Friday, January 31, 2014

Harriet Tubman biography

Harriet Tubman Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story -

Harriet Tubman Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story -

Another Nevada Republican Leaves The GOP Posted: 01/31/2014 3:11 pm EST | Updated: 01/31/2014 3:59 pm EST

Ryan Zinke, GOP House Candidate, Calls Hillary Clinton The 'Anti-Christ' Posted: 01/31/2014 12:39 pm EST | Updated: 01/31/2014 3:59 pm EST

Surprise, Surprise: Mississippi Tea Party Spreads Lies About Common Core Posted: 01/31/2014 3:22 pm EST | Updated: 01/31/2014 3:59 pm EST Rebecca Klein Rebecca KleinBecome a fan

Thursday 6:00pm 14,793g322L A Bunch of Pro-Lifers Are Trying to Boycott Girl Scout Cookies KELLY FAIRCLOTH on JEZEBELGIRL SCOUTS

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'Women Get Paid Exactly What They're Worth' According to Fox News Host

SBOE Repeals Algebra II as Graduation Requirement

Algebra II is no longer among the courses that most students must take to graduate from Texas public schools after a nearly unanimous final vote from the State Board of Education on Friday. 

The 15-member board also approved two new high-level math courses students can take as an alternative: statistics and algebraic reasoning. Both will be designed — by local schools with the Texas Education Agency's guidance — to be as rigorous as algebra II. 

The final vote was 14-1, with only board member Martha Dominguez, D-El Paso, voting against repealing algebra II as a graduation requirement.

Dominguez said her vote reflected concerns that students who take algebra II are more successful in the Texas Success Initiative, a state-mandated program that measures students' success in college. 

In May, the Legislature unanimously passed House Bill 5, a sweeping overhaul of the state's high school curriculum, in part to allow more opportunities for career training for students who do not intend to attend college. The changes in the new law included dropping an existing requirement that all students take algebra II to graduate in favor of allowing their selection of diploma "endorsements" in a specialized areas like science and technology, business or humanities to determine which math courses they take.  

Widely debated as they passed through the Legislature, the new graduation requirements continued to be a hot topic as the State Board of Education set about deciding which courses students take to fulfill those endorsements. 

Leading up to the final vote, board members discussed whether the state Legislature had avoided the task of finalizing the details of new graduation requirements and passed on the responsibility to the board.

“HB 5 was not a perfect piece of legislation," said board member David Bradley, R-Beaumont. "Some would say and observed ... that rather than make some of the tough, controversial decisions, the Legislature ... just passed it down to us. [That was] probably a good political decision on their part."

Board member Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, said the Legislature's actions reflected an increased confidence in the board.

"That is why they allowed us to come in and do the hard work of filling in the details," Ratliff said. "I don't think they kicked the can or avoided a politically difficult discussion. They trusted us to do our jobs and represent our district."

In November, the board considered a proposal to include advanced math courses in all five new diploma plans, which came after opponents of the policy raised concerns about how the new graduation plans would affect the academic achievement of low-income and minority students. 

They backed away from that plan after the bill's authors, Senate Education Chairman Dan Patrick, R-Houston, and House Public Education Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, said including algebra II as a requirement would go against legislative intent, which was to reserve as much flexibility for local school districts as possible.

Several board members agreed that the new requirements allow local school districts and parents more control over course offerings. Other board members were worried the increased responsibility could be burdensome to school counselors.

Board member Mavis Best Knight, D-Dallas, asked whether the board could send the Legislature a letter encouraging them to appropriate additional funding to school districts for counselors "in light of the responsibility that will be put on them."

Board chairwoman Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, said the board would discuss the idea.

The change comes after Texas adopted what were among the country’s first college- and career-ready graduation standards in 2006, leading a growing national march toward advanced high school math requirements.

Since 2004, when Arkansas was the only other state with an algebra II requirement, 21 other states have adopted advanced algebra courses into their standards, according to data from Achieve, a nonprofit organization formed by governors, business leaders and corporate foundations to push high college preparation standards.

The changes in graduation requirements will become effective ahead of the 2014-15 school year so school districts can have time to plan the course offerings and "schedule students in courses appropriately." 

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

Sandra Fluke 'Strongly Considering' Run For Henry Waxman's Seat In Congress The Huffington Post | By Samantha Lachman Posted: 01/30/2014 4:28 pm EST | Updated: 01/31/2014 10:59 am EST

N.Y. / REGION Ex-Port Authority Official Says ‘Evidence Exists’ Christie Knew About Lane Closings By KATE ZERNIKEJAN. 31, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Despite ALEC claims, vouchers are no choice for students Posted January 30, 2014

GOP Senator: Pot Is Bad For You Because Lady Gaga Said So Posted: 01/29/2014 1:33 pm EST | Updated: 01/30/2014 3:59 pm EST Ryan J. ReillyBecome a fan

In Gubernatorial Race, Candidates Spend Big to Win Big

In a high-stakes election like this year’s gubernatorial race, fundraising is key if candidates want to be competitive. But raising heaps of cash isn't cheap.

Much of the attention surrounding last week's release of the candidates' latest campaign finance reports focused on which candidate added more money to his or her campaign coffer. But the leading GOP gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Greg Abbott, and his likely Democratic opponent, state Sen. Wendy Davis, also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars chasing down those dollars.

Abbott, who has the largest war chest in Texas state politics, reported raising $11.5 million in the second half of 2013, and he started the new year with $27 million in the bank, according to the latest campaign finance reports.

Davis’ haul during the same period included $8.7 million directly and another $3.5 million from the Texas Victory Fund, a joint fund that splits resources between her campaign and Battleground Texas, a Democratic group working to increase voter turnout and make Democrats competitive in the state. She reported a combined total of $12.2 million.

