New Horizon Passes Pluto

Pluto from New Horizon craft 20150714Pluto was discovered/confirmed in 1930 by a 23-year old Kansas farm boy, Clyde Tombaugh, using a telescope at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.

After a 2 month search for names, an eleven-year-old schoolgirl, Venetia Burney, from Oxford, England, suggested the name Pluto to her father who passed it on to an astronomy professor who passed it on to colleagues in the United States.

New Horizons’ almost 10-year, three-billion-mile journey to closest approach at Pluto took about one minute less than predicted when the craft was launched in January 2006. The spacecraft threaded the needle through a 36-by-57 mile (60 by 90 kilometers) window in space — the equivalent of a commercial airliner arriving no more off target than the width of a tennis ball. Source: NASA 2015-07-14

When the New Horizon spacecraft was launched in January 2006, Pluto was still the 9th planet. Nine months later, in September, Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet. It belonged more to the Kuiper belt (or Trans-Neptunian objects) than with the rest of our eight planets.

Texas Passes Open Carry and Campus Carry Bills

Texas passed the “Open Carry” bill (HB910) and the “Campus Carry” bill (SB11) on May 31, 2015; they’re waiting Governor Abbott’s signature.

Starting January 1, 2016, you can carry any handgun openly or concealed as long as you are licensed by Texas or a state with reciprocity. By law, the handgun must be carried in a “shoulder or belt holster.” Long arms do not require a license.

The campus carry bill is set to go into effect August 1, 2016, for four-year institutions, and August 1, 2017, for public junior colleges.

Under the current version of the bill, university presidents will establish “reasonable rules, regulations, or other provisions regarding the carrying of concealed handguns,” on campus. However, the bill clearly states that universities may not establish “general prohibitions” on concealed carry. Source: TheBatt.com

There was a lot of debate about an amendment to the open carry bill that would prevent law enforcement from stopping a person who is open carrying just because they are open carrying – to have them show their license. Proponents said it was a violation of the U.S. Fourth Amendment. Opponents said it would hinder law enforcement’s ability to do their job or keep the public safe. In the end the amendment was removed.

I can think of a catch 22 scenario where a person is forced to show their gun license: if a licensed person, who open carries, is stopped by a LEO under the suspicion that a crime is about to occur – that crime is failure to identify yourself as a gun license holder.

If the person doesn’t show their license then the LEO was right in their suspicion and they can arrest the person; they’ll search the person and find their license. If the person does show their license the LEO checks it and sends them on their way. Either way the LEO forced the person to identify.

All in all I glad the Texas legislature passed these bills. We’re living in times were force is sometimes required. There have been many instances where I said “that would have ended differently if only a (responsible) gun owner was present.” We shall see what the future holds for these laws – will the help or make things worse.

Texas earthquakes

Have you heard? We have earthquakes in Texas. The USGS thinks its because of oil drilling technique know as fracking. The oil and gas companies are silent about the earthquakes. This is a growing problem. It’ll will take several deaths and property damage before it goes to court.

Officially, the cause of the earthquakes is inconclusive, according to the USGS, but on Tuesday, a Southern Methodist University-led research team found that in Azle and Reno, towns northwest of Fort Worth, the oil and gas activities in the vicinity were “most likely” responsible for several earthquakes in late 2013 and 2014. Source: CNN.com

This was a really well-written article. I encourage you to read it. Fracking has been going on in Texas for several years now, and the amounts of earthquakes (tremors if you will) has dramatically increased: from a few every few years to 40+ in one year; most concentrated in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Here’s a fracking term to look up: flowback.

Memorial Day Ribs 2015 – Don’t Mess With Success

I started thinking about my Memorial Day ribs back on May 1st. It’s a tradition now. I’ve made ribs on Memorial Day weekend for five years! I think last year’s ribs were the best, so I don’t want to mess with success. This year I’ll oven-bake them first, then finish them outside in a smoke-filled grill; weather permitting.

Although Memorial Day Memphis Style sounds cool, I can stop calling them Memphis style because they’re more of a combination of Central Texas style and dry, Memphis style ribs. There’ll be some kind of thick, tomato-based sauce on the table if we need it. We like Sweet Baby Ray’s.

