Archive | November, 2009

Dan Patrick now outsourcing to India

Harvey Kronberg’s Quorum Report (subscription only) is reporting that state Senator Dan Patrick is selling leasing all the air time on his Dallas radio station, the format of which will switch to all-Indian programming.

Letters from Texas Worldwide Headquarters, Breaking News Division, can exclusively report previously-undisclosed details regarding the sale, which Patrick reportedly agreed to in order to curry favor among certain voters.

“Dan thought the timing was right,” said one radio industry insider. “He figures, what the hell – here today, Gandhi tomorrow,” he added.

Patrick, never one to shy away from sacred cows, and who is apparently interested in competing with Marc Katz, will reportedly re-invest the profits in a New Delhi.

Thank you ladies and germs, you’ve been a wonderful audience. Don’t forget to tip your waitstaff.

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Dear TV News Executives and Techie Wizards:

Yes, I know it’s the newest and coolest thing for a newsroom to get a Twitter account and tweet your station’s headlines as they occur.

Yes, it’s completely understandable that the natural progression of that might be to live-broadcast your station’s news tweets from the biggest video-enabled billboard in town.

However, you might want to think through the details of that before you get too far along in your big plan.

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Oh, really?

Key quote: “We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term.”

— comment by former Bush spokesperson Dana Perino, which goes unchallenged as the interview continues on Fox News.

(yes, this would be the very same Dana Perino whom President B-Nasty ‘Bamalicious just nominated for some government position or another)

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FUBAR in the News (AKA “desperate cries for help”)

I’ve been out of town, but on my way out the door last Thursday I was interviewed by Statesman Capitol Bureau Chief Jason Embry about the emergence of a new candidate for Texas Governor. Let’s just say I was less than completely impressed.

“I would love to live in a state where the sort of issues he’s going to face don’t matter. But we don’t live in that state.”

On my way back into town yesterday, I was asked by News8Austin’s lovely and talented Karina Kling to stop by their studio to discuss the emergence of a new candidate for Texas Governor. Let’s just say I was impressed.  However, as a result of the following video segment, I fully expect to receive a strongly-worded letter of protest from the U.S. Association of Mule Renters.

After the extended interview, we took a field trip outside for a separate story on same topic, which is here.

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Sarah Palin Book Tour Update

Sarah Palin, commenting about Newsweek:

“…this ‘news’ magazine has relished focusing on the irrelevant rather than the relevant.”

Newsweek‘s focus? Yup…Sarah Palin.

This has been your Sarah Palin Book Tour Update.

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Focus on the Family, Texas Style

Remember that married guy you had the secret affair with recently? Maybe there’s a loophole.

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FUBAR in the (old) news

It’s hard to believe it’s taken me 15 months to get around to this after receiving a few requests long ago, but here is President Bill Clinton greeting Senator Leticia Van de Putte and me, on the podium of the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Since the footage is at the end of a 25 minute speech, it was fairly inaccessible before editing.

(thanks to video wizard Margie Becker for editing this…hire her for your video production needs, or the terrorists win)

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Conservative hypocrisy goes international

Isn’t it just darling every time you open a newspaper, only to see another anti-gay rights conservative caught in a gay tryst?

Isn’t it cute about all those pro-family values conservatives who have been caught with “the other woman?”

Well now, conservative hypocrisy has gone global: meet Rahim Jaffer, a former Canadian Member of Parliament who campaigned against illegal drugs, and who was just arrested and charged with drunk driving and possession of cocaine.

Lets just call this chapter 1,358 of “maybe you should focus on your own damn family.”

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The rules of engagement/FUBAR in the news

I taught a “how to deal with reporters” class over the weekend, to students attending a Texas Democratic Party campaign training camp (great bunch of folks, by the way – if they’re who will be working in Democratic campaigns next year, I’m guessing we’re in pretty good shape). Part of the curriculum is explaining the rules of engagement when dealing journalists. It’s not very exciting stuff, but it’s pretty important, if you’re a campaign staffer, candidate, or reporter.

Personally, I’m used to this stuff and still get tripped up from time to time. And it certainly doesn’t come naturally, so it’s important material to learn. I’m also constantly amazed at the mistakes people make. This weekend was an interesting time to go over that material too, since there are a couple of things in the news right now in which people who should know better attempted to engage, and didn’t fare well because they were off-track on the basic rules of engagement.

