Rick Perry: The Rise and Fall of a Boy From Paint Creek

Photo by Ed Schipul
The "we gotcha" moment might be coming for Perry.
After the news of a grand jury's seating and Rick Perry's hiring of defense lawyer, David Botsford, the word on the street is, "What took you so long?"

The last time a Texas Governor faced possible indictment was almost 100 years ago. In 1917, James "Pa" Ferguson's past shady dealings, which were common knowledge among the well-connected, finally came to light via a quarrel with the University of Texas about removing faculty that "Pa" disliked. When the Board of Regents refused to do Ferguson's bidding, he vetoed practically the entire appropriation for the university.

Is any of this sounding familiar?

Just like Ferguson, Rick Perry allegedly attempted to coerce Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg to leave office and upon her refusal, he vetoed $7.5 million in funds to the state Public Integrity Unit. The kicker being that the TCPIU was in the process of investigating him for his laundry list of misdeeds of his fourteen years in office.
It went to a grand jury last year, but that panel's term expired.

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Hoarders, Trash Keepers, Beware Proposed City Ordinance

Categories: Spaced City

Photo by Camilo Smith
If the inside of your home looks like this, times 20, you could be fined.
Last week the Houston City Council presented a proposed change to an ordinance that would levy a fine on people who hoard. Not just the grandma who keeps a huge collection of china dolls, or the dude who can't throw away the last 650 issues of Playboy. We're talking about the folks you see on television, on the A&E show Hoarders, those folks who live in vermin-poop infested lairs of funk and don't throw away old cartons of milk. Many have serious illnesses.

At least that's the image of the hoarder the city is presumably trying to clean up. Hoarding situations usually come about, according to a report by the Houston Chronicle, when people already have an unchecked mental disorder that can become more severe following a loss.

"Trauma from a great loss often triggers an escalation in hoarding behaviors, said Randy Frost, on of the nation's leading researchers treating and studying the disorder. An estimated 2 percent of American's have the disorder, he said, although it often is most noticeable among elderly because they have had longer to accumulate things and people are more likely to check on them than other adults."
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Awkward Nick Saban Photo Is Pretty Awesome

Photo by Gymtide.com
This 2011 shot may be a cardboard cut-out of Nick Saban.
At its best, a major college athletic department is about synergy.

When you compete against the Goliaths of your sport in all sports, teams at a school need to be helping the other teams. All for one, one for all. (Add here whatever other cheesy, motivational slogan about togetherness that you can think of.)

Being the head coach of a perennial championship program brings an even added burden of giving back. Call it a rub, call it osmosis, call it the "magic touch," but if you're a championship coach, the other coaches at your school will and should want to tap into whatever strand of DNA it is that allows you to compete at such a high level.

Nick Saban knows this. I think. I'm pretty sure he knows this.

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HISD Names New Mascots, Goes With Second Choice at Lamar

Categories: Education

Screen grab from the Alamo website
Fighting for a lot of things
When the Houston ISD school board decided to retire some mascot names that it found culturally insensitive, it opened up the naming process to the community, who were invited to submit their top two choices to HISD administration.

As is being announced this morning at a 10:30 a.m. press conference, Hamilton Middle School's Indians will become the Huskies (the school's first choice). Welch Middle School's Warriors will become the Wolf Pack (also its first choice). And Westbury High School is leaving behind the Rebels to become the Huskies (who knew that name would be so popular? And also their first choice).

Lamar High School will drop the Redskins - although clearly not all students were in favor of that - to become the Texans, the school's second choice and the one that HISD administrators and trustees believe is better to adopt.

Because some people find the Lamar community's first choice - of all the words available to them in the English language - was culturally insensitive as well.

The word was "Texian," which to some people sounds like just some old-fashioned way of referring to the people who came here to live about the time of the state's move to independence from Mexico.

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Texans Defensive Line Coach Bill Kollar Once Wrestled a Bear

R. H. Trueman. Library and Archives Canada, C-014070
Bear wrestling was how you proved your manhood, or earned a few bucks. Back in the day.
When Bill O'Brien was assembling his staff that would lead the Houston Texans into the new post-Kubiak frontier, it was widely assumed he would bring in entirely his own staff, and truth be told, he would've been completely justified in doing so.

I mean, 2-14 is 2-14. Clean house. Nobody would've had a problem with that.

However, when the new coaching staff was announced, we found out that there was one assistant coach who would be remaining on board -- defensive line coach Bill Kollar. (Eventually, it wound up being two, as special teams assistant Bob Ligashesky kept his gig as well, but this is a Kollar-centric post.)

