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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • This is wild. That Dallas firefighter on the left had that wall collapse on him this morning and it was caught on video
  • With the Astros cheating scandal in the news, I saw this (admittedly unscientific) poll yesterday. How in the world does anyone vote "yes"? Then again, it's probably a safe bet that one out of every three people will cheat you if it benefits them. 
  • There will come a day when people are transported by automated drones which avoid collisions and land you safely in a pre-designated spot.  And that generation will look back on how we got around today and will think it was just as insane as using a wagon to travel west in the 1800s. Just look at these simultaneous screen shots of northbound Central and westbound I-30 by Dallas this morning. 

  • Someone told me about this book yesterday which is self-published by a Decatur resident. From the description, I think I could categorize it as historical fiction -- a genre which I've really come to like especially when it's about Texas.
  • A former firefighter was given probation by a jury in Tarrant County yesterday after he pled guilty in an Intoxication Manslaughter case which killed a six month old. Probated sentences in those case are rare but they can happen. Here you had a firefighter with no criminal history. And he did one other key thing: He pled guilty before the jury.  (He'll have to serve 120 days in the county jail as a condition of the probation.)  He could have received 2 to 20 years in prison and would have had to have served at least half the time period of the actual sentence. If any of my buddies in Fort Worth can tell me what the plea bargain offer was that he turned down, I'd like to know. Whatever it was, his gamble paid off. And with a deceased six month old, it was a huge gamble.
  • Dennis Prager making the news two days in a row.
  • I don't know how right-wing political talk radio would exist without Relief Factor, the Franklin Mint, and My Pillow. 
  • I referred to Sweetie Pies on the square the other day as "Matties." That earned me an Are-You-OK? look from the folks I was talking to. 
  • Had to shake my heads at the boys on WBAP at this morning when Stubie Doak proclaimed the First Amendment only provides protection from the federal government and not local governmental entities. (6:14 a.m.) That could not be more incorrect. The entire crew sheepishly agreed with him because they amazingly didn't know any better. "I'm just trying to bring a little reality into this situation [we are discussing]," Doak's said. He might sometimes chime in with homophobic jokes on WBAP's morning show, but he decided to branch out into law this morning. Stay in your unfunny lane, bro. (Yep, I'm not a fan.)
  • Kay Granger continues to be attacked by big bags of cash. Now the Super PAC Empower Texans (two rich guys out of West Texas) is throwing its weight around against her. The tweet below from this morning comes from the president of Empower Texans. But it also is very confusing because of his reference to bridges. Aren't their bridges everywhere that go over dry land? That just seems to be a strange way of attacking the Panther Island project.
  • Narrator's voice: "He doesn't have that right." 
  • I've teased and referenced a couple of times now that I had been contacted by NBC's Dateline about a Wise County criminal case they are interested in. You should get to find out what it is about, and why they would be interested in it, this weekend in the Star-Telegram. (I was certain the Wise County Messenger was going to cover it but I'm no longer sure.)
  • I never understood the prosecution of this police officer . . . 


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • I woke up this morning to news that McClatchy Co., which owns the Star-Telegram, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In a long press release written by McClatchy, it appears that the bottom line is that the McClathy family, who owned the company for 163 years, will no longer do so. The company will now be owned by a hedge fund named Chatham: "Chatham is a New Jersey-based hedge fund that last year reported more than $4.4 billion in assets under management on behalf of 14 clients. Hedge funds pool investment from wealthy individuals and big institutional investors, and Chatham’s specialties include investing in companies facing debt distress." The paper is still open for business, but I don't like this at all. 
  • Who ya got? (Video.) Lady Who Reclines Seat vs. Guy Who Repeatedly Punches Reclined Seat? 
  • I was going to side with the Lady until I saw she was mixing it up with everyone on Twitter and even posted this:
  • Trump's final number was 156,418 in New Hampshire which is very, very impressive for an uncontested primary. But so was the total number who voted in the Democratic Primary -- an all time record of 300,622. It's normally a 50/50 state when it comes to presidential elections. 
  • Those results shows that Trump's base loves him and are energized in support of him. But the numbers which make up that base never really change. His approval rating (green line below) is about as steady as it gets -- but it never breaks 50%. That's really amazing especially in light of the next bullet point. 
  • That site, 538.com, overlays Trumps numbers after 1,119 days compared to the numbers of past presidents. Look at the fluctuations with the others compared to Trump's consistency.
  • I wasn't familiar with WFAA's fairly new weather gal until I saw this picture yesterday.
  • Tyler Technologies, in addition to providing in-house software to counties, is now basically getting a couple of bucks on every document e-filed in Texas. That used to be free. Haven't I always told you that government contracts were the most lucrative contracts?:
  • As Wise County DA in 1994, I went to Tyler Technologies' small office in Plano to try to find a way to automate the office. If I remember correctly, they had a "starter software package" for counties at around $200,000 with a big annual fee. Since no other Wise County office was even networked (and basically computer-less), that didn't make sense. I ended up automating the office with a server and my own personally designed Access database at a cost of about $2,500 which included three new computers. The database went on to be used nearly 20 years.
  • "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret." Or do it in the open in an effort to cater to the Christian vote to the exclusion of all others. The verse is open to interpretation. 
  • After weeks of horrible tips, I finally agree with one. 
  • Let's check in on the state of the Dignity of the Office this morning:
  • I saw that Prager U was trending, and had no idea why. It turns out Samantha Bee went after  Dennis Prager. I'm a trendsetter. 


