Sunday, February 25, 2007


How Billy Clyde missed this he cannot fathom. But as I read the actual print version of the newspaper this evening, I ran across reporter Gardner Selby's feature on Representative Brian McCall's doctoral dissertation about Texas governors.

This excites me, in an HPV way, on SOOOO many levels.

First, Garnder Selby doesn't excite me at all. When I first met him about 15 years ago, he looked like he was 16. Now that he's about 50, he looks like he's about 15. Dude, that shit ain't fair. But he's a good reporter and writer.

His story was about McCall's paper on governors. Billy Clyde more than likely will not sleep tonight because he can't wait for Representative McCall's office to open and permit me to request a copy. This gives me an actual reason to show up at the Capitol this week -- that, and the four bills in three different committees I'm working on that are posted for Tuesday. But that's not important.

BC hearts certain things: pine trees, college basketball, eggs, smart women, golf, funny novels ... but this post is about Texas Governors. Put me down in the fascinated category.

I'll do a real review after reading the dissertation. But here's my take on what Selby wrote:

JOHN CONNALLY: What can you say. He was the Barack Obama of his day. Brilliant, savvy, clever .. just the best.

PRESTON SMITH: Seems to be criticized for being too political, but his politics were awful damn good. When he won, he rewarded. When he lost, he plotted his next race. He also made Texas a better place to live.

DOLPH BRISCOE: BC really wants to read this part of Brian's dissertation before commenting too much. Selby leaves the impression that Briscoe was a detached "caretaker" who didn't come to the office much. My impression has been that Governor Briscoe, while not an "office hound," did a lot of really good things for the state. If he's crazy, he's crazy like a fox. The only reason I show up for Former Member Day is to visit with Mr. Briscoe. He's great.

BILL CLEMENTS: BC wasn't around during Governor Clements' first term, because BC was too busy going to junior and high school. But I got to work for him during the second (and I think he would freely acknowledged not his most engaged) term and believe that he maybe had as good of instincts as any of them. Conservative, pragmatic, deal-oriented .. a real Texas success story. Please read Carolyn Barta's book about him.

MARK WHITE: People made fun of Marco Blanco (aka Media Mark) and said being Governor was just a stepping stone for him. Well, pissing off school teachers and coaches, raising taxes, and permitting racetrack betting weren't particularly consensus issues. He did right for the right reasons.

ANN RICHARDS: Selby says that McCall says that talk about Bob Bullock is off the table. When I worked for Mr. Bullock in 1994 Governor Richards told her staff not to talk to me, because I was a George W. Bush's plant. Totally untrue. (a) I didn't know Bush well enough to be his plant; (b) Sibley had already staked out the plant role; and (c) I was too scared of Bullock to be a part of some Machiavellian scheme. Governor Richards was never anything but kind to me, and we became regular breakfast partners after she left office. I wish I had visited with her one last time.

GEORGE W. BUSH: One of the strangest things I have ever witnessed. In 1990, I stalked him at a Dallas dinner to find out if he was running for Governor (full disclosure: I was working for another guy in the race). His speech was pitiful. Then, four years later, I was minding my own business and cooking fajitas for a State Representative's local fund-gathering party and Bush shows up and gives the absolute best speech you could give in a FM1960 strip center parking lot. I was floored. He's the best I've seen. A lot of people, I understand, aren't that hot on him these days in his new job. Betcha anything it's the Iraq War deal and all the spending he let slide through.

My harsh critics may say, "Billy Clyde, you have nice things to say about all these modern governors. They come from different parts of the state, different parties, different political ideologies. What the hell are you saying?"

Fair enough. My answer, simply, would be that they all good people and good servants and served the state well. Few, if any, states have been so blessed.

Thank you Representative McCall. This will be be the first (and almost certainly last) dissertation, that I read. And I am psyched.


Most of Billy Clyde's tribe was attending church or running marathons this morning. Not to worry. I'll fill you in on what you missed.

Our Governor and the Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell, went on the chat show today hosted by Mike Wallace's boy. Both performed very well, but the main topic was ... yeah, you guessed it: 11-year-old cervixes. People, enough already!

In an effort to steer the public policy dialogue back to a REAL issue, Billy Clyde suggests you check out former Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby's op-ed in today's Houston Chronicle, available at for those of you with Internet access.

Governor Hobby takes a couple of fairly nasty gratuitous shots at Governor Perry. Maybe they've had long conservations about higher ed special item funding and the pro-special item folks decided that the only way to get Perry's attention was to plant an op-ed piece written by Hobby, for whom I have enormous respect. I mean, the guy did serve as Lieutenant Governor longer than anyone in Texas history. More importantly, he did a stint as Senate Parliarmentarian, the toughest job in state government and one that deserves compensation on par with the head football coach at TAMU.

Two things popped into my mind while reading Governor Hobby's article.

One, he claimed that Governor James "Pa" Ferguson was impeached because he vetoed the UT budget. Everything I have ever read or heard suggests that it was because he was shamelessly selling pardons and doing other crooked stuff. But since Hobby's daddy succeeded Governor Ferguson, he probably knows better than me.

The second is how odd it is that the Ferguson family and Hobby family -- as different, to put it mildly, as they are -- both produced trail-blazing women. Pa Ferguson's wife, Ma Ferguson, was Texas' first woman Governor. Big Bill Hobby's wife, Ovetta Culp Hobby, was the nation's first female Cabinet Secretary during the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was born in Grayson County.

Okay, I got sidetracked.

Little Bill Hobby wrote in his op-ed that Governors shouldn't micromanage universities and thus the all-or-nothing bill patterns in the General Appropriations Act are good things. Perry, as you may have heard, disagrees.

The reason the Legislature bundles these appropriation measures is because Governor William P. Clements vetoed a bunch of them a while back. Of the roughly 50 people Governor Clements consulted, roughly 49 of them said FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T VETO THAT STUFF. So, natch, he sided with Bob Davis and struck them out of the budget.

Hobby then struck back by instructing Senator Bobby Joe Glasgow to, in essence, lump it all together and make it basically unvetoable. Even Clements wouldn't strike out a whole college -- mainly because he was vacationing in New Mexico and everything was auto-penned.

Now Governor Perry doesn't have a vacation spot in New Mexico, he thrives on vetoing stuff, and he absolutely LUVS calling special sessions. So this needs to get worked out.

Otherwise, it will be yet another defeat for my main legislative cause: restoring the word "summer" to a verb.

Friday, February 23, 2007


One of my oldest friends allegedly coaches football, girls golf, and teaches a history class. That means he stays on the Internet all day on the Tomball ISD dime's and sends me stuff. Including Austin newscast segments.

Billy Clyde doesn't watch the local news -- except during serious weather calamities -- but has a sneaking suspicion that this is Sweeps Week. The local NBC affiliate produced a story a few days ago about "Friends With Benefits." It seems this is what they call buck fruddies these days.

