Austin County Sheriff Investigating Veterinarian Who Killed Cat With Arrow to the Head

Categories: Whatever

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Facebook
An veterinarian bragging about doing something very un-vet-like...
And now for this week's installment of Lessons In Internet Shaming:

Out in Brenham there's a veterinarian named Kristen Lindsey who's been licensed with the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners since 2012. And sometime this week, someone named Kristen Lindsey posted a photo of herself on Facebook in which she's holding an arrow with a dead cat dangling from the tip. The post was accompanied by this very un-veterinarian-like message:

"My first bow kill...lol. The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through it's head [sic]! Vet of the year award ... gladly accepted"

And Facebook promptly (and, in all likelihood, rightly) flipped the hell out...

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Eight Simple Rules for the Dog Park

Categories: Whatever

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Photo by Fransisco Montes
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Now that spring's here, Houston's dog parks will see more action, and it's important that we all be mindful of each other so going to the park is a pleasant experience for both two- and four-legged visitors.

Parks already have basic regulations, and some, like Johnny Steele Dog Park, have extra regulations, like a one-hour time limit and two-dog maximum. But here are some unwritten rules that everyone should keep in mind, so that we can avoid any faux paws (HEY-OH!).

Don't Keep Your Dog on a Leash

We've seen people keep their pooches on leashes well after they've entered the park, and that can invite trouble. According to the ASPCA, "many dogs lunge and bark at other dogs when on-leash, a behavior that trainers call 'leash reactivity.'" Butt-sniffing -- the traditional canine handshake -- is extremely difficult when one is hindered by a leash. You're at a park for a reason, so let Fido free.


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City Tosses Transphobic Petition to Amend Charter, Citing Insufficient Signatures

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Hoping to undercut the LGBT protections offered under the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (which is still bogged down in a court battle sparked by other anti-LGBT activists), yesterday Houston Community College trustee Dave Wilson filed a petition with the City of Houston to amend the city charter to explicitly bar transgender people from using their restroom of choice.

Under state law, Wilson needed 20,000 signatures on his petition. By his own count, Wilson turned in about 19,700. Needless to say, it didn't take the city long to make a determination.

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U.S. Military Forces Will Take Over Texas This Summer and Put Enemies in FEMA Death Domes. (Either that, or a military training exercise kicks off in July).

Categories: Whatever

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Screenshot, soc.mil
Nothing to see here -- move along!
While you were busy fretting over Zayn Malik leaving One Direction, the U.S. military-industrial complex was planning a covert operation involving FEMA death camps and martial law right here in Texas.

Or at least that's how conspiracy theorists are interpreting a weird military training exercise called Jade Helm 15, which will run from July 15-Sept. 15 in Texas and six other states. Gawker summed it up perfectly: "Over a thousand armed American soldiers will maneuver through the Southwest United States as part of a vast operation with a single motto: 'Master the Human Domain.' Internet conspiracy theorists wait their whole lives for a moment this rich."

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The End of the USW Strike Is in Sight for Some Local Unions

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Photo by Max Burkhalter
Lee Medley and the USW District 13-1 union members outside of the USW Hall in Pasadena.

Well, it looks like the first significant oil refinery strike in 35 years is finally beginning to wrap up. So far, oil companies have made agreements with local unions that will see union workers back on the job at two of the striking Texas refineries -- Shell Deer Park and the Motiva refinery in Port Arthur -- before the end of March.

The strike started on February 1 after the national arm of the United Steelworkers, representing about 30,000 oil refinery workers, and Royal Dutch Shell, negotiating for the oil companies, failed to reach a new national contract. From there, USW called out more than 6,000 workers at 15 plants, including 12 refineries that handle about one-fifth of the refinery work in the United States.

See also: Crossing the Line: Money, Safety, Power - What Makes a Union Strike at a Bad Time for Oil and Gas?


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USW Locals Are Still in Negotiations to End the Oil Refinery Strike

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Photo by Max Burkhalter
Lee Medley and the USW District 13-1 union members outside of the USW Hall in Pasadena.

Even though representatives from the national arm of the United Steelworkers and Royal Dutch Shell reached a tentative deal last Thursday, the strike is still dragging on.

