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Poet and Novelist Maya Angelou Dies at Age 86

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Dancing Naked Man, High on Embalming Fluid, Draws Crowd in Houston

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“Everybody is videoing it, but nobody stops to make sure he was okay.”

— Carla Meyers, cousin

For KHOU in HoustonDrew Karedes reports:  

It was a bizarre and disturbing spectacle that drew a crowd of up to 30 people at a busy intersection in northwest Houston. Spectators pulled out their cell phones and began recording when they saw a naked man dancing in the median.

“He was doing the Beyonce, the surf board, twerking, the Nae Nae. Every dance that’s out there right now, he was doing. I didn’t know what was next.”

— Chad Arceneaux, witness

The man was spotted at the intersection of West Gulf Bank Road and Antoine Drive around 12:30 p.m. Neighbors said he’s been known to attract attention at a nearby complex, but they never expected this.

“…he’s been using embalming fluid to get high.”

— Carla Meyers

Read the rest of this entry »


Music in Space: Texas Music Students to Perform Live with Space Station Astronaut

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Expedition 39 commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, currently aboard the International Space Station will make space-to-Earth musical connections with students in Texas this week to share and explore the relationship between the arts and space exploration.

pearlhall-music-nasa

Students from Pearl Hall Elementary in Pasadena, Texas, will perform songs with NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, Houston Symphony violinist Sergei Galperin and violinist Kenji Williams at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Music In Space - May 2 2014

When gagaku was first introduced in Japan, it was music of the imperial court during the Nara (645-710) and Heian (794-1185) periods that was performed by musicians who belonged to hereditary guilds.  Later, it became music of the aristocracy, and today it is still performed; modern composers even continue to write for gagaku ensembles.

When gagaku was first introduced in Japan, it was music of the imperial court during the Nara (645-710) and Heian (794-1185) periods that was performed by musicians who belonged to hereditary guilds. Later, it became music of the aristocracy, and today it is still performed; modern composers even continue to write for gagaku ensembles.

From the space station, Wakata will perform a piece of the ancient Gagaku music with a Japanese reed instrument called a sho.

Gagaku

Japanese Gagaku. Gagaku (the two Chinese characters mean “elegant music”) is a type of orchestral music utilizing winds, strings, and percussion that has been performed in Japan for centuries. It is the oldest form of Japanese classical music.

Violinist Sergei Galperin

Violinist Sergei Galperin

The live “Music in Space” program will be broadcast on NASA Television and webcasted on the DLiNfo Channel at 12:30 p.m. EDT Friday, May 2.

*The event time is subject change due to communication with the space station. Please go to http://dln.nasa.gov for current information.  

On Friday, click here for the LIVE Stream.

This is the second “Music in Space” event. The first featured astronaut Chris Hadfield formerly of the Canadian Space Agency in March 2013. This event is a part of the Building Cultural Bridges program, which links Pearl Hall Elementary with Johnson Space Center and several arts organizations, providing opportunities for students to discover that they are an integral part of society at the local, state, national and international levels. Read the rest of this entry »


Houston Middle School Teacher Accused Of Giving Lap Dance To Student In Front Of Class

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HOUSTON (CBS Houston) — A middle school teacher reportedly admits that she gave a student a birthday lap dance in front of the entire class.

KHOU-TV reports that 42-year-old Felicia Smith gave the lap dance to a 15-year-old boy inside a Stovall Middle School classroom on Feb. 26.

According to court documents, Smith stopped the teenage boy from going to his next class and the entire class told him to sit down in a chair placed in the front of the room.

The Houston Chronicle reports Smith then gave the boy a “full-contact lap dance” and the boy told authorities she touched him all over his body, including placing her head between his legs.

At the end of the four-minute long lap dance, Smith reportedly told the boy, “ I love you, baby. Happy birthday.” Read the rest of this entry »


Ana Trujillo Guilty in Stiletto Murder

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The jury is expected to hear more evidence in the punishment phase on Wednesday before deciding on a sentence for Trujillo. She faces up to life in prison.

