LORDS OF THE BLOG
Steven Den Beste
Official Baby Jessica
The Community Web Log on Media and Government in Midland, Texas
Monday, September 30, 2002
Sunday, September 29, 2002
Max Lucado appears to be the big draw for the Rejoice event. I tried reading some of his stuff....the message is good certainly....but I am afraid that Lucado is to writing what Thomas Kincaid is to painting.
The full page ad for the "Rejoice" revival appears in today's paper and the invitation to the President and First Lady are still listed as "Pending". I don't think that they are coming at this point. Still, I wonder if a couple of event organizers have been posted at the airport, binoculars and radios in hand, scouting the skies for a certain 747.
Saturday, September 28, 2002
It is 12:10pm on Saturday (9/28) and channels 3 and 7 are running the exact same infomercial in the exact same time slot. Are the World Cup Finals here again already?
Admin: What a relief. No self-respecting prospective Midland company would take a 4a kickback from an uncertified economic developer.
Gee.....still no clarification on Midland City Manager Rick Menchaca's comment that the Amarillo Development Corporartion isn't having that much success lately......with a slush fund that is five times the size of Midland's. But we do have this news. Jobs will be created. At the Chamber and the MDC, of course. There is this good news:"On Wednesday, the Chamber announced Clayton's certification from the International Economic Development Council as a professional economic developer. Only 65 of 470 Texas economic developers have this certification, increasing Midland's potential that much more."I am sure it does, aren't you?
Friday, September 27, 2002
Gee....all this talk of "sacred times" and "hallowed grounds". Discussions of the September 11 attack and its aftermath? No. Recounting of the invasion of Normandy or the Battle of Gettysburg? Sorry, doesn't ring a bell. Believe it or not, all of the way, way, way overblown (but obviously quite serious) raw emotion and concern found in this article is about Texas Tech's decision to play a game on......oh my God.....a Friday night! This borders on self-parody.
Thursday, September 26, 2002
Just how does one measure the effectiveness of a slogan....and does this one strike you as a good one?:"Midland=Odessa, the Sunny Smile of Texas - where you'll find people as warm as the weather," is the slogan used when promoting the area to prospective visitors. It is a slogan that has proven to be very successful.The Sunny Smile of Texas? Yuk. No wonder we are going to shell out the big bucks to "brand" the area. Any suggestions for a new slogan for Midland and Odessa?
Recognition comes to First American Bank Ballpark. The very frequent use of the "Blue T-Shirt Night" promotion must have worked real well.
This is just wrong. I think that these guys should be forced to stay in the state and make trial lawyers rich.
Flipping channels on the 10 o’clock news last night, channel 7 led with the fatal car wreck on highway 80, gave it 30 seconds of video and moved on. The “Nightbeat” & “Newswest 9” must have been watching because seconds later they both mention a “breaking story” with crews on the way to a fatal accident. 15 minutes later Jay intones over a silent still live shot for close to a minute about the accident, the color of the vehicles, mentioning over and over, “this, of course is across the street from Satin’s Gentlemen’s Club, and those lights you see behind the wreck are The Forest Night Club.” Finally they get the remote audio working and Stephanie goes on for another couple of minutes about, the color of the vehicles, Satin Gentlemen’s Club & The Forest, and it becomes apparent that the amount of time these guys spend on a story is inversely proportional to the information they impart.
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
Great Michael Kelly column today.".....speech was one no minimally decent politician could have delivered. It was entirely dishonest, cheap, low. It was utterly hollow. It was bereft of policy, of solutions, of constructive ideas, very nearly of facts--bereft of anything other than taunts and jibes and embarrassingly obvious lies. It was breathtakingly hypocritical, a naked political assault delivered in smarmy tones of moral condescension from a man pretending to be superior to mere politics. It was wretched. It was vile. It was contemptible. But I understate."No, it is not about Mr. Woodside, Mr. Kimball, or the CFR. It is about the latest from Al Gore.
Tuesday, September 24, 2002
Our first real-live submittal!Dear Jessica's Well:
Monday, September 23, 2002
Big Gold Dog readies a bumper sticker for production. You may think about e-mailing him if you want one for your car.
