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2011 on track to be the worst year for wildfires in Texas history

Texas is burning. Despite it being only April, due to severe drought conditions, over 1.8 million acres have already burned throughout the state, which could soon surpass the two million acre record set in 2006. Here are the 10 largest current wildfires as seen from orbit. [more inside]
posted by Unicorn on the cob on Apr 25, 2011 - 53 comments

 

Even I could score better than this.

Kevin Na made it to the 9th hole of the first round of the Valero Texas Open on Thursday with a decent score of one under. Unfortunately, he left the hole with a much, much worse score. [more inside]
posted by RyanAdams on Apr 14, 2011 - 41 comments

Luis Posada Carilles Acquitted

Luis Posada Carilles Acquitted. [more inside]
posted by lalochezia on Apr 10, 2011 - 8 comments

Cannabis culture

Cannabis Culture
posted by twoleftfeet on Apr 3, 2011 - 59 comments

Texas Republicans: 100 Ways to say "We don't want you"

Texas Republicans have been turning against the ideas on immigration supported by George W. Bush, who actively courted Latino voters in his 1998 gubenertorial election campaign (cached), and in his two presidential election campaigns. In 2010, some 12,000 Republican delegates came together, many proposing new directions on immigration reform. By January 2011, there were more than three dozen immigration-related bills filed, a number of them creating heated debates. By the of March, there were nearly 100 immigration bills written or filed, some with serious loopholes. (Rep. Debbie Riddle, previously.)
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 30, 2011 - 57 comments

"I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it."

Draft Tommy Lee Jones for Senate. Texas’ conservative voters aren’t about to send just any Democrat to the Senate in 2012. Hell, it’s been seventeen years since a Democrat has won any statewide race here. That’s quite a record and one we’d like to see broken. To do that, whoever the Democratic nominee is in 2012 better bring something awfully special to the race. Tommy Lee Jones is the only Democrat (or potential Democrat) who does. His name ID, near-universal popularity, fundraising ability, residence in and love for this state, his success as a cattle rancher, Spanish fluency, his image as a western tough guy and his impressive academic credentials would instantly make him the frontrunner, regardless of who the Republicans nominate.
posted by valkane on Mar 25, 2011 - 96 comments

Send lawyers and money, got guns.

The Texas House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee voted 5-3 Wednesday night to advance legislation to allow concealed handguns on college campuses. Over half of the Texas House has signed on as co-authors of the bill. University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa disagrees. Utah beat them to it.
posted by the Real Dan on Mar 18, 2011 - 106 comments

"Tomorrow I get to skin snakes and chop their heads off, and I am super-excited about it,"

Does this machete go with my tiara? "Pageant hopefuls decapitate, skin snakes at Rattlesnake Roundup: To win the Miss Snake Charmer beauty pageant requires beauty, grace, talent and a strong stomach. It's probably the only pageant in the country that requires the winner to decapitate and skin a snake."
posted by Fizz on Mar 13, 2011 - 82 comments

College Scholarships Available. Only White Men Need Apply.

Colby Bohannan and a group of student friends at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX have formed the non-profit organization Former Majority Association for Equality which intends to offer college scholarships solely to white men." "'I felt excluded,' he said. 'If everyone else can find scholarships, why are we left out?'" "'To qualify for the group's scholarship, applicants have to be able to prove that they are at least 25 percent Caucasian ... We're not looking for blond-haired, blue-eyed, stereotypical white males,' he said. 'My feeling is that if you can say you're 25 percent Caucasian, you're Caucasian enough for us.'" "Bohannan, the group's president, said the name comes from the idea that 'if you're not a male, and if you're not white, you're called a minority.' However, he said, 'I'm not sure white males are the majority anymore.'"* [more inside]
posted by ericb on Feb 26, 2011 - 84 comments

Goin Back Home

The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins A 1967 Les Blank film of Lightnin Hopkins visiting his hometown of Centerville, TX "…a gorgeous 31-minute poem of a movie, a series of snapshots from his life as well as a look at an era fast disappearing…Watching the film is something of a revelation, at least if you ever had a doubt where the blues came from." [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Feb 19, 2011 - 16 comments

Don't Mess with Taxes.

