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

   Tuesday, June 25, 2002

The MR-T has yet to conduct any sort of interview or write any sort of article on this subject in anything other than a prostrate position; rising only occassionally to deliver a proper genuflection.

Here is more of the same.

The MR-T, apparently, is a great admirer of....let me see if I can condense this...."a steadfast group of people, who boldy look to the future and who possess the experience, savvy, professionalism, in-depth knowledge and understanding, and who make keen and important observations, have roots that run deep and who will use all of these strengths in order to consider every alternative and leave no stone unturned".....before delivering the contract straight to the Chamber.

Yeah, that pretty much says it.

posted by Walsingham 5:16 PM

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   Sunday, June 23, 2002

Speilberg. Cruise.

Guess what? They lost last weekend's opening box office race. To who?

Lilo. Stitch.

Gotta love that.

Update: OK. So maybe it is a


posted by Site Admin 11:42 AM

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Ignatius: I missed the article but to say that enplanement numbers are improving because they are dropping at a slower rate is some pretty good spin. Perhaps another patented MR-T "Hot off the Press Release" news item?

posted by Site Admin 11:40 AM

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   Saturday, June 22, 2002

Is the MRT losing its negative edge? Story the other day on the airport showed that the drop in enplanements for May '02 vs May '01 was a smaller percentage than any other monthly comparison since 9/11. Last year the headline would have read, "Enplanements Down for 9th Consecutive Month." But instead it's something like, "Enplanement Numbers Improving."

On another note they're missing a great story by not doing an in-depth interview with Clayton McKinney, the #2 guy at the S.O. who retired last week. Many thought he was the driving force behind the "entrepreneurial law enforcement" that the MRT chose to ignore a few years ago. Now that he's out I bet he'd have lots to say.

posted by Ignatius 11:04 AM

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   Friday, June 21, 2002
Lileks is King. Here is another example of why this is.

posted by Site Admin 11:08 AM

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   Thursday, June 20, 2002

Walsingham: It is interesting to note how one can claim to have experience doing a job that they have constantly maintained they have never been able to do in the past because they lacked the resources.

We have been told that pretty much everyone else has an ED Sales Tax so to level the playing field we needed one. But the question remains: Since we are late comers to the idea and with our passage of the Sales Tax therefore just "leveling the field" can't we really only expect the same amount of success we had recruiting businesses before "economic development" corporations and slush funds became all the rage everywhere else....which is, uh, not much? They didn't come the last time the field was "level", why would they come in greater numbers than before now that it is "level" again?

posted by Site Admin 6:59 PM

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More dancing and foreplay here but it is and always has been a fait accompli. The Midland Chamber will get the contract awarded to them by the Chamber Officers Alumni Assoc.....uh, sorry, the Midland Development Corporation Board.

posted by Walsingham 10:57 AM

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   Tuesday, June 18, 2002
I am glad that I am not the only one trying to figure out when Doonesbury was last funny. Jesse Walker has a good look at the timeline of Doonesbury's decay. It would probably be too much to hope for that anyone would still be alive that could tell us when Art Buchwald was last funny.

posted by Walsingham 6:56 PM

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   Sunday, June 16, 2002

I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt. I really did. It had a good story to tell about a great and critical contribution to the war effort by previously unrecognized heroes, I generally like movies about World War II, and it was something besides Scooby-Doo The Movie so I could feel like a real contrarian. On the other hand, the life-size cardboard cutout of Nicholas Cage advertising the movie was in the lobby of the theatre for an awfully long time before the movie opened and that is always a bad omen.


Windtalkers Blows.

Is there a writer's strike in Hollywood that I haven't read about? Were all the screenwriters killed in a runaway Southern California wildfire? If you need a supreme reference on stereotyping in movies this is it. Even the good guys have reason to be insulted by it. There are so many clunkers for lines here that should you go and see this movie you will find that the battle sequences featuring bullet riddled bodies, severed limbs, and troops on both sides being burned to death are less painful to watch than any scene involving a conversation.

I have noticed one thing about these movies, though. It actually pays to be the big, dumb (and invariably a country boy) racist because before it is all over you are guaranteed to have your life saved by.....well, you get the picture. Gee, who saw that coming?

