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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.

What It Means Now That Rajon Rondo Is In Dallas

First off, read this fantastic Sports Illustrated profile of Rajon Rondo by the great Lee Jenkins. This is the guy you’re getting, Dallas, a player so competitive he said this after a 12-year-old kid at a Boys & Girls Club in Dorcester, Massachusetts, beat him at Connect Four:

“But did you notice I played the guy five more times and won them all? I had to show him, ‘You beat me, but I’ll beat the s— out of you.'”

I, for one, am excited. So is my friend and fellow Mavs fan Rondo Estrello. Now, onto what this all means.

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Leading Off (12/18/14)

Eric Williams Sentenced to Death For Murders. Williams, a former justice of the peace, was convicted of killing Kaufman County DA Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, and prosecutor Mark Hasse. “You made yourself out to be some sort of Charles Bronson ‘Death Wish’ vigilante in this case,” said District Judge Michael Snipes. “I never bought that … You murdered a little old lady, and you would have murdered two other innocent people if you would have had the opportunity. That puts you right there with Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer and Richard Speck.”

Mavericks Reportedly in Talks To Acquire Rajon Rondo. A deal for the enigmatic Boston Celtics point guard would involve a 2015 first-round pick and Brandan Wright, plus some other players to make the numbers work. Rondo would be an upgrade over current starter Jameer Nelson, but would he fit in? And would the team be desperately thin up front if they made this trade? I’ll take your calls after the break. You’re listening to The Whooping Crain.

Reminder: Plastic Bag Ordinance Goes Into Effect January 1. Unless you bring your own reusable bag, it’ll be an extra nickel. Unrelated: I always want to type “ordnance” instead of “ordinance,” which really changes the sentence.

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USMNT Coming to Toyota Stadium For 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup

FC Dallas’ home pitch will host the US Men’s National Team on July 7 to kick off the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. You can read more about that here. Tell ‘em what’s up Jurgen Klinsmann:

“We are thrilled to play our opening game of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Frisco,” he says. “Winning the tournament is the number one priority for the senior National Team in 2015, so it’s important that we get started on the right foot. It’s a great stadium and there’s a tremendous tradition for soccer in the area, so we’re hoping to get huge support from all our fans.”

Who’s excited? This guy, for one.

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Barrett Brown To Be Sentenced Tomorrow

Tim is the resident Barrett Brown expert, but we are all busy trying to make sure we have Christmas around here, which has led to about eight fires, and Tim is directly involved in putting out at least four or five of them. So, it falls to me to tell you that tomorrow morning Barrett will find out if he’s got to spend any more time in the joint. I hope the answer is no, but I also enjoy his writing about prison life. So — no, I hope he gets out ASAP. #freebarrettbrown

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Leading Off (12/11/14)

Woman Charged With Capital Murder After Man and Daughter Found In Arlington Home. Veronica Dunnachie was arrested after police found her at a mental hospital. She is charged with shooting and killing her husband Russell, 50, and his 20-year-old daughter, Kimberly; Veronica and Russell were in the process of getting divorced. Family members said Veronica “had become very distant, lost weight and become heavily involved in gun-rights activist groups.”

Fort Worth Had 42 Percent Population Growth Between 2000 and 2013; Dallas Had Less Than 3 Percent. I missed this earlier, but dang.

Dallas City Council Passes New Transportation-For-Hire Ordinance. The new rules go into effect April 30.

Arboretum Wants To Raise Parking Rates From $10 to $15. I see they’ve reached Phase 3 of their Make Everyone Irritated at Us plan.

Mavs Have Too Much Monta Again. They beat the New Orleans Pelicans 112-107 on the strength of Monta Ellis 26 points, 13 of which came in the fourth quarter. HIT THE THEME MUSIC.

Little Texas Town From Footloose Might Be Close To Having a School Dance After All. Trustees at Highland Park ISD will vote on revisions to the recently controversial book selection policy in January or February. Now that everyone has taken a deep breath, the situation seems to be getting much less contentious and potentially book-burn-y.

