Lame duck Dallas Observer editor Joe Tone stopped by the Old Monk yesterday afternoon to discuss his book deal and what the future holds for the alt-weekly newspaper he’s abandoning. Plus, he and Tim play an excruciating new game, and Eric Celeste makes a cameo appearance.
What else you need to know this week:Full Story
This started a few weeks ago. I’m just now catching on. But the Fort Worth Weekly has a newish bar column titled A Girl Walks Into a Bar. Faithful D Magazine readers will recall that we published a column with the same title, from 2010 to 2013. It was written by Moira Muldoon, my cousin. Prior to that, Moira wrote a bar column for the Austin American-Statesman using that title. When she moved to Dallas, she asked her AAS editor if she could bring the title with her. Moira is now back in Austin and working on a book with that title. (When she left, we renamed our bar column Keeping Tabs, which is ably written by Tara Nieuwesteeg.)
All of which is to say: come on, FWeekly. You’re better than that.Full Story
My guess is that Stephen Buckley will get the gig. Check out his bona fides. Duke, Washington Post reporter, Tampa Bay Times world editor, managing editor, publisher of its website. Now at Poynter. DMN editor Mike Wilson told the staff that Buckley will be the first one interviewed to replace George Rodrigue; he’s coming in next week. Wilson knows Buckley because he worked for him in Tampa. Wilson told the newsroom staff at the DMN that about a dozen people have applied for the job and that all the applicants are on equal footing. But with zero precincts reporting, FrontBurner is calling the election now. Welcome to Dallas, Stephen Buckley.Full Story
On February 20, Rubén García Villalpando was shot and killed on the side of Highway 121 by a Grapevine police officer named Robert Clark. For months, activists and family members of the dead man have asked that the dash cam video from that night be released to the public.
Now that a grand jury has declined to indict Clark, the video has been released. Sort of.
Grapevine police put together this video, with footage from the dash cam mixed with the Grapevine police chief explaining what happened, from the perspective of law enforcement. It appears that Villalpando drove away from the officer despite sirens and lights, including weaving through cars on the highway. Then once he did pull over, he disobeys the officer’s orders to stay in the car. He tells the officer, in English, to kill him. Then approaches the officer despite at least 20 orders to move back and stay by the car.
The actual shooting takes place just out of frame. It seems like non-lethal force could have been an option, and other officers have made news by not killing people in similar circumstances. But by most standards, this looks justified. When Villalpando started moving toward Clark, the officer was probably too far away to use a Taser and already had his gun drawn. When Villalpando got close enough, Clark fired twice.Full Story
On this week’s episode of EarBurner, Dr. Seema Yasmin — public health professor at the University of Texas at Dallas and reporter for the Dallas Morning News — discusses her recent article on vaginal rejuvenation, the public shaming of the two “normal, white women” at the Kessler Theater, and how a native Londoner ended up living in Rockwall.
After the show, Yasmin sampled the Old Monk‘s fish & chips for the first time. She pronounced them “pretty good,” which is pretty much a ringing endorsement from a proper Englishwoman.
What else you should know to better enjoy the show:Full Story
I’ve got two tickets to today’s game. Section 15, Row 18. These are $49 seats. They come with a parking pass. They are yours on two conditions. 1) You can pick them up at our office (750 N. St. Paul Street, downtown). And 2) you are the first to explain succinctly in the comments why this story about DA Susan Hawk is dumb.Full Story
Lords and ladies, wildlings and free folk, knights and squires, bannermen and serving wenches alike, it has become necessary that I break from responding to your incessant onslaught of interrogatories to address a matter of the utmost cultural significance.
