TIME animals

Skinny the 41-Pound Cat Successfully Slims Down to 19 Pounds

Dr. Brittney Barton holds Skinny, who when found wandering near Dallas in 2012 weighed in at 41 pounds.
Jana Hipp—HEAL Veterinary Hospital & Pet Rehabilitation via AP Dr. Brittney Barton holds Skinny, who when found wandering near Dallas in 2012 weighed in at 41 pounds.

The cat is living up to his name

(DALLAS) — A former 41-pound cat dubbed Skinny has lost more than half of his weight to become the darling of a Dallas veterinary clinic.

Dr. Brittney Barton says the orange tabby she adopted in 2013 has slimmed to 19 pounds with exercise and a special diet. Barton calls Skinny the “resident cat” at her practice, HEAL Veterinary Hospital.

Barton said Friday that Skinny spends weekdays roaming the clinic. The ex-fat cat’s weekends are spent at home with Barton and her family.

The vet says Skinny, who was found abandoned near Dallas in 2012 and ended up at a shelter, just had his annual checkup and he’s healthy.

Barton says Skinny is living proof that while he’s supposed to be a large cat, “he’s not supposed to be an obese cat.”

TIME Donald Trump

You Can Now Buy Your Very Own Donald Trump Baseball Hat

Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Tours U.S. Border In Texas
Matthew Busch—Getty Images Donald Trump in his baseball hat.

They’re available in red, white, and blue

Donald Trump is making waves again. This time, it’s because of a baseball hat he’s selling.

The Republican presidential contender, who currently sits atop the polls, made a speech in Texas recently, and hiding his signature, wispy hair (which has been lampooned by The Simpsons) was a white baseball cap emblazoned with his campaign slogan: “Make America Great Again.” Naturally, the Internet went crazy and social media lit up with memes of presidential proportions.

Business Insider reported that, yes, the cap will be sold to the public. They’re on sale currently at Trump Tower in Manhattan and a person from his camp confirmed the items are “coming soon to DonaldJTrump.com,” according to the site. The aide also told Business Insider that the caps are “made in the USA.”

The hats cost $20 and are reportedly available in red, white, and blue.

For more about Trump, here’s what winners of his reality television show The Apprentice said about his leadership qualities.

Earlier this month, Trump announced that he enjoys a net worth of over $10 billion.

And if the hats don’t sell well? They can join the Donald’s list of failed ventures.

TIME Donald Trump

Donald Trump Unapologetic on Visit to U.S.-Mexico Border

But says he was treated "very nicely"

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump paid a visit to the U.S-Mexico border Thursday, where he refused to apologize to those he offended when he suggested that many of those who have entered the country illegally are “rapists.”

“They weren’t insulted,” Trump said, “because the press misinterprets my words.”

Trump said Thursday he was “treated very nicely” during his visit to Laredo, Tex., but said he was not changing any of his positions after the trip — he still believes that the nation needs a border wall, which he has claimed he will force Mexico to pay for.

“We were treated so nicely,” Trump told reporters. “We learned so much in such a short amount of time.”

Flanked by a half-dozen private security guards, as well as local police officers, Trump maintained that visiting the border was a hazardous move. “Well they say it’s a great danger, but I have to do it,” he told reporters shortly after stepping off his Boeing 757 jet. “There is great danger with the illegals…there is a tremendous danger from illegals from the border.”

But it was an assertion rejected by Rep. Henry Cuellar, the Democratic representative from Laredo, who told TIME the truth is anything but. “When he talks about violence, Laredo had 3 murders per 100,000 [in 2013], as opposed to Washington, D.C., where he wants to have a new job, where it’s 16 per 100,000. If you compare that to New York, where he lives, I can bet that Laredo is a lot safer.”

The city of nearly 250,000, is about 96% Hispanic, with 91 percent of residents speaking a language other than English at home.

Trump had planned to meet with the National Border Patrol Council Local 2455 Executive Board at the Laredo airport before touring the border and meeting with other members of local law enforcement. But the union backed out early Thursday.

Trump also responded to questions about his threat to run as a third party candidate should he feel mistreated by the Republican National Committee. “I’m a Republican,” he said. “I’m a conservative. I want to run as a Republican. The best way to win is for me to get the nomination.”

