Although I am grateful to my longtime friend and editor Tim Rogers for his typically funny and insightful article on my sentencing hearing last week, I do feel the need to provide clarification on a couple of points:Full Story
Yesterday at the Earle Cabell Federal Building, in the fine city of Dallas, Texas, a fellow named Andrew Blake wore a curious t-shirt to Judge Sam Lindsay’s court for a hearing to determine how much longer Barrett Brown ought to stay in prison. Blake got his shirt while covering the trial of Chelsea Manning. It was black, with one word, in white, printed across its chest: “truth.” Before things got started yesterday, a federal marshal approached Blake and told him he had to cover up the word. In case you missed that: he had to cover up “truth.” In a courtroom. That’s how it went for much of yesterday, like a script for a bad movie that any reasonable studio executive would read and reject because no way could the plot transpire in real life.Full Story
High-Speed Rail Line Likened to Berlin Wall. Judging by the responses we’ve seen in the comments of previous articles about the possibility, Dallas residents seem generally excited about the prospect of a high-speed rail line being built that will mean Houston is just 90 minutes away by train. But WFAA spoke with several Ellis County landowners who are none too excited about their property being divided by the project.
Prime Prep to Merge With Another School. The struggling charter academy, co-founded by former NFL star Deion Sanders, will reportedly hook up with another Oak Cliff campus, Triple A Academy. It’s not clear whether Triple A’s recent 117-10 basketball win had anything to do with the decision.
Cowboys Fan Sues NFL For $88 Billion. Terry Hendrix is upset about the officials’ reversal of Dez Bryant’s catch during this year’s playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, claiming damages for the league’s “negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and also reckless disregard.” The hand-written lawsuit was filed on Wednesday. Also of note, Hendrix is incarcerated in a Colorado correctional institution.
Dogs Mysteriously Disappearing in Wise County. And there’s “not one shred of physical evidence that proves the dogs were taken.” Has the pet rapture begun?Full Story
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:
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!
Chelsey has the longest title at D Magazine. In our staff box, she is listed as “assistant to chairman & publisher/administrative coordinator.” Short version, though, she’s pretty awesome. Which is why, when I heard that she’d been mugged on a DART train yesterday, I was happy to learn that she was unharmed. Her mugging was a timely one. A petition was just launched demanding that DART increase security on trains and at stations. So I asked Chelsey to tell us her story:Full Story
British Prime Minister David Cameron today called on U.S. internet companies to give intelligence agencies greater access to their members’ communications so that authorities can better fight terrorism. He has in mind something like a back door that law enforcement could use to step around encryption. Our friend Ladar Levison doesn’t much care for the idea, which he called “insane.” Here’s what he told the Guardian:
“The rallying cry is that we have to stop terrorism. Everyone hates terrorism. The only thing we hate more than terrorism is hurting children. Whenever they want additional authorities, these are the issues they put on parade.”
“It reminds me of that quote from Benjamin Franklin: ‘Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.’”
Our sister pub Park Cities People has some news you might find interesting. Not very often that the town of Highland Park has to contend with drive-by shootings.Full Story
Dallas ISD Dropping Some Tests. Kindergarteners, first-graders, and second-graders in DISD will no longer have to take twice-a-year Assessments of Course Performance in music, art, and gym after changes announced by district administrators on Thursday. The move comes after a widespread community outcry about the number of exams students must face. Results from the December ACPs will still count toward students’ grades. In case you’re curious about what’s on a second-grade gym test, one part required the kids to “demonstrate mature form in skipping.” Pretty sure I’d fail.
Deputy Fire Chief to Retire After Line-of-Duty Death Investigation. Bobby Ross was the commander on the scene when Dallas firefighter Stanley Wilson died. An internal affairs complaint filed with the department indicated that Ross made a “false and evasive” explanation of the orders he’d given that day. He wasn’t officially punished but was reassigned to the communications section. His resignation is reportedly official on Tuesday.
Did Diabetes Cause Murder of Kaufman County DAs? Eric Williams was sentenced to death last month for killing Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia. On Thursday he underwent a brain scan that his attorneys hope will show diabetes-caused brain damage that led to his rampage. Then they would argue he deserves a new trial or a reduction in punishment.Full Story
In the past year, it has been our privilege to bring our readers another slate of thoughtful and engaging stories about the people, institutions, and places that make Dallas and North Texas a special place. These were the most popular narratives on our website:Full Story
If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt already aware that D Magazine Partners does far more than publish a group of glossy monthly magazines. Each day our editors are involved, primarily through our family of blogs, in an ongoing, lively conversation about what’s happening in Dallas.
These were the most popular blog posts of the year on our site:Full Story
It’s almost Christmas, so I will try not to gloat too much and revel in the downfall of Officer David Kattner, a 26-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department. Just the facts.
