Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Monday, August 27, 2007
FOR YOUR EYES ONLY
SHRED AFTER READING
DATE: August 27, 2007
RE: NAU Project
First, congrats on your (as usual) great instincts. You predicted your resignation would be a three-day story, and it turned out to be even less than that!
I assured you that you wouldn’t hear from me while you enjoy your brief vacation and return to the WH to clean out the office. But I wanted to report a few quick items.
Your resignation and our on-going project to establish the North American Union have not been linked in any newspaper or television show to my knowledge. Once again, you were spot on. What little media attention it attracted will be blurred by AG’s resignation announcement this morning. Can’t wait for him to come on board to sort out some of the thornier legal problems that loom. (That hurricane in Mexico sure helped, too. TG reports that the Mexicans aren’t even aware of the North American Union. Canadians are hardly aware that they live in Canada. So it’s all systems go!)
The contractors informed me over the weekend that the temporary bunker in Ingram should be ready for move-in by the time you and Darby are back from Florida. Some concrete contractor in Gillespie County was doing some snooping around, but he’s been taken care of. Nobody knows nothing – just the way you planned it.
Best I can tell, Vicente’s girlfriend's desire for a high-rise condo in Austin has been nipped in the bud. EK found a wonderful spread for them in Comal County, and she seems pleased. If that changes, you may need POTUS to lay down the law. Vicente is a real key to making this deal work.
A sports reporter friend of mine checked on the NFL schedule and the college bowl dates for late December and early January. It looks like the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day will be best for minimal publicity. There’s a big amateur hockey tournament in Canada during that time. And, of course, the Mexicans will be cooking, sleeping and singing. Though I was a little skeptical at first, it seems that operation Hide The Ball Through Shock And Awe looks like a winner.
The only real problems seem to be crazy Web sites (which you can disconnect, right?) and some goofy French-speaking separatists in Canada. Our co-chairmen both have strong ties there and might be needed to put out any fires. WJC used to sleep with Miss Canada 1991, and JAB III has business ties there through Carlye, etc. This is not an immediate concern; just give it some thought and let me know how to proceed.
Everyone has signed off on the Lou Dobbs/Bill O’Reilly “car wreck” plan you proposed. On the weekend conference call, HRC suggested the "accident" is a good idea even if we weren’t planning to spring a new nation-state on the people! She has a great sense of humor and just might get elected. She also mentioned that your attacks on her on the Sunday new show were just what she needed. FT joked with her that he might not even get into the race if they get Geraldo in the car, too.
In summation, if things keep going this smoothly, we could have a new North American nation in place by February. No need to respond to this note. Enjoy your family time.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Yet a story in the clips today reminded me that Texans still hold great sway in our nation’s capital. So we shouldn’t be in a total funk. It also spurred me to play a little game of connect-the-dots – kinda a Texas political version of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, or whatever it's called.
The story reported that Tarrant County’s Pete Geren got himself confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Friday to be Secretary of the Army. Despite the title, it’s not really a secretarial gig. He gets to be top civilian dog over the whole Army. It’s not as big a deal as being Deputy Secretary of Defense, the job former Governor Bill Clements held. Clements, you’ll recall, beat former Secretary of State, Attorney General and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Luke Hill, who unfortunately passed away just last week.
Anyway, Pete Geren served as a Democratic Congressperson from Fort Worth for a while. He succeeded House Speaker Jim Wright, if memory serves. Pete had run for Congress in another district but lost to Representative Joe Barton, who’s still in Congress.
Geren gave up his Capitol Hill job and was replaced by Fort Worth Mayor Kay Granger, who’s also still in Congress. Her first chief of staff was Ken Mehlman, who previously had been legislative director for Congressman Lamar Smith, a former Bexar County Commissioner and short-term member of our Texas House of Representatives. Smith replaced Congressman Tom Loeffler, who gave up his seat to run against Bill Clements and Kent Hance, who beat George W. Bush for a Congressional seat in 1978 or so.
Anyway, Mehlman went on to become Republican National Chairman after serving in former Texas Governor and current President George Bush’s White House. He now works for a Texas-based law firm – one of whose founders is Texan Robert Strauss, who used to be Democratic National Chairman.
President Bush – the present one, not his daddy, who was also President and appointed Mr. Strauss Ambassador to Russia – tapped Mehlman for top GOP position. Mehlman replaced Ed Gillespie, whose wife runs Congressman Barton’s political operation. If you’re being alert, you’ll remember that Barton is the guy who newly minted Army Secretary Geren first ran against.
