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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • Blue Tide Rising: If you think Texas can't turn blue, the final numbers from Tuesday's voting should send a shock wave through you. Look at these primary numbers since 2010. This is a bombshell of a big reveal, and is what we political experts call a "trend." 

  • Now is it possible, or even probable, that more Republicans than Democrats will vote in the general election in Texas this Fall? Sure. There wasn't a contested presidential primary on the Republican side on Tuesday which maybe suppressed the numbers.  But it will very, very likely be the last time for Texas to be Red at the state-wide level for at least the next couple of decades. We all knew it was coming some day, and 2024 and beyond will be a different story. And a Republican presidential nominee can't win without all of Texas' electoral votes. (How's that electoral college thing sounding now?) 
  • The New York Times has a great up-to-the-minute tracker of new confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. Uh, speaking of trends. And look at yesterday: 
  • Breaking: Five new coronavirus cases confirmed in Houston.  
  • And remember last Saturday when Trump held the emergency press conference and (incorrectly) told us "we have a total of fifteen" people who had the virus in the U.S. and that "within a couple of days [that number] is going to be down close to zero." Transcript.

  • Look, I completely stand by my original position that the coronavirus in the grand scheme of things is no big deal. But if I were President, I would have never of said that publicly. 
  • There were lots of headlines that read "Blue Bell Ice Cream Licker Receives 30 Days in Jail" yesterday. But when I read the stories, they referred to him as a 24 year old male. Wasn't the person involved in this whole brohaha a girl? The is answer is yes.  He was just a copycat ice cream licker following the lead of juvenile female out of San Antonio. 
    This is the guy who got 30 days

    This is the original licker
  • Chris Putnam, who couldn't beat Kay Granger despite drowning in special interest money to do so, finally spoke. He bowed at the feet of Trump and signaled he'll try again in two years. (Which makes you realize what a beating it would be to be a congressperson and have to run for re-election every two years.)
  • Stay with me here -- this has a big payoff. What if the SuperPACs who supported Putnam would have had this strategy: He can't beat Granger head to head but if they could get another candidate to join the the race to just siphon off enough votes to force a run-off between Granger and Putnan, he might take her.
    • But what if they couldn't find someone else to run? What other options would they have? 
    • What if they invented someone? Or, more specifically, what if they went out and registered a third person  who actually exists with a great Republican sounding name without his consent.  You know, like "Bubba Alamo Green?" 
    • They didn't need Bubba to campaign. They just needed his name on the ballot to steal some votes by people voting for a cool sounding name. It's the runoff between Granger and Putnam that they want. 
    • And what if Bubba on Tuesday did in fact siphon off enough votes to force a runoff between Granger and Putnam.
    • Sound crazy? That may have exactly happened near Houston where long term State Rep. Harold Dutton now faces a run-off.  The name of "Natasha Ruiz" appeared on the ballot in a district which just happens to have quite a few Hispanic voters. Ruiz, who didn't campaign, spend any money, and was never seen, still received 20% of the vote! And guess what? Dutton is now forced into a runoff with another guy. 
    • Here's the kicker: "On Wednesday night, ABC13 reported that the candidate in question, Natasha Ruiz, identified herself as 'Natasha Demming' when reached by phone and said she worked as a truck driver in Colorado. Ruiz told the Houston television station she did not know why her name would have been used to sign up to run for the House seat."
    • “The more and more I’ve gotten into this, the more and more it sounds like something criminal went on, which bothers me a little bit,” Dutton told The Texas Tribune.
  • Dear MSNBC, I don't think that's correct. (Watch it.)
  • The NFL players will follow the lead of their inept and in-the-pocket-of-NFL-owners player reps and vote to approve the new collective bargaining agreement.  They were given the full 456 pages of the proposed agreement yesterday.  Go ahead, read all of it here.  
  • Let me suggest this might be a trap.
  • Hmmm. Exxon announced that it anticipates "reducing the number of rigs in 2020 by more than 20%" in the Permian Basin. 


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • Well, I'll be. After all the returns for the Primary Elections came in, there were more Democrats who voted than Republicans in Texas. 2,076,046 to 2,008,385, (h/t Bud Kennedy.)
  • Nothing like a congressman doing bits. (Yep, this is real.)
  • Oh, the comments
  • Hey, I dog the Tarrant County DA's office all the time, but they deserve high praise for this. For years, I've been ranting against charging people with crimes because of traffic accidents. 
  • But because people over the past 10 years have been persecuted for having traffic accidents, you now have folks too scared to stop because of what the government might do to them. Case in point:
  • And Another. Offered with out comment. 
  • In case you missed it, Dairy Protesters (yep, they exist) rushed the stage that Joe Biden was on Tuesday night. In a fantastic photo, here's Jill Biden going on the offensive.
  • Fake Weatherman, unlike myself, have now resorted to using the term "embedded thunderstorms" to distract from their erroneous forecasts which predicted the heavy rains yesterday would be centralized to the south of the metroplex. 

