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Record Turnout During Early Voting in Texas

Early voting for this midterm election ended in Texas on Nov. 2 and several counties registered record-high turnout for in-person voting. In Tarrant County, this early voting period saw more voters than the 2014 midterm election and 2012 presidential election, where more than 432,700 out of 1.1 million registered local voters had already showed up in person to cast their ballots. More than 15.7 million Texans are registered to vote state-wide. The main race in Texas for this midterm is the battle between incumbent Republican candidate Ted Cruz against Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke for U.S. Senate.


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Candidate Profile: Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz (R) is running against Beto O’Rourke (D) in the Texas race for the U.S. Senate.

Cruz was born to a mother of Irish and Italian descent and a father who was born in Cuba but fled to the United States. Cruz’s interest in public service was influenced by his observation of the pursuit of freedom and opportunity in America. Cruz has previously served in private practice, as Solicitor General for the State of Texas, and on the United States Senate. He also ran for president in 2016.

Cruz has focused on issues such as: the economy, healthcare, immigration, the Constitution, and national security.

  • On the economy, Cruz wants to reform Social Security but does not plan on altering benefits for people who already receive checks

  • On healthcare, Cruz is an outspoken critic of the Affordable Care Act and still wants the law off the books

  • On immigration, Cruz supports Trump’s border and believes that Americans have witnessed harmful effects of an unsecure border and believe’s that former President Barack Obama’s encouraged drug smugglers, child abusers, murderers, and other dangerous criminals

  • On education, Cruz supports school choice as he believes it gives students more opportunities and opposes Common Core

For more information, visit his campaign website.

Candidate Profile: Beto O'Rourke

Beto O’Rourke (D) is running against incumbent Ted Cruz (R) in the Texas race for U.S. Senate.

O’Rourke, a fourth-generation Texan, was born and raised in El Paso. He graduated from Columbia University and worked in the Northeast for a few years before deciding to move back to Texas to start a small technology company. Outside his work, O’Rourke became heavily involved in his community and ran for U.S. Congress in 2012, beating an eight-year incumbent.

O’Rourke, who is known affectionately by supporters at Beto, has focused on issues such as: disability rights, economy, education, equality, gun safety, immigration, and women’s health.

  • On education, O’Rourke supports an increase in federal aid to public schools low-income communities

  • On immigration, O’Rourke opposes Donald Trump’s plan for a border and has rallied to protest the administration’s family separation policy

  • On equality, O’Rourke the Equality Act and believes DOMA should be repealed; he also supports closing the gender pay gap

  • On gun safety, O’Rourke supports a requirement for background checks for all gun sales and opposes selling weapons of war and high-capacity magazines

To read more, visit his campaign website.

Trump's Former Doctor is Throwing Shade

Dr. Harold Bornstein, President Trump’s former doctor of nearly thirty years, is back in the news. Bornstein first came to fame in December 2015 when he released a glowing review of then candidate Trump’s health, claiming he would be the “healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” At the time, Bornstein declared the statement was comprised of his own words, but now he’s claiming otherwise. The doctor disclosed to CNN Tuesday that the entire statement was dictated by President Trump himself. Additionally, Dr. Bornstein said that shortly after the election, Trump’s former bodyguard entered his office and confiscated all of the president’s medical files without permission. President Trump has yet to comment on these claims.

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Trump Pushes for Congressional Term Limits

President Donald Trump tweeted his support for instituting Congressional term limits on Monday, echoing his campaign promises to drain the swamp.  The tweet reads “I recently had a terrific meeting with a bipartisan group of freshman lawmakers who feel very strongly in favor of Congressional term limits. I gave them my full support and endorsement for their efforts. #DrainTheSwamp.”  Conflicting reports have surfaced as to the actual substance of the meeting.  As a candidate in October 2016, Trump called for six year term limits for members of the House and twelve year limits for Senators.