The story is awful. But in a period in which Britney Spears, Anna Nicole Smith and Rick Perry are considered legitimate news, then I guess anything goes. Governor Perry actually came out for curing cancer, and it resulted in some hard-right social conservative testifying before Chairman Dianne White Delisi's committee about the evils of "teenage sluts." Huh?

BC must have entered the wrong concourse last week. He was booked on a return flight to Planet Earth.

I can recall sexual innuendo in committee hearings before. Don't specifically remember which chairman (I think it was Bob McFarland) who scheduled the homo bill on the same day as the cock fighting legislation. But that was the sorta deal that required you to look at the posting and get the inside joke. Teenage slut testimony would have been WAY out of bounds.

If you think I'm heading somewhere here -- you know, like getting to a point -- well, you would be sadly mistaken. Just wanted my fellow Texans to know that you can air "serious" stories about buck fuddies on prime time news shows and show up at committee hearings and drone on about teenage sluts and, best I can tell, no when even notices.

Now that I'm at a total dead end, I guess BC owes his special friend, who shall remain nameless (Machree) an update on the week's activities so she can cut and paste it and send it out and beat the Friday afternoon traffic. So here it goes.

According to our local paper of record, the Lieutenant Governor held a news conference yesterday to say that the Senate was not only breaking a sweat, but was in constant need of iced towels. I really appreciate Governor Dewhurst for clearing that up, because it shot down my conspiracy theory that one Senator (Averitt) and one Senate employee (KCD) were basically running the show for their own amusement. Senator Brimer seems to be working on some stuff, too.

Billy Clyde posted on the subject a few days ago and remains stumped. Surely a large contingency of House members wouldn't be stirring things up simply to upset the applecart. Who would voluntarily enter public service with little pay and no glory just to screw up the process? No one I know.

That takes care of Hot Tub news for the week. Y'all come back now. Hear?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


It used to be that there were two complicated things Billy Clyde actually understood.

Not gonna fake it any longer. I freely admit I know absolutely nothing about the legislative procedure. But I remain well-versed on the intricacies of the infield-fly rule, so I still got that going for me.

What the hell was all that stuff that went down in the House today? Have House members unionized and now get paid by the hour? Adopting a SCR that everyone acknowledged would be adopted -- whether today or in April -- shouldn't really burn up an entire Tuesday. Strange days indeed; most peculiar momma.

Before BC gets all critical about the House, it's only fair to point out the good news. The People's Chamber has done an outstanding job of reading and referring bills in a timely manner to the appropriate committees, which never meet. So it's not a total meltdown.

I found myself sitting in the House gallery today -- something I rarely do since the invention of Capitol's closed-circuit television network. And I don't usually watch that except to listen to the announcements. But I was really really busy this morning and had a mammoth to-do list. Which I finished by lunchtime. Because BC is terribly efficient, he did everything he had to do and faced this decision: go to the cafeteria and visit with people, go to the House lobby and visit with people, or go to the gallery and visit with people. Due to my superior time-management skills, I did all three.

The gallery part is the focus of this post. Chairman Chisum had this procedural resolution he presented the House. Representative Eiland wasn't big on the resolution. So they debated. Normally a good thing. Debate is healthy in the democratic process, and Chisum and Eiland are two of the best at the mic. They both know their stuff.

But calling this routine debate is like calling The Masters "hitting the links" or The Road To The Final Four a "pick-up game." Billy Clyde cannot recall off the top of his head what the Lincoln-Douglas debates were about, but he's fairly certain they didn't last this long.

I asked three really smart people -- all former House members -- to please explain why internal procedural matters that in the past just sorta pass on their own without anyone really knowing or caring now take up a full day. All three of the smart persons told me "primaries." I nodded my head like I understood perfectly, but I didn't.

So I found a fourth smart person, and asked her about "primaries." She kindly explained that the primary elections in which voters select the party nominees are a concern for many members on all sides of the pie. Now that makes sense. Not in a big-picture way, but BC knows about primary elections. He's personally voted in them.

Maybe the smartest guy I talked to said that several members turned down chairmanships because of their fear about this primary thing. I asked a straightforward question: Since when did holding a leadership position and exerting influence over the process for the benefit of your constituents become a liability? He replied that he hadn't looked at it in those terms and owned up to the fact that this Session is confusing.

So it's not just Billy Clyde. That makes me feel better.

P.S. Remember when a big part of the legislative process was scrubbing bills? You'd sit down with the committee report and look over the posting times and hearing times and room numbers and witness lists and the minutes and the bill analyses and search for potential parliamentary problems. Then you'd give to to a buddy, so a fresh set of eyeballs could review it. If necessary, you gave it to Legislative Council for further scrubbing. All in the hopes that you had a clean committee report that couldn't be taken down by a point of order.

Doesn't seem like that happens any more.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Quick quiz:

Which one do you think is the tough South Texas sheriff and which is the Hollywood mover and shaker?


The guy on the left is some sort of Tinsel Town mogul. And the guy on the right is the Willacy County Sheriff who doesn't have office privileges and is camping out on the courthouse lawn and threatening to make crime legal in the greater Raymondville area if they don't give him back his phone.

This is true. I swear. The actor-director-producer guy is planning a made-for-teevee-movie (NOT a joke) about this. And it's far from reaching it's real-time zenith.

(editors note: Before Billy Clyde live-blogs the following story, he would like you to know that he is NOT picking on Hidalgo and Willacy counties -- two of his favorites. He also picks on Cameron, like the deal about the escapees from the jail a few months ago when the sheriff and his deputies (several of them also fled to Mexico) let murder suspects "escape" and go to the PRM, my favorite county.

BC would also link you to the story from the McAllen Monitor about the District Clerk who has been on the lam for a good while and was extradited back to the USA yesterday to face charges on his corruption and sexual assault charges -- except the Monitor site doesn't seem to be hospitable to cut-and-paste links. But the following VMN story is good enough, for now.)

RAYMONDVILLE - District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra said Friday that he will request law enforcement agencies re-file as many as 500 criminal cases or he will dismiss them. (One or the other. I like the flip-a-coin method of ruining people's lives.)

As Guerra camped for the fifth day in front of the Willacy County Jail, a Hollywood actor who wants to produce a film based on Guerra's life began the second day of a hunger strike in protest of Guerra's Sunday arrest. (No comment necessary. Just dream.)

Meanwhile, in court, a state district judge accepted Guerra's request to dismiss his motion to remove state District Judge Migdalia Lopez from hearing several cases. (So he grants the motion to dismiss and recuse. If I read that correctly. That should make the underlying case moot. But I'm probably being a simpleton.)

In a motor home parked in front of the Willacy County Jail, Guerra stunned local law enforcement agencies when he requested that they re-file 400 to 500 pending criminal cases in his office. (What? Are these Spring Break minor-in-possession cases or something? This is a very small county that is divided into three equal parts: those who work for the school district, those who work for the county, and those who work for the roughly 27,000 municipalities and WCIDs in this county of maybe 15,000.)

