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July 14th, 2013:

Weekend link for July 14

Happy Bastille Day, y’all.

“A good fortuneteller can make $200,000 to $300,000 a year easily.”

Sadly, there’s a dozen rabid weasels problem in many organizations.

Most “spider bites” are not actually caused by spiders.

“A few moments ago Google processed the RIAA’s latest batch of copyright takedowns making the organization the music industry’s top sender of DMCA notices. Just ahead of the BPI, the RIAA has now removed more than 25 million URL listings from the world’s largest search engine. But with no clear end in sight, the boss of a UK-based anti-piracy company says the situation is actually getting worse, and it’s all thanks to website blocking.”

RIP, WebTV, as of September.

So what happens when insurance companies refuse to play ball with Second Amendment absolutists?

First Weiner, now Spitzer. Did the entire city of New York violate a crypt or something?

Wingnut artificial turf group spreads misinformation about Obamacare. Film at 11.

“There are exceptions, but the rule is that people are on Big Brother specifically because nobody and nothing will miss them. They don’t have the desire of Amazing Race contestants to see the world, or of Survivor contestants to compete physically and try life out in the elements. They just want to sit here, on television, on a big set, doing nothing.”

Ana Marie Cox gives James O’Keefe’s love note to himself the review it deserves.

The first rule of interviewing Selena Gomez is don’t talk about Justin Bieber.

Happy 85th birthday, sliced bread, the greatest thing since whatever the greatest thing before sliced bread was.

RIP, Chase, bat dog for the Trenton Thunder.

“Democrats have a problem with Southern whites, not all whites.”

Costumes are not consent.

Of course Elizabeth Hasselbeck is moving to Fox. The only surprise is why she wasn’t there already.

If evangelicals are becoming even less tolerant of marriage equality, then the increasing shift in overall acceptance of it shows just how far everyone else has come on the issue.

Twenty-eight SyFy movies even more awesome than Sharknado. How in the world did I miss Chupacabra Versus The Alamo, starring Erik Estrada?!?

“If none of this assuages your sharknado-based fears, the federal government is here to help.”

And now, enjoy the GIFs, Vines, and Tweets that were spawned by Sharknado. You’re welcome.

Old time sounds that you don’t hear anymore.

“The idea that there is a ideological divide or set of philosophical questions or priorities that makes some libertarians embrace the Confederacy and secession and despise Abraham Lincoln while others do not is, to put it generously, nonsense.”

You can push that point further, too.

RIP, Toshi Seeger, wife of legendary folksinger Pete Seeger.

“Rabidly political evangelicals who revile LGBT people in the most vicious terms remain welcome in the tribe. Bible-quoting, Jesus-loving evangelicals who refuse to condemn LGBT people have crossed a boundary and are no longer welcome. The news and entertainment media did not create that boundary, the tribal gatekeepers did.”

Dang it, I missed Manhattanhenge again this year.

“This is just another example of why Harry Reid might actually go through with filibuster reform this year: there’s simply nothing that Democrats can do anymore to get even the most modest cooperation from Republicans.”

But for the man’s negligence in carrying a loaded gun and chasing and pursuing the teen, after being told not to by the police, there would have been no physical confrontation and the teen would be alive.”

RIP, Chuck Foley, inventor of the board game “Twister”.

Greg Abbott has a very special announcement to make

He’s ready to accept your coronation as king the next Governor of Texas.

There he is…

Attorney General Greg Abbott is tipping his hand ever so much more slightly about his San Antonio appearance Sunday, with his campaign re-branding it from a meet-and-greet to a “major announcement.”

Abbott is widely expected to announce for governor in the wake of Gov. Rick Perry’s decision not to seek re-election, and he’s the odds-on favorite to win the seat.

His campaign just revealed a day ago that Abbott has raised nearly another $5 million.

He had an $18 million war chest in January, although he hasn’t yet said how much of that he’s spent getting ready for his “major announcement.

The Twitterati were ready to weigh in when the AP first reported the news.

“I bet @GregAbbott_TX’s ‘major announcement’ really is major, unlike Rick Perry’s ‘exciting future plans,’ which totally wasn’t,” said Democratic strategist Harold Cook.

