The Lewisville Lake Symphony closes its 2012-2013 season with acclaimed violin soloist Shannon Lee giving two performances of Elgar’s Violin Concerto in B minor. In addition to the Elgar, the Symphony, under the baton of Maestro Adron Ming, will perform the much-loved Symphony No. 8 “Unfinished” by Franz Schubert.
Miss Lee made a stunning orchestral debut at the age of twelve with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in the summer of 2005. Critical acclaim greeted Shannon in the fall of that year when she was featured as soloist during the DSO's Texas Tour. Since then she has been invited to perform with orchestras in the United States and Europe, consistently garnering highest praise from critics. Her coaches and mentors include world-famous violinists, Itzhak Perlman and Jaime Laredo. Now nineteen, she returned as soloist with the Dallas Symphony earlier this season for its performance of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”. The Dallas Morning News called her performance “very impressive…tossing off skitters, runs and double stops with apparently effortless brilliance”.
The concerts take place at the MCL Grand in Old Town Lewisville on Friday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 21 at 2:30 p.m. There is plenty of parking around the Grand; most is on the City Hall side of the arts complex.
Tickets can be booked online at www.lewisvillesymphony.org and are $25 on Friday and $20 on Sunday. The Symphony provides a special $5 discount for seniors (60+). Student tickets are $10. Information is available at the symphony’s website or 972.874.9087.
The Lewisville Area Chamber of Commerce (LACC) announced today that Ray Hernandez, IOM will assume the role of President for the Chamber effective April 20, 2013.
“We are excited to bring such a well-rounded chamber executive to our Chamber,” said Kellie Fister Stokes, LACC Board Chair, stating “We are confident that Mr. Hernandez will open many doors for our organization. We started 2013 in a great place, and we anticipate that Ray will bring his vibrant personality, love for this industry, and passion for chambers of commerce to Lewisville. I cannot wait for our members to meet him.”
After six year tenure with the Kyle Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, Ray Hernandez welcomes the new challenge and opportunity presented, stating “I am honored to continue to build on the steadfast foundation that Matt McCormick created alongside the leadership of the Lewisville Area Chamber Board of Directors. We will continue to provide relevance, return on investment and advocacy for our members and partners by Leading Business, Leading Lewisville.”
The Moon landings were faked, Elvis is alive, 9/11 was an inside job, and President Obama is a secret Muslim from Kenya. Oh yeah, and the Department of Homeland Security has bought 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition - either to prepare for imminent civil unrest, or to create shortages so that you and I can't buy any.
That last part is what has been going around in the right-wing-nut blogosphere lately. Of the outlets that link to sources, they all seem to link back to stories on "Infowars", a website run by notorious conspiracy theorist and NRA board member, Alex Jones. What may have given the theory a nudge into the mainstream is when columnist Ralph Benko wrote an editorial that appeared in Forbes magazine, decrying the "purchases".
But the truth of the matter is that in 2012, DHS only purchased a total of 103 million rounds - less than in the prior two years. Responding to a letter from Senator Tom Coburn (R, Oklahoma), The Department of Homeland Security released a list of answers to his questions, including breakdowns of the amounts and ammunition and dollar values spent. The agency says it budgets $37 million for ammunition in FY 2013.
Infowars, et al dismiss DHS's answers based on a flawed understanding of government contracts and the press release of one ammunition company doing business with the government. The writers simply looked at federal contracts that allow for a maximum purchase at a given price, and assumed that the contract was both fully executed, and for the entire maximum quantity. A simple read of the contracts being referenced would provide most readers with an understanding, but these conspiracy sources conveniently ignore the most logical explanations when they don't fit with their theories.
Since there are dozens of types of ammunition in common use with DHS' agencies, and each federal officer or agent has to periodically go through firearms training or re-qualification, it can be difficult to predict precisely the quantity of ammunition needed in each caliber on the timeframes needed for strategic sourcing contracts. So the government typically (based on the contracts we looked at) requests bids on a per-1000-round basis, with a minimum of 1000 rounds, and maximums that may vary. The government only guarantees to purchase the minimum, but holds the bidder to the price up to the maximum. Infowars errantly uses the maximum, since it suits their purposes of furthering their conspiracy theories.
