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Leading Off (11/25/2014)

Locals Gather to Protest Ferguson Grand Jury Decision. After the no-bill announcement last night in Missouri, a small group showed up at the Dallas Police Department with signs. Most of people in this video seem to be having a pretty good time. Certainly a better time than the people in these incredibly dramatic photos. There’s another local protest scheduled for tonight.

Rough Week for Local Police. Unrelated to that last item, it has not been a great stretch for local law enforcement. Three Dallas Police officers were fired, and one was charged with excessive force for an incident involving a panhandler. And the Arlington Police Department is investigating how accident reports were leaked to lawyers and injury clinics.

Four Earthquakes in Three Days. All in Irving. The latest one, a 2.2, hit last night around 11:45 p.m. (Insert awkward comment about how we all know this is fracking-related, but because that industry is so profitable and powerful, nothing will change anytime soon–unless maybe it gets worse.)

Mavs Lose Ugly. At home, to the 6-8 Indiana Pacers. Final score: 111-100. Despite having served his four game suspension for last season’s gun charges, Raymond Felton was inactive.

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Leading Off (11/14/14)

Feds Auditing DA’s Use of Forfeiture Funds. Craig Watkins may be on his way out, after suffering a defeat in last week’s election, but he’s still facing a federal investigation. Authorities stopped sending forfeiture money to the DA’s office in August after an auditor had a call with Watkins. “It was a contentious phone call during election season in which Mr. Watkins believed the inquiry was being driven by his opponent,” said Dallas County prosecutor Lincoln Monroe. “Craig thought it was a setup. It was not a good conversation that Craig had.” He added that the federal audit was prompted by a mix-up that will soon be rectified.

Frisco Homeowners Want Power Lines Buried. Brazos Electric is proposing a 2- to 4-mile stretch of overhead lines to increase capacity in the fast-growing city, but neighborhood residents are concerned about the impact on their home values. They want the lines placed underground, which Brazos says would cost $31.5 million, compared to $3.5 million for putting them overhead. Brazos plans to apply to the Public Utility Commission for its expansion in December, and the city and a homeowners’ group plan to challenge it.

Felony Lane Gang Strikes Again. Coppell police are looking into whether an organized group of professional thieves is responsible for a series of smash-and-grab car break-ins. The gang is known for cashing victims’ checks in the outside teller lane at various banks — which I guess is the “felony lane?”

Clayton Kershaw Hogging Baseball Awards. After winning his third Cy Young Award as the National League’s best pitcher on Wednesday, the Highland Park High School graduate and Los Angeles Dodgers hurler received Most Valuable Player honors on Thursday. He’s the first NL pitcher to take the MVP since 1968.

Mavs Score Most Lopsided Win in Team History. Dallas got off to a 45-10 lead in the first 15 minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers and finished with a 123-70 win. It’s their largest margin of victory ever.

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Dirk Nowitzki Is Now The Highest-Scoring Foreign-Born NBA Player Ever

It happened last night during the Mavs’ awesome comeback over the Sacramento Kings — who, P.S., have not beaten the Mavs in Dallas since 2003. He passed Hakeem Olajuwon, and it probably would have been more fitting if it had come off one of his patented, one-legged, lean-back jumpers, but a midrange shot is probably just as good. Dirk will more than likely finish just behind Shaquille O’Neal on the scoring list this season. If he plays through his entire three-year contract somewhere near this level, he has an outside shot — no pun intended — to finish his career ahead of Wilt Chamberlain as the No. 5 scorer of all-time. That is amazing. I SEE YOU, BIG GERMAN.

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Why Are the Mavericks So Awful In the Third Quarter?

The Mavs have started fairly strong this season, opening with a 3-2 record and only one really bad loss (last night, against the Portland Trailblazers). Chandler Parsons has mostly righted the ship after a terrible start against San Antonio. The other new guys have mostly fitted in. Dirk has looked like Dirk. But there is one troubling aspect that those five games have in common: the team’s absolutely dreadful third quarters. How bad has it gone when the second half starts? They have been outscored 170 to 106 in the third quarter, or 34 to 21.2 on average. That is not good. Giving up 34 points is not good. Being outscored by 13 points is not good. It is all not good. So, what is up?

A. The team’s dominant offense has allowed it to coast a bit on defense. When the opponents make halftime adjustments to slow down the offense, the defense is exposed.

B. The Mavericks have a deep roster, but the second unit is not packed with scorers. When the starters naturally begin to drop off a bit, there is no one on the bench to bail them out and bring some renewed energy on the offensive end. (Quicker version: the team misses Vince Carter way more than it thought it would.)

C. During halftime at every game, Warden Hazen takes Parsons aside and threatens to pin Caretaker’s murder on him, thus extending his prison stay indefinitely. By the time Parsons decides to take his chances with the warden and starts playing to win again, it is already the fourth quarter.

Or maybe something else?

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Leading Off (11/5/14)

Election Results. Abbott won. Watkins lost. Republicans swept the stateMillions of dollars will go to highways. And Denton banned fracking. More here.

Cowboys Coin Regrettable Hashtag for London Game. The Cowboys are playing the Jacksonville Jaguars in Wembley Stadium this week. The team probably could have come up with something better than #CowboysUK.

