Recently in Politics Category
A single mother working two jobs, she met Jeff Davis, a lawyer 13 years older than her, married him and had a second daughter. He paid for her last two years at Texas Christian University and her time at Harvard Law School, and kept their two daughters while she was in Boston. When they divorced in 2005, he was granted parental custody, and the girls stayed with him. Wendy Davis was directed to pay child support.
"We have to consider everything and look at all our options," Perry said regarding the limited discussion of the "A" Street expansion during the retreat. "If we can do it, great. If not, that's OK. We have to think outside the box, as though we are not limited."
- The seductiveness of the internet to cause one to do stupid things cannot be overstated. It's worse than alcohol or drugs in causing otherwise reasonable (and I'll give Rep. Weiner the benefit of the doubt here) people to do things that in other settings they'd find sick and laughable. You know, like we who are looking at him now do. "It couldn't happen to me," you're thinking right about now. Yeah, sure.
- But, I confess that I am sorely, sorely disappointed in the internet. What are things coming to when a grown man like Rep. Weiner strikes up an "illicit" conversation with a "26-year old female" and it turns out that he's actually conversing with a 26-year old female, and not a 48 year old bald guy in boxer shorts? Is nothing sacred anymore?
- Oh, by the way, did you catch Matt Laurer's interview with Andrew Breitbart on The Today Show? There was the faintest whiff of an inkling of the beginning of grudging MSM acknowledgment that, well, a blogger can actually be a legitimate source of news reporting.
- Morally, Rep. Weiner has some obvious shortcomings (we're not going to pander to the lowest common denominator and address any physical characteristics), but politically, his biggest weakness is an utter failure to lie convincingly. Did anyone in America buy his "I've been hacked" story? Nope. Even John Edwards did a better job. So, Rep. Weiner, next time you're in this position (and we'll never say "never," not as long as Andrew Breitbart is holding a few more cards), you'd do well to heed the advice of that great Texas sage, Delbert McClinton:
Entering the building where the voting was taking place, you couldn't see the entire line of voters, as it went around a blind corner and down a long hallway. People coming in could see that the line stretched out of the actual polling room, but until they rounded that corner, they didn't really know what they were facing.
I enjoyed watching their facial expressions as they came around that corner. Here's the thing: most of them broke into bemused smiles. I saw very few frowns; heard no angry muttering. I saw no one turn around and walk out. People were there to take care of business, and they weren't going to be dissuaded by a mere inconvenience. It made me proud of my fellow citizens.
I found it easy to be patient. Debbie and I once stood in line for three hours to vote, so twenty minutes was a relative walk in the park. I've probably written about this before, but one of the advantages of periodically deleting your archives is that you can recycle material and no one can prove it without going to some trouble. Anyway, the year was 1980, when Ronald Reagan was running against an incumbent Jimmy Carter. Reagan won in a landslide (one of the better things that's happened in our country during my lifetime, but we won't get into that right now), and more than 100 million Americans cast votes in that election.
We were living in Garland, Texas, in a new home - our first - and in a new precinct. Our precinct had experienced phenomenal growth since the preceding election - we later discovered that it was, in fact, the fastest growing precinct in the nation - and the voting office wasn't prepared for the turnout. We got to our polling place, a neighborhood elementary school, after work, around 6:00 p.m. as I recall, and the line went out the door, down the block, around the corner, and down that block. We inched our way toward the school, and the sun had set by the time we reached the entrance, where we figured it was just a short wait to vote. Were we ever wrong!
The line then snaked through almost every classroom and up and down every hallway. We saw every inch of that school; I'm surprised they didn't run the lines through the restrooms. The wait was so long that several babies were born, a couple of marriages occurred, and at least one divorce. OK, I exaggerate, but you get the picture. By the time we were finally able to cast our votes and leave, Reagan had already been projected as the winner. In fact, this was the first election where a network used exit polls to project a winner.
Even at that, standing in line for three hours is a minuscule price to pay to participate in the democratic process (even considering the fact that we didn't have cell phones or iPods to provide distractions). Countless people around the world will never experience the privilege of voting for a leader, much less knowing that their vote actually counted.
