Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

June 20th, 2010:

Weekend link dump for June 20

Hug somebody’s dad today.

Pity the poor teabaggers.

Doing it for the lolz.

Getting the best of both FinReg bills.

What If Yesterday’s Teen Movie Characters Had Today’s Technology?

The iVuvuzela. You know you want it.

The dark secrets of Scooby Doo. It actually makes a bizarre kind of sense.

Go, cougars!

A tax swap worth considering.

“Just as only Nixon could have gone to China and only Clinton could have reformed welfare, so too can only a family-values, conservative break down that barrier preventing politicians from openly cavorting with prostitutes.”

To borrow a phrase, Ben Sargent is worth a thousand words.

Happy fifth blog anniversary, SciGuy!

Umlauts make everything better.

You know, I think even having an opinion about a font is a sure sign that you need to get a life. But if you are one of those people, you should read this. If you’re also the type to be offended by profanity, be prepared to be offended.

The case for Texas A&M as the savior (for now) of the Big XII.

The Vatican gives its blessing to The Blues Brothers. One can only assume they didn’t actually watch the movie. Or one can make a very good case for why the blessing was deserved.

It’s much easier to be a “deficit hawk” if you believe that only things you don’t like actually contribute to the deficit.

Matt Mullenweg speaks.

RIP, Manute Bol, basketball player and true humanitarian.

The Keller hearings

The current phase of the Sharon Keller saga may end soon.

Sharon Keller, fighting to keep her job as the state’s top criminal court judge, should know her fate soon.

After a five-hour hearing Friday, members of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct met privately to begin deliberating charges that in 2007 Keller improperly closed the Court of Criminal Appeals to a death row inmate scheduled to die later that evening.

The decision, to be issued as a written order, could come as soon as next week. The 12 commissioners can dismiss the charges, reprimand Keller or recommend that she be removed from office.

I say “the current phase” because unless the Commission votes to dismiss the charges, Keller will appeal. Anything is possible, and I know I’m setting myself up for disappointment by saying this, but I don’t see how they can possibly dismiss. Surely at least a reprimand is in order.

I say that in part because I’m hopelessly naive, and in part because I think the case for the prosecution, for which you can see Examiner Mike McKetta’s devastating PowerPoint presentation, is really compelling. But hey, what do I know? I’m just a guy who thinks that Sharon Keller is extremely lucky that she herself is not on the Commission. I’m glad to see at least one member of the Commission recognizes that.

Commissioner Tom Cunningham said he found it interesting Keller would argue that the “tainted process,” as Babcock called it, was denying the judge a fair hearing.

“Isn’t it ironic that’s what Mr. Richard was asking for?” Cunningham said.

Yeah, some of us noticed the irony a long time ago. The Chron, Texas Lawyer, and Grits, from whom I got the McKetta slideshow, have more.

More on the legislators’ push for UH to the Big XII

Here’s the Chron story on that letter a bunch of area legislators sent to Big XII Commissioner Dan Beebe and the presidents of Texas universities in that conference in support of adding UH.

Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe is on record saying the league has no plans to add any teams from within its five-state footprint (Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa). [State Rep. Garnet] Coleman, whose District 147 includes the UH campus, said the Houston delegation isn’t about to give up that easily.

“I don’t quit,” Coleman said. “I don’t start something I’m not going to finish. If I didn’t think this was a worthy endeavor, I wouldn’t have started it. This is the beginning of this effort, not the end.”


The letter went out one day after a House committee of higher education canceled a Wednesday hearing about intercollegiate athletics in general and conference realignment in particular. Coleman expects the subject to come up during the next legislative session.

“We haven’t weighed in the way Houston can weigh in,” Coleman said. “That’s the first thing we have to do is weigh in in the best interests of the state, the best interests of our region, the best interests of our students. If I had it my way, it would be the Big 14, and you’d bring in Rice and SMU.”

As I said before, if it comes to that, I know what such a conference should be called.

The bears come back to East Texas


Bears are slowly returning to the woods of East Texas thanks to thriving bear populations in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, wildlife officials say. As a result, sightings in East Texas have been on the rise, up from just five in the 1980s to 54 in the 2000s.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials believe most of the bears that have made their way to Texas are young males. They will roam hundreds of miles to stake out their territory away from other males, which can grow to weigh around 350 pounds and stand 6 feet tall. The bears coming into Texas from Oklahoma and Arkansas are the American black bear, while those from Louisiana are the Louisiana black bear.

“Anytime you have bears moving into new country, the first ones to show up are going to be males,” said Nathan Garner, the department’s wildlife director in East Texas.

Wildlife officials are hopeful that females, who usually stay closer to their mothers and don’t travel as far, will eventually make their way to Texas as well and they’ll establish a new breeding population in the state.

“Once they get here in decent numbers, in the next 20 years, we’ll have a population eventually. They’re expanding,” said Christopher Comer, assistant professor of forest wildlife management at Stephen F. Austin State University.

I’m always happy to read a story about wildlife and natural habitats that aren’t about them shrinking or disappearing.