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Texas, an American Leader

Texas definitely a leader among the states, now leading in exonerations in wrongful conviction cases and also a leader in executions. One hopes there isn't too much overlap.
posted by Bovine Love on Jan 3, 2008 - 114 comments

Oswald has been shot

An archive of raw footage and news reports concerning the assassination of JFK and the guy most people think that did it, Oswald.
posted by zzazazz on Dec 18, 2007 - 29 comments

Ain't superstitious, baby.

Meet Mojo, a runaway who was finally buried 80 years after his death. Visit with the Orviss family in their spacious mausoleum. Don’t mind the whispers; there’s no reason to be superstitious. It’s just Calvert, Texas.
posted by found dog one eye on Dec 7, 2007 - 6 comments

Shoot First, No Questions Asked?

"I've got a shotgun. Do you want me to stop 'em?" On November 14, 61-year old Joe Horn saw two men breaking into his neighbor's home. He called 911, told the operator what he could see through his window. As Horn watched the men, he grew more and more agitated, saying he was going to go outside and shoot them. When the men left the neighbor's home, Horn went outside and did just that.

Now, Texas gets to argue over the hero or villain status of Joe Horn in the public square (a debate made more volatile by concerns that race was been a factor), while weighing the merits of that state's recent adoption of Castle Doctrine (aka "Stand Your Ground" Law). First adopted by Florida in 2005, Castle Doctrine is now law in 19 of 50 states. So what does this mean for Joe Horn? Public accusations of vigilantism aside, what Horn did is arguably legal under Texas law ... or, at least, it would be had he shot the two men after dark.
posted by grabbingsand on Dec 5, 2007 - 181 comments

From Poker to Preachers

Learn how the most opulent casino in the North American hemisphere, complete with guard turrets and escape tunnels, became a Baptist College in 1956. [more inside]
posted by punkfloyd on Dec 3, 2007 - 13 comments

"The record that no home should be without"

Willis Alan Ramsey is to music as Harper Lee is to literature: he only made one album, and that's sad in it's own way, but it's such an overwhelmingly perfect album, you're okay with it. "Probably the most imitated singer/songwriter you’ve never heard," his legion of followers includes Lyle Lovett, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Waylon Jennings, and he is rightfully considered one of the fathers of progressive country. He will make his second record in his own good time, whenever the hell that is. Oh, and one of his songs was made famous by the Captain and Tennille, but please don't let that dissuade you from exploring further.
posted by jbickers on Nov 16, 2007 - 12 comments

I do not plan on voting for or against any US legislation not directly related to Texas Independence

Texan Larry Kilgore is running for a seat in the US Senate. Agree or disagree with the man, he certainly has the courage of his convictions.
posted by dersins on Oct 10, 2007 - 45 comments

Ol' Rip

1897, Eastland, TX. A cornerstone was being laid in the foundation of the new county courthouse (to replace the old county courthouse, not to be confused with the original county courthouse). People put various items in the hollow space in the marble, time capsule style. Just before they sealed the box court clerk Ernest Wood (E.E. to his friends), acting on a whim, grabbed a horny toad that his son, Will Wood, had picked up on the way in to town and placed it in the box. Entombed forever. But...31 years later, 1928. Eastland, having decided it needed a NEW new courthouse, was about to demolish the old one. Someone recalled the time capsule, and the unfortunate horny toad, and 3,000 people showed up to see the poor dead lizard. "As a county official held up the dusty reptile, his leg twitched, and then his whole body came alive." [more inside]
posted by dirtdirt on Sep 28, 2007 - 22 comments

Democracy in action

In the Texas Legislature you can pass laws using persuasion...or just pressing other members' buttons before they come back from the washroom.
posted by reformedjerk on Sep 28, 2007 - 138 comments

Send Me In Coach!

High School Coaches outearning High School Teachers Texas high school football coaches in Class 5A and 4A schools (that's 950 students or more) earn an average salary of $73,804, while the average salary for teachers in those same schools is about $42,400. But hey, those Texas football teams are pretty darn good!
posted by CameraObscura on Aug 9, 2007 - 180 comments

Rape, hate crime victim commits suicide.

