Monday, August 31, 2009
The first session was intended to introduce the effort, sponsored by a number of community non-profits, and organizations, including Central Dallas Ministries, Mill City Renessaince and the African American Museum, but provided significant leadership by IKOJA and Hip Hop Government. The latter two organizations are primarily grassroots, headed by young professionals who are serious about encouraging young people in South Dallas to be serious about civic engagement and community revitalization.
We looked at a number of strategic plans, some several years old and some of which have produced results, but some of which are obsolete, given the opportunities and new realities of today. More importantly, there are a number of elements of these plans which have been implemented, without having come back to the community to explain how they relate to which previous plans, the benefits or how they are prioritized or reprioritized with other elements of what plan. And, yes, there are some plans that are in someone's drawer somewhere.
In most instances there is no communication about the cost of the project, what kind of civic support is needed or how a given project may translate into entreprenuerial opportunities or jobs, or may serve to mitigate certain other neighborhood problems.
Don't get me wrong, there are times when the city and other agencies do hold the obligatory community meetings to serve notice or get feedback (that's how many of these plans evolve). But there are any number of cases when notices are given in ineffectively: notices in the newspaper; inserts in water bills, etc. So in many communities it takes a much more intentional effort.
However, it has to be noted, that these calls for accountability are not one sided. Unify South Dallas is calling on neighborhood associations, non-profits, churches and other groups to be more proactive and more aware - to exercise a much more advanced citizenship and to get more substantively involved. Unify South Dallas is calling on citizens in South Dallas to engage in advanced citizenship.
The schedule is as follows:
September 19. Presenters include: Dallas Area Rapid Transit; Developers, McCormack, Baron, Salazar; Inner City Development Corporation; Frazier Revitalization, Inc.; the Real Estate Council Foundation
September 26. South Dallas Hope Initiative/South Dallas Action Plan; City of Dallas Economic Development Department; Mill City Renaissance
October 3. State Fair of Texas, Fair Park Museums, City of Dallas Parks and Recreation
October 24. Reaching project consensus with groups that have been in attendance.
November 5. Meeting with elected officials and presentation of community agenda.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
(1973-77; 1977-1981; 1989-1993)
Politician, Business Leader
"Politics is not perfect but it's the best available nonviolent means of changing how we live."
Friday, August 28, 2009
Criticizing local black politicians doesn't come easy for me. At least not publicly. One reason is because Dallas' history of black city councilpersons is historically brief. I'm old enough to remember George Allen, the first African-American to serve on the council - it was 1969. And, what is most unfortunate, I could actually take the time and name all of the black Dallasites who have served on the council since then. So, I, like many others who have given some leadership in the African-American community, have been slow to publicly offer much in the way of criticism or critique. Some would say that's more excuse than reason...if you say so, I take the, uh, criticism (or critique).
So here goes...
Why would anyone go through all of the trouble of running for office AND reelection and complain about having a rule stating you have to sit through at least half of that meeting in order to get paid for the full session?!
Are you serious?
Now council persons only make around $37,000 a year. A mere pittance I know. But this is not like you win the election and then get told how much the job pays. As far as I know, no one is actually drafted to run - this isn't the armed services. You actually ask for the position.
Here's the deal: The mayor of Dallas, Tom Leppert, is instituting the above stated rule. And four of the 15 council persons (I'm including the mayor) actually voted against it!
That's bad enough - but the comments of one council member, Carolyn Davis, who happens to be African-American, are particularly troubling: "An angry Davis said the new rule could interfere with personal business like picking up her daughter from school."
""I feel like I'm in a strong mayor form of government. It's wrong. It's just wrong. It's absolutely wrong," she said.""
Now aside from being weary of family being the default position by which one shuts down all criticism and vigorous argument; most parents I know people who have had (or have) work schedules where they have to make arrangements to take children to school or pick them up. There are any number of parents who do, indeed experience pangs of guilt because they can't see their children off to school or be at home when they get out. But we live a 24 hour society and virtually all of us do what we have to do given our resources.
