Friday, August 31, 2007
Amarillo - $33,757
Austin-Round Rock - $43,640
Beaumont-Port Arthur - $32,499
Brownsville-Harlingen - $29,982
Bryan-College Station - $38,557
Corpus Christi - $37,429
Dallas-Plano-Irving - $43,723
Fort Worth-Arlington - $45,770
El Paso - $36,508
Houston-Baytown-Sugar Land - $43,028
Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood - $34,522
Laredo - $33,300
Longview - $34,466
Lubbock - $34,245
McAllen-Edinburg-Pharr - $34,624
Midland - $33,103
Odessa - $32,222
San Angelo - $36,527
San Antonio - $40,826
Sherman-Denison - $38,697
Texarkana - $34,313
Tyler - $36,274
Victoria - $37,026
Waco - $34,312
Wichita Falls - $33,505
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Recently, several conservation groups, including the Richard King Mellon Foundation, purchased 9,000 acres of land and gave it to the state of Texas. It was their hope the land would be used by the public for hunting and other recreational purposes. In the past, the Mellon Foundation has given over 40,000 acres to the people of Texas.
When the 9,000 acres, located near Big Bend National Park, was donated, it was with the understanding that the land would be offered to the Parks and Wildlife Department or the National Park Service, and could not be sold without the permission of the Mellon Foundation.
So, what do our Republican state leaders do? They put the land up for sale. They have accepted six sealed bids, and will announce the winning bid next month. They have decided the land would be better used by some corporate entity than by the citizens of Texas.
Commissioner Patterson said that Parks and Wildlife and the National Park Service turned down the gift of land, and the Land Commission could not afford to keep it. I wonder just how much it would cost the Land Commission to hold on to this FREE land -- next to nothing I suspect. And why were the Parks and Wildlife people willing to turn it down? After years of being underfunded, I imagine they were afraid their funds would be cut again if they crossed the big-boys in Austin.
It's not like a bunch of expensive upgrades were immediately needed on this land. It could have been kept just as it is until its best use for the citizens of Texas was decided upon. But that's not how Republicans think. The only useful thing they can see is money, and evidently some of their corporate buddies saw a way to make some money off this land.
The Mellon Foundation has told the state it does not want the land sold, and if it is, they will never make another land donation to the state. I don't blame them after the way they were betrayed this time. Why should they ever trust our state government again?
Commissioner Patterson says now that the land belongs to Texas, he doesn't think anyone can legally prevent the sale. Maybe he is right about the legality, but what about the ethics and morality? What about keeping your word when you make an agreement?
Like most Texans, I was brought up to believe a man is only as good as his word. I think the same is true of governments. A government that doesn't feel the need to keep its agreements, cannot be trusted in any matter.
It is obvious that we cannot trust the Republicans currently running our state government. It is time to replace them.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Vladimir Putin, while fishing on vacation last week, took off his shirt.
Shocking, right? Who would imagine that the man could do such a thing? This obviously merits hours of discussion and speculation.
Now, if you're thinking he removed his shirt because it was a warm day, you are being simple, my friend. There must be political meaning behind such a move:
Or this might be his way of silently promoting gay tolerance:
Kremlin watchers have been trying to guess what kind of political message the pictures send, given that the 54-year-old Putin has insisted he plans to step down at the end of his second term next year, as required by the constitution.
One radio talk show host speculated the photos were meant to enhance Putin's personal appeal to voters -- a strong signal that he doesn't plan to relinquish power.
Russian gay chat rooms and blogs were particularly intrigued by the photos: Some claimed that Putin, by stripping to his waist, was somehow pleading for more tolerance of homosexuality in Russia -- where gays and lesbians are for the most part forced to remain closeted.On the other hand, he may be trying to back up his "manly" image:
The Russian president, who is married with two daughters, has long cultivated an image of machismo and manliness. Well-known as a downhill skier and black belt in judo, Putin has appeared on national television driving a truck, operating a train, sailing on a submarine and copiloting a fighter jet.
These exploits have been widely publicized, thanks to the Kremlin's control of major Russian media.
In contrast to his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, notorious for drunken antics, Putin has established an image as serious, energetic, sober and sharp-witted. In a country that worships its Olympic and other world-class athletes, he has also taken care to stay physically fit.
In interviews, he speaks avidly about judo and athletics.
It seems that there are enough conflicting opinions over the message he wanted to send to the public to last a good long while. I can only imagine that coffee shops across the globe are buzzing with intriguing theories.
Personally, I'm just happy that he wasn't caught in a Speedo.