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What’s Really Happening With That Complaint Filed Against DISD

Yesterday, a guy named Bill Betzen filed a complaint with the Department of Education against DISD. If you read the DMN’s story about it, you probably went, “Whoa. That doesn’t look good. Seems like the district is screwing poor kids.” Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s okay. Don’t go too hard on yourself. It’s a complicated issue. Eric explains the whole matter on LearningCurve. You should read his post. After you do, you’ll understand the truth, that Betzen is just trying to undermine Superintendent Mike Miles and foul up a very important vote tonight by the board of trustees. Take a minute and educate yourself. Do it for the kids.

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A Modest Proposal for Dirk Nowitzki

First, I’d like to congratulate Dirk on snagging his 10,000th rebound. Also, high-five on the birth of his son (and winning the argument with his wife, apparently, to pick the kid’s name). On to business: The Musers this morning were talking about how there are only about two kids in the entire NCAA tourney who play with their backs to the basket. Further, they observed, no one, even at the pro level, shoots the hook anymore. As Kareem showed us, it is the most unstoppable shot ever invented. Now, I know that Dirk already has a signature shot, the wrong-way turnaround knee-kick fade-away jumper. I’m not suggesting he replace it. But I am proposing that he and Holger Geschwindner spend the next few weeks getting the hook ready. Last year, Dirk told Tim MacMahon that he’s been working on the hook for a decade. It is time. It looks like the Mavs might have to play Memphis in the first round. The key to beating them: Dirk’s hook.

Thank you for your time.

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Leading Off (3/26/15)

Levi Pettit Apologizes For Taking Part In Racist Chant. The Highland Park High graduate and — until recently — member of the SAE fraternity at the University of Oklahoma read from a prepared statement at Oklahoma City’s Fairview Baptist Church, while surrounded by some of the city’s black leaders. Apologizing for his appearance in the video where he and his fraternity brothers gleefully used racial epithets and chanted about lynching, Pettit, 20, said, “Some have wondered why I hadn’t spoken out publicly. The truth is I have had a mix of pain, shame, sorrow, and fear over the consequences of my actions.” I still don’t have much in the way of pity for him or anyone else involved, but it’s a start.

Suspect In Illegal Buttocks Injection Death Surrenders. Denise “Wewe” Ross was arrested for practicing medicine without a license following the death of Wykesha Reid. Ross’ alleged accomplice, Alicia “Jimmy Joe” Clarke, is still at large, I believe.

Your Weekly Steve Blow Facepalm Moment. “Can you stand one more word about Greg Hardy? More important, can you stand a positive word? Yeah, I know I’m late to the party. But I never dreamed the bash would go on this long. Or the bashing.” [Sighs so long that when it stops it is a century later and I now live in a place called New Texahoma where professional sports are played by sentient robots known as jerichos.] OK, look, Steve. I know you dig wordplay. That is your lane, and I get it. But maybe avoid using “bash” and “bashing” when you’re writing about giving a second chance to someone who has the stench of domestic violence coming off him so strong his jersey has Pigpen-like stink lines. And don’t compare Hardy to Josh Hamilton. Because that’s not even close to the same thing. It is like comparing apples to allegedly throwing a woman onto a futon full of automatic weapons. I mean, come on, my dude. I could go on and on about the smarmy glibness of the tone you strike in that column, but I’ve already given it way more thought than you did. Just stop trying to have a take on anything that remotely matters and write about some hokey thing that happened in Sunnyvale the other day that speaks to a larger point about no one cares.

Teacher At J.L. Long Middle School Somehow Showed Her Class a Nude Photo of Herself. Other than the fact it happened Monday, there isn’t a ton of other details here. I assume most of the kids are now preoccupied with Zayn Malik leaving One Direction, but that’s still pretty messed up.

Ted Cruz Already Missing Senate Votes Because Of His Presidential Run. Hello, bright side. I didn’t expect to see you so soon. Please, don’t hesitate to tell me what I can do to make your stay as long and as comfortable as possible.

Is H-E-B Preparing For Full-Blown Expansion Into North Texas? Maybe! For more on that story, I direct you to the fine staff at Shrug Monthly, who, frankly, own the guess-tigation beat.

