Last-Minute Shit-Slinging in District Attorney's Race

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As the race for District Attorney continues to heat up, Democratic challenger Kim Ogg is talking weed policy again -- and this time, she's questioning the low number of burglary cases Devon Anderson, the incumbent DA, has prosecuted compared to misdemeanor pot charges pursued by the office.

Citing the 10,903 marijuana cases she says were prosecuted by Anderson's office in 2013 -- all but 261 of which were for amounts under 2 ounces -- Ogg at a press conference outside the Harris County courthouse Wednesday questioned why the DA's office is prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana cases at five times the rate of burglary cases.

Ogg's new(ish) talking point comes as the DA candidates are locked in a dead heat less than two weeks before election. On Wednesday, the Houston Police Officer's Union held a press conference with Anderson, announcing their endorsement, which comes on the heels of a scathing radio ad claiming Ogg, while in her position leading Crime Stoppers years ago, sent the identity of a juvenile sexual assault victim to a TV station. Ogg called the ad misleading and "offensive," saying that a victim's name was inadvertently included in a draft script for a TV program called "Predator Check"; the error was caught before the program ever went live, and the victim's name wasn't aired.

Ogg Wednesday focused on the number of marijuana prosecutions compared to burglary cases brought by Anderson in 2013. And while the numbers Ogg cites might at first glance look impressively bad for Anderson, there's a bit more to this equation. The DA's office may be prosecuting upward of 10,000 marijuana cases, but they can only really prosecute what cops send them.

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Here's What the Houston-Dallas Bullet Train Routes Might Look Like

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Photos of the N700 used under permission of JR Central

A more concrete picture of the high-speed bullet train from Dallas to Houston is emerging now that Texas Central Railway, the private company behind the multibillion dollar project, has revealed the two routes the line may take.

The bullet train, meant to rival air travel between the two cities, will reportedly be built with an estimated $10 billion in private funding and will -- in theory -- travel at speeds of about 200 miles per hour, connecting travelers between the two cities in 90 minutes flat.

In order to move forward, the company is federally required to study the environmental impact of the proposed project. Of the nine route options that were proposed initially, two have been chosen for further evaluation.

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Judge In Adrian Peterson Case Will Not Be Recused

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Mike Morbeck
If you're somebody who wants the child abuse trial of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson to begin as quickly as possible (a subset of people that happens to include one Mr. Adrian Peterson), then you received the news you wanted to hear on Wednesday in the decision whether or not to recuse the judge initially assigned to the case.

In a Conroe courtroom yesterday, it was announced that the district attorney's request to have Montgomery County state District Judge Kelly Case removed from overseeing the Peterson trial would be denied.

Any trial (or in this case, the process leading up to the trial) is a series of wins and losses, so who won and lost this round? More importantly (to most casual followers of the case), what does this mean to Adrian Peterson?

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Don't Call Al Hoang a Communist or He'll Sue

Categories: Courts

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Photo courtesy of Al Hoang
Al Hoang, himself.

Politics is an ugly business, but things went from ugly to violent this week when supporters of state Rep. Hubert Vo, Democrat, and those backing Republican opponent Al Hoang showed up at an early voting center in District 149 on Monday afternoon.

Hoang's party took offense to a banner that Vo's supporters had allegedly hung proclaiming that Hoang was a communist spy for the Vietnamese government. Things devolved from there with fighting and at least one box cutter, according to KPRC.

The crazy thing is this isn't even the first time someone has accused Hoang of being a communist.

It sounds like something from the bad old days of the McCarthy hearings, a time when just being accused of communist leanings or communist sympathies was enough to destroy your reputation, your livelihood and your life. We've (hopefully) moved on from that in the United States, but the threat of communism, and the smear that comes with being associated with it, is still alive in Vietnamese American communities.


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Study Focuses on Youth Pot Use, Should Focus on Pill Popping Instead

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Regional Needs Assessment
The Prevention Resource Center at the Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston has released its annual Regional Needs Assessment, which gathers a ton of data and compiles it to identify everything you need to know about substance abuse.

The study shines a light on what's going on in our area (Region 6, officially), which includes data compiled from Harris and 12 other counties, with a focus on the adolescent population in Houston.

While it's certainly beneficial to have data on adolescent drug use, what's unusual is how focused on pot the study appears to be. Buried under some fear-mongering statistics about weed -- juveniles are most often arrested for weed! synthetic marijuana may fool kids! -- there are some seriously harrowing statistics on alcohol and prescription pill use among kids in the Houston area.

Let's read between the lines, shall we?


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Brian Cushing To Miss Titans Game, Possibly More With Sore Knee

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Photo by Groovehouse
From the rubble of the 2013 season, the rebuild of the Houston Texans was going to begin with the construction of a fearsome front seven on defense.

You already had a built-in starting point with the best defensive player in football in J.J. Watt. From there, you unleash a nuclear pass rush by using the first overall pick in the draft on "generational talent" Jadeveon Clowney to play outside linebacker. And then, with the return of inside linebacker Brian Cushing from his knee injury, the middle of the field would have its own (potential) Pro Bowler to handle things.

It was all gonna be so awesome. Or so the story goes. But these knees. These goddamn knees.

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Police Say Two Dead in Murder-Suicide at Ben Taub Hospital

Categories: Breaking News

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Two employees at Ben Taub Hospital were shot and killed during an apparent murder-suicide, according to HPD.

The shooting took place Wednesday around 2:15 p.m. at the hospital's outpatient pharmacy, which is attached to the hospital and accessible through the main building. Police say a pharmacist and pharmacy tech were shot during an altercation. Both employees were behind the glass during the incident.

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Complementary Football: How the Texans Bury Themselves Each Week

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Photo by Marco Torres
Bill O'Brien loves him some "complementary football," Obie-speak for the optimal combination of offensive, defensive and special teams proficiency to bring the hometown team a victory each Sunday (and God willing, the occasional Thursday or Monday, the last two games notwithstanding).

For these 2014 Houston Texans, complementary football is almost a necessity. Against 90 percent of the league, this team has to have each facet of the machine running smoothly in order to emerge with a victory. For good teams with great quarterbacks, complementary football is a luxury, because the superhero under center can mask a lot of flaws.

The Houston Texans right now are neither a good football team nor employing a great quarterback (or even an average quarterback, for that matter), therefore.....COMPLEMENTARY FOOTBALL, YO!!


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10 Signs You Went to the University of Houston

Categories: Education

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Katie Haugland

No matter when you attended the University of Houston, there are some things nearly all students have in common.

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These Cannabis Bills Could Change Toking in Texas for Good

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Remember the first time you met that good old bill, who was just sitting on Capitol Hill? Yep, Schoolhouse Rock was the learning bomb, and it knew just how to explain complicated subjects with catchy little songs like "Conjunction Junction" and "Mother Necessity."

Well, those Schoolhouse Rockers may want to add a new cannabis-themed ditty to their repertoire, given all of the recent marijuana bills inundating lawmakers across the nation.
But if we may, we would like to suggest that this time, rather than the little bill sitting on Capitol Hill, the tune should take place in Texas.

After all, three new marijuana reform bills are being drafted under Marijuana Policy Project's multi-year legislative campaign in Texas. The first bill is aimed at decriminalization of marijuana in Texas, but MPP is hardly stopping there.

Rather, the three bills are stepping stones to the full monty, covering not only decriminalization but medical and recreational marijuana as well, which leaves all facets of legalization on the table for lawmakers to decide in the next legislative session.


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