Texas Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott is one of a growing number of wealthy residents who are drilling wells to get around water restrictions during one of the worst droughts in history -- a practice that environmentalists are warning could leave less water for everyone else.
The Texas Tribunereported on Sunday that Abbott had installed the well just months before the city of Austin began cracking down on lawn-watering restrictions.
According to the Tribune, some of the resident's in Abbott's luxury Pemberton Heights neighborhood had marked their lawns with signs that noted "Watering by Private Well” to avoid being hassled by the city.
"To me it’s just unconscionable," Texas State University's Meadows Center for Water and the Environment Executive Director Andrew Sansom told the Tribune. "It’s a total disregard for the resource... What we should be doing is reducing our consumption of water."
Under Austin city law, Abbott is allowed to pump as much water out of the ground as he wants, even if it means another well goes dry in the process.
The National Drought Mitigation Center said last week that recent heavy rains had relieved the drought conditions in Travis County for now. But much of the surrounding area is continuing to suffer a pattern of drought that's been ongoing since 2009.
The Texas Tribune could find no record of a well being drilled for Abbott's Democratic opponent, state Sen. Wendy Davis.
Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum recently told a group of students that they needed to fight for conservative values in "every aspect of your life" because liberals who support abortion rights even "make it uncomfortable" to shower at the YMCA if you disagree with their views.
(He sure seems to think a lot about showering with other men, doesn't he?)
In a video clip posted by Right Wing Watch on Tuesday, Rick Santorum told the group Students for Life that the truth would only win "if you have the passion, winsomeness and charity to bring to this debate, to bring it to your communities, to bring it to every aspect of your life."
"You see, what the left does, what the pro-choice movement does is they just don't focus on their little issue, they focus on everything they do and every aspect of their life," he explained. "They make it uncomfortable for students who come to Austin to shower at a young men's Christian association YMCA gym."
"Because they live it. They're passionate. They're willing to do and say uncomfortable things in mixed company. They're willing to make the sacrifice at their business because they care enough... They simply won't give up. We have the truth and we give up! We have righteousness and we give up because it’s unpopular!"
In July, Fox News radio host Todd Starnes reported that the Town Lake Branch of the Austin YMCA had "banned" the pro-life group Students for Life. Starnes said that the group had been promised that they could use YMCA showers while they were in town to support the Texas anti-abortion bill but were later told they were no longer welcome in the facilities because pro-life students "intimidated" the staff.
However, the YMCA released a statement saying that Students for Life had violated its policies by bringing political debate into the facility.
"We strive to create an atmosphere that is welcoming to all, where people of all backgrounds are comfortable," the statement said. "That’s what we were striving to do in accommodating the Students for Life group who were in need of a place to shower. Unfortunately, in this instance, it caused the political debate to come into the Y."
"If any person or group enters our facilities and creates an atmosphere that is disruptive, we have an obligation to our members and program participants to ask that person or group to leave or to refuse them access... There are appropriate places in which to conduct a political debate, and that place is down the street at the State Capitol, not at our YMCA."
A 72-year-old woman who appeared to be doing nothing more than observing Texas Senate proceedings following state Sen. Wendy Davis' (D) filibuster of an abortion bill was forcibly arrested and charged with assaulting an officer early Wednesday morning.
Video captured by 23-year-old Austin resident Elizabeth Willmann shows two troopers surrounding Martha Northington as she sits in the gallery. One of the officers approaches from behind and yanks Northington's arm to bring her to her feet.
"You're hurting me!" she shouts.
At that point, the crowd erupts and several more troopers surround the woman as she's put into handcuffs.
"Stop pushing me, I will walk," Northington pleads.
"This woman was doing nothing but sitting until this state trooper who had already manhandled other women decided to grab her, hurt her and arrest her," Willmann wrote on her YouTube page.
Arrest records published online showed that Northington was charged with "assault by contact" and resisting arrest. Bond was set at $4,000.
According to the Burnt Orange Report, felony charges against Northington may have later been reduced.
BBC's Hilary Andersson took a concealed carry class with a group of teachers in Texas and discovered that using guns in schools without harming innocent children was a lot more more difficult that she had imagined.
To follow up on the mass shooting of 20 elementary school children late last year in Connecticut, BBC on Monday planned to air a Panorama special report called "America's Gun Addiction."
"Obama's out there trying to take our guns and high-cap mags," Price warns the dozens of teachers attending his class. "Guns founded America. We didn't do it on bows and arrows."
After the target practice portion of the course, Andersson admits: "It's harder than I thought it would be."
"You got your crotch area and that's always good," Price notes as he reviews the bullet holes in the BBC reporter's target. "But you got your points here. You passed."