Trump is all-but-assured a spot on the first GOP debate stage in Cleveland in two weeks.

TIME real estate

For $725 Million You Can Buy This Massive, Historic Texas Ranch

Texas, Your Texas
Donovan Reese Photography—Getty Images Texas cowboy on a Texas ranch.

It was a favorite of Will Rogers and Teddy Roosevelt

A Texas ranch featuring more than 1,000 oil wells, 6,800 head of cattle, 30,000 acres of cropland, and a tombstone for a horse buried standing up is on the market. You can get all this (and more!) for the cool sum of $725 million.

The ranch “takes days to see,” according to real estate broker Bernard Uechtritz. The W.T. Waggoner Estate Ranch is about 175 miles northwest of Dallas and covers 800 square miles, making it bigger than New York City and Los Angeles combined, reported Bloomberg.

The ranch is being sold whole hog, which means any buyer gets everything on the property, from the 29 tractors to the empty Old Taylor bourbon bottles that sit in an old hunting lodge. If Waggoner sells for its asking price, it will be the biggest publicly known sum ever paid for a U.S. ranch. The most paid to date was $175 million for a Colorado spread in 2007.

The ranch has a storied history and is going on the market after a local judge ordered the sale of the property, ending 20 years of litigation between dueling branches of the Waggoner family, which has owned the property almost as long as Texas has been a state.

Here’s just some of the interesting items that come with the sale:

  • IBM Selectric typewriter
  • 500 quarter horses (for which the ranch is known)
  • Pink poodle lamp
  • 1998 Bell 206B-3 JetRanger II helicopter
  • Dogs named Shoog, Bee, Jazz, CoCo, and Brute

Read more at Bloomberg.com.

TIME Texas

Officials Release New Version of Sandra Bland Dashcam Footage

Police say the original video was not edited

Texas officials released a new version of police dashcam footage showing the arrest of Sandra Bland following concerns that footage of the arrest may have been doctored.

The original video, posted on YouTube Tuesday evening, contained a number of continuity errors and repeated footage. On Wednesday, less than 24 hours after originally posting the video, the Texas Department of Public Safety posted a new version free of the earlier discrepancies. Parts of the video that had previously shown repeated footage now appear consistent.

“Yesterday’s video was not edited,” said Tom Vinger, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety, in an emailed statement. “Some of the video was affected in the upload. That technical issue has now been resolved.”

The full video begins with state trooper Brian Encinia stopping another driver. The dashcam captures video and audio of the encounter. After Encinia returns to the patrol car, audio switches off until the officer has begun his traffic stop of Bland. The Department of Public Safety could not immediately clarify what triggers dashcam audio to come in and out.

Once the officer leaves the car, he explains that he pulled Bland over for failing to signal before a lane change. The situation escalates quickly with Bland contesting the charge in heated language and Encinia eventually pulling out a stun gun and threatening her, saying “I’ll light you up.”

Bland, who is black and was in town from Chicago, died in custody of what police say was a suicide three days after her arrest. But her family, along with civil rights activists, have said they don’t buy the official explanation. An investigation is ongoing and Encinia has been placed on administrative leave.

 

TIME People

Meet an 11-Year-Old Genius Who Just Wants to Be a Kid

He has an IQ of 148

 

Meet 11-year-old Jaxon Cota, who just might be smarter than you.

Jaxon, of McKinney, Texas, has an IQ score of 148, was admitted to MENSA at age 9, and does high school level math for entertainment when he gets bored during the long days of summer.

By two, he was already reading aloud numbers up to fifteen digits long.

“Numbers have always just kinda stuck out to me,” says Jaxon. “There are just so many things about numbers that are fascinating and so many things to learn.”

Jaxon’s interest in numbers goes back to when he was two years old. When at…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Texas

Texas Prosecutor Says It’s Too Soon to Know How Sandra Bland Died

A medical examiner has ruled Bland's death a suicide

(HEMPSTEAD, Texas) —The prosecutor in a Texas county where authorities say a woman hanged herself in a jail cell said Monday that it is too soon to determine exactly how she died and that the ongoing case is being treated as thoroughly “as it would be in a murder investigation.”

Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said at a news conference that a Texas Rangers’ investigation into the death of Sandra Bland, whose family and friends dispute the finding that she killed herself, is being supervised by the FBI.

