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For Which It Stands

| 5 hours ago
Berlin artist Terry Haggerty's painting at AT&T Stadium, Two Minds, uses optical illusion to imply unbroken stripes on what could be a waving flag. We see what we want to see. When the reality of art, and patriotism, can be expressed in endless ways.
Artist Terry Haggerty’s painting at AT&T Stadium, Two Minds, uses optical illusion to imply unbroken stripes on what could be a waving flag. We see what we want to see, because art—and love of country—can be viewed and expressed in a multitude of ways.

On Thursday, Governor Greg Abbott, a lawyer and former judge, told FOX News that if the NFL didn’t stay out of Texas’ intentionally clogged bathroom business and quit threatening to take the Super Bowl away, he would force NFL players to stand for the National Anthem. His spokesperson later stated that Abbott didn’t really mean what he was saying, that it was simply “hyperbole.” Because clearly, as a lawyer and former judge, he had to know that such forced patriotic expressions were deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court more than half a century ago, in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Burnette. For those who aren’t so enlightened, it’s a historic case worth reading.

On January 9, 1942, the Board of Education in Minersville, West Virginia, adopted a resolution ordering that all teachers and students salute the flag with a “stiff-arm” salute while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Refusal to salute was to be treated as an act of insubordination subject to criminal prosecution, a $50 fine, and jail time of up to 30 days.

Note the date. Little more than a month after the attack on Pearl Harbor. When could a hyper sense of patriotism be more appropriate, more understandable? When, too, could concerns about the salute “being too much like Hitler’s” have had more immediate relevance?

Supreme Court Justice Robert Houghwout Jackson—the only person in history to serve as United States Solicitor General, United States Attorney General, and as a United States Supreme Court Justice, as well as chief U.S. prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials—issued the opinion, which eloquently determined that the school board’s attempts to compel the flag salute and pledge violated the First Amendment. Both timely and timeless, it’s worth a read in its entirety. Or catch the highlights below.

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Police

Dallas Police and Fire Pension Board Approves Plan Fix – And It’s Not the City’s Fix

| 6 hours ago

The Dallas Police and Fire pension board have approved a plan that will fully pay back the troubled fund within 40 to 53 years. It will cost the city $22 million per year, and, unlike the plan put forth by the City of Dallas, it will not take interest from retirees’ Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) accounts or cut benefits and raise contributions.

Left alone, the underfunded pension plan is currently on course to run out of money in 10 years thanks to a history of careless investments huge losses on real estate deals. The plan approved by the board today was put forward by state legislator Dan Flynn, who is chairman of the Texas House of Representatives Pensions Committee. The city and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings were pushing another plan which would have paid back the fund in 30 years, but drew criticism from retirees because it wanted to dip into their DROP accounts and tighten the belt on benefits. Police and firefighters are reportedly happy with the vote for Flynn’s plan: 

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Television

Vote For The Ultimate Dallas Reality TV Star

| 9 hours ago

Perhaps our reputation precedes us, but reality television and its producers are obsessed with Dallas. Big personalities make for a great story line, and since reality TV’s explosion in popularity throughout the late ’90s and early 2000s, our city has generated more small-screen “stars” than Simon Cowell eye rolls.

Through March 6, vote here as often as you’d like on a series of head-to-head matchups among memorable reality stars from throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Your decisions determine the ranking, which will update live as more and more votes are cast.

Each time, you’ll be asked who should win the round. Treat it like a first impression rose: choose wisely with instinct.

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Local News

Leading Off (2/20/17)

| 14 hours ago

Norma McCorvey, RIP. McCorvey was “Jane Roe” in the landmark Roe vs. Wade case. She was 69.

Almost 2,000 March in Downtown Dallas in Support of Refugees and Immigrants. The Saturday morning march left from City Hall and ended with a rally at JFK Memorial Plaza. “Dallas has shown time and time again that we are ready to rise to the occasion, we’re ready to be that model city, we’re ready to be a welcoming city,” said Imam Omar Suleiman.

Transgender Teen Wins Regional Wrestling Title. Despite attempts to ban him from competing, Mack Beggs, a 17-year-old from Euless Trinity, won the girls 110-pound championship at the Class 6A Region II wrestling meet in Allen on Saturday. Madeline Rocha from Coppell forfeited, 11 days after a lawsuit was filed urging the UIL to ban Beggs because of his use of a steroid as he transitions from female to male.

Quick Catch-Up Before the John Wiley Price Trial. It gets going Tuesday. Here is what you need to know.

Mark Cuban Plays In All-Star Celebrity Game. He wore No. 46. I have no idea how many points he scored. Based on the photo I saw, he needs to stop keeping his left hand on the ball so long on his jumper.

SMU Gets Another Big Win. The Ponies came back from down by double digits in front of sellout crowd at Houston’s Hofheinz Pavilion. Semi Ojeleye had 18 in the second half. Am I about to bandwagon this team? You better believe it. (I did attend John Shumate’s basketball camp when I was in middle school, and you know I love Kato Armstrong, so it’s not out of nowhere.)

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Friday Fun

Kids Rule. Haters Drool.

| 3 days ago

Because this week has proven that the world is, by and large, getting dumber, I have decided to turn to the next generation of leaders for inspiration. And I have not been disappointed. Here’s a round-up of some local kids doing some amazing things this month.

