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MORE SILLY PROFESSOR STUFF
by Special to DallasBlog.com    Thu, Apr 6, 2006, 11:40 AM

US professor believes Jesus walked on floating ice, not water.

Click to read more ...

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RICE’S VISIT TO IRAQ BACKFIRES
by Tom Pauken    Thu, Apr 6, 2006, 11:31 AM

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Condoleezza Rice
Both the UK Guardian and the New York Times are reporting that the Shiite-backed Iraqi Prime Minister, Ibrahim Jaafari, is refusing to step down as head of the country’s next government even though various factions in Iraq remain deadlocked over the efforts to establish a national unity government.

Mr. Jaafari had strong backing from the more militant faction of the Shiites and managed to get the Shiite nod by only one vote over Adel Abdel Mahdi, who is viewed as more of a moderate. The problem is that, while the Shiites won the largest bloc of votes in the recent elections, they don’t control a majority of seats. Moreover, the Sunnis, Kurds, and secular parties refuse to accept Jaafari as the leader of the new Iraqi government. Thus, a stalemate has ensued; and Secretary of State, Rice was unable to make any headway to persuade getting Jaafari to step down during her recent visit to Iraq.

In fact, she may have made the Prime Minister more determined to remain in power, according to the Guardian:

"Iraqi’s embattled prime minister has defiantly refused to give up his claim to head the country’s next government in spite of strong American and British pleas for an end to a deadlock which has paralysed the country for almost four months.
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian in Baghdad – his first since Condoleezza Rice and Jack Straw pleaded with him and his rivals for an immediate agreement to prevent a slide to civil war – Ibrahim Jaafari insisted he would continue to carry out his duties.
"I heard their points of view even though I disagree with them," he said, referring to Ms. Rice and Mrs. Straw’s hectic arm-twisting visit to the Iraqi capital which ended on Monday.
Using the argument that the US and Britain has toppled Saddam in order to bring democracy, he turned it against them. "There is a decision that was reached by a democratic mechanism and I stand with it … We have to protect democracy in Iraq and it is democracy which should decide who leads Iraq. We have to respect our Iraqi people," he said."

"Making the world safe for democracy" is a more complicated situation than its proponents may have realized.

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DATELINE NBC TRAWLING RACE FANS
by Trey Garrison    Thu, Apr 6, 2006, 11:08 AM

If you see someone in traditional Muslim garb at the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 this weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway, it's even odds that it's one of those Dateline NBC novelty cake toppers out desperately trying to find bigots.

Here's hoping Dateline producers don't rig their test subjects like they did the GM truck in that 1992 crash segment.

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CBS 11 PICKS UP ON FOWARD DALLAS! CONTROVERSY
by Trey Garrison    Thu, Apr 6, 2006, 01:16 AM

At long last we're no longer alone covering the whole Forward Dallas! boondoggle.

The quote from Councilmember Ed Oakley is a keeper. If people want high density next to light rail lines, then the city doesn't need to incentivize them with tax breaks, developmental fee waivers and prohibitive zoning. Developers don't get rich building product that people don't like.

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HOUSTON PARTNERSHIP BACKS SHARP/PERRY TAX PLAN By Will Lutz
by Scott Bennett    Wed, Apr 5, 2006, 10:03 PM

The board of the influential Greater Houston Partnership voted 54-12 in support of the Perry-Sharp plan for reforming the state's tax structure.
Gov. Rick Perry said the vote was an indication of growing support for the proposal.  “The Greater Houston Partnership speaks for more than 2,000 employers who know we need a business tax that is broader, fairer and assessed at a low rate," he said. "With each passing day, support grows for our bipartisan tax reform plan that will significantly reduce property taxes, make home ownership more affordable, create jobs and provide a stable source of funding for our schools.”