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Investigation Reveals 100+ Uber Drivers Accused of Sexual Misconduct

CNN exclusively revealed yesterday that an investigation into Uber drivers across the country found over 100 drivers accused of either sexual assault or abuse in the past four years. Charges include forcible touching, false imprisonment and rape, and drivers have either been arrested, are wanted by the police, or have been named in civil suits. CNN explained that while this information is not available to the public, they were able to find the trend by reviewing “police reports, federal court records and county court databases for 20 major U.S. cities.” CNN also found that in the past, Uber has advocated for a “safe ride home” and has created campaigns around designated drivers, urging users to avoid drinking and driving. The network’s investigation reported that many of the victims had been drinking at the time of the incidents.

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Rising Death Rate from Cocaine Overdoses

Cocaine overdoses are spiking, and researchers at the Center for Disease Control have said this rise is due to the growing presence of fentanyl-laced cocaine in America. From 2015 to 2016, deaths from cocaine increased 52%. This puts the drug on track to rival painkiller pills and heroin. Fentanyl, the opioid sometimes laced in cocaine, is fifty times stronger than heroin and extremely addictive. It is the same drug that killed Tom Petty and Prince. In 2012, fewer than 200 cocaine overdoses reported by the CDC were related to fentanyl, but in 2016, that number had risen to 4,100.

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Sprint and T-Mobile Agree to Merge

If Trump’s administration’s antitrust regulators let the $26.5 billion merger agreement between T-Mobile and Sprint, the U.S. wireless industry will be reduced to three major players. The two have been considering combining for years, but a 2014 attempt fell apart because of resistance from the Obama administration. If the companies are combined, it will be called T-Mobile and will have about 127 million customers. The combination would allow them to compete with both AT&T and Verizon better. The deal with have to be reviewed by both the FCC and Justice Department.

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Amazon to Raise Price of Prime

Amazon announced that they will raise the annual cost of their Prime membership from $99 to $119 annually during a call with investors on Thursday.  The new price will go into effect on May 11 and will begin applying to Prime renewals on June 16.  Amazon cited the increase in value of Prime due to new services such as Prime Video as reason for the change.  Earlier in the month, Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, told shareholders that the company has increased Prime membership to over 100 million paying members. 

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Pompeo Confirmed as Secretary of State

America officially has a new Secretary of State. The Senate confirmed Mike Pompeo, the director of the CIA before this nomination, on Thursday as the Secretary of State for Trump’s administration. After Trump fired Rex Tillerson, Pompeo was nominated as he had become a trusted advisor to Trump during his time at the head of the CIA and agrees with Trump on foreign policy issues. Many Democrats opposed Pompeo’s nomination because of his “hawkish foreign policy views,” but he ended up getting enough support to be confirmed. Pompeo’s first act as secretary of state will be a trip to Brussels, Belgium, for a NATO military alliance meeting. Gina Haspel has been promoted to replace Pompeo as CIA director.

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Big Changes to Come to NCAA Basketball

The NCAA’s Commission on College Basketball recommended major changes to the NCAA in an attempt to fix some major issues. The commission recommended an end to the one-and-done rule, potential lifetime bans as punishment and changes to the relationship between the NCAA and clothing companies as sponsors. The commission chairman and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the NCAA needs to put “college back in college basketball.” The NCAA Board of Governors and Division I Board of Directors endorsed the recommendations Wednesday. This means the NCAA will begin to craft regulation and rules. This commission was formed due to the FBI’s investigation on bribery and fraud.

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Bill Cosby Found Guilty in Retrial

Bill Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault on Thursday for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia home in 2004. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years, leaving Cosby with the possibility of spending 30 years in prison. The announcement of the guilty verdict prompted an outburst by Cosby in the court room, who had some choice words for the prosecutor. For now, Cosby is permitted to go home but must stay in the state of Pennsylvania and will be monitored through GPS. He has stated he plans to appeal the verdict.

