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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • According to the Messenger, a Boyd volleyball player died in her sleep on Wednesday night. There's not a whole lot known other than that. 
  • A DPS Trooper in the Wichita Falls area has resigned after being indicted for "felony charges of drug possession and tampering with evidence." He was primarily responsible for stopping people on 287. So far, five felony cases against other that he had been involved in have been dismissed with, I'm sure, more to come. Oftentimes, there are cases involving the seizure of money (assuming they were filed) which are also in jeopardy in situations like this. 
  • Some agencies use a towel (or in this case a sheet) to cover the clothes of an inmate for one reason: They want to use the photos in future photo lineups and don't want the clothes to be suggestive one way or another -- so just have everyone dressed the same.  It's really a pretty antiquated practice for the simple reason that photo lineups are basically never used any longer. (And if the cops are using a photo lineup these days, their case is starting on shaky grounds.)
  • Sounds like this judge who is visiting-by-assignment in Houston isn't adjusting to retirement very well. 

  • The following tweet about a former Dallas judge got a lot of attention yesterday even catching the attention of the Washington Post. It's in connection with the scheduled execution of one of the Texas Seven.  Here's a link to the referenced amicus brief, and it bugged me that it never cited to the reporter's record where the judge made those statements during trial.   I had to track down the Motion for Stay of Execution filed last month to find out the source of the statements and it turns out it didn't happen during trial. It comes from an affidavit of at least one person who claims the judge made those statements after the fact and away from the courtroom and the jury.
  • But imagine my surprise while I was reading the Motion for Stay of Execution and came across this footnote. Yep, something I wrote in 2006 somehow ended up in a Motion. (I had thought the judge was a silly grand-stander in a radio ad.) I now wish I had slapped a title on the post which wasn't so flippant. 
  • The Hill says that Tarrant County is one of ten counties in the U.S. which will decide the 2020 presidential race because of its chance to turn blue. I'm not so sure about it impacting Texas as a whole, but remember that Beto beat Cruz there in the last election. I've said it before: There is not a Tarrant County elected Republican (and they are all Republicans) who is not worried about a Democratic sweep one of these day like those that threw everyone out of office in Dallas and Harris counties in recent years. This includes the dozens of judges, the DA, the County Clerk, and the District Clerk. 
  • I'm still haven't wrapped my brain around the North Dallas Tollway going all the way to 380. (For you none Wise County readers, 380 is a big player here.) 
  • Trump was still on his Alabama Claim vs Hurricane Dorian rant yesterday afternoon this morning. At any other time in American history, the country would be in a panic over the fear the president was losing it. (You know, someone should tell him it's OK to drop it.)
  • LSU vs. Texas tomorrow: Man, if UT wins we will face peak Texas cockiness that we've not seen since the moment before Colt McCoy went down against Alabama in the National Championship game. 
  • I've mentioned before there is a multi-million dollar judgment on appeal in Dallas County involving a Decatur law firm. It is now set for oral argument on October 10, 2019. (Based upon the notice, there are a lot of lawyers involved in that thing. It also looks like the three judges to hear the case are a bit on the conservative side.)


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  •  It's been 20 years, and I had almost forgotten about it. 
  • Northwest ISD how has a "clear bag" policy for varsity events.
  • The Texas Rep who fired off hot opinions on gun rights after the Odessa Shootings decided to confuse his very conservative followers with this yesterday:

  • Not to be outdone, far right Rep. Dan Crenshaw tells everyone that with new laws he couldn't lend his guns to his friends because they couldn't pass a background check. 
  • And then rumors start circulating that the leaders in Austin will consider Universal Background Checks causing a mutiny among state Republicans. 
  • The NFL starts tonight so it's time for my Expert Sports Prediction on the Cowboys. The line for total wins is at 9. My bet-the-house-and-your-wife prediction: Take the over
  • In case you missed Sharpiegate, Trump has been bent out of shape ever since people made fun of him for claiming on Sunday that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama.  (He specifically said the Alabama news "just came up, unfortunately.") That, of course, wasn't true. By Sunday, all projections had it turning north. The National Weather Service quickly jumped in to calm down Alabamians.
  • Then, since he can't just let it go, yesterday he showed reporters a NWS map in the Oval Office that had a black Sharpie line drawn over Alabama.  He actually thought we wouldn't notice. 
  • When everyone made fun of that, he then  tweets a map which (1) is four days before his original Alabama claim and which showed a few outliers going through Alabama, (2) was not from the NWS but from something called the South Florida Water Management District, (3) and contained the biggest disclaimer in the history of ever. 
  • And the goofball is still at it this morning. Take the loss. Let it go. 
  • Texas executed another guy last night. The case originated out of Tarrant County, and I noticed his current lawyer was not too kind to his trial lawyer: "Brandt says his past lawyer, Richard Alley, was a 'great word processor' who cut and pasted 'worthless' legal arguments from other cases and has been suspended from practicing in federal court. In 2006, three years after the murders, Alley was barred by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals from its list of lawyers eligible to represent death row inmates in their appeals. He died back in 2017."
  • I was reminded of the kidnapping of two children near Chico by the Comanches in 1865 and found this great page created by the fine folks which have documented basically every cemetery and grave in Wise County. 
    • It has taken me years to realize how recent the events like that are. One of the children  lived until 1950.  There are many people in Wise County right now who could have sat down and talked to him about the kidnapping. 
  • This report of a hate crime caused me a little confusion.
  • I know nothing about some product called "Relief Factor" but there is no way I'd order based simply on the people who promote it. 


