abbott’s allies cried foul. He declared himself a victim. And his campaign asserted that the 30-second TV spot was out of bounds in the race for governor. Texas politics has long been more fistfight than tea party. The Republican nominee against Ann Richards in 1990 threatened to “head her and hoof her and drag her through the dirt.”

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Houston Chronicle - October 19, 2014

Roundup: Newspaper endorsements in statewide races

With early voting starting Monday, many newspapers rolled out their endorsements in statewide races over the weekend. This is how the newspapers’ editorial boards stood as of Sunday morning: Governor Greg Abbott (R): Beaumont Enterprise, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Tyler Morning Telegraph.

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Austin American Statesman - October 19, 2014

PolitiFact: Abbott received donation, played role in hospital case

Davis said that weeks “after accepting a quarter-million-dollar campaign contribution” from a hospital board chairman, Abbott went to court against victims of a drug-taking neurosurgeon. Davis’ statement needs clarification – that Abbott’s intervention was limited to defending the constitutionality of Texas’ tort-reform laws. That makes this statement Mostly True.

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Ft. Worth Star Telegram - October 19, 2014

FWST: For governor, Abbott holds promise

It's been 24 years since Texans last voted for their top state leader without one of the candidates having the tie of incumbency on the Governor's Mansion. Two very different choices await them on the Nov. 4 ballot. Both Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, 56, and his Democrat opponent Sen. Wendy Davis, 51, are worthy candidates. Both have a history of service in state government that equips them with relevant skills and experience. But both have blemishes. Ultimately, the race must hinge on leadership.

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Houston Chronicle - October 19, 2014

Faircloth touts experience in first advertisement in Galveston

Wayne Faircloth, the Republican candidate running in perhaps Texas’ tightest legislative race this fall in Galveston, has launched his first television advertisement in which he touts his business experience and introduces his life story to voters. Faircloth faces Democrat Susan Criss in House District 23, an open seat contest for a district that used to be represented by a Democrat but is slowly trending Republican. Criss has been on the air for three weeks and has raised large sums of money, mostly from fellow trial lawyers. Her ad criticized Faircloth as an insurance agent and said he took advantage of downtrodden Gulf Coasters after Hurricane Ike hit the region in September 2008.

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Texas Tribune - October 20, 2014

Ramsey: Behind Voter ID, Federal Pre-Clearance

Strange things show up in the footnotes of federal court rulings. Consider this one in a ruling by a federal judge in Corpus Christi, that the state’s voter photo ID law is unconstitutional: “The Texas Legislature did not vote to ratify the 24th Amendment’s abolition of the poll tax until the 2009 legislative session,” and “the process has not been completed and the measure last went to the Secretary of State.” That came up early in an excoriating 147-page ruling from U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos that the state’s voter photo ID law, also known as Senate Bill 14, “creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose. The Court further holds that SB 14 constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax.”

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El Paso Times - October 19, 2014

US Rep. Pete Gallego, Republican Will Hurd locked in tight Lower Valley race

The congressional race to represent a portion of the Lower Valley, and a large part of West Texas, is so close that the experts don't agree who will win. Early voting starts Monday and runs through Oct. 31. Election Day is Nov. 4. The contest to represent Congressional District 23 pits freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego against Republican challenger Will Hurd. The seat flipped between the two parties in the 2010 and 2012 elections.

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Politico - October 20, 2014

Wendy Davis and the ever-longer odds

The closer Wendy Davis gets to Election Day, the more of a longshot her bid for governor seems. Her hometown newspaper endorsed her opponent in the Texas race over the weekend. The Supreme Court’s decision to allow for a voter identification requirement has Democrats here even more worried about turnout. And in Texas political circles, the question is not whether Davis will lose, but by how much. On Sunday, Davis appeared to acknowledge that dynamic as she spent a frenzied afternoon seeking to rally her base.

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Houston Chronicle - October 19, 2014

Former CEO stars in Abbott Web ad targeting women

Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina touts Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott’s business credentials in a new Web ad aimed at female voters. “Here in Texas, things are working for a whole lot of people because we know that everyone has potential,” Fiorina tells viewers in the 30-second spot. “I think when barriers are taken out of your way, women are going to succeed.” “One of the things I so appreciate about Greg Abbott is that he knows the highest calling of leadership is to unlock the potential of others,” Fiorina later adds. “That’s why he’s going to be a great governor of the state of Texas.”

