Texas Parks Will Have Clear Skies 141 Years from Now Under Half-Assed State Plan

Categories: Environment

After all of us and our children are dead, Texas will finally get this pesky ozone problem under control. That's according to a state clean air plan that the Environmental Protection Agency just rejected but Texas environment officials are continuing to defend anyway. Texas environment officials, go pat yourself on the back and then take a nap. You deserve it.

Texas came up with the little sad-sack clean air plan because we were forced to, just like every other state. In Dallas and all the other major American metropolitan areas, the air quality has been consistently terrible. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA has been ordering states to come up with ways to do something about it.

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In the Middle of Thanksgiving It Struck Me! What Did the Commenters Do Today?

Categories: Schutze

Guests arriving for the Commenters Holiday Feast at Chateau Schutzingdon-Chittyding

At the very warmest and most satisfying moment in Thanksgiving Day dinner yesterday, when all was right with the world and I felt truly thankful for my good fortune, a thought struck my skull like a hammer against a church bell.

"What about the commenters?"

On Thanksgiving Day, Hanukkah, Christmas, the end of Ramadan, we abandon our blogs without a thought and gather happily at the hearth with loved ones, but where do the commenters go? Who tells their old stories and sings their old songs with them? Mavdog, RTGolden1, The Credible Hulk, Myrna, ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul: Does anyone prepare a feast for them?

I shook it off and enjoyed the rest of a long afternoon in the comfort of family, but when I lay my head on the pillow and prepared to fall asleep last night the thought revisited me like a vengeful spirit: "How can you slumber," the spirit asked, "not knowing where the commenters spent this chilly day and what they did without the blog?"

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Cowboys Offensive Line Has Bad Day, Cowboys Get Blown Out

Categories: Sports

The 700 Level via Twitter
That'll teach me. After I praised the Cowboys offensive line for its best pass blocking display of 2014 Sunday against the Giants, that same offensive line, the one with three first-round picks and a growing reputation as one of the best position units in the league, laid a big, fat turkey egg on Thursday. On a day when Dallas finally needed Tony Romo to win a game, rather than just manage it, the o-line got smoked, early and repeatedly.

Thursday game exposed this Cowboys team's biggest vulnerability. When it can't run the ball, it can't win. After the Eagles went on one of the easier 80-yard touchdown drives you'll ever see to open the game, Dallas got three first downs on its opening possession but ended up punting. The Eagles quickly scored another touchdown and it became clear that this wasn't going to be a game in which the Cowboys controlled the clock, compressed the game and won despite their faults. No, this was going to be a game that got ugly quickly.

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PSA: Remote Parking at DFW Is Full, Everybody Panic

Categories: Happy Holidays

DFW Airport
Will all be full by the time you get there.
We're not saying that you should drop everything that you're doing if you plan on flying out of DFW today. But, we're not saying you shouldn't immediately scramble to the airport and claim one of the last remaining parking spaces on this, the busiest travel day of the year either.

That's right, all of the $9-a-day parking at the airport is occupied. Express parking, the next-cheapest option at $11-a-day, has already sold out one of its lots. Sections of Terminal A and Terminal B parking are full as well.

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One of the Ferguson Protesters Was Arrested for Something Called a "Sidewalk Use Violation." What's That?

Categories: Public Safety

Jana Jackson
Protesters march down Main Street downtown Tuesday night.
Until the very end, Tuesday night's demonstration in Dallas against the grand jury's decision in the Ferguson case was uneventful. Marchers congregated at Dallas Police Department headquarters in the Cedars then walked through downtown to protest the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson for killing unarmed teenager Mike Brown.

"Tonight I'm somewhat numb, but I'm also saddened," Michael Bowie Jr., new senior pastor of St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas told The Dallas Morning News at the protest. "First it was Trayvon [Martin], now it's Michael Brown. And it's sad that killing of black males is justified and legal."

At about 9:15 p.m., however, as the protest wound down, a small group stopped traffic on Interstate 35E near downtown, shutting down the freeway until police came to clear the roadway, which was reopened by about 11 p.m..

