Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ching propels Dynamo past Union with penalty kick - Houston Chronicle

Soon after Brian Ching earned a penalty kick Saturday night against the Philadelphia Union, he was ready for Brad Davis to take the shot.

No Dynamo player is more accurate in dead-ball situations than Davis, but nobody has scored more goals in franchise history than Ching.

So with the game on the line in the 83rd minute, Davis surprised most in the stadium by asking Ching to take the kick. Ching originally declined before accepting the opportunity and scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory.

"I was like, 'You're the one that normally takes it. It's fine,' " Ching said. "He insisted, so I was like, 'OK, that's fine, I'll take it.' The good thing is it went in and we got the win."

One for the fans

Ching nailed it off the crossbar before a crowd of 19,806 at BBVA Compass Stadium. The goal was his second of the season and, perhaps more importantly, his first at the stadium.

The Dynamo (6-5-5) remain undefeated (4-0-2) at their new venue, which opened May 12.

"As you know, it was Brian Ching's first goal in the new stadium," coach Dominic Kinnear said. "I was happy for him. It was a winning goal."

The match marked the MLS debut of Dynamo designated player Boniek Garcia, the Honduran national team star who tormented the Union (3-9-2) down the right side and got an assist.

In the 19th minute, Garcia worked the ball down the right wing and crossed it to Mac Kandji just outside the 18-yard box.

Kandji took one touch and tapped it to Davis, who gave the Dynamo a 1-0 lead.

After playing a strong first half, the Dynamo gave up the lead just 36 seconds into the second half when Keon Daniel tied the score with a shot from 22 yards out.

Kinnear pleased

"We came out great in the first half," Kinnear said. "I thought in the second half we came out a little bit flat-footed, but then I thought we took it to them."

Nine minutes after coming off the bench in place of Will Bruin, Ching was preparing to head a Davis cross when Gabriel Farfan fouled him in the box. Ching then did the rest.

"It's special," Ching said. "I know the crowd has been cheering for me to get one. I'm thankful for that. They're behind me, and I'm just happy the ball went in and we got three points."

jesus.ortiz@chron.com
twitter.com/ortizkicks

A&M primed for big one in shift to SEC - Houston Chronicle

COLLEGE STATION - Even for an institution that clings so tightly, so fervently, to its traditions, there have been moments when Texas A&M has stepped into the unknown and shocked the world - and, perhaps, even itself.

A&M's affiliation with the Southeastern Conference, which begins Sunday, could be one of those moments, even though it doesn't rival such seismic shifts as the decision to admit women and to end mandatory membership in the Corps of Cadets during the turbulent 1960s.

Still, we are talking football - and basketball, baseball, track, softball, field, tennis and swimming - so there is considerable pride and, in these competitive days, considerable brand identity at stake.

"We have, from moment to moment in our history, done some pretty big things that shook us up," university president R. Bowen Loftin, the engine of A&M's eastward shift, said Saturday.

"We went in the 1960s from a small, all-male, all-military school to something that all of a sudden became very different. And now, this is a pivotal moment, moving into the premier athletic conference in the nation, competing head to head for the national championships for which we believe we ought to be competing."

These moves, he said, "have taken courage, but we've done it."

The Aggies continued moving and doing Saturday, the final day of their Big 12 Conference affiliation, by introducing Eric Hyman, formerly of South Carolina and TCU, as their athletic director.

Sunday, they rest. Monday, leisure time comes to an end with the hoisting of the SEC flag over campus and the full acceptance of the task facing the Aggies.

'Buckle up and be ready'

The good news and bad news of SEC membership, Hyman said during a news conference to announce his appointment, is identical.

"It's the best league in the country," he said. "Every time you compete, it's going to be a 12-round boxing match. … What we have to do is buckle up and be ready to compete at the highest level."

As a department, the Aggies enter the SEC with a degree of momentum. A&M ranked ninth in the 2011-12 Directors' Cup standings, which measures performance by NCAA-sponsored sports. The Aggies ranked second among Big 12 schools behind Texas at No. 5 and second among SEC schools, present and future, behind Florida at No. 2.

The engine of all college athletics, however, is football, and there the Aggies have miles to go and no time to sleep. They were also-rans in the Big 12, and now they enter the league that has produced the last six BCS national championships, replete with 100,000-seat football palaces that tower over A&M's Kyle Field.

"People act like they told me A&M was going to the SEC after I took this job. I knew that," new football coach Kevin Sumlin said this spring.

"We understand it's going to be extremely challenging, but at the same time because of our resources here at A&M, because of our venue, our game-day atmosphere, our location, the ability to attract top student-athletes, I think we're going to have a real chance. The challenge is how quickly we can do that."

Sumlin's office overlooks the new $9 million player-development building that opens in August. Out of sight, but not out of mind, however, is Kyle Field, which has not had substantial renovations since the 1990s, an eon in today's collegiate facilities race.

Sumlin's job is to win games. The job of Houston businessman Sam Torn, chairman of the Kyle Field redevelopment campaign for A&M's fund-raising 12th Man Foundation, is to provide the financial wherewithal to revamp and rebuild the historic foundation of Texas A&M athletics.

"We want to create a venue that can sustain us for the next 50 to 100 years," Torn said. "Our goal is excellence, and we understand there is a cost to excellence. And Aggies are ready to assume the cost and make the commitment."

Torn said he hopes that the sports facilities firm Populous will have a plan for Kyle Field's renovation or replacement to be presented to Loftin by November, after the Aggies have had their first look at the likes of Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium and Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium.

More than just sports

"We're excited to be able to go to some of the storied venues in college football," Torn said. "That said, we are not going to the SEC to compare ourselves with anybody. We want to excel and be the best, whatever that takes, and that is our plan."

But first comes Day One in the SEC, the first day of Loftin's much talked-about "100-year decision." And the tale of where it ranks in the order of seismic changes at A&M, regent Jim Wilson said Saturday, has yet to be told.

"It will be down the road, when we see if it does for us what we believe it will do, which is to help our brand nationwide and worldwide," he said. "I'm talking about the university, not just athletics. It's being on national TV, but it's more than that. We are hopeful that this will drive the university."

And when it comes to forecasting the Aggies' on-field performance in the SEC, Loftin falls back on a cherished A&M tradition.

"We're going to show up," he said. "We'll do well. I have great faith in our coaches. They're good people. We have great student-athletes. We're going to compete.