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Ft. Worth Star Telegram - October 19, 2014

The race for Texas House District 91

Job growth, border security, state roads and education. These are among the top priorities of candidates hoping to represent House District 91 in the Legislature next year. "I have family and lifelong friends in the district and want to make a difference in the lives of the residents of HD 91 and Texas," said state Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, who is seeking a second term in office. "I want to keep HD 91 and Texas a great place to live, raise a family and work. Democrat David L. Ragan said he offers residents in the district a real change.

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Dallas Morning News - October 19, 2014

Will Obama help sink only endangered Texas congressman?

President Barack Obama isn’t on the ballot this fall — but he still could affect the most closely watched congressional race in Texas. The president’s unpopularity helps position Republican Will Hurd to unseat Democratic Rep. Pete Gallego in his vast western district, GOP strategists contend. Democrats say Gallego has established himself as independent of the White House. Across the country, 54 percent of voters disapprove of Obama, a new Gallup poll shows. Hurd, a former CIA operative, is working to capitalize on the sentiment.

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Dallas Morning News - October 19, 2014

Federal Hatch Act complaint surfaces in state House race

Rodney Anderson’s campaign has told federal investigators that his Democratic opponent for House District 105 is barred by law from campaigning, and should be fired from her day job for running. But as GOP mailers trumpeted the complaint before early voting starts Monday — “Did Susan Motley Violate Federal Law?” — lawyers from the last Republican White House defended the Democrat’s right to run. The claim centers on the Hatch Act, a federal law designed to keep some government officials out of politics. Backed by a Washington law firm, Anderson’s team argues that the Hatch Act also restricts Motley because she works for a private nonprofit that takes federal funds.

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Dallas Morning News - October 19, 2014

Texas congressional races run rich, but few in re-election fight

In Texas’ congressional races this fall, virtually every incumbent is expected to cruise to re-election. But that hasn’t stopped the lawmakers from collecting mounds of campaign cash. Already, 20 Texans in the U.S. House have taken in at least $1 million in the 2014 cycle. Seven are from the Dallas area. Though most face no serious opposition at the ballot box, Texans use their piles of money to donate to other congressional candidates and build clout within their parties. The intense focus on fundraising reflects a common Washington motto: Lawmakers must pay to play.

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Dallas Morning News - October 19, 2014

Voters poised to give TxDOT more money, but shortfalls persist

A state constitutional amendment is being sold as a way to give the revenue-strapped Texas Department of Transportation more money without raising taxes, issuing additional debt or building new toll roads. All three points are true. But even if Proposition 1 on next month’s ballot passes and voters send TxDOT up to $1.7 billion more a year, it won’t eliminate the need for some or all of those mechanisms. That’s because TxDOT is operating under a $5 billion annual shortfall as it tries to expand and maintain a massive transportation system that keeps pace with expected population growth. So even if the measure passes, TxDOT still faces about a $3.3 billion shortfall.

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Dallas Morning News - October 19, 2014

Candidates for Texas agriculture chief have deep roots on the farm

Daily chores included gathering eggs and milking cows. They started working young and didn’t let up. That was life on the farm, and it began in much the same way for the top contenders for state agriculture commissioner. Both candidates, born and raised on Texas farms, would say their entire lives have prepared them for the state’s top job in agriculture. Republican Sid Miller grew up in Comanche County. When he wasn’t in school, he was helping his brothers and sisters feed hogs, shear sheep and groom horses. As a boy, he set up a roadside stand to sell fruits and vegetables from the family farm. By sixth grade, he was selling the produce to a local grocery store.

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Dallas Morning News - October 19, 2014

DMN: Ready to get a look at bullet-train details

The words “bullet train” conjure images of sleek rail cars slicing through the Japanese or French countryside and, in a flash, vanishing into the horizon. Picture the same thing across Texas. People in the Dallas area will get that chance Tuesday, in the first detailed airing of a private company’s plans for 200-mph rail service linking downtown Dallas and Houston.

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San Antonio Express News - October 19, 2014

Early voting starts Monday; ID required

Twelve days of early voting for the Nov. 4 election start this morning, culminating months of training and preparation by Bexar County election officials and poll workers. The state's embattled law requiring photo identification to vote will be in effect. Although the law has been held unconstitutional, it remains in effect this election while appeals continue. Election workers will be prepared to guide the public through the voter ID confusion, said Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen.

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El Paso Times - October 20, 2014

Land commissioner race pits former El Paso Mayor John Cook against George P. Bush

The race for a lesser-known state office this fall will turn out a historic winner, regardless of which candidate prevails. Democrat John Cook and Republican George P. Bush are campaigning to be the next Texas land commissioner, whose General Land Office oversees state lands, mineral rights and coastlines, as well as a slew of other boards and commissions. Early voting begins today.

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San Antonio Express News - October 19, 2014

Fikac: Echo of past in ban on gay marriage?