Hate crime, Rape victim dies of shame.
posted by availablelight on Jul 2, 2007 - 110 comments

Standardized cheating

The Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test is a continuation of the standardized testing Texas has been doing for the past 15 years, a good bit of which George W. Bush pushed as a way to measure teacher aptitude and school performance. The company that administers the test claims that cheating is "extraordinarily rare" but the Dallas Morning news found about 50,000 cheating students in 1/3 of all Texas schools. The most prevalent was the 11th grade science exam, also known as the one you must pass to get a diploma. The article even has cool coverflow-like visualizations of what a cheating school exam looks like. [via the journalist's blog, which promises parts 2 and 3 in the next couple days]
posted by mathowie on Jun 3, 2007 - 65 comments

A dust storm overtakes Lubbock, Texas

A dust storm overtakes Lubbock, Texas
posted by jonson on May 26, 2007 - 55 comments

"It's like they are sending a signal to black folks in Paris that you stay in your place in this community, in the shadows, intimidated."

In Texas, a white teenager burns down her family's home and receives probation. A black one shoves a hall monitor and gets 7 years in prison. The state NAACP calls it `a signal to black folks.' The youth had no prior arrest record, and the hall monitor--a 58-year-old teacher's aide--was not seriously injured. But Shaquanda was tried in March 2006 in the town's juvenile court, convicted of assault. Passwords here.
posted by paulinsanjuan on Mar 21, 2007 - 202 comments

I'm not stinkin', but I look like Lincoln

Since January 1st, men in Shamrock, TX, have been working on their Donegal beards and today they were judged on how they did. Missed it? Maybe you can watch the documentary by Mike Woolf or listen to a song(mp3) from the soundtrack by The Gourds.
posted by DonnieSticks on Mar 17, 2007 - 5 comments

Creation of Lung Cells from Embryonic Stem Cells

"Molecular scientists . . . have developed a new procedure for the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells, with which they have created the first transplantable source of lung epithelial cells."
posted by jason's_planet on Mar 1, 2007 - 30 comments

.

Mary Tyler "Molly" Ivins (August 30, 1944 - January 30, 2007) (previously)
posted by mullingitover on Jan 31, 2007 - 194 comments

Correct.

Now spell "angel"! A Texas Instruments "Speak n Spell" simulator.
posted by Jimbob on Jan 30, 2007 - 28 comments

[on Texas politics] "Better than the zoo. Better than the circus."

AppreciationFilter: Molly Ivins --she's on hiatus while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. From a bio of her: ...She began her journalism career at the Complaint Department of the Houston Chronicle, then rapidly worked her way up to the position of Sewer Editor... , and some choice quotes of hers here. : >
posted by amberglow on Dec 29, 2006 - 29 comments

Geostationary Banana Over Texas

Geostationary Banana Over Texas is an art intervention that involves placing a gigantic banana over the Texas sky. This object will float between the high atmosphere & Earth's low orbit, being visible only from the state of Texas & its surroundings. From the ground, the banana will be clearly recognizable and visible day & night; it will stay up for approximately one month.
posted by jonson on Dec 28, 2006 - 98 comments

Texas to increase Tax on Cigarettes by 1$ on Jan 1st.

Jan 1st, Texas to increase tax on cigarettes by $1. Texas will increase the sales tax on cigarettes from 41 cents to $1.41 on Jan 1st. Hoping to fund schools and fight the 1.5 billion dollar health care bill from smoking related illnesses.
posted by IronWolve on Dec 25, 2006 - 128 comments

Smile, you're on BorderCam.

Who needs a fence when you have webcams? The state of Texas now has a virtual border watch online and is asking for your help spotting illegals crossing the border. It looks like Arizona has a similar program as well with pimped out ATV's. Let the hunt begin. Warning: The Texas site seems to require IE, an ActiveX plugin and registration.
posted by itchylick on Nov 4, 2006 - 16 comments

If voting could actually change anything...

