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Hometown: Austin, TX
Home country: U.S.
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 18,063

Journal Archives

Fan favorite Paul Qui of Uchiko wins 'Top Chef: Texas'

AAS 3/1/12

Fan favorite Paul Qui of Uchiko wins 'Top Chef: Texas'

His boss might have won a James Beard Award, but Uchiko's Paul Qui has won the title of "Top Chef" in the finale of Wednesday night's Bravo hit series, "Top Chef: Texas."

Qui, who trained under Uchi chef Tyson Cole before taking the reins at Cole's second restaurant, Uchiko, in 2010, had been a fan and judges' favorite throughout the ninth season of the Emmy-winning series, and he beat Chicago chef Sarah Grueneberg in the finale at the Black & Blue restaurant in Vancouver.

Uchi and Uchiko have been hosting watch parties throughout the season, and during the finale Wednesday night at Uchiko, where Cole was working the kitchen, more than 100 people who were gathered around the TV sets hanging in the lobby and over the sushi bar erupted in cheers as Qui took home the coveted prize.

Alekz Xavier had never seen an episode of "Top Chef" until this season but, with three of her friends, had attended every watch party on Wednesday nights.

to Paul Qui and Uchiko! Uchi is my favorite sushi restaurant and this is just a great recognition for Uchi and Texas!

Texans give more money to Colbert's PAC than to Romney's

Houston Chronicle 2/27/12
Texans give more money to Colbert's PAC than to Romney's

WASHINGTON - How popular is comedian Stephen Colbert's semi-serious Super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow?

In Texas, it's more popular that Mitt Romney's leading Super PAC.

Federal Election Commission records examined by the Houston Chronicle indicate more Texans have donated to Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow than to the pro-Romney Restore Our Future.

Colbert, a popular TV satirist, created Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow as a means of educating his cable audience on how Super PACs could affect the 2012 presidential election.

Houston resident Rebecca Stewart is the among the Texas donors. She says she decided to donate not because she was a fan of Colbert's Comedy Central, but because she was upset with the Supreme Court's ruling that led to the Super PAC craze.

New interim maps for Texas

They're not pretty for Austin.

Supreme Court delivers major ruling on water regulation

Austin Legal blog AAS 2/24/12

Supreme Court delivers major ruling on water regulation

In a ruling likely to have a wide impact on the regulation of water use in Texas, the state Supreme Court today ruled that landowners have an ownership interest in water beneath their land and may be compensated if regulations limit their access to it.

The legal dispute involves a ranch owner who sued when the Edwards Aquifer Authority issued a permit that limited the amount of underground water that could be used.

The authority had argued that if landowners can be compensated for limiting access to their water, the result would be a disaster, creating an unknown number of legal disputes and a financial burden that could make regulating water impossible.


Ken Kramer, director of the Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter, said the decision could have disastrous impact on the state economy and environment.

“The court has done a huge disservice to everyone who has been working for proper management of the groundwater resources needed for our state’s people and our environment,” Kramer said.

Well it's each person for themselves once again. I'm sure the water corporations that buy/rent the Texas Supreme Court judges are happy. They will just suck all the water from underneath faster than anyone else can. And then continue to sell it to everyone else at exorbitant prices. Water is the new black gold in Texas.

What a mess.

Decision on Texas voter-ID law could be a long time coming

Trailblazers blog DMN 2/23/12
Legal experts: Decision on Texas voter-ID law could be a long time coming

WASHINGTON--When Hans von Spakovsky of the conservative Heritage Foundation and Laura Murphy of the ACLU debated about voter-identification laws on Thursday, the two legal experts were coming from opposite ends of the spectrum.

Still, they were able to find at least one view they shared: Neither expects the dispute over Texas' voter-ID law to be decided anytime soon.

"What we do know is that it's very unlikely that these laws will be adjudicated before the election," said Murphy, director of the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office. "The Supreme Court is not likely to hear any [voter-ID] cases before the November 2012 election."

Von Spakovsky, a former Federal Election Commission official, pointed out that Texas, which recently sued the Justice Department for allegedly delaying approval of its voter-ID law, may have to wait for its turn in court behind earlier challenges from South Carolina and Alabama.

Murphy said the laws are a result of "Republican-controlled legislatures who may fear that low-income people, students, the elderly, the disabled and racial minorities are taking aim at their political powers."

I sure hope this holds. I want to see the Supreme Court change makeup before these bills even see any possibility of going into law in Texas.

Vampire bats in Texas?

AAS 2/20/12

Vampire bats in Texas? Texas State researcher says it's possible -- and now is the time to prepare

To the growing list of unwelcome effects of global warming or climate change or whatever your politics dictate you call the phenomenon, you may add this: Vampire bats are threatening to invade Texas.