Authorities have said Bland, a 28-year-old black woman from Naperville, Illinois, hanged herself with a plastic garbage bag July 13, three days after her arrest during a confrontational traffic stop. Her death at the Waller County jail, about 60 miles northwest of Houston, comes amid increased national scrutiny of police after a series of high-profile cases in which blacks have been killed by officers.

“It is very much too early to make any kind of determination that this was a suicide or a murder because the investigations are not complete,” Mathis said.

He said he’s asked the Texas Rangers to do extensive scientific testing for fingerprints, touch DNA and use any other valid investigative techniques “so we can figure out and say with certainty what happened in that cell.”

“This investigation is still being treated just as it would be in a murder investigation. There are many questions being raised in Waller County, across the country and the world about this case. It needs a thorough review,” Mathis said, noting, “It will go to a grand jury.”

Capt. Brian Cantrell, head of the sheriff’s department criminal investigation division, said at the same press conference that he welcomed the scrutiny to ensure Bland’s death “was a tragic incident, not one of criminal intent or a criminal act.”

Although a medical examiner has ruled Bland’s death a suicide, relatives and other supporters insist Bland was upbeat and looking forward to a new job at Prairie View A&M University, where she graduated in 2009, and was in the area last week to interview and accept the job. Bland’s family and clergy members have called for a Justice Department probe and an independent autopsy has been ordered.

“This was not a case of suicide, but homicide,” Rev. Jamal Bryant, of the Empowerment Temple AME Church of Baltimore, said earlier Monday. He said he was in Hempstead at the Bland family’s request.

Also Monday, authorities released a three-hour video taken from outside Bland’s jail cell and said they expected dashcam footage of her arrest would be released the following day.

The jail video shows a period of about 90 minutes with no activity in the hallway leading to Bland’s cell. The video does not show the inside of her cell or even her cell door.

It then shows a deputy reacting to what she sees while looking in the cell, triggering a frenzy of activity involving other deputies. An EMT crew arrives with a wheeled stretcher. Deputies and medical personnel are seen coming and going, but a body isn’t visible.

Cantrell said the video was motion sensitive, indicating if nothing is taking place after a certain amount of time, it turns off. He said the FBI has been given hard drives to determine if there’s been any manipulation.

Cantrell said a guard checked with Bland about two hours before she was found dead and Bland told her, “I’m fine.” About an hour later, she asked to make a telephone call from her cell and was advised over an intercom that the phone was on a wall in the cell, according to Cantrell. There is no record of her ever making a phone call, he said.

Cantrell declined to describe Bland’s death in detail, though he said she was found with her feet touching the ground. He described the plastic garbage bag used as a ligature by extending his hands about 5 to 6 feet apart.

The bags, he said, had been approved by a jail inspector, but have since been removed from all cells.

Mathis also said jail records show Bland was offered a medical checkup but declined.

Bland’s sister, Shante Needham, has said Bland had called her from jail the afternoon after her arrest, telling Needham that she’d been arrested, but didn’t know why. She also said an officer had placed his knee in her back and she thought her arm had been broken. The Department of Public Safety has said Bland “became argumentative and uncooperative” during the stop and her subsequent arrest for assault on a public servant, and that paramedics were called to the scene but Bland refused a medical evaluation.

Mathis said the dashcam video is consistent with information the officer has provided about the traffic stop in Prairie View, Texas, though he said it shows only restricted views of the encounter. The trooper’s dash cam shows a view forward toward Bland’s car, but not inside and not to the side, where she wound up on the ground after authorities said she kicked the officer.

“It doesn’t show how she got on the ground,” Cantrell said.

Bland may have been trying to text or email in the moments after she was pulled over for an improper lane change, Mathis said Monday.

“Sandra Bland was very combative,” the district attorney said. “It was not a model traffic stop … and it was not a model person that was stopped on a traffic stop. I think the public can make its own determinations as to the behaviors that are seen in the video.”

A cellphone video posted online purporting to show part of Bland’s arrest shows an officer pinning a woman to the ground with one knee. At one point the woman can be heard yelling that she can’t “feel my arm.”

“You just slammed my head into the ground,” she says. “Do you not even care about that?”

