Minnesota Vikings Reverse Course, Remove Adrian Peterson From Team Activities

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MN National Guard
With pressure from state government and corporate sponsors mounting, the Minnesota Vikings did an about face early Wednesday morning and decided to remove Adrian Peterson from all team activities until his child-abuse case in Montgomery County is resolved, placing the Pro Bowl running back on the exempt/commissioner's permission list.

The decision, which comes just two days after the Vikings had reinstated Peterson following deactivation for the Vikings-Patriots game last Sunday, was announced in a statement by team owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf:


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SpaceX, Boeing to Launch Humans Under NASA's Watch

Categories: Spaced City

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Photo from SpaceX

For the first time in American history, commercial spaceflight companies will send astronauts to the International Space Station.

SpaceX and Boeing have been awarded NASA contracts to pursue the technology necessary for sustaining human life in space. Pending certification by NASA, American astronauts will again travel to and from the space station via commercial American rockets, which hasn't been possible since the federal shuttle program shut down in 2011.

Over the past few years, NASA has had to pay exorbitant prices to seat their astronauts on Russian rockets. The SpaceX and Boeing contracts will allow the U.S. to end its sole reliance on Russia by 2017, according to a NASA news release. Tasking commercial companies with sending astronauts to the International Space Station will hopefully free up NASA to focus on outer space missions, such as eventually landing people on Mars.

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When a Lesson Took a Dangerous Turn, a Room Full of Firefighters Couldn't Save Neal Smith

Categories: Cover Story

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Photo by Daniel Kramer
Penny Smith says she didn't know the full story behind her husband's death until the state and federal investigations.
Firefighter Neal Smith was almost out of the second floor of the six-story training tower when he became disoriented and fell to his knees.

Smith had excelled through the first day's exercises, and he was doing fine on day two. He was one of a few to clear a bunker with air left in his tank; others quickly depleted their supply as instructors, perched above the rafters, threw firecrackers and lassoed the trainees' air tanks with bungee cords. And now he was making his way through four floors of the tower until he reached the room where the mission was a right-hand victim search: Trainees had to slide beneath a plywood plank screwed to the entryway 30 inches above the floor and conduct a counter-clockwise sweep of the room while keeping their right hands on a wall. Visibility was impaired by a fog machine and by a web of fire hoses and landscaping timbers hanging above a floor littered with golf balls and marbles.

Weighed down by 75 pounds worth of gear that included an air tank, mask, coat and trousers still saturated with sweat from the previous day's exercises, trainees had to navigate their way through pallets, tires, metal pipes and burned-out box springs to reach a 2-by-10 wooden box with one end propped upon a barrel. The men had to crawl through the box, which spilled out into a floored elevator shaft, and then crawl back through to continue the sweep.

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Newly Discovered Jonestown Remains Include Texas Women

Categories: Whatever

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Officials are seeking relatives of two Texas women whose ashes were among cremains discovered in a Delaware funeral home last month and identified as victims of the 1978 Jonestown massacre in Guyana, South America.

The victims were identified as Victoria native and former Houston resident Katherine Martha Domineck, who died at age 83; and Ruth Atkins, birth city unknown, who died at age 74.

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Fan Fighting League! LSU Bro Fight Video Is Delightfully Absurd (VIDEO)

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YouTube
Now THIS is how you film a fight. Bravo.
This past weekend, I traveled to Norman, OK to watch the Sooners take on the Tennessee Volunteers with some friends.

Among them was my radio partner Ted Johnson, a three time Super Bowl champion and 10 year NFL player from 1995-2004. Ted and I started doing our show together, along with Rich Lord, back in March, and we were talking about what's been good and bad the first several months of our show.

The first thing Ted brought up was this: "Dude, I just can't believe how serious and 'non-sports' the subject matter is that we've had to discuss. I feel beaten down some days, like everything we talk about is more life-related or crime-related than sports-related."

You know what? Ted's absolutely right.

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Meridian Sale Disrupts Houston Food Park

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Photo by Susan Du
Miguel Villegas and Tirzo Ponce are looking beyond East Downtown to possibly relocate the Houston Food Park.

With the recent sale of the former Meridian nightclub - and by extension its parking lot - the Houston Food Park is prepared to pack up and roll out of East Downtown.