Why? Well, because the national deal brokered by USW, negotiating on behalf of about 30,000 oil refinery workers, and Shell, working on behalf of the oil companies, is simply a pattern agreement that local unions base their contracts on. In this case, the initial four-year deal has pay increases and an agreement (still unspecified) to look into safety concerns and the fatigue rules that govern workers. From there the local reps for both the companies and USW still have to work out how to implement the national agreements for their local contracts along with the details for their return-to-work deals.

Those may sound like pretty basic things, but keep in mind that these groups now trying to work together have spent more than a month on opposite sides of picket lines.


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USW and Shell Say They're Making Progress (And That's All They'll Say)

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Photo by Max Burkhalter
Lee Medley and the USW District 13-1 union members outside of the USW Hall in Pasadena.

All week long representatives from United Steelworkers and Royal Dutch Shell have been ensconced in some undisclosed Houston location trying to hammer out a national contract for the USW oil refinery workers that both sides can agree on. They've admitted that the two sides have been talking in the same room and everything all week, but that's all they will admit to.

The national arm of USW, negotiating on behalf of more than 30,000 oil refinery workers, and Shell, negotiating on behalf of the oil companies, have been grappling over the details of this contract - a contract that sets the standards that local USW union districts use to negotiate local contracts with the oil companies - since January 21. When they failed to reach an agreement by the end of the old contract USW started calling union workers out on strike from refineries and chemical plants on February 1. Local USW workers at Shell Deer Park, LyondellBasell and Marathon's Texas City refinery were some of the first pulled out. Since the start of the strike USW has called out more than 6,000 workers from 15 chemical plants, including 12 oil refineries, on strike.

Meanwhile, USW and Shell representatives have met or talked via teleconference in an attempt to work out a deal, but have repeatedly come up short, butting heads over various issues including the use of contract workers, safety standards and the current fatigue policy. USW has rejected seven contract offers so far. After only meeting briefly via teleconference last week, the fact that the two sides were going to be in the same city and the same room this week seemed like progress.

Still, as negotiations dragged from Monday into Tuesday and then into Tuesday night, USW sent out a text update to its members which managed to come off as both reassuring and as a thin-veiled threat to the oil companies: "Bargaining is moving along. Industry needs to close the gaps and end the strike or see it expand. Stay tough."


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"DON'T CUT HIS PENIS!": Anti-Circumcision Group Protesting in Houston

Categories: Whatever

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Facebook screenshot
We'd go, but our jumpsuit is at the dry cleaners.
If you're not doing anything in Houston between 10am-3pm Wednesday or Thursday, and you really dislike circumcision, you might want to check out protests organized by a group called Bloodstained Men & Their Friends.

The group kicked off its statewide dick-deliverance-demonstrations in Dallas March 10 and will make stops in San Antonio, Austin, and Fort Worth. According to a press release, "Bloodstained Men & Their Friends are known for their signature white outfits with bloodstained crotches to symbolize the lifelong wound that circumcision inflicts." So if you want to go to the protest, these dudes should be easy to find.

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Not Everyone Is Thrilled With Memorial Park's Master Plan

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Memorial Park Conservancy
Everyone loves Memorial Park but that doesn't mean they agree on what's best for it.

The Memorial Park Conservancy is finishing up gathering public input on the new master plan that will govern how the park evolves over the next 20 years, but not everyone is thrilled with the changes the conservancy is pitching.

While the officials with the Memorial Park Conservancy say these changes are for the good of the park, some critics say the plan is just something cooked up by the Memorial Park Conservancy to design the park the way they see fit. "They don't own the park. You own the park and we own the park, but they think they own it. They justify everything they do. They make it sound good," Jorge Figueroa, an emphatic critic of the master plan, says.

The master plan will be enacted over a 20-year period and by the time it's done it will have reshaped the park in a lot of ways. Shellye Arnold, executive director of the Memorial Park Conservancy, says that these changes will help the park continue to evolve and thrive even as the city continues to grow up around it.


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Apollo the Dog Gets a New Face

Categories: Whatever

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Screenshot, ADORE Houston Facebook page
A new leash on life...
Boy, it's nice to write about a happy ending.

In January, rescue group ADORE Houston put out the word about a dog who had half his face chopped off. The injury seemed man-made, but it's still unclear what happened.

The dog, who they called Apollo, was rushed to veterinarian Ryan Farmer at Harrisburg Veterinary Clinic, and then he went on to Westbury Animal Hospital for some much-needed relaxation before going to Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists for surgery.

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