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!

CAN YOU DEBATE THE ISSUE WITHOUT RESORTING TO RACE?

It’s called constructive dialogue. That’s what students at Bellaire High School do to keep from allowing their emotions to run wild over the historical presidential election.

Around the country, there have been serious issues among grade school students when it comes to the victory of Barack Obama. It has gone down racial lines.

Click here to see the full video story by FOX 26’s Isiah Carey.

At Bellaire in the Government Advanced Placement class, students debate the issues rather than turning to nooses or racial slurs.

Teresa Herrin, who teaches government, says she encourage her students to respect one another.

Those students who vigorously argue their viewpoints in Herrin’s class may also be headed to the inauguration where President-Elect Obama will be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States.

KATY FORMER CHEERLEADERS INDICTED IN HARRIS COUNTY!

THE ALLEGATION: DANGEROUS HAZING!

Seven former suburban Houston high school varsity cheerleaders face misdemeanor charges accusing them of hazing other cheerleaders.

Harris County District Attorney Kenneth Magidson said Wednesday the ex-cheerleaders restrained several junior varsity cheerleaders, blindfolded them, bound their hands and pushed them into a swimming pool in an off-campus hazing incident.

If convicted, the teens face up to six months in jail and a fine of $2,000. The teens, from Morton Ranch High School in the Houston suburb of Katy, have not yet appeared in court.
Katy Independent School District police initiated the investigation, which was then referred to the grand jury that issued the indictment.

OBAMA CHOOSES HIS ATTORNEY GENERAL: GOOD PICK OR NOT?

ERIC HOLDER BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT!

Former Clinton Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder is President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for the position of attorney general, according to two prominent Democrats involved in transition matters.

Holder, who is still being vetted, has indicated he will accept the job if it is offered, the sources said.

If confirmed, Holder would be the first African-American to lead the Justice Department.

Holder, 57, co-chaired President-elect Obama‘s vice presidential selection process. A graduate of Columbia University and former federal prosecutor, he is a partner at the Washington law firm of Covington & Burling.

Holder first joined the Justice Department in the administration of President Jimmy Carter, assigned to the newly formed Public Integrity Section in 1976 straight out of Columbia University Law School.

President Ronald Reagan nominated him to be an associate judge at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, where he served for five years.

He left that post to become the first African-American U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, chosen by President Bill Clinton. He served in that position until Clinton picked him to become deputy attorney general, the first African American to hold that position as well.

Four former Justice Department Democrats who worked for Holder during that time said they were pleased with the news that Holder would likely be attorney general, and all hinted that they may be willing to return to the department.

WHY IT COULD BE CHEAPER TO BE UNHEALTHY!

THAT MUCH FOR A FOURTH OF AN APPLE?

I was in Subway on Tuesday when the photographer I was with made a stop for a sandwich. I noticed some very delicious looking sliced apples in the cooler or refrigerator of the food stop. They were pre-sliced and packaged. I asked what the price was and the clerk said $1.50. How ridiculous is that? After tax it would be just under $2 for a fourth of an apple. It wasn’t even a whole apple. It’s no wonder people are quicker to buy unhealthy food because fruits and vegetables are too expensive. I was at Kroger Sunday night when I purchased 2 simple non-organic oranges. The total came out to $2.11 for two oranges. I quickly pulled them out of my basket. I saw a box of low fat graham snack bites on the shelf in another store. The price at the counter was $4.99. What in the world? It wasn’t even a family size box. It’s likely cheaper to get regular graham crackers. Have you run into very expensive healthy food? Did you turn to a bag of pork skins or cookies because the fruits were too expensive? The Insite would like to know!

RELATED TO PRISONER ABUSE!

A South Texas grand jury has indicted Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on charges related to the alleged abuse of prisoners in Willacy County’s federal detention centers. The indictment criticizes Cheney’s investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and “at least misdemeanor assaults” on detainees by working through the prison companies. Gonzales is accused of using his position while in office to stop an investigation into abuses at the federal detention centers. Another indictment charges state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. with profiting from his public office by accepting honoraria from prison management companies. The indictments were first reported by KRGV-TV.

MICHAEL AND PRINCE SUED FOR BREAKING DEALS!

THE LEGAL WOES OF TWO POP ICONS!
The perfume wasn’t called “1999,” but “3121,” named after one of Prince’s more recent album projects. But a fragrance company says the project added up a big zero — and is blaming the musician. Revelations Perfume and Cosmetics in New York claims Prince and his music publisher gave them very little support to help market the fragrance. So it has filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit. The suit claims the company paid $2.5 million to license Prince’s name, likeness and the album title “3121” to market the perfume. But it says Prince and his record label, Universal, did little to promote it. Prince’s people didn’t return a request for comment on the lawsuit. But a spokesman for Universal music is calling the lawsuit “completely without merit.”

M.J.’S LAWSUIT:
Michael Jackson might be too sick to travel to London to testify in a suit claiming he owes an Arab sheikh $7 million, the pop star’s attorney said Tuesday. Jackon is seeking to give his testimony by video link from the United States. “It would be unwise for him to travel, given what’s he’s got now,” lawyer Robert Englehart said, declining to elaborate “for the obvious reasons.” Al Khalifa’s lawyer, Bankim Thanki, said the medical evidence presented by Jackson’s legal team was “very unsatisfactory” and Jackson’s illness could be treated with a bandage “if
the diagnosis is positive.” “It’s not the first time a sick note has been presented by Mr. Jackson,” Thanki said, also without elaborating. Jackson has often been seen wearing a surgical mask in public. In one infamous 2002 court appearance in California, he appeared to have a bandage hanging from his hollowed-out nose. Despite much speculation about his radically changed appearance over the years, he has denied having had any alterations to his face other than two operations on his nose to help him breathe better to hit higher notes. The judge in the current case, Nigel Sweeney, said he would decide the question of Jackson’s travel on Thursday to allow time for medical experts on both legal teams to talk.