blank'/> Liberally Lean From The Land Of Dairy Queen: 5/6/07 - 5/13/07

5.12.2007

Hey, We Made The Paper


In a story about the downfall of the Rhome Traffic Cam, this blog got mentioned and one of the posted comments was even quoted. That's a first. Good job.

Edit: I completely overlooked this sentence in the story: "[T]he tickets start at $179, with Nestor [the company providing the camera] receiving about $25 for each one issued." Incredible. Completely incredible.

5.11.2007

Just Once I Want To See This At Lone Star Park

One of the dogs gets a little loose in Turn Two causing a doggie spin out. However, he will not be denied.

What the?

In light of the recent herpes crab mite crisis at the courthouse, the powers at be have installed a loudspeaker with a recording to scare off the pigeons. I just heard it for the first time I second ago and I think it would scare a young child (or weak man) to death. It runs for about one minute on a loop. It starts with sound of a giant locust, and then builds up to what sounds like about 10 monkeys on crack. Then, for the big finish, it is some crazed animalistic screaming of I don't know what, but it sounds like that screeching noise from the zombies of Night of the Living Dead. I'll try to get a recording of it. It's gold. But you can't imagine all the people on the courthouse square that look up with the "what the?" look. Edit: I captured the audio! Please, please, please listen until the 20th second. (The audio was recorded with a cell phone from underneath the awning of Sweetie Pie's Ribeyes. It's raw and hasn't been enhanced at all.)

Speaking Of Headlines

(From the Boston Globe.) The headline combined with the picture is kinda funny if I were immature.

Since I Have To Deal With . . .


. . . prosecutors all the time, I can't stop staring at the headline.

My Excuse

I am tormented by dreams. Every night (and the best I can tell they occur around 4:00 a.m. or 5:00 a.m.), I'm involved in some kind of dream-state trauma. The dreams are never life threatening, but it's always a serious problem that I can't solve. (Missing law school finals, house's foundation cracking by a foot, teeth falling out, relationship falling apart, etc.) I wake up every morning shortly before dawn and I'm exhausted. My body is tense, I have to take 15 seconds to figure out my life is still the same, and I feel like I've been through the ringer. It happens every night. And I never have a pleasant dream. Edit: I had another one Friday nght/Saturday morning. Weird. I went to some "Mad Max" type place, was stripped down, spray painted with a protective latex coat, and then sent out amongst burning cars, makeshift tanks, and warriors. (I have no idea where that came from.) Edit #2: My dream Saturday night was that I had to explore a house I just purchased. It was the house of the murders described In Cold Blood. And in an odd twist, I was doing the exploring with Fox 4's Lari Barager.

Don't Forget, Folks


The State Track meet is this weekend in Austin. (You can thank me for this PSA later.)

Edit: One of the many, many sources here and here.

5.10.2007

Fox 4 . . . (pause) . . . News




Fox 4 put Jeff Crilley on the case of the missing 12 year old girl from Paris, Texas who was allegedly sexually assaulted by William Rhone of Jacksboro.

The highlight of the story was the interview of neighbor Jean Wolfe who talked to the missing 12 year old for an hour and half before she later went missing: "I asked her again about her family . . . and she was very evasive. And I asked her 'So you're eighteen?' and she said 'yeah' and she had told William she was eighteen . . . . He made a . . .uh . . . mistake, trusting someone and believing somebody. But he did not harm her."

Fox 4 has the video of the story here.

The Spawn Of The Evil Empire


Noticed that a possibly hot girl robbed a bank in Austin wearing, ahem, a Longhorn hat. Let that be a lesson to you kids.

Internet Ads


This one is at the top of the Drudge Report tonight. I can't imagine how much that cost, but it has to be a huge pile of cash.

I'd never click on it, for obvious reasons:
1. First it gives the indication that it is some type of poll. But if you hover your mouse over it on Drudge, the hyperlink (where it would take you) is the same whether you click on "yes" or "no". It's not a poll at all.
2. The question is designed only for the small minded. "Do you agree with President Bush?" Huh? On what? Immigration? Iraq? Abortion? Sexual Preference? Choice of underwear? Who would answer such a question.
3. Get a "free* laptop"? Puuuleeeezzze. At least they give you some idea there's more to it that clicking on the ad. But, not for a second, do I believe I could get any laptop computer that was worth a crap for free.
4. By all of the above, I can tell the sponsor of the ad (and I have no idea what they are selling) is deceptive. I distance. I distance hard.

It's A Little Blurry, But You Girls Look OK To Me


FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- Several female students at Framingham State College are accused of stealing about one-thousand copies of the student newspaper, apparently because they thought they looked fat in a front page picture.

The color photo in "The Gatepost" shows seven female students at a women's lacrosse game wearing tank tops and shorts with the name of a player spelled out on their bare bellies.

Source.

Another Jacksboro Connection!

