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War veteran shoots, kills suspected Game Stop robber in NE Harris County

by Malini Basu

A war veteran shot and killed a robbery suspect Thursday outside a Game Stop located in northeast Harris County.

Deputies said two men, wearing masks and bandanas over their faces, robbed the Game Stop on Wallisville Road shortly after noon.

The 28-year-old veteran, who was eating lunch at Quiznos nearby, saw the suspects loading up Xboxes. He dropped his sandwich and went to his car to get a gun.

“The robber raised his pistol and pointed it at the 28-year-old male. Fearing for his life, he exchanged gunfire with the robber,” said Harris County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Thomas Gilliland.

The veteran shot and killed the suspect in the car.  Deputies said the suspect was in his 20s.

Witnesses said they heard at least 7 shots fired. Several people ducked for cover as they were having their lunch.

“We were on our lunch break, at the KFC, we heard ‘pop, pop, pop,’ we saw a young man run along the fence line. He stopped and looked and started taking off his clothes,” said John Richardson.

The other robbery suspect was located following a search.

Harris County Sheriff’s Deputies placed North Shore Middle School, North Shore High School, and Harvard Elementary on lockdown during the search.

He spotted two men wearing bandanas and masks loading up x-boxes into a red car. The veteran dropped his sandwich and made his way to his car to get his gun.

“The robber raised his pistol and pointed it at the 28 year old male. Fearing for his life, he exchanged gunfire with the robber.” Said Deputy Thomas Gilliland, with the Harris County Sheriff’s office.

The veteran shot and killed the suspect in the car. The suspect was in his 20’s.

Witnesses say they heard at least 7 shots fired. Several people ducked for cover as they were having their lunch.

“we were on our lunch break, at the kfc, we heard pop, pop, pop, we seen a young man run along the fence line. He stopped and looked and started taking off his clothes” said John Richardson, who heard the gun shots.

The other suspect was located following a search, which had Harris County Sheriff’s Deputies placing North Shore M.S., North Shore H.S., and Harvard Elementary on lockdown.

A grand jury will decide if the veteran will face charges or not.  See video here.

Bipartisan Corruption in the Texas Legislature the Media Mostly Ignores

Erick Erickson

Wallace Hall is a University of Texas Regent appointed by Gov. Rick Perry. He is presently facing impeachment and possible jail time for uncovering what looks and smells like systematic corruption in the enrollment process of the University of Texas system due to interference from members of the Texas legislature. The Speaker of the Texas House is implicated. The Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee has decided to retire. A powerful state senator is in the crosshairs. The heads of the University of Texas may be involved. And the media, both in Texas and nationally, is largely silent.

Normally, the media would be all over a story like this. It is Texas. It involves allegations of bipartisan corruption with Republican ring leaders. And it looks like there could be a cover up. But a number of media outlets in Texas most likely to kick off coverage of this scandal get solid ad revenue from one of the players in the scandal. So Wallace Hall heads to impeachment while Texas’s reporters turn a blind eye.

The media always protects its precious. In this case their precious is profit, not Obama. This story provides one answer to the question of who watches the watchers: not the media if they’re given part of the spoils.

It all began when Wallace Hall dared to do the unthinkable — his job. He began asking questions about enrollment practices in the University of Texas system. In particular, he wanted to know about the University of Texas law school. Within weeks of his investigation beginning, he had identified members of the Texas legislature applying pressure to the UT system for their friends and families’ benefit. Two weeks later those same legislators began impeachment proceedings against him. Now the legislators also want him carted off to jail for uncovering the corruption.

In essence, Wallace Hall found that qualified applicants to the University of Texas system get shoved aside for less qualified students who have political connections. has a good bit of scandal coverage and names names.

Speaker Joe Straus and two of his top lieutenants in the Texas House, Reps. Dan Branch and Jim Pitts, sent more letters to the president of the University of Texas on behalf of applicants than anyone else whose correspondence was included in a recent inquiry into admissions favoritism.

Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa’s office recently reviewed 86 “recommendation” letters, almost all of them from lawmakers, sent to UT President Bill Powers instead of through the proper channels.

Brooks and Straus also blocked an investigation into the UT Law School.

Wallace Hall’s investigation also uncovered that the House Appropriations Committee Chairman, James Pitts, pulled strings to get his son into law school. His son has subsequently failed the bar exam three times. Chairman Pitts decided not to seek re-election.