The election isn't until next Tuesday, but already problems are being reported. It's not just in Texas, and not just in relation to everyone's favorite electronic-voting whipping boy, either; it's becoming clear that every vendor has its own unsolved security issues. In fact it seems that an increasing number of voices are warning that the US is in for an awful lot of contention from all parties involved after next week's vote, and that can't be good. Others are taking a non-disinterested rose-colored view of things and loudly proclaiming that there's nothing wrong with the system, or at least that no one should imply or infer or investigate the matter. Still others are quick to point out that there's nothing wrong with electronic voting, except when they're linked to a foreign government that doesn't get along particularly well with them. Whatever is true about the state of electronic voting in 2006, you can't deny that it has led to a certain plurality of opinions...
posted by clevershark on Nov 2, 2006 - 130 comments

But each time he hit the button next to the candidate, the Republican choice showed up.

Her vote went smoothly, but boss Gary Rudolf called her over to look at what was happening on his machine. He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist. ...A poll worker then helped Rudolf, but it took three tries to get it right, Reed said. ... Broward Supervisor of Elections spokeswoman Mary Cooney said it's not uncommon for screens on heavily used machines to slip out of sync, making votes register incorrectly. ... Early voting problems already in Florida.
posted by amberglow on Oct 30, 2006 - 107 comments

Freedy Fender, RIP.

Freddy Fender, RIP. Freddy Fender dot com.
posted by fixedgear on Oct 15, 2006 - 23 comments

Bruco, the Texas Italian Caterpillar Concrete Dome

Giant Concrete Caterpillar. Driving on I35 south out of Dallas to Austin, you pass through Italy, Texas, and on the side of the road is Bruco, the Texas Italian Caterpillar, and the home of the Monolithic Dome Institute, makers of fine homes, restaurants, and churches. These domes are green and disaster resistant. (See previous thread). They also can be visually interesting. These domes are concrete as opposed to R. Buckminster Fuller's Geodesic domes, such as Epcot Center or the incredibly interesting Eden Project.
posted by dios on Oct 10, 2006 - 19 comments

It's not whether he wins or loses—it's how he derails the game

Hooray for Kinky Friedman -- Friedman isn't going to solve Texas' problems, but neither is any other politician. The whole premise of his campaign is to mock the process—as his slogan goes, "How hard can it be?"
posted by ZenMasterThis on Oct 6, 2006 - 93 comments

Texas. Where the internet and "kill 'em all" meet.

Read the last statements of executed Texas death row inmates. Texas now publishes the last statements online in a extremely well organised database. Search through offender name, offender information (scanned OCR with pics and crime description). If that's a bit too heavy, why not just browse through some last meals on death row?
posted by Funmonkey1 on Sep 18, 2006 - 135 comments

Ann Richards Has Passed Away

"Poor George. He can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth." Ann Richards, former democratic governor of Texas, has passed away from esophageal cancer. She was 73.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow on Sep 14, 2006 - 119 comments

Charles Whitman and the UT Tower

96 Minutes... 40 years later. Texas Monthly has an article that, through eyewitness accounts, tells the tale of Charles Whitman. Forty years ago today--before 9/11, Columbine, Oklahoma City, "going postal"--Whitman perpetrated an act of public terror that impacted the national conscience. It all began when he killed his mother. Then he started typing a letter that, after he killed his wife, he finished hand-writing. Then he went to the Tower with a small arsenal and began the slaughter. Over 96 minutes he killed 13 more people and wounded 34 others until off-duty Officer Ray Martinez made it to the top of the tower and killed Whitman. (more inside)
posted by dios on Aug 1, 2006 - 71 comments

Jack Jackson

Jack Jackson, writing as Jaxon, may have created the first underground comic, God Nose, in 1964. In 1969 he was one of the founders of RipOff Press. Jackson's work at that time included horror stories (in Skull Comics, RipOff's tribute to EC) and political fare. Jackson returned to his native Texas in the 70s and began work on a series of comics on Texas history. In 1979 he published Comanche Moon, the story of the abduction of Cynthia Ann Parker and of her son, the great Comanche chief Quanah Parker. Jackson was influenced by Texas History Movies, a 1920s comic strip by Jack Patton and John Rosenfeld that was compiled into booklets and used in Texas schools until the 1960s. Other works by Jackson included the story of Spanish-Americans in the war for Texas independence, the Alamo as seen from both sides, and a look at Sam Houston's relationship with the Cherokee. The subjects of Jackson's comics tended to be history's dispossessed and, in 1998, he published Lost Cause, a look at post-Civil War white Texans. Accused of racism, Jackson replied that he intended to show history as it was, not as people wanted it to have been. The Comics Reporter: "Jackson's Texas was capable of grotesquery and atrocity because Jackson's art was able to communicate extreme, transcendent moments without hesitation or shame." Aside from comics, Jackson wrote a number of books on Texas and other history, including the award-winning Los Mestenos, a study of Spanish ranching in Texas. He was a lifetime member of the Texas State Historical Society. Jackson's health deteriorated as he grew older and he suffered from diabetes and prostate cancer. On June 8, Jack Jackson committed suicide near the Stockton, Texas cemetery where his parents are buried.
posted by CCBC on Jul 26, 2006 - 19 comments

