The first sip: Happy Halloween -- and, speaking of, earthquakes in the DFW? Maybe Irving and Grand Prarie are going as Los Angeles this year. Me, I was thinking of dressing as Sheriff Lupe Valdez -- a popular suggestion in the office cubicles, where dress-up's a tradition -- but, now, maybe, Charlton Heston as Stewart Graff. Or Cherry Pit owner Jim Trulock, whose sexy mug Jay Leno showed last night during his opening monologue. Video to come, soon as NBC posts. (Update: Here's the entirety of last night's show, with the Trulock reference at 5:45 into the monologue.)
The second sip: Speaking of Valdez, Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast says the real people that should be held accountable for the problems at the Dallas County jail are the county commissioners. As he points out, Valdez is in charge of managing the jail, but she has no control over the budget.
I recently spoke with County Commissioners Ken Mayfield and Mike Cantrell, both Lowell Cannaday supporters. Mayfield laughed when I asked how many times he had been inside the jail, and Cantrell said he had only been a few times. Yet they control funding for a jail system that has failed five straight state inspections and is under federal oversight. I was amazed at their responses, and more so with Mayfield, who thinks it’s crazy for John Wiley Price to spend time there on a regular basis.
My sense from touring the jail and covering the sheriff’s race is that Valdez inherited a completely screwed-up situation, as she has maintained from the beginning. Former Sheriff Jim Bowles didn’t get funding from the commissioners, and the jail suffered damage of epic proportions. The health care provider prior to Parkland Health & Hospital System, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, was another major problem, and that also was a decision made by the commissioners. Progress is finally being made, but only after more than $110 million has been infused into the jail, and both staffing and funding for health care has doubled since Parkland took over.
As Henson says, the important decisions regarding the jail lie in the hands of the commissioners. Say what you want about Valdez’s management style, but isn’t it time she stops getting all of the blame for failing inspections when issues like the smoke evacuation system, which continually keeps the jail from passing, are funding issues?
The third sip: The debut of Rick Carlisle was a disappointment as the Mavs fell asleep in the fourth quarter, so focus instead on the top 10 scariest players in NBA history. How the heck did Larry Bird make the list? Ugly? Maybe. But scary?
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The fourth sip: Ed Bark breaks down the local ratings for the World Series and Obama’s half-hour informercial, which he calls “compelling and very well-produced.” He also questions whether The Dallas Morning News has endorsed anyone other than a Republican for president in its history.
The fifth sip: I wasn’t able to find the video on WFAA’s Web site, but they played a clip the other day from Terrell Owens’ radio show where he was noncommittal about who should be this week’s starting QB, and then he had flashbacks to this moment, saying that he hadn’t seen a pass like that all year. Of course, had Owens missed the pass, Mayor Leppert would have knocked out his own wife. But hey, gimme a Brad Johnson for Leppert trade any day of the week. I think the Cowboys and the City of Dallas would both be better off.
The final gulp: It’s been 28 years since the Phillies have won a World Series, and some fans thought this was the best way to celebrate. Imagine what they’d do if the Eagles ever won the Super Bowl. --Sam Merten