It's Friday. Let's Get Out Of Here.

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • Another day. Another Trump/Russia connection. 
    • BuzzFeed* reports that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about his business interests there. "It's just Cohen," you say? Here's the money sentence: "The special counsel’s office learned about Trump’s directive for Cohen to lie to Congress through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Org and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents." [*8 Pulitzer Prize nominations in the past 2 years.]
    • And the soon to be new Attorney General wrote on June 8th of last year: "If a President . . . suborns perjury, or induces a witness to change testimony, or commits any act deliberately impairing the integrity of available evidence, then he, like anyone else, commits the crime of obstruction."
    • Regardless of what you believe, when Michael Cohen testifies before Congress on February 7th, we are going to have a spectacle unlike anything we've seen before. 
  • This is weird: This Southlake lady goes missing on Saturday night after heading to Dallas to meet friends, it prompts Southlake DPS to issue a missing person alert, and then she is "found safe" on Wednesday with no further explanation. (Her Instagram account has a little Random Thought Girl feel to it.)
  • Big criminal justice news out of Houston after a lawsuit over the bail bond system: If you get arrested in Harris County for a a misdemeanor, you'll now most likely be released on a personal recognizance bond instead of having to pay money.
    •  Example and explanation of the old system: If you get arrested a judge could, say, set a bond at $2,000. You could (1) post $2,000 in cash to the county to get out of jail knowing you'll get the money back once the case is over so long as you always show up for court, (2) pay a bondsman a non-refundable fee of 10% to 20% of the bond amount for them to promise the county they'll pay the $2,000 if you abscond, or (3) sign a PR bond where you promise to pay $2,000 if you miss a court date. In every county in Texas, #1 and #2 are available but #3 is very, very rare and requires a judge's special approval. Now in Houston, #3 is the norm for misdemeanors. That's a big deal.
    • The new judges in Houston are implementing this new system after the old bail bond scheme, which virtually every county follows, was held unconstitutional by the conservative Fifth Circuit. The judges who fought the lawsuit, who were booted out of office in November, caused Harris County to spend over $9 million in the effort.
    • Make no mistake about it: Every county in Texas which doesn't implement a policy  to set bond amounts specifically tailored for a particular individual's circumstances has an unconstitutional system. I've seen it all my professional life: Across the board, a bond amount of x is set for the crime of y. Really poor people stay in jail because they can't make bond. People who have the money gain their freedom.  That ain't right. It might not mean every county's system has to be revised as drastically as Houston to require PR bonds for everyone, but something needs to be done statewide.
  • Speaking of the poor . . . 
  • Kinda funny police chase yesterday as a guy keeps driving when the hood of his car pops over the windshield. And a pretty good everybody-bail-out finish is here. (With a good lesson on the credibility of eye-witnesses based upon one WFAA newscaster's faulty observations.)
  • I was randomly looking at some traffic ticket cases that were filed in Wise County yesterday and saw these appearing on the docket in Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 (which is basically the northern part of the county.) Where is there a 75 mph speed limit?
  • Sir!
  • That Washington Examiner story has been making the rounds. The funny part is that it involves unnamed "farmers and ranchers" from unidentified locations who wished to remain anonymous and are somehow experts on Islamic prayer rugs.  Breitbart has been using this "prayer rug" bit since 2014. (And, of course, anyone who has a prayer rug must have a bomb strapped to their backs.)
  • My only astronomical skill is to tell someone when they are looking at the stars in the sky that they are simply looking at snapshot of history. Those stars could have burned out years ago but that moment of burning out as not reached our eyes yet. Ergo, "light years." The closest star to us other than the sun is 4.4 light-years away so we are simply seeing what it looked like 4.4 years ago. BagofNothing has some great graphics at the bottom of his post today demonstrating that. 