On a personal note, I should mention that Billy Clyde’s then roommate – who periodically comments on this blog under the name Shake Tiller – was Geren’s press secretary during that campaign against Barton. I stayed in Austin and worked part-time for then Texas GOP executive director John Weaver, who’s from some little town out in West Texas. You may have heard about Weaver during the past week or so. He was the longtime chief strategist for non-Texan John McCain and bolted – along with a lot of other McCainiacs.
If this post is confusing to read, just think how confusing was to write. Any mistakes are mine and should not be blamed on the vacationing Ross Ramsey.
But this I know is 100 percent factual: Pete Geren is a smart, funny, hard-working Texan. And while BC doesn’t really know what a Secretary of the Army does, he’s confident that Secretary Geren will do it very, very well.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
In fact, Billy Clyde would be heading for Old Mexico this very day were it not for the fact that he forgot, until Friday, all about Lara’s 40th Birthday Party bash on Isla Mujeres. If I get my mind highly focused after breakfast, it’s possible I could make plans and leave later today or tomorrow.
But BC is no Governor Rick Perry. That dude wouldn’t touch Quintana Roo with a 10-foot pole. He likes to go to odd places far, far away. His call, of course. Actually, I think he deserves to go anywhere he wants. No skin off my butt, and after all, the man is Governor. But look at his choices over the past few months.
United Arab Emirates. Can’t really say much about that place. Supposedly has an indoor ski slope and no one there ever has to work.
Qatar. The Aggies have established something called TAMUQ there. They probably invited Perry over so he wouldn’t veto their special item funding.
Constantinople. This was probably a good trip. From what I’ve heard, it was sorta like a meet-up of the Tri-Lateral Commission and the Masons. Lots of big-time business, academic and government heavyweights from across the globe meeting to lay the framework for one-world governance. This may surprise some of Billy Clyde’s friends, but BC thinks one-world rule is probably a good thing.
First, the U.S. would more than likely dominate the deal. Ergo, Texas would have disproportionate influence over the domination – and rightfully so. I know about the black helicopter conspiracy theorist out there, but come on! What’s wrong with Texas ruling the world? Show Billy Clyde voting aye. And a big shout-out to you, Governor Perry, for helping to make it happen.
Israel. This is actually a place I would like to see, and our Chief Executive is there right now. He’s getting a big honor for loving the Jewish State. If in fact the Governor has been a gigantic supporter of Israel ... well, good going Guv. Me too. I’m totally on board. And give Bibi my best if you see him.
Jordan. After the Governor receives his big honor, he’s taking his lovely wife – our First Lady – on a sight-seeing trip to Jordan. Can’t say that I’ve ever thought of Jordan as a big tourist destination, but what do I know. Sounds better than touring vineyards in Syria or playing golf in Iran. To each their own – that’s my motto.
I guess the deal that’s strange to me is: why these places? Turkey? Qatar? Is the South of France closed? Did someone drain Venice? Check out rural Quebec. It’s great this time of year.
Our leader caught a lot of heat for going to The Bahamas a few years ago. That criticism was totally unwarranted. (Though the thought of Mike Morrissey sunning and scuba diving on the sunny white beaches is one that I REALLY want out of my head.) Billy Clyde has been to The Bahamas, and the place rocks. Jordan? Not so much.
To be fair, Governor White – who led our troops (Texas Guard) into battle in Central America – bought that fancy Mitsubishi jet and traveled a ton. Clements sold it, because his own King Air B200 was plenty good to get him to his hot spots – Forney and his New Mexico ranch. Governor Richards mainly went to domestic, rather pedestrian places like L.A., New York and the District of Columbia. Governor Bush occasionally went to his family’s compound (man, don’t you wish you had a “family compound”!) in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Billy Clyde has been to Maine. It’s nice.
Governor Perry should feel free to globetrot all he wants, to anywhere he wants. But if wants my advice – which I feel rather certain that he doesn’t – he might sneak in a trip to Brownwood, Brenham and Bonham. Or maybe Forney.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
The latest list was released today, apparently to great fanfare. If I understand correctly, TM had a breakfast taco party this morning for T.J. Shroat and Ross Ramsey and let the cat out of the bag. My facts may be slightly off.
Patti Kilday, the brilliant former DT-H reporter who now compiles the Best/Worst List for Texas Monthly, did her predictable excellent job with the list. Full-time bridge player and baseball game watcher Paul Burka, however, still insists on being involved – so there are some flaws. My main beef is the spot news feel of the list. Where is the historical perspective? Billy Clyde can’t provide a true historical perspective, but can offer up a list of The Five Best and Five Worst that I Know Of Legislators, to wit:
Byron Tunnell, Smith County. The country gentleman with the white tie birthed the modern Parks and Wildlife Department and became Speaker. Law partner Bob Bullock and Tunnell took an East Texas hokey-tonk as a fee in a legal matter (bad idea). Both agreed not to take cash out of the till or play aroundwith the help. On first night under “new management,” Tunnell cleaned out the register and Bullock screwed the waitress.