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Bishop Curry V has an awesome name. Via GoFundMe

Bishop Curry V is a fifth grader at Melissa Ridge Intermediate whose name implies greatness. And this kid is great. After a baby died in a hot minivan last summer near his home just north of McKinney, Bishop decided to invent a device that could be attached to car seats to alert parents and authorities when a child has been left in a vehicle, and to blow cold air to cool the child down until he or she can be rescued. He named it “Oasis.” His dad, Bishop Curry IV, who happens to be an engineer with Toyota in Plano, set up a GoFundMe page to raise $20,000 to finalize the provisional patent, build a prototype, and find a manufacturer. As of today, the account is currently at more than $22,000.

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Local News

Leading Off (2/17/17)

| 4 days ago

North Texas Experiences “A Day Without Immigrants.” Several Latino-owned businesses in Dallas closed and hundreds of DISD students staged peaceful walkouts as part of “A Day Without Immigrants” demonstrations on Thursday. These exhibitions were part of a nationwide effort to accentuate immigrants’ role in daily U.S. life. Many Dallas-area schools experienced lower enrollment Thursday. More than 200 students walked out of Dallas’ Moisés E. Molina High School, which has a 96 percent Latino population.

Controversial Irving Mayor Won’t Seek a Third Term. Beth Van Duyne’s announcement came Thursday, a day before the filing deadline for May elections. She did not disclose her future plans; however, her trip to Trump Tower in the days following the presidential election has led to speculation that she could join Trump’s administration. Since taking office in 2011, Van Duyne has brought national attention to Irving and gained a reputation for her vocal opposition to sanctuary cities and position against Sharia law.

Mexican Consulate Hosts Immigration Meeting. The town hall-style meeting Thursday night brought together hundreds seeking guidance and comfort from elected officials. Worries have increased with President Donald Trump’s orders on immigration and the construction of a border wall. However, the predominant concern was how Trump’s actions could impact children—immigrants themselves as well as those born in the U.S. to immigrant parents.

Car Fire in Uptown Garage Leaves One Dead. Firefighters discovered a body inside of a car engulfed in flames Thursday afternoon in the 3600 block of McKinney Avenue near West Village. The car was parked on the top floor of a parking garage, witnesses said. The person’s identity has not been released, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Ken Paxton Will Be Tried Twice. The state attorney general was back in court Thursday where he discovered prosecutors plan to try him in back-to-back trials on his separate charges. Paxton faces two first-degree securities fraud charges and one third-degree felony charge for failing to register as an investment advisor.

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Sports & Leisure

FC Dallas Owner Dan Hunt Explains the Team’s New Symbolic Kit

| 4 days ago

FCD Badge

FC Dallas officially kicks off the 2017 MLS season on March 4 in LA against the Galaxy. Prior to that, the club will play both legs of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, hosting Panama’s Arabe Unido next Thursday at Toyota Stadium before hitting the road. Prior to that, FCD hosts its annual Cocktails and Cleats event on Friday at F.I.G., where it will introduce its new secondary kit. The team has been teasing the reveal online over the last few days, and owner Dan Hunt called to take us through the various elements of jersey’s symbol-heavy design.

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Politics & Government

City Council Report: T.C. Broadnax Is in the House!

| 4 days ago

dallas_city_hall

Tuesday’s announcement that Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins were proposing a city-county partnership to oversee and coordinate the array of organizations that currently deal with the Dallas homeless situation yielded a measurable degree of confusion and outrage at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. Dozens of citizens with an interest in the issue showed up either to speak at the morning open mic session or to applaud vague criticisms of the mayor, the city, and society at large. Still, several of the three-minute citizen speeches were really rather cogent, citing specific and evidence-based points on various aspects of the proposed reorganization that in several cases helped to inform the ensuing council discussion, which turned out to be impressively productive — with the exception of a strange and suspicious interjection from pretend-lawyer Councilwoman Tiffinni Young, which was gently shot down by newish City Manager T.C. Broadnax in some of his first extended remarks at a council meeting since taking his position late last month.

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Politics & Government

Retired Firefighters Respond to Laura Miller’s Take on the Pension Director

| 4 days ago
Kirk, Leppert, Miller: the faces of Taxpayers for a Fair Pension
Kirk, Leppert, Miller: the faces of Taxpayers for a Fair Pension

Last Friday, I put up a post taking former mayor Laura Miller to task. The way I see it, her current public advocacy for a pension fix stands in sharp relief to her lack of action on the matter when she was mayor. For four years, she failed to appoint two of the four pension board members that she could have. I also find it interesting that her lawyer husband is now billing hours to the city of Dallas as he works on a lawsuit filed against the pension board. Read the post for more detail, if you’re not yet up to speed.

Well, today I got a press release from the Dallas Retired Fire Fighters Association in which they respond to something that Miller told me in that first post. She said, “Obviously, if we had known back then that the police and fire pension fund administrator was making poor investment decisions and hiding the results from everyone, we would have done something about it.” She was talking about Richard Tettamant. I’ve written a lot about Tettamant in this space, and Eric Celeste wrote about him in the January issue of D Magazine. Let’s just say that we, as an organization, are not fans of what Tettamant did with the roughly $100 million that the city gave him every year to invest, and we are eager to see if anything comes of the FBI’s visit to the pension offices.

In that sense, I agree with Miller. I’ve asked her for comment on this press release. I’ll update this post if I hear from her. But let me point out one thing. She referred to “hiding results from everyone.” I take that to mean Tettamant and his lieutenants didn’t accurately portray the value of the riskier investments that the pension was making (mainly real estate). But the Retired Fire Fighters Association, in its press release, refers to “this claim of hiding any pension board activities.” That’s not the same thing. Decide for yourself. Here’s the release:

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