Tagged: Texas

This is how Texas schools encourage student interest in technology

encouraging science in Texas
Ahmed Mohamed wearing his NASA t-shirt – and handcuffs

Police in Texas have arrested a 14-year-old boy for building a clock. Ahmed Mohamed, who lives in Irving and has a keen interest in robotics and engineering, put the device together on Sunday night. When he took it to school the next day, he was pulled out of class, interviewed by police officers, and taken in handcuffs to juvenile detention, after being told by teachers that his creation looked like a bomb.

Ahmed told The Dallas Morning News that he showed his clock — a simple device, created from a circuit board and a power supply wired to a digital display, all strapped inside a case with a tiger hologram on the front — to his engineering teacher first, who advised him not to show any other staff members at MacArthur High School. He originally kept it in his bag during English class, but his teacher heard it beep during the lesson — when Ahmed showed her his home-made clock at the end of class, she took it away from him. In sixth period, the school principal came for Ahmed with a police officer in tow, arresting him and marching him out of school. The schoolboy says he was interrogated by five officers, who asked why he was trying to make a bomb, and was threatened with expulsion by his Principal unless he made a written statement.

Irving police might still charge Ahmed with making a “hoax bomb.” Police spokesperson James McLellan said Ahmed “kept maintaining it was a clock” when he was brought in for interrogation, but that he offered “no broader explanation.” When asked by The Dallas Morning News what broader explanation Ahmed could have given for a clock that was actually a clock, McLellan said the creation “could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car.”…

What? You thought an understanding of simple logic was required of Texas coppers?

Many in the maker and tech community have already rallied around him. A hashtag — #IStandWithAhmed — rapidly rose to become one of Twitter’s top trending topics, and support has come from a number of sources, including a JPL engineer who offered Ahmed the chance to see a Mars rover whenever he wants. Ahmed’s father says his son “just wants to invent good things for mankind” — we can hope that the police reaction won’t dissuade the talented young creator from making good on his dream.

Bigots of every flavor in every state will immediately jump to defend the creeps who had this school kid arrested, who took part in his arrest and potential charges. It’s an automatic response – like crocodiles swarming when one raises the scent of blood to other lower-level creatures on the evolutionary scale.

Meanwhile, a kid who should have been encouraged for his interest in science and technology – and was aided by his science teacher who also sounds like he realized how many stupid people they both were surrounded by in a Texas high school. I hope Ahmed keeps on with his interests and studies. I hope he can ignore the thoughts and actions of the typical American ignoranus. It would be nice to see him realize his dreams and forget the nightmarish delusions of others.


US-born, having to sue Texas for denying birth certificates

Juana, a 33-year-old mother of three, works as a kale picker on the U.S.-Mexico border near McAllen, Texas, where she shares a one-bedroom trailer with her children. She was born in Mexico, and her uncle helped her to cross into Texas when she was 14 years old.

“I’ve been here practically half my life,” said Juana, who did not want to reveal her last name because she is undocumented. “I pay taxes. I’ve never depended on the government.”

Her children, born the Texas side of the border, are U.S. citizens. But when she went to the local vital statistics office earlier this year to get a copy of her youngest daughter’s birth certificate, she was turned away for lack of proper identification. Her child, who was born in November 2013, still does not have a birth certificate…

Juana is among 28 undocumented immigrants who are suing the Texas Department of State Health Services on behalf of their U.S.-born children for denying them their birth certificates. The suit was filed in May and was amended on Tuesday to include more plaintiffs.

The lawsuit comes as 2016 presidential candidates engaged in bitter debates about the fate of an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. Some 26 U.S. states filed a lawsuit attempting to block the White House’s plan to protect about 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.

The 14th Amendment states that all people born in the U.S. are citizens. But in the immigrants’ lawsuit, the two civil rights groups suing the state on the immigrants’ behalf say the department is violating the law by refusing to recognize the matrícula consular — an ID card issued by Mexican consulates — as a valid form of identification.

Parents must present a birth certificate to enroll a child in school or day care, apply for benefits or even to have a child baptized.

