DISD Wants in the News Reporting Biz? That's Like Letting Us Look After Your Kids.

Categories: Buzz

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Government + education + news media. Why didn't anyone think of this before?
Dallas Independent School District has some important things to tell you, stuff that doesn't get reported in the regular old media, so the district is looking at getting into the news media business, Superintendent Mike Miles said this week. Or we guess he said it. The Dallas Morning News said he did, but they're ... ugh ... old, private media. Who knows?

DISD spokesman André Riley, that's who. Buzz called him up to welcome him to the fold -- we media folk are famously collegial -- and to see if there were any tips we could give him. He said the district has just begun exploring how to expand its news offerings beyond the usual dry press releases and wants to maybe do more reporting and offer more information than standard news outlets have time or space for.

The district is very early in the process, he stressed, sounding a bit like a man who was handed a short-handled shovel last week and woke up today to find his employer had announced he was going to dig a canal.

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If We're Not Going to Reform Immigration, Let's Make It Fun

Categories: Buzz

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In 2006, hunters generated $2.63 billion in retail sales for their sport in Texas, paying nearly $284 million in state and local taxes and supporting more than 44,119 jobs, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. That doesn't include the millions spent by birdwatchers, photographers and others who enjoy wildlife they don't kill.

A large chunk of money also goes to private landowners who sell hunting leases, providing revenue to farmers and ranchers, whose operations are being pinched by the same long drought that threatens the population of game animals.

This is a problem, obviously. But luckily Texas House candidate Tony Tinderholt has inspired Buzz to come up with a plan to harness Texans' love of sport and free enterprise, along with our basic nativism, in a way that everybody wins.

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Like Olympic Champs, Trinity Road Backers Will Never, Ever Quit Chasing the Gold

Categories: Buzz

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Let's make it interesting and combine two of Dallas' favorite pastimes -- pursuing the Olympics and arguing over the damn Trinity toll road. Old school style.
The U.S. Olympic Committee met yesterday, and one of the things reportedly on the agenda was which American city, maybe Dallas, will get to bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. It's a long, obscure, secretive convoluted competition -- sort of a modern bribery pentathlon -- and we're just excited as heck about the prospect.

No, not about the Olympics themselves. Jesus, who wants to boil in traffic for weeks so the world's best synchronized swimmers and table tennis players can duke it out for the gold in North Texas? We're excited because we can't wait to see how supporters of the Trinity toll road will use the Olympic bid to justify building that albatross -- untenable, unfunded and now unwanted by growing numbers of former supporters. The most recent was the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects, which last week said it is "unable to endorse" the current plan for the road until it knows more about the whole redevelopment plan around the river corridor, something that has been debated around here since about 1857.

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Perry Breaks Wind Over Obama's Carbon Cuts

Categories: Buzz

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Staff in Governor Rick Perry's office must have had a case of the Mondays. It was noon before we got his emailed statement blasting the Obama administration's proposal to cut carbon emissions from power plants 30 percent from 2005 levels over the next 15 years.

Seriously? That was, like, hours, and we all knew the proposal was coming. You'd think Perry's staff would have this stuff programmed on a keyboard shortcut by now. Good IT help is so hard to find, isn't it?

What did Perry say, you ask? Oh, that. Well, stop us if you've heard this before ...



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Susan Hawk Demands to Know Why Craig Watkins Dropped 30 Felony Charges In Trinity Pig Blood Case

Earlier this week, the Dallas County District Attorney's office mysteriously dropped all felony charges against Columbia Packing Co. and its vice president, Joseph Carl Ondrusek Jr., for dumping pig blood into a tributary of the Trinity River in January 2012. Counting last month's dismissal of the charges against Donny Ondrusek (another vice president and Joseph's cousin), 30 counts of criminal water pollution and evidence tampering vanished.

In exchange, the company pleaded guilty to "unauthorized discharge," a misdemeanor, and agreed to pay a $100,000 fine.

It's a stupefying end to what has seemed like a slam dunk case from the time a hobbyist's remotely controlled aircraft first photographed a ribbon of scarlet flowing into the Trinity. Councilman Dwaine Caraway is stupefied, charging that the two-plus year investigation conducted by Dallas County Health and Human Services, Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency, was "mishandled."

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Listen Up, Fellow Liberals, It's Time to Lay Off the Boy Scouts

Categories: Buzz

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He'd kill you if he got the chance.
Every week, Managing Editor Patrick Williams disappears into his office and reemerges a cranky, anti-depressant-gobbling, third-person-referring superhero we like to call Buzz.