Guerra claimed special prosecutor Gus Garza, the former district attorney who headed the investigation that led to Guerra's arrest, "contaminated" case files because he serves as a defense attorney who handles many of the cases. (He said; she said.)

"These cases have been tainted and I can't move forward," Guerra said. "We want to open new files so I can have confidence that those new files were not tainted." (I look forward to prosecuting a new batch of my political enemies.)

Guerra said he will determine the length of time law enforcement agencies will get to re-file their cases. "If, for instance, I give them four months to re-file, and they haven't, I have no choice but to dismiss," Guerra said. (Dude, if your hands are tied, your hands are tied.)

Sheriff Larry Spence said he would re-file his cases, but the work would strain his small staff.
"I haven't heard of anything like this before," Spence said. "I don't think it's realistic to ask to do that, but I'm not saying it can't be done. If that's the way it's going to be, that's the way it's going to be." (Sure. Play the naivete card. Who, in this day and age, hasn't had a local District Attorney thrown out of office by an acting special prosecutor who has his own cases thrown out by a District Judge who is then removed from office and cannot accept cases because of his own ethical problems but can reinstate the sheriff if only the defense bar would permit it. All this while the sheriff and and a movie star threaten to make a Lifetime Movie and camp out on the courthouse lawn. I mean, come on. That shit happens everyday.)

Raymondville Police Chief Uvaldo Zamora could not be reached for comment. (Thank God! There are so many characters here already I feel like I'm in a freakin Robert Altman ensemble movie.)

John Blaylock, a defense attorney who ran against Guerra in an election, said the request could further backlog cases, forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for longer jail stays. (Totally objective source plays the tax/crime card . How about this: If these people have to be held in jail because they are gonna abscond to Mexico, isn't just turning them free a win-win deal? ... Also, isn't having a 10th of your population in County Jail a little high?)

It could also force the court to dismiss some criminal cases, he said. (Let that force be with you.)

"It could be a terrible delay," Blaylock said. "Whatever amount of time it takes to re-file, it's that much more time that my client stays in jail. It could be really good for them, because if the cases aren't re-filed quick enough for lack of manpower or other reasons, my client gets off scot-free."
(No. Yes. No. Yes. Uh, yeah, I could set some guys free. So maybe I'm a "yes.")

In court, state District Judge J. Manuel Bañales accepted Guerra's request to dismiss his motion to remove Lopez from hearing several cases. (This is a WAY more complicated sentence than it seems.)

Guerra said he requested Bañales dismiss the motion because he planned to call Lopez as a witness in a Feb. 23 hearing in which Raymondville Municipal Judge Hector "Tiger" Lopez will determine whether authorities have enough evidence to arrest Guerra. (Typical politician. Punt it to Tiger, the part-time muni judge. Who will turn it over to the solid waste handlers ...)

"I didn't want to make that an issue," Guerra said of his request to remove Lopez. (I take you at your word, but I think you are lying. Mainly because you were the styled plaintiff in the action about which "I didn't want to make that an issue." )

Early this month, Guerra said he filed a request to remove Lopez because her alleged call for his investigation allegedly proved bias against him. (Cannot comment. Completely incomprehensible. But man, I want to see these pleadings. Hello, CourtTV.)

Late Thursday, actor Daniel Zacapa arrived at the motor home to begin a hunger strike to protest Guerra's arrest, Zacapa said. (Motor homes = Winter Texans = People Who Don't Like Cold Weather.)

"I will remain here until he returns to his office as a free man," said Zacapa, who's stared in film and television and won a best supporting actor trophy at the American Latino Media Arts awards in 1998. (Unless it's more than a week. Cuz SPI is 30 miles away and it's nice.)

Zacapa said he's producing a film based on Guerra's life. "This is an individual whose parents were migrant farm workers and he became a teacher, a businessman, an attorney and a district attorney," Zacapa said. "It's an American story." (Were I have written that last sentence, I would have inserted an adjective before "American." Like "great" or " classic.")

In front of the Willacy County Jail, Guerra continued to dare Spence to arrest him on a trespassing charge. (Don't Double-Dog Dare him. That would make you an inmate. Not as good as being the local DA. Just wondering: Why would allow him to arrest you? Why don't you just file false articles of information and throw HIS ass in the slammer?)

"I'm going to stay here until they drop the charges or they arrest me," Guerra said.
Sunday, Raymondville police arrested Guerra after he allegedly stopped them from entering his office to execute a search warrant. (Third option: go home or start working on the movie.)

Guerra faces three felony theft charges and a misdemeanor charge that stems from reportedly stopping police from entering his office. (These are NOT serious infractions in the grand scheme of Willacy County politics. This is the county that lost most of its budget in 2005 after its Treasurer acknowledged that he was "not great at math." That's a true quote.)

Monday afternoon, Guerra posted $22,000 bail after he spent the night in jail.
As Garza pursues his ongoing investigation, the threat of a second arrest has left him unable to sleep, Guerra said. (Where are the free samples of Ambien when you need them?)

So he came to the jail "where I can truly sleep," Guerra said. "To relax, I'm here." (Looks like the Ambien rep made his rounds.)

MAJOR BONUS NEWS: This story is actually the most interesting of the Sunday Rio Grande Valley articles. But I simply lack the time to live-blog it. Or learn about the Afi religion. And other reasons. Like going to dinner.

Alex Jones/The Monitor
Omar Guerrero, former Hidalgo County District Clerk and fugitive from justice since early December, ducks past media cameras as he is booked into Mission's city jail early Sunday morning.

More Break

red block Hospital group: FBI investigating suspected fraud
red block Mission homeowner slain after home invasion
red block Man pleads guilty, says he murdered teacher out of anger
red block Former Border Patrol agent accused of sexually assaulting minors
red block County limits a third of its bail bond companies

Break for last seven days


"Break" By Date
A Year Ago Today
No stories for this day.

Story Statistics


Omar Guerrero extradited to United States
February 18,2007

Monitor Staff Writers

MISSION — Former Hidalgo County District Clerk Omar Guerrero has been arrested in Mexico and brought back to the United States, Mission police officials announced Saturday night.

Guerrero has been missing since Dec. 6, when authorities issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of sexually assaulting a minor.

Mission police were vague on the details of Guerrero’s arrest in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas. Mission police chief Leo Longoria confirmed that he had been apprehended in or near Reynosa early Saturday evening and said more details would be available at a Monday afternoon news conference.

The FBI brought Guerrero across the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge about 11:45 p.m. Saturday, Mission police officials said. Guerrero was cooperative with authorities, according to Longoria.

Guerrero was brought to Mission police headquarters for booking about 12:10 a.m. today. He will likely be arraigned Monday afternoon, Mission police spokesman Sgt. Martin Garza said.

Since early December, Mission police and FBI agents have been working many tips about Guerrero’s whereabouts and forwarding them to Mexican authorities. But the events directly leading to Guerrero’s arrest seem to have unfolded only in the last day or two. Longoria said he learned about the capture early Saturday night.