Robert E. “Bob” Johnson, Dallas County. Had to run at-large in Dallas County in the pre-single-member days. Came out strongly against taxes and integration. Despite a strong “state rights” (wink, nod) position and public declaration of Republicans as “northern liberal sissies,” won huge following of black and GOP officials across the state.
Bill Moore, Brazos County. Personified expression “It’s better to be feared than loved.” Fostered the state’s oil and gas economy by taking to the Senate floor and demanding better tax treatment for his oil wells. Understood the changing demographics of the state and advocated for better treatment of senior citizens – particularly those living in his nursing homes. Was probably too hard on Babe Schwartz, but it made good theater.
O.H. “Ike” Harris, Dallas County. Assumed his older brother’s nickname of “Ike” when running for SMU Student President during a period when SMU campus liked Ike. Parlayed that into 40-year political career in House and Senate, only briefly interrupted after a certain president got assassinated and Dallas had a quick pang of White Guilt. Once passed legalized gambling, interstate banking, and branch banking in one special session – while providing critical support for budget and tax fix. Just brilliant. When he wanted to be.
Wade Spillman, Hidalgo County. Forget the “WWJD” bumper sticker. Jesus was before my time. But using the “What Would Wade Spillman Do” approach will surely get you into Heaven. No one could break down complex matters of public policy into simple right/wrong terms like Mr. Spillman. Even if it were just lunch or a brief conversation in the hallways ... you always felt like you learned something and came away a better human after visiting with Wade Spillman. WWJD? Give us more Wade Spillmans.
Craig Washington, Harris County. The votes have been counted, the outcome assured. But wait! Craig Washington wishes to speak. He speaks so well that people on the floor actually change their votes because of his power of persuasion. Lots of people think that he wasted his enormous talent. That may be true. But when focused and determined and on a mission ... like watching Superman and MLK, Jr. on steroids.
Glenn Kothmann, Bexar County. Billy Clyde is pretty good at figuring out people. Yet Glenn Kothmann eluded him. What is he doing and why is he here? He refused to speak on the Senate floor during his 15 or 20 years there. Had a socially liberal, business conservative record but for some reason was most proud of his 100-percent voting record with the Farm Bureau – while representing downtown San Antonio. Billy Clyde personally saw him introduce himself to Bill Hobby at a reception – like his Lieutenant Governor and presiding officer was a complete stranger. His toupee and fake teeth didn’t make him a ladies man, as he found out when he hit on a well-known (and hot and young) lesbian one evening on the Senate floor. Weird.
Mike Martin, Smith County. BC would have totally forgot about this dude except he ran for some obscure Western Travis County city council seat a month or so ago. Besides being a horrible lawmaker, he based his re-election campaign on a sympathy factor by having his brother shoot him and blaming it on Satanic Cults. Then he hid out in his armoire, the cops found him, he fled to Australia ... you get the point. Strange.
Jan McKenna, Tarrant County. Let me sum it up this way: Kent Grusendorf beat her in a GOP primary because conservatives in Arlington were embarrassed that Rep. McKenna was such a right-winger. Regardless of how you feel about the abortion issue (Billy Clyde doesn’t care one way or the other), McKenna could find a fetus in every bill. Length of hunting seasons. School lunch. Private sector maintenance of highways. Tuition revenue bonds for a new science building at Stephen F. Austin University. ABORTION BILLS ALL!! The bitch was really crazy.
Ben Barnes, Comanche County. This is a tough one. The man is a worker, his bullshit is superb ... but let’s face it. He went from being a pimply faced door-to-door vacuum salesman to Speaker to Lieutenant Governor to almost Governor and then President while no one was really minding the store. And all before the age of 35. He’s the Paris Hilton of state government. Great at garnering attention and seeming important. But like whipped cream, of no nutrional value. Walking away from his enormous debts while John Connally took it like a man provides the greatest contrast between a statesman and opportunist. Would you do business with him?
El Paso (Special Award). You can’t really expect the rest of the state to treat you with the respect you think you deserve when you send us cross-carrying AIDS victims, hot check artists, imprisoned bribe takers, Tati Santiesban (he was one of the CLEANER ones), ineffectual iconoclastic loons, ineffectual housewives, ineffectual criminals, ineffectual drug dealers, ineffectual biker chicks ... The other 253 counties will start taking you seriously when you start taking yourself seriously. Seriously. Pat Haggerty and Joe Pickett are really good. And y’all want to beat them?
