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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

Yep, it happened. 

  • Remember that horrific shooting caught on video on a porch in Lubbock late last year? Nothing will be done about it.  

  • Insert record scratch sound effect. Story. (She wasn't wrong about that.)

  • The lawyer, who I have great respect for, made it a little clearer in the story:  “Timing is everything,” Ball said. “I would not suggest somebody robbing someone holding an AR-15.” Yep, that's the way you say it. The defense claim is that the boys arranged to buy the AR-15 and then tried to rob him. 

  • I don't understand why Fox News thinks its audience wants this. They spend half their time trying to root out the transgendered.  

  • And you're telling me it's a news channel and not a propaganda channel? This morning:  

  • We need more street artists in this world. 

  • I'll say it again: I don't understand the lawsuit by Jerry Jones alleged daughter. It's not about money, and she really has nothing to gain by being declared Jones' biological daughter. And if it is about being "released" by some non-disclosure agreement that her mother signed, this seems to be a moot point: She just blurted out everything in the lawsuit which she claims she isn't allowed to say. 
    • And this seems to be a little-reported new claim by Jones which he just made about that non-disclosure agreement: 

    • Unrelated. I had never seen this: That's Jerry. And I'm guessing that's Charlotte and Stephen. 

  • As of midnight, the National Archives released the paper records of the 1950 census. You can search by name, county, and state. I found my great-grandfather and wife living in Wise County. (I already knew he had been here since 1905.) The sheets also list where each person was born and occupation if they revealed it.  My suspicions that I had farming genes turned out to be correct. I knew it!

  • Tiktok in a nutshell: 

  • Random basketball note: LSU fired its coach about a week ago. This week, 10 of its 11 players on the roster entered the transfer portal
  • Time which has passed since the Wise County Sheriff's Office has failed to solve the murder of Lauren Whitener in her home at Lake Bridgeport: 1,001 days.
  • Messenger: Above the Fold


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

This was the Great Bluebonnet Massacre at Oaklawn Cemetery in Decatur.

  • Warning: I've two long ones today. 
  • I continually disturbed by DPS acting as Gov. Abbott's personal police and campaign arm. 
    • Of course, we all know about "Operation Lone Star", the oft-criticized border protection PR campaign which forces DPS Troopers off the highways in order to spend weeks doing very little on the border.
    • But the new area of concern begins with the recent allegation of foster girls being sexually exploited at The Refuge, "a foster care ranch in Bastrop for young sex trafficking victims."
    • There is no question that one employee took "nude photos of girls in exchange for drugs." This, of course, doesn't look good during a Governor's campaign so Abbott ordered his righthand man and faithful servant, DPS Director Steve McGraw, to send in the Texas Rangers to investigate.

    • Here is the amazing part: Less than a week after being asked to investigate, McCraw wrote a letter to Abbott saying “there were no allegations or evidence that these residents were sexually abused or assaulted by anyone.” Really. Nothing? You sure? 

    • Abbott jumps on Twitter to yell: "Nothing to see here!" 

    • And it worked. Here's an example of the headlines: 

    • Well, yesterday, a federal judge overseeing a decade old lawsuit about the Texas foster care system took great umbrage at DPS, the Texas Rangers, and specifically McCraw. At a hearing in Dallas, it did not go well. Highlights:
      • From Fox 4: "The judge was visibly disturbed by the Texas Rangers' investigation into The Refuge, saying their attempt to spin it into something else was shocking." 
      • This from the same report: "Federal Judge Janis Jack questioned whether the Texas Rangers understand the definition of sex trafficking."
      • From Texas Public Radio quoting the judge: “Defendants assured me of the reliability of the (Texas) Rangers. But lo and behold the very next day, a letter was published from Mr. McCraw head of DPS and The Rangers.” 
      • That judge, a few days earlier, had asked if the Rangers were "instructed to investigate or instructed to disprove?"
      • From the Texas Tribune: The Commissioner for the Texas Department of Family Protective Services, Jaime Masters, was a witness before the judge and she said she "disagreed with McCraw's assessment that there was no evidence of sexual abuse at The Refuge" and "McCraw made his [quick report] before the Texas Rangers had interviewed any of the victims."
      • More from the Tribune: The judge said she "lost confidence" in the State's investigation so she is referring the matter to the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas.
      • That's basically, I don't trust DPS, and I'm sending in the Feds:
  • So late yesterday The Academy said it had asked Will Smith to leave the show after he slapped Chris Rock. But we are to believe not a single camera caught that and there wasn't a single witness to them asking him? 

