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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • Texas. It was right around June 10th when I noticed the uptick in hospitalizations, and began to sound the alarm on it. But, man, I had no idea what was coming:

    New cases per day
  • Wise County is still fighting to get some reliable data. We've been in a news blackout for the last eight days. This was last night's update:
  • Random 'Rona Notes: 
    • Most of the employees of the Wise County Clerk's office were tested for the Coronavirus after the outbreak, but they still don't have the results back. Seems like we need a system with a quicker turnaround. 
    • Since when has Colleyville become ground zero for defiance? It was the first local city to balk at business restrictions and now we have this
    • Update from yesterday's bullet point regarding Houston's hospital bed crisis: Yep, they are almost out of beds but they can pivot to continue to handle any surges. (It doesn't make sense to me either.) 
    • Fred's Texas Cafe in the 7th Street area of Fort Worth opened on Wednesday after being closed for three months. It the immediately closed the very next day after a staff member tested positive. Do you think all restaurants are so cautious? Do most even monitor the health of the employees?
    • Finally the easiest job in the world, the Governor of Texas, has to face a real world problem. It has gone about as well I expected. 
    • The CDC said yesterday that it could be that for every one person who tests positive that there might be 10 who actually have the virus. The Coronavirus-Is-No-Big-Deal crowd jumped on that by pointing out that, if true, the death rate would be about the same rate as the flu. The Counterpoint-Crowd said "So? Don't you care about this number which will continue to rise?" Pick your side.
    • Shelly Luther update (Spoiler: She's involved in Twitter fights).

  • After years of special prosecutors whining that they aren't being paid a ridiculous amount they seek, the criminal case against AG Ken Paxton has been moved back to Collin County from whence it came. It had been moved to Harris County on a change of venue, and now it's going back. The case has now been languishing for five years. Heck, Paxton's lawyers just need to file a Speedy Trial motion and let's kill this thing. This whole process has given the criminal justice system another black eye. 
  • NASCAR released a picture of the "noose" -- a noose which had been hanging there for months -- which gave rise to the Bubba Wallace brouhaha this week. It doesn't change anything.  This thing blew up because NASCAR wanted it to blow up so they could exploit it in a feel good we-are-all-united moment at the start of the delayed race.  (For those wondering how Bubba Wallace got assigned to that particularly garage, it was based on overall standings which change after every race.)
  • A wild claim I heard on my TV box this morning isn't as wild as it seems: Trump sees he'll lose in November and, knowing that he can't stand being a "loser", he quits right now claiming the Fake News sabotaged him (and America), and then starts a Trump Revolution Network where his base of 38% pays $6.95 a month to join.  Would he monetize his presidency while he still can? You bet. Do I think it will happen? Naaaa.
  • Do I think Trump will lose? After 2016, I'm out of the prediction business in presidential races. I learned my lesson. 
  • I don't trust any American who cares about Liverpool today and especially one who wears a Liverpool jersey.  A real American would care more about whether James Madison can finally take down North Dakota State in Frisco in December this year.
  • A COVID-free Decatur lawyer dropped this bad boy by my office yesterday. (Pen used for perspective. Don't make fun of my pen -- those old school Bics are the greatest pens in the history of ever.) 
  • Legal nerd stuff: So what if cops get a warrant for a felony, the "victim" thinks it's silly or overkill, and the DA agree and wants to reduce the charge? Normally, the defendant would have to turn himself in on the felony, make bond, and then the DA could reduce the charge once the case got to his office.  In this case, the judge who was to set bond just "rejected" the charges (probably at the illegal (?) urging and contact of the DA.)  I don't think the judge can do that. He has the right to find no probable cause on a warrantless arrest and release the defendant, but I don't think he can "reject" the charges if the arrest is based upon an existing warrant. (But no one will complain so no one cares -- the most commonly used unwritten law in our system.) 
  • Messenger: Above the Fold


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • Coronavirus local news:
    • Decatur's prom was cancelled, Decatur ISD voluntary athletic workouts were suspended, and "20 students at McCarroll Middle School came into contact with an individual who was symptomatic and tested positive for COVID-19." (Messenger story.) There's an unconfirmed report that the "individual" was a teacher. 
    • We still don't have any new Wise County numbers on the local site. The meaningless State site has us at 11 active cases.  In the middle of the worst part of the outbreak, we are left in the dark.
    • I had one hospital source tell me even a conservative estimate of active cases in Wise County would put us in the 60s.  I'd believe that over the claim of 11 active cases.
    • Edit: Just heard from our County Judge who is doing everything he can to pry the numbers out of the state (and here's the Facebook link he references):
  • Texas numbers. I'll say it again: Remember when we shut down in April?  

