Monday, December 21, 2009

Yes, Virginia, There is Still a Merry Christmas

With Christmas upon us, I thought I'd reprint my column from last year's Dallas Morning News. I hope you enjoy it. Merry Christmas!

"Yes, Virginia, There is Still a Merry Christmas"
from the Dec. 25, 2008 Dallas Morning News
by Victor Medina

Dear Virginia,
After your famous letter about Santa Claus, I thought it best to write you before you start to worry. Many people are wondering where Christmas went. It seems some folks don't mention it any more. Instead of "Merry Christmas," they say "Happy Holidays," "Season's Greetings" and "Happy Winter Solstice." If you go shopping, you may have noticed most stores won't mention Christmas by name or who it is named for. You probably saw news stories on TV that most cities and schools don't allow nativity scenes or any mention of the fact that Christmas is Jesus' birthday.

This is because they think it's the "politically correct" thing to do. You may not understand what "politically correct" means, and it's a little hard to describe even to adults, but it basically means: Don't offend people with lawyers.

Some people just don't want a Merry Christmas. Every once in a while, the Scrooges of the world gather together with the overeducated and the litigious, the skeptics and the religious bigots, and assorted patronizing New-Agers and all try to re-create Christmas in their own image. They are the ones who started the rumors about Santa being a fake, too.

After awhile, we all come around to our senses and things go back to normal. Yes, Virginia, there is still a Merry Christmas. You can say it to people and not worry about offending them. Even our Jewish brothers and sisters don't mind hearing it. If they point out their heritage, just apologize and wish them a Happy Hanukkah and a joyous Festival of Lights.

You usually don't run into people who get offended with a "Merry Christmas." They're too busy teaching at universities, making movies or chasing ambulances to meet you. If someone does get offended, just smile and say, "I'm sorry." In truth, if someone is so bitter that he or she can't stand to see others happy, you should feel sorry for him or her.

Some people think there is no room in this world for celebrating Jesus' birthday. The truth is that this world needs to celebrate it more than ever. Why some people are so afraid of a baby in a manger is beyond me. Maybe it's because they realize what that baby means. The Christ of Christmas was a gift that changes lives, even today. Angels heralded His arrival with "Peace on Earth" and "Goodwill to Man." Who couldn't use a little more of that?

Take the Christ out of Christmas, and it's just another day. It's an excuse for shopping or hanging lights. Those things are nice, but it's not what Christmas is all about. The spirit of Christmas, that special feeling you feel this time of year, isn't made by gifts and lighted trees. It's a mix of hope, love, faith and care for our fellow man. That's what the Scrooges all miss.

You can't outlaw that spirit or shame it into the ether. Ban it from public displays and town squares, and the spirit of Christmas finds a way. People will burst into a Christmas carol for no reason. Explosions of spontaneous generosity break out. Christmas miracles become a common occurrence. Yes, Virginia, there is still a Merry Christmas.

Christmas cannot be canceled, not by a dozen recessions. It cannot be smothered, not by a thousand Scrooges. It cannot be forgotten, not by a million cynics. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a problem or crisis in this world that cannot be solved with the love that God has shown us at Christmas.
It is why people say to keep the spirit of Christmas going all year long. We know of whose spirit they speak:

The Christ of Christmas told us how to truly celebrate His birth and life: Give someone who is thirsty a drink. Give someone who is hungry food. Give someone who is cold a blanket to keep him or her warm. Give someone who is sick the care he or she needs. Give someone who is homeless a place to lay his or her head. Give widows and orphans the help they may need. Give your neighbors and your enemies the love and respect you would like to receive. When you do those things for people, the Christ of Christmas said you do it for Him. Yes, Virginia, there still is a Merry Christmas.

As long as love, faith, hope and joy exist, Christmas, and its namesake, will endure in this world.

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Dallas Morning News Blog Entry

Roy Appleton at the Dallas Morning News Oak Cliff blog was kind enough to post my thoughts on the recent murder of one of our neighbors, and my questions for how we as a community should address it. I've gotten some great feedback and I appreciate the notes I've received. To see the post in its entirety, you can click here to read my thoughts.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Get in the Christmas spirit with Arlington Jones at the Dallas Museum of Art!

