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Archive for July, 2012

Historic First! Obama’s Minions Add Gay Marriage Plank To Official DNC 2012 Election Platform.

A law unto themselves

“In those days…every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25

From Politico: Democrats are set to include a pro-gay marriage plank in their convention platform for the first time in history, party sources confirm to POLITICO. The language was approved unanimously by a 15-member platform draft committee, and now heads for approval by the full platform committee in August.

Like no other US president before him has done…

The party’s Platform Drafting Committee agreed, unanimously, to approve the language at a meeting this weekend in Minneapolis.  A source in the meeting said the decision was “not controversial.” The language will not become official until the party’s full Platform Committee meets Aug. 10 in Detroit.

The effort to include gay marriage in the platform gained increased momentum after President Barack Obama announced in May that his views on the issue had changed to support legalization.

“I don’t think that we had any issues that were controversial,” one member of the committee said Monday. “I think we were pretty much in sync and in agreement with where we ended up.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Monday referred questions about the platform to the Democratic National Committee. A DNC spokesperson declined to comment on what the official described as ongoing process.

The decision was first reported Monday by the Washington Blade, to whom Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) confirmed the news.

A draft plank circulated in February — before the president’s endorsement — read: “We support the full inclusion of all families in the life of our nation, with equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law, including the freedom to marry. Government has no business putting barriers in the path of people seeking to care for their family members, particularly in challenging economic times. We support the Respect for Marriage Act and the overturning of the federal so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and oppose discriminatory constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny the freedom to marry to loving and committed same-sex couples.”

It is unclear whether the Democrats have strengthened the language in the wake of Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage. The DNC declined to comment on an ongoing process, and outside witnesses at the platform hearing were not provided with draft text.

“We’ve not seen any specific language at this point,” Zeke Stokes, a spokesman for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said. SLDN put forward a witness at last week’s hearing testifying in favor of the plank.

But the news was quickly applauded by Marc Solomon, National Campaign Director of Freedom to Marry.

“We are proud that the Committee is including language that will ensure the Party is leading the way forward in supporting marriage for loving and committed same-sex couples and their families,” Solomon said in a statement. source – Politico.

by NTEB News Desk

A Great Commission Christian.

Acts 26:1-19

INTRODUCTION:  Paul’s speech before Agrippa is the culmination and
climax of Paul’s defense in Acts 21-26.  It brings together and presents
in final form all the themes of the previous five chapters.  The
charges against Paul that began with the temple mob in 21:28 were given
their final verdict by the Jewish King himself.  Paul is innocent of all
accounts and he could have been set free  (Acts 26:31-32), however, he
appealed to Caesar in Rome.

In Luke 23, we are told that Jesus went through the same type trials.
Having stood before Pilate, He was then sent to Herod.  Neither found
any fault with Him.

When the dust settles on Acts 26, Paul wants all to know that his
commitment to the risen Christ was the real reason for his bonds.

The reason this meeting is taking place is the request from Festus for
Paul to be examined by King Agrippa, but there is no record that he did.
Before the session ends, Paul became the Judge, and Festus, King
Agrippa, and Bernice became the defendants.

As a Great Commission Christian, note Paul’s Primary Goal:

– It was not to exonerate himself, but to convert Agrippa and all
present (28-29).  Paul saw himself, not as a prisoner, but an
ambassador, representing Jesus Christ to the world, begging people to be
reconciled to God.  That was his primary goal.

2 Corinthians 5:17-20, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new
creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become
new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through
Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is,
that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing
their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of
reconciliation.  Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God
were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf …

By Johnny Hunt

Going, Teaching, Baptizing.

Our Mission Is To Make Disciples

Matthew 28:16-20

“Go therefore and make disciples.”  The mission of the

Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ.  A

disciple is someone who knows and follows Jesus

Christ.  Our primary purpose, then, is to introduce

people to Jesus, and then to encourage and train them

to live the life Jesus wants them to live.