Stevey-girl: Your post is on the money. My only suggestion would be to add this to the sub-headline:
CFR FAVORS DOING AWAY WITH NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS
Site Admin: The "CFR Watch" looks great. The ball is now officially in the court of Mr. Woodside and Mr. Kimball's two-hundred member strong Citizens For Fiscal Responsibility. They claim to have done the analysis. They claim to know, how they say "The Better Way." Let us now have the plan that the CFR will support that will make the updates and repairs and relieve the overcrowding. The clock is running, the counter is counting. Just your usual chin music is no longer enough.
TROUBLE IN PARADISE II
Walser: So it is written. So it is done.
Site Admin: Thanks for the new "CFR Watch". You are going to want to kill me.....but can we have the start date for the count be October 7, 2000? That was the date of the last defeated school bond issue.
Sunday, September 22, 2002
Walser: Your wish is my command.
Iggy: Upon reading Mr. Howard's Letter to the Editor I am afraid that any analysis would require medical credentials on my part. I will have to decline.
"The only way to get these buildings in shape is to begin spending money on them."
Friday, September 20, 2002
Disraeli was wrong. There are 4 kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics, and then the misguided miscellany that the CFR manages to get into print. This deal today is a lethal combination Kimball’s ethical standards translated in Woody’s garbled syntax. Irrelevant lies, poorly worded.
Look closely at the CFR's big ad in today's paper. Read it twice. Once you have become familiar with it you can see exactly why it is that Midlanders for Our Schools, Our Future has refused to debate the CFR on the school bond issue. It is because the CFR refuses to debate the issue at hand, which is school facilities. There are seventeen items in their ad this morning. Seventeen. Only two have anything to do with school infrastructure. One of them at Harvard. But since tomorrow is the election let us go through the ad anyway."0 - Number of Teachers Unions Endorsing Bond"There are two teachers organizations in Midland. One is under the umbrella of the AFL-CIO which has endorsed the bond package and the other is prohibited by its charter from taking positions on bond issues."95% - Percentage of Texas Schools Districts With Less Debt"This number includes every school district in the entire State of Texas of every size. Think of how many districts in the whole state are larger (cities like Houston, Dallas, Austin, etc.) than MISD and then how many are smaller. The fact is that MISD is larger than 90% of the school districts in the state and to carry debt commensurate with their size would automatically place them high on the debt list."78 - Projected Decrease in Secondary School Enrollment over the Next 6 Years."The CFR continues to cherry pick their data even after they are made aware that their numbers are old. But given 100 portable classrooms spread across the district and the aging, Eisenhower era infrastructure that needs to be replaced and updated, what is their point exactly? If the CFR is right and the enrollment drops a whopping 78 students will this make the portable classrooms redundant? No. Will the aging building systems stop rusting? No.48% - Amount of Your Tax Dollar That Reaches The Classroom"Really? How does 48% compare statewide? How about the 52%? How much is state mandated and can't be controlled by the local school authorities? Not that this matters a whit to the CFR. They just flop it out on the table hoping that the reader will automatically thinks that MISD must be bad. Bad. Bad. Bad.
Jailing Joel Oldham for failing to get counseling is one thing. Jailing him for not getting a job in this small town is quite another. And isn't it a bit strange that while we are waiting to put Mr. Oldham behind bars.....presumably to protect us from him.....he is in the meantime ordered to go out and have contact with us by getting a job?
Wednesday, September 18, 2002
I'd give 10 to 1 odds that Regan's letter was written by the king of the non-sequitur, the local contributor to Strunk & White, the jolly old ramblin' man himself, Woody Woodside.
More Letters to the Editor. Apparently, the CFR has picked up its sixth member in Mr. Dick Ragan. This represents an all-time high for the CFR. Mr. Ragan gained almost automatic membership to the CFR by demonstrating no discomfort at all in using a curriculum study to condemn a facilities issue, then citing totally bogus salary figures (only the Superintendent makes more than $104k/year, not the multitudes that the word "they" was meant to purposefully and wrongly imply), then providing an estimate of what he thinks we will be paying based on the last bond issue....as if interest rate changes have no effect on the cost of borrowing.....finishing up with the CFR bogeyman for all situations: Repeal of the Homestead Exemption. But just in case Mr. Ragan thought all of this was not sufficient to gain him membership into the CFR, he finishes with this:"There is a better way to fix our schools."Followed by........nothing. No doubt Mr. Woodside, Mr. Kimball, and Mr. Angelo himself swelled with pride at this new member's ability to forcefully, eloquently, and passionately offer no alternatives or suggestions whatsoever. A true chip off of the old block.
