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Key to Cowboys Victory: Ignoring Andrew Luck’s Compliments

With that wonderful win Sunday night, the Cowboys have put themselves in position to win the division, and possibly even earn a bye in the first week of the playoffs — or to completely rip the hearts out of fans who could resist hope until only recently.

This week’s game against the Colts will be the biggest challenge. And the Cowboys have a lot to deal with. In addition to DeMarco “Spray Tan” Murray’s surgically repaired hand, and Orlando Scandrick’s seems-like-a-real-life-Chappelle Show-sketch desire to run up the score on hospitalized children who dare play him in Madden, this week the team has to face the unrelenting kindness of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.

The Wall Street Journal has a great story about just how jarring Luck’s niceties can be. Apparently, any time he’s knocked down he retaliates with love. From the WSJ:

Luck has become famous for congratulating—sincerely and enthusiastically—any player to hit him hard. Any sack is met with a hearty congratulations, such as ”great job” or “what a hit!” He yells it after hard hits that don’t result in sacks, too. It is, players say, just about the weirdest thing any quarterback does in the NFL.

When New England pass rusher Rob Ninkovich pulverized Luck last month in a Patriots’ 42-20 win, he got the customary congratulations. As Ninkovich tells it, he found himself paralyzed with confusion by the well-wishes, so he blurted out “Thanks for…uh…accepting that hit?” before running back to the huddle.

Also, Dallas is 3-4 at home this year. So there’s that.

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No, The Guy in That Fight Video Is Probably Not Mike Brown

A video has been circulating recently that purports to show Mike Brown, the 18-year-old shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, beating an older man over a backpack. I’ve seen this video passed around on Facebook in the last few days, mostly by people working backward from the notion that Brown was a menace to society who deserved to die. Some of the individuals sharing the video without skepticism are local journalists — because the industry just hasn’t had a hard enough time of late.

The footage is brutal and disturbing, and you probably shouldn’t watch it. Especially since the person in that video almost certainly is not Mike Brown. The rumor-debunking site Snopes looked into the matter and has determined that the video has been mislabeled. (It was also taken off of Facebook at one point, not because of the content or label or any policy of the social network, but because the person who first shared it removed the post and that’s how that works.)

Turns out, this footage was shot two years ago, when Brown would have been 15 or 16. Also, it was shot in Dallas, in the Woodland City Apartments (the original video is titled “Only in Woodland City”), and there is no indication Brown ever spent time in North Texas.

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DeMarco Murray Accused of Having Affair With Former Teammate’s Wife

Well, this is about as salacious as it gets. And the ultimate source for all things salacious: TMZ.

Yesterday Brennan Clay took to Twitter to announce that his soon-to-be-ex wife was having an affair with Cowboys star running back (and MVP candidate) DeMarco Murray, a former teammate of Clay’s at the University of Oklahoma. Clay told TMZ he found an old cell phone of his wife’s that had more than 50 “inappropriate” messages to and from Murray, along with explicit photos.

Clay’s wife, Gina D’Agostini, is a fitness instructor in Dallas. She deleted her Twitter and Facebook accounts not long after the allegations went public.

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Leading Off (11/25/2014)

Locals Gather to Protest Ferguson Grand Jury Decision. After the no-bill announcement last night in Missouri, a small group showed up at the Dallas Police Department with signs. Most of people in this video seem to be having a pretty good time. Certainly a better time than the people in these incredibly dramatic photos. There’s another local protest scheduled for tonight.

Rough Week for Local Police. Unrelated to that last item, it has not been a great stretch for local law enforcement. Three Dallas Police officers were fired, and one was charged with excessive force for an incident involving a panhandler. And the Arlington Police Department is investigating how accident reports were leaked to lawyers and injury clinics.

Four Earthquakes in Three Days. All in Irving. The latest one, a 2.2, hit last night around 11:45 p.m. (Insert awkward comment about how we all know this is fracking-related, but because that industry is so profitable and powerful, nothing will change anytime soon–unless maybe it gets worse.)