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Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: March 25

Controversial doesn’t always equal good, but if something gets the right people riled up, I’m usually interested. Wednesday seems a little early in the week to take on anything too spicy, though, so it’s also worth considering some of the safer entertainment options available to you in Dallas tonight. Here are our picks for things to do, in descending order from most controversial to least.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: How Much to Tip For a Growler of Beer

Question: No doubt you are enjoying the beer renaissance in Dallas. In your day, did they have growlers? That’s what confuses me a bit. How should one tip when one gets a growler filled? The bar wench does the same thing she’d do if you’d ordered a pint. The effort, for her, doesn’t increase much. So do you tip her a buck, same as you would if you’d ordered a glass? Or do you tip her based on the value of your purchase, which, depending on your druthers, could mean upwards of $20 (meaning a $4 tip)?  — Thirsty in East Dallas

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Leading Off (3/25/15)

Investigation Alleges “Reverse Robin Hood” Scheme at DISD: An investigation has revealed large discrepancies in per-student spending within DISD, suggesting that the district is reallocating funds — upwards of $70 million — intended for underprivileged students and spending them on pet projects and magnet schools. Expect a formal complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education as soon as today. DISD has released an official response: “hogwash.”

Mother of Slain Basketball Star Sues DISD: Not a great day for the district. The mother of Troy Causey, the 18-year-old South Oak Cliff High basketball star who was beaten to death by teammates a year ago, has filed a wrongful death suit against DISD Superintendent Mike Miles and Terry Smith, head of Dallas County’s Juvenile Department. The suit accuses DISD officials of questionable athletic recruitment practices, including recruiting Causey out of juvenile detention and placing him in a special residence within South Oak Cliff’s attendance zone.

Is Dallas DA “Unstable” and “Overly Suspicious”?: We played a quick game in the office yesterday: power rank all the district attorneys in Dallas history. The department doesn’t exactly have a stellar history, and Susan Hawk looks more and more to fit the profile.

Highland Park High’s Racist Chant Leader Unveils Strategy Aimed at Salvaging His Ruined Name, Reputation: Levi Pettit, the Highland Park High School graduate who was captured in video leading racist fraternity chants in Oklahoma, will now attempt to become “a lifelong advocate for the African American community.”

AT&T Continues to Make Dallas’ Job Growth Look Great: The corporation looks to add 500 new positions throughout the region.

Texas Leg Silly Bill of the Day: Guns! We need to be able to carry them everywhere!

Paranoid Irving Mayor Follows Flapping Mouth to Promised Land of the Blow Hards: Beth Van Duyne has some hot sports opinions about religious communities in her city, and so, of course, Fox News comes calling.

Social Media Threats Responsible for More Public Dollars Spent Protecting Against Filter-less Crazies: It used to be that people would sit at a bar and say stupid things to their friends about stuff they didn’t like. Now they put it on Facebook, and as a result, security earns overtime for running extra details protecting people like Dallas Rep. Jason Villalba, the state legislature who introduced a bill that would make filming police all-but illegal.

Three North Texas Military Members on Creepy ISIS “Hit List”: Names, photos, and addresses of three North Texas members of the military personal surfaced on a website that asks sympathizers to target and kill 100 enemies of the so-called Islamic State.

Dallas Potholes Now So Big They Can Swallow Cars: Dear Dallas City Council: Quit talking toll roads, and fix our freaking streets already.

If You Like the Weather in Texas: Wait ten minutes.

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How Mike Ullman is Trying to Fix the ‘Stupid Mistakes’ That Were Made at JCPenney

By most accounts, Myron “Mike” Ullman has done a good job stopping the bleeding since returning to the CEO’s office at JCPenney in 2013, following the disastrous, short-lived tenure of former chief executive Ron Johnson. How exactly has he done it, though? That’s what we wanted to know during a recent interview and audience Q&A with Ullman at the Dallas Friday Group, a luncheon forum for businesspeople. Although Ullman graciously avoided mentioning Johnson by name during our conversation, he wasn’t shy about assessing the problems caused by the one-time Apple savant. Ullman, who led Plano-based Penney from 2004 to 2012 before making way for Johnson in 2012, was asked whether coming back to the company wasn’t hard and stressful. “No! Hard and stressful is when you’re building something that people don’t like,” he replied. “Satisfying is when you’re fixing some stupid mistakes that somebody else made. So that’s what we’re doing.”

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Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: March 24

Here are the questions we face going into tonight, Dallas. Will Young Thug find redemption after his no-show non-performance in Dallas last year left a ticked-off audience covered in fire extinguisher spray? Who is the fairest queen of all of RuPaul’s Drag Race traveling tour? Does a 10-year-old stand-up comic have any material outside of jokes about Lunchables and assigned seating in home room? Answers to those questions and more, if you do these things tonight.

