The online job board Monster announced the results for its on-line job index for October with the good news that job postings in Dallas are way up. Even better news was the significant surge in IT jobs postings. The index rose from 102 to 110 in IT and Mathmatical categories. The index for life, physical and social sciences rose even more from 96 to 102. Steve Pogorzelski, Monster's Group President International, noted that the index represented a surge in job postings and dismissed the recent uptick in the unemployment rates as a temporary consequence of Katrina evacuues entering the job market.
The Monster index is compliled monthly from job postings on 1500 Web sites including Monster's own site.
Dr. Weili WuA trio of researchers from The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant worth nearly $400,000 to develop sophisticated techniques to better analyze data related to environmental and public health issues – including, possibly, the spread of avian, or bird, flu.
The three-year grant, which totals $397,500, will fund a study led by Dr. Weili Wu, assistant professor of computer science in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at UTD. Wu, the project’s principal investigator, will be joined in the research by two of her colleagues – Dr. Edwin Sha, professor of computer science in the Jonsson School and Dr. Fang Qiu, assistant professor of geographic information sciences in UTD’s School of Social Sciences.
Tax Commission Chairman John SharpFormer Comptroller John Sharp's committee on the state's tax structure held its first meeting today. The panel's patron, Gov. Rick Perry, addressed the panel. Perry said he wants to see significant property tax relief. He also told committee members that he has five goals for a revised tax system. It should be fair, broad-based, modern, understandible, and competitive. “Texas must continue to attract jobs," Perry said.
The panel also heard from James LeBas and Karey Barton from the staff. LeBas reviewed the history of tax reform efforts, and Barton briefed the panel on what transpired on tax reform in the 2005 legislative sessions. LeBas told the panel that the average tax per payroll in oil and gas is $11,000 per employee, while the average tax per employee is around $400 in the service industries.
The panel heard from economist Ray Perryman who discussed the Texas tax structure and Dr. Steve Murdoch briefed committee members on the changing demographics of Texas.
TABCC CEO Bill HammondTexas Association of Business President Bill Hammond issued the following statement on the Sharp commission's first meeting: “As school funding options are offered and considered, we urge the task force to resist any proposal that would stall Texas’ job-creating engine.
“Overburdening employers with higher taxes would only serve to undercut their ability to create and sustain Texas jobs, weakening our business climate and eventually killing the engine. In the end, that helps no one – not the employer, not Texas’ working men and women, and certainly not the school children of Texas.” Hammond noted that Texas employers already pay more than their fair share of taxes, shouldering more than 60 percent of total state and local taxes. In other states the average is only 41 percent.
Comptroller and Gubernatorial Candidate Carole Keeton Strayhorn issued the following statement from her campaign on the first meeting of the Sharp commission: “After six years, Gov. Perry has let three regular sessions and six special sessions go by with nothing but talk about property tax relief. Voters are ready for action, not more studies and recommendations. This governor talks about paying for performance. If he was paid based on performance, he’d owe the people of Texas money back.”
The City of Dallas has delayed further funding for the Main Street District Retail Recruitment Program. At a meeting of the Economic Development & Housing Committee on Monday, committee members expressed concern over a number of issues, including reporting requirements, recruitment criteria, the commitment of retailers to downtown Dallas over the long term, and how various funds in the program will be spent. The program is designed to entice high profile retailers to set up shop in downtown Dallas in order to revitalize the Main Street District. A decision on whether to proceed with a loan and grant program totaling $1.1 million has been delayed until next month.
In a separate agenda item, the committee approved an amendment to the City Center TIF (Tax Increment Finance) District Plan that will see the city’s participation in the TIF district rise from 61% of the City tax rate to 90%. The change was proposed because property values have not risen as much as anticipated since 2001, resulting in a shortfall of about $8.8 million. Council member Angela Hunt expressed concern that similar problems may affect the Downtown Connection TIF. The amendment was approved over the opposition of Council members Hunt and Mitchell Rasansky.
