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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

That was 10 years ago when Trump was a private citizen and Abbott had just announced his candidacy for governor.  I had Trump on my radar even back then. 

  • Impeachment Updates (not all that much):
    • We had tears yesterday from  whistleblower Ryan Vasser. I'm not sure that was justified.

    • Some of that guy's testimony really blew up on social misdemeanor by the MAGA Paxton fans because he said that he and other whistleblowers had "no evidence" of Paxton wrongdoing when they went to the FBI. But that it is misleading. He said in his response to this line of questioning that they "took" no evidence -- meaning documents. (YouTube at 8:41:12) The responses in general, however, were very, very loosely worded. 
    • Rusty Hardin should clean this up.
    • Random observation: The Lt. Governor is doing a pretty good job as judge, but he tends to side with the Paxton lawyers on most objections.  My guess is that he knows there will be a conviction but he wants no one to be able to accuse him of not giving Paxton a fair trial. 
    • Random observation #2: I feel sorry for whoever "Eric" is. He's the guy working for defense team led by Tony Buzbee who is charge of coming up with documents and putting them on the screen at a moment's notice. I bet he gets yelled at a lot -- unjustifiably so. 
  • The embarrassment at DPS just keeps coming. Friday morning appointments have been cancelled (with some exceptions which I wouldn't count on.) 

  • The record high for this day is 100 degrees. It will be shattered. 

  • There were bits executed at the U.S. Open last night.

  • This event really isn't on my radar but others are apparently interested.

  • The coach who was the plaintiff in the coach-leading-prayers-on-the-field case (after the Supreme Court majority changed the facts of the case on the fly), took the field for one game last weekend for the first time since the decision, showboated by taking a knee, and then promptly resigned two days ago. 

  • WFAA Channel 8 will live-stream the Decatur High School game tonight. (It can normally be seen on Youtube via a local production which I presume will still go on.)

  • The guaranteed money is $43.8 million over the five years. It's the biggest NFL contract ever. 

  • I really don't know much about Chief's holdout Chris Jones but him showing up at last night's game with two Tony Soprano looking guys as agents was a power move.  

  • Legal nerdy stuff out of Fort Worth Court of appeals yesterday: The facts of this misdemeanor assault case against a Pilot Point police officer are exactly the kind of facts where, as a defense lawyer, you think you can win it, but you always realize that your job is very hard.  He was convicted, and the conviction was affirmed. 
  • Time which has passed since the Wise County Sheriff's Office, despite having a full male DNA profile, has failed to solve the murder of Lauren Whitener in her home at Lake Bridgeport: 4 years and 64 days.


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

What a crazy case. Three girls, which he had held captive for years, escaped from him in early May, 2013. He was indicted a month later on June 7, 2013. He quickly pled guilty on July 26, 2013.  He was sentenced to life without parole on August 1, 2013. And he then committed suicide on September 4, 2013.

  • Paxton impeachment update: 
    • This was the House Manager's first witness, the former First Assistant AG. His testimony wasn't all that earth-shaking, but has he never testified before? Had no one prepared him?  In general, he was horrible. (Did you know he was nominated for a federal judgeship under Trump before it was withdrawn?)
      Jeff Mateer

    • And "prosecution" attorney Rusty Hardin needs to get off his hands. If he's going to let Tony Buzbee just turn every question on cross into a closing argument, this is going to take a long time. 
      Rusty Hardin, surrounded by other people also scared to object


    • The second witness, who will be cross-examined this morning, wast the guy below. He was also with the AG's office, but he's a much smoother witness.  It isn't important, but why did he leave a partnership at Baker & Botts to go to the Missouri AG's ofice before coming to the Texas AG's office? The other thing that bugged me was that he basically described the AG office's Open Records lawyers as a braintrust. That's about as far from the truth that there is. 

  • Holy, cow! We learned how the Pennsylvania inmate who is on the run escaped: He "spider walked" up in between two walls. Video.

  • Wait, what? ERCOT asks all of us to conserve electricity -- with some urgency last night, in fact. Why don't they write us a check, too?

  • Texas prisons are in a lockdown. Most aren't air-conditioned. If I were to guess, I bet this is directly related to the difficulty in filling guard positions.  

  • This is obviously a "witch hunt" brought by a "weaponized Justice Department" because they "hate traditional American values." Or, maybe, he just broke the law.

  • Both the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram are doing feature stories this week on the dangerous of fentanyl.  The one below is from today.  So what makes a couple "prominent"? It basically just means you're very rich and you go to a lot of social events, right? 