The new phrase this year is “dry brining.” Basically dry brining is lightly salting the meat 1 to 2 hours before cooking. Last year, Meathead (remember him from AmazingRibs.com) removed the salt from his Memphis Dust rub recipe. Now he applies a dry brine for 2 hours then rubs the ribs with Memphis Dust.

Ingredients

(Meat)
3 slabs (~10 lbs) of St. Louis cut spare ribs

(Rub)
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 teaspoons cumin powder

(Charro beans)
1 lbs pinto beans
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 lbs bacon

(Coleslaw)
1 lbs bag coleslaw mix
mayonnaise
buttermilk
white sugar
cider vinegar
lemon juice
salt
pepper

(Potato salad)
5 lbs Russet potatoes
mayonnaise
dill relish
sweet relish
yellow mustard

Make the sides

Vincent made charro beans.

Katie made coleslaw.

Barbie made potato salad.

Bake the ribs in the oven (4 hours)

Wash off the ribs, take off the membrane, and coat them with a thin layer of kosher salt; use about 1/4 teaspoon per pound. While the ribs are brining, mix the rub ingredients together. After an hour, apply the rub and put the ribs in a 250 F oven uncovered, bone-side down, for 2 hours.

Take the ribs out, brush them with barbecue sauce, wrap them in aluminum foil, and put them back in the oven for another 2 hours. Now take the ribs out, carefully unwrap them, and check if the bones pull away from the meat. If not, wrap them up, put them in the oven, and come back and check on them again in 15 minutes. When the bones start to slide they’re ready for the grill.

Finish them on the grill (15 minutes)

You can finish them under the broiler in the oven or in a covered grill (outside). If you want to finish them in the oven, paint them with sauce, lay them in a baking pan, bones down, uncovered, about 6 inches from the broiler for 10 minutes.

If you want to finish them with a smokey grill, prepare the grill for indirect heat. When the temperature stabilizes (no flames with charcoal) place wood chips on the coals/flames. Place the ribs on the opposite side the grill from the coals/flames. Smoke the ribs for at least 15 minutes (YMMV). Check internal temperature or pull on the bones every 5 minutes.

Remember – Memorial Day isn’t about sales, or parties, or bbq. Memorial Day is about remembering fallen veterans.

Drought to Flood

Temperature and Rain 2015It was just 4 years ago that Texas was facing the worst drought in over 100 years. This year we’ve had above average rain fall. It’s making a dent in the drought.

“Human nature only remembers the near term, and we quickly forget we’ve been in drought for years. One wet spring won’t get us out of it.” A quote from Brian Fuchs. Source: The Scoop Blog with Dallas Morning News

Sometimes it feels like feast or famine.

Most of the lakes around here are closed or partially closed due to flooding. Memorial Day will be a wash out for Lake Somerville.

I guess we’ll see how long this lasts.

Open Carry In Texas One Step Closer

After turning back last-minute attempts to let city voters opt out, the Texas House gave final approval Monday to legislation allowing gun owners with concealed weapons licenses to carry their side arms openly.

House Bill 910, by Rep. Larry Phillips, R- Sherman, passed on third reading 101-42. Similar legislation has already passed the Senate, and Gov. Greg Abbott has promised to sign open carry legislation. Source: Texas Tribune

Back in January, I was watching SB11 and HB937, relating to concealed carry on college campuses, but thanks to lobbying by Open Carry Texas and the NRA, SB11 and HB910 seem to be doing well. Both bills would relax the concealment requirement of the Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders.

Happy 10th Blogiversary

I started this blog on this day in 2005. Happy 10th Blogiversary!

Like a lot of blogs I don’t write much here now, just the occasional rant about Texas politics. I mainly have used this blog to capture moments in time so that I can go back and read them and be nostalgic.

Texas Bills related to concealed carry

There are currently 29 34 bills filed for consideration in the Texas House and Senate. Let’s see how this year plays out.

