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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • If you haven't seen police shove down the 75 year old man in Buffalo, you need to. A quick loading video of it is here. Pay attention to both the seeping blood and how his injuries are ignored. And take a look at this video from a different angle from across the street. In that video, the sound of the guy's skull hitting the pavement is enough to stop the rest of the militarized police in the street in their tracks. Then we have one the leaders, acting like he is Maximus in Gladiator, yell at them to "Hold the line!" against a non-existent crowd. Then, to make it all worse, the cops lied about what happened.  
  • The same location 24 hours earlier:
  • Trump's grasping for a new message has led him to those of "domination" and "law and order." With all these bad police looks coming out, he might want to pick a different one.  
  • In fact, he's really struggling with his messages. And history.

  • I was pleased to notice that the White Supremacist sticker on a pole near downtown Decatur that I saw yesterday had mysteriously disappeared by the time I walked by its location after work. (Side note: A very faithful reader, and a history buff, pointed out that the symbol in the sticker was prominent back in Mussolini's socialist Italy.)
  • This was circulating yesterday. I thought it wasn't real but it is. And it reminds me of how much I loved Reno 911.
  • Speaking of videos, this one really got my attention this week.
  • Once Trump is allowed to have packed rallies again, picture this image: Standing in front of a roaring all white crowd as he holds up a Bible as a prop to celebrate the time he walked to the Episcopal Church, he says something like, "They liberals and the media hated me for holding this up this, but you and I will never be ashamed of the Bible!!!"  The crowd will go nuts and it will be the closest thing to a Hitler moment as (hopefully) this country will ever get to. 
  • Barr will straight up lie to you without reservation. 
  • The new Quinnipiac poll has Trump at 44% and Biden at 43% in Texas. No, I don't think that Biden will beat Trump in Texas, but the fact the polls are that close tells you it is a matter of time that Texas turns Blue.  (And if I'm a Tarrant County Republican in a county wide contested election this Fall, I'm extremely nervous.)  
  • I can't stop looking at this. 
  • If you're mad at Saints' QB Drew Brees backtracking on his comments, that crowd you are standing with is getting smaller and smaller and smaller. It's time to realize you were . . . 
  • Coronavirus. Wise County: I was joking yesterday about how we doubled our number of active cases by going from 1 to 2. Uh, this morning the number has gone to 5.  
  • Texas: Everyone still so cock sure everything is fine? "The state reported 1,796 COVID-19 hospitalizations Thursday, a one-day increase of 309 and the third-highest Texas total of the outbreak." And the chart:
  • It's not been a good week for Texas GOP chairs
    • In Bexar and Nueces counties, the chairs said the death of George Floyd was a "staged event." (Gulp!)  The Bexar County post is here. Nueces here
    • Then the "GOP chairman-elect in Harris County, Keith Nielsen, posted an image on Facebook earlier this week that showed a Martin Luther King Jr. quote — 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere' — on a background with a banana." 
    • Finally, Sue Piner, chair of the Comal County GOP, shared a post on Sunday that included an image of liberal billionaire George Soros and text that said, "I pay white cops to murder black people. And then I pay black people to riot because race wars keep the sheep in line."
  • "Dallas Police Chief U. Reneé Hall on Thursday said she would not charge the 674 protesters who were detained on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge after previously defending the mass arrests."  Wouldn't it have been smarter never to arrest them in the first place?  (Very legal and technical question which might interest only a handful of people: How do you you handle that on the Texas CJIS form? The arresting agency has to fill out the top portion after an arrest and there's no place in the form to check a "We changed our mind" box.)
  • Looking through this week's Messenger, I see they've updated some of the photos of their staff. I think their Wise County history columnist has been "done wrong" for years. 
  • Messenger: Above the Fold (With pick of Boyd ISD vandalism.)