Amazon.com's state sales tax fight took a dramatic turn as plans were announced to close the online retailer's Irving, Texas distribution center by April 12. Amazon would not confirm the total number of employees who worked at the fulfillment center, but did announce plans to offer positions in other states to employees willing to relocate. Amazon blames the closure on Texas' "unfavorable regulatory climate." [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus on Feb 11, 2011 - 218 comments

Houston loved her for it

"I never was one to like to be intimidated. So I just take it off the table. If it's not on the table they can't use it." Charlie, not a man for small gestures, took his secret off the table and put it on the front page of the Houston Post, whose October 7, 1988, edition carried the headline "Transvestite Now Claims Probe Linked to Lifestyle" and a color photograph of McGuire in full drag. [more inside]
posted by rtha on Feb 7, 2011 - 24 comments

"People could stake me and Gov. Perry on the ground and torture us, and we still would not raise taxes."

'Analysis: Texas vs California: A tale of two budget deficits'. 'Texas Governor Rick Perry treated guests to a barbecue lunch paid for by a wealthy businessman. Supporters of California Governor Jerry Brown munched on hot dogs at a union-sponsored picnic. The stark contrast in inaugural menus last month highlights the different approaches the two most populous U.S. states are taking to deal with massive budget deficits. Perry, a Republican, campaigned on the strength of the Texas economy and made political hay of the fact the Lone Star state had avoided California's massive deficit, pegged at $25.4 billion through the upcoming budget year. Now Texas faces a budget deficit estimated as high as $27 billion for the upcoming two-year cycle of 2012-2013. To close the gap, state legislators have proposed steep cuts in funding to education and welfare programs.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Feb 7, 2011 - 74 comments

A Not-So-Brief History of Pitching Injuries, Starring Nolan Ryan and the Texas Rangers

Jonah Keri looks at the unconventional methods being used by the Texas Rangers to improve the durability and effectiveness of their pitching staff.
posted by reenum on Dec 20, 2010 - 13 comments

Don't mess with Texans.

Robert Rodriguez's Machete ( Previously) started out as a joke, and went on to be a rather successful film. However, Texas Governor Rick Perry feels the movie doesn't portray Texas positively and has revoked the productions tax breaks. possibly at the cost of Texas's film industry.
posted by djduckie on Dec 9, 2010 - 79 comments

(D-TX)

Tom Delay has been found guilty of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He faces five years to life in prison on the former, and 2 to 20 on the latter.
posted by p3on on Nov 24, 2010 - 102 comments

Beaten, Bound, Burned

Echoing the brutality of the Matthew Shepard case, a Texas teenager blames his slaying of classmate Josh Wilkerson on unwanted gay advances. (He has also been charged with failing to identify himself and attempting to take a weapon from an officer.) While the "gay panic" defense is often considered something of a joke, it's clearly still very much alive.
posted by hermitosis on Nov 18, 2010 - 53 comments

truth hangs by a hair

A DNA test has proven that a man was executed for murder by the State of Texas on the basis of false forensic evidence. [more inside]
posted by hat on Nov 12, 2010 - 99 comments

"This System Is Bankrupting Our State"

Texas conservative lawmakers, now in the majority, are considering eliminating the entire Medicaid program lin their state, ostensibly to save money.
posted by Leta on Nov 7, 2010 - 191 comments

Deep in the heart of Islam

Warning of a "creeping Middle Eastern influence" in our nation's school textbooks, the Texas State Board of Education will vote today on a resolution [.pdf] that would prohibit the State of Texas from purchasing textbooks which exhibit a "pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias”. Reaction in Texas is mixed. [more inside]
posted by Avenger on Sep 24, 2010 - 134 comments

The Riddler Strikes Again!

