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Cruz Takes Action to Renounce Canadian Citizenship

By Greg Richter

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has hired lawyers to officially renounce his Canadian citizenship and expects the process to be completed in 2014, The Dallas Morning News reports.

Cruz says he was not aware of his dual citizenship until it was brought to his attention by the newspaper earlier this year.

Cruz’s parents were living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, when he was born on Dec. 22, 1970. Though his mother was an American citizen and his father a Cuban citizen at the time, Cruz became an automatic Canadian citizen just by being born in that country. The United States has the same policy.

Urgent: Do You Support Sen. Ted Cruz’s Efforts to Defund Obamacare? Vote Here.

But Cruz was also born an American citizen since at least one of his parents, in this case his mother, was an American citizen. Cruz’s father has since become a naturalized American. The Cruz family moved to the United States when Ted was 4 years old.

The dual citizenship doesn’t disqualify Cruz for elected office, including the presidency, but many think his circumstances could recall the “birther” movement, in which some conservative foes of President Barack Obama challenged his qualifications because they believe he was not born in the United States.

Like Cruz’s situation, Obama’s father was not a U.S. citizen, but his mother…Continued here:

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Wendy Davis Will Be Charitable With Your Tax Dollars

photo by: Marjorie Kamys Cotera

By: Erick Erickson (Diary)

The problem with liberals is they always want to be charitable with your money and never with their own.

Wendy Davis has released her tax records. Turns out she’s only managed to fund about 2.7 abortions over the last three years. She’d rather use the power of the state to make you fund the abortions.

In all seriousness,

Davis’ adjusted gross income rose from $130,931 in 2010 to $235,428 in 2011 and $284,183 last year. She made roughly $12,000 to $14,000 a year from capital gains, mostly from the sale of mutual funds.

In 2010, Davis’ combined legal work brought in $126,043, then rose to $223,263 a year later before hitting $275,271 in 2012, according to figures filed under tax schedules for business and partnership income.

But then consider what she has given personally to charity.

Davis has made relatively modest contributions to charity. In 2010 she reported giving $2,700. She gave $515 in 2011 and $950 in 2012, the tax returns show.

This is a woman who refuses to provide the press a full list of her law firm’s “public-sector clients” as more and more evidence crops up she’s used her position in the state legislature to steer the public-sector to her office door. In fact, as the Texas Tribune notes, her legal work has gone from $126,043 to $275,271 over a three-year period. A good bit of that work could be from using her position in the legislature, which would give it the appearance of all sorts of conflicts of interest and kickbacks. Again, though, she refuses to provide a full list of public-sector clients. What’s she hiding?

What she is not hiding is that she is not a charitable person. She has demanded taxpayer dollars be used to fund her favorite causes, including aborting kids, but she herself refuses to put her personal dollars where her mouth and pink shoes are. Less than 1% of her income over the last three years — more like 0.6% of her income — has gone to charitable causes. But I’m sure she thinks happy thoughts toward charities. So typical of a liberal.

Attorney General Greg Abbott’s relatively paltry charitable giving generated a big news story. But Abbott still gave more than Davis. I wonder if the Dallas Morning News will write a story on Davis’s lack of charity or even investigate how many public sector clients her law firm has because…Continued here:

Ted Cruz Ends Year as He Began It: No Apologies


Ted Cruz wasn’t the only politician who promised to shake up Washington when he was sworn in earlier this year.

But he delivered like no other.

By the time the brash Houston lawyer and Republican firebrand completes his first year in the U.S. Senate on Jan. 3, he will arguably have become the most recognizable face of the GOP’s unapologetic far right — not bad for a guy with no previous experience in elective office.

Loathed by Democrats, feared by many moderate Republicans and practically worshiped by Tea Party activists, Cruz took the U.S. Senate by storm almost from the minute his hand came off the Bible.

