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ZOGBY: AMERICAN VIEWS CLEAR ON HEALTH CARE
by Scott Bennett    Thu, May 4, 2006, 09:08 AM

A new Zogby Poll finds no ambiguity among Americans on health care: They want much broader use of Health Savings Accounts.  The poll found that 70% favored allowing employers to make an HSA contribution equal to the out-of-pocket requirement.  Those who have chronic health problems should be allowed greater tax exempt contributions according to 70%.  And an amazing 84% want employees whose employer provides no health coverage to be able to deduct 100% of health care premiums.  Portability of health care plans is favored by 67% with support highest in the South where 77% liked the idea.  With those kind of numbers it should be easy for Congress to act.  Right?

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VANITY, THY NAME IS LEO
by Trey Garrison    Thu, May 4, 2006, 08:53 AM

Oh for crying out loud.

The council has no shortage of self-important clowns who metaphorically erect statues to themselves, but Councilman Leo Chaney had to take it one step further. Maybe Mr. Chaney should hasten the day he "becomes a private citizen."

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GROUPS SPAR OVER WRIGHT AMENDMENT
by Trey Garrison    Thu, May 4, 2006, 08:45 AM

You ever get the notion that it might be best to just lock all these folks in a big arena and drop a bunch of switchblades in the middle?

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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR MAY 20 GRAFFITI WIPEOUT
by Trey Garrison    Thu, May 4, 2006, 08:33 AM

City Councilmember Angela Hunt on Wednesday made the formal announcement of what she hopes will be the city's biggest effort to wipe out graffiti scheduled for Saturday, May 20, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Noting studies that show neighborhoods with graffiti have property values 15 percent lower than adjacent neighborhoods without, Hunt has made graffiti abatement a personal crusade without spending taxpayer money. She's put together a coalition of volunteers and volunteer organizations including Keep Dallas Beautiful, the Meadows Foundation and Leadership Dallas for her graffiti wipeout campaign.

Some 500 volunteers - and volunteers are still needed, go to www.dallascityhall.com to find out how to help - will fan out over the city using tens of thousands of dollars in donated Sherwin Williams paint and enjoying free lunch from Carraba's Italian Grill afterward down at City Hall.

"We need everyone to get involved in making Dallas more beautiful," Hunts said.

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AND THE BACKLASH BEGINS
by Trey Garrison    Thu, May 4, 2006, 08:11 AM

The Texas Minutemen and the Citizens For Immigration Reform-Dallas are going to hold a "Rumble at the Ranch" protest outside President Bush's Crawford retreat on Saturday at 1 p.m. to protest illegal immigration.

They're calling it "A Reckoning", demanding tougher immigration laws and enforcement of the borders and repudiating recent efforts to provide amnesty and guest worker programs for illegals.

The demonstration will be next to the Crawford Community Service Center 999 East 4TH Street on the parking lot of the football field.

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POLL: AMERICANS WANT ENERGY PRICE CONTROLS, AND A BREAKUP OF BIG OIL
by Scott Bennett    Thu, May 4, 2006, 08:08 AM

If history seems to provide any certainty when it comes to the dismal science of economics it would be that price controls don't work except in war time.  In fact, the most recent experience with price controls under President Nixon created additional problems once lifted.  But the American people have apparently learned little.  A new USA TODAY/Gallup poll finds the fully 70% of Americans want price controls on energy.  Sixty four percent would like to temporarily suspend the gasoline tax.  And a majority, 54%, want to break up the big oil companies. 

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SCHOOL REFORM BILL APPEARS STUCK, TOBACCO TAX UNCERTAIN
by Scott Bennett    Thu, May 4, 2006, 07:52 AM

The Senate and House Bill 1 appears stuck in the Senate Finance Committee, and if it is wedged lose there it lacks the two thirds vote on the Senate floor necessary to bring the bill to a vote.  Lt. Gov. Dewhurst conceded last night that at present the bill would likely not pass even if brought to a vote.   However, committee members did agree to a uniform start date for public schools, something strongly opposed by most local school boards and administrators.  The bill currently offers teachers a $2000 per year across the board pay raise, but the state's teacher organizations have rejected the amount as inadequate.  The committee also continues at loggerheads over dealing with "equity" in school funding.  It also appeared that HB5, which raises the tobacco tax, lacks the necessary two-thirds vote.

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ARLINGTON GIRL'S KILLER SET FOR EXECUTION TONIGHT
by Trey Garrison    Thu, May 4, 2006, 06:50 AM

A real piece of work who sexually assaulted and killed a five-year-old girl in 1988 is scheduled to ride the steel gurney in Huntsville tonight.

Jackie Barron Wilson broke into the Arlington home of Lottie Margaret Rhodes, kidnapped her, sexually assaulted her, suffocated her and then threw her body in a ditch in Grand Prairie. He even made sure to run over her body with his vehicle.

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BUSINESS 2.0: DALLAS TO BE A TOP 10 JOB MARKET
by Scott Bennett    Wed, May 3, 2006, 06:03 PM

It has been a good list week for Big D.  First, several schools did well in a Newsweek list, then SMU ranked high in Business Week's best undergrad business schools, and now the city itself has been named by Business 2.0 and CNN Money as one of the top 10 cities for job growth in the coming years.  All 10 are in the Sun Belt and Austin is the other Texas city on the list.  Houston?  Maybe they did the list before the current energy boom.

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BUMMER
by Bill DeOre    Wed, May 3, 2006, 05:27 PM

Everybody receiving those wonderful property tax appraisal notices?  And they wonder why more people want to move to the suburbs or rent. That doublewide on 5 acres in the sticks is lookin' better and better.  This is the second notice in 13 months for me with an increase of 28% in 2 years. Their records indicate that I qualify for a "cap"...I feel like I've already suffered one...In the A--!

Wonder what the protest lines'll look like?

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