Today’s Scripture has often been referred to as The

Great Commission.  We could just as well call it The

Top Priority or The Bottom Line, or Main Thing, or The

Key Task, or The Right Focus.

When Methodism first came to Waverly in the year 1851

the main task of the Circuit Rider who brought it was

to make disciples who would, in turn, make a

difference in this community.  This Congregation is

here today because of his commitment, and the

commitment of others who joined him, to making

disciples of Jesus Christ.

But churches, just like all other human organizations,
have difficulty keeping the main thing the main thing.

Several weeks ago William Clay Ford Jr., CEO of Ford

Motor Company announced that Ford, because of its

losses, was restructuring the company.  He announced

that Ford would cut 35,000 jobs worldwide, close five

plants and discontinue from production the Ford

Escort, Cougar, Villager and Lincoln Continental.

CEO William Ford commented, “We strayed from what got

us to the top of the mountain, and it cost us

greatly.” (1).

In the same way churches stray from the commission

Jesus gave the disciples on that mountaintop in

Galilee.  That’s why we’re spending three weeks on

Matthew 28:16-20.  This is a good time for us to

revisit the Great Commission and sharpen our focus on

our real mission:  making disciples.

What I want to do this morning is to suggest some ways

for us to think about what it means to make disciples

and to be a disciple-making congregation.

I want to begin by suggesting that The Great

Commission wants us to focus our attention on

undiscipled people.

It’s natural for a church to do this when it first

comes into existence – new churches instinctively

reach out to new people.  But the longer but the

longer a church has been in place the harder it

becomes.  The focus changes from undiscipled people to

its own membership.  After all, it’s the members who

show up, do the work, and pay the bills.  Over time we

end up thinking more about ourselves than about the

undiscipled people Jesus has sent us to reach.  We end

up making fewer and fewer new disciples.

Something else happens over time.  We find it

increasingly harder to recognize that undiscipled

people are all around us.  It’s been well documented

that the longer a person is a Christian the few non-

Christian people that Christian will know.  This is

why some people refer to the church as a “holy huddle”

that is isolated from the undiscipled people …

By Tony Nester

The Great Commission.

Mark 16:15


1.  What is the Great Commission?  The Great Commission is spelled out
for us here in Mark 16:15.  The Lord told the disciples to go into all
the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  Keep in mind, this
command is not just for the 12 disciples, but it is for all disciples.
The word disciple simply means; one who follows another. All of God‘s
people are His disciples.  It takes more that 12 people to evangelize
the world.  So, then, that means that I am a disciple, you are a
disciple, the person sitting next to you is a disciple, and the same is
true with believers in every part of the world.

2.  When we become Christians, we become responsible to tell others the
wonderful news we have received.  It says in 2 Cor. 5:20, Now then we
are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray
you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

a.  When the Lord saved the man possessed of a demon, here’s what He
said; “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord
hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed,
and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for
him: and all men did marvel” (Mark 5:19-20).

3.  So, then, if all believers are disciples and if all disciples are to
carry out the great commission, that means that everyone is involved in
winning the lost, right?  Wrong!

QUOTE:  It may or may not surprise you to know that according to those
who do the studies, it is estimated that probably 95% of all church
members have never led anyone to Christ.

QUOTE:  In 1994, the Barna Research Group, a Christian organization,
found that among American adults who said that they were “born again,”
seventy-five percent couldn’t even define the Great Commission.1

QUOTE:  Fred M. Barlow lived from 1921 to 1983.  He was a pastor, theologian and prolific writer.  He said,

When denominations, when churches, when individual Christians lose their
vision, their passion, their purpose for soul winning: when they cease
from their intercession and visitation for souls, you be sure the Lord
God will write “Ichabod” over that ministry and take away the light of
that testimony.  Souls, as sheep without a shepherd, will become
strayed, stolen, and prey for every beast of the field, for every ism,
every sect, and every cult that deceives, deludes and damns souls to a
Devil‘s Hell!

