Weekly News Digest – Top Stories Affecting Texans

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OOF: Twitter Delivers ESPN a Category 5 Roasting Hurricane Over the Robert Lee Debacle

You knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. And it wasn’t. In the wake of ESPN’s insanely stupid decision to pull Asian announcer Robert Lee from a UVA college football game, Twitter delivered unto ESPN a category 5 roasting hurricane. Enjoy. (I sure did.) ESPN hates racism so much that they're punishing an Asian guy for having an Asian last-name. #RobertLee @espn — Ken Webster Jr (@ProducerKen) August 23, 2017 //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js This is one of those ...
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The Brief: Battle lines are (curiously) drawn in Texas' redistricting fight

Good morning and happy Wednesday, folks. Thanks for reading The Brief, our daily newsletter informing you on politics, public policy and everything in between. Forward this email to friends who may want to join us. They can sign up here. — CP What you need to know The Texas Legislature isn't likely coming back for an overtime round in Austin anytime soon — at least not to draw a new congressional map. What does that ...
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As Houston plots a sustainable path forward, it’s leaving this neighborhood behind

Juan Parras gives one hell of a tour of Houston’s east side. He’s charming and funny. Wearing a beret, he strikes an old-world look, like he might lead you to a cafe on a plaza. He doesn’t charge a fee for his services. After all, you’re on a “toxic tour,” and Parras is on a mission. Parras grew up in 1950s West Texas. He remembers segregated schools, the restaurants that wouldn’t serve him, the unpaved roads, and the people ...
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Puzzling shapes: Travel across this gerrymandered Texas district

As part of our Lock The Vote series, we examine a key piece of Republicans’ 2011 redistricting strategy, which courts said discriminated against minorities: U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s curiously-shaped 35th Congressional District. Source: Texas Tribune Blue News ...
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Analysis: Firing the opening shots in the 2018 GOP primaries

Editor's note: If you'd like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey's column, click here. The guns of August are blazing. Whatever Gov. Greg Abbott decides to do with his nice and naughty lists of which legislators were with him and against him this year, it’s clear that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wants voters to connect the legislative results to next year’s elections. In a radio interview this week, Patrick went right at his House ...
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REPORT: ESPN Pulls Asian Announcer from College Football Game Because of Fear of Fan Backlash

Since we’re talking about white supremacy and racism pretty much nonstop these days, let me throw this one out there. ESPN has actually pulled an Asian announcer from a football game because they are afraid fans could not handle the shock. This is the story: On September 2, the University of Virginia Cavaliers were slated to play cross-state rivals William & Mary at home in Charlottesville. The game was going to be covered by ESPN ...
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Anti-abortion group losing $4.1 million in family planning service funding

An anti-abortion group is losing $4.1 million in state funding to offer reproductive health services for women after failing to serve as many patients as they thought they could. The Heidi Group, a Round Rock-based center that has promoted alternatives to abortion to low-income women, will now only receive $996,930 to offer family planning services. The organization initially aimed to serve 17,895 women over one year but has dialed that number back to 3,498. The group ...
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Angela Paxton, Texas attorney general's wife, eyes Texas Senate run

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout. Angela Paxton, the wife of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, is considering a run for state Senate, according to people familiar with her thinking.  Paxton has her sights set on Senate District 8, which is currently held by Van Taylor, R-Plano. He's expected to give up the seat to run for Congress in 2018, and he filed paperwork Tuesday to start that process. Paxton is a guidance counselor at Legacy Christian ...
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Veterans of Afghanistan War Respond To Trump’s Speech

If there is one group of people we should be asking about the Afghanistan war and the President’s speech last night, it’s the veterans who have already fought over there. At least one journalist realized this, and so Jake Tapper of CNN asked some to share their views, which Tapper in turn shared on Twitter. 1/ I asked some veterans of the Afghanistan war what they thought of the president's speech and plan. Here are ...
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Governor Abbott Requests Disaster Assistance For Hockley County