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Emmanuel Mudiay May Be Cut From Chinese Team

Coming out of high school at the perpetually embattled Prime Prep, Emmanuel Mudiay was a top-five recruit, a do-it-all point guard with size. He signed with SMU, giving the school its biggest coup in the Larry Brown era and prompting talk of hey-just-maybe national title talk. But either because he wanted to make money for his family right away, the shakiness of any transcript coming from the perpetually embattled Prime Prep, or both, Mudiay decided to skip college and signed with the Guangdong Southern Tigers for $1.2 million. (He also has an endorsement deal with Under Armour.) And now, after only 10 games, he may be cut from the squad as he rehabs an ankle injury. SB Nation’s Tom Ziller has a good look at the situation:

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Leading Off (12/4/14)

Monta Ellis Hits Second Game-Winner In Two Days. This one, in Milwaukee, was a spinning, fadeaway runner going the wrong way as time expired and never looked as though it was not going right into the net. MONTA HAVE IT ALL. Mavs are starting to have kind of a special feeling, no?

Trinity Toll Road Opponents Comes Out Strong At Debate. Hosted and moderated by state Rep. Rafael Anchia, the debate at north Oak Cliff’s Rosemont Primary School featured mostly the usual players (Michael Morris, Mary Suhm, Craig Holcomb for; Patrick Kennedy, Scott Griggs, former supporter Bob Meckfessel against). But, as Brandon Formby notes, there were either very few people in the audience in favor of the road, or all of them were playing an extremely competitive edition of the quiet game. More on this later.

Josh Brent Faces Lawsuits. The Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman is being sued by the father of Jerry Brown, the teammate he killed when he drove drunk and wrecked his Mercedes. Brown’s father is also suing Privae Lounge, the now-closed club that the state found overserved Brent. The owners of Privae are also suing Brent for damages, just in case Brown’s father wins.

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Leading Off (11/20/14)

Revenue Is Up For Downtown Dallas Hotels. That’s the thrust of this story, although mostly it’s just kind of a long run-up to the real point: man, we could be doing even better if we fixed up the convention center so we could get more medical and technology citywide conventions. And maybe so. But then the GM at the Sheraton, Mark Sanders, comes along with this: “Sanders said at this point he’s not counting on getting a huge boost from college football fans in town in January for the inaugural College Football Playoff game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. ‘Actually, we’re not sold out,’ he said. ‘We don’t think that’s going to be quite as big as everybody’s predicting.'” [Deep breath] OK. Mark — can I call you Mark? The College Football Playoff game is not the Super Bowl. College football is not the NFL. Who comes to town for the game will largely depend on who is playing in the game, and they have not decided who is even in the playoff yet, so of course you are not sold out yet because most of the people who will come to Dallas for the game do not know they are coming yet. And when they do come, you can overcharge them and everything will be awesome, OK? (Karen Robinson-Jacobs was a sweetheart for not pointing this out right when you said it.)

Mavs Round-Up. Dirk inspires in win over Wizards, coming back and hitting a big three-pointer after rolling his ankle (again). Cuban serves on jury. Former Mav Delonte West cut from his Shanghai team.

Producers Give Up Effort to Rescue Dallas. TNT canceled the show in October, and since then, Dallas‘ executive producers have tried to find a new home for it, aided by a #SaveDallas campaign on Twitter. They’ve finally given up. They probably should have never revived the show in the first place, but that’s a debate for another time.

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Leading Off (11/13/14)

Thomas Eric Duncan’s Fiancee Lands Book Deal. Louise Troh’s memoir “will tell of her life with Duncan and how her faith had been ‘tested but not broken'” by his death from Ebola. It’s scheduled to come out April 28, published by The Weinstein Company and Perseus Book Group.

Northeast Gateway Toll Road Dead — For Now. The controversial project is expected to be left out of Mobility 2035, a long-range planning document that will go before the Regional Transportation Council today. Good job, Hunt County residents.

Debate Over Highland Park ISD’s Book Policy Continues. Currently, they are just on the edge of a potential Footloose situation, so it’s probably best to get this locked down.

Clayton Kershaw Wins Cy Young Award. The Highland Park grad won his third Cy Young after going 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA and throwing a no-hitter. He’ll find out today if he’s also the National League’s MVP.

