As if President Bush didn't have enough problems, an article in the Wall St. Journal Monday suggests that the Skull & Bones elite society at Yale University to which the President, the President's father and grandfather all belonged to while students at Yale may have dug up the remains of the Indian leader Geronimo and transferred them to the Tomb at the headquarters of Skull & Bones. Among the culprits in the alleged stealing of the skull of the Indian chief was the President's grandfather Prescott Bush, who later went on become a U.S. Senator from Connecticut. According to the Journal story, Prescott Bush was stationed at Fort Sill during World War I where Geronimo was buried and where his remains were allegedly stolen from: "one senior Bonesman, as society members are known, tells another about the robbery. 'The skull of the worthy Geronimo the Terrible, exhumed from its tomb at Fort Sill by your club..is now safe inside' the Tomb, wrote Winter Mead." Prescott Bush was identified as one of the six Bonesmen involved in the alleged theft of Geronimo's skull.
Others have debunked the speculation, saying that the skull at the Skull & Bones headquarters "appeared too small to be a grown man's." But, the latest Journal story about the Yale society simply adds to the mystery of Skull & Bones, a highly secretive organization which has included some of the prominent figures in American life as its members since its founding in 1832.
It's been one of those rare days when the daily's blog has been interesting to read.
Usually it's just Macarena nagging the men of both genders on the editorial board, or wishy-washy backslapping and nerdification. Today, check all the posts under the headline DART does not increase crime, where you get to see editorial board members savage the work, credulity and credibility of the metro reporter and editors behind this lead story.
The funniest part is where they go so far as to suggest the City of Dallas is safer than Plano despite, well, you know.
Waiting for a callback from Dave Levinthal's editor, Dwayne Bray, but in the meantime Jim Schutze over at the Dallas Observer already has the daily's defense of Dave's story and his character. First. Again.
Update: Dwayne called. Said basically the same as what he said to Schutze. Cements the point - in the age of spam filters, best to follow up with a call.
The City of Dallas is facing some real world accounting reform and it could affect the municipal bond rating, says Dave Cook, CFO for the City of Dallas.
This is a new accounting standard for the city - the private sector has been doing it for a decade - that is coming two years from now.
Under the new rule, the city must count future retiree health benefits as part of the city liabilities. This change could adversely affect the bond rating, increasing the interest for future bond issues, but it may be only visible to someone closley examining the books. The range of possible effects is wide, he said.
And speaking of Steve Wolens, aka Mr. Laura Miller, he's one of the attorneys helping San Antonio with their desperate lawsuit against online travel companies, including three based here in Dallas-Fort Worth.
The suit goes like this: Travelocity or some other online travel firm buys a hotel room in San Antonio at wholesale price - say, $75 - and the Travelocity customer ends up buying it for $125, which is still a bargain for the customer, since retail is usually $150. Travelocity currently pays hotel taxes on the $75 it paid for the room, not the $125 it charged the traveler.
San Antonio, which like so many other cities has all the fiscal discipline of a pack of teenage girls on a mall outing and eyes Internet commerce like a fat man does the buffet at Pancho's, thinks it deserves to tax Travelocity on the $125. Wolens says the suit is on behalf of all cities in Texas. It's hard out there for a pimp.
Well, it's pretty much an admission from the daily that their Saturday story on Mayor Laura Miller owning some AMR Corp. stock while she was on the D/FW Airport board was much ado about nothing, especially the wild overestimation of her potential profit - although to be fair, Dave Levinthal based his maximum on the range of profit reported, since she wasn't specific in her personal financial disclosure.
Not that it excuses her husband, attorney and former state representative Steve Wolens, who she says bought the stock without her knowing about it, and without him knowing it could be a conflict of interest. Right. I mean, either he's about as sharp as a bag of wet hair, or else he's not telling the truth. Pick one, Steve.
Far and away the money shot of this episode is finding out what Her Honor's real feelings for the daily's city hall reporter are. From an e-mail she sent to Belo and copied to other media.
“I never got a reply from Dave [Levinthal] to my email. Did Dave go out of town and not read DFW’s correspondence? Did he not receive my email? Is he lazy? Is he dumb? Does he have an axe to grind? Is he just not professional?"
"There is a reason that I have not spoken to him in months, and will only reply to his questions via email. Because he is a poor excuse for a journalist, and you all never do anything to address his repeated sloppy reporting. When I worked for The Dallas Morning News 20 years ago, you had better standards. I hereby formally request a written correction in your newspaper.”
Ouch. We've invited Dave Levinthal to respond, should he choose to.
Both the Texas House and Texas Senate adopted conference reports today on HB 4, the "liar's affidavit" portion of the Perry-Sharp tax proposal. The bill creates a presumptive value for sales tax purposes on private sales of used cars based on databases such as the Kelley Blue Book value. The vote in the Senate was 21-10. The bill must now be signed in the presence of both chambers, a formality likely completed within the next couple of days. Then it goes to the governor.