Another Helping of Misery, Perhaps?
The Fort Worth City Council has such an admirable record of late in looking out for the welfare of its citizens — holding off the drilling industry, stuff like that — that it was shocking, shocking! to discover that this is the only major city in Texas that has refused to adopt a model ordinance on payday lending (see our Metro story, page 6). The ordinance would put a stop to, or at least a limit on, some of the worst excesses of that industry, which preys on the poor and the desperate. With annual interest rates that reach as high as 500 percent, that’s something that really takes the pumpkin right out of the pie for low-income families. For the industry and the council, a Midas bird that turns to indigestible gold at first bite.
Talk to the Public? Why That Would Be Like Giving Oliver “More”!
A saucer of gristle goes out to the Texas Railroad Commission for deciding earlier this year that no one working at the commission may speak to anyone not working at the commission. Yes, the taxpayer-funded commission that doles out permits to oil and gas drillers, keeps logs of well production, and inspects wells decided that too many reporters and people with an interest in the industry were calling and bothering their employees. So the board decided it was in the agency’s (read: the industry’s) best interests to simply tell their employees they can no longer speak with anyone. Even well-respected RRC spokesperson Ramona Nye isn’t speaking, though she is prompt at answering e-mails. (What do you call a spokesperson for a non-speaking state agency?) This commission seems to have passed right through the looking glass. Its T-day reward: a serving of rhea, an almost-silent bird that is practically extinct. Taxpayers should consult the Urban Dictionary for other forms of silent bird they may wish to deliver.
Frack Water Gives It a Nice Whang
Range Resources doesn’t just ruin groundwater and well water, they sue the people who say the energy company should take responsibility for its actions. The Fort Worth-based company has left a trail of poison from Parker County to Pennsylvania. A bit of shale-play well-water in their gravy, hmmm?
Suspension of Caring
The Fort Worth school district hands out nearly 20,000 suspension days per year to about 8,000 kids, most of whom should be getting more teacher attention, not less. A large majority of students who draw suspensions are minorities or special-needs kids. Perhaps the district might think instead about hiring more counselors to find out why those kids are acting up instead of just shunting them to the alternative schools or sending them home. No feather in its cap for what it’s doing now.
No Holidays on Ice Here
Before the 2014-15 campaign, the Dallas Stars, after years of ineptitude, were supposed to have a lock on a playoff spot. With hot-shit young forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin and stellar netminder Kari Lehtonen, what was not to like? Turns out, though, there’s this thing called the regular season that you’ve got to deal with before skating into spring.
Sitting next to last in the power-packed Western Conference, the boys in green, black, and gold recently snapped a seven-game skid, only to drop their last two in emphatically ugly fashion. This past Sunday, allowing four unanswered goals in the third period by the admittedly superior Chicago Blackhawks was just more of the same. The Stars have been outscored 27-11 in third periods this season.
Most of the players clearly lack experience, but head coach Lindy Ruff has been way too easy on them. After making the playoffs last year for the first time in five seasons, anything less than another playoff appearance for this squad of alleged upstarts will be a big disappointment — yet another sports-related letdown for a region mired in them.
Cheering a Big Land-Gobble
Bud Kennedy has been at this game long enough to get away with pretty much anything. And most of the time, the veteran Startlegram columnist comes from a good place. But when the civic discourse turned to the new arena at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in the Cultural District, Kennedy donned his saddle shoes, ankle socks, pleated skirt, and FW-emblazoned sweater and cheered on Ed Bass, the power broker behind the $450 million (and counting) monstrosity. In Kennedy’s July 18 remembrance of the Fort Worth Convention Center –– the structure that the 14,000-seat arena is supposedly replacing –– he managed to leave out a few pesky facts: that parking is at a premium in the jam-packed neighborhood and, much worse, that the public had little to no say about it, even though millions of taxpayer dollars had already been spent on infrastructure. On Nov. 4 voters easily approved the arena (including $225 million as the city’s share). Kennedy should have been calling bullshit on yet another sneaky, screw-the-little-people play. Did he uncharacteristically not do his homework, or was he kowtowing to his employer, which has a long record of kissing up to the power players?
This year, local sportscasting legend Dale Hansen enjoyed a moment in the national spotlight with his humane and uplifting editorial about the NFL drafting openly gay linebacker Michael Sam. However, a few days later, another local broadcaster got roasted in the national glare, also because of Sam. Amy Kushnir, a co-host of The Broadcast (Channel 47’s version of The View) objected to ESPN showing Sam kissing his boyfriend in celebration of his draft pick. Actually, she threw a full-fledged hissy fit, saying “It’s being pushed in faces!” and claiming that ESPN would never have shown a draft pick kissing his girlfriend (which proves she doesn’t watch ESPN very much). Finally she stormed off the set, declaring “I’m gonna go to Midland!” What did the people of Midland do to deserve that? A previous episode of The Broadcast had featured Kushnir cavorting with Chippendale dancers — apparently male strippers are appropriate for TV, but fully clothed gay men are not. Her bird gets served naked, and we don’t care what she does it in the privacy of her home.