Sunday, December 31, 2006


My editor, Judith Regan, phoned to say that I'm in technical violation of my contract. My pop culture-to-politics ratio is heavily titled toward the pop culture side of the equation. Plus, she informs me that I am boring.
I would gladly post more stuff about politics, except that I don't know much about it. Not that I know much about pop culture either, although I do know that the talentless skanks in Hollywood who for some reason receive star treatment these days don't wear undergarments. That's a fact. And not a bad thing.
What little I do understand about popular culture is gleaned from reading the LifeStyle section of the newspaper, which today contained a piece about Good Books From 2006. Normally I wouldn't read such nonsense, but one tidbit was written by Karen Olsson, who wrote this year's delightful Austin-based book "Waterloo." It was the best book since Billy Lee Brammer's "The Gay Place" and turned out to be even better than Kinky Friedman's new tome on pigs.
Billy Clyde has to tread rather gently here, because the Court Order is fairly strict. Suffice to say that Texas' absurdly Draconian stalking law makes it difficult for me to express my undying love for Karen, the most hottest, most smoking babe on the planet. When I fell this way for Madeline Stowe, Andie McDowell and Julianne Moore, I ended up spending 19 days in jail. So I try to be careful these days.
In a rather strange twist, Govenor Rick Perry (see Judith, I'm talking politics, you hobag) gave state employees the day off on Tuesday on account that Gerald Ford died. Not sure I see the linkage, but hooey for you state employees out there. Wasn't like we had any meetings or conference calls scheduled with you dedicated worker-bees on Tuesday anyway.
Please be safe out there tonight. Do not drive while under the influence, and remain at least 500 feet away from any person who has an active restraining order against you. It's just plain common sense.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Some people celebrate New Year's Eve on New Year's Eve.
Not me.
As I my dress myself (yes, I can do it) for the party down in the honky-tonk/disco/dance hall below, Billy Clyde asks: (1) Why the hell am I in a hotel (really a motel) in Bandera? and ; (2) Why am I celebrating our newly arrived year a day earlier than generally accepted accounting principles permit?
The first question is perplexing, but the answer can probably be found in the fact that I agreed to this on Wednesday and never thought it would come to fruition. Wednesday and Saturday are a long way apart, and shit changes. But not this time.
The second question is a matter of law. The attractive and generous souls at the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission make bars in most counties shut down at midnight -- except for Saturday, when they can let patrons party 'till one in the A.M. That means our hotel (motel) can't ring in the New Year tomorrow, because they gotta close.
So I'm gonna sing, like I don't need the money. Love, like I''ll never be hurt. I'm gonna dance, dance, dance, like no one is watching. And in the morning, I'll have an omelet, because omelets are tasty.
UPDATE: Turns out the diner doesn't serve omelets. But the Huevos Rancheros are splendid.
UPDATE 2.0: A gentleman named Anonymous wrote me about Afternoon Delight. That's the smash hit from the Starland Vocal Band. Boy, does that bring back memories.
My first real date was in about 6th grade, and it involved going to the Frank Bowers Coliseum, now called the Bernhard Johnson Coliseum. The football stadium is now the Frank Bowers Stadium. My dad drove us, so parking and heavy petting in the car were not an option. Particularly since the chick turned out to be a lesbian (not that night and not my fault).
The SVB rocked harder than any Methodist church band (the only rock shows I had personally witnessed at the time) could ever imagine. I saw the Rolling Stones, The Who and Waylan Jennings two years later. They were good, too.
UPDATE 2.1: I need to retract something. The unnamed above-mentioned chick, Charlene, is not a lesbian. She has told me that many times before. She's a devoted wife and mother, so I don't know why the lesbian thing is stuck in my mind. So sorry.


If you are an imprisoned Hispanic former elected official, these are your salad days.
Word arrived a week or so ago that former House member and Attorney General Dan Morales was being sent to a Bexar County halfway house in anticipation of his emancipation. Today's Houston Chronicle informs us that former House member and Houston City Council bigwig Benny Reyes is fast approaching freedom from the Big House.
Billy Clyde acknowledges that he fell into the Morales trap. The guy has never had a job, was pushed up the ladder his whole life, and yet people like me -- who ran a statewide campaign against him -- never could bring ourselves to really dislike him. As despicable as he is.
It's interesting to note -- as a huge fan of irony -- that Dan's wife, a former Taylor County stripper, is the classy one in the family. Dan's record-producer brother also went to prison in some hare-brained bribery scheme. Pretty sure he's still in the joint.
The State Bar of Texas, Texas Supreme Court and SCOTUS all stripped Dan of his lawyer license. But that's okay. He's gonna be an investment banker. Betcha wish he would personally handle your next IPO.
Benny Reyes is another matter altogether. Benny was maybe the most influential Hispanic politician (yeah, more than you, Henry Cisneros!) in Texas, and he used that influence to generate cash for him and his cronies. That, my brothers and sisters, is economic empowerment.
Benny says he is working in construction. The guy may be pounding nails today, but he'll own Perry Homes in about two months if history is any indication.
Billy Clyde welcomes these gentleman back into free society. Go forth and prosper.


I talked to three of the four living ex-Speakers today and I must conclude that they are really old. (I hooked up with Rayford Price a few times, but he couldn't work his cell phone.)

Billy Wayne Clayton, Gibson D. Lewis and James E. Laney are all wonderful people. At this time of the year, it's proper to reflect that these wise men have given me so much, and Billy Clyde is grateful. I have rarely asked for stuff from these titans except for maybe the placement of a favored piece of legislation on the front page of the General State Calendar.

I also conversed with several of the Speaker "candidates," and they all were singing from the same songbook. They called me Tom Craddick's "butt boy." Not sure what that means, but my sister tells me that East Texas homophobic rednecks like me should not wear it as a badge of honor. Whatever.

