Guns, Fine. But Why Do You Need a Silencer?

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You need this thing? Seriously?
The Texas International Firearms Festival is coming to Austin the weekend of August November 8. Of course, we are no strangers to fun shows round here. There is one in the Houston area practically every weekend. There, dealers and manufacturers ply their wares and provide educational programs for fellow enthusiasts.

While gun control remains a hot button issue in American politics, these gun shows are mostly made for collectors and hunters. They also tend to be cautious of the laws governing the use and sale of firearms in Texas.

But one thing has always confused me about these events. There are tons of gun accessories available at these shows. For the most part, they make sense. If you are a hunter, for example, you might want a good scope for your rifle. But there is one accessory I do not get: the silencer.

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Perry Sends 1,000 Troops to Border, But Not Because of Flood of Children, Apparently

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Photo by Gage Skidmore
Rick Perry and many of his GOP brethren support the idea of beefed up security along the Texas-Mexico border. Because the Obama administration has failed to act, Perry says, he must do it himself. On Monday, he ordered 1,000 National Guard troops to deploy along the border in something he is calling "Operation Strong Safety," a slogan his predecessor in the governor's mansion no doubt would have loved. What exactly is strong safety anyway?

While those who have been clamoring for a greater response to cross-border incursions by criminals, cartels and plain old immigrants are applauding Perry's response -- nevermind his sticking it to Obama approach -- most experts wonder if it will do much good given the vast size of the Texas border, and whether or not resources like the National Guard should be used to further what many believe is simply a political agenda.

But, the more interesting question is one of timing.

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Tony Dungy, Michael Sam and the Complicated Relationship Between Sports, Faith and Rights

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Photo by Marcus Qwertyus
Former coach Tony Dungy thinks Michael Sam will be a distraction.
Former coach and all around good guy Tony Dungy said he would not have drafted Michael Sam, the All-American linebacker taken by the St. Louis Rams who is openly gay.In and interview with the Tampa Tribune, Dungy explained he believes Sam's sexual orientation will be a distraction, "Not because I don't believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn't want to deal with all of it. It's not going to be totally smooth...things will happen."

As some have pointed out, Dungy has been a fervent advocate of players like Michael Vick and Tim Tebow, both players who have caused massive distractions -- Vick for his jail time after his involvement with a dog fighting ring and Tebow for his outspoken views on Christianity combined with his natural charisma as a Heisman Trophy winner. The former coach has also been behind the move to provide equal opportunity for African American coaches who have historically been under represented in the NFL.

Some might call this hypocrisy, but a more apt descriptor might be "complicated."

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5 Houston Places Where Rick Perry Could Send Those 1,000 Border Troops

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Occupy this!
Today, it is expected Governor Rick Perry will announce that he is sending 1,000 National Guard troops to the border in an effort to assist police in handling the recent surge of immigrants into the U.S., mostly unaccompanied minors from Central America. The surge has grabbed national headlines and spurred all kinds of rhetoric from both sides of the political aisle. Hair Balls isn't taking a position on that, but we do think that, if Governor Perry were so inclined, he might consider sending some troops to Houston.

We may not have a massive swell of immigrant children walking the streets, but we have our problems and sometimes police just aren't enough. Could the military be the answer? We have no idea, but it's always fun to think about it.

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Fox News Gender-Neutral-Bathrooms Segment Goes Painfully Awry

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Whatever will they say?
Man on the street interviews can run the gamut from insightful to awkward to downright disturbing. On that scale, a recent Fox News segment measured right around facepalm. As part of an apparently reoccurring portion of the Fox and Friends program called "PC Police" in which our fearless hosts call out over the top societal trends designed to offend the fewest people possible, they took on the topic of gender neutral bathrooms. In this case, it was a new sign for bathrooms at Illinois State University depicting a blue and pink character with a man's upper torso and a woman's lower torso. The folks at Fox were flummoxed. They just could not figure out what the hell it meant. Out to the man in the street for confirmation!

In Houston, we've been fighting our own little battle over protection for the transgendered. After Houston City Council passed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) in May, it didn't take long for those opposed to such a concept to gather enough petitions to force a ballot referendum on the issue this fall. Predictably, the biggest concern is men wantonly relieving themselves in the women's bathrooms or something.

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Rand Paul, So Mad at Rick Perry, He Defends President

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Sen. Rand Paul, so irritated with Perry he's sided with Obama.

He was doing so well for a minute there. Last week Gov. Rick Perry managed to appear on the national political stage and not make an ass of himself over the immigration problem, and boy were we proud. Or maybe "relieved" is more accurate, but we were some kind of positive feeling wrapped up in the fact that he at least managed to do his politicking without completely embarrassing Texas for once.

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Group Says League City Undocumented Kids Resolution Also Anti-Muslim

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Tell us.
According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the recently adopted League City resolution banning undocumented immigrants from using city services also contains language suggesting closing the borders to Mexico is about more than keeping out impoverished children.

In an op-ed piece in the Galveston Daily News, the group's Houston communications coordinator Ruth Nasrullah, points out additional language in the resolution singling out possible Islamic terrorism as an additional reason for the resolution.

The resolution contains a clause which states that "members of dangerous transnational criminal organizations and radical Islamic terror groups continue to exploit the situation to infiltrate the United States for the purpose of establishing criminal activity, terror cells, and training operations within our homeland."

Specifically identifying "radical Islamic terror groups" gives the false and unfair impression that Muslims constitute a particular threat.

The full text of Nasrullah's piece can be found on the group's Facebook page.

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Perry Sits, but Won't Shake, for Obama

Photo by Bryan Williams

Gov. Rick Perry -- who apparently still holds presidential ambitions of his own -- gets to be the guy who forced President Obama to bend to his will. Like any politician, Perry has a few tricks up his sleeve, but it seems he does not shake on command.

When Air Force One touches down in Austin on Wednesday morning, Perry will not be there to greet the President.


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Does Rick Perry Know His This Week Interview Was Terrible?

Sometimes we wonder what really goes on in Gov. Rick Perry's head. He was sitting there, ready for his closeup (aka his Sunday morning interview with ABC's This Week on the border crisis) and he looked so normal. He had his thick, black "smart guy" glasses on. His hair was, as always, perfect and he sat ramrod straight in the chair, like he was being held together with clothespins. He looked like any other guest, basically, but then the interview started.

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Louie Gohmert Will Give You $1 Million for Missing IRS Emails

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Rep. Louie Gohmert has yet another idea.
There's one thing we'll say for Rep. Louie Gohmert: The man is inventive.

Have you seen ex-IRS official Lois Lerner's missing emails? You know, the two years worth of electronic correspondence that was lost when her hard drive crashed? Lerner has been accused of targeting Tea Party-tied groups that applied for tax exemptions with the IRS, and it seems Gohmert and company belief the smoking gun (so to speak) will be found in her disappeared email. Gohmert wants those emails found.

In fact, the doggedly dogmatic politician from East Texas is so determined to get hold of them he is willing to pay $1 million of taxpayer money to the genius who can dig up the emails, as Gohmert proposed in the "Identify and Return Sent Emails Act." Gohmert and Rep. Bill Flores (also of Texas and the co-sponsor of the bill) got things rolling when they filed the bill last week. The bill proposes to reward anyone who can produce the missing emails with a $1 million reward and offers a bounty of $500,000 for anyone who comes forward with information about who destroyed said emails.

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