His harsh questioning of (and opposition to) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during the confirmation process sparked comparisons to red-baiting Sen. Joe McCarthy. He helped lead the successful fight against a bipartisan bill aimed at introducing mandatory background checks for people who buy firearms over the internet or at gun shows. And, unlike fellow conservative senators such as Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky, he fiercely criticized and helped derail a comprehensive immigration bill whose future is now uncertain at best.

Perhaps most significantly, Cruz was a chief architect of the budgetary confrontation that sparked a partial shutdown of the government earlier this year — all in an effort to repeal Obamacare.

In the process, he became the star of a hot-selling coloring book, sparked endless speculation about a run for president in 2016 and even prompted an addition to the political lexicon — “Cruz Control” — generally used by people opposed to his confrontational, uncompromising style.

If there was any doubt about his mark on U.S. politics, a recent poll by Rasmussen seems to clear it up. Eleven percent of the Americans surveyed in it ranked him as the most influential person of 2013 — in the world. He came in third, behind Pope Francis and President Obama.

So what does Cruz have to say for himself as he nears the one-year mark?

Sorry? You’re welcome?

In a lengthy interview with The Texas Tribune on Wednesday, Cruz made it clear that he has no regrets to ponder or apologies to make. When it comes to the government shutdown, for example, Cruz said the fight helped crystallize the failures of the Affordable Care Act while strengthening his resolve to repeal it.

“The proof is in the pudding,” he said. “As a consequence of that fight, we elevated the national debate over the harms Obamacare is causing, and today President Obama has the lowest approval rating he has ever had, and the American public has turned strongly against Obamacare. The reason is simple. This thing isn’t working.”

Democrats don’t see it that way, of course. Texas Democratic Party spokesman Manny Garcia said Cruz pushed people away from the GOP and insulted hard-working Texans.

“Ted Cruz did a great job for Texas Democrats last year,” Garcia said. “As he drove the Republican Party off the ideological cliff, every day Texans turned to Democrats for responsible leadership.” Garcia gave Cruz an “F” for his efforts to kill Obamacare while representing a state that has the highest percentage of uninsured people.

But don’t expect Cruz to back down one iota. He said he will continue to seek the repeal of Obamacare, an idea that in his view has gone from the fringes to “a common-sense, middle-of-the-road” proposal given all of the woes of the new law, such as the botched website rollout and the cancellation of existing policies.

“I intend to do everything possible to stop Obamacare because it isn’t working and it is hurting millions of Americans,” he said. “The path to repealing Obamacare is going to be continuing to energize and mobilize the American people. The answers are not going to come from Washington.”

In the wide-ranging discussion, Cruz made a variety of other observations about his first year in office, his own future and other Texas Republican heavyweights. Among the highlights of the exchange:

  • Cruz said his concerns about Hagel as defense secretary were “rendered all the more relevant by the terrible deal the Obama administration has brokered with the nation of Iran.” He added: “In that confirmation hearing my focus was consistently on his record, on his disclosures and on his past statements, all of which raised substantial reason to doubt that he was an appropriate nominee for that position.”
  • In similar fashion, Cruz defended his questioning of Sen. Dianne Feinstein during a March debate over gun restrictions, when she angrily told him she didn’t need a “lecture” as if she were “a sixth-grader.” Cruz said he merely wanted to know why Feinstein didn’t see the proposal as a violation of the Second Amendment. “It was treated as a ridiculous question outside the bounds of reasonable discussion,” Cruz said in the interview. “That’s part of the reason why we have an out-of-control federal government with a $17 trillion national debt, because there is far too little focus on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”
  • Cruz was perhaps the least talkative when asked about the U.S. Senate race, which pits Sen. John Cornyn against U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman and others. Reminded that Stockman was citing Cornyn’s opposition to Cruz’s tactics during the shutdown as a key reason he got in the race, Cruz said, “I like John Cornyn,” and “I like Steve Stockman.” He also noted that he and the senior U.S. senator have “stood side by side on a great many issues” but Cruz steadfastly refused to pick sides. “I’ve never liked it when Washington insiders try to pick winners and losers in Republican primaries,” Cruz said. “I think primaries should be decided by the grassroots in each state. … I’m going to leave it to the voters of Texas to make that decision.”
  • Cruz, who was born in Canada, said he is living up to his promise to give up his claim to citizenship there but that it’s taking time. “I have retained counsel, and this is in process, but that has not been completed yet,” Cruz said. “My understanding is it should be completed sometime next year, but I don’t have an exact time frame.”
  • On the topic of his failure to disclose an investment in a Jamaican private equity firm, Cruz said his amended forms ended the matter as far as he is concerned. “To the best of my knowledge, that matter is fully resolved,” Cruz said. “We simply filed an amended filing because I realize I inadvertently omitted something I should have disclosed.”
  • As for a potential run for president, Cruz wouldn’t go there: “100 percent of my focus is on the U.S. Senate,” he said. “The Senate is the battlefield right now.” Cruz didn’t care to speculate about a potential 2016 presidential primary matchup with Gov. Rick Perry, either, though he had some kind words for the longest-serving governor in Texas history. “I think he’s been a good governor. He’s a friend, I respect him, and the economic growth and jobs in Texas over the last two decades have been extraordinary, and Gov. Perry deserves credit for helping create, helping maintain, an environment in which small businesses can prosper and thrive,” Cruz said. “I think more states should follow the model of what has worked in Texas.”

