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C.J. Wilson Picks Up a Fancy Car in Dallas

Over on the site Jalopnik, former Texas Rangers (and current Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) pitcher C.J. Wilson has authored a post in which he discusses his recent trip to Dallas to pick up some sort of high-performance automobile from Park Place McLaren. He described the vehicle as a “Hyperblurprle McLaren P1.” I assume that will mean something to some of you. He ordered it a few years ago, which seems like an awful long time to wait for a car. He opted to drive it from Dallas to California rather than have it shipped:

I drove over to DFW to pick up my wife, who just started laughing and walking circles around the car with her iPhone. We squeezed into the carbon fiber and alcantara seats and headed towards Albuquerque. Each fuel stop was full of questions, photos and smiles.

Sure, you can take photos. Yep, it’s a McLaren. No, the F1 has the seat in the middle. 903. Yep.Yes it is fast. No I haven’t gone 200 yet. She is a car nut like me and loves the noise and was blown away by the accelerating despite going for rides in fast cars and her prior Porsche Driving School seat time.

Here’s a picture of the car. Here’s a picture of his wife.

Reminder: Wilson bombed badly in this year’s American League playoffs against the Kansas City Royals.

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L.M. Kit Carson Has Died

Comes word today that the North Texas filmmaker, whose career included co-writing the Wim Wenders movie Paris, Texas and co-founding Dallas’ own USA Film Festival, has died.

In 2011, D Magazine ran an article penned by Carson that was ostensibly about his work making a series of short documentaries about Africa on his cellphone, but it really reads more like a fever dream than a magazine story. Tim called it “uneditable,” yet “quite charming.” You should too.

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Leading Off (10/21/14)

51 People Released From Monitoring for Ebola. This is excellent news. Now we’ve got the two sick nurses being treated elsewhere and 116 people here in town who are still being monitored. The magic date is now November 7. If no one else develops symptoms by then, we can declare Dallas free of Ebola. Note to the mayor: don’t start planning the parade yet. Let’s all remember that lesson we learned in 2006.

Stricter Lawn Watering Rules in the Offing. The board of the North Texas Municipal Water District will today consider a return to once-every-two-week sprinkler use. Area lakes are still low, and we’re still in a serious drought. Heed the board. Heed it. (A Scott from Scott’s joke? A little love? No?)

Thousands of Diapers Stolen From North Texas Charity. Captain Hope’s Kids helps out homeless children. Its mission was made more difficult when thieves recently stole 160,000 diapers from the group. Stealing from homeless children? I guess if you wanted to ruin your karma faster, you could torture kittens, but that’s pretty low.

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Leading Off (10/20/2014)

Ebola Update. Texas Health’s CEO took out a full page ad in the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to apologize for the hospital’s initial response to Thomas Eric Duncan. Meanwhile, the 21-day monitoring period for the first group of people exposed, including Duncan’s fiancée, Louise Troh, ends today. Finally, the lady on the cruise ship who is a lab supervisor at Texas Health was cleared, and allowed to disembark in Galveston. D Healthcare Daily’s Matt Goodman has all the latest here.

Sports-Related Update. Listen, I know you’ve missed these. I hate to wear a good joke thin. But I really don’t like the Giants, so believe me when I say that I actually cared about this outcome: a 31-21 win, making this six-game streak the Cowboys’ longest in 7 years. In other important news, Joseph Randle, now notorious for his attempt to score a five-fingered discount on underwear and Gucci Guilty, will endorse underwear for a website called MeUndies.com in a deal that will, reportedly, more than help him repay whatever fine he got slapped with for shoplifting, in addition to the however many multiple thousands of dollars he’s going to make playing football this year. And, like magic, I have gone from being vaguely invested to utterly annoyed with the way things work in this world.

Early Voting Starts Today. I hope you guys are all already registered. If not, you’re out of luck for this election. The voter ID law is in effect even while it’s being challenged in court, so keep that in mind, too, and while you’re at it, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent is worth your time. Early voting will continue through Oct. 31, with the election on Nov. 4.

Change of Venue Request Denied in Kaufman County Murder Trial. Eric Williams, who faces the death penalty for killing Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland, his wife Cynthia, and Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, and his defense attorneys requested a change of venue for the trial, arguing that he wouldn’t get a fair one in Rockwall. His request was denied. Jury selection continues, and the trial date is set for Dec. 1.

