Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao Meet for the First Time

We interrupt coverage from Super Bowl XLIX to give you a story on, of all things, boxing? Yes, boxing.

With its lunch getting eaten by MMA and WWE (and, to a large extent, cannibalization of itself with it's murky structure and shady perception), boxing doesn't have a whole lot left to offer the pay per view buying community. Despite perhaps having missed the window where aesthetically the fight itself would be a classic, "Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao" still has enough cachet to be a winner at the box office and on pay per view.

Amazingly, and I'll admit I had no idea this was the case, the two have never met in person before. Until last night. It happened! And it happened at, of all places, at an NBA game.

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Why Do People Plead Guilty to Drug Crimes When They Don't Have Drugs?

Categories: Courts, Crime

Thumbnail image for labshot.jpg
iT@C via flickr
In its annual report released this week, the National Registry of Exonerations highlights a troubling oddity of the criminal justice system that's become more visible in Harris County than perhaps anywhere else in the country: People convicted of drug crimes in cases where there's no evidence of a controlled substance.

Back in October, the Houston Press received copies of hundreds of notices the Harris County District Attorney's Office sent out to defendants who'd pleaded guilty to drug offenses, telling them that forensic lab reports ultimately showed they were "convicted in error." In some of those cases, testing showed a lesser quantity of the drug than they were convicted for (the difference between, say, class A and class B misdemeanor possession). But in many of those cases lab reports simply showed there was no controlled substance whatsoever.

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Super Bowl XLIX: Media Day Recap

Sean Pendergast
Tom Brady. So hot right now.
If you're a sports media junkie, a diehard listener to sports talk radio or a rabid viewer of sports on television, Radio Row at the Super Bowl is like your Disney World. That's how I felt the first time I traveled to the Super Bowl to cover the week leading up the big game.

Wow, over there, it's Mike Francesa doing his show for WFAN in New York! (NOTE: I grew up listening to Francesa.)

Hey, there's Jim Rome doing his show on the CBS set! (NOTE: I was once a critically acclaimed caller to Rome's show.)

You can fill in any number of a few more dozen TV and radio personalities, and for me, a life long fan of the genre, the Disney World analogy holds up. This is my amusement park, these are my characters. But if Radio Row is media's Disney World, then Media Day is like the cantina scene in Star Wars (or Wal-Mart after midnight).

Freaks, goofs, and media posers galore. Tuesday was Media Day for Super Bowl XLIX. Here are a few of the highlights....

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Jockey Faces Criminal Charges for Shocking Horse at Sam Houston Race Park

Categories: Sports, Texas

Via the Paulick Report

A jockey is now facing criminal charges for allegedly fixing a race at Sam Houston Race Park.

When Quiet Acceleration galloped to victory with jockey Roman Chapa aboard in the $50,000 Richard King Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park on January 17, the photos showed a small man riding a thoroughbred horse to victory. Of course, it turns out that the pictures taken in that moment also showed something more sinister. Chapa, 43, was caught allegedly gripping a small nude-colored object in his left palm along with the reins.

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J.J. Watt Appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Destroys Dude in Elmo Suit

JJ makes another TV appearance. Because he's fancy like that
The Pro Bowl is now over, and J.J. Watt was able to add more hardware to his showcase (and apparently, another truck to his garage), winning Defensive MVP honors, despite the vehement Twitter protests of Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes' wife.

Someday, we in Houston all hope that J.J. Watt won't be playing in the Pro Bowl because his team will be playing in a far more important game the next Sunday (Super Bowl, fools), but for now, we can continue to marvel at the meteoric rise of one J.J. Watt as not only a football player, but a mainstream star.

That ascension continued last night, as Watt was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live, which is easily the best of the late night talk shows when it comes to celebrities willing to show some personality (a category Watt is a card carrying member of).