It cannot be allowed to pass without my own assiduous commentary, for it exemplifies the fraying stitch-work that binds disparate elements of this, the greatest city God and I have ever given the history of the world. I am speaking, of course, of the remarkable videographic evidence presented to the audience of this very D Magazine web log not two full days ago.Full Story
Last Thursday, Lee Ann Womack performed at The Kessler Theater. At some point during Womack’s set, two women were asked to leave the building. Apparently the women were talking loudly during the show and people sitting around them complained to management. Jeffrey Liles, the artistic director and talent buyer for the venue, followed the two women outside. The conversation grew heated and Liles took out his phone and started recording the scene. He posted it on his Facebook page. It’s not pretty.Full Story
The EarBurner audience has spoken: They just can’t get enough of city politics. That’s why we invited City Councilman Philip Kingston back on the show ahead of tomorrow’s municipal election. It’s pretty clear by the end of the episode that he’s angling to push Zac out to claim the co-hosting gig for himself.
A few notes to help you better comprehend the recorded nonsense:Full Story
White House Investigating Possible ISIS Link in Garland Shooting. As Jason told you yesterday, ISIS is claiming credit for the attack this weekend in Garland. A White House spokesman said it was too early to say if the Islamic State was involved. Sen. Ted Cruz, ever the Obama fan, says federal officials should have intercepted the gunmen before they reached the anti-Muslim event in Garland. Meanwhile, the mother of one of the gunmen says she’s glad her son didn’t kill anyone. And a reporter remembers living next door to the same gunman.
Grand Jury Will Review Grapevine Police Shooting. In February Ruben Garcia Villalpando was shot and killed by a Grapevine police officer along the side of the road. The district attorney hasn’t released video of the shooting, saying it might compromise a criminal investigation. But the Lewisville police have released video from an arrest in December 2014, when Garcia Villalpando’s blood alcohol level was .30, nearly four times the legal limit to drive. Though clearly inebriated, he is also calm and cooperative. The CBS I-Team also looked into the background of Robert Clark, the officer who shot Garcia Villalpando. Clark was an officer at DFW for less than a year when he quit, and wasn’t hired at least one other force because of “deception and lack of moral turpitude.”
UNT Basketball Player Found Dead in Dorm. Eboniey Jeter was a 6’0 redshirt sophomore forward. She was discovered in her Mozart Hall dorm room yesterday morning. Her cause of death is still pending.
Carbon Monoxide Leak in South Oak Cliff. Several ambulances were deployed. At least five people were transported to the hospital, though officials believe the conditions are not life-threatening. The main suspect: a boiler room leak.
Domestic Abusers Must Turn Over Guns. Officials began confiscating firearms from convicted batterers yesterday in what is being called the most comprehensive program of its kind in the state — and possibly the country. So far, there doesn’t seem to be any opposition.Full Story
On Thursday, Matt Alexander, whom D CEO called one of the “New Faces of Dallas Tech” in its January-February issue, stopped by the Old Monk to talk about his online fashion ventures and to berate American youth for their lack of proper knowledge of English soccer. Alexander is an SMU grad who grew up in London, but he’s also an American citizen, so Zac decided to put that citizenship to the test. Listen to find out how.
First, a few notes on the episode:Full Story
Southwest Cancels Flights to Baltimore. As of this writing, things seem calm in Charm City. But the airline canceled at least 10 flights before last night’s curfew even went into effect, amid fears of rioting.
Independent Investigator Clears Richardson Mayor. Last month, there were calls for Laura Maczka’s resignation over accusations that a relationship with a developer affected her vote on zoning. Last night, a parade of citizens remarked on the relationship at the city council meeting. An investigator cleared Maczka on the ethics violations, but said she may have violated the Texas Freedom of Information Act when she didn’t turn over emails between her and the developer in question.
Video of Assistant DA’s DWI Arrest. The footage of Justin Moore, who was at the time a 27-year-old prosecutor with the Dallas DA’s office, serves as a lesson of what not to do on the off chance you’re ever pulled over after drinking. A quick list: 1) You shouldn’t try to speed away at over 100 mph. 2) You shouldn’t threaten to have the officers fired. 3) You shouldn’t ask the officers if they’re in the Ku Klux Klan. 4) You definitely shouldn’t call anyone an “Uncle Tom.” 5) You shouldn’t suggest that you hope you get fired. Because Justin Moore was.