Arlington Jones is an outstanding jazz musician whose new CD, "Vintage Christmas," is now available online from his website as well as iTunes and Rhapsody, among others. If you need some soulful Christmas music to get in the holiday spirit, then go see Arlington at the Dallas Museum of Art on Thursday, December 3, where he performs at 6:00 p.m. as part of the "Jazz in the Atrium" series. You can even pick up the CD there. I really hope you'll go, I guarantee you will enjoy it - Arlington's been a friend since high school and he is truly a gifted musician. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

We get the coverage we deserve

Texas State Rep. Norma Chavez is upset that more Hispanics aren't adequately represented in Texas history books. I decided to post a response to a Dallas Morning News story about it on their site, which you can read here. I copied my response below, which I kept very brief:

While I think it is important to ensure that minorities are represented in history books, it should be a truthful representation, not one that seeks a balance or quota based on the fact that a minority group grows in terms of population.

If Chavez has a real beef, she should cite specific examples, not try to score political points. I saw her statement, edited of course, and I saw no examples of "glaring" lapses in Latino coverage. If there is a lack of proper Latino leaders in the history books, it is a poor reflection of our race's lack of leadership, not the historian covering it. Otherwise we do a disservice to our race and all Texas schoolchildren.

I'm not a big fan of Chavez anyway - check out her Wikipedia page to read news reports of her ties to lobbyists and improper behavior towards the police. Her arguments ring hollow until she gives specifics.

My other job....

Besides the websites I work on, I do a lot of freelance writing. I provide articles from time to time for assorted publications and websites like One of my recent articles was just published at It was a short primer on buying gift cards and a look at the possible drawbacks. You can read it right here.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Great minds who think alike...

Since my last Dallas Morning News column I'm happy to say I've come into contact with a number of great people, in particular conservative and Republican Latinos around Dallas and nationwide. Among them are the Conservative Hispanic Society of Texas, based here in north Texas and a growing group on Facebook, and the Hispanic Leadership Fund located in D.C. I highly recommend you get to know both groups.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

No thanks, Elba Garcia

Well, that didn't take long. Former Mayor pro-tem Elba Garcia isn't yet ready to return to the private sector. She has managed to find an office a Garcia hasn't held: Dallas County Commissioner! Elba is now running for the Commissioner seat currently held by Ken Mayfield. The question voters should ask is.....WHY? Mayfield has done a great job in his time as commissioner. He's picky with spending county funds, has kept county services on their toes, and best of all, he isn't afraid to take an unpopular position if it is in the county's best interests. I don't care what party you're in, that's what an elected official should do. With a perfectly good comissioner in place, what is Elba's excuse for running? Can she do a better job than Mayfield? It's doubtful. I know Ken Mayfield, and he is a good man, and a better commissioner.

We have already seen her campaign approach in her announcement to run. She said, "I'm Elba Garcia, I'm a Democrat, and I'm running for County Commissioner." Really? Because she's a Democrat, she deserves the seat? I'm telling you, that will be her plan. We'll hear what an evil Republican Mayfield is. They will try to portray him as anti-Hispanic and try to drum up the Latino vote. Suddenly, the man she never cared about enough before to even mention his name will now become Oak Cliff's biggest problem. The problem is, folks will buy it.

Three reasons why you SHOULDN'T vote for Elba Garcia were visible at her press conference when she announced her intention to run: to her side stood Royce West, John Wiley Price, and hubby Domingo Garcia. We don't need an extension of the Garcia Cabal. Elba was my councilwoman for years. She had ZERO impact on my neighborhood and our way of life. That's why she doesn't have my vote. Only influential people in her "circle" got attention. The little guy didn't. No thanks, Elba. We're good as it is.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Best of Oak Cliff

Roy Appleton, who blogs about Oak Cliff for the Dallas Morning News, posted the other day about the Oak Cliff Chamber looking for nominees for their annual awards. As a former board member of the Chamber, I encourage any and all OC residents to send their suggestions in. Here are the categories and nomination details:

1. Best Oak Cliff business
2. Advocacy by an individual, group or business
3. Chamber super-volunteer
4. Quality of life award -- group or business that most improved OC in 2009
5. Best development in Oak Cliff in 2009
6. Event with most impact on Oak Cliff in 2009
7. Best Oak Cliff public servant

Send nominations and a brief explanation to by 5 p.m. Nov. 6. One nominee per category.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Another take on Republicans and immigration reform

Gee, I guess I'm not alone. Michael Gerson of the Washington Post has addressed the whole GOP and immigration reform issue as well, much more eloquently than I. Click here to read the column.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Dallas Morning News: The GOP & Immigration Reform

My Dallas Morning News column, about the GOP's moral obligation to immigration reform, is now available to read online by CLICKING HERE.

