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11th GRADE TAKS SCORES DOWN
by Brian Bodine    Thu, May 18, 2006, 03:31 PM

Most grades reported progress in passing the TAKS tests this year. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 11th graders statewide had a decline in TAKS test scores and 64 percent of Texas juniors passed all four TAKS tests.

10 percent of students in Fort Worth and 15 percent of students in Dallas are not graduating because they failed at least one of the TAKS tests.

Click here for story

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RUDY GIULIANI APPEARS AT RALPH REED FUNDRAISER IN ATLANTA
by Tom Pauken    Thu, May 18, 2006, 01:39 PM

Prospective Republican candidate for President Rudy Giuliani is making an appearance in Atlanta tonight on behalf of a beleaguered Ralph Reed, former leader of the Christian Coalition, who is running for Lt. Governor of Georgia.   Reed has been under fire for his close business ties to indicted Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff who paid millions of dollars to Reed's firm "to mobilize evangelicals against competitors to Indian casinos that Abramoff represented", according to a story in today's New York Daily News.  Reed is locked in a tight primary race in Georgia.  As the Daily News reports, "they make for an odd couple:  Rudy Giuliani, the pro-choice, pro-gay rights former mayor of New York, and Ralph Reed, the ex-head of the Christian Coalition."

Giuliani, like Sen. John McCain, has been trying to woo social conservatives as he ponders whether to jump into the campaign for the Republican nomination in 2008.

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AND IF I HAD A HAMMER..
by Trey Garrison    Thu, May 18, 2006, 11:35 AM

Over at the daily's metro blog under the heading "Look this way," columnist mediocritis emeritus Steve Blow laments:

"If only I had a magic wand. I would direct a tiny portion of the attention focused on the Mavericks and NBA playoffs to the event at the Hilton Anatole Hotel. The Black Entrepreneurs Conference is chock full of role models and inspiring success stories."

Steve doesn't have a wand, magic or otherwise, but he does have biweekly page B1 real estate in the only daily in town. But then, that space is reserved for nagging people about where they shop for groceries and Alzheimer's-inspired rants about hip-hop sounding like people banging on pots and pans or something.

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A LITTLE SHAMELESS PANDERING
by Trey Garrison    Thu, May 18, 2006, 11:15 AM

Our traffic here at DallasBlog is going gangbusters, and a lot of it is coming from City Hall. I'd like to invite any city employee who reads us to drop your story ideas and news tips to me.

You folks know what goes on behind the scenes, what the daily isn't covering and the dirty little secrets no one talks about when the boss is around. Send them to me at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Your anonymity is assured. Gracias.

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MAVS: THE GOOD WITH THE BAD by The Fish
by Mike Fisher    Thu, May 18, 2006, 10:50 AM

Fiirst-team All-NBA'er Dirk Nowitzki's summary of Wednesday's 98-87 Game 5 loss at San Antonio was crisp: "Once in a while,'' he said, "the pressure gets to you." The Fish dissects the loss in the 'School of Fish'':

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UNFAIR PARK: ART WILL BE IN THE EYE OF THE JUDGE
by Scott Bennett    Thu, May 18, 2006, 09:56 AM

madi.jpg

The Dallas Observer Blog Unfair Park posts that a legal fight is brewing over the Kilgore Law Center on McKinney Ave.  For those who have not seen the building it is literally a work of "Madi" art.  It is for sale.  The artists has sued to keep the owners from destroying the building ... anyway Unfair Park tells the shocking story.

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TEXAS MONTHLY DOES THE MATH FOR BELL
by Scott Bennett    Thu, May 18, 2006, 09:48 AM

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Chris Bell
For those who know next to nothing about Democratic nominee Chris Bell the new Texas Monthly has a good profile that will leave you with an idea of what type of governor Bell might be.  The article spends a lot of time digging through the electoral math that says Bell has a chance if he can only raise money. 

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STAR TELEGRAM PROVIDES TRIP ALONG THE MEXICAN BORDER LAND
by Scott Bennett    Thu, May 18, 2006, 09:46 AM

dividing line.jpg

Fort Worth Star Telegram reporters Tom Pennington and Jay Root have taken a trip along with US/Mexico border from Brownsville to Tijuana.  They present a fascinating picture of a otherwordly, oddly attractive yet terrifying landscape.  It is presented in both video and text and well worth checking out.

Click to read more ...

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AMERICANS BLAME BUSH AND BIG OIL NOT OPEC FOR GAS PRICES
by Scott Bennett    Thu, May 18, 2006, 09:45 AM

According to a Washington Post/ABC poll 76% of Americans disapprove of the job President Bush is doing on gasoline prices and by a 54% to 23% margin trust the Democrats on energy policy over Republicans.  Households claiming that the run-up in gasoline prices has caused them "financial hardship" stands at 57%.    A Pew Center survey reveals that 75% of Americans think there are steps the President and Congress could take to control prices versus 19% who don't.  Most shocking, a whopping 31% of Americans think that the oil companies are to blame for the price hikes and 25% think the President is to blame.  Only 10% blame OPEC.  And only 4% think Americans driving SUVs and other wasteful practices are to blame. 

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WHAT A $1.28 BILLION BOND LOOKS LIKE ON YOUR PROPERTY TAX BILL
by Trey Garrison    Thu, May 18, 2006, 09:38 AM

Basically, look at your tax bill – just the city tax portion, not DISD, and increase that amount by 14.5 percent, per year.


But wait, there's more.

That’s what approval of the $1.28 billion capital bond program will do to your tax rates – this does not factor in increases in home appraisals.

HOME .....BOND PROGRAM IMPACT
VALUE .....OVER SIX YEARS
$100,00 .....$86.08
$145,266 (Dallas median) .....$125.04
$200,000 .....$172.16
$300,000 .....$258.24

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