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How the Cowboys Ruined Thanksgiving

That’s the claim that Mike Shropshire makes about America’s Team’s annual Turkey Day match, in a piece published today on Slate:

The football aspect has warped Thanksgiving in this region to the point that the success of the family interchange relies mostly on the outcome of the game. I assume that family counselors, emergency rooms, and divorce lawyers see business skyrocket when the Cowboys lose on Thanksgiving.

Sometimes even the most innocent remark can spoil the whole weekend. From past years, I hear the voice of a 7-year-old child. “Mom,” the voice says. “After the Cowboys lost, Dad was in the kitchen and he said the f-word and Grandma heard him.” Mom issues Dad a look of, to be charitable, profound dismay. Unkind remarks ensue, and by the conclusion of the evening, Dad could show Tiger Woods a thing or two about a hard luck Thanksgiving … all because Dallas chose to lose.

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Highland Park ISD Votes Not to Ban Book

At issue Monday night by a Highland Park schools “reconsideration committee” was whether the book The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, should still be taught in English classes. Park Cities People reports that committee members voted to allow the novel, which is about a race car driver and his dog, and is told from the dog’s point of view. The controversy centered on the appropriateness of Park Cities teenagers reading one section in which an underage girl falsely accuses the driver of sexual molestation and tries to force herself on him.

From PCP:

There were 32 votes for “confirm the present use of the book for whole class required use;” three votes for “designate the book for required outside reading only;” and one vote for “restrict the use for certain grades.”

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Poll: The Greatest D Magazine Story in the History of Ever

By now you’ve had a chance, obviously, to read all 40 of the greatest stories ever published in the pages of D Magazine. In honor of our 40th anniversary, we revealed them over the course of 39 weeks between February and November. Now it’s time for a little scoreboarding.

Four writers landed two bylines apiece on the list: David Bauer (“The Sexiest Woman in Dallas” and “Akin vs. Dahl”), John Bloom (“Ole Anthony and the God Thing” and “Misty Crest: On the Frontier of the New American Dream”), Mike Shropshire (“Clayton Williams: Texas Crude” and “How Willie Nelson Saved Carl’s Corner — Again”), and Zac Crain (“Charley Pride Turns 70 and — Galdurnit — He’s Still Got Something” and “Love and Loss in a Small Texas Town.”)

One scribe boasts three — or two-and-a-half, depending on how you look at it. That’s Skip Hollandsworth (“Max Goldblatt’s Last Hurrah,” “The Fall of the House of Von Erich,” and “The Black Widow.”)

So one of those gents has got to be the greatest writer in the history of our humble publication, but we’re not here to debate that. We’re here to ask you to vote on the single-greatest story ever in D. The nominees are listed below. Write-ins accepted in the comments.

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How Should Gainesville Memorialize Killing 42 Men?

The Texas Observer has a piece about the recent unveiling of a memorial in Gainesville — in Cooke County, on Interstate 35, just south of the Red River — to the deaths of 42 men killed by the town for alleged treasonous activities in the midst of the Civil War. What duty does the city have to recognize this horrific act of mob violence?

The Medal of Honor program helped Gainesville get nominated—and then win—Rand McNally’s 2012 competition for “Most Patriotic Small Town in America,” a designation the town’s mayor, Jim Goldsworthy, loves to mention.

Around the time the town won the Rand McNally award, the Morton Museum of Cooke County leased a billboard to advertise a 150th anniversary: “October’s Reign of Terror, Commemorating the Great Hanging of 1862.” Within days, the city’s mayor pro tem, Ray Nichols, had voiced his disapproval. “Gainesville was voted most patriotic city in America this year, and we are very excited about it and our Medal of Honor Host City program. I think those are important. That other thing? I don’t think that’s important to anybody,” Nichols told the Austin American-Statesman at the time.

Though no explicit demands were made, the Cooke County Heritage Society pulled its sponsorship of the anniversary event, according to former Heritage Society President Steve Gordon, for fear that city officials’ anger might mean funding cuts to the town’s history museum. Gordon, an Oklahoma native and engineer who retired to Gainesville, was livid. “This story’s got to come up,” he says. “A lot of these people’s [families] weren’t even here in 1862. Why are they so upset?”

“These are good people,” McCaslin says. “They want their town to look good. You want to live in a town you’re proud of. That’s not a bad thing. Where does the Great Hanging fit into that? The town killed 42 people. It’s kind of a clunker.”

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The New York Times Visits Dallas

In an article posted today and headlined “Texas, 3 Ways,” Robert Draper (himself a Texas native) writes of recent sojourns to Houston, Dallas, and El Paso. He spends a Saturday observing yoga in Klyde Warren Park and lunching at Lark on the Park:

chatted with the owner, the longtime Dallas restaurateur Shannon Wynne. When he commented, “Dallas has matured more in the last five years than in the past 25,” I asked him why this was. He guffawed in reply, “Well, it certainly can’t be the locals.” He added that the city had benefited greatly from new blood, and that they in turn had emboldened establishment Dallasites to reconsider the city’s possibilities.