4. As we consider the Great Commission this morning, let me give you three things…


A.  It is every man’s responsibility

1.  God did not commission the angels to spread the gospel; He
commissioned us.  No one else will be telling people about Jesus.  It is
up to us. We have the truth.

a. And if we don’t tell them, the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses
will.  The cults are busy doing the devil’s dirty work–turning people
aside from the tr …

By Dan Rodgers

The Christian Calling to Rescue Cultures: Saving Our Kids.

Editor’s Note: This is the third installment in a series of articles about Christians who rescue cultures.  The first installment was The Servant; the second, The Courageous Coach. We hope that through this series you will be persuaded of God’s call for you to rescue the cultures you are in, that you will get ideas from the examples of others and that you will be encouraged to take action in rescuing the cultures around you.

James E. Holmes’ murderous rampage last week in Aurora, Colorado shows that intellectual growth and moral growth are not synonymous.  Holmes was a highly intelligent student who graduated with an honors degree in neuroscience, won a prestigious grant from the National Institutes of Health and yet went on to methodically plan the events leading up to opening fire on a theater full of adults and children that killed 12 people and wounded 58 others.

What is so astounding about Holmes is that he appeared to be a normal young man who grew up in affluent suburban America.  News reports paint a picture of Holmes as academically gifted and shy.  That’s not unusual. In recent years, however, there were signs he began to struggle.  He was living alone and appeared to have no close confidants. He dropped out of a Ph.D. program, couldn’t find a good job, and established a profile on a website used to find sexual partners.   These signs point to a lonely individual who was looking to connect with women, and, lacking success in connecting, was most likely becoming increasingly frustrated.  This is a combustible mix.  Could something have been done to prevent Holmes from exploding in violence?

To begin, we want to point out that every human being is unique and we will never know for certain what was going on inside Holmes.  Furthermore, factors in his life that may have contributed to his mental state do not relieve him from the responsibility of his actions should the court find that he was not criminally insane.  That said, there are general observations we can make about the apparent patterns in his life that were unhealthy and unwise. To understand this, we need to view what we know about Holmes from a spiritual perspective and from a mental health perspective (because all truth is God’s truth and research often helps illuminate problems and guide us to find potential solutions).

News reports indicate that Holmes may have spent a considerable amount of time playing video games and seeking female sexual partners online. Research by Norman Nie at Stanford and others has shown that increased time spent online contributes to loneliness.  Nie’s research concluded that an hour spent on the Internet reduces face-to-face contact with friends/co-workers/family by 23.5 minutes.

Today’s kids are at an increased risk for loneliness.  Two decades ago, the average child under 18 spent about 15-20 hours/week digesting media content whereas today it has nearly tripled to almost 60 hours/week.  Kids now devote more time to media than to any activity other than sleep.

Philip Zimbardo, former president of the American Psychological Association, has expressed his concern that adolescent boys’ brains are being physically rewired from excessive time spent online.  He states that the average guy watches 10,000 hours of video games by the time he is 21 and the average adolescent male watches 50 porn video clips a week.   Zimbardo describes an “arousal addiction” that boys are developing and says the one of the results is that it’s impairing their ability to connect with girls their age.  He cites a recent Centers for Disease Control study that stated:

“regular porn users are more likely to report depression and poor physical health than nonusers are. … The reason is that porn may start a cycle of isolation. … Porn may become a substitute for healthy face-to-face interactions…”

In a recent American College Health Association survey of 29,939 college students, nearly 30% reported at times feeling so depressed they had difficulty functioning.  Contributing to their stress is pressure from academic competition and competition for jobs, and the financial burden of increasingly expensive tuition costs. Younger kids are struggling, too.  The mean age for depression in 1960 was 29.  Today it is less than 15.

