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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • In a great moment last night, controversial Iowa Congressman Steve King responded to a tweet. He deleted it later. Yep, he thought that was a real request. 
  • The Update is reporting the death of a Lake Bridgeport woman this morning after a fire within a house. Here is where it happened. There are a set of town homes right there
  • You'll see a ton of stories that the Lufkin-Bell-Bell-Ice-Cream-Licker is facing a Second Degree Felony. Tap the brakes on that. It ain't gonna happen.  Is there a statute that is entitled "Tampering With Consumer Product" and does it make a the crime a Second Degree Felony? Yes. But Law 101 is this: Read the definitions in the statute. In this case "Tamper" means "to alter or add a foreign substance to a consumer product to make it probable that the consumer product will cause serious bodily injury." (And "serious bodily injury" means "death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.") Licking ice cream and putting it back on the shelf is disgusting, but it's not a felony in Texas.
    And why is Fox 4 using a Fox 26 screenshot?
  • Do you remember the first Product Tampering case that shook the nation? Hint. It was in 1982 and seven people died. I remember it, and the country was freaked out. 
  • I'm beginning to believe Ring doesn't keep us safer, it just lets us realize the crazy stuff that happens outside our doors. 
  • Trump stayed on script yesterday and didn't deviate at his rally on the 4th of July. As far as him saying the army "took over the airports" during the Revolutionary War (or the War of 1812 -- it's hard to tell), he probably just misread it. In fact, he butchered that entire section.
  • But he finally got his wall. Man, that's a bad look on the 4th of July. Alternative line: He even put the Lincoln Memorial in a cage.
  • Speaking of bad looks, let me present this lady at Trump's parade. In what might be the worst messaging in history, she is actually sympathetic to the immigrants' plight. But that's an odd way of showing it. 
  • We really needed more coverage of this: The Qanon Conspiracy nuts actually thought JFK Jr. had faked his death and would appear yesterday at the rally and be named the new Vice-President. (This lady's vote counts as much as yours does.)
  • I was all over Trump's tweet a couple of days ago about fighting the Census decision by the Supreme Court (which directly contradicted what the Justice Department who had told the federal judge the day before they were throwing in the towel.) The judge got slightly miffed and called an emergency hearing on Wednesday afternoon. The transcript is 15 pages and is pure gold. I don't know who government lawyer Mr. Gardner is, but he basically said, "I have no idea what is going on but don't kill me judge because, you know, it's Trump." And when the judge wanted them back in court today, this happened: 
  • I'm finally giving James A. Michener's Texas a shot. After about 400 pages into this mammoth book, I'm hooked. (It's the second book I've read this year that places fictional characters into the backdrop of real history, and I'm beginning to believe it's a heck of away to learn.) 
  • The son of former Dallas Cowboy Ken Norton Jr. who was trying to make the Miami Dolphins was in a car wreck and had to have his arm amputated at the scene. In a split second your life can change. 
  • Odd conversation yesterday. Mrs. LL: "What do you have against concrete?" Me: "I don't like things that are permanent." Then awkward and confused silence. Until the College Kid In The House casually said, "That sure is a weird theme to live by."