Alyssa Newcomb and Gina Sunseri report:  A Houston jury found Ana Trujillo guilty today in the so-called “stiletto murder” of her boyfriend who was battered by her spiked heel shoe.

Trujillo briefly closed her eyes as the verdict was read, but showed little emotion. Her family, however, left the courtroom in tears.

The Houston trial gained international notoriety because of the weapon — a blue suede closed toe pump, size 9 with 5 inch heels.

Prosecutors alleged Trujillo, 45, fatally bludgeoned her boyfriend, Dr. Stefan Andersson, by hitting him in the head 25 times with the heel of her stiletto shoe.

[It’s All About the Shoes in Houston Woman’s Murder Trial]

Trujillo is a diminutive woman, her attorney Jack Carroll said in court, while her boyfriend was much bigger. When an argument allegedly broke out that night, and she tried to defend herself, she grabbed the closest weapon at hand — her high heel.

Read the rest of this entry »


What Happens when Governments Go Broke?

Ross William Hamilton/The Oregonian Dick and Gloria Shafer, pictured with their 9-year-old son, John, run an excavation business in Elgin. They are so frightened of drug violence, especially after a triple homicide at their town, that they say they sleep with handguns close at hand. Gloria Shafer keeps her 9 mm gun under her pillow.

Dick and Gloria Shafer, pictured with their 9-year-old son, John, run an excavation business in Elgin. They are so frightened of drug violence, especially after a triple homicide at their town.  – Ross William Hamilton/The Oregonian

Josephine County isn’t a monster, it’s just ahead of the curve

 writes:  On the evening of Oct. 30, 2013, a car traveling down a highway south of Cave Junction struck and killed Jarred Houston, 21, and Robert Calvin, 41. Four months later, their case remains unsolved.

A week after the hit-and-run, Aaron Clouser, 39, was stabbed to death and left in the middle of the street. His case remains unsolved as well.

“Who else is going to protect you when your government can’t?”

The murders have left the small town seething with anger, but there are barely any detectives around to work the cases.

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[Related: Astoria Oregon Woman attacks police car with screwdriver]

Economic woes have forced county governments in rural Oregon to slash law enforcement budgets to the point where police are almost non-existent. In Josephine County, where Cave Junction is, there are two patrol deputies tasked with covering 1,600 square miles.

[More: Drugs leave trail of ruin, fear in rural Oregon]

The sheriff’s office issued a warning last year for those in “potentially volatile” situations, such as those protected under a restraining order, “to consider relocating to an area with adequate law enforcement services.”

[See Also: Another armed citizen group starts patrolling Josephine County]

The Oregon State Police have shifted resources to the area to try and fill in the gaps. Some citizens have banded together into armed watch groups.

The rural areas in southern Oregon are lawless.

Read the rest of this entry »


Texas town holds ‘Princess Day’ parade for 5-year-old battling cancer

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The weather was fit for a princess, as hundreds of people gathered in a town near Houston Wednesday to cheer on a little girl with terminal cancer.

Five year old Claire Lankford has a rare and incurable form of cancer. Family friend Jaime Harbuck says Claire has five tumors in her lungs and lymph nodes, and that doctors have only given her a couple of months to live, so Harbuck wanted to do something special for her.

Claire had no idea a princess parade was planned in her honor, until Cinderella knocked on her door. At that point, the little girl was transformed into Princess Claire.

Read the rest of this entry »


9 Violent Criminals Who Paid Less for Bail Than Filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza

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Jason Howerton writes:  On Friday, conservative scholar Dinesh D’Souza pleaded not guilty to charges that he violated campaign finance laws. The filmmaker behind the anti-Obama documentary “2016: Obama’s America” was released on $500,000 bond, which some — even in the legal community — argue was excessive.