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Dirk Nowitzki Is Now The Highest-Scoring Foreign-Born NBA Player Ever

It happened last night during the Mavs’ awesome comeback over the Sacramento Kings — who, P.S., have not beaten the Mavs in Dallas since 2003. He passed Hakeem Olajuwon, and it probably would have been more fitting if it had come off one of his patented, one-legged, lean-back jumpers, but a midrange shot is probably just as good. Dirk will more than likely finish just behind Shaquille O’Neal on the scoring list this season. If he plays through his entire three-year contract somewhere near this level, he has an outside shot — no pun intended — to finish his career ahead of Wilt Chamberlain as the No. 5 scorer of all-time. That is amazing. I SEE YOU, BIG GERMAN.

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Why Are the Mavericks So Awful In the Third Quarter?

The Mavs have started fairly strong this season, opening with a 3-2 record and only one really bad loss (last night, against the Portland Trailblazers). Chandler Parsons has mostly righted the ship after a terrible start against San Antonio. The other new guys have mostly fitted in. Dirk has looked like Dirk. But there is one troubling aspect that those five games have in common: the team’s absolutely dreadful third quarters. How bad has it gone when the second half starts? They have been outscored 170 to 106 in the third quarter, or 34 to 21.2 on average. That is not good. Giving up 34 points is not good. Being outscored by 13 points is not good. It is all not good. So, what is up?

A. The team’s dominant offense has allowed it to coast a bit on defense. When the opponents make halftime adjustments to slow down the offense, the defense is exposed.

B. The Mavericks have a deep roster, but the second unit is not packed with scorers. When the starters naturally begin to drop off a bit, there is no one on the bench to bail them out and bring some renewed energy on the offensive end. (Quicker version: the team misses Vince Carter way more than it thought it would.)

C. During halftime at every game, Warden Hazen takes Parsons aside and threatens to pin Caretaker’s murder on him, thus extending his prison stay indefinitely. By the time Parsons decides to take his chances with the warden and starts playing to win again, it is already the fourth quarter.

Or maybe something else?

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Rafael Anchia Is Asking Folks If They Support the Trinity Tollroad

The state representative has a survey up and running on his site, and it’s pretty straightforward. Anchia hasn’t said yet what he plans to do with the information. Meantime, Brandon Formby has a good summation of where the road stands at this moment.

My two cents: we don’t need the road. I’m not exactly alone in saying that. But after running inside the levees a few weeks ago — that’s right: I run now, and I come up with smarmy, backdoor ways to mention it — I am of the opinion that we don’t really need anything there. Amenities, schmamenities. Finish the trails, maybe throw in a few places to hang out and throw around a frisbee, a playground — nothing serious, just the kind of thing you’d find at an elementary school. The Trinity project could be finished by summer, and we can get contentious with each other over something else. Like 345 — have you guys heard anything about that?

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Leading Off (11/6/14)

HUD and Dallas Come to Agreement On Discrimination Case. The city will have to modify its fair housing policy and continue developing its Neighborhood Plus plan, as well as host a housing symposium and send reports to HUD. What it won’t have to do is admit any wrongdoing or pay any money, not to HUD and not to the developers at 1600 Pacific who accused the city of discrimination. Honestly, though, the first seems like they’re admitting at least a little wrongdoing.

Neighbors Are Terrified of Mark Cuban’s Plans For Preston Road Properties. Even though they have absolutely no idea what those plans are.

Randy Travis Continues Recovery From Stroke. I hope he makes it all the way back, because I’m, sitting on, like, 50 jokes here.

Former Mail Carrier Battles Stray Dogs. I don’t always ask, but please read all of this.

Rangers Bring Back Michael Young. As special assistant to GM Jon Daniels.

Group of Investors Acquires 33 Acres and 700,000 Square Feet in the Heart of the Design District. The group is headed by Dunhill Partners, which is headed by Bill Hutchinson, whom I really only knew as the guy who threw the sort of gross pajama party for his birthday every year. But I guess he had to make money somehow and this is one of the ways. Other investors: Tim Headington (of course), the owners of Highland Park Village, and Newt Walker.

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