But Dallas' city council convenes once a week August of one year through June of the next. Council members do have busy schedules otherwise. But they have a little adhered to rule that states they only have to have a 10% attendance at committee meetings (apparently excluding regular council meetings). And now, the requirement to be present for only half of a council meeting. On Wednesdays. For eleven months. For a position for which you've campaigned. To represent the people who've placed their trust in you.
I don't get it.
Here's the source of my angst. The area Ms. Davis represents includes areas that are in crisis. Those areas are in dire need of economic redevelopment, code enforcement, increased safety, jobs, homelessness, services for the elderly, housing, jobs. It has areas of concentrated poverty and has been designated an environmental justice community. Its amazing that whomever represents that district doesn't have a cot at city hall! She's quibbling about a rule that says you need to stay for half a meeting?!
I don't get it.
I almost always bristle when friends, relatives tell me that Dallas is 'behind the times'. But part of the reason for that is because I know it to be true.
African-American city council members in the past had tough challenges. Indeed, fighting racism on the council and off the council. Fighting to demonstrate their competency and being taken seriously - carrying the burden of being 'the first', knowing that how they carried themselves would impact how those who followed would be received.
Don't get me wrong. We had our share of revolutionaries and flame throwers. They were activists whose antics infuriated and frightened white people, they ennobled some blacks and embarrassed some others. But given that time in our history they were just what we needed. They voiced our frustrations and demanded respect for us.
Today is different. We need serious people. We need politicians who will develop a degree of sophistication that will earn them respect that can be leveraged to make our communities healthy. We need politicians who are visionaries, who understand the critical nature of the transformation of these neglected communities to the health and well being of Dallas as a whole.
We don't just need those who voice frustration. There are people in those neighborhoods who are want to make a difference - they need someone to represent them in the halls of government that has the ambition to make history. We need politicians who will organize and prepare citizens to understand what they can expect from government and show them how to work to get that. We need politicians who will talk about what they can do with their constituency - not how hard the job is and what's not possible.
Ms. Davis' attitude and her comments are unfortunate. Really. It shows a lack of understanding of the significance of the office she holds. Many of us have jobs that allow us to take certain liberties. Many of us take more of those liberties than we should. But few of us would ask for a promotion and then complain that the demands of the job we ask for don't allow us to take those liberties anymore.
Some things just come with job. Like responsibility.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
I many schools in Texas, this is the first day back to school! So, a little something to all of my friends who are teachers, students, parents, grandparents and guardians of those precious young minds who will be filing into classrooms this morning:
It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us escape, not from our own time -- for we are bound by that -- but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Actually, its probably not quite so strange, and, unfortunately not so new. It's a matter of people whose fear of change has caused them to forget the dysfunction of the past few years and show a side of America brings our differences and distances into high relief.
"The Washington Post tells us at least a dozen individuals have arrived openly – and, yes, legally – strapped at events in Arizona and New Hampshire, including at least one who carried a semiautomatic assault rifle. In case the implied threat is not clear, one of them also brought a sign referencing Thomas Jefferson's quote about the need to water the tree of liberty with "the blood of ... tyrants.""
"It remains unclear, once you get beyond the realm of Internet myth, alarmist rhetoric and blatant lie, what the substance of the president's supposed tyranny might be. "Socialized health care?" Given that our libraries, schools, police and fire departments are all "socialized," that's hard to swallow. "
"When and if the implied violence comes, perhaps its author will explain. Meanwhile, expect those who stoked his rage – i.e., the makers of Internet myths, alarmist rhetoric and blatant lies – to disdain any moral responsibility for the outcome. "
"Adams spoke in geographical terms of a nation rapidly expanding toward the Pacific. Our challenge is less geographical than spiritual, less a question of the distance between Honolulu and New York than between you and the person right next to you. Such as when you look at a guy who thought it a good idea to bring a "gun" to a presidential speech and find yourself stunned by incomprehension. On paper, he is your fellow American, but you absolutely do not know him, recognize nothing of yourself in him. You keep asking yourself: Who is this guy?""
