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The New York Times Visits Dallas

In an article posted today and headlined “Texas, 3 Ways,” Robert Draper (himself a Texas native) writes of recent sojourns to Houston, Dallas, and El Paso. He spends a Saturday observing yoga in Klyde Warren Park and lunching at Lark on the Park:

chatted with the owner, the longtime Dallas restaurateur Shannon Wynne. When he commented, “Dallas has matured more in the last five years than in the past 25,” I asked him why this was. He guffawed in reply, “Well, it certainly can’t be the locals.” He added that the city had benefited greatly from new blood, and that they in turn had emboldened establishment Dallasites to reconsider the city’s possibilities.

While Mr. Wynne talked, I looked over his shoulder at the restaurant’s walls, which were covered with intricate chalk drawings that rotate quarterly: one by a local tattoo artist, another by a medical illustrator, a third depicting the University of Texas at Dallas’s top-ranked chess team. Meanwhile, outside, dozens of residents were tossing Frisbees, or ice skating. It occurred to me that while Dallas has always exhibited the capacity to surprise others, it had now succeeded in surprising itself.

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Alex From Target Gets the New York Times Treatment

The story of Alex from Target (from Frisco) is now a story about us looking at ourselves looking at ourselves looking at beautiful, polite people. When he left for work that morning, he had a little more than 100 followers on Twitter. Now he has around 733,000.

“To say Alex is ‘a sweet kid,’ as his parents describe him, is an understatement. He’s shy and exceedingly polite. He often chuckles to himself after speaking. While he answered most of my questions with short and sheepish replies, when I asked him about his girlfriend, Lindsey, he lit up, telling me that they met in chemistry class after sitting next to each other for a lab assignment.”

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ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated Both Have J.J. Watt on Their Cover

Two magazine covers. Same football player appears on both. Neither issue is online yet; these are teaser covers released early. (ESPN actually did three covers, with Tony Romo and Demarco Murray appearing on the other two.) So why am I sharing this with you? What does J.J. Watt have to do with Dallas? Well, our own Mike Mooney wrote the story for ESPN (driving to Houston and back on the same day to have dinner with Watt, Mike’s only face time with his subject). I think my favorite detail about this deal is that the Houston Texans had the gall (presumably) not to tell each publication that another was working on a Watt story — and then the team bragged about the coverage. Well played, Texans. Well played.

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Glenn Beck Credits Move to Dallas With Saving His Life

Last night on his TheBlaze online network, Glenn Beck disclosed that for the last several years he’s battled serious health issues — constant fatigue, involuntary shaking, seizures — that had him thinking seriously about whether he could continue his work. He even looked for a successor to take over leadership of his media empire if it came to that.

But then, thanks to his relocation to Dallas and his purchase of the Studios at Las Colinas complex — a move that has proven hugely profitable to Beck, as detailed in Michael J. Mooney’s story in the November issue of D Magazine — he found “a miracle.” As he told his audience Monday:

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Tower at UT Southwestern Medical Center To Be Named After Kern Wildenthal

You might call it yet another attempt to atone for past injustices. Today, word comes that Regents of The University of Texas System voted unanimously to name a major research tower at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas after Dr. Kern Wildenthal, the UTSW president from 1986-2008. Wildenthal, you might recall, was dragged by his heels through the mud in a series of Dallas Morning News stories about his expense accounting. Thursday’s action involving the new C. Kern Wildenthal Research Building on the north campus, the Regents said, was taken to recognize Wildenthal’s “extraordinary accomplishments” as both dean of the medical school and president of UT Southwestern. Last year, the Regents also appointed Wildenthal to the honorific title of President Emeritus of the institution. Now, cue the anonymous commenters sure to enjoy vilifying the guy one more time …

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Leading Off (11/5/14)

Election Results. Abbott won. Watkins lost. Republicans swept the stateMillions of dollars will go to highways. And Denton banned fracking. More here.

Cowboys Coin Regrettable Hashtag for London Game. The Cowboys are playing the Jacksonville Jaguars in Wembley Stadium this week. The team probably could have come up with something better than #CowboysUK.

Friend Apparently Lied to Plano Police Investigating Missing Woman. Christina Morris went missing after a night at the Shops at Legacy two months ago. Enrique Gutierrez Arochi, a friend of hers from high school, was with her the night she disappeared, but apparently wasn’t completely honest with the police. A coworker also said that Arochi had bruises on his forearm and that he complained of a sore back around the same time.

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Death Metal Legend King Diamond Lives in Frisco

This is just weird and awesome. King Diamond is one of those classic, screeching European metal singers who inspired bands like Metallica: skulls, makeup, a femur for a microphone, a denouncement by Tipper Gore in the ’80s. And apparently now he spends a lot of his time walking around Frisco. Sorry. Not just walking. Power walking.

From Thor Christensen’s DMN story:

“It’s all very normal. The neighbors know who I am and they say ‘Hi’ when I’m out walking,” says the 58-year-old falsetto-voiced singer of “Evil,” “Burn” and “Satan’s Fall.”