BC likes our former Speakers because they have real common-sense wisdom. Just intuitive stuff, if you ask me.

So I guess the question boils down to this: Should I go to Bandera tomorrow for the New Year's holiday? Or do I really have a choice? And do any of you want to join us?

Friday, December 29, 2006


Some stuff you just can't make up.
The Reverend Jesse Jackson was just interviewed by Alison Stewart (hotter than the Earth's core but fortunately recently married; Billy Clyde prefers married ladies, cuz they have to go home at some point) and he delivered perhaps his best rhyme yet:
"We lied, then we alibied."
JJ was talking about Iraq, which is set to have a big-ass execution party this weekend. I hope it's on teevee or YouTube or something. Who doesn't heart watching despots being kilt?
UPDATE: Saddam Hussein was killed this morning. Seems a little anti-climatic to me.


Got me an invite this morning for a freshman House member brunch on the day before opening day of what will be Texas' 80th Legislative Session. This is a good thing (not the session, the brunch) because I wouldn't recognize Tan Parker, Ellen Cohen or Brandon Creighton if they broke into my home and slapped me silly.
Billy Clyde used to make fun of supposed lobbyists who didn't know new members. But in hindsight, that lack of awareness is perfectly understandable. I mean, trying to get to know 20 to 30 new people every other year is rather laborious. Who am I, Superman?
In the extremely unlikely event that any of these generous public servants ask my take on being a successful freshman, I will offer my tried and true advice: take care of your one or two local issues, kiss your committee chairmen's backside, and maybe participate in a floor debate that stems from work produced by one of your committees. And send flags -- flags that were "flown" over the Capitol -- to people. Lots of people. You simply cannot send out too many flags.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Chris Bell lost to Chip Staniswalis, who left the Texas House to enter the Big House. So naturally, Bell ran for Governor.
Now Jim Pitts, who lost his first House race to Keith Oakley, wants to be promoted to Speaker.
Seems like some folks are either amazing optimists or just lack the horse-sense gene. Whatever the case, Billy Clyde thinks this Speaker stuff has gotten WAY out of hand. I'd never stand in the way of someone wanting to have a little fun. But people should have fun responsibly.
(Soon-to-be-former) Appropriations Chairman Pitts threw his bandanna in the ring this afternoon. He told the assembled Capitol wags that neither Speaker Tom Craddick nor the previous insurgent flavor of the day, Representative Brian McCall, had the support to be elected Speaker. Despite Craddick serving up a partial list of his pledges totalling 84. And McCall saying he has even more than Craddick.
Can't recall anyone ever saying they didn't like Jim Pitts. He just oozes friendliness. But enough is enough. Life's natural harmony is being disturbed by all these twists and turns. Am I the only one with a head rush?
Billy Clyde, being a non-member of the Texas House, knows that his role should be limited to spectator status. But I can no longer sit idly by and watch this intrafamily bloodletting. So if no one else is willing to step forward, consider this my formal offer to end this national nightmare.
First, everyone with a notion of seeking the Speakership should get together. Then I envision some lengthy conversations during which these members can hash things out amongst themselves. They all settle on a single candidate, and that person goes on to be elected by acclamation on January 9.
We are Texans, not Sunni or Shia or Kurdish rebels. Let's act the part.
UPDATE: A former higher ed lobbyist I ran into tonight at the Erwin Center (Horns Win Again!) suggested that all those interested in the post should agree to just take turns. Maybe two week intervals or something. The only hitch seems to be the living arrangements. McCall, Pitts and Senfronia Thompson are all single; Craddick is married. Plus, the apartment is pretty small. But I appreciate this sorta creative thinking.


Strange as it seems, there are people out there who anxiously await Billy Clyde's belly-flop from the high dive of life.
In particular, they think I'm full of shit as a Christmas turkey in my careful analysis of the so-called Speaker's race. What really puzzles BC is the realization -- gleaned after many phone calls, e-mails and reader comments -- that a large segment of our Capitol family has less than warm and fuzzy feelings toward Speaker Tom Craddick. Got no idea what he did to irritate these usually kind and gentle people. But it's not just my imagination playing tricks on me; Tom is poorly received in certain quarters.
Former Quorum Report owner and Dallas Morning News editorialist Scott Bennett wrote a lengthy piece about Speaker Craddick and the "race" on his site, His North Texas sources have hinted that Jody Laubenberg and Ken Paxton are on board with Representative Brian McCall. Scott further speculates that Charlie Geren may be on the McCall team as well. Then you add Patrick Haggerty's comments in the El Paso Times and Tommy Merritt's musings in the Longview News-Journal, and that little voice in your head tells you that maybe something is happening.
None of those quality Texans has said they are actually voting for McCall. But Brian did get his first public pledge today -- from Pasadena Republican Robert Talton. That is real news. If I were Speaker Craddick, I'd kick the living daylights out of Richard Trabulsi, the TLR idiot who had the nerve to trash Talton (and Todd Smith, Delwin Jones and Bryan Hughes) before several thousand loyal members of the Texas Federation of Republican Women. Mr. T has a very long memory.
Full disclosure: I became involved in the tort reform movement back in the 1980s, when the pendulum had swung too far in favor of the plaintiffs bar. Since then, the pendulum was swung so far in the opposite direction to make the civil justice system equally unfair. Pigs get fed and hogs get slaughtered. Oink.
It's also illustrative to note that some truisms (like the pig/hog deal) stand the test of time, to wit: Vote with the conservatives and party with the liberals. This saying has been a Capitol mainstay for half a century, and it remains 100-percent certifiably true today. Trial lawyers are fun; tort reformers are stick-in-the-mud self-important blowhards. That's not just my opinion. It's a proven fact.
The Speaker explained to me four years ago that it was important for him to aggressively assert himself in his opening session. The New Sheriff In Town deal. Made sense to me, but maybe he took it a smidgen too far.
Billy Clyde remains unconvinced that there's a Speaker's race. But he would nonetheless counsel the Speaker to tread a tad more gently in the future. I mean, House members are people, too.