"We frame the differences in terms of "conservative" and "liberal," but these are tired old markers that with overuse and misuse have largely lost whatever meaning they used to have and with it, any ability to explain us to us. This isn't liberal vs. conservative, it is yesterday vs. tomorrow, the stress of profound cultural and demographic changes that will leave none of us as we were."
You can read the rest of his column here...
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Long before Denzel Washington or Morgan Freeman, Sydney Poitier was not only a premier black actor, he was a bona fide movie star. And the roles he took made African-Americans proud. Whether it was volatile Walter Lee Younger, in Raisin in the Sun, burning with his frustrated ambitions; or the affable and earnest Homer Smith in his Oscar winning role in Lilies of the Field; the doctor who puts turns the world of a liberal white newspaper publisher upside down, when he finds out about Poitier's engagement to his daughter in, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner - Poitier exhibited class and poise rarely seen by any actor and which few actors of any background could match. As one of his colleagues put it, "He is our Cary Grant."
One of the two iconic moments in another great film, 'In the Heat of the Night', when Poitier, responds to the racist condescension of the southern sheriff by declaring with a furious pride 'They Call me MR. TIBBS!'
Poitier's roles dealt with race in such a way that it spoke to the frustrations of African-Americans without evoking bitterness or rage. Simply an insistence on being treated with dignity and respect. In doing so, he has won the honor and respect of his colleagues and his countrymen.
Sydney Poitier was also one of the celebrities of his era who demonstrated what it meant to use his fame and wealth to make America better. He, along with Harry Belafonte, Marlon Brando, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and others, supported the Civil Rights Movement, visibly working with Martin Luther King, Jr. to end segregation and oppression in the country. Dr. King, in paying tribute to Poitier in 1967, said, "He is a man of great depth, a man of great social concern, a man who is dedicated to human rights and freedom. Here is a man who, in the words we so often hear now, is a soul brother."
Not bad for the son of tomato farmers. Not bad for an American. We are all proud!
Here is the other iconic moment from "In the Heat of the Night"...
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point."
Friday, August 21, 2009
But currently the number of Americans without health care (whether the number is 47 million, 30 million or 20 million), in some way cost us all. Not only does their lack of coverage cost the insured, our for profit system of providing coverage has as its primary concern investors - not the insured.
Anecdotal, pro-public option gibberish. Could be, unless you take into account the words of Aetna CEO Ron Williams who said, "We would gladly forgo membership growth if necessary. We have a clear bias toward profitability over growth", as he provided perspective regarding the rise in workers who drop their health care coverage because of unemployment or unaffordability.
A great statement if you are making widgets. But widgets are not moral commodities. Health coverage is not a commodity period. And the problem is getting worse - and as it get worse insurance companies are finding a way to profit, even as growing numbers of Americans find themselves unable to pay for health insurance.
The Economic Policy Institute's report shows that insurers plan to keep it that way.
After all, it's a business!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
You may not agree; you may have ideological if not political differences, but there's no doubt what's being proposed. No screaming, no yelling, no demagoguing, no fear mongering.
An real argument against which a real counter argument could leave citizens with something to chose. And I imagine you could argue with it if you have a real counter position.
Unless you're Joe Scarborough!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Oh, not moved in the way you might think. Its not a matter of whether or not I believe he is sincere in his apology or his desire to make amends for the horrible dog fighting episode. Or that I was particularly excited about his recent signing with the Philadelphia Eagles. I believe that whether or not he means what he says is something that will take time to figure out. And even then some people will judge him by the wrong he committed.
That's actually the thing that moved me...
Watch CBS Videos Online
How do you determine someones level of contrition? In Vick's case, for instance, isn't the fact that he has, according to the laws of our land, paid his debt to society? If so and the employer in his former chosen profession decides to give him another chance, how is that not enough?
On the other hand - can there be some wrongs done, let alone crimes committed that are so reprehensible that those who have had the opportunity for the public exercise of their talents and gifts, forfeit that right indefinitely - if not forever?
