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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • Boyd resident Peter "Chewbaca" Mayhew has died. An intrepid Messenger reporter tried to get an interview with him once but was unsuccessful.  Also, I never heard about him being seen out in the wild in Wise County save once or twice.
  • No injuries yesterday in Garland (but a heck of a camera shot.) 
  • The Houston couple with no criminal history who were killed by police during a raid of their home based upon a false allegation they were heroin dealers also did not not have heroin in their system. 
  • Grand Praire police killed a man last night. (At least put "allegedly" before "showed" next time. #IAmReporter)
  • Rare baseball feat yesterday: A pitcher threw a complete game shutout and scored the only run via a home run as the Mets beat the Reds, 1-0.  People stupidly get excited about things like a guy "hitting for the cycle", but this is crazily bizarre and impressive -- as well as the hair. 
  • I just saw an old Wise County Sheriff's Office t-shirt this morning: "In God We Trust. All Others Are Suspects."
  • In an unusual move, a "federal judge in Sherman on Thursday granted a new trial for the former mayor of Richardson and her developer husband [convicted of bribery]  due to a court security officer's inappropriate comments to a distraught juror." I'm trying to read between the lines here so here we go:
    • It looks like there was one holdout juror who the judge actually met in chambers with during deliberations with the agreement of the parties (that's odd in its own right). The judge told her to "stay firm to [her] convictions" which is also odd since it basically tells her to quite listening to the other jurors. But that's not what this is about. 
    • This is about a "court official", who the judge wouldn't even name, speaking with the the juror a short time later when he saw her "in tears." He told her "to put her emotions aside, not worry about the sentences the Jordans might face, and decide the case solely on whether she believed they were guilty or not." The juror then told the officer she would cast her vote "with reservation", but the officer told her she "could not vote that way" meaning voting "with reservation." 
    • Casting a vote "with reservation" meant she was casting a guilty vote with reservation, because she quickly voted to convict. 
    • The judge yesterday set the verdict aside blaming the court official and stressing that the juror shouldn't have been informed she could convict based upon what "she believed" about their guilt but instead her verdict should have been on what she "believed beyond a reasonable doubt" about their guilt based upon the law and the evidence. 
    • That's pretty nit-picky. Sure the officer shouldn't have said anything to the juror, but that communication probably didn't deserve a new trial. If anything, there's a great argument that the communication actually helped the defendants. By telling her she couldn't vote "with reservation" actually improperly defines what a "reasonable doubt" is. That is, telling a juror she couldn't vote "with reservation" is a different way of saying she couldn't have any reservation about the defendants' guilt. That's not what the law says. She actually could have a "reservation" or a "doubt" about their guilt so long as it's not a reasonable reservation or doubt. However, every defense lawyer would love for a court official to tell a juror that she could not vote for guilt if she had any reservation and every prosecutor would go nuts if he heard it happened. Here the court official, if anything, probably helped the defendants almost get a hung jury but without success.
    • My guess: The judge either thought the couple shouldn't have been convicted or believed there was no way that juror was going to vote for guilty based upon her representations once she spoke with him and caved when she shouldn't have.
  • Why do simple bullet points like the one above turn into a treatise? Here's why: I know smart criminal defense lawyers and prosecutors read this silly blog, and I can just see them dissecting anything I give a legal opinion about in the criminal arena. So once I try to explain what I'm saying, I end up explaining myself in detail because I'm writing with them in mind. (But someone will still tell me I'm wrong.)
  • Eighteen hours after saying he's "all in", Trump's nominee for the Federal Reserve Board, Stephen Moore, has withdrawn from consideration. Along with Herman Cain, that's two nominations in a row for the Fed that didn't get out of the starting gate because of a controversial pasts. #BestPeople
  • This probably should have been the ending newspaper shot yesterday.
  • I said good things about the Democrats handling of AG William Barr no-showing yesterday, but the chicken prop was stupid. 
  • I still despise psuedo-intellectual Dennis Prager, but I still tune in every now and then as he tries to bluff people into believing he is some modern day philosopher. If there is any doubt that he is a right wing scam artist, look no further than the fact he is the spokesman for this "collector's item" that you can have for a "limited time only" for $239!!! "THIS OFFICIALLY APPROVED COIN IS MINTED AND STRUCK IN THE UNITED STATES AND WILL BECOME A VALUABLE HEIRLOOM." Approved by whom? What's "officially approved" mean? And that's "minted" in the U.S., not printed by the "U.S. Mint", and it will become a "valuable heirloom" as opposed to "valuable."
  • There's "big water" around the county. Be careful. Remember: "Turn around unless you think you can make it."