Mavs Wish Rockets Well in Future Endeavors. The Houston Rockets beat the Mavericks last night, 103-94, clinching the series. Before the game was over, the Rockets team Twitter account posted a gun emoji next to a horse emoji and the words: “Shhhhh. Just close your eyes. It will all be over soon.” The Mavs responded gracefully, and the Rockets eventually apologized.
Dallas Cowboys Reveal Plans for Tomorrow Night’s Draft. There aren’t really any revelations here, but that’s how this story is billed. On a personal note, I’ve declared myself eligible for both the NFL and NBA drafts every year since I graduated high school. I feel like, despite my perceived lack of athletic prowess and my controversial statements about giraffes, I could really help the right organization. So far though, we haven’t found a GM gutsy enough to pull the trigger. Here’s hoping tomorrow night is the lucky night.Full Story
The future Rev. Peter Johnson was bloody. He had tear gas in his eyes. And he was fed up. He had made a decision: the police chief of his hometown didn’t need to see the next morning. “I was going to send him on wherever he was going,” Johnson says. “I was on my way to kill the chief.”
The then 17-year-old was stopped by two mentors, who wrestled the gun out of his hands. One of the men who took the gun turned to Johnson and said, “Think about this, Peter, you have to buy your bullets from the white man you want to shoot back at. That ain’t gonna work.”
Johnson realized violence wasn’t the way. This was in the early ’60s. Johnson took his lesson from that evening and applied it to his work fighting alongside Martin Luther King Jr. for the next few years, practicing peace while spreading the civil rights movement.
After MLK’s assassination, a group produced movie about his life. It was to premiere in 800 cities around the world. It was Johnson’s task to ensure that Dallas was one of those cities. “Seven hundred and ninety-nine cities around the world welcomed the movie on Martin King’s life. There was only one city in the world that rejected the movie on Dr. King’s life,” he told a group at Gilley’s Dallas last week. “You live in that city. Only city in the world.”Full Story
If you’ll recall, a few months ago, the Dallas Cowboys signed defensive end Greg Hardy. Hardy played in only one game last season with the Carolina Panthers, after he was arrested and charged with assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend. Hardy initially was found guilty, and a judge found that Hardy threw the woman down on a couch full of assault rifles and then faked a 911 call to frame her. (The case was eventually dismissed when the witness did not want to testify again, and Hardy received his full $13 million salary last year.)
A quick refresher, from the restraining order filed by Hardy’s ex-girlfriend:
“On May 13, 2014, Greg Hardy attacked me in his apartment. Hardy picked me up and threw me into the tile tub area in his bathroom. I have bruises from head to toe, including my head, neck, back, shoulders arms, legs, elbow and feet. Hardy pulled me from the tub by my hair, screaming at me that he was going to kill me, break my arms and other threats that I completely believe. He drug me across the bathroom and out into the bedroom. Hardy choked me with both hands around my throat while I was lying on the floor. Hardy picked me up over his head and threw me onto a couch covered in assault rifles and/or shotguns. I landed on those weapons. Hardy bragged that all of those assault rifles were loaded.”
The Cowboys were reportedly expecting a four-game suspension. Unlike in the Ray Rice case, this time the NFL apparently conducted an actual investigation that included viewing photos of Hardy’s bruised ex-girlfriend. Today the NFL announced Hardy’s suspension: 10 games, without pay.
ESPN’s Jane McManus says the NFL got it right. The league’s traditional defenders are calling this “the new NFL.” (So far there’s no mention of whether commissioner Roger Goodell will also have someone beat and choke Hardy, throw him onto a couch full of guns, or threaten to kill him.)
