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Leading Off (8/3/15)

Ken Paxton Indicted. The Texas attorney general will turn himself in for a mugshot in Collin County today. He’s been hit with felony indictments on charges of securities fraud and failure to register as a financial agent. The DMN quotes well-known Republican political consultant Bill Miller, who said: “His situation is darkened.”

Lyft and UberX Can Now Pick Up at DFW. About time.

Dez Bryant Throws Crazy Punch at Teammate. Have a look at the punch that Dez threw at cornerback Tyler Patmon yesterday. After practice, Dez said, “Sometimes I just hate the fact that when it’s me I know I can get kind of animated with everything.” Makes total sense.

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On Microbrews, Food Trucks, and What Makes Dallas Special

I don’t remember a lot about Wim Wenders’ 1974 film Alice in the Cities. What I do remember my professor (himself a native German) emphasizing during the German film class I took in college was the way in which it portrays American cities as nearly indistinguishable stops along an endless stretch of highway, with virtually the same restaurants and shops found everywhere.

For some reason that outsider’s view of the United States stuck in my brain. While it seems most applicable when considering the ubiquitous national fast-food chains and big-box stores, in recent years I’ve felt the same irritating sense of sameness — more irritating, actually, since it is sameness disguising itself — in the collection of trends that have swept across our nation and that might be loosely described as the Triumph of Hipsterdom.

Today the New Republic retweeted this 2013 piece by Chuck Thompson. I’d not read it before, but it got me thinking. Thompson writes:

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New Podcast: Matt Tobin of the Blind Butcher and Goodfriend Plays iPhone Roulette

It’s an entertaining chat with the co-proprietor of Lower Greenville‘s Blind Butcher and East DallasGoodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House, on the latest episode of EarBurner. But if you’re short on time, at least jump ahead (somewhere after the 36-minute mark) to hear Tobin face up to the challenge of iPhone roulette. If you’re easily embarrassed on behalf of other people, as I am, you’ll need to gather your fortitude before giving it a listen. It’s worth it.

Now, notes on the show:

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Leading Off (7/31/15)

AG’s Ties to McKinney Tech Company Probed. Ken Paxton’s relationship with Severgy, a self-proclaimed “innovation engine,” appears to be under investigation as part of the Collin County grand jury’s look at whether the Texas attorney general should be indicted on felony charges over his admitted securities violations. Severgy has been involved in its own legal troubles in the past, accused of fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Paxton owns at least 10,000 shares of the company.

Fort Worth Bike Cop Kills Man. In the early morning hours of Friday, the policeman shot a guy who was brandishing a handgun during an altercation between two large groups outside the Ojos Locos Sports Cantina in the city’s downtown. The man later died at a nearby hospital, and the officer has been placed on routine administrative leave while the incident is investigated.

Parkland Sues Four Builders. A lawsuit filed earlier this week claims that contractors delivered faulty work in the construction of its new central utility plant. The project is intended to provide water and emergency power for the new $1.3 billion county hospital that opens in August. Reps for the builders say that Parkland’s legal team is just providing cover for the leadership failures of Parkland officials.

Dog Missing in Ellis County. Yes, this story got actual airtime on a local newscast in the country’s fourth-largest television market last night.

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Leon Bridges Played Deep Ellum Last Night

Leon Bridges is a good person. He was the surprise guest at last night’s best of Big D party at the Bomb Factory. After Tim Rogers got on stage to thank sponsors, crack Philip Kingston jokes, and say all the things you have to say when you’re the tux-toting editor of the city magazine hosting the party, he asked Bridges to join him. Spinderella’s birthday is this week, and before the DJ brought the evening to its finale, Bridges was to surprise her by singing happy birthday.

Bridges looked sharp, of course. He wore a crisp grey suit, a white collared shirt with a skinny black tie, and black patent leather shoes. He took the mic, led the crowd in a brief acapella rendition of “Happy Birthday,” waved to his fans, and exited stage right. He was a good sport to make an appearance for us, especially in light of his ever-busy schedule, which saw him performing in the UK last week and will bring him to the West Coast later on this week.

But that’s not why Bridges is a good person.

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Leading Off (7/30/15)

Rangers Trade For Cole Hamels. The deal for the Phillies ace might be too late to get them in the playoffs this season, but it sets up the team well for 2016. In exchange, they gave up Matt Harrison and a package of prospects, most notably catcher Jorge Alfaro. There is a lot of cash involved, too, so the commissioner’s office hasn’t approved the deal yet. So I guess there is a chance to Rangers could still get DeAndre Jordaned. Yes, we’re saying that now.

Dallas Man Sentenced to 15 Years For Sex Trafficking. LaDestro Douglas was pimping out underage runaways, and got what he deserved. This has been a signed editorial comment by Zac Crain.

Zoo Employees Mourn Kipenzi. Yeah, this still punches me in the gut.

