Mayor Laura Miller has told DallasBlog time and again that fixing Deep Ellum - both the infrastructure and the crime problem - is a top priority, and she's making sure people know it. Looks like she'll push staff to make capital improvements in the entertainment district a top tier item in the 2006 bond program.
Not only did the President suffer stepped-up criticism in the media over claims by Lewis Libby (the Vice President's former chief of staff) that the President authorized him to leak classified information but also two of the President's key foreign policy advisors got in a very public spat over the conduct of the war in Iraq this week. Secretary of State Condolezza Rice started off the controversy with her comments earlier in the week that the United States had made "thousands" of tactical errors in its handling of the war in Iraq. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was quick to respond by criticizing Rice's comments as coming from someone who has a "lack of understanding of what warfare is all about." There has been a flurry of rumors that Rumsfeld may be on his way out at Defense. Does this latest public disagreement between Rumsfeld and Rice hasten his departure?
One of our regular Dallas Bloggers shared with us these words of wisdom from a statesman in a previous age. They are just as relevant today as when they were first uttered: "The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance." Those reportedly were the words of Marcus Tullius Cicero.
British filmmaker Gurinda Chadha will be directing the film-remake of the 1980s soap opera Dallas, according to the Telegraph. Robert Luketic, who directed Bend It Like Beckham, was given the task of directing Dallas until he changed his mind because of “creative issues”.
What’s stirring up controversy in North Texas is the decision to do the filming in Jacksonville, FL. Texans, former actors on Dallas, and the Dallas film commission are among those unhappy with the decision.
The deal that Jacksonville offered to the producers was apparently too much. The Telegraph reports that “a refund of 15 per cent of all money spent on location up to $2 million” will be given to the filmmakers. Travolta lives near Jacksonville, too.
Now, the Dallas film commission is asking local businesses to offer incentives to the film’s producers, in the hope that they can lure the filmmakers to Dallas-TX for production.
Karl RoveThe President’s chief political advisor, Karl Rove, will be in Houston and Dallas next Wednesday, April 12th for luncheon and dinner fund-raising events on behalf of the Republican National Committee (RNC). John Nau will host the luncheon and roundtable discussion with Rove for major Republican contributors in the Houston area while Nancy Cain Marcus will be the hostess for a similar dinner in Dallas that evening. The Texas events are a prelude to a major Republican gala to be held in Washington, DC in May where President George W. Bush is scheduled to be the featured speaker.
Several weeks ago, DallasBlog reported on a university president that allegedly misused university funds. The Houston Chronicle now has another story on Texas Southern University President Priscilla Slade. The Chronicle reports that, according to TSU’s internal auditor, Slade improperly used university funds for “donations to her church, automobile repairs, a full-time maid and maintenance and upgrades for her previous residence in Missouri City.”
Included in the “upgrades” to Slade’s residence was a garden. Additionally, Slade did not seek approval from the university’s governing board for new furniture that she purchased for her residence.
The total amount: $647,949
Here’s how some of that breaks down:
Home Furnishings: $154,528
Maid Services: $143,636
China, crystal, silverware: $48,363
From the Chronicle:
“Slade is expected to entertain donors in her home and receives $48,000 annually for housing expenses, which is intended to cover mortgage payments and property taxes and supplements an annual salary of more than $260,000. Her contract provides up to $50,000 annually for travel, entertainment and other expenses related to university business. It also says the expenses "shall be reasonable," and subject to approval of the board chairman”
Currently, Slade is on paid leave. Her future at TSU will largely be dependent on the outcome of a pending Harris County District Attorney investigation and a review of the nine-member TSU Governing Board. That outcome may largely be subject to whether or not the board determines if the suspect expenses were “reasonable”.
The Chronicle goes on to add: “Slade has written a check to pay the university for a $138,159 landscaping bill that includes a security gate, masonry and tree removal at her 17,675-square-foot property.”
Two polls are out today on immigration: Fox New/Opinion Dynamics and a new Scott Rasmussen poll. Both polls show that while Americans believe the immigrants are a positive addition to the nation and largely take only jobs other American don’t want, they want the nation’s borders defended, and largely want the illegal immigrants gone.
The Rasmussen poll’s most interesting result is for a question that asks the question:
“One candidate favors building a barrier along with Mexican border and forcing illegal aliens to leave the United State. The other candidate favors expanding the ways that foreign workers can legally get jobs in the US. Which of the two candidates would vote for?”
Forty-six percent (46%) said the hard-liner while thirty-eight percent (38%) said the “expanded opportunity” candidate. However, Rasmussen found that among those who identified immigration as being very important in determining their vote, 67% took the hardliner and only 23% for expanded opportunities.
Rasmussen also found that by a margin of 54% to 36% Americans opposed granting citizenship to the son or daughter of anyone in the US illegally.
The Fox poll found that by a 42% to 30% margin American believe that illegal aliens “help the country and make it a better place to live.” And by a margin of 47% to 34% American believe that illegal immigrants are “taking jobs Americans don’t want” over “taking jobs from American.”
However, a whopping 90% of all American felt that immigration was a very serious or serious issue and by a margin of 35 % to 24% believed it was more important to “secure our borders” than “deal with illegal immigrants already here.” Almost every policy prescription for stemming illegal immigration was favored by large majorities including a margin of 55% for using the military to close the border and 73% for bringing felony charges against employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. By a margin of 50% to 43% American favored building a security fence along the Mexican border.
Dan BrownJudge Peter Smith rules in Dan Brown’s favor in the London case, stemming from a claim by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, two of the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, that Brown had plagiarized their work in writing The DaVinci Code. Judge Smith declared: "Dan Brown has not infringed copyright. None of this amounts to copying The Holy Blood and the Holy Gail."
The British Court’s ruling in favor of Brown will allow the movie of the same name starring Tom Hanks to move forward on its scheduled release in May.
Bob Novak and Sidney Blumenthal agree on very little. As expected, they’ve taken very different outlooks at Tom Delay’s career in light of his decision to retire from the House of Representatives in June.
For Bob Novak, Tom Delay is one of the greatest and most effective legislative leaders of all time. In his most recent column, Novak writes:
“The suspicion is that the power politics he practiced for the public good was transmuted by those aides into their private gain. It is a stain on what the legacy should be for the most effective legislator of his time.”
According to Novak, Delay’s mistake was bad judgment. Delay simply did not foresee the consequences of going on a “lobbyist-arranged” golf trip overseas.
Blumenthal leaves no room for praising Delay’s congressional record, calls Delay a “bully”, and accuses him of orchestrating a smear campaign from his office. Additionally, he criticizes Delay for threatening moderate Republicans who refused to vote for Clinton’s impeachment. Blumenthal cites Delay’s attempts to “bribe” a fellow Republican congressman with campaign contributions so he would vote for a Medicare bill “favoring big drug companies”.
“DeLay stomped on the Ethics committee, stopping it from meeting to investigate this episode until public outcry forced him to back off.”
Perhaps the most striking difference between Blumenthal’s and Novak’s takes on Delay’s decision to not seek reelection is one name: Jack Abramoff. Novak’s column makes no mention of Abramoff. Blumenthal highlights Abramoff in Delay’s downfall and claims that Delay’s “worst days lie ahead.”
“DeLay's further tribulations will illustrate the corruption endemic to the operation he built. The Republicans must hang on the hope that the campaign funds they raise through the DeLay devised system will enable them to overcome his corrupt taint.”
For mention of Delay, one would have to look to Novak’s March 25thInside Report where Novak recently said that Jack Abramoff has no “derogatory information” on Delay and would not be “implicating him as part of his plea bargain with federal prosecutors.”