The New Yorker on Jordan Spieth

There’s a nice little ditty on The New Yorker’s sports blog about Bubba and Jordan and the Masters that you should read. A taste:

Spieth’s swing is a newly paved freeway through the heartland: smooth, straight, efficient, dependable. Watson’s is the spotty two-lane through the backwater. It’s tangled and indirect, a mess of rough road that seems to surprise Watson as much as anybody when it leads to the desired location.

And:

Spieth plays with an effortlessness that is no doubt the result of great effort. He’s the Federer of golf right now: fluid motions, no sweat glands, an air of calm superiority.

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Leading Off (4/15/14)

Woman Found Guilty of Murder in Castration Death. Crystal Richardson claimed in court that she was just defending herself. But on the night of April 28, 2012, after using PCP, cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol, she castrated Cedric Lamont Owens and stabbed him more than 130 times. The jury didn’t buy her story.

Man Found Guilty of Murder in Stabbing Deaths. Just a couple months before Richardson’s bloody night in a Far East Dallas hotel room, in a house not far from that crime, William Gerard Palmer fatally stabbed his wife and her parents. Yesterday, a jury convicted him, too, and this account of the victims’ impact statements is tough to read.

An Item That’s Not About a Stabbing Murder. Cold enough for you this morning?

No Good Horrible Day for American Airlines and US Airways. The merging carriers made news yesterday for the wrong reasons. An AA pilot forgot he had a gun in his backpack and tried to bring it through a security checkpoint at DFW Airport. Meanwhile US Airways tweeted a picture of a naked woman playing with a toy airplane. A reminder to all of us that we need to be careful with our firearms and our aviation porn.

And, Oh Yeah, It’s Tax Day. Fun!

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Parsing That Long John Wiley Price Story

As Cristina mentioned in Leading Off, on Sunday the Morning News published a lengthy story about the FBI’s investigation of John Wiley Price. I can’t figure it out. Because almost none of it is new. After the FBI raids in the summer of 2011, the paper did a great job piecing together what the feds were looking for and all the curious financial matters concerning price: the land deals, the bankruptcy, the expensive cars, the cash in the safe. The story we got Sunday is just a rehash of all that, with one small addition:

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Dallas Homes Selling at Ridiculously Fast Rate

I do not envy anyone looking to buy a home in Dallas in the near future. A recent report from the real estate website Redfin.com says that, in March, 14.4% of homes in Dallas sold within three days of hitting the market. That’s up 1.5% compared to last year.

What’s more, in February, 38.8% of homes sold within two weeks. That’s up from what was already a fast-moving market in February 2013, when that rate was 31.9%. Our continued population growth, and housing inventory that’s down 19.5% since last year have a lot to do with it.

Prospective buyers must prepare for war.

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Watch George W. Bush Tell a Dirty Joke

Talking Points Memo points to the “ribald” humor former president George W. Bush displayed during a speech yesterday in Austin. The occasion was a summit marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, held at Lyndon Johnson’s presidential library.

“Former presidents compare their libraries the way other men may compare their, well…” Bush said.

Maybe he hadn’t heard about Colbert taking the Late Show gig, figured he still had time to get his name out there.

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Personnel Moves: The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, CardLab Inc., ContentGuard, Disney Investment Group, Slates Harwell LLP

New executive additions to The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, CardLab Inc., ContentGuard, Disney Investment Group, and Slates Harwell LLP in this week’s personnel moves. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science has hired a new Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer, Colleen Walker, who will assume the role on June 1. Walker has served as […]

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Leading Off (4/11/14)

WFAA Frames DISD Home-Rule Debate as Race War. Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas ISD trustee Mike Morath are both supporting the effort to create a new charter to change how the school district is governed. They’re white, and they’ve implied that some elements of the school board  are standing in the way of DISD making important changes. Those three board members are African-American, and they accuse home-rule proponents of trying to erode minority representation. Morath fans the flames by saying things like ”this is not to say that race is not a factor … But to say that race is a dominant factor is missing the forest for the trees.”

