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Ron Washington Holds Another Press Conference

In the lobby of the Super 8 off South Hampton Road, a corporate securities lawyer that no one recognizes steps up to a lectern. He surveys the crowd, which includes an elderly couple from Shreveport checking in for the night.

UNIDENTIFIED LAWYER

I’d like to thank everyone for coming. Yesterday Ron Washington held a press conference to explain his decision to step down as manager of the Texas Rangers baseball team. This press conference is to answer all the questions left unanswered at the previous press conference, plus some new questions that the aforementioned press conference raised.

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Ron Washington Resigned Because He Cheated on His Wife

In a press conference this afternoon, Ron Washington finally explained why, on September 5, he stepped down as manager of the Rangers. “I’m embarrassed,” he said, “more than I’ve ever been in my life.” And then he gave us the reason: “I was not true to my wife, after 42 years.”

I guess I really don’t understand this. He resigned because he cheated on his wife? Aside from him, his wife, and the lady he slept with — who cares?

The only thing I can imagine is that his wife told him: “It’s me or baseball. Pick.”

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Jim Schutze Details the DMN’s Slanted Coverage of DISD

News comes today that DMN managing editor George Rodrigue is leaving the paper to work in some capacity at WFAA Channel 8 (we’ll post the memo to staff in a bit). The editor of the paper, Bob Mong, announced earlier that he will step down next year. Here is job No. 1 for whoever fills these top two spots: straighten out the paper’s coverage of DISD. What am I talking about? Please read this post by Jim Schutze. Then, for even more background, read Eric’s post on the same topic. What they’re doing over at the Morning News is irresponsible.

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Westlake Academy Is Early Leader in North Texas Giving Day

Today, as you are no doubt aware, is North Texas Giving Day, the Communities Foundation of Texas joint that uses a pool of money to match donations, thereby encouraging people to give to local nonprofits. Last year, the effort raised $25.2 million, making it the largest giving day in the country (by a wide margin). As of 10 o’clock, $6.2 million had been raised. Not to jinx anyone, but it looks like we are on pace to break last year’s record.

Two confessions: the first is that I’m addicted to watching the leader board, partly, I guess, because I am familiar with some of the organizations on it. Currently, Westlake Academy is destroying the competition, with donations totaling $161,565. Little ol’ Cistercian Prep is right near the top, with $92,785. But what about — oh, let’s just pick a school at random — St. Mark’s? Only $1,575? And Hockaday with a paltry $7,600? You folks need to step up your game. Go, Hawks!

The second confession: my wife does PR for North Texas Giving Day. Go, wife!

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Tod Robberson Puts Pressure on District Attorney To Do His Job

Editorial writer Tod Robberson has a bylined op-ed in today’s paper that you should read. Essentially it says: “What the heck, people? I did a bunch of really solid reporting on a slumlord in southern Dallas who has been breaking the law for years and bragging about it. DA Craig Watkins? U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldaña? Are you guys paying attention?”

Here’s the first story Robberson did, a serious bit of reporting into the operations of Douglas T. “Chase” Fonteno, a self-described “real estate cat burglar” who takes poor people’s houses and then resells them. I know, right? It sounds insane. It sounds like something that authorities should put a stop to. Robberson wrote a series of stories about Fonteno back in May. Then he brought his findings to the authorities. But as Mayor Mike Rawlings told Robberson, there isn’t much the city can do besides slap Fonteno on his wrist. So:

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The Paris Review Has a Few Words With Merritt Tierce

My apologies to those of you who are tired of posts from me about Merritt Tierce’s debut novel, Love Me Back. It’s a great book, and I want to see a local writer get the attention (and sales) she deserves. The book is out today. Tierce will appear at The Wild Detectives September 25 to talk about it. To whet your appetite, here’s a Q&A with Tierce that The Paris Review published today. (Side note: the woman who conducted that Q&A is named Thessaly La Force, one of those names that only exists in real life, because if you gave it to a character in a novel, it would just sound dumb.)

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Leading Off (9/16/14)

More Details Emerge About Dead Frisco Couple. You’ve been following along. Pallavi and Sumeet Dhawan’s young son was found dead in the couple’s bathtub. There was a question about how the boy had died. Then Pallavi and Sumeet were found dead at their house. Now we know more. It was Pallavi who was found floating in their pool. Sumeet was found dead in a downstairs bedroom, with pills and a note near his body. Police said he’d been hit in the head. Questions remain. What did the note say? But we’re getting closer.

DMN Continues To Hammer DISD Graduation Rate Story. You may have read Matthew Haag’s story yesterday that called into question whether a bunch of kids ought to have graduated from DISD. Well, today he rehashes the entire thing — essentially just because he got a new quote from someone. Here’s the deal. If you read Haag’s stories, you will think many DISD principals have broken the law. That’s not the case. Eric will have a post later today on LearningCurve that will explain what’s really going on here. Stay tuned.

Sketch Released of University Park Rapist. The rape happened about a half-mile from the SMU campus. Have a look at the guy.

40-Ton Machine Dangles Off Overpass. Did you hit some traffic yesterday on the Tollway or the Bush. Here’s video of the giant machine that wound up dangling in the air and shutting down the highways.