To generate those big dollars, both campaigns are relying on experienced fundraisers that have amassed large sums of campaign funds during presidential bids. And both are largely focusing their fundraising efforts online.

The Abbott campaign has tapped the Lauderback Group, the fundraising firm that helped raise money for Gov. Rick Perry’s failed 2012 presidential bid. More than $1 million of the Abbott campaign’s cash went to the firm in the second half of 2013.

Additionally, Abbott’s campaign has said it will rely heavily on online advertising and on a “digital grassroots army” to turn online support into real contributions.

For its online advertising and social media strategies, the campaign is using advertising agencies that Mitt Romney used during his failed 2012 presidential bid, including Targeted Victory, which received $480,748 from the campaign, and SRCP Media Inc., which received $96,550.

"Greg Abbott's message continues to resonate with Texans, as evidenced by the 97 percent of contributions coming from Texans in the latest fundraising report," Abbott spokesman Avdiel Huerta said of the campaign's fundraising efforts.

Davis has hired several former consultants to President Obama, including fundraisers who helped him raise a record-setting $193 million in his 2008 campaign and more than $1 billion in his 2012 re-election bid.

The Davis campaign spent $45,000 on fundraising consulting services through the D.C.-based Smoot Tewes Group, which was founded by two of Obama’s senior campaign architects. It spent $22,000 on fundraising support from former Obama fundraiser Lindsay Rachelefsky. More than $9,000 went to fundraising by ActBlue, a nonprofit organization that creates fundraising software that Democratic candidates can use to process donations online.

Davis spokesman Bo Delp attributed the campaign's final fundraising figure, in part, to online fundraising efforts. 

"Online fundraising helped Senator Davis raise $12.2 million, which was the result of 71,843 individual contributors," Delp said. "Wendy Davis also received contributions from all 254 Texas counties, and online fundraising helped make that happen."

The Abbott campaign has disputed the claim that Davis outraised him, calling the Democrat's reporting method "fuzzy math."

Additionally, the Davis campaign paid Well & Lighthouse, a consulting firm that assisted U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in his 2010 re-election campaign, to help with online and social media advertising, spending more than $440,700 since July — three months before Davis announced her candidacy.

While both campaigns tout their grassroots support, their bottom lines have also been boosted by the fact that Texas has no limit on individual contributions, giving candidates the ability to attract big-dollar donors.

Abbott reported receiving 25 six-figure donations in the last reporting period. Davis also received several six-figure contributions, but those were topped by an individual contribution of $1 million from an Austin doctor.

Still, the campaigns are keeping their attention online, and both candidates have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on digital consultants and strategists.

“Fundraising in a major campaign — a presidential campaign, a Senate campaign or a campaign for governor in a big state like Texas — is a huge drain on both time and resources,” said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University.

Jillson said he expects the final expenditures for each campaign to be significantly more than $30 million, which means a stable fundraising infrastructure is key to the success of both campaigns.

“It’s one of those things where you’ve got to spend money to raise money.” Jillson said.

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

Distractions & Reactions at the State of the Union


State of the Union The Daily Show

Jamelle Bouie POLITICS 01.30.14 Give Up on the House Majority, Democrats. It’s Not Happening There’s no way Democrats will take the House this year, so their best bet is to focus on keeping the Senate.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Budweiser Super Bowl XLVIII Commercial -- "Puppy Love"

More Border Apprehensions, but Spotlight Shifts From Mexico

U.S. Border Patrol agents last fiscal year apprehended about 57,500 more people attempting to cross into the United States illegally via the southern border than in 2012, according to data released this week by the agency.

The spike, however, is attributed mainly to an influx of immigrants coming from countries other than Mexico. Agency officials said in a statement that those immigrants were “predominantly individuals from Central America.” 

The federal government’s fiscal year runs from October to September. From October 2012 to September 2013, 117,667 Mexicans attempting to cross into the U.S. were apprehended in the Big Bend, Del Rio, El Paso (which includes the state of New Mexico), Laredo and Rio Grande Valley sectors of the U.S. Border Patrol — an increase of 13,360, or about 13 percent, from 2012.

But the number of apprehensions of immigrants from countries other than Mexico — which has fluctuated over the past decade — increased by 52,200, or 71 percent, in 2013. The Rio Grande Valley sector saw the largest increase, from about 50,000 in 2012 to 96,800 in 2013. The nation’s Southwest sectors, which also include California and Arizona, saw about 149,000 "other than Mexico" apprehensions in 2013, compared with about 153,000 nationally. During the 2012 fiscal year, about 94,500 such apprehensions were recorded on the Southern border and about 99,000 nationally. 

Analysts say the trend is likely to continue as Central American countries like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador grapple with violence and poor economic conditions. But the biggest factor contributing to the trend, they say, is the relatively young, workforce-ready population in those countries.

“For the last 20 years, birth rates have fallen in Mexico, so that there are a lot fewer people entering the labor market, and that’s less true in El Salvador and much less true in Guatemala and Honduras,” said Marc Rosenblum, a senior policy analyst at the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank. 

“In terms of what the economy is doing, Mexico has done a better job of generating jobs for people in the labor market than the Central American countries have,” he said. 

Mexico is in the middle of major reforms that include changes to its tax structure and education policies. The country is also overhauling the state-owned oil monopoly PEMEX and is finalizing how it will allow for private investment in the petroleum giant.

