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BILL WOULD LIMIT CONTRIBUTIONS IN STATE RACES.
by Scott Bennett    Thu, Apr 27, 2006, 02:51 PM

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Rep. Mike Villarreal
Rep. Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio) has introduced legislation that would limit individuals from contributing more than $100,000 in total dollars to state races in a two year election cycle. The bill appears to have bi-partisan support especially from Republicans who were the target of Dr. James Leininger of San Antonio who finances an attempted purge of several GOP lawmakers who refused to support public school vouchers. The governor has not opened the special session to such legislation and is not expected to. The intent of the bill appears to be to create an issue in the fall election in hopes contributions limits might have a chance in the regular ession.

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COUNTY JUDGE CALLS FOR GAS BOYCOTT
by Brian Bodine    Thu, Apr 27, 2006, 11:30 AM

A county judge in south Texas has decided to take a stand against high gas prices and is saying that he has had enough with the gas “crisis”. San Antonio’s WOAI.com reports that Bee County judge Jimmy Martinez pushed through a county resolution calling on county residents to boycott Exxon-Mobil in an effort to bring the price of gas down to $1.30 a gallon.

WOAI.com reports that Martinez is contacting other counties in the state and is sending them the Bee County resolution.

Click here to read story

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GIANT SUCKING SOUND UPDATE
by Scott Bennett    Thu, Apr 27, 2006, 11:21 AM

Here is some good news for Democrats:  According to the latest Rasmussen generic poll for President in 2008 Democrats would today command 44% of the vote with the GOP drawing only 32%.  Of course when real live contenders are substituted GOP candidates like McCain and Giuliani are often in the lead.  But here is bad news for both parties:  Rasmussen asked voters what they would do if a third party candidate were added to the mix who "promised to build a barrier along the US/Mexico border and make immigration their top issue."  The result:  Democrats 31%, Republicans 21%, third party 30%.  Ross Perot's "giant sucking sound" may turn out to be the sound of votes being siphoned out of the two-party system?

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STUDY ON LOVE FIELD HAS MAY 20 DEADLINE
by Trey Garrison    Thu, Apr 27, 2006, 10:28 AM

The tentative deadline for Dallas Mayor Laura Miller to offer Fort Worth a proposed solution to the decades of squabbles over the Wright Amendment is May 20.

It's unknown when the two cities will reconvene for a second meeting of their negotiating teams, which consist of the two mayors, three council members from Dallas and two from Fort Worth.

One thing they'll likely consider is a proposal by one of Dallas' negotiating team, Councilmember Ed Oakley, who wants to see commercial passenger limits placed on all airports in North Texas, not just Love Field. It's an idea Miller is on board with.

Startlegram has the full story here.

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PEW: INTERNET NOW REACHES 73% OF ADULT AMERICANS
by Scott Bennett    Thu, Apr 27, 2006, 10:13 AM

The Pew Foundation's Pew Internet and American Life announced today that fully 73% of all adult Americans, 147 million people, are active Internet users.  That is up from 66% in January of 2005.  Pew also found that of these 42%, or 84 million, have broadband connections at home.  That is up from 29% in January 2005.  A substantial percentage of Americans with broadband now claim that the Internet has improved their ability to shop, do their jobs, andn pursue hobbies or other interests. 

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MAN ARRESTED AND CHARGED IN MERCY THE DOG'S TORTURE AND DEATH
by Trey Garrison    Thu, Apr 27, 2006, 09:27 AM

Dallas Police arrested the...I refuse to use the word "man"...who they think stabbed and burned Mercy the 10-month-old pit bull puppy who died despite heroic efforts to save her life.

She had been stabbed, doused with gasoline and burned over 60 percent of her body.

One Deshawn Brown now faces charges of cruelty to an animal and other crimes.

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ROVE APPEARS AGAIN BEFORE GRAND JURY
by Special to DallasBlog.com    Thu, Apr 27, 2006, 08:11 AM

Karl Rove, the top political advisor to President Bush, made his fifth appearance before a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., investigating the leak of the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame.  Lewis Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, already has been indicted and forced to resign his position over what has been called the "Plame Affair".  The speculation is that Rove is testifying once again in order to forestall a possible indictment.  While special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has advised Rove's attorney that he is "not a target" of his investigation, others have said that Rove remains a "subject" of the investigation.  A subject is a person "whose conduct is within the scope of the grand jury's investigation.  Rove recently lost his position as chief White House policy advisor, but he remains the President's chief political advisor.  Were he indicted, he would have to resign that post as well.  His departure from the Administration would be a major political blow to the Bush Presidency.

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KIDS THE TOP PRIORITY, SAYS TRUSTEE CANDIDATE by Brian Bodine
by Brian Bodine    Wed, Apr 26, 2006, 10:22 PM

One candidate running for the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees says that his priority would be the students if he is elected.

