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Zac Crain is a senior editor at D Magazine. He moved to Dallas in 1997, and since then, he's worked as an editor at the Dallas Observer and American Way, written for Esquire and Spin, ran for Dallas mayor, written a book, and served as "glue guy" for a handful of rec-league basketball squads. Scouting report: can't go right, but he's a creative passer, and semi-accurate set shooter.

Leading Off (10/30/14)

DCVB Wants $300 Million To Spruce Up Convention Center. I see how this goes. First, Philip Jones says we’ll lose convention business if we don’t build a hotel. So we do. Great. Now he says we’re losing convention business because our ballrooms aren’t big enough. Next, he’ll say the convention center hotel isn’t quite right, so we’re going to lose convention business unless we spend a few hundred million. Then it’ll be the convention center again.

Cleburne’s City Servers Under Siege. Apparently, the DDOS attacks are in retaliation for the killing of a dog by a Cleburne police officer in August. A video of the shooting was released two weeks ago. The FBI is now involved in investigating the attacks on the servers.

Joseph Randle Is Chatty. Among many others things, while he was being booked into Frisco City Jail after being arrested for stealing cologne and underwear from a Dillard’s, Randle joked, “If I give you $100, will you give me a massage?

Frisco Will Finally Get Its First Luxury Hotel. Whew. I, for one, was wondering if it was ever going to happen. Omni is building it and it will be part of the development surrounding the Cowboys’ new headquarters and training facility.

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J.J. Barea Is Coming Back to the Mavs For Some Reason

The fan favorite from the 2011 title team was bought out of his contract by the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday. Today he signed with the Mavs for the veteran’s minimum. The Mavs will release Gal Mekel to make room for the — hahahahahaha — 6-foot Barea. (I am 6 feet tall, and I am at least two but more like three inches taller than Barea, at least based on the time I stood next to him after practice). I’m a little concerned the team is starting to get a little The Expendables in its roster construction, but honestly this is not a huge deal, probably.

ANYWAY, now the Mavs may try to finally roll out the all-point guard lineup I’ve long advocated for. And, in that scenario, fingers-crossed, they’ll play Barea at center.

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Leading Off (10/23/14)

Amber Vinson No Longer Has Ebola, According to Her Family. Still no official word from the CDC or Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, but her family says she’s been approved for transfer out of the isolation unit, and she looks happy and healthy in the photos that have been released. So hopefully she is out of danger. Vinson’s coworkers at Presbyterian got a call from President Obama yesterday, offering his support. What Presbyterian really needs is more patients.

Dallas Police Begin Testing More Than 4,000 Old Rape Kits. Some date back to 1996 and could lead to hundreds of new rape investigations.

Woman Accused Of Beating Her 12-Year-Old Daughter With a Belt Outside Bishop Dunne. Shannetta Robinson, 37, remains in Dallas County jail.

Irving Council Member Quits Committee After Dispute With Mayor. Dennis Webb used to chair the public safety committee. But he apparently felt Mayor Beth Van Duyne was being too political with the committees, so he quit during a public meeting. “Me and Allan [Meagher, chair of community services committee] find ourselves on committees that are meaningless … so your influence can be done,” Webb said. “To save myself and the citizens the grief … you can just find yourself another chair.” I assume he then dropped the mic.

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I Also Have a Wish List of Unfunded Amenities

Gail Thomas, director of the Trinity Trust, presented the City Council with an unfunded list of possible amenities in a briefing yesterday: spray parks, fire rings, a climbing wall, kayaks, a zip line, a disc golf course. Jugglers! It all adds up to $76 million, none of which has actually been raised. And it will have to be raised, because the city doesn’t have the cash to pay for any of it. But whatever!

“So many things in the corridor are possible once we allow our imagination to go there,” Thomas said.

EXACTLY. With that in mind, here is a list of some possible improvements to our city. They are also unfunded. Why worry about that? Just dream with me, people.

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Parkland Hospital Releases Major Presby Diss Track

Today, Parkland released a video showing how to properly don and doff protective gear when caring for a patient who has (or is suspected to have) the Ebola virus.

“As a public safety net hospital, we believe it is our responsibility to care for anyone who presents at our doors. Part of that mission is to share with others in the health care industry our knowledge of best practices,” said Alex Eastman, Parkland’s Disaster Medical Director.