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • Edit: Breaking: The missing two year old in Denton has been found deadUpdate: "A neighbor got into their car this morning and discovered Sarbesh’s body."
  • Vice President Mike Pence was abruptly called back to the White House and cancelled a speaking event in New Hampshire. The "most transparent Administration in history" won't tell us why other than his press secretary said, "Something came up." (The whole thing was weird. There is no way Pence is ever called back for any crisis because of his potential input.)
  • I read the story. Truly, this makes no sense. His case, which involved a road rage stabbing, had no African-Americans involved in it.
  • Another body was found in White Rock lake yesterday. Since when has that become such a repository for bodies? What is that, the third one this year?
  • There's a missing two year old by UNT in Denton. He is said to have walked off while his mother thought he was taking a nap.  My alarm is going off. 
  • On Monday, Trump vowed to continue to fight the Supreme Court decision that, temporarily at least, prevented the Administration from asking about citizenship status on this year's Census. Then in a stunning reversal yesterday, the Justice Department officially caved and said the Census questionnaire was headed to the printer without the question.
  • But in what is bizarre even for Trump, no one must have told him that the Census fight was over because last night he thought the case was still going on. (Side note: Nice chant at the end of a tweet.)
  • If a city is going to rent out places for banners, that city can't control the content of those banners. People of Fort Worth had this First Amendment lesson yesterday.
  • Even assuming you think sucking up to a murderous dictator is good policy, at least get your facts straight. President Obama wasn't in office in 2008. (He deleted it.) 
  • Let me precede the next bullet point with attempting to answer the the confusing question of: When are "charges filed" in misdemeanor cases? I've always taken the position that charges are filed when the prosecutor files a piece a paper (called an Information) with the County Clerk and it receives a cause number and becomes part of the public record. Charges aren't "filed" with an arrest. Charges aren't "filed" when a police agency sends the case over to the prosecutor.
  • With that in mind, marijuana policy changes (or not) are trickling out across the state due to the unintended consequences of a recent legislative change: Galveston prosecutors will take the cases but not file charges until DPS can give them a lab report (unless the defendant admits that it's weed, then they'll go ahead and file it with the County Clerk.) The Harris County, Fort Bend County, Bexar County, and Nueces County DAs say don't even give them the cases unless you have a lab report because they won't file them. Montgomery County says they'll file the cases even without a lab report, and if the defendant demands a trial they'll wait until there is one. 
  • Sports expert update: I fired off the hot sports opinion late last week that the Rangers were a "mirage." They are on a three game losing streak. 
  • It's disturbing when a small town newspaper shuts down, but it's even more disturbing how they just announce it, fire everyone, and lock the doors. The Katy Times did it yesterday.  It's website didn't even acknowledge it.
  • The Navy Seal accused of war crimes was found not guilty of murder. I missed on that one. Big time.  
  • They don't know?

    I can think of a couple of things.
  • Faithful readers know I've been searching for a pre-1950 photo of the Wise County district courtroom for years and finally we have the Leader We Need who also must be secretly referring to me as a "consultant." From the Update: "Wise County Judge J.D. Clark is working on the courthouse master plan update as part of the Texas historic courthouse program and is seeking the public’s help. 'Our consultants recommended I reach out to the community to see if anyone has historic photos of the courthouse, exterior and interior, that could be useful,” he said.'
  • The "sipping tea cup" moment after an American goal in yesterday's women's World Cup immediately brought responses of how England would retaliate if they scored the next goal. Drinking from a 40 ounce Big Gulp? Holding a confusing 20 page medical bill? Firing an AR-15?


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • This is an update on some old news, but you may recall the Wood County DA Jim Wheeler resigned abruptly last year. Now we know why: He was being investigated after allegations of sexually harassing a female employee.  He was allowed to resign "in lieu of prosecution" (which some would see as favorable treatment and others would consider to be a fair exchange.)
  • I was looking through the obituaries in the recent edition of the Texas Bar Journal and stopped down when I saw that of Paul Isham.  When I was with a law firm in Fort Worth circa 1990 we formed a softball team for a lawyers' league. Our team was all young (late 20s or early 30s) with the exception of some "old guy": Mr. Isham who would have probably had been late 40s. He was our pitcher -- a good one -- who just came out to have fun. I remember that he looked athletic and this from his obituary tells me why: "He ran 35 marathons, skied,  and . . .  climbed Mount Kilimanjaro." I hadn't seen him in 30 years. He was 77.
  • And not that I'm going all heavy on death here, but right beside his obituary was that of Marla D. Jones, 58.  I'm bothered by this because I learned she graduated in my very small Baylor law school class in May of 1986. I cannot place her, and it disturbs me to no end. I learned she even worked in downtown Dallas right out of law school for a big firm so that would have caught my attention back then -- I went to work in downtown Dallas as well.  (She kept a pretty low profile and ended up with Anadarko Petroleum in The Woodlands "until her retirement.")
  • I almost made a bullet point out of Anadarko last month when there was a bidding war between Occidental Petroleum and Chevron to buy the company .  Occidental won with a bid of $38 billion. 
  • In a weird lawsuit, Sen. Ted Cruz decided to sue over election financing campaign laws because he was only able to withdraw $250,000 instead of the $260,000 that he lent it. Yep, he's suing to get back $10,000 from his campaign. That wouldn't normally make news, but it did yesterday when his legal team compared his plight to that of Rosa Parks.  Lawyers can be dumb.
  • I would think cameras like Ring would make it hard for the old school type home alarm systems to survive.  (Although an ear piercing alarm is probably still a pretty good deterrent.)
  • Trump appeared on State TV last night with Tucker Carlson. Look at this wild and rambling answer to a "question" about the homeless in California. He is not well.  (He ended homelessness in D.C. by just saying, "You can't do that"?)
  • You've heard about the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs in a Southlake hotel, and I really don't have anything to add. This was the scene outside of Angel's stadium less than one hour after the news of his death broke:
  • Then again, maybe you haven't heard about Skaggs' death.
  • There was one trial in the Waco Twin Peaks/Biker Fiasco, and it ended up in a hung jury. Now in an odd twist the defense lawyer has been suspended by the State Bar for three years "and must pay $59,000 in restitution to clients she failed to serve." The suspension seems unrelated to the Waco case, but its really unclear what happened. I should note it's hard to get suspended by the State Bar.
  • Look at Trump's announcement yesterday and compare it to what his designee said three years ago. 

