Leading Off (9/10/08)

1. DISD chief Michael Hinojosa says he will not resign in the wake of a $64 million budget shortfall. FrontBurner DISD proponent Celeste has yet to pick his chin up off his chest to face the “I-told-ya-so” crowd of anti-DISD commenters. Sigh. On the plus side, my daughter says Booker T is “awesome.” That helps, right? Right?

2. SMU is kicking off its biggest capital campaign ever, trying to raise $750 million in the next five years in an effort to raise the school’s profile in three areas: faculty and academic excellence, student quality, and the “campus experience.” Um, have you walked across campus on a warm spring day? Does the experience get any better?

3. Sarah Palin is coming to Dallas on October 3. [Wait for it. Wait for it. Hold. Your. Water.] … Comments are on.


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55 responses to “Leading Off (9/10/08)”

  1. Wick Allison says:

    Eric, pick your chin up. The News reported that the DISD is off by about 5%. The News is off by about 14%. D Magazine is off by about 7%. Of course, neither of those were reported on the front page.

  2. Harvey Lacey says:

    Darn it Eric, Wick says no name calling and then you open the door and welcome in all the Palin lovers/haters.

    Now three people at D will have to spend the day editing the comments, have to have a majority to make a decision……

  3. Jdub says:

    does “student quality” refer to social stature, intellect or hotness?

  4. Bill says:

    Once again, The Dallas Morning News tries to take a straightforward story about SMU and drag it into the mud with politics. The fundraising campaign does not include the Bush Library, so why make the vague milk toast references? It’s almost like they cited a Gary Vodika wiki on the subject.

    Next ten years will see SMU completely build out to Greenville Avenue. When SMU shakes the money tree, good things happen.

  5. Bill:

    It’s “milquetoast.”


  6. Jamie says:

    Yesterday’s Leadimg Off had some vicious name calling about DISD and its administrators that I was surprised even made it through. I hope today’s doesn’t descend into that same cesspool, or if it does someone responsible cleans it up as soon as possible.

  7. Bethany says:

    That made me giggle. Milk toast.

  8. I’ve got some inside information over on http://www.dadscenter.org.

  9. Dallasite says:

    Booker T is “awesome”.

    Regardless, DISD has horrible problems, and ignoring them, as many DISD defenders tend to do, isn’t going to make them go away.

  10. Andrew says:

    Milk toast is a good description of the grape nuts cereal I routinely eat.

  11. Andrew: Yuck is an even better one.

  12. For the record, Milk Toast is pretty good. Warm some milk, toast some bread, butter it, add some salt and pepper. My Czech grandfather used to make that for me when I was a kid. It was so good. Still is on a cold winter morning when you want to feel all warm on the inside. @Daniel, it’s much better than Grape Nuts.

  13. Bill says:

    Actually, I thought “milk toast” was an inside joke here. That’s why I used it.

  14. Bethany says:

    I think it’s high-time we separate the teachers in DISD from the bureaucrats who run it. DISD head office, buncha chumps. DISD teachers, dedicated professionals. Let’s be more specific about who is at fault here, and the anti-DISD crowd won’t have as much to talk about.

    I wager that woefully underpaid teachers are better at living within a budget. Perhaps they can help the district?

  15. @Bethany, But I think you should divided it even further. Yes, there are some Chumps at 3700, but there are also many hard-working, dedicated professionals who have made a career commitment to help make a difference to the kids of this city. It’s not fair nor accurate to lump everyone in DISD or everyone at 3700 into one Chump-lump. It’s just not. Please read http://www.dadscenter.org. You’ll see there’s more to this than stereotyping the whole lot.

  16. amanda says:

    Let’s go ahead and get this over…the part where this thread degerates into a critique of grammar, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. As and FB discussion, it’s gonna happen.

  17. Bethany says:

    @DC: I think I was probably kinder in expressing my feelings in my blog. LOL

  18. Amanda:

    “Degerates”? I’m sure you meant “denigrates,” but that’s not the right word you’re looking for. “Deteriorates” perhaps? Or, alternatively, “races headlong”?


  19. Bethany says:

    She means degenerates, Mr. Dangling Preposition.

  20. @Bethany, Agreed. We should all call our old teachers today and say thanks to them. I can think of a handful who have made a life-long difference for me. Hey, I can even still tell you Mr. Jackson, my 11th-grade History teacher’s home phone number back in Montgomery, AL. He was such a positive influence.

  21. amanda says:

    “Marty”…thanks for making my point in such a vivid manner. I knew it wouldn’t take long.

  22. SDM says:

    “academic excellence, student quality” – does that mean the undergrad programs are going to stop grade inflation and letting anyone in who can foot the bill?

  23. Brandon says:

    “Um, have you walked across campus on a warm spring day? Does the experience get any better?”

    Probably. For many, when they take a trip down memory lane and walk across the campus of their alma mater, they honestly feel that experience can’t get any better. I am happy you have such pride in your alma mater, Eric.

    Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

  24. amandacobra says:

    Palin coming to town October 3rd should be right around the time when the results of her state’s investigation into her are released so, you know, that should be fun.

    At least she can always head over to Martini Park if the news is not so good.

  25. Louisa Meyer, Dallas ISD parent since 1993 says:

    That’s right Wick – $64 million out of a $1.6 b-b-billion annual budget. It’s a big problem at a BIG organization. http://www.dallasisd.org/about/geninfo/0708factsheet.pdf

    As publisher Rick Wamre posted on BackTalk at Advocate Magazine “People make mistakes, in big businesses and small ones, and all we can do is find out who was responsible, deal with that, and then solve the problem.”

    I say, PTL – Hinojosa said he will stay.

  26. jrp says:

    and what’s the deal with grapenuts…they’re not grapes, not nuts…i can’t go no respect

  27. Jay says:

    @ jrp

    Classic episode. I enjoyed watching it again last night.

  28. jrp says:

    that’s what she said

  29. LakeWWWooder says:

    I went to a meeting of the Woodrow cluster on Tuesday hosted by the dynamic DISD principal-of-the-year Yolanda Gonzalez at Lipscomb Elementary. Lipscomb has been ranked exemplary three years in a row and was chosen by Texas Monthly as one of the best 100 schools in Texas. Woodrow alum and principal Ruth Vail was there to present the high school redesign plan to position our alma mater and J. L. Long Middle School (now headed by Woodrow alum Danielle Drury Petters) as college preparatory joint campus schools. Dr. Dinnah Escanilla, Associate Principal, assisted in the presentation. She worked with Newsweek to report the AP data which placed us on their top schools list.

    In the room were dedicated representative parents from all of the feeder schools (two are exemplary, four recognized and Lakewood Elementary just won the Blue Ribbon). There were even representatives from the pre-school PTAs. Lakewood Early Childhood PTA presented plans for its annual home tour to raise money for the cluster. This involves over 300 volunteers.

    The day before I was at a meeting to set up a website for alums to donate college scholarships. The Friday before I was at crowded football stadium as the nephew of one of our All-Americans caught the winning touchdown pass. The week before I was at a Deep Ellum art gallery benefit to raise funds for scholarships for ESL students. On the 25th there will be another art gala in the Design District to raise funds. Alumna Ruth Altshuler is honorary chair. She was recently chosen to receive the Woodrow Wilson Award from the Smithsonian Institute.

    I can’t type enough superlatives about all of these people. But they never rate an ounce of ink in The Dallas Morning News.

  30. Daniel says:

    Hey now, I haven’t posted today — but what’s with the free association between “Grape Nuts” and “Daniel,” Daddy C? You got the wrong guy. My daily breakfast is five shots of espresso neat (over ice in the dog days), and on the weekends I routinely comsume a pound of bacon — I don’t stop eating until I feel that I myself am formed of bacon — or, not infrequently, the killer migas at Cafe San Miguel washed down with several Bloody Marys.

    Grape Nuts, for Christ’s sake? Sir, I demand an apology. Better make it quick, because my ticker ain’t getting none the more spry.

  31. @Daniel, sorry, I’m having a senior moment, or was or was thinking about the taste of Grape Nuts and it messed up my right-brain thinking.

    How’s that?

  32. Daniel says:

    (extends hand to shake)

    (mutters, still incredulous) Grape Nuts!

  33. Don in Austin says:

    Palin will be in Texas just in time for bow season. She can sling some real arrows though Texas white-tailed deer are rather smaller than the game she’s used to targeting.

  34. Jake Yoder says:

    Re: #3: I just noticed Rod Dreher over on the DMN Opinion Blog saying in the same paragraph that he’s “someone who likes Sarah Palin” and that “I don’t know who the real Sarah Palin is.”

    Which, when you think about it, is really how it should be. A hot woman should be likable but always mysterious. Will she suddenly whip off those glasses, shake down that piled up hair, lick a thumb, and slap it on a cocked out hip with a hissing sound before she fries me up some bacon in the pan? Hubba-hubba! Or is she going to suddenly whip out a .50 Desert Eagle and fire a warning shot over my head to stop me thinking those naughty thoughts? Yeow!

    Likable, lovable, mysterious, every guy’s dream girl.

    Oh, wait, she’s going to be vice president or president maybe. In that case I think I’d rather know who the real Sarah Palin is whether I ever like her or not. I don’t eat that much bacon anyway.

  35. Arnold says:

    Palin coming to town is great news. She has polarized the party and the Obama fad is starting to fade. The vocal minority that speak out on these forums in support of the democratic ticket will be very sad as time progresses.

    McCain – Palin ’08! I am proud to support both McCain and a strong woman.

    Wick, who do you support?

  36. amandacobra says:

    It takes a pretty strong woman to be the mayor of a city that charges rape victims for the forensic examination kit administered to them at the hospital.

