HAVE YOU STOPPED BY MARY’S PLACE RECENTLY!

LOOK WHO’S SHOWING UP ON THE BEAT!

I was pleasantly surprised on a recent visit to my competitor’s blog. On The Beat with Mary Benton is really taking off…She’s got a lot of familiar faces gracing her pages like Ron Stone to Amy Davis. Make sure you go check it out and leave some comments. I’ve tried to be the first commenter on each post just to upset the poeple over at KPRC. Make sure you visit at the link below:http://www.click2houston.com/onthebeatblog/index.html

SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE SHOPPING PLACES CLOSING OR REDUCING THE NUMBER OF STORES!

The following stores are closing a substantial amount of their stores, or are going completely out of business:
Circuit City (filed Chapter 11) Ann Taylor 117 stores nationwide closing. Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug ,and Catherine’s to close 150 stores nationwide. Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January. Cache will close all stores Talbots closing down specialty stores. J. Jill closing all stores (owned by Talbots) Pacific Sunwear (also owned by Talbots) GAP closing 85 stores. Footlocker closing 140 stores more to close after January. Wickes Furniture closing down Levitz closing down remaining stores. Bombay closing remaining stores. Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January. Whitehall closing all stores. Piercing Pagoda closing all stores. Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January. Home Depot closing 15 stores 1 in NJ ( New Brunswick ). Macys to close 9 stores after January. Linens and Things closing all stores. Movie Gallery Closing all stores. Pep Boys Closing 33 stores. Sprint/Nextel closing 133 stores. JC Penney closing a number of stores after January. Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores. Wilson Leather closing down all stores. Sharper Image closing down all stores. K B Toys closing 356 stores. Lowes to close down some stores. Dillard’s to close some stores!
TEXAS IS NOT IMMUNE:
Texas’ unemployment rate increased to 5.6 percent in October, up half a percentage point from the previous month in part because of Hurricane Ike and national economic trends, the
Texas Workforce Commission said Friday. Texas still has nearly a one percent lower unemployment rate than the rate of the nation. But workforce commission chairman Tom
Pauken says he expects unemployment rates in Texas to continue to track the national trend upward in the months ahead.

THE CHIEF HAS TAKEN ACTION PENDING THE OUTCOME OF AN INVESTIGATION!

Three Houston police officers involved in the arrest of Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver’s father have been relieved of patrol duty. Marvin Driver Jr. has been hospitalized since Sunday. Officers Gilberto Cruz, Matthew Marin, and Bacilio Guzman have been relieved of patrol duty pending the outcome of the investigation. They will continue to do administrative work as part of the Teleserv unit taking in police reports.Driver Jr. says the two officers took him behind a local gas station, beat him and made him swallow something.”Number one, we just got the allegations, we have not completed our preliminary investigation and I have not been briefed on the interview with Mr. Driver or the witnesses,” said Hurtt. NFL star Donald Driver had a brief visit to Houston to be with his father at Memorial Hermann Hospital. He has already returned to Green Bay. His uncle tells FOX 26 News that Driver will likely refrain from commenting on the case until all the facts come to light!

DRIVER REMAINS HOSPITALIZED AFTER ALLEGED BEATING BY COPS!

The immediate future of two officers accused of assaulting a NFL player’s father could be made as soon as Friday, Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt said Thursday.

Marvin Driver Jr., father of Greenbay Packers widereceiver Donal Driver, says the two officers took him behind a local gas station, beat him and made him swallow something.

Hurtt said the officers are still on active duty but a decision regarding whether they will be placed on other duties during the investigation is pending.

“Number one, we just got the allegations, we have not completed our preliminary investigation and I have not been briefed on the interview with Mr. Driver or the witnesses,” said Hurtt.

NFL star Donald Driver had a brief visit to Hosuton to be with his father at Memorial Hermann Hospital. He has already returned to Green Bay.

His uncle tells Fox 26 news Driver will likely refrain from commenting on the case until all the facts come to light.

GIANT MAGAZINE IN HOUSTON FOR A BIG PARTY!


DID YOU ATTEND THE PARTY WITH THE LOCAL CELEBRITIES?