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • The "charges" against the officer who caused the death of George Floyd were "upgraded" yesterday to a Second Degree Felony under Minnesota law. This will be a little tricky for prosecutors and may end up being a horrible decision. The State now alleges the cop intended to kill Floyd. Previously the allegation was that he he didn't intend to kill Floyd but recklessly committed an act which caused his death -- basically what we call Manslaughter under Texas law. 
    • I kind of love Minnesota's definition of "intentional" though. They define it as the defendant "either has a purpose to do the thing or cause the result." The phrase "to do the thing" is pretty hip. 
    • This "changing" of the charges at this early stage is mostly just lip service and for show. Until the grand jury returns a specific indictment, the naming of the "charge" by police or prosecutors means nothing at all.
    • If a jury convicts him of Third Degree Murder (basically manslaughter) instead of Second Degree Murder, the masses won't care about the nuances of intentional vs. reckless even though a conviction on the lesser charge seems like a reasonable possibility right now. 
    • Minnesota has a more serious charge of premeditated murder which was not alleged.  Impress your friends: There is no such thing as "premeditated murder" in Texas. We don't care whether you thought about it beforehand or not.
  • The Star-Telegram reported a list of home cities of those arrested in the Fort Worth protests, and one of them was from Bridgeport.  It didn't list a name, but I need it. They can be next week's Liberally Lean Protester of the Week.  (With an arrest out of Dallas and Fort Worth this week, Bridgeport has been doing some serious representin'.) 
  • As I was walking the streets of Decatur this morning, I saw this sticker on a street sign pole. I snapped a picture and then looked it up an Wikipedia to get a quick answer.  If you wonder if there's a White Supremacy element in the county, ask the Sheriff's Office if there is a presence of the "AB/AC" -- short for "Aryan Brotherhood" or "Aryan Circle" and hear what they tell you. 
  • The Patriot Front actually is a splinter group from Vanguard America which was a big player in the Unite the Rally in 2017 in Virginia. You know, the "very fine people on both sides" rally. And remember my point yesterday of spotting modern day racists by their coded  language? The motto of The Patriot Front is "Reclaim America." Sound familiar?
  • This will be wild. A new book coming out next week, Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers, might very well lead to the removal of the statue of the Texas Ranger at Love Field in Dallas. Why? It "depicts Capt. Jay Banks, who was 'the Ranger in charge when then-Texas Gov. Allan Shivers sent the Rangers to block integration of a high school in Mansfield and a community college in Texarkana in 1957,' despite court rulings that should have prevented him from doing so."  And a photo, showing Banks leaning against a tree with a lynching of a black man depicted in effigy in the background, seems to back it up. 
    (I'm invoking Fair Use! Fair Use!)
  • Legal stuff which is only Wise County related: I've mentioned before that former Wise County Attorney Todd Durden was raising hell against a judge in his new county of Kinney.  While I was watching a "webinar" yesterday, the speaker referenced the two cases Durden was involved in last year. The title of this Power Point slide made me laugh.
  • Durden update: After this legal fights, he ran against the sitting district judge in a three county judicial district. He lost in the primary in March. There's not a lot people in those three counties apparently. 
  • Military leaders, both past and present, began to strongly push back yesterday on Trump's threats to use the military against Americans. (Did I really just have to write that sentence?) First, the Secretary of Defense (soon to be former Secretary of Defense) says there's no reason to use American troops. Then, former Secretary James "Mad Dog" Mattis absolutely torched Trump: "I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled . . . .  Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us."
  • The words "systemic" and "systematic" technically have different meanings. I didn't know that until this week. I've always said "systematic." I think this will trick me up like effect and affect. 
  • Coronavirus update. Wise County -- Active cases: 2. (Red alert! A 100% increase in less than 24 hours!) 
  • Coronavirus update #2. Texas -- When the guidelines for states "reopening" were first announced, the standard was supposed to be 14 straight days of decreased new cases before we could enter "Phase 1". Texas has never met that standard. And can someone explain to me, when our chart looks like it does below, the announcement yesterday by Gov. Abbott that we can immediately go from 25% capacity to 50% capacity for darn near everything. And he also said we can go to 75% effective on June 12. Isn't this basically an announcement by him that he believes it was all a "hoax"? Otherwise, wouldn't we be in the strongest lockdown possible right now?
  • More legal stuff: They all look pretty much the same, but every county in Texas had to submit a "reopening plan" to the state for approval for every county funded court (district courts, county courts at law, JP courts). They are all collected here.


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • It looks like protests were massive last night across the country and, even though curfews were sometimes broken, overall it was very peaceful. It's amazing how everything goes smoothly when protesters don't turn into looters and cops don't turn into wannabee video game shooters using rubber bullets and tear gas. 
  • I've seen so many news stories which have phrases like "police allowed protesters to . . . . "  Think about that. Allowed.
  • But we were not without at least some disturbing images last night. 
  • Let me shoehorn in a 'Rona update: 1 active case in Wise County. Meanwhile, Texas sets an all time record yesterday for new cases, and the chart has gone nuts: 
  • This really started in 1997.  Police departments have been buying military surplus for years.