The bats are native to South and Central America and Mexico, and a move north is a distinct possibility in coming decades, Texas State University biologist and wildlife disease expert Ivan Castro-Arellano said.

Vampire bats can't survive for long in temperatures below 50 degrees. But if Texas continues to experience mild winters, colonies of the nonmigratory species could find homes here.

Weather models show temperatures could go up an average of 2 to 11 degrees in the next century, and Castro-Arellano said the much-maligned creatures of the night may emigrate from Mexico to the Lone Star State in half that time or less.

It's an issue for ranchers and others with livestock because vampire bats can injure and even kill their prey — mostly sleeping mammals — with repeated feedings. Vampire bats cost Mexican ranchers millions in losses every year, Castro-Arellano said. The U.S. Census Bureau places the value of Texas' livestock at more than $14 billion

Like we don't already have enough blood sucking varmints (texas repukes).

El Paso Mayor John Cook wins recall appeal (Good ruling - he stood with LGBT)

El Paso Times 2/17/12

Update: El Paso Mayor John Cook wins recall appeal

Mayor John Cook has won the appeal in his lawsuit against a group seeking to recall him.

The Eighth Court of Appeals on Friday unanimously ruled that the recall group had violated the law in its petition drive. The court ordered Municipal Clerk Richarda Momsen to decertify the recall petitions and ruled that no recall election using them can be held.

The order states, "Having instructed the City Clerk to decertify the petitions, no election thereon may be called or held."

Pastor Tom Brown, Word of Life Church and others are trying to recall Cook and City Reps. Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega because all three officials voted to restore health benefits for gay and unmarried partners of city employees after voters passed a ballot initiative in November 2010 repealing them.

Cook says organizers of the petition drive violated a law prohibiting corporations -- including nonprofit churches -- from making political contributions to recall elections.

Brown and his Word of Life Church were among the defendants in the case. Brown said they would appeal Friday's decision to the Texas Supreme Court.

"My analysis is it can't be appealed to the Texas Supreme Court," Walker said.

Congratulations to Mayor John Cook and his legal team! Way to do the right thing and restore those benefits for those families against the ugly pettiness of so called "Christian" values!

Texans Leave the Voting to a Small Minority

Texas Tribune 2/17/12

Texans Leave the Voting to a Small Minority

It doesn’t take very many people to win an election in Texas.

With redistricting fights pushing the primaries closer to summertime — and further from the possibility of giving the state’s Republican voters any say in who should be their presidential nominee — turnout could be even lower than normal.

“Normal” is a relative term when it comes to turnout in Texas elections.

Remember that big gubernatorial fight the Republicans had in 2010? Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison each spent more than $20 million on their campaigns. Debra Medina, a political newcomer appealing to fiscal conservatives and Tea Party voters looking for alternatives to the career politicians on the ballot, brought even more attention to the race.

At the time, the state had 18.8 million people who were old enough to vote. That big, fat, exciting Republican primary attracted fewer than 1.5 million of them — less than 8 percent.

The pathetic truth about voting in Texas. It's just a few partisan right wing hacks that control the outcome of voting. If it were only the motivated partisan hacks on our Democratic side that had control.

Really though it would be nice to see a high voter turnout. Even breaking the 25% eligible voter turnout mark would be epic.

Study finds Texas drought killed 5.6 million trees

AAS 2/15/12
Study finds Texas drought killed 5.6 million trees


The Texas Forest Service offered the preliminary estimate Tuesday.

Foresters spent the last month doing the survey, including use of satellite images to count live and dead trees in randomly selected areas.

All cities and towns in Texas were part of the study, except the Trans Pecos region, where tree mortality was determined to be a result of February 2011 cold weather.

Researcher Pete Smith says trees continue to die from the drought and a final number may never be known.

Doggett’s district could be sticking point in redistricting case

AAS 2/13/12

AG: Doggett’s district could be sticking point in redistricting case

From the perspective of the Austin Democrat, one of the casualties of the GOP-controlled Legislature’s map is his Congressional District 25. The Legislature’s map would make CD 25 a Republican district, one Doggett said he couldn’t win, and one that would push him to run in the proposed CD 35, which is based in Bexar County and stretches up Interstate 35 to Austin.

Lawyers representing Travis County and other attorneys working for a major Latino rights groups have said that District 25 deserves to be protected as a “coalition district” - one in which Latinos and African-Americans vote together to elect the candidate of their choice: Doggett.

Abbott, however, doesn’t see it that way at all.

And to that end, Abbott concluded that he “cannot compromise on this district.”

They just can't stand Doggett or Travis county. Those puny little republican minds can't handle Lloyd. They would rather die in a fire together than compromise on just that one district.

Those bastards did the same thing the last time they re-re-redistricted Travis county. Cowards! Lloyd you're just too powerful for them. They can't vote you out so they keep trying to gerrymander you out. Huge fraidy cat cowards!

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