Any thoughts?

UPDATE: The Dick Tribulsi Fan Club has chastised BC for his alleged transgressions. Although the DTFC won't say what those transgressions are. I didn't attend the speech, but everyone I know who was there says that Dick did the talking. Maybe they meant Dick Weekly. Who knows?

If Dick Tribulsi didn't alert the ladies in red that Talton, Hughes, Jones and Smith were open minded and susceptible to voting their conscience, BC will offer a giant-ass apology. I would note that Talton, Hughes, Jones and Smith are four GOPers who are not supporting Speaker Craddick, so maybe there's something there. You think?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

AND THE RACE IS .. (still) OFF

(editor's note: This is precisely the kind of public adoration I sought when I launched this site last Wednesday. Thank you, little people.)
Everyone from my college roommate to the publisher of Texas Monthly to the the former First Lady of Texas has remarked (and not in a good way) on my post last week about the (non-existent) Speaker's Race.

Perhaps my English is rusty. Let me be clear and type ... really ... slowly.

First, Billy Clyde is a fan of Brian McCall's. The guy is smart as a whip and has a great dry sense of humor. You don't find funny policy wonks just lying around in the gutter. He's a real state treasure, if you ask me.

Nevertheless, not a single human person has shown me one pledge of support Brian has from another human person who also serves as a member of the Texas House of Representatives. Even Tommy Merritt won't commit publicly, and what the hell has he got to lose!

Billy Clyde's mind drifts back to the fall of 1992, when he was tasked with the duty of providing copious amounts of sandwiches to Pete Laney's key lieutenants, who were busy making calls and seeking faxed pledges from House members and House members-to-be across our fine state. To the untrained eye, it looked like the filming of a sequel to "Mama's House." In reality, it was a well-oiled political machine cobbled together with spare parts and bailing wire.

Laney and then-Representative Jim Rudd were in a neck-and-neck battle, proving once again that the "experts" who predicted the end of the Rural Speaker know as much about a Speaker's Race as a hog knows about Sunday. Laney was from Hale Center, located in the center of Hale County. Rudd hailed from Brownfield (not the big city of Brownwood) located in Terry County. To drive from Laney's front door to Rudd's front door took 38 minutes. But that's a little misleading. In that part of the South Plains, you are allowed to drive 107 miles per hour without drawing the ire of traffic enforcement officials.

For some reason, my mind replays the scene of Dr. Bob Hunter attempting to persuade incoming freshman House Member-to-be Kip Averitt to pledge Laney. Everyone hearts Dr. Bob, but the man has the closing skills of a Remax reject. It was painful yet funny. And sad.

Another fond memory is of former Representative David Counts' attempt to contact former Representative Charles "Goose" Finnell. Counts was in an automobile. The Goose was in an airplane. Counts drove all over the Big Country chasing The Goose's airplane. He never quite caught it, but it gave Representative Counts something to do besides bothering the fine folks at Laney Central.

Anyway, my stubborn ass remains in the "highly skeptical" camp in regards to whether there is or will be a Speaker's Race. McCall has exposed his fanny. But so far, none of his "supporters" have. If Billy Clyde saw Patrick Haggerty, Edmund Kuempel, Craig Eiland and Ken Paxton being quoted by name saying Brian is their man, my mind would change faster than Smarty Jones sprinting down the homestretch.
But so far, even Jimmy Dunnam and Garnet Coleman are hiding behind the I'm-pledged-to-Ms.-Thompson line of horse manure.
On the other hand, members like future Governor Patrick Rose, boxing referee Robert Puente (Bobby Bridge for my Spanish-speaking friends) and future Governor's BFF Phil King can't talk enough publicly about the greatness of Speaker Tom Craddick.
Bill Clyde is a betting man. He would have to do some serious head-scratching to bet against folks like Rose and Puente and King. And he has never bet against Tom Craddick. Ever.
UPDATE: A loyal reader noted (in the comments section of this informative blog) that Patrick Haggerty, while not declaring, gave a fairly blunt assessment of this mess to his hometown newspaper ( I thought about calling Haggerty today, but I'm scared enough already just mentioning this subject. It's a member-to-member deal, and outsiders and NOT welcome.
I would like to opine about Haggerty's quotes in the articles regarding vouchers. Billy Clyde doesn't care about the issue, except that he acknowledges that it stirs passion seemingly way out of proportion to the real debate. Must be symbolic or something.
Anyway, Haggerty's take on the thing has always been that if the state gets involved in any way, shape or form, it will fuck up private schools. Camel's nose under the tent stuff. That, to me, is the most pursuasive argument against vouchers. Pat is a proud product of those nun ladies who run Catholic schools. My little hometown didn't have any private schools. My little hometown also didn't have any Catholics. So my life experience in this field ain't squat.


