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September 11, 2008

Austin area schools close in preparation for Ike

Shamelessly ripped from WetWired.

Austin ISD - All AISD Schools are going to close Early on Friday. The times are listed below:

* Elementary Schools will let out at noon. there will be no after school care for students.

* Middle Schools including Kealing Magnet Students who ride Capital Metro Buses will let out at 2:00 p.m.

* High Schools will dismiss at 2:00 p.m. Ecept LBJ and Liberal Arts & Science Academy which will dismiss at NOON

Round Rock ISD - Schools will be release early on Friday 9/12. Elementary Schools will release at 12:45 p.m. Middle Schools will release at 1:30 pm. High Schools will release at 2:00 pm. Breakfast and lunch will be available for students before dismissal.

Hutto ISD - Elementary Schools release at 12:10 pm. Middle Schools will release at 1:15 pm. High Schools will release at 1:30 pm.

Del Valle ISD - Will close early Friday 9/12. Elementary Schools will dismiss at 1:00 pm and Secondary schools will dismiss at 1:00 pm

Giddings ISD - Will cancel school on Friday 9/12. Classes will resume on Monday 9/15. ACT Testing scheduled for this Saturday has been rescheduled for Saturday, 9/20.

Kingdom Academy I, II, and Kingdom Academy Christin School in Bastrop - will release 1:30 p.m. onf Friday 9/12.

Pflugerville ISD - All PISD campuses will release students two hours early on Friday. High Schools relases at 2:15, Middle Schools relase at 1:35, and Elementary Schools release at 12:50 p.m. All buses will according to this release schedule.

Bastrop ISD - Busses will be running Friday according to early release schedule. Students will be released early on Friday. Pre-K classes in the afternoon will not occur. Elementary will release 11:30 and secondary grades at 12:30.

Manor ISD - will release two hours early on Friday 9/12. Friday’s afternoon pre-K classes are cancelled and all after school events for Friday and the weekend have been canceled.

The Children’s Health and Safety Fair at VFW post 10427, originally scheduled for 9/13/08 has been rescheduled for Saturday 10/04/08

McDade ISD - will be closed on Friday 9/12 due to traffic concerns related to Hurricane Evacuations.

The SAT Test at Burnet H.S. on Saturday has been cancelled and rescheduled for Saturday 9/20.

Smithville ISD - Students will be dismissed two hours early on Friday Sept. 12. Bus will run their normal route, but earlier

Hays ISD - High schools will be released at 12:30 on Friday, middle schools will be released at 1:45 and elementary schools will be released at their regular time at 2:40. Buses will run according to the earlier schedule.

Waelder ISD - All campuses will be closed Friday.

Elgin ISD - Has canceled school on Friday entirely.

Continue reading "Austin area schools close in preparation for Ike" »

July 3, 2008

Nightmare house buying experience

cedar_park_couple.jpg

From the Austin American Statesman:

In early May, the Dicksons bought a house that had been headed for foreclosure. All the paperwork was completed.

But the foreclosure process apparently wasn't halted, and the couple came home from work May 14 to find all their possessions gone.

Field Asset, which provides property management services nationwide, had been hired to drill out the locks and empty the house, according to police reports. Field told police that the family's belongings were given to area thrift stores, but the Dicksons have had no luck finding them.

I'm glad I work from home. If someone had shown up at my house and started drilling the locks, shotgun fire would have been the result. It's interesting how the law works. If you are home when this happens, wake up after they come through the door, you are legally allowed to kill them. After they leave, all bets are off. It's all about the threat.

Let's take a look at Section 9.609 of the Texas Uniform Commercial Code:

§ 9.609. SECURED PARTY'S RIGHT TO TAKE POSSESSION AFTER DEFAULT. (a) After default, a secured party:

(1) may take possession of the collateral; and

(2) without removal, may render equipment unusable and
dispose of collateral on the debtor's premises under Section 9.610.

(b) A secured party may proceed under Subsection (a):

(1) pursuant to judicial process; or

(2) without judicial process, if it proceeds without
breach of the peace
.

This means if you show up to take my property, I produce a firearm and tell you to leave, legally you have to leave. Period. If you don't, the bank is liable under tort law for any damages that result, including the death of the attempted reposessor. I have read WAY too many stories about criminals pretending to be repo men, cops, federal agents, immigration officers, etc. to believe any person who shows up at my door waving a piece of paper. Anyone can search google for a list of foreclosures in Austin. How many do you have to stop by before someone just lets you take everything you own without even a challenge?