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • Radar from last night: 
  • High school football schedules for this Fall: Decatur. Bridgeport. Boyd. Chico. Paradise. Sorry Alvord, yours was not listed.  Someone get on the ball up there and send the schedule in here.
  • Cotton Bowl around 1930. Wow. I guess I just learned why "bowls" were named bowls.
  • I think we can all easily say, "That's Azle." 
  • That Machete Case just seems weird to me as the jury yesterday quickly sentenced him. In barely over 48 hours we have had a full trial and a life sentence. I'm not saying that wasn't much of an effort by the defense, but that didn't seem like much of an effort by the defense. 
  • "So I was wrong on that case. They weren't seeking the death penalty. Do you have to declare the death penalty beforehand? That seems a little weird to me. Are there different rules when you seek the death penalty" - My hero Gordon Keith of KTCK on the radio this morning making me bang my desk and pull my hair out.
  • Below is from the home page of the Dallas Morning News. There probably are few things more dangerous than simply driving on a freeway. Seriously. Once you throw in regular traffic accidents on top of road rage, there's no question it trumps death by all things we are taught to fear: tornadoes, right wing terrorism, Islamic terrorism, MS-13 (!!!), illegal immigration, sharks, lightening strikes, etc. 
  • When I was a kid, I remember there being a paperback copy of the The Presidential Transcripts of the Nixon tapes published by The Washington Post laying around the house. I also remember thumbing through it and seeing "[expletive deleted]" for the first time in print. They didn't print dirty words back in the day.
  • When we go full Idiocracy, the McNaughton paintings will be hanging in museums and considered fine works of art. I, for one, can't get enough of them. 
    She's touching him? 
  • On this day in history and still dead:
  • Crazy idea that I'd watch: Turn the Academy Awards into the NFL Draft format. Basically outdoors and open to the public with celebrities upfront in a protected area. Have a countdown clock with the Best Picture being the first award. Don't have any real host or anything happening on stage as we wait, but have the hosting network have a panel bat around which film it will be with prepackaged video clips. Just moments after we see "The Pick Has Been Delivered" there would be two previously undisclosed celebs walk to the podium (audience goes crazy). They say very few words but maybe play to the crowd with a shoutout,  just open the envelope, and say, "With the first award in the 2020 Academy Awards, the 'Best Picture' goes to . . . . . ".  Winner then goes up for photos and applause but gives no acceptance speech -- that'll be handled by a quick interview by a floor reporter. And then we see a graphic of "Best Actor Award is on the clock."  The ratings will certainly go down as the show goes on but that opening hour would be through the roof.
  • I heard a radio commercial this morning for an email product about preventing "sexplotation."  Then I saw this headline below for a story in the Morning News today. The unwritten/unspoken fact is that you'll only fall for the scam if you think there's a pretty good chance someone has a compromising video of you. 
  • After yesterday's embarrassing performance in the Senate hearing, AG William Barr is a no-show this morning at a House Judiciary Committee hearing.  The Democrats, moments ago, played it perfectly at the hearing. They all showed up. There was an empty chair where Barr was supposed to be. And Chairman Nadler called him out with a blistering statement. "We cannot let these moments pass."
    • This ignoring of subpoenas and requests from a branch of government which has proper oversight in our Constitutional form of government has far more of a Watergate feel than anything we've seen thus far. It was the cover-up, not any incident, which brought down Nixon.
    •  The only thing that I would done this morning if I were the Chairman of the committee would be to have my first words be, "Mr. William Barr? Mr. William Barr? Is there a Mr. Barr present?" I'd then turn to the Sergeant-at-Arms, and say, "Mr. Sergeant-at-Arms, please sound the hallway for a Mr. William Barr." That guy would then go into the hallway, stand at attention with cameras flashing, and yell: "William Barr? Mr. William Barr?" He then would go back in and formally say, "No answer, Mr. Chairman." Then I'd open the committee up for a Motion on Contempt of Congress.
    • Edit: Robert? Who is Robert?


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • There was a campus shooting by a student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte yesterday that left two people dead and four injured. It's so commonplace these days that you'll be forgiven if you didn't even know it happened.
  • There was a reported tornado in Denton late yesterday. There were no reported injuries, but that was one massive root system that didn't do its job.
  • I like Fox 4's Dan Henry, but he didn't know the name of highway 114 as he was showing the storm on the radar as it moved through the area of the Speedway around 6:00 yesterday. The tornado warning caused him to focus on that area for about 10 minutes, and you could tell he was frustrated that it wasn't labeled.
  • I think I had already forgotten that former NFL great Tommy Maddox is the baseball coach at Decatur High School.
