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The Brief: April 10, 2014

With the three-day Civil Rights Summit wrapping up today, Politico's Todd S. Purdum dives into the paradoxes on display this week in Austin.

President Jimmy Carter and Luci Baines Johnson at the LBJ Library on April 8th, 2014

The Big Conversation

With the three-day Civil Rights Summit wrapping up today, Politico's Todd S. Purdum dives into the paradoxes on display this week in Austin.

He observed that the gathering at the LBJ Presidential Library was undeniably poignant because the "celebration of [Lyndon B.] Johnson’s achievement comes so late that few of the 36th president’s contemporaries remain to raise a glass. ... What’s more, few, if any, of the dwindling handful of (mostly anonymous) legislative aides who actually helped pass the bill on Capitol Hill — sometimes in defiance of Johnson’s own preferred tactics — were invited here to share in the credit."

Purdum — who also moderated a panel at the summit — noted that it was Johnson's realization as vice president that the country needed comprehensive civil rights legislation that led him to commit fully to enacting what President John F. Kennedy had proposed before his assassination. Equally important, Purdum wrote, was the parliamentary savvy of the Senate Democratic leadership in defusing the filibuster mounted by Southern senators.

Purdum concluded his piece on one final poignant moment: "Johnson’s last public appearance, in December 1972, was on the same stage at his library on the University of Texas campus where this week’s conference was held. ... 'Whites stand on history’s mountain, and blacks stand in history’s hollow,' Johnson said then. The challenge, he concluded, was to 'get down to the business of trying to stand black and white on level ground.' Barely a month later, Johnson was dead, of a heart attack at his ranch. But this week’s conference participants made it clear that the challenge LBJ outlined remains very much alive today."

The Day Ahead

•    The third — and final — day of the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library is highlighted by the keynote address from President Barack Obama and an address from former President George W. Bush followed by a conversation between Bush and Mark Updegrove, director of the LBJ Presidential Library. Other panel discussions will look at social justice, education and women's rights. We will livestream Obama's address at 11:30 a.m. and Bush's address at 5:30 p.m.

•    The House Elections Committee holds an interim hearing at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to look at compliance with the Help America Vote Act and at implementing the law allowing military personnel on active duty overseas to cast a mail-in early ballot electronically. (agenda)

•    The House Economic and Small Business Development Committee holds an interim hearing at 1 p.m. in the Capitol Extension to take a close look at public-private partnerships. (agenda)

Today in the Trib

China's Embrace of Tequila Affects Texas, Mexican Markets: "International negotiations that have lifted a longtime ban on tequila in China will have big implications for Mexico — and are likely to benefit fledgling producers and distributors in Texas, too."

Despite Changes, Driver Surcharge Program Faces Opposition: "At a hearing next week, critics of the Driver Responsibility Program, which levies a pricey surcharge on top of some traffic violations, will tell lawmakers that it's time for the troubled program to end."

UT-Austin Faculty Objects to Shared Services Plan: "A proposal to save money by consolidating administrative services at the University of Texas at Austin has encountered resistance from faculty members, who call it 'part of the overly zealous, profit-motivated corporatist mandate.'"


Obama urges mourners to see through the tears at Fort Hood, Houston Chronicle

In Houston, Bush 41 Greets Obama, Who Later Assails G.O.P., The New York Times

Bill Clinton says Texas Voter ID laws among initiatives to roll back rights, San Antonio Express-News

Texas moves closer to boosting ethnic-studies electives in high schools, The Dallas Morning News

GOP Texans throw D.C. fundraiser for Ralph Hall, The Dallas Morning News

DNC staffs up for voter expansion project, The Hill

Pension fund seeks to recover $64 million from banks, Austin American-Statesman

Quote to Note

"Next time you see him, tell him Charles Murray’s sorry he’s taking all this bullshit for such an innocuous thing."

— Controversial social scientist Charles Murray, giving the Austin American-Statesman's Jonathan Tilove a message for GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott, who is being attacked for referencing Murray's work in a footnote in Abbott's education plan

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With Mike Collier, Candidate for State Comptroller at the Austin Club, 4/17

•    Slate's Live Political Gabfest in Austin at Scholz Garten, 4/23

•    A Panel Discussion on Keeping the Lights on in Texas at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, 4/29

•    A Conversation With Rep. Dan Branch, Candidate for Attorney General at the Austin Club, 5/8

•    A Conversation with U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway at Midland College in Midland, 5/13

•    A Conversation With Steve Patterson, UT Men's Athletic Director at the Austin Club, 5/15

•    A Conversation With Sen. Glenn Hegar, Candidate for State Comptroller at the Austin Club, 5/29

•    Save the date for the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival: 9/19-9/21

Disclosure: The LBJ Library and Museum is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Texas Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

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