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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • While you were sleeping: Trump strapped more tariffs on China at midnight. And he still doesn't understand who pays a tariff.
  • The huge music festival, Kaaboo, is going on the weekend at Cowboys Stadium. I'll be interested in the ticket sales for that thing because they aren't cheap. I really haven't heard a lot of buzz about it at all.
  • The "bottom" was during the mortgage crash in 2008-2009. And how many Americans under 40 working in the private sector have a 401(k)? 
  • I had no idea high school playoff baseball games were played at the Rangers ballpark.
  • The New Yorker has ranked the nightmares (with a little comedy on the summary of each one following the "you wake up and . . . .") Longtime readers will know I clock in at #9.
  • This was from the official White House web site yesterday. They are the laughing socks of all White Houses: 
  • This was one of my bullet points from last June. Yesterday it was announced that no case would be filed. (Once again, I have proven I'm a legal genius.)
  • The missing Houston girl has not been found but the "stolen" car that she had been in with her step-dad has been. This story is convoluted because the step-dad says he stopped on the highway when he thought he had a flat, was approached by some guys, got knocked out, and then woke up a few miles away and the car and the girl was missing.   The cops are not calling the step-dad a "suspect" or the dreaded "person of interest" but they might as well be doing so. 
  • One of my favorite follows on Twitter is a guy who monitors attorney disciplinary proceedings across the nation. He posted this blurb from a ruling where the respondent/attorney had been accused by the state bar of practicing law while suspended. She failed to attend a hearing:
    • Here's a pretty funny(?) one where a prosecutor knowingly listened to an attorney/client privileged phone call recorded at a jail. What was his punishment? A "public reprimand" which is no punishment at all.
  • I don't know much about golf etiquette, but Tony Romo walked to the first tee to applause and commotion at the Bryon Nelson while one of his playing partners was already into his waggle.
  • This Tarrant County case just got reversed hours ago. (For some reason, the judge didn't let the jury consider self-defense when it was the only issue in the case. Even more amazing is that the defense attorney didn't ask for the jury instruction at trial. Did anyone there understand how a trial works? The error was so bad the appellate court had to reverse despite no objection.)
  • In another rare reversal by the Fort Worth Court of Appeals late yesterday, an aggravated assault on a public servant case was overturned because the State argued to the jury that the assault "recklessly" occurred but forgot to indict him on that charge -- alleging an intentional and knowing assault instead. In more basic terms, the D.A.'s office screwed up the indictment, the trial prosecutors didn't notice the screw up, the trial court didn't notice the prosecutor's screw up and charged the jury with recklessness, and even the defense attorney didn't notice anything was amiss and didn't even object to the charge. Still, the screw up was so bad the appellate court, once again, had to reverse. Sheesh.
  • Both of those defendants would be in prison unless smart criminal defense appellate lawyers hadn't figured out they were screwed over in trial. Edit: Well both are actually in prison. But at least they now have a chance -- a chance that they should have already had at their first trial.
  • From the Update: A guy threw a puppy out of a truck but didn't throw out his meth?
  • Did Houston use to flood as often as it does now?


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • I got an email from a faithful reader who told me about the guy involved in case out of Denton that is making the news. It's a perfect example of a bright guy who just descended into madness due to mental issues. He was fifth in his high school class and had a scholarship to UNT.  But we'll just simplify the issue, call him "evil", and put him in a cage. 
  • I think it was about 10 years ago that I wrote that government jobs had become better than private sector jobs. The Drudge Report featured this article yesterday from a conservative web site written by a guy who did some number crunching.
  • From the latest issue of Texas Highways. (It proclaims Decatur has nine stoplights. That gets tricky because the big intersections on 287 could be considered four, two or just one stoplight. I'm not sure how they got to nine.)
  • Random Trivia prompted by the news of the newest member of the Royal Family had been named Archie.  The lead singer of the cartoon band The Archies (which had a #1 hit named Sugar, Sugar) sang back up vocals for Barry Manilow on Mandy
  • Two nights ago, while I had control of the TV remote for my standard 10 minutes a night, I decide to find the Texas House deliberations because I live a full throttle life. The Sophomore in The House saw the oddity on the screen but asked, "What are they debating?" I told her "red light cameras" which immediately got her interest since she was just the victim of one. "The bad part," I said, "is that they hate the guy who is trying to get rid of them." The bill passed, and now I see this headline:
  • Speaking of the Texas House, last night Democrats all but killed a bill preventing cops from arresting you for Class C offenses (punishable by fine only.) They truly had no idea what they were doing. (Sandra Bland was arrested for a Class C offense.)
  • Speaking of Sandra Bland, the NBC affiliate in Austin had her cell phone video 19 months ago and did nothing with it. 
  • America.
  • Is this true?
  • In just 24 hours, (1) AG William Barr was held in contempt by House Judiciary Committee, (2) Trump Jr. was subpoenaed by Republican led Senate Intelligence Committee regarding his prior testimony about his Russian contacts, and (3) Executive Privilege was invoked so even Congress can't see the entire Mueller report.  
  • A White Sox Cubs fan was banned indefinitely for being a White Power hand gesture fan. 
  • Maybe we need to rethink that "We don't want that California mentality in Texas." Perhaps they'll fit right in. 
  • I've never understood the fascination with Star Wars, but noticed that a marathon was on last weekend. I thought I'd give it a second chance. Nope. And at the end Darth Vadar got in one of those little space ships to try to shoot Luke's craft? Really? That's as dumb as the president getting in a fighter jet in Independence Day. 


    Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

    • As the Texas Senate was debating (and then passing) a bill yesterday afternoon which makes it harder for cities and towns to remove Confederate monuments, someone covering the proceedings noted that Jefferson Davis was watching it all from the front of the hall. How is this possible?
    • We had a rare trade secret verdict in state district court this week in Tarrant County with a Decatur firm involved.   (Very nerdy stuff: I think the defendant's in that case tried to remove the case to federal court. If this is the same case, it actually went to Judge John McBride - eek!-- who sent it back to state court because the petition for removal was not timely filled.)
    • The Stars apparently played last night.
    • A Colorado school shooting leaves one dead (age 18) and eight others injured, and we don't even blink.  
    • That's a lot of eggs. 
    • Art of the Con:  He claimed over a billion dollars in losses between 1985 and 1994, and paid no taxes in eight of those years.  He's just a guy born rich, conned people, and doesn't pay taxes. Yep. He represents the rural common man.
    • Even Fox News is covering the story this morning:
    • From the Sandra Bland video: This is not a good look for any trooper (or any other law enforcement officer.)
    • Sheriff Joe, who now is a convicted felon with no job and, despite his best efforts, can't get Trump to appoint him to anything, is trying to pick a fight with George Lopez. Lopez is ignoring him. This is a tough one for me. I don't like Sheriff Joe because he is a racist. I can't stand Lopez because he's a bad comedian. 
    • I just experienced the most awkward moment in the history of legal seminars.  After a presentation on the dry topic of the reporting of domestic violence convictions, the speaker played this this very short PSA to leave the room with an impact. She got her wish. What do you think the room was like when during the pause of the couple of seconds before the ending graphic/message of the PSA pops up, someone in the room busted out laughing? (You've got to see it to understand it, and I encourage you to.)
    • Wait a second! Isn't this guy a lawyer who used to comment on stories for Fox 4? (The story refers to him as Desoto PD's public information officer instead of a detective.) Did he walk away from the law business? Or is this an odd side gig? 
    • I finally got around to reading this  Texas Monthly story, and it's fantastic.
    • Of all the dumb things that Trump says, it boggles the mind that he has absolutely no understanding that a tariff is paid by American citizens as a tax which then goes to the federal government. He just did it again. 
    • Messenger: Above the Fold
    • Stickland called vaccines "sorcery" yesterday . . . .


    Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

    • Edit: It was called to my attention that a technical error caused a repeat RTG. Heads will roll over this 
    • Fort Worth news. (This happened to a kid in Wise County in the Rhome area a few years back. But I don't know why a Google search of "Impaled Rhome Texas" doesn't bring it up.)
    • "No, despite there being an actual law saying I have to turn of Trump's tax returns, I'm not going to do it because his newly appointed Attorney General, who seems like Trump's really good buddy who doesn't care about things like pesky laws, told me not to."  Is Trump just daring them to impeach him? (That might actually be the plan since he can't be convicted in the Senate, and he loves playing the "victim.")
    • Yep.
    • Another thing if minimum DWI fines become at least $3,000 (see post from yesterday): You'll see trials go through the roof. It suddenly becomes clear that the punishment after the trial isn't really any different than by a plea bargain. 
    • Trump gave Tiger Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom yesterday. He's a golfer. He cheated on his wife with a ton of women. He's abused prescription medication. And he's a punch line for:  "Huge. Quickly." Yet somehow Trump thought he should be honored as a person who has made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."
    • Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, reported to prison yesterday. This photo makes it look like he's going to a resort in the Hamptons. 
    • I'd never heard of it. 
    • A former bartender in Plano was charged with a crime for providing the gun alcohol to a guy who went on to kill eight people in a shooting spree.  I've seen many a Providing Alcohol to a Minor cases but never one under the law for negligently serving an "habitual drunkard or an intoxicated or insane person." The "crime" happens all the time, but no one one is ever charged.
    • "How the alligator got into her yoga pants I'll never know."
    • Heard this morning that the Dallas Stars are averaging a 3.3 rating in the DFW market compared to St. Louis where they are pulling in an 11.5 in this playoff hockey series.  By comparison, the Cowboys dismal 2017 season ended with a 6-0 win against Philadelphia where ratings "plummeted" to a 23.6 share. 
    • Nothing is a suspicious as the stepfather's story regarding the missing girl in Houston.  This will not end well. 
    • There's nothing like going to a legal seminar and eaves-dropping on other people. Some people are brilliant. Others shouldn't have a license. 


