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Leading Off (3/20/15)

Thursday Was a Texas Basketball Massacre. All five teams from the state in the NCAA tournament lost. Baylor and SMU fans can argue about who suffered the more painful last-minute loss.

Irving Endorses Anti-Islamic Bill. Spurred by fears of nonbinding, voluntary mediation at a mosque, the city council, led by Mayor Beth Van Duyne, voted on Thursday to endorse a bill by State Rep. Jeff Leach of Plano that would forbid judges from using foreign law in their rulings. The bill’s language is nearly identical to a previous proposal by another lawmaker designed to limit the influence of “large populations of Middle Easterners.” Said Van Duyne, ““Why anyone would feel this is hatred or bigotry is absolutely beyond me.”

State to Audit DA’s Office. It’s the first time the state auditor’s office has used the authority the legislature gave it in 2011 to conduct such reviews. They’ll look into the alleged improper use of forfeiture funds during the tenure of former district attorney Craig Watkins. If violations of the law are found, the DA’s office and Watkins himself could be subject to a civil penalty up to $100,000.

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Tony Romo Kills It on Jimmy Kimmel

If there was any doubt that Tony Romo has a future as a broadcaster when he retires from the game, he erased that doubt last night. He was great on Jimmy Kimmel Live, which was broadcasting from Austin. To watch the entire segment, you need to sign in here with your cable provider info. But here’s a taste, a clip of Romo recounting how he tried to convince the Jones boys to keep DeMarco Murray:

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The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Jail: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Prison

The seven guys with whom I recently spent two months living in a small room at the Kaufman County Jail while awaiting transfer were in the distressing habit of compulsively watching local TV news, which is the lowest form of news. They would even watch more than one network’s evening news program in succession, presumably so as to get differing perspectives on the day’s suburban house fires and rush-hour lane closings rather than having to view these events through a single ideological prism.

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Leading Off (3/19/15)

SMU Plays First NCAA Tournament Game Since 1993 Today. The Poinies play UCLA in Louisville at 2:10 on truTV. They are trying to win in the tourney for the first time since 1988, when the Kato Armstrong-led squad beat Notre Dame. That same year, SMU coach Larry Brown won the national title with Danny Manning and Kansas.

Dale Hansen Rips Cowboys For Signing Greg Hardy. As he is wont to do, the WFAA Channel 8 sports anchor went off during his “Hansen Unplugged” segment following the Cowboys’ signing of Hardy, the defensive end who was accused of assaulting and threatening to kill his girlfriend. A sampling: “Is there no line you won’t cross? Is there no crime you won’t accept? Is there no behavior you will not tolerate? The Cowboys have decided players who use illegal drugs can play. You drive drunk and kill a teammate — putting everyone on that highway at risk — there’s a place on this team for you. You can rob a department store and play. And now you can beat a woman and play with a star on your helmet.”

Arrest Warrants Issued For Two Women in Illegal Buttocks-Injections Scheme. The two women are Jimmy Joe Clarke and Denise Rochelle Ross, also known as “Wee Wee.” They are wanted for practicing medicine without a license. Scamming (allegedly) women who desire to have larger hindquarters — because, thanks to Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj, that is in fashion — is a crime no one would have even contemplated as recently as maybe five or six years ago. It’s shameful, but innovative. Jimmy Joe and Wee Wee should give a TED talk.

Mavs Withstand Comeback By Magic. They lost most of a pretty big second-half lead but still had enough left to take down Orlando, a feisty young team better than its record, especially since immaculately coifed rookie Elfrid Payton (who had a triple double) has started coming on. And Rajon Rondo did this.

ICYMI: Dallas Chapter of American Institute of Architects Formally Opposes Trinity Toll Road. “Any highway similar to the Trinity Toll Road will divide our city and destroy the park’s unique potential and its recreational, economic, and environmental benefits,” said the group’s statement. That’s more than 300 firms and 2,000 people.

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Leading Off (3/18/15)

Crazy Kidnapping Drama Ends in Haslet. Nathanial Tillery allegedly assaulted Kevin Garcia, a 55-year-old convenience store clerk in College Station, then stole Garcia’s truck — after loading Garcia’s unconscious body into the bed. The saga ended just before 1:30 p.m. yesterday when Police and Texas Rangers arrested Tillery in Tarrant County.

Lying Officer Could Be a Problem for Prosecutors. This is a bizarre story. A self-proclaimed “resident expert” on DWIs, Sgt. Stephen “Tiny” Baker of the Dallas Police Department, insists he pulled over a car in 2012 because he saw the car run a red light. This, despite video evidence that it was, in fact, Baker, who ran the red light. Experts say this could put at risk other cases in which Baker testified. He’s on administrative leave pending investigation.

