There's One Fight Left in the Battle Over Texas Open Carry

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Wiki Commons
Unless something weird happens, the Texas House of Representatives is going to pass open carry today. They'll join the state Senate in approving hip or shoulder-holstered handguns for anyone with a concealed handgun license, sending a bill to Governor Greg Abbott's desk that he's already promised he'll sign. Kory Watkins, the fiery leader of Open Carry Tarrant County, and Jonathan Stickland, Watkins' house member spirit animal, will continue be upset that licenses are required at all. Sun rises, sun sets, etc., etc..

None of that's to say there isn't something interesting to watch during the floor debate. Poncho Nevárez, a Democrat from Eagle Pass who was threatened by Watkins and some of Watkins buddies in his office, has attached an amendment to the bill that will make it easier for private property owners to ban guns from their property.

Today, any owner wishing to ban concealed handguns from his or her property must post what's known as a "30.06" sign. The sign is required to feature the state's 40-word state-sanctioned statement for private property handgun restriction, printed in letters at least one inch tall and in contrasting colors. Two things have sprung up from these requirements: signs that meet the requirements and are as big as toddlers and a cottage industry of gun enthusiasts pointing out locations that can't stop one from carrying because their signs are not compliant.


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Texas Senate OKs "Revenge Porn" Bill

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State of Texas
Sylvia Garcia
The Texas Senate did some actual good on Tuesday, passing a bill that would make Texas the 17th state to criminalize so-called "revenge porn." More important, the bill would make Texas one of fewer than five states to allow civil penalties for the posting of nude or sexually explicit images without the subject's consent. Victims would be able to sue both the website that hosts the images and the person who provided them.

"I think it's a very important piece of legislation for the women of Texas and for the young girls of Texas," Senator Joan Huffman, a Republican from Houston, said.

Each of the eight women serving in Texas' Senate chamber, including Huffman and Sylvia Garcia, the Houston Democrat who wrote the bill, signed on to the legislation as co-authors. Garcia said that although revenge porn can happen to anyone, its targets are most often women.

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Dallas Cop Who Was "Dead On Arrival" to Baylor Leaves Hospital Alive

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Baylor Hospital via UStream
Earnest Sherman, Jimmy Thongrivong and Dr. James Choi
Senior Corporal Jimmy Thongrivong, a Dallas bike cop, died March 30. He's better now, though.

Thongrivong, who collapsed of a heart attack on patrol before being rushed to Baylor Hospital, is going home. Dr. James Choi, the interventional cardiologist treating Thongrivong, was asked at a press conference Thursday what was wrong with the officer when he arrived at the hospital last month.

"He was dead," Choi said. Thongrivong's heart had lost both electrical and mechanical function by the time he got to Baylor, where doctors were able to restart his heart.

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Dallas Energy CEO Chris "Frack Master" Faulkner Is More Talker than Fracker

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Chris Faulkner, in an appearance on CNN.
Somewhere along a Dallas highway is an eye-catching, emerald-tinted billboard for Breitling Energy. It features an oil derrick and an expanse of sky emblazoned with the legend "American Oil from American Soil." It always seemed odd that a local fracking concern would be spending money directly on a billboard campaign rather than, say, an industry trade group that buys airtime during Meet the Press, but it wasn't odd enough to send Unfair Park to the courthouse to research Breitling CEO Chris Faulkner.

Would that it had! The Texas Observer yesterday published a story by energy-industry reporter Steven Bodzin contrasting Faulkner's meteoric rise as a pro-fracking talking head, which led to his brief appointment to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick's energy advisory committee, with a background that contains remarkably little drilling for natural gas and a remarkable amount of legal trouble. Also, a company called "Porn Toys Corp."

Among the highlights of Faulkner's, according to Bodzin:

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Dallas Rep. Anchia Warns of What's Coming in Texas LGBTQ Rights Fight

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State of Texas
Rafael Anchia speaks at the Capitol Tuesday
State Representative Rafael Anchia of Dallas, state Senator Rodney Ellis of Houston and Bill Hammond, the CEO of the Texas Association of Business, made it abundantly clear Tuesday: If many Republicans in the Legislature get their way and pass any number of the bevy of anti-LGBTQ constitutional amendments and bills proposed in the current session, it will be bad for Texans, bad for Texas business and give the state a public relations nightmare at least on par with one Indiana suffered after it passed its controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act in late March.

There are, basically, three types of anti-LGBTQ discrimination that could potentially be codified into Texas law this legislative session. Two constitutional amendments seek to make discrimination based on religious belief legal -- like the Indiana RFRA. There is state Representative Debbie Riddle's bill that would mandate which restroom individuals use and then there are the bills that try to limit city's local control -- you know, the thing that allows Dallas to have an anti-discrimination ordinance despite the open hostility towards the LGBTQ community from many in Austin.