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Poll: Will You Root For the Dallas Cowboys?

Last week the Dallas Cowboys signed Greg Hardy, a noted football player suspended last season for having beaten up his girlfriend. As discussed on our most recent EarBurner podcast, the move prompted WFAA sports anchor Dale Hansen to go “unplugged,” and Mayor Mike Rawlings (an outspoken crusader against domestic violence) called it a “shot in the gut.” But then, yesterday, Rawlings said he’ll still be rooting for America’s Team this season.

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Leading Off (3/24/15)

Dallas D.A. Fires Top Assistant. Susan Hawk has been our district attorney for about three months. Her tenure has not so far gone smoothly. Yesterday she fired her first assistant, Bill Wirskye, whose hiring had been seen as a solid move on Hawk’s part. Good luck filling that spot with a qualified candidate.

Jason Garrett Speaks About Greg Hardy. For the first time, the Cowboys coach spoke to reporters about why the team would sign a guy who beat up his girlfriend. “First off, we understand the seriousness of domestic violence,’’ he said. “We obviously aren’t for domestic violence, so let’s get that out at the start.” Blah, blah, blah.

Low Oil Prices Won’t Hit Dallas Too Hard. You probably should read Mitchell Schnurman’s column today. Unless you live in Houston.

DART Unveils New Oak Cliff Streetcar. Councilwoman Vonciel Jones Hill likes the new streetcars, which will begin operation April 13, going between Union Station and the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Beckley. She said the people behind the project are “just hyena happy, peacock proud, and baboon-beside-ourselves to be able to present the Dallas streetcar.” I’d like to add that I am dik-dik delighted about the whole thing.

Bird Forces Dallas Police Helicopter To Make Emergency Landing. This is what happens when you fly into an American coot. Which reminds me. I’m also coot crazy for the Oak Cliff streetcar.

Dead Dogs and Roosters Get Dumped in Dallas Park. Cockfighting. Dog fighting. That’s probably what led to this. (Side note — and not to make light of this situation — but I can’t help but imagine what a cootfighting operation might look like. You throw these mud hens into a ring, everyone gets all excited, places their bets, and then the birds go pecking around for bugs, just fly away, whatever. Maybe it’s just me.)

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Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: March 23

If my high school English class had been held at a bar, I would have paid way more attention to the works of William Shakespeare, and maybe I would be able to write more good than I do now. So a pairing of theater and alcohol at The Wild Detectives tonight has me particularly intrigued. Much Ado About Nothing is one we skipped (I skipped, at least) in class, but I gather it’s a comedic play with a significantly lower body count than some of The Bard’s other famous works.

We’re also enjoying the last bit of fallout from the musical atom bomb that was SXSW in Austin last week, so there are some bands to catch before they hit that dusty trail out of Texas once and for all. Here are our picks for things to do tonight.

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Trinity Toll Road Roundup: Why Are Dallas City Council Members Signing Up to Address the City Council?

The council campaign season is starting to really heat up, and the Trinity Toll Road is shaking out to be a central touchstone of the campaigning. Over the weekend, that potent mix set-off a series of developments. There’s a lot to catch up on, so let’s jump to it.

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Leading Off (3/23/2015)

Ted Cruz Is Officially Running For President. After majorly spoiler alert-ing this announcement on every single news organization and social media platform known to man, including Yahoo Groups, Sen. Ted Cruz will make the actual announcement today, though not from Texas. He’ll do it from Liberty University in Virginia. He’s the first GOP candidate to jump in.

Yoga Does Not Work For Everyone. As Nancy Duarte evidently found when she misplaced her zen and tried to burn down Sunstone Yoga on Mockingbird Lane Saturday night.  The studio suffered minimal damage.  Per the Morning News, “a witness, Phineas Bennett-Lovari, said the woman was lighting matches and pieces of paper and throwing them into the air, yelling, ‘I’m going to burn this [expletive] down. I don’t care if I go to jail.'” Duarte was arrested and charged with arson.

Arlington Might Get An MGM Grand Hotel. The city would not confirm, but sources told the Star-Telegram that a “convention-class” hotel with at least 750 rooms was in the works for a site near Globe Life Park.

Uptown Definitely Getting A Dream Hotel. Dallas is one a few cities with Dream Hotels in the works, as the boutique brand is adding six new properties. It will be on McKinney Ave. near Bowen Street. The plans were delayed while developers worked with residents to address parking and noise concerns.

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