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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

Dewhurst wants review of sentences after teen gets probation for DWI crash
Ethan Couch, the 16-year-old who admitted to four counts of intoxication manslaughter in a crash in Burleson last summer, was given 10 years probation.

DALLAS — Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Thursday called on a state Senate committee to study sentences for intoxication manslaughter cases after a teenager received probation for a wreck that killed four people.

Dewhurst said he wants the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice to review how probation sentences are issued in adult and juvenile cases of intoxication manslaughter. While he did not call for an end to probation in certain intoxication manslaughter cases, Dewhurst said he wanted to make sure that intoxication manslaughter sentences “include appropriate punishment levels,” his office said in a statement.

His announcement came about a week after 16-year-old Ethan Couch was given 10 years’ probation after a June wreck in North Texas that left four people dead and two severely injured. Prosecutors in Tarrant County wanted a maximum of 20 years in prison for Couch.

State District Judge Jean Boyd sided with Couch’s attorneys, who said justice would be better served if the teen was placed in a pricey California rehab facility. One defense expert during sentencing argued Couch’s parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility — a condition he termed “affluenza.” If Couch violates the terms of his probation, he could be sent to prison for 10 years.

The Tarrant County district attorney’s office, which prosecuted Couch, is now pushing Boyd to sentence Couch to jail time on two lesser counts of intoxication assault in connection with the wreck. But prosecutors have said — and legal experts agree — that there is likely no way for them to appeal the probation sentence, and the Legislature would have to act to prevent probation sentences in future cases.

Drunken driving is a personal issue for Dewhurst. His father was killed by a drunken driver when he was 3.

“Having lost my own father to a drunk driver in my youth, I have a particular interest in this issue…Continued here:

State sanctions agency’s Austin branch after foster tot’s death

Lutheran chief executive Kurt Senske said while he remains confident that his private child placing agency runs quality programs for mistreated youngsters, its executives soon will meet with state protective services officials “to discuss their concerns.”

“We respect the state’s rights and responsibilities in this area and we will cooperate fully with” the Department of Family and Protective Services, he said in a statement.

Until Lutheran execs meet with department officials, Senske said he and his team “will have no additional comment …, as it would be inappropriate.”

Original item at 12:07 p.m.: State protective services officials have stopped placing abused and neglected children with the Austin-area branch of Texas’ No. 1 foster-care contractor after finding eight violations at the suburban Austin home where 11 month old Orien Hamilton suffered fatal injuries in October.

On Thursday, the Department of Family and Protective Services also announced it was putting Lutheran Social Services of the South Inc.’s Austin-area operations on a six-month “evaluation” — a corrective action just short of probation.

