A Daily Conversation
About Dallas


Robert Jeffress on the (Apparent) Khashoggi Murder

| 13 hours ago

First Baptist, one of D Magazine’s downtown Dallas neighbors, just released a statement from pastor Robert Jeffress about the (apparent) murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose corpse may have been cut up with bone saws. Here you go:

Dr. Robert Jeffress, the pastor of the 13,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, issues the following statement in response to reports of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi:

“Christians cannot proclaim the sanctity of life without strongly condemning the apparent torture and murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Bible and bone saws don’t mix.”

It’s a catchy, alliterative statement. But is it true? Can the Bible and bone saws mix? This reporter would suggest they can.

Let’s say someone has contracted a flesh-eating bacteria through an open wound in one’s foot. What if the only way to save this patient is to amputate the leg? Presumably there is a laser that could be used to do the job. Alternately, an axe could be used. A skilled physician might also be able to save the patient by removing the leg with a chainsaw that had, of course, been first sterilized. Similarly, the patient’s leg could be fed into a wood chipper, until the diseased portion had been shredded, thereby saving the patient’s life. But this reporter, admittedly without any medical training, would surmise that such a procedure would be gross.

Which brings us back to the Bible and what sort of surgical instruments it may or may not properly mix with. And, yeah, a bone saw might work, in the right circumstances.

As for Jeffress and his press release, it’s a catchy bit of nonsense that has the pastor, once again, doing whatever he can to shine a national spotlight on himself. And that, dear friends, feels like a move that doesn’t mix with the Bible. Or at least not with Jesus. (Apologies if that sounds a bit judgy.)

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A Report on Racial Inequality Reveals the Relationship Between School Segregation and Achievement

| 13 hours ago

When I sat down with Dallas ISD Trustee Miguel Solis last week to ostensibly talk about school buses, much more of the time was spent on the district’s broader goal to racially integrate. He called it “one of Dallas’ biggest challenges.” No surprises there: Long one of the most segregated urban districts in the country, DISD has been attempting to reckon with its history and produce a more successfully segregated future. Of course, that’s true for the city of Dallas, too, and these are not unrelated efforts.

As a whole, DISD, as others in this space have laid out, has made strides in the right direction. The district has seen the payoff of progressive programs like Accelerating Campus Excellence, or ACE, which evaluated the district’s best teachers and then incentivized them toward schools of need. Where the district had 43 IR—”improvement required”—campuses in 2013-14, it has just four on which the state bestows that unwanted distinction today.

But by way of adding a point to the discussion, I’d like to present a couple of maps, put out today in a new report by ProPublica, that illustrate the importance of the issue of school segregation.

ProPublica visualized state education data on school districts across the country. Caveat needed: They got the most recent numbers available, which only means that this stuff is still at least a couple years behind real-time (a lot of the data is pulled from 2015-16 school year, as discussed here). Zoom in, zoom out, explore by district or by individual school—there’s lots of interesting stuff to take in (although, beware that all that grey space just means the data was unavailable or inconclusive in those areas, particularly misleading when you take a wide-angle view of the country).

The maps I’ve singled out and screenshotted below show us the close entanglement between segregation and achievement.

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AT&T Internet Customers Are Having a Much Better Tuesday

| 17 hours ago

AT&T says it has restored internet and cable service for customers across Dallas-Fort Worth after a fire at a Richardson center knocked it out yesterday. The company was originally telling customers that the facility took a direct lightning strike, but has since backed off that statement. For now, the cause is unknown. But the result was a fire, and near-citywide loss of internet. What really matters here is that you can get back to reading Twitter and putting off those TPS reports and whatnot. Happy Tuesday!

Oh, and here’s the latest map from one last time. Looking much better, but still not exactly clear skies:

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Local News

Leading Off (10/16/18)

| 20 hours ago

The Internet Is Back! Those of us who access the information superhighway via AT&T got our service back around 10:30 last night. I myself was forced to eat dinner last night with family. We had a fire in the fireplace, and we talked about how our days had gone. IT SUCKED! #gimmescreentime

Prosper Fights Highway Plans. Speaking of highways, TxDOT wants to build one through part of Prosper. But the town must be reading some of what we’ve been publishing, because citizens don’t seem to want any part of the proposed U.S. 380. Prosperites, you tell ’em all about induced demand! Fight the good fight!

American Airlines’ Logo Is Lame. That’s what the U.S. Copyright Office thinks, anyway. It thinks AA’s logo is so weak that it has refused to grant the carrier a trademark for it. So AA is suing.

Gas Pipe Trial Comes to an End. A federal jury acquitted Jerry Schults and his daughter Amy Herrig of the most serious drug-trafficking charges against them for selling “spice” from their head shops. Schults and Herrig were, however, found guilty of one felony for misbranding the spice. They face up to five years in prison and will be sentenced later.

More Rain Today. Be careful out there, folks. Here are some roads that have been closed due to flooding.

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AT&T Internet Customers Are Not Having a Good Monday

| 2 days ago

Update (4:55 p.m.): Things continue to go poorly both for AT&T’s internet customers and the company’s PR team, which has sent an actually insane amount of responses to salty Twitter users this afternoon. Those tweets possess the same content as they did some four hours ago, which is to say very little. Still no ETA on when service will be restored. Below, the latest iteration of the service outage map. Doesn’t look too different from the one further down this post.