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SAGA Pod/Learning Curve: Schutze on Ebola and DISD

I think the headline is pretty straightforward. A few other things you should know:

• Jim starts off the podcast by coughing. He is so old and broken.
• We record it in his house, because he forgot that he didn’t have a car that day.
• At one point he tries to silence one of his dogs. I don’t even want to get into how he did this.
• If you’re wondering where ALL the antiques are, they’re in Jim’s house. I think you hear eight different clocks clang and ring and cuckoo during our talk.
• About Ebola, we focus on our officials’ reaction, the question of whether Presby can recover from its bad PR, and Peter’s question about how many will be infected before we panic. On DISD, we talk about the proper role of school board trustees, why black trustees ignore those rules, and how the city’s racial history fits into all this.

Here is the embed:

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Leading Off (10/17/14)

The Latest on Ebola. Nurse Nina Pham was transferred to the National Institutes of Health in Maryland Thursday evening, with news copters following her trip every step of the way from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to Love Field, onto the plane and then off the plane to the NIH clinic. Just before she left Dallas, a video of her speaking with her physician was recorded and released to the public at her request. In it, she expresses her love for the Presby staff. Meanwhile, Dallas County leaders didn’t declare an emergency situation during their meeting yesterday, but they are requiring all health care workers exposed to Ebola to sign a document promising to avoid public transit and public places. If the workers don’t sign the “voluntary” agreements, orders will be issued restricting their movement. And, at the national level, President Obama called Gov. Rick Perry and vowed to offer Texas and Dallas all the help it needs in confronting the disease.

Superintendent Urged to Apologize to Trustee. At a meeting during which Mike Miles was seeking to explain his actions in response to what he termed a “crisis” at Dade Middle School, some in attendance pushed for the super to say he was sorry for having had district trustee Bernadette Nutall removed from the Dade campus on Monday. He did not.

Housing Prices Continue to Rise. The supply of available Dallas homes remains absurdly low, so the market values keep rising sharply, and now I’m feeling pretty screwed for not having jumped on the bottoming out a few years back.

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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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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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Leading Off (10/15/14)

Third Case of Ebola Confirmed. Another Presby healthcare worker who treated Eric Duncan has tested positive for Ebola. No identity yet, but decontamination units are doing their thing on an apartment at The Village, near Skillman and Village Bend. How could Presby healthcare workers have gotten infected? The AP reports that the nation’s largest nurses’ union is claiming that the hospital was unprepared for what happened: “Nurses were forced to use medical tape to secure openings in their flimsy garments, worried that their necks and heads were exposed as they cared for a patient with explosive diarrhea and projectile vomiting, said Deborah Burger of National Nurses United.”

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization reported new figures today about Ebola in West Africa. The WHO says the number of new cases could reach 10,000 per week by December.

There’s some other stuff going on this morning, but, honestly, given the Ebola news, none of it seems that important.

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Virgin America’s Straight Talk About Balance Sheets

It’s true that Virgin America has lost a total of $400 million since its founding. But it’s also true that the California-based airline made $10.1 million on $1.4 billion in operating revenue last year—and that revenue has been growing for the last five years at least. So when an incredibly downbeat AP story about the airline’s planned initial public offering appeared in the Dallas Morning News yesterday—the same day Virgin began flights out of Dallas Love Field—was Virgin America’s CEO upset? Not really, David Cush said last night at Virgin’s celebration party at the House of Blues: “I saw a lot of opinion in there, and I’ve seen lots of stories like that.” While the airline has moved in the past and is continuing to move to retool its balance sheet, Cush said, “The important thing is that when you’re a private-equity-owned firm, you don’t give a s*** about your balance sheet or your P&L” [profit and loss statement]. The key is keeping the investor-owners happy, the chief executive added. Virgin’s investors include a hedge fund called Cyrus Capital Partners, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, and Don Carty, former chairman and CEO of AMR Corp.

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How A. Maceo Smith High School Develops a Different Kind of Student

Two years ago, during D’s literacy program, Big D Reads, we tricked the students at A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School into thinking that their history books were being removed from their school—and burned. At an assembly, we explained that the initiative was being launched at their school first because they’re into technology and would understand why books are no longer needed. The longer we discussed the initiative, the more the students grew concerned. Finally, they started voicing their opinions. They said that not everything on the internet is true. That we need books to learn about mistakes we’ve made in the past. That reading was important to their education.

Finally, a student in the front row got up and stormed out. As she ran past me, I saw she was crying. At this point, we decided to tell the students that it was all a trick, and in reality, we were giving the students a copy of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, provoking a discussion about a world without books.

The great part about this whole thing: it was the librarian’s idea—and the principal, Lisa DeVeaux, supported it.

I’ve been a fan of A. Maceo since then, but today was the first time I spent significant time with Principal DeVeaux as part of Dallas ISD and the Chamber’s Principal for a Day program. Today, 160 people from the community spent time at Dallas ISD schools eating cafeteria food, performing spot observations, and making announcements.

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