Governor Greg Abbott has asked the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) to declare Hockley County a disaster area following severe storms, winds, heavy rain, hail, and flooding that impacted the area beginning on June 30th, 2017 and continuing through July 4th, 2017. Governor Greg Abbott has asked the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) to declare Hockley County a disaster area following severe storms, winds, heavy rain, hail, and flooding that impacted the area ...
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The Brief: Debate over Confederate monuments continues to ricochet across Texas

Good morning and happy Tuesday, folks. Thanks for reading The Brief, our daily newsletter informing you on politics, public policy and everything in between. Forward this email to friends who may want to join us. They can sign up here. — BB What you need to know Following an overnight decision by the University of Texas at Austin to remove three confederate statues from campus grounds, reactions from Texas lawmakers were mixed. Meanwhile, the debate over ...
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Texas state workers fear fallout from changing math on pensions

Jerry Wald retired early after 21 years of state service and left behind the stresses of his supervisor role at the Department of Aging and Disability Services. But a decade after he stopped punching the clock, the 67-year-old has a different sort of anxiety: watching the buying power of his monthly state pension check shrink. “Every year I’m alive, I’m losing money,” said Wald, who lives in Houston. Though health care, food and most everything else keeps getting more expensive, the monthly ...
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Colonias on the border struggle with decades-old water issues

Twenty-three years ago, Olivia Figueroa left her neighborhood in Chihuahua, Mexico, where she didn't have basic services, and immigrated to the U.S. She paid $40 to cross the Rio Grande, only to arrive to another community that also lacked services — often referred to as a colonia — in San Elizario, Texas. As in Mexico, the colonia had no electricity, no paved roads, no sewage and no drinking water.    “And that’s when I said, ‘Where’s the American dream?’ ” ...
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Video: Shepard Smith’s Smarmy Eclipse Coverage Mocks a Nation’s Interest in Astronomy

So Shepard Smith is covering the eclipse on Fox therefore I am watching The Weather Channel — RC (@Palladio3830) August 21, 2017 //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Shepard Smith apparently thought covering a celestial event that rarely takes place over the United States was below his pay grade or something. He basically spent the day mocking people’s interest in the solar eclipse, prancing around the stage in mock excitement. Check out the FreeBeacon’s supercut of Shep’s circus clown act ...
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Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller criticizes Six Flags' removal of Confederate flag

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller — the cowboy-hat wearing Republican known for wading deep into partisan and cultural divides — is furious with the Six Flags amusement park chain, calling its decision to take down the Confederate flag and four others that had flown over the park part of a “militant, anarchist movement sweeping our country, destroying and attempting to sanitize our nation’s history.” Miller took aim at the iconic amusement park in a lengthy ...
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El Paso City Council votes down city ID program

The El Paso City Council narrowly voted against creating a municipal identification card program amid concerns that the measure would lead to the border city being perceived as the kind of "sanctuary" jurisdiction that has been the target of President Donald Trump and Texas' Republican leaders. In a 5-4 vote, the council voted down funding the program, which immigrant rights groups and advocates for the poor have called for since 2014 as a way for those ...
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Court halts execution of convicted child killer who claims intellectual disability

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Monday halted the execution of a convicted child murderer who claims he’s intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible for the state’s harshest punishment. Steven Long, 46, was set to die next Wednesday for the 2005 rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in Dallas County. Courts had previously rejected his appeals claiming intellectual disability, but that was before the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated Texas’ methods for determining intellectual disability ...
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Texas has more than 170 public symbols of the Confederacy. Explore them here.

