One of the sailors confirmed missing after the collision of USS John McCain is Houston native John Hoagland.Hoagland’s family confirmed to KHOU that they have been informed by the Navy that his remains have not been found.On Tuesday Navy divers searched a flooded compartment of the USS John McCain and found the remains of some of the missing sailors.Family tells me Sailor John “CJ” Hoagland of Cleveland, TX area among missing aboard #JohnSMcCain. They’re bracing for worse news #khou11 pic.twitter.com/rjLPi4U0y3— Jason Miles (@JMilesKHOU) August 22, 2017 Share
Share Photo: Courtesy of Texas CentralPart of the high-speed rail line connecting Houston and Dallas would be built along Hempstead Road and, Texas Central, the company in charge of the project estimates it could create 1,000 permanent jobs.Texas Central Railway said its bullet train would get people between Houston and Dallas in only 90 minutes while providing jobs and tax dollars. But many rural landowners said they have no interest in selling their property and they worry Texas Central will try to use eminent domain to take it. Federal authorities said they want to hear from people in communities in the train’s proposed route. The Railroad Administration has been holding public meetings to take comment on a draft environmental impact study. The meeting is from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday, March 5th, at the Sheraton Hotel on North Loop West, 3000 N Loop W Fwy, Houston, TX 77092. The deadline to comment on the study is Friday, March 9th, and you can also submit comments through the Federal Railroad Administration website.
Share Rafaelgilo | Commons Creative, https://commons.wikimedia.orgAn image of a Zika virus mosquito.With the warmer weather you’re probably noticing more mosquitoes out.It’s not just you, a new ranking puts Houston at number seven on a list of the worst mosquito cities in the U.S.Dallas ranked number two on that list, while Atlanta was number one. The list put out by pest control company Orkin looked at cities with the most mosquito services performed over the past year.
Michael Marks/Texas StandardCattle stand in a Brazoria County pasture surrounded by Snow on the Mountain and other weeds.Up and down the Gulf Coast, Texans are still trying to get back to where they were before Hurricane Harvey. Some have had to rebuild from the ground up. For others, the trouble is with the ground itself.Fifty miles south of Houston in Brazoria County, Jessica Chase and Brady Stark are examining a piece of grass they found in Stark’s pasture.“This came in with Harvey. It’s a summer annual weed and it can reach up to three-and-a-half feet tall – yours are getting close,” Chase says.Chase is a Texas A&M Agrilife extension agent for Brazoria County. One of her jobs is to help landowners like Stark keep their pastures in good shape: identifying weeds like the Pennsylvania Smartweed she and Stark are looking at, and suggesting herbicides and fertilizers.And that’s important work in Brazoria County. It’s an exceptionally green place, where people raise cattle and horses, rice and sorghum. Stark’s been here since 1995. Over that time, he’s worked hard to keep his pastures in good shape for the cattle he raises. And they were in good shape until Hurricane Harvey.“After Harvey it was like, about a foot to maybe 16 inches deep. All over. I had water in the barns, but not in the house,” Stark says.His cattle were fine, but the pastures sat underwater for two weeks. They were caked in mud for another month after that. And once the mud washed off, the weeds came. Stark’s been able to get rid of a lot of them, but a ride around his property shows there’s still plenty left – with new species continuing to pop up. As we drive around to the backside of his pond, something catches Chase’s eye.“Did you have this thistle before Brady?” Chase asks.Chase is talking about a patch of plants that all have thin, spiny stems with equally prickly bulbs on top.“Now that you mention it I’ve seen several patches of this too,” Stark says.“I’ve seen several patches of it around. It is a thistle, I believe it’s blessed milk thistle. So that’s another one that’s been popping up also,” Chase says.Rains from Hurricane Harvey acted like a conveyer belt for weeds. As rivers, creeks and bayous breached their banks, they carried plant material with them. The water sitting over pastures like Stark’s became a soupy slurry of seeds.“Basically whatever your neighbors had that you worked so hard to keep off of your land – or the neighbor two miles up the road – is now on your property because that water just floated it all across,” Chase says. “So basically everything that everybody had in the county is mixed all over the place.”Repairing pastures is expensive and time-consuming. But if you’re trying to raise livestock, you’ve got to do it. Cattle and horses usually won’t eat weeds, and even if they did, they wouldn’t get nearly the nutritional value they would from eating grass. Some weeds, like Snow on the Mountain – a species that has thrived after Harvey – are even toxic to cattle.Now many pastures affected by the storm have recovered. But others are still in bad shape, maybe too far gone to be salvaged. As I was driving around Brazoria County, I stopped to take a closer look at a property just outside Angleton, the county seat. The place was surrounded by a barbed wire fence and had a cattle guard leading up to the driveway. There are no cows. And the reason for that is that weeds have completely and totally taken over the pastures. All the grassy area around the house, which I would estimate probably comprises 15 to 20 acres, it is entirely weeds.Some of them came up to my waist, others were over my head. It’s a fate that Kevin Reifel’s been trying to avoid on his own land. He drove me over to take a look at some property between the San Bernard and Brazos rivers. He keeps a few horses on it, and he and his brother *used to raise cattle there too.