3.12.2010

When You Know Your Life Has Gone Horribly Wrong

Story. Edit: Fox 4 News was already dogging this guy. He and his daughter had been to the Taylor Swift concert in Dallas.

Breaking: This Morning The Texas Supreme Court Reverses Huge Wise County Jury Award

It was originally a $23 million dollar verdict arising out of a multi-death traffic accident in Paradise. The Texas Supreme Court reversed the verdict and is sending the case back for a new trial because evidence that the other driver was an illegal immigrant should not have been heard by the jury:

  The record indicates that Hughes sought to hedge his theory by calling attention to Rodriguez’s illegal immigration status whenever he could. Such appeals to racial and ethnic prejudices, whether “explicit and brazen” or “veiled and subtle,” cannot be tolerated because they undermine the very basis of our judicial process. Tex. Employers’ Ins. Ass’n v. Guerrero, 800 S.W.2d 859, 864 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 1990, writ denied); see also Moss v. Sanger, 12 S.W. 619, 620 (Tex. 1889) (“Cases ought to be tried in a court of justice upon the facts proved; and whether a party be Jew or gentile, white or black, is a matter of indifference.”); Penate v. Berry, 348 S.W.2d 167, 168-69 (Tex. Civ. App.—El Paso 1961, writ ref’d n.r.e.) (reversing judgment against illegal alien in vehicle collision case because of “numerous remarks” about alien status). We conclude that the trial court erred by admitting evidence impugning Rodriguez’s character on the basis of his immigration status. Such error was harmful, not only because its prejudice far outweighed any probative value, but also because it fostered the impression that Rodriguez’s employer should be held liable because it hired an illegal immigrant.

 Court's opinion.

The lawsuit was the subject of a huge article in the Dallas Morning News. Coverage of the case by the Austin American Statesman as it was argued before the court is here. 


Edit: In response, the local Plaintiffs' lawyers have issued a press release.

What's Going On With The Local Restaurant From The Orient?

I noticed lots of construction and/or remodeling going on around it.

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • I'm not sure I've ever met anyone that has been to SXSW in Austin.
  • Baylor knocked the Empire out of the Big 12 Tournament last night. UT Coach Rick Barnes, in down playing the loss, said that "there are a lot of teams that would like to switch places with us right now." Say what?
  • I've lost a little weight.
  • I hate purely political statements by prosecutors after a win: "The people of Tarrant County can rest assured that when someone is brutally raped, this office will marshal all of its resources to bring those accountable to justice," she said.
  • Hot teacher turns herself in because of guilt over sex offense. You'll regret both the act and turning yourself in.
  • Decatur ISD residents deserve an explanation for the Gindt resignation. The generic statement in today's Update serves no purpose and answers no questions.
  • One of many things that would creep me out: Hitting a guy who suddenly appears on a highway. Last night, three drivers got to experience that on I-35 in Fort Worth.
  • This will be an absolute cluster: They will implode Texas Stadium at dawn on April 11th with the great combo of (1) backing up traffic with a requirement to pay $25 to get in the Red lot, and (2) they'll shut down all the freeways 30 minutes before the explosion. What a mess.
  • Conspiracy theory: Wouldn't it have been in E-trade's best interest to pay Lindsay Lohan to sue them for the "milkaholic" commercial? Great publicity for them and Lohan gets her name in the news, too.
  • Countdown to the comment that reads, "Barry, how did you end up in the background of that pic?" 3 - 2 - 1 . . .

3.11.2010

Breaking: Decatur ISD Superintendent Resigns

Oh, my. We've got a school district in chaos. Developing . . . .

We've Hit The F Bomb Motherload

When you sue someone, everything about you comes out. Today this video gets released of former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach in the locker room speaking to the team after his win over Baylor. The man is not pleased. But, more shockingly, this man is a cussing fool! How he allowed a camera in there is beyond me. ("Language warning" doesn't do it justice.) Source.

