This Is An AP Story? Justice WIllett Is Beginning to Haunt Me

Kind of funny, I guess.

But he actually came up with the idea and campaigned for months to have that resolution created and passed. 

I'll give the guy credit. Judges are elected in Texas and since the Texas Supreme Court will always be a statewide race, even the slightest name recognition for an incumbent is a rubber stamp for re-election.  His tweets are silly, full of dad jokes, and never controversial.

See what I mean?

But he knows how to get his name out there. (Hey, I got sucked into writing about him, the legislature got sucked in, and now the  main stream media just copies and pastes the AP story.)  He is modern day political genius. What's the phrase? "Crazy as a fox"? Karl Rove could learn from him.*

Incidentally, based upon my Westlaw search, over the last 12 months Justice Willett has authored six opinions for the Texas Supreme Court. I'm guessing that the job of writing the opinion is "assigned" by the Chief Justice to a judge in the majority which means "Hey, you and your clerk write it." During that time period, he never wrote an opinion concurring or dissenting. Those opinions, which take time and effort and passion, are written voluntarily. The absence of those voluntarily opinions may mean something. Maybe not. In those 12 months he hasn't evened "joined" a dissenting opinion. Heck, he may be content with everything the court decides.

You pay him $168,000 a year plus a pension.
*I couldn't help but think about Austin political consultant Dave Carney who was behind the failed Rick Perry presidential run and the disastrous David Dewhurst campaign for Lieutenant Governor ("Ted Cruz represented the Chinese!")  I don't know what he was paid for his advice, but Willett's free Twitter account should make guys like him obsolete.


Taking You Into The Weekend: Let's Hit The Pool

Ferris Bueller Took His Fictional Day Off 30 Years Ago Today

I'm not talking about the date of the release of the movie. I'm talking about what day it was when his character roamed around Chicago.

How do we know it was June 5, 1985? The baseball game.

I wonder if schools were in session in Chicago that day?

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • The Aggies and TCU square off in the college baseball playoffs this weekend. There was a story yesterday that the Aggie fans had snatched up all the tickets online for the game in Fort Worth after the TCU Athletic Director tweeted out the code for TCU season ticket holders to have first shot at the tickets. He did release the code, but the story might be overblown. We'll see.
  • So Decatur High School had its graduation last night in Denton but 380 was closed for construction afterwards? I'm assuming there was a designated detour. How'd that go? 
  • 143 bikers still sit in the Waco/McLennan County jail.  The only saving grace is that state law requires all of them to be released on a PR bond after 90 days if not indicted by that time.  Continues to watch this situation. Ultimately, I predict, it will cost the police chief his job and the DA his career. 
  • Rick Perry's speech declaring his run for the  presidency included this: "You think about who we are. We’ve been through a civil war. We’ve been through two world wars. We’ve been through a Great Depression. We even made it through Jimmy Carter! We will make it through the Obama years! We will do this!"  Really? That's your big pitch? "Hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husbands" because we are about to see a train wreck of a campaign. 
  • Question I heard on the radio yesterday: If a newspaper was held up in front of a third grade class, could they identify what it was? I think the answer is no.
  • Fox 4 News photo of a car almost cut in half by a light pole last night. 
  • I've paid no attention to the Josh Duggar controversy and I'm not sure why.
  • I'm not worried about Open Carry. I worried about the guy who thinks it's a good idea to openly carry a handgun. Carrying it concealed? Makes sense. But why would you want to openly carry? 
  • Month old news went viral yesterday about a student in College Station being killed because of an argument over beer pong rules. (Get ready: She was a cute young blonde and the alleged killer is black. You know what's coming.) But didn't I see a comment on here about a month ago regarding a shooting down there that involved a Wise County resident that "I needed to check into?" I don't think it's related, but I guess I'll find out. 
  • I mentioned the other day that I had learned controversial ex-DA John Bradley of Williamson County had ended up with a job in the AG's office in the country of Palau.  Yesterday I learned that Rick Perry, a big fan of Bradley's back in the day, visited that country before Bradley was hired. 