Analysts say the changes could bolster the steadily growing economy and keep more would-be immigrants — authorized or not — home. According to the World Bank, the gross domestic product of Mexico — which boasts the second-largest economy in Latin America — grew 3.8 percent in 2012, but its inflation rate went up 4.1 percent. Honduras' GDP grew 3.9 percent in 2012, while its inflation rate grew 5.2 percent. The GDPs of El Salvador and Guatemala grew 1.9 percent and 3 percent, respectively, with inflation increases of 1.7 percent and 3.8 percent.

The increases in apprehensions will likely be used as a talking point as the U.S. Congress prepares to debate how to overhaul the country’s immigration system. There are roughly 11.5 undocumented immigrants in the country, and the latest estimates from the Pew Research Center say that about 1.7 million live in Texas. Proponents of immigration reform may say the increase in apprehensions means that the Border Patrol is doing a better job of securing the border, while opponents may argue that more apprehensions indicates that more people are getting through.

Rosenblum said the figures don't prove either argument.

“Historically, we’ve looked at the number of apprehensions as a good proxy for the number of illegal migrants making it through,” he said. “That’s never a perfect indicator, because with that rise, we don’t know if that’s more attempts or a better success rate by the [Department of Homeland Security].”  

The U.S. government attributes the increase in apprehensions to additional resources at the southern border, including more drone flights.

“CBP continues to deploy proven, effective surveillance technology tailored to operational requirements along the highest trafficked areas of the Southwest Border,” CBP officials said in a statement. “CBP’s air assets, including the Unmanned Aircraft Systems and P-3 programs, flew more than 61,000 hours in enforcement missions combined in FY 2013.”

Others might blame the increase on Mexico for failing to secure its border with Central America. But the highly publicized kidnappings and murder of Central American migrants in Mexico has caused officials there to ramp up their law enforcement efforts.

“Mexico has put a lot of resources in place at the southern border,” Rosenblum said. “It’s still not on a scale of what the U.S. does, and I think there’s probably historically been more of a problem with corruption and some problems with Mexican enforcement. [But] I think there’s been some pressure and some real progress in addressing that.” 

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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

Post-abortion backup doctors could be publicly named under bill By Barb Berggoetz, 7:20 p.m. EST January 29, 2014

Wendy Davis Interactive Poll « CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Wendy Davis Interactive Poll « CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

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BREAKING: Human Rights Campaign endorses Democrat Wendy Davis for Texas governor

BREAKING: Human Rights Campaign endorses Democrat Wendy Davis for Texas governor

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Barney I Love You Song [Best Original HQ]

Barney I Love You Song [Best Original HQ]

Watch the Republican Response to the 2014 State of the Union

President Obama pays tribute to injured soldier Cory Remsburg during State of the Union PBS NewsHour

School Closings - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

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Davis Says Critics Picked on "Wrong Texas Gal" by Jay Root Jan. 28, 2014

Davis Says Critics Picked on "Wrong Texas Gal"

Saying she’d “had enough,” state Sen. Wendy Davis unloaded on Attorney General Greg Abbott on Tuesday night, blaming him and his allies for waging a smear campaign against her family and warning he had picked a fight with the “wrong Texas gal.”

Abbott's campaign could not immediately be reached for comment. A day after the publication of a Dallas Morning News story questioning some of the details her personal story, Abbott campaign spokesman Matt Hirsch said Davis had “systematically, intentionally and repeatedly deceived Texans for years about her background, yet she expects voters to indulge her fanciful narrative.”

Davis' remarks on Tuesday night were the most direct, personal and sustained criticism the Democratic candidate for governor has leveled at her expected Republican opponent so far.

“They know they can’t defend their public record,” Davis said of the attorney general and his allies, according to written copy of her speech handed out in advance. “So they’re attacking my private life.”

Davis was speaking at a boisterous, sold-out fundraiser for the Travis County Democratic Party, serving as keynote speaker at the Johnson-Bentsen-Richards dinner at the tony Four Seasons hotel in downtown Austin.

Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth, rose to prominence last summer after waging an 11-hour filibuster against a restrictive abortion bill. A few weeks later she announced she was running for governor. Her celebrity helped her rake in millions and raised Democratic hopes that the party can win statewide office after nearly two decades in the wilderness.

But for the last 10 days her campaign has been rocked by criticism about the way she characterized her early biography, which stressed her struggles as a single mother. Davis acknowledged she got a couple of details wrong, in particular the age at which she and her first husband divorced. It was 21, not 19, as she had previously stated. 

On Tuesday night, Davis attempted to forcefully reclaim that narrative while criticizing Abbott on a range of policy issues and promising to change the direction of Texas, where Republicans control every statewide office and both houses of the Legislature.

“This is all happening for one simple reason,” Davis said. “Greg Abbott and his allies have had a stranglehold on power in this state for two decades and they want to keep it. But now they’re hearing all those voices they have shut out and silenced for so long.”

Davis said she had a message for her opponents: “You can attack my record. You can challenge my ideas. You can play holier-than-thou with my life story,” she said. “But I draw the line when it comes to lying about my family.”

She said her detractors had “mangled the story of my life” by suggesting that she had abandoned her children to attend Harvard Law School and, later, had somehow lost custody of her children.

“I never gave up custody of my children. I never lost custody of my children,” she said. “And to say otherwise is an absolute lie.”

According to divorce records, she and her husband were granted “joint conservatorship” of her minor child, Dru, who was a teenager at the time. She continued to live with her father, Jeff Davis, in the house the couple had shared. Wendy Davis moved into an apartment and paid child support after her second divorce was final in 2005, records show.

In the Harvard years, Davis said her children lived with her the first semester but they realized it was best for them to return home to be with their friends, family and Wendy Davis’s mother, who acted as a caregiver. 

But she returned home often and said her daughters “have been at the center of my life since the moment theirs began and they will be at the center of my life until the moment it ends.”

