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Are Texas Schools Paying The Price Of Rick Perry's Presidential Ambitions?

A leading Republican presidential candidate, Perry boasts about a “Texas miracle” with the economy. A trip to the state finds some strident Democratic critics of his education policy, which they say is victim of his presidential campaign's boasts

Rick Perry (Gage Skidmore)
Rick Perry (Gage Skidmore)
Corine Lesnes

FORT WORTH – At age 14, Senator Wendy Davis was selling fruit juice at a local mall. At 19, she was a single mother living in a trailer park, a collection of caravans reserved for the poor. She escaped these circumstances through the public school system. At a community college, she was allowed to catch up on the high school she had missed. The system worked so well that years later, she was admitted to the prestigious Harvard Law School.

Since then, Davis has been a staunch defender of public schools. In late May, she became a heroine among local Democrats when she single-handedly blocked the passage of the Finance Act, which would have cut $4.5 billion from education spending. Her maneuver forced Texas Governor Rick Perry to call a special session of the state Legislature. Although the plan was eventually voted in, Wendy Davis has not since given up. "Texas Miracle? It's a joke," she said. "We are ranked 47th out of 50 states with respect to public education spending. And we have the largest population of adults who don't have a high school diploma!"

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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