  • This was pretty funny. Here's the quick video.
  • She lost, 52% to 48%, but she will always love that photo. 
  • Well, this is a cluster. These two guys were running for seat on the Court of Appeals in Amarillo. The final vote had Denny with 46,002 and Doss with 45,683. Hey, that's close. Really close. But wait. The entire race was left off the ballot in Cochran County and Collingsworth County. What do you do now?
  • Hey, it's about time for the Liberally Lean March Madness Pick 'Em Tournament, and I want everyone to know I'm tricking it up this year. Big time. Every tournament has the same old boring scoring system, so I'm turning mine into a bit. Here's what I'm looking at: A system which will massively reward you for picking upsets in the first two rounds. After that, you get a massive point reward (40 points) for picking the lone winner but not much else. Heck, upset picks in the first two rounds are worth more than correctly picking a team to reach the final four. (I screwed up the sign-up link last year but this link should work.)
  • Pudge Rodriguez unveiled his statue at the new Rangers' ballpark yesterday. Bizarre fact since we all consider him to be a humble guy:  Rodriguez "actually commissioned a statue of himself years ago that once decorated his house in Miami." 

  • Breaking: The coronavirus was just confirmed in Africa. Please panic accordingly. 


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • Every Texas political junkie last night was saying this at 10:00 p.m.: "How in the year of our dear Lord 2020 does it take this long to get election results?" (Wise County, in contrast, had them almost before you got home.)
  • I, for one, will always miss the day where Wise County Clerk Sherry Parker on election night would come out to the lobby of the clerk's office every 30 minutes and write the most recent results on a white board. And we'd get to hear things like, "The boxes from Cottondale and Newark still aren't here yet." 
  • After trailing for most of the night in Texas, Biden finally beat Sanders. That was very reminiscent of how Beto led Cruz for most of the night until the more rural counties, and the more "conservative" voters, were all counted. 
  • But don't think for a minute this was a massive win for Biden in Texas. Because Texas allocates the delegates - it's not a winner take all state - Biden will end up with a handful of more Texas delegates than Sanders. (We don't know the exact delegate allocation yet because we have to see if Bloomberg cracks 15% which would change the way the delegates are divvied up.) 
  • Congratulations to Kay Granger for defeating Chris Putnam who was supported by millions of dollars in SuperPAC money and, oddly, the Wise County Sheriff. Granger carried Wise County, as well.
  • In the vote to replace Wise County's other House representative, ex-White House physician Ronny Jackson (21%) is headed to a runoff against Josh Winegarner (41%), an ex-Phil Gramm/John Cornyn staffer. Bridgeport's own Elaine Hayes had 7.67%. 
    You know Trump knows nothing about you when he gives you the boilerplate
     crime/border/troops/guns endorsement.
  • Trying to vote in Tarrant and Dallas counties was a nightmare, and it was even worse in other parts of the the state. This should never, ever happen. And even Mrs. LL noticed that the Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy was royally pissed off. But some people had a stick-to-it quality you just had to admire. 
  • Here's my hottest political opinion: Tarrant County is about to have a Fall and Near Future Political Bloodbath.
    • Even with the shortage of Democrat voting machines in Tarrant County, the Dems had 152,676 turn out (55%) vs. 122,802 for Republicans (45%). (Unofficial numbers.)
    • For all those local politicians in Tarrant County who are subject to a county-wide vote and who fear the county turning Blue, they just became a lot more nervous last night. 
    • This will probably most interest lawyers, but I think this is a fascinating predictor: There are eight Republican district judges who have drawn a Democrat opponent. (The 48th, 67th, 96th, 153rd, 213th, 342nd, 360th, and CDC #2). In each of those races last night, those Republicans all received around 99,000 votes. Their opponents who appeared on the Democratic ballot, in contract, got around 110,000 votes. As a specific example for the upcoming General Election preview, in CDC #2 Republican Wayne Salvant received 98,454 votes while his Democratic challenger, Karen Williams, received 112,654. 
    • The general election, and the Trump Turnout, might very well change the numbers, but I bet you will see the beginning of every judgeship in Tarrant County start to turn Democrat this fall. If not then, it absolutely will happen in 2022.
    • That's exactly what happened in Dallas and Harris Counties and now it will happen to Tarrant. The reverse, Democrat to Republican, happened in Tarrant County in the late 1980s, so it's not like this is uncharted territory. 
    • Now you know why the Republican controlled Texas legislature just got rid of straight-ticket voting.
  • By comparison, Wise County had 10,142 Republicans vote (85%) compared to 1,842 Democrats (15%). Ain't nothing changing her. 
  • And Texas still looks Red based upon the total votes: 1,990,012 (R) vs. 1,617,703 (D) by last count
  • Ticket Fans: Jan McDowell didn't make the runoff for the House District 24 after receiving only 10.2% of the vote. 
  • On obscure statewide races like the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, I've always wondered how many votes I'd get if I didn't spend a dime but still got my name on the ballot. Let's face it, no one knows who to vote for when you see those names come up on the ballot. People just pick a good looking name. And, let's face it, I've got a good looking name: "Barry Green." Five letters each. Repeating letters in the third and fourth positions.  Heck, it's the Brad Pitt of names. 
  • As seen below, why are there so many DWI cases being tried this week in Tarrant County with an alleged alcohol concentration greater than 0.15? I watch this trial board all the time and it's unusual to see even one. They should all be resolved by the plea process. My conspiracy theory is that misdemeanor prosecutors are cherry-picking to help their winning percentage, but that's just a wild guess.
  • Messenger: Above the Fold