Texas Legislature

Bills By Subject

Subject Headings: CONCEALED HANDGUNS

84th Legislature Regular Session

Report Date: 2/12/2015

HB 106 Author: Flynn
Last Action: 02/09/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 9 2015 2:57PM
Caption: Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry the handgun; providing penalties.
HB 164 Author: White, James | Leach | Guillen | Bohac | Phelan
Last Action: 02/09/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 9 2015 2:57PM
Caption: Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry the handgun; providing penalties.
HB 195 Author: Stickland
Last Action: 02/10/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 10 2015 11:34AM
Caption: Relating to the carrying of handguns; providing for the open carrying of handguns; removing the requirement that a person who may lawfully possess handguns obtain a Concealed Handgun License in order to carry a handgun lawfully in the state of Texas, and conforming changes.
HB 198 Author: Huberty
Last Action: 02/12/2015 H Referred to Public Education: Feb 12 2015 11:31AM
Caption: Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns by certain persons attending a school board meeting.
HB 216 Author: White, James
Last Action: 02/10/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 10 2015 11:34AM
Caption: Relating to the eligibility of a person for a license to carry a concealed handgun.
HB 226 Author: Guillen
Last Action: 02/12/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 12 2015 11:31AM
Caption: Relating to certain offenses relating to carrying concealed handguns on property owned or leased by a governmental entity; providing a civil penalty.
HB 278 Author: Ashby | Leach
Last Action: 02/11/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 11 2015 11:25AM
Caption: Relating to authorizing certain attorneys representing the state to openly carry a handgun.
HB 284 Author: Springer
Last Action: 02/11/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 11 2015 11:25AM
Caption: Relating to the handgun proficiency required to obtain or renew a concealed handgun license.
HB 291 Author: Huberty | Price
Last Action: 02/11/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 11 2015 11:25AM
Caption: Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry the handgun; providing penalties.
HB 308 Author: Springer
Last Action: 02/11/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 11 2015 11:25AM
Caption: Relating to the places where a person may carry a handgun if the person is licensed to carry a concealed handgun.
HB 353 Author: King, Ken
Last Action: 02/12/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 12 2015 11:31AM
Caption: Relating to the application of certain weapons laws to certain volunteer emergency services personnel licensed to carry a concealed handgun.
HB 415 Author: Riddle | Phillips
Last Action: 12/01/2014 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry the handgun; providing penalties.
HB 554 Author: Springer
Last Action: 12/18/2014 H Filed
Caption: Relating to a defense to prosecution for the offense of possessing or carrying a weapon in or into the secured area of an airport.
HB 571 Author: Pickett
Last Action: 12/22/2014 H Filed
Caption: Relating to a defense to prosecution for the offense of possessing or carrying a weapon in or into the secured area of an airport.
HB 573 Author: White, James
Last Action: 12/23/2014 H Filed
Caption: Relating to a defense to prosecution for the offense of possessing or carrying a firearm on the premises of a polling place.
HB 695 Author: Springer
Last Action: 01/14/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the carrying of a concealed handgun by the holder of a concealed handgun license on hospital or nursing home premises; authorizing a penalty.
HB 805 Author: Keough
Last Action: 01/20/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to authorizing a license holder to carry a concealed handgun on certain premises.
HB 890 Author: Klick
Last Action: 01/23/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to reducing certain fees for a license to carry a concealed handgun for county jailers.
HB 910 Author: Phillips | Flynn | White, James | Riddle | Guillen
Last Action: 01/23/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry a holstered handgun; creating a criminal offense; providing penalties.
HB 922 Author: Leach
Last Action: 01/26/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry the handgun; creating an offense; providing penalties.
HB 937 Author: Fletcher | Burkett | Bohac | Flynn | Bell
Last Action: 01/26/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns on the campuses of and certain other locations associated with institutions of higher education.
HB 944 Author: Kacal
Last Action: 01/26/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry the handgun; providing penalties.
HB 1154 Author: Turner, Scott
Last Action: 02/05/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the issuance of a concealed handgun license.
HB 1234 Author: Tinderholt
Last Action: 02/09/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns by certain license holders on certain locations associated with a public or private school or educational institution.
HB 1285 Author: Simmons
Last Action: 02/10/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the authority of certain personal protection officers to carry certain weapons.
HB 1376 Author: Paddie
Last Action: 02/12/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the application of certain concealed handgun license laws to community supervision and corrections department officers and juvenile probation officers; reducing a fee.
SB 11 Author: Birdwell | Bettencourt | Burton | Campbell | Creighton | et al.
Last Action: 02/12/2015 S Scheduled for public hearing on . . .
Caption: Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns on the campuses of and certain other locations associated with institutions of higher education.
SB 17 Author: Estes
Last Action: 02/12/2015 S Scheduled for public hearing on . . .
Caption: Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry a holstered handgun; creating a criminal offense; providing penalties.
SB 179 Author: Perry
Last Action: 01/27/2015 S Referred to State Affairs
Caption: Relating to the handgun proficiency required to obtain or renew a concealed handgun license.
SB 273 Author: Campbell
Last Action: 01/28/2015 S Referred to State Affairs
Caption: Relating to certain offenses relating to carrying concealed handguns on property owned or leased by a governmental entity; providing a civil penalty.
SB 301 Author: Taylor, Van
Last Action: 02/02/2015 S Referred to Education
Caption: Relating to school marshals for private schools.
SB 311 Author: Campbell
Last Action: 02/02/2015 S Referred to State Affairs
Caption: Relating to certain offenses involving the carrying of concealed handguns by license holders and to defenses and exceptions to the prosecution of those offenses.
SB 342 Author: Huffines
Last Action: 02/02/2015 S Referred to State Affairs
Caption: Relating to providing for the open and concealed carrying of handguns without a license and to related offenses and penalties.
SB 346 Author: Estes
Last Action: 02/02/2015 S Referred to State Affairs
Caption: Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry a holstered handgun; creating a criminal offense; providing penalties.