The first is an example here in Texas, in which following up on a Texas Tribune poll, a spokesperson for one of the candidates in the poll objected on several grounds (some of which may well be valid grounds for objection). He apparently called Tribune boss Evan Smith and, let’s just say, a frank and earnest exchange of ideas was shared. It is unclear whether Evan was playing the part of Frank or Ernest.

Evan wrote a blog piece on the Trib site about the exchange, about which the campaign spokesperson promptly commented, both repeating his earlier complaints, and adding one more: that Evan wrote at all about their phone call, “…in a conversation which was never specified as being on the record.”

Spokespeople of the world: seriously, if you’re going to call yourself a “spokesperson,” you might want to start out that big career by understanding that all conversations with journalists are automatically deemed to be on the record, unless otherwise agreed to by both people in the conversation. In this case, a small mistake of little lasting consequence to the campaign, the Trib, or Earthlings in general, but anybody can see how that little misunderstanding might get dicey in other contexts.

But here’s the whopper in this week’s news on the “clueless on the rules of engagement” front: Sarah Palin. Palin, as a former statewide officeholder and Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States, damn well should know better.

The former Governor of Alaska, professional quitter, and current wackadoodle of Earth, came out with her new book, and is now doing the usual book tour thing, in order to stuff her bank account. Turns out there’s a teensy weensy little problem with the book: some of the stuff in it apparently isn’t true.

The Associated Press wrote about some of the misrepresentations in the book. Why would they do such a dastardly thing? Well, I would gently suggest to Palin defenders that this is what the Associated Press does for a living. That hasn’t really changed much for the last 164 years.

Despite this fundamental truth, Palin has gone on the attack, accusing the AP of engaging in “opposition research.” Says Palin:

We’ve heard 11 writers are engaged in this opposition research, er, ‘fact checking’ research! Imagine that – 11 AP reporters dedicating time and resources to tearing up the book….”

With all due respect, Ms. Palin – WTF did you think the Associated Press’ job is, if not to research claims and report the truth? I understand that your sworn duty as a person who stands to make a lot of money with your book is to create controversy, thus boosting book sales, but sheesh – you sure make yourself look dumb.

Meanwhile, I was asked to weigh in on the Palin book on Dallas radio station KRLD late last week. Not having 11 researchers at my disposal, I opted to merely call Palin an ass. That was kind of fun.

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Dear Republican Pro-Life Activists:

Bite me.

Love and Kisses,

PS: now’s your big chance to violate women’s right to privacy twice, not just the usual once – demand a witch hunt to find out which RNC employees availed themselves of this health coverage. I can’t believe I’m not charging you people for this.

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Buh-bye Lou Dobbs

I had a great idea for a post this morning, in which I would write a news story explaining that the real reason Lou Dobbs was leaving CNN was because authorities discovered he’s an undocumented alien. Except then I found out that The Onion had already written that piece. I gotz no Plan B. Drats.

The problem with being a progressive Democrat is that we eventually win, most of the time. We put a ton of time and effort into developing perfectly good villains, then we win and the villain goes away. I’ve still got a garage full of “Newt Gingrich is a damn fool” yard signs. My store room is jam packed with “Tom DeLay is a douchebag” bumper stickers. The corner of my office has two unused cartons of “Tom Craddick Has Got to Go” oversized postcards, yet unmailed. We eventually ran out of photoshop ideas for Palin. At least I’m out of stock on Rush Limbaugh materials – he’s too fat and drugged up to go anywhere for a long time anyway, so we eventually lost interest.

Fact is, Lou Dobbs exiting the scene is a big blow – villain-wise, now we have to start over again with somebody new.

Being Democrats, there’s a lot of infighting at the meetings, so I dread the nomination process for The Next Villain. We always get in big arguments at our secret socialist meetings, starting with piling on whoever brought the boring snacks and the fact that Naishtat ate ’em all before most even arrived. You should have seen the dust-up when we were figuring out who would get to be on the death panel. And, I swear, nobody wanted to take their turn hiding Obama’s birth certificate.

But alas – these are our burdens to shoulder. Meanwhile, have fun Mr. Dobbs, wherever you land. Don’t let the screen door hitcha.

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Hopson’s sittin’ in tall cotton now!

After my recent post on the matter, I really thought I was finished discussing Chuck Hopson.

But in light of Hopson’s former Republican opponent Brian Walker’s endorsement of Hopson today, I thought it might be useful to hear in Hopson’s own words how much weight to place on what Brian Walker says:

Update:  now that the Texas Tribune has gotten their grubby little hands on the same video, how about Walker’s mug shot? Yeah, that’ll do it.