Afternoon Pick Me Up: Ladies Edition

When I'm wrong, I'm wrong. This video is at least a week old and has been everywhere on the Internet. But as soon as I saw it was 9:26 long, there was no way I was going to watch it. Life is too precious to sacrifice almost 10 minutes to only one form of silliness --- heck, I can cram a lifetime of online craziness into that time frame. But last night my curiosity finally got the best of me and I hit "play". If you haven't seen it, or have been holding out for the same reason I was, give it a shot. Funny, funny stuff.

In Case You Missed This In The Comments

I Think This Is Amazing

If you would have told me that the deaths per capita had gone down, I'd believe it. But total deaths? You've got to be kidding. Compared to the 1950s, we've got a krillion more cars on the road, traveling at much faster speeds, and driven by a population that is borderline crazy. And less people are dying?

Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • Edit: There are three dead cows along 287 in front of Bono's restaurant on 287 this morning? (Thanks, Lori.)
  • Former Bridgeport resident Allen Vaught (and current State Rep. for a Democratic section of Dallas) has a speaking part opposite of Matt Damon in Damon's new movie called Green Zone. See the short clip here and learn teh background here.
  • I bet he'll get a nice royalty check for that for years to come.
  • In other video news, Decatur's Trevor Brazile has made one for the "I Am Second" campaign. (Thanks, Amy.)
  • Wasn't the old movie Brian's Song based upon a book called "I Am Third"?
  • For some reason I'm seeing the phrase "it's a good read" everywhere when someone references an article or book.
  • To the rare commenter I rejected yesterday who claimed I charged you $1,000 to make "two phone calls." Uh, give me a call because I want to hear from a person that doesn't exist.
  • Scan through the sports channels right now and you'll see a conference basketball tournament going on --- mostly with empty seats in the background.
  • Haven't seen the Steven York criminal case on the docket lately.
  • I was in Jacksboro yesterday and if I had dropped a lighted match everything to the West for miles would have gone up in flames. (Wind reference, by the way.)
  • Very funny news clip of a on-the-scene reporter having a meltdown. But the face on the anchor as the scene cuts back to the studio is the best part.
  • One of the few oddball films that everyone, for years now, has told me that I would like but that hated: Zoolander. I think it's just that I hate Ben Stiller acting like anything other than Ben Stiller.
  • Ticket Fans: There's a Greg "The Hammer" Williams update. That man's not working for less than $104,000 a year.
  • The Dallas Morning News' editorial board thought the 35 year sentence out of Tyler for marijuana possession was stupid, too.

3.10.2010

Wednesday Afternoon Pick Me Up

Fox 4's Fiona Gorostiza with some chick at SMU for the "So You think You Can Dance" auditions this morning.

Health Car In America; Continued

This is one in my continuing Pulitzer Prize winning series, "Health Care After My Shoulder Got All Whopperjawed." When we last left off, I told you about going to the emergency room during the last snowfall for a separated shoulder. I received a notice from the billing department of the hospital that they were sending a bill to Blue Cross/Blue Shield for $2,027.31 (which represented the total bill of $3,025.83 less $998.52 for the "managed care adjustment.") This week I got my statement from Blue Cross. Hey, guess what? You know how I managed to have that low. low, low monthly premium of $300+ a month? I've got a deductible of $2,500! Using my Bridgeport High School math, that means I owe the entire $2,027.31. Add that to the Emergency Room Physician bill of $752.50 (that includes a 50% "early pay" discount), my current out of pocket total is: $2,779.81. Once again, this if for a three hour ER visit with no overnight stay and no surgery.

