Open House seat pits ‘new’ Texas against ‘old’

House Democrats think their Texas turnaround begins in places such as the 22nd Congressional District, which takes in a series of leafy Houston suburbs.



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Republican Rep. Pete Olson is retiring from the House after 12 years. The race to succeed him reflects changing demographics and voter attitudes in Texas that give Democrats hopes of breaking the longtime GOP political hammerlock on the Lone Star State.

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The Democratic nominee, Sri Preston Kulkarni, represents the sort of professional-class resident increasingly common in the 22nd Congressional District, which was once a bastion of oil wealth. Kulkarni earned a master’s degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and was a foreign service officer in the State Department for 14 years. Assignments took Kulkarni, 41, to Israel, Jamaica, Iraq, Russia, and Taiwan.

His Republican rival, Troy Nehls, has a more traditional background for a Texas politician. The Liberty University graduate, 52, is sheriff of Fort Bend County. Nehls enlisted in the Army Reserve at age 20, seeing tours of duty in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Iraq — and earning two Bronze Stars along the way. Back home, Nehls joined the police department in Richmond, Texas, and earned a master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Houston-Downtown.

The district is ancestrally Republican, previously represented by libertarian icon Ron Paul, as well as Tom DeLay, who led House Republicans with an iron fist in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In 2012, voters there backed Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama 62%-37%. But in 2016, President Trump beat Hillary Clinton by a narrower margin, 52%-44%.

This is Kulkarni’s second try for the seat. He ran against Olson in 2018 and lost with 46.5% of the vote in the district’s closest race since Olson was first elected.

Tags: News, Campaign 2020, Texas, Campaigns, Congress, Democratic Party

Original Author: David Mark

Original Location: Open House seat pits ‘new’ Texas against ‘old’

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The best fire pits for 2020: Solo Stove, Tiki, Garden Treasures and more

Times are stressful but there are surprising things you can do to help you unplug and recharge. For example, you can take daily walks or relax before a crackling campfire. You don’t need to hike into the woods to enjoy this cozy orange glow. Neither do you need to build a permanent fire pit from heavy materials like stones or bricks. Instead get a fire pit that’s portable. These products are sold by lots of retailers, including Lowe’s, Amazon and Home Depot. Plus many fire pit manufacturers sell their wares directly.  

These transportable fireplaces range widely in price, size and weight. There are inexpensive $60 models and high-performance pits that’ll set you back as much as $350. You can even spend $1,500 or more on fancy propane-burning fire pits. 

fire-pits-group-2

In the market for a fire pit? We’re taking a bunch of portable fire pits for a spin to find out which one is best.


Brian Bennett/CNET

In this roundup, I focus on genuine, wood-fueled fire pits. Beyond providing heat, they can also cook food, including grilling. Most importantly, they’re a great way to roast marshmallows for tasty s’mores. The models on this list are either best sellers, highly ranked or worthy challengers from established outdoor brands. I tested them to learn their strengths and weaknesses firsthand. If you need help choosing a fire pit that matches your needs, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll update this list periodically.

solo-stove-yukon-marshmallows

Some fire pits, like the Solo Stove Yukon shown here, are large — great for gathering around to roast marshmallows.


Brian Bennett/CNET

Brian Bennett/CNET

My favorite fire pit on this list is made by Tiki, a company that began with the familiar Tiki bamboo torch over 60 years ago. Now, Tiki offers a fire pit that’s large, sturdy, and attractive. Priced almost $300 more than its budget rivals, its performance, ease of use, and superior style make this pit worth the investment.

The steel and stained wood pit doesn’t just look good. The Tiki Brand Fire Pit has a clever airflow system that recycles hot smoke back into the fire chamber. During my testing, it was easy to ignite, firing up in about five minutes, and fully burning in 15. 

It also generated far less smoke than the other fire pits I tested, especially after its logs caught fully, usually at about the 15-minute mark. Only the Solo Stove Ranger burned wood with less smoke emission, its fuel burning fiercely in five minutes. The Tiki Fire Pit’s logs burned efficiently as well, lasting for hours.

Because of its large (16 inches in diameter) mouth, it’s easier to share the fire with multiple people. The Solo Stove Ranger is smaller by comparison, its metal fire ring is 10 inches in diameter. Kids gathering around to roast s’mores need to be careful though. All surfaces of the Tiki fire pit, including its metal lip are scalding hot after the fire is lit. It also takes time to cool after the flames die down. 

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The best fire pits for 2020: Tiki, Solo Stove, Garden Treasures and more

We’re living through uncertain and unprecedented times. There are lots of surprising activities, however, that’ll help you decompress and relieve stress. A simple daily walk is a more mundane method. Another way, and one of my favorites, is to sit before a crackling campfire.  

You don’t need to hike into the woods to enjoy this cozy orange glow. Neither do you need to build a permanent fire pit from heavy materials like stones or bricks. Instead get a fire pit that’s portable. These products are sold by lots of retailers, including Lowe’s, Amazon and Home Depot. Plus many fire pit manufacturers sell their wares directly.  

These transportable fireplaces range widely in price, size and weight. There are inexpensive $60 models and high-performance pits that’ll set you back as much as $350. You can even spend $1,500 or more on fancy propane-burning fire pits. 

fire-pits-group-2

In the market for a fire pit? We’re taking a bunch of portable fire pits for a spin to find out which one is best.


Brian Bennett/CNET

In this roundup, I focus on genuine, wood-fueled fire pits. Beyond providing heat, they can also cook food, including grilling. Most importantly, they’re a great way to roast marshmallows for tasty s’mores. The models on this list are either best sellers, highly ranked or worthy challengers from established outdoor brands. I tested them to learn their strengths and weaknesses firsthand. If you need help choosing a fire pit that matches your needs, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll update this list periodically.

solo-stove-yukon-marshmallows

Some fire pits, like the Solo Stove Yukon shown here, are large — great for gathering around to roast marshmallows.


Brian Bennett/CNET

Brian Bennett/CNET

My favorite fire pit on this list is made by Tiki, a company that began with the familiar Tiki bamboo torch over 60 years ago. Now, Tiki offers a fire pit that’s large, sturdy, and attractive. Priced almost $300 more than its budget rivals, its performance, ease of use, and superior style make this pit worth the investment.

The steel and stained wood pit doesn’t just look good. The Tiki Brand Fire Pit has a clever airflow system that recycles hot smoke back into the fire chamber. During my testing, it was easy to ignite, firing up in about five minutes, and fully burning in 15. 

It also generated far less smoke than the other fire pits I tested, especially after its logs caught fully, usually at about the 15-minute mark. Only the Solo Stove Ranger burned wood with less smoke emission, its fuel burning fiercely in five minutes. The Tiki Fire Pit’s logs burned efficiently as well, lasting for hours.

Because of its large (16 inches in diameter) mouth, it’s easier to share the fire with multiple people. The Solo Stove Ranger is smaller by comparison, its metal fire ring is 10 inches in diameter. Kids gathering around to roast s’mores need to be careful though. All surfaces of the Tiki fire pit, including its metal lip are scalding hot

Read more