A Republican attorney general candidate in Wisconsin was posed an intriguing question after saying he would have defended the state's gay marriage ban in court if he were in office because it would have been part of his job. The candidate, Brad Schimel, was asked whether he also would have defended an interracial marriage ban if he were attorney general in a state with such a law decades ago. Schimel said yes. “It might be distasteful to me,” Schimel said. “But ... I've got to stay consistent with that — as the state's lawyer, it's not my job to pick and choose.”

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Houston Chronicle - October 19, 2014

Fighting for every mile in a west Texas showdown

The sage bursts purple after an October rain in this vast expanse of Texas brush country, some of the most remote and hard-fought ground anywhere in this year's congressional elections. Stretching along some 500 miles of border land from San Antonio to El Paso, voters are as scattered as the stars in the desert sky, occupying unclaimed electoral space at the far reaches of American politics. In an era of gerrymandered districts where voters reliably vote Republican or Democrat, Texas' 23rd Congressional District fills a forgotten void, perhaps one of only a dozen districts in the nation that are truly up for grabs.

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Texas Tribune - October 20, 2014

First Wind, Now Gas: Tax Breaks Face Scrutiny

Susan Combs, the state comptroller, stirred controversy last month when she said Texas’ growing wind energy industry should “stand on its own two feet.” “Billions of dollars of tax credits and property tax limitations on new generation helped grow the industry, but today they give it an unfair market advantage over other power sources,” said Combs, a Republican, upon the release of a study meant to illustrate how energy policy affects Texans’ wallets.

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Austin American Statesman - October 18, 2014

For now, status quo winning fight over state’s power reserves

Three years ago, some experts warned that by 2014 Texas would be struggling to provide enough electricity for its residents because low wholesale electricity prices would discourage power companies from investing in new power plants. It didn’t turn out that way. Despite the low prices paid to generators, the state’s primary electricity grid, managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, is beginning to add new power generation.

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Dallas Morning News - October 17, 2014

Possible routes for Dallas-to-Houston high-speed train released

The routes being studied for a high-speed rail line that could move people from Dallas to Houston in 90 minutes were released late Friday. Maps detailing those possible alignments will be the focus of a public meeting Tuesday. A company called Texas Central High-Speed Rail is securing billions in private funding to build the line, which will be about 240 miles long. The company wants to end the line in or near downtown Dallas, though a specific terminus hasn’t been selected. Developers want it to easily tie into Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s light-rail network. Its decision could affect where DART puts a second downtown line, though that local agency doesn’t yet have funding for that long-awaited project.

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County Stories

Houston Chronicle - October 19, 2014

DA agrees to assist HISD in cheating investigations

The Houston school district has enlisted the assistance of the Harris County District Attorney's Office to combat educator-led test cheating after struggling in recent years to oust teachers accused of helping students pass the high-stakes exams. Superintendent Terry Grier said he met with District Attorney Devon Anderson late last week to discuss how her office could help, possibly using its power to issue subpoenas to compel testimony against educators cheating the system to benefit themselves financially.

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El Paso Times - October 19, 2014

Federal El Paso judge has recused himself from public corruption case

A federal judge in El Paso has recused himself from a public corruption case involving a local architect, court records show. Last month, U.S. District Judge Frank Montalvo issued an order removing himself from the case involving Lorenzo Hilario Aguilar, who in 2011 was indicted along with former El Paso County Judge Anthony Cobos on public corruption charges. "In conformity with existing ethical guidelines, the Court is of the opinion that it should recuse itself from this matter," Montalvo wrote in the order.

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City Stories

Dallas Morning News - October 19, 2014

Ebola isolation ending, but not fiancĂ©e’s grief

Relief was tempered by caution Sunday as the first Dallas-area residents exposed to the deadly Ebola virus emerged healthy from 21 days of seclusion. For Louise Troh, the relief was wrapped in mourning for her lost fiancĂ©, Thomas Eric Duncan, and their long-awaited wedding that never occurred. “We are so happy this is coming to an end, and we are grateful that none of us has shown any sign of illness,” Troh said in a written statement Sunday. “Our happiness is mixed with sadness at the same time. ... We have lost so much, but we have our lives and we have our faith in God, which always gives us hope.”

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Houston Chronicle - October 19, 2014

Falkenberg: Truth trumps outcry over sermon subpoenas

Imagine my surprise when, upon returning to town after a few days off the grid, I find the Wicked Lesbian Mayor of Houston has declared war on the Good Christian Preachers of Texas, going so far as to threaten their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and religion. According to the pastors, their legal counsel, and right-leaning "news" sites, Mayor Annise Parker took aim at Christian pastors who opposed her anti-discrimination ordinance by having their kitchen sinks subpoenaed last month, and their sermons to boot. The subpoena sought pastors' presentations in and out of the pulpit related to homosexuality, gender equity, and the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, among other things.