“This was coming,” Longoria said. “We have received information previously that he was in our area of reach, and we’ve been patient.”

In the week following Guerrero’s disappearance, his lawyer, defense attorney Al Alvarez, made several successive promises that Guerrero would turn himself in. But the then-district clerk repeatedly failed to show.

Alvarez, who represents Guerrero in several pending legal cases, did not return a message seeking comment Saturday night.

If convicted of aggravated sexual assault, a first-degree felony, Guerrero faces up to 99 years in prison. Longoria said his department was still mulling whether to charge Guerrero in connection with his flight from the United States.


The sexual assault charges weren’t the first legal problem for the 30-year-old Guerrero, although they seemed to be the last straw that prompted him to flee. His public troubles began in November 2005, when he was arrested on charges of marijuana possession and driving while intoxicated.

Guerrero arrived at a police crime scene to help a friend, who was also charged with possession of marijuana. Although police said Guerrero had showed up red-eyed and slurred his words, the then-district clerk refused a blood test, saying it was against the tenets of Ifa, the ancient African religion he claimed to follow.

In March 2006, Guerrero lost his re-election bid by a landslide to Laura Hinojosa, who took office Jan. 1. Also in March, First National Bank sued him for defaulting on a $17,000 loan. Guerrero later claimed the suit was politically motivated.

He was subsequently arraigned in late September on charges of assaulting his then-wife, Karina. The couple has since divorced, and Karina has legally reverted to her maiden name, Rodriguez. She was awarded sole custody of their young daughter.

Even after Guerrero fled, his financial and legal problems continued to mount. While searching for him at his home in an upscale North McAllen neighborhood, police found what they called “a sizeable amount” of marijuana and cocaine. Lone Star National Bank repossessed the home shortly thereafter.

In late December, Justice of the Peace Mary Alice Palacios, who had clashed with Guerrero during his September arraignment on the assault charges, told media outlets she had requested police protection at her home after hearing from the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office that Guerrero had made threats against her. Palacios had refused a request from Guerrero’s lawyer to bar media from the courtroom during the arraignment.

Sheriff Lupe Treviño said at the time he had no credible information about Guerrero having made threats against Palacios.


Guerrero’s troubles have made for plenty of local water cooler gossip.

But news of his impending return Saturday night had his successor, Laura Hinojosa, hoping that public attention will shift to the goals she hopes to accomplish as district clerk.

“I hope for all concerned it’s true so we can just get some closure and move forward,” Hinojosa said late Saturday, before authorities brought Guerrero back to the United States.

La Joya Mayor Billy Leo, one of Guerrero’s early political supporters and himself a former district clerk, is asking what happened to the man who was once a rising political star.

“I didn’t understand why he never gave himself up,” Leo said. “Maybe now he’s having second thoughts.”

Leo, a political powerbroker who is friends with Guerrero’s father, said the younger Guerrero developed a reputation as a hard-working campaigner.

“It’s obvious he isn’t the same guy who was elected,” Leo said. “He was a smart guy. The biggest question is: Where did he go wrong?”

Monitor staff writer Sara Perkins contributed to this report.

Kaitlin Bell covers Mission, western Hidalgo County and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach her at (956) 683-4446. For this and other local stories visit

Michael Barnett covers law enforcement and general assignments for The Monitor. He can be reached at (956) 683-4447. For this and more local stories, visit

Friday, February 16, 2007


I can't say for certain what's going down with our fearless leader. But it's definitely perplexing.

Billy Clyde pulls for Governor Rick Perry. I live in the state and want him to succeed and like him. But he sure knows how to make it hard on his fans. So as I sit in my luxurious hotel room wearing my complimentary robe (that I WILL be stealing) I offer, with all due respect, a couple pieces of advice. Which, if Perry is smart, he should probably ignore.

First, when someone comes to you with what, on first blush, seems like a good idea, you should give it some thought before committing whole hog. If it's a brilliant idea on Monday morning, then it will be brilliant on Wednesday afternoon. Pace yourself.

In fact, think about knocking off early a few days a week. Got to The Mansion, get a big glass of iced tea and some chips and salsa, and sit out in the side yard and admire your well-manicured lawn. Which you don't have to mow. Life is sweet; enjoy it.

Also, there is not a sporting event, concert, movie or other entertainment opportunity that, as Governor, you cannot attend. The tickets will probably be free. So go. Get it while the getting's good.

And, for the love of mankind, lay off anything that is remotely sexual. Remember when you came out for a stripper tax -- the so-called Tits For Tots deal? And remember how talk radio and citizens in general ridiculed the idea, mainly because nudie joints, unlike water or transportation or tax policy, are something average Texans actually understand?

Remember how our citizens don't really focus on the budget surplus or the low unemployment rate or the strong housing market, but know ALL about your plan to give hoo-ha shots to all the little girls? Yeah? Okay, then stop doing that stuff. Really.

On a somewhat related note ... I'm with you big time on your plan to cure cancer. That seems to be a winner. But for some reason you felt the need to take it a step further and give a speech yesterday about your prostate. There's ample evidence supporting the benefits of "quitting while you're ahead." Try it.

Finally, you deserve credit for amassing more executive branch power than any Governor in history. But you can't go around appropriating money on a lark. Especially when the Legislature is in session. Trying that deal during the summer or fall would be edgy. Trying it when House and Senate members are RIGHT HERE is, to be kind, an unwise strategy.

Feel free to give me a holler over the weekend or next week if you want to flesh this out. I may not be from the government, but I am here to help.

UPDATE 1: I went over the Saturday and Sunday clips and was shocked to see that 13 out of 30 stories -- that's exactly half for those who are mathematically challenged -- were about hooking up. So maybe Perry can see into the future and actually invented sex. The gubernatorial equivalent of Ben Franklin (kite flying, Almanacs and bifocals), Alexander Graham Bell (who has dropped the "Bell" to avoid any chance of being confused with Chris Bell; now goes by AT&T) and George Washington Carver (the peanut).

But even if the Governor is spot on about Texans' myopic preoccupation with nekkid lusty fun, his overall health program could use some fine tuning.

For example, the hot new pharmaceutical isn't the stuff that turns our elementary girls into syphilis-infected nymphos. Nope.

It's this new medicine that alleviates all symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome. Read the tiny tiny print on the back of Time Magazine ads for this drug, and the careful consumer will learn that there are only two reported cases (Don Knotts and Gilligan) of this syndrome in U.S. history.

Why not take some of this valuable research and development money and create a Restless Penis Syndrome vaccination for all these 11-year-old Lotharios who are turning 10-year-old girls into pigtailed gonorrhea factories? You know the old saying: it takes a minimum of two -- preferably many more -- to tango.

Sure fire way to win that Nobel Prize for Medicine that you've always wanted: Find a cure for Restless Legislator Syndrome. It's a debilitating scourge that apparently is highly contagious and is spreading like wildfire this season.

