How many people ever really go to www.dallascityhall.com and search for the Dallas Food Inspection scores for their favorite restaurant? The folks at City Hall say they have no idea. It is probably just as well. It will take a bit of time to located and all you will get is a database of monthly reports listing restaurants in alphabetical order and showing their number grade.
But now some enterprising entrepreneurs have created a Web site with the catchy name of Dallas Food Inspection Scores Database that actually makes finding out what you probably really didn't want to know fun to find. First this site lets you see an average grade of all recent grades and tells you an establishment's highest and lowest grades over the period. It also converts the number grade into a letter grade we can all relate to (although I bet a lot of restaurants are going to argue about this). You can also do all manner of groupings: by area, by grade and by type of restaurant. Of course this isn't just about restaurants but about any place that serves food.
The results can be surprising. In most cases the fast food chain places get uniformly high marks. McDonald's gets mostly high grades as does Arbys, Burger King and other similar venues. Top line eateries like the Mansion and French Room are grade A across the board. Alas, most of the burger and Mexican joints I favor are still open from force of habit I guess. But frankly I don't care. If you do, or if you just want something to do during an ice storm give this site a try.
This isn’t one more disquisition on the emergence of “Happy Holidays” as a politically correct substitute for a quasi-theological salute like “Merry Christmas.” This is a puzzled look at the puzzled state of the American mind and conscience in the Year of Our Lord -- excuse me, excuse me -- 2005.
Lamar SmithGary Martin of the Washington Bureau of the San Antonio Express-News has an excellent article in that publication today about the divisions within Republican ranks over immigration policy. As Martin notes, President Bush’s proposed plan includes "a controversial guest-worker program" which many Republicans in Congress oppose. Even Congressman Lamar Smith who represents San Antonio and is a close ally of the President’s, is quoted as saying: "I have a hard time believing we will have a debate on a very controversial subject like a foreign-worker program during an election. It could well divide the country, as well as split the Republican base."
A number of Republicans in Congress led by Tom Tancredo of Colorado, favor a series of measures which would beef up border security without including "a temporary-worker program, which Bush says is essential to take pressure off the border and provide willing workers with employers."
Tancredo has been talked about as a possible Republican candidate for President in 2008. If he runs, he has vowed to make immigration reform and increased border security the central issues in his campaign. To read Martin’s entire article, click here…
Gov. Perry’s response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have created a surge in his job-approval rating, according to the latest Texas Poll. “The hurricanes have absolutely done the governor a lot of good,” said poll director Ty Meighan.
The poll showed Perry well positioned for next year’s election, with 49 percent of respondents saying they approve of the way Perry is doing his job, and 37 percent say they disapprove. That's an improvement of 10 percent since September. The poll director said respondents thought Perry was compassionate without leaving Texas stuck with the cost of absorbing those displaced by Katrina (even though we don't yet know what those costs will be).
Those figures weren’t in the DMN this morning, though The News reported Perry’s big lead over Carole Keeton Strayhorn among Republican primary voters – 55 to 24 percent. But the Star Telegram put the figures in perspective by pointing out the governor’s current hurricane halo.
Perry was put into the spotlight when Texas became a haven for hundreds of thousands of Katrina evacuees and then again when thousands of Texans evacuated the Gulf Coast in advance of Rita. Perry, according to the StartleGram, was credited with leading an orderly although sometimes frustrating exodus. I guess compared to Louisiana pols, anybody looks good.
More poll news: Charges against Rep. Tom DeLay may be taking a toll. A CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll has found that 55 percent of registered voters in his district (the 22nd congressional district) believe that charges against DeLay are definitely or probably true. DeLay faces money-laundering charges in Texas, although a conspiracy charge has been dropped.
Close to half of the registered voters in the poll say they would be likely to vote for an unnamed Democrat against DeLay. However, when presented with the most prominent potential Democratic opponent – former Rep. Nick Lampson – they draw a blank. Sixty-one percent they were unfamiliar with Lampson. Voters are always more willing to vote for an unnamed opponent in a hypothetical case than for somebody they don’t know in a real race.
An attendee at yesterday’s Dallas Citizens Council meeting reports that the crowd applauded DCC President Agather’s remark that voters have spoken and Dallas has a council-manager form of government. Not clapping was Mayor Miller, according to our correspondent. While the business powers endorsed a change to strong mayor -- the less strong plan -- this reaction confirms our suspicion that they didn't really have their heart in it.
Along those lines...former councilman and potential mayoral candidate Max Wells was a credible opponent to the Blackwood strong mayor plan last spring. A blog reader recalls hearing Wells debate Laura Miller at the Greater Dallas Planning Council meeting and says he more than held his own. "Max has a broad command of the issues and, most importantly, he knows how to build council coalitions. He knows how to compromise. He doesn't hold a grudge."
Wells has served as mayor protem and chairman of the DFW Airport Board, but maybe he could draw support for a mayoral run.
The Mayor and some of the City Council are hyping a $50 million renovation of the Cotton Bowl. Norm thinks $50 mill for the bowl would be the equivalent of buying a facial for a pig. Are we being asked to buy a pig in a poke?
A highly placed Dallas County source has confirmed that Representative Fred Hill will not be challenging Margaret Keliher for the position of Dallas County Judge. Fred Hill is a Republican and represents House District 114 in Austin. Keliher is also a Republican, and currently sits as County Judge on the Dallas County Commissioners Court.
If you were offered a huge reward for talking about one good thing that has happened to you today ... and three times that much for two good things that have happened to you ... quickly now, what would they be? Would it be your wonderful eyesight that enables you to view a flower, a sunrise, a happy child, or maybe, it would be your ability to hear and enjoy the cheerful song of a bird, or the laughter of a friend ... perhaps it would be your health, your family, your friends ... look for and think about good things and you will find them.
Life is good 'n getting better 'n better in every way, every day!
The Dallas Sport Bar discussion group is now open. Any topic any time. We will be introducing our regular "bartenders" one-by-one over the next couple of weeks. These are the folks who will serve up some intoxicating brews and zingers that you are invited to consume and contribute all you want. To join in just click on the Dallas (Sports) Bar tab under our sports section.