Monthly Archives: December 2023

Weekend link dump for December 31

“5 Big Ideas for Improving the Endangered Species Act”. “It might seem fantastical that these men would open up about their law-breaking to random strangers on a dating app, but the fact is, few women want to talk to them … Continue reading

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Southern Baptist Convention settles Paul Pressler sexual abuse lawsuit

A big deal. The Southern Baptist Convention and others have reached a confidential settlement in a high-profile lawsuit that accused a former leader of sexual assault, ending a six-year legal drama that helped prompt a broader reckoning over child sexual … Continue reading

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Another step forward for flying cars

Excuse me, “air taxis”. Researchers are one step closer to integrating air taxis and other electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles into the country’s busiest airports, thanks to a new air traffic simulation developed by NASA’s Ames Research Center … Continue reading

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Whitmire officially resigns from the Senate

Let the election-palooza to replace him begin! Mayor-elect John Whitmire has submitted his resignation from the Texas Senate days before he will take over the state’s largest city. Whitmire, the Senate’s longest tenured member, served for 50 years under seven … Continue reading

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The problem of inadequate police responses to mass shootings is national

More great reporting from ProPublica, The Texas Tribune, and FRONTLINE on how police departments across the country have no idea how to react to mass shootings. During an October conference to prepare law enforcement for dealing with an active shooter, … Continue reading

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It’s a matter of trust

This is a long story that recaps what incoming Mayor John Whitmire promised to do as Mayor, with a bit of analysis about how and when he might try to do them. It’s a good review for anyone who slept … Continue reading

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Time once again to recycle your Christmas tree

Speaking of annual traditions… Houston’s Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD) encourages residents to recycle live Christmas trees after the holidays. This holiday season, assist the City of Houston in diverting landfill waste by repurposing your live Christmas tree into mulch … Continue reading

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Dispatches from Dallas, December 29 edition

This is a weekly feature produced by my friend Ginger. Let us know what you think. This week, in news from Dallas-Fort Worth, we have a lot of followup on big stories as the end of the year approaches. In … Continue reading

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A crime threefer

Houston on pace to post 20% decline in homicides in 2023 Houston’s homicide rate is down 20% compared to the year before, outpacing a historic decline in killings nationwide. The city logged 339 homicides thorough Dec. 18, down from 425 … Continue reading

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Ampelognathus coheni

Of all of the potentially attainable achievements I could imagine for my life, finding a new dinosaur fossil seems like the coolest. A new dog-sized dinosaur species has been discovered after a small fossil of a jawbone was found outside … Continue reading

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Texas blog roundup for the week of December 25

The Texas Progressive Alliance hears sleigh bells ring-a-ling and jing-ting-ting-a-ling as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Precinct analysis: City Props A and B

PREVIOUSLY: Mayor’s race Controller’s race Harris Health bond referendum At Large #1 At Large #2 At Large #3 At Large #4 At Large #5 Finishing up with the two citywide ballot propositions. The first one, Prop A, established that three … Continue reading

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RIP, hyperloops

It was fun while it lasted. Hyperloop One, the futuristic transportation startup that promised to whisk us through nearly airless tubes at airline speeds, is shutting down, according to Bloomberg. The company is selling off its assets, closing down its … Continue reading

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A brief update on the Democratic Senate primary

Just a couple of thoughts. If money is any indication, the crowded contest to challenge U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz next year is Democrat Colin Allred’s to lose. The congressman from Dallas has set campaign fundraising records and outpaced his closest … Continue reading

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Realignment roundup

You can officially put a bow on the PAC 12. Oregon State and Washington State have come to an agreement in principle with the 10 departing Pac-12 universities that will end ongoing litigation related to control of the conference, the … Continue reading

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Say goodbye to 2023, Mel Torme

As I mentioned yesterday, we do have some traditions at this here weblog, and the Mel Torme Christmas story is one of them. 2023 was a year, that’s for sure, and 2024, well, we’d probably do best to keep our … Continue reading

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Weekend link dump for December 24

Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus… “Even at this early stage, it’s a safe bet that Tesla’s design choices for the Cybertruck will not reduce American crash deaths, and they may increase them. And if the vehicle does … Continue reading

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Christmas Eve video break: It’s the time of the season

Time once again for a revered tradition around here, the best reading of “A Visit From Saint Nicholas”: As noted before, I’ve been posting this for over a decade, I watch it every year, and it remains one of my … Continue reading

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What would it take to prove the existence of Bigfoot?