(Editors Note: Billy Clyde is in a secure undisclosed location that lacks cell service. Attempts to reach him shall be treated as crimes against the state.)
Saturday, June 9, 2007
Well .. nah. Not so much.
So I’m gonna delve into the apparently one and only area about which Americans give two hoots and a holler – yes, Ms. Paris Hilton. But it will be from an historic, analytic point of view based on the one subject in the whole world that BC has exhaustive expertise: The Tribulations and Trials Of Mr. Orenthal James Simpson.
First, a little background.
It was June of 1994. Life was good. BC spent most of his days writing position papers and news releases and getting yelled at on behalf of the Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock Re-Election Campaign. Sure, Mr. Bullock could be a tad, uh, mercurial from time to time. But the man had a great heart and really wanted to do right. Plus, the folks in the office – Tony, Steve, Susan, Stephen, Chuck, Lissa, Liza, DeDe, Barbara, et al – were simply joys to be around. Quality with a Big Q.
Of course, having an opponent who could not even properly drool helped. Having millions of dollars to our opponent’s hundreds also made life pleasant. And the consultants – Matthew, Mark, Jack, and David – didn’t come around enough to mess things up.
Well, in the middle of all this perfectness, I found myself taking off one afternoon to give a speech in San Antonio on a totally different matter. BC finished and started the trek north on your I-35 Interstate road. Every single radio station was carrying the same story: O.J. Simpson (they thought) was engaged in a slow-speed pursuit by the LAPD, LA County Sheriff’s Department, the Highway Patrol, the FBI, the CIA, the NSC, and for all I know, ODB and NWA.
So I punched it. Must get to Austin immediately. Back to campaign headquarters. Where we had just spent an obscene sum on a GIANT big screen teevee that we needed to watch the Tonya Harding wedding night sex tape (true story).
Can’t really put my finger on what makes a 20-mile-per-hour chase of a White Bronco that may or may not contain a former Heisman Trophy winner who may have kilt his former wife and her favorite waiter so interesting ... but hey, you watched it, too. About five o’clock, one of the gals in the office reminded me that she had set up a blind date for me that evening and perhaps I should go home and meet her there when she arrived in a hour or two. Thank God for good staff work.
But when I got home, I couldn’t get out of my suit or take a shower or fix a drink or go to the bathroom ... because the chase was on. About 7, the girl (we’ll call her Cassie, cuz that’s her name) showed up and we exchanged pleasantries and she noticed that I had the O.J. Show on and wanted to watch and I said “by all mean” and she was as interested in it as me. A women after my own heart. After the Bronco arrived at Rockingham and the drama got hot there, I sheepishly asked: “Do you want to just order in?” She responded: “I wanted to suggest that, but I figured you’d think I was weird. Hell yeah let’s order in!”
From that bizarre day when seemingly normal people were transfixed on a surreal truck chase to the end of the trial two years later ... the O.J. Simpson trial changed and shaped my life in strange ways. Consider:
*On Easter Sunday 1998, I spent the morning not in church praising the resurrection of my personal savior the Son of God. Nope. Me and Rebecca and Jim Pease were in the fashionable Brentwood area of west L.A. at the Rockingham address taking pictures (I’m looking for them). We also took pictures of me standing on the sidewalk of the Bundy location – just feet from where the actual (alleged) murders took place.
*I took the day off – and encouraged others to join me – twice during that long trial. Man, am I ever prescient. The first was the day when F. Lee Bailey got Mark Furman to admit that he was a liar. The second was the day when Marcia Clark and Chris Darden let The Juice try on the glove (“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit”). I also skipped a lovely Paggi House lunch to go home and catch up on Court TV the EXACT DAY when Dr. Henry Lee proclaimed: “Something not right. Very very wrong.”
*The day the verdict came down, I was on a golf trip with an unnamed lobbyist (Joey Bennett) at the Waterwood Resort in Polk County. As you’ll recall, the jury informed the court the day before that it had reached a verdict. Judge Lance Ito, however, was not willing to let go. He said the verdict would be announced at ten a.m. (noon Texas time, unless you live in El Paso) and so we played golf that morning until about 9:45, at which point we put the cart in high gear and got back to the cabana. NOT GUILTY! HIGH FIVE! NOT GUILTY! HIGH FIVE! Then we played another 27 or so holes of golf. Frankly, it was kind of a letdown. Over. Done. Finished. The End of an Era. Although I’m still more than a little intrigued how the golf course maintenance workers – way out on the 6th hole in the middle of nowhere – knew the verdict so quickly.
