Saturday, July 31, 2021

Killing Eve - Season 1 (TV 2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Killing Eve - Season 1 (TV 2018): Eve, with British MI6, and Villanelle, a Russian assassin and psychopath, play cat-and-mouse game across Europe. But who is the cat? Shadowy group "The 12" are targets, but of whom? My only complaint is that Season 1 leaves so many loose ends. A-


Friday, July 30, 2021

Loki (TV 2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
Loki (TV 2021): Loki (villain, antihero, God of Mischief), branches the universe and is captured by the forces tasked with pruning him to protect the sacred timeline. Plot, sets, costumes are all absurd, but just go with it all the way to the void at the end of time. It works. B-

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021): Moral is OK: Kids should be allowed to follow their dreams. But it's lost in a nonstop onslaught of CGI action and WB IP. Like watching a 2 hour infomercial. Maybe I smiled once. Lebron can't act. Don Cheadle wasted. "New legacy" is an oxymoron. D+

After six consecutive posts dealing with the Richardson Police Department's "Quota-gate" scandal, I felt like I needed a change. "Space Jam" was the wrong change.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Stop in the Name of the Law

Much has been made of the plain meaning of the words "predetermined and specified number" of citations in determining whether the Richardson Police Department has a ticket quota system. Those words are from the state statute prohibiting cities from imposing ticket quotas on its police officers.

The City's investigator stated that the City does not have a ticket quota. He conducted only two interviews with patrol officers and reviewed an unspecified number of performance evaluations. A suspicious mind might wonder if he was afraid to turn over too many rocks for fear of what he might find. And he included no evidence from any of this. No interview transcripts. Not even a list of questions he asked. No evaluation reports.

Let's turn over just one of those rocks.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

"Plain Meaning of the Words Chosen"

The crux of the question of whether the Richardson Police Department imposes a ticket quota system on its patrol officers comes down to these key sentences in the report by the City's investigator.
As noted above, the Texas Transportation Code generally prohibits a political subdivision from evaluating an officer based on a predetermined or specified number of any type or combination of types of traffic citations. The words "predetermined" and "specified number" are not defined in the Transportation Code.

When possible, Courts determine legislative intent from the plain meaning of the words chosen.

Interpreting the statute according to the plain meaning of the words chosen, there is no indication that the City has violated the Transportation Code because there is no evidence that the City in any way directed its patrol officers to issue a predetermined or specified number of traffic citations.

Monday, July 26, 2021

This Isn't About Her

First course, something light to whet your appetite...

In my ramble yesterday about last Thursday's Richardson City Council meeting, I made a lot of trial analogies. This despite my firm intention of hammering home the point that the council meeting was in no way a legal proceeding. But one reader said I missed one analogy by not noting the symbolism of the name of one person in our little drama, the most effective questioner, Councilmember "Justice." He was right. But I defer to John Barth, who included some advice in his novel, "The Floating Opera," that I've always thought was worth following.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Richardson Police are Hiring. Surprised?

If you're looking for the five Ws of journalism (Who, What, When, Where, and Why), this is not the post for you. But if you don't mind going for a ride through my disorganized mind, you're in the right place. I'll inevitably go off on a few tangents on our journey, but I promise to always get back on track.

For three days, I've been promising to write about Thursday night's special called session of the Richardson City Council, and I've kept putting it off. Oh, I wrote about Wayne Olson's verbal report and his written report of his investigation into Office Kayla Walker's complaint that the City operates an Illegal ticket quota system. But I didn't write about the City Council. Why was that even the venue? Why not a court of law? The councilmembers didn't take a vote at the end. They didn't take any action regarding the complaint at all. When I pondered why it all happened the way it did, I found my mind becoming a jumble of different thoughts. It's taken me three days to even begin an inventory of them. I'm thinking if I just start writing, maybe some semblance of order will come.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

A Quota System with a Moving Target

To paraphrase Mark Twain, the law is pliable, too, especially when talking about numbers. I know I promised I'd have more to say about what we learned from Thursday night's special called meeting of the Richardson City Council, and I promise I will still get to that, but first I have to talk about the written report itself, which wasn't available to the public until after the meeting.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Investigator Clears RPD of Illegal Ticket Quotas

In just five minutes, the amount of time members of the public are given to speak during the public comment section of City Council meetings, a 13-year veteran of the Richardson Police, Kayla Walker, kicked off a storm in Richardson in April, charging supervisors in the department of illegally using quotas to evaluate and discipline officers. Thursday night, in a special called session of the Richardson City Council, the public learned the result of the City's investigation into the charge. Spoiler: the City found nothing illegal about its own police department's practices.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Paved A Way: Fair Park


Unlike Tenth Street and Little Mexico, I felt I had a good understanding of the history of Fair Park in Dallas. Collin Yarbrough fills in the details.