Duncanville Teen Arrested After Video Shows Him Beating Up Other Teens. A few lessons here: 1) Don’t assault other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person. 2) Don’t have someone film you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person. 3) If you don’t have someone filming you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person, assume someone is filming you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person. 4) Definitely do not — and I really can’t stress this enough — post or let anyone post that video of you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person, to any social media. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, whatever. Actually, you can post it to LinkedIn.

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The History of Dallas Urbanism in the Story of a Seafood Restaurant

Perhaps this is more of a Ghosts of Dallas thing, but I just thought I’d share with you some findings from a rabbit hole I slipped into this morning.

It began with this article about the closing of Vincent’s Seafood in Plano. I’ll be honest, I never heard of the place, which is why when the headline announced that it had been open for 117 years, I was really taken aback. How did a century-old restaurant escape my Dallas history nerd-o-meter? And how is it possible that a restaurant in a bland, concrete strip mall in Plano could be such a historic establishment? I started to dig.

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Leading Off (7/29/15)

Dallas Zoo’s Baby Giraffe Died. Kipenzi was born in April, with millions of people watching. She died yesterday, after running into something in the exhibit as the zookeepers were shifting the herd into the barn for the night. “It’s never easy to lose an animal that you know and have worked with,” said Harrison Edell, the zoo’s senior director of living collections. “It’s especially difficult when it’s an unexpected death and it is very much like losing a family member. It’s a rough day.” Katie, Kipenzi’s mother, stood guard over the calf’s body. Damn.

Mayor Rawlings “Deeply Concerned” About Upcoming Sex Expo. He said he is worried “that our playing host to this convention might send regarding our city’s position on the sexual exploitation of women.” That would be the same city where Backpage.com started. (By the way, I wrote about the 2008 Exxxotica expo in Miami. It gets pretty crazy, and concern is warranted.)

Video of Reporter Confronting Woman Who Stole His Identity Goes Viral. Fox 4’s Steve Noviello, the station’s consumer reporter, got the chance to confront a woman who used his credit card number to book a hotel room. It’s delightfully awkward. Now the video is working its way around the internet.

Grand Jury Hearing Case Against Ken Paxton. Special prosecutors allege that the state attorney general violated securities laws. Those prosecutors have apparently been presenting that case to a Collin County grand jury this week.

Plano Teen Still Missing. The car Jeorgina Gonzalez was last seen in was found abandoned yesterday in Garland, but there is no trace of the teenager. She was last seen with a couple: Saul Cenobio Lopez and Nohemi Lemus Guerrero (aka Nohemi Lopez).

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Can Somebody Explain to the Mayor That Plano Isn’t in Dallas?

I know this is well-trod territory for us, but again — watching the month-old video that Wilonsky posted about yesterday — we witness the disconnect that persists in the mind of Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Early on in a panel discussion that Rawlings took part in during the Atlantic‘s City Makers Summit last month in San Francisco, he alludes to wanting to do more for the state of southern Dallas and expresses his concern about Dallas being the city with the highest level of kids living in poverty.

But mostly he trots out the Chamber-of-Commerce-ese about how “fabulously well” Dallas-Fort Worth has done over the last decade. All the jobs being added, how Toyota “moved here.”

Only, of course, Toyota didn’t move here. They moved to Plano. Dallas has a lot of great neighborhoods, but Plano isn’t among them. And might the continued migration north of the best middle-class jobs have something to do with the too-long stagnation of the southern corridor? So why is this something for the mayor of the city of Dallas to tout?

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Leading Off (7/28/15)

Jerry Jones Gets a New Hip. This David Moore story about the Cowboys owner is funny. Read it closely and it sounds a little like we’re reading about Putin in a Russian newspaper. “He has undergone hip replacement surgery but it won’t keep the Cowboys owner away from training camp. He won’t even need a cane to walk off the plane in Oxnard. This is just like when he had shoulder surgery and only missed one day of work. He is a fifth-degree black belt and has been known to engage three-day, nonstop lovemaking sessions.”

Police Looking for Man Accused of Sexually Assaulting Women in Far North Dallas. Safety tip: if you meet a guy and he asks if you’ll let him give you a massage because he’s studying to be a masseur and needs to practice for a test, be a little suspicious.

Rowlett Cop Saves Toddler’s Life. Solid work by Officer Patrick Ray. But this Fox 4 story calls his actions heroic. Let’s be careful with that word, people. The girl had a coin stuck in her throat. He cleared her airway. It is possible to save a life without being heroic.

Hinojosa To Be Permanent DISD Super? Michael Hinojosa is the interim superintendent for the district, but this story says, “FOX 4 has learned that a majority of school board members are open to considering him for the permanent job.” I’m a little confused, though. Because only one trustee is quoted in the story. And there’s no mention of the reporter having surveyed the rest of school board. But whatever. Let’s go with that.

Dick Bass, R.I.P. The oilman and first person to climb the tallest mountain on all seven continents died Sunday night. He was 85. Read his obit.

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How Will The Dallas Morning News Buyouts Impact Coverage?

