Archive | April, 2012

I run into the most interesting people!

I had forgotten how tall Mark McKinnon is in person.

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Headline of the day so far

Apparently Joe Biden thinks this, too, is a big effin deal.

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Don’t miss out this Saturday!

I’ve written about this before, but now the event date is upon us.

Boyd Richie, pictured with the hot Richie

This Saturday evening in Austin, the Texas Democratic Party is hosting a roast of Boyd and Betty Richie. Except, few people are likely to roast Betty, because…well, you know…she’s the one we actually like. It’s a dinner event at the Hyatt Regency, and if you’re not there, we’ll talk bad about you.

House Democratic Leader Jessica Farrar has been added to the already stellar line-up, which already included Texas Senator Royce West, Judge Gilberto Hinojosa, DNC Secretary Alice Germond (you think you don’t know her, but you do – she’s the one who gets to do the roll call of states at Democratic National Conventions), the AFL-CIO’s John Patrick, legendary former TDP Chairman Bob Slagle, the lovely and talented Aimee Boone, and more!

And, oh yeah, the Democratic Party screwed around and put me in charge; I’m the Master of Ceremonies. And while I don’t often get carte blanche to ridicule people aside from this here natural habitat, when I do I don’t jack around, bucko.

So you can either get off your ass and attend this fun event, or you can be informed on Monday morning, as you hang around the water cooler wasting your employer’s time and money, that in your absence I trashed you at the event. So basically your attendance can be your self-defense mechanism.

I hope to see you Saturday!

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Headline of the day so far

…and I just included “so far” to be polite, because there’s little chance anybody’s going to beat this little sticker boo-boo by the Tyler local newspaper:

[H/T to Hairballs for this cutting-edge reporting, and to Kirsten Lovelace for spotting it!]

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Buzz from the TV show – Rick Perry’s “Compact”

On the most recent episode of YNN’s “Capital Tonight,” I was asked about the Governor’s so-called “Compact” which Perry had announced earlier in the week.

You can watch the entire show from last week, which also features Texas Senator Wendy Davis and State Representative Donna Howard, online any time. And you can watch this week’s episode this Thursday night at 6 pm on YNN Austin, or on the Texas Network, channel 888 on Time-Warner systems, in other Texas media markets.

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Headline of the day so far

Witnesses said Gingrich was quite smitten with the penguin, and a winter wedding is contemplated.

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They’ll give this drug kingpin life in prison

So basically, two years. Maybe three, tops.

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Twit, Twitter, Twittest: a case study

Five years ago, nobody had ever heard of Twitter. Now, the social media powerhouse is where people go to break news and drive conversations.

For policy wonks and political addicts, Twitter in indispensable. Candidates, officeholders, and activists utilize the social medium to push ideas and priorities, to varying degrees of success. And those who oppose them are using twitter to combat those candidates or ideas – and make asses of themselves by dishonest and misleading communications.

Here’s an interesting case study: meet Dan McDonald.

Dan McDonald, pictured with funny hat

Who is Dan McDonald? I’m glad you asked. I’m not surprised if you haven’t heard of him. And unless his mother stops dressing him in funny hats, aside from this blog post, it is very likely you will never hear of him again. His picture with that hat might lead some to believe that old McDonald has a farm, e-i-e-i-o.

Mr. McDonald is a central Texas Republican activist who claims to be the Secretary of both the Travis County and Hays County Republican Parties. Perhaps his hat overlaps both counties. I have noticed that he has taken it upon himself to screw around with state Senator Kirk Watson. So far, fair enough. Watson is a Democrat, and McDonald is a Republican. It is McDonald’s sworn duty as a hyper-partisan to ridicule Watson every chance he gets, in every mindless insipid way he can dream up to do so. We here at Letters From Texas Worldwide Headquarters are not strangers to the concept. In fact at first we thought McDonald was copying our work. Except, of course, for the stupid hat.

Kirk Watson, for his part, is one of the officeholders in Texas more effective at using Twitter as a means to communicate with those whom he hopes may agree with his policy priorities. Those who follow him already know that he constantly hammers on the Republicans in charge of Texas government for the misleading way they write state budgets. He also pushes his big idea of a medical school for Austin with great frequency. Those familiar with messaging techniques may already be aware that in order for a message to permeate through a constituency, the message must be repeated. Over and over. And over. And…um…over. That’s what Kirk Watson does.

The goal, obviously, is for people undecided on the issues to be persuaded over time by Watson. On the other hand, people who were already in agreement with Watson, and who spend a lot of time on Twitter, may well want to punch him in the throat by now, and desperately hope he hurries up and wins on those two crucial issues, so he can tweet about other stuff instead, very very soon. But that’s just a theory – I certainly don’t have anybody in particular in mind. But I digress.

Enter Dan McDonald, and his funny hat. In his attempts to oppose Watson’s ideas, he merely misleads people about what Watson said in the first place.

Here’s an example. Here’s an original tweet from Senator Watson:

 Straight-forward enough: Watson is pointing out the ways in which Republicans have been misleading Texans about their budget process, this example is on cuts to neighborhood public schools. The link goes to a newspaper article which documents the quote Watson tweeted – a ridiculous quote from the state comptroller with gobbly-gook explaining public education funding. You wouldn’t accept such an explanation from your small children.

Here was Dan McDonald’s “re-tweet”:

See what McDonald did there? Those reading McDonald’s tweets would get the impression that it is Watson, not the Comptroller, providing the flimsy nonsense explanation on what happened to the public school budget. Incidentally, McDonald also completely mangled the Republican talking points – they’ve been assigned to blame Medicaid, not Medicare. But you get the point.

It seems people like Dan (can I call you Dan?) don’t feel they can best Watson in a fair fight on the merits of Watson’s ideas. So they just mislead their Twitter followers about what Watson says. Which, turns out, is really easy to do on Twitter. Because you can completely misrepresent what somebody said through a manual retweet, and a lot of people are gullible enough to believe that it’s true.

Allow me to demonstrate. Here is a tweet of Dan’s:

And here is my creative re-tweet, no more disingenuous than McDonald misleading his followers in what Senator Watson said:

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Buzz from the TV show: Michael Quinn Sullivan

On this week’s edition of Capital Tonight on Austin’s YNN, Republican Ted Delisi and I were asked by host Paul Brown to weigh in on the ethics complaints filed against Empower Texas’ Michael Quinn Sullivan. Not only was the resulting conversation interesting, but each of us managed to work in one Star Wars line apiece.

Proof positive that Capital Tonight is far superior to the competition: you just don’t get this high level of movie quote on their political shows.

You can watch the entire show this Sunday at 11 am on YNN Austin, or elsewhere in the state on the Texas Network, channel 888 on Time-Warner cable systems. Or you can watch it online right now.

Hopefully next week we’ll work in some lines from Blazing Saddles, Airplane, or The Jerk.

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Easter is coming!

…which of course provides us with this Headline Of The Day So Far winner.

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I love April Fools Day

There’s nothing quite like singing April Fools carols around the April Fools tree while wrapping April Fools gifts for loved ones. Or, if you prefer, just screwing with peoples’ heads.

This year, I teamed up with everybody’s favorite currently-out-of-work-journalist Scott Braddock, and Josh Trevino of the Texas Public Policy Foundation (which I suppose is one reason people thought the gag was believable – who would think Trevino and I would agree to anything, any time, any where?), and Trevino proceeded to break the hearts of most of his Republican friends on Twitter.

Also, CNN was briefly bamboozled. So we had that going for us.

Thanks to Jason Howerton with The Daily Caller for chronicling this crucially-important piece of political news.

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