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
Mr. Kimball's five man CFR has apparently hit the radio airwaves with ads urging people to "not be afraid to vote against the school bond issue". He has a point. Any person of voting age would have to spend, at most, another year in the current facilities.
Hey Walser: Since Lee is still winless in BurritoGrande Communications Stadium do you think that Terry Williamson will write any more "mash notes to his concrete mistress on the loop"?
This from a tip from a faithful reader (thanks Susan): Regarding the dust-up following the Midland High - El Paso Montwood football game, check out the difference between the Midland Reporter-Telegram version and the El Paso Times version of the same incident.
It is all one can do to merely finish this letter to the editor from Mr. Kevin Clark. I am sure that the information contained in the letter is all correct in as much as it had to have been copied and pasted from "the triennial survey by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations". You have to know that the whole triennial report is every bit the page-turner that this letter is, don't you? Mr. Clark then goes on to say that we need to look at the upcoming bond issue through the perspective of how it relates to MMH health care:"It seems to me that before the taxpayers vote for hundreds of millions of dollars of additional debt, they should take a long hard look at the operation of MMH. This is particularly true now that the hospital is searching for new leadership.What, exactly, is Mr. Clark advocating here? Does he want us to not pass the school bond? Or does he want us to pass the school bond but then give the money to the hospital? Does building one hundred additional classrooms to relieve overcrowding in the schools represent skewed priorities when we have an MRI machine that is a year out of date at the same time we are looking for a new hospital administrator? What??
Monday, September 16, 2002
Walser: Before you give the MR-T too much credit for brilliant tongue-in-cheek commentary for publishing the same letter from Mr. Dollahite twice, they just did the same thing with Mr. Gerald Mendenhall's letter that you posted on below.
Sunday, September 15, 2002
No Mr. Walsingham, I think the MRT, being devoted fans of this page, enjoyed so much your T. Dollahite parody that they published his letter again hoping for another send-up. I bet he had a hell of a time back before calculators when he tried to save the US from bankruptcy by figuring the “real cost” of NASA’s Apollo program. I hope he’ll figure the “real cost” to the city’s resources imposed by the guy who tried to vote twice thus wasting the valuable time of elections administrators, police line-up workers and district attorneys. But then think of the “real savings” to all of West Texas to have this demented fellow (whoever he may be) off of the streets and out of the letters column for even a few weeks.
Lots of noise coming from Mr. Royce Bodiford, the General Manager of public television station KOCV in Odessa concerning the refusal of Midlanders For Our Schools, Our Future to debate the Citizens For Fiscal Responsibility. I had heard that the initial hangup came when it was discovered that both Mr. Woodside and Mr. Kimball would be appearing on behalf of the CFR. At that point Midlanders For Our Schools, Our Future then suggested that they too should be able to bring every one of their members to the debate. One can surely understand Mr. Bodiford's interest in all of this. Given his usual choice of public television programming he would have to think that even Mr. Woodside and Mr. Kimball would draw more viewers than the third re-run of "Marginalized Arachnids: Lesbian Spiders of the Rain Forest".
So now the "all-knowing" "all seeing" Walsingham is finally knowing and seeing? What took you so long?
Perhaps the MR-T is cracking wise. Perhaps they are sending a coded message. Maybe it was just an oversight and the MR-T needs to get advice from the Elections Administrator on how to prevent these things from happening to them....but Mr. Thomas Dollahite managed to get the exact same letter urging against passing the school bond issue published two times in the last six days. I am going to call it brilliant on the MR-T's part and award a "Laurel".
Friday, September 13, 2002
Mr. Gerald V. Mendenhall's letter is a breath of fresh air. Unlike the CFR, who merely close their eyes to 100 portable buildings spread across the district, Mr. Mendenhall, while against the bond issue, at least recognizes the space availability problem. He even offers alternatives.....something the CFR has never done."Secondly, our school enrollment has not shown any significant increase, so until we have gone to year round school and/or shifts there is no reason to add more space to what, now, is being used only about 8 hours a day."And should we follow through with a plan for year-round schools or lengthening the school day we could then use the existing portable buildings to store all of the tar and feathers and soon-to-be-burned effigies of the school board that we would then require. Hey, everybody wins.
