Old Guard Strategy for Next May's Elections Is Opposite of Truth. Hey, Worked Before.

Categories: Schutze

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Library of Congress
In the next City Council election, the old guard, stubbornly opposed to change, will try to paint the new guard as stubbornly opposed to change. Not as dumb an idea as you might think.

I tend to keep a sharp nose out for possible nearby flatulence, and I am beginning to pick up strong whiffs from the old downtown political establishment -- the ones former Mayor Laura Miller always called "The Boys" -- in terms of how they will deal with next May's watershed City Hall elections in Dallas.

We have chatted here about this before -- the elections, not the flatulence per se. I have not been the Lone Ranger in proposing that next May's council election could be the biggest City Hall game-changer that anybody now living, even really old people, will remember.

See also: The Next City Council Election

Or not. Some people don't want the game to change. I'm starting to see where they will go and what they will say in order to head off change. And you know what? They may win. It all depends.

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Pilar Sanders Sentenced to Seven Days in Jail After Getting Weird in Court Tuesday

Categories: Legal Battles

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Roderick Pullum
Pilar Sanders having a better time than she did in court Tuesday.
Two statements that are axiomatic are 1. Anyone representing themselves in court has a fool for a client, and 2. No good ever comes out of the O'Reilly Factor. For evidence, we offer you Deion Sanders' ex-wife Pilar, who was hauled into a Collin County Court by the former Cowboys star on charges that she defamed him on social media and the Fox News show.

Before being informed that she would spend seven days in jail as part of a suspended 30-day sentence for contempt, Pilar Sanders -- as reported by The Dallas Morning News -- went on a series of bizarre rants, questioning the court's authority over her, because she is "not a part of the United States corporation."

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In Another Texas Vs. Endangered Species Battle, Texas Wins Again

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U.S. Department of Agriculture
Every winter, the world's only flock of wild whooping cranes flies into Texas and stays along the Texas Gulf Coast, using water near the Aransas Pass. Maybe one day in the future, Greg Abbott can require the whopping cranes to obtain a permit before they take advantage of our state's diminishing natural resources. In the meantime, state officials are at least enjoying recent legal victory against a group that has been suing to protect the birds. Texas 1, majestic whooping cranes 0.

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Slashing Prices at Wal-Mart Gets You Savings. Slashing Cop Gets You Shot.

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Google Street View
The Wal-Mart in question, at 6185 Retail Road in Dallas.
Just after midnight Tuesday morning, Dallas police officer Larry Moody shot Jonathan Puckett. It was the 20th time Dallas cops have shot at a civilian so far this year. Puckett was hit in the leg and torso and is being treated for his injuries at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

Puckett was spotted by Moody -- who was working an off-duty security job -- and a Wal-Mart loss prevention officer attempting to leave the Retail Road store without paying for a phone charger. After initially cooperating and walking back into the store, Dallas police say, Puckett dashed for the exit. Moody grabbed his shoulder and they both lost their balance. As they struggled on the ground, police say, Puckett cut Moody with one of the four knives he was carrying.

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Black Helicopters over Dallas Don't Scare Us Because We Love America So Damn Much

Categories: Buzz

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Men in Black
Not helicopters. Swamp gas. Got it.
To be fair, the Dallas Police Department's media unit did send us a press release last week informing us that "North Texas police departments are providing support for an urban training exercise at various unspecified sites." U.S. special operations forces need realistic urban settings for preparedness training, they said, because Kandahar resembles Dallas in so many ways.

Sadly, the release didn't mention any fleets of black helicopters buzzing overhead, otherwise we wouldn't have filed and forgotten it. Instead, we learned about the helicopters from Twitter, from two local journalists. "A search of 'helicopters' & 'Dallas' make it clear that 7 or 8 #blackedout stealth-style helicopters have been buzzing down/uptown," Daniel Rodrigue, a local journalism teacher and sometimes Observer-er Tweeted.

