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Making Dallas Even Better

OMG! Real Housewives of Dallas Cast Member Once Starred in Porn!

Yesterday Bravo announced the cast for the upcoming Real Housewives of Dallas. Well, we are learning today that one of the ladies, Tiffany Hendra, has done some work in adult films. And when I say “done some work,” I really mean “had some intercourse.” Hendra isn’t hiding from her past. “So what I showed my tits and had love scenes, but what actress hasn’t? I did that [Cinemax] series before I was married, and it’s part of my journey. I own it.” I think Cameron Diaz is one answer to that first question. I was going to say Helen Mirren, but then the internet told me that she has, in fact, done nude scenes. So anyway, like I was saying, adding lanes to highways only makes the problem worse.

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Houston Mayor Has a Lesson for Dallas: More Roads Aren’t the Answer

You live in Dallas, which means you hate Houston. I get that. But you should read what the mayor of that horrible city has to say about the folly of widening highways to ease traffic congestion. In an op-ed in today’s paper, Sylvester Turner writes: “[T]he traditional strategy of adding capacity, especially single-occupant vehicle capacity on the periphery of our urban areas, exacerbates urban congestion problems. These types of projects are not creating the kind of vibrant, economically strong cities that we all desire.” As one example, he points to the Katy Freeway, which is I-10 west of Houston. It’s the widest highway in the world, after lanes were added in 2008. Seven years after that reconstruction, it was named the eighth-most congested roadway in the state. That right there, friends, is called “induced demand.”

Here, back at home, we just widened Highway 75 through McKinney. How’s that working out? I heard someone just the other day complaining about the traffic on that stretch. And it looks like we’re going to add capacity to the highways south of Dallas as part of the Southern Gateway project (tolled lanes, at that).

On the day that we learn scientists have observed the warping of space-time, it’s appropriate that we quote Einstein: insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result (even if he didn’t say that — really, I just wanted to include something about the gravitational wave deal).

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DMN Columnist Launches ‘Shame AT&T’ Campaign in AT&T’s Back Yard

You’ve got to admire Dave Lieber’s cojones. For a while now, the “Watchdog” columnist for The Dallas Morning News has been absolutely eviscerating hometown company AT&T for its, uh, poor customer service. And today, in a column headlined “Customer is always right: AT&T’s lousy,” the writer announced he was launching a #shameATT campaign on Twitter. He followed that news with nearly 20 withering snippets from AT&T customers and former employees, all basically blistering the company for the tone-deaf way it treats its constituents.

At a nonprofit luncheon earlier this week, a top executive with the telecom giant went on at considerable length about the company’s good works. About how AT&T is the country’s largest union employer, for example; about how it’s a leader in diverse hiring practices, a lavish spender on infrastructure, a major local taxpayer and, in general, just pretty great all-around. There’s much truth in those assertions, I’m sure. But, for companies dealing on a large scale with the general public, “customer service” is where the rubber meets the road. We’ve asked AT&T to comment on Lieber’s Twitter campaign, but so far haven’t heard anything back.

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Things To Do In Dallas This Weekend: The Valentine’s Day 2016 Edition

Valentine’s Day is Sunday, and we’ve got a separate post with all kinds of romantic things to do in Dallas this weekend. In fact, we’ve got an entire dating guide full of stories that may be relevant to your romantic interests, regardless of your relationship status.

If you are Lone Rangering it for the holiday, never fear. The following things to do are friendly to groups of one and more.

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Texas Forensic Science Commission Recommends Throwing Out Bite-Mark Evidence

On Thursday a Texas Forensic Science Commission panel recommended that evidence based upon bite marks not be admissible in court. The full commission is expected to approve the moratorium, as soon as today:

Bite-mark evidence has been used in U.S. courts for decades, most often to identify suspects in murders, sexual assaults and child abuse through marks on the flesh of victims.

But techniques to determine the source of marks are unreliable, and human flesh is not a good source to record the marks, studies presented to the panel showed. In some studies, experts were often divided on whether they were seeing human bite marks, let alone matching them to a specific individual.

“This commission’s findings are incredibly significant because no other agency or scientific body has ever opined on the admissibility of bite mark analysis,” said Chris Fabricant, director of strategic litigation for the Innocence Project, which sought the review.

But don’t expect the Dallas County District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit to reevaluate a host of cases of those sent to prison on this type of evidence. As the Morning News reported, even though a man named Steven Chaney was freed last fall after just such evidence was determined to have been faulty, there’s no easy way to determine who else might have been unfairly convicted on these grounds:

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We Can All Agree Gas Drilling Under Lewisville Lake Is a Bad Idea, Yes?

Dallas Water Utilities has joined the town of Highland Village and a slew of environmental groups in protesting the potential sale of a gas lease that would allow drilling near and underneath Lewisville Lake. The cities of Lewisville and Denton are also considering making their own formal protests.

The Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t officially oppose the lease, which is set to be auctioned off by the federal Bureau of Land Management on April 20. But, DMN reports:

A 2013 presentation by corps engineer Anita Branch brought up human-induced earthquakes, dangers of fracking fluid migrating through underground faults and the possibility of water contamination. She noted that gas drilling wasn’t factored into the design of the dams.

Branch’s presentation at a professional conference recommended extensive geological testing in drilling areas and close monitoring. The PowerPoint presentation said the proposals weren’t officially endorsed by the corps.

The corp has started researching gas drilling and dams but results haven’t been completed. There little certainty about what – if any – risks are posed by gas drilling near dams or levees.

So it looks like there’s a consensus that the risk posed to Lewisville Lake, a major source of drinking water in North Texas, isn’t worth what would be gained by permitting the drilling.

Let’s hope the BLM comes around to seeing it the same way.

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All Clichés Are Bigger in Texas Award Nominee: Cattle Rustling Edition

Modern Farmer on the case of a man convicted of stealing livestock:

A cattle rustler by the name of Clinton James Easter recently found out that everything is, in fact, bigger in Texas, including prison sentences. Easter, 47, of Eastland County, Texas, was sentenced earlier this month to 30 years for stealing 15 head of cattle, which is two years per animal.

Eastland County is about 100 miles southwest of Fort Worth. Texas, the piece goes on to explain, has some of most severe cattle-rustling punishments in the country:

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Podcast: Dr. Seema Yasmin Talks Zika Virus, Tornadoes, and Porn Conventions

This week on EarBurner, Dallas Morning News reporter and UT-Dallas professor Dr. Seema Yasmin returns to the Old Monk to explain just how worried we should (or should not) be about the emergence of the Zika virus in Dallas. Plus, Tim and Zac talk about the city’s recent decision to ban the Exxxotica porn convention and the announcement of the cast of Real Housewives of Dallas.

It’s Yasmin’s second time at Table No. 1. You may remember the show from last May when there was an overabundance of talk about rejuvenating vaginas.

Before you get to listening to the new episode, a few notes:

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Leading Off (2/12/16)

Another Porn Convention Targets Dallas. Adultcon — likely jealous of the free publicity that competing adult expo Exxxotica has been getting from the Dallas City Council and more than willing to take its own settlement cash from a lawsuit if their request is likewise rejected — inquired on Thursday about available dates for an event at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. Odds that the council soon reverses course on this sex-filled can of worms it’s opened?

Southwest Airlines to Pay Record Profit Sharing. Due largely to a drop in fuel costs, the carrier posted $2.2 billion in net income for 2015. That’s resulted in a record $620 million available for its profit sharing program. Each eligible employee will receive 15.6 percent of his or her annual salary —  eight weeks’ pay — as a bonus. Sagging oil prices sure aren’t all bad for the Dallas economy.

High-Speed Police Chase From Rockwall to Waco. At times the pursuit topped 100 mph, and it only ended when the driver crashed into a median guardrail.

Plano Cops Rescue Kid From Fire. Officers Russel Harris and Mark Jones saved the 5-year-old boy from the second story of a burning home.

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North Texas Is the Most Competitive Job Market in the U.S.