The show open last night proved that:

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Dan Patrick Gathers His Very Own Tea Party


Never let it be said that newly anointed Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick landed in office and forgot the so-far-to-the-right-they're-practically-left people that helped him bag his lieutenant governor gig. Nope, not only has he not forgotten the Tea Party, he's actually turned around and called the flock to him and picked out the most rabid of them all to put on their own advisory board.

On Monday Patrick announced he was creating the Grassroots Advisory Board, a group that will have a narrow focus (which, let's face it, fits in quite well with the Tea Party modus operandi) on issues including lower taxes, education reform and, of course, border security, according to the Texas Tribune.

This announcement comes hot on the heels of Patrick's recent moves to set up six other similar advisory boards, many of which are comprised (in what we are sure is a big old coincidence) with business leaders and the like who gave a lot of money to Patrick's campaign. However, his latest committee differs a bit from the earlier collectives because this group is like the sanctum sanctorum of the Texas Tea Party.

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UPDATED Houston Community College Has a Unique Definition of "Insubordinate"

Categories: Courts, Education

HCC Chancellor Cesar Maldonado, center (obviously), at a press junket earlier this month.

(See update at the end of this story)

Let's say you've just been named chancellor of one of the largest community college systems in the country and the college's top lawyer reaches out to you. She tells you she wants to bring you up to speed on ongoing corruption investigations into board members and whether they've been using the college's $425 million bond fund like a private piggy bank. She tells you the FBI has even been sniffing around.

What do you do? If you're Houston Community College Chancellor Cesar Maldonado, you call her insubordinate and put her on administrative leave.

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Deflate-Gate: Investigation Closing in on Locker Room Attendant

frankieleon via flickr
Amidst all the denials by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, amidst all the bluster and anger Belichick displayed in his impromptu press conference on Saturday afternoon, and amidst his slew of science experiments that he allegedly performed privately to prove that indeed it was merely the Patriots' normal process that sucked the air out of those footballs in the AFC Title Game (as opposed to some sort of underhanded, deliberate, illegal scheme to deflate the balls), it doesn't really change the fact that most of America believes one thing:

The Patriots deployed an underhanded, deliberate, probably illegal scheme to deflate the balls used in the AFC Title Game. This is the bed Belichick has made for himself. His credibility when it comes to bending or breaking the rules is virtually nil.

Amazingly, in a comedy sketch to open Saturday Night Live this past weekend, the latest real-life twist in Deflate-Gate may have been impersonated by art. SNL put the blame at the feet of a locker room attendant named "Dougie Spoons"...

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Murky Waters: Oystermen Battle Over the Future of Texas Oyster Reefs

Categories: Cover Story

Lisa Halili had to scream into the phone to get her old friend and longtime competitor in the Texas oyster industry, Mihael Ivic, to calm down enough so that she could understand what he was saying.

"The Nelsons are stealing the bay!" Ivic yelled. Lisa's stomach knotted and her hands grew slick with sweat as she handed the phone to her husband, Johnny Halili, to see if he could get Ivic to make sense. The story Ivic told seemed like some kind of sick joke. After everything they'd been through the past few years -- the hurricanes, the drought, the oil spill, an entire litany of disasters -- even Ben Nelson, known curmudgeon that he was, couldn't really do this.

But Nelson's son-in-law, Tracy Woody, confirmed it when Johnny Halili called him.

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More Signs of the Times: A Pipeline Company Merger and a Texas Manufacturing Slump

Categories: Texas

Photo by shannonpatrick17

Despite some relentlessly sunny interpretations from Texas economists, it's becoming increasingly clear that things aren't exactly getting better in the oil industry.

The latest sign of trouble comes in the form of yet another merger. This time it's a couple of pipeline giants, Energy Transfer Partners and Regency Energy Partners. The companies announced on Monday that they plan to, you know, merge in an $18 billion stocks-and-cash deal that will create the second largest energy infrastructure company in the United States (the largest being Kinder Morgan).

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