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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • The Senate confirmed Trump's 45th judicial appointment to the federal appellate courts yesterday. Of the forty-five, one has been Hispanic. None have been African-Americans.  
  • We also had another judicial appointment in Texas. The guy may be qualified, but he just happens be the son of former judge -- a Republican who lost his election last year? There's no one better?
  • Video. (Language warning.)
  • People are camping out outside the new Dickies Arena in Fort Worth this morning to get in for general admission seating for tonight's concert by Twenty One Pilots. I'm not familiar with their work. At all. (And since when is general admission seating a thing?)

  • I forgot to mention that TDCAA apologized yesterday for mocking those concerned about justice for Rodney Reed. However, I'm not sure what this "we" business is. It's one guy running that account down there. (A couple of years back he even got called out during a legislative hearing from the back of the room for tweeting snark as the hearing was ongoing.)
  • Do people really think this is up for debate? (Ms. Smith is an "Emmy winning" reporter and anchor.)
  • Sure he ran Prime Prep Academy into the ground, but let's put him in charge of Florida State football? Please, please, let this happen. They'll deserve everything they get. 
  • Jimmy Kimmel's  Fallon's show was filmed at the University of Texas yesterday. Who thought this outfit was a good idea?
  • Edit after posting:
  • Trump Jr. has "written" a new book, and this passage should turn your stomach. His family giving up money (allegedly) is the exact same sacrifice as those buried at Arlington National Cemetery? (But if you love Trump, you'll love Junior. Heck, you might love Junior more. Nothing like this matters.)
  • In normal times, this would be a scandal that would last years and define a presidency. Now, it's just a blip on the radar. 
  • Mrs. LL gives a big thumbs up to the just released The Devil Next Door on Netflix. I had never heard of the documentary, and she explained it had to do with correctly identifying whether someone was a Nazi war criminal. As she was telling me about it, I asked, "Wait. Did some woman say in the courtroom, 'His eyes! I know it's him because of his eyes!'?"  (My brain was triggered to something from a news story years ago which made me ask myself, "You're willing to cause someone to be executed because of the way their eyes look?") She said I was close, but that the witness was a woman and not a man.  I was recalling a TV event from 1987. Here's a story about that courtroom moment printed the next day.   (In other news: I can't remember what happened yesterday.)
    (From the story)
  • I tried to find a video of that courtroom moment but, amazingly, I couldn't. I did find part of the cross-examination of the witness which caught my attention for two reasons: (1) The defense attorney got to walk around while asking questions and carrying a skinny microphone, and (2) This cutaway of the defendant surrounded by guards didn't exactly cloak him with the presumption of innocence.
  • Jeff Sessions, Trump's former AG whom he fired, is trying to return to the Senate from Alabama. Trump has belittled Sessions to no end, mocked his accent, called him the "biggest mistake" he ever made, and said, "This guy is mentally retarded. He’s this dumb Southerner. . . . He couldn’t even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama.”  Amazingly, Sessions is so weak that his first campaign ad praises Trump. You would have thought he would want to go back to D.C. with guns blazing. I would. 
    "The President's doing a great job!"
  • But there is precedent to be stomped on by Trump only to come back to him groveling. It's not like someone hasn't become his lapdog after he said his dad helped kill JFK and insulted his wife.
    You can post this 
    . . . and he'll do this for you. 
  • According to the Update, the grievance filed by the Decatur coach of last year's state finals softball team has been settled.  The details of one the most interesting* stories of the last year have been left unsaid. (*There's probably a better word.)


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • Deep fake video example: The guy who was actually in the background of a Trump rally a couple of years ago shows up again this week in Kentucky. (This would be much better if I could find the video link.)
  • Trump Jr. revealed the name of the Whistleblower yesterday. The blow-back was intense and immediate. But some of it reminded me that we are living in strange days. 
  • Texas passed the constitutional amendment allowing the handlers of drug/bomb dogs to take possession of the animals after the dogs are "retired." So how can 6% of people be against that? I suspect they want the handler to have to pay for the fair market value of the dog instead of getting a freebie. 
  • If you want high entertainment concerning a lawyer lying to a federal judge, read this thread. And it has a cliffhanger ending.  It made me tense. 
  • In reading Goodbye to a River, the author briefly wrote that a lot of the Texas courthouse fires in the 1800s (and I think Wise County even had two) were the result of arson with the motive being to destroy records. Fights over land were commonplace and a person claiming title, when he really didn't have a valid claim, would find his position improved if deed records and judgments effecting title just happened to be destroyed. I had never heard that theory. Side note: It's a great book of a guy reflecting on this history of the Brazos river as he takes a canoe trip from below Possum Kingdom.
  • The Houston PD doesn't like the Harris County DA (and especially one assistant DA who might be Dick Cheney's doppelganger): 
  • Yesterday Texas' highest criminal court (finally) overturned a verdict of a Williamson County kid for sexual assault of a child. Two years ago, the DA and trial court had declared him actually innocent but needed Austin's approval. From the best I can tell this is what happened: (1) The original case was flimsy but unscrupulous prosecutors get convictions on flimsy evidence every day, (2) the county got outraged that a white high school football player was going to prison for a real 25 years without parole on flimsy evidence, (3) the county elected a new DA, (4) the new DA brought in in a Texas Ranger to "re-investigate" the case, and (5) Surprise! Surprise! When the government works as hard to clear a man as they do to convict him, they find all sorts of evidence to indicate he's not guilty after all.  (Here's a 100 page concurring opinion detailing the whole case if you've got some time.)
    Courtroom gallery when he was originally convicted