To make things even more ironic, the couple is Nigerian. Nigeria has a bad rap in the US for the rash of constant internet scams that originate from Nigeria. Here is what appears to be a fairly well-off couple, with two kids, trying to move into a nice neighborhood, who have been completely screwed over by a bank.

October 23, 2007

Clearing The Air in Austin

The Statesman (bugmenot) is reporting that Air America has been ditched in Austin in favor of Spanish speaking programming:

Air America, the home for defiantly liberal talk radio, has quit Austin's air waves, though it can still be heard online or on XM Satellite Radio. Its previous broadcasting home in Austin, KOKE 1600 AM, has started following a Spanish-language format.

Austin blogger UrbanGrounds points out the obvious:
What should be a tougher loss to take is the knowledge that Austin is a very Liberal city with a giant market of young, educated liberal college students.

If you can't make it here with Liberal radio, then you probably can't make it anywhere (which the national market is bearing out, too).


Let's all send a big "Thank You" to KOKE 1600 for Keeping Austin Corporate by giving the ignoramus' at Air America the boot.

Na na na na! Na na na na! Hey Hey Hey! Good Bye!

October 17, 2007

Sneeze and you are a dead man

You know there's something about when you hear a pump shotgun click ... It makes everybody think twice.

Nathaniel Brooks of Houston is a hero. He held two would-be burglars at bay with a 12-gauge shotgun until Houston PD arrived and took the pair off to jail. KHOU in Houston (BugMeNot is your friend) is reporting that the police also recovered evidence from several other burglaries that morning.

The video is up at LiveLeak. My favorite part is the reaction from his wife:

June 27, 2007

40 Days of Rain Takes a Toll on Austin

After nearly a month of on and off rain, we are really starting to feel it here in Austin. As I was driving in this morning, listening to Fox & Friends, Doocey reported that there were "fast-water rescues" happening here in Austin! statesman.com is reporting:

The rainfall has led to widespread road flooding and closures, and forecasters warn that flooding will continue as waterways flush the heavy rainfall from their systems. Austin-Travis County EMS officials report that several swift-water rescues are in progress, and that there are "multiple reports of persons trapped in fast moving water atop vehicles, on roof tops, or clinging to trees."

The weather page on statesman.com appears to be a good source of information on road closures and general Austin weather. The Austin-Travis County EMS website has a press release up that they have been updating throughout the morning.

If you or someone is trapped in a flood, follow these safety tips:

Continue reading "40 Days of Rain Takes a Toll on Austin" »

June 21, 2007

Austin - The Long Hot Summer

I don't usually watch local news casts. I'm always so agitated by the sensationalism and outrageous ignorance put forth. I get my news from certain unnamed radio programs, newspapers, the Internet and the Daily Show. I try to have an open mind and be non-judgmental. I grew up in an industrial northern city. I have an unremarkable level of education, I'm middleclass but I've been poor and I have left leaning ideologies. I tell you this because of the past 3 days.

Tuesday night, June 19, somehow a local news broadcast ends up on my television.
The lead story - a drunken priest crashes his car into a Smithville diner that had patrons at the time. My husband and I both shake our heads and laugh cynically. Not that we think a car crashing into a diner is funny. It just amuses us that this would be the big story of the night. How provincial.

Wednesday, June 20. I'm taking one of my daily Internet news breaks and in the list of recommended articles I find "Crowd attacks, kills man at Texas Juneteenth festival". The first thought in my apparently not so non-judgmental mind is this probably happened in Dallas or Houston. I click on the link. The AP article proceeds to describe how a Juneteenth festival crowd of 2000-3000 beat a man to death because the car he was riding in struck a little girl. Flashback to Bed-Stuy, East L.A., Bagdad, etc. How do several thousand people beat a man to death?

I look at the by-line - Austin. Austin? WTF? I send the link to a co-worker - did you see this? She hadn't. I go to a local news station website - the lead story is still that drunken priest. I look at the other stories, and there a little further down is the same AP article. I re-read the article. The man killed has a Hispanic name, and the article implies that the Juneteenth festival goers were involved. For those who don't know, Juneteenth is the celebration of the official, albeit late announcement in Texas, of the Emancipation Proclamation, resulting in the freeing of slaves. It is predominately celebrated by the black community. Is this another racially motivated incident? I almost feel sorry for the new police chief.