  • “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” -- Republican Congressman Steven King to the New York Times last year. How'd that work out for him last night? 
  • A day later, I still stunned by the gassing (yes, gassing) of peaceful Americans in Lafayette Park so Trump could awkwardly stand before a church he didn't go into and hold a Bible he never opened.  But we've learned some interesting stuff in those 24 hours:
    • Ivanka pulled the Bible out of a $1,500 purse to give it to her father.
    • I was really surprised to see Defense Secretary Mark Esper in the photo-op.  He revealed yesterday in an interview, however, that "I didn't know where I was going" when they headed towards Lafayette Park. That statement can be philosophically applied outside the context of just the walk to the church.
    • People photoshopping the marquee behind Trump wouldn't possible happen, would it
  • The New York Times has reconstructed what led to George Floyd's death in a really, really good video. I suspect most of us don't know everything. It's here and shouldn't be behind a paywall.
  • While some corporations threw up a "black out" image on their social media sites yesterday as a show of unity against racism, Ben & Jerry's didn't mince words

  • The normally apolitical Taylor Swift really went scorched Earth last week. She has 86 million followers on Twitter. 
  • I changed my Modern Day Racist Detector about three years ago.  I had to finally realize they don't wear Klan hoods or have a sign around their necks. And, I think this is important, the vast majority of them are very smart and are your friends and neighbors.  They probably don't even realize how racist they are. So this is the test I use: How would someone who holds similar views of the modern day White Supremacist, who is not only very smart but also realizes that he can't say Klan-like things in public, speak so that, on its face, his words sound possibly plausible and reasonable? Simplified, ask yourself, "Is that something a very smart Klansman would say?"  I don't brand someone a racist for failing the test, but I least consider it to be a possibility. 
    • Here's a very random example. Joe Biden spoke out yesterday. I'm not saying Brit Hume is a racist, but I am saying my Detector at least has a faint beep going off. 
  • I got stung by a wasp or yellow jacket this weekend. After whining to Mrs. LL that I needed some Benadryl immediately (because I've always had a reaction where the bite area will swell up like a fat tick), she just casually said, "It was probably a Murder Hornet." 
  • I really don't travel that much, but in the last two years I've spent a weekend in Minneapolis, the city of George Floyd's murder, and stood in Lafayette Square. Here's one of two pictures I took in the park. I think that's the church Trump walked over to in the background. The White House would be to my back and to the right. Andrew Johnson, who we probably wouldn't want to hear from right now, says hi. 
  • Messenger: Above the Fold


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • "Tin soldiers and Nixon coming, We're finally on our own. This summer I hear the drumming, Four dead in Ohio."
  • In what has to be one of the most surreal events in my lifetime, Trump proclaimed from the Rose Garden yesterday evening that he was “an ally of all peaceful protesters” while at the same time, just across the street, the National Guard -- wielding shields that said “Military Police” --  attacked peaceful, law-abiding protesters who were not in violation of any curfew or any law, with flash bombs, rubber bullets and tear gas. It was an amazing and disturbing moment in our history. 

  • The American citizens were rounded up so Trump could walk to St. John’s Episcopal Church -- a walk which was captured in a picture for the ages.
  • And then once at the church, he held up a borrowed Bible, upside down no less, in one of the most awkward, yet disturbing, thinly veiled coded messages of our time. 
    "Turn with me now in your Bible to Two Corinthians."
  • Just watch it. He didn’t go to the church to meet with church leaders to calm violence and fears.  He didn’t go to the church to worship and pray for the country. He didn't even go inside the church. He didn't even go to say a few words to the nation. He went for a photo-op.
  • The Episcopal Bishop of the Washington D.C. diocese was not pleased as she immediately took to the airwaves: "The President just used a Bible, the most sacred text of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and one of the churches of my diocese — without permission — as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus."
  • Preach on
  • I don't know who this guy is, but he may be 100% correct. This stunt has Steve Bannon and White Christian Nationalist written all over it. It's not a call for peace. It's a call to arms. "They've been waiting for this moment their entire lives." (And don't overlook that Trump shoehorned in a Second Amendment reference in the Rose Garden before he trampled all of the First Amendment and the Establishment Clause of the Second Amendment.)
  • There's a past tweet for everything.
  • Speaking of a shining city. Video.
  • Remember the case in Houston where cops lied to get a search warrant and then went in and murdered a couple and their dog? Well, the lead cop, who has since been indicted, was involved in the arrest of George Floyd in Houston over a decade ago.
  • The protester from Bridgeport who was arrested in Dallas on Sunday has been identified as Katherine Marek, 20.  Note that she wasn't arrested for rioting but for the penny-ante charge of "Obstructing a Highway or Passageway". Hey, Katherine, you are our Liberally Lean Protester of the Week. 
  • Last night, there was a fantastically large peaceful protest in Frisco (Frisco!), cops and protesters hugged it out in Fort Worth (video), and cops jacked with protesters in Dallas. Two out of three ain't bad. 
  • And as the Pandemic has been benched, we have Wise County news: We now have one active case.  But Texas would like a word with us: 
  • I just gave all the bullet points a last quick review. Back when I was a teenager we used to refer to someone who has been angered as being "torqued up." Safe to say I'm a little torqued up this morning.