Billy Clyde is a big fan of the City of Angels. But let’s get real. If the fine folks in Los Angeles are willing to flood the streets for a glimpse of a no-talent skank who’s in the hoosegow for having a suspend driver’s license – then the memory and sanctity of the O.J. Trial and its greatness is besmirched, if not completed ruined. People, let’s keep our L.A. star crime scandals dignified. Please.
If I may be so bold as to paraphrase former Hidalgo County Judge Lloyd Bentsen Jr.: “Paris, I knew O.J. Simpson. O.J. Simpson was a friend of mine. Ma’am, you’re no O.J. Simpson!”
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
If not, I’m gonna run a Google search (gratuitous tech wizard reference) to find the nearest Army Recruiting Center and volunteer right this very minute. I’ve even packed BC’s favorite GI Joe sleeping bag in case the joint is closed so he can be first in line tomorrow when it opens.
See, I had the DVR machine (hip tech reference #2) tape these presidential debates on the Wolf Blitzer Show and just now watched ‘em ... and they scare me. Real bad.
If this is the best the good ‘ol USofA has to offer, Tom Tancredo can have his stinking country. Billy Clyde’s going to Mesopotamia, where life is sweet.
BC’s original plan was to not give a rat’s behind about the presidential race for another 12 years, when the Bush Twins become eligible to run, win, and lead. You know, when people finally have a candidate (or a ticket, perhaps?) that fills us as a nation with hope, imagination, and a common sense of national pride.
You didn’t hear this from me ... but word on the street is The Twins are already perfecting a new combination dance/drinking game called “Push The Button.” They’ve been practicing, on a purely minor, experimental basis, out in Area 52. The pyrotechnics, according to Jenna, “sorta looks like those clouds they made in that old timey war granddad went to, but tons bigger and in color.”
Unfortunately, Billy Clyde will miss the fun. He’s throwing himself on the first improvised exploding device before he even checks into the Iraqi Army hotel. Or maybe it’s more like a hut or hooch or barrack or canopy or pup tent. Anyway, guess that’s the fun part of traveling and seeing new places. BC doesn’t like to brag ... but continual, lifelong learning is what keeps this brain razor sharp.
Let’s get back to these debates, if it’s okay with you soon-to-be-deported fellow Americans.
OUTLAW CARS AND ELECTRICITY!
REFORM HEALTHCARE! KILL ALL DOCTORS AND BABIES!
AND TAKE THE ENGLISH, SCOTS, IRISH, SPANIARDS, WEST AFRICANS, GERMANS, POLES, AND AUSTRIA-HUNGARIANS WITH YOU!
JESUS IS MY RUNNING MATE! (BECAUSE HE ONLY SPEAKS ENGLISH)
Billy Clyde follows this stuff super-crazy close. If you can’t keep up with all the jargon and insider baseball (BALL FOUR!) scholarly analysis, please don’t feel like you’ve come down with a nasty strain of TB and get on a plane. Your friend and buddy will walk you through it, candidate by candidate.
PLUS: Tied for fourth (with Huckabee) for best hair.
ANTI: Can’t win; people don’t like her; Chelsea – or Amy Carter – more electable.
Barack Obama: The giant crowds and enthusiast support he generated early on by this State (maybe U.S.?) Senator have dissipated now that people know that Barack and Borat are totally different people.
PRO: Great speaker, youthful good looks, upbeat message appeals to the large segment of Americans looking for new style of leadership in Washington.
CON: Frontrunner. Still not Borat.
John “John” Edwards: After six years serving in the Senate as a Southern moderate with impressive foreign affairs ideas and even running four years ago on the national ticket, he’s suddenly let a bunch of hacks remake him into some me-too soulless peacenik.
PRO: Tied for first (with Romney) for best hair; unbelievably monstrous home in the woods.
CON: Thinks North America and South America are “two countries.” Rural roots, but not a real Walton family member.
The Field: Richardson just in it for the political groupie tail; Biden has hair plugs; Dodd is shorter than Gary Coleman; Kucinich wants to return to his home planet; and Mike Gravel is almost out of miles and down to his last three round-trip tickets to Alaska
PRO: Will say what he thinks and sounds good and all take-charge authoritative-like when he says it. Frontrunner.
CON: Comes from the New York wing of the GOP that used to blast TDR and Nelson Rockefeller and other crazy right-wingers who couldn’t get elected dogcatcher in Texas when the state was all D.
Mitt “Mitt” Romney: On paper, he should have been the perfect candidate – brilliant resume, great speaker, smart, rich, Olympic savior with great hair. But apparently he uses the same political consultants as John Edwards. Dude, you don’t have to sprint to the right; your competition if Rudy Giuliani!