Oswald Cutout Bothers People at JFK Memorial. Yep. It’s a cutout.

The Cowboys Could Sign Greg Hardy. Here is a story about how the Cowboys might soon finalize a deal with defensive end Greg Hardy, who had 26 sacks in his last two full seasons in Carolina. Here is an excerpt from a protective order filed by Hardy’s ex-girlfriend:

“On May 13, 2014, Greg Hardy attacked me in his apartment. Hardy picked me up and threw me into the tile tub area in his bathroom. I have bruises from head to toe, including my head, neck, back, shoulders arms, legs, elbow and feet. Hardy pulled me from the tub by my hair, screaming at me that he was going to kill me, break my arms and other threats that I completely believe. He drug me across the bathroom and out into the bedroom. Hardy choked me with both hands around my throat while I was lying on the floor. Hardy picked me up over his head and threw me onto a couch covered in assault rifles and/or shotguns. I landed on those weapons. Hardy bragged that all of those assault rifles were loaded.”

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Let’s Send Crime-Fighter Richard Jefferson of the Dallas Mavericks Undercover

TMZ broke the story that Dallas Mavericks forward Richard Jefferson, at the behest of the FBI, recorded a phone conversation between himself and his business manager Ted Kritza, in which Kritza allegedly admits to having withdrawn $2 million on Jefferson’s bank credit line. The matter is still under investigation.

Now that we know Jefferson isn’t afraid to go undercover to fight crime, what other local Dallas notables should we maybe have him give a ring?

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Leading Off (3/17/15): St. Paddy’s Day Edition

Video Released of Dallas Cops Killing Mentally Ill Man. The shooting happened in June. Jason Harrison, whom his own mother described at the time as “bipolar schizo,” had a screwdriver in his hands. You really should watch the video. Not because (in my ignorant opinion) it vindicates the cops or shows that they inappropriately used lethal force. Just because. Things happened so fast. It’s impossible from that video to understand why Harrison was killed. And it’s impossible to understand how hard it is to work as a cop.

Jesuit and Highland Park React Differently to Racist Video. From the DMN: “Jesuit’s reaction is the opposite of Highland Park High School’s.” A graduate of each school was seen in the infamous SAE video. Jesuit is tackling the issue head-on, addressing its kids directly and talking to the media. HP, not so much. To me, one reaction seems better than the other.

Marcos Ronquillo Gets Some More Pub. You no doubt read our story about the mayoral candidate in the March issue. Today Ronquillo gets some more play, in the paper. So when do we get to hear this guy debate Mike Rawlings?

American Airlines Pilots Don’t Like New Uniforms. “Some pilots developed rashes while wearing the new uniforms. The blouses for female pilots were too revealing. The double-breasted coat wasn’t too popular.” Not great reviews from the test subjects. Here’s my review: Virgin and Southwest still provide a better experience, top to bottom, from gate agents to flight crew. But you guys keep sweating the wrong details.

Mavs Beat Thunder. OKC was up 15 at one point, but the Mavs came back to win 119-115. Watch the highlights. Chandler Parsons was clutch, with 31. Delicious basketball is happening, people, and it ain’t just SMU doing the balling.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Alex will be along in a bit to tell you what you should be doing to celebrate.

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Mayor Mike Rawlings Spins and Spins on the Trinity Toll Road

On Sunday, the DMN published in print this op-ed written by Mayor Mike Rawlings. I was on spring break with my children (Padre, beer bongs, you know the story), so you’ll forgive me for not reading it till now. The piece has driven me insane with its misinformation and spin. Someone with more patience than I needs to step up and tear the thing apart. Here I’ll just pick at two points.

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R.I.P., The Broadcast

It began in February 2013, with Tim’s voiceover announcing “This is D TV” — or something like that. Tim liked the first show.

It ended last week with the final original episode of The Broadcast on local station KTXD. You’ll remember the progam was originally titled D: The Broadcast, but our company jumped ship in August 2013. After which time the name was truncated, and the hosts rotated.

Uncle Barky discusses some of the details of this failed experiment in local programming:

Former London Broadcasting chief operations officer Phil Hurley, who birthed both The Broadcast and The Texas Daily while running KTXD, said Monday that he hoped the station’s laid-off employees “quickly find another opportunity. They’re good people that worked hard.”

