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The Founder of the Alt-Right Is From Dallas

| 39 mins ago
Richard Spencer

The “white nationalist” responsible for coining the phrase “alt-right” is, unfortunately, from Dallas. Mother Jones has a profile of him today:

Growing up in a wealthy part of Dallas in the 1990s, Richard Bertrand Spencer attended St. Mark’s School of Texas, an elite, all-boys prep school long associated with blue-blooded conservatism. (I was also a student there around the same time.) George W. Bush lived in the same neighborhood and sent his daughters to St. Mark’s sister school, Hockaday. Spencer’s father, an ophthalmologist, did not care much about politics but voted Republican out of habit. Spencer played varsity football and baseball and hung out with the popular crowd.

Every Thursday after school, Spencer, his mom, and his sister would order pizza from Domino’s and watch Family Ties and The Cosby Show. Spencer was friends with the only African American student in his class, John Lewis, and once invited him for a sleepover. Lewis says he never thought of Spencer as racist, but another classmate who asked not to be identified recalls Spencer making “a bunch of conservative, racially laced comments” that were objectionable even in high school. Spencer says he has no memory of this and attributes the recollection to “backward projection,” noting that he did not think much about race back then.

After graduating high school in 1997, Spencer went to the University of Virginia, where he double-majored in music and English and became deeply involved in avant-garde theater, trying out and discarding various radical ideologies like costume changes. The writings of Friedrich Nietzsche made a lasting impression; Spencer found his critiques of equality and democracy darkly compelling. He identified with the German philosopher’s unapologetically elitist embrace of “great men” such as Napoleon Bonaparte and the composer Richard Wagner. Yet Spencer found little in Nietzsche about the organization of the state; it was only after entering the humanities master’s program at the University of Chicago that he discovered Jared Taylor, a self-proclaimed “race realist” who argues that blacks and Hispanics are a genetic drag on Western society.

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Walkable Urbanism

Jonathan Rose on Think with Krys Boyd

| 3 hours ago

I’ve been following Jonathan Rose for a long time.  He’s a developer from New York, but has development just about everywhere.  I started following his work in the early oughts when he seemed to be the only person operating at a large-scale while working within a triple bottom line strategy.  His buildings and neighborhoods should be profitable not only financially, but also socially and environmentally.  That, of course, struck a chord.  If he could do it, couldn’t more?

So I was happy to hear that Mr. Rose is keynoting the Urban Land Institute’s fall meeting held this week in Dallas.  He was also on local treasure Krys Boyd’s THINK program on Tuesday.  You should give a listen, perhaps on your drive home whilst stuck in traffic, and imagine a world where you aren’t held captive by this soulless glass and steel cage enveloping you (and the transportation investments we’ve made and continue to make entrenching that Stockholm Syndrome).

Here is the link to the show and here is a link to his new book, which I snapped up on kindle this morning (so I cannot yet vouch for its content).

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Leading Off

Leading Off (10/27/16)

| 6 hours ago

West Dallas Residents Fill City Hall. Dozens of West Dallas tenants came to City Hall yesterday to ask the council to help them stay in their homes. This is in light of the ongoing saga with Khraish Khraish of HMK Ltd. trying to leave the rental property business and questions about Mayor Rawlings’ intentions for the land. The city is trying to stop the mass eviction of these tenants who labeled the landlords as slumlords.

Armed Robbery Suspect Shot near Fair Park. Yesterday afternoon, police were looking for a man in South Dallas who already had an aggravated robbery warrant. When they approached the suspect, he took off on foot but then ran back toward officers and pulled out a gun. An officer fired his gun and hit the suspect in the leg. The suspect was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

DFW Airport Gets Grant for Upgrades. $40 million, to be exact. The FAA gave the grant to the airport so that it can make upgrades to its infrastructure, including improving one of its major runways and a taxiway. While they’re at it, Terminal C could use a major facelift.

You Can Have a Little Free Library without Regulation. The Dallas City Council ruled against regulating Little Free Libraries after Councilman Griggs proposed that they be allowed by right and treated as ornaments. Read away, people.

