Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of June 11, 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.

1. Guest-Worker Program (link)

Texas Republicans have approved a change to the official party platform. They now call for a national guest-worker program. According to the Texas Tribune:

The more moderate language is a welcoming gesture to Hispanics who have avoided the GOP because of what they view as its hardline position on immigration issues.

"It takes away a tool that Democrats have used for years to drive a wedge between conservative Hispanics and Republicans," said's Bob Price, who is also a delegate at the Republican Party's state convention.

The platform, which  is not binding, is more of a political statement than a rulebook and often ends up advertising the state party's most radical views. That means the new philosophy won't necessarily translate to new policy — in fact, a state guest worker bill carried by two Republican legislators failed to pass last session. But it does reflect a concrete effort to reach out to Hispanic voters, which may come at the expense of irking the party's conservative activists. It passed the floor of the convention after many delegates resisted what they called a watering down of conservative principles.


2. Early Voting for District 4 Lubbock City Council

Early voting the District 4 City Council runoff election begins today in Lubbock. Voters in District 4 will be able to vote early until the 19th. Election Day is on the 23rd. Even if you didn't vote the first time, you are still allowed to get out and vote in the runoff. Both candidates feel as though the election will be close. You can hear our interviews with the candidates by clicking here.

Who do you think will win?

3. Diversity (link)

Do Texas Republicans need to work at increasing diversity? Many delegates to the Texas GOP Convention say yes.

But delegates at the state Republican convention acknowledge that they still don't fully reflect the diversity of Texas, which is now one of four majority-minority states.

"I see primarily white Anglo-Saxon Protestants," replied a Tarrant County delegate named Dan Blumberg when asked to describe the crowd at the Fort Worth Convention Center on Friday.

But Blumberg, 52, an Arlington attorney, said the party has made impressive strides.

"I think Republicans have gotten a bad rap," he said. "But we do need to remember that as the dominant political force in Texas, we must reach out and embrace Hispanics and African-Americans -- not just white Protestants. And [gay] Log Cabin Republicans, too."

Many delegates like Tarrant County Tea Party activist Alice Linahan insist that there's no diversity problem in the Texas GOP, noting that former Solicitor General Ted Cruz, a Hispanic, is opposing Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate.

Linahan said she's more aware of the class divide between "country club" Republicans

What do you think? Do Texas Republicans need to work on diversity?

4. Iran Wants Nuclear Weapons (link)

Iranian media outlets, which only spew what the government wants, published a commentary on Sunday that laid out why Iran should have nuclear weapons. Threats from the United States and Israel are among the reasons listed.

The essay’s author, Alireza Forghani, is the former governor of southern Iran’s Kish Province and an analyst and a strategy specialist in the camp of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“The fatwa from Imam Khomeini [the founder of Iran's Islamic revolution] said ‘all Islamic countries have Islamic blood,’” Forghani wrote. “Therefore the Islamic world should rise up and shout that a nuclear bomb is our right, and disrupt the dreams of America and Israel.”

“Having a nuclear bomb is our right,” he argued. “Israel would have been destroyed completely 30 years ago” but has survived because it has nuclear weapons. 

In February, Forghani laid out the legal case for the annihilation of Israel and all Jewish people. That treatise, which ran in all the Iranian regime’s media outlets, openly called for a pre-emptive strike on Israel.

5. Dumb Story of the Morning (link)

Another stupid Principal out there.

A controversial Coney Island principal has pulled the plug on patriotism.

Her refusal to let students sing “God Bless the USA” at their graduation has sparked fireworks at a school filled with proud immigrants.

Greta Hawkins, principal of PS 90, the Edna Cohen School, won’t allow kindergartners to belt out the beloved Lee Greenwood ballad, also known as “Proud to be an American,” at their moving-up ceremony.

But Hawkins marched in on a recent rehearsal and ordered a CD playing the anthem to be shut off, staffers said.

She told the teachers to drop the song from the program.

“We don’t want to offend other cultures,” they quoted her as explaining.

The curt edict stunned both staff and parents.

“A lot of people fought to move to America to live freely, so that song should be sung with a whole lot of pride,” said mom Luz Lozada, whose son, Daniel, is in kindergarten.

The song has been sung at previous school events. Last year’s fifth-graders, including another Lozada child, performed it at graduation.

“Everybody applauded and whistled,” the mom said. “They gave it a standing ovation.”

Parents — many immigrants from Pakistan, Mexico and Ecuador — “love it,” Lozada said.

A teacher agreed: “It makes them a little goosebumpy and teary-eyed. I’ve never come across anyone who felt it insulted their culture.”

Department of Education spokeswoman Jessica Scaperotti gave The Post an explanation staffers said they never heard — that Hawkins found the lyrics “too grown up” for 5-year-olds.

6. Good Brews Good News of the Day (link)

Dogs helping out war veterans.

Fortunately, things started to change for the better about a year ago when he was matched with his service dog, Iggie, through Operation Freedoms Paws. The nonprofit, started by Mary Cortani, helps veterans train their own service dogs in northern California.

"It's hard enough to come out of the service and get back into civilian life," said Cortani, who served in the Army from 1975-1984. "But now they have an injury that people don't understand. They have to find a way to balance what they're feeling, what they've experienced, with everyday life."

"Service dogs are but one tool, but they're a very important tool, in the healing process for our veterans."

Dogs can be trained to assist veterans in a variety of ways. For example, Iggie wakes McQuoid from nightmares, turns off lights and helps create space between McQuoid and others in public places. The dog also helps McQuoid keep his anxiety level down in stressful situations.

The veterans "are taught to focus on the dog, read the dog's body language, not to worry about the environment," said Cortani, 55. "If they start to have a panic attack because they're getting overwhelmed or the anxiety is so strong, they'll actually stop and kneel down and hug the dog."

Through her program, Cortani can match veterans with dogs from shelters or rescue groups. Then she helps them train the dog.

"When a veteran trains their own service dog, there are immediate benefits right off the bat," she said. "They have a mission and a purpose again. It gives them something to focus on and to complete. It gives them a sense of security and safety. ... They know they're not alone. They've always got their buddy at the end of the leash."

Great story. For the entire article from CNN, click on the link above.

Everyday, Good Brews Coffee & Tea Lounge brings you the Good News of the Day!

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