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Chad’s Morning Brief: Santorum Up Big in Texas, Brokered GOP Convention Poll, & More

Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of February 21st, 2012. Give us your feedback below and tune in to Lubbock’s First News with Chad Hasty for these and many more topics from 6-9 am.

Scott Olson, Getty Images

1. Santorum Up Big in Texas (link)

If the primary were held today, Rick Santorum would cruise to a crushing victory here in Texas. That according to a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll that found Santorum pulling in 45% of the vote. Newt Gingrich came in second with 18% of the support while Mitt Romney received 16%. Ron Paul according to the poll had the support of 14% of the respondents.

If your Rick Santorum two things go through your mind. First thought is wow, Texas loves Rick Santorum. The second thought is the more sobering reality that it may not matter. Texas won’t vote until at least May 29th and it could be even later than that. Santorum of course wants to win Texas, but because the voters here in this state are being held hostage by Democrats and outside groups that 45% number may not matter. Santorum has to stay in the race until at least May 29th if he hopes to gain anything from Texas.

On the flip side, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich must love the fact that Texas isn’t up for grabs. A big win in Texas for Santorum would crush the other campaigns. At one point Gingrich had his eyes set on Texas, but it looks like that is just a dream now for his campaign. As for Romney, he just hopes he can keep Santorum down through Super Tuesday.

In a sort of related story, Craig James is hoping to ride the coattails of Rick Santorum. James endorsed Santorum (after hitching himself to Perry) calling him a true conservative and not a career politician. Though it could be argued that Santorum is indeed a career politician.

2. No Thanks to a Brokered GOP Convention (link)

Republican voters may not completely like their choices, but 66% don’t want a brokered convention.

By 66%-29%, the Republicans and Republican-leaning independents surveyed say it would be better if one of the four candidates now running managed to secure enough delegates to clinch the nomination. Most are happy to see their roller-coaster campaign continue: 57% say the battle isn’t hurting the party.

Meanwhile, President Obama’s standing against two potential Republican rivals has ebbed a bit. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney leads the president 50%-46% among registered voters, Romney’s strongest showing against him to date. Obama edges former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum by a single percentage point, 49%-48%.

he poll, taken Thursday through Sunday, illustrates the battle between head-and-heart for many GOP voters:

• Santorum is the current favorite, leading Romney 50%-44% in a one-on-one contest.

In the separate daily Gallup poll of the entire Republican field, Santorum’s lead over Romney grew Monday to 10 percentage points, 36%-26%. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich is at 13% and Texas Rep.  Ron Paul at 11%.

• But Romney is seen as the stronger competitor against Obama and as the likely nominee. By nearly 2-1, 58%-32%, GOP partisans say Romney has a better chance of winning in November than Santorum does.

The poll also finds that most Republican voters believe that Mitt Romney will become the GOP nominee. So what do you think about all of this? Would you like to see a brokered GOP convention? It could be interesting… and it could be a disaster.

3. New Poll Shows Dewhurst Still Leading Cruz (link)

A new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll shows that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst still leads Ted Cruz in the U.S. Senate Campaign, but Cruz does appear as though he is gaining traction and could be within striking distance. According to the poll:

Dewhurst led with 38 percent, followed by Cruz at 27 percent, and former ESPN analyst Craig James and former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert each with 7 percent. Only two other candidates — Glenn Addison and Lela Pittenger — even registered; each got 1 percent.

Many voters haven’t settled: 19 percent said they’d prefer another Republican candidate to those listed.

I also find it interesting that both Tom Leppert and Craig James are tied at 7% each. Who would have thought?

4. Teacher Evaluations (link)

States are trying to find ways to fix teacher evaluations.

Spurred by the requirements of the Obama administration’s Race to the Top competition, Tennessee is one of more than a dozen states overhauling their evaluation systems to increase the number of classroom observations and to put more emphasis on standardized test scores. But even as New York State finally came to an agreement last week with its teachers’ unions on how to design its new system, places like Tennessee that are already carrying out similar plans are struggling with philosophical and logistical problems.

It’s great and all that schools are wanting to find better ways to evaluate teachers, but what’s the point if the Teacher’s Unions prevent schools from getting rid of the bad or ineffective teachers?