Thursday, June 21 - Happy Summer Solstice. I open the morning paper and find a front page article about Tuesday's tragedy. There are pictures. I read the article. The story has changed somewhat. Turns out, the Juneteenth crowd was several blocks away. The car that struck the little boy (another error in the story) was turning into an apartment complex that happened to be on the same side of town. When the driver got out of the car to check on the boy, a group descended upon him. When his passenger got out of the car to protect the driver, the group of 2 to 20, turned on him and proceeded to beat him to death. Meanwhile, the driver got back in his car and fled the scene. It appears all the players in this story are Hispanic. What happened to those 2000-3000 black folks that were involved yesterday?

How did a terrible and sad incident involving fewer than 20 or 30 people in a very specific location get twisted into an indictment of several thousand people celebrating freedom in a very large area? Who made that connection in the first place, and more importantly, why?

Additional coverage at: News 8 Austin, Fox Austin, Statesman, and Austinist.

April 6, 2007

Muslim Imam delivers thin-veiled radical prayer at Texas Capital

Dave in Texas has a great article up describing the recent prayer at the Texas Senate from that same ass-hat imam who prayed at the Democrat's winter meeting not too long ago.

Dave hits the nail right on the head pointing out that this happened here in Austin. It used to really get me all upset when I would see this kind of behavior here, but I have almost become complacent. What a disgraceful display from the Texas Republicans. I just got another donation request from the Texas Republicans in the mail that I was about to send back ... guess where that's not going ... I need to put on my t-shirt and head downtown.

They have video up at Hot Air as well as further insight.

March 6, 2007

Remember the Alamo!

William Barrett Travis, Bejar, Feby. 24, 1836:

Fellow citizens & compatriots

I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country VICTORY OR DEATH.

William Barret Travis,

Lt. Col. comdt.

P.S. The Lord is on our side. When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn. We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves. Travis

Colonel Travis sent that letter at the beginning of the siege of over 3000 Mexican troops. Thirteen days into the siege, on March 6, 1836, the Alamo fell, and all but a few were lost. Three days before the Alamo fell, Colonel Travis sent a final letter that ended with this:

A blood red banner waves from the church of Bexar, and in the camp above us, in token that the war is one of vengeance against rebels; they have declared us as such; demanded, that we should surrender at discretion, or that this garrison should be put to the sword. Their threats have had no influence on me or my men, but to make all fight with desperation, and that high souled courage which characterizes the patriot, who is willing to die in defense of his country's liberty and his own honor. The citizens of this municipality are all our enemies, except those who have joined us heretofore. We have but three Mexicans now in the fort; those who have not joined us, in this extremity, should be declared public enemies, and their property should aid in paying the expenses of the war. The bearer of this will give your honorable body a statement more in detail, should he escape through the enemy's lines.

God and Texas—Victory or Death.
[signed] W.B. Travis

Colonel Travis knew what fate awaited himself and his men. When the Mexicans taunted them, they only fought harder. The time for failed politics was over. The fight was afoot, and the men and women in the Alamo fought for more then their lives. Those brave rebels fought for their country.

I believe that this powerful truth is sadly missed in today's casual talk about war. People talk about sacrificing one's life for something bigger than politics with such casual acrimony, as if there is no sacrifice. I see today's warriors fighting the same fight today in Iraq, only it's not the Mexicans that have them outnumbered. It's the Americans at home who have lost their faith, lost their compassion, and lost their will.

It is because of brave men and women, such as those who fought and won Texas' independence, that I am free to pay them respect. I will never forget them, and I will never forget the Alamo.

Others remembering:
Animation Amy
Mike Falick has scans of a letter written by Col. William Barret Travis on the first day of the seige..
Chuck Baldwin shares some valuable insight.

February 5, 2007

Gov. Perry Decrees - Gardasil For All

Governor Perry has stirred up controversy by issuing an executive order requiring all girls be vaccinated against HPV before entering the 6th grade. Currently, the only way to comply with this new rule is with the Gardasil vaccine from drug company Merck, although it is not specifically required to use this vaccine in the new rule.