Texas Monthly’s Lauren Larson visits the annual Texas Bigfoot Conference and asks the important question. [Michael Mayes, a schoolteacher and author of Valley of the Apes: The Search for Sasquatch in Area X] introduces a question that has preoccupied investigators … Continue reading

Posted in Skepticism, The great state of Texas | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Christmas trees and climate change

Sorry to be a grinch. Christmas tree breeder Jim Rockis knows what it looks like when one dies long before it can reach a buyer. Rockis farms trees in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, where he and other producers often grow … Continue reading

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Someday the 2022 election will end

Today is not that day. Tomorrow doesn’t look so good either. It’s an Election Day mishap that will sound familiar to Harris County residents. Voters in Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County temporarily were unable to cast ballots in the 2022 midterm election … Continue reading

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Fifth Circuit slaps down “bad faith” obscenity prosecution

This is fascinating. An appeals court on Monday blocked a Texas district attorney from pursuing child pornography charges against Netflix for showing the French film “Cuties.” In a 3-0 ruling, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court … Continue reading

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Crypto ATM data breach

I have three things to say about this. People who used Coin Cloud cryptocurrency ATMs — a brand that was installed in some H-E-B stores beginning in 2021 — may have had their personal information compromised by hackers. The San … Continue reading

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Gillespie County to hand count primary ballots

Some lessons need to be learned the hard way. When Gillespie County Republicans conduct their primary in March, they will count votes in an ill-advised way: by hand, using scores of volunteers, without any machines. Even if they can pull … Continue reading

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Seattle Children’s Hospital sues Texas Attorney General over trans patient records

I have three things to say about this. Seattle Children’s Hospital has sued the Texas Office of the Attorney General to block the release of patient information after the agency sent the Washington-based health care system an investigative subpoena demanding … Continue reading

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Get ready for a shorter summer

Your HISD student will be back in school before you know it. Houston ISD is poised to begin the upcoming school year more than two weeks earlier than usual after the Board of Managers voted last week to make HISD … Continue reading

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Paxton and aides ordered to sit for depositions on whistleblower trial

Good. A Travis County district judge has ordered Attorney General Ken Paxton and three top aides to sit for depositions in the 3-year-old whistleblower lawsuit against him. At a hearing Wednesday in Austin, Judge Jan Soifer granted the whistleblowers’ motion … Continue reading

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DOJ sues Colony Ridge developers

Major plot twist. The federal government is suing Colony Ridge, accusing the Houston-area developer of using fraudulent lending practices targeting tens of thousands of Latino buyers with false statements and predatory loans in rural Liberty County. The U.S. Department of … Continue reading

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Another complaint filed over SpaceX launches in South Texas

Have at it. Several organizations have filed a new complaint about the environmental impacts of SpaceX Starship launches even as government agencies face criticism for delaying such launches for environmental reviews. Several environmental groups announced Dec. 15 that they had … Continue reading

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Texas blog roundup for the week of December 18

The Texas Progressive Alliance is looking forward to the Nakatomi Tower holiday party as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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ACLU and immigrants rights groups sue over our latest legislative atrocity

Here we go. Immigrant rights organizations have sued Texas after Gov. Greg Abbott approved one of the strictest state immigration enforcement laws, which authorizes police to arrest immigrants suspected of crossing the border illegally. In their lawsuit, the American Civil … Continue reading

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Republicans are not going to do anything to loosen abortion restrictions

Even those who want to do so will be forced to back down. The only way forward is to win more elections. When the Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion last year, strict abortion bans in more … Continue reading

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A deeper look at de-extinctioning

Really good stuff. You are wandering the forests of Mauritius, an oyster-shaped island east of Madagascar, when you spy a dodo, a bird famous for being as dead as one can possibly be. Yet this dodo waddles before you, pecking … Continue reading

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Precinct analysis: At Large #5

PREVIOUSLY: Mayor’s race Controller’s race Harris Health bond referendum At Large #1 At Large #2 At Large #3 At Large #4 Returning to this as promised for the November elections. I will be doing the same for the runoffs shortly, … Continue reading

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