At least fifteen students likely were placed ahead of more qualified law school applicants because of their political connections and political pressure.  Continue reading here.

Marine jailed in Mexico receives order to report to USMC superiors

By Joseph J. Kolb

It might be the first order U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi doesn’t obey.

The mother of the reservist, who is being held in a Mexican jail after mistakenly crossing the border with registered guns, told her son just got an “Order to Muster” letter from the Marines telling Tahmooressi to report to the 4th Civil Affairs Group in Hialeah, Fla., on June 14. Although a Marine spokeswoman later told that the corps is aware of Tahmooressi’s current circumstances and does not expect him to report, failure typically can result in “other than honorable discharge” and affect Veterans Administration benefits.

“You are among the elite citizens of our nation who, if needed, are ready to answer the call to defend our freedom.,”
– Letter from USMC to Marine jailed in Mexico

“You are among the elite citizens of our nation who, if needed, are ready to answer the call to defend our freedom,” reads the May 9 order written by Sgt. Maj. M.E. Sprague, which also reminds the recipient that, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”

Jill Tahmooressi said the letter was the latest painful reminder of her son’s plight despite service to his country that includes two tours of duty in Afghanistan resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder. Tahmooressi was arrested March 31, after accidentally driving into Mexico with three legally purchased weapons in his truck.

A Marine Corps spokesman told reservists on Individual Ready Reserve, as Tahmooressi is, are contractually required to attend the one-day session to have their physical readiness evaluated should they be recalled to active duty. The letter does not represent a call-up to active duty.

Jill Tahmooressi, who has been able to speak to her son by telephone, said she did not know if the Marines sent the letter mistakenly, or did not know of his situation.

“I haven’t called the Marines about this,” she said.

Maj. Tamarra Jones, a Marine Force Reserves spokeswoman, said the corps is fully aware of Tahmooressi’s situation and has been following it closely.

“This is an exceptional circumstance and Sgt. Tahmooressi won’t be penalized for not attending this meeting,” Jones told

Tahmooressi, who joined the military in 2008, was a .50 caliber gunner in the top position of a Humvee, according to his mother. His bravery in combat earned him a battlefield promotion to sergeant.

The fearful mom hopes her son’s training and bravery will sustain him through his current ordeal. Tahmooressi attempted an escape from a notorious state-run jail in Tijuana shortly after his arrest. He has since been transferred to a federal penitentiary in Tecate, Mexico.

His first court hearing is scheduled for May 28, but will likely not result in any decision. The arresting Mexican border officials are slated to make a statement to the judge, who holds Tahmooressi’s fate in his hands alone. There are no jury trials in Mexico.

Meanwhile, a petition drive has been launched to spur President Obama’s intervention in the case. In order for the White House to automatically look into the case, 100,000 signatures must be gathered by May 31. As of Tuesday, there are about 30,000 signatures attached to the petition.  See video here.

US Marine with CHL Fatally Shoots Robber in NE Harris County

A military veteran with a concealed handgun license came to the rescue and exchanged gunfire with two alleged robbers Thursday in northeast Harris County, killing one of them.

It all happened shortly after noon on Wallisville Road near Beltway 8. According to investigators, the two men attempted to rob a Game Stop store when they were stopped by the 28-year-old U.S. Marine.

The Marine was eating at a restaurant next door when he saw two men pull up to the Game Stop wearing hoodies and bandanas. He yelled for someone to dial 911, and then he grabbed his concealed weapon out of his truck.

According to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, that’s when one of the suspects pointed a gun at him.

Gay Couple Told Not To Return To East Texas Restaurant

by Joe Gomez

A couple says they were told not to come back to a restaurant in East Texas because they’re gay.

In the town of Pittsburg, Texas, Big Earl’s Bait House and Country Store is an institution. So Collin Dewberry and his partner Kelley decided to have breakfast there. He says everything seemed to be going fine until they paid their check and were approached by their waitress on the way out.

“After I paid, her countenance seemed to change drastically,” said Dewberry.

Big Earl Cheney, the owner, explains what happened next.

“She told them the rules are on the door and it says ‘Welcome to Big Earl’s where men act like men, women act like ladies, no saggy pants and we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.’”

