Tue May 24 2005- New page ready around 10am Mon-Fri
This Saturday: San Antonio Festival of Flowers
Good morning, New Zealand (Aotearoa)
I'm still actively on the story of AccuWeather (hiss! hiss!) trying to eliminate free forecasts from the National Weather Service through an act of Congress. Links to previous stories on this shameful enterprise are HERE
Late adds re. PGA Village
add 1248p -- PGA bill's House sponsor Rep. Robert Puente says the PGA VILLAGE ("PGA Tour") deal will be settled by midnight tonight, and he doesn't "have very much hope." The taxing district deal is very close to crashing in flames, which would delay the start of the project for at least two years, until the next Texas Legislature.
add Mid-afternoon --
PGA tax bill killed by Ft. Worth Democrat
At mid-afternoon Rep Lon Burnam (D-FtW) ground his boot onto the broken neck of the PGA taxing bill and put it out of its misery. A source told me soon after, "Wentworth is fuming!" (he was the Senate sponsor of the bill)
Rep wants public vote on PGA tax deal A Democrat said he'd continue blocking Sen. Jeff Wentworth's proposal creating a special taxing district to raise money for a PGA Tour golf resort unless the Bexar county delegation pledges to allow a public vote on the deal. Rep. Lon Burnam's stance put him in sync with a group of San Antonio activists opposed to the PGA Tour resort. Burnam: "..
the whole structure is basically corporate socialism to help
the rich get richer.."
Carlos Guerra, San Antonio Express-News
PGA tax district bill could pass if election amendment included Today we'll know if Temple-Inland will get a special taxing district — and the tens of millions in tax revenues it will generate — for its PGA development, or if the corporate colossus has found another way to bypass the voters and still get tax money.
Phone companies' win over cable for
Texas TV service may not survive
Canadian Rx drug bill's future uncertain
Internet infection holds computer files 'hostage' Hackers have found a way to lock up the electronic documents on your computer and then demand $200 over the Internet to get them back.
Woman arrested for having crowded car
Patients iced down to avoid brain damage
San Antonio Express-News
Quote of the Day
"How do I take care of my poll workers?"
— Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, regarding a proposal to ban the sale of alcohol while the polls are open on general election day
Austin American Statesman
By Rich Oppel
The New York Times published on Sunday the last column by departing public editor Daniel Okrent. He left with a list of things undone, include parting shots at three op-ed columnists. I quote:
“Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults. Maureen Dowd was still writing that Alberto R. Gonzales ‘called the Geneva Conventions “quaint”’ nearly two months after a correction in the news pages noted that Gonzales had specifically applied the term to Geneva provisions about commissary privileges, athletic uniforms and scientific instruments. Before his retirement in January, William Safire vexed me with his chronic assertion of clear links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, based on evidence only he seemed to possess.
“No one deserves the personal vituperation that regularly comes Dowd’s way, and some of Krugman’s enemies are every bit as ideological (and consequently unfair) as he is. But that doesn’t mean that their boss, publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., shouldn’t hold his columnists to higher standards.
“I didn’t give Krugman, Dowd or Safire the chance to respond before writing the last two paragraphs. I decided to impersonate an opinion columnist.”
We publish Krugman and Dowd frequently. True to Okrent’s statement, the Princeton economist has many “acolytes” in Austin who are quick to complain if we miss one of his precious columns. We part ways with him — and with Dowd — when we see thin factual basis for a column. Krugman and Dowd are both good, strong commentators, but they also sometimes go beyond sound persuasion.
Of course, so do most columnists, including yours truly.
Lost flier will appeal loss of pilot's license The Pennsylvania man who flew his Cessna into Washington's restricted airspace on May 11 called the experience "very scary" in his first interview today but said he tried to follow proper procedures and would appeal the revocation of his pilot's license.
Jets escort yet another DC airspace violator
Senate panel to debate Patriot Act add-ons this week The long political battle over the USA Patriot Act will enter a new phase this week as the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence debates whether to approve a bill that not only would renew the anti-terrorism law, but also would give the FBI significant new powers in conducting counterterrorism and counterintelligence investigations.
Court upholds 'Beef: It's What's for Dinner'
The justices rule that First Amendment protections don't apply to the beef campaign, alienating some ranchers. Beef industry officials and the US secretary of Agriculture have won their battle to maintain a $1 per head of cattle assessment to finance advertisements aimed at persuading people to eat more red meat.
Congress won't stop 10-Year Cisneros probe
email Cisneros probe
You know, it saddens me to say this, but there are probably some pretty good reasons people don’t like lawyers. I was reading today that the investigation into the big Henry Cisneros story of 1999 is still open and still being funded by us, thanks to Congress. Of course, most folks here will remember that the “big lie” that is being investigated is Cisneros’ under-reporting of the amount of money he gave his mistress, Linda Medlar. Cisneros left public office as a result of the scandal and the shooting star that was once his career is more of a black hole these days. What the hell is left to investigate?
The lawyer heading the investigation, David Barrett, defended the expense of the investigation ($21 million and counting), pointing out that his salary amounts to an hourly rate of only $62, less than he billed in private practice. Now, I am always quick to point out that I chose law over medicine because math was never my strong point – but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Mr. Barrett is using lawyerly logic to protect his sinecure.
Mr. Barrett’s $62 per hour salary amounts to about $129,000 per year. In addition to the employer’s matching of the social security withholding, unparalleled medical benefits and absolutely stellar retirement package, it is doubtful Mr. Barrett’s salary and benefit package is worth less than $200K per year. But that’s not the real story – the total cost to the taxpayers would amount to an effective hourly billing rate of about $1,580 per hour! If you assume that the investigation started on January 1, 1999 (which is far earlier than the actual date) and continued unabated for 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year through today, Barrett would have to have billed us $1,580 per hour to cover his modest salary and his attendant overhead. A lawyer’s billing rate covers his salary and all of the overhead that his or her practice requires. Looks to me like Mr. Barrett is heading up an incredibly expensive office.
By intentionally trying to obfuscate the truth by using the terms “salary” and “hourly fee” as if they are interchangeable, Mr. Barrett has given the public another reason to distrust lawyers. Thanks, Dave – we don’t need the help.
Former Doobie Brothers member is now a counterterrorism expert
Doobs' website: On July 4th, 2005, the Doobies will be playing Willie Nelson's 32nd annual Picnic in Forth Worth, Texas. Besides the Doobies and Willie, the lineup for the all-day festival this year includes Bob Dylan, Los Lonely Boys, Ray Price, David Allan Coe, and many more more!
Jumped from car at 60mph chasing cigaret: "facial trauma"
Hatcher: For $10M I'd go topless for Playboy
Well, as she says in the story, she wouldn't have much farther to go...