Sen. John CornynIn an effort to increase taxpayers' access to federally funded research, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Tuesday introduced the bipartisan Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006. The legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.). The bill requires every federal agency with an annual research budget of more than $100 million to implement a public access policy. The policy must ensure that articles generated through research funded by that agency are made available online within six months of publication. Public Knowledge, a group of lawyers, technologists and academics dedicated to opening tax payer funded resources to the public has broadly applauded the bill.
Mayor Norm Archibald of Abilene has confirmed that he is requesting a meeting with the Mayors of Dallas and Fort Worth to discuss the Wright Amendment and the impact of any changes to that law to smaller cities in Texas and Arkansas. The Star Telegram earlier reported that 11 small town mayors had requested the meeting to discuss the potential impact of any changes on their own air service. Indications are that the two mayors will meet with the delegation although a time has yet to be fixed.
A new Zogby poll of likely voters, using neutral language (i.e., avoiding the words ''amnesty'' or ''illegal alien''), finds that Americans prefer the House of Representatives' enforcement-only bill by 2-1 over Senate proposals to legalize illegal immigrants and greatly increase legal immigration. The poll was conducted for the Center for Immigration Studies.
On immigration generally, Americans want less, not more, immigration. Only 26 percent said immigrants were assimilating fine and that immigration should continue at current levels, compared to 67 percent who said immigration should be reduced so we can assimilate those already here.
While the Senate is considering various bills that would increase legal immigration from 1 million to 2 million a year, only 2 percent of Americans believe current immigration is too low. This was true for virtually every grouping in the survey by ethnicity, income, age, religion, region, party, or ideology.
When offered by itself, there is strong support for the House bill: 69 percent said it was a good or very good idea when told that it tries to make illegals go home by fortifying the border, forcing employer verification, and encouraging greater cooperation with local law enforcement, while not increasing legal immigration; 27 percent said it was a bad or very bad idea.
Support for the House approach was widespread, with 81 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of independents, 57 percent of Democrats, and 53 percent of Hispanics saying it was good or very good idea.
When offered by itself, there is also some support for the Senate approach, though not as much as for the House bill: 42 percent said the Senate approach was a good or very good idea when told it would allow illegal immigrants to apply for legal status provided they met certain criteria, and it would significantly increase legal immigration and increase enforcement of immigration laws; 50 percent said it was a bad or very bad idea.
There were few groups in which a majority supported the Senate plan, even when presented by itself. Exceptions included Hispanics, 62 percent of whom said it was a good or very good idea, and the most liberal voters (progressives), 54 percent of whom approved of it.
When given three choices (House approach, Senate approach, or mass deportation), the public tends to reject both the Senate plan and mass deportations in favor of the House bill; 28 percent want the Senate plan, 12 percent want mass deportations, while 56 percent want the House approach.
But when given a choice between just the House and Senate approaches, without the choice of mass deportations, the public prefers the House approach 64 percent to 30 percent.
One reason the public does not like legalization is that they are skeptical of the need for illegal-immigrant labor. An overwhelming majority of 77 percent said there are plenty of Americans to fill low-wage jobs if employers pay more and treat workers better; just 15 percent said there are not enough Americans for such jobs.
Another reason the public does not like Senate proposals to legalize illegals and double legal immigration is that 73 percent said they had little or no confidence in the ability of the government to screen these additional applicants to weed out terrorists and criminals.
The public also does not accept the argument we have tried and failed to enforce the law: 71 percent felt that past enforcement efforts have been ''grossly inadequate,'' while only 19 percent felt we had made a ''real effort'' to enforce our laws.
On Tuesday, the Dallas County Commissioners Court discussed hiring a specialized magistrate that would help more people in county jails successfully comply with their probation requirements.