In a somewhat dubious achievement, Dallas has placed fifth on a list of most dangerous US cities with populations over 500,000. The rankings were compiled by Morgan Quitno Press in their newly released 12th edition of City Crime Rankings. Dallas was topped by 4 other large cities: Memphis; Washington, DC; Baltimore; and, at no. 1, Detroit. By contrast, Ft. Worth is the ninth safest large city in America. The safest is San Jose, CA.
John F. KennedyDealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas - A murder was committed here – a murder that shook the world to its core.
Some called it the end of Camelot. Millions of people have seen on TV, or the movie screen, the film footage shot of the death of the President. Yet, there is still doubt as to whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing John F. Kennedy and what his motives were for taking the President’s life.
On Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was killed while riding in a motorcade through the streets of downtown Dallas. For the 42 years that have followed, conspiracy theories flowed freely out of Dealey Plaza and around the world. Debates have been held on street corners and in senate chambers; and still there is little consensus.
Dealey Plaza visitorsMore that 40 years later, people still gather on Elm St. to snap pictures and point up to the sixth floor window of the former Texas School Book Depository where Lee Harvey Oswald supposedly fired three bullets to brutaly end the president’s life.
Much of the existing evidence has been analyzed and extensively commented on, such as the Abraham Zapruder film, eyewitness accounts and newspaper articles. The facts direct the public eye to the realization that 42 years ago an American president was murdered in broad daylight and in cold blood.
Many have wondered about the dark mysteries surrounding that strange and terrible day in history but why do people still line the sidewalks and photograph Dealey Plaza after all these years?
The Sixth Floor Museum boasts 2 million visitors each year who come to walk in the steps of Oswald and learn and relive the documented truth of that day.
The Museum will be opening a new exhibit Nov. 21, Parkland Hospital: Voices from History, detailing eyewitness accounts from members of the staff of Parkland Memorial Hospital on Nov. 22, 1963. This is an addition to the museum’s exhibit’s on the sixth and seventh floors of the former book depository, 411 Elm St. The seventh floor is dedicated to the news coverage of Kennedy’s death. The sixth floor details Kennedy’s life and campaigning all the way to his death in Dallas. Visitors to Dealey Plaza
Operated by the Dallas County Historical Foundation, the museum was established in 1989 on the floor of the TSBD, from which Oswald is believed to have shot President Kennedy. The highly-detailed and moving exhibit has attracted millions of visitors each year to Dealey Plaza.
But the documented exhibit recounting the murder of the President by Lee Harvey Oswald is only one side of the story in the view of critics of the sole assassin theory. Many don’t believe the cut and dry tragedy the Sixth Floor Museum displays. Some believe Oswald didn’t act alone. Some believe it was the mob. Others blame Communists or far-right wing extremists. The Conspiracy Museum, 110 South Market, allows space to analyze the quirks and coincidences of Kennedy’s death and tries to make the case that there was a conspiracy to kill the President. Owner Tom Bowden believes Oswald didn’t act alone.
Conspiracy Museum Owner, Tom Bowden"We present 20 conspiracy theories that people can look at it and decide for themselves." Bowden said.
The museum has been open for 11 years and provides a few new questions and theories for 40,000 visitors a year with the most traffic around the anniversary.
John Nagel, a museum tour guide, wants the guests to live and breathe in the event and understand that history changed at that time in a matter of seconds.
""It’s all a part of history and it’s important to preserve it," Nagel said. "Treat it with respect."
Nagel, who has also written a guide to Dealey Plaza, emphasizes the historical importance of Kennedy’s assassination. Museum Tour Guide, John Nagel
"How would you like going to a historic place and not know what happened?" Nagel said.
The guidebook is detailed with footnotes to the Warren Commission’s findings as well as other respected sources on the Kennedy assassination. The book offers a timeline and important facts that Nagel believes were overlooked by the Warren Commission. Most compelling about the Kennedy assassination is the wealth of photographic evidence. Robert Groden, a photographic consultant to the House Select Committee on Assassinations and technical advisor to Oliver Stone’s JFK, took it upon himself to place an "X" on the spot where Zapruder’s film is most violent. Robert Groden at Dealey Plaza
"People just don’t believe the official fiction," Groden says as he motions to the Sixth Floor Window of the TSBD from Dealey Plaza. "They won’t carry any books with alternative points of view."