Davis and her husband both said last summer that Jeff Davis had cashed in his 401K to help pay for her education at Harvard. But it has only been in recent days, after publication of the Dallas Morning News story, that critics have seized on his support for her education.

On the campaign trail the Fort Worth senator has talked a lot about the financial aid she got to attend college but did not stress her former husband’s help in campaign biographies. She did that Tuesday evening.

“My former husband was generous and supportive when it came to my education,” Davis said. “The truth is that this was a family effort from beginning to end … I will always be grateful to Jeff for that partnership.”

Apart from addressing the biography flap, Davis offered a preview of the policy fights with Abbott in the race for governor.

She said he would do nothing to stop “predatory” lenders, opposed taking billions of dollars in federal aid for health care, was fighting in state court to defend state cuts to education and wanted to ensure “the fat cats keep getting fatter.”

At the dinner Cecile Richards, the daughter of former Gov. Ann Richards, predicted Wendy Davis was about to "repeat history" by becoming the first Democratic governor since her mother was elected in 1990. 

Davis said she would fight to make that happen.

“Greg Abbott and his folks have picked a fight with the wrong Texas gal if they think I’ll shrink from working to fight for a just and right future for all Texans,” she said. “I’ll keep fighting hard — no matter what the other side throws at me.”

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

2014 SOTU Drinking Game

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Wendy Davis' Daughters Tell Conservative Critics to Back the Hell Off ADAM WEINSTEIN on GAWKERPOLITICS

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Davis' Daughters Fire Back at Critics of Their Mother

State Sen. Wendy Davis’ daughters are weighing in on the controversy surrounding the details of her early biography, saying the Democratic candidate for governor had been subjected to malicious and ludicrous attacks.

In open letters released Tuesday, Amber and Dru Davis said their mother indeed struggled as a single mother but still managed to participate fully in their lives. Dru Davis, who was a toddler when Wendy Davis attended Harvard Law School, called the Fort Worth senator a remarkable mother and role model.

“I hate that I feel the need to write this, but I have been reading and hearing so many untrue things about my mom and I want to set the record straight,” said Dru Davis, now 25. “And sadly I feel the need to be crystal clear on the malicious and false charge of abandonment as nothing could be further from the truth.  My mom has always shared equally in the care and custody of my sister and me.”

Last week the campaign of Davis’ expected Republican opponent, Attorney general Greg Abbott, accused Davis of intentionally misleading voters about her background as a single mother. The charge followed the publication of a story in The Dallas Morning News questioning some of the details in her up-from-the-bootstraps campaign narrative.

Messages left with the Abbott campaign were not immediately returned Tuesday afternoon.

Davis and her campaign acknowledged that she had turned 21 when her divorce from her first husband became final, even though she and her campaign’s biographical materials had said she was 19 at the time. Davis was separated, but not yet divorced, and lived alone with her daughter Amber as a single mother at age 19, her campaign said.

In the early 1990s, Davis went to Harvard Law School. At first the girls went to live with her, but for the last two years they stayed in Fort Worth. The Davis campaign has said her mother, Ginger Cornstubble, helped care for her daughters along with her husband, Jeff Davis. Wendy and Jeff Davis later divorced.

Conservative bloggers and commentators have cited the time Wendy Davis spent at Harvard as proof that she “abandoned” her daughters. But in their open letters, Dru and Amber Davis called that an unfair characterization. 

“Yes, she went to law school after my sister and I were born.  We lived with her the first semester, but I had severe asthma and the weather there wasn't good for me,” Dru Davis wrote. “My parents made a decision for my sister and me to stay in Texas while my mom kept going to school.  But that doesn't mean she wasn't there for us.  She traveled back and forth all the time, missing so many classes so that she could be with us.”

Amber Davis, 31, who has appeared in ads for her mom's campaign, said in her open letter that she felt compelled to speak out after reading “ludicrous” comments on social media about her and her family.

“It is a shame that those who don’t know us feel the need to comment on the details of our lives as if they've lived them,” she said.

“Yes, we lived in a trailer,” Amber Davis added, tackling questions raised about that part of the Wendy Davis narrative. “Does it matter how long? Not to me.”

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

Glenn Beck: TX Gubernatorial Race

Laura Bassett Laura BassettBecome a fan Louisiana Changes Bizarre New Abortion Rules After People Notice Them Posted: 01/28/2014 9:46 am EST | Updated: 01/28/2014 9:59 am EST

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Can Lt. Gov. Candidates Go Too Far on Abortion?

Though it’s hard to envision given the tone of the Texas Republican Party’s primary contests so far, the GOP candidates for lieutenant governor lurched even farther right in Monday night’s debate in their collective rejection of access to abortion in instances of rape.

While defenders of abortion rights might be tempted to dismiss the candidates’ support for childbirth after rape as another sign of alleged misogyny in the Texas GOP, a plurality of Republicans surveyed in the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll have consistently supported permitting abortion in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the woman’s life — 41 percent in the October 2013 poll, and this after a summer of highly partisan public conflict over abortion legislation.  

In that same survey, only 16 percent of Republicans (compared to 12 percent of Texans overall) said that abortion should never be permitted. This was on the low end of the typical GOP embrace of the prohibitionist position, which has fluctuated between 14 and 27 percent over the life of the poll, with the usual reading in the low 20s.

Allowing abortion only in the case of rape, incest or threat to the woman’s life has consistently been the most common GOP position, typically supported by just over 40 percent of Republicans. Support for the most permissive position on abortion was 19 percent among Republican voters in the October 2013 poll, also in a range consistent with previous results.