"We may not win every game, but you know what they say about Aggies: We've never been beaten. Outscored, maybe, but we won't be beaten."

david.barron@chron.com

Houston experts weigh in on Keystone XL pipeline - abc13.com

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Rizzo's 1st HR of year lifts Cubs over Astros 3-2 - Houston Chronicle

CHICAGO (AP) â€" Anthony Rizzo hit his first homer with the Cubs, a two-run go-ahead shot in the fifth inning, and Chicago beat the Houston Astros 3-2 Saturday for its fourth win in five games.

Matt Garza (4-6) struggled but got the victory by working 5 1-3 innings. Five Cubs relievers combined to allow one hit and no runs over the final 3 2-3 innings with Carlos Marmol pitching the ninth for his seventh save in nine chances.

Astros lefty J.A. Happ (6-8) allowed five hits, four walks and three runs in six innings. But the former Northwestern University hurler is winless in his past 11 road decisions dating to May 3, 2011.

Veteran Astros first baseman Carlos Lee, the subject of trade rumors involving the Dodgers, went 0 for 4.

Rizzo's long and high blast to right field scored Starlin Castro for a 3-2 lead. Moments earlier, Castro had hit a two-out RBI single for Chicago's first run.

Rizzo, whose arrival in Chicago on Tuesday was met with great buzz after an impressive stint in Triple-A, also made a nice defensive play in the third to cut down a Houston run. The homer was the second of his major league career. He had one last season with San Diego.

Garza labored on the 92-degree afternoon but was backed by three double plays and some overly aggressive base running by the Astros. He gave up two runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings and threw 104 pitches with three walks. Scott Maine relieved him in the sixth and gave up a single to Jason Castro, but Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano made a strong throw to get Chris Johnson trying to make third on the hit.

A leadoff single by J.D. Martinez, double by Scott Moore and single by Jordan Schafer gave the Astros a 1-0 lead in the third. But a big inning was averted when Rizzo fielded Jed Lowrie's grounder and made a strong throw to the plate to easily nail Moore.

Martinez hit a two-out RBI single in the fourth, right after the Cubs had turned a 5-3 double play with two runners on. But he was caught off second after initially heading for third on Moore's single and was tagged out to end the inning.

Astros shortstop Lowrie saved a run in the fourth with a great stop on Darwin Barney's hard two-out grounder and then shoveled it backhanded to second baseman Moore for the out.

Notes: Astros 2B Jose Altuve (right hamstring) ran sprints on Saturday and there is a chance he could play Sunday after missing six straight games. ... Cubs 3B Ian Stewart could be headed for surgery after his injured left wrist has not responded to treatment. .... RHP Ryan Dempster (DL with a lat injury) is slated to throw a bullpen session Monday in Atlanta. ... Astros manager Brad Mills said he's hoping RHP Wilton Lopez (right elbow sprain) will be ready to return after the All-Star break. Lopez is scheduled to throw a bullpen session during the team's next stop in Pittsburgh.

La Porte crowd cheers return of Marine hero - Houston Chronicle

A Houston-area Marine was given a hero's welcome Saturday by dozens of supporters in La Porte.

A crowd filled the parking lot outside La Porte High School stadium, cheering and waving flags for Cpl. Christopher Farias, 26, who returned home with a Purple Heart and Navy Cross for "fearless actions and leadership" during a 2010 attack on his patrol base in Afghanistan.

"I had no idea what was going on today," said Farias, who sustained serious injuries as he helped fellow Marines during a Taliban attack. "It hit home to have so many people come to pay their respects, and I thank them for their support."

La Porte Mayor Louis Rigby proclaimed June 30 "Christopher Farias Day" in La Porte, as did the Baytown City Council. "As a veteran myself, it is always good to welcome a fellow Marine. We are really happy to have Chris home," said Rigby.

'On cloud nine'

The celebration continued at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 912 in Baytown, where Farias was honored as a lifetime member.

Paul Bentley, Farias' cousin-in-law who helped plan the event, was overjoyed to see him.

"I'm on cloud nine right now and I hope he's even higher," said Bentley. "He is a role model for many Americans and children.

"He is the definition of what a Marine is."

The Farias family said its members have nearly 183 years of military service combined.

"It makes me feel very proud of my family to know they have all fought and served.

"I hope my family continues to join in serving," said Farias, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch to his dad on Father's Day at Dodgers Stadium.

It was the first Father's Day that Farias had seen his dad in his eight years of military service, which included four tours overseas.

tabatha.bognar@chron.com

Rizzo's 1st HR of season lifts Cubs 3-2 - Houston Chronicle

CHICAGO (AP) â€" Anthony Rizzo hit his first homer with the Cubs, a two-run go-ahead shot in the fifth inning, and Chicago beat the Houston Astros 3-2 Saturday for its fourth win in five games.

Matt Garza (4-6) struggled but got the victory by working 5 1-3 innings. Five Cubs relievers combined to allow one hit and no runs over the final 3 2-3 innings with Carlos Marmol pitching the ninth for his seventh save in nine chances.

Astros lefty J.A. Happ (6-8) allowed five hits, four walks and three runs in six innings. But the former Northwestern University hurler is winless in his past 11 road decisions dating to May 3, 2011.

Veteran Astros first baseman Carlos Lee, the subject of trade rumors involving the Dodgers, went 0 for 4.

Rizzo's long and high blast to right field scored Starlin Castro for a 3-2 lead. Moments earlier, Castro had hit a two-out RBI single for Chicago's first run.

Rizzo, whose arrival in Chicago on Tuesday was met with great buzz after an impressive stint in Triple-A, also made a nice defensive play in the third to cut down a Houston run. The homer was the second of his major league career. He had one last season with San Diego.

Garza labored on the 92-degree afternoon but was backed by three double plays and some overly aggressive base running by the Astros. He gave up two runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings and threw 104 pitches with three walks. Scott Maine relieved him in the sixth and gave up a single to Jason Castro, but Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano made a strong throw to get Chris Johnson trying to make third on the hit.

A leadoff single by J.D. Martinez, double by Scott Moore and single by Jordan Schafer gave the Astros a 1-0 lead in the third. But a big inning was averted when Rizzo fielded Jed Lowrie's grounder and made a strong throw to the plate to easily nail Moore.

Martinez hit a two-out RBI single in the fourth, right after the Cubs had turned a 5-3 double play with two runners on. But he was caught off second after initially heading for third on Moore's single and was tagged out to end the inning.

