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The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Jail: Let Me Just Drop Everything and Respond to Your Libel

I was sitting in my jail cell the other day, plotting the next step in My Eternal and Sacred War Against All Things That Are Not Me, when the mail arrived. Aside from the usual newsletters from Anti-Racist Action and the Anarchist Black Cross, I also received an advance review copy of Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous, Gabriella Coleman’s long-anticipated volume on the Anonymous activist collective. I’ve known Professor Coleman for several years, during which we regularly encountered each other on the various chat servers from which much of Anonymous’ activity has been organized. She also spent several months as a sort of anthropologist-in-virtual-residence at the chat server used by my own group, Project PM, to coordinate investigations of state-corporate surveillance and propaganda operations. She and I were among a small handful of people who were regularly quoted in the press about Anonymous and related phenomena, and once even appeared on a network television panel together.

So I had reason to hope that her book’s representation of my work with Anonymous and Project PM would be more accurate than what one finds elsewhere.

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Leading Off (10/30/14)

DCVB Wants $300 Million To Spruce Up Convention Center. I see how this goes. First, Philip Jones says we’ll lose convention business if we don’t build a hotel. So we do. Great. Now he says we’re losing convention business because our ballrooms aren’t big enough. Next, he’ll say the convention center hotel isn’t quite right, so we’re going to lose convention business unless we spend a few hundred million. Then it’ll be the convention center again.

Cleburne’s City Servers Under Siege. Apparently, the DDOS attacks are in retaliation for the killing of a dog by a Cleburne police officer in August. A video of the shooting was released two weeks ago. The FBI is now involved in investigating the attacks on the servers.

Joseph Randle Is Chatty. Among many others things, while he was being booked into Frisco City Jail after being arrested for stealing cologne and underwear from a Dillard’s, Randle joked, “If I give you $100, will you give me a massage?

Frisco Will Finally Get Its First Luxury Hotel. Whew. I, for one, was wondering if it was ever going to happen. Omni is building it and it will be part of the development surrounding the Cowboys’ new headquarters and training facility.

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Sam Wyly in More Hot Water Over Art Sales

Just eight days after filing for bankruptcy, former Billionaire Sam Wyly sold $320,000 worth of art at Christie’s auction house. His lawyer said the timing of the sale was inadvertent, but lawyers for the Security Exchange Commission, who successfully convicted the Dallas man for trading stocks held in offshore accounts for 13 years and reaping at least $550 million in illegal profits, say the sale of the art is evidence that Wyly is trying to liquidate his assets. The SEC filed a letter in federal court today calling for a freeze in Wyly’s assets. The namesake of Dallas’ Wyly Theater is on the hook to pay back the feds something in the $187.7 million range.

Joseph Guinto went in depth on the Wyly case back in 2013, and followed-up on the fallout from the trial back in May. Just last week, Wyly was making headlines again for trying to get a judge to loosen up his court-ordered budget of $10,000 per month. Of course, after hearing about the art sale, my first thought was, “What kind of art did Sam Wyly collect?”

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Does Your Dallas ZIP Code Speak for Itself?

We all probably think we’re familiar with the ZIP code 90210, but a new interactive map from Esri called ZIP Lookup lets you get a little closer to that famous ZIP and your own, should you be so inclined. The premise: ZIP Lookup culled all the big data that marketing companies use to target certain demographics to come up with 67 marketing identities that pinpoint us exactly somewhat well.

These maps include everything from where we shop for groceries to what computers we buy, giving us a little more info than the judgmental map of Dallas did earlier this summer. Here’s what Esri’s ZIP Lookup had to say about a few Dallas neighborhoods:

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Jan Gehl, The Guy Who Helped Make Copenhagen an Urbanism Poster Child, Will Speak in Dallas Next Spring

You may or may not have heard that this coming spring the Congress of New Urbanism is holding its 23rd annual conference right here in DFW. Today, the group announced their keynote speaker, Jan Gehl. Gehl is an architect, author, and urban design consultant noted for his influence in pioneering the so-called “human scale” movement, advocating for the rethinking of built environments that place priority on pedestrians and cyclists. A resident of Copenhagen, he has been instrumental in that city’s emergence as a model of walkability, and he has also worked on acclaimed projects in Manhattan, London, and Melbourne, including the  pedestrianization of Broadway.

Gehl’s 1971 book Life Between Buildings is considered a landmark in the field. For a taste of what he will bring to Dallas, check out this trailer for a film that explores themes and ideas contained in that book.

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Suburban Expedition

When reading John Bloom’s July 1987 story, “Misty Crest: On the Frontier of the New American Dream,” what struck me was how strange it was to have a neighborhood in southwest Arlington written up as a hot new development. A-Town seems like an aging former starlet past her prime, while everybody now goes gaga for her much-younger counterparts in Collin County.

