By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Clothes make the man: Proving once again that no issue is too absurd for cable TV, Dallas City Council member Dwaine Caraway appears on the Dr. Phil show to promote his anti-sagging campaign against men who wear their pants low, thereby exposing their underwear. National attention to the effort inspires others to create their own sartorial movements, including calls for bans on fat women wearing sleeveless snap coats, old people in track suits, men who wear dress socks with shorts and the dreaded scourge of plumber's butt.
Beaned: C. Robert Heath, a lawyer defending the city of Farmers Branch in a voting rights lawsuit over Latino representation in city government, apologizes for a remark in which he compared counting Hispanic voters to guessing the number of "beans in a jar." The comment enrages Latinos who see it as a reference to the racist term "beaner"—particularly in a city that has already stirred controversy with its voter-approved ordinances aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration. Heath tells reporters that he is unfamiliar with the slur. "All I meant was that they'd be hard to count. Who knows how many are hiding in the woodpile?" Heath says. "Oh, what? What'd I say now?"
Humming along: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down Texas' ban on the sale of sex toys, ruling that the prohibition is a violation of Texans' right to privacy. Stock in Procter & Gamble, maker of Duracell batteries, jumps 20 percent in value on the New York Stock Exchange.
With friends like that: Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, recently designated U.S. trade representative by President-elect Barack Obama, tells CBS News in February that though he considers Obama's primary opponent, Hillary Clinton, and her husband, Bill Clinton, friends, Kirk believes the country is experiencing a little Bush/Clinton fatigue. The former president later shrugs off Kirk's comments, saying, "I know what Ron means. I myself have suffered a little fatigue from too much bush."
Not just peanuts: Dallas-based Southwest Airlines is slapped with a record $10.2 million fine by the Federal Aviation Administration after it's revealed the airline flew dozens of jets without mandatory safety inspections. Southwest spokesmen insist that the airline's safety record is clean, but FAA officials say they became suspicious that some inspections were lacking when they discovered a nursing mother cat and eight tabby kittens nesting in the air intake of an engine on a Southwest Boeing 737.
Air-e-ola: The Transportation Security Administration announces in March that it will change its procedures after a Dallas woman complains she was forced to remove her nipple rings before being allowed to board a flight in Lubbock. Under the rule changes, fellow passengers on flights in which a woman is required to remove nipple rings will be charged $5 per person, with a two-drink minimum.
April - June
César who?: Dallas officials inadvertently stir up controversy with the creation of an online survey to determine a new name for Industrial Boulevard as part of the Trinity River project. Voters in the poll overwhelmingly choose the name César Chávez Boulevard in honor of the late civil rights leader. Members of the Latino community are angered when the city rejects the online vote, saying the results were skewed. "Looks like someone slipped a few too many beans in the jar," says a city spokesman, who is forced to flee for his life and seek asylum in Farmers Branch.
Can't win if you don't play: A long-delayed outside audit by the accounting firm Deloitte and Touche uncovers a widespread pattern of poor fiscal management at Dallas Independent School District. Auditors find numerous problems with the district's accounting procedures, including poor oversight by supervisors, ineffective policies and "a big, honking pile of used Texas Lottery scratch-off tickets" intended to cover the district's 2008 payroll.
Mild things: Southern Methodist University President Gerald Turner rejects a proposal to open up a pub on campus, one of a number of proposals made to teach SMU students responsible drinking following the deaths of three students from alcohol poisoning the previous year. The rejection comes despite support from some SMU faculty members, who say a campus pub could strengthen the university community by allowing professors and students to mingle. "Looks like for now we'll just have to keep buying those Girls Gone Wild videos," one English-lit professor says.
Dream on: Former Dallas City Council member James Fantroy, convicted in February of stealing more than $20,000 from Paul Quinn College, rejects U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade's offer that would have allowed the ailing Fantroy, who dies later in the year, to serve a month-long sentence in home confinement if he admitted to the theft. Rejecting the judge's offer, Fantroy compares himself to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose lesser-known and not-quite-as-inspiring "I Have a Scheme" speech has been forgotten by history and everyone else except Fantroy.
Crowing cocks: Federal prosecutors in a bribery case against former Dallas City Council member Don Hill score a pair of victories in their wide-ranging corruption investigation, as Andrea Spencer, a one-time minority contracting firm owner, and Allen McGill, the former president of a state employees association, plead guilty in April and agree to offer evidence against Hill, accused of shaking down a private housing developer. Hill shrugs off the pleas, comparing himself to Jesus, only "with two goddamn Judases to contend with."