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Making Dallas Even Better

Ask John Neely Bryan: Finding Money to Fix Dallas Streets

Question: Firstly, thank you profusely for settling upon an inspired new logo for Dallas. You’ve saved the council hours of back-breaking sitting in chairs and taking turns talking in circles. Now, can you help with the city budget? Starting to think we’re in over our heads. — Mike R. et al

Sir, you know that I love this city with the sort of passion which men generally reserve for their wives and their Barcaloungers. It would be my pleasure — nay, it is my duty — to guide you through these troubled times. The very fact that the mayor of the world’s greatest city has been reduced to the indignity of hosting a Twitter town hall meeting on budget matters beginning this evening at 6 p.m. — how ghastly!

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Leading Off (9/3/15)

Tell the Mayor What You Think of the City Budget. Today at 5:30 you can tweet at the mayor about the budget in a “virtual town hall meeting.” Don’t expect the mayor to tweet back, though. He’ll respond via a live video broadcast that starts at 6. Sounds perfect. He wants to use social media—but not really. Enjoy yourselves.

DISD Problem Gets Blown Up. I am writing this item without having seen the printed newspaper. But I’m going to make a prediction about how this news gets played. There are questions about “academic misconduct” at a school that has about 390 total students. An investigation is underway. Right now, though, there are only questions. We don’t know what did or did not happen. Prediction: this story will run above the fold, on the front page. (It should be a Metro brief.)

Christian Taylor Had a Hallucinogen in His System. The 19-year-old had a drug called N-Bomb in his system when an Arlington cop shot and killed him in what was ruled a homicide. The autopsy also found that Taylor had recently used marijuana.

Woman Murdered in Uptown. Details are scant. But the killing happened in the parking garage of the Gables Park 17 high-rise, on Cedar Springs.

Orlando Scandrick Cried Yesterday. The Cowboys’ top cornerback had season-ending surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a torn medial collateral ligament. At the team’s annual kickoff luncheon yesterday, he was named last year’s co-defensive MVP (with Jeremy Mincey). This might give you an idea of how it can suck to be a professional athlete.

Will Smith’s Concussion and Tony Dorsett

Watching the trailer for the upcoming Will Smith movie called Concussion, which is based on the real-life story about the doctor who discovered CTE, reminded me of Zac’s story from last year about Tony Dorsett. Watch the trailer, and then, if you haven’t already, read “Tony Dorsett Is Losing His Mind.”

In other news, the college football season starts tomorrow! No. 2 TCU v. Minnesota, baby!

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Did Texas Monthly Go Too Soft on the New Texas Textbooks’ Treatment of Slavery?

The September issue of Texas Monthly reports on the Texas school book controversy that has been simmering since 2010. That’s when the Texas State Board of Education adopted new curriculum standards that, it was argued at the time, attempted to coax publishers into producing student textbooks that downplayed the historical realities of slavery, segregation, and discrimination. Well, now those textbooks have been published, and while they are not yet available to the general public, TexMo’s Tom Bartlett reports that those who have perused them don’t believe they are as bad as many feared.

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Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: September 2

I have never seen the Hee Haw variety show. I don’t really care for “corn pone humor,” which is a fun phrase I learned this morning while reading about the Hee Haw variety show. My only knowledge of former Kelly Clarkson foe Justin Guarini stems from his star turn in the trailer for the 2003 film From Justin To Kelly (IMDB rating: 2.1). Regardless, the Hee Haw Musical coming to the Wyly looks pretty fun, even to a Hee Haw nonbeliever like myself. Maybe it’s the involvement of Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, country stars who co-wrote one of my favorite songs from two years ago. Maybe it’s a marketing campaign that makes heavy use of the words “fried” and “love,” which makes me think of fried food, which I love.

While we’re on the subject of things I love, let’s talk about Labyrinth, the Jim Henson film so fantastic and weird that goblin king David Bowie’s giant codpiece is only the sixth or seventh most fantastic and weird thing in it. Let’s talk about politics, and booze, and trails. Let’s talk about things to do tonight.

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How Dallas Cancer Survivors Are Helping Astronauts

Cool story over on KERA about UT Southwestern researchers, led by Dr. Benjamin Levine, taking Dallas cancer survivors up into the NASA plane that flies repeated parabolas high up in the atmosphere to simulate zero gravity. Why?

“One of the biggest medical problems in the last decade of manned space flight has been the understanding that astronauts on the International Space Station are losing their vision,” Levine explains. “And when they’ve come back down to Earth, it looks for all the world like the pressure inside the brain is too high.”

This hypothesis, that high pressure inside the brain is damaging the eyes, is what Levine was testing. Instead of sending people to the International Space Station, he’s using those fast swoops and dives of the plane as a chance to replicate the zero gravity experienced in space.

And there’s another big difference between these test subjects and the astronauts who have the vision problem.

These voyagers were all cancer survivors.

Why? Because these cancer survivors have ports in their brains – ports once used to deliver chemotherapy – that now make testing the pressure inside their heads easier.