PRO: Political dynastic credentials of Hillary; fresh face appeal of Obama; (used to) lack the inherent controversy of Giuliani; not a flaky geezer like McCain.
CON: Seems like Mormons cannot physically feel pain from daily self-inflicted wounds.
John McCain: He’s a bona fide war hero and skilled pure legislator who will speak the unvarnished truth roughly 85 percent of the time. But America is kinda tired of his unvarnished truth. When Paris Hilton says “you’re overexposed” and “wearing thin” ...
PRO: Probably would do a pretty good job and would try real hard.
CON: Uh, sir? That’s your cue. Exit stage right. No! Your other right!
The Field: Huckabee has the Hope, Arkansas problem; Jim “Gary” Gilmore can’t make people believe he’s held a bunch of top political jobs for 20 years; Thompson spent 30 years declaring for President and he’s too late; Tancredo actually forcibly said (not a joke) that the USA is most definitely not a nation of immigrants; Hunter is just running to delay his entry into prison.
Ron Paul bothers Billy Clyde the most – because BC STILL can’t get that awful 1984 U.S. Senate radio ad out of his head (Ron Paul Best Of All Ron Paul Best Of All Ron Paul Best Of All Ron Paul Best Of All). UGGGHH! STOP!
If that ad infects your mind the way it has mine – well, by all means join me on my little trip. My sources say the government picks up the whole tab. And you will be a long, long way from Tom Tancredo.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Sorry for yelling. That was rude. My bad.
I did get a glimpse of the draft journal this morning when I went by to say howdy to the House’s newest parliamentary staff – the Honorable Jerry Yost and the Honorable Drew Nixon. This new high-powered team took over from Spiro Agnew – who turns out to be dead – and Mike Martin, who suffered yet another self-inflicted gunshot wound and is temporarily unavailable.
The following passage intrigued me:
“Mr. Dunnam of McClennan: Mr. Speaker?
“Mr. Turner of Harris (not Bob Turner from Voss), in the chair: For what purpose?
“Mr. Dunnan: Parliamentary inquiry.
“Mr. Turner: You’re not recognized. In fact, I can’t even see you. There’s just a giant vacantness in the area from which you supposedly speak, if in fact you exist. Is someone playing a boom box down at the back mic?
“Mr. Dunnam: That isn’t funny. We’re talking about democracy here. About the ability of our constituents to have a voice in the government.
“Mr. Turner: Will the Sergeants please turn off the boom box.”
Then that guy who took Arvis Jones’ seat – Haggerty, I think – sought recognition, according to the journal.
“Mr. Haggerty of El Paso: Mr. Speaker.
“Mr. Gattis, in the chair: For what purpose, Mr. Haggerty. And don’t think for a minute that this constitutes recognition.
“Mr. Haggerty: I can name all 150 House members. Want to hear me do it?”
“Mr. Gattis: Sit down right this very minute, Mr. Haggerty, or my old boss, John Bradley, will throw you in our secret Williamson County Tuff On Crime Jail and have mentally ill sadistic inmates gang rape you for the rest of your soon-to-be-short life.”
“Mr. Haggerty: What?
“Mr. Gattis: You are NOT recognized for a question!”
Then Representative Eiland tried to tear into the new Parliamentarians, Mr. Yost and Mr. Nixon, by bringing up totally unfounded ethics complaints.
“Mr. Eiland: Mr. Speaker.
“Mr. Geiswiedt in the chair: For what purpose?
“Mr. Eiland: I object to the two new parliamentarians. They both have outstanding Ethics Commission fines. Mr. Yost owes $100 from his ill-advised race against Senator Ratliff,. Mr. Nixon owes $200 for using his Officeholder Account to secure prostitutes on South Congress.
“Mr. Geiswiedt: The jury has reached a verdict. You die!
After a long conference down front, Governor Perry pardons Representative Eiland, sparing his life and allowing House proceedings to continue. Mr. Yost and Mr. Nixon are dumped and suddenly replaced by former Representatives Sam Hudson and Keith Valuigera.
In a strange turn of events, no one agrees to take the chair so Jim Dunnan’s eight-year-old daughter – who’s up there anyway and doesn’t have much to do – takes the gavel. She turns out to be the best House Speaker since Jimmy Turman in 1961.
The budget bill and the water bill and the electric bill all pass unanimously. Tommy Merritt is elected Governor For a Day. Leo Berman adopts a truckload of Mexican immigrants, then resigns to take the ACLU job. Linda Harper-Brown struts across the House floor in a string bikini and looks good. Lon Burnam declares the Bill Of Rights a “liberal piece of Communist shit.” Dick Weekly denounces tort reform and leads a march over to the TTLA building for a fajita party.