It's Like Looking At The Odds For A Horse Race

And probably as unpredictable.

Ads Disguised As News Stories

This has been on my radar for quite some time, and I think we've got a big one going on right now.

Southwest Airlines began a two day sale on Tuesday.  I heard about it on WBAP when they were bringing in a "travel expert" to talk about the deals. I became suspicious.  Later that morning I got an email from someone who knows I'm always on the alert for the ad/news trick who asked me if I heard the segment where they talked about the Southwest deals on the Ticket. He thought it was an disguised ad.

So yesterday Southwest's web site allegedly "crashed" during the day.  I saw at least two "news stories" last night on local TV. Yeah, news of a website crashing is generally bad but the stories had the tone of "the deals offered by Southwest were so good its servers crashed." Something wasn't quite right.

And today we get stories like the one above from the Dallas Business Journal about how the Southwest sale has been extended.  This is actual text from the "news" story: "The fare sale caused 'extraordinarily high' customer demand, Southwest (NYSE:LUV) said in a statement. Many of Southwest's short flights are on sale for $49 each way, making dozens of routes nationwide available for about $100 round-trip. Nonstop flights on Southwest's longer routes are priced at $99, $129 and $149 each way. The deals cover travel between Aug. 25 and Dec. 16, and do include blackout dates around Labor Day and Thanksgiving."

Doesn't that read like an ad? We are being played.

Am I saying that Love Field based Southwest paid DFW radio stations to promote the sale as "news"? Am I saying that their Internet site failure was a ruse so they could pay local DFW news stations to report about the "failure" because the "deals were so good"? Am I saying they are paying media outlets today to report as "news" that the sale has been extended?

I have no proof, but I'd bet "yes". Big time.

We are entering a new world for ads. People go directly to content and bypass ads with technology. So what's the next step for a company with ad dollars to spend? Bury the ads in the news. And with print media, radio and TV dying for ad money, they are willing to do it.

Edit: Some have pointed out that this post could be a paid Southwest ad. That actually crossed my mind while writing it. It's not, but if Southwest had paid me they would have an a brilliant ad campaign which borders on Inception.

Edit: Shout out to Fox 4's Steve Eager tonight telling Heather Hays, "It sounds like you are doing a commercial" when she reported the Southwest website problem and mentioned the specifics of the fare sale. He was sarcastic (of course). But that doesn't mean it is not true. He stoically and painfully anchored a full hour newscast dedicated to the American Idol finale one time because he's a good soldier. A snarky soldier, but a good soldier.

Let Me Unfairly Pick On That Tweeting Texas Supreme Court Justice

We begin around 10:00 a.m. yesterday. He's correct. A man is set to be executed by the government and Judge Don Willett's court, the Texas Supreme Court, has no control over it.  The Texas Supreme Court basically deals with disputes over money.  Jurisdiction about freedom, life, and death lies with the "CCA" meaning the under-appreciated Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Lester Bower is not his problem.

Later in the evening, at 6:36 p.m. to be exact, the execution of the man occurred. His name, once again, was Lester Bower. Google him. The Washington Post wrote about him under the headline of "Lester Bower’s story is everything that’s wrong with the death penalty".

Shortly after the execution, the Judge Willett responded to a tweet about an opinion he wrote two years ago concerning the value of a pet when someone intentionally or negligently kills it. 

It was a touchingly written opinion about the value of a pet who is killed, or executed, by someone else.  I guess I could be snarky at this point, but to be fair, most Texans are aren't paying attention when the execution of an inmate happens. Heck, I was probably playing with The Family Dogs at that moment. But twenty-five to fifty years from now America will look back on the death penalty as we now view slavery or women not being allowed to vote: We will ask: "That really happened?" 

I don't know what Lester Bower's last meal was. But, since I'm going all in, this was posted around 10:00 last night.

Ok, I went too far with that one.  If I get hit with Twitter Contempt, I will not appeal.