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Video: Watch Elvis Andrus Steal Home

File this under “reasons Zac may have to start watching the Rangers.” Your Texas Rangers, you may have noticed, are in close contention for the post season, sitting three games out of first place in the west and currently holding the second wild card spot in the American League. They have won eight of their last eleven games, including beating the San Diego Padres last night 8-6. In the seventh inning, Elvis Andrus — the guy best known for clowning Adrian Beltre — pulled off one of the rarest feats in baseball, a straight steal of home. How rare? It was the first time a Ranger stole home since 2000.

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Is Dallas a Self-Loathing City?

In a fun TexMo post painting the big cities of Texas as a dysfunctional family, John Nova Lomax writes of the one-sided rivalry between Houston and Dallas:

When Houston insists that the rivalry does exist, and that Dallas’s constant denial of that existence is proof. And then Dallas sticks the dagger in: “Five Super Bowls, Houston. Five.” And then Dallas drops the mic and exits stage left.

But underneath all of its feigned obliviousness to other Texas cities, there does seem to lurk a current of self-loathing. As East Dallas resident Mamie Joseph puts it, “Dallas is too busy hating itself to notice anybody else.”

That observation was borne out four years back when I wrote a piece for the Houston Press and Dallas Observer about how those two cities were getting cooler while Austin was becoming more business-like and big city. The piece was met with near-universal praise in Houston, but about half of the feedback I got from Dallas was that I was a lunatic to think that way, and that only their jobs were keeping them from escaping to Austin ASAP.

I don’t think it’s the people of Dallas as a whole who are self-loathing. Probably just habitual Dallas Observer readers. /rimshot

Frisco the Frontrunner to Get Soccer Hall of Fame

The Washington Post reports as much. The U.S. Soccer Federation is still negotiating a deal with the city of Frisco and Hunt Sports Group, which would provide funding to build the 15,000-square-foot project, likely in the same complex as Toyota Stadium, home to FC Dallas.

The site’s draw of thousands of youth players and their players to events like the Dallas Cup and the Hunt family’s long ties to soccer are cited as reasons Frisco is proving an attractive site. The previous hall of fame was in Oneonta, N.Y. but went out of business five years ago.

Will it prove more or less of a draw than the Bowling Hall of Fame in Arlington?

Leading Off (9/2/15)

“Frontier Disney” Fraudster Sentenced to 17 Years. You’ll recall the story of Thomas W. Lucas Jr., the Plano man convicted of fraud after he forged documents and misled investors — who thought they were getting insider tips about plans for a Walt Disney theme park in North Texas. (Zac once compared Lucas to Uncle Buck.) Well, yesterday Lucas, 35, was sentenced for his crimes: 17 years.

Another City Honors Santos Rodriguez. In 1973, a Dallas police officer investigating the theft of coins from a vending machine forced a 12-year-old boy named Santos Rodriguez to play Russian roulette — until the boy lost. The city has had a hard time addressing this terrible injustice over the years. Now, from the DMN, this fiery burn:

“Just this week, we learned of Santos Rodriguez Memorial Park, so named ‘to remind us all of the importance to respect, love, care for, and protect all of the children of the world.’ About $350,000 in city parks funding helped redevelop it into a welcoming open space next to El Centro de la Raza.

Please stop by the next time you’re in Seattle.”

City Worker Does Terrible Thing to Dallas Children. From our local CBS affiliate: “Ripped apart and tossed into a nearby creek, kids in an East Dallas youth soccer league are unable to play their matches after a city worker was seen destroying the goalposts the league owns.” It’s no wonder those East Dallas kids weren’t able to play, after being ripped apart and tossed into a creek. Hope everyone recovers quickly.

No More Betting at Lonestar Park. Races were suspended yesterday, as the legislature debates the future of the Texas Racing Commission. Looks like racing will resume soon, though.

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UT Dallas Prof Finds that NFL Players Get Arrested for Violent Crimes

A recent study out of UT Dallas finds that NFL players don’t get arrested all that often, when compared to their civilian peers. “There’s a perception that the NFL has this huge crime problem and that it’s longstanding. That’s what everybody believes,” Alex Piquero, the UT Dallas prof, said in a release. “The data show that it’s not true.” Aha! But the data do show that NFL players get arrested for violent crimes more than their civilian peers. Which led the Huffington Post to go with the clickbait headline “Why Aren’t We Talking About What This Study Discovered About NFL Violence?” We haven’t been talking about NFL players committing violent crimes? Kinda feels like we have.

The FIFA Scandal and Its Connection to Dallas

An alert FrontBurnervian has brought Aaron Davidson to my attention, and now I bring him to yours. The Miami New Times published a story today about Davidson, who has described himself as a “Tex-Mex-Costa Rican Jew.” He grew up in Dallas, went to Greenhill, got his law degree from SMU. Now he’s caught up in the FIFA corruption scandal. Here’s how New Times put it:

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