What Can Be Done: Create Cultures of Connection 

God made us to connect.  Jesus said the greatest two commandments are to love the Lord and our neighbors (Matthew 22: 36-40) . All the research shows that connection = life and disconnection = death.  Chronic loneliness makes people feel anxious and depressed and it shaves years off the length of their lives. Connecting in conversations and being loved by others reduces the levels of stress hormones in our bodies and the feelings of anxiety and depression that go along with these hormones.

Remember the three types of Cultures explained in part one of this series?  The Dog-Eat-Dog Culture is a culture at home or at school where the powerful dominate others. The second type of culture is the Culture of Indifference where people are so busy chasing money, power and fame that they don’t take time to connect with others. The third type of culture is a Connection Culture where people intentionally connect with one another.  Holmes, like all human beings, needed a culture of connection to thrive.

Connection is Biblical. Jesus prayed to God that believers would “all be one… so that the world will believe you sent me” (John 17:21 NLT). We are called to be ambassadors of reconciliation in the world by creating homes, neighborhoods, churches, workplaces and communities that are cultures of love and connection (2 Corinthians 5:20-21).

Several Christians we know are taking action to rescue the cultures that affect kids.  One organization I (Michael) recently had the privilege of speaking at is Prestonwood Christian Academy (PCA) in Plano, Texas. Larry Taylor, PCA’s Head of School, says unhealthy home cultures, economic pressure to increase student-teacher ratios and the rising unhealthy influence of the media and entertainment industry are some of the greatest challenges facing educators today.

At PCA, teachers connect with their students by getting to know them.  PCA supports this by keeping its student-teacher ratio at 14-to-1 versus the high-20s-to-1 or low 30s-to-1 seen in nearby public school districts. Because research has shown that students learn more when they interact with the material versus passively hearing it via lectures, PCA teachers have been trained to make the classroom more interactive and each teacher regularly meets with small groups of students following chapel services to discuss how Biblical truth applies to their lives.

Of course there are many Christian teachers who are making a difference by connecting and loving the students they interact within public schools and universities.   Sajan George, CEO and founder of Matchbook Learning, is helping some of America’s bottom 5% of public schools adopt methods and technologies that will free up time for teachers to connect with students.

In the media and entertainment field, we’re encouraged to see the growing influence of bands such as 3 Union, three brothers, Brandon, Shaun and Ryan Boyd, who together bring a message of hope and love to students.  The brothers’ parents, Bruce and Julie Boyd, are taking action to help kids, too.  They are on staff with Campus Crusade where they speak at marriage seminars for Family Life, a ministry that helps create healthy marriages and families.

How about you?  Is God calling you to play a part in rescuing cultures affecting kids? First and foremost, each of us should pray for the young people we know, for the kids in our community, and for the youth of our nation.  In addition, the Lord may call you to become a teacher, administrator, or a marriage and family counselor.  You might volunteer to support your local schools in the classroom, at special events, or by serving in the PTA or on the board of education You might provide prayer and financial support to ministries that  are helping to rescue cultures affecting kids like those mentioned above. There are many opportunities to help rescue the cultures that affect kids.  Pray about it today and ask God where he’d like you to make a difference.

By Jason Pankau and Michael Lee Stallard

Jason Pankau and Michael Lee Stallard are co-authors of Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity and Productivity (Thomas Nelson). Rev. Jason Pankau is president of Life Spring Network, a ministry that helps pastors and church leaders develop holistic, transformational, disciple-making communities, and he is the author of Beyond Self Help: The True Path to Harnessing God’s Wisdom, Realizing Life’s Potential and Living the Abundant Life (Xulon Press).  Michael Lee Stallard is president of E Pluribus Partners, a leadership training, consulting and coaching firm that helps leaders develop “Connection Cultures” that boost productivity, innovation and performance. 

Publication date: July 26, 2012

Chinese dissident Chen to see Boehner, Pelosi.

Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese dissident whose dramatic escape from house arrest and eventual flight to the United States captivated global audiences in April, heads to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for talks with top lawmakers including Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Chen endured a four-year prison term for his outspoken denunciations of China‘s “One Child” policy — which critics charge results in forced abortions. He fled house arrest and sought refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing,  triggering a diplomatic incident shortly before a visit to China by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton ultimately carved out a deal permitting him to seek refuge in the United States.