Hardy, who has never admitted any wrongdoing, is expected to appeal. And Cowboys fans are already wondering how this will affect the draft.Full Story
It’s been brought to my attention that a fair number of you, dear readers, are too lazy to type out an electronic missive and push a button to send it to me at [email protected]. Even though I have a well-established track record of solving your problems — bringing hope and joy and irresistible animal magnetism to the most troubled of souls — some refuse to seek my help.
Go where the people are, the editors of this web blog have repeatedly enjoined. And so I finally had no choice but to accede to their wishes. Yesterday, shortly after 3 p.m., I took command of the @DMagazine Twitter handle to offer up insights in bite-size portions. Since it is exceedingly difficult to limit my wisdom to 140-character chunks, I’m offering bonus contest below, in this sampling of what transpired:Full Story
With the biker shootings in Waco, Skip Hollandsworth’s 2007 Texas Monthly story about the Bandidos is getting its second wind. But that magazine actually published a meatier Bandidos story nearly 30 years earlier. It was written by a fellow named Dick Reavis. Dick was a longtime Texas writer before he took a job as a professor at NC State. He’s back in Dallas now, and he has a story in our June issue that you can look forward to. For his 1979 TexMo story about the Bandidos, Dick rode with the gang for a few weeks. That tale, having been told before the digital age, wasn’t online — until today. It’s titled “Never Love a Bandido.” Recommended reading.Full Story
Storms Bring Floods and Tornadoes. There were dozens of reported tornadoes across North Texas and Oklahoma last night. At least one building in Mineral Wells collapsed. And there was “significant damage” reported in Runaway Bay.
Five Dead Bikers Were From North Texas. The dead men range in age from 19 to 47. It will likely be weeks before we know who may have been killed in the original fight and who may have been killed by police. You can see all 171 mug shots of the men arrested here. Zac will be along later with a list of his favorite biker nicknames. (My choice: “Gimmi Jimmy.”)
Former Birdville ISD Student Sues District Over Christian Prayers. Isaiah Smith, 20, claims he suffered years of bullying in the North Richland Hills school district, including anti-gay slurs and having baseballs thrown at him. He says it’s related to the Christian invocations used to start every school board meeting.
That Controversial Black Rhino Hunt Is Over. You’ll recall a few years ago the Dallas Safari Club auctioned off the chance to kill an endangered black rhino. The winner, Corey Knowlton, bid $350,000. (Stephen Colbert mocked the whole thing pretty viciously.) Well, Knowlton eventually got his rhino. And CNN’s Ed Lavandera was along for the trip.Full Story
Too much change! It scares me! First they went and got rid of all Robert Wilonsky’s cute names for blogs (Unfair Park is now just “news,” City of Ate has become “restaurants”), and now the Observer has gone and lost its editor, Joe Tone. Here’s his announcement. He’s got a book project to focus on. So bully for him.
Now then. This gives us an opportunity to check in with Vegas for the odds on his replacement. Here’s what’s on the board:Full Story
Recent public discussions about removing elevated-highway barriers that sharply divide neighborhoods and the alternative futures envisioned for the Trinity River floodplain signal that Dallas is on the verge of an important transformation. Whether new ideas or the old guard come out on top in these fights remains to be seen, but it’s clear already just how much is at stake.
Those are a couple of the headline issues, the arguments that have sucked up so much of the oxygen in council debates and municipal elections. But in the ninth-largest city in the United States there are thousands upon thousands of smaller actions taken every day by officials and government staff that have significant effects on the people who live and work here.
D Magazine aims to bring greater attention to all these matters — both those the size of potholes and as big as signature bridges — by hiring a blogger/reporter keen to make a name for himself or herself with thoughtful, data-driven coverage of Dallas City Hall. It’s got to be someone who can spot the opportunities for inquiry in every council or committee agenda, who knows that public meetings usually aren’t where the decisions get made and can find and follow the paper trail to prove it. It’s got to be someone just as comfortable requesting and sorting through reams of data as he or she is talking with sources. We want to move past the political jargon, past the false balance of he said/she said reporting, to get to the facts.
