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.
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.
A new Rasmussen Poll taken after President Bush addressed the nation finds that in a generic ballot Democrats outpoll Republicans by 15% - up from 10% two weeks earlier. In fact only 58% of self-identified "conservatives" now say they would vote for the Republican for Congress. Rasmussen also finds the illegal immigration continues to be a powerful issue with the potential to generate a meaningful third party candidacy for President in 2008.
Praise for the bond package and City Manager Mary Suhm was thick and sweet Wednesday afternoon, even if some think the thing needs some tweaking between now and November, when Dallas voters will give it the either the upturned thumb or the finger.
“I will see what my constituents think before I decide how big this should be. If Frisco can pass a $1 billion bond package and they have a fraction of the population, we may want it to be bigger, especially since we have $7 billion in needs,” Councilmember Elba Garcia said.
Mayor Laura Miller was against that, saying she didn’t think voters would support anything north of $1.28 billion.
“It’s as if they listened to each and every one of us and put in the things that are important,” said Councilmember Ed Oakley.
“I’m 90 percent with this. That’s better than 50 percent,” Councilmember Maxine Thornton-Reese said helpfully.
Councilmember James Fantroy said that the investments in the Southern sector in the bond program would help offset increased home appraisals in North Dallas.
Reuters is reporting that former top aid to President Bill Clinton Mac McClarty believes the United States and Canada should join in a "Marshall Plan" for Mexico. Echoing Mexican Socialist Presidential candidate Lopez Obrador, McClarty suggested that at least $20 billion needed to be provide to Mexico over a 10 year period. McClarty noted that the amount was considerably less than that being spent on the Iraq war. McLarty is now president of Kissinger McLarty Associates, a consulting firm that includes former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He is also senior adviser to the Carlyle Group.
Southern sector council members said they want discretionary funds included in the 2006 bond program, but Mayor Laura Miller was adamant in her opposition.
Miller said there’s no way she wants discretionary funds included.
Dallas City Councilmember and 2007 mayoral candidate Gary Griffith says he agrees with City Manager Mary Suhm that current 2006 bond proposal doesn’t need discretionary funds included as they were in the 2003 bond program, but at the same time he wants to work with her to develop an alternative and more transparent means to address smaller projects within districts that don’t “rise to the manager level.”
Griffith also said that the public perception of discretionary funds as a slush fund for council members that can be used with little oversight may not be accurate in reality, but it’s not a vehicle that lends itself to public trust.
“So I’d like to come up with some other way to fund these smaller projects through the city manager’s process, rather than as discretionary funds,” he said.
The Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), a facility dedicated to cutting-edge research in the brain sciences, has received a $1 million donation from Irving, Texas, businessman Dennis Berman and his wife Claudia to establish the Berman Laboratory for Learning and Memory.
Primary research initiatives of the laboratory will include understanding how learning occurs, understanding how information is retained and deciphering how knowledge and memories are maintained throughout an individual’s lifetime. Researchers also will study how long-term information storage and memory maintenance is affected by aging.
In addition, the gift will fund the Berman Scholars Program, which will support young investigators through post-doctoral training in memory research, as well as the Berman Lecture Series, which will host a national or international expert each year to give a public talk about memory-related issues.
"[Love Field] is here to stay, and we are going to make sure Southwest Airlines keeps its headquarters here while protecting the integrity of the surrounding neighborhoods."
- Dallas Mayor Laura Miller
"I would be surprised if Dallas doesn't move forward to do something for consumers...The only issue that is meaningful in this is the restrictions on competition at Love."
- Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly
"If we're going to discuss changing public policy, we just want the entire spectrum of options to be put on the table, and that includes closing Love Field as the cities intended."
- AMR Corp. Chairman & CEO Gerard Arpey
And as the Startlegram reported yesterday, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas, said he plans to “hit it and hit it hard on June 1,” if local leaders can’t pitch a proposal to Congress by the deadline he set. Hensarling and Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Plano, are pushing to repeal the Wright Amendment and are threatening action in Congress if local leaders and the airlines don’t act.
Dallas Blogger Michael Davis at Dallas.org notes that Dallas Park Board member Gloria Hogg is running for City Council in District 4 but seems not to have filed a Treasurer and would appear to be violating the City Charter by continuing to serve on the Park Board. Good reporting Michael.