Separated At Birth

From Austin, TX:

Uh, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer?

Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • Rick Perry is announcing his bid for President today after unveiling his web site in the middle of the night. I think he's the 10th Republican to announce. Delicious.
  • Ted Cruz told an old "joke" about Joe Biden at a function yesterday. Biden's son died of brain cancer less than a week ago. When a light bulb finally came on above Cruz's head, he apologized.
  • Josh Hamilton has strained his hamstring and will miss four weeks. Hey, I dislocated my shoulder because of a 6" high snow sled jump once yet I can confidently say that he's more fragile than I am. 
  • Pacman is 30 years old today, and Google celebrates by letting you play with the keyboard arrow keys. Edit: I screwed that bullet point up big time. 
  • Hillary Clinton was in Dallas last night for a fundraiser at the home of PI lawyer Frank Branson. I know someone who was there and am waiting for an update. 
  • For the first time since leaving office, slightly more than 50% of Americans have a "favorable impression" of George W. Bush.  Bill Clinton has been above 60% since 2009.
  • BagOfNothing has a video of an Addison cop smashing out the window of a car when the driver refused to identify himself. The youtube description is "Addison Cop violating my rights when I refused to SUBMIT to his bogus claims. Brown v Texas - Officers CAN NOT demand a person to self identify unless then cops has seen them in a commission of a Felony. I was just going from point A to B... this is at 9:30 am on a Saturday morning going to work." Sorry, buddy, you're wrong. 
  • But the driver also said, "Did you realize in the state of Texas that speeding in and of itself is not illegal?"  You know what, he's right. Edit: link fixed. 
  • "Texas lawyers this year notified hundreds of corporate clients that their hourly rates were going up. Junior partners at many large law firms now charge $650 an hour. Associates only three years out of law school bill $400 an hour." Story.  How this fraud on the the public continues to survive is amazing. It's robbery. 
  • A few weeks ago, a friend of a friend was in a car accident which was not her fault. She had some minor injuries but nothing significant, and filed a claim with the other driver's insurance company to pay for the car repairs. She said the claims adjuster was "so nice" and was even willing "to pay me a little extra than the property estimate" and suggested they meet at Starbucks. Yep. Waiver and settlement agreement was signed at Starbucks in exchange for the check. 


Get Me These . . .

I Never Thought I'd Miss Rick Perry

Say you were arrested for possession of drugs but it was for an amount so small that it is either a misdemeanor or, even if a felony, under Texas law you are entitled to a mandatory probation (if you have no prior felony convictions.) But let's also say the cops only found that small amount of dope because you called 911 to help a friend who had possibly overdosed or even you had possibly overdosed? Should we make it a law that we'll give you a pass on the drug case in those situations since you were seeking help?

The Texas legislature overwhelmingly said yes.

Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed it yesterday.

(But he did sign a bill renaming a highway after the American Sniper.)