“And so I laughed and I asked what do you mean?” says Dewberry. “And that’s when she said to us… ‘to put it plainly, we don’t serve fags here.’”

The waitress happens to be Cheney’s daughter, and the owner says her choice of words were her own.

“I don’t think I should have to discipline her. I think the parents of those children — or kids or being whatever they are — should discipline them or teach ‘em how to act in public. I don’t think it’s my place to discipline her.”

Gay Couple Told Not To Return To East Texas Restaurant

earl Gay Couple Told Not To Return To East Texas Restaurant
Cheney says the reason Dewberry and his partner were asked not to return was because of their actions.

“What I saw was one of them half way under the table with his legs stretched out into the other guy’s lap. And he kind of looked really possum eyed at me as they say it in East Texas, he kind of looked at me like ‘uh-oh’.”

But Dewberry says nothing inappropriate was happening.

“We’re sitting on separate sides of the booth and really not even doing much talking. Because it was early in the morning and we were just sitting around waiting for our breakfast.”

He says after the incident, he went to the city for help. “They suggested that I not try to contact him… one of them used the word bigot.”

But bigot isn’t a word that Cheney would use to describe himself.

“Homosexuality, Blacks, Hispanics — they all come in here — everybody comes in here to eat,” said Cheney. “I’ve served my country for over 20 years; I know what my freedoms are.”

He continued, “I’m not gonna have people coming in here with their butt showing; I’m not gonna have people coming in here naked; I’m not gonna have people coming in here having sex on the tables.”

Cheney says he refuses to admit the couple back into his restaurant. Dewberry maintains they were doing nothing wrong and were discriminated against.

“Nobody deserves to be treated disrespectfully at an establishment that just seconds ago accepted their money.”

Gay Rights Attorney John Nechman says there really isn’t any legal recourse for Dewberry and his partner to take.

“We dont have protections in most parts of Texas for Gay and Lesbian people, other than in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso,” says Nechman. “There’s really no protections to go after someone because they’ve made a slur. Now if they made a slanderous statement, a libelous statement, where they claimed for example that the two were committing an act that they didn’t do, there would be legal action to take against them.”  See video here.

In Israel, Ted Cruz blasts Palestinians and Obama administration

By Todd J. Gillman

Visiting Israel, Sen. Ted Cruz placed blame Monday for the recent failure of peace talks squarely on Palestinians, and their refusal to renounce terror and to affirm Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

That, he said, is the “principal impediment to peace,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

He also was deeply critical of President Obama and his administration, asserting that his main approach in the region is “to criticize and harangue and pressure the Israeli government,” the Post reported.

He criticized the U.S. administration for pressuring Israel on the issue of settlements in the Palestinian territory. Those, Cruz said, are “a question for the government of Israel,” adding that it’s not America’s role “to try to impose a policy about where Israeli settlements are located and where they’re not.”

Cruz arrived in Israel Monday for a two-day visit. He’ll travel later this week to Poland, Ukraine and Estonia.

So far, he reportedly has met with Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett and the opposition Labor Party’s Knesset leader Isaac Herzog.

He also reiterated a recent call for the resignation of Secretary of State John Kerry over Kerry’s suggested that Israel was at risk of becoming an “apartheid” state for its treatment of Palestinians.

On Tuesday Crzu plans to tour a medical center in the city of Tzfat.

In Ukraine later this week, Cruz intends to visit Maidan Square, and meet with leaders of the country’s protest movement and Jewish and Catholic communities.

The trip is Cruz’s third to Israel since his election in 2012, and is generally seen as an effort to shore up his foreign policy credentials ahead of a likely 2016 presidential bid.

Ahead of the visit, Cruz sat down for an extended interview Gil Tamary, a Washington correspondent for Israel’s Channel 10. The interview took place on Thursday, before Cruz left for Israel.

Exclusive: Texas VA Run Like a ‘Crime Syndicate,’ Whistleblower Says

For years, employees at a Texas VA complained that their bosses were cooking the books. For years, the VA insisted there was no widespread wrongdoing.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with new information.

Last week, President Obama pledged to address allegations of corruption and dangerous inefficiencies in the veterans’ health-care system. But before the president could deliver on his pledge, the scandal has spread even further. New whistleblower testimony and internal documents implicate an award-winning VA hospital in Texas in widespread wrongdoing—and what appears to be systemic fraud.

