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The Midday Brief: Feb. 1, 2012

Your afternoon reading: Craig James defends himself over Mike Leach flap; O'Grady says Shapiro reneged on promise of an endorsement; education commissioner's comments on testing spur backlash

Former ESPN analyst Craig James at a U.S. Senate candidate debate in Austin on Jan. 12, 2012.

Your afternoon reading:

  • "In an exclusive KFYO interview, U.S. Senate candidate Craig James talked with Chad Hasty and Rex Andrew about his campaign and what he thinks of West Texas on the Wednesday edition of Lubbock’s First News. … James is well-known in the Lubbock area for his involvement in the firing of Texas Tech football head coach Mike Leach after Leach allegedly locked James’s son, Adam, in a supply closet after Adam suffered a concussion. In the interview, James still stands by his actions and insists he was trying to protect his son. James said that he does not feel uncomfortable in Lubbock, and that he plans to come down to West Texas in person to campaign." — Craig James Talks Senate Race and West Texas, KFYO
  • "Former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot and current Frisco resident Scott O'Grady has suspended his campaign for state Senate District 8. … O'Grady suspended the campaign after what he called a series of broken promises by people who had pledged their support to his campaign. Chief among the supporters was state Sen. Florence Shapiro, who O'Grady said pledged to put her resources behind his campaign. 'On Jan. 10, Sen. Shapiro reneged on her promises of a public endorsement, of her political support and of her financial support,' O'Grady said Tuesday afternoon. 'She said she had to look out for her family who lives in the district. I was disappointed because her support was a major reason why I was running in this race.'" — O'Grady says Shapiro reneged on her promise of an endorsement, Plano Star-Courier
  • "Reports that the Susan B. Komen Foundation has decided to stop funding Planned Parenthood triggered an angry letter from state Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, to the foundation’s founder, Nancy Brinker. Alvarado expressed her dismay that the foundation 'has taken the remarkably anti-woman stance against funding lifesaving breast-cancer screenings for low-income and underserved women.'" — Lawmaker scolds Susan B. Komen founder, Houston Chronicle

New in The Texas Tribune:

  • "Supporters of the new state student assessment system aren't pleased with Texas Education Agency Commissioner Robert Scott's speech yesterday criticizing the role of testing in Texas public schools. 'I think he owes all of the legislators an explanation of his comments,' said state Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano." — Education Commissioner's Remarks Draw Backlash
  • "Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones is making a run for a state Senate seat. But her opponent in the GOP primary, state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, is challenging her on residency. That dispute is among this week's top political news items." — Campaign Roundup: The Week's Political News
  • "Texas' largest cities — including Houston, Dallas and El Paso — have a greater percentage of uninsured people than the nation collectively. Use this interactive map to explore how many of the 5.7 million Texans without health insurance live in your town." — Interactive: Where Are the Uninsured in Texas?

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