I know the column will be criticized by many as pro-amnesty or somehow bowing to lawbreakers. It's time we realize those are not the core issues. Our failure to help those trying to escape the bonds of poverty has created this problem, and our country has a long history of changing immoral laws. We should be in the business of creating law-abiding citizens, not branding people as criminals because they seek the blessings of liberty we enjoy everyday. We can find solutions if we are willing to stop politicizing.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My column in Saturday's Dallas Morning News

My column addressing the moral obligation of the Republican party to address immigration reform will run in Saturday's (10/3) Viewpoints section of the Dallas Morning News. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Is "The Invention of Lying" Anti-Christian?

The reviews are in, and Ricky Gervais' new film "The Invention of Lying" not only isn't very good, it has a vicious mean streak against Christianity that you won't see in the trailers. Movie Geek Feed and MovieGuide both detail how the film bashes faith and anyone who believes in God as an idiot believing a lie. My suggestion? Read the reviewers above before you decide to see the film.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Keep Your Money in the Cliff!

It's no secret that a strong community is supported by residents who spend their money in their own neighborhood. To that end, I suggest that business owners large and small, as well as entrepreneurs in Oak Cliff attend "Wake Up Dallas!" on Thursday, October 1. It's an early-morning networker that will be held in the Bank of America Building's Orion Ballroom (400 S. Zang Blvd., 15th Floor, 75208) from 7 to 9 a.m. Bring $2, business cards, brochures, and a door prize to be given away. The event is sponsored by the Oak Cliff Chamber, the DeSoto Chamber, the Southeast Dallas Chamber, the West Dallas Chamber, the Hispanic Chamber, and the Dallas Northeast Chamber. For more info or to RSVP, contact the Oak Cliff Chamber at (214) 943-4567.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My guest blog post at

I have a guest post on the Dallas Morning News Opinion Page Blog today, addressing the outrage over the "You Lie" controversy. To read it, click here!

My new column at When Liberals Attack!

Since Matt Damon has a new movie coming out this week, I thought we should revisit Matt Damon's attack on Sarah Palin last year. Before you drop another $8.50 for one of his movies, click here to remind yourself what he thinks about strong, conservative women.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Meet your Oak Cliff City Council Members

Dave Neumann and Delia Jasso will be holding a "Town Hall Update" luncheon on Thursday, September 17. The event is part of the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce's "Food for Thought Luncheon" series and will be held at the Golf Club of Dallas at 11:30 a.m. Both Neumann and Jasso will be taking your questions.

This will be a great opportunity to meet your local officials and find out first-hand what is going on in the community. You don't even have to be a Chamber member to attend! Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for non-members. To attend, contact the Oak Cliff Chamber at (214) 943-4567.

Monday, September 7, 2009

My new site: When Liberals Attack!

My series of "When Liberals Attack" articles for have been so well received that I have decided to begin a second website dedicated just to the series. will list all of my columns and hopefully make them easier to browse. I'm still populating the site with the columns, so it will be a few days before it is ready, but be sure to bookmark it and check it often!

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Dallas Morning News Op-Ed Piece

My latest column is an op-ed piece about the changes downtown that make the political process at city hall more transparent. It runs in Saturday's printed editions, but you can read it now by CLICKING HERE. Now, more than ever, it is important that we keep our elected officials to a higher standard, but it takes all of us becoming more engaged in the system. Pick an issue: graffiti, rezoning and development, ONCOR mowing down all of our trees, or anything else, and get involved. There are meetings and forums on budget and city issues all the time. If we don't stay involved, we can't complain about the corruption downtown or the poor state of our neighborhoods.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dallas' Clinic Closings

I've been watching with a lot of interest the developments of the city of Dallas closing three clinics that provide services to the poor and needy. The closings would save the city nearly $3 million, and city officials were claiming the services could be absorbed by the county. Many, including myself, were concerned the move would leave a lot of folks without an outlet for practical health services, including immunizations.

Some have said Parkland would be a perfectly fine alternative, but sitting in the emergency room for six to eight hours is hardly practical. Parkland's outpatient program, which operates clinics in various locations, is already so overburdened that new patients have to wait three months after they qualify to get a doctor's appointment. There needs to be a place for immediate attention outside of the total beating of waiting at Parkland.