At issue was a debate over the best way to reduce the number of revocations in Dallas County. The revocations result in probation violators going to the penitentiary and sometimes overcrowding jails. Many of the probation violators are not considered by judges, or the state, to be a high risk to the community. The State of Texas is trying to reduce revocations and save money by encouraging counties to decrease the number of probation violators going to penitentiaries.
Criminal District Court Judge Janice Warder said that the number of revocations in Dallas County could be reduced by hiring a magistrate that would help people complete their probation requirements. “What this is about is helping people successfully complete probation and taking those folks that are not complying and putting them in a program where they will see a magistrate during the week.”
Warder also said that a special probation officer with a lower case load would be assigned to each case. “That probation officer will staff with the judge each week,” said Warder. “The judge’s function is like it is in drug court. It’s to hand out sanctions when necessary and also to encourage and to use incentives to motivate these individuals to successfully complete their probation.”
According to Warder, many people who failed to comply with their probation requirements were mentally ill, addicted to drugs, or simply irresponsible people. Warder suggested that many of these people were not a high risk to the community and that the proposed program would give them a chance to become more productive members of society.
Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield suggest that other judges could be trained to deal with the probation violators and that the only reason the state wanted the county to implement this program was so that it could save 10 percent of its money on revocations.
“I’m not going to support this,” said Mayfield. “It shouldn’t be done because the state saves 10 percent of their money. (If it is to be done) it should be done because that’s what needs to be done.”
When asked by the DallasBlog what the next step for the program would be, Judge Warder said that the program was ready to be implemented and that it would be voted on next week. “We’ve already go all of our staff officers in place, one per court, and we are ready to go. All we need is a magistrate.”
“It’s the right thing to do for this county,” added Warder. “It’s the right thing to do for these individuals that we have on probation. We know that the drug court model works in turning people’s lives around and that’s what we intend to do here. Rather than label people permanently as felons, where they won’t be as productive, we intend to motivate them to comply with their probations.”
Business Week magazine has ranked SMU's Cox School of Business as number 20 in the nation. The McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin came in 9th overall, Fort Worth's TCU ranked 33rd while Texas A&M's Mays School ranked 34th. Baylor University's Hankamer School ranked 38th. The top 10 in order are: 1. Pennsylvania 2. Virginia 3. Notre Dame 4. MIT 5. Emory 6. Michigan 7. NYU 8. Brigham Young 9. Texas and 10. Indiana.
Business Week based 30% of its ranking surveys of more than 100,000 undergraduate students majoring in business. A corporate recruiter survey accounted for 20 % of the ranking. Business week also took into account starting salaries (10 percent), which schools send the most students to top MBA programs (10%), and several measures of academic quality, including faculty-student ratios and average SAT scores (30%).
The Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) has won a three-year, $506,000 award from the United States Department of Education to fund graduate fellowships in computer science and software engineering.
Today's Star Telegram carries yet another sad animal abuse story out of Euless. A Tarrant County Grand Jury has indicted Chad Edward Ellis for animal cruelty. He scalded the dog in a washing machine and the dog was euthanized after it failed to respond to treatment. Ellis is also facing burglary and theft charges.
Blogs aren't votes but if they were this would be a banner year for Texas Democrats. The Texas Progressive Political Blog Directory lists nearly 100 self-styled, Democratic, progressive, liberal or left Blogs. No similar list exists on the Right or for Republican leaning Blogs but there appear to be only a dozen or so such Blogs. At the upcoming Democratic State Convention in Fort Worth their will be a Bloggers Caucus at the Flying Saucer Bar and Restaurant. No such event has been advertised for the GOP. Several of the Left Blogs like the Burnt Orange Report, Capitol Annex, and Grits for Breakfast are plugged in and well written. They also seem to have a pretty decent readership. It will be interesting to see what the impact is of the Democratic Bloggesphere come November.
Many people were surprised when Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) said he agreed that the national anthem should be sung in English only. One reason might be found in a new USA Today/Gallup Poll: 69% said it should be sung in English only versus 29% who were OK with a Spanish version.