Archive | July, 2009


Rest in peace, buddy.

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Remind me – what makes these people “conservative?”

Do you remember when Rick Perry turned down $555 million in federal stimulus money for our bankrupt unemployment system, because he said the so-called “strings attached” would cost the state of Texas more?

Well guess what – now they’re borrowing $2 billion from the feds, to make up for the shortfall in Texas’ unemployment system.

Governor, the strings associated with a loan is that you have to pay back the money. That’s why they call it “a loan.” So what was the big deal with those “strings” on $555 million that bothers you, which doesn’t bother you with $2 billion worth of “strings?”

And Kay…honey…stop gloating. Where were you when Perry was beating his chest about not accepting the FREE money from the feds? I don’t remember you stepping up to the plate at the time to provide a little leadership when Our Only Governor didn’t seem to be able to find any.

How many days until voters in a general election can get rid of all of the above? Sheesh.

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Austin News Briefs

Local man killed in traffic accident involving bicycle, Smart Car

An Austin man was killed today when a Smart Car collided with a bicycle on Lamar Blvd.

Police say Nathan Winters, 23, was pronounced dead on the scene following the accident. The bicycle rider, however, escaped with only minor injuries and was treated at the scene and released.

Winters’ family said that in addition to Winters being the proud owner of the Smart Car, he was an active member in Greenpeace, PETA, Earth First, NORML, and the Travis County Libertarian Party.

While the motor vehicle was a total loss, the bicycle will only require minor cosmetic repairs, police said.

Texas Tribune hires all remaining Capitol reporters; Austin bloggers

The non-profit news start-up Texas Tribune announced today that they have hired every remaining reporter in the Capitol bureaus of all Texas’ major state newspaper, radio, and T.V. stations, bringing their total number of reporters to 248. They also announced the hiring of 58 liberal and conservative bloggers, and have have put on retainer every identifiable surviving relative of Walter Cronkite. Also announced was the hiring of Leslie Cochran, the famous Austin homeless man, who will write a regular fashion column for the online publication.

“I’m proud of the team we have amassed,” said Trib C.E.O. Evan Smith, who has also reportedly hired an auto mechanic, a space shuttle astronaut, and “The World’s Most Interesting Man” from the Dos Equis beer commercials.

In a related story, the Texas Press Association reported that the Tribune has already inadvertently succeeded in their goal of reinvigorating the news business in Texas. The association says it’s because Texas newspapers’ personnel costs have been slashed in half, due to the Tribune hiring everybody they ever met.

Gov. Perry continues ceremonial bill signings

Texas Governor Rick Perry continued to travel the state this week performing ceremonial bill signings. The governor’s latest event, held in Brownwood, included the ceremonial bill signing of H.B. 3995, which Perry conceded he never read, but which “some conservative guy somewhere” said was “a mighty fine piece of legislation.”

Perry, who frequently criticizes federal stimulus dollars, is paying his travel expenses with federal stimulus dollars. Officials in Washington confirmed that Perry’s travel efforts seem to be working in re-invigorating the entire Texas economy.

Meanwhile, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who says she’s running against Perry in the Republican primary for Governor next year, continued traveling across the state this weekend as well, ceremonially saying little or nothing.

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, rumored to be running for Hutchison’s Senate seat, is also traveling the state with his new bride, ceremonially reenacting their wedding ceremony in all major media markets.

Update: somebody briefly took the Smart Car piece seriously.

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Yo quiero useless news

I’ve been out.  But now that I’m back, here’s a news dump of things I found interesting, stupid, or stupidly interesting:

First, if you’re a beer-swilling polygamist Morman who lives in Mexico and cusses alot, you’re screwed.

Also, legal scholars will be closely studying this landmark case in Australia for years.

A man in China has asked his girlfriend to bee his bride. For some reason, this creates quite a buzz.

Some things about voting in Chicago just never seem to change.

And finally, the most painful recent celebrity death of all. The Taco Bell Chihuahua has gone to that great crappy fast food restaurant in the sky. But don’t feel too sorry for her – in her prime she got more TV time than Sheila Jackson-Lee.

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Attention public school teachers:

The newspaper headline you’ve been dreaming of, the one you’ve been waiting for all your lives, is here.

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Attention Texas Senators:

Do NOT let me catch you complaining about your job again.

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If this candidate is true to her ballot name…

…then she already knows who will win the election.

Also, she knows what will fix the economy, how to finally bring Osama bin Laden to justice, whether your daughter will marry a rich man, and what next week’s winning lottery ticket numbers are.

H/T to MeanRachel, who found the Facebook ad. Apparently, she had a ball finding it.

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Dear Texas Reporters:

You fall for it every time. Stop it. Just stop it.

After every legislative session, The Only Governor We’ve Got trots all over the state doing ceremonial bill signing events. And like the lemmings some of you have become, you wander down to the event and cover it, as if it’s actual news.

Here’s the news: it’s not real. All the regular session bills Rick Perry was ever going to sign already got signed weeks ago, by law. Perry even has ceremonial bill signing events for legislation a governor’s not allowed to sign, and you still cover it. You’ll seldom catch anybody in the Capitol press corps attending these events – they know better. It’s you b-market people he’s fooling.

But fine, whatever. I understand that you have to fill up all that space in between the ads with something. In that vein, if you insist on continuing to cover such pointless drivel because it’s painlessly fed to you and you don’t have to do any actual work, here are other stories with equal news value and relevance that I encourage you to also cover:

The ceremonial Rick Perry hand-washing of the gubernatorial jockstrap, following the official Gubernatorial ceremonial jog.

The ceremonial Rick Perry annual dental exam and teeth cleaning.

The ceremonial Rick Perry 50,000 mile scheduled maintenance and tire rotation.

The ceremonial Rick Perry watering of the office plants.