Voters would unanimously agree to sell the Lottery to fast-track (like by Monday) that vaccine to market.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


People who say nothing is happening in the Legislative Session are just bone-heads.

This has been the most surreal 48 hours or so. And Billy Clyde predicts it will get even better.

I went to some meetings yesterday (blah blah blah) but some interesting things happened along the way. Actually attended the wrong meeting on accident, but it turned out to be very interesting. You know how the House Committee rooms down in the Extension share a common area in the back? That's where you get your free Diet Cokes. Well I entered the wrong door and left, but shouldn't have.

Turns out that Senator John Carona went to this hearing -- I think it's called House Transportation; Krusee runs the deal, and seem to know a lot about that stuff -- and had a giant smackdown with Ric Williamson. Billy Clyde actually likes Ric Williamson, although he freely acknowledges that he's odd (both Ric and BC.) For some reason or another, Ric won't meet with Carona, who oversees TxDot. A lot a people, for whatever reason, seem to be anti-visiting these days.

If I have any political skills whatsoever, it's this innate ability to predict winners (John Carona) and losers (Ric Williamson). Although I could be wrong. No, actually I'm really right on this deal.

The committee hearing I was supposed to attend was Criminal Jurisprudence. Because I was a guest, there to provide Invited Testimony. About ten of us were asked to appear, but this one chick talked for about two hours. She must know WAY more about criminal law that is really necessary.

BC just sorta hung out in the back of the room goobering it up with a lobbyist who shall remain nameless (Allan Place). I know that many people find it utterly incomprehensible that Place and BC are capable of goobering it up -- but we can. Then I got bored and went to Representative Flynn's office. He's great. And then I went to Whitmire's office and Lucio's office and Dutton's office and Janek's office and Goolsby's office. Then I went back to the committee hearing. And that same girl in the black pantsuit was STILL talking. Hope she got it all off her chest.

Okay, so after about three hours of waiting around to give Invited Testimony at what should be a perfunctory hearing, where you meet staff and settle on a schedule, Chairman Pena finally called me. Now, Representative Pena is the pick of the litter. Assuming Patrick Rose or Lois Kolkkhorst don't enter the race, Aaron is my man for Governor next time.

But I probably need to have a talk with Chairman Pena. Actually, I may need back-up help.

When he called me to the dais, his staff had made me fill out a Witness Affirmation Card. I don't like those. Perjury, Under Oath, etc. ain't my cup of tea. Plus it's totally unnecessary when a committee doesn't have a legislative measure before it. IT'S AN ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING. A FORMAL MEETING. Please.

So for some reason, Chairman Pena asks me about blogging. And for some reason, I tell Terri Hodge that I love her. And Debbie Riddle asks something about her attire (I didn't understand that part at all.) I also got cheered (literally -- look at the VERY VERY end of the House tape, which I can't figure out how to link to; should be renamed The World's Most Complicated Web Site) for bringing Represtative Talton to the meeting.

Like I said, it was strange.

Oh, the reason I know about the House Web Site and Chairman Pena's loose lips is because (1) I checked it out; and (2) he apparently doesn't know what an "open mic" or "live mic" is. He confides to the world that he and his deskmate, who shall remain nameless (Joe Deshotel), spend all their valuable floor time reading worthless blogs. Now he's gonna have to plead with House Administration to please "lose" the tape.

Moving on ... I went to work this morning and a certain unnamed Senate aide (Tina Poston) said my meeting with her boss, Dan Patrick, needed to be rescheduled. Totally fine. Billy Clyde is not that hot on meetings.

But then my news source, who shall remain nameless (Harvey Kronberg), reported that Senator Patrick had some sort of presser at the time when our visit was scheduled where he displayed a million dollars in cash. Don't know what the "issue" was, but it seems weird that people carry so much hard currency these days. I like to have 80 or a 100 bucks in my wallet for spending money ... but a million seems like a lot to be walking around with. Oh well.

There is no direct connection between Ric Williamson or John Carona or Aaron Pena or Robert Talton or Terri Hodge or Dan Patrick or anyone else I mentioned here. Except to say that this session is better than people give it credit for.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Billy Clyde is a man who doesn't just promise stuff. He delivers. Usually.

And like I told you a week or so ago, The Honorable Joe Deshotel will be this site’s featured attraction throughout February. Which is Black History Month. And Joe is black. Or at least claims to be black.

This is Billy Clyde’s Political Hot Tub Party’s exclusive interview with the Chairman of the House Committee on Economic Development:

BC: I feel like Bob Woodward, getting inside information from a real-life high-ranking government official. Why have you agreed to spill your guts to Billy Clyde?

Chairman Joe Deshotel: Poor judgment on my part. Now what do you want to ask me?

BC: Thanks. What does Black History Month mean to you?

JD: It’s an opportunity to review the many contributions that African Americans have made to this nation. Despite arriving in this country as second class citizens – mere property, really – blacks have reached the top ranks in the business, education, medical and entertainment industries. A true American success story.

BC: You’re being modest. Blacks also dominate sports.

JD: There are many African-American athletes who have excelled in their chosen sport and in turn given a lot back to their respective communities.

BC: You bet. They also seem to score a lot of white women.

JD: Not sure about that.

BC: Trust me. Not that I’m that huge on white women. They tend to be bitches whose thighs get chunky.

JD: No comment.

BC: Bet white women hit on you all the time.

JD: I’m a happily married family man who runs a business, practices law, serves in the Legislature and is active in community and church endeavors.

BC: That’s impressive. You probably got white, black, Hispanic and Asian girls all over you.

JD: No.

BC: But what about Jewish chicks? That’s a tough nut to crack, don’t you think?

JD: Ask me something about public policy, or this interview is over.

BC: Sorry. I got sidetracked. What does being black in America mean today?

JD: I certainly cannot speak for the entire race. But in my opinion, there’s a responsibility to give back to the community. Many of us had limited opportunities. You have to use the opportunities you do have, do your best and be a role model. And give back. Make a difference.

BC: That’s inspiring. How come Barak Obama gets to be the first black president before I do?

JD: Well, I have yet to express a presidential preference. Also, you’re not a U.S. Senator from a large state, nor are you black.

BC: Horse hockey! I may not be a U.S. Senator, but I am DEFINITELY black.

JD: I don’t know about your background, but let’s say you don’t really look African American to the naked eye. You also seem to be woefully unqualified to be president.

BC: I’ll buy the unqualified deal. But I am very very black.

JD: Okay. Do you have another question?

BC: Sure, Mr. Chairman. Do you think it’s fair that they guy who invented the peanut didn’t get to be President but some goober – excuse the pun – peanut farmer got to live in the White House?

JD: I think you’re talking about George Washington Carver, one of the greatest American inventors, who, for some reason, you white people think invented the peanut. What’s up with that?

BC: Didn’t he?

JD: No.

BC: My bad. But please stop calling me “white.” It’s an insult. Anyway, what special stuff are you going to do for Black History Month at the Capitol?