Of course, it could be that his “major announcement” is to announce that he’s won a major award. What would be a “major announcement” would be some kind of policy idea that isn’t “ME HATE OBAMA”, but as Burka notes, Abbott doesn’t exactly have a track record to suggest that. Nope, I’m pretty sure it will be all about his divine right to be next in line. Get used to it, folks.

She who must not be named

It’s nice to see that Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, has found meaningful work to do now that she is no longer CEO of that organization. It’s not the least bit surprising to see that she’s still in denial about the events that led to the end of her tenure as CEO.

Right there with them

Right there with them

18 months after turmoil over a funding flap with Planned Parenthood, Brinker said that longer perspective has helped her and the charity move forward.

“We had a couple of tough years, but, honestly, no year was as tough in my life as losing my sister,” she said in an interview with The Dallas Morning News.

Brinker traveled this week to Tanzania to participate in the George W. Bush Institute’s African First Ladies Summit. Dallas-based Komen is a partner in Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, Laura and George Bush’s cancer-fighting initiative in Africa. And the charity plans to ramp up its global outreach.

Brinker, in the interview, again apologized for the funding tiff that’s still being felt. Komen recently canceled some of its signature races because of a drop in donations.

The controversy started in early 2012 after Komen initially announced plans to end grants to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings. Komen and Brinker, targets of a public backlash, reversed course within a week.

While she said “a lot of mistakes were made,” she emphasized that at Komen, “we’re way beyond it.” She said the charity’s resulting self-evaluation has allowed it to emerge stronger than ever, with improved leadership and communication.

“You have to go through stuff every once in a while,” she said. “We got to take a deep look at our organization and fix some of the things that weren’t working right.”

Brinker stressed that the decision wasn’t political, despite speculation inside Komen and out that it was made because Planned Parenthood provides abortion services.

She said she can’t “hide the fact that I served in a Republican administration” but that she and Komen’s board never operate politically.

Instead, she said, a contentious political year — fueled by the presidential campaign — caused the decisions to be interpreted in a certain way.

That Nancy Brinker could characterize recent Komen history in this whitewashed fashion is, as I said, not a surprise to me. Nancy Brinker clearly showed that she didn’t quite inhabit the same plane of reality as the rest of us while that history was being played out. But for this version of events to be published in a major newspaper without even a mention of the name Karen Handel is journalistic malpractice. I’m not going to do a detailed rebuttal of Brinker’s passively-voiced fantasy facts here, because life is short and we all have better things to do. A simple click on that Wikipedia link above will be sufficient to show that things were not as Nancy Brinker chooses to remember them. I understand that this was intended as a soft story about Brinker, who is doing laudable work in Africa now, not a comprehensive rehash of a past political fight. But come on. Either tell the story of what happened at Komen seriously or don’t tell it at all.

Tubing along in New Braunfels

Time for another can ban update.

River tourists poured into waterways here Saturday, slathered in sunscreen and toting drinks in a variety of vessels, as the summer tubing season finally hit full stride.

“We didn’t have a (strong) spring because it was cold, and it flooded on Memorial Day weekend, so this is the first fair shot we’ve had,” said Matthew Hoyt, owner of Corner Tubes.

Despite a municipal prohibition on disposable containers, patronage was heavy on the Comal River as well as the Guadalupe River where it flows inside the city.

To comply with “the can ban,” Michael “Steezy” Stane had a pesticide sprayer loaded with vodka, cranberry juice and ice.

“I wish I could bring beer cans,” said Stane, 24, of Fort Worth.

The regulation enacted last year is being challenged in a lawsuit, but authorities say visitors are getting acclimated to carrying reusable containers.

“We’ve had very few incidents involving unauthorized containers,” Police Capt. John McDonald said. “We’ve had some really large crowds, but they’ve been very manageable.”


Lots of time was spent explaining the rules to callers at the Rockin’ R outfitters in Gruene, where tubers were lined up early Saturday.

Rockin R manager Shane Wolf said he was pleased at last week’s uptick in business, which included steady sales of reusable beverage containers for customers heading into the city.

“The rain on Memorial Day Saturday obviously hurt, as well high school graduations all the way into June,” said Wolf. He’s one of those fighting the can ban in court, but declined to discuss the case Saturday.

See here for the previous update. It’s a little early to make any judgments, but so far at least there’s no sign of radical change. According to the story, the lawsuit, which is back in Comal County after a brief sojourn to Travis, could go to trial by the end of the year. I’ll be keeping an eye on it.