Definitely feels like a subtweet aimed squarely at Parkland’s well-heeled, previously-well-thought-of competitor Presbyterian Hospital, which apparently could use a brush up on best practices in this regard. Or, if you prefer, their version of Nas’ “Ether,” directed toward the former “Neiman Marcus of hospitals.” Maybe Presby has a “Takeover” in them.

UPDATE FROM TIM ROGERS (9:35 PM) I had a conversation this evening with a senior Parkland official who was really unhappy with the above post. He didn’t know what a diss track is or who Nas is or what “Takeover” sounds like. Honestly, neither did I when I read this post. Still don’t. But I got the gist. I thought it was clever. And I never for a second thought Zac really meant that Parkland was trying to diss Presby. He was just making a joke.

The Parkland official’s point was that this is not a subject to joke about. It’s not funny. One person in Dallas has died. Others are sick. People are working hard to save lives. Hospitals are not competing with each other or dissing each other. I told him that I understood his point and that I thought it could lead to a really interesting, worthwhile conversation.

Here’s the deal: I’ve been making Ebola jokes for a couple weeks. A coworker told me she had diarrhea. My first response: Ebola joke. My out-of-state friends are texting and emailing me Ebola jokes, saying they won’t see me at Thanksgiving unless I put myself in quarantine right now. Stuff like that. I think this sort of joking is a normal, natural, healthy human response. It’s a relief valve on a system that’s under a lot of pressure.

But you know what? I’m not a healthcare worker. I’m a civilian out here in the world, living under different conditions than hospital officials are experiencing right now. Our relief valve might come across like a guy running through a tense business meeting while firing off an air horn.

Or, you know, a better analogy. It’s late. Been a long day. It ended, for me, with two insane meetings on my children’s behalf (behalves?) at two different schools, followed by a lengthy conversation with a Parkland official, during which I’m afraid I raised my voice more than I ought to have.

For that, I apologize to the Parkland official. As for this post, it’ll remain up, and hopefully we’ll all learn from it.

UPDATE (9:56 PM) From the Parkland official: “I am aware of what a diss track is. And I am very familiar with Nas, as Illmatic came out when I was in college and is one of the most important hip hop albums of all time. I am actually probably more familiar with Nas than the guy who wrote this article. So that part is inaccurate.”

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Leading Off (10/16/14)

Your Daily Ebola Update. Presbyterian has apologized. Nurses are tired of taking the blame. Amber Joy Vinson is now at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital. County commissioners are meeting today to decide whether to declare a local state of emergency. Also, this quote, re: Presby: “It has always been considered the Neiman Marcus of hospitals, because a lot of wealthy people came here. Now we wonder if it’s going to become the J. C. Penney.” What a drive-by burn on Penney’s.

DISD Board Will Meet On Monday In Wake Of Dade Middle School Dustup. “My goal is that we come to a better understanding of our purpose, the line between governance and management, and how we can improve the lives of the nearly 160,000 students we serve,” said board President Miguel Solis. Eric has been writing about all this over at Learning Curve.

Highland Park ISD Still Battling Over Books. Come for the story, stay for the super smarmy comment.

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Watch Erykah Badu Hustling On the Streets of New York

She posted up at 42nd Street and 6th Avenue to sing and ask for change. She made $3.60.

“In no way is this video a reflection of my feelings about homeless or unfortunate families nor individuals who have no other means of survival in our world,” she says. “Instead, this short film was shot w/ my iPhone and edited in iMovie for entertainment purposes only and serves as a personal ‘hustle’ experiment for me.”


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A Way To Help Support Nina Pham, The Nurse Battling Ebola

Nina Pham’s condition has been upgraded from stable to good, and — while she’s not out of the woods yet — it seems like she has an excellent chance of beating the Ebola virus. But, she has lost most of her belongings in the process. A couple of Pham’s friends have set up a Go Fund Me account to help replace her things, as well as help with the expenses that have accompanied all of this. It is here if you are interested.

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Is It Time To Bring Back the Wright Amendment?

Short answer: obviously.

Long answer: a smart man — much smarter than me, if you can believe that — once said, and I quote, “Dallasites — and when I say ‘Dallasites,’ I’m actually referring rather broadly to North Texas and North Texans as a whole, and my use of ‘Dallasites’ in that instance is kind of a shorthand for that, if you will — were not meant to fly non-stop to Los Angeles from Love Field. Probably not San Francisco either, now that I think about it.” I think these last 36 hours or so have proven that quote to be hauntingly prescient.

