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George W. Bush, Loving His Dallas Life, Prefers Painting Over Politics

George W. Bush continues to enjoy his Dallas life -- and continues a budding painting career.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: An update on former President George W. Bush, President Obama to visit Dallas this week, exploring what the JFK assassination meant to Dallas, and more:

Former President George W. Bush continues to pursue a budding painting career. Various news organizations covered his new hobby earlier this year, but now he hopes to create portraits of 19 foreign presidents and prime ministers he worked with while in the White House.  The New York Times reports: “The nation’s 43rd president lives a life of self-imposed exile in Texas, more interested in painting than politics, recovering from a heart scare, privately worried about the rise of the Tea Party golfing with fervor, bicycling with wounded veterans and enjoying a modest revival in public opinion.” In private, he expresses disappointment in President Obama, The Times reported. He’s also concerned about a growing American isolationism. Bush, who is 67, is spending lots of time with his new granddaughter, hanging out near the dugout at Texas Rangers games and focused on his presidential library at Southern Methodist University. One friend calls him a “golf-aholic.” The Times reports that Bush is expected to attend an event today in Dallas honoring Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer. “Clinton is a citizen of the world,” said a friend, “and Bush is a citizen of Dallas.”

  • President Obama to visit Dallas on Wednesday: Obamacare has been facing lots of criticism in recent weeks, so the president hopes to focus on success stories this week. He plans on thanking navigators, folks who are helping residents sign up for health care. He’ll visit Temple Emanu-El to meet with canvassers and navigators volunteering through Dallas Area Interfaith. Other administration officials are fanning out across the country to rally support. Obama will also be in Dallas to raise money at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser. [Politico, The Hill]

  • Exploring the impact of the JFK assassination on Dallas: Hundreds gathered at Gilley’s Dallas on Saturday to discuss how the assassination changed Dallas forever. “Understanding Tragedy" brought together writers, politicians, journalists, religious leaders, scholars and others. Nov. 22 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination. KERA live-blogged the event. Click here to catch up on some of the highlights. Author Richard Rodriguez reflected on the day JFK was killed: “Something happened that day in America, some violence walked through the room and it walked into the room and none of us are the same. Because the president died. Now the roadsides are filled with homemade shrines because a boy was killed at that intersection. But that day, the most protected, the most prominent citizen shot down."

  • Radiolab is here! Radiolab Live is happening tonight at 8 at Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie. Doors open at 7. Radiolab hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich spoke with KERA’s Krys Boyd on “Think” last week. The public media show that says it’s about curiosity is on the road. Tonight, Radiolab Live will focus on the topic of endings, “both blazingly fast and agonizingly slow.” The hosts willromp through hundreds of millions of years of history to arrive at the end, again and again. Joined on stage by Brooklyn guitarist and composer Sarah Lipstate, the evening will be a thought-provoking and laughter-inducing dance on the grave of our inevitable demise.”

  • A film festival in Grand Prairie?: A few years ago, Peter Sime, a Grand Prairie librarian, created a film festival dedicated to female directors. The Lois Weber Film Festival returns Friday and Saturday at Grand Prairie’s Uptown Theater. “We wanted to focus kind of on an unknown area,” Sime told The Dallas Morning News. “People think, ‘Oh, women directors. Lots of crying. Lots of romance. But I knew who [Oscar-winning director] Kathryn Bigelow was. I’d seen [Bigelow’s film] Near Dark. I knew that women were tackling all sorts of genres.” The festival is named for Weber, who has 137 directing credits to her name, all of them silent except one.
Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.