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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • Texas Republican Congressman Will Hurd announced last night he won't seek re-election. Why would he? The guy who represents the longest border district in the nation barely won last time, and he can see the anti-Trump turnout simply destroying him next year. (Texas Monthly just had him on the cover.)
  • The worst thing about being a member of the House would be running every two years -- which translates to running "all the time." 
  • Saw this "controversy" yesterday. The answers were either 16 or 1. I didn't see which one was correct, but I'm going with 1.  It depends, of course, on the rules regarding the order of the math equations. Rules that I barely remember.
  • It's not the best photo, but I made a friend on the courthouse lawn the other day. (It's a Husky puppy.) 
  • Mark Pittman, a Fort Worth appellate judge (who was first a district judge because of an appointment and not an election, and then a state appellate judge by appointment as well) is now a federal judge (which, of course, is by appointment.) For his judicial confirmation hearing, he had to prepare a 42 page questionnaire.  Here's an interesting note: He had to list his 10 "most significant litigated matters" (beginning on p. 32). None involved appearing before a jury. They all involved assisting other lawyers before trial. So in this day in time, you can be a state district judge, a state appellate judge, and a federal district judge and never appear before a jury? (Hey, he might be a nice and competent guy, and his story isn't unique, but I still think it's amazing.)
  • I mentioned The Ticket's Jake Kemp yesterday and a faithful reader pointed out a Wise County connection: His mom runs a high tone bedding place in downtown Bridgeport named Reilly Chance. 
  • Oh, Texas, our Texas
  • Former Channel 5 anchor Mike Snyder now works for the Tarrant County DA and has produced a propaganda film in hopes of increasing the office's budget. It's odd. I'm not sure who would watch it or buy into it, and the only person they could find who says that more money will be needed is some economist from SMU. And there was a weird (and not-so-subtle) moment where news footage was lifted, oddly, from Compton in LA where the economist says in a voice-over, "If we become like them . . . . " 
  • You might have to be an old-timer to appreciate this, but watch this old WFAA footage of Verne Lundquist at Cowboys' training camp in Thousand Oaks talking about the trade of Duane Thomas. It's exactly like a Dale Hanson Unplugged segment. Listen for the cadence. The pauses. The short repetitive sentences.
  • Someone one pointed out a random federal government publication entitled "Contracts for July 31, 2019." It's amazing. Thirty-nine contracts are listed and the first one begins: "Medico Industries Inc.,* Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, was awarded an $891,165,000 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment contract to manufacture and deliver 155mm M795 projectile metal parts and 120mm mortar shell bodies. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received."  Good lord. They are all mind-numbing numbers. The waste has to be beyond belief. 
  • He's just a vile and evil person. From this morning . . . 
  • A grandchild of Bobby Kennedy died from an overdose yesterday.  (That was a pretty quick announcement on the cause of death considering there hasn't been an autopsy.)  I was wondering how many children Kennedy, who was assassinated while running for President, had. He had eleven. He was 42 when he was killed. 
  • This seems significant: The Texas Tribune has discovered a DPS internal memo that instructs troopers to no longer arrest people for misdemeanor marijuana. But it's odd. They aren't simply letting people go but instead issuing a citation to appear to appear in county court at a later date. People still face criminal charges, they just don't have to go to jail and post bond. It's the implementation of a "cite and release" law that was passed in 2007 ago but was never really used. (The law only applies if the person resides in the county where the offense occurs, but no one ever mentions that part.)
  • That story implies the policy is a result of the new hemp law (making weed legal if it has less than .3% THC), but I'm not sure about that. Nevertheless, there was this great tidbit about the Tarrant County DA's office which has recently sent three marijuana cases to a private lab to determine the amount of THC in the weed. Two turned out to contain 13% and 15% THC while one turned out to be legal weed with a THC concentration of .2%.  That's a bad start with a very small sample: One out of every three weed criminal cases are bad. 
  • Absolutely amazing. Everyone knows Russia has, and is, trying to interfere. This was yesterday.