  • More militarization of the police. This is ridiculous, and the video doesn't help their cause. And I love this additional description (for many reasons) by  Fort Worth Police Lt. Todd Plowman: "If we have a natural disaster or something and we had to move debris, trees, broken buildings or cars out of the way in a natural disaster, it can always be used for stuff like that too.” 
    It's like Wall-E on steroids.
  • In Texas, if the government kills you, be prepared to say a few words beforehand if you want them reported. Writing it down will no longer cut it.  (All of this is in response to the execution last week where the inmate gave a written statement which said:  “Capital punishment: them without the capital get the punishment.”) So in the future the condemned can say it, just not write it. Odd.)
  • Hot entertainment opinion: Perhaps Game of Thrones would have been better without the White Walkers/Night King subplot to begin with. Did we really need zombies?
  • Noteworthy arrest from the Wise County Jail list of a Rhome resident a couple of days ago on a warrant out of Okaloosa County, Florida: "Computer Pornography Prohibited Computer Usage Traveling To Meet Minor." I wonder if Florida authorities traveled all the way here or just contacted local law enforcement. 
  • This is the oddest recusal Order by a federal judge I've ever seen. I don't know what I think about it because he could have just written, "The Motion for Recusal is granted." (Other than legal nerds, you might be interested if you've have had difficulty getting an insurance company to pay for certain cancer treatment.)
  • There was at least one photo of the Baylor team in the Oval Office which accurately represented the state of affairs. Every one of their faces tells a story.
  • Licensed in November, 2016. Tough break. Hot employment opinion: Assuming the case against him is legitimate, let the guy keep his job and have him agree to a punishment which is slightly higher than the "standard offer" for the office. From then on, he would be in a perfect position to even negotiate on DWI cases because he could say, "I didn't get a reduction. I didn't get special treatment. I was humiliated because it was my own fault, but I was treated fairly. That's the way we do business in this office." 
  • An interracial gay couple love the Cowboys so much that they bought their home close to the stadium and decorated the place in silver and blue. This is disgusting. No one should ever care about a professional team this much.
  • I have no idea what is going on in the case of the Machete Killing of the Jogger in Dallas. The defendant is a former Aggie wide receiver who oddly went "missing" 10 games into his freshman year and has no criminal history. After the killing, which is about as horrific and bizarre as you will ever see, he stopped someone else nearby and asked for their cell phone to call 911 and then led people to the body. It just doesn't make sense. But there was no insanity defense as the guy was quickly convicted after a trial that barely lasted over one day, and the punishment phase is already over with the jury now deliberating his fate.  The best I can tell, just one "doctor" testified in the guy's defense. 
  • Not your typical legal issue: When you heard about the deaths of David Carradine or INXS's Michael Hutchence or were watching the beginning of one particular episode of Six Feet Under, did you every consider the legal ramifications of whether a life insurance policy would kick in? The Seventh Circuit, with a dissent, just said yes. This now makes it a split of authority in the federal appellate courts which means it is worthy of Supreme Court review. Now that would be entertaining. 
  • Messenger: Above The Fold


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • A Texas kid posted a 9.98 time in the 100 meters last weekend. Video. It was wind aided but that's still amazing. 
  • The Texas House approved bill 63 yesterday that moves personal marijuana possession for a Class B misdemeanor to a Class C (the equivalent of a traffic ticket with freedom from arrest.) The chances of it getting past the Senate look bleak, however, because of opposition from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. 
  • It used to be a running joke that "I-35 was always under construction." It's really not a joke. It literally is always under construction. 
  • A guy has been arrested for allegedly planning to bomb a White Supremacist rally in Long Beach in retaliation for the massacre of fifty peaceful Islams worshiping in New Zealand. (For long time readers you've heard my rant before: Once every year or two the federal government will focus all its energy on some smuck who posts crazy stuff online but who has absolutely no way of carrying out his alleged desires. This American Life featured the way this type of federal operation works way back in 2005. The same scheme was used in Dallas in 2009.)
  • It was a dark day yesterday. (But in another photo coach Kim Mulkey at least seemed to grimace at hamburgers being served.)
  • I've got an informal Bridgeport history research project going on. Tidbit I learned: Elementary school kids from Paradise were bused into downtown Bridgeport circa 1941 to view Gone With The Wind showing at the movie theater which was on the south side of Halsell Street. Side note: There were no bathrooms. (I've got some information that the very first movie theater was actually in a building more to the east on the same block but it isn't listed by the Bridgeport Historical Society.  I'll figure it out.) Photo below of where Gone With The Wind played compared with most recent Google street view shot.
