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Making Dallas Even Better

No, UT Southwestern Is Not ‘Opting Out’ Of Obamacare

Earlier this week, Wylie H. shared an interesting Facebook post from a UT Southwestern patient that culled this paragraph of text from the medical institution’s website: “If you plan to obtain coverage through this option, please note that UT Southwestern University Hospitals and Clinics will not be contracted with any of the insurance plans currently available through the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace during the 2016 calendar year.”

On its face, it may look like UT Southwestern is attempting to opt out of caring for patients who purchased Obamacare. In reality, the insurance companies have lost so much money on ACA-related claims that they’re shrinking or outright killing their provider networks to recoup their losses.

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W: Protectionism Ignores the Reality of a ‘Globalized World’

One thing shared by the insurgent/outsider candidates of both parties in the 2016 presidential race is a populist skepticism about the benefits of unfettered free trade. Think Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Meantime, Chamber of Commerce types (and their candidates) on both sides continue insisting that unrestrained trade is the only way to go. Think Jeb Bush and, until recently, Hillary Clinton.

Today the George W. Bush Institute came out with something it calls the “North America Competitiveness Scorecard,” which you could easily imagine the Establishment using to bolster its argument for unencumbered trade and increased globalization.

The scorecard ranks the competitive position of the U.S., Mexico, and Canada (the NAFTA countries) against the world’s other big economic regions. Great news, NAFTA countries: We got a B+! The other major regions scored Bs, a C+ and a D- (that was the bad-boy “Mercosur” countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, etc.). During an event at the Bush Institute this morning unveiling the scorecard—one component of the institute’s Economic Growth program—Margaret Spellings, outgoing president of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, said, “We are convinced that the key to America’s prosperity is to open global markets.”

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Leading Off (11/4/15)

DISD Bond Plan Passes. Voters yesterday backed the $1.6 billion bond package. That means nine new schools, more than 300 new classrooms, bigger cafeterias, better science labs, more debate as to where money is needed most. Michael Hinojosa was quoted saying: “I love this city. I love this district. I just want to say thank you. This is a great day for this city.” Highland Park, Mesquite, Richardson, and Allen also passed bonds while McKinney’s proposal failedExpert analysis on the way.

Debate Over Zoo’s “No Guns” Policy. A lawyer from Houston filed a complaint against the Dallas Zoo and its “no guns” sign, noting that the zoo is on city property. A 2003 law states that concealed handgun licensees can carry guns on most property “owned or leased by a government entity.” It’s not clear how any of this would be affected by another new proposed law that would require all prehensile zoo animals to carry assault rifles.

Duncanville Teen Reports Attempted Abduction. This is scary. A 15-year-old girl told police that a man stopped a car and grabbed her by the arm. She says she screamed and kicked until she had the chance to run away. Police are looking for witnesses and video.

Two Bodies Found. One was found in the Trinity Watershed. One was found in an Oak Cliff dumpster. There’s no more information out from either investigation.

Thieves Casually Walk Out with ATM. Two men walked into a gas station in West Oak Cliff last night, put a chain around the ATM, and drove off with it. Police called the theft “bold.” Of course, opening those things can be tough.

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Trouble At Forest Park Medical Center: The Rest of the Story

For a while things were looking great for Forest Park Medical Center, a fast-growing chain of “luxury,” physician-owned hospitals based in Dallas. Then, one by one, the wheels began coming off the concept, with lagging revenue, missed rent payments, internal management conflicts, and the bankruptcy of its outpost in Frisco. Then, just today, news came that the company’s “flagship” hospital in North Dallas may file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, too. So, how come things went so south, so fast, for Forest Park? Many of the answers can be found in Senior Editor Matt Goodman’s cover story, “The Shocking Collapse of Dallas’ Go-Go Luxury Hospital Chain,” in the latest issue of D CEO magazine. Matt dug into the situation for months for this eye-opening article, which contains insider info you won’t find anywhere else.