Bloom pokes fun at the absurdity of navigating among subdivisions with “Glades” and “Glens,” “Villages” and “Creeks” in their names — regardless whether there are any actual glades or glens or villages or multiple creeks in the vicinity. At the time, one of the homes he ventured out to look at had an asking price of $96,850, about the median for Dallas-Fort Worth at the time. Twenty-seven years later, houses in the same neighborhood are going for somewhat more, but generally sticking pretty close to today’s median.

I asked Bloom what spurred him to write this piece, which we are honoring as one of the 40 greatest stories ever published in D Magazine. He responded:

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Leading Off (10/29/14)

Amber Vinson is Back. I feel like this part of the inevitable Ebola book(s) and movie(s) will be covered in a cheerful montage.

Two Convicted Killers Set Free. Stanley O. Mozee and Dennis Lee Allen were both serving life sentences for the 1999 murder of a pastor when their convictions were overturned due to what sounds a lot like some disturbing prosecutorial misconduct.

Mavs Lose Close Season Opener to Spurs. Ugh. With 1:37 left on the clock, Dallas was winning. Chandler Parsons missed a three-pointer as time expired. I’m sure Zac will be along later with a venn diagram or something that explains this game, and, if we’re lucky, the whole season. Or franchise. Or — oh! — maybe the history of the rivalry with the Spurs. He could definitely do something solid with that. It could turn into the kind of material mere mortals might confuse for the hilarious ramblings of a mad man. But yeah, anyway, rough start.

A Story That Will Make You Feel Emotions. If you’re into that sort of thing.

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Could Dallas Put Bike Lanes on Sidewalks?

[Editor's note: Having been honored with a Marshall Memorial Fellowship, our Brad Pearson is off wandering around Europe, ostensibly to develop his leadership skills. Periodically he will check in, as he is doing today with the following post.]

The one thing I can’t get over is the sheer number of bicycles in Brussels. Adults on bikes, kids on bikes, kids and adults on the same bike. Anytime I see a bicyclist in Dallas, I expect to recognize who the person is; here, that would be an impossible dream.

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Leading Off (10/28/14)

Cowboys Lose. Listen, people. Just settle down. What if I’d told you at the start of the season that at this point the team could be 6-2? Would you have sacrificed your firstborn to ensure that record? Punched your grandmother in the face? Okay then. So the loss to the team from Washington hurt. No big deal, really. The only hurt you should worry about is the one to Romo’s back. (But, having said that, seeing Jerry Jones come down to the sideline late in the game was deeply, deeply disturbing.) For better analysis of the game, turn to Bob Sturm.

‘Record Number of DISD Administrators Make More Than $100k.’ When your newspaper covers your school district by listening to nutty, leaky board members and by doing not much more than filing open-records requests and playing gotcha, this is the sort of story you get. This is the sort of story, though, that you should pay attention to.

Dallas Cops To Detail Their Shootings. DPD officials said yesterday that they will start a website next month detailing information on 12 years of shootings by police officers.

Starke Taylor, R.I.P. The former mayor died yesterday of congestive heart failure.

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Leading Off (10/27/2014)

Two x Two Fundraiser Smashes Records. The annual black-tie fundraiser, Two by Two for AIDs and Art, broke its record this year when an anonymous collector bid $2.6 million for a Wade Guyton painting, bringing the total take to $7 million. Half the money goes to the Dallas Museum of Art, and the other half to the American Foundation for AIDS Research. CeeLo Greene performed.

After Hugging President Obama, Nurse Nina Pham Back in North Texas. But she can’t have Bentley, her dog, back just yet. The dog will be released from quarantine on Nov. 1.

Former Penneys CEO Raises $30 Million For New Start Up. Ron Johnson is back, with a secretive e-venture called “Enjoy.” It’s meant to humanize the online shopping experience when it comes to buying “things that matter.”

Standardized Test Scores Are Out. The Morning News put together this interactive, where you can see how schools’ STAAR results improved, stayed the same, or declined between 2012 and 2014.

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Susan Hawk Campaign Uses Photo Without Permission for Political Mailer

Sometime D Magazine contributor Allison V. Smith tweeted about an hour ago that the Susan Hawk campaign used one of her photos in a mailer without her permission. Definitely not cricket. Allyn Media president and CEO Mari Woodlief tells me it was a mistake and that her firm, the consultant for the campaign, is paying an invoice that Smith sent them. Just a guess, but I bet that invoice was steeper than Allyn Media would have preferred.

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Nina Pham Is Ebola-Free. Is She a Hero?

News this morning is that the first Dallas nurse to contract Ebola is now free of the virus and will be discharged from the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center today. This is, of course, great news.

Over on the Morning News site, Rudy Bush opines that Pham, along with the other Ebola nurse/patient, Amber Vinson, and sergeant-of-arms of the Canadian Parliament Kevin Vickers, who killed a terrorist gunman, should give us hope for western civilization:

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