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Today in Texas History – May 23

Bonnie & Clyde pistols sell for $504,000 - 2aHawaii

From the Annals of Crime – In 1934, notorious outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were ambushed and killed by Texas Rangers in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. The bank robbers were killed by intense gunfire that left their stolen Ford Deluxe riddled with bullet holes.

Parker met Barrow in Texas when she was 19 years old while her husband was in jail for murder. Barrow was soon sent to jail for robbery where Parker smuggled a gun that helped him escape.  He was caught and returned to jail, but when paroled in 1932, he immediately hooked up with Parker, and their multi-state crime spree began.

From 1932-1934, the couple, aided by various accomplices including Clyde’s brother Buck and simple-minded Henry Methvin, robbed a string of banks and stores in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Mexico and Louisiana. Although romanticized in popular culture and film, the Barrow gang were hardened criminals. It is believed that the gang was responsible for as many as 13 murders including nine police officers.

They were notorious for some close calls.  They were almost captured in 1933 during surprise raids on hideouts in Joplin and Platte City, Missouri. Buck Barrow was killed in the second raid, and his wife Blanche was arrested, but Bonnie and Clyde escaped.  Then in January 1934, they attacked the Eastham Prison Farm to help a gang member break out injuring several guards and killing one. This proved to be a crucial mistake.

Texan prison officials took the matter into hand and retained Captain Frank Hamer, a retired Texas Ranger, to track down Parker and Barrow.  Hamer found B&C in Louisiana, where Henry Methvin’s family lived.  Hamer and a group of Louisiana and Texas lawmen hid in the bushes along a country road outside Sailes, La.  Parker and Barrow would not escape this time.  As soon as they appeared, the officers opened fire, killing the couple instantly in a hail of bullets.

 

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Mike Toth – Justice for Sale?

Mike Toth – a member of embattled Texas AG Ken Paxton’s inner circle – won the GOP primary for a seat on the important Austin Court of Appeals yesterday.  Observers wonder about Toth’s impartiality in light of his aggressive out-of-state fundraising that violated the voluntary ethical guidelines that almost every judicial candidate in Texas follows.  At one point almost one-third of Toth’s campaign cash came from out of state – something very unusual in a normally somewhat obscure down ballot judicial race.

According to the Texas Observer, Toth soaked up cash from controversial right wing billionaire Peter Thiel and from John Thayer , former hedge fund manager from  Greenwich, Connecticut who notified the Texas Ethics Commission that would exceed the $5,000 expenditure cap that all normal judicial candidates agree to.  Other questionable funds have flowed to Toth personally and politically.   Joel Lumer, a Florida lawyer claiming to be a long-time friend of Toth’s, contributed $10,000 to Toth and also gave Toth’s family $24,000 for their children’s college funds [plus a Canon Ef 200mm lens and a “monetary gift” of $2,268], according to campaign records and personal financial statements on file with the Texas Ethics Commission.  Who gives someone else $24,000 for their kids’ college education without expecting something in return?

To top it off, Toth has waged an unconventional campaign as if he were running for Congress – not a judicial post where you are supposed to be impartial.  Toth touted his Tea Party and Trumpian bona fides and left little doubt in Red’s mind that he will be a judicial activist of the most pernicious sort – one using the old saw of substantive due process to knock out laws that he personally disagrees with and running roughshod over the legislative process.   Toth’s claim to rule impartially on the facts and the law if elected seems especially doubtful in light of his over right-wing campaign designed to push the GOP’s hot buttons.

Former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Phillips appeared appalled by Toth’s right-wing campaign.

 Phillips, a Republican said, “he had never seen anything quite like” the mailer Toth sent out.  “I’m concerned anytime a judicial candidate suggests, even indirectly, that his or her election will lead to a particular policy outcome,” Phillips said. “To conduct a campaign based on your view of hot-button political issues confuses rather than enlightens the electorate.”

Red is endorsing Gisela Triana – sight unseen – against the unfolding ethical nightmare that Toth seems to embody.

Today in Texas History – May 22

Vintage 1971 Postcard LBJ Library University of Texas ...

From the Annals of the Libraries – In 1971, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library was dedicated on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.  LBJ was in attendance along with President Richard M. Nixon and many notable Texas politicians.

The LBJ Library is one of 13 Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.  The LBJL contains over 45 million pages of documents – including LBJ’s papers as well as those of his staff and many of his close associates.  The Library building has been described as a ten-story unadorned travertine monolith.  The architectural design was not critically acclaimed and described by some as a structure that would have pleased Mussolini.  Red for one has always more or less liked the massive structure which is accompanied by an impressive fountain and a genteel garden as a tribute to Lady Bird.  The Library archives are open to researchers and there are numerous exhibits for the general public.

