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The Evening Brief: March 18, 2013

Your evening reading: Tea Party leader had ties to American Fascist Party; state representative apologizes for DWI arrest; Cruz opposed resolution on multiple sclerosis

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•    Houston-Area Tea Party Leader Had Ties to American Fascist Party: "As recently as 2003, the president of the Greater Fort Bend County Tea Party had a very different title: director of propaganda for the American Fascist Party. James Ives says he was merely curious about the group, and that he went undercover to do research for a novel. But the messages he posted on a fascist listserv and a promotional video his image appears in have the state's conservative leaders concerned."

•    Patrick: Attacks Over Bill on College History Courses Misguided: "State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, took to Facebook to defend himself against criticism that he wants to eliminate college courses in Mexican-American and African-American history."

•    Inside the State Budget, a Shell Game to Avoid Choosing Taxes or Cuts: "The state balances its budget by counting nearly $5 billion in unspent funds that were raised for specific programs. To change their ways, lawmakers would have to go back to what they were trying to avoid: choices between taxes and cuts."

•    Blue Mound Residents Boiling Over Water Rate: "In the North Texas town of Blue Mound, the water system is owned by a private corporation. Residents say this results in painful rate hikes. Private water companies say their rates reflect the high costs of providing water to far-flung areas."

•    Trial Switches Focus of Morton Case to Norwood: "Mark Norwood for more than 16 months has been awaiting his trial that begins today for the 1986 murder of Christine Morton. Prosecutors could focus on his criminal history and will likely try to link him to evidence from the crime scene."


•    Cruz opposes multiple sclerosis resolution (Politico): "In an unusual move, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) objected last week to a routine Senate resolution commemorating Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week. … He was unhappy with a clause in the resolution describing the purpose of the Multiple Sclerosis Coalition, according to a Democratic staffer. Cruz’s staff said the problem was timing. 'The Senator, like many of his colleagues, will not grant consent to call up and pass a resolution or bill at the last minute without time for review,' spokesman Sean Rushton said in a statement. 'The Texans who sent him to Washington expect nothing less.'"

•    State representative apologizes after arrest last week (Austin American-Statesman): "State Rep. Naomi Gonzalez, D-El Paso, who was charged with driving while intoxicated last week after a crash that injured two other people, addressed the Texas House on Monday and apologized for the shame she brought to the chamber and to her district. 'I made a mistake and I am deeply, deeply sorry for it,' Gonzalez said in front of a hushed House."

•    Dallas mayor reveals that campaign against domestic violence is personal (The Dallas Morning News): "Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has emerged in recent weeks as a leader in the fight against domestic violence. He’s given emotional speeches. He’s scrunched his face in disgust and condemned as unmanly men who abuse women. He’s even called domestic abusers 'terrorists.' If his campaign seems to have more fervor than your typical political gambit, that’s because it does."

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