Astros shortstop Lowrie saved a run in the fourth with a great stop on Darwin Barney's hard two-out grounder and then shoveled it backhanded to second baseman Moore for the out.

Notes: Astros 2B Jose Altuve (right hamstring) ran sprints on Saturday and there is a chance he could play Sunday after missing six straight games. ... Cubs 3B Ian Stewart could be headed for surgery after his injured left wrist has not responded to treatment. .... RHP Ryan Dempster (DL with a lat injury) is slated to throw a bullpen session Monday in Atlanta. ... Astros manager Brad Mills said he's hoping RHP Wilton Lopez (right elbow sprain) will be ready to return after the All-Star break. Lopez is scheduled to throw a bullpen session during the team's next stop in Pittsburgh.

July 4th events around Houston - KHOU

by KHOU.com Staff

khou.com

Posted on June 30, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Updated today at 4:14 PM

The City of Houston’s official July 4th celebration takes place from 4 p.m.-10 p.m. at Eleanor Tinsley Park along Allen Parkway. Freedom Over Texas includes live music from Billy Currington and Sara Evans. Tickets are $8 per person except for Reliant customers, who receive two free tickets to the event. Non-Reliant customers can relieve a discount online. Children five and under get in free.

The Bellaire July 4th parade begins at 9:30 a.m. on July 4 at the Bellaire Triangle. It ends in the Bellaire Town Square where the festival continues until 1 p.m. The fest includes live music, carnival games and food. Admission is free, but game tickets and food are not.

Sugar Land’s 27th annual Red White and Bluefest begins at 5 p.m. on July 4 at Oyster Creek Park. All entertainment and activities are free and open to the public. Food vendors will be selling refreshments. The fireworks display will start around 9:30 p.m. A free shuttle service will operate from Mercer Stadium from 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The City of Pasadena is hosting a July 4 festival starting at 4 p.m. at the Pasadena Convention Center and Municipal Fairgrounds. The air-conditioned Convention Center will be turned into a KidZone full of inflatable bouncers and games. Outdoor activities will be outfitted with misting stations. People are invited to bring their vehicles to the Car and Truck show for the chance to with awards. The day concludes with a 20-minute firework show at 9:15 p.m. The event is free.

The Friendswood Fourth of July parade begins at 10 a.m. on July 4 on S. Friendswood Drive (FM 518) from Heritage to Stevenson Park. The evening fireworks event begins at 7:30 p.m. at Centennial Park. The show begins at 9:20 p.m. Free shuttles are available from parking at Clear Brook High School and Friendswood High School. Viewing is also available at HEB and 24 Hour Fitness parking lots. For more parking guidelines, visit the Friendswood website.

The 23rd Annual Katy Freedom Celebration fireworks display will be held at Katy Mills Mall pm July 4. The fireworks are launched between the east side of the mall and Katy Fort Bend Road. The display begins around 9 p.m. and can be viewed from several miles around the mall area.

The Woodlands is planning an entire week of festivities. On Tuesday evening, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion will host the Houston Symphony’s Star Spangled Salute starting at 8 p.m.  The July 4 Parade begins at 9 a.m. at The Woodlands United Methodist Church, head south on Grogan’s Mill, then east on Lake Robbins before entering Market Street. The Red, Hot and Blue Fireworks Extravaganza is set to start at approximately 9:15 pm. The fireworks will shoot off near the Anadarko Building and are best viewed at Waterway Square.

A bit of Naples in Houston - MyFox Houston

HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Pizzacomes in all sorts of shapes and styles, but if you want the original, the realdeal from Naples, youneeded to jump on a plane and head to Italy; that is until now.

Now,all you need to do is jump in your car and drive to northwest Houston and stop at a place called Pizaro'sPizza.

Thepizzeria serves authentic Neapolitan pizza, and the pizzeria's owner, BillHutchinson, has been trained inItalyand officially certified as a Neapolitan pizza maker.

Houston foodwriter Amber Ambrose recently visited Pizaro's to check it out.

"Weonly use flour imported from Italy,tomatoes imported from Italyand our own homemade mozzarella cheese", said Hutchinson. "And we use an oven made in Naplesspecifically made to cook pizzas."

Theoven is a thing of beauty and the centerpiece of the pizzeria. It's made frombrick and mortar from Mt. Vesuvius in Naples. The ovenwas put on a ship and made a five-week journey to Houston. The wood-burning oven cooks at atemperature of around 1000 degrees, cooking up the pizza in 90 seconds.

Hutchinson toldAmbrose the pizzeria has a few rules, based on a dedication to freshness.

"Wedon't do deliveries, we don't take phone orders. You have to stand in line andorder your pizza," he said. "The pizza ismade to be eaten right out of the oven here in the restaurant."

Ifyou want to take a quick trip to Naples righthere in Houston,Pizaro's is located at 14028 Memorial Drive. That's at the cornerof Memorial and North Kirkwood Road,just a few blocks south of I-10.  And, at Pizaro's, its BYOB.

On the Web:

Pizaro's Pizza -- http://www.pizarospizza.com/

Amber Ambrose on Eater Houston -- http://houston.eater.com/authors/amber-ambrose

Blinds.com Donates House Full of Blinds to Wounded Marine Veteran - Houston Chronicle

Houston community and national Home For Our Troops non-profit welcome Cpl. Daniel Peterson with a fully accessible home and furnishings.

Houston, TX (PRWEB) June 30, 2012

Blinds.com (http://www.blinds.com), the world’s largest online window covering store, was honored to help welcome a wounded soldier into his new home in Tomball, TX on June 23rd, 2012 with a house full of 2-inch custom wood blinds.

Marine Cpl. Daniel Peterson survived an explosion in Afghanistan that left him a double amputee in 2010. He received a key to his new wheelchair accessible home from the Homes For Our Troops organization (http://www.homesforourtroops.org) surrounded by fellow veterans, area business leaders and supporters.    

“Our team was moved at the opportunity to give even the smallest token of our appreciation to Cpl. Daniel for his services and sacrifice for our country,” Blinds.com PR Manager Katie Laird said. “From the Cub Scout Pack 1213 raising over $15,000 for home furnishings to the tremendous local business support, the outreach for this brave soldier was a touching and well-deserved tribute.”