If it is 'the public' that has to forgive, how does that forgiveness express itself? Does that mean that you can no longer make a living doing anything in public? When one squanders opportunity, what level of remorse is sufficient for 'the public' to offer another chance? And what happens if public confidence is dealt another blow by different, or even similar actions?
Let me be clear: I really don't care whether or not Vick plays football again. Its not my call. He doesn't play for my favorite team. Football is a game, an entertainment venue and there are other ways to make a living.
But some people do care and its interesting to listen to or read their comments. Not because they relate to Vick alone, but because they give insight into how we feel about one another. Suffice it to say if Vick were our son, or nephew, many of us would readily forgive and wish him well. For some, if he were a neighbor we'd be more sympathetic. But he is a figure to most of us, a symbol, an image and as such we view him differently.
We 'look' to see contrition, remorse, regret, in his eyes. We listen for tone and examine body language and make our determination in that way. But what are we looking for? And when have we seen it? And to what degree do we make allowances for personality, circumstances, education and culture?
All that being said - I watched a rebroadcast of David Frost's interview with Richard Nixon. There is a question, apparently impromptu, which Frost asked about whether or not Nixon wanted to apologize to the American people for his responsibility and role in the Watergate scandal. Nearly, 35 years after that most dreadful incident, in which the country was brought to the brink of Constitutional crisis (this interview done three years later), its interesting to look at the disgraced President's face as he admitted he'd "...let the American people down."
It is worth watching indeed...
Nixon was paid for the interview.
Does it make his contrition any less real? Does it lesson the enormity of what at least bordered on criminality? Was he truly 'sorry'?
How do we tell?
And, for those of us who have ever been in similar circumstances - how did we get the people we cared about to believe in us again?
Sunday, August 16, 2009
One of the most moving stories in the Bible is the story of the woman who's twelve years of suffering was ended when she elbowed her way through a crowd and touched the hem of Jesus' garment.
Equally as moving is the simultaneous story of a man who had summoned Jesus to come and heal his 12 year old daughter. Jesus was going to see this young girl when the woman struggled to get healing from the Master anyway she could (Luke 8:40-56).
No matter where you stand on 'faith healing', the one thing that is just as true now as it was two thousand years ago, is the fact that illness and healing move people to anxiety, desperation and, when no cure can be found depression and despair. For those of us who believe the Bible, we understand the most important thing in situations like these is hope. If that is true, how despicable is it to intentionally instill fear in those who face the prospect of uncertainty when it comes to illness and the dire need for treatment and health care.
We are in the midst of a national controversy with regard to health care. A national conversation can be had that is both vital and vigorous. Most importantly it should be substantive. Promoting fear during these times is a dastardly tactic that ought to be decried from every serious citizen. Intentionally misleading people with specters of 'death panels', 'euthanasia' and wild distortions accompanied by images of Nazi Germany and Hitler are unworthy of the intelligent national conversations that can be had around health insurance reform and health care that involves how we provide coverage for Americans, how it should be paid for and who should pay. Legitimate passionate discussions, based on facts about the role of the market in treatment can be had and set a standard for how we deal with difficult issues in this country, while serving as a model for the world. But hysteria, fear mongering, insubstantial accusations, racism, xenophobia and irrationality are the resort of people who have no real contribution to the debate and whose desire for the status quo simply show their discomfort with change and no faith that we can make America better.
Most importantly, it robs us all of hope; hope that we can perfect our national life in ways that make our country a place that constantly seeks to make room for everyone.
Or we could just leave those who can't afford health care to hope for a miracle...
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Erin provides an intimate view into her spiritual anxiety as a young girl and the ancestral knowing of a young African-American woman. Though at home in both cultures, feels the mystic tug of her heritage in a place she sees afresh and she shares it with a simple profundity that is touching.
Thanks Erin, for such a sensitive and revealing look into your heart. Thanks Elaine, for sharing Erin with the rest of us!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
About five years ago, Dallas dealt with health care. Well, we dealt with it in the microcosm, compared to the massive reform debate our country is undergoing today. That is, if can call this a debate. Debates usually have a point of view vs. an alternative proposal as opposed to the hysterical reactions we are currently witnessing.
