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by Trey Garrison    Thu, Mar 9, 2006, 08:09 PM

Euless police pepper-sprayed and then shocked not once, not twice, but three times with a Taser a man going into diabetic shock, the Startlegram reports.

Some would say it's hard to restrain a person going into diabetic shock. Others would say Euless police showed all the restraint of Barry Bonds in a Mexican pharmacy. You decide.

This report, incidentally, comes one day after FW Weekly carried this story, noting the disturbing rise of Texas police using the Taser as a high-tech baton, instead of, as intended, an alternative to lethal force. The story notes that in many agencies in Texas, "...officers aren’t waiting for a possible life-or-death crisis before they unholster the Taser. Many law enforcement officers are using the yellow-and-black, pistol-gripped weapon as a first-choice persuader."

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by Special to    Thu, Mar 9, 2006, 07:18 PM

If you didn't read our coverage on the report by the Texas legislature about the Dallas Police Department and you read the coverage by the Dallas Morning News you got two different impressions.  If you read DallasBlog's report last Friday, or followed our link to the report itself, you know this was scary serious stuff.  If you read the Dallas News you would have stopped after a couple of paragraphs wondering why there was a story at all.  To get a third view try Jim Schutze at the Dallas Observer.  Then again maybe you prefer a sound night's sleep. 

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by Scott Bennett    Thu, Mar 9, 2006, 06:34 PM

Most of the media coverage has been focused on Political Action committees largely funded by Dr. James Leininger of San Antonio. Given that the San Antonio physician invested over $2 million to defeat five Republican members of the Texas House that opposed public school vouchers the coverage is understandable. But the Leininger dominated PACs were hardly the whole story on election night with several other PACs beginning to play a powerful role in Texas politics.

One is Texas Parent PAC and the other PET PAC. Parent PAC was created as a grass-roots organization composed of parents, educators and others to support candidates who wanted to see the state government pick up a larger share of education funding and generally support education initiatives. While its President Carolyn Boyle is relatively unknown the PAC sports such high-profile supporter as Republican Mike Moses, a former Dallas ISD Superintendent and George W. Bush appointee as Texas Commissioner of Education.

In some respects Parent PAC is the anti-Leininger. Leininger poured well over $2 million personal dollars into five races with mixed results. Three GOP Reps that were targeted by Leininger’s organizations (Geren of Fort Worth, Jones of Lubbock, and Merritt of Longview) won handily while one (Roy Blake of Nacogdoches) narrowly lost. It appears that a second target may have also lost but Carter Casteel of New Braunsfels trails by only 45 votes and may seek a recount.

But while the rich Leininger PAC’s were narrowly ousting two the tiny Parent PAC with only about $60,000 to contribute was the leader in bringing down House Education Committee Chairman and Speaker Tom Craddick’s education point man Rep. Kent Grusendorf of Arlington. The campaign to elect Dr. Diane Patrick was largely directed at the grass-roots level by Parent PAC.

But Parent PAC had other success stories. Incumbent Mesquite Republican Elvira Reyna was knocked off by a Parent PAC picked candidate Tom Latham. In San Angelo Republican Incumbent Scott Campbell ran second to a Parent PAC backed candidate Drew Darby. A Parent PAC candidate also remains in a Denton runoff. And Parent PAC played a key role in protecting the Leininger targeted five.

PET (People for Efficient Transportation) PAC is little known in North Texas but very well known in central Texas where it has taken the lead in opposing the conversion of existing highways to toll ways and to Gov. Rick Perry’s Trans Texas Corridor. If Rep. Carter Casteel is eventually defeated in may be as much because of her support for toll roads and the Corridor plan as her opposition to vouchers. While PET PAC’s number one enemy, Rep. Mike Kruse (R-Round Rock) handily won reelection the anti-toll road forces appear poised to make an impact this fall.

Parent PAC leadership believes that Dr. Leininger did them a favor by personally providing over 90% of the funding for his candidates and making himself the issue. Even those who may have had their problems with a decided moderate like Geren were put off by one man’s personal effort to oust incumbents that disagreed with him on primarily one issue: vouchers.

