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The Brief: April 15, 2010

Exactly a year after the Tea Party movement asserted its might, its sympathizers want you to know something: they’re still Tea’d.

A Tea Party rally at the Texas Capitol on Jan. 16, 2009.

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

Exactly a year after the Tea Party movement asserted its might, its sympathizers want you to know something: they’re still Tea’d.

April 15, a scourge to many Americans for another reason, is Christmas in the Tea partier’s calendar. Thousands will assemble at spots around the country to express their outrage at a government that has “spent and taxed too much.”

The rallies planned in Texas include one at the Capitol featuring Newt Gringrich, one in Longview where U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, will speak, and one in Grand Prairie where supporters of a dozen North Texas tea party groups will gather.

When he swung through Waco with his NASCAR car yesterday, Gov. Rick Perry made a point of praising the movement: “I’m such a strong proponent of the Tea Party and what they talk about and getting back to our constitutional roots and understanding what the 10th Amendment means.”

Perry mentioned the Tea Party again in “an invitation-only conference call” this week, where he took up the problem of party crashers, urging Tea Party leaders to “continue looking over your shoulder ... for people trying to make the tea party into something that it's not."

The Waco Tea Party has responded to the threat of crashers, or those seeking to undermine the movement by displaying offensive messages at rallies, by hiring off-duty police officers and renting venues so they can keep out undesirable elements at their events after a group showed up with racist signs at one of them. They tried to insist they were tea party members," said Waco Tea Party president Toby Marie Walker, adding, “Our tea party people would not hold signs like that.”

CULLED:

· Black employees at a Paris, Texas pipe factory faced harassment with nooses, Confederate flags, and death threats at work, according to a finding by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Dontrail Mathis, a worker at the plant, says, "I've been called colored boy, coon, monkey. When Obama won, they went off. My superiors said 'If he ain't white, it ain't right.”

· The Third Court of Appeals took the side of Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, over the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, which had appealed a lower court’s decision to allow the state senator to review communications between the environmental agency and Asarco, the El Paso copper smelting plant it permitted.

"The AK-47s are not used by the Mexican military. They are the weapons of choice for the criminals and they are coming from the U.S." José Reyes Ferriz, mayor of Juárez, on the origins of weapons used in drug crimes.

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