  • One of the weirdest aspects of the case was that the kid originally turned down a plea bargain because, to his credit, he said he was innocent. However, once he was found guilty, the jury was to next decide the  prison sentence using an incredibly harsh Texas range of punishment of no less than 25 years to life without the possibility of parole. Through his lawyers, he avoided the punishment phase by reaching a deal with prosecutors to accept the minimum 25 years if he waived his right to appeal.  His new lawyers, therefore, had some huge hurdles to clear to get the sentence overturned. And the absolute reality is that he would still be in prison had not the new DA agreed that the whole case was unjust. 
  • It's not news that Trump asked. The big news is that Barr wouldn't do it. 
  • A Dallas Cowboy you've never heard of is the the victim of a sensational headline. You're allowed to have a concealed gun in your vehicle while traveling. But there is an exception: You can't be also committing any crime other than a traffic violation. Texas Penal Code § 46.02(a-1) In his case, the penny-ante weed possession also bought him a gun charge. It normally goes down as something like (1) you're stopped for speeding, (2) cop finds weed and arrests you for weed, and (3) finds a gun during the search of the car and then decides to dogpile you with another charge. So he isn't exactly a drug dealer with an arsenal of weapons to protect his stash. 
  • The current Rodney Reed case in the news has a bizarre Wichita Falls connection. His prior acquittal there was used to later put him on death row.


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • Well, once again I have proven that I'm the most trusted man in news and speculation. How am I not paid for stuff like this?:
    • Remember my bullet point from just six days ago?
    • Well look what happened last night!: 
    • All of this comes on the heels of  the sheriff's office in the Greenville announcing they were "100% sure" they had the right guy. All the while, the defendant was screaming to anyone who would listen that he was innocent. 
    • It's truly amazing that an arrest for capital murder could be made on such flimsy evidence. But credit to law enforcement (which I truly suspect, behind the scenes, means the DA's office) for killing that case right away. In any high profile case where a deputy goes off half-cocked or a sheriff may have authorized an arrest for his own political purposes, it needs to fixed and fixed immediately by those in authority who are smart enough to realize the cluster which has occurred. 
  • A big story this morning out of the metroplex is that four high school students from Community ISD were killed last night in a wreck near Lake Lavon. I had never heard of Community ISD which I learned is in "southeastern Collin County and includes the towns of Copeville, Josephine, and Lavon." It actually sits in a tiny town called Nevada. 

    The wreck occurred at Lake Road and State Highway 78

  • Regarding the Fort Worth cop who shot the woman who was in her own home: Am I the only person to think that was a really odd question to ask? That wasn't an interview to join the military or be a hit man. 
  • The Virginia legislature turned Blue last night, and the Republican governor of Kentucky, Matt Bevin, was defeated. (Trump campaigned for Bevin at a rally two days ago and said, "If you lose, they're going to say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world. This was the greatest. You can't let that happen to me!”) Fox News is not handling the election results well and is in denial this morning. 
  • This guy won a place on the Granbury ISD school board last night. He's concerned about "Beta" coming for your guns and churches. (h/t Bud Kennedy)
  • Texas approved all of its constitutional amendments last night except the one concerning elected municipal judges holding more than one position. The amendment was actually complicated and limited in scope, but I'm guessing it was defeated by the average voter thinking, "I'm voting on allowing a judge to hold multiple judgeships and make more money? Aren't judges also lawyers? I'll vote no." Or maybe people just hate municipal judges.
  • I told you yesterday those prostitution arrest at the Radisson hotel off Meacham Boulevard seemed to be focusing on the wrong people. Someone agreed with me yesterday afternoon:
  • One faithful reader contacted me about Cassidy's which is the club/bar located in that Radisson. It's been notorious over the years as a pickup joint for middle-agers. But my super secret confidential source told me the last time he was there it had the very odd crowd of older biker-type guys and a huge group of young females who just happened to be Asian. And they didn't seem to know each other  -- at least when the evening began.  I offer this, of course, without judgment.
  • The right wing crew on WBAP were questioning the conviction and upcoming execution of Rodney Reed this morning. To their credit, they had serious concerns. Yesterday, however, the lead Texas prosecution association, TDCAA, mocked everyone's concern in a tweet they have since deleted. Somehow, oddly, it invoked Michael Jackson which caused a nun to tell them to "delete their account." (I'm confused, too.) The snarky account then showed about as much contrition as possible with the tweet below (and then got crucified in the comments.)
  • Sheriff Joe, who was pardoned by Trump, can't catch another break. What I can't figure out is how any lawyer is dumb enough to take these cases to start with. (Side note: Despite losing two elections in a row, he's running for sheriff again.)