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • From a legal standpoint, it can't be overstated what happened yesterday: Four Assistant U.S. Attorneys who prosecuted Roger Stone withdrew from of the case -- two of them quitting their jobs entirely -- in protest of Trump's interference in the sentencing phase of the trial. They had recommended a sentence of up to eight years which Trump objected to but their boss, William Barr, stepped in and ordered the sentence recommendation withdrawn. It's stunning for every angle.
  • And yesterday Trump denied "talking" to the Justice Department but said he would have had the "absolute right to do it."  And although the "talking" part is probably a lie, he doesn't need to "talk" to anyone when he sends his orders over Twitter by saying the sentencing recommendation is a "miscarriage of justice" that he "cannot allow." 
  • And then Trump sent this bizarre tweet last night attacking the judge who still has to sentence Stone. This would get any president impeached and removed in we weren't living in what is now Bizarro Land. (Side note: Judges don't put people in solitary confinement, and Hillary was never in front of the judge to be "treated" in any manner.)
  • I started keeping track of Class C tickets filed in JP Courts in Wise County last year and missed a big one in November: We had the speeding record set: 144 mph in a 70 mph zone. Haden paid a fine in December. (Cause no. JP1-C-244782.)
  • By the way, the greatest injustice in ticket writing went to a guy who received a citation (and not a warning) in May for going 42 in a 40 mph zone. That case was actually appealed to the County Criminal Court at Law #1, but it still shows he paid a fine. (Cause no. CR-19-00877-2).
  • And for those who don't know, you can look up county records here.
  • Big Money continues to go after Kay Granger with this flyer being mailed out. (Look, I don't care one way or another about Granger. I do care about the rich, via Super PACs, trying to buy elections.)
  • Legal stuff: I'm both horrified and incredibly impressed that a brief has just been filed in the Supreme Court United States that included the meme below. It's kind of explained here with a link to the brief. (If you read the whole thing, it actually is a great way of explaining a complicated legal concept, but it's probably not wise to do it at the Supreme Court. I might do it in a pleading in front of a trial judge who I knew very well, but I don't know if I'd even do it in the Fort Worth Court of Appeals. But this appeared in a "Friend of the Court" brief, so they don't have a lot to lose.) 
  • There's a child trafficking case making the headlines in the Messenger where a guy was stopped with a minor in the car -- a minor who had recently entered the country. All the cops know is the guy was being paid to give the kid a ride from California to Georgia, but the Sheriff specifically said they don't know why. Uh, that "why" is kind of the crux of the human trafficking statute
  • I want to talk to the guy who purchases this. I've got a lot of questions.
  • Loved this line from a concurring federal court appellate opinion released yesterday about municipal judges and justices of the peace throwing people in jail for not paying a fine without first determining whether they had the ability to pay. We don't have debtor's prisons (which an amazing number of judges in Texas still do not seem to understand.)
  • The Sophomore In The House asked me yesterday, "The kids at school are talking about 'Texas turning blue'. We were blue? I mean, did all of a sudden everyone's views change?"  And then she immediately followed that up with, "Did everyone's views in the South suddenly change and switch to Republican? When did that happen?"  Oh, my! Pull up a chair, darlin'!
  • A pro se Defendant in Wichita Falls is not making it easy on the court.
  • Shout out to an incredibly insightful and inquisitive reporter from the Star-Telegram yesterday who called me about a case that even NBC's Dateline has been in contact with me about. 
  • Messenger: Above the Fold.