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DEMOCRATS TARGET GIFTS TO CERVERHA By Will Lutz
by Scott Bennett    Wed, Apr 5, 2006, 10:01 PM

Democrats are calling for an ethics investigation over revelations that Houston Homebuilder and Republican donor Bob Perry has donated cash gifts to Employees Retirement System board member Bill Cerverha, who, like homebuilder Perry, has close ties to Gov. Rick Perry.

Cerverha acknowledged the gift on ethics forms, although the position is an unelected one that does not require campaigning. Bob Perry and Cerverha have previously stated that the money was intended to cover legal expenses related to the Texans for a Republican Majority PAC case.

“Given the pay-to-play Republican style of politics that is ruling our state, the question should be raised: What did Bob Perry get for his $100,000 investment?” said Texas Democratic Party Communications Director Amber Moon. “It is hard to believe that Mr. Ceverha received such a large sum of money with no strings attached. Either way, Texans deserve to know what a $100,000 will buy in this culture of corruption.”

State Rep. Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth) has also filed suit against the Texas Ethics Commission for what he says is the commission's lack of enforcement of disclosure laws related to the gift.

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AG ABBOTT SUES IRS OVER TAXPAYER DATA POLICY By Will Lutz
by Scott Bennett    Wed, Apr 5, 2006, 09:59 PM

Attorney General Greg Abbott has joined 46 other state attorneys general in calling for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to limit the marketing of taxpayers' private tax return information by tax preparers.

Abbott signed onto a letter submitted to the IRS by the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) expressing the group's concerns about the ramifications of proposed IRS regulations that broaden disclosure rules but impose few obligations on the recipients of such disclosed information to protect the security of the data.

"Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States," Abbott said. "Tax returns contain a wealth of information that would be a goldmine for identity thieves and could cost taxpayers countless hours and resources trying to clear their names. The proposed IRS guidelines do not go far enough to safeguard that information once a taxpayer has consented to its use. I join my colleagues in supporting the limited use of tax return information and encouraging stronger incentives for third parties to protect taxpayers' confidential information."

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COUNCIL MEMBERS AMONG THOSE SHOWING SUPPORT FOR ANTI-REFORM MARCH APRIL 9
by Trey Garrison    Wed, Apr 5, 2006, 06:25 PM

About 30 civic and community leaders and activists gathered in the Flag Room at Dallas City Hall on Wednesday to show their support for the upcoming April 9 march to oppose illegal immigration reform.

Among those gathered to show their support for the anti-reform effort were councilmembers Steve Salazaar, Dr. Elba Garcia, Leo Chaney, Don Hill and Ed Oakley.

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LATEST RECAP OF THE 2006 BOND PACKAGE ONLINE - RIGHT NOW IT'S LESS THAN $1.5B
by Trey Garrison    Wed, Apr 5, 2006, 06:20 PM

It's not David Sedaris, but it is surprisingly interesting reading. The latest on the state of the 2006 bond package is online now and available in PDF format. Click here.

Assistant City Manager Ramon Miguez told the council today, “We are leaning toward bringing you a recommended program somewhere between $1.25 billion and $1.4 billion."

DallasBlog is going to be looking at this and the needs inventory (still assessed at $7 billion) over the next couple of weeks and talking to various department heads to get them to break down how and why this money is needed.

“I think there’ll be projects that are not making the list but that’s because when you have $7 billion needs inventory, you obviously can’t get everything on this bond program,” Mayor Laura Miller said.

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GENE PITNEY DEAD AT 65
by Special to DallasBlog.com    Wed, Apr 5, 2006, 06:09 PM

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Gene Pitney
American singer-songwriter Gene Pitney, whose biggest hits included "Four Hours from Tulsa", "Town Without Pity", and "I Wanna Love My Life Away" was found dead this morning in his hotel room in England. He had been on a lengthy tour in Great Britain where he had remained a popular singer over the decades.

He got his start in the music business writing songs for such well-known American singers as Ray Orbison and Rickey Nelson, for whom he wrote "Hello Mary Lou".

The cause of death of the 65 year old singer has not been disclosed, but initial press reports have ruled out foul play.

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