  • Impeachment Shocker: Somehow in all of the news it gets buried that the ambassador who was in Trump's corner,  Gordon Sondland,  had to actually revise his sworn testimony before the Impeachment Inquiry to say, yes, there was a quid pro quo. He said his "recollection" had been "refreshed" after reading the transcripts of the other witnesses.  (That means he feared a perjury charge.)
  • I'm not sure I've heard of this before: A Texas appellate judge has submitted her resignation because of complications from Alzheimer's.
  • Messenger: Above the Fold. 


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • In response to my question yesterday of "Do people not value their time?" (when I saw the pic of people standing in line to get a chicken sandwich), I had a wise guy immediately send me this message:

  • The Star-Telegram has a big story about potential growth in Wise County. A lot of the focus is on the 3,000 homes which are part of the Sendora Ranch project right on the Wise/Tarrant County line off 287. (The link is OK to read on a mobile device. On a laptop or desktop, your browser will slow to a crawl.  Dear, ST, you have got to get a hold of that problem.) 
  • There was also a Star-Telegram story on a prostitution bust at the Radisson Hotel off Meachum Blvd on I-35. I expected to see it to be the typical crime-creation sting operation where guys are lured to cops posing as prostitutes. Nope. Twenty-two females were arrested. I'm guessing cops were responding to online ads and getting the gals to pay them a visit in the hotel. But aren't a lot of those ads placed by traffickers who are using the girls? Are they targeting the right people?
  • Met Life Cat!  (When he crossed into the end zone, I knew the crowd would erupt.) If you haven't heard the radio call, it's pretty funny.
  • The cat didn't surpass the touchdown run and its play-by-play call of a squirrel from a few years back.
  • We are getting closer to getting Trump's tax returns. A federal appeals court ruled with lightning speed yesterday that they must be disclosed. Unless the Supreme Court steps in, we'll finally get to see what he is hiding. (Unless he just ignores the ruling with impunity which somehow he always gets away with.) 
  • State troopers showed up yesterday in Austin to oversee the throwing out of the homeless from a homeless camp under an overpass. I wonder if any trooper ever says to his buddies, "I didn't sign up for border patrol, I didn't sign up to patrol the streets in South Dallas, and I dang sure didn't sign up to babysit homeless removal." 
  • Trump welcomed the Washington Nationals to the White House yesterday. 
  • Roger Stone's trial starts today. It'll be bonkers. Yesterday the judge ruled that the government can introduce a portion of the script of The Godfather II, but can't actually play the clip (unless the testimony of the defendant or another witness changes things.) That's a heck of a start.
  • Yeah, I now the "Now This" videos have a liberal slant, but the one about Trump's new spiritual advisor, Paula White, is worth a watch. She's a nutcase and right out of The Righteous Gemstones. Fun fact: She's married to Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain. 
  • A faithful reader sent me this screenshot of her monitor from somewhere in communist America yesterday!
  • More shady Texas judge appointments you'll never hear about: Republican Judge David Evans lost his job on the Dallas appellate court fair and square in the last election. Yesterday, one year after losing that election,  Greg Abbott put him back on on the court via an appointment to fill a vacancy. (And Abbott had already helped him out by appointing him to a district judgeship in February.) There's no one else qualified?
    Flag Code violation and, worse, a Fashion Code violation.
  • Trump will attend the Alabama/LSU game where he certainly will not be booed. Nixon's staffers had the same strategy as well.
  • Hey, look! Trump got worked up by Fox News this morning so now he's going to send troops into Mexico to fight their internal war and we are going to pay for it! (Spoiler alert: I'll never happen. You know by now his words mean nothing.)
  • Seriously, he got all of that from Fox News. Here is the segment that he watched.
  • All of this Mexico/Cartel talk has been prompted by the story of nine people of a Mormon clan with Mexican and American duel citizenship being killed in Cartel territory. The killings are awful and senseless, but that group has an interesting back story: Just Google Ervil LeBaron and his lineage and ancestors. (I first heard of the LeBarons in Jon Krakauer's book, Under the Banner of Heaven.)
  • It's behind a paywall, but The Athletic has a feature on Bridgeport's Colin Jones . . . 
  • I avoid texting, but I learned yesterday most people text with their thumbs. I don't. I tried it. That's easier.