Personally, I think vaccinations like these are important, especially when they can be shown to prevent cancer. With all the media attention to "cancer research" and "finding the cure" I find it very odd that there is such resistance. Isn't this what we've been telling the drug companies we want for years? It's not a cure, but if it can prevent you from getting it in the first place, isn't that just as good?

And don't forget this:

Perry also directed state health authorities to make the vaccine available free to girls 9 to 18 who are uninsured or whose insurance does not cover vaccines. In addition, he ordered that Medicaid offer Gardasil to women ages 19 to 21.

That means that if you can't afford it, now can get it.

One thing that is consistently being overlooked in every article I have read about this is this clause in the executive order:

Parents' Rights. The Department of State Health Services will, in order to protect the right of parents to be the final authority on their children's health care, modify the current process in order to allow parents to submit a request for a conscientious objection affidavit form via the Internet while maintaining privacy safeguards under current law.

That means that if you object to the vaccine, you're children don't have to get it. All you have to do is fill out a form.

I read a good post about this over at Thoughts of an Average Woman, where she has some good analysis, and makes some very valid points. Be sure to check out the Femeniste as well.

January 16, 2007

Playing in the Ice

Austin has been covered with a layer of ice since Monday. This is a rare occurrence, so my wife and I decided to go outside and enjoy the snow.

September 23, 2005

Hurricane Rita Pictures

I've taken some photos of the clouds here in Austin/Pflugerville. They look a bit different now than they did this morning, but somewhat interesting nonetheless. You can view the photos in my gallery by clicking the image below.

Rita weakens to Category 3

Hurricane Rita has weakened to a category 3 hurricane. There are now reports of at least three levee breaches in New Orleans, and an official report that there is flooding in the 9th ward of New Orleans. LA Governor Blanco's advice to those who have opted to stay in New Orleans is:

"Perhaps they should write their Social Security numbers on their arms with indelible ink."
Not much has changed in the latest NOAA Rita warning page. The National Weather Service Office in Houston has a contantly updated page available at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/hgx/ and a statement posted at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/productview.php?pil=HGXHLSHGX. All of the local statements from the National Hurricane Center can be found at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/index_hls3.shtml You can also get a listing of all the New Orleans evacuations on the NOLA blog at http://www.nola.com/weblogs/localbreakingnews/

Rita shifting in it's tracks

According to analysts, Rita is beginning to feel the effects of land and appears to be weakening temporarily, while attempting to rebuild. While South Texas is largely breathing a sigh of relief, those people still in New Orleans are not faring so well with reports of more flooding with water flowing over "repaired" levees. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Rita weakens further before hitting land. We can already see the cloud ring bands here in Austin. I'll try and take some pics later and get em posted up in the gallery.

September 22, 2005

Houston empties bracing for Rita

Reports are coming in that traffic out of Houston is moving at a rate of about 7 miles per hour. I have heard numerous first-hand accounts that the freeways are completely clogged in all directions. I have family coming to Austin from Houston, and about a dozen co-workers have family coming as well. There are numerous reports that cars are running out of gas or breaking down which impedes the process even further. If you want to know if you are in an evacuation zone, you can check this evacuation zone map from The City of Houston's Hurricane info page. It also looks like The Storm Track is taking a severe beating. You can now reach Storm Track via the Coral Cache at http://thestormtrack.com.nyud.net:8090/ If you're in Texas and need more info, try looking at the Texas DPS Hurricane Rita info page. If that site gets swamped, you can try accessing through the Coral Cache at http://www.txdps.state.tx.us.nyud.net:8090/dem/rita_index.htm

September 21, 2005

Hurricane Rita Update - Wed Night

Storm track has a new post up with the latest model of Hurricane Rita. According to that model, Austin will put the 50-100 miles off the center Saturday afternoon. Lets all hope and pray this hurricane fizzles before it hits land. Rita has already been recorded as a category 5 and the 3rd strongest hurricane in the Atlantic. More local info in the extended section.

Continue reading "Hurricane Rita Update - Wed Night" »

Texas Hurricane Evacuation Info

Over at StormTrack they have a very good post with Texas evacuation information gathered from various sources. There is also a good post on Hurricane Rita there with frequently updated information. There are already rumors floating around the internet that Rita has already become a Category 5 hurricane, but no official word yet. If you have family in South Texas, now's the time to start getting them out!