    And by “fad fading” I guess you’re referring to the $10 million Obama raised (a record for his campaign) after Palin’s speech? Compared to the $1 million the McCain campaign pocketed after it?

    Statistical dead heat in the EC votes right now. Pollster, in case you’re curious.

  37. Arnold says:

    No, I am talking about the eight point lead in the polls vanishing in less than a week. The smooth talking “uhhhhhh, ummmmmm, uhhhh” is not pulling the middle anymore. Only you far left radicals and a few misguided females in the magazine business.

  38. towski says:

    @ Arnold: Why would you want someone to polarize your party?

  39. amandacobra says:

    “Eight point lead vanishing” = post-DNC bump dissipating in the wake of the following week’s RNC bump. As happens each election year.

    I can’t speak for far left radicals nor misguided females in the magazine business, as I am neither. But I totally agree that no one (be they middle, top or bottom) should be pulled by three interjections separated by commas. Clearly that does not a platform make. I have yet to see a single candidate from either party run with that slogan.

  40. Bethany says:

    You know, for a woman who didn’t own a passport a year or so ago, has only been to two countries outside the U.S., is governor of a state with a population smaller than many cities, thinks nuclear is pronounced “newk-ewe-lar,” is wholly unfamiliar with the foreign policy doctrine that governed the past five or so years, left her town in debt when it never had been before and by her running mate’s own standards (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/21/us/politics/21debate-transcript.html?pagewanted=3&fta=y) isn’t ready to lead a country, she is awesome.

  41. amandacobra says:

    Bethany, you’re clearly forgetting just how close physically Alaska is to Russia. That’s why she would support a war with Russia. Because she knows them so well.


  42. Daniel says:

    Arnold, Wick has extensively gone on record as an Obama supporter.

    Where are these “far left radicals”? Should I be concerned there might be one in my refrigerator? Behind my toilet?

  43. Arnold says:

    Not much experience there, I agree. Let’s elect the guy who has yet to author a bill. The country is waking up on the Obama issue. Thank goodness.

  44. Bethany says:

    I don’t know why people are so afraid of the far right or the far left. In either instance, they’re a small hop to swinging around to the other side.

    I think when push comes to shove, most people are more centrist than they realize.

  45. Daniel says:

    Arnold, I went to lunch today (Urban Taco; overpriced, if you ask me, but not bad) and as I returned, I would swear that somebody was following me.

    Do you think it might have been a far-left radical? Please help me here, I’m genuinely anxious. It was a dude, so the whole “misgiuded female” thing is out.

  46. Bethany says:

    The other day, I was talking on the phone and driving on Bush, and missed my exit to get on the tollway.

    I think I may be a misguided female.

  47. amandacobra says:

    I agree, Bethany. As much as people get fired up about their candidates, few people are FAR LEFT or FAR RIGHT. If two such labeled people sat down, there really probably wouldn’t be a vast ocean of difference between them.

    Arnold, I guess I just don’t understand the logic of “the country is waking up on the Obama issue” because it seems like the people who liked Obama still like him. Those that never did still don’t.

  48. Daniel says:

    That’s it, Bethany, blame Bush.

  49. Arnold says:

    Amanda, if the people who liked him still like him, how could the polls have moved from him being up eight percent to now behind by three?(save the margin talk, up eight was subject to that as well).

    The voters that decide elections are in the center. The polls show they have moved away from the Obama worshiping.

  50. Bethany says:

    Arnold: Undecided voters, and a few PUMA packers and their ilk.

    The real test will be the debates.

  51. Tobie says:

    Louisa Meyer as someone who has worked in Public Affairs in the past, I find it a bit humorous that you are using a DISD published document to support your comments. They can put whatever they want in their fact sheets and press releases and hope you’ll believe them. They got you hooked. I’d suggest you find support for your “PTL Hinojosa is staying” argument from a ‘neutral’ source.

    And as the girlfriend of a DISD teacher (who’s been a part of the crappy district for almost 20 years), I let him know that should we marry and procreate, our kids are going to private school, or we’re moving out of the district. Gimme a break, I’ve lived in other large cities and I didn’t see the rampant errors, disorganization and deception at all levels in school systems as I have in the last three years I’ve been in Dallas.

  52. Bethany says:

    So the teachers are bad, including your boyfriend?

    Because I kinda judge my districts and schools by the quality of teachers.

  53. Spamboy says:

    I can’t stand Sarah Palin — Not for being a strong woman or moose-ivore, but because she is from Alaska, which I hate for making Texas the *2nd* biggest state in the nation back in ’56.

  54. Tobie says:

    Bethany, nope, he’s one of the few that has 100% passing record for TAKS and has been incredibly successful in touching a lot of kids lives both as a teacher and coach.

    And personally, its great to judge your district by the quality of its teachers, but its difficult to be an effective teacher when you’re being stifled by mandates of an ineffective administration.

  55. Bethany says:

    I think there are quite a few schools that are doing well, despite a few ineffective people on the district level.