2014 Election Results, Who Represents Brazos County Texas

Refer to my earlier post about the 2014 Primary/Election for candidates of this mid-term election. This is a small list of the people that represent Brazos County Texas.

U.S. President – Next Election 2016

U.S. Senate (Texas)

U.S. House of Representatives (District 17 Texas)

Texas Senate (District 5)

Texas House of Representatives (District 14)

District Attorney – Brazos County

Read More

I Voted in the Midterm Election or The Big Yawn

And the winners are (the Republicans of course):

United States

Senator: John Cornyn

Representative (District 17): Bill Flores

Texas

Governor: Greg Abbott

Lieutenant Governor: Dan Patrick

Attorney General: Ken Paxton

Senator (District 5): Charles Schwertner

Representative (District 14): John Raney

Comptroller of Public Accounts: Glenn Hegar

Commissioner of the General Land Office: George P. Bush

Commissioner of Agriculture: Sid Miller

Railroad Commissioner: Ryan Sitton

Chief Justice, Supreme Court: Nathan Hecht

Supreme Court, Place 6: Jeff Brown

Supreme Court, Place 7: Jeff Boyd

Supreme Court, Place 8: Phil Johnson

Criminal Appeals Court Place 3: Bert Richardson

Criminal Appeals Court Place 4: Kevin Yeary

Criminal Appeals Court Place 9: David Newell

10th Court of Appeals Place 2: Rex Davis

85th District Judge: Kyle Hawthorne

361st District Judge: Steve Smith

Brazos County

County Judge: Duane Peters

County Court at Law #1: Amanda Matzke

County Court at Law #2: Jim Locke

District Clerk: Marc Hamlin

County Clerk: Karen McQueen

County Treasurer: Laura Davis

County Commissioner Precinct 4: Irma Cauley (D)

Justice of the Peace #4: Louis Garcia

Constable Precinct 4: Isaac Butler (D)

Texas Propositions

Proposition 1 – Transportation Funds: Passed

City of Bryan Propositions

Charter Amendment, Proposition 1: Passed

Charter Amendment, Proposition 2: Passed

Charter Amendment, Proposition 3: Passed

Bryan ISD

Voters in Bryan approve a $132 million bond proposal.

The money will be used to build a pair new school buildings and make improvements to every school in the district, including security and heating and air conditioning.