    Random Monday Morning Thoughts

    • Apparently there was a Starbucks coffee cup which inadvertently made it into a scene from Game of Thrones last night, and everyone is already doing bits.
    • Texas Tech School of Law has a "therapy room" which "features comfortable chairs and aromatherapy, if for law student use only and be reserved for 30-minute blocks by one person for an hour maximum per day." (At least that's what the new issue of the State Bar Journal told me -- after I got past a spare article about the  "skateboarding lawyer".)  The profession is in such good shape, right? 
    • I saw someone online whose right wing friends did not appreciate this quality humor yesterday: 
    • Tex Rep. Drew Springer thought it was a good idea to post a picture of himself with nutcase and banned-by-Facebook Alex Jones of InfoWars on Friday, but then wisely deleted it. (Trump coincidentally posted an Infowars video over the weekend and left it up.)
    • Legal nerd stuff: It has bugged me for years that someone out on bond can have that bond revoked and an arrest warrant issued by the mere allegation by the State without a hearing that he has committed an act to justify that bond violation/inadequacy claim. Finally, at least one DA has asked the Attorney General whether due process requires a hearing be held before a warrant is issued. 
    • Someone just anonymously gave Baylor $100 million - the largest gift in school history. 
    • This is brutal newspaper news. 161 were laid off. 
    • I road the Trinity Metro TEXRail in Fort Worth all the way from Fort Worth into Grapevine and into Terminal B of DFW airport. Big thumbs up. (The only complaint if there is absolutely no way to tell which platform you should be on at any given station to catch an eastbound or westbound train.)  That thing is perfect for downtown Grapevine which should boom beyond imagination because of it. 
    • This is beyond ignorant. The government is "monitoring and watching" what a private company chooses to publish and is implicitly threatening to take action if it doesn't like its content. Yep, there is Freedom of Speech in the country, but that ain't the way it works. He knows less about it than a fifth grader. (If you are an "anti-big government conservative" then this is the exactly the opposite of what you want.)
    • I didn't watch the Kentucky Derby but this is a great photo of the disqualified winner immediately after the race. (And, yes, I know Trump got mad about the race, called it the result of "political correctness" and misspelled Kentucky.)
    • But let's not forgot about the greatest Kentucky Derby post of all time by the whatever-happened-to-Sheriff.
    • More legal nerd stuff: I saw lots of excitement about the Texas House passing a bill to kill the "surcharge fees" driving law.  Yes, that's a good thing but let's tap the brakes. 
      • It still has to get through the Senate.
      • For you DWI practitioners, there is a huge problem in that it kept the $3,000 surcharge for DWI (and an insane amount of $6,000 if there is a blood alcohol concentration of 0.16 or more.). Oddly and significantly, it now just causes it to be imposed as a "fine" instead of an "administrative fee". (See section 709.001 addition to the Transportation Code in the bill.)  That's a big deal because . . . 
      • This is a legal war which will immediately take place: (1) If the fine is not a part of and specifically imposed in the sentence and judgment (which the current surcharge "fee" is not - DPS just collects it after the fact), there's a double jeopardy issue. The only way the surcharge survived the "double penalty" challenge last time was because it was held to be  "administrative fee" and not a fine. (2) If it is part of the judgment and is legally a "fine", can all are part of that fine be "probated" and not imposed? The bill says "shall" be fined but every single penal code provision which has a mandatory minimum fine can have that fine probated -- something that isn't done that often in practice but is absolutely available. 
    • I've got to admit, the economic numbers from Friday are incredible. Still, something still seems a little wrong out there.
    • Messenger: Above the Fold.