This morning brought us sunny skies, low humidity and the news of the passing of President Gerald R. Ford.
Billy Clyde ain't gonna write an obit. There are professional writers for that stuff. But I figured I'd share with you some Texas perspective on the man who gave us the WIN (Whip Inflation Now!) pins, a pop culture phenomenon unparalleled except for maybe disco.
(Yet another Texas angle: President Nixons' first choice to replace Spiro Agnew as veep was Big John Connally. I heard the tape myself at the Nixon Presidential Birthplace, Library and Gift Shop in lovely Yorba Linda, CA. For some reason (milk scandal?) Congressional Democrats made it known they would not support the former Texas Governor to be the man one heartbeat (or resignation) away from the presidency. If those Congresspeople hadn't been so damn obstinate, we would today be mourning the loss of a former House minority leader.)
When you think about the 1980 Republican National Convention, inevitably the term "Dream Ticket" pops into your head. The brightly attired middle-aged insurance salespersons gathered on the convention floor had visions of an Inauguration dancing in their heads once word spread that former California Governor Ronald Reagan would be running for president with former President Jerry Ford as his running mate. Don't get much better than that.
What many folks don't know is that a handful of Texas heavy hitters scuttled the Dream Ticket and, in the process, reshaped history for all mankind. Let's review.
Michael Deaver and Lynn Nofziger came up with the idea of picking Ford for veep. They tasked James Addison Baker III with delivering the offer to the man who actually believed (1) that a lone gunman killed President Kennedy (see Warren Commission Report) and; (2) that Poland was not under Communist Russian hegemony (see presidential debate, 1976).
Well, turns out Mike and Lynn picked the wrong guy for the job. See, Baker had been campaign chairman for George Herbert Walker Bush, his former doubles partner when the duo won the Houston Tennis Association championship in the mid-1960s. Instead of going to Ford's hotel room and serving up the deal, Baker instead went to Ambassador Bush's room and ratted out the Reagan groupies.
Bush, now commonly referred to as "41," was none too pleased. See, HE wanted to be picked to be Vice Prez and this Dream Ticket stuff was muddying the waters. So Baker and Bush went to work, using the press and the assembled delegates to pooh-pooh talk of a Ford resurrection. Believe it or not, it worked.
Deaver and Nofziger were so pissed they couldn't stand it. THEY were the guys who were lionized as the best spinners since, uh, The Spinners. No way were they gonna let these Texas yahoos beat them at their own game.
Then in stepped another Texan.
Governor Bill Clements had a foot in all three camps -- Reagan's, Ford's and Bush's. He had served as Deputy Secretary of Defense in the Ford Administration, was close to the Bush clan, and was the newly minted Texas co-chairman of the Reagan campaign. Clements figured out what was going on and become the honest broker in the deal.
Here's what happened (hold on to your hat!): Clements went to the Reagan dudes and offered his services. He would make the offer to Ford. But if Ford declined, he wanted to then make the offer to Bush. Put simply, either way William C. Clements was gonna be The Man.
The Reaganites weren't thrilled with the notion. Bush had continued to campaign in the primaries after he was mathematically out of the race and was perhaps the last living, breathing Republican in America to endorse Reagan. But Ronnie himself bought into the Grand Clements Compromise and ordered the irritable Texas drilling contractor to make the deal.
By this time, Ford had already pretty much talked himself out of accepting the vice presidency. He reportedly garnered the highest speaking fees in the world at that time, and his handicap was approaching single digits. He was also technically registered to vote in California, thereby creating a Constitutional conundrum if a potential Reagan-Ford ticket gave a wit about the Golden State's electoral votes. (Little known true fact: Jimmy Carter was ahead in most polls going into the final weekend. His goofy comments about his daughter Amy reminded the American public that Stagflation Boy was a flaming Georgia goober.)
Clements, of course, knew all this. He made the formal offer to Ford, who declined. He then went to Bush and made yet another formal offer. People in the room swear that Bush jumped up and down with joy and said he would call Reagan personally to accept. Clements reminded Bush that Reagan didn't return Bush's phone calls -- never had and never would -- and that the Governor would relay the former CIA director's acceptance.
The Bush camp was pleased as punch -- except for James Addison Baker III, who was still licking his wounds after his 1978 loss to Mark White in the Texas Attorney General's race. The Reaganites tapped Baker to be national campaign manager a few days later, so Baker stopped wound-licking.
My mind is spinning out of control! What I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall during those tumultuous hours.
Some people (know-nothing dumbasses, mainly) may consider all this political trivia. But think about it. Had James Earl Carter been re-elected, marginal tax rates would not have been lowered, Mr. Gorbachev would not have torn down that wall, air traffic controllers would rule the free world, and Grenada would serve as a nerve center for global thuggery. And don't even get me started about the Falkland Islands!
As the bumper sticker says, Gee I Miss Governor Clements.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


The Honorable Lon Burnam from Tarrant County has filed a bill that would restrict the cops' ability to use those Taser stun guns.

I am shocked.

(editors note: Lon Burham is NOT the same member of the House of Representatives as Leo Berman. Although they both serve on the prestigious House Committee on Defense Affairs and State-Federal Relations -- a sorta make-believe committee -- they are not the same person. Lon rants about Ralph Nader being a sell-out; Leo shoots perfectly legally Mexican-Americans and eats them.)

Representative Burnam, who replaced former Representative (and Senator) Doyle Willis, has, to the best of my knowledge, never passed a bill in his decade in the People's Chamber. He is a self-described peace activist. Also a Unitarian. So he fits right in with his colleagues in the Texas House of Representatives.

Anyway, he wants to limit the use of Tasers. Because police use them on suspected criminals and the electric shock is painful. For the record, I DO NOT want to be Tasered. Billy Clyde bets you don't either. But it seems better than the old tried-and-true alternative: Getting your butt shot.

Stop this tomfoolery (or Lonfoolerly)! We are making progress.

It used to be you were beat to death. Or shot. Or hung by a tree. Or shot. Or thrown in a river to drown. Or shot. Now we're down to Tasering, and even that is controversial these days. Maybe our children's children will only get a strong talking-to.

I'm opposed to cracking down on Tasers. This bill should be reported with an unfavorable recommendation, placed on Major State, and defeated 149-1. If Representative Burnam has his feelings hurt, fine. It's better than having someone pop a cap in your ass.


*** Did any of you fabulously courteous people receive a ladle for Christmas? And if you did, do you have lots of other perfectly good ladles and really don't need it? If you fit that bill, I will trade you my worthless Christmas gifts for your worthless ladle.