Mavs Lose Ugly. At home, to the 6-8 Indiana Pacers. Final score: 111-100. Despite having served his four game suspension for last season’s gun charges, Raymond Felton was inactive.

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Child Porn Suspect Told Police He’s Raped More Than 100 Kids

The details emerging in this case are incredibly disturbing. And you will probably be hearing the name Randy Ray Wesson a lot in the next few months. Wesson, a 28-year-old Fort Worth man, was arrested after police linked him to an Instagram account. It appears he was living with a 17-year-old named Ricardo Lugo, who was posing as a 12-year-old and attending Hurst Hills Elementary. Police say Lugo helped recruit victims. Wesson apparently also told police that he has sexually assaulted more than 100 children — identifying a dozen by name — and possessed 42,000 images of child porn.

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Leading Off (11/21/14)

Obama Announces Immigration Reform. It could mean thousands of people in Texas who otherwise might have been deported won’t be. Depending on whom you ask, this is either a great, humane thing for countless families or a tyrant seizing power to subvert democracy.

Local Family Moves to Oregon to Get Medical Marijuana for Infant. “Sure, we may have questioned the cannabis oil at first,” admits Chris Blanchett, whose 14-month-old daughter Ellanor has a rare seizure disorder called Aicardi Syndrome. “But that’s what we want to try now. And until you’re in our seat, you don’t understand what that decision means.”

The Story of Kent Brantley’s Survival. GQ’s Sean Flynn has a short oral history about the heroic Fort Worth doctor’s recovery from Ebola, from the perspective of the physicians who treated him. Worth checking out.

Glenn Beck: The Media Raped Bill Cosby. “Journalism is the most dishonorable, dishonest, callous, cynical, mean, stupid, stupid people and industry I’ve ever seen,” says Beck. Which reminds me: You can read my profile of Glenn Beck here.

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Alex From Target Gets the New York Times Treatment

The story of Alex from Target (from Frisco) is now a story about us looking at ourselves looking at ourselves looking at beautiful, polite people. When he left for work that morning, he had a little more than 100 followers on Twitter. Now he has around 733,000.

“To say Alex is ‘a sweet kid,’ as his parents describe him, is an understatement. He’s shy and exceedingly polite. He often chuckles to himself after speaking. While he answered most of my questions with short and sheepish replies, when I asked him about his girlfriend, Lindsey, he lit up, telling me that they met in chemistry class after sitting next to each other for a lab assignment.”

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Leading Off (11/5/14)

Election Results. Abbott won. Watkins lost. Republicans swept the stateMillions of dollars will go to highways. And Denton banned fracking. More here.

Cowboys Coin Regrettable Hashtag for London Game. The Cowboys are playing the Jacksonville Jaguars in Wembley Stadium this week. The team probably could have come up with something better than #CowboysUK.

Friend Apparently Lied to Plano Police Investigating Missing Woman. Christina Morris went missing after a night at the Shops at Legacy two months ago. Enrique Gutierrez Arochi, a friend of hers from high school, was with her the night she disappeared, but apparently wasn’t completely honest with the police. A coworker also said that Arochi had bruises on his forearm and that he complained of a sore back around the same time.

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Death Metal Legend King Diamond Lives in Frisco

This is just weird and awesome. King Diamond is one of those classic, screeching European metal singers who inspired bands like Metallica: skulls, makeup, a femur for a microphone, a denouncement by Tipper Gore in the ’80s. And apparently now he spends a lot of his time walking around Frisco. Sorry. Not just walking. Power walking.

From Thor Christensen’s DMN story:

“It’s all very normal. The neighbors know who I am and they say ‘Hi’ when I’m out walking,” says the 58-year-old falsetto-voiced singer of “Evil,” “Burn” and “Satan’s Fall.”

“I feel the Southern hospitality big-time in Dallas,” he says. “People are just so polite and helpful, which is one reason I love Texas. It’s not like that at all in Denmark.”

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Leading Off (10/29/14)

Amber Vinson is Back. I feel like this part of the inevitable Ebola book(s) and movie(s) will be covered in a cheerful montage.