Friend Apparently Lied to Plano Police Investigating Missing Woman. Christina Morris went missing after a night at the Shops at Legacy two months ago. Enrique Gutierrez Arochi, a friend of hers from high school, was with her the night she disappeared, but apparently wasn’t completely honest with the police. A coworker also said that Arochi had bruises on his forearm and that he complained of a sore back around the same time.

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Dallas Cowboys Are Still America’s Team, Twitter Finds

Just seeing this blog post from last week featuring this nifty interactive map of NFL fandom according to the number of followers of each team in a given area — admittedly an imperfect method, but just go with it. There’s no surprise that the Dallas Cowboys dominate in Texas, as well as New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

And if you look at this map of second-favorite teams you’ll find that the team has significant claims in Arizona, Louisiana, the Virginias and quite a few pockets of the Southeast:

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J.J. Barea Is Coming Back to the Mavs For Some Reason

The fan favorite from the 2011 title team was bought out of his contract by the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday. Today he signed with the Mavs for the veteran’s minimum. The Mavs will release Gal Mekel to make room for the — hahahahahaha — 6-foot Barea. (I am 6 feet tall, and I am at least two but more like three inches taller than Barea, at least based on the time I stood next to him after practice). I’m a little concerned the team is starting to get a little The Expendables in its roster construction, but honestly this is not a huge deal, probably.

ANYWAY, now the Mavs may try to finally roll out the all-point guard lineup I’ve long advocated for. And, in that scenario, fingers-crossed, they’ll play Barea at center.

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Leading Off (10/24/14)

Porsche at Center of New Allegations Against DA’s Office. The car was parked for months at the courthouse parking garage before Ace Parking (which manages the garage) asked United Tows to haul it away. Thing is it was a vehicle belonging to the county government and intended to be used in drug stings. The owners of United Tows says Craig Watkins’ staff accused them of car theft, even though it appears the company followed all the legal procedures required of it. The Morning News sought records detailing the process by which the DA’s office bought back the car from United Tows, but has had to file a lawsuit to get those details released.

It’s Going to be in the 90s This Weekend. Yes, we’re getting to the later part of October, when things would — you’d expect — be cooling down a bit. But instead the forecast calls for unusually high temperatures for the season. Meanwhile the continued drought is prompting more significant watering restrictions, and we have an unusually cold winter to look forward to.

SMU Makes Offer to Mack Brown. The school’s football team is looking for new leadership after former coach June Jones bolted after the second game of what’s been a dreadful season for the Mustangs. They’ve reportedly had “preliminary discussions” with Brown, the former University of Texas at Austin head coach who led the Longhorns to a national title for the 2005 season. The dollar figures they’ve discussed are $4 million a year for eight years.

Lawn Care Company Flying Too Many Flags. If you’ve ever trekked up to my hometown of Denton and exited onto Dallas Drive on your way to the Courthouse Square, after you descended the hill along which I received the first two speeding tickets of my life, you saw a fleet of orange trucks sitting along the right side of the road, usually adorned with letters spelling out some community announcement about a Knights of Columbus pancake breakfast or a VFW barbecue or somesuch.  And you saw a whole lot of American flags.  The orange trucks belong to Frenchy’s Lawn Care, which is owned by Vietnam vet Andre “Frenchy” Rheault. Well, after many years of displaying as many Old Glories as he likes, the city’s code enforcement department has told Rheault that the flags have to come down. Only one American flag, one Texas flag, and one miscellaneous flag are allowed on any one property. Rheault plans to fight.

Topless Cheerleaders Use Drugs. Photos of the Lamar High School students engaging in naughty behavior made the rounds of social media and have caused quite a ruckus in Arlington.

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C.J. Wilson Picks Up a Fancy Car in Dallas

Over on the site Jalopnik, former Texas Rangers (and current Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) pitcher C.J. Wilson has authored a post in which he discusses his recent trip to Dallas to pick up some sort of high-performance automobile from Park Place McLaren. He described the vehicle as a “Hyperblurprle McLaren P1.” I assume that will mean something to some of you. He ordered it a few years ago, which seems like an awful long time to wait for a car. He opted to drive it from Dallas to California rather than have it shipped:

I drove over to DFW to pick up my wife, who just started laughing and walking circles around the car with her iPhone. We squeezed into the carbon fiber and alcantara seats and headed towards Albuquerque. Each fuel stop was full of questions, photos and smiles.

Sure, you can take photos. Yep, it’s a McLaren. No, the F1 has the seat in the middle. 903. Yep.Yes it is fast. No I haven’t gone 200 yet. She is a car nut like me and loves the noise and was blown away by the accelerating despite going for rides in fast cars and her prior Porsche Driving School seat time.

Here’s a picture of the car. Here’s a picture of his wife.

Reminder: Wilson bombed badly in this year’s American League playoffs against the Kansas City Royals.

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Texas Rangers Have a New Manager

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports was the first to report that Jeff Banister, who’s been the bench coach (sort of like the assistant manager) for the Pittsburgh Pirates the last four years, will be the Texas Rangers’ new manager.

The Rangers had narrowed the field to three, and in choosing Banister they are bypassing in-house candidate Tim Bogar, who led the team to a 14-8 record after Ron Washington’s resignation in September.

UPDATE: As a player, Banister was a career 1.000 hitter in MLB. #analysis

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