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The Evening Brief: Aug. 24, 2012

Your evening reading: U.N. calls Lubbock County judge's Obama civil war claim "ridiculous"; Sadler says Cruz should go back to Canada; cancer institute to maintain ties to Armstrong

Lubbock County Judge Tom Head, right.


•   U.N. to invade Texas? "Ridiculous," says world body (Reuters): "Maybe President Barack Obama should just settle it in a gun duel with a Texas judge, instead of calling on the United Nations to invade the state. The United Nations scoffed on Friday at claims by a judge in Lubbock County, Texas, that U.N. troops could invade the southern U.S. state to settle a possible civil war, which the judge warned could be sparked if Obama is re-elected in November. 'It's absolutely ridiculous,' said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman, Martin Nesirky, when asked if the United Nations had any plans to invade Texas."

•   Lubbock County, whose judge said he’d stand up against President Obama in the case of civil unrest, took in thousands in federal funding in 2011 (The Dallas Morning News): "Lubbock County, whose judge yesterday defended the need for a tax hike for law enforcement by saying he needed trained, experienced police to stand up to President Obama and UN troops that he would likely send in in the case of civil unrest, took in thousands in federal funding for law enforcement, according to its 2011 financial record."

•   Texas Congressman Lamar Smith aids ICE agents’ suit (Houston Chronicle): "Ten agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are getting Republican air cover for their lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s election-year decision to grant temporary legal status to up to 1.7 million children of undocumented immigrants. The political protection comes from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, a veteran San Antonio lawmaker, and Congressman Robert Aderholt, an Alabama Republican heading the House Appropriations Committee panel with jurisdiction over the budget of the department of homeland security."

•   Revealed: The Corporations and Billionaires that Fund the Texas Public Policy Foundation (The Texas Observer): "The Texas Public Policy Foundation—an influential right-wing think tank based in Austin with ties to Rick Perry, Ted Cruz and many other powerful politicians—bills itself as a 'non-partisan research institute' and brags that it 'does not accept government funds or contributions to influence the outcomes of its research. … According to the tax filings, TPPF gets a majority of its funding from a relatively small group of major corporations, conservative foundations and wealthy individuals with a financial interest in the type of policies that TPPF promotes. Altogether, the list of donors includes 129 individuals, corporations and foundations and totals $4.7 million in donations."

New in The Texas Tribune:

•   Sadler Says Cruz "Needs to Go Back to Canada": "Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Paul Sadler, taking a shot at his rival before the GOP convention in Tampa, made Republican Ted Cruz’s foreign birth a campaign issue Friday and said Cruz's policy initiatives are far too radical for Texas. 'He needs to go back to Canada or Washington or wherever he’s from, because he doesn’t reflect us,' Sadler said. 'I was born and raised here … when you cut me, I bleed Texas. He doesn’t, and I don’t have much use for it.'"

•   Cancer Institute Will Maintain Ties to Lance Armstrong: "The executive director of the state's $3 billion cancer institute said Friday that news retired cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong would be stripped of his Tour de France titles would not affect the agency's partnership with him."

•   Senate Hearing Tackles Vouchers, School Choice: "In a preview of a likely battle in the upcoming legislative session, state lawmakers on Friday heard testimony on school choice programs, including vouchers that would allow students to use public money to attend private schools."

•   Texas State Receives Major Gift for Water Research: "Texas State University in San Marcos will announce a major gift from the Meadows Foundation on Friday. The $1 million donation will help launch the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment."

•   Juvenile Justice Board Hires New Agency Leader: "The Texas Juvenile Justice Board on Friday voted to hire Michael Griffiths to be the next leader of the youth justice agency as it struggles to improve security and safety at its juvenile correctional facilities."

•   The Search for a Less Unpopular School Tax: "As the state and its independent school districts head to court again in October to debate school financing, it's still possible that the issue of a statewide property tax could be revisited. But such a move would require repealing a constitutional prohibition. And there's also a policy debate about replacing the property tax with a higher sales tax."

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