  • I watched the first half of the fantastic HBO documentary, I Love You, Now Die, on Michelle Carter -- the teenager convicted of manslaughter for encouraging her boyfriend to commit suicide. It's fascinating and haunting. And I'm torn. I've said before I've got a huge problem with a person being prosecuted for homicide because of simply the words they say. Then the doc showed oral arguments in the Massachusetts appellate court where the judge asks, "You can be guilty of murder for hire by uttering mere words, right? We see that all the time."  Ugh. It's really good stuff.


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • North Richland Hills had to fish a car out of a pond yesterday. The owner of the car was arrested earlier for public intoxication but won't face a charge of DWI. (That's what happens when you keep your mouth shut.)  But I located his Facebook page -- NRH PD released his name in a Tweet and then deleted it -- and I found he was proud of his new car back in February. 

  • "AUSTIN — The Texas Department of Public Safety fired the state's top counterterrorism official Tuesday after he was arrested and accused of violently raping his wife’s friend. John Jones, 45, who led the agency’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division, is charged with sexual assault and was being held in Travis County Jail Wednesday on bail of $750,000." By the way, you were paying this DPS public servant $198,164 a year.
  • Running for President would be a beating. 
  • It's surprising absolutely none of the Democratic candidates at least haven't learned something from Trump. It's obvious he got the nomination by simply being unconventional -- doing the exact opposite of every candidate who came before him. But every Democrat is using the same old boring playbook: Rehearsed lines, generic talking points, and looking and acting like a politician.
  • On my Griswold family road trip, I had a rule: If we have to stop for a bathroom break the convenience store had to be on the right. We wouldn't exit, take a left turn, and go to the other side of the highway. It's a time saving thing.  
  • Shout out to attorney Richard Gladden for having a misdemeanor weed conviction overturned on appeal this week . (A Denton County jury amazingly found the evidence sufficient to convict and thought it would be a good idea to lock some one up for 180 days and assess a $4,000 for possession of a plant.) Side note: It's never a good sign when the court of appeals tells the Denton DA's office that the facts are "contrary to the State's assertion in its brief." That's not-so-subtle code for "You lied to us and we caught it." See footnote 2.) 
  • They are repaving some streets in Decatur. Unfortunately, your teeth will rattle when your car goes from the paved to the unpaved as your tires hit a cliff.
  • Hadn't thought of this, had you?
  • This is a weird fight. Empower Texans, the far right wing/oil-money based PAC which spends millions on people like Konni Burton (who lost to a Democrat) and Jonathon Stickland (an annual laughingstock who won't run again) and Tony Tinderholt (a family values guy who upgraded his wife to a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader), is after Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen. The fight is led by circus ringmaster Michael Quinn Sullivan. Story.
  • Distribution of Class C criminal cases (tickets) filed in the four justice of the peace courts in Wise County -- year to date -- is below. Fun fact: 17 of the tickets were for speeding 100 mph or more. The leader in the clubhouse clocked in at 122 mph. Fun fact #2: One guy this year got a ticket, and not a warning, for going 4 mph over the speed limit. 
  • Gallagher was convicted of posing with a dead detainee and a team of Navy SEALS thought he was a war criminal. Trump took time away from his concern of A$AP Rocky to get involved yesterday.
  • Ticket fans only: Fort Worth magazine profiled radio guy Jake Kemp. (Funny they spelled it "Kimp" in the URL.)  Kemp once chewed me out on Twitter when I put forth my patented belief that many segments are nothing more than thinly disguised ads. 


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • Zeke Elliott and the Cowboys are being sued for $20 million after a 2017 wreck that Zeke was involved in.  The lawyer is Lawrence Friedman out of Dallas. Here are the opening paragraphs of the lawsuit and a photo of the wreck. Spare me. 
  • It dawned on me that the small law firm even made a Liberally Lean bullet point last month. Yep. same lawyer
  • There was a great brawl at an MLB game last night and it's worth taking at a look single-handedly going and attacking an entire team. (Video.) That's Amir Garrett who is 6'6".
  • DFW Airport is raising it's "pass through" airport fee to $6 -- that's where you go straight through and use it as a tollway. I'll swear in the 1980s that there was no fee so long as you could get through the airport in, say, fifteen minutes or less. 
  • Wise County game wardens have been busy based upon these cases filed yesterday.
