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The Evening Brief: Aug. 22, 2012

Your evening reading: Lubbock County judge says tax hike needed to deal with public unrest if Obama is re-elected; Akin comment still stirring debate in Texas; Planned Parenthood remains in Women's Health Program, for now

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•   Lubbock Co. Judge warns of potential danger if Obama is re-elected (Fox 34 Lubbock): "Lubbock County Judge Tom Head and Commissioner Mark Heinrich went into great detail Monday night on FOX 34 News @ Nine about why it is necessary to raise the tax rate by 1.7 cents the next fiscal year. … Judge Head said he and the county must be prepared for many contingencies, one that he particularly fears, is if President Obama is reelected. 'He's going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the UN, and what is going to happen when that happens?,' Head asked."

•   Judge Tom Head invokes 'what if Obama re-elected' to get more money for public safety (Lubbock Avalance-Journal): "Both sides of the county property tax issue have drawn battle lines with County Judge Tom Head planting a battle axe in the middle of the fray by advocating more money for public safety."

•   Akin rape comment used for very different messages (The Dallas Morning News): "Both Right to Life and Texas Democrats are using the comment this week by Missouri U.S. Rep. Todd Akin to rally their troops. Democratic Party chairman Gilberto Hinojosa sent a missive to Democrats connecting Akin’s comment to the policy beliefs of Texas Republicans, including GOP U.S. Senate nominee Ted Cruz, Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and the Texas GOP platform that subscribe to the belief that abortion should be illegal in cases of rape and incest. … Elizabeth Graham, director of Texas Right to Life, also sent out an e-mail blast saying the media, liberals and 'anti-life zealots' are twisting what Akin was trying to say and are refusing to accept his heartfelt apology. He knows rape is violent, traumatizing and immoral, Graham said. But her point is, so is abortion."

•   Rick Perry, Louie Gohmert to be honored as ‘pro-life heroes’ (Houston Chronicle): "Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Tyler congressman Louie Gohmert will be honored next Tuesday at a 'Treasure Life' event at the Florida Aquarium. The event, sponsored by the Republican National Committee for Life and the Family Research Council Action organization, also will fete former Perry presidential rivals Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann."

•   Republican Party Changes Rules To Stop The Pauls (BuzzFeed): "The Republican National Committee's Rules Committee voted to require written certification that a presidential candidate has a plurality of delegates from five states in order to get a space on the convention ballot — a move intended to provide a warning in the event of floor movement toward an insurgent candidate. Tennessee committeeman John Ryder push the rules change to eliminate 'distractions' on the convention floor, in an effort to 'try to create a more streamlined convention procedure, that better reflects the realities,' he said."

•   Straus hires counsel, ethics advisor (Austin American-Statesman): "Frank Battle, a longtime top aide to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, is returning to the Texas House as its ethics advisor. House Speaker Joe Straus this morning announced the hiring of Battle as his general counsel and ethics advisor to the 150-member state House."

•   Dewhurst names new staff (Austin American-Statesman): "Four new top aides to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst were announced this morning, as part of staffing changes as Dewhurst ramps up to an expected bruising legislative session that starts in January. In a statement, Dewhurst said Constance Allison will be his senior policy adviser, Bryan Hebert will serve as his general counsel, Lauren Hensarling will be scheduler, and Matt Hirsch will be press secretary."

New in The Texas Tribune:

•   For Now, Planned Parenthood Remains in Women's Health Program: "State health officials are working to figure out when they'll exclude Planned Parenthood from the Women's Health Program. Meanwhile, the affiliates plan to continue services."

•   At UT System, Plan to Expand KUT Moves Forward: "The University of Texas System Board of Regents academic affairs committee approved a revised version of an embattled proposal to have the University of Texas at Austin expand KUT, Austin's public radio station."

•   UT Considering Massive Open Online Courses: "The University of Texas at Austin is negotiating with Coursera and edX, massive open online course companies that make content from elite universities available for free on the internet."

•   ACT Report: 24 Percent of Texas High School Grads Are College Ready: "Only about a quarter of the state's Class of 2012 students are college ready, according to a new report by the ACT. Texas Education Agency officials attribute the numbers to an increase in students taking the test."

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