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Flopping Is Probably One of the Greatest Sports Sins of Them All

Photo by WEBN-TV
Pulling a Richard Sherman moment is the least of the seven deadly sports sins.
I got into a semi-argument on air with my SportsRadio 610 cohost, Ted Johnson, the other day. The tiff was about Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman, and his act in the wake of the NFC Title Game on FOX, when he eviscerated Michael Crabtree in an interview with Erin Andrews and turned a "WE" moment into a "ME" moment.

I know that topic is more than two months old, and there was a good reason we argued about it (off hand, I don't remember that good reason), but the argument boiled down to Ted (who is vehemently anti-Sherman) asking me if I would let my son wear a Sherman jersey.

Thinking about it for a second, I determined that I would let him, but not encourage him. (Awesome passive-aggressive parenting by me, by the way.) Ted's point, which was fair, was less about jerseys and more about "Would you want your kid acting like that?"

The answer? Probably not, but I can tell you something even more offensive than Sherman-style mugging that would make me ground my sons from now until they're 50.


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Rockets Secure Home Court in First Round with Win Over the Spurs

Categories: Basketball, Sports

Photo by Jeff Balke
Dwight Howard's return leads the Rockets to home court in round one.
In her first trip to Las Vegas, my wife decided to place her very first sports bet on the Houston Rockets. She and two of her friends put $100 each on the Rockets in their game against Minnesota on Friday night. Any win would net them $190 each and even a loss by one would keep them from losing. The Rockets lost by 2 and it was then decided she should never bet on their games again.

This is life in the world of the Houston Rockets fans. If it is can go down to the wire, if they can lose critical games only to make them up with big wins later, that is what will happen. I am always amazed that despite playing 82 games, teams will fight for spots in the playoffs right down to the last game of the season. In this case, the Rockets did it in the second to last. Close enough.

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Teachers in Atherton Elementary Testing Scandal Appeal to the TEA Commissioner

Categories: Education

Screen grab from houstonisd.org
Principal Albert Lemons and Superintendent Terry Grier in what seems to have been happier times
The Atherton Elementary teaching scandal entered its next phase Monday when the attorney for the three teachers who Houston ISD trustees voted to terminate last week, filed a petition for review with the state commissioner of education and slung some serious allegations the superintendent's way.

In the document filed by Larry Watts to the Texas Education Agency on behalf of Jennifer Sterling, Reuel Soca and Veronica Davis, the teachers' lawyer charges that HISD board members never even read the investigative report into the allegations that the teachers helped students cheat on the Grade 5 state-mandated reading and math tests, before voting to fire them.

Responding to a request for comment about the petition, the HISD press office emailed this statement: "The district is aware of a petition filed with the Commissioner of Education. We will respond to the petition in the time frame allotted by law."

Investigators had said the teachers were at fault and pointed to: an above-average rate of wrong to right answer changes, a high number of erasure marks, a decline in the students' passage rate on the HISD Formative Assessments given soon after the STAAR tests.

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This Little Spring Storm That Hit Us Knocked Out Power for More Than 5,000

Categories: Weather

Photo by Camilo Smith
This isn't what it looks like. But if it looks like a repairman getting some tree parts off a power line, then yeah...that's what it is.
If your power went out this afternoon, you weren't alone. CenterPoint Energy's outage map was reporting 6,542 customers out by late afternoon, with folks getting restored sometime around 5 p.m., according to a spokesperson.

There's no telling why this cold weather couldn't keep its ass in winter like it's supposed to. We've been pretty patient with this weather. What's worse is that it's expected to drop to "keep your wool socks on" weather tonight.

One meteorologist told Hair Balls that a "pretty potent cold front" is passing through our area, sprinkling all this rain and bringing heavy winds that are dragging branches onto power lines so we have a hard time firing up the DVR when we get home from work.

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The Worst Wheel of Fortune Contestant Ever (And He Actually Wins!)

Categories: Game Time, Sports

Photo by Todd Carr
"Wheel of Fortune" has its share of idiots.
I think there's a spectrum of intelligence on which most board games fall, with games like Candy Land at one end and games like, say, chess at the other end. Games such as Scrabble and Monopoly fall somewhere in between, probably somewhere to the "chess" side of center.

Television game shows fall onto a similar grade, with pretty much all of them bunched down at the "mindless" end (for the sake of needing an endpoint, we will plunk Joker's Wild down there), and Jeopardy! all the way at the other end.

Wheel of Fortune, to be fair, probably falls somewhere in the middle, and above the gaggle of games for the braindead (games that, to be clear, I love). You do need at least some working knowledge of the English language to win at Wheel.

Or do you?

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