D/FW International Airport Is Second in the Country for Confiscating Loaded Guns

The only thing surprising about the fact that TSA agents confiscate a ton of loaded weapons from passengers attempting to board aircraft at D/FW International Airport is that Atlanta apparently confiscates more of them. Houston comes in third, nationally, behind us.

So says the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative, which compiled TSA data and created a ranking that tells us that some folks around here really do think they can carry anywhere, even at 30,000 feet. And most of them don't even bother emptying the chamber or ejecting the loaded clip.

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The 10 Wackiest Unfair Park Stories of 2013

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Dallas County Sheriff's Office
By now, you're probably sick of year-end lists. Too bad. New Year's is still a day-and-a-half away, there's very little happening news-wise, and, most important, journalists have not yet exhausted their onanistic need to rehash their old work.

So, here's our contribution. Part best-of, part most-clicked, part whatever the hell struck our fancy, it's 2013 as experienced by readers of Unfair Park:

Dallas County Now Has Its Very Own Bulletproof, "Mine-Protected" Military SUV: Until this fall, the Dallas County sheriff's squad cars were perfectly adequate for the typically humdrum task of serving warrants. But when the Department of Defense offers up free of charge a half-million-dollar military SUV designed to withstand roadside IEDs and insurgent attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, the opportunity is hard to resist, which is how the sheriff's office came to be in possession of its very own Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle.

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Poll: Dallas Still the City of Hate When it Comes to Loathing the Federal Government

Rachel Parker
You see what you do to us, Congress?
There was a time not so long ago, back when the country wasn't perpetually teetering on the brink of economic collapse, when bitching about the federal government was fun. Washington was that crazy unemployed uncle who was always hanging around, irritating as hell but otherwise harmless.

But now that his gas can's empty and the match is lit, the joy has disappeared. The complaints take on a fearful tone; the emotions behind them turn from bemused exasperation to to pure burning hatred.

This shift can be measured by pollsters, at least to a point. They've watched as the number of Americans who express faith in their elected leaders and in the direction they're leading the country plummets to historic lows.

Nowhere in the country are those numbers lower than in Dallas. A recent Harris Interactive poll found that, among the nation's biggest cities, Dallas despises Washington more than anyone.

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Garland Swears it Doesn't Really Have the Worst Drivers in Texas

Flickr user randyrat
Welcome to Garland
Each year, Allstate comes out with a list of America's worst drivers, and each year, Dallas is puzzled to discover it doesn't come out on top, an honor typically reserved for Washington, D.C.

That's not to say that drivers here aren't terrible. In this year's report, Frisco, Plano, McKinney, Irving, Grand Prairie, Mesquite, Garland, Arlington and Dallas are all clustered in the bottom quarter. It's just that they could be worse.

Garland is the only city with a legitimate shot to crack the top 10. With drivers there averaging 6.8 years between accidents, which puts it at a respectable 16th from the bottom. The ranking gives the suburb an undisputed claim to having Texas' worst drivers.

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Poll: Dallas Is the Happiest Big City in the Country, Because We Love Jesus

Danny Hurley
Also, we have beer.
Here's the bad news: If you are young, poor, black or Hispanic, disabled, or just graduated from college, you are significantly less happy than you were two years ago. Recent polling says so.

Now, the same folks at Harris Polling who brought us that depressing tidbit now bring a spot of good news: If you live in Dallas/Fort Worth, you're more likely to be "very happy" than if you live in any other big city in the country.

This may seem surprising. If it doesn't, you're probably not grinding through the Mixmaster at rush hour or spending enough time in the comments section. But Harris is a fairly well-respected outfit, and they assure us that the results are sound.

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University Park Is DFW's Most Walkable Neighborhood, Says Bullshit List

Matthew Rutledge
Oak Cliff
A new, bullshit list has found that University Park is the most walkable neighborhood in all of Dallas-Fort Worth. Highland Park comes next and Addison ranks third. And then the list ends.

Well, that settles it then. Come on Uptown, Oak Lawn, Deep Ellum, Lower Greenville and all of Oak Cliff, it's time to go home.

"Dallas-Fort Worth residents aren't known for walking," according to an insulting write-up in the Dallas Business Journal, "and Texas pedestrians can count on getting stared at for taking on the sidewalks in 100+ degree heat."

That already gives you a heads-up of where this list is going. Newsflash: People walk in Dallas-Fort Worth. People walk everywhere. It's just that in certain cities, walking means waiting for 12 minutes at the crosswalk while the rich give you a judgey stare from their cars, and Dallas can often be one of those cities.

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Congratulations, Dallas: You're Now Only Slightly Lazier than Houston

Patrick Michels
There needs to be much more of this if Dallas wants to out-fit Houston
Every year, the American College of Sports Medicine ranks the 50 largest U.S. cities by fitness levels, and every year we are disappointed, if not particularly surprised, to learn that Dallas ranks near the bottom.

There are a number of reasons why ACSM deems Dallas is unfit. We do poorly when it comes to fat people and smokers, which we have too many of, as well as rec centers, bike commuters, and swimming pools, which we have too few of. Among the other, somewhat arbitrary, criteria the organization considers: farmers markets, primary care doctors, dog parks, public transit use, diabetes rates, and golf courses.

That last one actually bodes well for Dallas' future fitness, since we're building a course in the Trinity Forest.

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America Thinks Dallas is Just OK, But We're a Big Hit with Republicans

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America apparently has not visited Klyde Warren Park.
Public Policy Polling is a new but fairly well-respected outfit that churns out an impressive quantity of high-quality snapshots of public opinion on political races and the important issues of our time.

But PPP doesn't let that stop them from putting out equally authoritative figures on the percentage of Americans who think Osama bin Laden is alive (6 percent); that the moon landing was faked (7 percent); and that a "secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government, or New World Order (28 percent).

It's in the same attention-generating spirit that the organization today released the results of a national poll revealing how favorably respondents feel about a selection of the country's major cities.

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Dallas ISD Magnets Are Once Again Among the Washington Post's List of Top Public Schools

Irma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School
It's tradition by now. Every year, Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews crunches the numbers and comes up with a list of the country's top public schools, and every year Dallas ISD's cohabitating School of Science and Engineering and TAG Magnet are near the top.

This year is no different. Mathews unveiled his 2013 list over the weekend, and there are DISD's flagship magnets once again, with Science/Engineering coming in at No. 2, TAG at No. 3. They are topped only by Oakland's American Indian Public Charter School, which happens to be in danger of shutting down over allegations that its founder misused public funds.

But not everything on this year's list is a repeat. Almost reaching the top this year is the Irma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School, which clocks in at No. 5. Which means that, by the Washington Post's count, DISD has three of the top five high schools in the country.

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Dallas is Adding More Good Jobs than Anywhere Else

Justin Terveen
Five months ago, Dallas didn't even register on Forbes rundown of U.S. metro areas with the rosiest employment prospects, losing out to San Jose and Austin but also to Birmingham, Charleston, and Lakeland, Florida.

That was a prediction based on a survey of employers' hiring predictions. Now that the magazine has crunched actual employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (via Moody's Analytics) and threw out cities adding lots of menial workers, Dallas emerged victorious.

Dallas is joined on Forbes' "Best Cities for Good Jobs" list by Houston (No. 2), Austin (No. 3), Fort Worth (No. 4), and San Antonio (No. 6), which, if you're keeping count, means that Texas cities make up the top half of the magazine's top 10 list.

From the introduction to the list:

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