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • The Update reports that "several" tractor trailers collided last night on 1810 at 3:00 a.m. Several? Isn't that more than a "few"? They said details are forthcoming.
  • Rudy Guiliani might have broken the levee last night: "I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign . . .  I said the President of the United States [didn't collude with Russia].” (If I'm Donald Jr. or Kushner, I wouldn't be too happy with daddy's dumb lawyer.) Keep moving the goalposts, buddy.
  • Remember when this actually happened?
  • Delkus is throwing "snow" around again. Let me tell you what is going to happen: A fairly big cold front is going to hit at 5:15 a.m. on Saturday morning. Temperatures will continue to fall almost to freezing until about 10:00 a.m. but then the  sun will allow the temp to fight back up to the lower 40s. It'll drop below freezing Saturday night. There is zero percent chance of even seeing a flurry of snow in the sky. Book it. 
  • I didn't know Mike Huckabee, who is notorious for bad humor on Twitter, had a Youtube show. Here are three quick loading clips which might be as bad as anything you've ever seen. But his audience, who looks exactly like you would expect, eats it up.
  • This young lady is a modern day Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. Not only can she dance, she'll tell you what's going on. And she's right: Any bill from the House funding the government without The Wall would pass the Senate if McConnell would let them vote. But he's not going to put other vulnerable GOP senators up for election in 2020 in a bind.
  • "A Georgia man is accused of plotting to attack the White House and other targets, including the Statue of Liberty. Hasher Jallal Taheb, 21, was arrested Wednesday following a yearlong FBI investigation." I've ranted about this for over a decade. The FBI goes online and sucks in a guy who has no practical way of doing any terrorist act. But they set him up with fake terror tools, arrest him, and then act like they've stopped the next 9/11. It happens like clockwork about every three or four years.
  • If the Feds did the same online sting to on the "Blood and Soil" guys and baited them into thinking they were going to bomb a black church, they could arrest far more people.
  • Mrs. LL watches The Office non-stop. An that is only a very, very slight exaggeration. (The Dinner Party is my favorite, by the way.)
  • The Aggies now have a former coach on the College Football Playoff Committee. Former Alabama star Jalen Hurts is going to OU. And to make the day worse for the Evil Empire, backup QB Shane Buchele is leaving.
  • Trump was quiet after Pelosi pulled the power play yesterday an uninvited him to appear in the House for the State of the Union. But he finally woke up this morning. So did his spelling errors.
  • I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often.
  • I'm sure you saw this (and the "have a seat over here" jokes), but it's amazing anyone gets hit with a hot check charge in 2019. 
  • For the second morning in a row, a small earthquake hit near San Francisco. They always says the big one is coming. 


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • Can we tap the brakes before we convict and execute former Texas Rangers pitcher John Weitland? He was arrested yesterday, according to the probable cause affidavit, for Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child based upon a person's word claiming it happened 10 years ago when he was four years old. It may be true or it may not be, but lets start by looking at this press release from the arresting agency, the Bartonville Police Department, which has a staff of three including the Chief. The arrest was done based upon an "initial" investigation -- not a complete and thorough one -- but an initial investigation. And it even sounds like that initial investigation was done by CPS and not trained investigators. A CPS investigation is nothing more than "this is what was said so now the ball is in your court because we are obligated by law to tell you about it because we aren't law enforcement." (Side note to the Chief: You might want to find a little bit more of a professional font than that which is on your letterhead.) 
  • You know who has more concerns than I do?: The Denton County D.A. who now is in charge of a case which is receiving nationwide coverage because a small town police department went off half cocked. (Note that the investigation isn't even finished yet.) The smart thing to have done would have been for the Bartonville PD to immediately bring in the D.A.s office, the Sheriff's Office, or the Rangers without an arrest and admit, "We don't have the experience or resources to deal with this type of thing and we are asking for you to take over the case."  Let them make the decision to arrest if they thought the case could ultimately be proven.
  • If there is nothing more than an allegation about something that allegedly happened 10 years ago, it wouldn't surprise me in the least bit to see the case no-billed by the Denton County Grand Jury. 
  • One more thing about the case that got me wound up: Junior Miller on The Ticket this morning, after proclaiming Weitland guilty, said that "I've heard that Denton County has the best D.A. but the judges up their aren't likely to convict." That caused my head to explode on several levels.
  • The leader of the Coast Guard took a shot at the Trump Shut Down yesterday.
  • Burger King had some fun with Trump's inability to spell:
  • Wise County has a murder case on appeal where the defendant just filed his brief complaining that any statements he made were the product of coercion by the cops.  I wasn't familiar with this "currency" technique to persuade -- or as the defendant said, "coerce" -- a confession. According to the defendant's brief, he was told that he held virtual euros, dollars, and pesos. If he talked, he was using his currency of high value euros to get his story to the jury. If he doesn't, he'll hold nothing but pesos and the Ranger would get to provide only his version. (The last time I checked, a defendant could testify at his own trial.) From the brief:
  • A new federal law I didn't know about: "All hospitals operating in the US are required 'to make public a list of their standard charges via the Internet . . . . '" That seems to be a big deal. 
  • Hot sports opinion: I wouldn't draft Kyler Murray anywhere in the first three rounds. And I think he's nuts if he chooses football over baseball.
  • The biggest play in the Cowboys loss to the Rams hasn't received a whole lot of coverage: Rams lead 13-7 in the second quarter facing a 3rd and 14. The Cowboys hold, but a hands to the face call is made on Byron Jones. The Rams get an automatic first down. Two plays later they score and it's 20-7. Game over. 
  • This, just announced, at Jerry World is a lot to wrap your brain around. So are the prices.
  • Messenger: Above The Fold