The specially outfitted and furnished home was built by the national non-profit Homes for Our Troops with the support of numerous organizations including SpawGlass, Finger Furniture and many more. Learn more about other Blinds.com community and nonprofit involvement by visiting http://bit.ly/OI4MhE.

ABOUT BLINDS.COM
Blinds.com (http://www.Blinds.com), owned by Global Custom Commerce, is the largest online window covering store in America, covering over a million windows a year since 1996. Today, Blinds.com is ranked No. 215 on the prestigious Internet Retailer 500 list. With a cutting edge online ordering system and ‘The Window Shopper’ augmented reality shopping iPhone app, Blinds.com makes ordering custom blinds, shades, shutters and draperies a no brainer with huge savings and selection. Blinds.com offers installation videos, award winning customer service and a SureFit Guarantee to make buying blinds online surprisingly easy and stress-free. Go online to http://www.Blinds.com to shop or call 1-800-505-1905 to speak to one of 100+ blinds experts.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012/6/prweb9658981.htm

Carlos Lee controls his own destiney in potential trade to Dodgers - Houston Chronicle (blog)

Carlos Lee will be in the lineup against the Cubs on Saturday. (Getty)

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CHICAGO â€" The fate of a potential trade of Carlos Lee to the Los Angeles Dodgers is in Lee’s hands now.

Lee said that he met with Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow this morning and that an offer had been made by the Dodgers to acquire Lee for the last three months of his contract.

Since the Dodgers are one of 14 teams in Lee’s limited no-trade clause, he can veto that trade and said that he wants time to think it over. He has played the last 5 1/2 years in Houston and has a ranch in Texas, and the prospect of going to a contender is on the other side of that decision.

Lee is due the prorated portion of an $18.5 million salary, which if the trade was executed soon, would be roughly $9 million, though it is unclear whether the Astros would pay some of that.

Lee said he was given no deadline to decide and that he might not even have a decision by the end of the weekend. He is in the lineup for today’s 3:05 p.m. game at the Cubs.

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Carlos Lee can waive his no-trade clause and accept the deal to the Dodgers. (Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle)

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Carlos Lee has a nickname "El Caballo", which means "The Horse." (Eric Christian Smith / For the Chronicle)

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Carlos Lee's big bat was a big reason the Astros signed him to a monster contract. (Nick de la Torre / Houston Chronicle)

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Carlos Lee is known for his offense. (Smiley N. Pool / Houston Chronicle)

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Carlos Lee had a productive first year for the Astros, hitting .303 with 32 home runs and driving in 119 runs. (Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle)

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On November 24, 2006, Carlos Lee agreed to a six-year, $100 million contract with the Astros. (Johnny Hanson / Houston Chronicle)

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Carlos Lee celebrates his 2,000th career hit. (Cody Duty / Houston Chronicle)

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Carlos Lee at the 2007 All-Star game. (Getty)

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Carlos Lee hits his 300th career homer. (Smiley N. Pool / Houston Chronicle)

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Off the field, Carlos Lee is an avid rancher. (Johnny Hanson / Houston Chronicle)

PrideStaff Expands With New Staffing and Employment Agency in Houston Northwest - Houston Chronicle

PrideStaff, a national staffing organization, is pleased to announce the opening of a new staffing and employment agency in the Northwest Houston, TX area.

Houston, Texas (PRWEB) June 30, 2012

PrideStaff, a national staffing organization, is pleased to announce the opening of a new staffing and employment agency in the Northwest Houston, TX area. The new office will offer a full range of staffing and employment services in a variety of professional and light industrial disciplines.

"At PrideStaff, we are committed to supporting business growth in Houston by matching highly skilled professionals with top organizations throughout the Houston area," says Craig Soudelier, Owner/Strategic-Partner of the Houston Northwest PrideStaff office. "I have spent my career developing strategic workforce solutions for Fortune 500 companies throughout the US, Europe and Asia. I've seen first-hand the value of working with a top-tier staffing firm and look forward to providing outstanding talent to Northwest Houston's leading companies."

As a national staffing services organization, PrideStaff provides outstanding results to its clients and candidates. Removing the guesswork from staffing has demonstrated measurable success for our client partners across the nation. The Houston Northwest office will be using this approach to recruit superior light industrial and professional candidates to employers across the Houston area.

About PrideStaff
PrideStaff was founded in the 1970s as 100 percent company owned units and began franchising in 1995. They are a national franchise with over 40 offices operating nationally to serve over 2,500 clients. With 40 years in the staffing business, headquartered in Fresno, CA, PrideStaff offers the resources and expertise of a national firm with the spirit, dedication and personal service of smaller, entrepreneurial firms. For more information on our services or for staffing franchise information, visit http://www.pridestaff.com.

PrideStaff’s Mission: Consistently provide client experiences focused on what they value most.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prwebhouston-staffing-agency/houston-temp-staffing/prweb9658840.htm

Giant space artifact comes to Seattle on Saturday - Houston Chronicle

SEATTLE (AP) â€" A gigantic piece of space history is set to splash down at Seattle's Museum of Flight on Saturday.

Although the Space Shuttle Trainer has never left the earth's atmosphere, museum officials say Seattle has won the biggest prize in the competition to show and explain this period in NASA history, since visitors won't just get to look at this space artifact, they'll be able to climb aboard.

Seattle came in fifth place in the contest among 21 museums and space centers hoping to land one of the nation's four space shuttles after the 30-year program ended last year.

Arriving this weekend at the museum in south Seattle is the nearly 29-foot-long, 19-foot-wide and 23-foot-tall crew cabin of the full-scale plywood mock-up that looks like a space shuttle without wings. The payload bay is scheduled to arrive in two pieces in July and August and a mock-up of the engine section is being assembled locally.

It will cost a total of $2 million to get the trainer to its new home in Seattle. Museum officials say that's another advantage of the trainer over the real space shuttles, which cost as much as ten times as much to move, partly because they can't be disassembled first.

By early October, visitors to the museum near Boeing Field should be able to walk aboard the shuttle trainer, which was used by every astronaut to ever fly aboard a space shuttle. They'll be able to touch and smell the giant vehicle, imagine flying it themselves and maybe even impress their friends by holding their wedding aboard.

"In retrospect, I think we did get something better," said museum president Doug King.

Visitors this weekend and through the months while the trainer is reassembled will be able to visit the gallery and see the work as it progresses.

"It's the first time we've built a gallery in front of the public," King said.

King was in New York when the Space Shuttle Enterprise went on display at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. He called it a beautiful artifact that no one can touch.

