TribWire

Denied Survivor’s Benefits After Wife’s Death, Texas Widow Files a Federal Suit

Kathleen A. Murphy was left a widow when her wife, from a marriage in Massachusetts, died of cancer in 2012. Last year, Ms. Murphy, 62, applied to the Social Security Administration for spousal survivor’s benefits and the standard lump-sum death payment. But she was turned down because the couple lived in Texas — one of the 18 states, as of this week, that does not recognize same-sex marriages.

The GOP’s 2016 tech deficit

  • suggested by John Reynolds

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

Paul Teller: Cruz’s agitator in chief

  • suggested by John Reynolds

Like his boss, Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) new chief of staff, Paul Teller, has a reputation for being a troublemaker. And for many conservatives who want to challenge the GOP establishment and Washington’s status quo, that’s a good thing.

Feds charge another militia member

Foerster is accused of pointing a weapon at a U.S. Border Patrol agent on Aug. 29 in Brownsville. The documents state Foerster was hiding in brush and pointed a firearm at an agent who encountered him. The agent reportedly fired several shots at the militia man. Foerster is said to be a member of “Rusty’s Rangers,” an armed citizen militia group that was patrolling the Texas-Mexico border.

Amid high turnout, Hidalgo County Dems rally for ticket

The county’s elections department released data Wednesday showing Hidalgo County leads all of the state’s 15 most populous counties in the percentage of registered voters who cast ballots in the first two days of early voting. The nearly 13,000 votes cast in person on Monday and Tuesday in the county constituted 4 percent of registered voters. Williamson County, in central Texas, had the second-highest percentage at 3.2 percent. Almost 3,000 more mail-in ballots brought the percentage of registered Hidalgo County voters who’d cast a ballot to 4.9 percent — just a touch higher than Galveston County’s 4.82 percent.

Dallas nurse Amber Vinson is Ebola-free, family says

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

Austin woman sues for same-sex federal benefits

An Austin woman filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday seeking to halt the Social Security Administration’s practice of withholding spousal benefits from gay couples who reside in states, like Texas, that ban same-sex marriage. Kathy Murphy’s lawsuit argued that the practice perpetuates discrimination and unconstitutionally deprives same-sex couples of equal treatment under the law.

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

As healthy early voting totals rolled in this week from the state’s most populous counties, underdog Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis linked the uptick to an organized statewide effort by Democrats to turn out voters, saying it’s a sign she will close a wide gap with Attorney General Greg Abbott in the final weeks before Election Day.

Pair of champion athletes celebrate S.A. charter school expansions

As Agassi and his business partner, real estate magnate Bobby Turner, visited the city's newest KIPP campus Wednesday to celebrate its August opening, the IDEA charter network was breaking ground on the expansion of its Carver Academy on the East Side. IDEA officials, joined by Spurs great David Robinson and Mayor Ivy Taylor, also announced the network's next campus would be built on the East Side off Martin Luther King Drive near St. Philip's College.

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

The numbers the campaigns are touting say almost the exact opposite thing about what is happening in the county, but a closer look at the data shows the sides are depending on different figures to build their arguments. That means directly comparing them is like comparing apples and oranges.

Campaigns engage in star wars

A tried-and-true method of stirring up supporters near the finish line, deployment of Hollywood actors drew enthusiastic crowds for the Democratic and Republican candidates, though each side questioned the effectiveness of the others' big-name backer du jour.

San Antonio lawyer sues KENS-TV

Amberson claims that KENS aired reports that incorrectly reported he stole property and mineral rights from a Karnes County couple. Triston Sanders, KENS’s executive news director, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. In 2009, Amberson represented Michael and Cassandra Harms in a lawsuit against oil company Regency Field Services. The couple alleged the company exposed them to dangerous toxins.

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

Longoria urged the largely Latino crowd of several dozen supporters to vote for LaHood. She downplayed Reed’s attacks on LaHood’s drug arrest, saying “I think it’s alarming that his competitor wants to use his past against him when his past is the thing I most admire.” This evening, Longoria will lead a rally for Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Leticia Van de Putte in San Pedro Park.

Man Who Believes God Speaks to Us Through "Duck Dynasty" Is About to Be Texas' Second-in-Command

As a Texas state senator, Dan Patrick has conducted himself in a manner consistent with the shock jock he once was. Patrick—who is now the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor—has railed against everything from separation of church and state to Mexican coyotes who supposedly speak Urdu. He's even advised his followers that God is speaking to them through Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson.

Control Eluded State Leaders in Ebola Crisis

Gov. Rick Perry and other Texas officials are pointing fingers at the Obama administration for botching the Ebola response. But the state did not fully use its own power to restrict travel, quarantine health care workers and limit possible spread of the deadly virus.

Nelson Bunker Hunt, second son of legendary wildcatter H.L. Hunt, dies

Nelson Bunker Hunt, the wildcatter who surpassed the legacy of his father, H.L. Hunt, died Tuesday of congestive heart failure at a Dallas assisted living center. He was 88. Hunt outdid his father in creating and losing fortunes through titanic plays in oil, silver, soybeans, sugar beets, cattle and thoroughbred horses, his passion.