I doubted the county could take on the burden immediately, and after seeing news reports in the Morning News that people were being turned away at city clinics because nurses were already quitting ahead of the closure, I became more concerned. Thankfully, it looks like the city is taking the welfare of the working poor seriously.

I emailed several councilmembers about the situation, and only District 1 councilwoman Delia Jasso followed through with me. She forwarded to me a memo from assistant city manager Forest Turner to city administration that they have been working with the county to transfer their state grants to them so there would be no lapse in service. The city has informed the state of the plan and the city will be briefed on the progress in early September.

I'm glad to see the city is actually taking the needs of its citizens into account here. It would have been so easy to pass the buck and make it someone else's problem, so let's hope this works without a gap in service. I was critical of Ms. Jasso during the election, but she and her staff have been great in addressing the issue and keeping me informed. Kudos to them for their work in following up and their professionalism.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Updates on my latest stories, a national pro-life news site, has picked up on my Examiner story about Planned Parenthood. You can read their story HERE. I've also been informed that a number of other sites are running with the story as well. I'm so grateful that word of this little-known provision of the health care bill is getting out.

Also, I have also posted my interview with Wade Emmert at You can read it HERE. Wade is running for Dallas County Judge, which oversees the County Commissioner's Court. It is an important position, currently being held by Jim Foster, who has been such an absolute failure that even his fellow Democrats don't support his reelection. You can find out more about Wade at

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Planned Parenthood in America's Schools?

I took the time to start researching President Obama's health care reform bill and found something interesting. The bill allows outside groups to get federal grants to run clinics in and near America's public schools. If you're wondering who the Obama Administration had in mind to run them, note that they've been meeting with Planned Parenthood officials all summer. For more information, please CLICK HERE TO READ MY REPORT! Be sure to tell others!

Friday, August 14, 2009

People Actually Vote for Sheila Jackson Lee

House Rep. Lee represents Houston, and they ought to be ashamed. She's the ultimate opportunist. She ripped Barack Obama back in the primaries when it looked like Hillary had it wrapped up. At Michael Jackson's funeral, she promised to get a Congressional proclamation saying how wonderful he was (the House refused). This week, she had an Obama DNC delegate in her town hall meeting pretend to be a doctor and talk about how wonderful the proposed health plan is. Here is how she treats normal people.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dallas Morning News: A School By Any Other Name

My "guest blog" entry has been posted at the Dallas Morning News website, on their opinion blog. It addresses DISD board member Ron Price's attempt to name a school for Barack Obama and Sonia Sotomayor. For a direct link, CLICK RIGHT HERE. There is even a comments section for your feedback.

Monday, August 3, 2009

My Latest Morning News Column Is Online

Thanks to everyone for the great feedback so far on my Sunday column. In case you didn't get Sunday's paper, the column is now online at the Morning News website. Click here to read the column online now!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Next Morning News Column

My new column for the Dallas Morning News will be published soon, which discusses the city's responsibility to help the working poor and the elderly in tough times. I reference a proposal floating around City Hall to stop providing hot meals to the elderly at the MLK Rec Center and close several clinics that provide low cost immunizations and health care in South Dallas. These proposals are being made because someone thinks no one will raise a stink. Thankfully, City Councilman Dwaine Caraway vows to at least keep the meal program going.

My column also mentions the burden code enforcement can be on many. Due to space limitations, I didn't go into detail over how the code enforcement citation system works - and why some may argue that it is effective - but the bottom line is code enforcement investigators should begin working with their city council members and local civic and neighborhood groups to solve the core issues behind the citations. Yes, it is a lot of extra work and responsibility, but it is an investment in the future of our communities. The system the way it is now does not work. We can't play "gotcha" with our citizens. We must give them the tools to become better neighbors. More on this to come.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Honor one of the "Band of Brothers"

The HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers" is one of my all-time favorite series. It's an amazing true story of heroes in a time when America needed them most. I was saddened then to hear from my friend Anthony Burris that one of the "Band of Brothers" featured in the miniseries, Darrell "Shifty" Powers, died of cancer June 17 at the age of 86.

As word of his passing spread online, many are asking how they can show their thanks. I've learned that you can visit THIS LINK to leave condolences. Hurry though, it's only available through July 20.