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Leading Off (3/16/2015)

Ponies Headed to NCAA Tournament. SMU beat UConn to clinch a spot. Thanks, Larry Brown. Yay, sports.

Pedestrian Killed In Hit-And-Run in Lake Highlands. David Benton, 55, was killed crossing the street at Skillman and Walnut Hill Lane Sunday morning when he was struck by a vehicle. The driver, identified as Angel Lopez-Gil, kept going, dragging Benton’s body, and then parked his damaged vehicle and fled on foot. A witness to the accident followed him, and police were able to make the arrest a few blocks away.

Pedestrian Killed By TRE In Irving. This was not a good weekend, you guys. Apparently, a woman ventured on to the tracks Saturday afternoon while the crossing gate arms were still down and was waiting for a westbound freight train to pass while walking south on Nursery Road. She did not see the TRE coming from the east.

Teenager Arrested In Death Of Iraqi Immigrant. Nykerion Nealon, 17, was arrested Friday in connection with the death of Ahmed Al-Jumaili, the Iraqi immigrant who was murdered while he was taking pictures of the snow. Police say that it was not a hate crime—Nealon was allegedly looking for a person who he claimed shot at his girlfriend’s apartment 30 minutes before when he randomly came across Al-Jumaili and his family while carrying an assault rifle. Why does a 17-year-old even have access to an assault rifle? This is insane.

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Philip Kingston Admits His Relationship to Wylie H. Dallas on EarBurner Podcast

The Dallas city councilman stopped by the Old Monk yesterday and managed to induce a podcast-audible laugh from me, just as Nancy did last week. He may not have had any stories about diarrhea or Martina Navratilova, but he turned out to be just as delightful a guest. He also was more familiar with the podcast’s regular segments than Zac, who served as primary host in place of the spring-breaking Tim. Filling in for Zac was our staff Civil War veteran.

Subscribe to our show via the iTunes store, through the Stitcher app, or using our RSS feed — — in your favorite podcatcher. Or just listen to it via the embedded player below.

And, yes, I’m completely overselling the tease with this post’s headline. But to what degree, exactly? You’ll have to listen to find out.

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Leading Off (3/13/15)

Legislators Argue Over Letter Grades For Schools. Some in Austin believe a switch to annual evaluations of all campuses in the state on a familiar A to F scale would “drive innovation.” But others, like Dallas’ own Sen. Royce West, are concerned the system would “stigmatize” lower-performing schools. West says additional funding should be provided to those that receive a D or F.

Garland Wants to Supersize Its Side of LBJ. The city’s leaders are pushing for the stretch of the freeway between U.S. Highway 75 and Interstate 30 to get many additional lanes, just as the road west of 75 has with the LBJ Express project. Bills have been filed to authorize the expansion, though it’s not known how the $1.3-billion cost will be funded.

Volcanic Eruption Sends Plane Back to D/FW. Thirty minutes into its flight to Costa Rica, American Airlines Flight 2442 had to return to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport because a noxious cloud was making landings in San Jose impossible.

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Mayor Mike Rawlings’ Strange Case for the Trinity Toll Road

Back in December, Mayor Rawlings met with the Dallas Morning News editorial board to make his case for the Trinity toll road. At the time, the story was reported by the DMN, with subsequent editorializing on FrontBurner by Jason Heid and Wick Allison. I was also tempted to write something about it at the time, but dropped the idea after the pieces by Jason and Wick appeared. Since then, however, I find myself going to back to re-listen to the audio recording over and over. It’s not that politicians don’t say crazy things at times. We all know they do. It’s the idea that someone, somewhere, thought the DMN editorial board would find this pitch persuasive.

What I’ve attempted to do below is step through the mayor’s case point by point.

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Leading Off (3/12/15)

DeMarco Murray Headed To Philadelphia Today. The free agent running back will meet with the Eagles today, after he apparently called coach Chip Kelly yesterday and said he wanted to play with his good friend and former roommate Sam Bradford. This all may be posturing to get the Cowboys to pay him. Or maybe he’s always wanted to play in a city where he could be covered by former Observer sports columnist John Gonzalez.

Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund Board To Hear About Museum Tower Fix. According to mayor pro tem Tennell Atkins, the proposed solution to cutting down the glare coming from the building involves putting a film over the windows, which should cost more than $1 million. If this doesn’t work, they’ll move onto the backup plan: Operation Dark Storm.

Another Earthquake. I guess this just happens pretty much every day now.

Just Going To Leave This Here.Arlington Man Sets Crotch On Fire, Sues Vape Shop Over Exploding E-Cig Battery.”

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