Last year we published “The Grifter’s Guide To Dating Dallas Widows” (PDF), a dossier on 14 unattached, desirable women, including Lisa Baron Blue, Ebby Halliday, and Toni Brinker. It looks like T. Boone Pickens took our advice on the latter lady. We wrote:
The fourth and last Mrs. Brinker is one of the younger marks on this list. Should your play for her hand prove successful, you’d live in nice digs. Her house sits across Strait Lane from the famed Philip Johnson-designed Beck house. She donated to Mitt Romney’s campaign, so no Mormon jokes.
A source tells us that the 84-year-old Pickens has been seeing Brinker, who is about 25 years his junior. To him we say: nice work.
Lee Cullum, the TV commentator and syndicated columnist, offered a proposal to the big crowd that was gathered at the Hilton Anatole for today’s 35th Annual TACA Silver Cup Award Luncheon.
“You’ve all heard the biblical admonition to sell all that you own and give it to the poor,” Cullum told the arts supporters.
“Well, I believe we should sell all that we have and buy Museum Tower. Then we could solve the glare problem. … We could turn [the building] over to TACA, and they could sell the units. It could be a big success. TACA could make money. … I think it’s a great idea.”
Not sure how the two people at our table who own a Museum Tower unit felt about Cullum’s brainstorm. But the audience in general reacted with laughter and applause.
The Pentagon suspended flights of the F-35 fighter jet today, after a routine inspection of a test plane found a crack on a turbine blade. The fighters are built by Lockhead Martin and assembled in Fort Worth.
The news comes on the heels of a BusinessWeek story published today that questions the entire $400 billion F-35 project, one beset by cost overruns. The most expensive weapons system in U.S. history has run 70 percent over-budget, the magazine reported. With a possible sequester around the corner, and defense spending on the table, lawmakers have looked long and hard at the project but are hesitant to make cuts. The F-35 project alone supports 41,000 jobs in Texas, the company reports.
Which shops will be recognized as the best in Dallas, according to our readers, in the August issue? Your votes will decide over the next two weeks, beginning Monday. You can vote up to once a day on your desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
Just visit Dmagazine.com after 12:00 a.m. February 25, and it should be obvious where you can vote. Then return every day through March 10.
To see the list of categories we will be deciding, take the jump.
Back in the 80s, Mike Conaway was the CFO of Bush Exploration, George W. Bush’s failed oil company. Since then, he’s gone on to become the United States Congressman for Texas’ District 11, consistently running on an anti-spending platform.
His brand of fiscal conservatism doesn’t stretch to his friendships, apparently. According to Think Progress:
A ThinkProgress review of legislative correspondence with the U.S. Department of the Interior revealed that on September 11, 2012, Conaway wrote Secretary Ken Salazar to request a “reconnaissance Survey” of a potential new national park location. According to the log, Conaway’s letter asked that the National Park Service “look at the possibility of adding the George W. Bush childhood home as a unit of the Park Service.”
Conaway’s office did not respond to requests for comment from Think Progress.
What a great little run we all had there, telling a grown man where he shouldn’t spend his Sundays. In honor of Mr. Tebow, today’s game is Superstar Football. It’s exactly like it sounds.
For a soundtrack (if you refuse to listen to one of the greatest albums of all-time, above), let’s go with: Bobby Bare, “Dropkick Me Jesus Through The Goalposts of Life;” Patti Smith, “Gloria;” Kenny Starr, “The Blind Man in the Bleachers.”
The government’s legal theory in joining the lawsuit is that when Armstrong agreed to race for the U.S. Postal Service team a decade ago in the Tour de France, he defrauded the government, violating its strict ban on illegal drugs, all the while claiming he did not use them.
Though the government’s action presents a serious new legal threat to Armstrong, the Justice Department case is not foolproof: Legal experts say Armstrong could argue that his contract with the team owners never explicitly prohibited blood doping, and he could claim that he never signed any agreement directly with the Postal Service that banned the practice.
But if the government wins, Armstrong could face huge fines, because the Postal Service paid at least $30 million to sponsor his racing teams.
Armstrong’s attorney, Robert Luskin, said in a statement Friday that the Postal Service had no losses deserving of compensation.
“Lance and his representatives worked constructively over these last weeks with federal lawyers to resolve this case fairly, but those talks failed because we disagree about whether the Postal Service was damaged,” Luskin said. “The Postal’s Services own studies show that the Service benefited tremendously from its sponsorship — benefits totaling more than $100 million.”
Considering that Armstrong actually admitted to all of this would seemingly bolster the two-year-old suit.
Punk and pop up ramen shops.
So, first of all, this pop up ramen stuff is happening in Oak Cliff after midnight, so you need things to do to kill time until you can get your hands on a $5 bowl. Tradewinds tonight, Ten Bells Tavern tomorrow night. After I expressed my interest in this, my friend, who I’ll call Basketball Bill, informed me that ramen “seems like something I wouldn’t like.” I told him that wasn’t a very nice assumption, but I might have trouble staying awake. “Yeah, I was wondering about that, too,” he says. Blast.
Prior to that, though, the Dallas Black Dance Theatre begins their Cultural Awareness Series at the Wyly Theatre. Artistic director Ann Williams, narrates the collision of spiritual song, featuring the voices of John Archie Sanders and Sandra King Stewart, and dance. You get a good mix of old and new, too. The program consists of Talley Beatty’s Mourner’s Bench, a solo piece choreographed in 1947 as part of a five-part dance set during the Reconstruction period of the South, Asadata Dafora’s Awassa Astrige/Ostrich, another historic piece choreographed in 1932, plus a newly commissioned ballet that celebrates the life of artist Romare Bearden.