JD: I have several groups of school children who will coming to Austin, touring our Capitol, learning about the legislative process and hearing from a number of my colleagues in the Legislature. This is in conjunction with Black History Month, and I hope it provides a perspective of what young people – young people of all races – can aspire to, and how they can make a difference in their community and their world.

BC: I’m sorry. Wasn’t listening at all. Can you repeat that?

JD: No. Don’t you have some place to be?

BC: Nope. Spare time is my friend. But let me ask you this, if I may. Besides spearheading the House’s economic development programs, working on long-term strategies to address the state’s transportation needs, playing a key role in setting the leadership’s agenda, and serving as a negotiator with the Senate, what are you gonna do this session?

JD: Avoiding you would appear to be a high priority. No offense.

BC: None taken. But I do like hanging out in your office and watching the closed circuit teevee. Your staff is great. But you don’t have any Jewish chicks. Can we return to that topic?

JD: Bye.

Thursday, February 8, 2007


This past year or so has been downright awful for living Texans.

Another of our Favorite Daughters, Miss Anna Nicole Smith, left us this afternoon. This technically has nothing to do with Lone Star State government or politics, but please indulge Billy Clyde while he walks down Mammary Lane and reflects on the life and times of Mexia's most famous fast food waitress.

BC first met Vicky -- the stage name she used at the time -- in about 1995 during a Grand Opening Party at the Sam Houston Race Park over there on the Beltway between U.S. 290 and I-45 in northern Harris County. If memory serves (rather unlikely), we were in the TransTexas Gas suite. Vicky was tall and big-boned and rather intimidating at first. But we really hit it off.

They were serving those jalapeno/shrimp/bacon appetizers that, if prepared properly, are just outstanding. Anyway, Vicky apparently enjoys that dish every bit as much as Billy Clyde does, so we bonded for life.

Our host, a certain Senator who shall remain nameless (Don Henderson) told me that Vicky was a fairly well-known celebrity in Houston. She was a featured performer at Gigi's and The Treasure Chest and even made guest appearances at Rick's Cabaret. Things were clearly going her way.

I haven't seen her again, but she went on to great fame in the pole dancing, men's magazine, film, probate and television industries. Just recently, Anna Nicole generated a lot of media interest when she had a new baby girl and her son died in the hospital room at that Bahamian maternity ward and lots of people claimed to be the baby daddy and she found herself in yet another round of complex litigation. Little known fact: Elvis' coroner is somehow involved in that deal, but I can't recall the details.

BC likes to focus on the positive -- the good times -- when one of our own leaves this temporary spot on Earth and moves on to the The Promised Land. So with your blessing, please permit me to recall those three quality hours I spent at the track with Anna Nicole Smith.

First, she did not seem ditzy at all. I think that's a marketing deal. I found her bright and quick-witted with a wonderful life story and a limitless future. Unlike every other male human in the box that afternoon, I did not proposition her. On some level, she probably is just not my type. Plus, I wanted to get to know her as a person.

Second, we shared a friend from her home county of Limestone (or maybe Mexia is in Ellis County -- look it up). She knew Dickie Flatt, the world's most famous commercial printer, and used to serve him at the yard bird joint she worked at. Dickie was a client of mine, so naturally we swapped stories and became family.

For years, BC has been thinking about contacting her. You know, get reacquainted. Woulda Coulda Shoulda. It's always during tragic times like this that you kick yourself in the behind for not picking up the phone or dropping a note. Sorry, Anna Nicole. But I never forgot you.

On what I promise to be the absolute last note here, BC saw Ms. Smith on the television last year when the Supreme Court of the Whole United States heard one of her cases. I think she won, too -- though that's beside the point. She looked really good. She had straight hair that highlighted her natural beauty.

Anna Nicole had that same look back when she and BC became dear friends at the TTG suite at the racetrack over shrimp/jalapeno hors d'oeuvre. I'll miss you babe. And again, sorry for not calling.

UPDATE: A semi-retired pipeline lobbyist who was in the suite that day says that (1) my timeline is off by a year or two (well, surprise surprise) and (2) Governor George W. Bush was in the suite that day. Seems like I would remember if the Governor were there, but I'll take his word on it. Mainly because it now gives this post a state government angle.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


Since this is Billy Clyde's first time on the Pulitzer Prize Judging Committee, he didn't want to stir things up too much.

Just went with the flow and granted the Spot News Award to the San Antonio Express-News -- despite its dropping of Wingo, the only thing I ever really enjoyed about the E-N -- because this is such a fabulous story. But like all great stuff -- Blue Bell, strip bars, lobster, long walks on the moonlit beach -- everything could be better. With that in mind, I offer my humble parenthetical comments on what, without doubt, is the year's best non-astronaut news story.

He found a fortune by Hooters' trash bin?

Web Posted: 02/04/2007 10:57 PM CST
Jesse Bogan

Rio Grande Valley Bureau ALTON — In the wake of getting pulled over with nearly $1 million in cash stowed in his new pickup and his subsequent resignation as a Hidalgo County sheriff's deputy, Emmanuel Sanchez sheepishly tried to explain where the money came from. (You gotcha a million in cash, and you head to Alton?! Dude, ever heard of Cabo San Lucas?)

His "head was just crazy" after he found the fortune near a Dumpster outside a Hooters restaurant in Atlanta, he said. (Know the feeling. Billy Clyde has never frequented a Hooters without doing a little Dumpster Diving. Been there, done that.)

"Hiding it was my mistake," said Sanchez, 30, his voice trailing off. "But, oh well, it's rough." (You FOUND the dough in the dumpster; why was it a mistake?)

Initially saying he didn't understand English, he granted an interview from his front yard in a neighborhood here bordered by orange groves. (I often forget which languages I speak.)

Residences range from beaten-down trailers to posh homes like Sanchez's, which had a few late-model vehicles parked out front and a side building for cookouts where two men traded accordion riffs. (Swanky, upscale subdivisions are generally populated by 30-year-old deputy sheriffs in poor border counties.)

(editors note: Neither the reference to orange groves nor the throw-away mention of "trading accordion riffs" -- two important topics you don't hear much about these days in your major dailies -- appear to have nothing whatsoever to do with the story. But nice touch. I admire reporters who can sneak totally banal stuff by their editors.)

Georgia state police stopped Sanchez late at night Jan. 6 about 40 miles west of Atlanta on a busy interstate for not staying in his lane and having an improper trailer license tag light, according to an incident report. (Racial profiling.)

He was pulling a trailer loaded with a small bulldozer called a Bobcat. Sanchez displayed his peace officer's badge and told a trooper he has a landscaping business, had bought the Bobcat on the Internet and was taking it back to the Rio Grande Valley. (Sounds like a long way to travel for a Bobcat, but the Valley's Internet savvy wealthy landscaping law enforcement officers are an industrious bunch.)

But the story didn't jibe with that of his passenger, Eric Simon Vela, 28, who told police they were picking it up from Sanchez's uncle. (My word! Twenty hours in the car together, and you didn't synchronize your stories. Was the stuff on the radio THAT interesting?)