It should be noted that the Oliver Stone movie JFK has been debunked by many critics as a work of fiction, not a plausible scenario of what happened.
Groden believes that even 42 years after Kennedy’s death people still crowd into Dealey Plaza with a purpose.
"They want to know. This was a pivotal point in American history," Groden said.
The Sixth Floor Museum, Audio Tour: $13.50 Adults, $12.50 Senior and Student, and Children under 6 $3.50. Regular Tour( without Audio): Adults, $10, Senior and Students $9 and Children under 6 are FREE. Open daily 9 am – 6 pm.
The Conspiracy Museum, $9 Adults, $8 Seniors and Students, $3 Children ages 9-12, walking tours are 1-9 people: $25 per person, 10-20 people: $22.50 per person, 20-30 people: $20 per person
Debra Marine, 49, Manager of Public Relations for the Sixth Floor Museum, 411 Elm, Dallas, Texas 75202 – 214-747-6660, www.jfk.org
Tom Bowden, 67, The Conspiracy Museum, 110 South Market, Dallas, 75202 – 214-741-3040
John M. Nagel, 49, Tour Guide for Conspiracy Museum, P.O. Box 560304, The Colony, Texas 75056 – 214-674-6295, www.jfktours.com
Robert J. Groden, author, The Killing of a President, Technical Advisor to Oliver Stone’s JFK, and Photographic Consultant to the House Select Committee on Assassinations – P.O. 226862, Dallas, Texas, 75222, www.jfkmurder.com
Members of Congress gave themselves a $3,100 pay increase last week. This hikes their annual salary to $165,200 per year.
A few years ago, Congress changed the process for how votes on pay raises for its own members were handled. Previously, Congressmen had to vote affirmatively to give themselves a pay raise. Under the new procedure they automatically give themselves a pay raise every year unless Congress itself votes to block the raise. There is no longer an up or down vote on pay raises for Congressmen. Unless a member offers an amendment to an existing piece of legislation stopping the raise (which rarely happens), the raise is automatic.
We have huge budget and trade deficits; Americans are increasingly strapped financially with high levels of mortgage and credit card debt. Our military is overextended, and troops in Iraq are facing a difficult challenge.
What kind of signal does this send to the American people when Congressmen seem more interested in taking care of themselves rather than setting an example for the country by freezing their own salaries?
Isn't it about time that someone resurrected the movement for Congressional term limits?
Congress voted today to exempt the State of Missouri from Wright Amendment flight restrictions. The action is a part of the transportation funding bill and must still be signed by President Bush. Southwest airlines says that it will begin service from Love Field to both Kansas City and St. Louis as soon as they can get planes, gates and crews positioned.
American Airlines met with officials at Love Field (where they own three gates) in anticipation of beginning competing service from Love within a few months. While American's gates are pretty much ready the airline would need counter space and other facilities that will take some construction time. American offered service from Love Field on routes served by Legend Airlines, but ceased operations shortly after 9/11. The direct competition between Southwest and American will be followed carefully by area politicians and other members of congress as Southwest's battle to fully lift the Wright Amendment continues.
Well all right! The "High-five" interchange at Central Expressway and LBJ Freeway loop in North Dallas is open for business. This is not to say it is completely finished but all the lanes and exit ramps and entrance ramps are open for business. Traffic Monday morning was flowing far more smoothly with less back up and will get better as regular commuters get the hang of which lane goes where. This is not to say all of the i's are dotted and t's crossed. There is still work to be done on access roads, high-occupancy lanes and a lot of beautification activities.
The State of Texas has invested more than a quarter billion dollars in the project but it is expected to come in slightly under budget. Good weather over the past year also moved up the schedule. While commuters will certainly be pleased that the daily traffic jams and shifting lane closures are about to end there is another group delighted to see the end (or beginning) of the road: owners of nearby office buildings. Nearly 2 million square feet of office space has been adversely affected by the project as tenants moved out to avoid traffic congestion. With the barriers going away landlords in and around the Dallas Park Central area are already seeing a strong uptick in leasing interest.