THUMB AWARDS

Thumbs Down: To the nine county district court judges who abandoned their courtrooms for four days (Sept. 27-30), despite full court dockets, to attend a conference in El Paso – and never attended. They took vacations instead. Using estimated courtroom costs (staff, etc.) of $730 a day (from Dallas County Auditor’s estimates), we figure those four days and nine empty courts cost the taxpayers some $26,280. Including the 24 judges who did attend the conference, the empty courts that week cost us $96,360. Justice?

Thumbs Up: To Dallas News reporter Susan Yoa-chum for tracking down the junketing judges – and to the News for printing the story, with the judges’ names, on the front page. It’s encouraging to see such initiative and diligence go into a story that could have (and in former days would have) been easily overlooked.

Thumbs Saved: To Coors Beer for abandoning their treacherous “Press Tab” and returning to the ring pull tab. Environmentally unsound, but at least medically safe.

Thumbs Down: To Tamales restaurant for bad timing. During our preparation of this month’s cover story, while stomachs were becoming increasingly queasy around these offices, a staff member who was having lunch at Tamales found a live worm wriggling through her chalupa.

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