*** My friend Suzi, my neighbor Matt (who has lived there for about 18 months but to whom I've never really talked but now he thinks my crib is teevee-watching central) and I are arguing about whether the guest star on Law and Order on right now this very minute is Jane Krakowski. I say yes, they say no. Billy Clyde loved her on Ally McBeal.

*** Has anyone seen The Good Shepherd?

*** Was I in a daze, or did the Houston Texans look really good last weekend. They blocked and tackled some. Progress.

*** Free media mavens are looking forward to a potential Speaker's Race. If I were in the Capitol Press Corps, I'd call Allan Ritter, Ken Paxton, Edmund Kuempel, Kevin Bailey, Warren Chisum and Craig Eiland. If they are still hitched, there won't be a Speaker's Race.

*** I'm gonna buy two pairs of tasseled loafers (one black, the other burgundy) tomorrow. If this is a mistake, please let me know.

*** I really want a dog. But in fairness to the dog, I need to wait until this summer. Something to look forward to.


If you are an American- or Spanish-speaking Christian like me, you spent the afternoon in the kitchen preparing chili for tonight's dining pleasure. It is, after all, the day after Christmas.

The best part of this tradition is that you can go into the kitchen, by yourself, and piddle for a REALLY long period of time. If someone tries to talk to you, you can give that rude sub-human an exasperated look and say, "I'm trying to cook!" The person on the receiving end will assume that chili preparation is similar to a surgeon separating co-joined twins in an elaborate 30-hour procedure and, if that person has any sense, will exit the room at once, never to enter again.

My favorite part is the chopping. I found myself engaging in totally unnecessary chopping because, let's face it, chopping stuff up is not only fun but good for you. For example, there is no good reason your chili needs a red bell pepper. It don't hurt nothing. It's just superfluous. Habernero peppers are essential; Anaheim peppers are just something you add because it's a decent excuse to chop some stuff.

Anyway, 5:00 p.m. Central Time arrived and the chili came to a boil. I covered the pot, lowered the heat to simmer, and realized that I had no further excuse for not entering the living room. So I joined my guest and turned on the teevee for the news -- Special Report with Brit Hume. Some libs don't like anything on Fox News, but this show is really good. It steals the best ideas from the traditional network news, the McNeil-Lehrer Hour and Comedy Central. Informative yet funny. Just what I, as a news consumer, want.

Anyway, this being December 26 (the day the Three Wise Men cooked chili for the Virgin Mary; aka Boxing Day in the UK) it was a slow news day. So SRw/BH (not to be confused with DMw/P) ran yet another piece on the next presidential election. Put me in the camp that believes that this stuff starts WAY too early. Just six months ago, the frontrunners were Kinky Friedman and George Allen -- and you see how the MSM built them up just to tear them to shreds.

But the high-quality and well-mannered persons who frequent this site long for Billy Clyde's unique perspective on the 2008 presidential race. Remember, the Constitution prohibits George W. Bush from running and winning again (which he would) because Franklin D. Roosevelt screwed it up for his successors. Something about being crippled and trying to pack the court or something. You can look it up if you give a rat's ass.

Anyway, I should refrain from stating a preference. But I know the pet-loving kind souls who use Billy Clyde's site as their opening page would simply not tolerate it. So, without further ado ...

Billy Clyde, at least for now, endorses New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and outgoing Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. I've met Richardson, and he seems pretty damn hip. I haven't met Huckabee, but I watched him on Imus in the Morning and was impressed.

Of course, the real reason these are my guys is because one is from New Mexico and the other is from Arkansas. Both states touch Texas. So if we can't have a Texan leading the ticket, the next best thing is a neighbor of Texas on the ticket. It's really a no-brainer.

In case you're wondering if there were other factors in play as I pondered this crucial decision, the answer is a resounding "NO." But now that I have narrowed my choices to my two near-Texan homeboys, I feel compelled to trash the shit out of the others in the field. It's the American Way.

Hillary Clinton is NOT former President Bill Clinton (another neighbor of Texas). Don't be confused by the similar names. Bill made being a poon hound a perfectly acceptable -- even laudable -- character trait in the Leader of the Free World. Much like John F. Kennedy made Catholicism okay, and Ronald Reagan made divorce cool, Clinton opened the doors for serious skirt chasers from sea to shining sea. Hillary, on the other hand, is a bitch.

Rudolph Giuliana. He used to be the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He tarnished that office by misusing the Racketeer and Corrupt Influence Organizations Act (RICO) and that is NOT the kind of guy we're looking for in a leader.

(editors note: Three things REALLY set Billy Clyde off, and not in a good way: 1) RICO, which was written by Pol Pot, Fidel Castro and Idi Amin; (2) non-consensual municipal annexations; and (3) government takings. The rest of the shit he doesn't care about.)

Barak Hussein Obama. He will be forced out early. The Constitution requires you to be natural born and at least 35 years of age. Obama fails on both counts.

Mitt Romney. Besides the fact that "Mitt" is only barely more acceptable as a first name than "Barak," the dude lives in Massachusetts -- by choice. Automatic disqualification. Being a Mormon is cool by me, and I agree with him on most of the issues. But the fact remains: he's from Massachusetts.

John Edwards. This former North Carolina Senator wants to wage a Second Civil War and create Two Americas. That seems like a non-starter to me.

John McCain. I actually was the only guy in Austin who had a John McCain bumper sticker on my truck in 2000. I was ticked off at Governor Bush for vetoing six (SIX!!!) bills I had worked on really hard. But I was never really for McCain then, and nothing has changed. Plus he's crazy.
While I would prefer to support a candidate (Condi Rice, Fred Dalton Thompson, Sam Nunn, where are you folks??) for whom I had true admiration, someone who inspires the best of Billy Clyde and makes me sing "America The Beautiful" for no good reason ... this is it. I'm supporting the candidate who lives closest to me, because I am a flaming regionalist. So sue me. But not under RICO.