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Dallas Morning News - October 17, 2014

Mitchell: C’mon Fort Worth, get tougher with payday lenders

It has been encouraging to see cities across Texas step up to the challenge and enact legislation to make it tougher for payday lenders to charge outrageous rates to distressed borrowers who then are caught in a cycle of debt they can’t repay. Unfortunately, in North Texas, Irving, Fort Worth and Arlington haven’t exactly been leaders in this regard. I would like them to pass city laws based on Dallas’ landmark ordinances that have stopped the proliferation of payday lenders. They have not.

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Houston Chronicle - October 8, 2014

The city can address legal questions without heavy-handed tactics against church leaders.

Just when you thought your political leaders couldn't be more tone deaf than gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis with her now-infamous wheelchair ad, along comes Mayor Annise Parker and her city attorney, David Feldman. It surfaced Tuesday that Feldman, represented by one of Houston's highest-priced law firms, Susman Godfrey L.L.P., had dropped an Orwellian subpoena on a group of local ministers. He was demanding they hand over sermons and any other communications with congregants regarding Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance, the mayor, homosexuality and gender identity. Wednesday, Feldman narrowed the subpoena to communications regarding the petition process. But the damage was already done.

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National Stories

Bloomberg - October 19, 2014

Gun Lobby Turns Back on Senate Democratic Allies

Democratic Senators Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska split with their party last year to help Republicans stop a bill strengthening background checks for gun purchases. They’ve gotten no help in return from the nation’s largest gun lobby. With both lawmakers facing tough re-election fights, the National Rifle Association has spent $2.6 million supporting Pryor’s opponent and isn’t endorsing Begich, whose opposition to the gun bill came months after 20 schoolchildren were shot dead.

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Washington Post - October 19, 2014

Whither the tea party in 2016?

As the GOP approaches the 2016 presidential primaries -- which, we would remind folks, are set to begin in earnest in about three weeks -- the Republican field is about as wide open as it has ever been. The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Mitt Romney, who is not running (probably?), leading the field, with former Florida governor Jeb Bush in second place. As we've written before, though, the GOP hopefuls are so jumbled that the margin of error renders these kinds of polls pretty meaningless. Throw in Romney's non-candidacy, and they are even less revealing of anything. But one thing the polls do show right now is quite interesting, and that is that the tea party trails.

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Daily Beast - October 18, 2014

U.S. Humanitarian Aid Going to ISIS

While U.S. warplanes strike at the militants of the so-called Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq, truckloads of U.S. and Western aid has been flowing into territory controlled by the jihadists, assisting them to build their terror-inspiring “Caliphate.” The aid—mainly food and medical equipment—is meant for Syrians displaced from their hometowns, and for hungry civilians. It is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, European donors, and the United Nations. Whether it continues is now the subject of anguished debate among officials in Washington and European. The fear is that stopping aid would hurt innocent civilians and would be used for propaganda purposes by the militants, who would likely blame the West for added hardship.

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The Hill - October 19, 2014

Oil price falls and questions rise

U.S. energy policies came into sharp focus last week as the price of crude oil fell to a two-year low. The tumbling oil price has a real impact on Americans’ lives. The good: prices at the pump are at a historic low, dipping below $3 in some states. The bad: Stock market volatility hurts investors, raises questions about the robustness of the economic recovery and places severe pressure on domestic oil producers. Prices rebounded on Friday, holding above $80 a barrel. But that did not dull the questions about America’s ability to maintain the pace of the oil boom that has blossomed in recent years.

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Huffington Post - October 17, 2014

Belchetz: 4 Reasons This ER Physician Is Dead Scared of Our Ebola Response

Statistically, when it comes to more Ebola cases arriving in North America, the question is not if, but when. The CDC estimates that by January of 2015, there will be up to 1.4-million cases of Ebola in Western Africa. With over 100,000 residents here that hail from the affected countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, travel between our geographies is common, and often only one airport connection away. Ebola has an incubation period of up to 21 days before symptoms appear, meaning that those who are infected will often feel completely well, and therefore safe to travel here to visit friends and relatives. Thus, many patients, similar to what occurred in the case of Thomas Duncan in Dallas, will only manifest illness well after their arrival on our shores.