The ceremonial Rick Perry trip to the urinal following the ceremonial drinking of a gubernatorial brewski.

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It takes a village (idiot)

We’ve all experienced it, probably too many times to count.

It’s when you pick up a newspaper or watch the T.V. news, and there’s a tragic story about some hapless citizen who was assaulted. Central to the story is always that scores of this victim’s neighbors and fellow citizens heard the terrified screams for help, yet nobody bothered to lift a finger. Nobody wanted to get involved.

Do you remember all the times you’ve read those stories? Well, this isn’t one of those times.

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Alberto Gonzales is a classy guy

George W. Bush’s Attorney General Alberto Gonzales finally found work. He’ll be teaching a political science class at Texas Tech University, already the most prestigious university in all of West Lubbock. Many news reports could have told you that much, but Letters From Texas, Ivory Tower Division, goes the extra mile and exclusively reports this draft of:

Professor Gonzales’ Class Syllabus

Professor Alberto Gonzales
Political Science 2303
Tuesdays-Thursdays 9-11:30 am

Class 1: The silly and trivial notion of habeas corpus: liberal evil at work.

Class 2: Domestic eavesdropping for fun and profit.

Class 3: U.S. Attorneys: you appointed ’em, and you can fire ’em.

Class 4: Waterboarding is a Club Med activity: the torture is only torture if we use the word “torture.”
Class 5: Congressional Testimony: why the phrases “I don’t know” and “I can’t remember” are unacceptable when your children try it, but work just fine for Attorneys General.
Class 6: Why being a “Yes Man” is highly underrated. (co-lecture with Condoleezza Rice)
Class 7: Life after public service, and how I should have left “Dick Cheney’s Bitch” off my resume.
Class 8: Final Exam

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Sick of wall-to-wall Michael Jackson coverage?

Me too. Worst of all, I often wonder what other important stories around the world are being pushed out of the public eye as a result of such saturation coverage. For example, much of the mainstream media has shamefully ignored the important saga of two Mexican midget wrestlers being killed by fake prostitutes.

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While many of you were sweating away the holiday weekend…

…Letters From Texas Worldwide Headquarters, Tequila Sunset Division, was miserable, just miserable, in the higher elevations of the Big Bend region, where yesterday it was a sweltering 77 degrees at 5 pm. But we managed to survive the ordeal because of the cool breeze, which probably made it feel like a slightly-less miserable 74. So how was Austin?

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Happy cuatro de julio!

As things wind down for the Independence Day weekend, I share an actual conversation I had with a Central Market checker earlier today:

Checker: Hi, did you find everything okay?

Me: Actually, no. You’re completely out of Dos Equis lager.

Checker: Oh really? I apologize for that. But, we are coming up on the July 4th weekend, afterall. There’s nothing more American than Dos Equis!

There wasn’t the slightest hint of irony in his tone. There are several ways various people would have taken that, both positive and negative. Personally, I was highly amused, and I liked it.

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Everything legislators need to know about the special session

So, legislators, the big special session starts today. I’m guessing it will only be special in the constitutional sense, because Governor Perry won’t let anybody have any fun. He has his three issues, and apparently he’s stickin’ to ’em.

According to the presiding officer in each house, all 3 of the relevant Senate bills will immediately be referred to the Finance Committee, and in the House, they’ll be referred to 3 different committees.

What this means: this means that of the 181 of you (plus one freshly-married Lt. Gov.) forced against your will to return to Austin, approximately 112 of you will be bored out of your minds, with absolutely nothing to do until a final floor vote. This is dangerous. Very. Very. Dangerous.

In fact, it’s so dangerous that this seems like the perfect time to remind everybody of the hapless Drew Nixon. Senator Nixon was a very bored Senator indeed. He was so bored that during the legislative session of 1997, he took himself for a little drive down South Congress, and was subsequently arrested after he was videotaped soliciting a woman for sex. That woman turned out to be an undercover police officer doing a prostitution sting operation. As you might imagine, Senator Nixon didn’t remain in the Texas Senate very long after his rural East Texas constituents learned of this tidbit (word on the street is that the East Texans weren’t so upset that he had broken the law, as much as they were jealous that he almost got some, with a person who wasn’t his cousin). Nixon didn’t even get a free state-paid trip to Argentina like a certain South Carolina Governor apparently did recently.

So, Texas Legislators, we urge you: take up chess. Or poker. Or something else that doesn’t include the likelihood of a squad car and a mug shot.

But wait: Letters From Texas Worldwide Headquarters always goes the extra mile to serve you, the crap-reading public. An additional helpful tip is in order, in case you decide to ignore our advice to take up chess.

In case you decide to take yourself for a little drive anyway, we will now tell you how the average innocent-as-the-driven-snow bored Texas legislator would be able to tell the difference between a legitimate prostitute, and an undercover police officer. We happen to know the answer to that question, because during the Drew Nixon episode, we asked one of Austin’s Finest that very question. And by “one of Austin’s Finest,” of course we mean “one of Austin’s oldest and most grizzled cops.”

His answer (to be read with the same long drawn-out Texas drawl in which it was delivered): “Well, as a general rule of thumb, it’s real easy to tell a real prostitute from one of our officers: if you’d f[have sex with] her, she’s one of ours.” Well, clear enough. Hard to believe they didn’t cover this material in your freshman orientation class.

As further evidence of the wisdom of this grizzled old officer’s words, we now present to you a photo line-up of the people the Knoxville Tennessee newspaper has posted as the area’s most popular – I repeat, MOST popular – prostitutes in their coverage area.

Chess is sounding better and better all the time, huh boys?

And oh yeah, you also need to know that things will move faster than you think, but slower than Perry hopes, and that Perry’s not going to add your constituent’s precious bill to the agenda. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.

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