    New daily cases
  • Random hot prediction: All UIL fall sports, including football, will be cancelled. 
  • Almost all decisions for what will be open/active in the Fall depends on these next critical four weeks. That's when decisions must be made. And if those above charts don't do a 180, I have serious doubts that even schools will be open. 
  • Other Rona news:
    • Cancelled this morning: The August 6th Cowboys/Steelers preseason football game after the at the Hall of Fame ceremonies.
    • Postponed: The aforementioned Hall of Fame ceremonies which had been scheduled for August 8th.
    • If you want to travel to New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut from Texas you'll have to quarantine for 14 days. 
    • The Texas Medical Center in Houston, the largest medical complex in the world, is on track to run out of ICU beds today. They expect to run out of "sustainable surge capacity" in about a week and a half. This is a big deal.
    • For a while there I was publishing the chart for COVID cases at the national level. I'm going to bring it back today because we hit an all time high yesterday with 38,386 . It used to be fueled by the Northeast. Now Texas, Arizona and Florida lead the way.
    • Disneyland, which is bleeding money, indefinitely delayed its planned July 17th reopening. 
    • TCU has 25 more students testing positive bringing the current active total to 64. And it isn't even the Fall. 
    • Tarrant County officials have a press conference at 9:30 a.m. this morning. Speculation is that it will be a "businesses must require masks" order. 
  • "I said to my people, 'Slow the testing down,' - Trump last Saturday. Now we have actual proof that he wasn't kidding. How is this possible? The Trump Administration has gone from daily press conference to absolutely pretending the outbreak doesn't exist. 
  • Flashback:
  • Observations on this Wichita Falls story: (1) The cops claim that his wife just said "come on in", (2) the amount of money Texas is losing by not legalizing marijuana is laughable, (3) I'm not the only one who makes typos.
  • A Harris County assistant DA resigned yesterday with a letter that went scorched earth on her boss.
  • A new New York Times poll this morning on the battleground states show Biden with double digit leads. Make no mistake about this: There will be a massive anti-Trump vote. Biden has nothing to do with it. (Think anti-Hillary vote multiplied.)
  • The Rangers' new ballpark was torched online yesterday when an actual aerial view was compared to the "artist rendering" drawings.  Where did all that glass go?

  • This is a wild story.  I looked up the location of the home because I was guessing it was in Mira Vista. Nope. There's a couple of areas along 820 which have some very high tone homes.

  • Census estimated numbers for Texas were just released. White Nationalists won't be happy. (Of the five most populated counties, Tarrant County had the biggest Hispanic increase.) 
  • New: "Former GOP presidential aspirant Carly Fiorina says she plans to vote for Biden."


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • Well, well, well. We all know that I'm the Hardest Working Man In Show Business™, a Weather Forecaster Extraordinaire™, and the Greatest Criminal Law Scholar in the Southwest Proper™. And now time and time again I've proven my innate and almost supernatural ability to smell a scam from a mile away. I saw this Bubba Wallace/Noose story as a NASCAR hoax from the get-go and, you, dear reader, were fortunate enough for me to share it with you. (How there's not a statue of me on the Wise County Courthouse lawn is one of life's great puzzles.) 

    This is floating around putting it back to at least 2017. 
  • But Bubba Wallace is not helping the/his cause. (He was doing the same thing on CNN last night.) But like I said yesterday, I don't think this is a Bubba based scam. It's a NASCAR scam. That immediate, and so very hate-crime definitive, press release from NASCAR within hours after the noose was "discovered" was the first red flag.
  • Local Coronavirus Crisis Update: Other than everyone is still freaked out, I really don't have any big update from the current spread going around the courthouse square. But perhaps we will at least get back to some official updated numbers soon. This from late last night:
  • Texas official numbers continue to be insane: 