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Longview News Journal - October 19, 2014

Cruz urges Christian activism for tea party

The father of Texas’ firebrand Sen. Ted Cruz warned a tea party rally audience Saturday against being lazy when it comes to voting Nov. 4. “The problem is, we the people have become too complacent,” Rafael Cruz told about 120 people on the lawn of the Gregg County Courthouse. “It’s about time we became complacent no more.” Cruz headlined several speakers at the annual rally on the lawn, including U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert and Executive Director of Grassroots America JoAnn Fleming of Tyler.

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International Business Times - October 15, 2014

How A Dispute Over Tanker United Leadership Explains The Role Of Oil In The Fight Against ISIS

A ship filled with Kurdish oil that departed from Turkey recently, and stopped abruptly in the waters just south of Cyprus, may help explain a key aspect of the conflict that's pitting the Islamic State group against a U.S.-led coalition and pretty much every state in the region: access to oil and to the revenues it brings. The oil tanker could help steer events in Iraq in a completely new direction, pitting Iraqi military forces against each other and giving ISIS the upper hand militarily.

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New York Times - October 17, 2014

Good Luck Distinguishing Between Good Oligarchs and Bad Oligarchs

For Kat Taylor, who is married to the billionaire Tom Steyer, there is “the private empire,” and there is the Earth. As she explained in an eye-opening article by Jim Rutenberg in this Sunday’s New York Times magazine, the private empire is the dark world of the Kochs and other right-wing oligarchs, who are spending large fortunes on this year’s midterms to elect candidates to serve their personal and business interests. And then there is the Earth, which is everyone’s, and so it’s perfectly O.K. for her husband to spend as much as $50 million to elect candidates who care about the environment and want to reduce carbon emissions and slow down climate change. It’s a lovely, self-justifying fantasy, but it’s a classic example of good ends justifying very bad means, and it’s wrong.

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Midland Reporter Telegram - October 17, 2014

Texas, NM regulators detail concerns with EPA power plant rules

Regulators in Texas and New Mexico discussed Thursday the growing conflict between the federal and state governments. Their focus at the kick-off breakfast for the Permian Basin Petroleum Association’s annual meeting was power plant regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency to cut greenhouse gas emissions from existing power generation plants by 30 percent. The target date is 2030.

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Charlotte Observer - October 18, 2014

Tillis-Hagan showdown could be nation’s most expensive Senate race ever

From the Koch brothers and Art Pope to George Soros and Michael Bloomberg, wealthy donors are making North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race one of America’s first $100 million contests. Outside groups continue to flood the state with ads and accusations, forcing Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis to keep scrambling for dollars in the campaign’s final two weeks. Money spent or committed in the race is poised to top $103 million, according to public records and interviews with donors. Three-quarters of it comes from party and interest groups. More than $22 million is “dark money” from groups that don’t disclose their donors.

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The Hill - October 19, 2014

Cruz: 'Biggest mistake' in Ebola response is letting flights continue

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Sunday slammed President Obama for not instituting a travel ban on flights to and from West Africa. During an interview on CNN’s "State of Union" show, Cruz said the “biggest mistake that continues to be made is that we continue to allow open commercial air flights.” “We need to take a common-sense stand of suspending commercial air travel out of these countries,” Cruz said. “And for whatever reason, the Obama White House doesn’t want to.”

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Politico - October 19, 2014

How the Supreme Court Made a Mess of Our Voting System

lexis de Tocqueville famously observed in 1835, “Scarcely any political question arises in the United States that is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question.” That certainly describes the grand struggle over voting rights now unfolding in courtrooms across the country. And when it comes to who can vote and when, a clear message is hard to discern. In recent days, rulings, appeals and motions have pinballed around the system, with the U.S. Supreme Court answering emergency pleas, allowing some changes to take effect and temporarily blocking others, while key appeals head their way. The latest lurch: In a decision emailed out at 5 a.m. Saturday morning, the justices let Texas implement its controversial voter ID law, the nation’s strictest, just two days before early voting begins in the state.

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Politico - October 19, 2014

POLITICO poll: Democrats in danger over Ebola

Voters who intend to support Republicans in the most consequential Senate and House elections this November had significantly less confidence in the federal government’s response to the occurrence of Ebola, according to a new POLITICO poll. The survey underscores the dangers for Democrats in the midterms if the Obama administration is perceived as mishandling the government’s reaction to the virus. Only 43 percent of likely voters who chose the Republican candidate in battleground Senate states and House districts said they have “a lot” or “some” confidence that the U.S. “is doing everything possible to contain the spread of Ebola,” the poll shows. That compares to 81 percent of Democratic supporters who have at least some confidence in the government’s response.

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Copyright October 20, 2014, Harvey Kronberg, www.quorumreport.com, All rights are reserved