Space Shuttle Discovery has a new home at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum annex in northern Virginia. Atlantis is bound for Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and Endeavor is going to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

In Seattle, a new $12 million building, the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery, has been prepared for the display. The gallery also features a Soyuz spacecraft and the landing capsule that two-time space tourist Simonyi used to get back to earth after one of his visits to the International Space Station.

Educational displays planned for the gallery will focus on the past, present and future of spaceflight, including information about some commercial ventures like asteroid mining and space tourism.

The crew compartment of the trainer left Johnson Space Center in Houston last week and was loaded into an even larger airplane called the Super Guppy. Because of its size and the difficulty of flying something as heavy and unwieldy as a piece of the shuttle trainer, the Super Guppy has made several stops on its way to Seattle.

On Saturday, the unusual plane will fly low and slow over Lake Washington and Elliott Bay before landing at Boeing Field. Anyone who shows up at the museum for "shuttlefest" activities this weekend will also get to see the crew compartment moved over to the museum from the airport next door.

They may also get a peek inside the plane that looks more like a whale than a guppy and has a cargo compartment that is 25 feet tall, 25 feet wide and 111 feet long and can carry up to 26 tons. It's the only plane in the world that is big enough to transport the crew compartment of the Space Shuttle Trainer, King said.

A weekend of special activities have been planned at the museum, where visitors also can see Boeing's first manufacturing facility, the first jet Air Force One, a Concorde jetliner and about 150 other historical aircraft. Astronaut Greg Johnson, who grew up in Seattle, will talk about flying the unusual plane from Houston. Other astronauts with local ties will talk about their training in the space shuttle mock-up.

King said he's not just excited for the people of Washington state. "It's an historic moment for the whole NASA program," he said, noting the support the museum has gotten from NASA and the emotional connection to the trainer he's heard about from past and current astronauts who wanted to be part of the celebration.

___

Follow Donna Blankinship on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dgblankinship .

___

If you go...

MUSEUM OF FLIGHT: http://www.museumofflight.org/ . June 30-31 at 9404 East Marginal Way S., Seattle. The Super Guppy is expected to arrive around 11 a.m. Saturday in the parking lot behind the museum, so most parking over the weekend will be offsite but marked. Museum general admission, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, $17 adults, $14 seniors and active military, $9 ages 5 to 17, children 4 and under free. Events in the east parking lot over the weekend will be free.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Dispute over $1500 water bill means dry taps for Houston family - Houston Chronicle

The city of Houston cut off the water at Annie Williams' northwest Houston home last September.

Since then, she, her disabled veteran son and her grandson have been filling up jugs, canisters, barrels, buckets, plastic tubs and squeeze bottles to compensate for dry taps.

The family purchases water for baths, dish washing and drinking. An old garbage can in the backyard has become a rain barrel. Williams, 72, prays for downpours. Otherwise, the family buys water to flush the toilets, too.

Her dispute with the city dates back to at least 2008, when the home had astronomical meter reads. The city said the home had a leak. The real problem? A "malfunctioning Encoder Receiver Transmitter" sent erroneous usage information to the city, according to a letter from the Public Works and Engineering Department.

The current controversy stems from incredibly high water bills early last year.

The city claims the home guzzled through 76,000 gallons in January 2011 and 57,000 gallons in February 2011, resulting in $1,500 in charges. The next month, usage dropped to more normal levels (the usual monthly bill is less than $100) and remained there until the water was turned off last September for non-payment.Williams insists there have been no plumbing repairs that brought her water use back to customary levels.

Williams was offered a payment plan, an "Unusually Large Bill" adjustment and other assistance.

She won't sign those papers, because "I don't owe this and I don't need to do nothing," she said. "They need to take it off the bill."

Unable to negotiate a bill correction or a satisfactory resolution, she said, Williams just gave up.

City ordinance doesn't allow anyone - not even the mayor - to wipe away such charges, Public Works spokesman Alvin Wright said. Later, he wrote in an email: "We look forward to a legal resolution to the matter that would result in … the water being cut back on."

Mayor Annise Parker's office responded Friday with a statement: "The Mayor's office and Utility Customer Service (Water Department) staff have repeatedly attempted to assist Ms. Williams with the high water bills she received. Mayor's office constituent services staff have spoken with her on eight separate occasions since February of 2011. They offered to help arrange for a licensed plumber to come to her property free of charge to review her plumbing system. Ms. Williams declined the offer as well as other attempts to assist. Additionally, she has also refused any further contact with the Water Department Staff. The City remains willing to work with Ms. Williams to reach a suitable resolution to this situation."

A home in the United States without running water is a major health hazard. The taps have been dry at the Williams residence for nearly a year. According to a Houston Chronicle story on aging city infrastructure this month, "the city lost or could not account for 19 percent of its water in the 2011 fiscal year that ended in June." That's within the time frame those whoppers were delivered to Williams' mailbox.

When asked about the mayor's explanation, Williams confirmed that she refused the free plumber, saying she remains distrustful of city government.The city's representatives said that they need to have her plumbing inspected or she can pay the outstanding charges.

Williams' household doesn't qualify for financial relief offered to the very poor because of her son's income, but she hasn't exhausted all options. She can accept the free plumber (and pay for any repairs discovered) or present her case during an administrative hearing.

All parties say they want to have water service restored to this home. Visit The Houston Advocate blog (blog.chron.com/advocate) to read more about this case and follow any developments.

If you're a taxpayer or consumer in need of a "Houston Advocate Fix," email cindy.george@chron.com, tweet @HouAdvocate or call 713-362-6374. There may be some "Texas justice," for you.

cindy.george@chron.com twitter.com/HouAdvocate twitter.com/cindylgeorge

Photo exhibit puts century-old Houston under glass - Houston Chronicle

Barefoot boys playing cards; a full-figured bathing beauty; naked babies and blushing brides; a woman in mourning. An air of poignancy, a tantalizing hint of stories untold, surrounds the century-old glass negative photos that make up "Faces, Places & Spaces," now on exhibit at the Houston Public Library's Julia Ideson Building.

Shot by professional and amateur photographers using cumbersome cameras with long exposures, the images provide rare glimpses of Houston's public and private lives at the turn of the century. Drawn from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center's collection of 9,000-plus glass-plate images, the photos depict wooden oil derricks, fire stations, mansions and the aftermath of Galveston's 1900 hurricane.

