3.5 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Dallas

Categories: Texas

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USGS
The United States Geological Survey has confirmed that a mid-afternoon rumble felt across the Dallas area was, in fact, a 3.5 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter in Irving.


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Victoria Officer Who Tasered a 76-year-old Man Has Been Fired

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Victoria Police Department dash cam footage

The Victoria police officer who grabbed national attention -- the bad kind -- after he slammed a 76-year-old man onto the hood of a police car and tasered him during a routine traffic stop has been fired.

In December, Victoria police officer Nathanial Robinson was placed on administrative duty for accusations of excessive force stemming from a traffic stop during which he tasered Victoria resident Pete Vasquez twice as Vasquez lay on the ground. The whole thing -- from the point where Robinson pulls Vasquez over right up to the tasering, which happens off-screen -- was captured on dash-camera and sparked national headlines .


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Gay Marriage Ads Put a Texas Face on the Issue

Categories: Courts, Texas

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Back in November Texas for Marriage announced that the pro-gay marriage group was coming to Texas and launching a statewide campaign to try and gather support for gay marriage in advance of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing oral arguments on the Lone Star State question on same-sex marriage bans. Well, the Fifth is slated to hear oral arguments on the case this week so it's no coincidence that the first statewide ads from Freedom to Marry started airing on Sunday.


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Covance Labs Faces Possible Action After 13 Monkeys Die

Categories: Texas

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Photo by Brian Jeffery Beggerly/Flickr
Hopefully, these new "corrective measures" will, like, correct the problem.
An Alice, Texas animal research lab may be facing federal penalties after 13 monkeys overheated and died in separate incidents in recent months, according to the Associated Press.

Covance, a New Jersey-based drug development company, reported the incidents to the USDA, stating that the monkeys died after malfunctioning thermostats caused rooms to overheat. A November USDA inspection report doesn't note how hot the rooms got, but explains that temperatures shouldn't exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 4 consecutive hours "when non-human primates are present."

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What Was Really Going on During the Halliburton-Baker Hughes Merger

Categories: Texas

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Thanks to some corporate filings made public on Monday, we've now got a glimpse of the drama behind last month's merger of oil industry giants Halliburton and Baker Hughes.

According to a joint filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday, the two Houston-based oil field services companies only sealed the deal (which still has to be approved by regulators) in November after threats of a hostile corporate takeover, last-minute ultimatums, and a spat over $3.3 billion that boiled over into the business press. Ultimately, the two companies -- which combined employ about 15,000 people in Houston -- agreed to a $34.6 billion buyout of Baker Hughes. Amid falling oil prices, Halliburton has since announced plans to cut 1,000 jobs across its operations in the Eastern Hemisphere.

Monday's SEC filing fills in some of the behind-the-scenes details of the massive corporate merger. Here are a few takeaways:


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Islamic Militants Are Using a Houston Plumbing Truck to Gun Down Aircraft in Syria, According to Twitter

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Ansar al-Deen Front Twitter

It appears that a truck once owned by a Houston-area plumbing company has somehow turned up in the hands of Islamic militants who are now using the converted vehicle to shoot at aircraft as they fight in Syria's civil war.

A photo of the Texas-born Ford F-250, complete with the former owner's plumbing company logo, was posted to Twitter by the Ansar al-Deen Front Monday, and shows a militant fighter shooting an anti-aircraft gun from the bed of the truck.

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Oil Prices Are Dropping: Here's What Could Be Coming

Categories: Texas

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Even Spindletop went bust.

Once upon a time a whole bunch of Texas oil people started telling themselves stories about the latest shale boom. This one, they assured each other, would never go bust. The price of oil would stay high forever and we would all live here in the city at the center of the land of milk and honey and Texas tea in wealth and plenty.

Well, that was a fun story, but in the last few weeks reality has sunk in as the price of oil has dropped like a stone. On Monday oil sank to $55 a barrel, the lowest the price has been since May 2009. Texas just hit over a billion barrels of production for this year and the state alone is the sixth largest oil producer in the world. Texas has been the black beating heart of all this plenty, and now Texas and the other states are bracing themselves to suffer from the fallout. By all accounts, we could be in for quite a jolt.

So how did this happen? Well the surface answer is that the Saudis did it to teach the U.S. shale operators a lesson, Bill Gilmer, Director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting in the University of Houston's Bauer College of Business, says. "The Saudis haven't announced any sort of public policy here, but it's increasingly clear that they're helping their friends and punishing their enemies, probably at a substantial price to themselves," Gilmer says. "Low oil prices punishes Iran, ISIS, punishes what could be regarded as enemies. Texas and North Dakota probably go on the list of adversaries. This may very well be sort of a run at U.S. shale production."


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Victoria Officer Under Investigation After Tasing 76-Year-Old Man During Traffic Stop

Categories: Crime, Texas

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Victoria Police Department dash cam footage

Perhaps it's not the greatest idea to use a taser on an elderly person during a traffic stop. That's what a rookie cop in Victoria is finding out, anyway.

Victoria police officer Nathanial Robinson has been placed on administrative duty for accusations of excessive force stemming from a traffic stop where he tased a 76-year-old man twice as he lay on the ground.

The 23-year old officer tased elderly Victoria resident Pete Vasquez during a routine traffic stop last week, and the entire incident -- minus the tasing part, which happens just out of sight of the camera -- was caught on dash-cam video.

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Federal Ruling Legalizes Marijuana on Native American Reservations in Texas (and the Rest of the Nation)

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Dank Depot via Flickr Creative Commons

Oh happy day. Texas now has a legal marijuana market, in which marijuana can be grown and sold without the feds swooping in all stealth-like.

But unfortunately -- at least for most of you Texas' potheads -- that Lone Star legal weed will only be permitted on Native American reservations. (It's okay -- still we're secretly hopeful, too.)

In one of the coolest marijuana moves by the feds to date, the U.S. Department of Justice announced last week that Native Americans can grow and sell marijuana on reservations.

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Calm Down, Texas; Selena's Killer Will Not Be Released From Prison Early

Categories: Crime, Texas

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"Amor Prohibido" screenshot

If you happened upon those recent reports stating that Selena Quintanilla's killer would be getting an early release from prison and freaked, please get those panties out of a bunch. The rumors are not true.

The fake article, first posted on the satirical news site National Report, stated that Yolanda Saldivar, the former nurse turned fan club president who shot and killed the singer back in 1995, would be getting an early release from prison, which could happen as soon as January 1, 2015.

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