As the grandson of a WWII vet who is no longer with us, I know that this "Greatest Generation" is getting smaller every day. Let's honor them while they can. Our condolences to the Powers family.

Faith in America's People

I must share this. The video may be small (I had to squeeze it in) but you can click on the TV icon to see it full screen. Norm Gamel sent this to me, which shows how people in the state of Georgia welcomed home one of their fallen sons. No matter what you see on TV or the garbage that makes up our popular culture, it is nice to know that when it comes down to it, this is the real America.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Can't See the Real Oak Cliff For All The Trees

Sometimes I wonder if I'm living in the same Oak Cliff as other folks. Depending on who you ask, I'm not. Even though I've lived here since I was I was kid, I was told recently by more than one Oak Cliff "Hipster Doofus" that because my Dallas Morning News columns lean conservative, I'm not a part of "their Oak Cliff" and don't speak for them. These goosestepping "Johnny-Come-Latelys" move in to the Cliff, fix up a tudor, and think they own the place.

Now, in a Morning News column published Sunday, I've actually been called out by one of my fellow Community Voices columnists, who disagrees with the fact that I say more folks aren't taking the proper responsibility for their community. Apparently, since the author is politically active and volunteers, I must be wrong. Really? Let's look at the facts.

In the June 13 runoff, voter turnout was under 7%. In my precinct, turnout was 10.50%. By the already low standards we set, that is "good." However, outside of our little social circles and the "bubble" created by our friends and neighbors, there are a bunch of disaffected people who either think their vote doesn't matter or don't care who is in charge. THAT is the real problem. If you are going to take a swing at me, try using a fist full of reality, not some rose-colored perception of how things are.

I didn't want to criticize a fellow columnist in print, because I think it's bad form, but I'm also not going to sit back and have what I think is a valid point diminished. There are real problems in Oak Cliff, and WE, the people who live here, are to blame. I love living here, and I'm not going to give it up without a fight. I've served my time on boards and committees working to make it better. Even with the good, that doesn't mean we should close our eyes to the bad. I'm sorry if pointing out the realities or "experiences" of the 93% of the people who didn't vote June 13 offends some.

Sooner or later, those realities, those problems festering under the surface are going to burst the bubble some Oak Cliff apologists live in. If we don't deal with it now, and pretend everything is wonderful, the name of Oak Cliff will continue to have a stigma attached to it. No wonderful restaurants, no big trees, and no good intentions are going to change that.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Random gunfire in Oak Cliff bad? Really?

I was so relieved to hear that our new north Oak Cliff leader, city councilwoman Delia Jasso, nipped the "July 4 random gunfire" problem in the bud by issuing a press release telling us how bad random gunfire is. She suggested folks lock away those guns and just be cool, basically. She also suggested we call 911 if we hear random gunfire. There's an idea.

The truth is, I stood a better chance of calling Domino's than 911 when I heard gunshots. At least Domino's would get here in 30 minutes, and we would have had pizza. Jasso should have grabbed the bull by the horns and worked with other Oak Cliff leaders and the police to beef up patrols and enforcement. They should have been on TV the week leading up to the Fourth telling everyone that extra cops would be out to respond quickly. That might have put a little fear into folks.

Instead, I spent the Fourth enjoying brats with family and friends and watching the neighborhood fireworks show (with random gunfire) that goes on every year in the parking lot across from Peabody Elementary near my house. Every year, an unofficial and illegal pyrotechnic demonstration is held, and once you've given up trying to call 911, it is actually enjoyable. With officers overburdened, everyone knows calls won't be responded to. The folks setting off the fireworks don't even try to hide. They sit outside their cars talking with friends and setting off rockets.

I gave up calling 911 about such things last year. After I saw a neighbor shooting bottle rockets at passing cars, I called 911. Eventually, a patrol car came by, and the neighbors responded by shooting a rocket AT THE POLICE CAR. It went off underneath the car with a loud bang and burst of light, and the car kept going. It never stopped. I officially gave up then. Say goodnight Gracie.

If we expect to make Oak Cliff a better place, we must first have lawbreakers believe the law will be enforced. Right now, I don't even believe that. For now, we just enjoy the fireworks.

