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Who Will Replace D.A. Susan Hawk?

Breaking news from the DMN: “Dallas County’s new district attorney Susan Hawk, blasted by former co-workers for acting erratically on the job, spent a month at a rehab center for prescription drug use during the campaign for that office in late 2013, friends and courthouse colleagues say. … ‘She definitely needs to get help,’ said a courthouse colleague who has talked to Hawk about her use of pain medication in the past.”

So how many convictions from her former courtroom will get thrown out? And whom will Greg Abbott appoint to take Hawk’s place after she steps down? Because surely that will happen, right? Leaders in the clubhouse have to be Bill Wirskye and Toby Shook.

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What’s Really Happening With That Complaint Filed Against DISD

Yesterday, a guy named Bill Betzen filed a complaint with the Department of Education against DISD. If you read the DMN’s story about it, you probably went, “Whoa. That doesn’t look good. Seems like the district is screwing poor kids.” Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s okay. Don’t go too hard on yourself. It’s a complicated issue. Eric explains the whole matter on LearningCurve. You should read his post. After you do, you’ll understand the truth, that Betzen is just trying to undermine Superintendent Mike Miles and foul up a very important vote tonight by the board of trustees. Take a minute and educate yourself. Do it for the kids.

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A Modest Proposal for Dirk Nowitzki

First, I’d like to congratulate Dirk on snagging his 10,000th rebound. Also, high-five on the birth of his son (and winning the argument with his wife, apparently, to pick the kid’s name). On to business: The Musers this morning were talking about how there are only about two kids in the entire NCAA tourney who play with their backs to the basket. Further, they observed, no one, even at the pro level, shoots the hook anymore. As Kareem showed us, it is the most unstoppable shot ever invented. Now, I know that Dirk already has a signature shot, the wrong-way turnaround knee-kick fade-away jumper. I’m not suggesting he replace it. But I am proposing that he and Holger Geschwindner spend the next few weeks getting the hook ready. Last year, Dirk told Tim MacMahon that he’s been working on the hook for a decade. It is time. It looks like the Mavs might have to play Memphis in the first round. The key to beating them: Dirk’s hook.

Thank you for your time.

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Leading Off (3/24/15)

Dallas D.A. Fires Top Assistant. Susan Hawk has been our district attorney for about three months. Her tenure has not so far gone smoothly. Yesterday she fired her first assistant, Bill Wirskye, whose hiring had been seen as a solid move on Hawk’s part. Good luck filling that spot with a qualified candidate.

Jason Garrett Speaks About Greg Hardy. For the first time, the Cowboys coach spoke to reporters about why the team would sign a guy who beat up his girlfriend. “First off, we understand the seriousness of domestic violence,’’ he said. “We obviously aren’t for domestic violence, so let’s get that out at the start.” Blah, blah, blah.

Low Oil Prices Won’t Hit Dallas Too Hard. You probably should read Mitchell Schnurman’s column today. Unless you live in Houston.

DART Unveils New Oak Cliff Streetcar. Councilwoman Vonciel Jones Hill likes the new streetcars, which will begin operation April 13, going between Union Station and the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Beckley. She said the people behind the project are “just hyena happy, peacock proud, and baboon-beside-ourselves to be able to present the Dallas streetcar.” I’d like to add that I am dik-dik delighted about the whole thing.

Bird Forces Dallas Police Helicopter To Make Emergency Landing. This is what happens when you fly into an American coot. Which reminds me. I’m also coot crazy for the Oak Cliff streetcar.

Dead Dogs and Roosters Get Dumped in Dallas Park. Cockfighting. Dog fighting. That’s probably what led to this. (Side note — and not to make light of this situation — but I can’t help but imagine what a cootfighting operation might look like. You throw these mud hens into a ring, everyone gets all excited, places their bets, and then the birds go pecking around for bugs, just fly away, whatever. Maybe it’s just me.)

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Mary Suhm Lands Herself a New Gig

Our former city manager, Mary Suhm, retired in 2013. Ever since, rumors have percolated around town that she still maintained an office at City Hall, that she still was very active in certain municipal operations. Now comes word that she has a new job: “The American Architectural Foundation (AAF) is pleased to announce Mary Suhm, as the Senior Fellow of AAF’s Center for Design & the City. Mary served as City Manager of Dallas, Texas from 2005-2013 and guided the city through a transformative time in its urban renaissance. As AAF Senior Fellow, Mary will help to lead the development and implementation of AAF’s new City Managers’ Design Academy (CMDA).”

So basically A.C. Gonzalez is now playing the part of Kevin Kline in Dave.

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Tony Romo Kills It on Jimmy Kimmel

If there was any doubt that Tony Romo has a future as a broadcaster when he retires from the game, he erased that doubt last night. He was great on Jimmy Kimmel Live, which was broadcasting from Austin. To watch the entire segment, you need to sign in here with your cable provider info. But here’s a taste, a clip of Romo recounting how he tried to convince the Jones boys to keep DeMarco Murray:

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Leading Off (3/17/15): St. Paddy’s Day Edition

Video Released of Dallas Cops Killing Mentally Ill Man. The shooting happened in June. Jason Harrison, whom his own mother described at the time as “bipolar schizo,” had a screwdriver in his hands. You really should watch the video. Not because (in my ignorant opinion) it vindicates the cops or shows that they inappropriately used lethal force. Just because. Things happened so fast. It’s impossible from that video to understand why Harrison was killed. And it’s impossible to understand how hard it is to work as a cop.