Because undocumented immigrants, many of them from Mexico and Central America, do not have a required form of ID like a green card or work authorization papers, they are required to show two secondary forms of identification to get a child’s birth certificate. Often that includes the matrícula consular. But Texas in 2008 announced a new policy of rejecting matrículas, citing security concerns. The measure went largely unenforced until 2013…

Juana, for her part, did not encounter problems presenting her matrícula along with hospital records to obtain birth certificates for her two older children, who are 13 and 8 years old. But obtaining a birth certificate for her youngest child has proved challenging…

She should have the same rights as a child born to American parents,” she said.

Republican-controlled states are in a race to the bottom of the scumbag barrel. True, violating constitutional rights is nothing new for the cretins who pass for today’s version of a conservative; but, rarely has there been such an array of lies and bureaucratic hypocrisy passed off as legitimate.

On one hand, it is hilarious to see rightwing populists spend half their time whining about government interference in daily life – and the other half inventing new ways for governments to interfere with the daily lives of Americans who ain’t the right color, right religion, or just plain rightwing enough to satisfy turdbrains.

On the other, there’s nothing new or even faintly grinworthy about stupid people wasting local taxpayer dollar$ to enforce their bigotry upon legitimate citizens of this nation.

Court strikes down Texas voter ID law

My father-in-law still has one of these from the 1950’s – Texas bigotry hasn’t changed much

A U.S. appeals court struck down a Texas law…requiring voters to show authorized identification before casting ballots, saying the measure violated the U.S. Voting Rights Act through its “discriminatory effects.”

The decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit pertained to one of a series of laws enacted in Republican-governed states requiring potential voters to show identification that Democrats saw as intended to disenfranchise minorities who typically support their party.

“We affirm the district court’s finding that SB 14 (Texas Senate Bill 14) violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act through its discriminatory effect,” a three-judge panel from the New Orleans-based court said.

The measure was signed into law in 2011 by then Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, and has been the subject of legal battles since then.

Plaintiffs argued the law would hit elderly and poorer voters, including minorities, hardest because they are less likely to have such identification…

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the state will continue to fight to keep the voter ID requirement.

He has a reason or two. All lies not worth repeating.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed an amicus brief in the case to strike down the law, hailed the decision that came near the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.

“It is fitting for the court to recognize that laws that deliberately make it harder for black and Latino Americans to vote have no place in our democracy,” said Sean Young, a staff attorney at the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project.

There is no voting rights project inside the Republican Party. Of course.

They have only a policy to stop voting rights.


A Texas man was wounded after he fired a gun at an armadillo in his yard and the bullet ricocheted back to hit him in his face…

Cass County Sheriff Larry Rowe said the man, who was not identified, went outside his home in Marietta, Texas, at around 3 a.m. local time Thursday morning. He spotted the armadillo on his property and opened fire.

“His wife was in the house. He went outside and took his .38 revolver and shot three times at the armadillo,” Rowe said.

The animal’s hard shell deflected at least one of three bullets, which then struck the man’s jaw, he said.

The man was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where his jaw was wired shut, according to Rowe.

The status of the animal is unknown…”We didn’t find the armadillo,” the sheriff said.


HT to Ricky Gervais for the headline. :)

Cable company robocalled woman 153 times = $229,500 payment for harassment

Time Warner Cable has been ordered to pay a woman $229,500 (£150,000) after a judge ruled it had harassed her with automated calls.

Texas resident Araceli King received 153 computer-controlled “robocalls”, which continued after she had asked the company to stop.

US district judge Alvin Hellerstein said Time Warner Cable had acted in a “particularly egregious” manner…

Making unwanted automated calls is illegal in the US, and companies breaking the rules can face a fine of $1,500 for each call.

Mr Hellerstein said he had tripled the penalty for Time Warner because it had made 74 calls to Ms King after she had registered her complaint…

The US made it illegal to make unwanted automated calls in 2009…The law says marketers must have written permission from a person before robocalls can be made, although exceptions are made for surveys or if the subject matter is political or to do with a charity…

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforcement bureau chief Travis LeBlanc has said “customers are not required to consent to unwanted robocalls or robotexts”.