    New cases
  • Six states other than Texas hit their highest hospitalization totals ever yesterday: Arizona, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
  • Did I mention Arizona also set a record yesterday with a report of 3,593 new cases and 42 new deaths? The same day when there was a Trump Youth Rally at a Mega-Church last night. 
    And all the people roared and laughed, "Kung Flu!!!!"
  • Trump said yesterday that he wasn't kidding when he admitted on Saturday night that he ordered there to be less testing because he didn't like the numbers. That's about as close to a Nathan R. Jessup ordering the Code Red moment that'll you'll ever see by a president.
  • Just the Harris County DA casually telling her employees that it will help them on their job performance if they show up for a voter registration event for her. (People have been indicted for less.) Edit: Here's a weird clarification/damage control followup.
  • The Decatur High School Prom is apparently going on this weekend with this instruction
  • Look out on Lake Bridgeport! The Game Warden is in full Robocop mode based upon a review of cases filed in our local JP courts yesterday. (These tickets were written on Saturday and they've already been filed in court.)
  • Everyone is saying "Baseball is back!" after it was announced that an agreement for a 60 game schedule was reached yesterday evening. I'd tap the brakes on that. 
  • This cover of an upcoming Old 97s album was getting lots of buzz yesterday. All I could think of was did they get permission from the NFL, Staubach and/or the photographer. Very cool cover, though.
  • Random lightning strike in Argyle yesterday morning
  • Messenger: Above the Fold


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • Wise County/Courthouse Square Coronavirus Update:
    • We have a second employee with the County Clerk's office confirmed to have the virus. The office was understandably shut down yesterday.
    • That brings the Courthouse Square Outbreak of the past week to a total of 6 (three in a law office, a worker in the courthouse, and two in the County Clerk's Office.)
    • So how many people in Wise County have it altogether? We have no idea. The numbers coming from DSHS were questionable at best and, as of yesterday, we learned we won't even get those any longer!  
    • As I understand it, Wise County had been keeping its own website updated with numbers received from DSHS from its regional office. We will no longer get those numbers (and the site hasn't been updated since last Thursday.) Instead the only numbers we have or from the DSHS "state" website which, amazingly, is only an "estimate" and was less reliable than the unreliable regional numbers. (The state site is showing 11 active cases this morning.) Why is the lack of information happening?
    • Heck with the six people around the courthouse and the half dozen from a Decatur insurance agency, I know of 12 cases myself.  How is it possible we don't have an official count? How can we have official statewide numbers without a county breakdown? 
    • We are headed into the heavily attended Wise County Reunion with statewide coronavirus numbers going through the roof and yet we no idea how it is impacting Wise County other than word of mouth and piecemeal information circulated through goofballs like me. 
  • Those Texas statewide numbers:
    Hospitalizations (another record day)

    Daily new cases
  • Greg Abbott continues to lead like a scared child. Yesterday he said that "COVID-19 is spreading at an unacceptable rate", and finally decided that "Wearing a mask will help us to keep Texas open." But he'll implement no changes to our current "let's open up Texas!" policy. 
  • Mask Confusion: How screwed up is Texas? At the very moment that Abbott was giving his "update", the Texas AG was posting the request for an official opinion he had he received from Harris County asking whether a county can require people to wear masks in county buildings. How insane it that? 
  • Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen has some harsh words for those who don't wear a mask:
  • Just when his enablers tried to support him with the "he was just joking" defense, Trump continues to tell us why he hates testing because of his mentally-challenged reasoning. 
  • Trump is headed to Arizona today and will be in a church which has discovered a Coronavirus miracle cure. 
  • I'm sorry, but my famous Skepticism Alert is really going off on this Noose Story and NASCAR. No, I don't think it is a Jussie Smollett situation, and I don't think Bubba Wallace had anything to do with it. However, I'm not ruling out this being a money based NASCAR publicity stunt. NASCAR, which has been dying on the vine, is in dire straits. It desperately needed a Hail Mary with some good and free press. And, boy, did it get it yesterday. After NASCAR oddly revealed and promoted the noose story via a press release, it then orchestrated a made-for-TV moment on the track yesterday. There's something not right about all of this.  (Not to mention, there's no photo of the noose. Bubba Wallace didn't even "see" it. I'm not sure who even "found" it in the secured area. And no arrests -- assuming there's even a crime here -- have been made.)
  • I very rarely watch The Twilight Zone but stumbled on a very timely White Supremacy episode a couple of nights ago. I kept thinking the lead character looked familiar, and then it hit me: That's a young Dennis Hopper!
  • I probably shouldn't have shut down my Expert Weather Lab a couple of weeks ago.