Moment of Clarity Needed – Not a Moment of Science

Our Poor Idiot Governor Greg Abbott has called for a moment of silence to occur at 10:00 a.m. today in honor of the victims of the Santa Fe HS school shooting last week.   This is in no way meant to denigrate the suffering of the families and friends of the victims, but please spare us your piety and your utterly worthless moments of silence.   Unless that moment of silence is used to pray for new leadership in this state that is not beholden to the NRA and the gun lobbyists who have but one answer for gun violence and that answer is always – MORE GUNS!

Oh yes, they are making an attempt at blaming other things and Red has no doubt that some such things have contributed to a sickened mentality in too many mostly white men and teenagers who somehow conclude that the answer to their problems is to go out and kill as many people as possible.  But somehow guns and any talk about sensible gun restrictions are completely off the table.  That is like having a discussion about traffic deaths without talking about cars and ways to make them safer.  For those to young to remember, this country tolerated and endured decades of highway deaths that could have been prevented by safer cars, air bags and seat belt regulations.

How many more decades of senseless gun violence will we have to endure?

Another Mass School Shooting – This Time in Texas

Red is reposting his remarks made after the Parkland HS shooting earlier this year – because nothing has changed except the location and the names of the dead and injured.  And nothing will change as long as the cowards in Washington (and Austin) stay cowards and do absolutely nothing that might cause the NRA to murmur – “soft on the Second Amendment.”  So Red apologizes if you have read this before.

Red is fairly numb to these events nowadays.  At one point in his life, a mass shooting where 17 [now 10] students and teachers were killed would be an unbelievable tragedy – shaking Red and others to the core.  But these events are so commonplace now that the news cycle moves on rather quickly and Red’s ability to process exactly how deranged our society is diminished and his contempt for the vast majority of our political class is already overloaded.

Here is how it goes. First come the worthless thoughts and well-meaning prayers that will do absolutely nothing to prevent the seemingly inevitable future tragedy that will destroy more lives.  Then the calls for action that will be unheard.  Then the tired old platitudes about a “good guy with a gun” and how now is not the time . . .   Then the calls for legislation that go nowhere.  Then the claims of political opportunism.  Then slow fade to black – until the next time.  Rinse and repeat.  Always repeat.

Please spare Red from more demagoguery about your precious rights.  He grew up in the shadow of the worst mass shooting (up to that point) in U.S. history.  The 1966 UT Tower massacre now pales in comparison to what occurs on a monthly basis all across the U.S.  How many would have died that hot August day if there had been easy access to a semi-automatic with a bump stock.  If you think owning an AR-15 just so that you can have fun shooting on the range is more important than the lives of 17 [10] students and teachers in Florida [Texas] then you should get in your car, drive to Florida [Santa Fe, Texas] and have the courage to face those families and say “So sorry about your child, but you see shooting one of these weapons is just so much damn fun, that it would be horrible to have that right taken away from me.  Again, too bad about your dead kid. Thoughts and prayers, y’all!”

And spare Red the empty words from the White House [or Our Poor Idiot Governor] about being there for the victims and their families.  You are not there. You will not be there.  You will not propose legislation.  You will not tighten controls.  You will not provide for more mental health services.  You will not support background checks.  You will not support a ban on automatic weapons. You will pander to your base.  You will run scared from the NRA.  You will claim a righteous defense of the Second Amendment.   You will do nothing because when it comes right down to it you are a cowardly bully [piece of walking human filth].

Bunni Pounds – Swamp Creature Running to Join the Swamp

The Texas Observer reports on Bunni Pounds’ run to replace retiring Rep. Jeb Hensarling (TP-Flower Mound).  TO takes issue with Pounds’ claims that she is headed to Washington to help clean up the swamp after a full decade of groveling for money for Hensarling and others from well-heeled GOP donors in North Texas.

Pounds set up her own political fundraising and consulting shop in 2015 and within two years had turned it into a half-a-million-dollar business with nine employees, according to her campaign website. The site also boasts that Pounds “is now seen as one of the top fundraisers in North Texas from Fort Worth all the way to Tyler.”

This background raises questions not only about Pounds’ qualifications for office, but about whose debt she’ll be in should she become a member of Congress. Groveling to donors day in and day out is enough to compromise your average politician, to say nothing of someone whose expertise that was before they became a politician.

 

Today in Texas History – May 18

Album THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY de BUDDY HOLLY sur CDandLP

From the Annals of the Biopics  In 1978,  the movie “The Buddy Holly Story” starring Gary Busey as Buddy Holly had its world premiere in Dallas.  The movie received excellent reviews, did well at the box office and revived interest in Holly’s incredible music.  Critics were impressed by Busey and fellow actors Charles Martin Smith and Don Stroud who sang and played instruments (with overdubbing help).  The story follows Holly’s meteoric rise in the music world beginning shortly after high school graduation until his untimely death at age 22.  One can only watch the film with wonder and sadness at what might have been.  Red’s favorite Holly songs are Oh Boy! and That’ll be the Day.