When in Texas...

Texas Riparian Law I found this intriguing because I 1) live in Texas, 2) have walked many Texas creekbottoms, 3) have a lot of lawyer friends, and 4) as an English major, find the language somehow beautiful.
posted by rleamon on Jun 29, 2006 - 25 comments

Oh redraw the damn map whenever you want.

The Supreme Court rules that state legislatures may redistrict at any time, while not harming minorities. The ruling is heavily influenced by Vieth v. Jubelirer, a Scalia opinion based on the premise that there is no objective way to draw a district (How the Census Bureau is trying to help make one). This ends a saga including amid-decade redistricting and subsequent rebellion in the Texas Statehouse.
posted by Captaintripps on Jun 28, 2006 - 43 comments

Art teacher in hot water over topless photos

Art teacher in hot water over topless photos - Meet Tamara, a 29 year old art teacher at Austin High School (notable alumni) in Austin, TX. She's in danger of losing her job with the Austin independent School District over inappropriate photos posted to her Flickr account (may be NSFW). "I'm an artist and I'm going to participate in the arts," Hoover said. "If that's not something they want me to do then I want to be told that. I don't feel as if I was doing anything that was beyond expectations."
posted by nitsuj on Jun 17, 2006 - 88 comments

This is "Anyone but Bush" Country!

Bush out of favor in 47 out of 50 states. The SurveyUSA 50-state-poll shows some interesting details on Bush's approval rating, which has fallen to just 35% in North (and South) Carolina, 29% in Missouri, and 42% in Texas. He remains popular in only three states: Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. Could the Democrats have a shot even in Utah in the not-too-distant future? A lot of Utahns think so.
posted by insomnia_lj on May 16, 2006 - 89 comments

Medication makes you feel better on death row

Steven Staley was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1991. A few days before his execution in February, he was granted a stay because he was found to be incompetent, a paranoid schizophrenic. Today, the judge has ordered that he be forced to take his medication so he can be legally put to death.
posted by Roger Dodger on Apr 12, 2006 - 68 comments

The King of Torts

The billionaire attorney. The King of Torts. Legendary Texas Lawyer. He is Joe Jamail. He is most famous for his record setting verdict in Texaco v. Pennzoil (which eventually made it to the US Supreme Court) in which Joe secured a $10.3 billion dollar judgment (though it is not known for sure, some speculate that Joe walked with $1 billion in attorney's fees in that case). In addition to being well known for his success, he is almost as legendary for his colorful demeanor. One such example was when he got reprimanded for his behavior in Paramount Communications Inc. v. QVC Network, Inc.. But to see him in action with your own eyes, we have video of classic Joe during a deposition he was giving. (via brainwidth).
posted by dios on Apr 7, 2006 - 47 comments

Breaking news: Tom DeLay drops out of House race

CNN confirms that Tom DeLay, the scandal-embroiled Republican Congressman from Texas and former Republican House Majority Leader, has dropped out of the race for the 22nd District House seat.
posted by teferi on Apr 3, 2006 - 144 comments

Good evening, ossifer!

