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Leading Off (1/16/17)

| 21 hours ago

Cowboys’ Season Ends, Brutally. It looked, early on, like Aaron Rodgers and the Packers were going to blow out Dallas. But the Cowboys came back from down 18 points to tie it late, and then came back again from down three to tie it again with less than a minute to play on a 50-yarder by Dan Bailey (who apparently played most of the season with a herniated disc), only to see Rodgers hit a miracle pass down the left sideline with three seconds left to set up Mason Crosby’s game-winning kick.

Dak Prescott played admirably (24-38 for 302 yards and 3 TDs), as did Ezekiel Elliott (22 carries for 125 yards) and Dez Bryant (9 catches for 132 yards and 2 TDs). But a few miscues early — Brice Butler’s weird drive-killing penalty and Mo Claiborne’s drive-sustaining hands to the face call, among them — couldn’t be overcome. It was a fun season that ended with the hardest possible kick in the jeans. As if that wasn’t bad enough …

Fans Stuck at AT&T Stadium After Game Due to Tornado. The weather, of course, affected more than football fans, but the tornado that swept through North Texas meant some, and Zeke Elliott and Dak Prescott, had to shelter in place at Jerry World. The storm left at least 33,000 without power. And one jerk flailing wildly on Twitter.

MLK Parade Starts This Morning at 10. It begins at the intersection of MLK Boulevard and Holmes Street and will head east toward Fair Park.

Theater Director Hospitalized After Being Attacked At Haskell Avenue Target. Saturday night, Derek Whitener was coming home from a performance at the Firehouse Theatre in Flower Mound, where he is an actor and director. He stopped at Target, and in the parking lot, he was attacked by two men — one in a ski mask and one in a monkey mask — wielding a pipe. They didn’t steal anything but left the 33-year-old with a fractured skull. He is recovering at Baylor after having a hematoma removed yesterday.

You Probably Want to Keep Stewing About That Cowboys Loss. OK, here is Bryan Curtis’ account from the game.

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Arts & Entertainment

The Dramatic Debate Over a Show Poster

| 4 days ago


Theatre Three Laugh poster

There’s an interesting debate a day in the making over on the D-FW Theater Facebook page. The story: Nancy Churnin, the DMN theater critic, wrote an unfavorable review of Beth Henley’s Laugh, now playing at Theatre Three. Her headline quite plainly advises theatergoers to “skip” the production. The theater then X-Acto knifed a favorable sentence out of the review, switched out a period for an exclamation point, jacked up the font size on the last two words—and voilà—promo material.

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Politics & Government

City Council Report: Paving Paradise, Putting Up a Parking Lot

| 4 days ago


The January 11th City Council meeting was a solidly entertaining affair, with inspired supporting performances by wacky citizen guest speakers, two well-developed subplots involving real estate intrigue, and a contentious, ripped-from-the-headlines finale that really makes you think.

Item No. 51 concerned the approval of a new Kroger location in District 14 topped with mixed-use residential housing of the sort that Dallas has been encouraging in recent years, with a percentage of space given over to low-cost units. District 14’s Councilman Philip Kingston, a key proponent of these sorts of developments, praised Kroger for its history of responsible corporate policy — which is indeed remarkable given how easy the city has made it to win concessions rather than giving them, as we’ll see in a moment.

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Things to Do in Dallas

Things To Do In Dallas This Weekend: Jan. 13-15

| 4 days ago


Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which could mean a day off and definitely means it’s a good idea to spend some time thinking about the arc of the moral universe, justice, and the welfare of your fellow man. It is, of course, always a good time to think about those things. And it’s always a good time to do things. Go here for our list of MLK Day-specific events, including a parade, an oratory competition, and a discussion of social justice. Keep reading for more.

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Podcast! Will Evans Talks Mustaches and Cinestate

| 4 days ago

You know Will Evans from Deep Vellum, the publishing house and bookstore he founded. Now he’s making “ear movies” at Cinestate, a new Dallas multimedia company. For more on that, you should read Peter Simek’s profile of Will’s partner, Dallas Sonnier. Other topics covered in this episode: why Dallas is so much better than Austin, Zeke Elliott’s car wreck, good mustaches, bad tattoos, the rock band He Is Legend, and why in the world the city of Dallas would put off a bond vote till November. Stream here or use your favorite pod catcher. Enjoy.