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • Three people are dead in a home near Azle and no one is saying why. But cops are saying they "didn't believe there was any threat to people who live in the area" which is code for murder-suicide.
    That's the ballpark area - not the exact location.
  • The Coronavirus total death toll in China is now over 1,000. Do I have to be the voice of reason? China has a population of over 1.3 billion. Conservative estimates put the annual death rate of natural and unnatural causes at 8 million a year or around 22,000 per day. Calm yourselves. That's not even a bad flu season over there. 
  • I've never understood the appeal of Bernie Sanders, and if he is the Democratic nominee, Trump will crush him.  And even though I'm beginning to think Micheal Bloomberg will catch fire in the next three weeks, the Democrats have to worry about the Bernie junkies staying home if he sweeps in and grabs the nomination.  I can't believe this is happening. 
  • But Trump is scared of Bloomberg as evidenced this morning. Edit: Wow. He deleted it within 10 minutes. It was about Bloomberg's "stop and frisk" policy when mayor.
  • Maybe this is why he deleted it. (But he normally doesn't care about what he's said in the past.)
  • "It's Friday, Friday. Got get down on Friday." (Yep, that's her.)
  • Trump confusingly tweeted a (NSFW) clip of the premier of this season's Curb Your Enthusiasm where the show made fun of people wearing MAGA caps. (Side note: Here's Larry David's NSFW defense of the episode.)
  • I've said it before: The deputies of the Denton County Sheriff's Office who run security for the courthouse should take a week long course on public relations. It ain't gonna kill you to treat the public with a tad bit of respect. Heck, TSA puts you to shame. 
  • I see that #broomchallenge is trending. Just wait until the Internet discovers the spin-a-penny-on-a-bent-coat-hanger trick. I've been doing that bit for years. 
  • Can I place a bet somewhere on the chances of Roger Stone being pardoned? (Also, if you haven't seen Get Me Roger Stone on Netflix, it's a must see if you like politics.)
  • Dateline Dallas: "After footage of performer Genea Sky’s harrowing fall hit the Internet, she posted an Instagram video explaining what had happened and thanked friends and fans for their support. She also created a GoFundMe page to pay her medical expenses." Stolen line from the radio this morning: "She needs to be invited to the next State of the Union address for her courage."
  • If the Smashing Pumpkins released their song 1979 today it would be the equivalent of being entitled 2004.
  • Another thought about heading down 114 into Roanoke and into Southlake this weekend (something I haven't done, amazingly, in a couple of years): I absolutely believe the story today in the Morning News. There is construction everywhere. Heck, that land that the Speedway sits on is going to be worth more than the Speedway itself in a few years. 
  • Ticket fans: I would have moved Bob and Dan to drive time and demoted Corby to mid-days with Jake. 
  • Wise County Jail population this morning: 171. That's pretty low. 


Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  • Baylor suspended 14 baseball players two games each for "hazing" last year. I'll never understand why one human being wants to inflict cruelty on another for "fun."  And I don't understand the Baylor press release telling us that it's "important to note" that drugs or alcohol weren't involved. I suppose it must be better to engage in ungodly acts while completely sober. 
  • The Dallas Morning News keeps promoting this story about the "tiny" skyscraper in Wichita Falls which was allegedly built after a con man duped investors by using misleading plans: It called for a height of 480" instead of 480'.  But the story then tells us "there's no documented proof" about the scam and that "no one has ever been able to disprove the story about inches and feet." 
  • Someone made an Open Records request to the Tarrant County DA's office, the DA's office complied, then the DA's office said we gave you some stuff that we weren't supposed to so give it back or we'll sue you. I'm not sure it works that way. 
  • There's not a criminal law practitioner with half a brain who doesn't have alarms going off with this one. And I know one Wise County prosecutor who has preached and preached to the cops about this. 
  • I went to an "Escape Room" this weekend and learned something: I'm not smart enough to go to an escape room. 
  • I also ended up in downtown Roanoke. Good lord. When did all that happen? It's the restaurant capitol of the Southwest proper. I remember when Roanoke had one grocery store and basically nothing else. 
  • Trump retaliated against impeachment witnesses Sondland and Vindman (who was escorted out of the White House) on Friday. I'm still waiting to hear if someone ended up with a horse's head in their bed. 
  • You might have missed this over the weekend.
  • The Ticket has a segment called Homer Call of the Week. The winner this year was the booth from Dumas High School in their 38-35 last second playoff win over Decatur. It has some "send 'em home", "thank you, Jesus", "shock the nation", a mysterious $5 bet, and Journey's Don't Stop Believing. (You can hear it here at the 8:00 mark.)  No Wise County school has a dedicated play-by-play and color man for any type of broadcast, right? 
  • And another. (Louisiana).
  • The case of the Yogurt Shop Murders in Austin is now almost 20 30 years old, and they still don't know who did it. (They got a couple of convictions based upon coerced confession but those men were later freed, and new DNA testing matched an unknown individual.)  I read a book about the case recently and was struck by the initial lead detective's position in the case when it was first assigned to him: Despite his standard being probable cause, he was going to take his time and wasn't going to make an arrest until there was proof beyond a reasonable doubt. He wasn't going to be wrong. He got thrown off the case, and a cluster of an investigation later followed which would ruin and taint the careers of many prosecutors and cops. (I thought about it again this weekend because the Austin American Statesman had a new story about the case.)
  • No way I'm watching any of the XFL. 
  • Messenger: Above the Fold.