The Watchers Don’t Like Being Watched. Dallas Police staff are putting out a warning to the city’s cops about a dangerous new threat to their safety: citizens on patrol with video cameras. Concerns were raised recently after a woman affiliated with a group called Cop Rock Cop Block was found to be following and taping an officer. Ron Pinkston, president of the Dallas Police Association says such behavior could be a threat because police “don’t know who it is pulling behind us. We don’t know they’re there to videotape, they might be part of… if that guy has has just done a kidnapping they could be part of the kidnapping. You don’t know.” I also don’t know what he’s talking about, even if, yeah, I’m sure some of the folks recording the cops are just being jerks.

Man Sues Perot Museum After Accident. According to the suit, 74-year-old Myung Oh of Carrollton was leaving the museum in June 2013 when he fell on the steps and was left a quadriplegic.

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Louis Bedford, Dallas County’s First Black Judge, Loses Battle With Prostate Cancer

Bedford, a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School, became the first black judge in Dallas when he served on the municipal court in 1966. He spent most of his adult life mentoring other black lawyers, including Dallas County DA Craig Watkins, who he swore into office. Watkins remembered that moment in this profile I wrote of him in 2009:

“I was looking at him when he was swearing me in, and he was trembling and he was almost teary-eyed,” Watkins says. “I was like, why is he so emotional for me? And then I realized: all the struggles that he had been through were really for me to have this opportunity. He said at the end of his little thing, ‘You’re the first. Let’s make sure that you’re not the last.’ I really didn’t understand at the time what he was talking about, but I understand it now. Any little thing you do will jeopardize someone else that may be different—a woman, Hispanic, whatever—to be put in this position. Whatever you do, if you make the smallest mistake, it will shine a disparaging light on everybody else that comes.”

Bedford was 88.

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How Badly Does TxDOT Want the North Texas Vote?

The controversy over I-345 — and how TxDOT and its local partner, Michael Morris have handled it — could not come at a worse time for the highway agency. On the ballot in November is a constitutional amendment to increase the agency’s funding by $1.25 billion a year by drawing down on the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

The Legislature only granted this small amount after considerable wrangling. The agency by its own account needs an additional $4.5 billion a year just to keep up with the state’s population growth. But legislators are just as wary of the agency’s obfuscations, wild estimates, changing stories, alarmist traffic simulations, and bungling public relations as Dallas leaders in the last two months have learned to be.

Yet those same Dallas leaders say the agency needs every dollar it can get. Texas is exploding in population, roads are already inadequate, and cutbacks to maintenance could have severe economic consequences. So why is TxDOT — like a lumbering elephant — walking all over Dallas right when it needs our votes?

Now might be a good time for the Texas Transportation Commission, whose five members are probably more politically astute than highway engineers, to get that elephant under control. TxDOT seems to have a talent for alienating legislators. If it alienates North Texas, it could lose its only chance for new funding. That would be tragedy not just for the agency but for Texas.

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Leading Off (4/10/14)

Michael Morris Apologizes To Wick Allison And Other Dallas Leaders. In advance of today’s meeting of the Regional Transportation Council, the (deep breath) North Central Texas Regional (almost there) Council of Governments transportation director apologized for throwing down the race card last week regarding the efforts to tear down I-345.

Dallas ISD Trustees Consider Hiring Education Lawyer To Advise Them On Home-Rule Push. I’m sure that will make this whole thing go so much smoother.

Dwaine Caraway Asks City Staff To Begin Process of Renaming Lancaster Road After Nelson Mandela. Specifically, the portion between I-20 and Corinth and Illinois. This seems like a fine idea, though, as usual with Caraway, a little bit out of nowhere. I’d love to sit in on a brainstorming session with him sometime.

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First Look at the Proposed Boy Scout Hill Restaurant Overlooking White Rock Lake

Jim Schutze has written something that you should read. It’s about the proposed restaurant at White Rock Lake. The hopeful developers are Lyle Burgin and Rick Kopf. I’ve had lunch with these guys, and I like them. Kopf rides his bike at the lake, and he seems to appreciate the beauty of the place, which is why, he told me, he wants to build a restaurant there. But I’m afraid Kopf and his friend are a bit like Lennie in Of Mice and Men. They don’t know their own strength. They just might crush the thing they love. And Schutze is right. Opposition seems to be building steadily in the neighborhoods around the lake (I live in one of them).

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