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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.

Dallas City Council Votes Not To Remove Fluoride From Water Supply

Maybe you’ve gotten tired of commenting on our other fluoride-related posts. Here’s a new one, occasioned by the news that fluorides IS HERE TO STAY (at least for three more years). Only Sheffie Kadane and Adam Medrano voted to get rid of it.

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Angela Hunt Is Our Best City Columnist

Incoming Morning News editor Mike Wilson should hire the former city councilwoman to replace, oh, let’s say Steve Blow. No reason that Hunt should only get to drop bombs like this in the Advocate. A taste:

First of all, you’ve got to let go of this world-class nonsense. You spend way too much time talking about being a world class “this” and having a world class “that.” Then you petulantly threaten that if you don’t get a gazillion dollars to spend on some shiny new bauble, your friends won’t think you’re world class. You must stop trying to out-fancy the more popular cities and focus on being the best Dallas you can be. And stop worrying about what your friends think.

Speaking of your “friends,” I’m worried you’re being overly influenced by this crowd you’re hanging around with, these rich kids. When they say “jump,” you say “how many horse parks do you want?”

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Leading Off (1/27/15)

Attorney General Says Trinity Tollroad Traffic and Revenue Studies Can Be Withheld. Because the North Texas Tollway Authority will use the 15 years and $1.7 million it has spent analyzing the habits of Dallas drivers and the effect of the road on surrounding land and the revenue potential and just about everything else “in concert with a future study” to decide if the road is feasible, it doesn’t have to share any of that information with the public. Educated guess: that “future study” — which won’t be commissioned until after the Federal Highway Administration gives its thumbs-up — will look almost exactly like what it already has, but with a new title page.

John Wiley Price To Appear In Court Today. He’s asking for a couple of things: for taxpayers to pay for his defense and for his trials to be split up. He wants separate trials for tax fraud and bribery. And, by the way, if it should ever come to that, I want the same thing.

Allegations Made Against DISD HR Department. This story has lots of may haves and dots that don’t fully connect, and the only trustee quoted directly is Joyce Foreman, so you may want to keep a few grains of salt on hand. I will say this: it waits longer than usual to kick Superintendent Mike Miles in the jeans.

Mavs “Confident” They Will Sign Jermaine O’Neal. The team could use some frontcourt depth, since it traded Brandan Wright to acquire Rajon Rondo. Portland is also in the mix for O’Neal, but the Mavs think they can lock in the veteran big man, partly since he now lives in Southlake. Part of me is supportive of the potential move, and another probably more truthful part of me is still salty over this, especially since it happened right in front of me and my son.

Teen Celebrates One Year Since Skydiving Accident. Mackenzie Wethington went back to visit the Oklahoma paramedics that helped save her life.

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Barrett Brown Sentenced to 63 Months In Prison

Tim finally got access to his phone and tweeted that Barrett Brown was sentenced to 63 months in prison and ordered to pay $890,000 in restitution. So, with time served, two more years. (In a surprise move, Tim, aka “Jim Rogers from the Dallas Morning News,” was called to speak by the defense.) More later, obviously.

UPDATE: Barrett has released a statement:

Good news!

The U.S. government decided today that because I did such a good job investigating the cyber-industrial complex, they’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex. For the next 35 months, I’ll be provided with free food, clothes, and housing as I seek to expose wrongdoing by Bureau of Prisons officials and staff and otherwise report on news and culture in the world’s greatest prison system. I want to thank the Department of Justice for having put so much time and energy into advocating on my behalf; rather than holding a grudge against me for the two years of work I put into in bringing attention to a DOJ-linked campaign to harass and discredit journalists like Glenn Greenwald, the agency instead labored tirelessly to ensure that I received this very prestigious assignment.

Wish me luck!

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Leading Off (1/22/15)

Barrett Brown To Learn His Sentence Today. Finally, after already spending more than two years in the joint, Brown will find out how much longer he has to remain behind bars. As entertaining as it has been to read his dispatches from various lockups, I agree with this guy: give him time served and send him home. Tim is, of course, at the courthouse, and will report back when it’s all over.

Mike Morath Has Some Hot Sports Opinions On Education In Dallas. First, read our Eric Celeste on the end of home rule. Okay, now you’re ready. Morath, the DISD trustee and driving force of the home rule initiative, told WFAA the following in a phone interview: “I think the real problem is, we as a city don’t actually care about our school system, and that is reflected in the people we elect to the board and the way that they behave.” Also: “You’ve got three or four people that are very seriously harming the decisions of the majority of the board.” Gonna be some fun board meetings coming up.

Bishop T.D. Jakes’ MegaFest Coming Back to Dallas In August. Jakes is bringing back his three-day faith/film/family festival, even though I recall the turnout being a bit of a disappointment the first time MegaFest was here, in 2013. And that was with Oprah Winfrey (Ohhh-pruhh WIN-freeeee) in town. But that was a test run. They expect 80,000 attendees because they have faith.