My work on

I've been covering Dallas Republican politics on for a little while now, and the feedback has been great, even if it isn't all positive. Apparently, a few left-wingers are really upset over my "When Liberals Attack" articles, which point out some of the crazy and underhanded tactics coming from the left. I get a kick out of their rants which they post in the comment section after the articles. They think they can insult or shame me into keeping quiet, silly rabbits. They were especially upset over my July 4 article which reminded folks to remember the Prop. 8 musical clip that ridiculed Christians and Jesus Christ the next time they consider buying or renting a movie with Jack Black. Check it out here.

You can sign up to get an email when I post a new article on Just click on the Examiner logo to the right or CLICK HERE and then click on the link that says SUBSCRIBE TO EMAIL. Thanks!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

4th of July Column

My latest column for the Dallas Morning News is now available to read BY CLICKING HERE. You can read it in print on Sunday, July 5 in the Metro section.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cesar Chavez St. Controversy Is Back

Update (July 2): Steve Salazar, the city councilman supposedly behind the Chavez proposal, has withdrawn the request, saying he never intended to submit it. Right. Regardless, I'll keep my original post up for the next stupid request which is sure to come.

July 1: Here we go again. Instead of addressing a lack of education, jobs, and hope in our communities, Dallas area Latino leaders think the answer to all of our ills is naming a street for Cesar Chavez. There is now a push to rename Young St, located downtown, for Cesar Chavez. Why? Well, there is no official reason why, but once you realize that Young St. is home to WFAA, The Dallas Morning News, City Hall Plaza, and the Dallas Public Library, the reason is clear.

These folks are not motivated in honoring Chavez. They are using him. He is a tool to "stick it" to what they see as the "white powerhouse" that runs downtown and local government. They would love to see the Morning News change their address to say "Chavez." It doesn't matter that this does nothing to help local Latinos or even keep alive the work Cesar started. This is about local Latinos flexing their political muscle. They want to make a point that they can snap their fingers and get whatever they want. The Morning News, white city council members, and just about every other non-Latino in this city is too afraid to stand up to this silly demand out of fear they will appear racist. They are right - they will appear racist. They can't complain, this is the world of white liberal guilt they created.

I addressed this last year in a Morning News column (see the link to the right). If local Latino leaders were really concerned about honoring Chavez, they would do something more fitting than slap his name on some street signs. They would name a library after him. We already have a school. How about a "Cesar Chavez Educational Program," that closes the educational gap Latinos face in this town by starting GED classes around Oak Cliff, or help young working parents get into night classes at the local community college, or start a scholarship program with local four year colleges for those who need to complete their Bachelor's or Master's? No, they won't do that. That would require them to move their, ahem, behinds, and do something useful. Adelfa Callejo should spend more time inside a school instead of demanding she get her name put on the outside of one.

Roy Appleton of the Morning News asked our new city council member, Delia Jasso, why we can't name Jefferson Blvd., in the heart of Latino Oak Cliff, for Cesar, which makes more sense. "That won't happen," she said. Maybe because it's actually in a Latino community and it doesn't "stick it" in the face of too many gringos. Nice going, Delia.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My column on and in the Cypress Times

My latest column on Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's run for governor is now available for reading at by CLICKING HERE.

The column is also available at the Cypress Times website, a great news site based in Cypress, Texas, down by Houston. You can read the column there by CLICKING HERE. I hope you'll bookmark the Cypress Times website and visit it often. They will be carrying my columns from time to time.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Told Ya So: Oak Cliff's Sophisticated Boozehounds

One of my Dallas Morning News columns a while back talked about Cockrell Hill and how I felt their legalization of alcohol sales would have negative consequences for the community. I received quite a bit of negative feedback from folks who said I had it all wrong, that Cockrell Hill would be a better place with all the tax revenue. They complained that if Cockrell Hill wouldn't sell them their wine, they would have to go over the river to get it. I don't care if you have to go out of your way to have Merlot with your Mac and Cheese, booze isn't good for Oak Cliff. I'm sorry if drinking Dr. Pepper while you discuss politics over dinner doesn't seem sophisticated.

Now I get to say I told you so. Those high-class providers of adult beverages in Cockrell Hill have now opened a drive-thru store with hoochie-mamas that bring you your Colt 45s. These scantily clad chicks have earned their own protestors who don't like the fact that these girls are being treated like pieces of meat and are out in front of the drive-thru while kids pass by to and from the school down the street. Congrats Cockrell Hill! You set the women's movement back twenty years!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gentrification and the Davis/Bishop Study

The Davis St. Land Use Study, which aims to encourage several development projects along the north Oak Cliff street, is the kind of thing this area has needed for years. The study has united several development efforts in the area into one movement that the city can get behind. It also gives the developers an easier time to move forward with the city, as each is given legitimacy with a "big picture" focus instead of isolated projects.