Overall, 78 percent of Texas Republicans believed that there were some situations in which abortion should be accessible. Each and every candidate dismissed even the most restrictive version of this position in Monday night’s debate. (Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst seemed to suggest he would have concerns about the life of the mother if she were his wife in such a situation, though he was unclear how these feelings translate into his policy position.)

The belief that pregnant rape victims should be required to bring their pregnancies to term, evident on the debate stage, seems to be more about positioning in the Republican primary than a careful reading of public opinion. And while the Tea Party remains the easy scapegoat for the GOP’s rightward push, in this case at least, our polling shows that only 13 percent of Tea Party Republicans support a complete prohibition on the procedure.

Monday night’s strenuous efforts to appear the most conservative on any and every issue seems symptomatic of the mixture of ambition and groupthink that has come to characterize much of the GOP lieutenant governor’s race. In the heat of a primary, it’s easy to imagine how the candidates might perceive opposition to abortion in the most dire of circumstances. But in this case, it’s also hard not to look at the debate as a shift hard to the right by four men already hanging close to the edge.

Democrats’ disgust at the rape discussion probably turned to optimism about the potential political ramifications. With two female candidates topping the Democratic ticket, both intimately tied to abortion access, having four men in the highest-profile primary on the right gift them another instance of the “war on women” might have been a pleasant surprise. In terms of politics and public opinion, some ways of discussing abortion play to Republicans’ advantage, and others to the Democrats’.

It’s also worth noting that, once again, the rhetorical extremes of the lieutenant governor’s race threaten to haunt Attorney General Greg Abbott’s efforts to begin his general election campaign for governor. Just as he was in no hurry to talk about in-state tuition for the children of undocumented immigrants after it popped up in the other race, the Abbott campaign can’t be eager to have people asking, “What’s Greg Abbott’s position on exceptions again?” Like whoever makes it out of the GOP lieutenant governor primary, Abbott still enjoys significant advantages vis-a-vis the Democratic candidates come November. But the rhetoric in Monday night’s debate seems to have edged farther right than even the Texas GOP’s comfort zone.

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

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Monday, January 27, 2014

The Texas Debates: Race for Lieutenant Governor KERAPublicMedia KERAPublicMedia·

Help Stop H.R.7 - NARAL Pro-Choice America

Help Stop H.R.7 - NARAL Pro-Choice America

From email: The Center for Critical Race Studies at the University of Houston-Downtown is an interdisciplinary academic unit committed to teaching, research and community engagement. UHD’s Center for Critical Race Studies produces knowledge to transform lives and work towards social justice. The Center serves students, the institution, and the community through teaching, research, the facilitation of public discourse, and the cultivation of social empowerment. It focuses on the interdisciplinary, academic study of how different forms of racism contribute to, develop, and maintain cultural, social, institutional, legal, and governmental power structures and the ways in which marginalization affects members of various and often intersecting populations. Our ultimate mission is to produce scholars/citizens who are equipped to critically, actively and effectively engage the issues confronting a technologically changing, postcolonial world. University of Houston-Downtown’s Center for Critical Race Studies (CCRS) is hosting its first Scholar-in-Residence, Dr. Brittney Cooper. This week-long event marks the inauguration of the Center for Critical Race Studies. Dr. Cooper is an Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Women’s Studies at Rutgers University. Her work focuses on Black women's intellectual history, Black feminist thought, and race and gender politics in hip hop and popular culture. Additionally, she is a public intellectual, social commentator, and co-founder of the Crunk Feminist Collective blog. On Thursday evening, January 30th 6:00 – 7:15 pm in the Robertson Auditorium, Dr. Cooper will give a public talk titled “When Blackness Was in Vogue: Intersectionality and Post-Racial Politics.” This event is expected to draw an audience from the Greater Houston area and increase recognition of UHD as an institution committed to social justice and progress. Following her talk, refreshments will be served in the Coffee House. Please come to enjoy this internationally recognized scholar on critical race studies intersectional political engagements in digital and popular media.

"Undue Burden" At Issue in Texas Abortion Case

As provisions of Texas' new abortion law await their fate at a federal appeals court, judges will have to decide whether the restrictions present an "undue burden" on women seeking the procedure.

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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

GOP leaders: Court erred in brain-dead pregnancy By PAUL J. WEBER, Associated Press | January 27, 2014 | Updated: January 27, 2014 10:00pm

EUROPE Shedding Light on a Vast Toll of Jews Killed Away From the Death Camps By ALISON SMALEJAN. 27, 2014

WATCH: Moscow's Jewish Museum marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Moscow's Jewish Museum Marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day The Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow held a candle-lighting ceremony on January 27 to observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day, established by the United Nations in 2005.

A 16-Year-Old Girl With Nowhere Else To Turn Trusted Them. But They Had Their Own Agenda. Melinda Clark Upworthy Lizz Winstead, co-creator of "The Daily Show," went through a pretty traumatic thing when she was 16. But instead of burying it, she shared her story.

Governor's Race Has Been a War Over Words

Maybe you thought the race for governor would be about gravel roads?

For the last week, it has instead been a public conversation about disability and divorce and, to some extent, an exercise in politically correct speech.

The leading characters in the contest — Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis — are not always the speakers in question. Others are doing some of the speaking for and about them: consultants, aides, supporters, social media gnats and the amplified trolls who always gather around partisan politics.

The governor’s seat is open for the first time in 14 years because of Rick Perry’s decision to move on down the road. Texas is solidly Republican, and a Democratic win would be a startling upset. But the Democrats are working furiously to rebuild — enough so that the Republican Party of Texas has been warning its members to take the minority party seriously.