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • Our DA's office (which also includes Jack County) has another murder case to handle unless a girl is just making it up.  I think they have two cases under indictment and another one just happened in Decatur.
  • The City of Decatur has three murder cases in its history: (1) James “Poncho” Bennett, a Decatur police officer killed in 1980, (2) the murder of Bettie Lou Walker in 2005, and (3) the recent aforementioned Toast Yur Bunz case.
  • The Clemson national championship was at the White House last night and Trump fed them fast food. This photo goes in the Smithsonian as a tribute to (1) Idiocracy, (2) the dinner in Talladega Nights, and (3) Lincoln in the background wondering how in the world did we get here.  
  • But this morning he confirms they were good "hamberders."
  • I might have to relinquish my title as hardest working man in show business when I saw this photo of the guy in the cold yesterday morning:
  • Book-In departments in jails were much harsher in 1944. (Background.)
  • My retire "to a jungle Costa Rica" took another hit over the weekend when I learned an American who moved there with his family was kidnapped, they paid $1 million in bitcoin for his release, 12 people were arrested, and the guy is still missing. 
  • House Republicans finally figured out something that was know for years: Steven King is a white supremacist. (Note: Local radio host Mark Davis is a holdout on the condemnation since he thinks it is "plausible" King was simply understood. Fox 4 gives Davis airtime once a week on Good Day.)
  • There's dueling documentaries (Netflix and Hulu) just released about the colossal failure of  Fyre Festival. I'm in. A failed "luxury music festival" on a Bahamian island might have me cheering against everyone.
  • Trust me, you've got to see the wild eye movement of the new Jets coach when he was introduced yesterday. It is freaky. (And then watch this tricked up version for quality comedy.)
  • For the second time in a month, a "suicidal man" was shot by metroplex police. Last night it was in North Richland Hills. Last month it was in Fort Worth around south I-35. Both cases went sideways and ended up in a police chase.
  • I had forgotten watching the last one minute of a college basketball game takes 30 real minutes with countless fouls and free-throws. It is unwatchable. 


Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  • In case you missed it: The FBI felt it necessary to launch an investigation as to whether Donald Trump is working on behalf of Russia. I never thought I would see that in my lifetime. 
  • And then, with little notice, Trump decided to call into Fox News on Saturday night and wouldn't even flatly deny that the report was true. (He also oddly said he he hadn't left the White House in "months".)
  • The following occurred in an unnamed Wise County courtroom last week. Really.:
  • That is true:
  • Everyone is driven nuts by the the lawyer/David Irving commercial that airs a million times during the Cowboy games, but Mrs. LL had a funny line as she deadpanned during one of them Saturday night and said, "I wish you were the winningest lawyer in Texas."
  • Obviously, they don't have civil rights in Wichita Falls! (Seriously, this story has received a lot of play but she wasn't arrested and her name wasn't released.) Hidden gem: It was 6:30 a.m. when it happened.
  • Trump was weird all weekend but last night he seemed mentally unstable. Take this one where he (1) Mocks Jeff Bezos' name like a third grader, (2) Makes light of divorce, (3) Says the National Enquirer is more accurate than the Washington Post, and (4) Seems to have forgotten that the Enquirer's publisher received immunity after admitting being paid off by Trump to catch and bury a story of Trump having an affair with an ex-Playmate after Melania had just given birth.
  • I've started out the new year with a pricey heater repair (I got to see a scorched mother board when I didn't even know the thing had a mother board) and a cracked car windshield. And both Mrs. LL and the Sophomore in the House went to the doctor last week. It's not even halfway through January. 
  • I see what you did there WFAA
  • I had totally forgotten that the NFC used to had a consolation game for those two teams which lost in the divisional round. If still in effect, that would mean Dallas would play Philadelphia after the Super Bowl for third place. The NFC was still technically still the NFL back then since the merger with the AFL/AFC hadn't yet been completed. The last Consolation Game had the Cowboys lose to Rams 31-0 in 1966. (h/t Bud Kennedy.)
  • The Chief of Houston PD issued a ticket for a big time speeder. Question: Houston still has handwritten tickets?
  • Stuff buried in the news: We aren't the only one with drones of death.
  • According to the Update, we've had another major wreck at FM 2123 and FM51. That's the second one this year, while a guy pled guilty and received probation last week for criminally negligent homicide for a wreck at the exact same location. (I'm on record of not prosecuting people for accidents when no drugs or alcohol are involved unless there are shocking facts. It's never been shocking when there is a wreck at that location.)
  • Legal stuff: The Supreme Court has agreed to decide the following issue in DWI cases: Having already determined that the government must get a warrant to obtain someone's blood if they refuse to consent (despite what any state law says), is a warrant not required if the person is unconscious so long as state statute says he has deemed to have given his consent? Texas has such a statute. This seems to be a no-brainer: Get a warrant. (This would kill the silliness of the term "implied consent.")
  • BagOfNothing has already spoiled a couple of videos that I planned to use for this Friday's Let's Get Out Of Here. The dog and gymnast are must sees.
  • Government Shutdown Day 24: #WhereAreThePesos.
  • Messenger: Above The Fold.
Quality Headline. Sports and Politics.