The study has been criticized by some as an attempt to turn the area into a mini-Uptown and drive out the large Latino population that is there. The idea that north Oak Cliff is being "gentrified" is ridiculous, and unfairly characterizes the study as some sort of ethnic cleansing.

During the recent election, one Latino candidate actually had the nerve to complain in a campaign mailing about the bulldozing of all of those trashy apartments across the street from St. Cecilia's Church. Instead of being glad that better homes would be built, he argued that somehow these people wanted to live in that rat's nest. Yes, the homes being built were probably out of their price range, but there is no shortage of decent, affordable apartments in the area. Sometimes hard decisions must be made to make a community safer.

Latinos can afford better housing. They deserve better housing. This is not a movement to chase them away. This community will benefit from this development. Don't buy into this argument that Latinos will be shut out under this plan. It's just a wedge tactic being used by some to unfairly characterize development.

The real issue here is some folks don't want to be bothered. They think this development will affect their quality of life. It's the same argument that has been used ever since the Bishop Arts area began to expand. They argued that there would be more traffic, the area would lose its identity, and some nice old buildings would be lost. It didn't happen in Bishop Arts. It won't happen under the Davis study. Thankfully, the city council seems ready to get behind the thing and not try to micromanage each phase of the plan like some are trying to do.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I See Dead Voters....

If dead people vote Delia Jasso into office and no one cares, does that make it right? I suppose we'll know soon enough. For some people, moral relativity is a way of life: right and wrong is defined by whether or not it fits our needs and wants.

Some are blowing off the charges that Delia Jasso's campaign participated in voter fraud by saying a.) take away the disputed votes and Jasso would have won by a slim margin anyway, and b.) Jasso deserves to win because she is Latino and she's running in a Latino district against a white guy (Justin Epker). For these folks, a win is a win, by any means necessary.

The problem is, wrong is wrong, no matter how you justify it. In the days to come, we'll see if the district attorney or local media do their due diligence and investigate the facts. If it is swept under the rug, it will say a lot about the state of our community. We will know if a privileged, connected few can get away with things you and I cannot.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Oak Cliff: Roughin' It Like the Stone Age

Good grief. Being without power, phone, and internet is like being a Flintstone. Like many folks in the Big D, I lost power in the storms last Wednesday. I finally got my power back late Friday, which is an eternity for someone like me who freelances and sends work by internet. It got so dang hot that I split for north Dallas, where a very wealthy gated community lost their power twice and had it restored within eight hours. In my north Oak Cliff neighborhood, it took 48 hours to get it back on once. Some waited four days, until Sunday. BTW, I live on a major south Dallas street, not some place in the middle of nowhere. Now, I'm not trying to say anything about ONCOR. They work hard and I know they didn't purposely leave Oak Cliff in the dark for so long. However, when positioning resources for such an event, shouldn't the bulk be in or near Oak Cliff, where Dallas actually has trees that take down lines? I'm just sayin'.......

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Kessler Theater Returns!

North Oak Cliff residents are well familiar with the Kessler Theater, even if you didn't know its name. It's the building on the corner of Davis and Clinton with the green curved art-deco glass marquee. It's changed hands over the years and is finally being restored to be a community arts center for live performances and everything in-between. While there's been lots of development by Bishop Arts down the road, this particular area has seen far less attention, and it's nice to see it getting some love now. I remember back in the day renting my tux for prom near the Kessler, and now those storefronts are getting restored. Hopefully we'll see the good times rolling at the Kessler again soon. You can keep up with the progress at the Kessler via their FaceBook page HERE.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

My mailbox is full....

I failed to notice that emails to me have been bouncing back recently, because the server for my inbox was full and it didn't notify me. Sorry to anyone who tried to email me recently! Things are cleared up now so I can receive messages again.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Warning! Land of the Lost Not for Kids!