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • The Cowboy's signed Zeke signed overnight: A six year extension beginning in 2021 for $90 million with $50 million guaranteed.  These boys nailed it yesterday:
  • Everyone is saying that "He'll be a Cowboy through 2026!" That's dumb.  He's got four years of good production left if the Cowboys are lucky. So let's go with the $50 million of new money which is guaranteed -- the only money that matters -- divided by four years of production: $12.5 million a year. This is practically how to look at it in a "what exactly are they paying for" sort of way: 
    • 2019: $3.5 million (old contract) + $12.5 million
    • 2020: $9 million (old contract) + $12.5 million
    • 2021: $12.5 million
    • 2022: $12.5 million
    • 2023: Irrelevant. At this point, and probably before, massive deterioration in production begins. They either cut him now or he takes a pay cut to whatever it is he's worth which isn't much. If he's been extremely good for the previous four years and he gets cut after 2022, that's still probably a fair deal. If his legs start to go in 2020 (like Todd Gurley's did last year), it's a horrible deal.
    • 2024: Irrelevant
    • 2025: Irrelevant
    • 2026: Irrelevant
  • The Odessa shooter failed a firearms background check on January 14, 2014, but the government won't tell us why. Since most reasons to fail the background check are otherwise available as a public record (i.e. a conviction for domestic violence), most speculate it was a disqualification for "mental heath condition" or "substance abuse."  We don't know about treatment for those conditions because of HIPAA laws. But, amazingly, there's no easy way for the federal government to know about it either -- especially to have enough details to be disqualifying for a gun. The disqualification of the shooter seems mysterious.
  • Walmart will no longer sell handgun ammo or ammo for the AR-15 and related guns. This will cause a massive boycott of red-blooded Americans until the moment they need to make a run to Walmart. 
  • Random old soap opera thought: Search for Tomorrow is a pretty deep name for a pretty silly program.
  • Lawyers really don't have a union because there is no one to unionize against. Story
  • Highest (administrative) county judges in the state: Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley at $182,482 and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins at $171,367
  • A reminder that you can search for how much any Texas attorney made via court appointments in criminal cases. And it is searchable by county.
  • Weird story out of Dallas. She had worked at the company for only a "few days", and the alleged killer urged her to apply for the job. He took her in a company truck which the company was able to "remotely shut down" when it was discovered to be in Mississippi. He allegedly killed her shortly afterwards. 
  • There's a lot going on here with Billy, and a lot to think about: 
  • Dress for success.
  • College football random thoughts: (1) The Big 12 went 10-0 last weekend which is impressive simply because no one slipped up. More impressive: No Big 12 team threw an interception. (2) Former UT coach Charlie Strong is in a weird funk at South Florida. He started of 2018 at 6-0 but has since lost eight straight (and started off this year with a 49-0 loss to Wisconsin.) (3) I managed to scramble to a TV to catch the end of Tennessee's loss to Georgia State. Back in the day, I also managed to get in front of a TV for Appalachian State's upset of Michigan. 
  • As a followup on my out-of-the blue Seinfeld bullet point on Monday, I found this People magazine cover story.
  • Messenger: Above the Fold