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • Coronavirus American death toll: 6. People killed in tornadoes last night in Tennessee: 9. Edit: 22 dead.
  • Oh, come on. 
  • Wise County, here are your voting locations today. Side note: I'm not sure why the person in charge of the official Wise County website didn't want to type out "Early Voting" and "Election Day" instead of using "EV" and "ED." And we all know "LAT notice" means the notice of the "Location" of "Automatic Tabulating" equipment testing. Spoiler alert: It was back in January.
  • Spot the problems. (It's been deleted.)
  • Flashback to Texas Republican primary voting in 2016. (Voter turnout was 19.92% by the way.)
  • Wise County was pretty much in line with the state as Cruz received 5,514 votes to Trump's 3,488. But turnout was 30.05%. (All county results are broken down here.)
  • Brit Hume posted a screenshot off his laptop early this morning and forgot about an open browser tab. The tweet was up for about two hours before he deleted it.
    . . . which leads to . . . 

  • Dateline Austin. This is why we can't have nice things.
  • When the President of the United States wants to be petty early in the morning but can't spell.
  • AT&T TV launched nationwide this week. It's really kind of confusing. It's a streaming package but you need a box instead of just a "Smart TV". And it comes with a long-term contract that jumps to $93 after the first year. And if it basically sounds like DirecTV without the dish, it is. The plan is for it to replace DirecTV. Here's the C|Net article. 
  • What are we going to do without those Bloomberg ads? Today is the last day.


Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  • I think I've come down with the CoronaTiredHead virus.
  • Let's get an update from the mayor of San Antonio as of last night.
  • When the news broke Saturday morning that someone in Washington state had died from the coronavirus, Trump abruptly called a press conference to tell us all is well. "Unfortunately, one person passed away overnight. She was a wonderful woman, a medically high-risk patient in her late 50s." Then every other official who spoke expressed condolences to her family.  Uh, the person who died was a man.
  • It's only been three days, but this didn't age well. 
  • Although it is curious why this Administration thinks that not a single female has anything to offer during this crisis, Pence's wife will be happy to know he wasn't alone with a woman for lunch. 
  • If you turn the crank at any speed, it will pop out one penny every 4.97 seconds. You can use it eight hours a day if you wish. Would you do it? If so, you are willing to work for the current minimum wage. 
  • The Bridgeport Sissies lost to Argyle in playoff basketball yesterday, but in the third quarter they trailed only 23-22. Crazy stat: All of the 23 points by Argyle at that point had been scored by one girl. 
  • Oprah busted it this weekend. Video.
  • DPS announced last week that, because of money, its labs will not test misdemeanor amounts of alleged marijuana to determine if the substance submitted is legal hemp (with a THC content of 0.3% or less) or illegal marijuana (with a THC level of greater than 0.3%). There's no other way to say it: You can no longer be successfully prosecuted in Texas for the misdemeanor offense of possession of marijuana under 4 ounces. That's not to say you won't still be arrested and a prosecutor might try to bluff you into pleaing to something, but they can't win the case without a lab report. And the only lab they have which won't charge them for testing  is the labs run by DPS.
  • Everyone loves bits. 
  • The jury, not the judge, found him guilty. The jury, not the judge, sentenced him to death. The jury, not the judge, also pander for the media and try to make it "all about me." And the, "We'll give you a fair trial before we hang you" is not a good look. (Side note: I looked for the origin of that saying thinking it was a pretty famous quote, but couldn't find it.)
  • So Tony Romo is going to be paid $17 million a year to be a color commentator for CBS? Maybe Bernie Sanders is right about the distribution of wealth in the country. But you know who is hopping mad at his agent this morning? Troy Aikman who had been with Fox for 19 years and is paid $7.5 million a year. 
  • If you want to know why I make fun of Diamond and Silk all the time, please watch this one minute excerpt of them speaking at CPAC.
  • In case anyone needs to be reminded of who we are, the Update gives us these early voting numbers for Wise County: 5,136 votes in the Republican primary and 695 in the Democratic primary.
  • Messenger: Above the Fold