“This was our main pasture and we have sold all the cows off of it,” Reifel’s says.The plot that was once thick with healthy Bermuda grass is now empty except for scrubby, spiny stands of weeds in between patches of mud. Reifel’s brother’s house flooded during the storm. He’s building a new one – this time raised up on 12 foot beams. But they had to sell their cattle after Harvey because they couldn’t take on both rebuilding a house and a pasture. To get it back in order, they’ll have to start over: till up the field, spray herbicides for all the weeds, and then replant the grass. Reifel knows better than most how much that will cost. He owns the local feed and ranch supply store in the city of Brazoria, so he’s had a big part in getting people what they need to get back to normal.“Grass seed, grass seed, grass seed – that a lot. Insecticide, herbicides, and feed. So just about everything that I sell, they’ve been buying,” Reifel says.Harvey’s been a boon for Reifel’s business he wishes never happened. In his part of Texas, the struggle against weeds and loss of good grass could go on for years. Because even though you might kill a weed above ground, it could still be alive below the surface. So for people like Brady Stark, getting back to normal will take time…“But I’ll get back. Just don’t know when,” says Brady Stark. Share
Damian Dovarganes/APThe President’s Daily Briefing, or PDB, is the top-secret intelligence report the CIA presents to the president every weekday. The book shown here is for a briefing delivered to President George W. Bush in 2002.On Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush was visiting Sarasota, Fla. At 8 a.m. sharp, the CIA’s Michael Morell delivered the daily intelligence briefing — something he did six mornings a week — regardless of whether the president was at the White House or on the road.“Contrary to press reporting and myth there was absolutely nothing in my briefing that had to do with terrorism that day,” Morell recalled. “Most of it had to do with the Israeli-Palestinian issue.”As Morell concluded, Bush stepped into his waiting motorcade and headed to an elementary school. Moments later, news broke of the terror attacks in New York. Shortly after that, Bush and Morell were on Air Force One — and the president wanted answers.“The president said to me, ‘Michael, who did this?’ ” Morell said. He didn’t know, but had a strong suspicion.“I told him that when we got to the end of the trail, I was absolutely confident, absolutely certain, that it would take us to [Osama] bin Laden and al-Qaida,” said Morell, who retired in 2013 as the CIA’s deputy director and now hosts the podcast Intelligence Matters.That landmark day captured both the critical importance — and the frustrating limits — of the President’s Daily Briefing, or PDB.Doug Mills/APChief of Staff Andy Card whispers into the ear of President George W. Bush to give him word of the planes that slammed into the World Trade Center in New York, on Sept. 11, 2001. Bush had received his daily intelligence briefing shortly before, and had just begun a visit to the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla.Launched under President TrumanThe practice of providing the president with a daily intelligence briefing began in 1946 with President Harry Truman, who was trying to make sense of a still chaotic world in the aftermath of World War II.“He was troubled that he was receiving these random reports from different departments and no one was telling him, or suggesting to him, what was particularly more important than something else,” said David Robarge, the CIA’s chief historian.Truman created the Central Intelligence Group, the forerunner of the CIA. Within weeks, the briefings began, and they were brief indeed. Most were short notes from U.S. ambassadors with little or no context.Many reports were based on rumors or newspaper stories abroad, and were difficult to verify, Robarge said.APThis image provided by the Central Intelligence Agency shows the first Daily Summary delivered to President Harry Truman on Feb. 15, 1946“We dealt a lot with information peddlers and fabricators and paper mills, as we called them,” he said. “We were very desperate for information and everybody knew that and took advantage of it. We spent a lot of our time in those early years sorting out the wheat from the chaff.”Despite being a part of every president’s daily routine for more than 70 years, the briefings are rarely discussed publicly. Just last month, the CIA declassified the first 20 briefings delivered to Truman — and many still resonate today.