Good will: Man pays $1k at drive thru to feed those behind him

A man at an Abilene, TX Chik-fil-a paid $1000 at the drive-thru to feed those behind him in line.

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Originally posted on What a Witch:

I have a pet peeve.

This is a picture of a semi-fictional character called Rosie the Riveter.


See it even says her name on the picture.

Let’s pause here and examine the picture above. It’s an example of exceptional art. The subject is lovely. She’s large, red haired, bold featured, a bit dirty, wearing overalls, and a welding mask as well as goggles, (which seems somewhat redundant to me) holding a massive pneumatic drill, holding a lunchbox and eating actual food. In other words, she epitomizes everything that made Norman Rockwell an outstanding artist; she’s a real person with flaws and the picture is telling a story through her realness and her flaws.

NOT Rosie

This is not Rosie the Riveter. Nope, sorry. I know that a lot of people think that this is a RR picture. It isn’t. What it is is an anti-union poster from Westinghouse. If you look…

View original 290 more words

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New Texas textbooks evaluated for bias

A report from the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund has declared that the information in social studies textbooks that have been adopted by the Texas State Board of Education contain inaccurate and biased information. These books, intended for Texas schools, were found by scholars to contain erroneous information based on ideology rather than historical data.

“Their findings say several textbooks include biased statements that inappropriately portray Muslims negatively, give a lack of attention to Native American peoples and culture and give undue legitimacy to neo-Confederate arguments about states’ rights and the legacy of slavery in the south, among other concerns. The scholars also said a number of government and world history textbooks “exaggerate Judeo-Christian influence” on the nation’s founding and have inaccurate accounts of other religions.

Ten university scholars reviewed the content of 43 history, government and geography textbooks that the State Board of Education is expected to adopt this fall. The State Board of Education will have a public hearing on the textbooks next week.”

–Melissa B. Taboada, Austin American-Statesman


Posted in Central Texas, children, Education, Government, History, Literature/books, News, Texas, U.S. | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oldest known 9/11 Search Dog is Still Working Today at a Texas Elementary School

Her first deployment was to look for humans and/ or remains in the rubble at Ground Zero. Bretagne is now 93 in dog years, but she still loves to work. She helps special needs children at an elementary school in Cypress, Texas learn to read. The children read aloud to the retired search dog as a confidence-building exercise. This article chronicles the long, useful life of this amazing dog.


Last known 9/11 Ground Zero search dog still lends a helping paw
Laura T. Coffey
TODAY4 hours ago

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It was their first deployment together.
Some heroes boast muscle and brawn. Others possess steely nerves and impeccable timing. But this hero is a little different.

This one has feathery fur, a sunny smile, a calm nature and — for a dog — an uncanny ability to zero in on the people who need her most. She’s a 15-year-old golden retriever named Bretagne, and she’s believed to be the last surviving search dog who worked at Ground Zero in New York City after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. (One other surviving search dog from 9/11, a 15-year-old English springer spaniel named Morgan, worked at Staten Island.)

For the first time since the recovery efforts after the attack, Bretagne returned this week to the site of the former World Trade Center complex with her longtime handler and owner, Denise Corliss of Cypress, Texas. They were joined by NBC News’ Tom Brokaw, who told their story on TODAY on Thursday morning, Sept. 11.

Corliss fought back tears as she gazed at the 9/11 Memorial’s enormous waterfalls and reflecting pools, which are surrounded by bronze panels bearing the names of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks.

“Seeing this kind of took my breath away a bit, similar to how the pile was the first time I saw it,” Corliss, 49, told “It’s so calm and peaceful now, unlike the chaos of before.

“After 9/11, everybody — all of us — felt such sadness. We all wanted to help. I just felt so honored that we were able to respond.”

This year, Bretagne (pronounced “Brittany”) is one of eight finalists for the American Humane Association’s annual Hero Dog Awards. Corliss is preparing to travel with Bretagne to Beverly Hills for a stroll down the red carpet on the night of the award ceremony in late September — a prospect that seems surreal to Corliss, considering how her journey with the dog began.

In the late ‘90s, Corliss, an electrical engineer, became fascinated by the work of disaster search dogs. She learned that civilians — volunteers who receive no pay at all and work and travel at their own expense — can undergo rigorous training with their dogs. If they make the cut, a dog/handler team can support federal emergency response efforts at disaster sites around the United States.

Bretagne has never really felt ready to retire. She still gets excited about putting on a service vest.
In the fall of 1999, Corliss brought home Bretagne, a wriggly 8-week-old puppy who had much to learn and wanted to learn it.

“I was so excited about doing this, but I didn’t have the appreciation of how life-changing it would be,” Corliss recalled. “It took 20 to 30 hours a week easily to stay on top of training. This is what I did when I wasn’t at work.”

In 2000, Corliss received news that thrilled her: She and Bretagne qualified as official members of Texas Task Force 1. This meant the pair had what it takes to scour a disaster site and find survivors buried in the rubble.

What they never could have anticipated was the site of their first deployment: The twisted pile of steel beams, concrete and ash where the World Trade Center once stood. It was a harrowing assignment for the most seasoned rescue workers, and it could be a frustrating one for search dogs because there were no human survivors to be found — only human remains.

“I really believed we could find somebody — anybody! — if we could just get to the right void space,” Corliss said. “But our reality was much different. We found all various kinds of remains, some recognizable, others not so much.”