Anderson Cooper attempts to reason with the wild-eyed Debbie Riddle, a Texas State Representative who wants to save the US from bomb-throwing "anchor babies".
posted by hermitosis on Aug 12, 2010 - 243 comments

Amarillo's Marsh Art

"Art is a legalized form of insanity, and I do it very well."
Amarillo, Texas is home to the Cadillac Ranch, artist & sculptor Lightnin’ McDuff’s “Ozymandius,” the Amarillo Ramp and the “Dynamite Museum” project, which gave residents the opportunity to order fake, fun road signs and place them on their properties.  Over 5000 signs (Someone did a study!) have been erected throughout town.  But what do all of these projects have in common? They’re all elaborate art works commissioned by Stanley Marsh 3rd, eccentric millionaire, philanthropist and inveterate prankster. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 13, 2010 - 28 comments

Kayaking DFW's dirty, dirty river systems

It sounded terribly fun and terribly disgusting at the same time: kayaking the polluted river systems of the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex.
posted by item on Jun 10, 2010 - 26 comments

Little Girl in Big Hoax

4th Grader wins National Science Fair competition--judged by Al Gore-- with her entry "Disproving Global Warming"...or did she ? [more inside]
posted by Secret Life of Gravy on Jun 8, 2010 - 52 comments

College Football Selling Out, In Real Time

"It's a storm only a game theorist could love..." In the next few weeks, the NCAA College Football landscape may change completely. Or not. Either way there's a massive power struggle unfolding among college football conferences for big TV money, and an increasing gulf between the haves and have nots. [more inside]
posted by bbuda on Jun 6, 2010 - 101 comments

Hindi Urdu Flagship Program

The Hindi Urdu Flagship Program at the University of Texas, Austin has a number of freely available online resources on Hindi and Urdu, including vocabulary exercises for beginners, video interviews with native speakers discussing various aspects of their language, a Hindi-language podcast on various topics and the ways one can discuss them in Hindi, and several downloadable books in PDF format. [more inside]
posted by skoosh on May 31, 2010 - 18 comments

You're Wrong! No, You're Wrong!

5 Lesser Known (Completely Ridiculous) American Civil Wars, via Cracked. [more inside]
posted by Miko on May 26, 2010 - 45 comments

Clyde "Champion" Barrow Gang Collection

Mr, KIng
So Raymond Hamilton never killed anybody. If he can make a jury believe that I8m willing to come in and be tryed my self. Why dont you ask Ray about those two policemen that got killed near Grapevine? And while you are at it better talk it over with his girl friend. Bonnie and me were in missouri when that happened but where was Ray? coming back from the West bankjob wasn't he? Redhot too wasn8t he? I got it straight. And ask him about that escape at Eastham farm where that gard was killed. Giess he claims he doesn't know fire any shots there don8t ge? Well if he wasnt too dum to know how tp put a clip in a automatic he'd hace fired a lot more shots and some of the rest of the gards would got killed too. He wrote his lawyer he was too good for me and didnt go my pace, well it makes a me sick to see a yellow punk like that playing baby ad making a jury cry over him either/ He stuck his fingerprint on a letter so heres mine too just to let you know thjis is on the leve;
X Clyde
posted by mrducts on May 21, 2010 - 21 comments

Bonkers Bunkers

A man in East Austin, Tx was removed from his home after it was discovered that he had been digging bunkers under his home, some which were 35ft at the deepest, and included two sub-levels tall enough for adults to stand in comfortably. Though his motives are unknown, many handguns and rifles were also removed from the home, and he as been very cooperative with city investigators.
posted by fontophilic on May 13, 2010 - 124 comments

Spare the rod and spoil the child?