Story here. (Although the use of an Amber alert for a girl who hasn't been seen since March seems a little unusual.)

I think that's blue sky

Hey, Now #2

So Wrong On So Many Levels


I saw this story on Fox 4 News this morning so it's newsworthy (as well as seedy.) Akon, who has some pretty good stuff, did a crazy bump and grind on stage a couple of months ago. The bad news is that he went into that torso grinding rant with a girl who turned out to be 14 15. That's them above. Not sure what a 14 15 year old is doing dressed like that but all the stories refer to her as "the daughter of a preacher."

The story became news because he has now apologized for the event.

If you want to see the crazy event that got him in trouble, you can here. (And although there is no nudity, it's kinda shocking.)

Edit: Paula Zahn showed the video on CNN, and I just Bill O'Reilly talking about it at lunch on the radio.

Hey, Now


5.09.2007

Hey, Bridgeport........Duck!



It's moving north. (But the rain should help Lake Bridgeport which has gone from 18 feet low to 5 1/2 feet low - full is 836 feet sea level.)

Edit: I shall acknowledge my poor math skills. Either that, or I had just downed a bottle of Paxil as I realized I'm halfway through my 10 year battle with depression.

Tammy Faye


Just saw a story about her cancer struggle which I had heard about but since forgotten. Shockingly, she wrote over the last couple of days that she now weighs 65 pounds (!) and the doctors are no longer treating her.

Despite all the damage that she and her ex-husband did to the Christian community in the 1980s, that's still sad to hear about what must be incredible suffering.

(And, if interested, check out the documentary about her called "The Eyes Of Tammy Faye.")

'Get a divorce' billboard gets dumped



And it's an all female law firm. (Story.) But if they wanted publicity, they're getting publicity.

The Beach


It would be nice to go to the beach.

My Last Rambo Post


I posted earlier this week about this Intoxication Manslaughter case of Ray Rambo in Fort Worth. After a jury ended up deadlocked, a plea bargain was struck for 3 1/2 years in the pen.

More details about the deal came out today in the Star Telegram. Amazingly, the prosecutors never offered a plea bargain before trial. I think that is shameful. Every victim goes into the criminal justice system expecting there to be a trial and expecting there to be a maximum punishment verdict. But that's a fantasy. It's the prosecutor's responsibility to at least advise them to other possibilities. In this case, the jury could have sentenced the defendant anywhere from 2 to 20 years in prison. BUT, they jury could also give the defendant probation.

A responsible prosecutor would go to the victim's family and say, "Look, I think a jury will send him to the pen, but I can't guarantee it nor can I guarantee for how long. And even though I represent the State and not you, I want you to have some input into the plea negotiations. I could offer the defendant, say, 12 years in prison with a deadly weapon finding. A jury might give him more, maybe not. But if he took 12 years, you won't have to go through a trial. Think about it. And think of what number you feel is reasonable. I'm not obligated to follow your wishes, but I want to know what you think." (Note: I have no idea what the prosecutor in this case said to the victims.)

Under the facts of that case, any reasonable defense lawyer would have had to seriously consider any plea bargain offer of 8 years in the pen or less. More years than that, and the decision gets tough.

I can guarantee to you that if 3 1/2 years had been offered before trial, the defense would have jumped on it. In fact, I'd be stunned if the prosecution could not have gotten more. But after a grueling and emotional trial, the victim's family just wanted to be sure the defendant would spend some time in jail. And 3 1/2 was good enough for them.

Bottom line: I believe a grueling trial could have been avoided AND a plea bargain for more than 3 1/2 years could have been obtained. Everyone gripes about plea bargains, but sometimes they work in favor of the victims.

Finally, it was interesting to note that the prosecutor said that the Defendant would have to serve at least 1/2 of his sentence (21 minutes months) before becoming eligible for parole. I respectfully disagree. Any prison sentence that has a deadly weapon finding (as did this one) requires a defendant to serve, at the minimum, two real years in prison. See Texas Government Code § 507.145 (And I'll credit Decatur lawyer Paul Belew for pointing that obscure law out to me about five years ago.)

A Rare "Receive Comment And Post It All By Itself" Moment For Me


Found under this topic.

Man Tricks Up His Crank


Only mentioning this because the guy is from Jacksboro. (And that will teach him for being responsible and pulling over when he feels drunk.)

Edit: Link fixed.

Tempting Video Of The Day

I first saw this two days ago, and I'm not sure I have ever cringed so much. I really wasn't going to link to it but now its all over the place, so you'll see it eventually. Here's the deal: It's a video of some baby and a cobra. The general consensus is that the cobra has been de-fanged and is harmless (except the cobra hasn't figured that out.) It will creep you out. Don't look at it here.

5.08.2007

The Republican Majority Ain't So Bad


Wow. I'm not sure I've ever seen anything like this. The good news is that we save 20 cents a gallon. The bad news is that we might still be paying $2.80 a gallon after the savings. (Story.)