Friday, December 22, 2006


Sometimes I wonder if old-school folks like yours truly are really relevant in this topsy-turvy crazy world we live in today and right now. But I got me some validation this afternoon.
Well-known bridge player, baseball fan and political dinosaur Paul Burka posted (and by "posted," I mean he had his assistant do it) two items regarding The Earth-Shattering Speaker's Race That Has Gripped Our State. Normally this would be a fairly interesting story -- if there were a Speaker's race (people, can you feel the sarcasm dripping from my keyboard?).
Let me let you in on a little secret. No, come closer. Even closer. Alright. THERE IS NO SPEAKER'S RACE!
I was able to thoroughly discredit Mr. Burka, the executive editor of Texas Monthly, by using an old trick Billy Clyde developed in the '80s when he was a newspaper reporter. He called the people supposedly involved, he asked them questions until he was comfortable that they told him the truth, and then he politely said "good-bye" and hung up.
Yeah, it takes a lot of effort. But sometime the old tried-and-true methods still work.


Sometimes Billy Clyde has to sit down, scratch his head and drool.
from the always informative and just downright pleasant people at the Dallas Morning News. In a nutshell -- and I'm pretty sure I got this right -- Dallas County law enforcement soars above the clouds when it comes to impounding illegally parked vehicles across its 900+ square-mile jurisdiction. But when it comes to securing a towed vehicle at its 50-acre lot, the record ain't that hot.
Perhaps I should turn the mic over to Mister Albert Garza, a gentleman whom I do not know but certainly seems capable of separating the wheat from the chaff. His apparently souped-up high-rider Lexus was towed and he lost an astonishing $6,000 worth of tires and rims while said vehicle sat in the county lot. My guess: the dude REALLY likes to listen to loud rap music while driving. But anyway ...
"You would think your car would be safe," says citizen Garza. "But it's probably worse in there than it is on the street." If you gave Billy Clyde years of preparation, he could not analyze the problem more clearly or succinctly.
The clever folks at the Morning News delved even deeper and learned that the county was hiding behind sovereign immunity (The King Can Do No Wrong, Nanny-Nanny Boo-Boo) and weaseling its way out of accepting any responsibility for all the stolen cars and parts hijacked from its very own lot. This explains a lot. Like Democrats sweeping every office this year in Dallas-f-ing County, of all places.
As skilled pilot and actor John Travolta (husband of Kelly Preston) said in the landmark film Pulp Fiction by director Quentin Tarantino: "Don't mess with another man's automobile. It's against the rules."


Rarely a day goes by when I'm not accosted on the street by a Capitol operative and asked something along the lines of: "Billy Clyde, you handsome devil, what does this upcoming legislative session portend in a macro sense?" To which I generally answer: "Who are you?"
When accosted by hobos, I generally offer a dollar.
But as warm personal friends (once again, Who are you?) and elite contributors to my site, you deserve at least a smidgen of an answer. And in keeping with the Christmas spirit of sharing, you punks have found your lucky day.
First, let's remember the basics: the previous biennium's non-dedicated all funds actual appropriations are measured against a yet-to-be-determined LBB-established personal income growth matrix to establish the Constitutional spending limit. Second, absent affirmative action by the LBB or a vote in both chambers, the limit is inviolate even if available revenue exceeds that amount or if previously enacted statutes dedicate, reappropriate or otherwise obligate, by general law, amounts exceeding the cap. Third, ...
Oh hell, who am I kidding? And who cares? Here's the real deal:
1) Casino gambling will fail.
2) Titty bars won't be shut down.
3) Toll road building will continue, but lawmakers will go on record as being real sorry about it.
4) No money for new prisons.
5) Teachers will get a small pay raise, IF they don't bitch too much.
6) Something really big will happen in higher ed. And by "big," I mean maybe a Blue Ribbon Interim Top-Notch Super-Jiffy Select Public/Private Study Commission. (Commissions are much more influential than mere committees.)
7) There will be money appropriated for certain health and human service programs that allegedly help poor and old folks.
8) Garnet Coleman will whine some; Elliot Shapleigh will whine some, too.
9) Fred Hill and Dan Patrick will not eat together at the Carnegie Deli.
10) Legal Mexican-American Texans will assault Leo Berman, and he will wear it as a badge of honor. Voters in Smith County will vote him out of office, and he will wear that, too, as a badge of honor. Freakin' Tyler liberal Republican primary voters! What do they know?
Billy Clyde is a generous soul, but he can't give much more away. Consider becoming a Platinum Member to get the good stuff.


Editors' Note: Billy Clyde assembled the Harris County Senate delegation to prove that Senators are real people, too. They celebrate major holidays and some even have families. To help humanize these SuperTexans, Billy Clyde sat down with the delegation at a West University Place restaurant to discuss the delicate balancing act required to be a State Senator and a Christmas celebrator.

Billy Clyde: First, I want to thank you dawgs for joining me today. Let's talk about what Christmas means to each of you honest-to-God members of the Senate. Dean, would you care to go first?

Senator John Whitmire: No

BC: Okay then. Going down the seniority pecking order ... Senator Ellis.

Senator Rodney Ellis: Now I'm going to tell you a story. Not about me. I don't like to talk about myself.

Whitmire: Liar.

Ellis: (shakes head and fake smiles) Like I was about to share with you, my people are like everyone else. My people want the toys. For the children. They want the Nike shoes and the PlayStation 3 and the souped-up bicycle. They want the go-cart and the health insurance and the chance -- just the chance -- to receive the kind of education that my people want and deserve. They want the casinos and the access to adequate legal counsel and the ...

Whitmire: Are you bonkers?

BC: Let's move on. Senator Lindsay?

Senator Jon Lindsay: (cough cough) Uh, this is a fabulous idea to bring us together ...

