blank'/> Liberally Lean From The Land Of Dairy Queen: 2/28/10 - 3/7/10

3.06.2010

Sure, Let Me Write You A Check For $179,000

In the story there was a reference to how the scam began with an email from someone representing themselves to be in Hong Kong. My law partner and I got the same email about six months ago and spoke briefly about how "authentic" it seemed. It was a far cry from the Nigerian letters that we all receive. But we weren't dumb enough to fall for it like the three Texas lawyers in the story. I noticed where one of them said, "You would think that lawyers would be smarter, but it's funny they fall victim." Well, with an attitude like that, that explains how you got scammed, hoss. Edit: Dang it. The guy who said that actually didn't get scammed. That's what I get for skimming an article before 8:00 a.m. on Saturday. But I still hope he gets scammed in the future.

3.05.2010

My Dirty Family Truckster Has Been Vandalized!!!!

And in my own parking lot!! I'm about to launch an investigation that even Ken Starr would admire! And this has to be a hate crime. Developing . . .

In The White HizzHouse

Beyonce and Jay-Z in a conference room at the White House yesterday. I wonder who would have visited John McCain if the election had had a different result?

Slow Day: I'm Resorting To Posting Guy In Chicken Suit


EMBED-Guy in Chicken Suit Pranks Wrong Class - Watch more free videos

Emergency Room Bill Updated At Bottom. Current Total: $4,476.83

If you recall, yesterday I asked you to guess the cost of a three hour emergency room visit for my very serious separated shoulder. There's your answer. This is the amount submitted to my insurance company. FYI, I buy my own health insurance from Blue Cross and it costs me about $300 a month (with a high deductible -- although I don't recall the amount right now.) So I'm not sure how much this bill will cost me out of pocket. And I still have the bill from the ER doctor and Radiologist to come. (I don't think the "Radiology" entry above is for the actual doctor -- just the use of the x-ray machine instead.) One question: What is that "Managed Care Adj[ustment]" thing at the bottom? I'll keep this post updated as time goes by as we all learn about health care in America. *************** Edit on 3/5/10: I've now received the doctor's bill from the emergency room. Question: Why is this sent to me instead of the insurance company? So I have to submit this bill directly to Blue Cross? I've got health care confusion. Edit #2: Wow, I completely missed this. The stub to include with the payment gives me an automatic 50% discount if I pay it all in cash. What a screwed up system.(And what's an EOB that was mentioned in the comments.)

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • The lady who was shot in East Dallas yesterday morning looks to be the victim of a "hit". It was crazy: Man comes out of no where after she drops her kid off for school and guns her down. She drove a BMW (if that matters), and her husband was killed in Mexico last year.
  • Somebody at the Messenger was up in the middle of the night to cover a wreck on 287 via photographs. They they even put it on the Update at 5:10 a.m. Has to be a coincidence. No one is getting out of bed to cover a generic wreck.
  • Regarding the guy who was sentenced yesterday to 8 years in prison for DWI: If we just separate him from alcohol then he's the same as you and me, right? Is the only way to accomplish that to put him in a cage?
  • I'm really liking the book Game Change. I had forgotten how far Obama trailed Hillary Clinton (by 33 pooints) in the early stages of the campaign.
  • Looks like the Muhammad Ali impersonating Lady Bear basketball player will be suspended for two games.
  • Irving is going to open the "red" parking lot to the public when Texas Stadium is imploded. I think I'll go. It comes down on April 13th.
  • I flip over to WBAP sometimes during the many commercial breaks from The Ticket in the morning. Have they retired the horribly unfunny character "Sam from Sales?"
  • I've never had an interest in American Idol. Don't we have enough generic pop singers in this world?
  • Did you know you'll be moving your clocks forward one hour next weekend? Doesn't that seem a little quick?
  • Heard this morning regarding the concept of prayer: "God is not Santa Claus."
  • The #1 Google image search yesterday was "Jesus Arm Wrestling With Satan?"
  • According to a story in the Star-Telegram today, every lake in the Trinity River Basin is full. Except Lake Bridgeport.
  • It's always bugged me that the sign before the bridge in Runaway Bay says, "Bridgeport Lake."

3.04.2010

Legal News From Across The State

A family sues the Pour House in Fort Worth for serving a cop who eventually caused a death in a DWI accident. The Plaintiff's attorney said, and I'm not making this up, "It's not about the money." In Houston this afternoon, a district judge declared the Texas death penalty unconstitutional. Wait, what? (Edit: For you legal minds out there, here's a blog explaining that the judge's specific ruling might not be able to be appealed.) And a Houston attorney provides ample evidence of why everyone hates lawyers. Incredible.