“The very first general item for Harry Truman was about some false information that was being put out about Russia and the United States,” said David Priess, a former CIA officer.Priess was a member of the presidential briefing team in the early 2000s and wrote a history of the briefings called The President’s Book of Secrets.Those initial briefings dealt with a trade dispute with China, which was resisting U.S. imports, and rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, where war would break out a few years later.“Many of the issues that President Truman was dealing with in February 1946 are still on the agenda today,” said Priess.APPresident Lyndon Johnson reads the President’s Daily Brief as his wife Lady Bird Johnson holds their first grandchild in the White House.Providing analysisToday’s version took shape under President John F. Kennedy and was driven in part by the Bay of Pigs, the failed CIA operation to overthrow Cuba’s leader Fidel Castro in 1961.“We knew John F. Kennedy was disappointed after the Bay of Pigs debacle early in his presidency and that helped spur this new intelligence product,” Priess said.The documents began including more analysis on the pros and cons of potential U.S. actions abroad. While the CIA has always handled the report, other agencies now contribute, including the National Security Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.One misconception is that all presidents are briefed face-to-face. But, as Rodney Faraon, a former CIA briefer, said, “Every president receives their briefing differently.”Most go over the briefing book on their own. For President Lyndon Johnson, it was bedtime reading. Richard Nixon didn’t care for it and allowed only one White House adviser to see it — Henry Kissinger. Barack Obama received it on his iPad and had it circulated to more than 30 advisers.Putting it togetherWhile Washington is sleeping, a team at CIA headquarters makes final edits to the leather-bound briefing book, updating it frequently.Rodney Faraon’s job in the late 1990s and early 2000s was to study up on the document overnight and head to the home of his boss, CIA Director George Tenet, at 6 a.m.“I would be briefing him in a secure vehicle on his way from his house to either the White House or to CIA headquarters,” Faraon recalled.David Priess delivered his briefing to the director of the FBI, a man who was always pressing him for more details — Robert Mueller. Mueller now leads the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible coordination with the Trump campaign.And Michael Morell remembers his briefings with Bush as if “I was in graduate school preparing to go in to seven or eight exams every morning with somebody who is going to fire questions at you nonstop.”Trump’s approachPresident Trump initially questioned the need for a daily briefing.But Mike Pompeo, the CIA director before becoming secretary of state, said it’s become part of the president’s routine.“Nearly every day, I get up, get ready, read the material that’s been presented early in the morning and then trundle down [from CIA headquarters] to the White House,” Pompeo said back in January.His successor as CIA director, Gina Haspel, is now a regular at the briefings, as is Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence.The intelligence community has had both great successes — like locating Osama bin Laden in Pakistan — and failures — like claiming Iraq’s Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The former CIA briefers say their role is to provide the best possible intelligence, and leave the policy choices to the president.David Priess cites an old CIA expression: “You can lead policymakers to intelligence, but you can’t make them think.”Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Share
This poem is reprinted with permission of the author.Music used: Burnout Fugue (excerpt), Le Sablier (excerpt) and Le Vieillard (excerpt) by Alexandra Stréliski from Inscape and PianoscopeTo learn more about this series, go here. Listen To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share 00:00 /05:51 X Margaret CiprianoPaige Quiñones Still Life with Wadded Paper TowelsI wonder whether familiarity will take over.Here, we are childrenwho marvel at a swirl of hair in sunlightor the sparrow’s cry for coitus.And though I’ve touched a body not mine,I’m surprised by your heat, howI can perceive this desire so easily—we are betrayed at our most animal.Here, nothing is not lovely. The slatted light.The accidental blood on my thighs,whatever I use to clean them.We have been painted in hard linesand I want to blur you out—a manis most interesting where he doesn’t belong.So you play at negation, as though we needthat bruise made new again.Someday I will hate you.This is your way of saying: I owe you nothing. In this sound portrait, we meet poet Paige Quiñones. She tell us how poetry changed her life in college, her interest in exploring the ends of relationships and her favorite place to write. She reads her poem, “Still Life with Wadded Paper Towels.”Paige Quiñones is currently a PhD student in poetry at the University of Houston, where she is the Managing Editor of Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts. Previously a fellow with the Center for Mexican American Studies at UH, she received her MFA in poetry from Ohio State University. Her work has been nominated twice for Pushcart Prizes and has appeared or is forthcoming in Copper Nickel, Crazyhorse, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Poetry Northwest, Quarterly West and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a 2019 Inprint Donald Barthelme Prize.