In addition, we want a writer capable of tracking the daily coverage of other news sources throughout the week and offering commentary and aggregation of the best of what our readers need to know. This is an ideal gig for a smart recent graduate who is hungry to become part of the civic conversation. Interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter (including salary requirement) to [email protected].Full Story
He signed up right before 10 o’clock. For his profile pic, he chose the image you see here. I mean, yeah, he’s married to a very attractive lady. But is this a joint account? Candice has her own account. I don’t see him in her profile pic. So I’m throwing a flag and penalizing him 10 yards for that choice. So far he’s got 48,000 followers. His first tweet, below, is possibly the most boring tweet ever. Flagging that, too. But otherwise: Go, Cowboys!
Update: In the time it took me to write this post, he gained another 1,200 followers.Full Story
Head Shop Owners Arrested Over K2 Sales. Last summer DEA agents seized cash, cars, and synthetic marijuana from the Gas Pipe and its owners. Yesterday, those owners, Gerald “Jerry” Shults and his daughter, Amy Lynn Herrig, were arrested and charged with conspiring to sell the substance known as K2. Both Shults and Herrig are in federal custody and deny the allegations.
Van Mayor Criticized for Golfing. The city of Van was devastated by a tornado a few days ago. So people are pretty upset that mayor Dean Stone missed a scheduled press conference yesterday to play golf. Not a great look.
Some Places Have More Home Burglaries Than Others. The fine folks at our local CBS affiliate put together a map of the which zip codes in North Texas have the most home burglaries. Bad news for the people in East Fort Worth, Southeast Dallas, and East Plano.
District Attorney Will Hold Town Hall Meeting in Pleasant Grove. In anticipation of tonight’s forum, the Dallas Morning News put out a long-ish story rehashing the paper’s editorial complaints about Susan Hawk, which have more to do with her not answering the paper’s questions about her time in rehab than any specific policies or cases. There’s mention of what seems like a minor car accident and an unfiled financial report, and there are no fewer than 12 references (not counting the headline) to Hawk not answering questions or not commenting for the story. This is what it looks like when newspaper reporters don’t get the interview they were hoping for.
Oh Man I Miss Ron Washington. The former Texas Rangers manager, who resigned last Fall, has apparently been helping out with the University of New Orleans baseball team, in his hometown. Yesterday the 62-year-old Washington was spotted in the UNO dugout wearing a bright orange shirt that read MY BUCKET LIST: 1. Beer 2. Ice. In other news, the Rangers beat the Royals.Full Story
Remember when President Obama won in 2008 and the post-election analysis showed a significant emphasis on the social media connection by the Democratic campaign? Social media has never been stronger in its impact on the marketing of product and political candidates.
I started out thinking that I could do some analysis and projections of the upcoming Dallas City Council races based on each candidates’ social media presence. I don’t have the many commercially available tools available for social media analysis, such as HootSuite, nor do I have expensive and important polling tools. What I do have available is a bit of technical knowledge to scrape Facebook Likes, Twitter follows, and batch Google searches.
What I found is that the analysis is pretty much impossible. Why? Because the candidates and incumbents are, for the most part, completely disengaged from social media. These are the same folks who will guide millions of dollars into IT, who must read civil engineering documents, and who are completely clueless about such tools as Facebook and Twitter.
Swallow your morning coffee before you spit at your screen as I demonstrate the ineptness.Full Story
Here’s what we know: A group called the American Freedom Defense Initiative held a “Draw Muhammad” event yesterday in Garland. Organizers offered more than $10,000 for people to draw cartoons of Islam’s prophet and invited a Dutch politician known for his anti-Muslim views. Just before 7 p.m., two armed men showed up and shot at a security guard, wounding him in the ankle. Then Garland police killed both gunmen, who appear to be from Arizona.