  • Random fun fact: The Secret Service has a tricked up rolling communications command center which is called the "Roadrunner" which is part of presidential motorcades. It will make a preliminary run before the official event. It crashed last Saturday before President Biden's visit to Florida after the hurricane.

  • Random sentence from this D Magazine business article: "They opened a tasting room and 10,000-square-foot bottling facility in Bridgeport, Texas, and a corporate headquarters for the company’s parent, Sanctified Spirits, in Southlake." 

  • Messenger: Above the Fold


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

Of the many things I've forgotten is when radio man Mike Rhyner, then with The Ticket and now with The Fan Freak, got in a pretty good wreck

  • The Paxton Impeachment hearing is now underway. 
    • Paxton's front lawyer, Tony Buzbee, is about what I expected. Juries actually fall for his schtick? 

    • I've said all along: There was no way the House Republicans were going to stick their necks out with their impeachment vote unless they were sure the Senate would back them up now. Paxton will need 10 "no" votes from cronies in the Senate to save his job. So does he have it?
    • Here's the math: There are 31 Senators. It takes 2/3 to Impeach. That is 21. (Sen. Angela Paxton can't vote she is counted in the 31. That's a big deal. If she wasn't counted then it would only take only 20 votes to impeach.) But the bottom line is that a vote of 21-9 or more will get him. To put it another way, Paxton needs at least 10.
    • Yesterday, we got a huge preview where the entire Senate voted on various pre-trial motions filed by Paxton to dismiss the articles of impeachment.  He only had six that would back up his Motions to Dismiss across the board. Notably, one of them was Wise County's Sen. Tan Parker:

    • The closest Paxton got to the needed 10 votes was a vote of 22-8 on his Motion to exclude any evidence of conduct before his most recent term of office. That appears to be his biggest defense of the "Prior Term Doctrine" or the "Forgiveness Doctrine." It's over, isn't it? 
  • We have the biggest lick yet as a consequence for the Trump Insurrection. "Stand back and stand by!" / "Be there. Will be wild!"

  • As if long waits weren't bad enough, DPS has screwed up and cancelled long-held appointments for today.  Maybe if they just had some extra money laying around to fix everything. 

  • You know, I didn't think much about the allegations against the "official" until you dig a little deeper and find out it is the court clerk who . . . 

  • This is getting weird.  One guy claimed to see the man in his house,  but I'm not sure everyone necessarily believed him.

  • Nobody wears a tie any more (even when your boss does). Some of us old-timers will never get over this change in the profession.  

  • This would seem to be a very ill-advised attempted career move.

  • Political deep cut: Far right wing former Texas State Sen. Konni Burton seemingly just announced she's leaving Twitter because the further far right nutcases are doing nothing but "grifting" and "creating an angry mob [which] is particularly depressing because it's built on so many lies, not truth." She has been unabashed about her dislike of Trump.


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

And I just thought I was joking. 

  • COVID back in the news.

  • The Ken Paxton impeachment trial begins today.  Question: Since all you need is 21 of 31 Senators, has there not been a survey/prediction of how each will likely vote? That a small group whose views should be well known in Austin. We should have a pretty good feeling by now how this is going to turn out. 

  • Sunday morning. Man and wife, 57 and 53. Seems to be a lot of this going on these days. 

  • That's a car inside a Denny's. It happened in Roseburg, Texas (right outside of Houston) yesterday shortly before noon. Twenty-three were injured, but no deaths. 

  • Trifecta on musical deaths over the weekend: Jimmy Buffett (skin cancer), Smash Mouth's Steve Harwell (liver), and Gary Wright.

  • Prepare to get beaten down with "government shut down" news over the next couple of weeks. 

  • I've seen some criticism of the Florida defendants smiling (Jenna Ellis, etc.) in their mugshots, but the practice is not new.  Tom Delay perfected it in 2005. I think it's a good idea. 

  • The Hollywood writers/actor strike is still going on. I can see why. 

  • Football follow-ups: (1) Baylor paid Texas State $350,000 to come to Waco and beat them. (2) We're all just going to pretend that Deion Sanders' Prime Academy in Dallas didn't happen? (3) The "new" College Game Day theme is the same beat down of a song just re-recorded. (4) Funny GIF from TCU game. (5) Pivotal play in the Tech loss here if you haven't seen it. 

  • Great collection of pictures of Burning Man here