Perhaps most touching, though, are the portraits and candid shots of people.

"When I come up here to the second floor," said exhibit curator Danielle Burns, "I am drawn to these people that I don't even know. There's one photo of a woman washing her hair. It's so figurative, yet so literal. You take the image for what it is, but there's so much beneath all that. … There's a haunting aspect to it, a mystery."

Collaborating with Burns was research center archivist Joel Draut, who noted that the identities of most of the people in the photographs and the dates the pictures were taken are unknown. Most of the 150 images in the exhibit were the work of commercial photographers.

Draut said glass-plate negatives were the prime photographic medium for a 40-year period beginning in the 1880s. Featuring a dry, gelatin-based light-sensitive emulsion, the plates represented a major advance in the photographer's art. The earlier wet collodion process required photos be shot and processed within minutes, and, for out-of-studio shots, mandated access to a mobile darkroom.

Ethnic, racial diversity

The Ideson exhibit consists of seven lighted panels featuring positive glass images next to replicas of their glass negatives. The original negatives are too fragile to display.

"The emulsion gets so dry that it begins to come off the glass," Draut said. "The only thing you can do about that is gently put a second piece of glass over it, secure the edges and put it in deep storage." The research center is digitizing its collection, but, the archivist said, "We're just getting started."

The exhibit falls into broad categories including men, women and babies. Among the most recent images - taken by longtime Houston photographer Frank Schlueter - are black and white soldiers stationed at World War I-era Camp Logan. Schlueter's photos, with dates scratched into the plates, include a July 4, 1919, shot of African-American men tending a massive in-ground barbecue pit.

For decades, Schlueter, who died at age 98 in 1972, was among the city's most prominent commercial photographers. As a photographer for hire, his assignments often included jobs that, in retrospect, seem quirky. Among the latter was a shot commemorating the installation of the city's 50,000th telephone, regrettably not included in the current exhibit.

Burns said she was struck by the ethnic and racial diversity of the people photographed.

Stories without context

"There are Asians and African-Americans," she noted. "Houston was diverse then just as it is now."

The anonymous nature of the photos, she added, lends the exhibit a quality of universality that could be lost if each image was thoroughly documented.

Among the exhibit's most intriguing offerings are a pair of images of middle-aged African-American women attired in everyday dress and apparently photographed in their homes. With no context, the stories blossom. Another features a nattily attired man flailing away at a banjo. Still another, a young girl contemplating a toy locomotive.

Even damage sustained by the negatives adds to the exhibit's poignant aura.

In one, a missing fragment of the plate, vaguely resembling a human form, hovers over a small boy pole-fishing in the bayou.

"I almost looks like a spirit," Burns said, "or an angel."

The exhibit will be on view until Sept. 1.

allan.turner@chron.com

Former PTSD counselor charged with falsifying his military discharge papers - Houston Chronicle

A Houston-area Army veteran who claimed to be a combat-tested Special Forces soldier and Silver Star recipient has been charged with a federal crime for falsifying his military discharge papers.

A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted Paul A. Schroeder, 40, of The Woodlands, who is accused of unlawfully possessing and exhibiting a certificate of discharge from the military, "knowing the same to be forged, counterfeited, or falsely altered." The misdemeanor charge carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Schroeder played a high-profile role in Houston's veteran community as the former director of counseling at PTSD Foundation of America, a local nonprofit. He mentored veterans who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and led group therapy sessions at churches, community colleges and the Star of Hope Mission. He also lectured at the Houston Police Academy as part of a post-traumatic stress awareness program for officers and cadets.

Schroeder resigned from the foundation in February after confessing to a Houston Chronicle reporter that he had lied about his record. He never deployed, never served in Special Operations, and never earned a Silver Star, Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman's Badge or other decorations he claimed.

Schroeder could not be reached for comment Friday. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Thursday's indictment was filed in U.S. District Court in Houston on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court struck down The Stolen Valor Act, a 2005 law that made it illegal for people to wear military medals they had not earned or to lie about having been awarded such medals.

Protected speech

In a 6-3 decision, the high court ruled that false statements about military honors are "contemptible" but protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech.

Schroeder's case demonstrates how people who lie about their military records and medals still can face prosecution under existing laws for fraud or forgery, regardless of the Supreme Court decision.

Schroeder is not affected by Thursday's ruling because he is charged with a different crime: altering a military discharge certificate, or DD-214.

He presented the forged document to the Houston Police Department and used it to receive Silver Star license plates from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, said HPD Capt. Gregory Fremin. Police turned the DD-214 over to FBI agents, who opened an investigation, Fremin said.

For years, Schroeder had portrayed himself as a highly decorated Special Forces sergeant first class who suffered from PTSD after serving in combat in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and Central and South America. But Army records show that Schroeder really spent 10 years as a military policeman stationed in New York, Panama and Texas. He left the Army as a sergeant in February 2001, before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan even started.

'Irreparable harm'

HPD's Fremin called Schroeder's alleged deceit "a serious betrayal" and "disgraceful."

"A lot of veterans put their faith and trust in Paul Schroeder," said Fremin, a Marine Corps veteran. "They shared with him their most intimate secrets of pain and heartache, and now to know that the person they were talking to was a fraud, it's hard to measure the irreparable harm that has been caused to these young men and women who have opened up their hearts to him."

In an interview with the newspaper in February, Schroeder said he didn't know why he misled people about his service record and medals.

"You can call it a desperate act of a desperate man," he said. "… I'm trying to do the honorable thing now."

PTSD Foundation's chairman Gene Birdwell and its director of operations, Pastor David Maulsby, did not reply to requests for comment.

lindsay.wise@chron.com

Astros scuffle against Maholm - Houston Chronicle

CHICAGO (AP) â€" A deflating loss the night before and an early-morning arrival into Chicago were just two of the hurdles for the Houston Astros as they came to Wrigley Field to start a three-game series against the Cubs.

And then there was Paul Maholm, the Chicago left-hander looking to shake a long winless drought.

No excuses from Houston manager Brad Mills after Maholm allowed four hits in 8 1-3 innings to lead the Cubs to a 4-0 win.

"Not at all. Maholm has thrown the ball well against us. We had some pretty good swings on the ball and they were caught," Mills said.

The Astros, who lost to the Padres 7-3 on Thursday night when San Diego scored six in the ninth, got into Chicago around 2:30 a.m. and then to their hotel about an hour later. Then they faced an afternoon game that was delayed 55 minutes by rain. They didn't muster much offense.