Emails and VA memos obtained exclusively by The Daily Beast provide what is among the most comprehensive accounts yet of how high-level VA hospital employees conspired to game the system. It shows not only how they manipulated hospital wait lists but why—to cover up the weeks and months veterans spent waiting for needed medical care. If those lag times had been revealed, it would have threatened the executives’ bonus pay.

What’s worse, the documents show the wrongdoing going unpunished for years, even after it was repeatedly reported to local and national VA authorities. That indicates a new troubling angle to the VA scandal: that the much touted investigations may be incapable of finding violations that are hiding in plain sight.

“For lack of a better term, you’ve got an organized crime syndicate,” a whistleblower who works in the Texas VA told The Daily Beast. “People up on top are suddenly afraid they may actually be prosecuted and they’re pressuring the little guys down below to cover it all up.”

“I see it in the executives’ eyes,” the whistleblower added. “They are worried.”

The current VA scandal broke in Phoenix last month, when a former doctor at a VA hospital there became the first whistleblower to gain national attention. The doctor’s allegations of falsified appointments—and veterans dying while they waited for treatment—unleashed a wave of similar claims from VA employees nationwide. In Cheyenne, Wyoming, Chicago, and Albuquerque, more VA whistleblowers came forward claiming that the same fraudulent scheduling was being used in the hospitals where they worked. At last count, the VA inspector general’s investigation had expanded to 26 separate facilities.

The torrent of claims led to Senate hearings, calls for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign, multiple investigations and President Obama’s own public statement last week. Paul Rieckhoff, founder and chief executive officer of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), believes that even more revelations are coming.

“This newest case just further illustrates that the scandal is much more far reaching than most people realize,” Rieckhoff said, “Phoenix was just the tip of the iceberg. Scandal has become the new normal, it’s the status quo at the VA right now.”

But, despite the political uproar and the growing investigations, the root causes of the VA crisis have remained murky. New documents and whistleblower testimony obtained by The Daily Beast shed light on exactly how fraud is being perpetrated in the VA and its underlying causes.

There’s enormous pressure to report favorable wait times for VA patients, the Texas whistleblower explained, even if those wait times are completely false.

“If [VA] directors report low numbers, they’re the outlier. They won’t stay a director very long and they certainly won’t get promoted. No one is getting rewarded for honesty. They pretty much have to lie, if they don’t they won’t go anywhere,” the whistleblower added. Weighted more heavily than other performance measures, the wait time numbers alone “count for 50% of the executive career field bonus, which is a pretty powerful motivator.”


Continue reading here.

After runoffs, Texas tea party stronger than ever


Losing ground elsewhere in the U.S., the tea party emerged from Texas’ primary runoffs mightier than ever in the nation’s biggest conservative stronghold, sacking Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and ousting a 91-year-old congressman who was seeking one final term.

But Congressman Ralph Hall, the oldest-ever member of the U.S. House, was swept away by the latest wave of Republican insurgency that is now poised to have the muscle in the Legislature to make good on promises to push the state even further to the right on immigration, abortion, gun rights and spending.

The tea party’s keystone victory was state Sen. Dan Patrick, a fiery conservative radio talk show host, who denied Dewhurst a fourth term by a 2-to-1 margin and then began his general election candidacy by unabashedly pledging to shove aside outnumbered Democrats come 2015.

“Some Democrats said they want me to be the nominee. Well they got me, and I’m coming,” Patrick told supporters at his victory party in Houston.

He added: “Salute the tea party of Texas!”

Dewhurst, a multimillionaire energy businessman who has been lieutenant governor since 2003, saw his once-powerful political career in Texas end after losing to an outspent tea party underdog for the second time in as many years. He began his concession speech by noting rainy weather across the state that he said impacted turnout.

Dewhurst had said this would be his final campaign. But just like his collapse against Ted Cruz for the U.S. Senate nomination in 2012, spending millions from his own fortune couldn’t convince GOP voters that he was anything other than a mainstream Republican who had grown too entrenched.

Hall also promised voters that he wanted just one last term. But former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe, who was backed by top tea party groups, denied Hall an 18th term representing the sprawling district that stretches from suburban Dallas to the Texas-Louisiana border.

Hall, who has served 34 years in Congress, met his defeat by greeting a room in Rockwall full of family and supporters, many of whom he had known for decades. He smiled for pictures and thanked reporters for allowing him to express his gratitude to voters.