I Don't Think This Was Predicted

A short but violent thunderstorm line (moving at 50 mph) is headed this way. (We now return you to regularly scheduled programming.) Edit @ 9:53 am: Well, that was a big bag of nothing. I was getting reports that we were going to get hit with hail and 50 mph winds and what do we get? Nothing. It was like Noah split the storm so that the animals could walk two by two across the Red Sea. But it looked bad on radar: Thanks, Tony:

Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • Corey Haim is dead.
  • Motorcycle chase by DPS last night that ended up in a yard on Nottingham Circle in Bridgeport -- my old stomping ground.
  • The Messenger's Update finally came back online yesterday but it was ad free. I guess they've pinpointed the trojan download.
  • Lots or repair work on the family truckster yesterday. And it wasn't cheap. But at least it's no longer a death trap.
  • Even I'm shocked: A crooked DA in Texas was sentenced to 15 years but made parole after 20 months.
  • But before you all go crazy, the most serious crimes in Texas require a person to serve half their sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
  • Saw a white boy in Walmart the other day with his pants down around his thighs. First, kid, you're a white boy. Second, I'm not even sure the black guys are down with that fashion bit anymore.
  • Well, I learned how much my insurance company will cover my emergency room bill. That'll be a separate post later today. I accept Paypal donations.
  • The University of North Texas made the March Madness tourney last night. For the millions of people that fill out brackets next week, that's a decent amount of free advertising.
  • Decatur High School boys dressed up as women to raise money? Isn't there a better way? (That link may be updated which causes the pics to be pushed to the second page)
  • Re: The story of the Prius that allegedly had a stuck accelerator that had to be helped to a stop by a cop in California pulling in front of it: I think there something very suspicious about it (especially after hearing the 911 call from the driver.)
  • We've got a crazy defendant in a Fort Worth courtroom who is saying some crazy stuff about longtime courtroom players. It's almost impossible to get yourself banned from your own trial, but he did.
  • An off duty trooper in Ellis county was shot while at the home of another DPS trooper. Uh, DPS, you do a great about airing other people's dirty laundry so be sure to keep us up to date on this one.
  • Ex Congressional Rep. Massa, who was all over the news yesterday, is a nutcase.

3.09.2010

Craziest Lead Sentence Ever?

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Officials say an Ohio inmate who intentionally overdosed on pills hours before his scheduled execution has returned to prison and is on suicide watch. AP Story. (Thanks, Beck.)

Milk-A-What?

Lindsay Lohan is suing E-trade over this commercial which suddenly makes her very attractive since she's obviously full of crazy. (And it's an excuse to post the very funny commercial.)

From The Email Bag

Still nothing in the Mess about a car vs train collision Sunday morning. Go figure, I guess everyone is off on the weekend. One girl is in JPS with lots of stuff wrong but heard this AM she isn't as bad as first thought, haven't heard anything about the guy. I think they both live around Alvord but unsure where the wreck was. Maybe someone in blogland knows something. Thanks,

Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • A lot of your web browsers, mine included, received a warning yesterday that the Messenger's web site was an "attack site." I bet that caused some scrambling over there.
  • Edit: It's still going on, and an emailer just directed me to this explanation as to what's going on over there. Eeek.
  • A friend told me about Comedy Central's Tosh.0 about six months ago. I finally gave it a chance about three weeks ago and it's really funny.
  • I'm getting new tires this morning. That is, if I don't die first.
  • The women of UConn have now won a record 71 straight basketball games. I didn't think streaks like that were possible anymore.
  • Hal Jay on WBAP this morning when the discussion arose about whether cell phones can cause brain tumors: "I guess that really needs to be proven first." Really?
  • Wow. Got the scam email this morning from a friend saying she is stuck in London without cash. The friend is authentic. The email is not.
  • Weird political revelation yesterday: It doesn't matter if a Congressman has to resign in disgrace because of an ethics investigation involving allegations of gay sexual harassment, if you are willing to bad mouth the Obama Administration, Fox News will embrace you.
  • That girl from Precious is a big gal. And I bet we never hear from her again.
  • Start noticing the number of power lines in Decatur. You'll be amazed.
  • Bristol Palin gets $1,750 a month in child support?
  • Simon Cowell's girlfriend is hawt, but I suppose it wouldn't be any other way.
  • "The officer seen the suspect with a gun . . . ." - Official police spokesman for Dallas PD in connection with the shooting in an office tower yesterday
  • A Gossip Girl "Hey, Now"?
  • Game Change is a great book.

