The "Turk" was an 18th Century mechanical chess player. It was considered a marvel. It turned out to be a fraud. Now there is a new Turk that may revolutionize journalism, especially ones like this one. Or not.
Republicans got some additional bad news this week at both the national and state levels. A new Wall St. Journal/NBC News poll found that likely voters favor Democrats over Republicans by a 47 to 38 percent margin when asked who they would like to see control Congress. These are the worst figures for the Party holding power in Congress since the Republicans had a polling advantage over the Democrats prior to taking control of Congress in 1994.
On the state front, the Texas Republican Party got more bad news this week when the Democratic District Attorney of Travis County, Ronnie Earle, subpoenaed their bank records for the period from August 2002 to January 2003 in his ongoing investigation into the activities of Tom DeLay. The Texas GOP recently settled a financial reporting case with the County Attorney of Travis County. That settlement was criticized by former Dallas County GOP Chairman Nate Crain who also said that the state party was for all practical purposes broke.
The Texas GOP faces some tough elections in metropolitan areas such as Dallas and Harris counties which have been trending Democratic in recent elections. With Carole Strayhorn running as an Independent, the reelection of a Republican Governor is no sure thing. This latest salvo from Ronnie Earle is not good news for the state Republican party.
The daily has a story on Dallas City Council travel done on the taxpayer dime. It left some pertinent questions unanswered - or unasked.
Most remarkable in the article was the mention that Councilman Ron Natinsky spent a week in China last November at taxpayer expense.
Mr. Natinsky told the daily, "They're not about to build partnerships by e-mail, telephone or letter. While it may sound glamorous to the outsider, it was a lot of getting up at 5 or 6 and working until 11 or midnight. And it was money well spent on the city's behalf."
But then the story provides absolutely no other detail on just what this trade mission was, with whom Mr. Natinsky met, how the trip came about, or what was the benefit. Whether it's from a lack of answers or a lack of questions, the reader is left in the dark.
President Bush's visit to Dallas on Friday, in which he called for greater emphasis on the teaching of science and engineering so that the United States could remain competitive economically, follows on the heels of a speech given by the President of General Electric last week in a similar vein. Here is what Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of GE, had to say to the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., last week: "If you want good manufacturing jobs, one thing you could do is graduate more engineers. We had more sports exercise majors graduate than electrical engineering grads last year. If you want to be the massage capital of the world, you're well on your way."
Giving credit where credit is due, the daily has a good report today that gets to the heart of the problem the Dallas Police Department has - parsimonious paychecks that drive the best qualified officers and recruits away to the higher paying suburbs.
Chief David Kunkle has said before that in an ideal world he'd add a net 800 cops to the force, but that's not going to happen soon even if the department had the budget and the wherewithal to train that many at one time.
Between a a pointless court ruling stemming from a 27-year-old referendum that says the city can't increase starting salaries unless they give the same percent raise to all ranks, and a series of recent broken promises for across-the-board raises in police pay, the Thin Blue Line is going to stay thin until some serious changes are made in priorities.
Housing foreclosure actions last year in Great Britain reached their highest level since 1993 "when the UK housing market was just emerging from one of its deepest crashes," according to AFX News. Foreclosures (or "mortgage possession actions", as they are called in the UK) were 50% higher in the last quarter of 2005 in comparison with the same quarter of 2004.
The run up in housing prices in the United Kingdom was somewhat ahead of the rise in U.S. home prices in recent years. The falling prices and home repossessions there may signal what is in store for the U.S. in the near future.
A Dallas District Attorney hopeful is pledging to improve cooperation with the private sector and the community to a new level.
Assistant District Toby Shook is claiming that, if elected, he plans to partner law enforcement agencies with community leaders in an effort, according to Shook, to “go on the offensive” against crime
Shook said that the key was being “proactive” rather than just “reactive”, and that if elected to District Attorney, he would partner with police to help them build prosecution cases before crimes happen, especially cases against organized gangs.
“What the District Attorney has to do is use the DA’s office as a bully pulpit (and) be very active in the community,” said Shook.
Shook said that he will have a citizen’s advisory committee which will regularly met with community leaders and local law enforcement. He said that he also plans on having a speaker’s bureau that can go out to any organization, such as neighborhood watch and service organizations.
Shook cited the COPS program as being one of the keys to bringing community leaders, the private sector, and law enforcement together to implement community-based programs and initiatives that are intended to enhance public safety.
“The COPS program is the change in philosophy,” said Shook. “We actually partner with the police to help them build prosecutions before crimes happen.”
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) is a program started by the Clinton Administration to confront rising crime in the 1990s. It has been applauded by some politicians and law enforcement officials for bringing down crime in the late 1990s while being criticized by many conservatives for being wasteful.
Shook is running in the Republican primary for District Attorney against Judges Vic Cunningham and Dan Wyde. He has received the endorsement of current Dallas District Attorney Bill Hill.