It’s a high-profile, high-dollar contest. Abbott, the state’s attorney general, has built a strong base of Republican support — enough to scare away heavyweight primary competitors. Davis’ status stems from a dramatic Senate filibuster and debate over regulation of abortion and women’s health care that made her the favorite of a party that, unlike the Republicans, had no obvious candidate for the state’s top political job.

Assuming they win their respective primaries in March, the two candidates offer voters a clear choice between different ideas of what government should be doing and how it should work.

Perhaps that conversation comes later.

Right now, the contest is about Davis’ campaign biography, and whether it reflects her actual life. Several reports in the last few months — most recently and most prominently an article last week in The Dallas Morning News — have pointed to holes and discrepancies in her story. To cut this part short: Abbott's supporters accuse her of lying about her personal history, and she and her allies say the campaign version of her life story was correct, if unclear and incomplete. It’s complicated, and complicated in a way that has stretched her campaign’s ability to manage an early calamity.

It has also mutated into a debate over sexism. Revelations that Davis’ ex-husband had custody of their daughters while she worked on her education and career quickly led to a conversation about whether a male candidate with the same history would be facing the same questions or might be lauded for what he gave up to improve his family’s situation.

Score the points about historical fiction in Davis’ story as points in favor of Abbott, who would love to discredit his opponent for what his campaign called her “fanciful narrative.” When that conversation turns to sexism, the benefits probably accrue to Davis, who hopes to attract the support of women.

Uncomfortable yet?

Abbott lost the use of his legs in 1984 when a tree fell on him while he and a friend were jogging in Houston. He has been in several public offices since then — district judge, state Supreme Court justice, attorney general — but it is probably safe to say that many of the people who know of him do not know he uses a wheelchair.

He does not hide it — the story of his disability is a central part of his speeches and of his biographical commercials. That helps distance him, politically, from any perception that the wheels are some sign of weakness.

It also forces everyone talking about the race — including the participants, news outlets and the public — to watch what they say. Like this, from a Davis campaign news release last week: “I am proud of where I came from and I am proud of what I’ve been able to achieve through hard work and perseverance. And I guarantee you that anyone who tries to say otherwise hasn’t walked a day in my shoes.”

Abbott fans joined the umbrage on social media, accusing the Democrat of insensitivity and suggesting her campaign had, in fact, chosen its words carefully to demean him.

This skirmish foreshadows the rest of the campaign. Some things are clear. The partisans are fired up. On both sides, they’re looking for slights, and people looking for slights always manage to find them. Both campaigns want to exploit real and perceived weaknesses on the other side.

Everybody will have to mind their words.

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Unruly Mob Counter protest Project

Roe v. Wade anniversary brings thousands to Capitol by KVUE News / and Photojournalist JP Harrington

Abortion rally heats up at the Capitol

Abortion rally heats up at the Capitol

Abortion rally heats up at the Capitol

#BGTX Latino ELLProgram Guest: TX Sen. Leticia Van de Putte

Wednesday, January 22, 2014



Supreme Court decision bad for Texas Latinas | National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Supreme Court decision bad for Texas Latinas | National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Reversal of contraception coverage would hurt Latina health

Reversal of contraception coverage would hurt Latina health

Texas Spends Nearly $650,000 Defending Anti-Choice Laws Sharona Coutts by Sharona Coutts, Director of Investigations and Research, RH Reality Check January 21, 2014 - 3:20 pm

Eric Cantor Announces Anti-Choice House Vote at March for Life Adele M. Stan by Adele M. Stan, RH Reality Check January 22, 2014 - 6:46 pm

The Work Behind ‘Roe v. Wade’ Continues Joan Malin by Joan Malin, Planned Parenthood of New York City January 22, 2014 - 12:26 pm

Correcting False Reports: Eight Abortion Clinics Have Not Closed in Pennsylvania Since 2012 Tara Murtha by Tara Murtha January 22, 2014 - 4:34 pm

In Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, a Reproductive Health-Care Crisis Goes From Bad to Worse Andrea Grimes by Andrea Grimes, Senior Political Reporter, RH Reality Check January 22, 2014 - 9:13 am

As Roe v Wade Turns 41, a Stealth War Against Abortion Heats Up | What Matters Today, What We're Reading |

As Roe v Wade Turns 41, a Stealth War Against Abortion Heats Up | What Matters Today, What We're Reading |

Cop Who Violated Latinos' Rights Is Going To Jail The Huffington Post | Posted: 01/22/2014 3:02 pm EST | Updated: 01/22/2014 3:59 pm EST

Politicians And The Public Think Differently When It Comes To Abortion Posted: 01/22/2014 10:10 am EST Laura Bassett Laura BassettBecome a fan Emily Swanson Emily SwansonBecome a fan | Updated: 01/22/2014 4:59 pm EST

Texas Republican Defends Wendy Davis: 'Nobody Ever Talks About Men' This Way The Huffington Post | By Samantha Lachman Posted: 01/22/2014 1:04 pm EST | Updated: 01/22/2014 1:59 pm EST

Jury selection set to begin in fetus snatching trial By Staff updated 7:50 PM EST, Wed January 22, 2014 Comments 0 Share Email NEED TO KNOW Police say Julie Corey, 39, cut out her pregnant neighbor’s unborn child while the mother was still alive The 23-year-old mother died in the attack; Her baby was found unharmed at a homeless shelter with the suspect Jury selection is schedule to begin Thursday

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Children, teens blood pressures increasing

Children, teens blood pressures increasing

Top CIA official admits ‘minor’ abuses of NSA database [VIDEO] 11:43 AM 01/19/2014 Read more:

ome » CNSNews TV Jimmy Kimmel Savages ObamaCare and Uninformed Young People Who Support It January 15, 2014 - 10:58 AM - See more at:

