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Making Dallas Even Better

Rick Carlisle Believes He Can Fly

Rick Carlisle, the coach of the Dallas Mavericks, apparently owns a pretty sweet 26-foot-long Cirrus SR22 turbo plane, which generally starts at about $360,000. And the coach has been learning how to fly. According to this ESPN story, from Tim MacMahon, Carlisle has logged around 180 hours of flying time — all in the offseason and during breaks. He’s preparing for his next ratings test.

Most of the ESPN story is about all the safety precautions the coach takes, from his pre-takeoff checklist to the people he hired to train him to the rocket-propelled parachute attached to the entire plane (it has reportedly saved over 100 lives already). One other precaution he takes: he won’t fly with his wife and daughter:

“In due time, they’ll come up,” Carlisle says, “but I’m going to make sure I do all the work and have the appropriate ratings. It’ll happen when it happens. Donna and Abby are looking forward to doing it at the right time. I haven’t determined that it’s the right time yet.”

Dinesh D’Souza Goes to His First NFL Game

Dinesh D’Souza, a Mumbai-reared author and public intellectual who’s been called one of America’s most influential conservative thinkers by The New York Times, had never attended an NFL game—until last night’s pre-season scrap between the Cowboys and the Houston Texans. D’Souza and his fiancee, Debbie Fancher of Houston, were guests in T. Boone Pickens’ Owners Club suite at AT&T Stadium. The energy magnate wasn’t there, but his right-hand man, Jay Rosser, showed the pair all the sights, from the “runway” where the ‘Boys retreat to their locker room at halftime to Jerry Jones’ suite (alas, the door was closed).

So, what was D’Souza’s reaction? “It’s very eye-opening for me,” he said. “I’m looking at it as a spectacle, from the point of view of Americana and American culture. … George Will keeps telling us that baseball is America’s game, but I don’t agree. I think football is America’s game. It embodies steel and masculinity and aggressiveness and speed. To me, baseball is like a poor man’s cricket.” D’Souza, whose film 2016: Obama’s America is the second highest-grossing political documentary ever, added that he’s planning to shoot much of a new doc about the progressive movement and Hillary Clinton in Dallas. Not because DFW is a progressive hotbed, but because “there’s a lot of [moviemaking] talent here.”

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City Convention Spending Hasn’t Boosted Dallas Hotel Business

Earlier this week, I wrote about the increasingly dismal state of financial affairs at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, and, as always, I enjoyed learning even more from the comments.

Mavdog suggested I needed to look beyond the center’s declining revenues and increasingly staggering losses and analyze hotel trends throughout the entire city of Dallas, under the theory that the Kay Bailey could be driving significant economic growth in the city’s overall hospitality industry that would more than offset its massive taxpayer subsidies. Amy S. also suggested a comparative analysis with other markets. Both comments were on point. What we needed to do was compare the growth of the hotel market in Dallas with the growth of the hotel market in the nation as a whole. Then, we could charitably attribute some or all of Dallas’ out-performance to a Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau strategy of using the convention center as an “economic engine,” following its DCVB-advocated $130 million expansion in 2003, which then triggered the need to construct a DCVB-advocated $500-million convention center hotel shortly thereafter.

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Leading Off (9/4/15)

Dallas Police Seek Sugar Daddies. The department announced Thursday, in conjunction with private group Safer Dallas, that it has launched a $2 million fundraising campaign to build a “reality-based training center.” Which has me wondering whether all current police training is conducted in a fantasy realm, like D&D. How do you suppose Chief Brown rates as a Dungeon Master?

Police Also Seek Jeep Cherokee. The vehicle is of interest in relation to Wednesday’s Uptown murder, in which 35-year-old dentist Kendra Hatcher was killed in the garage of her apartment building on Cedar Springs Road.

Booker T. Teacher Charged With Improper Relationship. Alexander Simon, 26, was arrested for doing something he shouldn’t have been doing with a 17-year-old female student at his Carrollton home in May.

Horned Frogs Top Gophers. TCU’s footballers beat Minnesota, 23-17, in their season opener, but the fact that the game was a tight one late had some questioning whether they deserve their No. 2 ranking.

Cowboys Win Final Dress Rehearsal. The score was 21-14 over the Houston Texans. Dallas’ first real game is Sept. 13 against the New York Giants.

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New DMN Managing Editor Has a Dog Named ‘Boo Radley,’ Which Is a Better Name Than Story

Someone who knows a thing or two about a thing or two has informed me that new Morning News managing editor Robyn Tomlin has a dog named Boo Radley. Is that a great name for a dog? Not really. Kind of shouts “hey, I read books and stuff!” a little defensively (and unimaginatively — oh, really, you like To Kill a Mockingbird? What are your thoughts on breathing?). But, that said, it’s a way better name for a dog than Story, which is what Morning News editor Mike Wilson named his dog. I guess maybe he thought it was too pretentious to name his dog Manual Typewriter or H.L. Mencken or Strunk and/or White.

Whatever. Here’s a ton more names that are better for a dog than Story.

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Morning News Names New Managing Editor

Her name is Robyn Tomlin. If you’d like to know all about her and about how excited she is to come to Dallas, you can read this Romenesko post. But here’s all you really need to know: her dog, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is named Boo Radley.

The paper’s editor, Mike Wilson, has a dog named Story. As Zac has noted (repeatedly), Story is a horrible name for a dog. Me, I think Boo Radley ain’t too bad, especially when shortened to Boo. I’d be curious to hear what Zac thinks.