Instead of letting corporal punishment fall out of fashion or banning it outright (like the majority of areas in the US have done) a small Texas city has brought back paddling and it sounds like it's working just fine. Is this a trend we can expect to see continuing? Or is it a punishment that might soon be federally banned?
posted by DoublePlus on Apr 18, 2010 - 113 comments

From Oil Derricks To Wind Turbines

A 1999 Texas electricity deregulation statute included, almost as an afterthought, a requirement that the state develop 2,000 megawatts of wind power by 2009. This past February, wind generators delivered a record 6,242 megawatts of power to Texas population centers -- 22 percent of all the electricity consumed in the Texas grid. Could their model transform the nation's utility sector?, Or will it be derailed by special interests and politics? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 9, 2010 - 68 comments

Following the invention of soft serve, the creation of thousands of new places to go and sit and eat it was almost inevitable.

Dairy Queen: Small-Town Texas Institution
posted by jjray on Apr 5, 2010 - 146 comments

RIP Liz Carpenter.

Liz Carpenter, Texas humorist, women's rights crusader and aide to Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson, dies at 89 [more inside]
posted by ColdChef on Mar 21, 2010 - 18 comments

They're a page right out of history.

Nearly a third of Texans believe humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time, according to a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. Meet the Flinstones.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 21, 2010 - 177 comments

Phil Collins Remembers the Alamo

Musician and actor Phil Collins has a passion for the Alamo.
posted by theperfectcrime on Feb 20, 2010 - 74 comments

Hot Barbeque!

When we reach these, the bleakest and coldest days of winter, my mind inevitably turns towards the warm days of summer and one of America’s favorite pastimes: Barbeque. [more inside]
posted by shiu mai baby on Feb 17, 2010 - 74 comments

A Very Unusual Trial

In Texas, two nurses anonymously reported a doctor to the Texas Medical Board for what they considered to be malpractice. The doctor complained of harrassment and local law enforcement found out who filed the complaint. Now one nurse is being prosecuted for reporting. The charges against the other nurse were dropped due to prosecutor's discretion. The medical board has warned of a dangerous chilling effect if the charges are pursued. But, the sheriff and the DA are convinced that the case is valid. Regardless of the outcome, a civil suit has already been filed against the hospital, the doctor, the sheriff and the DA's office on behalf of at least one of the nurses alleging violations of her First Amendment rights, among other things. Is it a case of prosecutorial misconduct or a vindictive nurse trying to get a doctor ousted? Trial begins Feb. 8.
posted by Leezie on Feb 7, 2010 - 55 comments

Executing Justice

A new study of death penalty deterrence by researchers from Sam Houston State University and Duke University suggests that there is a decline in murders in the month of or after executions. Meanwhile, Kenneth Mosley became the 448th inmate executed in Texas since 1982 on January 7th, 2010. (Last link: previously, previously and previously)
posted by mrducts on Jan 8, 2010 - 50 comments

"Then I see how they treat Ronald Reagan—he needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last twenty years because he lowered taxes."

Revisionaries: How a group of Texas conservatives is rewriting your kids’ textbooks.
posted by defenestration on Jan 4, 2010 - 258 comments

“Tiger free to a good home. Good with children.”

Tiger at Oyster Creek? It's possible there's a tiger skulking around Brazoria County. Of course, it might be a cougar...although they're pretty scarce around here. You'd probably have a better chance of seeing a tiger in Texas than a cougar. Heck, these days there are more tigers in the state of Texas than there are in India.
posted by Neofelis on Dec 18, 2009 - 17 comments

Texas Gulf Coast Disasters: Digital Media Collections

The Texas Gulf Coast is no stranger to disaster - both natural and man-made. The 1900 Storm (previously). The Texas City Disaster (previously). Hurricane Ike (previously). Tropical Storm Allison (previously). New digital media collections, made available through the the University of Houston, shed light on previously overlooked events such as the Hurricane of 1915, and allow a fresh look at well-known disasters such as the Texas City Disaster. A digital slideshow of images and information about The 1900 Storm is also available through the Rosenberg Library in Galveston, Texas. [Please note that some links include images of the deceased which may be NSFW or unsuitable for some audiences.]
posted by greekphilosophy on Dec 10, 2009 - 9 comments

100 miles from the middle of nowhere...then take a left another 40 miles or so....