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Dallas’ Financial Woes Aren’t Unique. America’s Cities Are on a Path Towards Bankruptcy

| 4 days ago

Dallas certainly has its own, particular financial problems: a police and fire pension fund that is facing insolvency, the legacy of a bungled affordable housing policity that lost millions of federal dollars in the couch cushions. But the city’s huge infrastructure needs, which, as council member Lee Kleinman pointed out during a recent conversation about the upcoming bond election, are something that the city can’t cover in its general fund, aren’t unique to Dallas. Faced with having to shell out billions just to keep the streets from not deteriorating any further, Dallas can’t pay for its own maintenance and has to go into debt just keep infrastructure status quo.

And so does the rest of America.

In a fascinating article on Strong Towns, Charles Marohn, the group’s founder and president, takes an in-depth look into the financial sustainability of Lafayette, Louisiana. What he finds is a fundamentally unsustainable financial outlook and a pattern of growth and deterioration that is repeated in almost every American town and city:

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Local News

Leading Off (1/13/17)

| 4 days ago

Dallas Police and Fire Pension May Allow Withdrawals Once Again. On Thursday, the board system disclosed a new (and complicated) policy regarding the withdrawals, which have threatened the longevity of the fund. The plan was immediately labeled unfair by retirees and received objections from city council members. State District Judge Tonya Parker will decide Tuesday whether or not to allow, or continue blocking, the withdrawals.

Dallas Police Are Looking For a Hit-And-Run Driver in Oak Cliff. Joey Salas, 42, faces a possible double amputation of both legs, which were severely injured after a driver in a pickup truck ran over him and fled as he was crossing 12th Street and Adams in his motorized wheelchair Wednesday night. Salas is known around Oak Cliff as an advocate for the disabled as well as for his involvement in the Tejano music scene.

DISD Admin Suggests Overhaul of Bond Program. During a Thursday board briefing, Scott Layne, DISD’s new chief operations officer, offered a new perspective of the $1.6 billion bond program. Layne’s most notable recommendation, which the board of trustees will vote on Jan. 26, includes a transition away from the three project management firms overseeing DISD’s 2015 bond projects, forcing the construction services department to handle the work internally. The response to his proposal was split.

Cooler, Rainy Weather Ahead. Don’t expect fickle snow flurries like last Friday, but keep an umbrella on hand throughout the weekend. Most of the rain should come after 7 p.m. Sunday.

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How Much Stock Should I Put Into the New Texas School Grading System?

| 4 days ago

After my husband and I bought our East Dallas starter home five years ago, we turned our second bedroom into what we called “the stoner’s lounge,” complete with a lava lamp and guitar collection (note: a stiff Manhattan was the hardest thing ever consumed in this lounge because certain substances make my husband’s “legs hurt”). Needless to say, we had no idea that we would soon be trading out the low-slung love seat for a Jenny Lind crib. Our neighborhood’s schools did not play into our purchase in the slightest.

So, as I’ve been watching the debate over the new Texas Education Agency’s A-to-F campus grading system play out, I realized that I still have no idea what my son will be stepping into in when he starts kindergarten in a year-and-a-half. In fact, I don’t even know what I should be asking. How do I determine if a school is good for my kid, and how helpful are these grades for house hunters and parents?

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Sports & Leisure

The Playmaker at 50

| 5 days ago
via NFL Network
via NFL Network

Bryan Curtis has a profile of former Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin up on The Ringer today. Like Curtis’ piece on Dale Hansen for Grantland a couple of years ago, it is thoroughly reported and well written, and you should read the whole thing. Mostly it exists because the Cowboys are successful (again) and popular (still) and Irvin is the “team’s ambassador to the world,” as Curtis puts it. Here is a bite to whet your appetite.


Irvin said: “People tell me, ‘Michael, why don’t they retire your jersey?’ Why would I want my jersey retired? When they retire it, the only time they talk about it is when I leave time and go to eternity and they take the camera off the field and say, ‘Hey, we lost Michael Irvin today. Back to the game.’

“Why should I wait for my death for my flowers? With Dez Bryant wearing [88], every Sunday when he makes a play, they say, ‘Boy, that reminds you of Michael Irvin!’ If he a drops a ball, they say, ‘Michael Irvin wouldn’t have dropped that!’”

Irvin smiled again. “I get to enjoy my flowers every Sunday,” he said, “while I’m alive.” Then he shook my hand.

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