Chen is reportedly writing a memoir due out in late 20123.

Pelosi is one of the most outspoken critics of China’s alleged human rights abuses. Boehner has rapped Beijing as well, notably using a January 2011 visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to criticize the “One Child” policy.


By Olivier Knox, Yahoo! News | The Ticket 

Second India blackout in two days cuts power to 670 million.

  • Passengers sit on a platform for their train to arrive as they wait for electricity to be restored at a railway station in New Delhi July 31, 2012. Grid failure hit India for a second day on Tuesday, cutting power to hundreds of millions of people in the populous northern and eastern states including the capital Delhi and major cities such as Kolkata. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi (INDIA - Tags: ENERGY SOCIETY TRANSPORT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)View Gallery

    Passengers sit on a platform for their train to arrive as they wait for electricity to be restored at a railway station in New Delhi July 31, 2012. Grid failure hit India for a second day on Tuesday, cutting …more 

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Grids supplying electricity to half of India’s 1.2 billion people collapsed on Tuesday, trapping coal miners, stranding train travelers and plunging hospitals into darkness in the second major blackout in as many days.

       Stretching from Assam, near China, to the Himalayas and the northwestern deserts of Rajasthan, the outage was the worst to hit India in more than a decade and embarrassed the government, which has failed to build up enough power capacity to meet soaring demand.

“Even before we could figure out the reason for yesterday’s failure, we had more grid failures today,” said R. N. Nayak, chairman of the state-run Power Grid Corporation.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has vowed to fast-track stalled power and infrastructure projects as well as introduce free market reforms aimed at reviving India’s flagging economy. But he has drawn fire for dragging his feet.

By the afternoon rush-hour, only about 40 percent of power was back up. Electricity had not been restored to all of the sweltering capital, New Delhi, and streets were clogged with commuters trying to get home.

“It’s certainly shameful. Power is a very basic amenity and situations like these should not occur,” said Unnayan Amitabh, 19, an intern with HSBC bank in New Delhi, as he was giving up on the underground train system and flagging down an auto-rickshaw to get home.

“They talk about big ticket reforms but can’t get something as essential as power supply right.”

Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde blamed the system collapse on some states drawing more than their share of electricity from the over-burdened grid.

Asia’s third-largest economy suffers a peak-hour power deficit of about 10 percent, dragging on economic growth.

“This is the second day that something like this has happened. I’ve given instructions that whoever overdraws power will be punished,” said Shinde, hours before he was promoted to interior minister in a cabinet reshuffle.

More than a dozen states with a population of 670 million people were without power.

Two hundred miners were stranded in three deep coal shafts in the state of West Bengal when their electric elevators stopped working. Eastern Coalfields Limited official Niladri Roy said workers at the mines, one of which is 700 meters (3,000 feet) deep, were not in danger and were being taken out.

Train stations in Kolkata were swamped and traffic jammed the streets after government offices closed early in the dilapidated coastal city of 5 million people.

The power failed in some major city hospitals and office buildings had to fire up diesel generators.

By mid-evening, services had been restored on the New Delhi metro system.


On Monday, India was forced to buy extra power from the tiny neighboring kingdom of Bhutan to help it recover from a blackout that hit more than 300,000 million people.

Indians took to social networking sites to ridicule the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, in part for promoting Shinde despite the power cuts.

Narendra Modi, an opposition leader and chief minister in Gujarat, a state that enjoys a surplus of power, was scornful.

“With poor economic management UPA has emptied pockets of common man; kept stomachs hungry with inflation & today pushed them into darkness!,” he said on his Twitter account.

The country’s southern and western grids were supplying power to help restore services, officials said.

The problem has been made worse by a weak monsoon in agricultural states such as wheat-belt Punjab and Uttar Pradesh in the Ganges plain, which has a larger population than Brazil.