Original post: Many AT&T internet customers across Dallas-Fort Worth can’t get online today. So it’s not just you. The telecom and media giant has been fielding complaints from across the area about internet outages by telling customers that it had a facility get struck by lightning and catch on fire. CBS 11’s Mary Ann Martinez, via a release from the City of Richardson, reports that the fire occurred this morning just before 10 a.m.:

And here’s a big splotchy map that shows the extent of the outages across the area, courtesy of

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Dallas Rapper Yella Beezy Released From the Hospital After Being Shot Three Times

| 2 days ago

Lewisville police say Dallas rapper Yella Beezy has been released from the hospital after he was shot multiple times early Sunday morning on the Sam Rayburn Tollway.

Social media accounts first linked Beezy, whose “That’s On Me” single climbed hip-hop charts over the summer, to a shooting reported by the Dallas Morning News and others Sunday evening. Capt. Jesse Hunter, of the Lewisville Police Department, said Monday that the assailant fired between 15 and 20 times, hitting Beezy three times.

There has not been an arrest and police say they’ve yet to land on a motive. Hunter says no witnesses have come forward at this point in the investigation, and police have yet to talk to Beezy—which could, quite obviously, help to fill in some holes. More information could be coming thereafter.

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Local News

Leading Off (10/15/18)

| 2 days ago

Cowboys Beat Jaguars. I didn’t watch but I do know a certain architect who got pretty excited when it was something like 24-0 and I take it that was a surprising result. So good job. I mean, they are still going 8-8 but good job.

Oak Cliff Rapper Yella Beezy Shot In Lewisville. According to police, he was shot three times (out of a dozen shots) while driving on the Sam Rayburn Tollway at 3:30 am Sunday morning. The “That’s On Me” rapper was taken to a nearby hospital.

Scooter Driver Critically Injured After Driving Wrong Way. It happened in downtown early Sunday morning.

It’s Cold. Not cold cold, but cold.

FC Dallas Loses Late. But the road loss to D.C. United did not knock them out of first place and they’re already qualified for the playoffs, so OK.

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Politics & Government

How the Texas Democratic Party Is Trying to Lose the Midterm Elections

| 4 days ago

A politically active FrontBurnervian gave me these two mailers that he received on the same day, one from the state Democratic party and one from the Republican. From the Republicans we get: “NATHAN JOHNSON IS EVIL AND WILL LET CRIMINALS RAPE YOU. YOU SHOULD BE SCARED!!!!!!” From the Democrats we get a politely written letter from Molly Bernstein asking please, if you don’t mind, would you consider voting for Beto?

I mean, is it just me?

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New EarBurner: Dallas ISD Trustee Miguel Solis on TRE Vote, Beto Polling, Houston Rap

| 5 days ago

When I got to the Old Monk yesterday around 4:45 p.m., Tim began to cry after dad-rapping five bars about a tax increase, Zac was laughing maniacally, and Dallas ISD Trustee Miguel Solis looked really satisfied with himself. (Eric Celeste was there too, but he does less with this podcast than I do so his only mention will come inside these parentheses.) I had a long interview for a forthcoming feature story—that, in the biz, is what we call a tease—so I missed the whole thing. Solis told me that I “have the power,” because these show notes “determine whether someone listens to it,” which I think ascribes too much responsibility to these words. Or it was a sneaky way to build up my ego to get me to listen before I write this post, and I’m just not going to do that and let him win.

Look. This very podcast—EarBurner!—won a national Folio award this week for an episode that had non-traditional show notes. Am I saying this episode will win a national Folio award in a year or so? I’m not saying I’m not saying that. And do you have any evidence that it won’t? Anyway. Miguel Solis is a Dallas ISD trustee, husband, and father to young Olivia, who, as you may recall, survived a heart transplant and had a book written about her all before she turned one. She is also very, very cute.

I may not have been there, but I have some educated guesses as to what gets discussed at Table No. 1. Give us a pageview and a listen to find out if I’m right. (Strategic!)

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It’s Been a Rocky Start for Dallas ISD’s New Bus System

| 5 days ago

Over the last few years, Dallas ISD schools within the Ross Avenue corridor—there are nine of these within the East Dallas portion of Trustee Miguel Solis’ District 8—have undergone considerable change. To reverse falling enrollment, the district flipped several traditional neighborhood schools into more innovative options that give students a choice based on their particular interests and aspirations. They pull geographically from across the district (with a system of priority for students nearby). A few of those schools are now on a wait list, and at least one has received some national attention. It’s been a creative solution to, among other things, the challenge of displacement as a result of increasing property taxes and rent prices.

But busing in students from across the district creates a more difficult task when it comes to transportation. That, says Solis, presents one upside to DISD running its own bus system, a task it took over this year from previous operator Dallas County Schools (voters killed DCS last November and its executives have been indicted for a kickback scheme that involved Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway). During this transformative time for the district, flexibility is a good thing.

But so far, the district’s new in-house busing system has produced mixed results.

“It’s very difficult to convey to an outside entity all the reformation going on,” says Solis.

Since the first week of class, the district’s woes have been on display across just about all the city’s major media, putting a spotlight on massive delays and a clogged call system. The Dallas Morning News wrote about it after opening day, quoting DISD transportation head Kayne Smith as saying day one struggles were to be expected. He argued that it wasn’t about staffing. But those day one struggles have turned into week one struggles and month one struggles and quarter one struggles. Two weeks after the school year started, Smith, who had only been on the job since February, left for something similar at Cypress Fairbanks ISD, near Houston. Then, five weeks into the year, the district fired five transportation managers that came over from DCS, which was, um, not a great spot to have been hiring from in the first place.

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