I hate being wrong. I just hate it. On Tuesday, September 10, I sarcastically remarked that Osama bin Laden was sure to receive a "Dart" from the MR-T the next day. I was sooooo wrong. Osama's Dart didn't come until today.
Thursday, September 12, 2002
Inbound e-mail from a reader (we have readers!) reports that Mr. Kimball of the CFR was touring the San Jacinto campus only this week. The reader suggested that taking a tour of the facilities before coming out against the bond issue may have been a more appropriate order of events. Another e-mail says that Mr. Kimball's CFR is claiming over two hundred members. We can be forgiven for not knowing how many members the CFR has or doesn't have. But when they don't hold meetings, don't collect dues, and don't solicit contributions how does the CFR even know how many true members it has? Other than coming out against school bond issues, the only action one ever finds the CFR "membership" taking is alternately electing Mr. Woodside or Mr. Kimball "their" President.
Letters to the Editor (9/12): John Fisco gets it. And he understands the Ernie phenomenon all too well. Ernie is no fiscal conservative. Judging from what he has supported in the past he is far from it, seventy-five photos with Reagan on his "Ego Wall" notwithstanding. He either has an axe to grind with public schools or, as has been mentioned before, is expecting the defeat of the bond and is getting out in front of it to enhance the "Ernie Mystique." Meanwhile, we just run a few thousand more kids through the school system hoping that sooner or later Ernie will tell us what it is he wants instead of what it is he doesn't want.
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
Three Letters to the Editor, each wonderful in its own way. We begin with a Pat Thomas who unleashes this beaut:"We have three issues to vote on. Why have three issues to vote on if I can't vote for one and against the others? I would like to vote to build a new Midland High School, but my vote will not count unless I vote for issue No. 1. In this case I will vote against all three."Disregard the fact that Mr. (Ms.?) Thomas doesn't realize that there are a ton of things contained in Prop 1 that go into improving Midland High School that would be built upon if Prop 2 and Prop 3 pass also. What you have here....illustrated very clearly.....may be the CFR's whole strategy. Site Admin has already touched on this. The CFR publicly states that the improvements need to be done, even tells that poor delusional Louisa Valencia they want her to have an elementary school on the south side, BUT......it is the way that it is packaged that forces them to come out against it. Then picture the choice ridden ballot theoretically favored by the CFR. Everything broken down to such a detailed choice set that when everyone has finished voting for what they think they want or what they think MISD needs the most.......every item on the ballot has received only 30% of votes in Favor.
Let Me Guess: Osama bin Laden receives a "Dart" tomorrow.
On channel 9 last night they said that they had attempted to pry the name of the double voter from the D.A., but he says he won’t release the name until he sees a police report. I suggest that they call Kimball and ask: Does the CFR ever recruit local secret agents to test the integrity of the one man, one vote safeguards? If so, could there possibly be a better sleuth than Midland’s version of George Smiley, the innocuous master of the non-disguise, Tom Dollahite? Why not call him?
Sunday, September 08, 2002
Thomas Dollahite dusts off his old stand by Letter to the Editor in which he professes shock that lending institutions charge something to loan you money. Let us look at his letter from another angle:Note to Idiotarians: This is not actually a letter from Mr. Dollahite. It is a parody, but just barely one.
Saturday, September 07, 2002
Say, what happened to the "all-knowing", "all-seeing" Walsingham? If what I have heard is correct, you will recognize the name immediately......but I am not going to post it here without the actual police report in my hand.
How is it that there is no name attached to this article? A guy attempts to vote twice, is known to the clerks as an opponent yet his name is not given?
Ernie's sock-puppet gets a sock-puppet of his own.
Iggy: I don't agree that a South side elementary school would have fared badly as a standalone issue...........this time. But here is the potential problem that Louisa may have created for herself. Say Prop 1 fails this time (taking Prop 2 and Prop 3 with it, of course).....in the next go round the South side elementary will almost certainly be a standalone issue. An issue that would almost exclusively benefit an area with traditionally low voter participation and turnout. An issue that, consequently, would then require help from a load of pro-bond voters outside that area. And because it is a standalone issue these voters could vote for everything BUT a South side elementary, thinking that Louisa wasn't there for them when they needed her....why should they be there for her?