With less rain to irrigate crops, more farmers resort to electric pumps to draw water from wells.

India’s electricity distribution and transmission is mostly state run, with private companies operating in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Less than a quarter of generation is private nationwide.

More than half the country’s electricity is generated by coal, with hydro power and nuclear also contributing.

Power shortages and a creaky road and rail network have weighed heavily on the country’s efforts to industrialize. Grappling with the slowest economic growth in nine years, the government recently scaled back a target to pump $1 trillion into infrastructure over the next five years.

Major industries have their own power plants or diesel generators and are shielded from outages. But the inconsistent supply hits investment and disrupts small businesses.

High consumption of heavily subsidized diesel by farmers and businesses has fuelled a gaping fiscal deficit that the government has vowed to tackle to restore confidence in the economy.

But the poor monsoon means a subsidy cut is politically difficult.

       On Tuesday, the central bank cut its economic growth outlook for the fiscal year that ends in March to 6.5 percent, from the 7.3 percent assumption made in April, putting its outlook closer to that of many private economists.

       “This is going to have a substantial adverse impact on the overall economic activity. Power failure for two consecutive days hits sentiment very badly,” said N. Bhanumurthy, a senior economist at National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.

       (Reporting by Delhi Bureau and Sujoy Dhar in Kolkata; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Robert Birsel)


ReutersBy Frank Jack Daniel | Reuters

Ted Cruz appears likely to win Texas Senate runoff, thanks to tea party support.

Cruz and wife Heidi Cruz wave to the audience at the state GOP convention June 9 (LM Otero/AP)

Former state solicitor general Ted Cruz appears favored to win the Republican Senate runoff in Texas on Tuesday, which would hand the tea party a significant underdog victory in a massive state.

Tea party support stretching from high-profile figures like Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum and Jim DeMint down to grassroot volunteers helped catapult Cruz to the top slot in Tuesday’s primary race. And he held his lead, despite beginning the election with less name recognition and less money than his wealthy and well-connected opponent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

Matt Mackowiak, a Republican consultant who divides his time between Washington, D.C. and Austin, T.X. is a Cruz supporter and gives “enormous” credit to the tea party for Cruz’s come-from-behind success.

“Look, this is a low turnout primary runoff late in the summer– it’s hot, we’ve never had a primary this late– it’s the most committed folks that are voting,” Mackowiak told Yahoo News, “and in many ways it’s the tea party activists who are not only voting but who are really acting as multipliers.”

Cruz, a Cuban-American lawyer, grabbed enough votes in the May 29 primary to keep Dewhurst below the majority required to win the party nomination outright. Dewhurst placed first with 44 percent of the vote, while Cruz came in second with 34 percent, and the two headed for a runoff. Seven additional candidates received votes in the May 29 Republican primary.

Polls and anecdotal evidence suggest that supporters of third-place finisher Tom Leppert, the former Dallas mayor, were more likely to back Dewhurst, who has strong support from sitting Gov. Rick Perry and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Leppert ended up supporting Dewhurst in the runoff.

But tea party power just might overshadow Dewhurst’s endorsements. Cruz has earned outside support from major organizations such as FreedomWorks, the Club for Growth and the Tea Party Express, which have boosted his financial prowess and extended his reach.

Supporters say Cruz put in the time and effort to spread his message at rallies and grassroots events around the state, even while he remained at a financial disadvantage. As of July 11, Dewhurst had raised over $24.5 million compared to Cruz’s $9 million, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

“Ultimately this comes down to intensity and momentum and Cruz has created an enormous amount of buzz,” Mackowiak said.

“Ted is a proven, common-sense constitutional conservative and he’s a fighter and he will bring new leadership to the United States Senate,” Palin, the former governor of Alaska, said at a rally for Cruz on Saturday. “He will shrink government, he will be putting it back on the side of the people, and he will defend the United States Constitution.”

