Texas

beef-tallow-ship-channelWhat spills threaten to contaminate our waters? Well, I bet beef fat wasn’t your first guess. 2010 ended with 100,000 gallons of raw sewage leaked into the Buffalo Bayou which was estimated to take three weeks to repair. 2011 brings animal fat. NPR reports:

Workers with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Texas General Land Office used pitchforks on Wednesday to pierce and remove chunks of beef fat clogging the Houston Ship Channel, shutting down nearly a mile of one of the nation’s busiest marine arteries.

No ship traffic is delayed, however, because the spill occurred at the end of the waterway, said Richard Brahms, a spokesman with the Coast Guard.

Some 15,000 gallons of animal fat poured into the channel through a storm drain on Tuesday after an onshore storage tank owned by agricultural company Jacob Sterns and Sons leaked 250,000 gallons of the greasy substance, Brahms said.


With conservative politicians riding high on their broad electoral success, red-dominated regions of the country are already considering sweeping changes: in Texas, lawmakers are debating the possibility of opting out of the…


Mr SpockWow, Texas just became a lot more … logical. And picking the best film from the original series, nice touch. (You’ll find the scene referred to in this ruling at about two minutes into the clip below.) Great find from Charlie Jane Anders on io9.com:

The wisdom of Spock has guided us all for years, but now it’s enshrined in Texas law. Ruling on the limits of police power, the Texas Supreme Court quoted from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Ruling in Robinson vs. Crown Cork Seal Company (PDF), Justice Don Willett writes:

Appropriately weighty principles guide our course. First, we recognize that police power draws from the credo that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Second, while this maxim rings utilitarian and Dickensian (not to mention Vulcan), it is cabined by something contrarian and Texan: distrust of intrusive government and a belief that police power is justified only by urgency, not expediency.

And there’s this footnote after the word Vulcan:

See STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (Paramount Pictures 1982). The film references several works of classic literature, none more prominently than A Tale of Two Cities. Spock gives Admiral Kirk an antique copy as a birthday present, and the film itself is bookended with the book’s opening and closing passages. Most memorable, of course, is Spock’s famous line from his moment of sacrifice: “Don’t grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh . . .” to which Kirk replies, “the needs of the few.”



The Texas State Board of Education has approved a resolution condemning “pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias” in public school textbooks, Texas’s KTBX reports. Why? State board candidate Randy Rives explains that Islamicists are influencing the state’s textbooks as a way to brainwash children, and ultimately to “take over America without firing a shot.”


What are the odds of winning the lottery? Sufficient to say most player’s odds are slim to none. With luck like Joan Ginther, I’d be playing everyday.  She recently picked up her…




KTRK-TV Houston reports that future Darwin Award nominee, bus driver Debra Harrison, not only ran a red light right into a train … but right afterward said to the bus passengers, “was that light green?”

Nineteen people were hurt, and Harrison has been involved in five accidents in the last three years according to KTRK-TV Houston. Below is the raw footage of the “accident” below from the AP:



Craig Malisow writes on Houston Press: Smith County (East Texas) judges and juries have long had a reputation of meting out severe, some might say ridiculous, punishment for drug convictions. And Henry…





Washington Monthly reveals how a small group of ultraconservative Texas residents has managed to rewrite the public school textbooks used across the entire nation: “Evolution is hooey…the way I evaluate history textbooks…