Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

I had forgotten about this one (and the mean deputies.) The original post is here which includes links that are still good.   

  • We learned that Colonial Pipeline paid $4.4 million in response to the ransomware. I've seen some reports which said the hack didn't stop the gas from flowing but only prevented the company from being able to track the amount of the flow and, thus, prevented them from being able to accurately bill for it. That makes sense. 

  • The House voted to approve the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the causes of and government response to the January 6th Insurrection. The investigative committee would be fair in that it would be made up of five Democrats and five Republicans. What's wrong with that? Amazingly, only 35 Republicans voted for it.

  • The unconstitutional (for now) heartbeat bill was signed by Gov. Abbott yesterday with a crowd around him. No media was allowed but the event was broadcast on Facebook. 

  • The State of Texas executed a man last night but failed to let the media witness it due to a "miscommunication." Incredible. 

  • Our Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is often called an embarrassment and they helped prove it yesterday.  
    • First, the good news: The finally cleared Lydell Grant of murder.  The trial court and prosecutors had asked the Court to clear him earlier last year because of DNA testing, but on July 1, 2020, the Court booted the case back to the trial court saying it needed more evidence. Sheesh. That led to Texas Monthly outlining the case and blasting the Court in this great article. And even though the Court finally cleared the man yesterday, four of the judges got all defensive and  wrote separately to blame the lawyers and clerk below for the delay. That's obviously a response to Texas Monthly. 

    • In another case, the Court still refused to clear a man for ineffective assistance of counsel even though the case had been reversed by the United States Supreme Court who had sent it back to them. But it gets crazier: Even those who dissented didn't do so because they agreed with the ineffective assistance claim. Oh, no. They dissented because they think the Supreme Court is going slap them down again when they don't deserve it. This, from the dissent, is really incredible: 

    • For Texas criminal practitioners only: The Court was also became a bully yesterday.  A couple of months ago, the appellate court out of Eastland reversed two guilty pleas after the defendants objected to entering the plea via Zoom and instead demanded they do it in person. The Court of Criminal Appeal agreed to review that decision yesterday and said they want the case briefed immediately by the State and within 10 days. The wild part is that the Court, in a separate order, told the Eastland Court to change the designation of their opinions back from "do not publish" to "publish" because the Eastland court had changed that designations, in their opinion, too late. 
  • Legal fun fact: You can't get a felony case in a courtroom without a grand jury indictment, and in most states you can't get in front of the grand jury without the permission of the District Attorney. In the story below, I learned that in Kansas anyone can present a matter for criminal consideration to grand jury if they can get a petition "bearing the signatures of a number of electors equal to 100 plus 2% of the total number of votes cast for governor in the county in the last preceding election."

  • For those familiar with the great Dr. Death podcast, here's the trailer for the film version of it which will appear on NBC's Peacock streaming service.  The story of the Metroplex doctor was first told in this D Magazine article

  • Rare baseball bullet points from me, and I've got three:
    • So Corey Kluber pitched a no-hitter against the Rangers last night? For those who don't recall, the Rangers acquired him for the 2020 season, but he was placed on injured reserve, never to pitch again for Texas, after he threw only 18 pitches in his first start. (Someone can help me out but I don't think it cost the Rangers anything for 2020 to have him on the roster -- I believe Cleveland, whom they acquired Kluber from, paid his $17.5 million salary for 2020 in exchange for two players.)
    • The Rangers have been no hit twice this year. No team in the history of baseball has been no-hit three times in one year. Place your bets.  (Side note: I think it is bizarrely childish to call a no-hitter a "no-no.")
    • Long time readers know I pronounced Chris Davis the Official Liberally Lean Major League Baseball Player way back when he struggled as a Texas Ranger. He then went on to Baltimore to become a sensation and signed a monstrous contract in 2016 ($23 million for six years) only to almost immediately flame out. Yesterday, it was announced he'll miss the rest of this season due to injury (which probably doesn't upset Baltimore too much because they didn't want to put him in the lineup no matter how much they have to pay him.) Look at these numbers:

  • New York thought it was a big deal . . .