Price adds that one bullet had "pushed" to the outside of human silhouette area on the target.
"You push, you take out a child," he explains.
But Price insists that he still believes that guns have a place in the classroom.
"Those teachers up in Connecticut, they begged, they pleaded, they cried, the kids cried," he says. "But he kept pulling the trigger. The only thing that would have stopped him was one concealed handgun. One teacher properly trained with a firearm could have stopped him."
"But you told me I would have just killed a child there," Andersson notes.
"Did I say you're ready to carry in a school?" Price shoots back. "No. Are you ready for it? No. It takes more training."
Hosts of the Atheist Experience cable access show in Austin hung up on a Christian caller over the weekend after he suggested that God might not stop the rape of a little girl because the victim was also "evil."
A Christian viewer from Phoenix named Shane called in to Sunday's show with the hopes of convincing host Matt Dillahunty and co-host Tracie Harris that the fact that even atheists had a "moral code" proved of the existence of God.
"Divine command theory, the religious proposition that God dictates morality is in fact immoral," Dillahunty explained to the caller. "It forces you to sacrifice your humanity and pollutes your moral compass because you are stuck doing whatever this God supposedly says is good, whether or not it's actually good. And we already know that there are, for example, commands in the Bible that are not morally correct."
"I think you're more moral than your God and you just haven't figured it out yet," Harris added.
"Why is God so immoral?" the caller asked.
"I don't think that God exists but if we're talking about the God character in Bible as God is represented, you know, it's a pretty horrible, jealous, angry being that advocates slavery," Dillahunty pointed out. "I don't know why he's that way. Maybe he's just a dick."
"You either have a God who sends child rapists to rape children or you have a God who simply watches it and says, 'When you're done, I'm going to punish you,'" Harris agreed. "If I could stop a person from raping a child, I would. That's the difference between me and your God."
"First of all, you portray that little girl as someone who's innocent, she's just as evil as you," the caller shot back.
With that comment, Dillahunty disconnected the call.
"Goodbye, you piece of shit!" he exclaimed. "You know what? I was a better Christian than you when I was a Christian, and I still am."
The entire the Atheist Experience broadcast is available here.
A gun store owner near Austin, Texas -- who has previously refused to do business with Muslims or Obama-voting liberals -- is offering teachers a discount on training for conceal-carry permits because he believes the solution to mass shootings is to have more guns in schools.
Keller's Riverside Gun Store owner Crockett Keller told KRLD on Monday that the recent slaughter of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut had prompted him to offer a special deal to teachers.
"As we do with veterans, I would offer them a discount," Keller said. "Our normal rate is $110. So, I would give them a rate of $90. If they are teachers, we would be more than happy to do that."
"I think we need to lobby our various state governments to allow teachers to be armed," he added. "We have airline pilots that now carry pistols or weapons of some sort -- firearms -- and same thing to, I think, need to happen in these gun-free zones that are so dangerous."
But Houston Federation of Teachers President Gayle Fallon told the station that the idea of arming teachers was crazy.
"I knew this would come up at some point, there would be people who think the answer is to put guns on campus," Fallon explained. "Frankly, I think it’s absurd."
"In a lot of cases, the perpetrator is a kid. Look at Columbine, it was a 14-year-old kid. You tell me a teacher is going to look in the eyes of a 14-year-old and pull the trigger — it’s not in their emotional make up."
Keller, however, insisted that any place without guns was "at risk."
"I don't go to Mexico anymore because I can't carry my weapon there," the Texan said. "It's a killing field within itself. We need to start thinking out of the box and deal with this violent culture."
In a radio advertisement for concealed-carry classes last year, Keller vowed not to instruct anyone who was a "socialist liberal and/or voted for the current campaigner-in-chief."
"Also, if you are a non-Christian Arab or Muslim, I will not teach you the class," he said in the ad. "Once again, with no shame, I am Crockett Keller. Thank you and God bless America."
The Texas Department of Public Safety briefly investigated Keller but dropped the investigation after they said he "affirmed that he would not refuse instruction to anyone based on national origin, race or religion."
Keller's Riverside Gun Store continues to sell a T-shirt that reads: "If you are Muslim and will not pledge allegiance to the United States of America, I will not sell you any firearm or accessory. -Crockett Keller, Jesus Akbar."
Republican Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert on Sunday also said that schools would be safer if the principal at Sandy Hook had been armed with an M4 carbine assault rifle designed for urban warfare.
"I wish to God she had had an M4 in her office locked up," Gohmert opined. "So, when she heard gunfire she pulls it out and she didn’t have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands, but she takes him out, takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids."