3.0 MAG EARTHQUAKE *UPDATE – Epicenter location of 32.882Â°N, 96.980Â°W off Westridge Drive and Walnut Hill Ln. in Irving/Las Colinas area.
— DFW Scanner (@DFWscanner) January 23, 2013
Here’s a quick synopsis from the U.S. Geological Survey, if you’re into that sort of wonky nerdy stuff.
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett will no longer call the team’s offensive plays, owner Jerry Jones told reporters today.
“It is not a step back for the Cowboys or a step back for (Garrett) individually to change the way that we are basically putting our game plan together or calling the plays on the offensive side of the ball,” Jones said, according to USA Today. “I’m assessing the fact that two and a half seasons with Jason as the head coach, we need to do some things different.”
It’s safe to assume various beat writers and columnists will rip this apart over the next few days, but one of the first reactions out the gate is from NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal:
It makes no sense on a number of levels. Essentially, Jones is neutering his head coach. [Offensive line coach, possibleÂ saboteurÂ Bill] Callahan doesn’t have a long history as a play-caller and is more familiar with the running game. It’s almost like he’s trying to make Garrett quit.
Jones went into the offseason wanting change for the sake of change. Monte Kiffin was aÂ curious hire as defensive coordinator. If Jones wanted to go this far, he should have just fired Garrett at the end of the season.
The DMN reports on today’s sentencing. Ryan Walker Grant got 10 years in federal prison and a $17,500 fine for trying to hire hit men from Mexico to take out Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck. His motive for the crime had something to do with his believing city officials were being too tough on his strip club, Flashdancer Cabaret.
At today’s hearing, Grant echoed the earlier twisted logic of his lawyer, who had argued that no one was ever actually going to be hurt by this murder-for-hire plot:
Grant apologized to Cluck and his family shortly before Means sentenced him. He blamed his actions on an addiction to prescription painkillers.
“I messed up. That’s the bottom line,” Grant said. “It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I wish to take this time to sincerely apologize to Mr. Cluck and his family.”
TheÂ Texas sonogram law – which (in very, very basic terms)Â requires women seeking abortions to receive a sonogram –Â went into effect on Feb. 6, 2012. Austin resident Carolyn Jones had an abortion two weeks later. She wrote about her experience in a piece for the Texas Observer entitled “‘We Have No Choice’: One Woman’s Ordeal with Texas’ New Sonogram Law.”
Today, the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Jones talked to Terry Gross about the law, and itsÂ repercussions.
There’s some good reading in the February Texas Monthly–on newsstands but not online yet–including several interesting takes on the state’s biggest cities. But one essay, by the estimable Larry McMurtry of Archer City, isn’t likely to be reprinted by the Dallas Regional Chamber. Writes McMurtry:
If I were to anatomize the six major cities more or less in order of urban merit, I would now put Houston first by a large margin: it’s a great city. Next would come Austin and Fort Worth. … Dallas I haven’t enjoyed since the sixties, when I could still scout books at the Harper’s big bookshop in Deep Ellum, where my son now often performs. Dallas is a second-rate city that wishes it were first-rate.
— Kolten Parker (@KoltenParker) January 22, 2013
No matter where you fall on the gun control debate, this image is going to be hard to forget for a while. The Chronicle‘s on the story.
In an effort to raise funds for a dwindling road construction pot, state officials are considering a $100 fee for all electric vehicles in Texas, a measure that would be one of the first of its kind in the United States. The logic, according to the Texas Tribune, is that since electric vehicles don’t use gas, the funds garnered from any fuel tax go uncollected from electric vehicle owners. And they’re still using the roads.
“I think we need to make sure that electric vehicles that tear up our roads pay their fair share,” saidÂ state Rep.Â Drew Darby, R-San Angelo.
Okay, that makes sense. You know what would also help? Raising the fuel tax even one penny. Texans currently pay 38.4 cents in state and federal taxes per gallon, good for 38th in the country. (Alaska has the lowest combined taxes, at 26.4 cents.) Those taxes haven’t been touched in 20 years, leaving inflation and increased fuel economy in their wake. A 1-cent increase – federally – would draw tens of billions in revenue. It’s not apples-to-apples, but if this $100 fee was passed on to the roughly 2,000 electric vehicle owners in Texas, it would raise $200,000 a year. That would make for .0011Â percent of the state’s $16.94 billion 2010 transportation budget.
“EV drivers really want to pay their fair share but it seems ridiculous from a policy standpoint,” Jay Friedland, legislative director forÂ Plug In America, a California-based electric car advocacy group, told the Associated Press regarding a similar law in Washington. On the one hand the state has given out sales tax exemptions to encourage residents to buy more electric vehicles, he said, while charging the fee on the other hand. He suggested a per-mile fee, if any at all.
It also seems unfair to single out electric vehicle users who, as the Tribune points out, pay taxes on theirÂ electricÂ use. Any sort of vote on the measure has not yet been scheduled.
This bizarre story comes from our friends at the Times-Picayune, one of the greatest newspapers in the country. Seems that Ray Nagin, the former New Orleans mayor who was recently indicted on 21 counts of public corruption, has set up shop in Frisco, in a neighborhood where “the houses all match, as do the plants and small trees in the tiny yards – recalling the ersatz town in the movie ‘The Truman Show,’ without the bright colors.”
Intrepid reporter Gordon Russell:
It would be hard to think of a place in America more unlike New Orleans than this one — by some accounts the nation’s fastest-growing city, a place where cranes and bulldozers are converting ranch land into ranch homes at a dizzying pace, and where the dining options boil down to a choice among Applebee’s, Chili’s or the Olive Garden. But this is whereÂ Ray NaginÂ has chosen to settle down: in a quiet subdivision of 300 modest townhomes called Bella Casa, with streets named after Italian cities, backing up to the Dallas Parkway.
It’s the sort of neighborhood one can easily disappear into, and Nagin has done just that. In interviews earlier this month, many neighbors of the former New Orleans mayor — a fixture on national television after the flooding of his city a few years ago — were surprised to learn of their famous interloper’s identity.
Truly screwy, and worth your time.
If y’all follow me on Twitter, I finally dedicated 140 characters to a thought that I have at least once daily as I drive and walk around the Arts District. We have at least two taco food trucks. Why can’t we have a breakfast taco food truck? It’s a long cold ten minutes from my parking garage to this office, and I don’t think it’d be an exaggeration to say that a couple of egg, bacon, and cheese tacos would actually improve my life.
Okay, fine. I know. This evening, though, you can have everything you want, if what you want is a trip to cloud nine. I’m lying. That’s just this month’s theme for the storytelling series Oral Fixation, where you can hear folks deliver personal essays about flying high in probably both the literal and the figurative sense. It’s generally a fun thing no matter the topic, though tonight the stories range from terrifying helicopter rides to a girl meeting her favorite musicians. It’s at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, which makes grabbing a burger and a beer at Maple & Motor easy, and quick enough to get you to the theater in time. And as always, if you have your own tale to tell, you can submit via the Oral Fixation website.
Speaking of food, the first-ever Dallas Dishcrawl is also this evening. The secretive dining event revolves around downtown, and features four courses at four different restaurants. The meeting location is revealed to ticket-holders 48 hours before the event via email, and the names of the restaurants are still being kept a secret. If you love a relatively inexpensive foodie mystery or if your name is Veronica Mars and you just can’t help yourself, it’d be worth it.
For more to do this evening, go here.