If you have any hankering to see this movie just go rent and re-watch "Saving Private Ryan".

posted by Walsingham 11:25 AM

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To give credit where credit is due, Gary Ott likes Mary Ann and Ginger from Gilligan's Island. Although to end the article without telling us which one of the two castaways he likes best is too much to ask even of his most devoted readers.

posted by Walsingham 10:49 AM

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It looks like Tom Laney is trying to suck up to Buddy West here. You have to love Laney's general attitude that the democrats should hold the speakership regardless of how diminished they become statewide with each passing election.

posted by Walsingham 10:37 AM

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   Saturday, June 15, 2002

Without someone or some "evil and greedy" corporation to demonize, where is the money

here for the trial lawyers? Homeowners, especially home-sellers, may have some culpability for letting black mold get to be a problem but they as a group are not the traditional pockets deep enough that the trial lawyers suspend their usual pursuit of the truth in search of the riches derived from contingency fees.

It must be the insurance companies that they will go after in which case these trial lawyers will have only this net effect: They will get themselves big rich while getting some damage money for a handfull of their clients. Meanwhile, the insurance companies will be forced into charging higher premiums in order to protect themselves from huge settlements demanded by these lawyers (and sometimes delivered by idiot jurors absolutley intoxicated by the idea that they get to send [whomever, fill in the blank] "a message".

In the end homeowners everywhere will have their insurance premiums jacked way up in order compensate fat cat trial lawyers....all because of a mold that has been around forever, but now has become the catalyst for an income stream by these, um, enterprising attorneys.

posted by Site Admin 12:48 PM

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Jack Valenti, President of the Motion Picture Assocation of America, testified before Congress in 1981 saying this:
"I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone."
Perhaps this is what he meant.

All humor aside, the current "Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act" (S-2048) bill before the Senate needs to be defeated, and defeated soundly. HappyFunPundit has one of the best takes on the whole thing here.

posted by Site Admin 12:12 PM

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   Friday, June 14, 2002
Our City Council has struck a mighty blow at the litter problem with four proposed new laws:

Provide for a maximum $2,000 fine imposed on property owners who allowed the "accumulation of litter on lots." There would be appeal process under the code that entails "General Sanitation."

Provide for a maximum $500 fine on the person or persons in charge of an apartment complex or other commercial property where Dumpsters are overloaded and trash protrudes beyond the containers' rims or lips.

Provide for a minimum number of trash containers per apartment unit and provides that other commercial operations must have adequate Dumpster space.

Provide for the $1 voluntary monthly fee to be part of each of the city's 32,000 utilities customers.

These rules seem to betray a peculiar vision of the problem, namely that the good citizens of Midland never litter unless the nearest Dumpster is full. Even then, if the property owner would just pick it up, there would be no problem. Why not target the jerks who drop trash whenever and wherever they are through with it? How is the property owner of the lot across from the grocery store on south Rankin Hwy going to prevent accumulation of litter? Should he use Agent freakin Orange on his lot? With nothing to catch the trash, there would still be litter, but it would not “accumulate”; old litter would blow off as new was blowing on.

City Councilpersons: Doesn’t rule #2 take care of #3? After being fined a few times, even the dimmest of “persons in charge” will figure out how many Dumpsters are needed.

posted by Pliny 1:35 PM

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   Thursday, June 13, 2002

Here is the story on Odessa's latest attempt at corporate welfare. Has anyone in any development corporation anywhere stopped to think that they have essentially created a system wherein there are two classes of taxpayers now before the law. Those who are big enough to demand tax abatements and get them and those who are not. News accounts for this deal describe a 100% tax abatement for this company for ten years.

And, yes, the local development board will cave in to the threat that this company won't come to town just as they will inevitably begin to cave in to threats by now local companies to leave town.

I particularly like this part:

“A willing and eager community was one requirement of this company,” McDonald said. The company has indicated it would like an incentive package worth an estimated $3.8 million, McDonald said."

In case you don't already get it, a "willing and eager community" means any community with an fat slush fund guarded by a 4a Corporation Board that has every incentive to bring in companies at any price in order to show "progress" and "economic development". In short, they mean those that are soon to be parted from their money. Actually, that is what hurts the isn't even their money.

posted by Walsingham 4:34 PM

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   Tuesday, June 11, 2002
Or David Stern for that matter.

posted by Walsingham 11:09 PM

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Lessee....sometime tonight Zen-Master Phil Jackson will lead another stacked team to another NBA champeenship. How exhilarating. I haven't watched since the Laker's game 6 against Sacramento. If that is the product, Daniel Stern cannot reasonably expect anyone to keep buying.