DPS has said the trooper who stopped Bland violated traffic stop procedures and the department’s courtesy policy, but hasn’t elaborated further. The trooper is on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

TIME Texas

Lawyer Describes Arrest Video of Activist Found Dead in Texas Jail

Sandra Bland was initially pulled over for a traffic violation

The lawyer for the family of a woman found dead in a Texas jail cell last week said dashcam video from the roadside traffic stop that led to her arrest shows the encounter grew confrontational after she refused an officer’s demand to put out her cigarette.

Sandra Bland, 28, was pulled over by a state trooper for a routine traffic violation in Prairie View on July 10, authorities said. After running her license and insurance, the trooper returned to her car with what appeared to be a written warning, according to the the lawyer, Cannon Lambert, who sat down with NBC News…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Texas

Activist Found Dead in Texas Jail Had Spoken About Depression

Bland was arrested following a traffic stop and committed suicide 3 days later, authorities said

(DALLAS) — A black woman who authorities say hanged herself in a Texas jail had posted an online video earlier this year saying she was suffering from “a little bit of depression,” though family and friends say the 28-year-old gave no indication she was distraught enough to contemplate suicide.

As Sandra Bland’s family and friends press for details of what happened, a prosecutor said Thursday that he will present the findings of a Texas Rangers’ investigation to a grand jury. The FBI is also investigating the circumstances surrounding Bland’s death.

Bland, who was from the Chicago suburb of Naperville, was moving to Texas to work at Prairie View A&M University, the historically black college from which she graduated in 2009. She was arrested on July 10 in Prairie View following a traffic stop, and authorities say she hanged herself Monday morning in a Waller County Jail cell in nearby Hempstead, about 60 miles northwest of Houston.

Her death comes amid increased national scrutiny of police after a series of high-profile cases in which blacks have been killed by officers or died while in custody. Social media posts have questioned the official account of her death.

Bland had posted a video to her Facebook page on March 1 in which she said that she was suffering from “a little bit of depression as well as PTSD,” or post-traumatic stress disorder. She did not explain the cause of the PTSD.

In a video posted three days later, she elaborated.

“I want you guys to know it’s a daily struggle. It’s a daily test,” she said. “Depression is nothing but the devil. It’s a way of mind and it’s a way of thinking.” She recommended prayer to cut through the fog.

Family members were shocked by her death and do not believe she would commit suicide.

“Based on the Sandy that I knew, that’s unfathomable to me,” Bland’s sister, Sharon Cooper, said at a news conference in Chicago on Thursday.

Another sister, Shante Needham, said Bland had called her from jail Saturday afternoon, telling her that she’d been arrested, but didn’t know why. She also said an officer had placed his knee in her back and she thought her arm had been broken.

“She was very aggravated. She seemed to be in pain. She really felt that her arm had been fractured,” Needham said, holding back tears. “I told her I would work on getting her out.”

Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said an autopsy found Bland died by asphyxiation and that she used a plastic bag to hang herself from a partition in her cell. He also said that although jail video didn’t show what went on in Bland’s cell, it showed no one went in or out of it from the time she was placed there until a jailer found her unconscious.

Sheriff Glenn Smith said jailers had used an intercom to check on Bland less than an hour before she was found dead.

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards cited the Waller County jail three years ago for improperly monitoring prisoners. The state agency found the jail was not checking all inmates at least once an hour, as required by law. It inspected the jail after a man hanged himself with a bedsheet in November 2012.

___

Keyser reported from Chicago. Writers Don Babwin and Sara Burnett also contributed to this report from Chicago.

TIME Texas

Civil Rights Activist’s Death in Texas Jail Sparks Questions

Sandra Bland was found dead in her cell 3 days after her arrest

Family and friends of a civil rights activist found dead in a Texas jail have launched a campaign questioning the authorities’ ruling of a suicide.

Sandra Bland was arrested after allegedly becoming combative during a routine traffic stop on Friday. She was found dead in her cell on Monday morning.

The Waller County Sheriff’s Office said the 28-year-old died “from what appears to be self-inflicted asphyxiation,” calling it a “tragic incident.”

However, those who knew Bland don’t believe she would have taken her own life. She had recently moved to the area, about 50 miles west of Houston, and was due to…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

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