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Mailer Colleagues Recall His Journalism, JFK, and Oswald At a Sixth Floor Event

Chatting during a reception before an event at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza last week, a couple of heavyweight literati had some friendly advice for Nicola Longford, the museum’s executive director. It would help to add exhibits here—a la The Newseum in Washington, D.C.—aimed at putting the John F. Kennedy assassination more into the context of its times, Lawrence Schiller and J. Michael Lennon suggested.

For example, Schiller said, one good addition might be a description of the foreign travels of Lee Harvey Oswald, the president’s accused assassin: Finland, the Soviet Union, Mexico. When Longford lightly protested, citing the museum’s space constraints, Schiller and Lennon waved off the objection, insisting that “one panel” would do it.

The two men are sort of experts on these things. Schiller (who introduced himself to me saying, “Hello, I’m the big bad wolf”) is a photographer, author, and filmmaker who photographed the Kennedys for major publications and worked for nearly 35 years with the late writer Norman Mailer on such books as “Oswald’s Tale.” Lennon is Mailer’s archivist and authorized biographer (“Norman Mailer: A Double Life”).

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Fifth Circuit Court Clears Stream Energy in Pyramid Scheme Suit

If you’ve been reading FrontBurner awhile, there’s a chance you’ll remember Scott Clearman. He’s the bow tie-wearing Houston attorney who filed a class-action suit against Stream Energy, alleging that the local power provider was a pyramid scheme. We were dragged into the affair because I profiled Stream’s founder, Rob Snyder, in 2006, and our sister pub D CEO wrote about him in 2010. I had some fun at Clearman’s expense in 2009, when he sent me a letter warning me that he might demand all the emails, ever, between me and Rob. Then I had a chuckle in 2012 when Clearman had D Magazine served.

Well, it has a taken many years and many dollars, but Clearman’s lawsuit is finally dead — or, if not fully dead, it’s doing that thing where it grabs at the gunshot wound in its stomach and gurgles right before it falls into a lifeless heap on the dirt road that runs through the center of town, as the sheriff holsters his six shooter. Sorry, I got carried away. Anyway, The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans reversed a lower court’s ruling. Stream put out a press release today about the matter.

As for Scott Clearman, though the State Bar says he’s eligible to practice in Texas, it appears that his law firm has been dissolved and he’s fighting with his former partners.

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Leading Off (10/29/15)

Dallas to spend $3 million so Trinity Groves concrete plant moves. The Argos Ready Mix facility at the foot of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge will move further into West Dallas near Thomas Edison Middle School. The city of Dallas is helping pay for that move to the tune of $3 million at the behest of Trinity Groves owners, who want to build the existing plant area up. Some West Dallas residents are skeptical at the thought of dust emission, while others say it will help the community. City council approved the subsidy for Argos yesterday.

Retail program that helps people advance to higher-paying jobs coming to Dallas. The pilot program will help entry-level retail workers move up in their industry. Because turnover rates are so high in retail, it can be difficult to secure a promotion. Innovate+Educate is the nonprofit leading the program and chose Dallas due to its large retail presence and job openings. The program is set to start early next year.

Female prisoner escapes from Parkland Memorial Hospital. 47-year-old Anna Cardella escaped from sheriff’s deputies at Parkland yesterday morning, according to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department. She was being held on drug-possession charges and driving with a suspended license. She was being kept in the airborne isolation unit, although deputies wouldn’t say why due to federal privacy laws. She was wearing a black t-shirt and jeans when she escaped.

Mavericks come out swinging in opening game. Last night, the Dallas Mavs smoked the Phoenix Suns, 111-95, with eight players in double figures. After an iffy offseason, this is a solid start to the 2015-16 season. Take that, Chandler.

Is AT&T Trying to Ruin Jordan Spieth?

What’s it like to become so famous that a huge corporation — a corporation, mind you, that doesn’t sell golf equipment, nor operate golf courses, nor really count at all on golf-generated revenue streams — builds a mosaic featuring your likeness in downtown Dallas’ Main Street Garden, using 24,152 golf balls?

This sort of deification can’t be healthy for a 22-year-old.