We looked into these claims and uncovered a number of violent and disturbing offenses that resulted in bail amounts less than D’Souza was required to put up. While it’s not a comprehensive list by any means, here are nine cases where violent suspects had to put up less for bail than D’Souza:

A former convict accused of robbing 4 people and raping one of them

In 2007, a Chicago judge set bail for former convict Darnell Richmond at $400,000 on charges that he robbed or attempted to rob four people, raping one of them, just three months after he was released from prison, the Chicago Tribune reports.

That was after Richmond’s bail was increased from $150,000, when he was accused of only two counts of attempted robbery. He was later indicted for additional attempted robbery charges and sexual assault.

A man accused of trying to kill a police officer

Bail for a man in Puna, Hawaii, accused of trying to murder a police officer wasreset to $400,000 in December 2013 after several missing affidavits relating to the case were found.

Read the rest of this entry »


Man Stabs Girlfriend For Bringing Home Pizza Instead Of Chicken Sandwich For Lunch

I just started following CBS Houston. Why? Because I cannot live without news stories like this.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

WACO, Texas (AP) — A Central Texas man has been accused of stabbing his girlfriend after she brought home pizza instead of a chicken sandwich he wanted for lunch…

Read the rest…

CBS Houston

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Federal court rules against Obamacare contraception mandate

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Chuck Ross reports:  A federal district court judge in Houston ruled Friday in favor of two Baptist universities seeking relief from the Obamacare contraception mandate.

“The religious organization plaintiffs have shown a sincerely held religious belief that the court cannot second-guess,” reads the decision handed down in favor of East Texas Baptist University and Houston Baptist University by Lee H. Rosenthal.

“The plaintiffs have also shown that if they do not comply with a certain requirement that they believe offends that belief, they will face onerous fines.”

“The public interest weighs in favor of granting the injunction. Protecting constitutional rights and the rights under RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] are in the public’s interest,” continued Rosenthal, who was appointed to the U.S. District Court of Southern Texas by George H. W. Bush.

Obamacare initially required all large employers to provide for the coverage of contraceptives and other similar products in all non-grandfathered health insurance plans. The health law required that all plans provide coverage for any FDA-approved “contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.”

Read the rest of this entry »


HOUSTON: White Guy Wins After Leading Voters to Believe He’s Black [VIDEO]

DaveWilsonHoustonDave Wilson chuckles as he talks about his unorthodox political campaign.

“I’d always said it was a long shot,” Wilson says. “No, I didn’t expect to win.”

Still, he figured he’d have fun running, because he was fed up with what he called “all the shenanigans” at the Houston Community College System. As a conservative white Republican running in a district whose voters are overwhelmingly black Democrats, the odds seemed overwhelmingly against him.

Then he came up with an idea, an advertising strategy that his opponent found “disgusting.” If a white guy didn’t have a chance in a mostly African-American district, Wilson would lead voters to think he’s black.

Read the rest of this entry »


RIGHT ON: Gun Group Steps Up, Offers Free Shotguns to Florida Residents to Protect Themselves from Crime

OldLadiesNoGunA gun group is offering free shotguns to residents in Florida, billing it as a way for people to protect themselves against crime.

Members of the Florida chapter of the Armed Citizen Project, which is based in Texas, began advertising the program on fliers in the Sunshine Gardens neighbourhood near Orlando. The neighbourhood is about 25 miles (40 kilometres) south of Sanford, a city thrust into an international debate about self-defence and race after neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old.

Zimmerman says he shot the teen in self-defence and was cleared of all charges in Martin’s death.

Ron Ritter, president of the Armed Citizen Project of Florida, said the donated guns will reach their new owners through participating dealers or gun shops. The new owners will have to pass a background check and also complete gun safety training, Ritter said Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »


NYC Hotel Kicks Out ‘Duck Dynasty’ Star After Confusing Him For Homeless Man

WEST MONROE, La. (CBS Houston) — A New York City hotel kicks out one of the stars of “Duck Dynasty” after an employee thought he was a homeless man.