Dallas' health care challenge dealt with the budget of Parkland Memorial Hospital, which also happens to be the county hospital. Attempts to balance the hospital's budget were resulting in the proposal of cuts by our county court appointed board of managers, cuts which would have severely curtailed services to the poor. Arguments supportive of these cuts included scapegoating undocumented immigrants and knee jerk suppositions about who was actually a 'burden' on the county's health care budget.
At the time I was still a pastor and heavily engaged in working with Dallas Area Interfaith, one of a network of community organizing initiatives affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation. Our tactics differed significantly from the shouting, heckling, disruptive affairs we see in the town hall meetings across the country today.
We actually took the time to talk to county judges, health care professionals, including Parkland's amazing CEO Ron Anderson. We talked to members of the board of managers. We talked with Parkland's CFO who tutored us on the hospital's budget. We talked with our neighbors, church members and with one another. The conversations were across a broad cross section of the city and county: black, white and Hispanic; Republican and Democrat; in the southern part of the county which tends to be working class to poor and the northern portion of the county which tends to be more affluent.
And we learned...
We learned that Parkland's revenue shortfall wasn't caused nearly as much by undocumented immigrants as it was by people in more affluent northern counties. In these counties the officials had recalculated the poverty rate in such a way as to enable them to close their county hospital. The result? Poorer residents in those counties, primarily the formerly middle class residents who were already feeling the impact of flattening wages and lay-offs long before the recession became 'official', sought health care in Dallas County and didn't pay! We also realized that the hospital was indeed overburdened by families who used the county hospital as the substitute for a primary health care physician (no new discovery, but astounding when you listened to the story of people who waited in the emergency room for 10 plus hours to receive treatment).
The answers were pretty simple, but long term: more Community Health Care Clinics and a regional health care system. We didn't barnstorm town hall meetings, we registered for our time to speak. We made our statements and left in an orderly fashion as a group. We wrote op-ed pieces and printed accounts of our meetings in church bulletins and continued the conversations.
Finally, and the thing of which I am most proud, we invited the board of managers to come to my church and hold a 'town hall meeting'. In South Dallas, in one of the poorest communities, the board of managers changed their agenda and held a meeting in the evening to hear about the impact of their proposed budget cuts from the people who would be most affected by them.
Approximately 300-350 people showed up (normally a board of directors meeting held in the early afternoon at Parkland, might have a handful of people, most of them medical professionals). In orderly fashion, the poor, the elderly, their relatives and church members told their stories and asked their questions. Not only were the people orderly, but the board of managers was attentive and respectful.
The proposed budget cuts were rescinded and Dr. Anderson, whose job was on the line, was safe and has remained one of the premier hospital administrators in the country. On the drawing board: a new, larger county hospital.
The current health care debate is much larger, much more volatile than this county hospital controversy. The issue is volatile because it is moral, economic and political. But the current debate is rooted in the same issues: limited access, skyrocketing public costs and the economic and social costs associated with doing nothing, or doing something ineffectively. Citizens can be a part of the solution. But not if they appear to be some out of control mob. Anger is an appropriate and useful emotion, but if it is not channeled into useful public debate and action it comes off as puerile, impotent rage. Tension can be understandable and appropriate. Misinformation and disinformation fueled by rich, talking head entertainers and lunatic leaders searching for a lunatic fringe to whom they can appeal is simply a sad commentary on what we believe about democracy. Appeals to the visceral and base instincts with talk of 'death panels' and 'euthanasia', ultimately leaves this country weaker because it makes civil discourse difficult.
Talk of 'socialised medicine' by those who have received a public education, protection in the form of public safety and drive to these town hall meetings on public roads, or call in to radio talk shows on public airways, while shouting 'keep your hands off my Medicare' , make protesters seem out of touch and ill informed, if not plain ridiculous.
Its not necessary to agree with any of the current health care proposals. But it is necessary to be a part of the process and do more than just shout at the rain.