In addition, the department released a letter summarizing findings of an investigation into Continued here:

Central Texas deputy fatally shot while serving warrant

CALDWELL — A sheriff’s deputy was killed Thursday after gunfire erupted while he was serving a warrant at a home in Central Texas, authorities said.

Sgt. Adam Sowders was part of a team of officers entering a rural residence east of the town of Somerville to serve a warrant, Burleson County Sheriff Dale Stroud said. He was shot as the team entered just before 6 a.m. and later died of his injuries. No other officers were injured.

One suspect was in custody, Stroud said at a Thursday afternoon press conference. The sheriff did not identify the suspect.

The warrant was served at a rural residence east of the town of Somerville, about 90 miles northwest of Houston, according to Trooper Jimmy Morgan of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

According to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, Sowders had been a Burleson sheriff’s deputy for seven years and had previously served as a police officer in Somerville.

Stroud said Sowders, 31, had recently been promoted to a sergeant investigator position.

“Adam was well-respected, extremely well-liked, and he’s going to leave a big hole in what we do here,” Stroud said.

Sowders graduated from Somerville High School in 2001. School district superintendent Charles Camarillo recalled Sowders Thursday as a friendly, professional officer who was well-known in their small town. A handful of the district’s current teachers went to school with Sowders.

Josephine Reese had Sowders in her biology class when he was a sophomore. Reese said Thursday that she wasn’t surprised to see him pursue a law enforcement career.

“He’s the kind of person that was for what’s right and wanting others to do the right thing,” she said.

Reese remembered Sowders more than a decade later for his reserved, attentive nature.

“I never saw him in a stressful situation where he couldn’t handle things,” Reese said. “It was a wonderful student to have in class, because you never had to stay on him…Continued here:

Obama frees two Texans from life in prison on drug charges

President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)



WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama commuted the sentences today of two Texans serving life terms for possession of crack cocaine. The move is part of Obama’s larger goal to reduce harsher sentences for crack cocaine users.

Jason Hernandez, a McKinney resident, was sentenced in October 1998 when he was 21. Obama reduce that to 20 years, of which Hernandez has served 15 years. He is imprisoned in El Reno, Okla.

According to Crack Open the Door, a nonprofit advocating for Hernandez and several others serving life sentences for non-violent drug crimes, Hernandez became involved in selling drugs when he was 15. He was arrested as the organizer of a drug conspiracy but was not involved with gang violence or Mexican drug cartels.

His older brother, Stevie Hernandez, 39, was unaware of his brother’s shortened sentence when he talked to the Dallas Morning News. He described himself as speechless.

“It’s gonna feel like a dream,” he said of when his brother is released. “What more can you ask for for the holidays?”

Another Texan, Billy Ray Wheelock of Belton, began serving his life sentence for distributing crack cocaine in June 1993. He’ll be released April 17, 2014, under the terms of the president’s order. He’s serving his time at a prison in Florence, Colo.

The president also cut short prison terms for six other inmates across the country serving lengthy terms for charges related to crack. Most, like Wheelock, can expect release in April. He also pardoned…Continued here:

Texas Fugitive Found In Michigan After 36 Years

DETROIT (AP) — A woman who was on the run from Texas authorities for nearly four decades has been caught in Michigan.

U.S. Marshals arrested 58-year-old Kathlyn Regina Huff outside of her Farmington Hills home on Wednesday night.

In 1977, Huff was indicted by a grand jury in Bexar County, Texas, on charges of attempted murder. U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Chris Bozeman told the San Antonio Express-News that Huff was suspected of shooting her common-law husband in the head. He survived, Bozeman said.

Huff evaded capture by moving away from San Antonio, getting married and changing her name to Kathlyn Regenia Rose, authorities said.

The Lone Star Fugitive Task Force Cold Case Squad started investigating the case this month and after determining Huff might be in Farmington Hills, reached out for help from the U.S. Marshals Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team.

“No matter how many years a fugitive is on the run, we will hunt, we will search and we will pursue until they are brought to justice,” U.S. Marshal Robert Almonte said.