Appearing along with his family on “Live with Kelly and Michael” Wednesday morning, Jase Robertson described the incident.

“The first thing that happened to me at the hotel was I got escorted out,” Robertson said, joking that it was a “facial-profiling deal.”

Robertson said that the hotel employee simply didn’t know who he was.

“I asked where the bathroom was and he said, ‘Right this way, sir.’ He was very nice,” Robertson explained. “He walked me outside, pointed down the road and said, ‘Good luck.’”

Robertson continued, “So I circled back around and my wife said, ‘What happened?’ and I just said I just got kicked out.”

Read the rest of this entry »


TAKEN: Use and Abuse of Civil Forfeiture

Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing?

by 

Clockwise from left: James Morrow, Javier Flores, Jennifer Boatright and her son Jacob, Dale Agostini, and Nelly Moreira. Many police budgets depend on money from forfeiture. Photographs by Ashley Gilbertson.

Clockwise from left: James Morrow, Javier Flores, Jennifer Boatright and her son Jacob, Dale Agostini, and Nelly Moreira. Many police budgets depend on money from forfeiture. Photographs by Ashley Gilbertson.

On a bright Thursday afternoon in 2007, Jennifer Boatright, a waitress at a Houston bar-and-grill, drove with her two young sons and her boyfriend, Ron Henderson, on U.S. 59 toward Linden, Henderson’s home town, near the Texas-Louisiana border. They made the trip every April, at the first signs of spring, to walk the local wildflower trails and spend time with Henderson’s father. This year, they’d decided to buy a used car in Linden, which had plenty for sale, and so they bundled their cash savings in their car’s center console. Just after dusk, they passed a sign that read “Welcome to Tenaha: A little town with BIG Potential!”

They pulled into a mini-mart for snacks. When they returned to the highway ten minutes later, Boatright, a honey-blond “Texas redneck from Lubbock,” by her own reckoning, and Henderson, who is Latino, noticed something strange. The same police car that their eleven-year-old had admired in the mini-mart parking lot was trailing them. Near the city limits, a tall, bull-shouldered officer named Barry Washington pulled them over.

He asked if Henderson knew that he’d been driving in the left lane for more than half a mile without passing.

No, Henderson replied. He said he’d moved into the left lane so that the police car could make its way onto the highway.

Were there any drugs in the car? When Henderson and Boatright said no, the officer asked if he and his partner could search the car.

Read the rest of this entry »


Texas organization will arm and train 500 mothers to use guns during National Empowerment Day

by J. D. Heyes 
(NaturalNews) Some say there is no more naturally protective force than a mother looking out for her children, and one organization is doing all it can to make that task easier for moms – by teaching them how to handle and use a firearm.

According to Breitbart News, the group – the Houston, Texas-based Armed Citizen Project – says it will sponsor a “National Empowerment Day” aimed at training and arming 500 single mothers and other women across the country. The date for the event is Aug. 10 and will represent a “massive expansion of the group’s efforts,” according to its executive director, Kyle Coplen, who spoke to Breitbart News exclusively.

Empowering Americans a popular idea – and it’s growing

Read the rest of this entry »


Beer by Beer, Houston Home Morphs Into Landmark

By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI Associated Press
HOUSTON July 29, 2013 (AP)

A child of the Great Depression, John Milkovisch didn’t throw anything away — not even the empty cans of beer he enjoyed each afternoon with his wife.

So, in the early 1970s when aluminum siding on houses was all the rage, he lugged down the cans he had stored in his attic for years, painstakingly cut open and flattened each one and began to wallpaper his home.

“The funny thing is that it wasn’t … to attract attention,” said Ruben Guevara, head of restoration and preservation of the Beer Can House in Houston’s Memorial Park area. “He said himself that if there was a house similar to this a block away, he wouldn’t take the time to go look at it. He had no idea what was the fascination about what he was doing.”

