On The Road Again… #2: Dallas

by Jackie_South on August 23, 2014

Dallas photo

For the second in my series of posts, I’ve fallen a bit behind schedule (I’m writing this from Louisiana). This post covers Dallas. More on the Pelican State in my next post.

Dallas is certainly worth a visit, even if I was unlucky enough to be there on a day when most of the museums were closed, in particular in its Arts District. However, probably its most iconic, the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza that commemorates the assassination of John F Kennedy, was open.

That’s the building in the middle of the photo: the sixth-floor window that Lee Harvey Oswald (probably) shot from is on the right-hand side, second from top. The bullet that took away part of the president’s head hit him on the road just above the letter “D” in the newspaper title. At the lefthand edge, under the tree, is the infamous Grassy Knoll.

The museum is a must see – the Americans seem to do these sort of things well: enough reverence without it becoming suffocating and plenty to engage both your interest and your emotions.

Dallas itself has a pretty compact, walkable and attractive city centre, together with a modern light rail system that opened its latest extension this week. For such an oil-focused city, it seems more environmentally friendly than many US cities, with a new park recently built over a freeway by the Arts District.

The news

There have basically been three stories running in the press this week: firstly, the on-going demonstrations and unrest in Ferguson, Missouri; secondly, the beheading of James Foley by Islamic State; and third the proposed prosecution of Texas Governor (and former Prat of the Week) Rick Perry.

Interestingly, African Americans I have spoken to seem most concerned about the beheading, rather than Ferguson – I do not know whether this is the horror of the event or whether they are just unwilling to talk about the issues of Ferguson to white foreigners. It is also whipping up a fresh round of Islamophobia among right-wing extremists.

However, it is Ferguson that is getting most TV coverage – CNN has been almost solely dedicating itself to the coverage of the demonstrations mush of this week. What does seem clear at the moment is that the temperature and anger is understandably blocking calmer debate. The debates on the TV on both sides are much more an exercise in positioning and pontificating rather than thoughtful examination.

On the Perry story – the decision of the Travis County (that covers Austin) District Attorney  to prosecute him for threatening to defund an anti-corruption unit after its head was jailed for drunk-driving, and then following through, seems to have gone further than some commentators imagined. Today’s guest paper, The Dallas Morning News, was skeptical things would go far: it dismissed the charge that the governor had conspired to act beyond his powers in removing the funding and thought the charge of threatening a state official was weak, in that it was not a threat to get them to act inappropriately. The next day, Perry was arrested and had his mugshot taken.

Personally, I don’t think Perry will go down. But this will dent his already longshot efforts to be nominated as the Republican presidential candidate next year.

Texas 30th District
Downtown Dallas is in a rock-solid Democrat district: the 30th. This has a partisan voting index (see previous post) of D+23. The district takes in the city’s largely black and Hispanic south. Wealthier north and East Dallas fall in safe Republican districts, although none are as safe as the 30th, gerrymandered by the Republicans to herd the Democrats in to one seat (the poor west side of the city falls in the 33rd that I covered in my earlier post). African-American former nurse, congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, was easily renominated by the Democrats and won’t face any real challenge in November.



{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mike Killingworth August 23, 2014 at 9:08 am

According to Wikipedia, Johnson will be 80 during the next Congressional term. So why is she running again, and why hasn’t anyone in her Party suggested she might like to take things a little easier?


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