Two Convicted Killers Set Free. Stanley O. Mozee and Dennis Lee Allen were both serving life sentences for the 1999 murder of a pastor when their convictions were overturned due to what sounds a lot like some disturbing prosecutorial misconduct.

Mavs Lose Close Season Opener to Spurs. Ugh. With 1:37 left on the clock, Dallas was winning. Chandler Parsons missed a three-pointer as time expired. I’m sure Zac will be along later with a venn diagram or something that explains this game, and, if we’re lucky, the whole season. Or franchise. Or — oh! — maybe the history of the rivalry with the Spurs. He could definitely do something solid with that. It could turn into the kind of material mere mortals might confuse for the hilarious ramblings of a mad man. But yeah, anyway, rough start.

A Story That Will Make You Feel Emotions. If you’re into that sort of thing.

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Leading Off (10/13/14)

More About the Second Ebola Case: There’s more info about the Dallas healthcare worker diagnosed with Ebola here, here, and here. And you should be following the reporting of our Matt Goodman here. Among other things, we know that, unlike in the recent case in Spain, this Ebola patient’s dog will not be euthanized.

Wright Amendment Is No More: The 1980 law restricting flights to and from Love Field becomes history today. Southwest, Virgin, and Delta will have dozens of new direct routes heading to nine new airports. It’s been a long time coming, and under other circumstances, this would probably be the biggest news of the week. But these are strange days in Dallas.

Cowboys Win Big Game: Dallas defeated the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks in Seattle yesterday, marking only the second time the Seahawks have lost at home in the last three years. DeMarco Murray is almost certainly the leading candidate for league MVP at the moment, and he just tied a 56-year-old record held by Jim Brown. The win puts the Cowboys’ record at 5-1 and gives all Cowboys fans the sick agony of expectation.

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Marcus Smart’s Crazy Back Story in Lancaster

Marcus Smart, the sixth overall pick in last June’s NBA draft, was, until recently, most famous for shoving a Texas Tech fan in the middle of a game earlier this year. (He also had a pretty good two-year career at Oklahoma State.) Then the Celtics drafted him, and he got a multi-year endorsement deal from Adidas worth $1 million. Now, Baxter Holmes at the Boston Globe has a profile that includes harrowing details from Smart growing up in Lancaster.

The story has bullets flying, a mentor half-brother dying of cancer, a teammate hit by a train, and eventually Smart breaking down in tears. He took Holmes to several of his old houses and apartment buildings.

From the story:

Marcus recalls the area, known as the “1500 block,” as a place where Crips and Bloods gangs waged war, where drugs were rampant, where police sirens howled, where the Fourth of July was an excuse to fire off more gunshots than normal because outsiders mistook them for fireworks.

“At the time when I was here,” Marcus says, “if you heard ‘Lancaster, 1500 block, Meadows,’ everybody said, ‘Oh, you live by the Meadows. We won’t come over there. We’ll talk to you later.’ ”

Read the entire thing here.

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Can We Please Stop Conflating Michael Sam and Josh Brent?

Josh Brent drove drunk, after a previous conviction for doing just that, and was going between 110 mph and 134 mph in an area with a 45-mph speed limit, when he killed his friend and teammate Jerry Brown.

Michael Sam is the first publicly gay player drafted into the NFL.

Both are defensive lineman who have a chance to play for the Dallas Cowboys at some point this season. The comparisons should end there.

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How a North Texas Man Became the Leader of the Syrian Opposition Government

This weekend, the New York Times ran a fascinating story about how a director of operations at a North Texas-based telecommunications company became–for a few months anyway–the interim prime minister of an alternative government opposing the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war.

Ghasson Hitto grew up in Syria, in a Kurdish family. His older brother was imprisoned for 14 years for voicing opposition to the government of Bashar al-Assad’s father. At 19, Hitto moved to America, married a midwestern woman, and had four children, at least one of which played varsity football in high school.

A year into the conflict, Hitto’s oldest son, then 24, moved to Syria. Hitto started his involvement by volunteering to work on humanitarian aid projects in the fall of 2012.

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