The tea party has been working to prove its staying power this cycle. The group has mobilized nationally for a series of high-profile races including the successful defeat of Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar, the victory of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker who faced a recall vote, as well as some contests that proved to be losses such as the Utah Senate primary.

A Cruz win will not only invigorate the tea party in and outside the state, but it also has the potential to greatly shake up the Republican establishment in Texas, which remains firmly behind Dewhurst.

Tuesday’s primary will likely be the deciding contest in this open seat race, as voters choose a successor to retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Democrats lost their top pick for the race, retired Army Gen. Ricardo Sanchez.

But on Tuesday, Democrats have their own runoff to contend with to select their nominee. The candidates competing are former state Rep. Paul Sadler and retired educator Grady Yarbrough.


By Rachel Rose Hartman, Yahoo! News | The Ticket

Former Vice President Dick Cheney says Romney’s tax returns are a distraction.

Spinners and Winners

Dick Cheney has heart — specifically, a new heart. And with it comes a fiery and defiant Cheney that had been absent in recent years.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News and Yahoo News, Cheney says he feels “excellent,” and reflects on how far he has come since 2010 — when he was in end stage heart failure and had undergone a grueling operation to have a pump installed in his heart.

“Two years ago this time I was on a respirator, heavily sedated. Just had a pump… installed on my heart because my heart had gotten so weak after six heart attacks and 30-some years of heart disease that it was, you know, it was at the end.” he said.

Cheney, 71, weighed in on the 2012 presidential race, wading into an issue that has been plaguing presumptive nominee Mitt Romney: tax returns. Back in 2000, as a potential vice-presidential pick, Cheney released ten years of tax returns. Then Governor Bush at the time also released ten years. Romney has released just two, though Cheney says he has “great confidence” in what has been released.

“If he had two years out, they’d want four.  If he had four years out, they’d want six.  If he had six years out, they’d want ten,” said Cheney.

“It’s a distraction,” he added. “I’d say do what he feels like doing.  If this is his decision, fine.  Let’s get on with it.”

The former vice president was also defended his stance on gay marriage. During the vice presidential debate in 2000, Cheney broke from party ranks and became the most prominent Republican to endorse gay marriage.

“People should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into,” Cheney said at the time. “It’s really no one else’s business in terms of trying to regulate or prohibit behavior in that regard.” Cheney’s daughter is openly gay, and married her longtime partner Heather Poe earlier this year. The father-of-the bride did not go.

“We wished them well.  She wanted to avoid having it be a media circus or having it become part of the political debate,” said Cheney.

Asked if he wished he would have pushed harder on the legalization of gay marriage while in office, Cheney gave a defiant no.

“Why?” asked the former vice president, adding “I was out there 12 years ago in the first campaign in 2000, in the debate with Joe Lieberman in front of millions of Americans on live television and I laid out my position then and it hasn’t changed. No.  I’ve addressed it and moved on.”

Cheney’s also moved on from Republican conventions to more leisurely activities. You won’t find the former Republican heavyweight in Tampa later this month, though you may catch a glimpse of him up in Canada.

“I’ve got a fishing trip planned.”

ABC News’ Avery Miller contributed to this report.


By Jonathan Karl | Power Players 

Terror, China’s reach top Clinton agenda in Africa.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Growing security threats from Islamist militants and China‘s increasing influence throughout Africa are topping the agenda as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton begins an 11-day swing across the continent.

Clinton departs Tuesday for her latest marathon overseas journey. It will take her to at least six African nations, including the world’s newest country, South Sudan, plus Uganda, Kenya, Malawi and South Africa. She starts the tour in Senegal, where U.S. officials say she will give a speech warning African states about the potential perils of Chinese investment, which many development experts claim enriches China at Africa’s expense.

She also will note with grave concern the rise of radical Islamist groups in countries like Nigeria and Mali and underscore that responsible development is the best way to combat such extremism.


Associated PressBy MATTHEW LEE | Associated Press

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