Sock it to ’em, Ms. King!

Texas to “repatriate” its gold from New York – just in case they secede

Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation that will create a state-run gold depository in the Lone Star State – one that will attempt to rival those operated by the U.S. government inside Fort Knox and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s vault in lower Manhattan. “The Texas Bullion Depository,” Abbott said in a statement, “will become the first state-level facility of its kind in the nation, increasing the security and stability of our gold reserves and keeping taxpayer funds from leaving Texas to pay for fees to store gold in facilities outside our state.”

Soon, Abbott’s office said, the state “will repatriate $1 billion of gold bullion from the Federal Reserve in New York to Texas.” In other words, when it comes preparing for the currency collapse and financial armeggedon, Abbott’s office really seems to think Texas is a whole ‘nother country.

And the new depository will not just be a well-guarded warehouse for that bullion. The law Abbott signed calls for the creation of an electronic payments system that will allow gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and rhodium depositors to write checks against their accounts, making the depository into a bank – one that will create a metal-backed money supply intended to challenge the paper currency issued by the Federal Reserve – or “Yankee dollars” as one of the law’s top supporters calls them.

In case the Fed or Obama wants to confiscate Texas’s gold, nice try Fed and Obama! In keeping with this suspicion of the Fed and Washington, the new law also explicitly declares that no “governmental or quasi-governmental authority other than an authority of [Texas]” will be allowed to confiscate or freeze an account inside the depository. Gold that’s entrusted to Texas will stay in Texas…

The depository, then, will insulate Texans from a just-around-the-corner economic and geopolitical catastrophe brought on by paper money and cauterize the seemingly-still-fresh trauma of Franklin Roosevelt’s 1933 executive order making gold coin hoarding illegal during the Great Depression.

But to the trained ear, there’s an even more aggressively anti-Fed term being invoked in praise of the Texas depository: “repatriation.” Ordinarily it’s a word used to describe the movement of assets or currency from one nation to another…On the website of SchiffGold, the gold brokerage owned by onetime U.S. Senate candidate Peter Schiff…Texas is described “join[ing] the ranks of major global economies that want to bring their gold home from New York.”…

If you were suspicious about Gov. Abbott’s claim that “the [depository] law will repatriate $1 billion of gold bullion from the Federal Reserve in New York to Texas,” you were on to something.

Indeed, Texas has no gold bars in the Federal Reserve’s New York vault. And what the state has is not worth a billion dollars. Instead some 4,200 gold bars bought in 2011 by the University of Texas’s endowment fund…are stored in the basement vault of HSBC’s headquarters at 450 5th Avenue in New York City…

Although most of the political crappola involved in creating this fiasco relied heavily on Texas’ ever-present threat to secede from the United States – and take their non-existent gold mountain with them – in truth there are pages of silliness written in libertarian dialect privatizing every possible function of this new and independent Fort Knox. The obvious aim of this boondoggle is the selling of gold to nutballs who believe that owning gold is the only salvation against Armageddon.

We may just find the financial wizards of Texas who shepherded this bill through the legislature ending up drawing down a certain amount of personal profit from the process, eh?

Thanks to my favorite Recovering Republican

NRA/Biker Jamboree in Waco, Texas – 192 arrested, 9 dead

Click to enlargeAP Photo/Jerry Larson

Texas police announced on Monday that 192 people will face organized crime charges following the Waco bike-gang shooting where nine people were killed and 18 were injured.

Nine people were shot to death after rival biker gang members opened fire at the Twin Peaks Sports Bar and Grill in Central Texas on Sunday. The incident initially started as a fist fight, which then turned into a battle with knives, clubs and chains, and later, guns.

One witness described the scene as a “war zone.”…

According to police, three rival biker gangs began fighting at the Waco restaurant while multiple officers were out in the parking lot arranging protection for residents. The fight started in the restaurant and spilled outside…

The officers were in the area because they had anticipated possible trouble at the restaurant — which has been the scene of ongoing tensions between bikers in recent weeks…

Police immediately secured the scene. District attorney Abel Reyna told police two weeks ago that trouble had been brewing among the biker gangs for some time.