Culture Map has a list of some of the Dallas Morning News reporters who have taken the most recent round of buyouts at the paper. And, boy, there are some big names on there. Frequent Frontburner sparring partners Steve Blow and Rodger Jones will leave the paper. Also taking buyouts: writer Brooks Egerton, Oak Cliff reporter Roy Appleton, Washington bureau chief Todd Gillman, airlines reporter Terry Maxon, and legendary business columnist Bob Miller (who was already retiring and has been “grandfathered” into the buyouts), among others.

Those are some pretty important beats. What I’ll be interested in seeing is how new DMN editor Mike Wilson goes about back-filling some of these positions — and which he leaves vacant. One thing I’m particularly concerned about is the loss of classical music critic Scott Cantrell, who is also taking a buyout. With Cantrell out as the DMN’s classical music critic, the state of Texas now has, from my count, no full-time classical critics just one full-time classical critic (the Chronicle’s Joshua Kosman). (UPDATE: The Chronicle works with a number of writers who cover classical, but there are no full-time classical critics with the paper, the paper’s features desk confirmed.)

It’s a tough day for the media industry, but a particularly sad one for arts criticism in Dallas.

UPDATE 2: Some more clarifying via Scott Cantrell:

Although I am indeed taking the buyout, it looks as though I’ll continue covering the classical beat through next season on a reduced freelance schedule. That will give me the transition period I’d hoped for, and give editors time to figure out how they want to go forward with classical-music coverage.

 

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Podcast: Laura Miller on Preston Center, John Wiley Price, Sacred Cows, and Clean Coal

Former Dallas mayor, as well as former Dallas Morning News/D Magazine/Dallas Observer reporter, Laura Miller stopped by the Old Monk yesterday to talk about why she now spends her days fighting for clean coal and against major new Preston Center development. Plus, in this week’s episode of Ear Burner, she tells the story behind her classic March 1991 D Magazine story on John Wiley Price.

A few notes before you listen:

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Leading Off (7/24/15)

We Still Haven’t Officially Hit 100 Degrees. Plenty of local weather stations have registered a triple-digit temperature in 2015, but where the records for all of North Texas are decided — near Runway 17C at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport — 99 is as high as it’s gotten this year. That’s unusual for these parts and could change today.

Lawyers Criticize Addison Police. Luz Granados-Reyes was arrested Monday after paramedics found her in a bathroom at the Hotel InterContinental, where she works as a maid, sitting on a toilet in which her newborn child (still attached to her via umbilical cord, as she’d just given birth) was submerged in the water. After the medical examiner’s report was made, the capital murder charges were dropped. Local defense attorneys who reviewed the arrest affidavit claim the police lacked cause for the arrest in the first place.

NAACP Comes to Defense of Grand Prairie Worker. Demoyas Baker was arrested for allegedly showing two teenage boys surveillance video of two 12-year-old boys engaging in a sex act at Dalworth Recreational Center. The civil rights organization is arguing that Baker, who is a black man, is being unfairly punished while a white co-worker is not being held accountable for his involvement in the same incident.

Richland High Debates Mascot Name. They’re the Rebels. The Birdville ISD school also has “Johnny Reb” and “Dixie Belle” student groups, in apparent celebration of the Civil War-era South. Some say it’s time to move on from such icons.

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Anti-Trump Jihad Spills Over to DMN News Pages

Even casual readers of the Dallas Morning News know the paper’s editorial board is freaking out over Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. But now some of that virulent anti-Trump sentiment seems to be leaking over to the news side. In story after story, for example, reporter Sylvan Lane has written that Trump said “most Hispanic immigrants were rapists and criminals.” But, that’s not what Trump said.

In his campaign announcement speech—as CNN’s Anderson Cooper and others have acknowledged—Trump was referring to illegal immigration across the Mexican border when he said: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting.”

Lane ups the anti-Trump ante in a Page One story today, whose first sentence reads: “How do you deal with a bully like Donald Trump?” A photo caption with the story then doubles down on the misquoting, saying Trump has “famously said most Hispanics immigrants were rapists and criminals.” I know the DMN recently laid off at least one of its best veteran political editors, but surely they have somebody on staff who knows a little bit about fairness and accuracy.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: Why Can’t Businesses Place Signs on Downtown Sidewalks?

Question: Why aren’t businesses allowed to put signs on the street downtown? How are people supposed to know they exist if they cannot? (For example, Hospitality Sweet in 400 N. Ervay; Serj across the street from them.) — David H.

What luck! Just last night, during my habitual bedtime reading, I finished Article VII of Chapter 51A of the Dallas City Code, which governs signage and other signage-related activities. It was among the most riveting passages so far of my trip through the regulations of local municipal governance. I am continuously awed by the ability of lawyers to take the language of Shakespeare and Keats, Twain and Hemingway, and fashion it into the verbal equivalent of pouring out a medium-sized container of thumb tacks and jamming them one by one into the back of your hand. A taste:

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