Huff is in the Oakland County Jail and will be extradited to Texas, The Detroit News…Continued here:

Dewhurst Wants Harsher DWI Crash Sentences

Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst testifies on Capitol Hill. (credit: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A teenager who admitted to killing four people in a drunk driving crash was given a sentence of 10 years probation. That move still has people across the country talking, and now Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is calling for changes.

Dewhurst is directing the Senate committee on criminal justice to study sentencing in intoxication manslaughter cases.

For Dewhurst, these types of cases are personal. “Having lost my own father to a drunk driver in my youth, I have a particular interest in this issue, because I know the devastation it cases,” Dewhurst stated Thursday. “I am wholeheartedly committed to the safety of our citizens and believe that recent cases indicate existing sentencing options may leave justice undone.”

Ethan Couch is the 16-year-old who was found responsible for the deaths of four people, and injuring two others, in the drunk driving wreck earlier this year. Judge Gene Boyd sentenced Couch to 10 years probation. There has been a whirlwind of criticism ever since.

Tarrant County prosecutors wanted Couch to go to prison for up to 20 years. Now, the district…Continued here:

Judge’s Switch Gives Democrats Something to Build On

When Lawrence Meyers won a seat on the statewide Court of Criminal Appeals in 1992, he was the first Republican elected to the state’s highest criminal court.

This month he made history again. After switching parties, Meyers, who had been a judge in Fort Worth, became the first Democrat to hold statewide office in Texas in the 21st century. Now he is running for a spot on the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court.

Though Meyers was not elected to his current post as a Democrat, his high-level defection has given the party a shot of momentum and some bragging rights ahead of the 2014 elections, said Gilberto Hinojosa, the chairman of the Texas Democratic Party. But Republican officials suggest that the switch was more about their party’s cramped races and not an indicator of any sea change.

Democrats have not had one of their own in statewide elected office since the late 1990s, and nearly every person switching parties in the last two decades has gone in the opposite direction.

“With this and the candidates that we are fielding in this election, I think people are saying, ‘Wow, this is a totally different Texas Democratic Party,’” Hinojosa said.

Meyers, who has flirted with party-switching in the past, did not respond to requests for comment.

Hinojosa said Meyers had told party officials he was a big fan of state Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate for governor, and indicated that he had grown uncomfortable with the rightward shift of the Texas Republican Party. Hinojosa said the party had been in talks with Meyers about the switch for about three months.

“He just said, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’” Hinojosa said. “He’s been thinking about this for quite some time.”

Meyers is the longest-serving member of the Court of Criminal Appeals. In Texas, appellate responsibilities are split: Criminal matters go to the appeals court, while the Supreme Court hears civil disputes.

Meyers was elected to the appeals court in 1992, a time when Republicans began displacing Southern Democrats as the dominant force in Texas politics. In six years, the court went from all Democratic to all Republican. And the Republican Party has swept every statewide election since 1998, when George W. Bush was elected to a second term as governor.

Now Texas stands out as the only reliably Republican state where non-whites make up a majority of the population, and Meyers is betting that the tide is turning back toward the party of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Democrats point to two San Antonio politicians who recently left the Republican Party as more evidence of a resurgence.

Steve Munisteri, the chairman of the Texas Republican Party, finds the claim dubious. In fact, he says, the more Democrats talk about party switching, the better. Since 2008, Munisteri said, 248 Democrats, many of them county officials in rural areas, have defected to the Republican Party.

“We don’t put out a release when we have party switchers because it happens so often. I had two this morning,” Munisteri said this week. “By our count, it’s 248-3.”

Munisteri theorized that Meyers had merely found the Republican Party too crowded. As a Democrat, Meyers faces no primary opponent, and because he is not up for re-election until 2016, he can run again as a sitting judge in two years.

His most likely opponent in November is Justice Jeff Brown, who was appointed to the Supreme Court in September by Gov. Rick Perry and is facing his first statewide election.

Brown said he was focusing on his primary for now but would not take victory for granted if he was the nominee.

“I’m going to act like Democrats and Republicans are evenly matched in Texas,” he said.

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at