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The Brief: November 11, 2009

There was a bittersweet note of unity preceding what will undoubtedly prove a poignant Veteran’s Day.

THE BIG CONVERSATION 

There was a bittersweet note of unity preceding what will undoubtedly prove a poignant Veterans Day.

Few harbor more suspicion for Washington politicians than Gov. Rick Perry, but he was widely reported to have deemed President Barack Obama’s eulogy at Tuesday’s Fort Hood memorial to be “spot on.” 

U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, said of the President, “I was extremely proud of him and I thought he did a good job.”

In his speech, Obama said, “No faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor. And for what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice — in this world, and the next.”

Obama clarified what that “j”-word means in this country. “We are a nation of laws,” he said, “whose commitment to justice is so enduring that we would treat a gunman and give him due process, just as surely as we will see that he pays for his crimes.”

Obama named and honored of each of the 13 fallen soldiers individually. “These men and women came from all parts of the country,” he said. “Some had long careers in the military. Some had signed up to serve in the shadow of 9/11. Some had known intense combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and some cared for those did. Their lives speak to the strength, the dignity, the decency of those who serve, and that's how they will be remembered.”

Also yesterday, with the country's soldiers on their minds, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Sharp and state Reps. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, and Veronica Gonzales, D-McAllen, sent a letter today to Texas’ two Republican U.S. senators asking them to find money to boost health care funding for Rio Grande Valley veterans. Illustrating that partisan politics can only be put aside for so long, the letter was written on Sharp’s campaign letterhead.

CULLED

 • Less than a week after leaving the Democratic Party, State Rep. Chuck Hopson, R-Jacksonville, finds out he has a challenger in the Republican primary.  Jacksonville dentist Michael Banks confirmed to Quorum Report that he will run against the former Democrat because “the conservative values of our district in East Texas haven’t been represented in the past.” An official announcement will be made on Monday. Meanwhile, former Hopson opponent Brian Walker, a Republican, endorsed the incumbent.

As expected, Williamson County DA John Bradley, the recently controversially appointed chairman of the Texas Forensic Science Comission, called for patience in the probe of the science that led to the conviction and execution of Cameron Todd Willingham.  On top of that, as Mike Ward notes in the Austin American-Statesman, Bradley said “the commission might need some period of confidentiality to allow for internal discussions and review of investigative documents in cases before the commission discusses them publicly.”

• Rancher Hank Gilbert, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, wll lay out his policy proposals on energy and environmental issues at a press conference today. No details available yet on specifics, but his website offers some hints. “It’s time for better solutions, not talk and behind the scenes deal making,” it says. “We can and we will do more to accelerate the ongoing shift from coal burning electricity generation to a cleaner mix of advanced solar, wind, geothermal and nuclear.”

• It was officially announced yesterday that Lubbock accountant Charles Perry will challenge State Rep. Delwin Jones, R-Lubbock, in the Republican primary.  Another challenger, attorney Zach Brady, announced his candidacy in September.

• The leader coming out of Houston’s mayoral election last week got another bump on Tuesday.  Third-place finisher City Councilman Peter Brown endorsed City Controller Annise Parker.  Not all of the almost 40,000 voters that backed Brown are making the move to Parker.  Half an hour after his announcement, four ministers that had formerly backed Brown threw their lot in with Parker’s run-off challenger former City Attorney Gene Locke.

 • Keith Hampton has filed to run as a Democrat for the Court of Criminal Appeals.  Hampton, an Austin criminal defense attorney who has also worked as legislative director for the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, is going after the seat currently held by Judge Michael Keasler.  From the Austin Chronicle’s Jordan Smith: “[Hampton] notes that if elected he would be the only judge on the court to have handled death penalty cases during every stage of litigation — a not insignificant issue since the CCA is the highest criminal court in Texas and the only appellate court that considers capital punishment appeals.”

"I told him he should show a little more regard for men who had gone to France and sacrificed and risked their lifeblood and suffered God-knows-what." — Cecil Cawthon, 23, defending himself in court after slugging his boss for not giving him the day off, as reported in the November 11, 1919 edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The case was dismissed.

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