So says Forbes, citing a study by the job search site CareerBuilder. Their methodology was to compare the number of jobs added between 2014 and 2015 across the 150 biggest metropolitan areas in the United States to the number of jobs that one would expect to have been added considering the national job growth rate of 2 percent:

At the top of the list of the most competitive metros is Dallas, Texas. The area added 112,829 jobs between 2014 and 2015, surpassing expectations by 44,871 jobs.

San Jose, California comes in second with 39,519 jobs added above expectations. As a result, 3.7% of the area’s overall employment is attributed to that competitiveness factor–higher than any other area on the list. (Dallas added the greatest number of jobs during the same period, but San Jose’s growth accounts for a greater percentage of the city’s overall employment.)

Los Angeles, Seattle, and Miami were the rest of the top five “most competitive” markets.

The most disappointing performances (the least competitive) market was Chicago,  which added about 40 percent fewer jobs than expected. It was followed by New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and St. Louis.

How much credit do we have to give Plano?

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Ben Stiller Invited Laura Bush to an Orgy

Ben Stiller told Stephen Colbert last night on the Late Show that he tried to get former First Lady Laura Bush to appear in a scene in his new comedy, Zoolander 2, which opens in theaters tomorrow.

Stiller had met Bush five years ago, and she’d told him she was a fan of the original Zoolander movie. So naturally he thought of her when he was looking to cast unexpected cameos in an orgy scene. You can see what he had in mind. The contrast of her squeaky-clean image with the surrounding debauchery might’ve played for a laugh. She declined.

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Meet Your Real Housewives of Dallas Cast, Repent

Bravo has revealed the form of the Destructor.

According to an exclusive over at E! Online, your Real Housewives of Dallas are:

  • Cary Deuber, an “East Coast girl” who operates an “aesthetic injectable practice.”
  • Tiffany Hendra, an actress and philanthropist with a “troubling past” and an “Australian rocker” husband named Aaron.
  • Former Miss USA competitor LeeAnne Locken.
  • Stephanie Hollman, a “girl next door” who does chores.
  • Former Cowboys cheerleader Brandi Redmond.
  • “Friend to the Housewives” Marie Reyes.

The show promises big egos, big attitudes, big bank accounts, big drama, and a nuanced portrayal of 21st century life in the urban center of the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the country.

You can play “spot the Dallas stereotype” in a trailer for the program, which is embedded below. We’d still rather watch Walker Watching Walker, The Joy of Painting With George W. Bush, or Come Go Fishin’ With Dwaine.

Real Housewives of Dallas premieres April 11 on Bravo. Apocalypse to follow at an unspecified date.

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Leading Off (2/11/16)

Third Zika virus case confirmed in Dallas. This was announced yesterday. The sample in this case was tested and confirmed positive by a local laboratory. The hope is that local testing for the Zika virus will help contain the disease. The Dallas woman who was confirmed to have Zika had shown symptoms after coming home from Honduras, where the outbreak is far worse. Four other Dallas County residents have had potential symptoms of Zika, and the CDC is currently testing samples. Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Health experts say the major Zika outbreak in South America is not likely to happen in the U.S. but that Texas is one of the states more susceptible to minor Zika outbreaks because we’re, uh, well-acquainted with mosquitoes. Time to stock up on insect repellent.

Grass fire near Celina and McKinney destroys 50 Acres. Yesterday a grass fire was responsible for burning 50 acres of land north near the two Dallas suburbs. Several fire departments responded to the incident, which might have threatened a few homes. The fire was put out, and no injuries were sustained. The cause of the fire is not known yet.

Woman with cognitive impairment missing in Plano. 75-year-old Annamarie Doyle has been missing since yesterday afternoon. Because she has a cognitive impairment, her safety could be in jeopardy. Police say she was last seen driving a 2003 gold Jeep Liberty in Plano.

Dallas City Council Bans Exxxotica From Using Convention Center, Ctd.

Jason, that was an excellent recap of the City Council meeting today. This reminds me of the city’s erstwhile war on topless clubs under Mayor Laura Miller. Read this great essay titled “The New Puritanism,” by Joe Bob Briggs, that D Magazine published in 2004. (It entered our archives via OCR scanning, so be patient with the many typos. It’s worth it.)