It's a thing not to be taken lightly, or for granted.
In case you haven't heard, Debra Medina's interview on Glenn Beck's radio program yesterday turned out to be an absolute train wreck, both for her and for Beck (although she had a lot more to lose than him, given that he specializes in causing train wrecks). If you missed it, you might want to take a moment to read the transcript posted on Beck's website. I'll wait here.
*whistling* *thumb-twiddling* *heel-rocking*
Pretty cringe-inducing, huh? Now, take a look at what Medina meant to say.
This stands out pretty clearly:
Medina's appeal to me all along has been twofold: her passion for state's rights and strict adherence to the US Constitution, and the fact that she's not a career politician. Unfortunately, the latter factor proved to be detrimental yesterday as she gave an unpolished and, frankly, a bumbling answer to a question that someone more experienced would have quickly dismissed. She compounded the problem by going on a tangent about screening her staff that served only to make her sound evasive and unsure. Having heard her speak in person, I know that neither of those descriptions are accurate, but given the absence of nuance in reportage, they're damaging beyond estimation.
The Texas blogosphere is hotly divided today between those who are defending Medina as being honest almost to a fault, and the victim of a nasty, carefully planned setup by Beck, and those who feel that we're at last now seeing the true candidate, an unskilled person in over her head and aligned with fringe political elements.
To me, this was a gigantic misstep for Medina, one that will hurt her already slim chances of getting elected. I was disappointed at her response (while at the same time being outraged at Beck's behavior; but then, he's not a journalist, he's an "entertainer," although his idea of entertainment and mine aren't even in the same universe), and I'm not sure there's enough time before the election for damage control.
Even worse, it's a distraction from the really important issues that should be driving this election: ensuring that Texas continues to be a leader in preserving and honoring the constitutional rights of states, and ensuring that private property owners in Texas are not overly burdened by governmental interference. To the extent that the Beck interview damages Medina's chances to make that happen, we'll all be losers.
I'm not an avid follower of politics, but something about this year's Texas gubernatorial campaign has energized me. While it could be that I get to type "gubernatorial" so many times - it simply rolls off the keyboard - the fact is that the surfacing of a viable candidate who's not a charter member of the Entrenched Incumbents has interjected a new degree of excitement into the campaign. I'm referring, of course, to Debra Medina, who started the state's silly season as a footnoted afterthought but who has now pulled into a statistical dead heat on the Republican ticket with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and continues to build momentum.
I was impressed with Medina's performance during one of the early televised debates, where both Governor Rick Perry and Hutchinson viewed her primarily as a foil with which to attack each other. That tactic backfired on both of them, as she not only helped each of them make their points that the other was a doofus (that's a sophisticated term I picked up in poli sci class at A&M), but came out looking like she had more substance than either of them.
I was impressed enough to make a small financial contribution to her campaign, something that I last did when Reagan was in office. That was early enough in the campaign that my $25 contribution stimulated a phone call from a reporter with the Austin newspaper wanting to interview me, I suspect much as one might want to better understand the motivation of someone who's taken up flagpole sitting while watching an oncoming tornado. I declined to return his phone call (I never have entirely trusted those legacy media types).
Medina was one of the speakers at today's Midland Country Republican Womens' luncheon, along with Senator Hutchinson and a representative from Perry's campaign. (Perry was in Odessa on Monday, so I guess he figured two days in the Permian Basin was one day too many.) Also on the speaker list was Representative Mike Conaway, running for re-election against businessmen Chris Younts and Al Cowan. Both Cowan and Younts did good jobs of explaining why they were running, but this is Conaway's 'hood and they got a polite but cool reception. One will not make up any ground trying to attack Conaway's conservatism, despite his vote for the first TARP bailout. They tried, but Conaway went on last and calmly dismantled their accusations as he explained that vote. I certainly came away mollified.
Mike did make a point of informing the audience that while he had a Facebook page, he didn't Twitter because he thought it sounded dumb to "twit" [sic]. That got a half-hearted laugh, but not from me. Both of his opponents have Twitter feeds for their campaigns, and Medina is also doing a great job of using hers (@debmedina) to push her agenda. (I was going to tweet the proceedings but the cellphone police shut us down. Afterward, I decided that they really were targeting actual cellphones and that I could have "twitted" my way through the luncheon.)
