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The Evening Brief: Oct. 30, 2013

Your evening reading: Perry calls Hall investigation "extraordinary political theater"; Patterson dismisses rumors of UN control of the Alamo as "horse hockey"; Cruz to make late night debut on Leno

Gov. Rick Perry and Gene Powell at the signing of a merger bill between UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville on July 16, 2013.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Perry Blasts Impeachment Probe of Wallace Hall: "Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday called the ongoing impeachment investigation into University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall 'extraordinary political theater,' and said his appointee’s quest for voluminous records from the University of Texas at Austin was justified."

•    Trial Lawyers Call Urgent Meeting to Discuss Criticism: "The Texas Trial Lawyers Association has called an urgent meeting for Wednesday to address complaints about its spending practices and other criticism leveled by a breakaway faction of attorneys who say they want more for their money. The meeting, to be held at the Four Seasons in Austin, came in reaction to a Texas Tribune article about the creation of the new Texas Association of Consumer Lawyers, officials said."

•    Castro: No Split Among Democrats on Immigration Reform: "Though they have disagreements on some policy aspects of immigration reform, congressional Democrats are not advocating a quiet, do-nothing approach in order to stockpile ammo for the next election, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro said Wednesday."

•    Court Orders New Mental Competency Hearing in Death Penalty Case: "The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday sent the case of death row inmate Marcus Druery back for new hearing in a Brazos County trial court to determine whether he is mentally competent to face execution for the Aug. 1, 2002, fatal shooting of a 20-year-old man."

•    Pauken Calls for More Vocational Education in Web Ad: "In a new web ad released by his Republican gubernatorial campaign, former Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken pushes back against what he calls 'an elitist educational system pushing everybody to go to a four-year university.'"


•    UN takeover of the Alamo 'horse hockey' (San Antonio Express-News): "Is the Alamo falling into the hands of the United Nations? 'Horse hockey,' Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, whose office oversees the state shrine, responded in a release on Wednesday. Rumors that have circulated in recent weeks, via email and social media, have suggested the United Nations would manage the Alamo if it and San Antonio's four other Spanish colonial missions are granted World Heritage status."

•    Should taxpayers cover preventative health care for non-citizens? (Houston Chronicle): "Sen. Dan Patrick this week accused Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples of voting to provide 'socialized healthcare' for illegal immigrants, and claimed the policy was 'a social enticement' luring illegal immigrant across the border. Patrick’s statement refers to a bill sponsored by the late Sen. Mario Gallegos, D-Houston, which was sought by Harris County’s hospital district, Harris Health. Staples voted for the bill in 2003 when he was in the Texas Senate."

•    Mega corps, special interests boost Straus water PAC (San Antonio Express-News): "A who’s who of mega corporations and powerful special interest groups propelled House Speaker Joe Straus’ water PAC beyond the $2 million total fundraising mark, according to a new campaign finance report. The Water Texas PAC reported this week raking in more than $1.1 million in checks and in-kind contributions between Sept. 27 and Oct. 26. That comes on top of the more than $952,000 the PAC collected in its inaugural fundraising period between July 31 and September 26."

•   Ted Cruz will appear on ‘The Tonight Show’ (The Washington Post): "Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) will appear on 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' on Nov. 8, NBC announced Wednesday. It is Cruz's first appearance on late-night TV (if you don't could his 23-hour filibuster-esque speech, of course)."

•    Ted Cruz: The Mask of Sincerity (The New Yorker): "If, as Orwell said, everyone has the face he deserves at fifty, Cruz, who is only forty-two, has got a serious head start. For months, I sensed vaguely that he reminded me of someone but I couldn’t place who it was. Revelation has arrived: Ted Cruz resembles the Bill Murray of a quarter-century ago, when he played fishy, mock-sincere fakers. No one looked more untrustworthy than Bill Murray. The difference between the two men is that the actor was a satirist."

•    Denton’s serious about luring maker of Sriracha away from Southern California (The Dallas Morning News): "It’s not exactly trending — not yet, anyhow — but #Sriracha2Denton is a thing, thanks to a Denton City Council member who smells an opportunity in the wake of a Southern California dust-up involving the beloved hot sauce that’s giving some residents burning eyes and headaches."

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Politics Dan Patrick Joaquin Castro Joe Straus Rick Perry Ted Cruz