By: Kalele ‘Party King’ Thumbutu - Tuesday night Giant magazine teamed up with Jacques Cardin VSOP Cognac to host Lil Keke’s album release party held at Venue Nightclub. Lil Keke is a Houston born and raised rapper that is also an original member of Houston’s famed Screwed up Click. Tuesday the Swisha House rapper released his 12th solo album titled Loved by Few, Hated by Many. Houston’s music community came out to support the artist and faces in the crowd included DJ J Que (97.9 the Box), Bun B, DJ Southern Belle, Trill Princess, J –Mac (97.9 the Box), J Ellis, OG Ron C, and the Swisha House Family.

BILL WHITE DROPS BY FOX 26 HURRICANE BRIEFING!

ARE YOU GLAD THE BIG STORM SEASON IS OVER?

Each week the FOX 26 meteorologists invite special guests to take part in a hurricane briefing for the public which airs on MYFOXHOUSTON Live. This Thursday the Insite saw Mayor Bill White in the FOX studios taking part in the program. He was interviewed by FOX 26 weather guy Mike Iscovitz. I didn’t get a chance to view the entire program but I did hear Mayor White say he was glad the hurricane season was over in our area. After all the city’s CEO has had his hands full with Katrina, Rita, and Ike. That’s quite a job for one man. He had to run the city then he opened our doors to thousands of evacuees after some of the storms!

IS IT ME OR HAS TRAFFIC GOTTEN WORSE?

RUSH HOUR NEVER SEEMS TO END!

I can recall a time in Houston when traffic would die down on the major highways and interstates around 6:30pm or 7pm in the evening. But over the last few months traffic in our city has been just nightmarish. Traffic in the morning has typically cooled down around 9am but now the flow has been congested on thoroughfares like I-45 until about 10am. I’ve checked with traffic reporters and no one seems to have answers as to why Houston’s traffic has gotten progressively worse. I know the Mayor synced the signal lights downtown but that hasn’t done anything for me on the Southwest Freeway. Have you noticed just how bad traffic has gotten in the Bayou City?

DID YOU KNOW CAR TITLE LOANS WERE STILL AROUND?

HAVE YOU EVER USED THEIR SERVICES?

I thought there was some kind of federal or state consumer protection law that got rid of all the title loan companies. That’s why I was surprised to see one open for business in northwest Houston. I saw only a few people come out but I wondered just what kind of deal they signed to get that emergency cash they needed. Have you ever been to a title loan company to get cash and what was the experience like? The Insite would like to hear your opinion!

HAVE YOU BEEN SHOCKED BY THE ARRESTS?

I’m sure you all have heard by now just how many of our teachers in Houston have been arrested over the last two months. Those teachers aren’t accused of having sex with students this round but smoking weed. In the last 8 weeks 7 school employees including 6 teachers and one janitor have been arrested for bringing drugs on their respective school campuses. And what’s up with bringing weed to school? I’m kind of at a lost for words on this issue. The latest arrests happened Thursday at Williams Middle school in northwest Houston. Investigators say they received an anonymous tip which lead them to search the vehicles of two teachers where a drug dog found the marijuana. What’s your opinion on this growing problem in our school district?

FORMER TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL JIM MATTOX DIES!

A TEXAS POLITICAL LEGEND!

Former Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox, known as the junkyard dog of Texas politics who also served in Congress and battled Ann Richards in a vicious primary campaign for governor, has died. He was 65.

Mattox, a bare-knuckled political brawler while the state was still fiercely Democratic, died at his Dripping Springs home, his sister, Janice Mattox, said Thursday. She did not know the cause of death.

Mattox was remembered for his advocacy of the everyday Texan, a reputation that earned him the nickname the “people’s lawyer.”

Chuck McDonald, a spokesman for Richards during the infamous 1990 Democratic primary, portrayed Mattox as a populist who knew how to fight.

“Jim was the original maverick. He prided himself on being the voice of the little guy and took on every big money interest group he could find,” McDonald said. “As a political rival, he was as tough as they came. He never backed down from a fight and he made all the candidates stronger.”