From My Email Bag

Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • What a crazy scene in and around Ellis County last night. Two brothers get stopped for a traffic violation and end up taking the officer's SUV (I want to see the video of that.) They are later stopped and a standoff began which was broadcast live over the air and Internet since the police "negotiator" and the suspects were communicating over police radios. (I haven't heard the recorded audio yet, but it's coming.) Then one suspect killed himself, the other guy announced he was getting out to kill cops, and he got out with a shotgun and you can guess what happened next. 
  • There may have been a murder in Jacksboro yesterday.
  • "Deputy secretary of state says U.S.-led coalition has recorded more than 10,000 ISIS deaths in 9-month campaign."  I'm not sure what "U.S.-led coalition" means exactly, but we know the U.S. trained Iraqi army is a joke. When they cut and ran when ISIS approached last year, most news sources said we had spend $25 billion in training and arming them. 
  • Only 25 of the Waco Twin Peak bikers have been released on bond. One person I haven't called out is McLennan County Justice of the Peace W.H. “Pete” Peterson who was the person who initially set bonds at $1 million for every single one of them. He's incompetent at best and a moron at worst. It's good to see at least someone has filed a complaint with State Commission on Judicial Conduct.
  • I have never seen so many Fort Worth lawyers coming into Wise County to get court appointments for indigent defense.  And it pays next to nothing. Here is the fee schedule as of 2011.  (When it says you get x dollars for a "plea" that isn't just for the hearing for the court to accept the plea. That fee is for the entire representation: investigation, file review, client visits, research, negotiations with prosecutor, etc.  Hey, I always say there are too many cops, but there is a lawyer glut of biblical proportions in North Texas. And UNT's law school hasn't even opened yet. There will come a day when "indigent defense" means the defense lawyer is the one who is broke. 
  • If I can make automatic payment by credit card for my monthly bills, I'll do it. That also means I'm in for a monumental beating when I get issued a replacement card (which will occur even because of a new expiration date). 
  • My backstop project has become my Moby Dick.  I'll get it done and then figure out a way to do it better even if it means starting from scratch.  I'm opening a salvage PVC store when I'm done. 
  • Remember: When Gov. Greg Abbott signs a bill at a press conference, he is doing it only for show. In Texas, any bill passed becomes law unless the governor vetoes it. He doesn't have to sign or approve any of them. 
  • Sports: (1) Everyone can calm down on Joey Gallo. It is one game. (2) I'm not going to watch any of it, but a twelve day delay before the NBA Championship series begins seems a little silly. (3) But not as silly as the announcement that the two semi college football playoff games being played on New Year's Eve.  (4) The Seattle Mariners manager got thrown out of game last night and went on an "epic rant". Translated: "Look at me!!!"


Get Me This Dog Who Throws Her Buddy Under The Bus!

Gov. Abbott Signs Bill Outlawing Local Fracking Bans - Protest In Denton Follows

Story. There's all sorts of angles here. The potential damage of fracking, whether a municipality should be able to ban it, and whether we-are-against-big-government Texas can tell a municipality they can't ban it.

All that being said, I simply liked the following picture. See, we can all get along.

Baseball, Hot Dogs, Guns, and Texas

Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • Edit: I've learned the RTG is a repeat. Working on emergency replacement. 
  • Well, once again some of you owe me an apology. Last week, I astutely pointed out that one of the Fort Worth officers in the take down of the "slow speed chase" guy used the butt of his gun in an act of potentially excessive force. Yesterday that officer was placed on administrative leave because of the action. (Also the driver of the SWAT monster truck was also placed on leave because he didn't have authorization to do the "pit maneuver".) 
  • I was watching Fox 4 last night and they were interviewing a Eagle Mountain Lake homeowner who was angry that the gates at Lake Bridgeport were open which could cause more flooding. "They need to shut it off," he said. Oh, now you want it shut off. 
  • A Tarrant County deputy shot and killed a man in Azle last night. The deceased appears to have been Muslim. 
  • Yesterday there were numerous reports that bonds for some of the Waco Twin Peak bikers had been reduced once they agreed not to sue the police department. I couldn't believe it because not only would involve an incompetent defense lawyer but any DA or judge who required that condition would probably have violated a million ethical rules and maybe even committed a crime. Turns out, it was a weird rumor started by weird press releases
  • This reduction in Whataburger breakfast hours due to an alleged shortage in eggs seems a bit fishy.  Hypothetically, if breakfast sales were slow and the company wanted to cut back on store hours, making up a story about an egg shortage would not only get the company free publicity but it would avoid any negative press about slow sales. 
  • TCU baseball advanced in the college baseball playoffs last night after being down 8-1 to NC State in the eighth inning. (I got sucked into it late.)  The Frogs scored six unearned runs in the eighth as NC State turned into the Three Stooges, and TCU went on to win. 9-8.
  • I had to stop on my jogging path last evening after 10 ducks decided to stroll across it. Loved it. (I noticed them about three weeks ago when most of then were just babies. Ducks grow fast.) 
  • I know I beat you down with my WBAP morning show criticism but they had another head shaker this morning. Hal Jay had a segment on The Quinnipiac University poll concerning whether Americans would support a Supreme Court decision which legalized same sex marriage. It revealed overall Americans would support it by a 56 - 38 percent margin.  Democrats would support legalization 70 – 24 percent, Independent voters 61 – 34 percent, while Republicans would oppose it 62 – 34 percent.  OK, that's interesting. Then Brian Estridge interrupted to say, "It's a flawed poll!" Obviously he had researched this so why is it flawed? "Because of those polled only 23% were  Republican while 31% were Democrat and 36% were independent. If they had polled more Republicans, the overall result would be more like 50/50."  Ummkay. So a random poll should be skewed to intentionally include those more likely to affect the result? Hey, that was how the random sample identified themselves by party affiliation.  If the poll had intentionally increased the number of Republicans then it would be flawed. Random is the key. That's why a poll on Fox News or MSNBC which requires participation are complete farces. 
  • WBAP's next segment criticised young people because of the sources of their news which will only "dumb them down." 
  • I was talking to someone late yesterday and she said that Bruce Jenner's new persona on the Vogue cover reminded her of someone. The answer: Jessica Lange. (Side by side photo.)
  • Lake Bridgeport on the front page . . . 