It’s in the journal.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
FOR YOUR EYES ONLY
SHRED AFTER READING
TO: The Dew
DATE: May 27, 2007
RE: Getting Back In The Game
You were totally correct in your tearful analysis last night. The lame attempt to put the spotlight back on the Senate (where it rightfully belongs) by having a cuss-fight on the floor and staging a week-long Senatorial death watch were, in hindsight, fairly pathetic.
(That being said, it should be noted – under the Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery Doctrine – that the House arranged a televised cuss-fight on its floor several days ago and a couple of House members are feeling pretty puny. What a bunch of copy cats!)
After careful reflection, I strongly urge you to abandon your plan to have Senators strip you of all powers and beat you silly with a riding crop in front of a large contingent of ethnically balanced schoolchildren. The visual would no doubt be powerful, but it could convey the message that you are not a “strong leader” or “in command,” two characteristics that your polling shows are important to the voters.
Here are a few ideas I encourage you to consider:
*Ninja Stars – Expertly throw a ninja star at any Senator who dares to seek recognition. This would be MUCH more dramatic that the Speaker’s decision to simply ignore House members. (NOTE: Spend some time practicing your ninja star throwing skills down at Pease Park this morning. This could backfire on you if your aim is less than true.)
*Keel & Wilson – Hire Terry Keel and Ron Wilson to be your pimps. Shed your Wonder Bread image and go totally West Coast Gangster Rap. Never say anything that doesn’t rhyme. (Why do you rise. Up into the skies? We don’t need your lies. Do that baby cries?)
*Marry Lindsay Lohan – Though she may be a little old for you ... have Lindsay make a cameo on the Senate floor this afternoon and marry her on the spot. This moves you beyond the City-State section and gets you into the cool parts of the newspapers and magazines. Also Entertainment Tonight (aka: the REAL news).
*Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em – Invite Pitts, McCall, Keffer, et al onto the Senate floor and recognize the hell out of them Let ‘em move this and that and talk all they want. Then we’ll see which chamber is getting the most attention!
*Film Fest – Old Austin hippies have been packing the House gallery in recent days, generating yet more unwarranted attention on that heathen legislative body. Turn off the lights in the Senate, provide free beer, and hold screenings of Dazed and Confused, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Five Easy Pieces. It will be like the House doesn’t even exist.
*Slip & Slide – Why is there a huge aisle in the middle of the Senate chamber? Seems like wasted space. Install a giant slip and slide and let’s have some summer fun.
*Accent – Immediately start speaking in an heavy, exaggerated cockney British accent. Announce that you are no longer the Lieutenant Governor of Texas; you are the Minister of Silly Walks. Stop reading “the following message from the Governor” and instead say, “little Chippy sent us another love letter.”
These are the only proposals that have been successfully polled and vetted through our standard focus group process. Your idea to assassinate John Sharp has proved to be wildly unpopular with test audiences and should be shelved for the time being. Also, please don’t do anything cruel to puppies; it’s a real non-starter, politically.
I look forward to your feedback. The ninja stars will be on the dais no later than 1:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
I got up this morning and fetched the newspaper from the front yard. At the very top of the front page was a story that accurately reflected what I thought was just a bad dream. Either the Austin American-Statesman is playing a nasty psycho-terrorist mind game on Billy Clyde, or else your Texas House of Representatives has devolved into a state of utter dysfunction.
In any event, not exactly a win-win deal.
BC is one of those fellows who knows a very little bit about a whole lot. Not an expert in anything, really. But fairly conversant about a buncha stuff – most of it, frankly, pretty useless.
But BC was schooled in parliamentary procedure by none other than Robert E. (Big Daddy, Bevo) Johnson. It’s not a cliche to say he wrote the rules, because, uh, he actually wrote the rules.
For reasons that still elude me, Bob Johnson probably spent more time with me during the last five to seven years of his life than he did with his wife, his children, his grandchildren, his peers, etc. Looking back, it was kinda strange. I was 30 years his junior, not really in his class intellectually or professionally ... but he not only let me hang around, he actually seemed to want me around. Go figure.
Louis B pointed out something to me one day that should have been self evident were I more observant, to wit: Big Daddy would sit in his office playing computer solitaire for hours on end and never saying a word or interacting with us in any way; yet when we tried to leave, he would be offended. “Don’t run off mad,” he would say, whatever that meant. I think what it meant that he enjoyed our company; as goofy as it sounds, I take pride in knowing that Big Daddy enjoyed my company.
The point of this rambling nonsense is that (1) the House would not find itself in this situation if Big Daddy were still around; and (2) while Billy Clyde is generally a dumbass, he knows a little something about the House rules (so I got that going for me).