They drove out Maholm in the ninth on a single by Brian Bixler and double by Carlos Lee. But Chris Johnson lined out with the bases loaded to end the game.

"My job is to hit the ball hard. I can't place it. I wish I could," said Johnson. "How much sleep we had, no one wants to hear about that."

He credited Maholm, who is now 12-6 against the Astros in his career.

"He is one of those guys who really mixes his pitches well," Johnson said.

Maholm had given up nine hits and seven runs in just 3 1-3 innings of his previous outing against the Diamondbacks and had been 0-4 in his previous eight outings, although he pitched well enough to win in some of those games.

Friday he mixed his pitches, had good control and worked well with rookie catcher Steve Clevenger, who also contributed his first major league homer, one of three Chicago hit off Bud Norris.

"If you are doubting your pitches or whatever you are not going to be as crisp," Maholm said. "Whether I was throwing the so-called correct pitch, I was aggressive with it. And obviously I've faced those guys a decent amount and kind of know their tendencies."

Maholm (5-6), making 200th major league start, earned his first win since he tossed seven shutout innings in a 1-0 victory over Atlanta on May 9. He walked one, hit a batter and struck out six. Carlos Marmol got the save, getting the final two outs.

Jordan Schafer and Matt Downs had the only other hits for Houston against Maholm. Schafer's third-inning single came on a fly ball that fell in front of left fielder Alfonso Soriano, and Downs singled in the eighth.

"The guys made some great plays," Maholm said. "And three homers always helps."

Luis Valbuena hit a two-out solo homer off Norris (5-5) in the second. Clevenger belted a two-run shot in the fourth for his first major league homer, and Alfonso Soriano connected in the sixth.

All 15 of Soriano's homers have come since May 15. Clevenger will savor his first. He got the ball, as well.

"To hit a home run in the big leagues, it's a great feeling," he said. "But more important we got the victory and we got the shutout."

Norris allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings. He came off the disabled list earlier in the day after being sidelines with a sprained left knee. He wanted to go longer after throwing only 87 pitches but Mills pulled him.

"Manager made his decision, so I've got to let it be with that," Norris said. "But I felt strong. "

Houston put the first two men on in the third, but Downs was thrown out at third with Norris attempting to bunt, dousing the rally. Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro ended the inning by roaming behind second to flag down Bixler's grounder and throw him out.

Bixler hit a long drive to center in the sixth, but David DeJesus leaped into the ivy to pull it down. The Cubs nearly doubled off Norris, who had walked, but Castro's relay throw was wild past first, allowing Norris to move to third.

NOTES: SS Jed Lowrie was out of the lineup to rest following the Astros' difficult 7-3 loss to the Padres on Thursday night, but hit in the eighth. 2B Jose Altuve sat out a fifth straight game (right hamstring).

Rockets introduced trio of draftees - Houston Chronicle

HOUSTON (AP) â€" The Houston Rockets say the three players they acquired in the draft will be "a big part" of their future.

Whether that means they'll be cornerstones of the roster or assets to package in a trade remains to be seen.

The Rockets used all three of their first-round draft picks without making a subsequent deal on Thursday, selecting Connecticut guard Jeremy Lamb (12th), Iowa State forward Royce White (16th) and Kentucky forward Terrence Jones (18th).

Speculation grew this week that Houston was collecting picks aimed toward a blockbuster deal, possibly a push to lure Dwight Howard away from Orlando. After trading Samuel Dalembert on Wednesday, the Rockets need a big man even more now, a need general manager Daryl Morey says will likely be filled in free agency.

On Friday, Lamb, White and Jones donned Rockets baseball caps and posed for photos with Morey and coach Kevin McHale on a dais, a sign that all three will be here for a while. But Moray also acknowledged that the Rockets will continue to hunt for deals and be active when free agency begins on Sunday.

"We have interest in top-level talent, but we've been very straightforward about what we need to do to get back to being a championship team," Morey said. "We've got to look at adding top-level talent, through free agency or a trade, or we've got to add guys like to my right, who have the ability to be top-level players in the league.

"There's no way to live up to whatever was chattered about, prior to this," Morey said. "Obviously, whenever there is a top talent in the league, that we can add and get us closer to being a contender, we're going to be involved and try and look at it."

While they struck out on making the much-anticipated major move Thursday night, the Rockets felt like they picked up a trio of players with star potential.

The 6-foot-5 Lamb averaged 17.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals last season. The previous year, he helped the Huskies win the national championship, scoring 12 points in its 53-41 title-game win over Butler at nearby Reliant Stadium. Lamb also has valuable international experience, after representing the U.S. in the Under-19 FIBA World Championships last summer.

But Lamb says Connecticut's disappointing 2011-12 season taught him the most valuable lessons he'll need in the pros. The Huskies followed up their championship season by going 20-14 and bowing out to White's Iowa State squad in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

"I had a really interesting college career," Lamb said. "One year, won the national championship. One year, didn't do anything. The whole college experience, winning games, losing games, being on the top, being on the bottom, you can learn a lot from it."

The 6-8, 260-pound White was one of the most intriguing players taken in the first round. He was the only player in the country to lead his team in scoring (13.4 points per game), rebounding (9.3 assists per game), assists (five per game), steals (1.2 per game) and blocks (0.9 per game) last season, an indicator of his versatility.

He also comes with uncertainty. White originally enrolled at Minnesota and before he played a game, he was arrested for shoplifting two shirts valued at $100 and assaulting a security guard at Mall of America. He pleaded guilty and was suspended. A month later, police questioned him about the theft of a laptop, prompting him to withdraw from school.

White has overcome an anxiety disorder and has a fear of flying. Morey said the Rockets viewed White is a "top-5" talent in the draft and the team got comfortable with him after an extensive background check. McHale was reassured by Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg, who played for Minnesota from 2003-05, when McHale worked in the Timberwolves' front office and later became the head coach.

"It's been up and down," White said of his personal journey to the NBA. "It kind of started kind of down. That seemed to be a good spot for me, because I've been on the rise, or the climb ever since, and I'm still climbing, with (Thursday) being a big jump for me."

White caught a 6 a.m. flight to Houston for the introductory news conference. He says his fear of flying has been overblown, though he acknowledged that it's still an issue.

"Here's how it goes," White explained. "I'm scared (going) to the airport, I'm scared going up, I'm uncomfortable in the air and I feel like a million bucks when we hit the runway."