In 2007, we published a story that involved Kattner. The story revealed how Kattner and his fellow officers would harass prostitutes and homeless people, writing them tickets for offenses they didn’t commit so that the cops could later arrest the people on felony charges after they didn’t take care of their tickets. The five cops in that story — Kattner, Jeffrey Nelson, Alfred Schoelen Jr., Timothy Stecker, and Walter Clifton — sued us for defamation. They appealed a trial court’s decision in our favor, taking the matter to the Fifth District Court of Appeal. They lost there, too. It took us four years to get these guys off our back.
Kattner was arrested yesterday on a sexual assault charge. It appears that he was forcing a prostitute to perform oral sex on him by “showing her her outstanding warrants and telling her he knew where her daughter lives.” Detectives are trying to determine whether there are other victims.
The end.Full Story
Mavs Acquire Rajon Rondo. In a move that signals the 19-8 Dallas Mavericks are planning a serious run at the NBA title this season, the team traded three players and draft picks to the Boston Celtics to get the point guard. Rondo is set become a free agent after this season.
Pilot Dead After Small Plane Crash. He was attempting to land his aircraft at Mesquite Airport just after 6 p.m. last night when he struck two homes in Seagoville about 9 miles south of the airport and landed in an open field. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.
Cow Thefts on the Rise. Just two or three cows are now worth $4,000 to $5,000 thanks to our insatiable appetite for beef, so the number of incidents of cattle rustling at North Texas ranches is up. As this great recent Planet Money podcast episode explains, the crime is fairly easy to get away with.
UT-Dallas Graduates Its Youngest Ph.D. Ever. Austin Howard started college at age 13 and earned his bachelor’s degree before he was 16. Now, at 22, he’s got a doctorate in physics. Yeah, so what have you done with your life, slacker?Full Story
Kevin Gallagher runs Barrett Brown’s legal defense fund. On Twitter, he is reporting that Barrett has been threatened by inmates. Gallagher shared some more details with me, and I’ve talked to Barrett’s mother. Here’s what I can tell you:
Last night, Barrett was threatened by two inmates, one an associate of the Aryan Brotherhood. Barrett’s cellmate called Barrett’s mom this morning to tell her about these threats — Barrett having already been moved to SHU (isolation) for his own protection. Then Barrett called his mom this afternoon but not from the Seagoville unit, where he has been incarcerated. He has been moved to the Kaufman County jail, and all his belongings have been sent to his mother. Barrett’s cellmate told Barrett’s mom that he thinks yesterday’s op-ed in the Morning News might have had something to do with the threats. Like the bad guys were all like: “You think you’re so fancy? We’ll show you.” But that’s speculation.
Anyway, Barrett’s mom says he sounds fine. He requested one of Robert Caro’s LBJ books and something on the Renaissance. No telling at this point where things go from here, how long he’ll be in Kaufman, but here’s his new address, if you’re inclined to send him something to read:
Barrett Brown, No. 45047-177
Kaufman Law Enforcement Center
P.O. Box 849
Kaufman, TX 75142
“Lots of bench conferences and long recesses — this hearing has it all!” That was the sarcastic assessment yesterday of Tom Korosec, who was covering Barrett Brown’s sentencing hearing for Bloomberg. Tom and I know each other. He has written for both D Magazine and D CEO. We were standing around during an afternoon recess, marveling at how little Tom would have to work with when it came time to file his story. Before lunch, Judge Sam Lindsay had already warned everyone that things were moving so slowly that he wouldn’t issue his sentence until January 22.Full Story
In 2000, you might recall a tornado ripping through Fort Worth. I was at my aunt’s house that evening, had gone to bed early, and snoozed through the whole thing.
Somewhat closer to home, last night I had the strange experience of sleeping next door to a five-alarm fire. I live in Fair Park. I went to sleep at 2 am, which is why when I woke up at a little past 3 am because my bed was shaking and sirens were wailing and my neighbor was pounding on my door, it felt like I was in some sort of weird red and orange and blue dream. That’s also possibly why, after poking my head out in to the hall and not really seeing anything, I went back to sleep. In retrospect, I should have done a little more investigating. When I woke up again, my power was out, my building smelled like badly burnt toast, and I couldn’t leave to get to work—firefighters were still parked outside my garage and the air was thick with smoke. The fire started at a warehouse, 4100 Commerce, and spread toward my building, which, thankfully, is fine. My neighbors in 4130 Commerce are not so lucky. The units are uninhabitable.
Justin Terveen, cityscape photographer extraordinaire who apparently lives nearby, got a photo of the fire—it’s huge. Anyway, what I am saying is, I’m glad everyone made it out alive. Firefighters are awesome and brave and I’m crazy grateful they contained the fire. And I need to rethink my sleeping patterns.Full Story