Then, the real show began, the reason for the packed ballroom. Debra Medina spoke first, and I have to tell you that if she doesn't win the nomination, it won't be because she's failed to explain what her priorities are, and why she thinks they're important to the state of Texas. She made a great case for why the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution allows for "nullification and interposition" of federal legislation which encroaches upon the sovereign rights of states.
Medina also unleashed a scathing commentary on Rick Perry's job creation claims, pointing out that while it was true that Texas has had a net increase in jobs over the past year or two, they've all been government jobs; the private sector has actually had a small decrease.
The Perry rep and Kay Hutchinson spoke next. I don't recall either of them directly addressing Medina's comments or issues, although they both seemed to go out of their way to assure us that they, too, were big proponents of personal property ownership. Perry's representative trotted out the same statistics that Medina spoke to regarding job creation, but, of course, declining to make the distinction between public and private sector employment.
Hutchinson spent most of her allotted time criticizing Perry. It was almost as if she doesn't really believe she's in a dogfight with Medina, but that works to Medina's benefit. To her credit, KBH did acknowledge Perry's role in getting tort reform passed in Texas, but hammered him on private property rights (the Trans-Texas Corridor will be Perry's Issue That Haunts Forever, and rightly so).
Medina is what I had hoped Sarah Palin would be, but, sadly, isn't. She's done her homework; she's got her agenda; she wants to get it done and then get out of the way. I came away more impressed than ever. Heck, I even grabbed a yard sign, and let the local ABC-TV affiliate interview me on-camera, and this time it didn't seem to be a novelty interview. The Medina signs were going fast.
Yeah, I was feeling pretty cocky about being a political pundit and all, until I got home and saw the big hunk of lettuce plastered over one of my front teeth. Surely, they would have pointed that out before the interview, if it was noticeable. Surely. Well. No, they probably decided I was just having a bad dental day, and were too polite to mention it. So much for my future as a political analyst.
I don't see much fisking nowadays (which could be attributed to the fact that I don't spend much time reading political blogs) and I miss it just a bit. So it's good to know that the practice hasn't vanished completely, and in fact has been adopted by the edgier members of the Legacy Media.
Following is a clip of Glenn Beck applying a proper fisking to the infinitely annoying Arianna Huffington. Now, I'm not a big GB fan; his style occasionally approaches the Infinite Annoyance that Huffington has somehow managed to exceed. Nevertheless, our ideologies have much in common, and he's an equal opportunity skewerer when it comes to calling out chumps on both sides of the political aisle (and, believe me, there are plenty of them...enough to fill out, say, a whole branch or two of federal government). And, as he shows in the following video, Beck knows how to administer a proper fisking. Enjoy.
I didn't agree with all of W's policies, but I never doubted for a second that he had the best interests of America in mind in every decision he made, and his ability to ignore attacks on his character while focusing on what was truly important is something that sets leaders apart from politicians.
I hope you'll read the above-linked post, and while you're there, scroll down through some of the comments, as there's additional wisdom to be found. Here's one example:
As "Newsroom Stew" puts it, it does seem odd to suggest that Midland should follow Austin's lead in, well, just about anything (full disclosure: Stew and I are both Aggies, and predisposed by genetic make-up to disagreeing with just about anything coming out of Austin), but in this case I think they're getting it right. Of course, Stew was probably referring more to the ban on texting while driving more than the safe passing issue, but I do agree that both would be welcome additions to our local ordinances.
It doesn't hurt that the ACLU is opposed to them.
- Now, about that cover... is a post from the author of the book by the same name, and it deals with how the quite striking cover of his book came to be. The photo shown on the front cover depicts a book that has been soaked in water and the pages arranged into a striking organic shape. This technique is the brainchild of Houston-based photographer Cara Barer, who is quick to point out that no valuable books are harmed in the making of her pictures.
I feel compelled to note that my wife has at times created this effect by nodding off in the bathtub with book in hand.