3.08.2010

Texas AG Warns Parents About Chatroulete. Thus, Telling Everyone About Chat Roulette

Story. And here's Jon Stewart's take on the website.

White Girls Win Stepping Competition. Black People Not Happy.

I remember when I was on the Stepping Team back at Bridgeport High School. We'd throw in a little Cabbage Patch with the Water Sprinkler and we were dang near unstoppable. Yeah, it gave rise to some great battles at the Big Sandy Stepping Dance Off Competition, but there was no way we would ever win first place against an African American team. We've come a long way, baby.

You Support Free Speech?

This morning the Supreme Court decided to enter the fray regarding the crazy Rev. Phelps protests. If interested, read more here.

Random Monday Morning Thoughts: Oscar Intensive

  • Everyone is criticizing Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin for their performance at the opening of the Oscars. I thought they were very funny.
  • And Martin was able to throw in "I was born a poor, black child" joke. (From The Jerk.)
  • The deceased director John Hughes montage last night was great. It was enough to give me Good Old Day Syndrome.
  • Heard a lawyer in the Wise County courthouse the other day say, in reference so someone else, say "He's a good lawyer." The problem is that the speaker has no idea what he's doing so his praise made me chuckle.
  • I'm losing my mind. I could have sworn that the villain in The Lovely Bones was Napoleon Dynamite's brother. Nope, not even close.
  • There's a crooked cop in San Antonio in the War on Drugs and the DA's office down there is ethical enough to warn everyone about it. I know at least one prosecutor that wouldn't do that.
  • Wheels Are Off: A Dallas lawyer is accused of murder in a case that involves drugs, all night parties and young women. (It's kind of long but worth it.)
  • The most amazing thing about The Hurt Locker is that it's a movie about the war in Iraq that wasn't political. That's hard to do.
  • My favorite Jeff Bridges' (last night's Best Actor winner) movie that no one has ever seen: 2004's The Door In The Floor.
  • Baylor killed the Evil Empire on Saturday with one Bear recording 10 dunks. One UT blog referred to it as the "Longhorns vs. The Harlem Globetrotters."
  • I get my tires rotated and balanced because I was feeling a vibration. Now the vibration is worse. That has to be a bad sign.
  • Why did Tom Hanks rush out on stage and blurt out the Best Picture winner like he was late to something?
  • Miley Cyrus's mom all tatted up last night.

3.07.2010

And That Drug Was? Marijuana

The story. I'm almost speechless. The guy possessed 4.6 ounces of marijuana. If it had been under 4 ounces then the maximum sentence would have been one year in the county jail! But once he cracked the 4 ounce barrier, he got into Felony Land with its crazy "enhancement" rules for past sins. Stay with me here: Possession of Marijuana of over four ounces but under five pounds is normally a State Jail Felony which requires probation for first time offenders. But this guy had two prior prison trips in, oh my, the 1980s! So the State got to use those prior convictions for enhancement which jacks up his exposure to a longer sentence. (A a ridiculous aspect of criminal law is there is no statute of limitations for using prior convictions for enhancement.) Have I said this before? Marijuana is a plant that grows from the ground. When I'm in my sixties and society is no longer insane, I might run for the Texas Legislature. I wouldn't pass any new laws -- just repeal the craziness that is on the books. ______________ Legal note: One thing I don't understand is that normally the two prior convictions would enhance the crime to a Second Degree Felony which would cap the maximum sentence at 20 years in prison. But the story indicates that both the prosecutor and the defense treated the case as a First Degree Felony. Edit: They updated the story to indicate the possession was in a Drug Free Zone: a day care center. That makes it a Third Degree enhanced to a First Degree. Welcome to Idiocracy.

Movie Talk

Alice in Wonderland just grossed $116 million over the weekend? You've got to be kidding. Why is it every time Johnny Depp tricks himself up (Pirates of the Caribbean, Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd), it turns into box office gold? Just finished The Hurt Locker. It's Good. I won't go so far as to say Very Good because it's pretty much a big screen version of HBO's Generation Kill. Academy Awards tonight: A show that takes three hours which could be done well in less than half the time.