“I feel the Southern hospitality big-time in Dallas,” he says. “People are just so polite and helpful, which is one reason I love Texas. It’s not like that at all in Denmark.”

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New York Times Cancels Partnership With Texas Tribune

Missed this bit of news Friday: The New York Times is canceling its four year partnership with the Texas Tribune, Tribune editor Evan Smith announced Friday morning. That means those of you who enjoyed the two-page Texas section in your NYT subscription will have to do without. In a curious flip of sorts, if you’re a Dallas Morning News subscriber, now you’ll get a bit of the NYT in your local paper. It’s too bad this partnership is going; it appeared like a promising model, a non-profit journalism outfit allowing for deeper coverage of the state in the nation’s paper of record. But, as is so often the case these days, the partnership was an expendable line item in an ever-contracting budget.

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Brendan Higgins Issues Statement on Aspen Arrest

You’ll recall that former CBS 11 morning anchor and noted Irishman Brendan Higgins got into a bit of trouble in Aspen awhile back. Here comes an official statement about where things stand:

I have entered a deferred prosecution agreement with the City of Aspen that will ensure all the municipal court charges against me will be dropped within six months. As I said shortly after my arrest, I am deeply sorry for the negative attention this situation brought to my family, our friends, my coworkers and the hard-working authorities in Aspen. While unfortunate, this incident has provided a valuable lesson that I will not soon forget, and I dearly appreciate the many messages of support sent to my family and me over the past couple months. We are looking forward to moving on to bigger, brighter things.

Could have used an expletive or two. Maybe a metaphor about riding horses. But otherwise, it’s a fine statement.

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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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Jim Moroney Will Look Everywhere for New Revenue, Even Other Papers

I have a column coming out in a few weeks in which I argue that Dallas Morning News publisher Jim Moroney must get right the enormous task before him: finding a new editor to lead his paper for the next decade. I give voice to those who express concerns about Moroney’s track record, but I ultimately believe he’s doing the best job he can in such a turbulent industry. (I like the guy. SUE ME!)

Another example of his innovation (or his deck-chair rearranging, if you believe his critics): His efforts to partner with other top newspapers across the nation. If you’re a news junkie […]

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Leading Off (10/10/14)

Baylor Hospital Could Lose Hundreds of Millions in Federal Funds. Inspectors for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently found several instances of psychiatric patients walking away from the emergency department at Baylor University Medical Center. The violations potentially could cost the hospital up to $300 million in annual revenue it receives from Medicare, though Baylor is devising a plan to fix its problems, which it will submit to Texas Department of State Health Services by Monday.

Judge Rules Texas Voter ID Law Unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos issued an opinion late Thursday holding that the 2011 bill requiring photo identification for anyone to cast a valid election ballot places an undue burden on the right to vote and has a discriminatory effect on Hispanics and African-Americans. Attorney general Greg Abbott, who is also running for governor (in case you haven’t heard), announced immediately that his office would appeal the decision. It’s not clear yet how the ruling will affect the election that’s only a few weeks away.

Dallas Stars Lose Season Opener. They played great against a great team, but fell to the Chicago Blackhawks in a shootout.

Scam Targets Morning News Subscribers. Do not send $600 to an Oregon post office box to get the newspaper.

Today is Double Tenth National Day in Taiwan. It commemorates the start of the 1911 uprising that led to the collapse of the Qing Dynasty and establishment of the Republic of China. It’s also an office holiday for D Magazine Partners, celebrated in lieu of Columbus Day this weekend because of the horrific crimes Christopher Columbus committed against the native peoples of the Americas. (To be honest, I think it’s just because we decided we preferred getting a Friday off to getting a Monday off.)

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The Selling of Al Jazeera America

You’d think that a fledgling cable TV news channel owned by the Qatar-royal family’s Al Jazeera Media Network would be a tough sell in a deep-red state like Texas. But there was Al Jazeera America anchorman John Seigenthaler at a luncheon meeting of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth the other day, showing the audience a clip from The Colbert Report in which the host was jokingly calling Seigenthaler and his employer part of the al-Qaeda Network. “That looks terrifying,” Stephen Colbert said to the veteran newsman, referring to the Al Jazeera logo. “That is not only Arabic; it looks like Arabic on fire! … It means, ‘The bombing starts at midnight!’ ”

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Why in Sam Hell Did FrontBurner Comments Change?

Close observers of FrontBurner have already noted that the presentation of comments has been altered somewhat. Now the comments with the most up-votes (the most readers having hit that little green thumbs-up button) will move to the top of the comment display. We’ve added down-voting as well (the red thumbs-down symbol) as a way for you to express your displeasure of a particular comment.

Unfortunately what we didn’t realize when we made the change was that our commenting platform, Gigya, apparently also ties this to reversing the chronological order in which comments appear. Now the most recent comments are appearing on top. We’re looking into whether we can enable the prioritization of up-voted comments while otherwise displaying comments down the page from oldest to newest. At the moment, it’s an either/or situation.

In the meanwhile, feel free to let me know what you think.

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