We can argue all day till we’re blue in the face about whether the Speaker’s absolute right of recognition supercedes any privilege contained in the underlying motion the seeker of recognition wishes to offer. Blah blah blah.
The real question is this: Just because, technically, you can do something or other, does that inherently make it right?
Billy Clyde is one of the few dudes around the Capitol these days who will freely say that he thinks Tom Craddick is a really good guy. He’s contributed a lot to the state and his community and is worthy of any and all accolades we can throw his way. Speaker Craddick is the sort of guy you ALWAYS want on your team.
But this battle isn’t about Tom Craddick. It’s about the House, as an institution and as a symbol of the people’s voice in state government. Far be it to me to suggest what path the Speaker should take – he was elected to the House before I entered first grade, for crying out loud – but Billy Clyde believes that mapping out an exit strategy or dignified departure (whether executed or not) only makes good sense.
We all do that kind of stuff every day. I don’t want to die, but I have life insurance.
Here’s the handwriting on the wall, as BC sees it. The Speaker’s floor leaders are people like Jodie Laubenberg, Bill Zedler, Linda Harper-Brown, Larry Taylor, Leo Burnam and Geanie Morrison. The opposing team has Brian McCall, Jim Keffer, Robert Talton, Jim Dunnam, Jim Pitts, Mike Krusse, Charlie Geren, Pete Gallego, Marc Veasey, Pat Haggerty, Senfronia Thompson, Todd Smith, Craig Eiland, Edmund Kuempel, Patrick Rose ... well, you get the point. Not a fair fight.
If there’s going to be a change in leadership this weekend, let’s not make it a zero-sum game. Spirit beats spite every time. When the end result is the same, what glory is there in rubbing someone’s nose in the rubbish?
There is no good reason to end a brilliant career in public service by throwing Speaker Craddick out on his ear in a painful fit of revenge and hate.
By the same token, there is no good reason – and this pains me to say – for Tom Craddick to stay in office.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Someone with lots of time on his/her hands wrote this. I don't understand it at all. But some folks think it's funny, and it allows Billy Clyde to once again post without thinking.
SESSION! The Musical
1. A Quorum is Present (Opening Day)
2. Freshman Blues (Where is My Office and How Do I Get a Key?)
3. Workin' Monday Through Wednesday (Let's Adjourn for Four Days)
4. I'm Glad You Won a Softball Game (The Resolutions Song)
5. She's 18, Right? (That Sergeant With the Ponytail)
6. Committee Assignment Montage
7. Lovin' the Lobbyists 'Til the Lobbyists Leave You
8. "Riders" on the Storm (The Appropriations Song)
9. Layin' It All Out (My First Bill in Committee)
10. Can I Get A Witness?
11. Calendar's Calypso
13. Workin' Monday Through Wednesday (Reprise)
Intermission for Easter
1. The Floor (Clerk Will Ring The
2. Who Works on Friday?
3. I Miss The Sun
4. L&C Is Just Alright With Me
5. It's Just a Simple Bill
6. A-C-L-U Spells Trouble
7. Point Of Order (Where Do We Go Now?)
8. Committing to Recommit
9. Everyone Needs a Companion (Will You Sponsor My Bill?)
10. Time Stands Still (Members, We're Waiting On An Amendment)
11. 10 Angry Men (See You at the Conference Table)
12. Sine Die, Sine Da, Life Goes On
13. Workin' January Through May of Every Odd-Numbered Year (Finale Reprise of "Monday Through Wednesday")
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Anyway, I figured I'd use this skill to post something this afternoon without having to have an original thought. Some House aide wrote this parody, and it was passed on to me today by a fellow who, because he works for a non-profit association representing elected officials, wishes to remain nameless (Shannon Edmonds). Enjoy.
Yet another Real Men of Genius Parody:
Today we salute you, Mr. Member Who Does a Resolution For Everything Guy.
Singer: Mr. Member Who Does a Resolution For Everything Guy!
Someone from your district saved a cat in a tree, had their 300th birthday, tied their shoe, or pooped on the toilet for the first time by themselves.
Singer: “I’m a big-boy now!”
Was a stop-light finally fixed at your county-seat’s only intersection? Well, by GOD I’d like to add all members' names.
Choir Singers: “Please suspend the rules.”
You only authored 7 bills this session, none of which received a hearing, but you DID pass a resolution honoring every member of your Lion’s Club Bowling League.
You probably won’t be back next session, which means the resolutions department will have to lay-off 15 full-time equivalent employees. But let the record reflect: your constituent’s chili recipe is now the OFFICIAL chili recipe of
Singer: Mr. Member Who Does a Resolution For Everything Guy.