  • Bruce Willis has "stepped away" from acting, basically because of the equivalent of early Alzheimer's. Did you know he was an extra in The Verdict starring Paul Newman?

  • A case involving the worst kind of allegations against a man were dropped on the eve of trial in Wichita Falls. Why?  "The outcry witness for the case recently told the DA's Office she misunderstood what the child said and is unsure if he was claiming sexual abuse, according to the dismissal request." Good lord! 

  • This will fill 24 hours non-stop of Fox News.

  • Fox4Terry was out working hard last night.
    In Dallas

    In Denton

  • Very very, legal nerdy stuff: Amber Guyger's appeal to Texas' highest criminal court was denied yesterday.

    • From the very beginning, I've ranted about an incorrect charge to the jury that basically begged them to acquit Guyger by incorrectly stating the law. (I called it a "nuclear bomb" in favor of Amber the day after it was given. ) Don't worry about what it specifically said because it didn't matter. The jury ignored it and convicted her anyway. 
    • The instruction was so bad that the DA's office took an unusual step at the Dallas Court of Appeals when Amber appealed her conviction. In its response to Amber's brief, the DA's office asked the Court to not only affirm the conviction, but to do it them an extra solid and specifically say in their opinion that the instruction shouldn't have been given. (I wrote about how weird that was in December 2020.)
    • That request by the DA's office is a little crazy. It didn't hurt the State in Amber's case so why do they care if the judge screwed up?  Well, there was always the chance other lawyers in the Dallas courthouse would want to use the instruction as a pattern if another unusual case like that ever occurred.  It's a little paranoid on the DA's office to think that, but they really didn't like that instruction (although they weren't smart enough to object to it at the time the trial judge gave it.) 
    • But the Dallas Court of Appeals ignored them. It affirmed the conviction but didn't say anything about the improper jury charge because it didn't play any role whatsoever in their decision. 
    • Well, get this: In the next, and probable final step of Amber's continuing appeal, there were two judges yesterday who filed an opinion dissenting to the court deciding not to take the case. And you know what they did? They quoted in full that part of the jury charge which the DA's office hates so much. (See footnote 2.)
    • Why did they quote it? That's a great question because the two judges didn't say it was wrong. In fact, they didn't care about it all because they were concerned with something else. That is, there was no reason to quote it all unless . . . 
    • . . . it's a sneaky Hail Mary by those two judges to try and get the remaining seven to take up the case on rehearing.  How so? Because right now in the law books, for every defense lawyer to see, is that crazy jury instruction which wasn't even criticized in the opinion that published it.  It's now out there.
    • So now, it could practically be used by a defense lawyer in a future case by simply telling his trial judge, "Hey, judge, remember that Amber Guyger case in Dallas? Well, it's kind of the case we are trying now and here's the instructions the judge gave that jury. No court ever said it was wrong. It's as good a guide as any." And technically, that's true.  (A little unethical for people who know it's wrong but, trust me, most lawyers don't know its wrong.)
    • So now the Dallas DA's office, who hates the instruction so much, has to see it reprinted by two judges on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals without so much as a word saying it was wrong. I bet the DA's office hopes the court does decide to reconsider yesterday's ruling and hear the case, affirm the conviction, and specifically say that instruction was wrongly worded and should never be given. Heck. The DA's office may now ask them to do just that. 


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

This was a faithful reader submitted photo from downtown Fort Worth. At the time, the only thing I could find out about was: "The naked man was driving his car, yes naked. Ran red light, hit car, hit construction equipment and rolled on to curb. Then he got out of his car, naked."  I don't know anything more than that now. 

  • More videos from Jacksboro school surveillance cams are out. The elementary school principal almost had the ceiling come down on him a second after this screenshot. 

  • This guy honestly and correctly called CRT a "manufactured crisis" last week, and last night he got cancelled. No word on whether he had to walk by a book burning party on his way out the door. 

  • "HOUSTON — A Texas high school teacher who was sued after he tried to force a Black student who refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance to transcribe it . . .  has opted to forego trial with the payment of a $90,000 settlement."  

    • He told anyone who refused to write the pledge that they would get a zero and "launched into a tirade, secretly recorded by [the student], in which he made an offer to defiant students, aimed at [the student]: “If you can tell me two countries you’d rather go to, I will pay your way there if they’re communist or socialist. Most of Europe is socialist and it’s crumbling. Or it’s communism.”
    • By the way, compelled speech of the government forcing you to recite the Pledge was held to be unconstitutional in 1943. Forced speech has never exactly been a hallmark of democracy. 
  • At the Oscars, a White Men Can't Jump reunion had Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes joking about getting high before the show. On a related note, I noticed 14 people are in the Wise County Jail right now on marijuana charges because they are too poor to get out. 

