Your afternoon reading:
- "It’s officially a reality television Republican primary now. Donald Trump is pairing up with Newsmax, the conservative magazine and news Web site, to moderate a presidential debate in Des Moines on Dec. 27." — Trump to Moderate Republican Debate, The New York Times
- "Confidence in Rick Perry's presidential campaign is starting to erode even among the governor's most steadfast and wealthy Texas supporters. The Wall Street Journal reports that Dallas real estate magnate Harlan Crow is among the longtime Perry donors switching to rival Mitt Romney in light of the governor's struggling campaign. Crow, who's given about $130,000 to Perry over the last decade, hosted a large Romney fundraiser at his Dallas mansion on Thursday." — Harlan Crow and other huge Perry supporters break for Romney, Trail Blazers
- "President Obama might have given his own campaign a pre-christmas gift with the new unemployment rate of 8.6 percent. But Texas House Republicans such as Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, and Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, will not let the numbers boost the Democrats." — GOP Texas lawmakers not impressed by drop in unemployment rate, Texas on the Potomac
New in The Texas Tribune:
- "In a new ad airing today in Iowa and apparently intended to appeal to conservative evangelicals, Rick Perry talks openly about his faith — and says liberals believe 'faith is a sign of weakness.'" — Perry: Liberals Say "Faith is a Sign of Weakness"
- "The Legislature's foremost expert on school finance and one of its top public education advocates, state Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston, confirmed this afternoon that he won't seek re-election next year." — Hochberg, House Public Ed Expert, Won't Run Again
- "Experts speculate that a key factor in the increase in reports of child abuse and neglect is the struggling economy. The number of reported cases of abuse has grown 6 percent in Texas since 2008, before the recession." — Child Abuse Reports Up as Economy Falters
- "Texas has a long history of school finance lawsuits, many of them fought over the same themes. But in the latest round, one phrase has been conspicuously absent from the discussion: Robin Hood." — Latest School Finance Challenges Resigned to Robin Hood
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