Sanchez denied there was anything illegal in the truck, a white 2006 F-350 dually, and said, "It's all yours," when asked if they could search it, according to the report. (Dually = Babe Magnet.)

Handed a consent form to sign, he asked if the search was really necessary. The state trooper assured him it was. ("I assure you this is necessary to find your contraband and arrest your ass.")

When officers found a black duffle bag on the back seat with $16,000 in loose currency, Sanchez got angry and withdrew consent to continue the search, according to the report. But K-9 Misty alerted to the doors, one of them noticeably heavier than normal, giving officers probable cause to search. (Georgia has dogs than can measure the weight of automobile doors?? Why doesn't Texas have these Superdogs?)

Police seized a total of $950,435, mostly in 20s, found in the truck. Sanchez told police he found it near a Dumpster at the restaurant. (That's something like 50,000 twenties. Wow.)

He was let go with a warning on the traffic violation, but if he wants the money back, he will have to argue in court that he acquired it legally. (Billy Clyde is seriously confused. Is cash illegal in Georgia?)

"I am going to check to get it back. I don't know," Sanchez said. "I haven't hired a lawyer." (Uh, that hiring a lawyer thing is probably a good idea.)

He said he hid the loot because he knew if police found him with it, they would take it away. (Which, evidently, they did. Is this standard police protocol?)

Asked why he resigned from the sheriff's office afterwards, he said, "I never did anything bad at the county. I had already wanted to leave." (In Hidalgo County, you vest at age 30.)

He's been a licensed peace officer since 1999. He briefly worked for the La Joya (recognized eight years running as the Cleanest City Government In The World) Police Department that year, then as a patrol officer the past three years at the Hidalgo County (recognized nine years running as the Cleanest County Government In The World) Sheriff's Department, where he took multiple courses through its academy on topics such as identity theft, special investigative topics, cultural diversity, and asset forfeiture, according to records on file at the Texas Commission On Law Enforcement Officer Standards And Education. (Apparently TCLOSE doesn't offer a course on Successful Interstate Cash Hauling Strategies.)

There were no records of any disciplinary action taken against Sanchez. (Natch.)

Sheriff Lupe Treviño said his department is cooperating with Georgia authorities and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (Cooperating = Code for: might consider returning their calls.)

"We are doing a lot about it, but only so much can be said," Treviño said. (I totally buy the part about not saying much. But put me down in the skeptical category on the "doing a lot about it" front.)

He said his office launched an "inquiry" into Sanchez's work history and friendships in the department. But apart from a brother who is a detention officer, he said, not many deputies knew Sanchez well. (And by "didn't know well," they mean they never knew he worked there.)

"He didn't socialize with many people in the department," he said. "I guess he was really too preoccupied with his other endeavors, or the other whatever you want to call them." (As a rather curious news consumer, I would REALLY like to know what those "other endeavors" are.)

Peter John Skandalakis, the district attorney for five counties south and west of Atlanta, including Carroll County, where Sanchez was pulled over on Interstate 20, said by phone that the highway is a common route for eastbound shipments of marijuana and the type of methamphetamine known as "Mexican ice." (I bet he is one vindictive prosecutor. He had to attend elementary school as the son of Mrs. Skandalkis. Just think of the opportunities that presented the playground bullies.)

Other South Texans arrested in Carroll County in recent months are Anselmo Contreras, 24, and Lucio Medina, 41, of Harlingen. They were arrested last August after deputies found a secret compartment in the tractor-trailer rig they were driving — but no currency or narcotics, according to the incident report. (So the cops in Georgia arrest you for driving without drugs and money, but set you free if you have a million in cash in a duffle bag you found in a Hooters dumpster. More context, please.)

Told of Sanchez's account of where he found the money, Skandalakis said, "I don't believe that for a second. It's too implausible." (Seems like Skandalakis is still so traumatized over his last name that he can't suspend belief -- if only for a moment.)

Now that he's no longer a deputy, Sanchez said he might start selling used cars again, buying the vehicles from afar and bringing them to the border, which is a common business here. He said he planned to continue selling construction equipment and was optimistic that his landscaping business, San Co, would heat up when good weather returned. (This paragraph is WAY more disjointed than anything Billy Clyde has ever written. And that's saying a LOT. Are Mexican nationals now stealing cars and bringing them to McAllen? And Sanchez thinks stealing Bobcats in Atlanta and selling them in Hidalgo County is a successful business strategy? And why does this newly retired millionaire look forward to clear skies and warmer weather for a prospective lawn-mowing business. No comprende.)

He called off the interview when his family, including young children, arrived in a new SUV, parking near the white pickup that had been searched in Georgia, and according to records, was bought with financing there. (Of all the questions I want answered here, the absolute LAST one is whether Mr. Sanchez got a 24-month note at 13 percent APR through GMAC.)

News Researcher Michael Knoop contributed to this report.


Took a well-deserved break from mindless glad-handing and chattering to watch our great Governor, Mr. Rick Perry, tell us about the State of Our State on the closed-circuit television network.

If you want to know about the substance of the speech ... well, there are plenty of places to go for that stuff. But if you want to know about the style aspect, then Billy Clyde is your Answer Man. Can't help but be impressed with how good Texas' Supreme Leader has gotten in the speechifying department. He's right up there with Big John Connally and Barak Obama.

The really earth-shattering deal is how well versed he is on pop culture and other modern, relevant entertainment sorta stuff. Now anyone can go out and get himself a fancy haircut and some rapper-style jogging suits and memorize a few little gestures picked up from hanging around some frat guys for a few minutes. And yes, he has all that stuff down pat.

But it's the hip references that he throws out there so effortlessly that really gets my goat. And has me wondering: Is Rick Perry cooler than Billy Clyde?

During the Inaugural Ball a few weeks ago, Perry made a reference to "Ricky Bobby." I later learned that this was a rhetorical allusion to a fictional race car driver in a recent feature film. RP: 1; BC: 0.

On the downside, he sang with Ted Nugent, a marginally talented '70s metal guitarist who specializes in songs about herpes. Not.That.Cool. Governor Perry had previously joined the stage with marginally talented actor Russell Crowe, whose band is indescribably awful. Billy Clyde would have known better -- on both counts.

Then today, he mentioned Festivus (I knew this one!) and talked at great length about his fascination with vaginas (me too!) but didn't utter a word about Lindsay Lohan or Brittany Spears or Paris Hilton and their vaginas. No way Billy Clyde would let that kind of low-hanging fruit stay on the tree.

(Don't even get me started about Perry's total obliviousness to Leah and Melissa's smash hit "My Box In A Box.")

Our Governor kept up his fixation on cancer. Guess when your prostate is scheduled to turn 57 years old this spring and you have the bully pulpit, it only makes sense to use that pulpit to your prostate's advantage. And to demonstrate his role as a Uniter Not Divider he remained silent on Texas A&M University's rather severe ass kicking of the Longhorn's last night. Class move, Gov. Gracias.