I mean, just because you have the ability to do something does not mean you should have the freedom to do so. Could I wake up from a coma and adroitly perform any rap song released between 1991 and 1994? Yes. Should I be allowed to? Actually, maybe. Probably. Bad example. How about this: can I whistle in public? Yes. Should I? Never, under any circumstances.

For decades, we wondered what would happen if the Wright Amendment went away. And now we can see, very clearly, the ill effects of that disastrous decision: Richard Branson is hanging around town like Wooderson in Dazed and Confused, the comment section on our blogs is mildly confusing, and the Cowboys are good again.

Bring back the Wright Amendment, and make it stronger this time. For example: a flight from Love Field to Waco should be forced to stop in either Wilmer or Hutchins and also Corsicana. You know it’s the Wright thing to do.


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Blind Item: People Are Attracted To This D Staffer

Yesterday afternoon, the majority of the D Magazine editorial staff — Tim Rogers, Brad Pearson, Liz Johnstone, Michael “2 Chainz” Mooney, and myself — took a trip to the State Fair of Texas. During a stop to exchange coupons for beers, a young woman, judged by the group to be in the neighborhood of 14 years of age, came up to one member of our party, poked said staffer in the shoulder area, and said, “You’re cute,” before walking out of our lives again, forever. After much gentle ribbing, the staffer in question said, “You would literally be surprised at how often that happens.”

So — who was the author of that incredibly cocky statement?

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Leading Off (10/9/14)

Ebola Update. Here is everything you need to know, courtesy of our own Matt Goodman.

North Central Texas Council of Governments Transportation Council Keeps Pushing Ahead With Northeast Gateway Even Though No One Wants It. The council is supposed to hear an explanation about traffic forecasts for roads around the project today — forecasts that have far outpaced everyone else’s growth projections for the area. It shouldn’t matter, since Wylie, Rockwall, Sachse, and Fate all formally oppose the road, and Rowlett will meet about it soon. But they are still trying to hammer it through. There is a good chance that this whole thing is being run by Werner Herzog’s character from Jack Reacher.

Deaths Of Frisco Couple Ruled a Murder and a Suicide. They aren’t saying that Pallavi Dhawan (found with a lethal amount of sleeping pills in her system) killed her husband Sumeet (who also had ingested sleeping pills, but was killed by blunt-force trauma). But they aren’t investigating any other suspects either. A note was found but still hasn’t been released.

Fort Worth Man Sentenced to Eight Years In Prison For Forklift Chase. “During the August 2011 chase that reached speeds of 16 mph, [Timothy] Raines drank beer and made obscene gestures at officers. He almost hit several vehicles, including patrol cars.”

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Thomas Eric Duncan, Dallas Ebola Patient, Died This Morning

Here is the statement from Presbyterian Hospital:

It is with profound sadness and heartfelt disappointment that we must inform you of the death of Thomas Eric Duncan this morning at 7:51 am. Mr. Duncan succumbed to an insidious disease, Ebola. He fought courageously in this battle. Our professionals, the doctors and nurses in the unit, as well as the entire Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas community, are also grieving his passing. We have offered the family our support and condolences at this difficult time.

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Dwaine Caraway Sliding Through a NSFW Dallas Observer Slideshow

A not-super-happy-but-for-unrelated-reasons FrontBurnervian pointed me to four shots of Dwaine Caraway — here, here, here, here — from a slideshow described as follows: “AP Rhino, one of the longest running nightlife promotion companies/venue owners in Dallas celebrated their 12 Year Anniversary party Friday night at Synn. DJ Jessy Jam provided the sounds, and special guests included Dallas Cowboys Receiver Dwayne Harris. Roderick Pullum was our man.” NSFW because most of the shots include women wearing body paint and, from the looks of it, not much else. I already knew Caraway was a man of the people.

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Dirk Nowitzki Is (No Surprise) the Best Shooter In the NBA

So says Grantland’s numbers guy Kirk Goldsberry:

Nowitzki integrates volume, efficiency, and ubiquity better than anyone right now. Moreover, he is hardly ever wide open when he shoots, with many of his attempts including a massive defender draped all over him. His quintessential move involves creating just a hair of separation from a defending forward like Ibaka and launching that fadeaway that never seems to miss. It’s unfair.

You know I — the man who popularized I SEE YOU, BIG GERMAN — am not going to disagree. That said, it’s pretty crazy, and strangely beautiful, seeing it all put together in a shot chart.

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