No one was injured, but KXAS reported that many protesters were almost struck by motorists before the freeway was shut down.

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State Rep. Jason Villalba is Fighting to Free Mavs Fans from Stupid Liquor Laws. One of Them, Anyway.

Categories: Booze, Sports

Joe Mabel
The Texas Legislature, when it meets in January, will be grappling with very serious issues. Criminal justice reform, immigration, tax policy, transportation -- lawmakers will be making decisions that will shape the state's future for years to come.

State Representative Jason Villalba of Dallas, a rising Republican star who has mostly avoided right-wing demagoguery and established himself as serious-minded policymaker, is poised to emerge as a leader in the Texas House. You will be glad to know, then, that in the coming session Villalba will be using his position to tackle the most important issue of all: the freedom to carry beer wherever you damn well please at the American Airlines Center.

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DART Survey Results Show Riders Are Pretty Decent Transit Planners

Categories: Transportation

Dallas Area Rapid Transit
The results are in from a survey we told you about earlier this month in which DART riders about things like frequency and what the agency could do better as it preps its latest 10-year plan.

Turns out, the riders did a really good job.

On the frequency question, the one where only one of the choices could reasonably be described as frequent, the results were overwhelming. Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed said 10-15 minutes was "reasonable frequency" for peak hours. Not a single person said 45 minutes or 60 minutes was frequent. In each of the other time frames DART asked about -- midday, night and weekends -- respondents also chose the most frequent option available (20 minutes).

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Captive Audience: Counties and Private Businesses Cash in on Video Visits at Jails

Justin Renteria
Kristina Leisey's former fiance sits in jail in Hopkins County on a drug-possession charge, his link to the world outside a telephone and frequent calls to her. "He's trying to call every day, sometimes two or three times a day," Leisey says. "He doesn't understand how much it adds up after awhile."

The jail telephones are operated by Securus, a Dallas-based corporation that is a major player on the tech side of the for-profit prison industry. The company is popular with county and state governments for its ability to raise money through jail phone calls. It's not popular with the people who actually take the calls, the families and friends of inmates, who find their bank accounts taking hits from a system that is expensive and confusing to use.

To receive the calls, Leisey must deposit money into a prepaid account through Securus. Calls last 15 minutes each, at the flat rate of $4.95. Yet the calls often get dropped before the 15 minutes are up, Leisey says, and $4.95 is deducted from her account regardless. She has tried to call Securus to tell them about the problem, but the telecommunications giant never seems to answer its own phones. "I can never get through to them, ever," she says. The last time she called, she put her cell on speaker as she did her laundry. After 23 minutes, she gave up.

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So Far No Evidence in Complaints Against Nutall That She Ever Whopped Anybody

Categories: Schutze

Trustee Bernadette Nutall, the arbiter of blackness.
Dallas Schools yesterday released copies of the complaints against school system trustee Bernadette Nutall that have spurred an ongoing external investigation of her conduct. The complaints include a reference to something I reported here a week ago having to do with Nutall socking somebody.

See also: Nutall Probe Will Include Abuse of DISD Staff

I hope, if anyone intends to make something out of this, they've got a lot more than this. In the complaint (see below) a school district executive who was herself the target of an investigation tells the superintendent of schools she heard a rumor that Nutall once hit somebody and was worried about getting popped herself by Nutall. I can see that as the subject of a legitimate nightmare, but I'm not sure I would have included it in a written complaint.

Nutall, for the record, told me last week that she has never had a physical altercation with anybody at the school district.

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50 Reasons We're Thankful We Live in Dallas

Categories: Happy Holidays

Patrick Michels
  1. Dirk.

  2. We have the highest concentration of the best sports personalities.

  3. The Orange Line to DFW Airport actually works pretty well, compared with other DART services, so flying to see relatives isn't too stressful, at least until you land.

  4. The Fair Park bike share program is either a small step -- fingers crossed -- in the right direction toward a citywide program, or will provide many hours of fine City Hall slapstick comedy. We're thankful either way.

  5. The Cowboys sneakily built the NFL's best offensive line.

  6. City planners have yet to screw up Klyde Warren Park.

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