As attorney general, Mattox was head of the agency that fought efforts to spare condemned inmates from death. In late 1983, he showed up in Huntsville to be on hand for a midnight execution, the second lethal injection ever carried out in Texas.

An angry crowd threatened to get out of control when Mattox announced that the U.S. Supreme Court had ordered a delay. Security was tightened and the public was never again allowed to get near the doors of the prison in the hours preceding an execution.

Mattox continued to travel to Huntsville and was a fixture at executions in Texas, the nation’s most active death penalty state.

Gov. Rick Perry ordered flags lowered to half-staff Thursday and Friday in honor of Mattox.

As attorney general, Mattox was known as a staunch advocate of Texas consumers whose battles often sparked controversy.

He sued Mobil Oil Co., an action that benefited a campaign donor. Mattox was indicted on commercial bribery charges but was acquitted by a jury in 1985.

He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976 and remained in office until 1982. He was elected attorney general in 1982 and re-elected in 1986.

In his unsuccessful run for governor in 1990, his bruising campaign style — which some observers say alienated Democratic voters and cost him the nomination — was put on display. He lost to Richards after accusing her of cocaine use with no evidence to back it up.

“Did she use marijuana? Or something worse, like cocaine? Not as a college kid, but as a 47-year-old elected official sworn to uphold the law,” Mattox asked in one 1990 television ad. Later he alleged outright that Richards, then the state treasurer, once was addicted to cocaine.

Glenn Smith, Richards’ campaign manager in the 1990 race, described Mattox as relentless.

“He sure was a tough and vigorous opponent. Like he did everything, he gave it 150 or 200 percent. He was tough,” Smith said. “He was more relentless than most and maybe more committed to his goal. It was hard.”

To Mattox’s credit, Smith said, once the Democratic primary against Richards was over, bitterness quickly faded.

“There was no ongoing antagonism,” Smith said. “There was kind of a quick coming together afterward.”

“We’ve lost a great Texan. I’m sad to hear it,” he said.

That 1990 campaign effectively ended Mattox’s political career, though he tried twice more, losing the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in 1994 to Richard Fisher and losing another run at his old seat at the attorney general’s office in 1998 to Republican John Cornyn.

Mattox had his share of detractors.

In the 1998 campaign, the Texas Civil Justice League bashed Mattox in a fundraising letter for Cornyn: “Mattox’s vicious attack campaigns are infamous — and frighteningly effective,” the letter said. “That’s why he has long been known as the ‘junkyard dog’ of Texas politics.”

Mark Sanders, who worked for Republican political candidates beginning in the late 1980s, said he even knew about a group of Democrats who once had campaign buttons made up that said, “Mattox Threatened Me Too.”

“Nobody wanted to face Mattox on the campaign trail,” Sanders said. “He really did make Republicans tremble when he was talking about running in a race.”

Mattox started his career as the assistant district attorney in Dallas and later ran for the state Legislature to represent east Dallas. While in the Texas House, he took an interest in ethics reform and open government legislation.

In Congress, he was the only freshman elected to the powerful House Budget Committee and later chaired that committee’s Task Force on National Security and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Banking Committee.

Mattox had remained active in politics. He campaigned for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in this year’s Texas primary, saying the former first lady had “earned her spurs.”

Former Texas Land Commissioner Garry Mauro, who managed Clinton’s Texas primary campaign, said Mattox was a tireless supporter of the former first lady and developed a following among young volunteers at campaign headquarters.

Mattox appeared at a packed rally by former President Bill Clinton in Austin before the primary, helping to fire up the crowd with a rousing introduction of the former president.

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie called Mattox a “tough public servant,” naming his work in child support enforcement and consumer protection initiatives.

“His legacy of service and dedication to our great state will endure, and he will be dearly missed,” Richie said. “Jim truly represented the best interests of Texans and will not soon be forgotten.”

He is survived by his wife, Marta, and their two children, Jim and Sissi.

Mauro said when he thinks of Mattox today he sees a man “pounding on the table for the people.”

“Anybody that thinks of Jim Mattox and doesn’t think of the ‘people’s lawyer’ really didn’t know him,” Mauro said. “He never saw a fight he’d walk away from.”

ARE YOU SURPRISED PIRATES ARE STILL IN BUSINESS IN 2008?

