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Making Dallas Even Better

All Clichés Are Bigger in Texas Award Nominee: Cattle Rustling Edition

Modern Farmer on the case of a man convicted of stealing livestock:

A cattle rustler by the name of Clinton James Easter recently found out that everything is, in fact, bigger in Texas, including prison sentences. Easter, 47, of Eastland County, Texas, was sentenced earlier this month to 30 years for stealing 15 head of cattle, which is two years per animal.

Eastland County is about 100 miles southwest of Fort Worth. Texas, the piece goes on to explain, has some of most severe cattle-rustling punishments in the country:

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Podcast: Dr. Seema Yasmin Talks Zika Virus, Tornadoes, and Porn Conventions

This week on EarBurner, Dallas Morning News reporter and UT-Dallas professor Dr. Seema Yasmin returns to the Old Monk to explain just how worried we should (or should not) be about the emergence of the Zika virus in Dallas. Plus, Tim and Zac talk about the city’s recent decision to ban the Exxxotica porn convention and the announcement of the cast of Real Housewives of Dallas.

It’s Yasmin’s second time at Table No. 1. You may remember the show from last May when there was an overabundance of talk about rejuvenating vaginas.

Before you get to listening to the new episode, a few notes:

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Meet Your Real Housewives of Dallas Cast, Repent

Bravo has revealed the form of the Destructor.

According to an exclusive over at E! Online, your Real Housewives of Dallas are:

  • Cary Deuber, an “East Coast girl” who operates an “aesthetic injectable practice.”
  • Tiffany Hendra, an actress and philanthropist with a “troubling past” and an “Australian rocker” husband named Aaron.
  • Former Miss USA competitor LeeAnne Locken.
  • Stephanie Hollman, a “girl next door” who does chores.
  • Former Cowboys cheerleader Brandi Redmond.
  • “Friend to the Housewives” Marie Reyes.

The show promises big egos, big attitudes, big bank accounts, big drama, and a nuanced portrayal of 21st century life in the urban center of the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the country.

You can play “spot the Dallas stereotype” in a trailer for the program, which is embedded below. We’d still rather watch Walker Watching Walker, The Joy of Painting With George W. Bush, or Come Go Fishin’ With Dwaine.

Real Housewives of Dallas premieres April 11 on Bravo. Apocalypse to follow at an unspecified date.

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Leading Off (2/10/16)

Son of Local Man Finishes Third in New Hampshire Primary. As of late last night, Carrollton resident Rafael Cruz’s son Ted was just behind John Kasich, good enough for third place. Trump and Sanders both won by big margins.

Rams Owner Buys Waggoner Ranch. The famous, massive ranch was on the market for $725 million, though it’s not clear how much L.A. Rams owner Stan Kroenke actually paid. In addition to a football team that will playing in a nice, new stadium in Southern California, Kroenke owns 11 other ranches in North America.

Man Pleads Guilty to Killing Teenager Who Was Battling Cancer. Yep. Tyler Wiley, 20, from Desoto, admitted shooting 15-year-old Ryan Lara in 2014 outside the boy’s Duncanville home in what police believe was an attempted robbery. Lara had been fighting Lymphoma. Three others are charged with murder and awaiting trial.

Dance Teacher Accused of Molesting Students. Vann Gilbert, who calls himself “the Doctor of Dance,” was arrested yesterday after a 90-minute standoff with the Dallas SWAT team. He’s charged with two cases of indecency with a child, stemming from an accusations that go back nearly 20 years.

Read Some Michael Brick. Earlier this week I posted about the death of a friend of mine, an incredible writer who graduated from R.L. Turner. I miss him. Yesterday, the New York Times posted a collection of some of Brick’s work. You should really take the time to read a few stories.

Michael Brick, R.I.P.

We’ve lost someone great. A great writer. A great friend. A great person.

Michael Brick was 41. He is survived by a wife and three kids, including a 5-year-old daughter, and an almost-8-year-old son. I met him at the Mayborn in 2010 and wrote about him and his book a few years ago. He was infinitely supportive of other writers, and he always felt like the wisest person in the room. I’m lucky to have known him.

The Houston Chronicle has a really good story about his life here. The New York Times, where he wrote so many incredible stories, has a remembrance here.

You should read his work, a sampling of which is available here. The way he put words together was wonderful and inspiring. An anthology is in the works. He was also a great songwriter and musician, and you can listen to some of his songs here and here.

And if you’re so inclined, have a thought, say a prayer, or tip a glass for a great one gone too soon.

Help Wanted at D CEO

D CEO magazine has an immediate opening for a managing editor. In addition to being a first-rate writer and editor, the affable, super-organized person who takes this job will oversee day-to-day operations, making sure deadlines are met for a title named the country’s best regional business magazine for the last three years. Duties include assigning front-of-the-book stories, managing budgets, and supervising the fact-checking process. And, oh yeah—he or she also will have to put up with me. Journalism experience and familiarity with business required. Send a résumé to

DMN Makes Mike Hashimoto a Metro Columnist

Mike Hashimoto has been around at the Dallas Morning News forever. Something like 30 years, I think. He’s been a member of the paper’s editorial board for a while. And a few days ago, DMN editor Mike Wilson introduced him as a new Metro columnist. You might not have known, but should if you give his first column a cursory glance, that Hash is married to Jacqueline Floyd, who is also a DMN Metro columnist.