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • Man, there are a lot of questions about the burning of a 75 foot "dive boat" which caught on fire near Santa Cruz Island and presumably killed 34 people (25 bodies have been found as of this morning.)  Six crew members escaped. The company which ran it had a "sterling reputation" (a co-owner is one of the dead) and the boat had been updated in recent years after a homeless man stole it an ran it aground.  The fire occurred during a weekend Labor Day trip that cost $665. The boat could sleep up to 46 in bunk beds -- some stacked three high. 
  • Hurricane Dorian can down in history as one thing: It's weird. I've never seen one go so slow for so long and then do the (predicted) hard right hand turn.
  • Get those Fall clothes out. 
  • While in Ireland and at Trump's suggestion, VP Mike Pence and his entourage is staying at Trump's hotel in Doonbeg for two nights and commuting on Air Force 2 to Dublin.  Your taxpayer dollars at work. 
  • If you ever hear someone say that a famous comedic scene in any sitcom or movie was "completely ad-libbed and the director just let the cameras roll", that person is probably completely wrong. (I thought about this yesterday when Ticket fill-in host Peter Welpton said that about the character Quint's USS Indianapolis speech in Jaws: "He was actually drunk and he just decided to that on his own." My famous Skepticism Radar® immediately went off, and a quick Internet search proved me right.)
  • Here's your Odessa victims. "The youngest person to die was Leilah Hernandez, 15, a sophomore and basketball star at Odessa High School who was with her family at a car dealership when she was shot."

  • The first media outlet to report that the shooter in Odessa had been fired from his job earlier in the day was the New York Times. You'd think someone in Texas media would have known that. Side note: He lived in the place pictured below. Side note #2: He had a sister who graduated from aTm who committed suicide at age 34. 
  • The Angels pitcher who died in a hotel in Southlake had fentanyl in his system. I was wondering when I first referenced that drug on Liberally Lean since it keeps popping up in the news. I found it: June 5, 2007. (I also found that Texas Monthly did a long article on Jacob Stiles death a few years later.)
  • In case you missed it, you need to watch this guy's plan to defeat the Hurricane Dorian. (Spoiler alert: It involves the Navy and Ice.)
  • I dropped my reading glasses at Lowe's yesterday while messing with a hefty item. I thought, "Don't forget about them after you get this thing situated in the cart in a few seconds." During those few seconds I did indeed forget. Then I had to return to the store six hours later (ugh) and decided to swing by the aisle to see if by wild chance they were still there. Incredibly, they were. 


Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  • Yep, the hardest working man in show business. On. Labor. Day.
  • We had another bloodbath on the streets of Texas on Saturday with seven dead and a toddler shot in the face.  Gov. Abbott showed up and oddly decided to come to the defense of AR-15s. as he "wanted to point out" and said it was "very important" that we know that some of the mass shootings did not involve that type of weapon. He cited Santa Fe and Luby's as examples. Feel better? 
    "Toddlers are funny because they get shot and still want to run around and play"
  • One Texas state rep fired off some hot gun-loving opinions while the blood on the streets of Odessa was still warm. He's still getting buried in replies. (I left out the one where he said gun ownership was a "God-given" right -- something I did not know.)
  • I also don't know if the Grand Bahama Island is still there this morning. 
  • Dear clerk in Wise County Justice of the Peace #4, you double entered citation number TX5J9B0YIG8K ("cut corner on left turn") on Friday. 
  • In otherwise boring coverage of a random city council meetings, we need more gems like this buried in the Messenger
  • As much as I enjoyed the return of college football, shots of Liberty's Hugh Freeze coaching from a hospital bed might have been the highlight. Yes, this really happened.
  • Nothing like Trump tweeting out a classified photo which probably showed the U.S. is violating Iranian air space (most experts think that is not a satellite image.) 
  • As Sunday morning dawned and the nation mourned another mass shooting and is on edge because of a category five hurricane, Trump offered some words only a leader could offer:
  • He's not wrong. But the first thing I do is look to inside to see if this is worse than just a simple car theft this morning.
  • One of college football's great traditions is the gathering of boats on the Tennessee river outside of the stadium of the Volunteers. It's tailgating on the water. Early Saturday morning, a 41 footer caught fire and sank. (Later the team would catch also burn as it lost to little Georgia State.)
  • John Travolta was up in studio on the Ticket last week to promote his new movie, The Fanatic, which was only showing locally in a theater in Mesquite. (Yep, one theater.) It opened in limited release but even then made no money per theater.  He was an incredibly nice guy in the interview and his filmography is amazing (Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Urban Cowboy, Pulp Fiction, Face/Off and a million others you've forgotten). A new article in The Ringer is a fascinating look at the incredible roles he's turned down and his odd career choices.

  • I normally wouldn't link to article like this, but the pictures of Don McLean ("American Pie") and his young girlfriend is worth they journey.  Story
  • Hurricane news coverage flashback:
  • It's amazing now that Seinfeld was able to get away with dating an 18 (or 17?) year old girl. If you want an update on her, her's here Wiki page.  She's 44 and doing Ok.

  • Messenger: Above the Fold
From late Saturday