  • Parker County is out busting up raves, but I had to pull out an oddly worded sentence from the story. Once you get passed there's probably a missing word in their somewhere, you next have to figure out what the phrase "edm lifestyle group" means since it isn't used anywhere else in the article. (Spoiler alert: It's "electric dance music." I'm guessing these folks are not.)


  • We need a documentary on 26 year old GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn. 


  • This is a completely false claim of officers getting sick by simply being "near" Fentanyl. Heck, John Oliver just did a package on this false claim phenomenon just a couple of days ago on Last Week Tonight.

  • And another.

  • You know the F-35 has questionable value when the always eye-popping defense budget (just unveiled to be a whopping $773 billion - a 4% increase) will actually cut the projected purchase of the fighter jets from 94 planes to 61 planes. 

  • Idiocracy

  • Paragraph from Newsday (cover below): "Eve Wilkowitz, a 20-year-old publishing company secretary, was abducted, raped and strangled more than four decades ago when she returned to Bay Shore from her job in Manhattan. The case was never solved — until now. Suffolk County police and prosecutors told Newsday on Tuesday that advances in forensic techniques and genetic genealogy revealed that her killer is believed to be a man who died of cancer in 1991 . . . .
  • Messenger: Above the Fold


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

Someone had sent me this picture of six trooper cars parked at lunch at Chili's in Decatur. That photo still seems odd. Today you'd never see six troopers on duty in Wise County at the same time. (And how'd they find six spots together, anyway?)

  •  Final Will Smith/Chris Rock thoughts.

    • Something is weird about all this. 
    • Will Smith's going from laughing to storming the stage in the blink of the eye is bizarre. His rage made him do what could have been a career ending act, yet that rage was the result of a delayed reaction? 
    • Chris Rock's physical reaction to the slap was weird, too. You would think it would stagger him, but he took it soooo smoothly. And another thing: He never once touched his face after being slapped. How does he not do that?
    • Do I think it was all staged or fake? No, I don't. But something isn't quite right, and I can't put my finger on it. 
    • Side note: If you haven't seen Jomboy's video breakdown of the event, it's pretty good. 
  • Chris Fostel, son of the late Judge John Fostel, has passed away of cancer.  (I had reminisced about Judge Fostel's passing last Friday, but I had absolutely no idea that Chris had died the day before.)
  • Liberally Lean Take-It-To-The-Bank Wise County Weather Alert: Heavy rains with high winds during a window from 10:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.
  • Bridgeport PD is hiring officers (and they've even got a recruiting video.) 
  • Clay County is always a gold mine of fun news

  • The Dallas Morning News this weekend had a favorable feature story about the Paradise man who fell to his death off a rooftop bar. (I've long commented about the press and PR savviness of one the family's lawyers, and I wonder if she had something to do with this.)

  • This is a wild video. And narrator, and other people initially standing around, didn't seem to understand the danger that there were more cars coming. 

  • I've said from the beginning I didn't understand why Jerry Jones' alleged daughter filed the recent lawsuit accusing him of being her dad. The lawsuit really didn't ask for anything other than a declaration of parenthood.  Jones response to the lawsuit yesterday gave an answer: She was just following through on her threat to sue him for that declaration if he didn't pay her not to file it. Ugh:  I can't find an actual pdf of Jones' Answer. 

  • Trump Insurrection News:
    • A federal judge yesterday, in ruling that the emails of one of the coup architects. John Eastman, had to be turned over, concluded that Trump likely violated the law. 

    • But the greatest line in the ruling perfectly described the whole insane process of trying to convince Mike Pence to ignore the constitution and not certify the count of the electoral college votes on January 6th: "A coup in search of a legal theory." 

    • And this morning we've now got a Watergate Tapes feel to the whole thing. Seven hours and 37 minutes are missing.  Nixon was sunk because of a missing 18 minutes. 

  • We've got an update on the misdemeanor criminal trials in Tarrant County last week. The State went 1-7. 

  • I don't remember this double murder of teenagers in Weatherford in 1983. Story.


  • Legal nerd stuff: The Fort Worth Court of Appeals just rejected a man's attempt to gain access to the Wise and Jack County District Attorney's files by using the Texas Public Information Act. It originated out of an odd procedural posture in that he had already been convicted after a jury trial and his appeal had failed. He never complained that anything in the file was held back during the criminal appeal.