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Caroline Rose Hunt Grandchildren Give Biggest Donation Yet to United Way Foundation Campaign

The donation was said to honor Hunt for her longstanding support of the United Way and its foundation, whose endowment stood at a little more than $20 million when the Unite Forever campaign was announced in February.

The Hunt gift represents the biggest commitment to the fundraising drive so far.

“Our grandmother has been an extraordinary example of volunteerism and hard work,” Haven Sands Heinrichs, trustee of the Rosewood Foundation, said in a news release. “To show our family’s love and appreciation for all she has done for United Way and the community, we are making [this] legacy gift in her honor … We are delighted to carry the torch, and hope to inspire the next generation in our community to get involved.”

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Is Dallas Negotiating With the Rangers About a Move? City Says No; Cruise Ship Dealmaker Says Yes

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the possibility of the Texas Rangers relocating from Arlington to Dallas. Which makes this story we heard from a former Dallas CEO all the more interesting. Seems this guy, who asked to remain anonymous, was on a cruise ship in Scandinavia the other day when a fellow passenger remarked on the National League baseball jersey he was wearing.

“You like baseball?” the passenger asked.

“Yes,” our source replied.

“You like the Rangers?”

“Yeah. I used to live in Dallas, in fact.”

“That’s interesting, because I help negotiate deals,” the passenger said. “And I’m involved now in a conversation between the Rangers and the city of Dallas about relocating the team to Dallas. They think they could have more of a fan base in Dallas.”

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Podcast: Foot Cardigan’s Bryan DeLuca on His Shark Tank Appearance

Sock-of-the-month club operator Bryan DeLuca of Foot Cardigan returned (he previously appeared on EarBurner in June) to the Old Monk this week to talk about what it was like to appear in his underwear on national television for a recent episode of Shark Tank.

I’ll give you three guesses how many pairs of underwear he was wearing.

Please note:

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Dallas Icons Recall Decades of Philanthropic and Civic Involvement

Ask community leaders Margaret McDermott and Ruth Sharp Altshuler about “the genesis of Dallas philanthropy,” and they’re both apt to point to the attitude of the city’s citizens. Leading by example has always been the guidepost, Altshuler says. And McDermott quotes Mayor Mike Rawlings, who recently told her, “The wonderful thing in Dallas is the […]

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Leading Off (10/8/15)

Last day of filming in Dealey Plaza for 11/22/63. Downtown traffic will return to its “normal” rate after today, when filming wraps on the JFK miniseries. It may be your last chance to see James Franco in action. It will not be your last chance to get stuck in Dallas traffic.

Dallas will file lawsuit against Volkswagen for car emissions violation. Speaking of cars, the city of Dallas plans to sue German automaker Volkswagen for installing software in its diesel cars sold in the U.S. that manipulated emissions tests and therefore failed to meet air quality standards. The car company has already taken a lot of heat for this bump in the road after admitting that 11 million of its diesel cars have this software, created to cheat on U.S. emissions tests.

Woman in Fort Worth arrested in death of son. 23-year-old Shakira Bickerstaff was arrested this week on a capital murder warrant after confessing that she had shaken her 10-month-old son and covered his mouth to make him stop crying in August of last year. She had previously told police that her son died after falling off a bed.

Charles Haley: Cowboys Defense is ‘Dumber Than A Box of Rocks’

NFL Hall of Famer and former Dallas Cowboy Charles Haley doesn’t mince words about the Cowboys defense, which figured in the team’s second straight loss yesterday. While the defense was supposed to be the team’s hallmark this year, Haley told a crowd in Dallas this morning, “They’re dumber than a box of rocks. They don’t listen, and that’s why we’re losing.”

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Podcast: Need’s Matt Alexander Returns With His Hot Sports Opinions

We recorded the podcast earlier this afternoon, so I haven’t the time for full-on show notes this week. What follows is an abbreviated version.

This is the hat that Dallas entrepreneur Matt Alexander, who previously appeared on Episode 10 of the show, wore to the recording session. It’s called the Deep Ellum:

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