1/ Last month, Gov. Greg Abbott called Facebook’s actions "un-American" and accused it and other social media giants of silencing conservative voices.
At the same time, his office was quietly working with Facebook to build a second data center in Texas. bit.ly/3rXAxZ5
2/ That contrast in public and private messaging highlights the dissonance some Texas GOP leaders approach the tech industry with. bit.ly/3rXAxZ5
3/ Earlier this year, the Tech Transparency Project, a technology research arm of the nonprofit group Campaign for Accountability, filed an open records request for communications between Abbott’s office and employees of certain technology companies, including Facebook.
Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin's trial begins today.
Chauvin faces three charges, including second-degree murder, in the death of George Floyd. Watch here via @nbcnews: nbcnews.to/3u2y8xF
.@houstonchron spoke to Floyd's family and friends in Houston: "I want a conviction. That’s what the family wants; that’s what the world wants.” bit.ly/3dgOxaX
Texas House Bill 88, named for Floyd, would ban chokeholds, require officers to intervene if their partner is using excessive force, and remove qualified immunity, among other reforms intended to end violent police behavior. bit.ly/3sA81h4#TXlege
2/ The Republican attorney general led a failed attempt to overturn the presidential election, joining with other GOP attorneys general in a lawsuit seeking to invalidate swing state victories by Democrat Joe Biden. bit.ly/3rnPbs6
3/ On Jan. 6, Paxton spoke at the pro-Trump rally in Washington.
“What we have in President Trump is a fighter," he told the crowd. "And I think that’s why we’re all here. We will not quit fighting. We’re Texans, we’re Americans, and the fight will go on.”
For the weekend edition of The Brief podcast, @viaAlana spoke to Houston resident Deqing Yang, who is working to support his community as racist attacks on Asian Americans rise across the country. bit.ly/30HjgIr
.@TexasStandard marked the year anniversary of the pandemic by exploring the effect of the coronavirus on the state through the voices of those who have lived it, and those we have lost.
1/ Gov. Greg Abbott lifted Texas' mask mandate, but health experts say you should still wear masks for protection as more contagious variants of the coronavirus circulate in the U.S.
A thread of some reminders on how to best protect yourself and others: bit.ly/3ldL5Bu
2/ Last month, @CDCgov released new research that found the effectiveness of cloth and medical masks can be improved by making sure they are well fitted to the contours of the face. This prevents air from leaking around the edges. wired.com/story/how-to-d…
3/ The CDC says this can be done several different ways, including double masking. Wear a cloth mask with multiple layers of fabric or wear a disposable medical mask underneath a cloth mask: cdc.gov/coronavirus/20…
The U.S. House passed a massive spending bill that will send direct payments to millions of Texans and billions of dollars in aid for state and local governments and schools.
President Joe Biden is expected to sign the measure on Friday. bit.ly/2OdhDjc
The bill's scope is sweeping.
Broadly speaking, it will distribute stimulus checks as large $1,400 to millions of Americans, another $350 billion to cities and states that experienced a decline in tax revenue and increase in expenses and $130 billion toward education.
The bill also funds an additional $300 in unemployment payments per week until early September. bit.ly/2OdhDjc
A report released Tuesday by a University of Texas at Austin committee found that the controversial alma mater, “The Eyes of Texas” debuted at a minstrel show where students likely wore blackface. bit.ly/30uHHZz
The report said that William Prather, the university president who coined the phrase at the turn of the 20th century, said he took it from stories he heard and read about Confederate leaders who used a similar phrase to urge troops on during the Civil War. bit.ly/3cdQUuO
But the 24-member committee could not find primary documents that specifically tied the phrase to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, despite it long being believed that Lee was part of the song’s origin story. bit.ly/30uHHZz
The song — played to the tune of "I’ve been working on the railroad" — was historically performed at campus minstrel shows, and the title is linked to a saying from Confederate Army Commander Robert E. Lee.
Emails we obtained show that hundreds of alumni and donors demanded that the school stand up to "cancel culture" and firmly get behind the song as students protested against it— or else donors were going to walk away. bit.ly/3bskLjM
The U.S. House passed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package, but the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour isn't likely to make it through the Senate. bit.ly/3uLsnWv
The Texas delegation voted along party lines: all Democrats supported the bill, while all Republicans voted against it.
In the larger House, passage nearly fell along party lines, with the exception of two Democrats who opposed it.
The bill will now head to the U.S. Senate where it is likely to face some changes — particularly on the minimum wage issue — and is expected to pass mostly along partisan lines before it heads back to the House.
Texas’ power grid was “seconds and minutes” away from a catastrophic failure that could have left Texans in the dark for months, officials with the entity that operates the grid said Thursday. bit.ly/37tzqch
2/ The decision grid operators made early Monday morning to begin what was intended to be rolling blackouts — but have lasted days for millions of Texans — occurred because operators were seeing warning signs that massive amounts of energy supply was dropping off the grid.
3/ As natural gas fired plants, utility scale wind power and coal plants tripped offline due to the extreme cold brought by the winter storm, the amount of power supplied to the grid to be distributed across the state fell rapidly.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley is retiring, the city manager told city leadership in a memo Friday. bit.ly/3aXsWDn
Manley has been at the helm of the police department since 2016, first as an interim chief and then appointed permanently to the job by City Manager Spencer Cronk two years later.
He was praised for his efforts to stop the serial Austin bombings in 2018. bit.ly/2ZaWhol
But more recently, Manley has faced harsh criticism, largely spurred by the police killing of Mike Ramos last year and how the department handled summer protests over racial inequities and police brutality. bit.ly/3757PxK
New: Asylum seekers who have been forced to wait in Mexico under a Trump-era immigration policy will soon be able to enter the United States to pursue their cases, the Biden administration said Friday. bit.ly/3tQ3bxn
Launched by the Trump administration, the Migrant Protection Protocols forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico border towns for their hearings in American courtrooms.
.@DHSGov advised asylum seekers in the program to remain where they are for now while a virtual registration process is rolled out next week. Once they’ve registered, the migrants will be told where to go, the DHS statement says.