Tim and I got to talking about this the other day, and we decided it raised an interesting conundrum for Wilson.

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What Do David Foster Wallace and Barrett Brown Have in Common?

Barrett Brown, as you might know, won a National Magazine Award earlier this week for a jailhouse column that began right here on FrontBurner and then migrated to Glenn Greenwald’s Intercept. Well, he won for three installments published by The Intercept. We’re happy to have been part of the process and aren’t looking for any credit (we totally deserve all the credit).

And, as you might also know, I won a National Magazine Award for a profile I wrote of Barrett. Which has led me this past week to remark to several people that Barrett must be the only subject of an NMA-winning story to have won an NMA himself. Right? I mean, because how could that have happened twice? So I asked the kind folks at the American Society of Magazine Editors, which bestows the awards, to confirm that it had never happened before.

Well, it has.

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Listen to the Newest Longform Podcast

The backstory for this is strange. I met Max Linsky, one of the hosts of the Longform Podcast, at a bar in Austin maybe two years ago. We’d emailed a few times before that, and he told me that I should do an episode of their podcast. Looking back, it was possibly just one of those things people say when they’re being polite–when you know they host a podcast with writers and they know you’re a writer–but I’m awkward.

At some point I knew I’d be in New York for a two days and figured I’d let him know. He said he’d put it on his calendar. Again, looking back, Max may have just been being polite. I’m honestly not sure. Either way, it happened.

We talked about, among other things, the bowling story I wrote, the Chris Kyle story, the JFK doctor story, Glenn Beck, “How Now to Get Away with Murder”, and the story I wrote in January’s Crime Issue.

I’m sure Tim will be along at some point with a whole series of his own notes and critiques about the episode, but in the meantime you can listen to it here.

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Barrett Brown Wins National Magazine Award From Behind Bars

Barrett Brown, a Dallas journalist/hacktivist imprisoned for threatening a federal agent, and himself the subject of a National Magazine Award-winning story penned by Tim Rogers for D Magazine‘s April 2011 issue, yesterday in New York City won an “Ellie” of his own.

The award came for a column called “The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Jail,” which has been published since last July by the Intercept. Congratulations to him and to them.

If you’d like to read earlier installments of the column, written before Barrett sold out to Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras — when he was doing it for primarily for the love of the game — you can find those here.

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Ron Corning’s Photos Used to Catfish Kansas Woman

Someone calling himself “Robert Williams” befriended a Kansas woman on Facebook, leading her to believe that they were developing a romantic relationship. When he asked her for $1,000 to buy a plane to ticket to come visit, her daughter was thankfully smart enough to run a Google reverse-image search.

That’s when they learned the man’s profile was fake. All the images on it were those of WFAA anchor Ron Corning.

Unfortunately another victim of the same man was scammed out of $1,500, according to what Corning reported on this morning’s newscast:

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Dallas Zoo Gets Approval to Bring Elephants from Swaziland

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has granted a permit to bring over elephants from Swaziland. For months, the Dallas Zoo, along with zoos in Kansas and Nebraska, have been trying to get permission to bring 18 elephants to the United States — six pachyderms per zoo. The move has been contested by animal rights groups.

You can hear Harrison Edell, the senior director of living collections at the Dallas Zoo, answer questions about the effort to bring in the elephants on this episode of EarBurner.

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Where to Get the Breakfast Featured on the February 2016 Cover of D Magazine

The February issue of D Magazine, featuring the “Best Breakfasts in Dallas,” is already in subscribers’ hands and is making its way onto newsstands throughout North Texas. We’ve been inundated by questions from readers dying to know where they can find the tasty meal featured on the cover, which you can see (and be made hungry by) on this post.

This afternoon at 2:30 on our Facebook page, editor Tim Rogers and art director Kevin Goodbar will appear in a live video stream to answer that question. Click over there at the appointed time to see for yourself.

I realize that long a wait seems like an eternity, so entertain yourself meantime by viewing last week’s Facebook video, in which Tim spoke with staff writer Michael J. Mooney about his story in our January “True Crime” issue.

I know, I know — we’re cranking out so much amazing multimedia content, it’s hard to keep up.

UPDATE: It’s all over, folks. And with a twist ending. Watch.

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Mayor Rawlings Tells Bloomberg Oil’s Drop Doesn’t Worry Dallas, But Poverty Rate Does

Yesterday Mayor Mike Rawlings sat for an interview with Bloomberg. He described himself as a “middle-of-the-road” leader in terms of where he falls on the left-right political spectrum and boasted (as it’s one of his chief duties to do) about the “very good” state of the Dallas economy.

He was careful to draw a distinction between the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area and the city itself, underlining that each of the positive indicators he was citing was related to what’s happening strictly within the municipal boundaries. Apparently he’s heard the complaints about his office’s past conflation of the two.

Rawlings explained that, unlike much of the rest of Texas, Dallas’ more diversified economy protects it somewhat from the precipitous drop in oil prices. It’s the city’s unenviable spot on the list of big cities with high childhood poverty rates and poor economic mobility that concerns him more.

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