Zen-Master. Jeez.....if I hear that one more time from Biting Marv Albert I am going to puke.

posted by Walsingham 7:21 PM

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Pliny: I would love to see what was actually left off of the wish list by the committee. At $70 million the last time around there was already the impression that there was no real prioritization of needs. With the low end being double the amount of the last bond issue I don't think that impression is going to slacken at all. Likely it will increase. I wish we had done the school stuff first and only then run by the electorate the beautiful and unnecessary airport and the beautiful and unnecessary ball parks......not to mention the not-so-beautiful Chamber Full Employment Sales Tax. High-profile high-salary hirings of late will also contribute to the impression that public funds are just for the taking by the district.

posted by Walsingham 7:00 PM

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Walsingham: Yes the schools need updating, but I'm not sure if the strategy is to increase the bond size to include room at the trough for everyone, or to threaten the voters with the idea that the bond will increase each time until passed.

posted by Pliny 6:28 PM

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The schools need updating...particularly the high schools. But I have a bad feeling about the upcoming bond issue when the choice is going to be between a 100% increase ($144 million) over the last request of $70 million and a 130% increase over the last request. The last bond issue had its faults but I don't think it failed because it was too small.

At any given time a third of the voting public is mad at the MISD administrators for some reason that is unrelated to facilities altogether. Add to this the Lee High School parents that would die any horrible death before they would vote any benefit to Midland High School however small or needed and you start out in a big hole.

posted by Walsingham 10:58 AM

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   Monday, June 10, 2002
Just in case you think you have any talent at all as a conspiracy theorist you need to measure yourself up against the loons over at

posted by Site Admin 10:46 AM

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Well....someone has to say it so here goes: Major League Baseball is unwatchable. I don't think that it can be made interesting by anything short of having a relative actually playing in the game.....and not just any game either. The game would have to be for at least a pennant and more probably the World Series. World Cup Soccer is vastly more interesting than baseball now. It is no wonder that attendance is dropping like the proverbial turd in a well. And just wait for the next inevitable strike. It will drop even more. What is funny is that the parks just get bigger and bigger. Just as in Midland now each fan will have about 36 square feet of space that they can call their own while watching a game. Which reminds me....has anyone actually seen a crowd shot during TV sports highlight coverage out at Midland American Bank Ball Park? I saw a home run shot fly in to the burm area at center field a was expecting to see some sort of scramble for the ball. Nope. A guy that had to be 50 years old strolled over to the ball (hotdog still in hand) and just picked it up.

posted by Site Admin 10:43 AM

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   Saturday, June 01, 2002
And seventy-two percent of graduating seniors in Midland can't figure out why two countries would go to war over a lousy sweater.

posted by Walsingham 1:50 PM

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New Laurels and Darts! New Laurels and Darts! Hands down this has got to be the greatest entry in a while.
"Dart: The FX cable channel which is prematurely planning a television movie about John Walker Lindh, the 21-year-old Californian captured with Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. Lindh has been accused but not convicted. Could this be a bit of cheap exploitation?"
This from the people who plastered Cedric Benson all over their newspaper for two weeks.

posted by Walsingham 1:40 PM

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Anyone care to guess how this one is going to turn out? I remember well a series of articles about a year ago describing the general disappointment with the Chamber's efforts in recruiting businesses to Midland. Blame, of course, was placed squarely on the fact that Midland had no ED slush if zero success can be expected without a three million dollar a year war chest. Even given this history, no reasonable person can expect that this contract will not be awarded to the local chamber replacing their now paltry $284,300 taxpayer subsidy with an amount that will end up being much, much more. If you have any doubts this will happen you need only make a list of the MDC 4a Board members (leave plenty of space below each one) and then under each of those names list the various offices each has held with the Chamber of Commerce over the past 10 years.

The local chamber will get the contract and everyone involved will insist into eternity that it was an "arm's length" transaction and that there is no conflict of interest.

posted by Walsingham 1:30 PM

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