Listen up, fellow leftist members of the conspiracy to destroy America. It's time to lay off the Boy Scouts of America and other Scout-like groups. We had a good run there last year with the homophobic Scouts story, but if we focus too long at any one target, we eventually reach a point of diminishing returns.

When PETA joins the dog pile, you know we've reached that point.

The animal rights group this week released a letter it sent to Wayne Perry, president of the Irving-based BSA, demanding that the organization stop teaching Scouts how to kill animals. It was signed by former Scouts upset over a Florida Scout leader who demonstrated how to dress a pair of rabbits, which he then cooked and fed to the boys. By "dress," we mean "whacked on the head with a stick," which if done properly is an accepted method for humanely dispatching a bunny. (Another, the "broomstick method," does not involving conking Mr. Bun on the noggin. You can Google it and find many videos demonstrating the technique, but we don't advise that unless you have some spare rabbits cluttering up your apartment and need a nosh. Let's just say it sucks to be a bunny.)

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Dallas Police Want Cops to Tweet More. Oh Man, So Do We.

Categories: Buzz

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Chief David Brown
The Dallas Police Department officially unveiled plans this week to encourage officers to tweet more, as part of a wider social-media strategy that includes beefing up the department's blog and Facebook page and posting more photos on Pinterest.

We welcome the DPD's expanded entry into the highly competitive world of new media, mainly because misery loves company, but also for what having more cops on Twitter will mean for us: gaffes. The single best feature of Twitter is how it ensnares people into embarrassing themselves in 140 characters.

Eighty officers have signed up for a one-day training program on social-media use. Expect more on Twitter soon, cops say. That many people with thumbs flying make it a statistical lock that someone soon will say something they wish they hadn't or send an inappropriate photo, and that's red meat to those in media old-school and new.

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Dallas Adding Mandatory Rate Hikes to Its Drought-Response Arsenal

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Councilman Philip Kingston's lonely quest to kill off the Lawn Whisperer appears like it's doomed to fail. Mr. Whisperer, a character in advertisements, features prominently in the city's long-term water-conservation plan, which was briefed to the City Council's Quality of Life Committee this morning.

But it looks like Dallas Water Utilities has taken Kingston's other water-related directive to heart: "You conserve water by paying a higher price."

As part of its new, state-mandated drought-contingency plan, the city plans to start charging more for water when things get particularly dry.

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$350,000 to Kill a Rhino? What's It Worth to Spare It?

Categories: Buzz

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"The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason." --T.S. Eliot

Many words have flooded the Internet over last weekend's auction by the Dallas Safari Club of a permit that will allow a well-heeled hunter to kill one of the few remaining black rhinoceroses in Namibia. Many of those words, particularly those posted by others on the Facebook page of Corey Knowlton, the professional hunter who may have won the auction with a $350,000 bid, are variations of the word "penis" and "small." "Scum" is pretty popular too.

See also: Dallas Safari Club's Black Rhino Permit Sold for Much Less Than Expected

We say "may" because the club isn't naming the winner, and Knowlton was identified in another hunter's tweet. (We've left messages.) There's speculation online about whether Knowlton made the bid for himself or someone else. Considering the heat from the commenters on his Facebook page -- wishes that he die and burn in hell -- the man must have skin thicker than a rhino's.

The auction has its supporters, who point out that the rhino due for a bullet, named "Ronnie" by authorities to give this story extra pathos, is past breeding age and aggressive, and the money from the auction -- far less than the $1 million the club hoped for -- will go to conserve the species.

"Compassion for animals is an unappreciated commonality between hunters and non-hunters," Dallas Morning News op-ed columnist Gordon Keith wrote in defense of the hunt. "But compassion uncoupled from reason is destructive."

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State Rep. Lon Burnam Wishes Someone Would Subpoena His Evidence of GOP Obamacare Sabotage

Categories: Buzz

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State Rep. Lon Burnam
State Representative Lon Burnam has a simple request of anyone interested in learning just how far the state Republican leadership will go to throw a wrench into efforts to provide affordable health insurance to millions of uninsured Texans. Subpoena him. Do it. Please.

The Fort Worth legislator is among a cadre of vocal Democrats who accuse Governor Rick Perry and the Texas Department of Insurance of trying to obstruct enrollment under the Affordable Care Act by drafting a set of onerous training requirements for "navigators," the people employed under ACA to help the uninsured get coverage. The feds have awarded Texas $11 million to train and hire navigators, but the TDI says the feds' training requirements aren't tough enough. The agency has proposed rules that could more than double the amount of training time and raise the cost of that training by up to $800 per navigator.

The TDI says its rules are necessary to protect Texans' privacy, aren't politically motivated and have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Perry and pals are being dragged by their heels, fingers clawing the dirt, into the age of Obamacare.

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