    (Not a smooth perator?)
  • I didn't watch the Democratic debate last night, but I heard Elizabeth Warren killed John Delaney as the power of the split screen of the two was dramatic.  Someone also created this after that moment. 
  • There was a very weird Trump moment in Virginia yesterday which isn't getting much press. Trump has names spelled out phonetically on his teleprompter from time to time so he won't mispronounce them. That's not unusual. What is weird is for Trump, for some unexplained reason, to say out loud the phonetic spelling to the audience. In this case, the teleprompter told him to pronounce "George Wythe" as "George With." But he then spelled out "With" as "W-I-T-H." Watch it. What's even more bizarre is the official White House transcript didn't even bother to protect him and actually pointed out his error.
  • We have another crazy crime story out of my two favorite criminal justice places: Williamson County and Waco. I love the defense lawyer's comment: "They arrested him for sending a candy bar." That case is DOA. 
  • I've liked Elton John ever since I was a kid. I had no idea about this:
  • Buried in the Messenger: There are nineteen current active health insurance claims by county employees for $50,000 or more. Insurance reps say the number should be around five based upon the size of the insured group. (Support local journalism.)
  • Another Zeke Elliott contract note: He is scheduled to make $3 million this year. Nothing can be done about that. This contract year can't be torn up or renegotiated. It's part of the mandatory four year rookie contract deal which had a non-negotiable salary slot. It's the player's union who needs a new contract. (Side note: Dak Prescott is stuck with $2 million this year.) 
  • The Cowboys are valued at $5,000,000,000.00.
  • On the way to Colorado I saw a sign for the Ludlow Massacre Memorial. I had never heard of it. Good lord. Just the government murdering U.S. citizens for striking over working conditions. (One of life's modern miracles was simply turning to Mrs. LL and asking her to Google it as we passed by.)
  • Messenger: Above The Fold.


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • There are no details yet, but it appears a husband shot and killed his wife in a room at the Hotel ZaZa in Uptown last night. I was in Hotel ZaZa once. I did not belong in Hotel ZaZa.
  • The Messenger has a story of a "Man shot in back" in three different formats and they've never named him. Come on. 
  • Trump signed a 9/11 bill yesterday and said this about being at Ground Zero: "Many of those affected were firefighters, police officers and other first responders. And I was down there also, but I’m not considering myself a first responder. But I was down there. I spent a lot of time down there with you." That, of course, is a lie. He was actually calling a radio show to shockingly brag about now having tallest building in Manhatten (which also was a lie.)
  • He also made a joke about the bill being so big the stage might fall "but if it does it's not falling very far." His brain is a wonderland.
  • Police in Arizona made the news yesterday. First, it's illegal. Second, if the cops see a bag of cocaine in the passenger seat, a conviction is impossible. Third, who wants to be bugged by the cops when you're trying to get somewhere? Fourth, it's government promoting a private business at taxpayer expense. 
  • The Messenger also had a story of a guy who was hit by a car on 287 in Rhome early Saturday morning. About four hours earlier, Mrs. LL almost hit a guy in the exact same area who was only inches from the fog line. No way to know if it was the same guy.
  • Anyone else uncomfortable with a 25 year old teaching a 21 year old to fly? 
  • A faithful reader sent me this picture of a bird who "fell onto a car right in front of" a Decatur resident. That thing looks very weird. (It looks like it was plucked and placed there, but they swear they saw it fall from the sky.)
  • Yesterday in the Messenger's Update: "Funerals - None pending." I haven't seen that in forever.
  • I've gone into a weird study of early 1800s U.S. history over the last year and now I'm simultaneously reading Michner's Texas, watching Ken Burns old documentary The West, and listening to the audiobook of H.W. Brands' Andrew Jackson. (I listened to the latter on my isolated Colorado hikes which was perfect.) Why is it I didn't care about the subject at all in my early life, but now can't get enough of it?
  • (1) No. (2) I never did think that.