In 2013, the abandoned warehouse at 1503 Chartres St. seemed like the perfect place to open the city's first food truck park. The Meridian's last year in business was rife with management disputes, and owner Gary Katz couldn't find anyone to lease the 50,000 square feet property. Foodie partners Tirzo Ponce and Miguel Villegas offered to take the parking lot off his hands.

As trucks clustered outside, Ponce and Villegas cleaned up the Meridian. They rewired the electricity and fixed damaged water pipes, hoping to build an air-conditioned dining area on the first floor. In return for their investment on the building, Katz offered Ponce and Villegas below market-value rent on the parking lot.

So it came as a shock to the food park partners when Katz, who could no longer afford the building, gave it up in a bankruptcy sale. It went up for auction, top bidder Ecclesia church signed a contract to purchase it for $3.75 million, and by September the food park was sitting on some pretty shaky ground.

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Adrian Peterson Child Abuse Case Is Latest NFL Crisis

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Mike Morbeck
All last week, we were worn down to a nub by the Ray Rice domestic assault case.

Elevator security videos, indefinite suspensions, and allegations that the commissioner of the NFL may be lying about what he knew, didn't know, or at the very least efforted during the due diligence process. By the end of the week, the "Ray Rice story" had become the "Roger Goodell story" with the possibility of Goodell being relieved of his duties on the board.

It was not a fun week. And the whole time we were discussing and dissecting the story, we knew it would take a bombshell to somehow trump the interest in Roger Goodell's handling of Ray Rice's transgressions.

It took exactly three days to get that bombshell.

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5 More Crazy Things in Texas' New Textbooks: Climate Change Edition

Categories: Education

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See, once the planet starts cooling, it will be exactly like this. Maybe.

If you were already disturbed by what we've already told you is in the proposed social studies textbooks soon to (most likely) be in a Texas classroom near you, you probably don't want to know what the books say about climate change, since a lot of it is about as accurate as The Day After Tomorrow. (Spoiler alert: the people writing these textbooks seem to have some problems with things like "fairness" and "facts".)

However, the folks over at the National Center for Science Education got curious enough to take a look at these textbooks, written according to the guidelines provided by the State Board of Education a few years back. The NCSE just published a report on their findings -- likely after they all got done dry-heaving and breathing into paper bags to adjust to what could be entering Texas classrooms come 2015. Here's a few of our, for want of a better word, favorites:

5. The text is fuzzy on what is causing global warming, even though scientists are, well, not. "Is global warming a result of human activity?" The Macgraw-Hill textbook, World Cultures and Geography, a sixth grade textbook, presents the whole global warming thing as a question. "Scientists agree that Earth's climate is changing. They do not agree on what is causing the change," according to the text. We know it's a shocker, but NCSE had some issues with that statement, which is addressed in the report with about as much subtlety as a sledgehammer. "This entire section is misleading. Scientists do not disagree about what is causing climate change, the vast majority (97 percent) of climate papers and actively publishing climatologists (again 97 percent) agree that human activity is responsible."


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Houston Texans Don't Get Arrested That Often, Compared to Other NFL Teams

Categories: Football, NIMBY

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Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has not been arrested since signing with Houston. You go Fitzpatrick.

The outing of Ray Rice, whose stunning knockout of his fiance (now wife) was caught on elevator cameras and viewed more than 8.6 million times on YouTube, has caused football fans around the country to take a second look at the NFL stars they thought they knew. Good news for Houston -- the Texans are relatively well behaved.

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That Stinky Seaweed in Galveston Could Soon Be Edible

Categories: Environment

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Jerald Jackson
Unless you're without a sense of smell (and thus lucky in this case) you've probably noticed that Galveston kind of smells like it's on the edge of the bowels of something unspeakably nasty these days because of the many tons of seaweed that have washed up on our hallowed shores.

Scientists have been working on a plan to deal with all of this disgusting seaweed -- it's actually called sargassum and the folks on Texas and Louisiana shores have been wrangling with it for months. You might have looked at all this seaweed and wondered what in the world would be done with it. Well, Tom Linton and Robert Webster, researchers at Texas A&M-Galveston, are working on a plan.

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