As you can see in the screenshot, each item shows a quantity and a unit. The unit is shown as "MX", meaning that the units are thousands. So multiplying 100 by 1,000 yields 100,000 rounds, which is also clearly spelled out in the description. Watson goes out of his way to multiply the 100 quantity by the 100,000 in the description, ignoring units. He does that with the other items as well, not the least bit bothered by the coincidence of the quantity being 40 in the last line item, and having to multiply it by 40,000.
A colleague of mine quipped the other day that the only religion he believes in is his own. "Sure," I countered. "You piously believe in your own opinion."
Which pretty much sums up every debate I've ever had on religion. Liberals will tell you Jesus was a Middle Eastern Jewish hippie who hated money and communed with the outcasts of Roman society. He threatened the status quo and was executed for it. From this narrative "real Christianity" means challenging authority and helping the poor and the disenfranchised. It's an all-inclusive religion based on tolerance and peace. Also they're vehemently opposed to capital punishment.
Conservatives will tell you Jesus battled Satan. They see Satan everywhere: Muslims, Jews, Communists, single women, sex, homosexuals, hippies, Satanists, Atheists, rock music, rap music, facial hair, the Pope, Obama, government spending, China, drug use and (the one I'm totally on board with) yoga. In their Bible there's war and punishment. There are rules, and if you follow them you don't incur god's wrath. It's simple, it's rigid and it's biblical. "Tolerance" is code for Christians being persecuted for their beliefs. Also, Jesus loved guns.
The Ohio state auditor is investigating the practice of "scrubbing," or dropping students from attendance rolls so they don't count against test scores. The former El Paso superintendent is in prison for using truant officers to encourage at-risk students to drop out. Other testing scandals have popped up in Mobile, Dallas, Houston, Detroit, Baltimore, St. Louis, and East St. Louis, Illinois. And everywhere USA Today looked in a 2011 investigation, they discovered statistically improbable aberrations in test scores, identifying 1,610 examples of anomalies that an Arizona State University professor compared to "a weight-loss clinic where you lose 100 pounds a day."
Organized, systematic cheating is the inevitable result of attaching high stakes to standardized tests, and it will continue as long as we're invested in the illusion that the system is working.
The latest example came late on Good Friday when an Atlanta grand jury indicted 35 teachers, administrators and principals under laws meant to target the mafia. Dr. Beverly Hall, the since-retired superintendent of Atlanta schools, is facing charges of "racketeering, theft, influencing witnesses, conspiracy and making false statements." In 2009, she was named National Superintendent of the Year and praised by Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Atlanta business leaders tried to get former Gov. Sonny Perdue to back off his investigation. Everyone wanted it to be true.
The real problem with uncovering test-cheating scandals isn't that they're hard to find, it's that it's hard to get education officials to look. This is a glaring hole in No Child Left Behind. States use scores to evaluate teachers, to reward superintendents, to close schools and to promote children. But NCLB offers no incentive to catch cheating, and as the Atlanta and El Paso scandals proved, prosecutors only go after the worst offenders.
It's Monday, April Fools day, and we're up to our usual mischief here at LTJ. Last year we brought you a story about expensive tire air and the tragic consequences of filling your tires with natural gas. Imagine what it must be like to work for one of those "news" outlets like Fox or The Blaze, or World Net Daily where they just make shit up 24/7/365? Anyway, if you've figured out this year's prank, don't spoil it.
Also, happy belated Easter to everyone.
We have video from Saturday night's roller derby bouts, and have started work on getting them ready for YouTube. Hopefully we'll have the first bout posted by Tuesday.
Lewisville Lake is at 517.04 feet, or about 5 feet short of conservation pool.
Update: 6/26/2015 - The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled state bans on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. Congratulations are in order to those who will now have the same rights to marry who they love.
Original April Fools Day Story from 2013:
Legal Gay Marriage Zone - a small no-man's land in the middle of Lewisville Lake has become a gay wedding Mecca due to a loophole in state and federal laws.