Don't Drink and Drive.
posted by I Love Tacos on Mar 22, 2006 - 70 comments

Mascots helping Mascots

Mascots helping Mascots High schools across America have witnessed the devastation brought about by several recent natural disasters, such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. An outpouring of sympathy and concern, and a desire to help, have come forth from high schools wanting to assist those in need. To enable schools to help other schools, the National Federation of State High School Associations has initiated a fundraising program called the Mascot Adoption Program.
posted by ColdChef on Mar 13, 2006 - 3 comments

Rattlesnakes, rattlesnacks

Sweetwater Texas Rattlesnake Roundup! An annual tradition since 1958, people from miles around come to look at the thousands of collected rattlesnakes, join in the hunting, watch them get milked, killed, and skinned, and then eat them. Check out Chris Hamilton's engaging b&w photo essay.
posted by donovan on Mar 11, 2006 - 41 comments

Happy Independence Day

Today is Texas Independence Day On March 2, 1836, the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed at Washington-on-the-Brazos. The document was created by the Convention of 1836 while almost a couple hundred brave Texans at the Alamo held Gen. Santa Anna's army of several thousand at bay for 13 days. On March 6, the Alamo finally fell, slaughtered to the last man. On March 27, 352 Texas soliders were slaughtered at the Goliad Massacre. Finally on April 21, the untrained armies of Texas, outnumbered and under the command of Sam Houston, decisively defeated the much larger and better trained and equipped Army of Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto and captured the Mexican dictator Santa Anna. Happy Texas Independence Day.
posted by dios on Mar 2, 2006 - 89 comments

Allah Bless Texas

Redneck Muslims? Apparently. Strange BBC piece on Christian Texans converting to Islam. I have a hard time believing these people don't eat pork.
posted by mosessmith on Feb 2, 2006 - 51 comments

Townes van Zandt

Townes van Zandt. In some theaters now is a new documentary about his life called Be Here to Love Me--a life that followed the all-too-typical path of a star that burns too bright: the promise of talent, addiction, and untimely death. (see the trailer here or here). Townes van Zandt was a singer/songwriter, often included in the folk or country genres, whose biggest accomplishment was when Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard took his song Poncho and Lefty to the top of the charts. But even though he never was famous, he has achieved legendary status. Steve Earle once said "Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that."
posted by dios on Jan 18, 2006 - 40 comments

'from a wealthy Texan background'

If you hunger for more posts like yesterday's about Michael Rockefeller, here's another morsel: a student's interview with American expat and cannibal Kapal Nath. Of course sometimes you get the impression that Nath will say anything in an interview. I suppose you could always find some neighbors to help you separate the hufu from the chaff. 'Course you could just stick to the documentaries.
posted by arakasi on Dec 19, 2005 - 7 comments

This is our surprised face.

A memo from the Department of Justice in Texas' voting division reveals that, back in 2003 during the Texas GOP's redistricting push, the division unanimously agreed that the redistricting plan sponsored by the state GOP and Rep. Tom DeLay was illegal under the Voting Rights Act. The plan was pushed through anyway, being the most effective in securing additional House seats for the GOP.
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Dec 2, 2005 - 71 comments

Death and Doubt

"I have been framed in a capital murder case." Ruben Cantu was executed in Texas in 1993 after being convicted of a 1984 San Antonio murder. A Houston Chronicle investigation suggests he was innocent. His co-defendant and the only eyewitness now say he was innocent and the judge, prosecutor, head juror and defense attorney acknowlege the case was built on omissions and lies. [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha on Nov 24, 2005 - 30 comments

H5N1, shmaitch5N1

Dengue in Texas. If it ain't the flu, it's the haemorrhagic fever. Disease info from WHO, CDC, Wikipedia.
posted by Eothele on Oct 28, 2005 - 10 comments

Be Careful What You Vote For...

Are Texans Poised to Ban All Marriage Altogether? A group opposed to the Texas anti-gay-marriage ballot initiative is pointing out that the language in Proposition 2 (one of nine proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution up for a vote November 8) might actually ban all marriages: gay, straight, whatever. The group -- Save Texas Marriage -- is organizing phone banks, offering signs and fliers, and pointing to language in the measure that would ban "any legal status identical or similar to marriage" without specifying that the ban would apply to gay persons. Prop 2 supporters, of course, are crying foul.
posted by mmahaffie on Oct 26, 2005 - 55 comments

Rejoice In Delay's Misery

A second Texas grand jury has indicted The Hammer on money laundering charges.
posted by aburd on Oct 3, 2005 - 51 comments

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