“I just got whipped and got beat, and my folks are sad, but they know that I’m not sad,” said Hall, who lost by fewer than 3,000 votes. “I’m pleased to have had the opportunity.”

Tuesday’s Republican runoffs settled nominations for four major offices and nearly a dozen statehouse seats. In the GOP campaign for attorney general between two state legislators, tea party-backed Ken Paxton beat Dan Branch, who is a member of the House leadership team.

Sid Miller won the nod for agriculture commissioner over his former colleague in the Legislature, Tommy Merritt, whom he accused of being too moderate.

But Patrick scored the tea party’s biggest win in Texas since Cruz.

The lieutenant governor presides over the state Senate. Patrick, who founded the Legislature’s tea party caucus, had criticized Dewhurst as too cozy with Democrats and for not preventing Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis‘ filibuster of a 2013 measure restricting abortion, which drew national attention and launched her run for governor.

Patrick advances to the November general election against Democrat Leticia Van de Putte, a state senator from San Antonio.

Democrats welcomed the dominating tea party victories.

“The days of a pragmatic Texas Republican Party are over,” said Manny Garcia, spokesman for the Texas Democratic Party. “U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Dan Patrick have driven their party so far off the ideological cliff there is no balance and common sense.”

Tim Shell of the Woodlands, a 48-year-old self-employed online education businessman, said he voted for Patrick over Dewhurst.

“Dewhurst is of the old party that’s been in there so long and we need change,” Shell said. “It’s time for patriots to stand up and say we’re not going to put up with it.”

Continue reading here.

Patriots Carry Guns In Opposition Towards The B.L.M.

Patriots in Texoma are standing up to the Bureau of Land Management because they are claiming thousands of acres along the border of the red river.

An open carry rally was held in Burkburnett where people from southern Texas and Arizona joined Texomans to support ranchers whose land is in jeopardy by the B.L.M.

Many Texomans were exercising their right to bear arms. Men, women and even children were carrying guns to support the cause.

Lee Harvey, a candidate for County Commissioner in the second precinct said the rally is calling out to Washington.

“Absolutely, this group of individuals is sending a message to Washington that says, hey we’re still out here and we still have our constitution and we’re going to stand by it,” said Harvey.

Even though the message is clear, Harvey fears the rally will send a negative light on Wichita County.

“But they were just demonstrating their right to open carry,” said Harvey. “Well I appreciate that. We just can’t let it hurt our efforts nationally when we try and resolve this issue with the B.L.M.”

Harvey says there has been forward momentum with the B.L.M. saying they’ve reduced the amount of land they want to claim.

“We were sent a letter from Congressman Thornberry that they have reduced the estimated 90,000 acres to somewhere around 30,000 acres.”

Bill Lockwood, another candidate for County Commissioner says the concept of liberty has been lost.

“Because really we’re living in a time in which people have the concept that freedom comes from the government or that liberty is a grant of government,” said Lockwood. “But that’s not the case at all. Liberty is a grant of God and government is only there as a protection so that you might enjoy what God has already given you.”

Lockwood says our founding fathers considered life, liberty and property as a package. And lee Harvey says the B.L.M. told him they’re taking Red River property based on precedence.

“We paid taxes on that land,” said Lockwood. “Now they tell us it’s not ours. Well we say we have a deed and we pay taxes. The man told me himself that a Texas deed does not trump the federal government.”

Murdoch Pizgatti, Co-founder of says the rally shows how strong Texas pride really is.

“It really shows solidarity through the entire state. ‘When they come in and try to do what they plan on doing here that it’s not just a small group of people that they’re going to have to deal with. Everyone is concerned about it, that it’s a larger group of people that have an interest in it.”  See video here.

Rapper Wiz Khalifa arrested on pot charge in Texas

The performer from Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania, was stopped at an inspection checkpoint at the El Paso airport. A statement from El Paso police says because Khalifa traveled without identification, a search was ordered and Transportation Security Administration agents found a canister with marijuana. TSA alerted police, who then arrested Khalifa.

He was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and was released after posting $300 bail.

Khalifa posted a photo on Twitter inside of what appeared to be a holding cell.

Khalifa was born Cameron Thomaz in Minot, North Dakota. He was a headliner at an El Paso music festival Saturday.

Continue reading here.