Speaking of their “membership” – one crowd shot made the footage on Big 2’s coverage of Louisa’s shocker announcement. The usual suspects swelled the crowd: Woody, Mark, the coffee shop guy, a couple of neatly coiffed older ladies but…no Ernie. My guess is that while politics makes for strange bedfellows and all that, asking Mr. Republican to share a picture frame with an Hispanic woman sporting a “Sanchez” campaign button was too much to ask. Someday Ernie will regret casting his lot with this rag-tag group of “CAVE” men (Citizens Against Virtually Everything.)
Friday, September 06, 2002
I appreciate the credit you try to give me. But prescience is not required when I have a deep cover mole inside the CFR. He would be surprised to find out he is a mole......just like 85% of the CFR's claimed membership would be surprised to find out that they are now "members" simply because someone group e-mailed a bunch of their friends....one of which was in the CFR....and forgot to use the "Bcc:" option.
Walser: The foreboding karma that you sensed this morning was eerily prescient. First Valencia caves for 15 seconds of fame, then a poor fellow attempted to vote against the bond – twice! Say what you will of Mr. Kimball’s shifty visage, he inspires a passion in the deranged that we will never be able to counter. We have only this page, these hollow words. Kimball has a mailing list that reaches every wacko in the county.
Please, somebody get the tape! 2000 debate, Valencia & Kimball in a virtual Vulcan Mind Meld of agreement to defeat the bond because it made no provision for a South Side Elementary. Fast forward 2 years, the South side elementary is on the ballot with a legit chance of passing. Valencia, in her infinite political wisdom decides that the elementary should stand alone on the ballot where it would fold up faster than another restaurant in that doomed building on Big Spring. Jeeza, Louisa.........Kimball & Company would sooner pass a kidney stone than a South side elementary. How did they turn her? Maybe the allure of being the CFR’s 5th Beatle was too much for her to withstand (if you’re counting at home: Ernie, Mark, Woody, & that guy with the cool socks and sandals from the coffee shop downtown.) Or maybe they just asked, “Hey, Louisa, wanna be on T.V.?”
You may be the Site Admin, but don't ever question the mighty, all-knowing, all-seeing Walsingham: You wanted to see it before you believed it? See it here."We are thankful the MISD considered placing an elementary school on the south side of Midland," Valencia is quoted in the press release, "but Midlanders should not be forced to spend $90-160-million to meet the real school needs of this area."
Hide and watch baby, hide and watch.
Walser: I'll believe it when I see it. That the CFR would stab Louisa in the back is a given. Louisa stabbing herself in the back, and by extension, stabbing all of her constituents on the South side in the back is another matter entirely.
Thursday, September 05, 2002
My favorite call that morning was the shill who asked the leading questions:
Wednesday, September 04, 2002
Here you go, Stevie-Girl: We can let the readers decide for themselves whether or not Mr. Rushdie has blown his cover by coming out against the bond issue. Scuttlebutt has the CFR pretty steamed that they aren't automatically allowed to follow the bond proponents around town and hang on their necks like great millstones.....even, uh...ahem.... "just mentioning....not threatening" First Presbyterian Church with the loss of that church's non-profit status for denial of "equal time". Message to the CFR: Recruit and schedule your own speakers bureau and/or buy your own air time, you deadbeats.
Hardly a "Man Bites Dog" story here. What everyone knew was going to happen before the first signature was gathered for the original petition has indeed happened. The Chamber has gotten the contract from the Midland Development Corporation to do the "Economic Development" work. One wonders if the MR-T editors have discovered this little 'ol website, though. In the past, the MDC couldn't soil a hankie without it appearing on the front page of the paper. Story after story on just the process of choosing the contractor was front page stuff. When the actual decision was made the story was bumped back to the Local section. But this little nugget was sure unexpected:"'It calls for us to be much more creative and aggressive than the next guy,' MDC board member John James said of Midland's ED program.That last quote should set off not just one, but a series of articles investigating why it is that Amarillo....the same Amarillo that was used as a club to beat us into submission on the last ED sales tax initiative is suddenly discovered to be "not having that much success" with a "war chest" eight times larger than Midland's. Alas, you will not see such articles in the official news organ of the Midland Chamber of Commerce....otherwise known as the Reporter-Telegram.