Texas has more than 170 public symbols of the Confederacy, with dozens of monuments dedicated during or after the Civil Rights era.  According to the Southern Poverty Law Center — a nonprofit legal organization that monitors hate groups — the symbols take the form of schools, roads, monuments and even county names spread across the state. The center lists just Virginia as having more symbols than Texas.  Several entries on this list may not be around ...
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Texas leaders offer mixed responses to UT-Austin's late-night removal of Confederate statues

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick criticized the University of Texas at Austin's decision to remove Confederate statues from its campus late Sunday night as sending a “poor message," while U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said the decision was one for individual universities to make. UT-Austin announced around 11 p.m. Sunday night that multiple Confederate statues were in the process of being removed. The surprise decision came about a week after a white nationalist rally protesting the removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, ...
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National Climate Assessment Committee Is First Victim of Impending Global Warming Armageddon

On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting administrator, Ben Friedman, notified the 15 members of the Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment that their charter, which expired on Sunday, would not be renewed. The role of this committee was to nag nanny advise everyone on how to best incorporate climate change into long term planning. What this committee effectively did, other than burn up federal money on its activities–and thereby contribute ...
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Warren Buffett outbid in race to buy big piece of Texas electric grid

Billionaire Warren Buffett has been outbid in his effort to buy Texas’ largest transmission utility. San Diego-based Sempra Energy announced early Monday that it had swooped in with a roughly $18.8 billion deal to purchase Oncor, whose roughly 120,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines deliver power to more than 3 million homes and businesses in North and West Texas.  The announcement signaled that Oncor’s parent company has abandoned the $18 billion deal that Berkshire ...
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The Brief: While you slept, UT-Austin began removing Confederate statues

Good morning and happy Monday, folks. Thanks for reading The Brief, our daily newsletter informing you on politics, public policy and everything in between. Forward this email to friends who may want to join us. They can sign up here. — CP What you need to know As you drifted off to sleep last night, the University of Texas at Austin began removing multiple Confederate statues on campus. Here's what you need to know:  • Workers began removing ...
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Help us investigate why Texas moms are dying at alarming rates

Why are so many Texas women dying or nearly dying after childbirth? It’s a question Texas Tribune journalists have been asking since a state task force released a report last summer showing that between 2011 and 2012, 189 Texas mothers had died less than a year after their pregnancies ended. Most of those deaths were attributed to heart disease, drug overdoses or high blood pressure. While researchers, Texas legislators and advocacy groups are agonizing over what to do, The ...
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Analysis: A victory for the locals, at least for a while

Editor's note: If you'd like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey's column, click here. The latest battle in the state’s war on local government ended with victory for the little guys. They won’t face state-ordered spending limits. They won’t face automatic elections when they raise property taxes faster than the Legislature wants them to. They won’t be subject to most of the ideas on Gov. Greg Abbott’s list of 20 things he had hoped ...
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UT System oil money is a gusher for its administration — and a trickle for students

WINKLER COUNTY — On a square of dirt surrounded by sun-scorched grassland, hundreds of miles from Austin, a huge iron pumpjack creaks up and down. It runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, generating as much as $7,000 worth of oil per day. It’s surrounded by thousands of others, drawing from billions of dollars' worth of oil and gas under this ground, which is all controlled by the University of Texas System. And thanks ...
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10 Things You Can Do to Fight Racism Right Now

  Whenever the issue of racism pops up it’s ugly head in our public discourse, I get tons of messages from genuinely concerned Americans asking me what the solution is to our race problems. There isn’t one solid answer and I frankly don’t believe there can ever be a such thing as ending racism. This would have to mean a complete overhaul of the human condition and in millennia of human existence only one person ...
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Primary race to challenge U.S Rep. Will Hurd draws two more Democrats

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout. The race for Texas' most competitive congressional district is drawing two more Democrats.  Jay Hulings, a former federal prosecutor from San Antonio, said Sunday he could no wait no longer to launch a challenge to U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes. Hulings is an ally of the Castro brothers — U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, and former U.S. Housing Secretary Julián Castro.  "Washington is so broken and ...
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During Monday’s TV Townhall, Speaker Ryan Must Press the Reset Button

As Speaker Paul Ryan prepares to conduct a CNN townhall this week, Republicans are reeling from a year that has not gone as expected. Last November seems like a lifetime ago, and nothing substantial that the GOP promised on the campaign trail has come to pass. At every level, the conservative agenda has stalled, and drama coming out of the White House has distracted from the fact that the do nothing Congress has done nothing ...
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