Milkovisch passed away in the mid-1980s, but his wife, Mary, still lived there. Her sons would do work from time to time, replacing rusty steel cans with new ones and restoring a hurricane-destroyed beer wall. And when they feared for her safety because of the gawkers, they put up a privacy fence, embedding beer cans in that as well.

The neighborhood has rapidly transformed since Mary Milkovisch’s death in the mid-1990s, going from a working middle-class area to today’s condo- and loft-lined upper-class sector. But the home remains a well-known entity.

Determined to preserve this accidental piece of folk art, local nonprofit Orange Show Center for Visionary Art bought the property about 10 years ago, began a careful restoration of the house and opened it to the public.

“It shows the human nature of the individual is supreme. You can take the simplest thing, and it can actually affect a lot of other people,” said Houston resident Patrick Louque, who lived in the area when it was John Milkovisch’s pet project. “It’s totally grabbed me, and it’s probably totally grabbed the imagination of more people than I could possibly imagine.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Free guns program launches in Houston neighborhood

HOUSTONHouston resident Cheryl Strain’s inexperience with guns was apparent as she struggled to load shells into a 20-gauge shotgun.

Over the piercing blasts of gunfire in the shooting range, Strain’s instructor, Dan Blackford, patiently directed her on how to use her thumb to shove a shell all the way inside the barrel and feel it click.

“Now we got a round in the chamber ready to go,” Blackford said as he positioned her body on the right way to hold the shotgun. “Look down your sight, put that BB right in the middle of your target and press the trigger.”

Strain’s northwest Houston community of Oak Forest is the first neighborhood in the country being trained and equipped by the Armed Citizen Project, a Houston nonprofit that is giving away free shotguns to single women and residents of neighborhoods with high crime rates.

While many cities have tried gun buy-backs and other tactics in the ongoing national debate on gun control, the nonprofit and its supporters say gun giveaways to responsible owners are actually a better way to deter crime. The organization, which plans to offer training classes in Dallas, San Antonio, and Tucson, Ariz., in the next few weeks, is working to expand its giveaways to 15 cities by the end of the year, including Chicago and New York.

But others in Houston, while expressing support for Second Amendment rights, question whether more guns will result in more gun-related deaths rather than less crime.

Residents of Oak Forest say their neighborhood, made up of older one-story houses and a growing number of new townhomes, has experienced a recent rash of driveway robberies and home burglaries. On a recent Sunday afternoon, a group of 10 residents, including Strain, went through training at Shiloh Shooting, a northwest Houston gun range….

More via CBS News.


10 reasons why so many people are moving to Texas

By Tom Geoghegan

BBC News, Washington

Icons of Texas

Half of the 10 fastest-growing cities in the US are in Texas, according to new figures. Why?

Every way you look at it, there are a lot of people moving to Texas.

via BBC News 


The STRIPPER TAX?

Tax That Stripper!

stripper tweets

 Bubbles Burbujas is a Texas-based stripper. In high school, she spent a summer working for a state representative. Today, she dances at clubs across the country.

In Texas, strip clubs must pay a so-called “pole tax.” The Sexually Oriented Business Fee Act collects money ($5 a customer) from Texas gentleman’s clubs that feature nudity and serve alcohol and uses the funds to assist the state’s anti-sexual assault programs and help low-income residents pay for health care. For years, the act, which was passed in 2007, was caught up in court actions after a club owner asserted the tax impinged upon First Amendment rights; since, the Texas Supreme Court has ruled the tax would stand. Advocates of the tax claim clubs must pay for the negative secondary effects the clubs supposedly cause in their communities. Most recently, Illinois has imposed a similar tax.

Here, Bubbles reveals what it’s like to work with a pole tax.

What’s a “pole tax”?

In Texas, the pole tax is a $5 surcharge added to the club’s cover charge and is supposed to be charged to each customer who walks through the door. The money from the pole tax is supposed to go to low-income health insurance and programs that combat sexual assault. While the tax is being collected, the continuing appeals mean that none of it has been spent.