- And speaking of bending paper to your will, check out these amazing origami creations by Won Park. Given the value of the dollar lately, this is as good a use as any for a bill.
- I'm a sucker for panoramic photography, because I can't figure out how to do it myself. Here's a great example, taken at Shoshone Point in the Grand Canyon National Park. If you have a fast internet connection and faster computer, click the "full screen" link to get the full vertigo-inducing effect.
- And, last but not least, I was happy to see that Texas Governor Rick Perry garnered Bicycling Magazine's "Wheelsucker of the Month" award for his veto of the Safe Passing bill at the end of the last legislative session. Perry claims to be a cyclist, and, indeed, recently injured himself during a ride, so you'd think he'd have more empathy. But he's a politician first and foremost, and thus can't be counted on to do the right thing. Anyway, BikeTexas, the state's cycling advocacy group, has an online petition urging passage of the bill (while simultaneously expressing displeasure at the veto). If you're a Texas cyclist, pedestrian, farm equipment operator, or "concerned motorist" (which should pretty much encompass all of us), please consider dropping by to sign the petition. It may not accomplish anything more than making me feel better, but this is, after all, all about me.
The more perceptive among you may also notice a large button on the right side of this page that links to the petition, in case you weren't able to read this far.
This is the advice on the official White House blog, contained in a post entitled "Facts are Stubborn Things." And, as the White House is no doubt finding out, so is ill-considered, foolish advice.
My guess is that firstname.lastname@example.org is already choked with countless reports of "fishiness" related to the proposed health reform package. But I'll bet many of those reports aren't exactly what the White House had in mind when it came up with this boneheaded idea (I'm talking about the email forwarding request, not the health reform bill, but only because "boneheaded" isn't adequate to describe the mess of the latter).
If I was thinking about reporting "fishiness" to the White House, I'd probably email them the text of the bill itself, because no opinions or rumors or exaggerations could possibly match the scary reality of the bill itself.
Of course, now that you've read this, I suppose you're obligated to report The Gazette's "fishiness" to the White House. All I ask is that you please spell the name correctly.
I was just reading about that French play called "George W. Bush ou le triste cowboy de Dieu" (George W. Bush or God's sad cowboy), how the director was bushwhacked (okie doke...pun intended) a while back and the play was shut down for a spell ("for the protection of the actors") and how it's about to start runnin' agin. Who says the French are lily-white cowards? Not me, that's fer durn sure.
Anyway, I don't rightly understand why them little French guys think calling somebody a cowboy is such a big insult. I reckon none of 'em have ever met a real cowboy. I figgered them little French guys would have a better way with words than that, anyhow. Maybe they're just ashamed of their own insults so they're havin' to borrow words from us. I can understand that. If'n you had to go around all day talkin' like you had a mouthful of snails or somethin' I reckon you'd wish for some good old American words, too.
Anyway, I reckon that if the worst thang folks could call me was cowboy, I'd be pretty dang happy with that monicker. 'Cause here's what being a real cowboy means...
- He don't sit around talkin' about something that needs doin' until it cain't be done...he gits on his horse and he goes and does it.
- When he tells somebody he's gonna do something, he by gum does it, come hell or high water.
- There's no friend like a cowboy; he'll tell you when you're wrong, help you make it right, and go to hell and back with you or for you, whichever the situation calls for.
- He'll go outta his way and three counties over to avoid a fight if'n he sees an honorable way to make peace. But if you back him into a corner -- if you mess with his spread or his kin -- he won't bring a knife to the gunfight.
- He don't rightly give a snake's butt what you think a him. If you ain't a cowboy yourself, he understands that you just cain't help yourself.
Yessir, I've known plenty a cowboys in my time, and I wouldn't trade a one of 'em for a whole herd of cheese wranglers. But here's the deal: it ain't too late for them little French guys to come around to the cowboy way. But they're gonna have to show a little backbone first. As my pard Texas Bix Bender is fond a sayin', sometimes courage takes nuthin' more than sittin' down, suckin' it in and listenin'. But, in the end, there's always this, agin from ol' TBB: the bigger the mouth, the better it looks shut.