This is one thing I know: five years after the Parkland incident I am proud to have worked with my fellow citizens on this issue. We didn't just get attention, we got respect. I really don't know if five years from now, some of these people showing up at these town hall meetings will be able to say the same thing, no matter the outcome.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
She walked past students laughing, gossiping, napping and combing one another’s hair. Past a cellphone blaring rap songs. And past a substitute teacher sitting in a near-daze.
Quietly, the 18-year-old settled into an empty table, flipped open her physics book and focused. Nothing mattered now except homework."
"Around here, Khadijah is known as “Harvard girl,” the “smart girl” and the girl with the contagious smile who landed at Jefferson High School only 18 months ago.
What students don’t know is that she is also a homeless girl."
"As long as she can remember, Khadijah has floated from shelters to motels to armories along the West Coast with her mother. She has attended 12 schools in 12 years; lived out of garbage bags among pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers. Every morning, she upheld her dignity, making sure she didn’t smell or look disheveled."
"On the streets, she learned how to hunt for their next meal, plot the next bus route and help choose a secure place to sleep — survival skills she applied with passion to her education.
Only a few mentors and Harvard officials know her background. She never wanted other students to know her secret — not until her plane left for the East Coast hours after her Friday evening graduation."
"“I have felt the anger at having to catch up in school . . . being bullied because they knew I was poor, different, and read too much,” she wrote in her college essays. “I knew that if I wanted to become a smart, successful scholar, I should talk to other smart people.”"
"Khadijah was in third grade when she first realized the power of test scores, placing in the 99th percentile on a state exam. Her teachers marked the 9-year-old as gifted, a special category that Khadijah, even at that early age, vowed to keep."
"“I still remember that exact number,” Khadijah said. “It meant only 0.01 students tested better than I did.”"
Monday, August 10, 2009
This disappointing saga continues.
Another man languishes in prison for the better part of his life for a crime he didn't commit.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
"When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people."
Friday, August 7, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
There's lots of serious stuff to talk about, but in the 'white noise' of all the news about President Clinton's rescue mission, health care legislation and the shooting in Pennsylvania, I heard something that caught my attention. Eli Manning, quarterback for the New York Giants, was offered and was expected to sign a new contract for $97 million, making him the highest paid player in the National Football League. Trivial against the backdrop of all of the serious news out there, but what can I say? It caught my attention...
Now let stop and say, I really don't have a problem with how much anyone earns. I have a problem with people not being paid enough to support their families, but I understand the market enough to know that what it will bear, in general, will be what people will be paid for the work they do. Again, while I can argue with that in the interest of poor people, I understand the principle.
No, this isn't about Manning being overpaid. It just made me a bit nostalgic.
The Dallas Cowboys are my favorite team. And I was whisked back to about 40 years ago when I really became a fan. One of my favorite players of all time was Duane Thomas.
Thomas was a running back and the first round Cowboy draft choice in 1970. He graduated from West Texas State University (Texas A&M Commerce) and a local favorite - he graduated from Lincoln High School in South Dallas.
Duane was a phenomenal football player. He had a fluid, slashing running style that made him absolutely fascinating to watch. Some compared him to a cross between Gayle Sayers and Jim Brown. He gained over 800 yards, averaging 5 yards a carry and was the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1970.
Duane signed to play for the Cowboys for the rookie minimum, which was $23,000 (did I mention that Eli Manning's contract was for $97 million!)! Thomas played in Super Bowl V with the Cowboys, in the devastating loss to the Baltimore Colts. On media day, Thomas who was always described as quiet, almost shy, had one of the best quotes of any player ever. A reporter asked how it felt as a rookie to play in the ultimate football game. Thomas told the reporter that he didn't consider the Super Bowl the 'ultimate game'. The hard bitten sports writers were shocked that this rookie could be so nonplussed in the face of such a significant opportunity for his team and himself. So the reporter asked him why he said that. Thomas shot back, 'If it was the ultimate game, they wouldn't play it again next year.'
Duane got a $5000 bonus for being the NFL Rookie of the Year. In a recent ESPN documentary on Superbowl teams, Duane said that the Rookie of the Year for the St. Louis (now Arizona) Cardinals, got a $25,000!