While a few primary races don’t tell a tale there are indications large amounts of money, whether from one-man one-issues PACs like Leininger’s groups, or provided by traditional money sources like the Texas Trial Lawyers or Texas Medical Association are losing their punch. In Houston Radio commentator Dan Patrick received nearly 70% over three long-time incumbents including two popular state reps (Joe Nixon and Peggy Hamrick) and a Houston City councilman (Mark Ellis). Patrick’s opponents received over $1 million in traditional PAC money while Patrick relied on his radio generated name ID and the issues of immigration and taxes.

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by Trey Garrison    Thu, Mar 9, 2006, 02:24 PM

Sure, our state rose far above any of the Lesser 49 in providing a safe haven for hundreds of thousands of Katrina refugees. Shouldn't that warm 'n fuzzy be reward enough? That's the suggestion from Missouri's Republican Senator, a grown man who actually goes by the name "Kit."

Senator Kit Bond told the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday, "I think it's time we get back to being a good neighbor and not a paid companion."

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison told Bond to sit on it. Politely.

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by Tom Pauken    Thu, Mar 9, 2006, 01:15 PM

The U.S. trade deficit widened to its highest monthly figure ever in January as the deficit soared to nearly $70 billion in the first month of 2006. This comes on the heels of a $726 billion trade deficit for 2005. As I have written previously on these pages, Congress cannot keep ignoring these huge trade deficits. We need a serious reform of our tax system which addresses the twin issues of our unsustainable trade deficits and the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs. Our current corporate income tax system has the perverse effect of discouraging savings and capital investment while providing incentives for U.S. companies to export jobs overseas.

To see a more detailed discussion of the trade deficit issue, you can go to my February 13th Viewpoint on the issue entitled "A Modest Suggestion for House Republicans". That article includes a link to David Hartman’s proposed solution to these problems – one which I believe makes abundant sense. Link here for article.

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by Special to    Thu, Mar 9, 2006, 01:11 PM

The World Meteorological Organisation is warning that an La Nina phenomenon is developing in the sea off the western coast of South America.

Under the La Nina effect, sea-surface temperature in the central and eastern Pacific fall below normal and this disrupts weather patterns in many parts of the globe.

The weathermen say temperatures in the region have been below normal since the start of the year.

La Nina, which has the opposite effects to the more notorious El Nino, last occurred from mid-1998 to early 2001.RADIO AUSTRALIA

It brings far dryer weather to the south western United States, and western Latin America and above-average rainfall to Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines….PNS

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by Trey Garrison    Thu, Mar 9, 2006, 01:06 PM

I listened to this during council yesterday for about as long as I could take it before I tuned out.

A developer wants to take its own property and do something less blighted with it (and yeah, horrors, make some money, that's what businesses do), and residents of these old run-down apartments are shocked to discover that a 12-month lease isn't a permanent claim.

I don't mean to be insensitive, but am I the only who just doesn't give a rip?

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by Special to    Thu, Mar 9, 2006, 01:02 PM

Zalmay Khalizad
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalizad told the Los Angeles Times this week that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein opened a "Pandora’s box of ethnic and sectarian strife that has created the threat of civil war" in Iraq.

In his interview with the Times, the Ambassador warned that parts of Iraq would become a base for religious extremists if civil war broke out. The U.S. Ambassador emphasized the importance of the Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds forming a national unity government in order to prevent the outbreak of a civil war.

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by Trey Garrison    Thu, Mar 9, 2006, 12:44 PM

The Dallas City Council approved a new policy to tow and impound the vehicle of any uninsured motorist who gets in a collision. The policy goes into effect in April.

While some like Councilman Leo V. Chaney argued the policy was a feel-good measure that wouldn't have any real affect on the number of uninsured motorists on Dallas roads, others said they were worried it would have a disproportionate impact on the poor.

But Councilman Mitch Rasansky said he thought the policy would benefit the poor. He argued that lower income drivers were less likely to have proper health insurance, and if they were hurt in an accident with an uninsured driver, they would be up the proverbial creek.

Rasansky further said he would have preferred impounding the car of any uninsured motorist for any violation, but was willing to accept the compromise.

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by Trey Garrison    Thu, Mar 9, 2006, 12:17 PM

Wonder of wonders - Texas' law requiring minors notify their parents that they want an abortion has actually reduced teen abortion.

Somewhere, someone is trying to spin this as bad news.

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