Before the bodies were moved, reporters from outlets both foreign and domestic were on planes headed this way. Local comment sections and social media feeds were almost immediately filled with people either celebrating the deaths — posts on Facebook joked that the best art at the exhibit were the chalk outlines on the sidewalk — or decrying the event and its organizers as “irresponsible.”
At a press conference last night, some conservative media outlets pressed Garland police spokesman Joe Harn on why there was additional security at the event — measures that may have saved countless lives.
“Because of free speech,” someone suggested.
“I didn’t see anything about free speech in there,” Harn replied.
So what was it then?Full Story
The strangest thing about the latest round of buyouts at the Star-Telegram is that the offer was made to everyone in the newsroom more than a week ago (last Tuesday), and this post here is the first mention of it (that I can see). Once upon a time, such a thing would have been big news. Romenesko, at least, would have reported it. Now? The Star-Telegram isn’t what it used to be, and buyouts at large newsrooms aren’t as uncommon as they once were (reading through our archives of Star-T stories is a bit depressing).
Last week, I emailed the paper’s editor, Jim Witt, asking him to confirm that buyouts had been offered and, if so, what the terms were. Without giving me any information, he pointed me to someone in HR. That person has yet to respond. A current employee and a former employee confirmed the deal for me. Two weeks pay for every year of service, maxing out at 26 weeks. If not enough people take the offer, layouts, presumably, will follow.
Good luck to everyone affected. That includes readers in Fort Worth.Full Story
Early Dallas ISD STAAR Results Disappoint. District eighth-graders taking the state’s reading test performed worse than last year’s students, while the fifth-grade passing rate increased slightly.
3 DISD Trustees Really, Really Want to Fire Mike Miles. On Thursday, Joyce Foreman, Elizabeth Jones, and Bernadette Nutall tried, and failed, to replace board president Miguel Solis because they’re unhappy that Solis has put off scheduling a board meeting to discuss the performance of the district superintendent until after the May election.
What the Cluck, Arlington Council? The city, you’ll remember, helped foot the bill for JerryWorld and got its own suite in return. Over the past five years, at nearly every event, two-thirds of the tickets have been used by the mayor, council members, and their spouses — to the surprise of no one.
Molina High Teacher Arrested For Student Relationship. Mary Todd Lowrance, 49, had confided her indiscretion to a co-worker.
Million-Dollar Lake Palestine Home Collapsing. In the ongoing battle between man and nature, nature scores another win.
Ralph Strangis Quits Dallas Stars. The popular broadcaster has decided to move on to “new challenges” after a 25-year career with the team.Full Story
Poll Shows People Don’t Love the Toll Road. Of the people in the Dallas Morning News poll who have formed an opinion, only 23 percent favor putting a toll road between the levees. Among registered voters, 65 percent oppose the toll road. (Coincidentally, 65 percent of registered voters have been paying attention.) The graphics here have some pretty interesting breakdowns, too.
Mavs Lose Game Two. It was close for a while. Then it wasn’t. Then it was kind of terrible. “Playoff Rondo” wasn’t available, and regular Rondo spent a lot of the night on the bench. It’s going to be a long way back from here. Game three is Friday in Dallas.
Cowboys Schedule Released. The order of teams doesn’t tell us much, because, with the season still several months away, nobody knows who will be where yet. That week six bye is not an advantage, though. Stats show: the earlier the bye week, the better. Zac will be along at some point with a precise prediction of exactly how the season will play out.
Does Anyone Want a Donkey? The Humane Society of North Texas saved 32 donkeys from slaughter. Several were emaciated, all of them were suffering from respiratory and hoof problems, and 17 are pregnant. HSNT will house the donkeys until they are ready for adoption.
Stay Inside All Day. There will be a lot of bad weather later today, according to people who tend to know such things. If you believe in the dark arts of meteorology, prepare for severe storms for the rest of the week.Full Story