I'm reading "Paved A Way: Infrastructure, Policy and Racism in an American City" by Collin Yarbrough. The city is Dallas, Texas. I'm blogging as I go, using whatever parts of the book catch my attention. Today, we look at how infrastructure development cut a path of destruction through south Dallas.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Sweet Tooth (TV 2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
Sweet Tooth (TV 2021): Pandemic triggers "Great Crumble." And human/animal hybrids. All about a deer-boy's quest to find his scientist mother. Lots of adventures, but not much plot resolution. Good guys good, bad guys bad, deer-boy precious. It's a kids' tale for whole family. B-

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Paved A Way: Tenth Street


I don't think I ever heard the terms the Black Bottom, Tenth Street, or the Heights before reading "Paved A Way." Or, the only Heights I heard of were Richardson Heights and Lin-Manuel Miranda's "In the Heights." But here I'm talking Oak Cliff, or south Dallas, and a neighborhood decimated by the construction of I-35.

I'm reading "Paved A Way: Infrastructure, Policy and Racism in an American City" by Collin Yarbrough. The city is Dallas, Texas. I'm blogging as I go, using whatever parts of the book catch my attention. Today, we look at how infrastructure development cut a path of destruction through south Dallas.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Roadrunner (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
Roadrunner (2021): Documentary of Anthony Bourdain. His show was the best travel show on television. Global politics disguised as a food show. Clips, outtakes, and interviews with his friends and crew give us a peek behind this complicated, flawed, and open but enigmatic man. B+

Friday, July 16, 2021

Black Widow (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
Black Widow (2021): Half superhero movie, half dysfunctional family drama. Marvel Universe has guns but fights all turn into fist fights. The plot is messy. I kept asking, why are they doing this? Out of nowhere they rip off their faces to reveal a switcheroo and I ask WTF? C+

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Anything is Better Than Nothing in East Richardson

In a 5-2 vote, the Richardson City Council approved a permit for a drive-through Popeyes chicken restaurant on Belt Line Rd east of Plano Rd. The arguments presented by some council members in the majority exemplify what I consider a problem with the City's approach to east Richardson for decades.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Elections Have Consequences, Richardson Edition

There are three new members on the City of Richardson's City Council. In a zoning case Monday night, they made their first mark on Richardson's future shape. In a 4-3 vote, the newcomers, Jennifer Justice, Joe Corcoran, and Arefin Shamsul, plus second term council member Ken Hutchenrider, voted to reject a special use permit for a conventional drive-through restaurant in the so-called Restaurant Park. That's right. Richardson's city council rejected a drive-through. It wasn't because they oppose all drive-throughs. It was because they oppose a drive-through restaurant in that particular location. Still, it's a new day in Richardson.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

High on the Hog (TV 2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
High on the Hog (TV 2021): How African-American cuisine transformed America. It's a food show, but it's also a history show. From Benin to South Carolina to Philadelphia to Texas, our nation's menu was created by Blacks. Stephen Satterfield finds the culture behind the menu. B+

Monday, July 12, 2021

TIL: I'm on Team Smart America

I'm generally leery of analyses that divide people into two types, or four, or whatever. Clickbait headlines like "Which Avengers Hero Are You?" never get my clicks. Even tests popular in corporate America like Myers-Briggs, tests that are uncanny enough in their analyses that they seem to have been spying on me, earn my respect only grudgingly. Imagine my surprise when I found a political analysis that neatly divides America up into four factions that I think captures not just the red/blue divide, but the divides within those different camps as well.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Paved A Way: Little Mexico


For decades, I've known about the El Fenix restaurant on the north side of Woodall Rodgers Freeway in downtown Dallas. To me, it always seemed like a bad location for a restaurant, cut off from downtown as it was. I shamefully admit that, until reading Collin Yarbough's book, I wasn't even aware of Dallas's "Little Mexico." Now I know why El Fenix was built where it was.

