Five stories that have North Texas talking: Waco-reared doctor reflects on almost a century spent listening to babies, Austin gains on Seattle in venture capital heft, a Dallas exonoree's case brings up the question: Should ex-spouses be awarded compensation for their former partners' wrongful convictions? and more.
Health professionals and eager parents know Dr. T. Berry Brazelton as a demigod of sorts. His trailblazing research of newborns changed the way babies are treated in those high-stakes first months – through proving the cuddle’s way of keeping littles alert. Now 95, Brazelton has written a memoir called Learning to Listen: A Life Caring for Children about the near-century he’s spent baby-whispering – since his grandmother discovered his powers as an 8-year-old in Waco.
"She'd put me to work every Sunday on the front porch of her house, while my parents went in to have cocktails and get drunk," he told All Things Considered weekend host Jacki Lyden.
Note Brazelton’s legacy in a conversation on Think last week about keeping moms and babies healthy, featuring Dr. Eric G. Bing of The George W. Bush Institute and Dr. Elizabeth Melendez of Methodist Dallas Medical Center.
- Which City Will Replace Silicon Valley? Austin? Urban theorist Richard Florida has ranked America’s leading metros for venture capital, and Austin is at #8, just after Seattle. Florida is quick to point out that “urban tech” – big companies’ escape from the sprawl into city centers – is an affecting trend. (Though they aren’t in the top 20, Houston and Dallas both account for more than $100 million in venture capital investment.) [The Atlantic Cities]
- Dallas Exoneree’s Ex-Wife, Who Raised Their Son While He Was In Prison For More Than Two Decades, Asks For Part Of Compensation: Steven Phillips served time for sex crimes he didn’t commit in the early ‘80s. He spent 24 years in prison, in fact, while his son grew up in Dallas, before DNA tests proved him innocent. The state awarded Phillips almost $6 million in 2009. Now, his ex-wife Traci, whom he divorced while serving his term, wants some of the money. It’s likely the case will reach the Texas Supreme Court. Rep. Rafael Anchia of Dallas helped write the compensation law, and he told Brandi Grissom of the Texas Tribune that lack of provisions for an ex-spouse was an oversight. “This is an example of the law of unintended consequences,” he said. “We did not think about entitlement by spouses who had become divorced from these innocent men while they were in prison.”
- Asbestos Cases Tougher To Track With Less Obvious Exposure: Bill McQueen of San Antonio used to be an ear, nose and throat surgeon until his excruciating mesothelioma kept him from working. His family sued companies they believe exposed McQueen to asbestos, which causes the cancer. But like many of the plaintiffs in asbestos cases – which are increasingly common – McQueen was a tinkerer and worked with his father on many DIY construction projects. So litigation is more complicated for them than for steelworkers or shipbuilders. The Wall Street Journal spent a year with McQueen and his family as they endured the worst of the disease. McQueen died in March. [Wall Street Journal]
- Fro Fest Reps The Natural: Over the weekend in DeSoto, bigger hair was better hair (when is it not, though?). The Nappiology Fro Fest at the city’s civic center saw vendors and workshops sprung on people working with the texture they have, instead of beating it into submission. And on a day like today, that makes good sense. The Dallas Morning News has a slide show of choice poufs.