  • Let me guess: You're really not going to buy Nike gear in protest this time. (The flag apparently is used by some White Nationalists. You know, it's a we-were-much-better-when-there-were-thirteen colonies-and-had-slavery kind of thing.)

  • Amazingly, the Governor of Arizona got mad at the Betsy Ross shoe controversy and has ordered "all financial dollars" to be withdrawn as an incentive for Nike to locate in the town of Goodyear. Taking jobs away from Arizonians is a weird flex, but OK.    (Side note: Nike won't sue Arizona but they could. This is a perfect example of government punishing an entity for the content of their speech.)
  • I have no idea how you can be an assistant County Attorney in Williamson County and make a shocking $132,000 and, to boot, keep a lucrative private practice on the side. 


Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  • A plane crash in Addison took a dramatic turn yesterday afternoon when it was announced that 10 people had died. I still haven't seen who was on board -- reports just said it as a nine-seat rental starting at $1,800 an hour. (Side note: I don't know what I was expecting, but this crew from NTSB just casually strolling into the airport with only one guy with anything in his hand isn't exactly what I envisioned.)
  • I've seen a handful of tickets issued by game wardens on Lake Bridgeport for operating a personal water craft "after sundown." Hey, a warning probably would do the trick. 
  • I saw a boat just like the one below on Lake Bridgeport this weekend occupied by a couple and three children. I thought, "that's a nice boat" and, being me, I wondered what it cost. Google told me a new one "starts as" $133,200.  Good, lord. 
  • Sarah Sanders had her last day in the office on Friday. 
  • And Trump Jr. proved he is just like his daddy (as if we didn't know) as he fired of a racist tweet and then deleted it
  • Two teens were murdered in Dallas last night. That brings the number to at least 108 this year (and I probably missed a couple of others over the last three days.)
  • Trump wrap up from the weekend: (1) Thought "school busing" was actually about just getting kids to school via bus, (2) thought "Western-style liberalism" meant left wingers from San Fransisco and Los Angeles, (3) cozied up to MBS, the Saudi Prince who ordered the literal butchering of a reporter, calling him a "friend of mine" who is doing a "speculator job", (4) Begged dictator Kim Jong Un, whose regime murdered Otto Warmbier, to meet him in North Korea and did so with getting nothing in return. (5) Wants tanks at the Washington Mall for his hijacking of the 4th of July. 
  • Random tweet I saw.  I've started carrying a black backpack a few years ago but just between the car and the office. But I wouldn't slap it on to go to the courthouse.
  • From the Runaway Bay 4th of July parade.  That's hard to pull off without knowing whether it is a pro or con position, but they did it.  
  • The Mets honored their 1969 Championship team on the field over the weekend but listed two players in an In Memoriam tribute who were not dead. The flashed up this apology the next day. One of the two guys, Jesse Hudson, had his name misspelled. 
  • Ivanka made news at the G20 Summit (why was she there?) by butting into a conversation with world leaders (shown in a video released by France) and by posing for a picture wearing a $4,590 dress.
    Those expressions. Justin Trudeau is basically Jim Halpert.
  • Oh, my. (Video.)
  • A free lance political cartoonist may or may not have lost his job over this one.
  • Just yesterday I read an incredibly moving Texas Monthly story about a bond between a home schooled Christian kid and a Muslim from Pakistan who ended up in the middle of the Sante Fe school shooting.  It's related yet unrelated, but this came out today: 
  • Messenger: Above the Fold
From Seoul, South Korea