UPDATED America Family Law Center's "Legal Aid" for Low-Income Folks Is Sorta Expensive

Categories: Whatever

Screenshot from Texasvolunteerattorneys.org
There are different ways to interpret "volunteer"....
Update: We were awaiting comment from attorney Peter Bergman, who is the lawyer mentioned in McDermott's letter, but not named in the original post. Bergman told us Tuesday morning that he could not recall if he ever met with the woman from McDermott's letter, but would get back to us once he checked his records. We have not heard back.

We've been at it for a little while, and we still can't figure out what kind of business is being run out of suite 609 at 1314 Texas Street and what services their low-income clientele are getting for the hundreds they fork over. And we think that's the idea.

The office contains multitudes: Organizations operating there include "America Family Law Center," "Texas Volunteer Attorneys," "Fathers For Equal Rights," and "Children First Always." Ostensibly, they all offer access to family court attorneys and ill-defined "resources." But first, you must buy a membership, which isn't disclosed in any of the advertisements we've seen. And things just get weirder from there.

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The Harris County DA's Race Is Mostly About Drugs

Thumbnail image for Marijuana.jpg
Wikimedia Commons
This year, the race for Harris County District Attorney, who heads the largest prosecutor's office in Texas and one of the largest in the country, is mostly about drugs.

That much was clear in a debate this weekend hosted by Fox 26 between incumbent Republican Devon Anderson and Democratic challenger Kim Ogg. Instead of trading tough-on-crime bona fides, or arguing over who's "soft" on the death penalty (Harris County is, after all, the most execution-friendly county in the nation), the vast majority of the debate centered on how to handle low-level, nonviolent drug offenders.

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Zapruder Analysis of the "Wives of the SEC" Feature on GameDay

Screenshot from GameDay's YouTube page
ESPN's College GameDay is the gold standard for preview/studio shows. While I state this as opinion, by almost any statistical measurement, it is practically fact.

The show attracts a couple million viewers every Saturday morning, draws another several thousand to whatever venue the traveling roadshow brings the circus to each week, and generally calibrates the topical college football discussion for every Saturday in the fall. It is essentially a living, breathing organism.

It's become so successful through the years that it's evolved into a three-hour show, so there is a ton of content, most of it really, really good.

Saturday's show was done live from Columbia, South Carolina, in advance of the Missouri-South Carolina game, and the most discussed feature, without a doubt, was this six-minute video about the life of a coach's wife in the SEC:

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Houston's 10 Best Make-a-Wish Wishes

Categories: Best of Houston

Here's a factoid that will brighten your day a little because, trust me, you're going to need all the sunshine in the world here in a minute. Houston is one of the highest-ranked cities in America when it comes to having the best charities. Only St. Louis has us beat.

Inside the list of great Houston charities, tops among them is the Make-a-Wish Foundation of the Texas Gulf Coast and Louisiana, which in 2014 scored 67.78 out of a possible 70 on Charity Ranker scale. Today we celebrate their good work by looking at the top 10 wishes of Houston children that they have granted. You really might want to pause and go get some tissues.

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On Cusp of NBA Season, Rockets-Mavericks Rivalry Is Going Next Level

Monica Fuentes
As much as we'd all like to get along, as much as life becomes easier with peace and harmony, there is no doubt that conflict stokes people.

Many of you reading this live in the great state of Texas, where conflict is inherently baked into our opinions on the state as a whole and our respective cities within the state. Houston hates San Antonio, San Antonio hates Houston, and everyone hates Dallas. Hell, conflict is the basis for our state's catchphrase, for Willie Nelson's sake!

Don't mess with Texas.

Our state is one big people stew of various flavors of the "likes to fight" guy. Don't mess with our city, don't mess with our state. So in the one professional sport where the state has more than two teams (and that third team just happens to be the best in the world at that sport), it's fun to see leadership for a couple of the teams get feisty and personal.

Yes, the NBA season is here, and if the quotes from Rockets general manager Daryl Morey are any indication as to how his players and coaches feel about the Dallas Mavericks, then (to quote WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross) business is, by GAWD, about to pick up!

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College Football, Week 5: The Weekend in Tweets, Vines and YouTube

September is almost over, and this week the calendar will flip to October, which is the de facto beginning of fall, and in college football, the de facto beginning of the real regular season.

