No matter how much of a service Mark Cuban and Christopher Carey insist their investment website called Sharesleuth provides to readers and investors, the guardians of American journalism ethics still aren’t buying it. That was apparent over the weekend when Carey, editor and president of the site majority-owned by Cuban, showed up in Indianapolis for a national business-journalism ethics discussion moderated by Larry Ingrassia, business editor at The New York Times.
At the forum Carey (pictured) found himself defending the 5-year-old website, which uses public documents like court filings to investigate and identify shady companies. While that part’s fine, critics contended, the problem is that Cuban bankrolls Sharesleuth with profits he makes off “short-selling” some of the companies the site writes about.
While testing out my new cheetah knees in Austin over the last several days, I was reminded of my least favorite thing about (certain) Austinites: their abject hatred of Dallas. Anytime (generally) I introduce myself to a local and say where I’m from, they act like I said I live in a cloud of black mold inside a wasps’ nest inside an Ed Hardy store next to a sewage plant inside an active volcano on top of a Native American burial ground.
I mean, I like Austin. I used to live there. I go there and I enjoy myself more often than not. But it’s not like it’s the beach from the Leo DiCaprio movie The Beach or anything.
Some Frontburnervians have probably been around here enough to remember discussions about Dallas businessman/stock broker Josh Lankford – a pretty decent rundown of links is here. And, full disclosure, I did work for him for a time.
Lankford has been on the lam for several years after being accused of helping run a few pump-and-dump scams. He’s into the SEC now for more than $94 million in penalties.
Well, just as quietly (presumably, since I wasn’t there) as he left, he was apprehended, apparently. Came across a Financial Times story from last week that was actually about federal whistleblowers. Read the entire damned story before I saw a name that I instantly recognized – Josh Lankford, my old boss.
The story, which you have to register to see (it’s free, but unless you really like reading Financial Times, probably a hassle), seemed like just this random story about snitches until the last few paragraphs, which quote Jordan Thomas, a former SEC attorney who helped create the whistleblower rules the agency now uses.
Thomas says one of his clients tipped the Feds off to “surveillance photos and satellite coordinates of the home and office of Joshua Lankford, a U.S. businessman charged criminally in 2009 with two others for allegedly stealing $20m from investors in a pump and dump scheme. Mr. Lankford,” the article continues, “was arrested in Costa Rica in September. The U.S. is seeking extradition. People familiar with the case say the FBI located Mr. Lankford independently from the whistleblower tip.”
So welcome back to the States, Josh?
Sometime D Magazine contributor Sarah Hepola landed her first story in the Times Sunday Styles section. In it, she asks where the next Gloria Steinem is. After offering a couple possible new leaders of the feminist movement, Sara says the issue has grown more complicated since Steinem was in the fight:
The big political issues of yesteryear have been supplanted by messier sociocultural questions that a new generation debates in its own patois of activism, with terms like “rape culture” and “slut shaming” and “fat positive” and “cisgender.” And so the 21st century labors on with a more inchoate sense of feminist leadership.
Sarah asked Steinem her thoughts:
“Only a diverse group can symbolize a movement,” she said. As for whether there should be another Gloria Steinem, she replied, “I don’t think there should have been a first one.”
And now I need to go google “cisgender.”
As weird as the weather might get tonight, I have to say that my trek from parking garage to office building was one of the most pleasant in recent memory. This bodes well for a Monday.
Around this time last year, Dr. Mireya Mayor was supposed to speak at the Winspear. She had a conflict, so her Brinker Forum appearance was replaced with one by Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of famous underwater explorer Jacques.Â But at long last, this Miami Dolphins cheerleader-turned-National Geographic correspondent is in town to tell us all about the new species of ultra-tiny lemur she discovered in 2000 on an expedition to Madagascar. She’ll give a presentation, show videos and pictures, and then answer audience-submitted questions. I can’t even imagine doing her job. Aside from the cultural specimens I encountered at 35 Denton last weekend, the closet I’ve come to wildlife was yesterday afternoon when an especially bold grackle attacked my windshield while I was stopped at a red light.
If the food trucks were smart, they’d stick around (or come back) for the evenings when the Winspear or the Wyly have events. One can only eat so many avocado fries. (Who am I kidding? I could eat those things almost as often as I could eat the goat cheese tater tots from Tillman’s. Almost.)
Otherwise, Performing Arts Fort Worth presents a Blues Brothers tribute at the Bass Hall, a sincere homage to the group that started out as a musical SNL sketch. The All New Original Tribute to the Blues Brothers, as this act is called, has imported some of the cast from the West End production. The performers, channeling John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as Joliet Jake Blues and his brother Elwood, will sing the songs such as “Think,” “Sweet Home Chicago,” “Gimme Some Loving,” and more with help from the Bluettes, a trio of lady vocalists.
For more to do tonight, go here.
Our man Bill Holston has been busy at his new job, which hasn’t left him much time for writing. Spring break clearly got him in the mood to slack, though, and he sends us a dispatch. In this installment he finds that spring has sprung (and, as a bonus, he reveals the name of his favorite musician).
An alert FrontBurnervian points us to a Nicholas Kristof piece titled “Where Pimps Peddle Their Goods” that ran in the New York Times over the weekend. In it, he takes Phoenix-based Village Voice Media, owner of the Dallas Observer, to task for running an online classified service that profits, in part, from human trafficking. The controversy isn’t new. Village Voice Media has been dealing with backlash over its Backpage.com for quite awhile. Says Kristof:
Backpage accounts for about 70 percent of prostitution advertising among five Web sites that carry such ads in the United States, earning more than $22 million annually from prostitution ads, according to AIM Group, a media research and consulting company. It is now the premier Web site for human trafficking in the United States, according to the National Association of Attorneys General.
Village Voice Media is in a real fix here. That’s a good chunk of change it makes with the site (though I do wonder whether that $22 million figure is an accurate breakout of prostitution ads; I suspect that’s what the site makes across all classified categories). And they do claim to police advertisers as best they can. But their efforts clearly haven’t put an end to pimps using Backpage.com to conduct their business. So what’s the acceptable rate? If half the adult ads on Backpage.com were placed by pimps, that would be too many. Right? Even Village Voice Media would certainly agree. Is 15 percent acceptable? Ten? Five? I wonder what number Jim Schutze thinks is acceptable.
Seniors’ Squabble May Go To Texas Supreme Court: A long-time customer of Frank’s Place in Alvarado, TX sued the owner, a former friend, after she berated him with homosexual jokes and insinuations. He wants cash and an apology; she says there isn’t enough evidence to prove “intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.” Now it’s a first amendment case, and it may be heard by the Texas Supreme Court.
Cowtown’s Panther City Heritage a Newspaper Gag: Bud Kennedy has an amusing look back at how a Dallas newspaper’s joke prompted Fort Worth’s cat love. A Baptist pastor and “notorious storyteller” claimed to see a panther in the dust one morning, and when the tall tale circled back to Dallas, a Dallas Daily Herald writer took the rumor and ran with it.
Severe Storms Headed Our Way: Duck