Dan Patrick: Why is Johnny Appleseed the gentleman tree farmer here? Is this his last-minute attempt to raise property appraisals on the homes of hard-working angry white American patriots? Has he ever written a book about the Bible, whose central figure is Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate? Senate District 7 wants ME, not a career liberal Austin political insider ...

BC: Actually, Senator-elect. I invited you but couldn't get past your call screener. So for now let's hear from Mario.

Senator Mario Gallegos: Christmas is a special time in our family.

Whitmire: (snicker) Which family? (snicker)

Gallegos: (sigh) My mother, who was on the school board and has a campus named after her, made tamales for the whole neighborhood. She didn't sell the tamales at Christmastime, she gave ...

Patrick: Mexican!

BC: It's the Christmas season. Let's try to keep it civil. Mike?

Senator Mike Jackson: What was the question? I thought we were just grabbing lunch before our tee time.

Whitmire: My clubs are in the trunk. I'm in.

BC: It's 38 degrees outside. Do y'all really want to play golf?

Whitmire: I got 50 Rocket tickets for tonight. I could get more and give them to you ass clowns, but that ain't gonna happen. (snicker)

Gallegos: Ten of those are mine.

Whitmire: Bullshit. Get your own.

Jackson: I'll go to the game. Or play golf. I'm hungry.

Whitmire: I'm horny. I got a few extra girls at the house ... but you can't have them! (snicker)

BC: Uh, let's talk about what Christmas means to the Janek family.

Senator Kyle Janek: Christmas has changed a lot for me since I've become a father. Children are not permitted -- if you can believe this -- in the tanning salon or the day spa. So I bought a toy store and a doll store and a sporting goods warehouse for the kids so ...

Whitmire: Unfucking believable. I have a warehouse, too. Full of women waiting for me, and you want to play this family man routine on ...

Patrick: Family is the most sacred institution we have other than the Second Baptist Church. You people are consumed by earthly material selfish secular ....

Ellis: Dude, you're richer than I am. Cut out the crap so we can cut a deal and move on down the ...

Jackson: So who do I call to get tickets?

Senator Tommy Williams: You have Rockets tickets?

Whitmire: Who invited the Woodlands weenie. This is Harris County business.

Williams: I'm not a weenie. And I represent several MUDS in Harris County as well as ...

Jackson: So is everyone out on the golf deal?

Gallegos: This place is lame. Billy Clyde needs to take us to Rick's.

Ellis: I'll go.

Whitmire: Finally a decent-assed idea.

Jackson: Okay.

Janek: I have some patients who work there. Sure.

Lindsay: I'm married to Toni, so I'm definitely in.

Patrick: You Austin-centric self-centered narcissistic heathen ...

Williams: What's Rick's?

BC: This didn't work out exactly as I planned, but I appreciate your time. Think we can all fit in the Suburban?

Thursday, December 21, 2006


According to official statistics from the Highway Safety Institute, more than 32 gazillion Texans will be travelling by car during this holiday weekend. Naturally, the fine men and women who protect and serve us will also be out on our highways and byways, ensuring that the motoring public is safe.
One of the downsides of this massive police presence is that you could be pulled over for a traffic infraction. This could lead to anything from a polite warning to a severe ass whupping.
Billy Clyde's dear friend Chris Rock has prepared a highly informative video covering proper techniques for dealing with encounters with Johnny Law. It's sorta the R-rated version of "Everything I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten," but it's worth a quick look-see before you hit the open road.

Here is BC's first PSA.



Billy Clyde opposes beating dead horses. But he'll be a monkey's uncle if you think he's gonna sit back and ignore the elephant in the hot tub. That dog won't hunt.
As sure as the sun rises in the east, today's brunch conversation at Las Manitas quickly turned to what Senate gurus refer to as "Three." Yeah, that's right. As in the Senate Committee on Jurisprudence's Interim Charge #3 and the recommendation that may blow the doors off the Capitol.
For those of you living in a cave, Interim Charge #3 called for the Committee to "Study and make recommendations relating to the use and cost benefits of electronic recording as an alternative method of preserving records of official court proceedings." Fair enough.
Then the interim committee's recommendations were released, and all Hades broke loose. Who would have ever dreamed that Charge #3 would result in a recommendation to (1) declare records the property of the court, not the court reporter; and (2) give judges free reign to choose any old recording method their judicial hearts desire.
Funny thing is, 3Gate might have gone unnoticed but for Senator Robert Duncan's blistering letter to Jurisprudence Chairman Jeff Wentworth. These are the words that no one will soon forget: "I would respectfully decline to support the recommendations to Charge #3." Yikes! That's pretty tough talk Mr. Telephone.
Sources close to the Senate leadership tell Billy Clyde that any measure remotely dealing with the thorny issues contained in Charge 3 are dead for 2007. But you gotta wonder about the personalities and bruised egos, the trust and cooperation so essential to making the Senate tick. Longtime observers think it'll be mighty hard to put this genie back in the bottle.
Truth be told, BC has friends on all sides of this issue, and they are all fine folks. And like most of you, I'm ready for this whole mess to go away. Unfortunately, fat chance of that happening. Let's just hope that time heals all wounds.


Best Billy Clyde can tell, Governor Rick Perry has lost interest in being Vice President.

The Governor on Wednesday outright pardoned -- just set free and erased the whole darn conviction -- of Billy Wayne Miller, found guilty of a brutal rape and murder in 1984. By the way, that is Billy Wayne Miller -- not former Speaker Billy Wayne Clayton, a fine man who was cleared in his federal bribery case.

I can't explain what the Governor was thinking, so I'll relay to you a quote provided by the really decent men and women over at the Associated Press:

"I believe that a full pardon for innocence must be supported by strong evidence, such as forensic DNA tests," says our ACLU-loving leader. "In this case, Mr. Miller is innocent. The recommendation of the district attorney, district judge, sheriff, police chief, and the Board of Pardons and Paroles also were important factors in my decision."