Jesuit and Highland Park React Differently to Racist Video. From the DMN: “Jesuit’s reaction is the opposite of Highland Park High School’s.” A graduate of each school was seen in the infamous SAE video. Jesuit is tackling the issue head-on, addressing its kids directly and talking to the media. HP, not so much. To me, one reaction seems better than the other.

Marcos Ronquillo Gets Some More Pub. You no doubt read our story about the mayoral candidate in the March issue. Today Ronquillo gets some more play, in the paper. So when do we get to hear this guy debate Mike Rawlings?

American Airlines Pilots Don’t Like New Uniforms. “Some pilots developed rashes while wearing the new uniforms. The blouses for female pilots were too revealing. The double-breasted coat wasn’t too popular.” Not great reviews from the test subjects. Here’s my review: Virgin and Southwest still provide a better experience, top to bottom, from gate agents to flight crew. But you guys keep sweating the wrong details.

Mavs Beat Thunder. OKC was up 15 at one point, but the Mavs came back to win 119-115. Watch the highlights. Chandler Parsons was clutch, with 31. Delicious basketball is happening, people, and it ain’t just SMU doing the balling.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Alex will be along in a bit to tell you what you should be doing to celebrate.

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Mayor Mike Rawlings Spins and Spins on the Trinity Toll Road

On Sunday, the DMN published in print this op-ed written by Mayor Mike Rawlings. I was on spring break with my children (Padre, beer bongs, you know the story), so you’ll forgive me for not reading it till now. The piece has driven me insane with its misinformation and spin. Someone with more patience than I needs to step up and tear the thing apart. Here I’ll just pick at two points.

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Jane McGarry Has a New Gig at WFAA, But Probably Still Loves Fried Chicken

With news coming yesterday that Jane McGarry has herself a new gig at WFAA Channel 8, I thought we’d revisit Zac’s story about Jane from back in November, when she was promoting her e-magazine, Real Jane. (Funny note: this “story” ran on the back page of the magazine. Satan makes an appearance at its end. Still, we heard from several readers who thought it was actual reporting.)

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Watch Scott Griggs’ ‘Dramatic Histrionics’

Yesterday’s City Council meeting provided some good action. Get your popcorn ready, then cue this video up to the 48-minute mark. Councilman Scott Griggs is normally a reserved guy, but during the open-mic session, after a citizen had spoken in support of the Trinity toll road, Griggs really let loose. Councilman Rick Callahan, a supporter of the toll road, called his remarks “dramatic histrionics” and a “tirade.” Councilman Philip Kingston got in on the action, too, just barely controlling himself enough to substitute “freaking” for the other eff word.

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Programming Note: Nancy Nichols To Talk Pretty on KERA’s Think Today

Today at 1 o’clock, you can find Nancy at 90.1 on your FM dial or streaming on She’ll be on the Think program with host Krys Boyd to talk about why, after 18 years at D Magazine’s dining critic, she is stepping down from that role (though not, rest assured, leaving the magazine). Krys, as always, is awesome. And Nancy has been in a good mood lately. Yesterday in the office, for reasons that remain unclear to me, she was reciting from memory “The Song of Hiawatha.” Should be a good show. Listen up.

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The Last Thing You’ll Need To Read About DISD and How the DMN Is Working To Tear it Apart

We’ve written quite a bit lately on this blog about how the paper covers DISD. We’ve pointed you to stories that Jim Schutze has written about the matter. But there’s one more you should read. I warn you: it’s long. But after you read this LearningCurve post by Eric Celeste, you will understand once and for all how the paper is doing real, demonstrable harm to the district and, by extension, the city as a whole. The newspaper has a new editor, Mike Wilson, who started last month. His top priority should be figuring out why his paper is failing on this front and fixing it. The status quo-ers on the school board want Miles fired before the May elections. There’s no time to waste. (Oh, also, I lied. Eric’s post isn’t the last thing you’ll need to read about the district and how the paper covers it. Sorry.)

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Nina Pham: A Case Study in Media Manipulation

Please understand that I am not commenting here on the merits of Ebola survivor Nina Pham’s lawsuit against Texas Health Resources. She says she has nightmares and her hair is falling out. She says Presby used a video of her without her consent. Maybe she’s entitled to some money. And maybe, as she has said, she really does want to “make hospitals and big corporations realize that nurses and health care workers, especially frontline people, are important.”

No, what I want to talk about is Charla Aldous, the lawyer representing Pham. Because Aldous has pretty much posterized Texas Health, and right now she’s hanging on the rim, looking down at Texas Health, enjoying the afterglow of her monster dunk. If I’m reading her playbook correctly — and I’d like to think I am — here’s how she did it:

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