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A random observation

This has absolutely nothing to do with politics, government, Texas, satire, kissing the Texas Tribune’s ass, or any of the other things I normally write about. But I found this to be so interesting I just had to share.

You know that little Google search box in the upper righthand corner of many web browsers? The one where if you start typing something, it will auto-fill with suggested searches, based on what other people have searched for? Well, when I typed the word “why” into that box this morning, here’s a screen capture of the suggestions that popped up.

Well, being universally-known as having a mind like a steel trap, several things immediately occurred to me:
1. wow, this is interesting;
2. wow, this is funny;
3. wow, how can somebody not know why there’s a dead Pakistani on his or her couch?; and
4. wow, I wonder what else this works out for?
That’s when I found out what happens when you type “Republicans are”
Yes, I know you’re already trying it yourself. Share your results in the comment section, or email me a screen capture.

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Up with Chuck!

As has been widely reported elsewhere, State Representative Chuck Hopson, formerly a Democrat, switched parties last week. Now, instead of facing a possible challenge to his re-election in next November’s general election, he faces a tough election in hotly-contested Republican primary.

I, for one, will not criticize my old friend Chuck Hopson. His vote was always there when the House Democratic Caucus needed it. I know this must have been a difficult decision for him to have made. Personally I was surprised, because Chuck was a good and loyal Democrat who has always said that he’d rather retire from public office than join with those same East Texas Republicans whose votes he now seeks.

But there’s good news! Chuck says that he will continue to vote just as he has in the past, indicating that he won’t change a bit. This is a vast relief. I really hate it when a politician changes his stripes just to get re-elected. I think it’s a liberal breath of fresh air to see a liberal Democrat like Chuck Hopson liberally and fearlessly defend his liberal positions even in a Republican primary, facing off against a growing crowd of true conservatives who reflect the attitudes of Republican primary voters so well.

I have deep roots in Hopson’s area, and the two of us have a lot in common. Two generations of my family are buried in the cemetery outside of Palestine. My grandfather was even the pharmacist in Palestine, 50 years or more before Chuck himself began selling drugs to people, including children.

I feel a strong connection to Chuck. That’s why when Chuck’s Republican primary election battle heats up next Spring, I plan to personally travel to East Texas to help him campaign to keep his job.

I will visit all the newspapers in the region, starting with Palestine and Jacksonville, where I can tell all the reporters who will listen that as a progressive Democratic Austin insider who supports abortion and equal rights for gay Texans, and opposes prayer in schools, I am so very proud of liberal Chuck Hopson, who has been in Austin for so very very long. I want everybody in his district to know it, and I know Chuck will be pleased.

I will book myself as a guest on some of the conservative radio programs in Chuck’s district, where I can explain how time after time, Chuck bravely stood with the House Democratic Caucus. I might even get a chance to explain my views on abortion, gay rights, and prayer in schools on the radio too. I could also publicly mull over who Chuck may have cast his vote for in the most recent primary election he voted in – Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. I’m sure Chuck will be thrilled to learn of this.

I may even spend money out of my own pocket to send targeted direct mail to likely Republican primary voters all over Chuck’s district, explaining to them that there are a lot of liberal Democrats in Austin who, despite Chuck’s party switch, very much need Chuck to return to the Legislature, so he can continue to vote with the Democrats, just as he has assured everybody he will do.

“I will vote like I have always voted,” he told the Jacksonville Progress newspaper last weekend. “I don’t anticipate anything will change.”

The good people of Chuck Hopson’s district, even Republican primary voters, need to know that there are countless liberals in Austin who, like me, deeply admire Chuck. We need to help Chuck get the word out, so that Republican primary voters can hurry up and send him back to Austin – he clearly loves it here so much better than his native East Texas, and fits in so well with the Austin insiders.

I know Chuck will appreciate me helping him spread the word. But I’m only one voice, so I need your help. Please join the “Up With Chuck” movement today!

Here’s an update

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Defending Glen Beck

So, Glen Beck just lost a lawsuit against the people who registered s parody web domain to poke fun at Beck. Beck is afraid people might get confused and think he really thinks and does the stuff characterized on the website.

The key quote from the arbiter:

“Only an abject imbecile could believe that the domain name would have any connection to the complainant.”

Beck’s point exactly. Who the hell else would think enough of Glen Beck, other than an abject imbecile? Gosh, now that website is liable to ruin his stellar reputation.

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