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That ESPN Profile of Jerry Jones

If you haven’t read Don Van Natta Jr.’s profile of Jerry Jones, you really should. The access Natta had is a writer’s dream. (And possibly an editor’s nightmare.) And you will probably end up liking Jones more by the end of the story.

The access starts with the writer finding Jones alone in a bar outside an owners’ meeting. We see Jones in his suite during the George Strait concert, hear him whispering in his son’s ear in the draft room, and drinking like the guys on Mad Men. He really, really, really wanted to draft Johnny Manziel. He’s apparently a big fan of Johnnie Walker Blue. (In plastic Dallas Cowboys cups.) And even at 71, he is irresistible to certain ladies. Or, as one of his close friends puts it: “Good women won’t leave him alone.”

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Things To Do In Dallas This Labor Day Weekend

If you must leave the house, it should be noted that admission to the Dallas Arboretum is only five dollars today. Let’s not kid ourselves that September is any more kind to us than August, temperature-wise, however. 99 degrees is the projected temperature for Monday. Still, a little little sweat never got in the way of a good time. Be safe, Dallas.

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Local Magazine Person Talks About D Magazine on KERA

The folks at KERA 90.1 were kind enough to show some interest in our 40th anniversary project. On Monday, Rick Holter, the station’s vice president of news, interviewed me in Klyde Warren Park, where we’ve installed an exhibit of staff photographer Elizabeth Lavin’s wonderful portraits. Here’s the “Friday Conversation” between me and Rick that aired this morning. In the short slideshow that accompanies the audio, you’ll see that I dressed for radio — and to prevent skin cancer. Anyway, the exhibit (shown above) is up for another few weeks. It’s on the east end of the park, in an area called The Commons. If you’re in the park, check it out.

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Behind the Scenes of the Dallas 40 Cover Shoot

The September issue of D, celebrating the magazine’s 40th anniversary, should be on a newsstand near you soon, if it isn’t already. The centerpiece of our celebration comprises 40 stories about 40+ people who represent some aspect of how Dallas has transformed in the last 40 years, or who epitomize some aspect of what Dallas is today. Those stories are truly brought to life by the astonishing portraits taken by our own Elizabeth Lavin.

Hear her and our creative director Todd Johnson talk about what made this project so challenging, and why we were motivated to do something special to mark our company’s birthday, in this video about the cover shoot. (And thanks to Robbie Curtis for producing this and the other video clips in our Dallas 40 online package.) Enjoy.

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Leading Off (8/29/14)

Judge Rules School Finance System Unconstitutional. It’s the second time in 18 months that State District Judge John Dietz of Austin has decided in favor of the 600 local school districts that sued the state. Dietz ruled that, even after increasing school funding by $3.4 billion during the most recent session, the legislature has still left education statewide underfunded. He also cited inequities in the way state funds are distributed. The state (namely attorney general and GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott) will appeal.

Dallas County Not Properly Tracking HIV. A state report found 209 adult cases and 139 pediatric cases went “unreported” by the county health department from 2009 to 2012. That’s the largest number of unreported cases in Texas. Failure to follow up to collect information makes it difficult to determine whether a patient’s contacts may have also been affected and means the department can miss out on federal funding to treat patients.

Cowboys Winless in Preseason. They fell to the Denver Broncos, 27-3, last night. It’s the fifth time in franchise history the team hasn’t bothered to win any of its meaningless practice games.

Bitcoin ATMs Open in Dallas. In case you want to exchange your money that’s backed by the full faith and credit of the United States for a crypto-currency backed by the self-assurance of libertarian utopians worldwide. Right now one Bitcoin will cost you about $507.

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Injustice For Willard Bishop Jackson

Life was going well for Willard Jackson in January 1972. The basketball team he coached at Dallas’ Oliver Wendell Holmes Junior High School was undefeated. They’d won the city championship two seasons before and finished second the previous year. There was talk of an opening soon at South Oak Cliff, and he’d been told his name was at the top of the list. The 29-year-old envisioned his future: a few years successfully coaching high school and then he’d take another step to the collegiate level.