Walsingham: I am soooooooo glad that you posted the picture of Mr. Kimball. Sunday morning, upon entering the kitchen searching for my first cup of coffee my husband (who was already reading the paper) said to me "Honey, you will interested to know that Salman Rushdie has come out against the school bond issue."
Tuesday, September 03, 2002
Now comes Mr. Mark Kimball of the Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, a group (one suspects) that is wholly comprised of five guys in possession of an e-mail list for the local media. Is it just me, or is anyone else a bit suspicious of a group that changes leadership less often than Red China? "OK, Woody, this is your year to be President and then I'll do it again next year." Reading Mr. Kimball's column it must come as no surprise that after thousands of man hours of work and interviews the Citizen's Facility Advisory Committee didn't manage to guess what it is Mr. Kimball's, uh.....organization had in mind for our schools. Let us go to the letter."The same old "Tax and Spend," "Take Out a Loan, Let Your Kids Pay For It" and "Plain Old Liberals" are out in force trying to convince you, the Midland Taxpayer, to live on credit. You know who these groups and individuals are: The Midland Chamber of Commerce, The Reporter-Telegram, and Midlanders For Our Future, Our Children. Many of these groups have supported every tax increase in the last decade. Fortunately for Midland, they have lost almost 70 percent of their battles."Which brings up the question: Just where was the CFR, these vanguards of the tax dollar on the last two issues, one when we were deciding whether or not to build oversized stadiums...the baseball park being a total sop, in-your-face-public-subsidy of a privately held professional minor league baseball team, and the other issue being the last go round of the "Economic Development" sales tax that will enable everyone they are ranting about in the above paragraph to extract millions per year from the taxpayer the CFR purports to be protecting in order to make the Cingulars of the world major league corporate welfare queens? Now, when it is time to repair Eisenhower era school infrastructure that handles thousands of kids per day they suddenly develop "concerns" so deep that they are rendered incontinent on both ends resulting in the unmentionable from one end and columns like the "Speaking Out" dated 9/1/02 from the other. Let's face it, these school bond issues may provide them the opportunity to be "true to their charter", or at least get them their precious ink, but when it really counted the CFR was a total no-show."Midlanders believe in "Pay as you go". The proposed does nothing to improve education and ignores a lack of educational planning. It ignores professional advice for which MISD paid $40,000.00."I agree. I think I speak for all Midlanders when I say that only after a forty-year-old air handler finally quits, or a plumbing system ages to the point that it puts forth brown water should we hold a bond referendum to generate the funds to fix those particular items.....but only if it meshes suitably with anticipated modifications to the proposed mathematics curriculum as laid out by those sections of Artebury study that the CFR agrees with but not those sections that the CFR doesn't agree with. Also, bond referendums should never be for an amount greater than one or two classrooms at a time, regardless of the level of overcrowding. While this may seem onerous to some, using this system (assuming no losses at the ballot box) we could completely eliminate our current need for portable classrooms by voting every Tuesday for slightly less than a year."MISD spending is out of control with no plan to curb its spending addiction while the addict begs for even more money with a flawed claim of a repayment plan.""...begs for even more money with a flawed claim of a repayment plan." Ouch! I guess that was meant to sting....but the only information that this sentence provides the reader is that Mr. Woodside is helping Mr. Kimball write the column."Here are just some of the reasons to vote NO and support a better planned bond later this year. MISD PAID $40,000.00 FOR AN INSULTING STUDY: In February of this year, MISD received the findings of its MISD Curriculum Review written by Dr. Elvis Artebury, a former associate of Dr. Nicks at Lamar University. If this study is correct MISD is in danger on many fronts: education, too many buildings, and financially. Since the MRT limits contributors to 750 words, you will have to acquire a copy of this study at the MISD administration building to place the following quotes in context:
Monday, September 02, 2002
Here we go again. The King of Smarm, the oiliest fellow in an oil field town has spoken out. And perhaps the funniest nugget of a truly laughable column was: