Archive | February, 2009

Pop Quiz

Answer the following question: which Texas Lt. Governor got engaged to be married last night?

Hint: his name starts with a “D.”

Additional hint: his name ends with a “ewhurst.”

Extra Credit Point: name the woman.

Discuss. Compare and contrast. Please show your work.

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Some of ’em just don’t get it.

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Higher Education Update

This is what they do at the university named by U.S. News And World Report as the “top school to watch.” And their basketball team made the final four last season. Makin’ mama proud!

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Desperate Cries for Help Your Faithful Correspondent in the News

Sunday morning, KXAN’s political affairs show aired (just like last Sunday morning), hosted by Jenny Hoff (just like last Sunday morning) and I was part of the roundtable discussion (just like last Sunday  morning). We discussed the stimulus package (just like last Sunday morning).

The video is here (just like last Sunday morning). Most Austinites probably had better things to do than watch. Just like last Sunday morning. But it was fun, except for the coat and tie part.

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Legislator Quote Of The Day

It’s just not my style to do stuff half-ass.”

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Weekly Poll Wrap-Up

The poll asked site readers how they like the new Letters From Texas design.

A combined 73% like it, and 25% don’t. Rounding accounts for the missing 2%.
Of the 73% positive responses, almost half (35%) also liked the old design, while 38% said the new design is much better.
Of the 25% who said they didn’t like it, they had strong feelings. Only 5% said they weren’t crazy about it, while 20% said “It’s uglier than your dog’s butt.”
The new poll will be on top of the right hand sidebar, whenever I get around to it. However, a picture of my dog’s butt won’t be.

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Dear John Kelso:

I am in receipt of your latest column in the Austin American-Fishwrapper, in which you blast the Austin Marathon runners who clogged Austin’s streets last weekend.

I know. I understand the problem. In fact just for grins I gave ’em a side-swipe or two myself, both here and on my Facebook wall.*

That said, since you’re in the blasting business, I’ll play: among those at greatest fault for the giant traffic snarl in Austin last Sunday was none other than your own beloved newspaper.

Because, JOHN (can I call you John?), similar to you, I also had a speaking engagement on Sunday morning. Also similar to you, I got ready early and built in extra time to get there.

Just before I needed to leave my house, JOHN, I jumped online to grab a map of the race route to strategerize on the best route from my house (which is just outside the marathon route) to my destination (which is downtown – inside the marathon route).

Where did I look for such utterly timely and newsworthy information? Why, on the front page of – your very own beloved newspaper.

But guess what, JOHN? It wasn’t there. Not on the front page, anyway. Neither was it on the other end of any search engine results on the search function of your site. It also couldn’t be found on several other Austin news sites I searched on. It was probably on the marathon’s website, but that site crashed Sunday morning – probably because of all the Austinites who went there in desperation after realizing they couldn’t find what they needed on your newspaper’s site, JOHN.

In fact, I found it so unlikely that the Statesman would be such morons as to fail to put the route map on their site, that I originally assumed that I was the one with the shortcoming – that it must be there, but I just couldn’t find it. I felt better about me, and worse about you, when I got to my destination, and found that another speaker – a reporter, ironically – had the exact same problem.

I finally did find it – on the website of the local Fox News affiliate. So I must begrudgingly say – and may God forgive me – thank you Fox News, you were a life saver.

So, JOHN, I would respectfully bluntly suggest that you get your own house in order, before blaming somebody else for your troubles on Sunday morning. In other words, go out and buy yourself a real website, Pops (can I call you Pops?).

Meanwhile, regarding your own news organization, I always mistakenly assumed they spelled your parent company “Cox.”

PS: speaking of getting a real website for the Statesman, I tried to leave something similar to this comment on the Statesman’s website, under your column. It kept telling me I needed to first log in. I was logged in. I got the “Welcome Harold” treatment at the top of the page and everything. Buncha morons.

*get somebody to explain to you what a “Facebook wall” is.

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California Dreamin’

Things are getting bleak in California.

The California legislators featured in this video taken last weekend may look just like Texas legislators by May.

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Desperate Cries for Help Your Faithful Correspondent in the News

Last weekend, Austinites were out celebrating the beautiful weather by running more miles than most people can drive. The word “marathon,” incidentally, is derived from the original Greek, and loosely translated it means “let’s block as many roads as possible, for little or no reason.”

Instead of taking part in any of that, I was part of KXAN’s Sunday morning roundtable discussion on politics, this week featuring commentary on the stimulus package and reaction to Speaker Straus’ House committee assignments.

The video is available here.

Note to KXAN: your table isn’t even close to being round. Cease this false advertising immediately, before the authorities are called.

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Most Ironic Crime of the Week So Far

It seems Lance Armstrong’s bike got stolen. Apparently he twittered about it, asking if anybody had seen it.

That’s not a bad idea. Maybe we should all try twittering to see where all the water went.

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New website design

Oops – further tweaking unfortunately required that I re-start the poll, and a few votes already cast were lost. Sorry!

How do you like it? Vote in the poll on top of the right hand sidebar.

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The State of the Plate

During Governor Perry’s recent state-of-the-state address, among other recommendations Perry made, in order to make Texas an even spiffier place to live, he singled out legislation which would authorize “choose life” license plates. Anti-abortion legislators have been pushing for the plates for several sessions.

Texas is 50th in the nation in tax expenditures per capita.

Texas is 50th in the nation in the percentage of the population 25 or older with a high school diploma.

Texas is first in the nation in the percentage of uninsured children, the percent of the general population uninsured, and the percent of our non-elderly uninsured.

Texas is third in the nation in the teen birth rate, and first in the nation in the rate of teens having a second birth.

Texas is 50th in the nation in the average credit score, and first in the nation on air pollution emissions.

This all means that somewhere out there in the Great State of Texas is a 24 year old single female grandmother with asthma but no high school diploma, whose kid and grandkid are one head cold away from pneumonia, and who can’t get a car loan for the 3rd hand 1972 Chevy POS Impala she needs in order to take herself and her kids to the doctor she can’t afford. But by golly I bet she’s going to love those “choose life” license plates.

Texas legislators have a lot of serious work to do, on serious issues, and they want a big push for license plate legislation? I suppose it’s all to prove to a certain market segment what kind of governor Perry is.

I think the mere existence of that 24 year old Texas grandmother says far more about what kind of governor Perry is than his big legislative push for “choose life” license plates. I wonder what legitimate choices he imagines that girl has now?

But, hey, fair enough – if Perry wants license plates, we’ll get him some license plates. He’ll need two cars.

I’m proud of Texas…how ’bout yew?

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Law West of the Gulf of Mexico

Harris County justice: sure, swift, and….oops!

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And now, the Letters From Texas sports update

In our previous episode: Last week, we passed on the cutting-edge news of cable system Comcast in Tucson accidentally pre-empting about 30 seconds of the Superbowl with porn. The cable company apologized.

Here’s the update: Comcast offered each subscriber a $10 credit, either as their apology for interrupting the Superbowl with porn, or for interrupting the porn and going back to the Superbowl (I was never really clear on which is was, but whatever – subscribers each got ten bucks).

Now comes the porn distribution outfit called “Pink Visual.” No, I’m not making this up. They’re offering the same folks in Tucson another $10 credit toward use of their adult websites because of the incident.

Key quote: “We feel really bad for the customers that were just getting into it when Comcast rudely switched back to the football game before the clip could really get going.”

Why can’t we just get Comcast and Pink Visual to team up and pay to have Texas’ children covered up to 300 percent of the poverty level for CHIP, since Rick Perry doesn’t seem very interested?

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Weekly Poll Wrap-Up

The poll question was, “who are you leaning toward in the Austin City Council Place 1 race?”

The question was identical to one appearing now at Burnt Orange Report, in which the site administrators seem upset that people are…um…voting.

And without further delay: Perla Cavazos whupped ass with 73% of the vote, while Chris Riley closed with 26%, out of a total 89 votes cast.

Look for the new weekly poll, on top of the right hand sidebar, which will be posted whenever I get around to it.

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