The Cruelest Pregnancy JAN. 18, 2014 Frank Bruni SundayReview|OP-ED COLUMNIST

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Krauthammer: Obama’s NSA speech ’90 percent smoke and mirrors’ [VIDEO] 9:07 PM 01/17/2014 Read more:

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A message from Amanda... A message from Amanda Hernandez: I see my best friend-ivist, Dalea Lugo is at it relentlessly, to make sure we get gas help for our trip to Austin for Battleground Texas event, and our separate event The Unruly Mob: rally and march. We both don't have much, for varying circumstances, but we work hard to organize to get the vote out, and stay active in our community for liberal activism of all kinds. From the special sessions-which we went to Austin, from Houston and back 3 times total to give testimony or stand in solidarity, to Equal pay For Equal work riots on Black friday, to phone banking, to food bank volunteering, registering voters, and spreading the word for all these causes dear to our hearts. We do what we do because we believe in the value of organizing, giving back to the community, and the power of votes counting, and making the difference in our everyday lives, and even in votes saving lives who would be at a disadvantage on account of republican politicking. She is a teacher, activist, and good friend. And I am a stay at home parent and activist. We both are fired up and ready to go. But sometimes we need help, and so we ask please, if you can, we would be so grateful. *Amanda Hernandez, Director — with Dalea Lugo.
Rachel Maddow catches Chris Christie’s staff cheering on appointee who lied to lawmakers (via Raw Story )

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow showed correspondence on Friday suggesting that several members of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) staff and one member of his re-election team reacted supportively toward a Christie appointee’s testimony before lawmakers…


North Carolina Abortion Ultrasound Law Illegal, Judge Rules By EMERY P. DALESIO 01/17/14 05:34 PM ET EST AP

Friday, January 17, 2014

Federal judge strikes down NC's ultrasound abortion law, citing free speech BY ANNE BLYTHE AND CRAIG JARVIS cjarvis@newsobserver.comJanuary 17, 2014 Read more here:

Can you solve this grammatically incorrect, impossible Common Core question? 7:20 PM 01/16/2014 Read more:

Dalea Lugo Political Blogger:

Dalea Lugo Political Blogger:

Slap Fight in Governor's Race Over Fundraising

Usually when candidates for political office turn in their fundraising reports, it’s pretty clear who came out on top. Numbers don’t lie. 

But in the increasingly bitter race for Texas governor, a fight has broken out over who raised the most money, the identity and number of some of Democrat Wendy Davis’ small donors and the way she is accounting for her funds with three separate entities. 

Counting all three entities, Davis reported raising $12.2 million in the last half of 2013. And after adding previous balances and subtracting expenditures, she ended the year with about $9.5 million in the bank. Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott reported raising $11.5 million and, with a huge balance carried forward, rang in the New Year with $27 million accumulated for the race so far.

Since $12.2 million is more than $11.5 million, Democrats claimed victory.

“They said it couldn’t be done,” Davis wrote in a message to supporters from her Twitter account. “But we raised $12.2 million, $700,000 more than their $11.5, thanks to you!”

Not so fast, Republicans said. They say Davis is counting money that isn’t hers to spend, and using “fuzzy math” to inflate the fundraising total and generate positive media coverage. 

“The Wendy Davis campaign wants Texans to believe that her campaign exceeded their own fundraising goals and surpassed the fundraising efforts of our Republican Gubernatorial candidates,” GOP state chairman Steve Munisteri wrote on the party’s webpage. “The truth is that she fell short on both.”

There’s also a rub about the number of unique donors that Davis is citing for the period: more than 71,000, a staggeringly high figure and a legitimate bragging point for the Democrat. But many of them are not accounted for in the data at the Texas Ethics Commission, because under state disclosure rules only donations of $50 or greater have to be itemized.

In Davis’ case, there are just over 30,000 donations (including some by people who gave multiple times) listed in her reports. That means more than 40,000 of the 71,000 donors Davis is citing remain unitemized, so it’s impossible to know what city or state they’re from, what their names are or exactly how much they gave.

“Texans deserve to know who is funding Sen. Davis’ campaign,” said Abbott spokesman Matt Hirsch. “Why is Sen. Davis hiding the source of hundreds of thousands in contributions?” Abbott reported more than 11,000 donations and voluntarily itemized the ones that were under $50.

Davis spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña said the campaign followed reporting requirements, and she suggested that the Abbott campaign is raising a stink because the attorney general is worried about her strong fundraising numbers and support.

“Wendy Davis beat Greg Abbott — and it won’t be the last time,” Acuña said. “She raised more money from more contributors.” 

Lost in the back-and-forth, of course, is that Texans are witnessing a surprisingly competitive governor’s race in a state that isn’t exactly used to them.

By any measure, Davis turned in strong fundraising numbers — better than the performance of the last Democrat who ran for Texas governor, former Houston Mayor Bill White, at a similar point in his trajectory. The numbers give her a measure of credibility and legitimacy as a candidate for the state's highest office.

After rocketing to the political stratosphere with her filibuster against a restrictive abortion measure in June, the state senator from Fort Worth became an instant fundraising powerhouse — particularly with small donors who were willing to demonstrate their support by sending her $5, $10 or $20.

Once she announced her run for governor on Oct. 3, Davis began collecting big donations, too, including two rare $1 million contributions — one from an Austin doctor and the other from Houston trial lawyer Steve Mostyn, the state’s most prolific Democratic donor and Davis’ biggest benefactor by a long shot. (Abbott got $900,000 from the late Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons during the period, but the money was broken up into several donations.)