Bretagne persevered through nearly two weeks of 12-hour shifts at Ground Zero. On her very first search, she had to balance precariously on a wet metal beam — and she slipped. But she recovered quickly, pulling herself back up onto the beam with her front paws and continuing to sniff intently as if nothing had happened.

Even though she had just turned 2 — an age when many canines relish romping, chewing and making mischief — Bretagne kept offering herself up to grim-faced first responders. On one occasion, Bretagne left Corliss’ side with urgency and hurried toward a sullen firefighter sitting on the ground. Concerned, Corliss implored Bretagne to come back, sit and stay — to no avail.

“I was surprised that she wasn’t listening to me, but she really wasn’t — it was like she was flipping me the paw,” Corliss said. “She went right to that firefighter and laid down next to him and put her head on his lap.”

Dr. Cindy Otto, a veterinarian who cared for 9/11 search dogs at Ground Zero, said the 300 or so dogs who worked the pile brought much more to the job than their capable noses.

“You’d see firefighters sitting there, unanimated, stone-faced, no emotion, and then they’d see a dog and break out into a smile,” Otto recalled. “Those dogs brought the power of hope. They removed the gloom for just an instant — and that was huge because it was a pretty dismal place to be.”

read more…

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Never Forget

(Painting I did in 2012.)

(Painting I did in 2012.)

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Halliburton Reaches Modest Settlement in Gulf Oil Spill

Halliburton has settled at $1.1 billion in damages to citizens, local governments and businesses that were affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill.

In a statement later on Tuesday, Halliburton said, “An agreement denies liability; it is not an admission of liability.”

-NYTimes; reported by Clifford Krauss

Also in a Halliburton statement:

“Halliburton denies all allegations of any wrongdoing, fault, noncompliance, liability; denies that it acted improperly in any way; and denies that it caused any damage or loss arising out of, due to, resulting from, or relating in any way to, directly or indirectly, the Deepwater Horizon incident.”

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CVS stops selling all tobacco products

CVS drug stores nationwide stopped selling all tobacco products as of last night. They’re also changing their name to CVS Health. It’s a bold move that will cut their annual revenue significantly. The only smoking-related products that they’ll carry will be smoking cessation aids. The company wants to be known as one that promotes good health.

People trying to quit smoking may be comforted to see the red and white signs where the cigarettes used to be that read: “Let’s quit together.”

That’s one national chain that acknowledges its customers as sentient beings rather than commodities. On a personal note, I’ve had the same XtraCare card since 2003. We’ve been through a lot together in 11 years. I feel like a Gold member because when I do use the XtraCare card on a purchase, even if it’s just a pack of mints, I get a printout of about 8 useful coupons for things I’d actually buy with my receipt.

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Biking across the Panhandle for 4-H Healthy Living Program

Joe Ostaszewski reminds us that fitness is as simple as getting outside, riding your bike, and having fun. He was a finalist on The Biggest Loser. He is riding a bicycle across the country to raise awareness for the 4-H Healthy Living Program. One of the areas where he’s making stops is the Texas Panhandle. He’ll be riding across it from August 31st to September 6th. Wear Your Soul, his nonprofit organization that he founded, has teamed up with the 4-H Council and the 4-H Healthy Living Program. They all want to promote healthy lifestyles for children and end childhood obesity.

He will make several stops along the way, talking to elementary schools, 4-H chapters, and church youth groups. This will culminate in a Run/Walk and 5K event in Amarillo on the 4th:

Ostaszewski will travel Sept. 3 to Amarillo, where he will first meet with area church youth groups at 7 p.m. at the Path Point Fellowship Church, 6215 Canyon Drive. It is open to all youth and youth groups, Clawson said.

On Sept. 4, he will join a meeting of the Panhandle counties judges and commissioners in the morning at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center before attending a Highland Park High School assembly in the afternoon.

He will conclude the day with a 4-H Fun Run/Walk, open to the general public, at 7 p.m. in Medi Park, Clawson said. The cost is $20 for adults and $10 for youth 13 and under. The event includes a 5K run, with medals awarded in different age groups; a mile walk/run, with medals awarded overall; and a Kiddy K, with all participants getting a ribbon.

Registration deadline is Sept. 2 and can be made online at:

–Texas Agrilife Extension Newsletter

for more information:

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Another Plastic Island in South Atlantic

Plastic trash pollution on an Indonesia beach-- photo from Getty Images

Plastic trash pollution on an Indonesia beach– photo from Getty Images

The Terrifying True Story of the Garbage That Could Kill the Human Race

Where does plastic go? It never leaves completely. Pieces of plastic from almost 100 years ago are still floating in our oceans in some form. A new gyre– island of plastic garbage– was found in the South Atlantic. Plastics might do us all in. In this long tale of marine garbage hunting in the South Atlantic, the author expounds on previous research, other gyres, and how these gyres affect human life.

“That 60-year-old World War II souvenir confirmed what was long suspected: Plastic debris in the gyres wasn’t going anywhere but in endless circles. Indeed, all the petroleum-based plastic ever manufactured—the billiard balls of the 1870s, the nylon stockings of the 1930s, every tiddlywink and bit of sandwich wrap—is still somewhere among us.” –Bucky McMahon,

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