Yes, we've seen a rise in the number of power conference teams willing to take on other prominent power conference teams outside of the conference, and will continue to see that trend grow in years to come. But there's nothing quite like conference play kicking in full bore.

Starting next week, we should be seeing at least two or three games every weekend that are College Football Playoff shaping types of match ups, virtual elimination games that will be legacy shaping for many of the coaches and certainly some of the players involved.

Like this coming weekend, for example, is a practical playoff weekend in the SEC West, with six teams ranked in the top 15 facing off. The match ups are as follows:

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Houstonians Hate Traffic, Have No Desire to Change

Categories: Traffic

Thumbnail image for 59-traffic.jpg
Photo by TexasDarkHorse
Sure, traffic sucks, but what do you want ME to do about it?
Those of us who live in Houston are a diverse lot. We have members of our community from all over the world, never mind the state of Texas. Yet, we can all agree that traffic here is God awful. But, what we can't seem to agree on is why or how to fix it. A recent study from Texas A&M University's Transportation Institute points out some rather bizarre discrepancies between how we feel about the traffic we encounter every day and what we want to do about it.

There are a few things that are certain when perusing the data, however. We all think traffic is awful. We agree more money should be invested in transportation issues. We should not raise taxes to do it. Public transportation is both inconvenient and under-utilized. And, as cute and quaint as the notion of cycling and walking might be, you can pry the keys to our big cars from our cold, dead hands.

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The 2014 Houston Astros: The Good and The Bad

Categories: Baseball, Sports

The Astros haven't made the World Series yet, but the team's definitely better
And so another Astros season is in the books. Another season of good, and bad, of head-shaking stupidity and inexplicable thinking. Of outstanding individual performances and huge steps back. The team made the cover of Sports Illustrated, which projected the Astros would win the World Series in 2017. But it's still 2014, so let's take a quick look at some highlights and lowlights of the season.


1. The Astros won 70 games, a 19-game improvement over last season. The team didn't lose 100-plus games for the first time in four seasons, and the team finished in front of the Texas Rangers in the AL West standings. The Astros were only the fourth worst team in the majors this season, beating out not only the Texas Rangers, but also the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

2. Diminutive second baseman Jose Altuve entered the Astros record book. He owns the team record for most hits ever in a season. He's also the first Astro to ever win a batting title, playing (despite the express wishes and orders of the Astros front office) yesterday to hold off Detroit's Victor Martinez. Altuve played nearly every game this season, and he was an All-Star.

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5 Texas Murderabilia Items: Charles Whitman's Gun Isn't Even the Creepiest Thing on the List

Categories: Crime, Texas

A listing for the Remington 700 rifle wielded by Charles Whitman during the 1966 UT shooting
People are oddly fascinated with horrible happenings. We get it. Some want to see the evidence and make contact with people who perpetrated the crimes. But it's still stunning to see the gun Charles Whitman used at the University of Texas Tower shootings up for auction. That is, until we saw all of the other strange, ghoulish bits of Texas murderabilia that have been sold over time.

A number of items connected in one way or another to brutal and gruesome doings in the Lone Star State have made their way from sellers to buyers. Odd (and a trifle sickening) but true. We've put together a list of five of the more disturbing Texas murderabilia items that have ended up on the market:

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Texans 23, Bills 17: Four Winners, Four Losers

Photo by Groovehouse
Sunday's game proved J.J. Watt is a great PASOP
The way the Texans' 2014 schedule lays out, given the caliber of opponent they've played, the first quarter of the season looked a lot like the same portion of many college teams' schedules -- a few non-divisional opponents, one of them (as it turns out) that's pretty good, the remainder being lower level teams the Texans should beat.

And that's how it played out, because here they sit at 3-1. So, in theory, as well as according to oddsmakers (the Texans have been favored in all three wins and a slight underdog in their one loss), the Texans are right where they should be.

However, if you're looking for a specific positive takeaway from Sunday's hideously beautiful 23-17 win over a feisty Buffalo Bills squad (who was also looking to go 3-1, incidentally), it's that the Texans found a different way to win an ugly football game.

Here's what I mean...

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