You work in Texas. How has the tax impacted you?

Mainly it means that customers ask questions about why the cover is an odd amount.

What do customers think of the tax?

They mostly don’t know about it, I think. If they ask “Why was the cover $15 when the ad says $10?” and I explain it to them, they don’t really ask further questions.

The supporters of the tax argue there’s a correlation between sex crimes and strip clubs. You say?

Definitely not. The data cited in the Texas Supreme Court’s decision a couple of summers ago almost all come from now-discredited studies. Secondary effects have never been proven.

In “Pole Taxes Not ‘Genius,’” you point out it’s the dancers, not the clubs, who are financially penalized by the tax. How does that work?

As it turned out, the club I work at chose to raise its cover rather than the house fee, so I’ll step back from that statement. I appreciate the fact that they passed the financial burden on to the consumer. I’m not sure if this is the case at every club, though. If the higher cover deters customers from entering the club, we both suffer, but I’m not sure that it has had an effect on customer volume.

Jezebel, as you pointed out, called Houston’s pole tax “genius,” adding, “Pretty smart to use money from folks who enjoy sexualized women to aid sexually assaulted women.” Are pole taxes feminist — or anti-feminist?

The pole tax is a regressive and optional tax and as such is definitely not progressive, liberal, or in line with a statewide economic policy that would further the interests of most of the working women in the state.

Do you believe pole taxes violate the First Amendment?

While I am grateful to the First Amendment-based victories strip clubs have won, I’m not sure that this is necessarily a violation of free speech rights because they aren’t taxing the performers specifically, which would arguably restrict their ability to perform. These are probably some fine legal points I am in no way qualified to address. I do believe that these types of regressive and specific taxes set a bad precedent.

As of this year, there’s a pole tax in Illinois, and other states are introducing their own. Do you expect more states to have pole taxes in the future?

Yeah, I do, because if the strip clubs in Texas couldn’t get it together to hire effective lobbyists and attorneys to fight them, who will?

You dance all over the country. What’s the best state to dance in and why?

I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Texas regardless of my complaints because it’s the one place I’ve been treated as a true independent contractor, free to make my own schedule and hours. There’s also the advantage that most clubs don’t take a percentage of your earnings, just a flat fee. If you can avoid the most macho of the Texans, it’s a great place to work.

via Forbes.


Space Shuttle Enterprise exhibit collapses in Hurricane Sandy

HOUSTON – The bubble-like housing that protected Space Shuttle Enterprise collapsed overnight as Hurricane Sandy pummeled New York City with wind and rain.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the prototype shuttle itself was damaged.

Photos on Twitter showed Enterprise’s nose and tail exposed with the collapsed housing draped over it.

As of Tuesday morning the shuttle remained exposed to the elements.

The exhibit opened July 19 on the deck of the USS Intrepid.

via  khou.com Houston


Secret Kazakhstan Agent Involved in Multimillion-Dollar Scheme to Steal American Technology for Russian Military and Intelligence Agencies Not Secret Anymore

A Kazakhstan-born owner of a Texas export firm was charged in New York on Wednesday with being a secret Russian agent involved in a multimillion-dollar scheme to, in the words a U.S. prosecutor, “steal American technology” for Russian military and intelligence agencies.

Alexander Fishenko was among 11 defendants, including seven of his employees, named in an indictment unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn.

The FBI arrested the 46-year-old Fishenko and eight others Tuesday night and Wednesday morning and were to be arraigned in Houston; the names of their attorneys were not immediately available. Three defendants were still being sought.

The indictment alleges that since October 2008, Fishenko and his co-defendants “engaged in a surreptitious and systematic conspiracy” to obtain cutting-edge microelectronics from U.S. makers and export them to Russian while purposely evading licensing requirements.

The microelectronics are subject to strict government controls. Authorities say they could have a wide range of military uses, including radar and surveillance systems, weapons guidance systems and detonation triggers…

More via >>  Corpus Christi, TX | KRISTV.com