Now all of this was before agents and free agency. And the Cowboys were notorious for underpaying their players - any and all of their players. But Duane figured that, after such a stellar season he deserved a raise - so he went to negotiate a new contract with then general manager Tex Schramm. DT wanted a raise from $23,000 to $80,000 (did I mention that Eli Manning will sign a contract for $97 million!)!
Schramm refused. A contract is a contract and the Cowboys didn't renegotiate contracts, especially for rookies. Thomas took it as an insult. He held a press conference and blasted America's Team's Holy Trinity! He called Gil Brandt the head of Cowboy scouting 'a liar, and a cheat'; he called Tex Schramm 'sick, twisted and totally demented' (Schramm said he got two of the three right); and he called venerated head coach Tom Landry 'a plastic man...really no man at all'. Suffice it to say, for a 23 year old pro football rookie (from South Dallas, no less), playing for America's Team, to go off like that caused quite a stir!
Duane threatened to retire, was briefly traded to the Buffalo Bills, but the trade was reversed by NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle and Thomas was sent back to the Cowboys. So to show his displeasure and disdain for the Cowboys and their handling of the situation Thomas decided that he wouldn't talk. Not just to the media - he wouldn't talk period - not to the media, not to the coaches, not to his teammates. He said the absolute bear minimum to anyone. He didn't answer roll call in team meetings. He had his pregame warm ups away from the team. He sat away from his teammates on the sidelines.
And he had an absolutely phenomenal season...
He, Calvin Hill and Walt Garrison were the Cowboys running backs. Thomas led the team in rushing with 793 yards and the league in touchdowns with 13. After Landry settled on Roger Staubach as the starting quarterback (another story altogether), the Cowboys went on to win their first of five Super Bowls. Thomas gained 95 yards in the a 24-3 victory over the Miami Dolphins and would have been MVP, had it not been for Staubach's great game.
In a post game locker room celebration interview, with the great Jim Brown at his side, DT broke his silence. CBS' Tom Brookshire asked Thomas - who hadn't spoken all year - the stirring, burning question that was on everybody's mind: 'Are you really as fast and as elusive as you seem?' (sigh).
Thomas' reply? 'Evidently.'
Eli Manning, is probably going to be a great player. But he'll never provide that much drama!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
"More than 80 percent of the vehicles turned in were trucks and sport-utility vehicles, the government said. The top-selling new car is the Ford Focus, followed by the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Toyota Prius and Toyota Camry. The new vehicles on average get 25.4 miles per gallon, compared with an average of 15.8 mpg for the trade-ins."
"For us, that's a good chunk of sales in a week," Thomas said. "It's bringing people in who would not normally be in the new-car market. I think it has created a lot of good consumer confidence."
"If we don't work something out on the cash for clunkers," Reid said from the Senate floor Wednesday morning, he would file motions to close debate. Under Senate procedure, that could mean votes on both Friday and Saturday, when lawmakers would otherwise be scattering for their coveted summer break."
"We all acknowledge there's a significant majority that want to move forward with this legislation," said Reid, D-Nev."
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
"No changes are expected before the end of the current fiscal year on Sept. 30. There are 32,741 post offices."
""We anticipate that out of these 3,200 stations and branches, under 1,000 offices could be considered as viable candidates to study further," Small said."
""Every facet of our organization is under review, simply because we're losing $20 million a day," said McKinney Boyd, a spokesman for the Postal Service's Dallas district."
"Earlier this year, the Postal Service announced it was closing two other North Texas post offices – one in Irving, the other in Lewisville."
"The Irving station closed last month, but Lewisville officials are pleading to keep the Old Town office open. Its status apparently is still under review."
"The post offices under review were selected partly because they don't do enough business, are costly to operate or are close to other locations, Boyd said Monday."
"He stressed that the list is preliminary as the Postal Service continues to scrutinize its locations for potential savings amid a rapid decline in business because of e-mail. The Postal Service has handled 15 billion fewer pieces of mail so far this year than the same period last year, he said."