UPDATE: Jason may have been first, but my dog point brought needed perspective and context to this story. So I’m leaving this post up.

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Morning News Hires New Managing Editor

The selection of Robyn Tomlin of Pew Research Center, to fill the post vacated by George Rodrigue almost a year ago, was announced in a memo this afternoon:

“This is a great opportunity for me,” Tomlin, 44, said in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C. “It’s one of the most exciting and challenging times in modern history to be a journalist.”

While most of Tomlin’s experience has been in newspapers, she has spent the last few years working in digital news.

Mike Wilson, editor of The News, said Tomlin’s blend of skills makes her “the ideal person to help us maintain the high quality of our newspaper and extend the reach of our digital work.” Although Tomlin describes herself as a community journalist, he noted that she has national reputation as a digital journalist.

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No, Love Field Isn’t Worse Than LaGuardia Airport

Southwest Airlines is fighting to protect its virtual monopoly over the operations at Love Field, where it controls 18 of the 20 available gates. Delta Airlines is arguing in court that two gates should be taken from Southwest and made available for all airlines to use.

Meanwhile the CEO of Virgin America, which leases Love’s other two gates, earlier this week seemed to be angling to get more access, saying that with its current operational limitations, the airport is its “least-dependable” in the country. He added that even New York’s LaGuardia — which has the worst on-time departure rate in the U.S. — works better for Virgin.

But is that true?

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Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick: Texas Now Leading U.S. Again in Some Oil and Gas Regs

Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick won’t talk yet about a preliminary report to the commission ruling out a link between earthquakes near Azle and a disposal well operated by XTO Energy—findings that contradicted an earlier study by scientists at SMU, which did find a connection. But during an appearance in Dallas yesterday, Craddick said the commission, which regulates the Texas oil and gas industry, is working with its recently hired staff seismologist to investigate seismic activity and to hold “conversations” with concerned communities.

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The DMN Screws DISD Yet Again

As I mentioned in Leading Off, there’s a story in the paper today about DISD. Two administrators at a school with 390 students were put on leave while the district investigates possible academic misconduct. Were the administrators cheating? Maybe. Maybe not. We don’t know. The Morning News doesn’t know. The paper doesn’t even know what the possible “academic misconduct” might have entailed. All it could report was that two administrators were on leave. It’s a pretty thin story. Yet it ran above the fold today on the front page. It’s such a non-story at this point that the reporter, Tawnell Hobbs, had to write one graph about all the people who wouldn’t comment and another two graphs about how the school in question got its name and how it partners with a local college.

This is a screw job.

Meanwhile, as Louisa Meyer pointed out in the comments to my earlier post, some very good news is coming out of the district.

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Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: September 3

Start your weekend tonight, and this whole three-day Labor Day weekend many of us are looking forward to turns into a four-day weekend. Three and a half, at least. That’s just sound mathematics.

Head to the Kessler to help create a Stevie Ray Vaughan tribute in Oak Cliff, watch a Dallas Hedwig put Taye Diggs and the entire institution of Broadway to shame, or wish Orson Welles a happy ghost birthday at the Modern. Also football.

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Can a Parody News Website Work in City Where Real News Is Already a Parody?

Well, that didn’t take long — just eight days, by my count. That’s how long it took the newly launched, Onion-style Dallas parody news site Dallas Brisket to go from making up funny fake headlines about local events to just printing stuff that actually happens in Dallas.

If you missed it, Dallas Brisket launched on August 25 with a few laudable headline zings. “After Three Weeks, District Attorney Susan Hawk Found at Her Desk,” read the inaugural headline, quickly followed up with “Wylie H. Dallas Stops Giving a Sh*t After Reading Facebook Comments.” Not bad. They made me laugh.

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Giant Machine That Fires Invisible Particles to Fight Cancer Tested in Irving

D Healthcare Daily was there to observe some of the earliest testing:

The treatment center is in Las Colinas and will be the first proton therapy provider in North Texas. The highly specialized form of cancer therapy uses a proton beam generated by a 220-ton machine known as a cyclotron. It travels the length of about half the football field into a treatment room, where a patient is lying. After weeks of careful imaging and planning, the physicist beams a concentrated dose of the radiation directly into the tumor, limiting exposure to healthy tissue. This is what Dr. Chang Chang, the director of physicists, and his team were testing, that the radiation would go where they want it to go and nowhere else.

“After a certain depth, you will see the reading becomes zero, just no dose at all,” Chang says. “It’s very, very amazing when you compare that with photon. If you look at photon, wherever you go, however deep you are, you’re going to get a dose.”

He’s talking about traditional radiation, which uses a photon to wage war on the cancerous tumor. But it’s not as precise as proton, meaning healthy bodily tissue is more likely to be exposed. This leads to further side effects and an increased chance in developing secondary cancer, as evidenced by a 2014 study in the Journal of Radiation Oncology. 

We live in the future, my friends.

Ask John Neely Bryan: Finding Money to Fix Dallas Streets

Question: Firstly, thank you profusely for settling upon an inspired new logo for Dallas. You’ve saved the council hours of back-breaking sitting in chairs and taking turns talking in circles. Now, can you help with the city budget? Starting to think we’re in over our heads. — Mike R. et al

Sir, you know that I love this city with the sort of passion which men generally reserve for their wives and their Barcaloungers. It would be my pleasure — nay, it is my duty — to guide you through these troubled times. The very fact that the mayor of the world’s greatest city has been reduced to the indignity of hosting a Twitter town hall meeting on budget matters beginning this evening at 6 p.m. — how ghastly!

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