Well, not when we searched. And when we checked out #blackedout we didn't see any helicopters either, though there was an image of a young woman being "blackedout," we suppose, if that's a porn thing. You probably shouldn't look at it on your work computer.\

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Kaufman Killer Eric Williams Was Happy After Murders, Planned to Kill More, Wife Testifies

Categories: Crime

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KXAS Screenshot
Eric Williams during one of his numerous media appearances.
Tuesday morning, one of the last remaining mysteries in the trial of Eric Williams was answered: His estranged wife would indeed participate in the proceedings. Kim Williams took the stand to describe how she and Williams plotted and executed the killings of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McClellend, his wife Cynthia and one of his top prosecutors, Mark Hasse. Williams was convicted of killing Cynthia McClellend on December 4. He and his attorneys are now trying to avoid his being killed by the state of Texas.

Kim Williams said she was guilty of capital murder early in her testimony. She hasn't been offered a deal by prosecutors, but she was hoping to save her life with her testimony, she said, as she described the murders and her relationship with Eric Williams.

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Boy Scouts of America to Pay $7 Million for Sex Abuse

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The Ninjaneer
The site of the 2013 Boy Scouts Jamboree.
The Boy Scouts of America has been found negligent in the case of Siegfried Hepp, a Connecticut troop leader accused of sexually assaulting multiple Scouts. Hepp was convicted of unlawful sexual touching of a minor in 1999.

Witnesses at the trial, held in Waterbury, Connecticut, said that the Irving-based organization knew of widespread sexual abuse in its ranks as early as the 1920s. The organization, they said, kept thousands of what it called "confidential files" in locked cabinets at its Irving headquarters. Scout executives who testified during the trial confirmed the files' existence.

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State Road Officials Balk at a Few Straight Questions About that "Blacklands" Toll Road

Categories: Schutze

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David Leonard
Sooner or later we're going to find out who's really pushing behind the scenes for that private "Blacklands" private toll road they want to build northeast of Dallas from Rowlett to Greenville. And I don't mean the private dudes who want to build it for profit. I mean who in local government has been carrying their water.

Amy Silverstein told you here at the end of October that the very unpopular toll road idea, which was supposed to be dead on arrival, hadn't arrived and wasn't dead yet. State Representative Cindy Burkett, Republican of Sunnyvale, was trying to get state highway officials to explain why they seemed to still be pushing for it and who put them up to it.

See also: Unpopular Toll Road Idea We Said Was Dead Might Not Be Dead

This is the private toll road idea so hated by the region it's supposed to run through that fire officials had to shut down a public meeting because too many people showed up to express their hatred. Supposedly the regional agency that does road planning did a big apology dance after that and promised to deep-six the whole idea.

Later, as Silverstein reported, Burkett found out the Texas Department of Transportation had gone ahead and included the supposedly dead toll road route in a key statewide road-planning document. It was a big find.

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El Paso State Rep Calls for Full Decriminalization of Marijuana

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Flickr user Blind Nomad
A bill filed Monday in advance of the upcoming session of the Texas Legislature would make the maximum penalty for the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana a $100 fine. The fine would not count as a criminal conviction and could not considered as such by anyone performing a background check.

Current Texas law classifies the possession of any amount of marijuana less than 2 ounces as a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of no more than $2,000. In 2007, the state passed a law allowing for marijuana users to cited for the misdemeanor and released. Harris, Dallas and Tarrant, the three biggest counties in the state, have not adopted cite-and-release, but Dallas has signaled its intention to do so as part of a January 2015 pilot program.

See also: Dallas County Will Experiment with Not Arresting People Caught with Marijuana

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As Open Carry Advocate Calls for Armed Coup, State Legislators Call for More Open Carry

Categories: Guns

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Kory Watkins via Facebook
Kory Watkins exercises his inalienable right to defend himself from rogue produce.
Kory Watkins can't leave well enough alone. After months of protests by him and his gun-toting, cop-watching buddies, Texas lawmakers seemingly want to give the open-carry extremists exactly what they say they want: the right to wield whatever firearm they damn well please without having to do so much as conceal it. There have been no fewer than 11 bills filed in advance of the 2015 Texas Legislature that would do something to make carrying a gun around easier, including one -- authored by Tarrant County Republican Jonathan Stickland -- that would eliminate the licensing requirements for carrying handguns in the state. Apparently, that's not enough for Watkins.

"Have you ever thought we might just need to organize a very large group of our own people. Like 200 from each state, so we can march armed to DC take over the city, arrest the bankers, crooked politicians and restore liberty here in our country? I'm not scared. I mean really ... voting and waiting is not working!," he said Saturday on Facebook.

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