The $1 million donation Mostyn gave Davis went into a separate fund, known as the Texas Victory Committee. It was set up as a joint project between the Davis campaign and Battleground Texas, created by former field organizers for President Obama. Battleground Texas’ stated mission: register Democratic voters, turn them out in November of even-numbered years and again make the state hospitable for the party’s candidates, who haven’t won a statewide race since the mid 1990s. 

The Texas Victory Committee, according to the Davis campaign, is uniquely focused on getting the Fort Worth senator elected. According to high-placed Democratic operatives, it was created because some major donors wanted to make sure their money would support the kind of turnout infrastructure that Davis needs to win — but that would outlive any single candidacy, including hers.

In a statement released by the Davis campaign, the victory committee’s treasurer, Aimee Boone, said, “The Texas Victory Committee was created to support the Wendy R. Davis Campaign and Battleground Texas to elect Wendy Davis for Governor in 2014 and to build a lasting grassroots infrastructure for candidates statewide."

All told, Davis in the second half of 2013 year raised at least $8.7 million that she alone controls — $4.5 million for Wendy R. Davis for Governor, Inc. and $4.2 million for the Wendy R. Davis account she created when she was a candidate for the state Senate. Davis used the Senate committee as as her primary fundraising vehicle until announcing her race for governor in October.

Another $3.5 million went into the Texas Victory Committee, money the Davis campaign cites as part of its overall number for the last six months of 2013. That's how they get to $12.2 million.

At the least, Republicans say, Davis should count no more than half of the joint committee's proceeds since her campaign splits the resources with Battleground. That would reduce Davis’ haul to $10.5 million, or $1 million less than what Abbott raised.

The GOP also has its own, Battleground-like operation funded by the state party, designed to pump up turnout in November. So if Davis counts the whole allotment from the Texas Victory Committee, they say Abbott should count that money, $1.8 million, which would boost his figures to more than $13 million.

Cal Jillson, political scientist at Southern Methodist University, said both sides have a point. As Republicans point out, the victory committee is a “jointly administered account,” and Battleground Texas as an organization is working to get Democrats elected up and down the ballot — not just Davis. 

On the other hand, Battleground Texas has overwhelmingly moved into the role of getting Davis elected, he said. 

“Politics occasionally is about big issues and ideas, but most of the time it’s a third-grade slap fight, and that’s what this is,” Jillson said. “Both sides have plausible arguments, but at the end of the day, both are going to have plenty of money to make their case to the Texas electorate.”

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

Federal court strikes down North Carolina ultrasound abortion requirement By Arturo Garcia Friday, January 17, 2014 18:01 EST

Federal court strikes down North Carolina ultrasound abortion requirement (via Raw Story )

A U.S. District Court judge ruled on Friday that a North Carolina state law requiring women to undergo ultrasound treatments before having an abortion is unconstitutional, the Carolina Mercury reported. Judge Catherine C. Eagles wrote in her ruling…

What the U.S. electoral map will look like in 2060 BY CHRIS CILLIZZA January 16 at 12:12 pm

Pope Benedict Defrocked 400 Priests For Child Sex Abuse In Just 2 Years, Reveal Documents By JOHN HEILPRIN and NICOLE WINFIELD 01/17/14 03:42 PM ET EST AP

Shepard Smith Dismantles Corporate Shill Anti Net Neutrality Guest

Thursday, January 16, 2014

'I Call It Natural': What One White Separatist Claims Would Make a Better America Jan. 16, 2013 By ABC News via NIGHTLINE

Roe at Risk: Fighting for Reproductive Justice

Rachel Maddow: Chris Christie may have just given up on the presidency (via Raw Story )

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) appearance in Manahawkin may have turned the tiny Jersey Shore “census-designated place” into his presidential Waterloo, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said Thursday night. “I’m not prepared to say definitively…

Google developing ‘smart’ contact lens for diabetics (via Raw Story )

Google is developing “smart” contact lenses it says would help diabetes patients be able to monitor their glucose levels without needing to prick their fingers, the Associated Press reported on Thursday. The device contains thousands of small transistors…

TEA PARTY AND THE RIGHT AlterNet / By Rob Shryock comments_image 245 COMMENTS The Real Reason Evangelical Christians Are Trying to Thwart Women's Right to Birth Control Behind the Evangelical movement's surprising turn against contraception.

We are almost halfway toward our goal! Amanda Hernandez and Trisha MyChoice Lynch have to travel back on Saturday evening due myself attending BGTX Executive Latino Leadership Program. I will travel back on Sunday. Please continue to give so that we may make it there and back to Houston, TX from Austin, TX.

GOP Introduces Legislation That Would Outlaw Abortions – Even Cases Of Rape January 16, 2014 | Filed under: States Issues,Uncategorized,Women's Issues | Posted by: Kimberley Johnson

Datapoint: Public Spending on Births Varies Sharply Among Unintended, Intended Pregnancies

Datapoint: Public Spending on Births Varies Sharply Among Unintended, Intended Pregnancies

Video Round Up: NARAL President Defends Clinic 'Buffer Zones'; Jon Stewart Mocks Contraceptive Coverage Opponents

Video Round Up: NARAL President Defends Clinic 'Buffer Zones'; Jon Stewart Mocks Contraceptive Coverage Opponents

Dalea Lugo Political Blogger: @harrisdemocrats 2 Ladies Need Gas Funding Serious...

Dalea Lugo Political Blogger: @harrisdemocrats 2 Ladies Need Gas Funding Serious...: @harrisdemocrats 2 Ladies Need Gas Funding Seriously! via @gofundme — Dalea Lugo (@Dale...

New voting rights bill is designed to straighten out part of the mess the Supreme Court made byMeteor Blades THU JAN 16, 2014 AT 01:23 PM PST

Lewis Hine | International Center of Photography

Lewis Hine | International Center of Photography

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