    1008 Halsell Street.
  • Speaking of downtown Bridgeport, it's been the worst kept secret in the county that there has been a run on downtown property over the last few months. 
  • Trump and The Family are so frightened of Deutsche Bank turning over documents to Congress that they filed a lawsuit late yesterday to try and stop it. Not a chance in the world this will work.
  • The 911 tape in the Amber Guyger mistaken shooting case has been released. I'm standing by my earlier prediction: She won't be convicted of a single thing. Nor should she. This is, practically speaking, an accident. Legally speaking, it is the intentional killing of another (murder) with what should be a slam dunk defense of "mistake of fact". 
  • I've mentioned this show before and now we have an update: "In the month following the debut of 13 Reasons Why, there was a 28.9% increase in suicide among Americans aged 10-17, says a new study." Schools were sending out advisories to parents about it. 
  • A wreck in Dallas had the routine chase and routine alleged car theft angles but also had this crazy fact: "There were nine young people, 5 males and 4 female believed to be from 13 to 16 years old, inside the Escalade."
  • Konni Burton, who amazingly was able to screw up and lose her Texas State Senate seat as a Republican and with the financial backing of Empower Texans PAC, has launched a "news" site in order to avoid "fake news." It's subscription. It will die a quick death unless she wants to do it for free. She needs to learn to lose with class. 
  • Bruton's buddy, Rep. Jonathon Stickland, looks to be promoting anti-vaccinations campaigns online.  As if his love for Open Carry wasn't enough, he now wants all Texas to walk around with guns while they are dying of measles?
  • The Alamo, let's face it, is a boring visit. But at least they are trying as they put up six big bronze statues yesterday.


Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  • I will never understand people going to an "eSports" event. (They had something in Allen in this weekend that brought in a massive crowd.)
  • This poor guy, who had in his profile that he was a law student, got crushed online for this. He deleted his Twitter account in response. Everyone's an expert.
  • The Baylor's women basketball team will be at the White House today. The Virginia men's championship team declined to go.
  • #RantComing
  • On Friday, Trump tried to defend his "very fine people" remark supporting neo-Nazis in Charlottesville by praising Robert E. Lee as a "great general". Once you get past using a traitor against the United States as a role model and a defense, would someone please tell me who these "fine people" were? The event in Charlottesville was a white supremacist rally of the Unite the Right organized by Richard Spencer.  A woman was murdered by a white supremacist there. (Even far right conservative Bill Kristol says Trump's remarks back then are indefensible.)
  • Oh, he was just defending history buffs, you say? After all, Trump said in his second remarks (he didn't like his first ones because "It takes a little while to get the facts"): "You take a look, the night before, they were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee." Uh, those people who were there the night before were marching on the UVA campus chanting "Jews will not replace us". 
  • And to make all of this worse, after Trump's remarks on Friday we have a shooting at a synagogue near San Diego on Saturday where a Christian targeted Jews causing the death of one. 
  • But lets not stop there. With all of the controversy swirling, Trump decides it would be a good idea to praise the second pick of the NFL draft (who just happens to be white) and didn't even mention the first player chosen (who just happens to be black).  Tell me the last time the president praised only the second pick?  He knows how to send messages. 
  • #MyRantOver
  • Remember that college players aren't paid and then they are subjected to a non-negotiable  mandatory five year salary scale after being "drafted" by the NFL.
  • Speaking of the NFL draft, the Cowboys first pick wasn't even a starter at UCF? And they took two running backs -- one who wasn't a starter?
  • Another NFL mystery which makes me think I know nothing about football: UT's Lil'Jordan Humphrey forfeited his senior year and wasn't even drafted. (50 players, underclassmen as well as those who could have played an extra year, went undrafted. Tech, Aggie and North Texas (!?) were also on the list.)
  • The NRA had a banner weekend: It's president, Oliver North, was forced out after accusing the organization of misappropriating funds (the irony is dripping) on the same day that a female Russian spy was sentenced to prison for conspiring with a Russian official to infiltrate the NRA and other conservative groups. But Trump was there to support them. 

  • "A young boy in Bowie, circa 1900."
  • How do you score this?: Runner at first. Runner at third. One out. Batter hits a home run. By accident, the batter briefly passes the runner who had been first. Answer: The batter gets credit for a single and two RBIs but is called out on the base paths. That's right, he doesn't score on his own home run. (It happened Friday night in White Sox/Tigers.)
  • The White House tweeted out this photo for the First Lady's birthday. That's weird. She's disinterested in the photo and was not even the subject of the photographers.
  • Messenger: Above The Fold