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Accusations Curse the VA Nominee

Ronny Jackson, President Trump’s nomination for head of the Veterans Affairs Department, has run into a few unfavorable allegations in his approval process. The accusations include that in the past Jackson has created hostile working environments, drank alcohol while on duty and improperly prescribed drugs to staff during his time as White House doctor to two administrations. Mr. Trump has recently “doubted” whether Jackson should stay as the nominee but has left the decision to Jackson himself and blamed Democratic obstruction and scrutiny. Jackson has not yet denied the allegations, but is waiting to address them in the official hearings.

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FDA Says Juul-ing is NOT Cool

Following months of complaints from politicians, school administrators and parents, federal agencies have begun cracking down on underage use of the popular e-cigarette brand Juul. As of Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings to 40 retail and online stores. This is part of a nationwide effort against the illegal sale of Juul to minors. Juul has become popular among teenagers thanks to its semblance to a small flash drive, making it easy to vape in school and in public. Apparently, the San Francisco-based company monitors all retailers to ensure they follow the law.

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DACA Ruling: US Must Accept New Applications

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the government must continue to implement the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals program in the U.S. and accept new applications. The program protects undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. Despite the Trump administration’s efforts to eliminate DACA, many federal judges have ruled that the program must continue as the Department of Homeland Security has failed to defend its position that the program is unconstitutional. The ruling regarding DACA on Tuesday is noteworthy because, in addition to requiring the continuance of the program, the judge also required that the US begin taking new applications. DHS has 90 days to argue its position on the issue or the ruling will go into effect.

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Former President George H.W. Bush Hospitalized

George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital on Sunday morning, just a day after former First Lady Barbara Bush’s funeral service.  A spokesman for Bush told reporters that he was admitted “after contracting an infection that spread to his blood,” but he was recovering.  However, another source close to the former president told CNN that he had contracted sepsis and is in critical condition. 

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Barbara Bush Laid to Rest

Over 1,500 attendees paid their respects on Saturday morning to former first lady Barbara Bush, who died last week at the age of 92.  Among the 1,500 in attendance included Michelle and Barack Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton, and Melania Trump, with President Trump watching the funeral from Mar-a-Lago.  The last sitting president to attend a first lady's funeral was John F. Kennedy, who went to Eleanor Roosevelt’s service in 1962.  Barbara Bush’s death marked the end of the longest presidential marriage in American history at a 73 years, followed only by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, who have been married for the past 71 years and counting.

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Four Dead in Tennessee Shooting

At a Waffle House near Nashville, Tennessee, four people were killed in a shooting early Sunday morning.  As of Sunday afternoon, the shooter, who is suspected to be 29-year-old Travis Reinking, is still at large and has been placed on Tennessee’s Top 10 Most Wanted list.  Around 3 AM on Sunday, the gunman exited his truck carrying an assault rifle and fatally shot two people before walking into the Waffle House and continuing to fire.  Two more were killed inside the waffle house and several others were injured.  The shooting ended when a customer, James Shaw Jr., wrestled the rifle out of the gunman’s hands, causing him to flee. 

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CDC Expands Romaine Lettuce Warning Across the United States

On Friday, the Center for Disease Control expanded its original warning of romaine lettuce to include all romaine lettuce in the United States after the current e-coli outbreak spread to its 16 state. Though the source of the outbreak has yet to be identified, public health officials believe it originated in crops from Yuma, Arizona. CDC said consumers should throw away any romaine lettuce unless they are certain it came from a different source. The outbreak has resulted in 31 hospitalizations, including five developments of kidney failure. To avoid e-coli, wash hands and food thoroughly and do not consume raw food.

To read more about the outbreak, click here.

Research Shows Youtube Ran Ads From Extremists

According to a recent CNN investigation, Youtube has run ads from over 300 companies and organizations that promoted white nationalists, Nazis, pedophilia, conspiracy theories and North Korean propaganda. Popular companies like Adidas, Amazon, Hershey, Netflix, and more may even have unknowingly helped these channels because of the advertisements they paid for. Some of these companies have paused its advertising buy on Youtube because of this. Further fueling the fire, this is not the first time Youtube has put major companies’ ads up against controversial or extremist content. It brings many to question Youtube’s ability to protect companies’ advertisement integrity.

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