Saturday, June 6, 2009

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff 28

Visions and Tequila
A Galveston woman has reported seeing the image of Jesus on her bathroom tile (HT: Houston Press). She told the Galveston County Daily:

I really didn’t want to see it. I focused on a few things on the tile, and then there it was.
I will admit to once seeing something strange on my bathroom tile. But tequila was involved, so I am not certain that it truly was a vision. And I certainly didn't call the newspaper. The Galveston woman thinks some kind of deep message is hidden in her vision:

Maybe we are being told something, and maybe we aren’t listening to it.
I'm going to step out on a limb and suggest what that "something" may be: Put down the tequila and quit staring at the bathroom tiles. Perhaps trying reading something educational, like the National Enquirer.

Death After Death
In the good old days, newspaper writers were grizzled, cigarette smoking, lushes who kept a flask in their drawer (at least that's the way it appears in old movies). Apparently, someone at the Chronicle has kept that tradition alive. blogHouston points out that a recent obituary, while quite nice, is a little redundant. It seems that the Chronicle ran the same obituary a year ago--when the dearly departed actually died. It must have been a slow news day for the paper to print old obituaries.

What Lessons Will He Teach?
Councilmember and mayor wanna-be Peter Brown has come out in favor of limited mayoral control over the city's schools. The Chronicle reports:

In Houston, City Councilman Brown is pitching the formation of a new "urban school district," perhaps spanning from downtown past the 610 Loop, that would fall under the mayor's power.

"I would favor the creation of this urban school district that is controlled by the mayor, that has a board that is largely appointed by the mayor, so there's accountability," he said.

Brown, who wants to subject all Houstonians to his grand vision of the city, as well as provide counseling and job training for gang members, now wants to inject more politics into the school system. If he wants to see more accountability in the school system, how about privatizing it and allowing parents to hold educators accountable?

Outgoing HISD Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra said:

It's common sense that it would be easier for two people to reach a level of consensus than it would be for 10 people.

I agree, and those two people should be the parents of the student, not educational bureaucrats or power lusting politicians.

It's a Matter of Opinion
It seems that city "leaders" can't agree whether the city's budget is balanced. The Chronicle reports:

Does the city of Houston have a balanced budget?

Like so many things in politics, it depends on whom you ask.

For wealthy businessman Bill King or City Councilwoman Pam Holm, the answer is no, since Mayor Bill White’s administration is planning to spend about $50 million more from its general fund in fiscal 2010 than it will take in from taxes and other revenue streams.

To Bob Lemer, conservative tax accountant and longtime critic of City Hall, the answer is an emphatic no. Lemer said a 2008 audit of Houston’s finances over the past five years shows the city in the red to the tune of $1.5 billion if it were to do its books like a private company.

And if you see things like the mayor, Finance Director Michelle Mitchell and most City Council members do, the answer is a strong yes in the sense that the city is not spending money it does not have.

Who is right? All of them, each in their own particular way, said City Controller Annise Parker.

So you see, it is all a matter of opinion. "Balanced budget" means different things to different people, and each opinion is "equally valid".

This site defines a balanced budget as:

A budget for which expenditures are equal to income.

I believe that this is what most people have in mind when they think of a balanced budget--income and expenses are in balance. But apparently our city "leaders" don't think like most people.

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