Gag. He set a convicted rapist/murderer loose on the street because a few two-bit politicians and bureaucrats say the dude didn't do the crime. Well, let me ask you this, Mr. Governor: If he's so damn innocent, why was he arrested, indicted, tried and convicted? Huh?

Billy Clyde don't got a dog in this specific fight, but it moves us ever closer to what is quickly becoming a political reality: Texas will not have a favorite son or daughter on the national ticket two years hence, and that shit just ain't right. As we approach God's son and our savior's birthday, let's all mention to Him that Kay Bailey Hutchison deserves her day in the sun, despite the fact that she married Ray Hutchison.

This whole deal is just so damn sad.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Mike Hailey ( and Harvey Kronberg ( are reporting that Representative Pete Gallego was re-elected chairman of the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus. Not that surprising, in and of itself.

Representative Robert Puente waged a last-minute challenge but finished well short. Puente is chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, so no need to shed any of those Argentinian tears for him. Little-known fact: Natural Resources is almost always the most-requested committee assignment.

Bill Clyde considers both good friends. But BC has been worrying about Pete lately. I was telling a mutal friend on Election Day that I was concerned that Gallego had gone off the deep end. His newfound love of extreme partisanship and his open hostility toward Speaker Tom Craddick seemed out of character. Then the next day he jacked with Representative Tracy King at a Caucus meeting and Tracy opened a Number 9 can of whup ass on him. Interestingly enough, Puente is credited with breaking it up before it escalated into a NBA game.

Now maybe Pete figures he's past the point of no return and might as well go whole hog. But how did he find himself in Back-Bencher Land in the first place? He coulda sat in the penalty box for a session or two and found himself back in Chairmanville (he previously headed the House Committee on General Investigating). Instead he decided to become the Democratic equivalent of Representative Gerald Gieswiedt: smart and effective 99 percent of the time, but when he loses it, he does so with zealous gusto.

BC thinks outgoing Representative Terry Keel may be going overboard when he predicts that Gallego will be Governor one day. But the guy is a real talent. He beat an incumbent, then-Agriculture Chairman Dudley Harrison (a true state treasure who succumbed to lung cancer last month) in a sprawling far West Texas district that has been home to giants, including Representative Hilary B. Doran. (Most of you remember HBD as Governor Bill Clements' chief of staff and the first Chairman of the Texas Racing Commission; his real claim to fame may be his fight against Daylight Savings Time, going so far as refusing to change his watch in what counts as a radical protest in Del Rio. I never understood why the sheep and goat raisers hated DST so much. Those critters can't even tell time.)

Anyway, Pete Gallego is smarter than Billy Clyde. So presumably he has a long-range plan and ain't crazy -- just crazy like a fox. I hope so.

ALERT! Statesman Sports Page Gets Something Right

Billy Clyde has a giant heart. That's why he gives credit where credit is due.

The Austin American-Statesman's sports page today ran a great article on the renewal of the UT-Arkansas basketball rivalry. The crowds have been pretty sucky lately, so ease over to the Erwin Center this evening to catch the rebirth of this old Southwest Conference match-up and make some damn noise.

Although I hate the Razorbacks, I will admit that "Arkansan" is a damn fine word. Just rolls off the tongue. So they got that going for them.

UPDATE: The Horns beat the Razorbacks like a bad piece of pork. Folks, this team is the real deal.



I read Texas Monthly's Mimi Schwartz' profile of incoming Senator Dan Patrick earlier today. I generally dig everything she writes, and, like everyone else who works around the Capitol, am intrigued about All Things Dan.

Two thoughts (my daily limit) popped into my noggin after reading the article: (1) didn't I propose to write this piece to TM about six months ago?; and (2) why do people feel the need to put the man on a couch and give him the Bob Newhart treatment?

The article could have been titled "What Makes Him Tick And Is It All Schtick."

I can't recall anyone wondering if Kevin Eltife had mommy issues, or if Eddie Lucio faces inner demons that affect his putting. Why don't we let the fellow get sworn in and see what happens. And lay off the head-shrinking stuff. Enough already.



A person I don't know wrote at another (lesser) site today that I should start my own blog. I tried starting a web page ( during the 2005 Christmas holiday season and it, I must acknowledge, sucked hind tit. After careful reflection, it seems that the root of that failure stemmed from the fact that I have no earthly idea how to create a web page -- something that proved to be a real hindrance to the page's success.
Anyway, a buddy of mine who is a distinguished member of the Texas House of Representatives started a blog using this free service and insisted that it was real easy. He can barely tie his shoes, much less perform complicated computer tasks like those regularly employed by 8-year-old kids. So if HE could do it, I figured even I could as well. Also, because he was the first legislator to launch a blog, people think he's real techno savvy and hip and with it and groovy and college girls throw their damp panties at him when he's laying out a bill in committee. I yearn for that kind of public adoration, so here I am.
BILLY CLYDE'S POLITICAL HOT TUB PARTY aims to bring you, friends and neighbors, a smorgasbord of political potpourri. Here you will find in-depth insight into the major issues facing modern society. Candid interviews with those who shape the policy and political landscape. And biting criticism and commentary on the conundrums that confront our elected officials. Plus maybe some porn. Who knows?
Assuming this service allows for reader comments, I look forward to many reader comments. It takes the views of a wide swath of the social and political spectrum to produce an accurate rendition of our great societal mosaic. Plus, it will give me a clue as to whether anyone ever reads my drivel.
So let the games begin, my friends. And in the unlikely event I have worked this deal properly, I shall begin posting stream-of-consciousness brilliance full of mixed metaphors and illogical conclusions immediately or tomorrow or maybe the next day. Thanks dudes.