I'm reading "Paved A Way: Infrastructure, Policy and Racism in an American City" by Collin Yarbrough. The city is Dallas, Texas. I'm blogging as I go, using whatever parts of the book catch my attention. Today, we look at how infrastructure development destroyed "El Barrio."

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Fosse/Verdon (TV 2019)

Rotten Tomatoes
Fosse/Verdon (TV 2019): Why are so many artistic geniuses such jerks? Good look behind the curtain of musical theater. In this biopic, Gwen Verdon is the more interesting character. She endures Bob Fosse's mistreatment of her and all around him because of her own ambition. B+


Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Paved A Way: Deep Ellum


In past installments of this book report, we've seen how Central Expressway cut through the African-American community of North Dallas, or Freedman's Town, in the 1940s. But before it was Central Expressway, a 1912 Dallas master plan called for a Central Boulevard. And before that, it was the Central Track, or the Houston and Texas Central Railway, which was laid on the eastern edge of downtown Dallas and up through North Dallas and beyond. Dallas's huge cotton market needed workers, lots of manual labor, which attracted a large African-American community along the tracks, creating what came to be called Deep Ellum. But what infrastructure creates, it also destroys.

I'm reading "Paved A Way: Infrastructure, Policy and Racism in an American City" by Collin Yarbrough. The city is Dallas, Texas. I'm blogging as I go, using whatever parts of the book catch my attention. Today, we look at how infrastructure development both built and then destroyed Deep Ellum.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Summer of Soul (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
Summer of Soul (2021): Concert series in Harlem in summer of '69. After years of tragedy, the decade ends with joy, community pride, and Black power. Questlove's documentary covers all that, but especially the music. Blues, soul, R&B, gospel, jazz. I never felt so white. B+

Monday, July 5, 2021

The Mandalorian - Season 1 (TV 2019)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Mandalorian - Season 1 (TV 2019): Bounty hunter becomes guardian of a baby Yoda, who a galaxy bad guy wants badly. Fight after fight, our Mandalorian and his asset escape. Not so for countless storm troopers. Repetitious. It's hard to act wearing a helmet all the time. C+


Saturday, July 3, 2021

No Sudden Move (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
No Sudden Move (2021): A heist movie set in Detroit in 1954. The object is engineering drawings. Or a mobster's code book. It doesn't matter. Neither do the plot twists. Just try to figure out who the bad guys are. The film noir feel more than makes up for a convoluted plot. B+

Friday, July 2, 2021

Paved A Way: Freedman's Cemetery


I first became aware of Freedman's Cemetery in the early 1990s when the project to expand Central Expressway uncovered a cemetery in its path. Did that stop them? Of course not. But it did delay them for several years while they dug up bodies and reinterred them elsewhere. RIP? Not in Dallas.

I'm reading "Paved A Way: Infrastructure, Policy and Racism in an American City" by Collin Yarbrough. The city is Dallas, Texas. I'm blogging as I go, using whatever parts of the book catch my attention. Today, we look at how infrastructure development finds a way to harm you, even if you're dead.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Random Thoughts: Failings of Just in Time Manufacturing

Tweets from June, 2021:
  • 2021-06-01: "Global Shortages During Coronavirus Reveal Failings of Just in Time Manufacturing." The business revolution of the 20th Century came by concentrating risk in supply chains. We've reached the natural end state: "It all cascades. It's just a mess."
  • 2021-06-02: Mare of Easttown (TV 2021): Outstanding whodunit. Plenty of suspects, all kept in the game until the last episode. But more, it's a story of unresolved grief that comes between Mare (Kate Winslet) and her ex-husband, her daughter, her daughter-in-law and her job. Emmy worthy. A-
  • 2021-06-02: I care less about where donations come from than who they come from. That a non-profit for developing leaders in education equity thinks highly enough of Amanda Clair to donate just affirms my decision to support her. Chris Poteet attacking her for it is disappointing.
  • 2021-06-03: I am proud of Lake Highlands valedictorian Paxton Smith speaking up for women's rights, and proud of RISD for allowing her the freedom to speak.

After the jump, more random thoughts.