“Thank goodness the officers were here, and took the action that they needed to take to save numerous lives,” Swanton said.

The officers at the scene engaged the gunmen in the fight — firing their weapons, as well. However, Waco police said no officers were wounded in the gun battle…

No doubt the NRA will provide legal aid for the bikers involved in the shoot-out. Gangs like these are only defending the same rights and policies that concern the NRA – nowadays. Although they don’t get the same cut in gun sales profits the NRA does.

Nutball conspiracy groups say Pentagon plans invasion of Texas. Huh? Wha?

Click to enlarge

U.S. Army Special Operations Command says that, contrary to reports circulating on conspiracy websites, it has no plans to invade Texas.

Some fringe websites have paraded a PowerPoint presentation, reportedly from USASOC, as evidence of Jade Helm 15, a series of military exercises across California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Texas. They say it will train the U.S. military to suppress American citizens rebelling in a coming military coup or civil war.

The Army says Jade Helm is a real exercise and will take place in the Southwest, as the slides indicate. But USASOC spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria said that’s the extent of the reports’ accuracy.

“It’s a training exercise. Just a regular training exercise,” Lastoria said of Jade Helm, which USASOC documentation references as a training exercise in at least one previous year as well…

Nothing in the presentation (with slides marked “unclassified”) contradicts the assertion that Jade Helm is merely a training exercise. It does note that civilian areas could notice some effects…including the potential for noise complaints and noting that personnel may be carrying weapons loaded with blanks.

Conspiracy websites painted language regarding civilian impact as revealing of the true nature of the mission: to prepare for abducting dissidents from their homes.

Many of the conspiracy sites have focused in on the selection of Texas as a “hostile” territory. To them, a high degree of libertarian support, pro-gun leanings and patriotism make Texas a target. The slides also mark Utah and a pocket in Southern California as “hostile,” while New Mexico is “uncertain (leaning hostile)” and Arizona is “uncertain (leaning friendly).”

There are only two reasons for either the Left or the Right to invade Texas. Lefties would support intervention if the Confederate brigades ever get started with their fixation on secession and return to a slave economy.

The Right-Wing under the thumb of the Koch Bros still prefers Texas oil over North Dakota because it’s cheaper, therefore more profitable.

Blue Bell issues ice cream recall – 3 die!

The deaths of three patients who contracted food poisoning while in the hospital for other conditions have been linked to a venerable favorite of the south – Blue Bell ice cream.

A household name in parts of America, Blue Bell issued the first product recall in its 108-year history on Friday. The company also shut down one of its production lines as the government warned consumers to clear their freezers of a number of ice cream bars and cookies made by the Texan firm.

Five adults who were patients at the same hospital in Wichita, Kansas, contracted listeriosis from the listeria bacteria sometimes found in food. Three subsequently died.

Federal and state investigators are looking into the deaths; the investigation could expand beyond the hospital and Kansas to include other deaths where listeria may have been a factor and was linked to eating tainted versions of the popular brand of ice cream…

Four of the five patients for whom dietary information was available to investigators were shown to have consumed milkshakes at the hospital, which had been made with a single serving of a Blue Bell ice cream product called Scoops.

The listeria strain obtained from those four patients was linked, after laboratory testing, to tainted Blue Bell products examined in South Carolina and Texas this year…

The ice cream product eaten by all five has been traced to one of the production lines at Blue Bell headquarters in Brenham, Texas, where the machinery was immediately taken off line.

The chief executive of the Brenham creamery, Paul Kruse, said contamination of the ice cream could only have taken place at the point of production.

The company has removed a list of products from shelves and the CDC has called on the public to destroy any they have in their freezer, as the products have a shelf life of up to two years.

Blue Bell doesn’t make anything we consume in our family – we don’t especially eat ice cream; but, there are beaucoup places where the brand is so well established consumption is as much a tradition as a matter of taste.

RTFA for a listing of the kinds of ice cream products from Blue Bell that should be taken from your freezer and destroyed if you have any of them.