By April Fultz, Staff Writer
Federal Government Agency Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses in Texas
The Lewisville Texan Journal has learned that by using a loophole in Federal and State laws, Lewisville businesses, aided by a government agency, have been quietly offering fully legal gay marriages on Lake Lewisville. Although Texas voters in 2005 passed a constitutional amendment to define marriage as being between a man and a woman, the State of Texas is preempted by federal maritime law, which governs marriage “at sea”. Because of a bizarre definition of “at sea” that defines federal maritime law’s jurisdiction as being “greater than 6 miles from the coast”, Lewisville Lake technically qualifies. But that alone is not enough.
Because of an oversight when the land was first condemned for the lake, and after the lake was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lewisville Lake is unique. There is a small portion of the lake that is not technically a part of Denton County, even though it is fully surrounded by Denton County. When the property was transferred from Denton County ownership to the U.S. government, it was not just deeded over, but actually de-annexed so that county officials would not have to regulate or oversee the construction of the lake. The ownership transferred to the Corps of Engineers, but the land jurisdiction actually transferred to Dallas County, since the reservoir was being built for the City of Dallas. After the lake was completed, Dallas County Commissioners then voted to de-annex the now flooded land, so that they would not have to carry it on their tax rolls. But due to an oversight, Denton County never re-annexed the strip of now-submerged land.
The City of Lewisville, along with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, will offer a monthly series of free landscaping classes starting Tuesday, April 2. Classes will focus on ways to reduce landscape water use and save money on monthly water bills. The series will run through August on the first Tuesday of each month, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the City’s Kealy Operations Center, 1100 North Kealy Street. Light refreshments will be provided.
Registration is required so presenters can prepare sufficient materials for participants. Please register online at www.cityoflewisville.com in the Latest News tab under the landscape class information, by email to email@example.com or call 972.219.3504. Registration is open to the public, and Lewisville residency is not required.
Planned class topics will include efficient irrigation systems; use of native and adaptive plants; rain water collection; use of turf, groundcover and hardscaping to conserve water; and tree selection for North Texas. Scheduled classes are:
Lewisville officials have developed a program of public education, mosquito monitoring, and disease response intended to reduce the impact of West Nile Virus on local residents and reduce the chance of widespread infection.
The city will again offer free anti-larval mosquito "dunks" to residents this year, a program started in 2012. These dunks are safe when used as instructed, and can kill mosquito eggs and larva in standing water sources such as ponds, birdbaths and rain gutters -- all of which can be active breeding sources for disease-carrying mosquitoes. The dunk giveaway is scheduled for April 4 and April 5, 5-9 p.m. both days, at Central Fire Station, 188 N. Valley Parkway. There is a limit of two per Lewisville household.
Both the city and Denton County will begin active trapping of mosquitoes on April 1, submitting those to the Texas Department of Health to test for the presence of WNV. City crews are regularly walking through and visually inspecting creeks and drainage channels to look for potential mosquito breeding sites. The city has nearly a dozen workers in the Parks and Animal Services divisions who are state-certified to apply anti-larval dunks or localized pesticide to curb the mosquito population. The city does not own a spray truck and would, if needed, hire an outside contractor to conduct street spraying if pockets of human WNV cases develop.
The calendar says Monday is April first, but lately it seems that foolishness occurs year-round.
As one who devoted much of his life to the family business of pranking people, I'm often asked if folks are more difficult to trick today than six decades ago when my dad, Allen Funt, invented "Candid Camera." After all, we're now so dialed in and media savvy, certainly we're less susceptible to jokes—practical or otherwise.
Fact is, people are more easily tricked than ever.
Multi-tasking has a lot to do with it; hardly any moments remain when we focus our complete attention on just one thing. We're easily distracted, and any magician will tell you that distraction is the key to fooling people. Also, technology has made such incredible leaps that almost anything seems possible, and thus believable.
But the perfect storm for chicanery is in media. Ease of access via the Internet, coupled with speedy distribution that leaves fact-checkers in the dust, is creating a robust market for fake news—if you like that sort of thing. How difficult can it be to fool Americans at a time when an alarming percentage of them tell pollsters they use Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" as a primary source for news?