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DISD Trustee Bernadette Nutall Apparently Can’t Do Math

Take nine minutes to watch the below video. It is truly amazing. What you’ll see: DISD trustee Bernadette Nutall trying and failing to understand a math problem that my 8-year-old daughter could probably grasp. The district budgeted $1.9 million for a program last school year. It spent all but about $400,000. So it is going to roll that amount over to the next school year. The district’s CFO spends nearly 10 minutes trying to explain that concept to Nutall. Watching the video, I laughed out loud at several points. It’s almost like Nutall is trolling the CFO, just screwing around with him.

Eric didn’t think it was so funny. He spent a few minutes yelling into my ear about how this sort of foolishness happens at every board meeting and how it hurts the district because good, smart staffers simply can’t put up with this sort of thing very long before they throw up their hands and go get another job. He’ll have a much lengthier post over on LearningCurve about this. For now, just watch the video:

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Merritt Tierce’s Debut Novel Is Great, and You Should Buy It

In our September issue, I wrote a little ditty on Merritt’s Tierce’s first novel, Love Me Back (Doubleday), which comes out Tuesday. You should pre-order it right here. As I said in our pages, “it is a beautifully bleak, sex- and drug-filled story.” Yes, I just quoted myself. Writing for Texas Monthly, Michael Ennis said, “[T]his first novel could well emerge as a milestone in Texas literature.” Seriously. It’s a great book. Tierce is a protégé of Ben Fountain’s. I’m not saying this book is going to do what Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk did. But this book belongs on the same shelf. In fact, these two books can be read as companion pieces that explore some of the same themes — alienation, excess, money — in two very Dallas settings, a Cowboys game and a steakhouse.

Anyway, the book’s narrator is a sexually adventuresome (and deeply damaged) waitress named Marie. Much of her story takes place in a steak joint she calls The Restaurant. The book is autobiographical, though, and Tierce worked for years at Nick & Sam’s. So while The Restaurant isn’t exactly Nick & Sam’s, it’s pretty much Nick & Sam’s. Folks who know the score will recognize real-life Dallas characters in the book.

For the magazine piece, I just had Tierce tell funny stories about celebrities she has waited on. (She was really high on coke when she waited on George Clooney.) There was a whole bunch of stuff, though, that Tierce and I talked about that I didn’t have space for. Like, you know, what’s Joe Palladino going to think about this book and all the screwing and snorting it suggests goes down in his restaurant? Here’s a transcript of the material that didn’t make it into the magazine:

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Benny Binion To Appear at The Wild Detectives Tonight

Well sorta. Not really Benny Binion himself. Just a guy who knows a lot about Binion.

Perhaps you read the excerpt from the new book Blood Aces that we ran in our August issue. It’s a good book. Definitely worth your time and money, especially if you dig on Dallas history and colorful characters who do things like bootleg whiskey and kill people and invent the World Series of Poker. Doug Swanson, the Morning News investigative reporter, wrote the book. He’ll be at The Wild Detectives tonight at 7 to give an engrossing talk and sign copies of book. There will be drinks. There will be blood. Recommended.

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Leading Off (9/9/14)

Michael Morris To Take Over Uber Discussion? I have a question. Is there anything else Dallas can hand over to Morris? What about DISD? Let’s give him that, too. Because now the City Council’s transportation committee is about to let Morris run the Uber deal. Here’s the section of the News’ story that jumped out at me: “Though the partnership isn’t all that unusual — the Council of Governments’ transportation director, Michael Morris, holds enormous sway — the arrangement came a bit out of nowhere.”

Men Arrested for Southlake Murder. Remember that lawyer for a Mexican drug cartel who was gunned down a year ago in Southlake’s Town Square? The bad(der) guys are in custody. Breathe easy, Southlake. Unless you work for a drug cartel. In that case, think about moving to the Park Cities, someplace safer.

SMU Student Raped. Read the description of the attacker. Call the cops if have information that might help. Keep your eyes open.

Search Continues for Christina Morris. By now you should know that the 23-year-old disappeared at the Shops at Legacy in Plano last Saturday morning. People are still looking for her.

Deion Sanders Is Back as Athletic Director at Prime Prep. School superintendent Ron Price reinstated Prime Time. If I’m keeping score properly (and this situation has grown so silly that it’s entirely possible that I’m not), Deion has been fired, rehired, fired again, and now rehired. I feel for him. Really, I do. Working for Ron Price must be so hard.

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Do You Know a Nurse Who Does a Super Job?

Do you work with a superstar nurse? Have you ever had your kid in the hospital and left thinking, “That nurse was wonderful. I couldn’t have made it through that experience without that person’s help”? How about your school nurse? Does he or she do an amazing job, going above and beyond?

Enough questions. You can nominate that person for our Excellence in Nursing Awards. The online nomination form takes just a few minutes to fill out. What’s in it for you: the satisfaction that comes from doing a good deed for someone who deserves it. What’s in it for the nurses: a fancy dinner party, a story about the person in the magazine, and a little recognition for all the hard work.

Deadline for nominations is tomorrow, though. Get to it.

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