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The Community Web Log on Media and Government in Midland, Texas

   Tuesday, April 30, 2002
Perhaps Mr. Ignatius meant Mr. Pliny should remember.

posted by Walsingham 9:30 PM

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Perhaps Mr. Walsingham should remember that Midland High (and all of MISD for that matter) is now comprised of over 50% minority students. It would be nice to think that BELOW AVERAGE is an unacceptable score, but the reality is that unless the economic status of the minority houshold is radically improved in Midland, "average" is about the best MISD can shoot for. The paper is now quick to give laurels after scuttling the last school bond issue and running-off a great superintendent. As for me, I've got several successes to transition. adios. PS - get a spell check on this thing.

posted by Ignatius 7:45 PM

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   Monday, April 29, 2002
Hi there [HEB Employee], I am a representative from the Department of Behavior and Conduct at HEB Corporate in San Antonio and I am here to ride with you to your seminar in Abilene to make certain that you behave properly at all times. We do this in addition to the rules we have about drinking while on the job because only then can we be certain that we won't be sued for being "negligent" when you go to a seminar, return home, go to a bar, and then have a wreck.

posted by Site Admin 3:56 PM

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Uh, oh. Here we go with the Cedric Benson feeding frenzy. This story is big enough that it won't be left to the staff writers at the MR-T. It is a given that Southwest Airlines has brought in a reporter or two from the Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Antonio's whatever, and perhaps even the Austin American-Statesmen once they get their instructions from the UT Sports Information Department.

Here is a San Antonio link..

Dare I say that this story is big enough to bump (gasp) the Midland County v. Museum of the Southwest rhubarb off of the front page?

posted by Site Admin 3:25 PM

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   Wednesday, April 24, 2002
Every now and again you run across a sentence that is just beautiful in its banality. In today's paper (4/24, Local & State, "MISD Board to hear....sorry, no link) is this jewel from MISD Board President George Lara:
"I had a person call me recently concerned about the hiring of Mr. (Ed) Zachary (the new assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction), and I explained to that individual that Zachary would not just oversee curriculum development but would help transition successes from one campus to another."
But wait. Isn't that the job of the new Assistant Superintendent of Success Transitioning?

posted by Walsingham 12:53 AM

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Apparently, you are not alone.

Here is a Dart to beat all previous darts.
"Dart: Twentieth Century Fox Television which announced the cancellation of quirky comedy "Ally McBeal." The final episode of the Emmy-winning TV series, which had slipped in the ratings, will air May 20."
This show was completely used up used half way through the second season...exactly where "The West Wing" was half way through last season. Aaron Sorkin (not unlike Democratic policy in general) pretty much loses his impact without the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms.

How about this one:

"Laurel: Midland Independent School District students - and their teachers - who have posted improved Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) test scores, according to a report released this week by school officials."
Did they forget to give darts to those students who posted lower TAAS scores or are they just playing nice?

posted by Walsingham 12:30 AM

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   Friday, April 19, 2002
A “Laurel” for induction into the Arena Football Hall of Fame? Gimme a break.

As to the “Laurel” to MISD for new TAAS scores, note that Midland High School is still below the state average in reading and math. BELOW AVERAGE!

posted by Pliny 1:21 PM

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Does it not make you feel all warm and fuzzy to know that Attorney General John Cornyn is looking out for the public interest in the Greathouse will controversy? Despite the testimony of friends, caretakers and family that Ms. Greathouse knew her own mind, Cornyn knows better. Wonder how much time he spent with her in her last days to discern her mental state?

posted by Pliny 12:48 PM

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   Monday, April 15, 2002

I'm sorry, but this is f****** crazy. That rat-faced baby-killing sunovabitch on the poster needs a bullet.

posted by Walsingham 5:33 PM

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Yeah, some poll. Sample size: 46. Sample size after deducting the 40 or so phantom respondents who happen to work for My West 6. "Meaningless" is too kind.

I may have to re-think my position on bilingual education. I've always considered it a waste of money and a further handicap to the hispanic community in Texas. But now, I read the Letters to the Editor on Sunday, and Ernie Angelo feels the same way I do. I feel cheated. One of life's happiest feelings is the certainty that when E.A.'s on one side, I'm on the other. And now this. Creo que educacion bilingel es muy importante. Educacion Si. Angelo No!

posted by Ignatius 5:27 PM

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You can't make this stuff up. In the latest installment of Laurels and Darts we have this entry:
"Laurel: Midland Mayor Mike Canon for watching every penny when it comes to sports complex construction expense. Canon has also vowed if the second ramp upon which Midland Independent School District officials have insisted puts the project over budget, MISD will have to help pay the freight by sacrificing some of its concession revenue."
Translation: If the cost of building the second ramp causes us to go over budget we are going to protect those paying taxes to the City of Midland by shifting more of the cost over to those paying taxes to M.I.S.D.

posted by Walsingham 2:20 PM

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A five-to-ten year sentence doesn't sound like much for a charge such as this. Somehow I get the feeling, though, that this will end up being five-to-ten years of daily ass-kickings. Even cons have their codes and standards.

posted by Site Admin 2:06 PM

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You cannot take a trip to Thailand or India without hearing how there are parents there who will mutilate a child to make them into a more sympathetic and therefore more effective street beggar. The whole idea is so horrible that you dismiss it out of hand. Now this.

posted by Walsingham 1:28 PM

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   Friday, April 12, 2002
More "polling" by the MR-T that features a self-selecting (and therefore statistically meaningless) sample set. All this uselessness topped off by inane poll questions.

posted by Site Admin 10:04 AM

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Surely there is more here than is being told. The idea that this guy gets a non-renewal for this incident while Neil Richmond skates for two years AND gets a fat buyout just grates on me. Perhaps there is more to the story. There better be.

posted by Site Admin 9:59 AM

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   Thursday, April 11, 2002
What is it about MR-T editorials that resemble not so such much editorial opinion but instead employs style of opinion writing where a hypothesis is offered up, is tested, and fails all within the same column. This editorial concerning how "out of touch" are the commisioners serving on the State Board of Education is a prime example.

Consider this pair of sentences found in the same article:
"Other board members have children who are now adults, most of whom attended public schools." (Served up as a deficiency because these state board members no longer have children enrolled in public schools.)


"Our current school board includes members like Linda Foster, who no longer has children in public school but who vividly recalls what is was like to be an MISD mother." (Served up as a strength).
The MR-T must have personal knowledge that these state board members are having difficulty "vividly remembering" what it was like to have children in the public schools.

Or this passage expressing concern that some of the state board members have (gasp!) children enrolled in private schools!
"When state school board members are personally shielded from the reality of some of the unfortunate pitfalls of public schools by having their children educated via another option, we have to look at the possibility we aren't getting the clearest decision-making from our state school board."
Perhaps these parents are not so much shielding themselves from these "unfortunate pitfalls" as they are necessarily shielding their children from them and having faced these problems directly have a clearer understanding of the issues than the MR-T editorial board.

And how about this?
"Board members David Bradley, R-Beaumont, and Richard Watson, R-Gorman, have home-schooled children." (If you don't already get it, this is BAD! BAD! BAD!)


"Too often the state school board finds itself tied up in bickering over textbooks and curriculum. But not one of the state school board members is hearing about the quality of those textbooks from his child or his child's teacher. That type of first-hand information is invaluable."

What the MR-T probably wanted to say here is that all home schoolers are bible-thumping religious bigots who are stunting their children's intellectual and social growth by keeping them out of the public schools and therefore out of the hands of "education professionals"......but realizing their market decided to instead try and make the case that parents who spend eight hours a day educating their own children might not be knowledgeable enough about school curriculum.

Believe it or not, these kinds of editorials are always a bright spot in my day.

posted by Walsingham 9:49 AM

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Anyone not see this coming? Approval was given to build the second ramp down to the field at the new football stadium.
"Kyle Womack, the complex's project manager and an engineer for Parkhill, Smith & Cooper , the complex's executive architectural firm, noted about $268,000 of $45.6 million budget is uncommitted. The $268,000 would more than cover cost of a second ramp."
Who was it that said that they would be able to look at a $45 million project that was originally sold to the public for a cost of $38 million and still find "surplus" funds to build the second ramp? Oh, yeah. Me.

posted by Walsingham 9:16 AM

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Here is some good news:
In addition to the voting against renewing Simpson's contract, the board passed a declaration to keep from holding a trustee election, because Shane Boring and George Lara were unopposed.

"This will save the district an estimated $5,000," MISD Superintendent Robert Nicks said during an earlier interview.
Twenty more uncontested elections and they can cover the cost of the new Assistant Superintendent.

posted by Walsingham 9:06 AM

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Hampering these kids' ability and opportunity to learn and master the English language in order to have them perform better on these early tests is a bad trade. The longer it takes them to learn English the more marginalized they will become....and the more likely it becomes that they, in the end, will not master English at all.

posted by Walsingham 9:02 AM

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   Wednesday, April 03, 2002
On second thought, maybe the ED Tax needs to be bigger. Those from out of area can always get a look at West Texas by going to this webcam in Andrews that shows.....a fire station! I thought it was a warehouse last night, but they parked the engines out front this morning.

posted by Walsingham 2:26 PM

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   Tuesday, April 02, 2002
Discussion on the impact of the increased sales tax always centers around how little each consumer ends up paying. The trick is to make the tax seem tiny by spreading it out among everyone paying the tax....on the consumer side. But what about the business' side of the equation? The state sales and use tax is a minimum of 6.25% and a maximum of 8.25%. Midland has decided 1) that claustrophobic baseball fans must be served (perhaps it was an ADA thing), and 2) Midland is not attractive enough for companies to re-locate to without cash payments up front (and down back, probably). As a result we have a new stadium complex that will enable the claustrophobes to spread out into near infinity while they watch the Rockhounds and we have funds to seduce companies into coming to Midland for a while at taxpayer expense who will take the money and probably be nice enough to let us think that we are the ones doing the seducing. Because of these kinds of "needs" we are at the maximum rate of 8.25%.

What does this mean for the businesses? For every $100,000 in sales a business must send in to the State Comptroller an extra $2,000. (8.25% - 6.25%) * $100,000. And don't fall for the argument that it is a "pass through" cost that is borne by the consumer and not the business. It is a mandated increase in a business' variable cost, pure and simple.

Not so small when you look at it that way.

posted by Walsingham 10:33 PM

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This whole episode with Attorney General John Cornyn sticking an official nose into the Greathouse Estate just doesn't pass the smell test. I very much want to see a list of the "charities" pushing him to essentially throw the Will out and dole them the cash they think they have coming.

posted by Walsingham 10:00 PM

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The "Hound Pound"? Sounds too much like a mixer with that not-so-attractive sorority next door to the Tri-Delts. Pork Park is no doubt unsuitable for the exact same reason. Oh well, it will all be better if I can just see Myron Noodleman (the Jerry Lewis of baseball) perform one more time.
Has it occurred to anyone that nobody in this country even likes Jerry Lewis?

posted by Walsingham 9:50 PM

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For those who missed today's paper, buried deep on the front page of the local section - Mr. Ott has cut his finger while chopping an onion. Again!

posted by Ignatius 7:19 PM

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OK - What do you want to bet that the new baseball field will be called The "Hound Pound" by the local sports dudes and that you will within a matter of months be as sick of it as you are the "Jack Shack" now (the name not the facility.)

posted by Ignatius 7:08 PM

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   Monday, April 01, 2002
In dribs here and drabs there, the MR-T continues whoring for the newly passed "Chamber Full Employment Act". This one from a 4/1 article that isn't even related to the new sales tax. The article is actually about a drop in economic activity in the area. The sales tax is mentioned as the coming savior of us all. Keep in mind that in Republican dominated Midland increased taxes are an inhibitor to economic growth.....except when Midland Republicans get to spend the money. Then it is OK. Visionary, even.

posted by Walsingham 7:24 PM

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We are the Blog. You will be assimilated.

Great article by John Hiler on the blogs, blogging, the blog phenomenon, the blog collective, the blogosphere...or whatever you want to call it.

posted by Site Admin 9:56 AM

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Looking at the pictures of all 52...count 'em 52! United Way Board members you have to wonder if they can ever manage a quorum at the meetings.

posted by Site Admin 9:25 AM

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