Meanwhile, if you feel like absurdist comedy because, well, why not, Kitchen Dog Theater in Uptown continues performances of Eugene Ionesco’s The Chairs. Ionesco is a master of the genre (brutal, funny, serious) and Kitchen Dog’s treatment received praise from FrontRow’s M. Lance Lusk, who notes the director’s ability to craft a coherent narrative from the totally bizarre. There’s the new Belly & Trumpet to try in the ex-Bowery Hot Dogs, ex-Lumi Empanada space.
— jcpenney (@jcpenney) February 22, 2013
Well, not everyone made it to Friday. The Morning News is reporting that an unspecified number of employees at the Plano-based company were let go this week, including up to 70 designers.
— jcpenney (@jcpenney) February 22, 2013
Dallas State Rep. Rafael Anchia and Round Rock Rep. Larry Gonzales sat down with the Texas Tribune yesterday to discuss the growing Hispanic population, and how that affects education spending, poverty, and English-language proficiency.
“It’s very important that as this state wants to remain economically competitive globally that our populace and our young people are fully-bilingual,” Anchia said.
Other quick-hit notes:
- Three out of every 10 Dallas kids lives in poverty
- 180,000 children in Dallas County are undernourished
- 80 percent of DISD students are eligible for free or discounted lunch
And before you jump down my throat, the “Fear of a Brown Planet” line is from the Tribune‘s Julián Aguilar, who moderated the sit-down.
Eric Celeste used to work here. Then he did some other stuff. Some of that stuff involved being the communications director for Craig Watkins’ last election campaign. So he knows a thing or two about a thing or two when he writes:
[Watkins] surrounds himself with sycophantic lawyers. This is bad on two levels. One, they’re sycophants, so he never hears someone say, “Craig, you’re wrong about this. Let me give you some advice that runs counter to what everyone else is telling you.”
Two, they’re lawyers. Lawyers believe no one else could do their job, and they think they can do your job better than you can, if they only had the time. Example: When Watkins ran for reelection in 2010, we spent much of every day telling him that fighting the County Commissioners made no sense. He wasn’t running against them. Play nice, act collegial and the day after the election he could go back to attacking them. “You’re right,” he would say.
Then he’d get to work. The top lawyers in his office would tell him, “Don’t listen to those pussies, Craig. You can’t be seen as weak! Take them on!” The next day he’d be on TV shouting at Margaret Kelleher, and his poll numbers would dip again.
I guess Eric has decided he doesn’t want to work for any more political campaigns.
Tim Tebow caused a big ruckus when he made plans to speak at First Baptist and then reconsidered. If you had hoped to see him in person and are now sad, then buck up, camper! He’s coming to town in April for a fundraiser at Trinity Christian Academy. Jeanne Prejean has the details.
A new report released yesterday by the Austin-based Workers Defense Project found that half of all construction workers in Texas are undocumented. The group worked with UT-Austin researchers to determine that nearly 400,000 undocumented immigrants worked in the construction field statewide, interviewing 1,200 workers from Dallas, El Paso, Austin, Houston and San Antonio. Results were not broken down by city.
“Despite the fact that many sectors of the US economy are dependent on immigrant labor, immigrant workers have not benefited from their contributions to national progress,” the report reads. “Current federal immigration policy denies them the right to work legally, forcing them into an underground economy where low pay, dangerous working conditions, and illegal practices are rampant. Current policy hurts workers, honest businesses, and taxpayers in Texas and the US. Policymakers and businesses are realizing the importance of creating better federal immigration policies that can meet the needs of our dynamic and growing nation, while ensuring the millions of undocumented people living and working in the US can fully participate in their communities and local economies.”
U.S.-born construction workers earned an average of $3.12 per hour more than undocumented workers, who reported earning an average of $11.10/hour. Construction officials were skeptical of the numbers, the American-Statesman reports:
Construction industry representatives said they couldn’t confirm the report’s conclusion that half of Texas construction workers are undocumented.
“That sounds a little high,” said Frank Fuentes, chairman of the Austin-based U.S. Hispanic Contractors Association. Licensed trades like plumbing and electrical tend to have few undocumented immigrants, he said, while specialties like concrete and drywall probably have more than 50 percent undocumented workers, he added.
Jump for the full report:
To jog your memory: last summer, the Observer posted a story on its blog about a man named Benny Barret who chose to live as a homeless person so that he could document the lives of the homeless. Turned out, though, that one of our staffers went to school with Barret, and he’d tried that whole “I’m homeless” thing back then, too, in an effort to get a story about himself written in the school paper. There’s more to the back story. You can catch up here.
Well, an alert FrontBurnervian points us to Barret’s blog, whereon yesterday he posted an apology for the way he’s been behaving and explained how he nearly died when he fell, naked, out of a tree. The post is titled “I Screwed Up and I’m Sorry.” An excerpt:
I had been a teacher at a private high school in Waco, Texas. I loved my students and found joy in my vocation. In the summer of 2011, while writing some new courses that I would be teaching during the upcoming year, I had an accident that nearly took my life. I had been prescribed a sleep aid called Ambien, a medicine that can cause strange side effects. I took my first dose, fell asleep, and dreamt that I ran six blocks naked, climbed up a tree in a grocery store parking lot, fell out of it when a branch broke, and, for what seemed to be an eternity, lay paralyzed in total darkness aware of myself but stuck in my head. I thought that I had died. When I woke up in intensive care the next day, I learned that this had not been a dream, but that I had in fact survived a 25-foot fall onto pavement. It was a terrifying and humiliating event and the near death experience affected me deeply.
He goes on to explain how he got hooked on a drug called AM 2201. It sounds, though, like Barret has cleaned himself up and is in a better state of mind now.
“Texas can not secede from the United States…because Texas never ceded anything to the United States, at all,” said Arlington’s Bob Wilson. So yeah, that’s the tenor of this piece.