DallasBlog recently interviewed Stephen Poole, who is one of six candidates running for the Board of Trustees, District 6. At age 33, Poole is the youngest person running in the school board elections. Currently a hall monitor at the alternative school in Dallas, Poole has worked in child and adolescent development.

Some of Poole’s priorities include having Spanish taught from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, linking program funding to success-based outcomes, and increasing accountability in DISD.

Poole said that he wants to see students become more balanced early on so that when they enter the workforce after they graduate, they will be more prepared. Poole said that he wanted to see native English speakers as well as native Spanish speakers be able to use dual language programs in order to become bilingual. Poole questioned whether Dr. Hinojosa’s recommendations gave native English speakers the same opportunities as native Spanish speakers.

“A lot of things right now are being set up to accommodate Spanish-speaking kids, which is necessary, because every child is supposed to get a good education,” said Poole.

“But let’s just make sure all kids are balanced so that they get the same equal opportunities as every one else.” Poole also said that more and more jobs require that people be bilingual and that not giving native English-speakers Spanish instruction could put them at a disadvantage.

Poole said that too big of an emphasis is being placed on testing and not enough emphasis is being placed on crucial skills such as reading comprehension. “My biggest thing is we’re producing kids who can strategize on tests, but don’t know how to learn,” said Poole. “It’s like we’re producing little clones to make sure that we have excellent test scores, but that don’t have the knowledge. When it comes time for my son to read The Scarlet Letter or Of Mice and Men, he may not be able to understand the reading.”

Poole also suggested that many learning problems come from the social issues facing many kids. He said that schools should make use of behavioral profiles that could be used to determine where to sit kids in the classroom.

Poole told the DallasBlog that one of his main concerns with the district is “accountability”.

“There needs to be some type of accountability as to how money is spent – I mean immediate accountability,” said Poole. “Not ‘we’ll wait another semester and then we’ll do an investigation or we’ll do an audit’. There has to be some system in place so we can count every dollar.”

Poole also mentioned that it was good that some past trustees and some people running for trustee spots have strong financial backgrounds. While Poole said that the school board could use people that are experienced in finances, he argued that their financial experience would be of little use if they didn’t use their position to put money into the classrooms for the benefit of the kids.

“If you don’t know where to send the money, then what good are you?” said Poole.

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TRAVIS DA SAYS HE WILL MONITOR GROUP BUYING ADS FOR PERRY TAX PLAN
by Scott Bennett    Wed, Apr 26, 2006, 06:15 PM

Responding to a request from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell, Travis County DA Ronnie Earle says that his policy regarding campaign related complaints is to take no action during the election.  However, he says that he will monitor the use corporate funds for the Texans for Taxpayer Relief, and organization financing commercials touting Gov. Perry's education tax reform proposal.

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DALLAS MAYOR SIGNS STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLE ON 'ILLEGAL' GUNS
by Trey Garrison    Wed, Apr 26, 2006, 06:05 PM

Below is a copy of the "Statement of Principals" that Dallas Mayor Laura Miller, along with a small group of other U.S. mayors, signed at Tuesday's anti-gun summit hosted by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

Most notable is the fact that what "illegal guns" are is never really defined, and that the emphasis for these folks in law enforcement seems to be on inanimate objects, and not so much on the actual criminals.

(Also notable, the "30,000 Americans across the country are killed every year as a result of gun violence" is a statistic that includes suicides. Actually, there are less than about 11,000 gun homicides a year according to the Centers for Disease Control, and that number has been declining for years.)

---------

MAYORSSUMMIT ON ILLEGAL GUNS
April 25, 2006
Gracie Mansion, New York City

STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES

Whereas: 30,000 Americans across the country are killed every year as a result of gun violence, destroying families and communities in big cities and small towns; and

Whereas: As Mayors, we are duty-bound to do everything in our power to protect our residents, especially our children, from harm and there is no greater threat to public safety than the threat of illegal guns;

Now, therefore, we resolve to work together to find innovative new ways to advance the following principles:

o Punish – to the maximum extent of the law – criminals who possess, use, and traffic in illegal guns.

o Target and hold accountable irresponsible gun dealers who break the law by knowingly selling guns to straw purchasers.

o Oppose all federal efforts to restrict cities’ right to access, use, and share trace data that is so essential to effective enforcement, or to interfere with the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to combat illegal gun trafficking.

o Work to develop and use technologies that aid in the detection and tracing of illegal guns.

o Support all local, state, and federal legislation that targets illegal guns; coordinate legislative, enforcement, and litigation strategies; and share information and best practices.

o Invite other cities to join us in this new national effort.

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