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

   Tuesday, May 14, 2002
Today we are treated to another example of hard nosed journalism by the MRT. In their story about the rest of the charges against Cedric Benson being dropped, both City Attorney Stretcher and Chief of Police Urby make statements that ought to set journalists salivating like Pavlov’s dogs. Stretcher begins by announcing the remaining charges against Benson have been dropped because the prosecutor “…would have to prove care and custody and control of the items in question. Mr. Benson's mere presence at the apartment does not prove that he possessed any of those items." It seems a simple enough concept that to convict someone of possession of drugs or alcohol, the authorities should have to prove that they, well, possessed them. Urby says he has “no qualms” with the decision, but then out of the other side of his mouth he says “I stand behind my officers. I feel like they were 100 percent right," Urby said. "They felt they were 100 percent right when they did what they did. Our officers are responsible and make wise decisions. A lot of times, people sit back and armchair quarterback this thing." Well, which is it? Was there a reason for the officer to believe Benson was in possession of drugs, or not? If policemen are able to grasp the concept of possession as applied in this instance, then they should reach the same conclusion that the City Attorney reached. Before we can settle into that thought though, Urby switches sides of his mouth again with this gem “… I can't criticize or really comment about those officers," Urby said. "If there's something we did wrong, we just need to get on it, and make corrections.” If their decisions were 100% correct then why this equivocation? These contradictory statements should get any journalist’s saliva churning.

Stretcher, when queried about the decision not to release the full police report, announced that they had an obligation to protect the accused. No one seemed too worried about that when Benson was being arrested for crimes he did not commit. Self-serving statements like this, along with contradictions as above, give rise to a noxious odor, and our watchdog press should be trying to dig up its source but instead they are snoozing beside the fireplace.

posted by Pliny 3:13 PM

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   Monday, May 13, 2002
Note the MRT's approval of the pork-laden farm bill because Texas is getting lots of said pork? This town is full of "conservatives" who detest liberal pork, but who become "enlightened" at the first taste of ham.

posted by Pliny 5:40 PM

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Walsingham: Isn't MISD's state compensation determined by their daily census? Follow the MONEY!

posted by Pliny 5:25 PM

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On the NewsWest 9 broadcast this morning it was mentioned that MISD students who have perfect attendance records this year are all eligible for a drawing for a new car. That is well and good, I suppose. The only thing that bugs me, though, is what the likely reaction would be to a suggestion that only those students with perfect grades be eligible for the drawing. Think about it. The idea that actual performance and achievement should be valued over mere attendance would be shouted down as elitist or somehow much too non-egalitarian for public tastes anymore.

posted by Walsingham 10:08 AM

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   Thursday, May 09, 2002
Really, now. How many misdemeanor marijuana possession cases does the Attorney General of the State of Texas get involved in? How many hundreds of similar busts happened that week throughout the state that didn't involve a blue-chip running back for the big state university that will not get a first look, much less a second, from John Cornyn's office?

You would think that he has his hands full running for the Senate while simultaneously sticking his unneeded nose into the affairs of the Greathouse Estate.

posted by Walsingham 10:47 PM

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   Tuesday, May 07, 2002
Walsingham: Key moved from a city with a development tax, to one without. Talk about your dumb moves. It goes to prove the addage that haste makes waste; if Key had waited one year for Midland to become an "enlightened" community, they could have gotten a king's ransom.

posted by Pliny 1:53 PM

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   Monday, May 06, 2002
This entry in the latest Laurels and Darts (MetaValentines) is obviously an error.
"Laurel: Key Energy Services honored this week by the Midland Wildcat Committee for its commitment to Midland. Key Energy Services moved its corporate headquarters to Midland last year and employs about 800 in Midland-Odessa, 3,000 throughout the Permian Basin and 7,500 throughout the country."
Last year? LAST year? They moved here without an Economic Development slush fund pay-off? Actually, this is good news. If they relocated here without such a payoff it means they did it for sound economic reasons rather than short-term "incentives" that cannot (or should not, anyway) be permanent. But it is probably just an error in reporting.

posted by Walsingham 1:41 PM

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The MR-T appears to be endorsing the upcoming bond referendum. As with all other MR-T political endorsements, this is something that will just have to be overcome by the proponents of the bond issue. Let us hope that they can do it.

posted by Walsingham 1:23 PM

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Sure, they can pass a school bond issue. But have you seen their crappy stadium?

posted by Site Admin 11:27 AM

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The Cedric Benson story is already petering out...which it probably should. The most amusing part of it all, though, were the die-hard Midland Bulldog/Texas Longhorn fans. Two years ago Cedric WAS a stoner; now he is being framed.

posted by Site Admin 11:22 AM

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   Thursday, May 02, 2002
Ignatius: In 2000 the TEA recognized 326 schools in Texas, with high percentages of low income students, as “distinguished” based on their TAAS scores, including schools in Brownsville, Laredo, Corpus Christi and Hidalgo. If those schools can achieve “distinguished” status why can’t MISD achieve mediocrity? Remember that the average I referred to is the average for the entire state of Texas which includes all those numerous districts that have a great deal higher ratio of minority students than Midland does.

PS: If you think Baressi was a “great” superintendent are you next going to tell us that Richmond was a “good” principal?

posted by Pliny 5:39 PM

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