See also: With All Other Problems Solved, Texas State Rep Wants To Tell You Which Bathroom to Use
-- Texas AG Paxton Makes Sure Texas Is on the Wrong Side of Same-Sex Marriage History


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Dentist Accused of Medicaid Fraud, Erecting Backyard Water Park, Is Losing a Media Fight

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Google Earth
Dr. Richard Malouf's Preston Hollow estate/amusement park/lawsuit factory.
In many ways, Dr. Richard Malouf is the very picture of success (See: "On Being Successful"; RichardMalouf.com). Born to Lebanese immigrants, he built a multi-million dollar chain of dental clinics from the ground up. He bought a French chateau on Strait Lane in Preston Hollow and set to work building a water park in the back. Through hard work, dedication and top-notch SEO skills, he has even managed to knock unflattering news articles from the top of his Google search results.

Alas, with ostentatious success comes great scrutiny. Malouf -- and we have to be careful how we phrase this because as we'll detail in a moment, the man files defamation lawsuits the way other dentists hand out free samples of dental floss -- was accused a few years back of defrauding Texas of millions in Medicaid dollars. His company, All Smiles Dental and Orthodontics, collected tens of millions of dollars in Medicaid for putting braces on poor children, more than a thousand of them under 12 years old. In 2010, for instance, it billed the state for $10.2 million for orthodontics work performed at its 51 dental clinics, or three times the amount paid out for braces by the Medicaid program in Georgia. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sued Malouf and All Smiles in the summer of 2012 over allegations of Medicaid fraud.

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Texas AG Paxton Makes Sure Texas Is On the Wrong Side of Same-Sex Marriage History

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State of Texas
Ken Paxton
In 1967, T.W. Bruton of North Carolina was the only state attorney general willing to do what Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and fourteen other state's attorneys general did on Thursday. Bruton filed a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court urging that it uphold Virginia's prohibition against interracial marriage struck down in Loving v. Virginia. Paxton has joined author Buddy Caldwell of Louisiana and 12 other pals to ask the Supreme Court not to extend marriage rights to the gay community.

Paxton and Caldwell -- joined by the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina and West Virginia -- assert in their brief that the Roberts court shouldn't legalize same-sex marriage across the United States for a couple of reasons. First, they say, gays do not deserve the same 14th Amendment-based equal protection rights as other Americans and, second, the court legalizing marriage in the backwaters where it isn't currently legal would undermine the tremendous electoral victories won by the same-sex marriage movement in recent years.

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Eddie LeBaron, the 5-7 QB Lured from His Law Office to Start for the Cowboys, Has Died

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Bowman
Eddie LeBaron's 1953 Bowman Football Card
Before Troy Aikman, Danny White, Roger Staubach, Craig Morton or even Don Meredith, there was Eddie LeBaron, the 5-foot-7 gunslinger who started 10 games for the Cowboys in their maiden season, including the first, a September 24, 1960 Saturday night game against the Steelers at the Cotton Bowl.

The Cowboys had lured LeBaron out of retirement with a $20,000 contract and a law partnership in Dallas. He tossed two first-quarter touchdowns to put the 'Boys up 14-0, before the Cowboys coughed the lead and eventually lost 35-28. The team wouldn't win a game in 1960, and would never win more than five during LeBaron's tenure.

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Richardson Mayor Will Leave Office after Landing Job with Developer Whose Project She Pushed

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Laura Maczka for Richardson
Richardson Mayor Laura Maczka in front of some random, out-of-focus people.
A while back, residents of the idyllic Richardson neighborhoods of Canyon Creek and Prairie Creek filed into the Richardson City Plan Commission meeting to voice their objections to the Palisades, at the time a 750-unit apartment tower/mixed-use development planned for an empty plot of land along Central Expressway. At the time we described their outcry somewhat completely dismissively as "the primal scream of suburbia" (an assertion we wholeheartedly stand by), but the intervening months have provided a totally new reason to be skeptical of the project. To wit, the developer has given Mayor Laura Maczka a job.

Rumors about Maczka's relationship with developer JP Realty Partners -- and specifically its CEO, Mark Jordan -- have been circulating for months among Richardson government gadflies, fanned by Maczka's enthusiastic endorsement of the project even as it mushroomed to more than 1,000 units to the chagrin of her constituents. But now there's evidence in the form of a pair of ethics forms Maczka filed with the city last month.

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First Baptist Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress Blames 9/11 on America's Child-Killing Problem

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Fox News Screenshot
He's the one in the middle.
The attacks on 9/11 were not the result of Islamic extremism, retribution for continued American military presence in the Middle East, the inevitable consequence of clashing civilizations or even a false-flag operation engineered by the feds, says First Baptist Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress.

No, he told a crowd gathered for Liberty University's convocation this week, he believes the same thing university founder Jerry Falwell did, that the September 11, 2001, terrorist strikes were caused by the United States' continued insistence on killing its children.

"Surely, God doesn't use pagans to bring judgment upon his own people, does he?" Jeffress asked rhetorically. "Just read the Bible, God will not allow sin to go unpunished and he certainly won't allow the sacrifice of children to go unpunished."

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