  • More Zeke Elliott thoughts if the Cowboys don't pay him: Sit out this year and forego $3 million, but come back the next year at the contract salary of $9.1 million.  Then after that he's a free agent with -- and this is the key -- fresh legs. If the Cowboys then threaten to hit him with the franchise tag, I'd threaten to sit out again. He's proven he will. (Or, worst case, take the franchise tag money which will probably be at least $13 million by then.) In any event, not playing this year makes the most sense without a long term deal. $3 million is not worth the wear and tear on the short life of a NFL running back of his caliber.
  • He's up an whining like a toddler this morning and begging people to watch State TV.
  • And we learned he promoted the 1890 racist manifesto titled Might is Right or The Survival of the Fittest (but there is no way he was able to comprehend it) . . . . 


Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  • I'm back, but I must force the equivalent of a vacation slideshow upon you:
    • We drove to Colorado which might be one of my first road trips in year. At one point I fired up Vacation's "Holiday Road" which gave me great joy yet received a collective "meh" from the rest of the Family Unit.
    • We stopped at Amarillo on the way up because Mrs. LL wanted to see a friend, and I didn't mind seeing the Sod Poodles (the San Diego Padres' fantastically named AA team) as well as the Amarillo courthouse (the scene of Fort Worth's Cullen Davis' first trial and the almost-forgotten Oprah Winfrey beef defamation trial.)
      Davis at the Amarillo courthouse
      I was one of 6,811.
    • I didn't smell weed one time in Colorado and we even had lunch a BBQ joint in "Weed Town, USA" -- the home of 23 dispensaries.
    • Sixteen Year Old In The House after contemplating legalized weed: "That sounds real smart. I'm going to smoke some weed and then go ski off a mountain." Mrs. LL: "Mark that." 
    • And I'm very disappointed in law enforcement. We were in a rented SUV with California plates and wasn't profiled one time for weed trafficking on the way home. And I had prepped the occupants of the car to shut up if we got stopped because we weren't answering any questions regarding, "We're ya'll coming from today?"
    • I found the greatest brief stretch of desolate land just north of Amarillo and east of small town called Channing.  It was right out of No Country for Old Men.
    • I took a long hike to some place called Mohawk Lake and was rewarded with seeing the water's edge just feet away after climbing up the last steep incline. It was like seeing an infinity pool with infinity interrupted by a mountain. (That's my finger in the corner.)
    • I'm now part of the 14ers' Club having hiked to the top of the 14,265 foot Quandary Peak. Side note: It ain't easy. It took around 4 hours up to the peak, and the air is a tad thin up there.
  • Things I missed while away:
    • I saw that the Republicans mocked the "performance" of Robert Mueller - a Republican who was appointed by a Republican AG under a Republican president to investigate a Republican president.
    • A former Fort Worth Country Day kid was accused of murdering a classmate at Old Miss. (I want to know that guy's background among Fort Worth's high tone social circles.)
    • A defendant on trial in Johnson County slit his throat during trial -- and I later found out he was represented by Wise County's own Paul Belew. 
    • Trump, after watching a segment on Fox News, went on a racist rant against Baltimore and the elderly African-American Congressman Elijah Cummings. (He's really doubling down on the White Supremacist vote.) Ironically, even Fox News' Chris Wallace was taken aback the next day:
    • A lawsuit, which was laughable when it was filed, was dismissed.
    • A U.S. citizen and Dallas resident was held captive by ICE for three weeks because he had brown skin. (But no high-ranking Texas official objected since Chick-fil-A wasn't involved.)
    • Trump's base cheered a Supreme Court ruling which allowed him to steal $2 billion from the military to allegedly build a tiny sliver of  The Wall which he had promised that Mexico was going to pay for in the first place. 
  • Great question:
  • I'm giddy about the new Texas Monthly cover story on my nemesis: Pastor Robert Jeffress.
  • Oh, Mike. 
  • Here's a six-year old victim of a mass shooting in California last night.
  • So Zeke Elliott is holding out. If you want to know how bad the players' union is in the NFL, look at how he is bound to the Cowboys simply because he was "drafted" by them -- an event he had no say in: He's under his initial mandatory four year contract for this year, the Cowboys have already exercised the team's option to keep him from being a free agent next year, and they could slap a franchise tag on him for at least three years for the 2021 through 2023 seasons. After all that time, his value will be nothing.