The 6-9, 252-pound Jones was one of six players from Kentucky's national championship squad from last year to get drafted. Jones averaged 14.0 points and eight rebounds over his two seasons with the Wildcats. Jones said playing for John Calipari and dealing with the intense, day-to-day scrutiny that comes with playing in Lexington will help him make a smooth transition to the pros.

"The whole thing is just 'NBA-style,'" Jones said. "Kentucky gets you the most NBA-ready as any school can get. The media of Kentucky and then Coach Cal, it's a great experience, the whole deal."

Police call apartment complex a haven for crime - MyFox Houston

HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

It literally looks like a third world country based right in the heart of southwest Houston.

It's where chopping up old furniture with the ax to throw it away is more the norm than the unusual.

Sheku Contah takes his sister to work everyday.  She's a single Mom who lives in Le Promenade apartments.  He's concerned about her safety and environment in the southwest Houston complex.

Contah says, "this place is not safe only God can protect people from here."

Mabinty Mansalay is Contah's sister and she says, "that concerns me too because I've lived here a while and I've not seen cops here that much and lately yeah I have been seeing them come around."

There's more than just coming around according to the Harris County Attorney's office.  

Fred Keys with the County Attorney's office says, "there are robberies, assaults, and it's primarily do to the run down condition of the complex itself."

Investigators there say the complex is a haven for crime and home to the notorious gang - La Primera.  A gang that's not shy about posting to Youtube.

County attorneys say a sign the gang is so entrenched at the complex ... members tattoo the address 7400 on their arms. La Promenade is located at 7400 Bissonnet Street.

The county attorney is using the state's nuisance law to force the owners to clean it up or shut it down.

Keys says, "we're asking the court to issue an injunction to stop the nuisance type activities, stop the violence, and to do things that would keep this type of activity from occurring in the future."

With stairwells lined with chicken wire and barbed wire on gates as the only form of security...What the county attorney's office is likely a welcomed gesture to residents
like Mabinty Mansalay.

Mansalay says, "It's okay if they come and clean it up. That would be so safe for me and my kids, you know."
 
There is a hearing set for Monday morning at 9 a.m. on the civil suit filed by the County Attorney.

First GOP political ads hit the airwaves, calling health care a tax (with VIDEO) - Houston Chronicle (blog)

Both supporters and opponents of the Affordable Care Act gathered anxiously outside the Supreme Court as they awaited the justices' ruling on the controversial law.

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Advocates for an expansion of Medicare demonstrate silently as opponents of the Affordable Care Act and self-described Tea Party supporters chant "repeal and replace" behind them. (Francis Rivera / The Houston Chronicle )

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Two 'Obamacare' opponents express their discontent with the bill by dressing as the grim reaper and President Obama in medical scrubs. (Francis Rivera / The Houston Chronicle )

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Supporters of the Affordable Care Act chant 'we love Obamacare' while dancing to the Aretha Franklin song 'Respect.' (Francis Rivera / The Houston Chronicle )

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Feminist proponents of 'Obamacare' demonstrate in support of the bill, fearful that if the entire legislation is struck down it will be a setback for women's rights. (Francis Rivera / The Houston Chronicle )

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Several pro-life protestors stood silently, facing the Supreme Court building with the word 'life' taped over their mouths. (Francis Rivera / The Houston Chronicle )

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Mary Paris of Silver Spring, Md., marches in front of the Supreme Court, asking the justices to strike down President Obama's landmark health care legislation. (Francis Rivera / The Houston Chronicle )

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Linda Dorr of Laguna Beach, Calif., middle, recites the pledge of allegiance along with other opponents of 'Obamacare.' (Francis Rivera / The Houston Chronicle )

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Pam Wohlschlegel, director of the Palm Beach County Tea Party organization in Florida, speaks before a crowd of protestors in front of the Supreme Court building. (Francis Rivera / The Houston Chronicle )

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Initial reports implying that the Supreme Court had struck down parts of the Affordable Care Act elicited opponents of the bill to cheer joyously. As other news bulletins circulated through the crowd, it soon became clear though that the court had in fact ruled in favor of the legislation. (Francis Rivera / The Houston Chronicle )

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After it is confirmed that the Supreme Court upheld 'Obamacare,' supporters celebrated enthusiastically. (Francis Rivera / The Houston Chronicle )

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The justices' ruling ended months of uncertainty over the constitutionality of President Obama's Affordable Care Act. (Francis Rivera / The Houston Chronicle )

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As conflicting reports of what exactly the justices had decided caused confusion amongst those in the crowd, Angela Boticella confirms that the legislation was indeed upheld. (Francis Rivera / The Houston Chronicle )

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As the raucous crowd outside the Supreme Court began to disperse, some stayed behind to speak to members of the media or listen to various speakers offering their comments on the ruling afterwards. (Francis Rivera / The Houston Chronicle )

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Many 'Obamacare' supporters and opponents expressed their opinions on the legislation in creative ways. (Francis Rivera / The Houston Chronicle )

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Tasha Taylor, a police officer for the Supreme Court, looks out onto the noisy crowd in front of the building. Demonstrators with signs had to stay on the sidewalk, away from the building's iconic steps. (Francis Rivera / The Houston Chronicle )

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Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott writes down notes after exiting the Supreme Court building. Abbott was one of several state attorney generals suing over the Affordable Care Act. (Francis Rivera / The Houston Chronicle )

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Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott quietly jots down information as the crowd outside the Supreme Court disperses around him. He expressed surprise over the ruling, not expecting the justices to apply tax theory the way they did. (Francis Rivera / The Houston Chronicle )

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Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott spoke with members of the media following the justices' ruling, stating his belief that the battle over healthcare legislation was 'far from over.' (Francis Rivera / The Houston Chronicle )

As we foreshadowed just hours after the Supreme Court dropped the health care decision, conservatives had already pivoted to their next line of attack, riffing off of Chief Justice Roberts language in the ruling: The health care law is a new tax on Americans.

And voila, 24 hours later, we have a political ad based on this meme. Check out this ad from the conservative group, Americans for Prosperity, which is part of the Koch brothers extended family. It will be airing this TV ad as part of a $5 million campaign in the swing states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin.

A quick fact-check on the ad. No, the health care law is not a “government takeover” of the health care system. About 94 percent of Americans will be keeping their own health care plan. There is NO separate government plan, even though many Americans think there is.