Not really a good week for Notre Dame and crazy stories, but here’s another one. Woodrow Wilson graduate, Heisman Trophy winner, and Oakland Raiders legend Tim Brown took to Sirius NFL Radio Saturday and basically said Bill Callahan blew the Super Bowl on purpose:
“We all called it sabotage . . . because Callahan and [Tampa Bay coach Jon] Gruden were good friends,” Brown said.Â “And Callahan had a big problem with the Raiders, you know, hated the Raiders.Â You know, only came because Gruden made him come.Â Literally walked off the field on us a couple of times during the season when he first got there, the first couple years.Â So really he had become someone who was part of the staff but we just didn’t pay him any attention.Â Gruden leaves, he becomes the head coach. . . .Â It’s hard to say that the guy sabotaged the Super Bowl.Â You know, can you really say that?Â That can be my opinion, but I can’t say for a fact that that’s what his plan was, to sabotage the Super Bowl.Â He hated the Raiders so much that he would sabotage the Super Bowl so his friend can win the Super Bowl.Â That’s hard to say, because you can’t prove it.
“But the facts are what they are, that less than 36 hours before the game we changed our game plan.Â And we go into that game absolutely knowing that we have no shot.Â That the only shot we had if Tampa Bay didn’t show up.”
Thing is – as our Tim just pointed out to me – Brown’s said this before, more than a year ago, on The Ticket. I couldn’t find audio of the interview, but it’s mentioned in this SB Nation story about Callahan’s tenure at Nebraska.
Apparently, D Magazine employees love their dogs. Tremendously. When I called for photos of fellow staffers’ beloved dogs, they poured in by the dozens within the first hour. So, in further celebration of ourÂ Survival of the CutestÂ dog contest, I bring to you more Dogs of D. Check them out and then go voteÂ for the cutest pooch in DFW.
Airplane on fire on DFW runway twitpic.com/bxdg42
— Environment Texas (@EnvironmentTex) January 22, 2013
“That’s our fire training center,” said airport spokesman David MagaÃ±a. It’s an Airbus A380, he said, but folks shouldn’t be worried.
Stoke and FC Dallas had made good progress on agreeing a fee — thought to be in the region of Â£2m should the deal go ahead. But the fee also has to be ratified by Major League Soccer under American rules and that is threatening to put a spanner in the works. The MLS is inclined to put a greater value on Shea because he is 22 and full of potential. Stoke will be wary of his fitness record in recent times, however, including a recent operation to remove a bone from his right foot.
Last week’s announcement was a bit fast-moving to be completely believable; we’ll see if something still gets done.
Texas Motor Speedway has banned smoking in the grandstands for the 2013 season, and slashed ticket prices on 15,000 seats, the track announced Monday. The move comes a year after the track had the highest-attended Nascar event of the season, the Samsung Mobile 500; the event drew 159,000 spectators.
“We drew the biggest crowd of 2012, so it runs against the thought of how you do business with the free enterprise system,” Speedway president Eddie Gossage told the Star-Telegram. “If you’re selling out or doing well, you raise prices….But the best way to show you’re fan friendly is to lower your prices.”
Gossage also announced Monday theÂ eliminationÂ of smoking in the grandstands; it will still be allowed in designated concourse areas. The track is also unveiling bacon cotton candy this season, so maybe the whole no-smoking-for-your-health thing is just a wash.
I meant to throw this up yesterday, but it got lost among the 19 other FrontBurner posts we wrote, from nine separate contributors. Did I forget to mention this blog is free? And that subscriptions to the magazine – where you can read even more words from those nine separate contributors – are only $18 a year, or $28 for two years? Yes, I did forget to mention that.
Anyway, newly minted Texas Senator Ted Cruz headed to Meet the PressÂ Sunday, where David Gregory sat him down and talked to him about gun control. It’s a fairly predictable four minutes, especially his attacks on President Obama. Via Slate:
When NBC’s David Gregory asked whether the [NRA ad that references Obama's daughters] was constructive to the debate in the country, Cruz fired back: “What I don’t think is constructive is what the president is doing right now, which is within minutes of that horrible tragedy in Newtown the president began trying to exploit that tragedy to push a gun control agenda that is designed to appeal to partisans,” he said.