Uh, Oh

The Messenger is going to catch it for tomorrow's front page. It will have a huge pic of the crushed pickup that was involved in the crash that killed Bridgeport High School student Jesse Kwiatkowski this week. They can get away with that - we see it all the time. The more controversial photo will show his mother, Erika, moments after arriving at the scene. That may be a bit troublesome. I'm a huge free speech and free press guy, so I really don't have a problem with it. Many of you will. Edit: For now, a small pic of the wrecked pickup is here.

Hey, Wise County . . . . . . . Duck!



Edit: When I posted this, I didn't know it would update itself.

Edit #2: That was a monster storm that was coming but it deteriorated rapidly over Jack County.

"Hey, Now"


Remember the bill introduced into the Texas Legislature that would require all women who wish to terminate their pregnancy to get a sonogram?

Well, the sponsor of the bill was Rep. Dan Patrick. That's him in Hooters. He's pro-life. Especially pro young and nubile life.

(Source.)

Edit: The original source is politicalblog.abc13.com.

The Christian Truck Driver Kinda Scared Me



Seen on the way back from Fort Worth this afternoon on I-35 right before the north loop. And I guess crosses on mud flaps are OK.

Edit: I meant that the "before it's too late" being displayed on a truck that looked like it could do some damage was a little menacing in appearance. It just seemed very Stephen King-ish to me.

Can You Hear Me Now?

The Star-Telegram says thieves are stealing copper from cell phone towers in Wise County. Edit: There should be a story on Channel 11 at 6:00 p.m. about this problem that I didn't know was a problem. Edit: Heck, I've heard this story on KRLD and WBAP (referenced here.) Man, this has to be a slow news day.

Well, There Is A Reason To Live After All


Jessica Simpson.

Drives Me Insane


A person which who works in my office, but who shall remain nameless (Sherry), backs her vehicle up every morning within a hair of the office air conditioning unit. She set an all time record this morning so I took a pic of it.

"I have my marks," she tells me.

Decatur Storm Damage


After scouring the town, or happening to come across this tree this morning, I've concluded that Decatur was hit with winds that were kinda, but not real, strong last night.

Gov. Perry will be here by noon to survey the damage.

Interesting Theory . . .


on The Ticket yesterday about why the public seems happy the Paris Hilton was sentenced to a 45 day jail sentence: We like society to be the great equalizer. We like the famous and the rich to be brought down, and we like the downtrodden to be raised (i.e. "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition".) I think there may be something to that theory.

Probably Too Long . . .


. . . but the Star-Telegram looks again at the allegation that Rep. Phil King abuses "legislative continuances." The Wise County Messenger even gets a reference near the end of the story (which is probably the most interesting part.)

5.07.2007

I Always Make A Reference To This Scene . . .

. . . and end up hearing crickets chirping. Example. Girl at the courthouse will tell me she had a fight with her boyfriend over the weekend but made up. I'll say, "Did he show up outside your window with a boom box over his head and Peter Gabriel playing?" Then . . . . awkward silence. (From the movie, "Say Anything.")

A Sure Sign Of Upcoming Sickness

Send Cleburne A Thank You Note . . .


. . . for attempting to dethrone us as the most backwoods county in North Central Texas. (Story.)

Verdict Soon

A jury is deliberating the fate of this guy who was convicted last week of Intoxication Manslaughter in Tarrant County. (His blood alcohol concentration was .29 - the legal limit is .08).

From the best I can tell from Star Telegram reports, he had no prior convictions but admits to being an alcoholic for almost all of his adult life.

The range of punishment is anywhere from probation to 20 years in prison. My prediction: I think they'll give him 10 years without probation.

One wild card is that I haven't been able to determine if the jury made a finding of a "deadly weapon." If so, they have been instructed that the defendant, if sentenced to a term of imprisonment, would not be eligible for parole until 1/2 of the sentence is served. Although they are also given the goofy instruction of not to apply the parole law to "this particular defendant", they always do.

Edit: After 9 hours of deliberations the jury indicated they were deadlocked on punishment. Then a plea bargain was struck for 3 1/2 years. That's reasonable to me, but I'm surprised the Tarrant County prosecutors agreed to it. If a mistrial had been declared due to a hung jury, then a retrial only on the issue of punishment would have occurred - guilt has already been established.

The Update . . .


. . . has an update on the fatality accident this morning.

Edit: Star-Telegram has a small story here.

Edit #2: The Dallas Morning News has the same basic story here.

Not Much News (Or Hot Women) In CyberSpace Today . . .

. . . so let's relive one of my favorite Internet clips.

That was almost tornado like a second ago

Edit: That was a heck of a storm at the courthouse. For about one minute the winds got incredibly strong and every car alarm in the southwest proper went off. But there wasn't any damage. But I screamed like a school girl and ran to the basement.

5.06.2007