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Fair Park

Is the State Fair of Texas Killing Fair Park?

| 21 hours ago

Don Williams, the former Trammell Crow executive and current chairman of the Foundation for Community Empowerment, has been fighting the private takeover of Fair Park all year. His outspoken opposition to the so-called Humann Plan, named after former-Hunt Oil CEO Walt Humann, who headed up the privatization effort, played a role in the process that eventually led to a city attorney decision to put Fair Park’s privatized future out to a bid. Now that the takeover has been delayed, Williams has leveled his verbal shotgun at the big dog at the center of the whole debate: The State Fair of Texas.

Throughout much of the conversation over the attempt to turn Fair Park over to a private entity, the State Fair, which just wrapped up over the weekend, ostensibly kept to the role of quiet, backseat passenger. Humann told the Dallas City Council that the State Fair was generally in favor of the terms of his deal. Mayor Mike Rawlings reminded the council that the city was locked into the terms of their 2003 contract with the State Fair and so any new plans for Fair Park would have to operate in and around that agreement.

Well, Williams has different ideas. In a 13-page open letter to State Fair Chairman Richard Knight, he lays out a scathing rebuke of the State Fair, its operations, its impact on the surrounding neighborhoods, and potential mismanagement, corruption, and violation of its non-profit status. 

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The Unaffordable Care Act

| 23 hours ago

Are people really surprised that benchmark health plans under the Affordable Care Act exchanges will increase by an average of 25 percent next year? If so, they probably also didn’t get the joke when Captain Renault in Casablanca said he was “shocked, shocked” that gambling was occurring at Rick’s Café … just before he was handed a fistful of his winnings.

From the get-go, economists like those at Dallas’ National Center for Policy Analysis, warned that, despite assurances by the Obama Administration to the contrary, Obamacare was bound to increase healthcare costs, not curb them. Shortly after the law was passed in 2009 and 2010 — without a single Republican vote — the NCPA’s then-CEO, John Goodman, predicted that ACA costs would explode. Three years later, the think tank’s Peter Ferrara confirmed Goodman’s analysis, citing the obvious result of new taxes, less supply, and more demand.

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Doesn’t Anyone at DART Realize How Terrible Riding DART Actually Is?

| 1 day ago

Yesterday afternoon, I drove up Cockrell Hill Road near Davis Street and saw about a dozen or so people sitting in the grass by the side of the road. There was no clear reason for them to be there. There were no benches or chairs, no source of shade. There wasn’t a pocket park or any other sort of urban amenity that might draw people to this random spot of grass bordered by a parking lot and a six-lane divided boulevard. They also weren’t vagrants or homeless, though at a glance you might wonder. The only indication of why so many people would have taken up residence on this perfectly manicured strip of lawn was a small rectangular yellow sign with the number 549 printed on its face. It took me a second to spot it. The bus stop sign was attached to a steel pole that had sunk so deeply into the relatively newly laid sod so that the sign stood barely four feet off the ground.

I sat in my air-conditioned car waiting for the red light to turn and watched the scene. I felt like a prince of capitalism, mounted in my oil-guzzling, carbon-emitting, foreign-made, bank-financed chariot of privilege which had managed to speed me from my office downtown to my afternoon appointment near this location out here on the fringes of Oak Cliff in a few minutes. Meanwhile, there was no telling how long these people — men and women, some who looked as young as 20 and others who were looked to be in their 50s or older, mostly black or Hispanic — had been waiting, or, more importantly, how much more time they would spend waiting at intersections like this one before they got to their destinations.

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Sports & Leisure

One Question About the Byron Nelson Moving to the Trinity Forest Golf Club

| 1 day ago


It’s official. Today it was announced that the AT&T Byron Nelson will move in 2018 from the Four Seasons to the new Trinity Forest Golf Club, which formally opens this weekend. Nearly every year, I get to play in a Nelson media tournament with a bunch of guys in red pants. I’m seriously looking forward to 2018. Meantime, though, I have just one little question: when it comes time for the tournament, where is everyone going to park? Here’s an earlier satellite view of the course under construction, so that you might understand why I’d ask this question.

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