While Mr. Wynne talked, I looked over his shoulder at the restaurant’s walls, which were covered with intricate chalk drawings that rotate quarterly: one by a local tattoo artist, another by a medical illustrator, a third depicting the University of Texas at Dallas’s top-ranked chess team. Meanwhile, outside, dozens of residents were tossing Frisbees, or ice skating. It occurred to me that while Dallas has always exhibited the capacity to surprise others, it had now succeeded in surprising itself.

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Leading Off (11/14/14)

Feds Auditing DA’s Use of Forfeiture Funds. Craig Watkins may be on his way out, after suffering a defeat in last week’s election, but he’s still facing a federal investigation. Authorities stopped sending forfeiture money to the DA’s office in August after an auditor had a call with Watkins. “It was a contentious phone call during election season in which Mr. Watkins believed the inquiry was being driven by his opponent,” said Dallas County prosecutor Lincoln Monroe. “Craig thought it was a setup. It was not a good conversation that Craig had.” He added that the federal audit was prompted by a mix-up that will soon be rectified.

Frisco Homeowners Want Power Lines Buried. Brazos Electric is proposing a 2- to 4-mile stretch of overhead lines to increase capacity in the fast-growing city, but neighborhood residents are concerned about the impact on their home values. They want the lines placed underground, which Brazos says would cost $31.5 million, compared to $3.5 million for putting them overhead. Brazos plans to apply to the Public Utility Commission for its expansion in December, and the city and a homeowners’ group plan to challenge it.

Felony Lane Gang Strikes Again. Coppell police are looking into whether an organized group of professional thieves is responsible for a series of smash-and-grab car break-ins. The gang is known for cashing victims’ checks in the outside teller lane at various banks — which I guess is the “felony lane?”

Clayton Kershaw Hogging Baseball Awards. After winning his third Cy Young Award as the National League’s best pitcher on Wednesday, the Highland Park High School graduate and Los Angeles Dodgers hurler received Most Valuable Player honors on Thursday. He’s the first NL pitcher to take the MVP since 1968.

Mavs Score Most Lopsided Win in Team History. Dallas got off to a 45-10 lead in the first 15 minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers and finished with a 123-70 win. It’s their largest margin of victory ever.

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D Magazine Staffers on Councilman Philip Kingston’s Toll Road ‘Nice’ List

Rudy Bush has posted City Councilman Philip Kingston’s Trinity Toll Road “Naughty and Nice” list, identifying those he considers on the wrong (pro-) and right (anti-) side of the debate over building a highway between the levees.

Among those on the “nice” side of the ledger are our own Tim Rogers and contributors Eric Celeste and Patrick Kennedy. Plus, Wick Allison, who even charts a pull quote:

“I learned from the Trinity mistake. Maybe the biggest prejudice of all human beings is presentism. That is to say, what is has always been and will always be.”

Top of the naughty list: Mayor Mike Rawlings and former city manager Mary Suhm. So, yeah, no surprises. For whatever it’s worth, via the DMN:

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Dallas Rates Well on LGBT Inclusion. The Suburbs Not So Much.

The Human Rights Campaign, a nonprofit organization working on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, issued a report today called the Municipal Equality Index in which 353 American cities were rated on their inclusion of, and support for, LGBT residents.

Dallas scored well, 91 out of a possible 100, credited especially with having enacted nondiscrimination laws and for city leadership’s support of the LGBT community. Among the state’s biggest cities only Austin did better (a perfect 100.) Fort Worth got an 83.

But, according to HRC’s standards, Dallas’ suburbs have a ways to go. Irving and Mesquite scored perfect zeroes. Plano got a 22. McKinney a 12, Arlington 11, and Garland a 10.

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Moss Haven Elementary Students Sing ‘We Are The World’ to Fight Ebola

As the Advocate notes, some youngsters over at Moss Haven Elementary in Lake Highlands have produced their own remake of “We Are The World,” the well-intentioned all-star tune we all were made to get thoroughly sick of thanks to its constant play on MTV in 1985.

The Moss Haven video is part of an effort to raise $5,000 for Doctors Without Borders to help fight the Ebola epidemic.

If you have anything snarky to say after watching it, what kind of monster are you?

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Glenn Beck Credits Move to Dallas With Saving His Life

Last night on his TheBlaze online network, Glenn Beck disclosed that for the last several years he’s battled serious health issues — constant fatigue, involuntary shaking, seizures — that had him thinking seriously about whether he could continue his work. He even looked for a successor to take over leadership of his media empire if it came to that.

But then, thanks to his relocation to Dallas and his purchase of the Studios at Las Colinas complex — a move that has proven hugely profitable to Beck, as detailed in Michael J. Mooney’s story in the November issue of D Magazine — he found “a miracle.” As he told his audience Monday:

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