Verdict In DWI-Felony Case

Faced with a range of 2 to 10 years and with the option of probation, the Wise County jury handed down its sentence a couple of moments ago: 8 years and $5,000 fine. No probation. (That isn't going to help plea bargain offers.) Once the verdict was reached, but before court was reconvened, the defendant ran out on the balcony for a smoke. (Pic). I think his name is Richard McDuff who used to live in Rhome. I had thought the jury was in for a long day when I heard one of them speaking on the phone during a break say, "You can't get twelve people to agree on what day it is."

Better Video Of Baylor Girl Going Medieval On Tech Player

The recipient of the hit:

Business Card: Making The University Of Texas Proud

Story behind this guy.

Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • My continuous pet peeve: Ads disguised as news stories. I think I saw two this morning on Fox 4. There was a "story" about Starbucks having a new 32 ounce drink and one about Pappasitos opening up at DFW airport.
  • There was a brawl last night at the Tech/Baylor women's basketball game. I'm looking for the video but it sounds like a Baylor gal started it. Certainly it was justified. Has to be. Edit: Video. That girl is gonna get suspended.
  • Testimony in Decatur court yesterday: There are 2,100 people on probation in Wise County. (With each of them paying $60 a month in probation fees, that's a lot of cash.)
  • There's a business which allows you to text any question to them and they'll give you an answer for a $1? Who would be dumb enough to do that?
  • Someone in the comments referred to the four restaurants that burned on Greenville Avenue as "beer joints." Uh, get out of Wise County much?
  • Heard the craziest story yesterday at the courthouse of a functionally mentally retarded guy grabbing a midget Jehovah Witness solicitor off his doorstep and holding him two days in the closet because he thought he was an actual troll. I'm trying to get the details but that's insanely funny. Edit: Mzchief schools me in the comments.
  • Sarah Palin wants the media to respect her family's privacy so much that now she's trying to get a reality show. Her 15 minutes are about up.
  • The controversy over the kids being allowed to say a few commands as an air traffic controller (as his dad watched over him and told them what to say) is no controversy at all. But the Today Show has led with that story for two days in a row.
  • That $53 million verdict against Perry Homes has received no news coverage whatsoever. I don't understand that.
  • The contestants on Wheel Of Fortune always guess the puzzle before me. And with all the technology in the world, is there any job less necessary that Vanna White's?
  • I want to see Palo Duro Canyon. But I don't want to drive there.

3.03.2010

Courthouse News

A jury convicted a man of Felony-DWI today --- meaning he drove while intoxicated after having been convicted at least two times before of DWI. I checked on it and they are in the jury sentencing phase now. The options are 2 to 10 years in prison and then the decision as to whether the sentence should be probated. Edit: The defense lawyers are Jack Duffy and another guy (who has taken 99% of the lead) who I do not know. Both are out of Fort Worth.

Wednesday Afternoon Pick Me Up

Same Old. Same Old.

For almost a year, I've sporadically listened to Jeff Bolton on KLIF who has promoted BlowOutCongress.com -- a site which advocates defeating every incumbent in Congress regardless of party and regardless of merit. The whole idea is wacky on its face, but everyday the show would target an incumbent somewhere in the nation with this call to arms: At 11:00 a.m., all those supporting the movement would call or email the Congressman who was in the cross hairs and tell them "we aren't going to take it anymore, and we are targeting you for defeat." (Like that served any purpose whatsoever.) The talk show host is a right winger. The idea was so mindless that he even advocated the ousting of right winger Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling one day. So how did it work in Texas last night? Nearly half of the 32 Texas congressional members faced an opponent. How many lost? None.

Last Week's Pro Golf Tournament Won . . . .

. . . because this gal went to the parking lot to retrieve a new driver to replace a cracked one for the eventual winner. (Link has additional pics.) Bestest. Girlfriend. Ever.

Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • Everyone I know doesn't like Rick Perry, but then he goes and pulls off an amazing win without a runoff when challenged by a popular sitting senator and a relatively popular Tea Party advocate.
  • Texas Monthly said don't count him out for a run for the presidency in 2012. I wouldn't either. (And if you heard his victory speech, he sounded like he was already running.)
  • Locally, I thought Paul Wood would beat Terry Ross. It was a close race, but I was certainly wrong about that.
  • Those five propositions on the Republican ballot were just weird.
  • I was sad to see District Clerk Cristy Fuqua lose the district clerk's bid. She's not a politician --- just a sweet and quiet lady who always does her job.
  • I knew some folks that worked hard for the opponents of the DA in Tarrant and Denton County. But both incumbents won easily.
  • The incumbent DA in Kaufman County, who was arrested for DWI in Dallas about a year ago, is headed for a runoff.
  • Some people gripe about JP Terri Johnson, who won re-election last night, but I've never had any trouble with her. And if you want to see a lady who was relieved of stress, take a look at her picture today in the Messenger.
  • Speaking of politics, I've started reading Game Change.
  • Weird story in the Messenger today about a former employee suing the Wise County Tax Office for wrongful termination. Not sure why it's news now since the lawsuit was filed in November. But I found it odd that the Tax Assessor Collector said he was aware of the litigation. Edit: I'm told that the lawsuit was filed but no one was ever served.
Edit: Sheesh, people. Don't fire off comments that are just plain nasty or contain assertions of fact which we have no way of verifying.