5. Dumb story of the morning (link)

Sex change operations for kids on the rise.

A small but growing number of teens and even younger children who think they were born the wrong sex are getting support from parents and from doctors who give them sex-changing treatments, according to reports in the medical journal Pediatrics.

It’s an issue that raises ethical questions, and some experts urge caution in treating children with puberty-blocking drugs and hormones.

An 8-year-old second-grader in Los Angeles is a typical patient. Born a girl, the child announced at 18 months, “I a boy” and has stuck with that belief. The family was shocked but now refers to the child as a boy and is watching for the first signs of puberty to begin treatment, his mother told The Associated Press.

Pediatricians need to know these kids exist and deserve treatment, said Dr. Norman Spack, author of one of three reports published Monday and director of one of the nation’s first gender identity medical clinics, at Children’s Hospital Boston.

“If you open the doors, these are the kids who come. They’re out there. They’re in your practices,” Spack said in an interview.

Switching gender roles and occasionally pretending to be the opposite sex is common in young children. But these kids are different. They feel certain they were born with the wrong bodies.

Some are labeled with “gender identity disorder,” a psychiatric diagnosis. But Spack is among doctors who think that’s a misnomer. Emerging research suggests they may have brain differences more similar to the opposite sex.

Spack said by some estimates, 1 in 10,000 children have the condition.

Offering sex-changing treatment to kids younger than 18 raises ethical concerns, and their parents’ motives need to be closely examined, said Dr. Margaret Moon, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ bioethics committee. She was not involved in any of the reports.

Some kids may get a psychiatric diagnosis when they are just hugely uncomfortable with narrowly defined gender roles; or some may be gay and are coerced into treatment by parents more comfortable with a sex change than having a homosexual child, said Moon, who teaches at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.

It’s harmful “to have an irreversible treatment too early,” Moon said.

Doctors who provide the treatment say withholding it would be more harmful.

These children sometimes resort to self-mutilation to try to change their anatomy; the other two journal reports note that some face verbal and physical abuse and are prone to stress, depression and suicide attempts. Spack said those problems typically disappear in kids who’ve had treatment and are allowed to live as the opposite sex.

Guidelines from the Endocrine Society endorse transgender hormone treatment but say it should not be given before puberty begins. At that point, the guidelines recommend puberty-blocking drugs until age 16, then lifelong sex-changing hormones with monitoring for potential health risks. Mental health professionals should be involved in the process, the guidelines say. The group’s members are doctors who treat hormonal conditions.

Those guidelines, along with YouTube videos by sex-changing teens and other media attention, have helped raise awareness about treatment and led more families to seek help, Spack said.

His report details a fourfold increase in patients at the Boston hospital. His Gender Management Service clinic, which opened at the hospital in 2007, averages about 19 patients each year, compared with about four per year treated for gender issues at the hospital in the late 1990s.

The report details 97 girls and boys treated between 1998 and 2010; the youngest was 4 years old. Kids that young and their families get psychological counseling and are monitored until the first signs of puberty emerge, usually around age 11 or 12. Then children are given puberty-blocking drugs, in monthly $1,000 injections or implants imbedded in the arm.

In another Pediatrics report, a Texas doctor says he’s also provided sex-changing treatment to an increasing number of children; so has a clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles where the 8-year-old is a patient.

The story continues at the link I provided above, but that’s all I could take. Seriously? We letting kids change their “sex”?? They are kids! If people over the age of 18 want to do it, fine.. whatever, I don’t really care. But just because a 4 year old girls says she is a boy doesn’t mean the parents should just go along with it.

Other Top Stories:

Gender Issues and Kids

Breaking News, Women Like Guns Too

Trump Rips Santorum

Ron Paul Rips Santorum

Middle School Kids Stage Boycott

Gallup: Reagan and Clinton are Favorite Presidents

Teen Gets Money After Prayer Banner Fight

Southern Baptist Suggest Name Add-On

It Sure Was Windy Yesterday

Guests Appearing on LFN Today:

Billy Mitchell from Heroes & Legacies calls in.

These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of Lubbock’s First News with Chad Hasty. Tune in mornings 6-9am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.

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