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEAS ON HOW TO STOP THEM?

They come out of the darkness in the waters off the coast of East Africa, zooming up in speedboats to the sides of massive cargo ships, armed with grappling hooks, AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades.

Quickly, these modern-day pirates climb aboard their prey: cargo ships that contain food, machine parts and, most recently, oil or enough weaponry to supply a small army. Most of the time they meet no opposition — only frightened, unarmed crews who find themselves prisoners and held for ransoms that have exceeded $1 million.

Based in Somalia, these pirates are only a little like the images of the daring, swashbuckling thieves who have gallivanted through Hollywood movies or adventure stories that have been passed on for generations.

These pirates typically use the Global Positioning System to coordinate attacks along major shipping corridors in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden. A report last month by Chatham House, a British think tank, said that once aboard, Somali pirates typically are focused on demanding a ransom from the ship’s operators and chewing khat, a narcotic leaf that is a stimulant, that they bring with them.

Piracy off Somalia’s coast has long been a symbol of that African nation’s instability. Now attacks on shipping are soaring and becoming more brazen, heightening concerns about the safety of shipping from oil-rich areas in Africa and the Middle East at a time of global economic instability.

The potential for Somali renegades to send tremors through the world’s economy was clear Saturday, when pirates captured their biggest prize to date: the Sirius Star, a Saudi supertanker brimming with 2 million barrels of oil (estimated value: $100 million).

The Times of London reported Wednesday the Saudi government had confirmed that the ship’s owner — Vela International Marine — was negotiating a possible ransom with pirates who boarded the oil tanker more than 450 nautical miles from the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

The pirates’ raid of the Sirius Star — and hijackings Tuesday in the Gulf of Aden of a Thai ship with 16 crewmembers and an Iranian cargo vessel with a crew of 25 — are signs that attacks by loosely organized bands of Somali pirates are “a criminal enterprise which has gone completely out of control,” says Capt. Pottengal Mukundan, director of the International Maritime Bureau, which tracks piracy.

U.S. and British analysts say the series of raids underscore worries that terrorists could dive into the same lawless seas off East Africa, capture booty to finance their operations or mount a spectacular attack with a seized ship.

“There is serious concern that terrorists see piracy as an opportunity for themselves,” says Roger Middleton, an expert on piracy at Chatham House. “It can provide the means to generate enormous amounts of money, or to capture a boat with the more disturbing prospect of a huge oil tanker as a floating bomb.”

In March, the Pentagon confirmed that U.S. forces attacked a suspected al-Qaeda terrorist in Somalia.

Pirates already are driving up the cost of shipping and insurance. Some shipping lines have begun avoiding the shipping corridors near Somalia and their shortcut to the West through the Red Sea and Suez Canal, which can add between five and 10 days to a trip from Asia to Europe, says David Ellis, president of Odfjell USA, a Norwegian-owned shipping company. Each extra day at sea, he says, costs about $30,000.

Environmental catastrophe looms if a supertanker is punctured during an attack or purposely sunk, Middleton says.

The Bush administration is trying to coordinate efforts to stop the pirates, although military officials say they can’t stop all pirates because there are too many ships in a huge area to protect.

ANGRY MAN TO INSITE: WHAT DO YOU HAVE SH*T FOR BRAINS?

HOW DARE YOU, I DRIVE A MERCEDES BENZ IDIOT!

I ended up at a signal light on a two lane road on West Park Wednesday afternoon with a gray haired guy driving a Mercedes Benz next to me. The light changed so I picked up speed because the two lanes merged once you cross under the signal light. What did I do that for. The guy was hot. I could tell he was royally pi**ed off. Even though he was behind me he sped up as if he was going to ram me then he drove along side me motioning his hand and yelling. This guy was straight nuts. He then pulled along side me and rolled down his window. I didn’t want him talking to himself so I rolled my window down. The man’s face was beet red. He yelled, “what do you have sh*t for brains.” I laughed and said, “do you feel better now?” He didn’t. He seemed to appear more aggravated. He then rolled up his window still cursing and hit the pedal to the metal. I waved good bye. Just a slice of life from The Insite!