3.02.2010

Wise County Election Results

I'm stringing together a source who will give me up to date returns. Early results should be first. (Although this may be a failed bit.) Edit: Last updated: 9:16 pm County Judge (Final) Billy McElhaney 4276 Jim Cowell 1830 District Clerk (Final) Brenda Rowe 3528 Cristy Fuqua 2544 County Commissioner, Pct 2 (Final) Rob Hawkins 538 Kevin Burns 1204 Justice of the Peace, Pct 2 (Final) Karen Green 548 Terri Johnson 1121 County Commissioner, Pct 3 (Final) Steel 130 Underhill 37 Lambert 555 (in runoff) Davis 95 Wilson 364 Lamance 548 (in runoff) Justice of the Peace, Pct 3 (Final) Long 93 Hightower 608 (in runoff) Montgomery 194 Burdock 182 Lisby 112 Hays 545 (in runoff) County Commissioner, Pct 4 (Final) Terry Ross 944 Paul Wood 862 -------------- Governor Medina 2155 Hutchison 1931 Perry 2909 ________ (Thanks, James. Great job.)

Mass Gathering In Wise County

I saw an Official Notice on the courthouse door about a group seeking a "mass gatherings permit" from the county for some amateur motocross championship. (Sorry, no pic.) First, I had no idea the law required such a thing. Secondly, I had no idea about the "freedom of assembly" clause in the Bill of Rights was actually the "freedom of assembly if the government grants you a permit" clause.

Guardrails Are Our Friends

Felony DWI Trial Going On

These cases are tough to win from a defense standpoint because the State has the right, and obligation, to prove the defendant has twice before been convicted of DWI. And even though the jury is instructed that those two prior convictions are no evidence that he was intoxicated this time, that's not the ideal position for a criminal defendant. One potential juror, who said she was against alcohol in general, said "I already feel an agitation towards this man." As I always say, I don't care how potential jurors feel so long as they tell the lawyers and the judge about it. Meaning: She's not getting on the jury.

Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

Edit: Oops. I was informed I already posted this one. Let's try again:
  • If you had the television on at around 6:30 this morning, you saw a spectacular fire on Lower Greenville which destroyed Terrilli's and three other restaurants.
  • I had a crazy date at Terrilli's in the 1990s. Not sure whatever happened to her.
  • Someone commented that arson cases are often rejected by prosecutors because they "don't understand" the science behind arson investigations. Puhleeze.
  • Gov. Perry grants a posthumous pardon to Tim Cole yesterday. Wasn't that one day before the election? Truly profiting off a dead man.
  • My prediction: Perry gets 45% of the vote tonight.
  • The Messenger is hosting an "Election Night Watching Party" tonight at the Decatur's Visitor's Center. Note to Decatur Police: Be on standby!
  • There's a best selling book called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter? And there's a book soon to be movie called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (with Natalie Portman starring and producing?) Are we out of ideas? I read that in Time yesterday.
  • Off the top of my head, I don't know the difference between Armageddon and the Apocalypse.
  • The Evil Empire went from #1 in the nation to falling out of the AP Top 25 yesterday.
  • I can't tell you enough how quickly my shoulder healed.
  • Sean Hannity was implying yesterday that President Obama drinks too much. It's incredible what Fox News has become.
  • The couple we stayed with in Costa Rica has decided to move their permanently. They don't have any kids and just decided to take a leap of faith.
  • I heard their was a DWI-Felony trial starting today in Decatur. I'll check it out.
  • Based upon some anonymous comments, someone I know is off her medication.
  • The Jack County Courthouse shuts down on election day. Wise County does not.
  • Slate magazine has a "Spoiler" podcast that reveals and discusses the end of movies. I just listened to one for Shutter Island. Oh, my.
  • When you know your life is wheel's off: "Man admits to mistress that he killed topless dancer." There's a lot going on in that sentence.
  • Have ballots ever designated the incumbent? I don't think so.