Mavs Hit 30 Wins. And it was easy. Rajon Rondo did this.

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Do We Know ‘American Sniper’ Chris Kyle’s Stance On Fluoride In Drinking Water?

I’ve read Michael Mooney’s story about the late Chris Kyle. I’ve read this story that quotes Michael. I’ve read this blog post that links to another blog post written by Michael. I’ve read a lot of things about Chris Kyle, some that surprisingly had nothing at all to do with Michael. And still, I’m left with one nagging question:

What did Chris Kyle think about putting fluoride in our drinking water?

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Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Named One of the 21st Century’s 12 Greatest Novels

BBC Culture polled dozens of book critics (including Walton Muyumba, whose Facebook post alerted me to this) “in search of a collective critical assessment” of the best novels published since January 1, 2000. The critics named 156 books. The top 12 include Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, Michael Chabon’s The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and (in case you didn’t read the headline) Dallas’ own Ben Fountain and his Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.


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One HPISD Parent Is Still Trying To Ban The Working Poor

Last fall, Highland Park ISD superintendent Dawson Orr suspended seven books following parent complaints. Amazingly, he did this during Banned Books Week. That decision, and its timing, probably would have gotten national attention on its own, but Orr made it even easier by making David K. Shipler’s The Working Poor: Invisible in America one of the books. An incredibly rich school district effectively banning a book about poverty in America — throw in some B-roll footage, leave some space for a little Jon Stewart riffing, and The Daily Show segment is almost locked. Orr subsequently reinstated the books, and the district’s policy on how it selects books and how it handles challenges to those selections is being reviewed. (Thanks to the Morning News‘ Melissa Repko for covering this story so well.)

It seemed like the incident was coming to a mostly positive conclusion. But now it comes out that one parent is still unhappy that Shipler’s The Working Poor is being taught to juniors in Advanced Placement English III.

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Everything’s Bigger In SHUT UP

This headline, for a preview of the new Nebraska Furniture Mart, is not word-for-word the dreaded “everything’s bigger in Texas” trope, no. But it is meant to evoke that phrase and for that is is close enough. Too close. It’s hard enough when those jeans-kicking words are trotted out by carpetbagging Yankees, but much worse when the lazy cliche-spouting comes from inside the house.


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Leading Off (1/15/15)

Embattled Prime Prep Academy Continues To Find Reasons To Stay Embattled. The latest? “Prime Prep Academy employees unknowingly lost their health insurance late last year after school administrators failed to pay premiums” and the “school didn’t make payments to the state teacher retirement system for months, issued its most recent paychecks late and was briefly locked out of the Fort Worth campus by its landlord during Christmas break.”

New DA Susan Hawk Expanding Animal Cruelty Unit. To highlight that, yesterday she visited the SPCA, allowing reporter Jenny Doren to double down: “The new ‘top dog’ in the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office has literally gone to the dogs.” Can’t say I would have played it any differently, though I feel there was room for “dog days” and “doggedly” somewhere in there.

Scott Linehan Reportedly Agrees To New Contract. The Cowboys’ de facto offensive coordinator was a key reason the team surpassed expectations. Next up for the team: bringing back Dez Bryant and Demarco Murray, and get Stephen Jones to start working on his core.

Another Earthquake Hits Irving. This one was a 2.3. Feels like there is going to be a bigger one at some point, no?

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Where Should We Build a Giant Tire Fire? Probably Sunnyvale

I hate this — being forced to play the sensible adult, I mean.

You know: Rotate your tires, fund your 401(k), and, speaking of tires, build the biggest tire fire the world has ever seen in the middle of Sunnyvale.

Listen, I’m sick of the whole subject and bet you are, too. This thing has dragged on way too long.

The opponents conjure up all sorts of conspiracy theories to explain why it hasn’t gone away — the evil tire-burning lobby, tire-burning fat cats, selfish Sunnyvalians like Steve Blow.

But one other possibility is that it survives because it’s the smartest answer to a serious need: burning a stack of old tires higher than Larry “Doc” Sportello.

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Roy Tarpley, R.I.P.

The only reason Roy Tarpley is not given his proper due as the archetype of the modern NBA big man is that he was also one of the last prominent players taken down by cocaine. It was the scourge of the NBA in the 1970s and for part of the ’80s, physically damaging to its players and — just as important before Magic and Bird and then Michael Jordan came along — ruinous to the league’s image. A stricter drug policy helped mostly root it out, but not before it (and, yes, alcohol) killed Tarpley’s career.

You know all this. You either lived through it in the late ’80s and early ’90s, before the Mavs had to give up on Tarpley for good, or you heard about it over the weekend, when Tarpley died at age 50. I’m not here to talk about Roy Tarpley, the cautionary tale. It’s a damned tragedy, bu that’s for someone else. I’m here to talk about Roy Tarpley, the basketball player. Because apart from Dirk Nowitzki, Tarpley was the most talented player to ever suit up for the Mavericks, and it’s not particularly close. And people need to remember Roy Tarpley for more than his suspensions.

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