A 47 year old NYC photographer says to hell with it. He takes his 10 thousand dollars or so and buys a spot of land. You are miles and miles from anywhere. John Wells wants to build something for himself and inspire others. John has built the Field Lab and invites all who are interested to explore the idea of living off the grid... that is to use only the power you produce and eat what you grow. He has gotten a little attention...but for the most part has stayed out of the spotlight. You can follow his day to day blog and live a little vicariously. Note: If you want a tour...show up with a six pack or something. Its a long drive to town and he will forever be your friend.
posted by shockingbluamp on Nov 29, 2009 - 38 comments

Real Texas Justice

Judge William Wayne Justice. 1920 -2009. Appointed to the federal bench in 1968, Judge Justice spent his career as a progressive jurist working to insure the rights of minorities, the poor and the disenfranchised. His rulings forced the State of Texas to desegregate public schools, reform its prison system and provide education to undocumented immigrants.
posted by anticlock on Oct 15, 2009 - 32 comments

They even pay postage.

Notary fee: $3; County Clerk Recording Fee: $16; Protecting your land from abortionists forever? That'll cost ya $77. [more inside]
posted by fontophilic on Oct 14, 2009 - 68 comments

The Power of One

At age 17, Bonnie Richardson won the Texas state track team championship all by herself. Then she did it again.
posted by MegoSteve on Sep 26, 2009 - 63 comments

I gotta go, road dog. I love you Gabby.

Expert tells Texas state-sanctioned review that they killed an innocent man. If the commission reaches the same conclusion, it could lead to the first-ever declaration by an official state body that an inmate was wrongly executed. Cameron Todd Willingham was accused of killing his three children in a house fire. There have been doubts about the case for years, thoroughly outlined in this 2004 Chicago Tribune article and this 2005 NPR interview (summarized in this Daily Kos diary). [more inside]
posted by desjardins on Aug 25, 2009 - 92 comments

There Will Be Blood

"I was just sick and tired of Texas law that allowed the defendant to destroy the very evidence that we need to protect society." Starting September 1st, police in Texas will be able to draw blood for alcohol testing from anyone involved in an auto accident without a warrant. Lauded by law enforcement officials such as Williamson County DA John Bradley (quoted above), and Dallas Police Chief David "we believe in the no-refusal process," Kunkle, it has others worried about what happens if someone refuses the test.
posted by nushustu on Aug 25, 2009 - 121 comments

DJ Jester sez: Gumby can kill your ass

For your entertainment, the music of DJ Jester the Filipino Fist joined with visuals by Samaro (aka Kid Kotex): River Walk Riots, the video (includes NFSW moments of blue cartoon nudity and some vocal profanity). Originally made in 2001, the rediscovered video is part of DJ Jester's River Walk Riot mixcd, because of which he met renowned turntablist Kid Koala. The Filipino Fist joined Kid Koala, P-Love, and Lederhosen Lucil in the 2003 "Short Attention Span Theater" Tour. The three turntablists took the stage in separate sets, and joined forces (as seen here in 5 parts: Stompin' At Le Savoi, Nufonia Must Fall: Page 275, Drunk Trumpet, Skanky Panky, and N.M.F. Page 298). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 13, 2009 - 15 comments

where it's 1973 forever

That's it. I am moving my all my money to Oakwood! The tiny town north of Houston has just three employees and not a single computer. It has no voice mail and no ATMs. This is the smallest bank in the USA. Still going strong.
posted by shockingbluamp on Jul 27, 2009 - 40 comments

I love the monkey's uncle and I wish I were the monkey's aunt!

When shitty '90s movies come to life: "Hit by a string of thefts, the owners of Plants & Planters in Richardson (TX) installed surveillance cameras in the hopes of recording the suspects in action, WFAA-TV reports. The cameras recorded images of what appears to be a monkey scooping up plants, flowers and accessories and handing it to someone waiting on the other side of a fence. In all, the monkey got a few dozen plants, flowers and concrete statues." [more inside]
posted by item on Jul 21, 2009 - 31 comments

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