3.01.2010

As We Say In The Legal World: Holy Cow

Talk about a screwed up system: A couple in Mansfield sued Perry Homes because of alleged bad construction issues with their home. Shortly before trial, they invoked an arbitration clause in the contract, went to that arbitration, and were awarded $800,000. Perry Homes, not liking the arbitration award, appealed the case all the way to the Texas Supreme Court which reversed the decision and held that the couple waited too long to seek arbitration. So Perry Homes won the appeal and the case headed back to regular court. (Take a look at this Dallas Morning News story last February implying that contributions by Perry Homes to the Supreme Court campaigns makes the case look sleazy.) But here's the verdict today in Tarrant County against Perry: $58 million. Ouch. Edit: I predict this is going to be a huge national news story within the next couple of days. Credit to the Texas Lawyer's newspaper blog for breaking it first. (And I promise I would subscribe to that paper if it didn't cost $199 a year.)

Viral Video News

I'll admit I don't understand the fascination: There's a youtube clip of a kid crying over Justin Bieber* for about four minutes -- a clip that has received almost two million hits despite not allowing it to be embedded anywhere. If you can stick through four minutes of the kid, however, there is a funny moment around the 4:10 mark. And I've read that an actual meeting between the kid and Bieber was filmed and will be played tonight on Jimmy Kimmel Live. ____________ *I'll also admit I had no idea who that guy was.

Bridgeport Prisons On Chopping Block?

Probably not. But there's talk of closing some of the private Texas prisons because of an upcoming budget shortfall and both of the correctional facilities' contracts are up for renewal this year. The big one employs over 130 people. That place certainly qualifies as "out of sight, out of mind."

Did Someone Say Rain?

Rain and temperature in the 40s. It's a Chamber of Commerce day in Wise County.

Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  • A filler story in the Messenger this weekend indicated that 1 in 5 employed Wise County workers have a job supplied for the government.
  • Anyone else getting tired of the saying, "Everything is bigger in Texas"? (And I think it is because of Cowboys Stadium that I keep hearing it so often lately.)
  • If you were watching TV on Saturday afternoon, you were certain that Hawaii was going to be wiped out by a Tsunami.
  • From a recent George Will column: "Almost half of the House and Senate Republicans are from 13 states - the 11 of the Confederacy plus Oklahoma and Kentucky." Wow.
  • Marie Osmond's 18 year old son committed suicide over the weekend by jumping off a building.
  • All you Dallas Mav fans need to tap the brakes a little bit.
  • Weatherman Brad Barton on WBAP a second ago: "The high today is going to be 48 and that's optimistic. Maybe that was the temperature at midnight." Maybe? You're the weatherman!
  • Got through half of some old horror flick called Dead Ringers.
  • I got so mad at might tight pants that I ordered a month's supply of Nutrisystem.
  • One of the craziest stories you'll ever read is the one of the nude woman breaking into commissioners' court candidate Paul Wood's house last week. I also heard that wasn't a good kind of naked. (But I couldn't find the abbreviated version on the Messenger's web site.)
  • For the heck of it, I was a photographer's "assistant" at a Hispanic wedding at Ruben's Ballroom this weekend. That is one heck of a scene if you've never witnessed one.
  • But I also got to talk to Ruben who is a heck of a nice guy. They have wrestling matches out there? That would be funny.

2.28.2010

Breaking: I've Had Two Reports About This

Bono's Gaining On Frilly's

Cowtown Half Marathon

  • One of these days, perhaps too soon, I won't be able to do it anymore. But for now, it remains one of my favorite days of the year.
  • So did I finish? Yep. Did I walk at all? Nope. What was my time? 1:59:42. My fastest time since starting the half marathon four years ago. Let me brag for a moment.
  • Favorite sign held by a little girl: "You Are All Kenyans In My Eyes."
  • There were a bunch of real cheerleaders at one mile marker.
  • Followed by a group doing the "Thriller" dance in full costume.
  • The weather was absolutely fantastic. You'd think 40 degrees would be miserable but throw in no wind and the sun, and you have a glorious day.
  • I jog with an iPod with about 40 songs on it in the shuffle mode. When I hit the finish line in Dallas last December, the ending song from Slumdog Millionaire was playing. The same thing happened this year. Odd and cool.
  • I get a little emotional during the first half mile and the last half mile. It's just a recognition, as I get older, of the preciousness of life and health.
  • I'm not sure what happened on the Kids 5K, but all of them got off course and and, although crossing the finish line, ran only about 60% of it.
  • I heard Judge Cude's voice about 200 miles yards (oops) from the finish line and he snapped a pic. I haven't seen it yet.
  • Speaking of, his son David finished in 1:19:50 for 17th place overall.
  • Thomas Aaaberg, the attorney who advises our commissioners' court, ran the full marathon in 3:16:50. That's one minute short of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
  • All Decatur finishers here. (And you can search for other towns.)