I was talking with my friend Eric Shirey, who runs, and he mentioned his site had an early review for Will Ferrell's Land of the Lost movie. We are both fans of the original show, and he warned me that the new film is decidedly not kid-friendly. Vulgar language and sexual innuendo are rampant in the film, and he was not only disappointed, he was angry that the filmmakers and Ferrell would choose to do such a film knowing young kids will go in droves to see this. Eric and the guys at MovieGeekFeed are no prudes, but they are all fathers with young kids, and understand what these movies can do. Please be aware the film is PG-13 for a reason. Anyone under that will probably hear something they shouldn't.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Next Morning News Column

The good folks at the Dallas Morning News will be printing my next column on Sunday June 7 - watch for it in the Metro section, and please provide feedback (hopefully positive) to the editors.

Until then, the Morning News blogs have already posted it. In fact, it's mentioned on the front page today under the "Blogs: Oak Cliff" section. From there, it links to my complete column, with an introduction from Michael Landauer, my editor. Click here for a link.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I got 'Proofed

If you haven't seen the movie Fireproof, do so now! I admit, I hadn't watched this faith-based movie about marriage yet, and picked up the DVD from the Redbox this week. I was expecting a sort of dramatic chick flick, but that's not what I got. I'll tell ya, not a bad little film. Kirk Cameron really surprised me, he's really good in this thing.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Gay Backlash Is In Full Effect

My latest article at addresses the whole Prop 8 thing, and why local gay activists are missing the whole point. Here's a link:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

So Much For Obama's Credit Card Protection

Remember that credit card legislation that President Obama signed into law that was supposed to save us from high fees and rates jumping on us? Well, as many experts predicted, the banks that issue these cards are finding ways around the law. Among them, I can tell you that Capital One just told me that my card's APR - which was just at 8% - will jump to 15% in just over a year, and I haven't even missed a payment yet. They can't hike it on me now, but I'm sure many Cap 1 cardholders have seen the last of low promotional rates. This is what happens when government sticks their fingers in something they don't fully understand. I've also been able to get late fees or pay by phone fees waived if I barely miss a payment, because I have a good payment record, but I've been told by a customer service rep that they won't be doing that sort of thing anymore. Gee, thanks for nothing, Mr. President!

Friday, May 22, 2009

I'm Your Examiner, Huckleberry.......

I am now writing about Dallas Republican politics for! I hope you'll take the time to stop by and check things out! Here's a linkeroo:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Diana Flores Endorses Epker For City Council

DCCCD Trustee Diana Flores has endorsed Justin Epker for city council District 1 in the June 13 runoff. It's a nice pickup for Epker, and proof that his appeal is more than just to white voters. His opponent, Delia Jasso, is playing racial politics, claiming Latinos should vote only for Latinos. The truth is nearly 60% of voters chose anyone but Jasso in the May elections, and many Latinos, after hearing what he has to say, are voting for him. It's a fact Jasso's folks are trying to downplay. Just check out the reader forums at the Dallas Morning News website after any article about Epker.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dallas Morning News Continues to Shove Jasso Down Our Throats

I continue to be amazed at the thick-headed reporting over at the Morning News. Yes, I know it's the hand that feeds me, or more specifically publishes my columns. Even so, they are so sold on putting Delia Jasso in office over at City Hall (in the District 1 City Council seat) that they have published article after article, with a few editorials thrown in, telling us how wonderful she is. Now, columnist Mercedes Olivera, who never met a Democrat she didn't love, is reporting this weekend in her column that District 1 Latinos are now cowering in fear that a white guy - Justin Epker - might be elected. Not only will his election mean the end of Latino civilization as we know it, it will mean the Morning News' opinion doesn't hold quite the sway it used to.

The DMN doesn't seem to read their own feedback, as each article praising Jasso and dissing Epker has been met with criticism from readers, many of them Latino, who raise an important point: they are sick of the rule of the Garcia family - and their friends - over District 1. They have nothing to show for their time in charge.

Editors at the Morning News should be ashamed they let such a juvenile piece run in their paper.

Friday, May 15, 2009

It's Amateur Hour in Washington

Good God...did you see Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's press conference in which she said the CIA lied to her and never told her about waterboarding? She fumbled and bumbled and acted like she was a 12 year old in her first junior-high debate class. Even the liberal press is calling shenanigans on her. It sounds like she's playing CYA on this thing, and she's lied herself into a corner. She never expected anyone to call her out on what she knew. I don't care what anyone says. What we did to those terrorists at GITMO wasn't torture. It didn't leave any physical damage. We scared them with caterpillars and dunked their heads in water. We do that here to get in fraternities.

Reporting for Duty..

I've finally got my blog going...we'll see how this goes!