Was Coming From PBR's WC Challenger Charities Event In Decatur


That's Bruce Jenner?

That Wasn't Collateral Damage

I had heard that she was actually targeted, but I had no idea it was such a direct hit.

During The Rain In Grand Prairie

Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  • Little bit of chaos last night when the bridge on 280 at Runaway Bay was shut down for flooding. But how about the directness of the Runaway Bay FD's message: "CONFIRMED: TxDOT will be closing Hwy 380 at the Lake Bridgeport bridge. Please do not call the Sheriff's dept to ask questions. If we get word on whether they are going to open it back up or not, we will try to keep everyone informed." TxDot's website says that it is expected to open at 4:00 p.m. today but I'd take that with a grain of salt. 
  • That horrible story of the family in Wimberley whose cabin was picked up by flood waters has a fact in it which is hard to believe: The surviving man was found alive 12 miles downstream. Most stories say the cabin was carried by flood waters for "miles" before it crashed into a bridge and everyone went in the water. I'd like to know how far he went after going into the water. Surviving for long in rapid flood waters would be hard to do.
  • Another project over the weekend: My old gas stovetop started "clicking" about every five minutes even though the burners were off. As a result, I now have learned more about how a gas burner works than I ever wanted to.  I think I've got it diagnosed but my temporary work around involves using an extension cord to cut the power to it when not in use. That's the equivalent of fixing things with duct tape. 
  • Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was indicted Friday for lying about hush money that he spent to keep a seedy affair private.  That led to this from the Washington Post: "If I understand the history correctly, in the late 1990s, the President was impeached for lying about a sexual affair by a House of Representatives led by a man who was also then hiding a sexual affair, who was supposed to be replaced by another Congressman who stepped down when forced to reveal that he too was having a sexual affair, which led to the election of a new Speaker of the House who now has been indicted for lying about payments covering up his sexual contact with a boy."
  • I made a trip to Home Depot but before I did I downloaded the company's app. Greatest development ever: Look up a product and it will tell you what aisle it is on for the specific store you are in. 
  • New Texas Ranger Josh Hamilton is on fire but I expect he'll have some mental meltdown in the next few months. But in the meantime, the Angels have to have Slumped Shoulders as they are on the hook for $63 million of his salary over the next three years. 
  • I managed to drive five miles after accidentally leaving a hack saw on the trunk of my car. And it didn't budge an inch. 
  • A long read that I have saved: Wired's "The Untold Story of Silk Road".  And it becomes even more fascinating with the news that the "creator" of a deep Internet site responsible for peddling drugs and perhaps murder for hire any maybe more was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Friday. 


Country Club Fight!

I hope everyone is OK.