If only he hadn’t stopped in for a drink at the Sportspage bar on Inwood Road one Saturday night, that might have been. Instead, as recounted by one of the 40 greatest stories ever published in D Magazine, Jackson was arrested and charged with the rape and robbery of two women in an Oak Lawn apartment weeks earlier. In “A Case of Rape,” Jim Atkinson writes of how our justice system delivered injustice for Jackson — convicting him of a crime he didn’t commit despite what seems to be overwhelming evidence in his favor (including a solid alibi and the confession of the actual perpetrator.) It’s a heartbreaking tale, and Atkinson’s article was a finalist for a National Magazine Award.

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Leading Off (8/28/14)

Six Police Shootings In 17 Days. People are wondering what is going on. Not saying something is, but with that many in such a short period of time, it’s worth asking a question or two.

Deion Sanders Trying to Merge Prime Prep Academy With Another School. Flash forward two years, and this newer, bigger, more embattled school is trying to merge with another another school. Take the L, Deion.

VENOMOUS CATERPILLARS. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Texas Transportation Commission May Block Toll Lanes On Central. Finally, someone is talking some sense.

U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldaña May Become First Latina Head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She’s being looked at for the gig by the Obama administration. I’m sure she’d do a great job, based on the times I’ve seen her lose her mind at various sporting events, which is not even remotely germane to the matter at hand, so I’m not sure why I brought it up.

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Riveting, Live Streaming Entertainment: The Texas Transportation Commission’s Monthly Meeting

The Texas Transportation Commission, the governmental body which overseas TxDOT, is holding its monthly meeting in Dallas today at Union Station (I wonder if anyone took DART in to it). Plans for I-345 and the Trinity Toll Road are among the topics under discussion. And here’s the good news: the meeting is live streaming over on the Dallas Morning News‘ website. So all you transit wonks out there can blow your afternoon by watching the most excruciatingly boring meeting east of the RTC. Turn it into a drinking game: take a drink every time you hear the words “leveraging,” “delivery, “project,” or “facility.”

UPDATE: Sen. Royce West just got up in the meeting and very emphatically announced his opposition to the at-grade boulevard-ing of I-345

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Leading Off (8/27/14)

John Wiley Price Trial Date Pushed: When I wrote Leading Off on Monday, I said (despite a planned 2015 start) Price’s trial wouldn’t start until at least 2016. Then I bet everyone $100. It’s smart that none of you took me up on that offer.

Lawsuit: Day Care Duct Taped Child to Mat: I don’t have children. I also don’t think this is the best way to handle nap time. Hold up, what? The day care also withheld water from kids so they didn’t have to change as many diapers, and hit kids? Duct-taping seems almost middle-of-the-road now. For the record: “Heart2Heart offered no comment on the lawsuit.”

Public School Covers Up Religious Plaques: Because, you know, it’s not really kosher to make Muslim, Jewish, or atheist students walk past a sign that mentions the “Holy Christian Church” and implores students to “give God alone the glory.” How did this fly for the past 17 years?

Dallas County Sheriff’s Deputy Indicted on Sexual Assault Charge: “A new detective was going through files and realized [this 2006 case] hadn’t been filed so he notified us,” said Dallas County DA Office spokeswoman Debbie Denmon. “Since the case was never filed with our office, we knew nothing about it.” Bureaucracy wins again!

 

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How an Office Romance Went Off the Rails and Brought Down the NCPA’s John Goodman

Back in June, when the National Center for Policy Analysis fired its CEO for alleged “sexual misconduct and breach of fiduciary duty,” the free-market think tank had more than a dozen directors on its board. Chief executive John C. Goodman denied the charges at the time, you might recall, and said his dismissal was based on trivialities. Today the NCPA board is down to just five directors—and insiders say the Dallas nonprofit is struggling to survive.

So, what happened to bring all this about? The apparent implosion has come as the result of an office romance between Goodman and a staffer that went way off the rails, leading to an unusual “job promotion” that backfired badly:

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