You know the really sad part? Why should Billy Clyde be concerned about his coolness vis-a-vis Rick Perry, of all people. It's not like climbing Mount Everest or landing on Mars. We're talking about clearing a kiddie hurdle.

UPDATE: Shouldn't have mentioned Mars. Yes, I heard all about the girl astronaut in Houston who put on diapers and drove all night to Florida to murder another girl astronaut who was part of her NASA love triangle. And no, for national security reasons (do you want the cosmonauts to win?!) I cannot comment. Except to say this: When it comes to steamy three-ways, astronaut three-ways are the BEST.

Monday, February 5, 2007


This will be brief. I gotta go to breakfast. I mean work.

No opinion here -- none whatsoever -- on Governor Perry's decision to give little girls whore medicine on the taxpayers' nickel. Billy Clyde is not a physician, a parent, or a shareholder in pharmaceutical stocks (except, presumably, via broad-based mutual funds reflective of the entire market).

But I know dirty, filthy television when I see it. Over the Christmas period, the blasphemists over at Saturday Night Live aired a vile video about, uh, creative holiday gifts. For strictly informational purposes, I'll provide you a link, just so you know how juvenile it is. Also to give you the three easy steps. (

A wholesome lass has produced a much more melodic version that promotes the spirit of giving without all the nasty penis references. She, unlike those SNL people, will surely go to Heaven. Check out her song ( and website ( and plan to join me when (and if) she comes to Austin to be honored by an Official House Resolution (Goolsby has already agreed to move that all members' names be added) that I hope to convince Representative Kolkhorst to carry.

This is the best song ever recorded. And just in time for Valentine's Day.

(Yes, KCD, this is for you.)

Thursday, February 1, 2007


In an effort to give you kind souls a comprehensive review of this week's goings on at the Capitol, Billy Clyde is pleased to provide you with his Week In Review.

This is what happened:

Thank you for your continued interest.

UPDATE 1: No, there is not something I "missed" or "left out." The above is a total recapitulation of everything that went down this week.

UPDATE 2: Yes. If temperatures drop precipitously over the next day or so, then some more grackles WILL die on Congress Avenue this weekend. May I suggest purchasing store-bought grackles for your Super Bowl festivities -- just to be on the safe side.

UPDATE 3: Of course I realize that we are officially into Black History Month. The Honorable Joe Deshotel will be our focus this year. Believe me, you don't want to miss this. You will be BEGGING for less Joe Deshotel news by the time March 1 rolls around.

Two of BC's other African-American legislative heroes, Representative Harold Dutton and Senator Kenneth "Kim" Brimer, will also be featured. (SIDEBAR: BC violated his own No-Research Rule today and did a little checking. Although they look black, Senators John Carona, Royce West and Kip Averrit are all actually Lithuanians. Representative Will Hartnett, on the other hand, looks Lithuanian but is actually black. Billy Clyde is a honkey, but has always wanted to be black. Although lately he wishes he were a black Jew, like Sammy Davis, Jr.)

UPDATE 4: This is SCORCHING hot news. Not even the Associated Press or The Drudge Report has it yet!

BC's very dear judicial friend told him this evening that her very good judicial friend told her that his very, very, very good judicial friend said that outgoing White House Counsel Harriet Miers will NOT be running for Governor in 2010! Nor is she interested in any elected position at all.

She wants to be "of counsel" to a Washington or Dallas or Austin firm and oversee administrative law stuff. Which is better than being on the U.S. Supreme Court, but not as good as being an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University. Although the SMU deal could conceivably still happen.

UPDATE 5: Let's put this foul-smelling rumor to rest. No. Billy Clyde has ZERO interest in Katie Couric's job. It hasn't been offered, and I wouldn't accept. So please stop the gossip.


Call me old school, but I have a tendency to take people at their word.

If Billy Clyde is motoring through some strange town and needs directions to the nearest Dairy Queen, he pulls over to a gas station and asks someone. If that person says, "Take a left at that vacant lot, then go a spell until you hit the old junior high practice field, where you take a right and go up the hill past Old Man Johnson's place and you'll see it about one street over on the left behind that patch of pecan trees," then I follow the directions to the letter.

With that sort of specificity, you gotta assume that this friendly local knows PRECISELY where the Dairy Queen is, so you thank this person several times and make make your way toward the BeltBuster stand.

Well, several people -- people who know every bit as much about the legislative process as that hypothetical direction-giver knows about the location of the Dairy Queen -- told me this morning that Representative Fred Hill is genuinely perplexed that the main appraisal cap bill, HB 190, got referred to Big Ways and Means, and not Local and Pretend Ways and Means. I scanned the room looking for Chairman Hill but didn't spot him. And it's not my issue or really that important anyway.

But if Mr. Hill expressed extreme bewilderment, then doubtless it's sincere bewilderment. It also means that Mr. Hill is the only person in North American who didn't just ASSUME that those types of bills would be sent to the real Ways and Means Committee. The tykes at the neighborhood day care center -- the ones who have yet to master the simplest of bodily functions -- have been sitting around speculating that appraisal cap legislation would be referred to Chairman Keffer's panel.

BC is in the camp that believes appraisal reform, while important, lacks traction this session. BC is also in the camp that believes we may have a verification vote on a Memorial Resolution in the not-so-distant future -- particularly if the dead honoree had, during his living days, ever heard the name "Jimmy Dunnam" or "Beverly Woolley."

Far be it from me to ever criticize the leader of the Best State in the World's Best Nation. But Billy Clyde was smooth-assed floored when Governor Rick Perry tapped Dallas gadfly Tom Pauken to head the ad valorem tax appraisal reform task force. Don't have anything against the gentleman personally; just not the name that spontaneously jumps into my head when I think "consensus builder."

This issue is of supreme importance to hundreds, maybe thousands, of Republican primary voters in small pockets of Harris, Montgomery, Fort Bend, and Brazoria counties. But so what? In all likelihood, Governor Perry won't ever face the electorate again. Were I in his shoes, I would take actions much more controversial than appointing Mr. Pauken to a meaningless committee. I'd do all sorts of heavy-handed extralegal tyrannical stuff on a wide array of issues, both to push my narrow personal agenda and to just sorta jack with the system for amusement value. That's why Billy Clyde should never be granted authority over much more than getting a tee time.

This brings me to the critical juncture where it's time to make a point. (Give me a second, please: Dairy Queens, Fred Hill, establishing fair market values on real property for purposes of establishing the effective tax rate, dead people resolutions, reading and referral of bills -- uh, I seem to lack a common thread.)

Okay, let's try this. If it takes three hours to not adopt a meaningless House Resolution, and eight hours to go through a pro-forma vote for Speaker, and ten hours to settle on House rules that are virtually identical to decades of previous House rules ...

Then Bill Clyde predicts that a substantive, on-the-merits floor debate on appraisal restrictions will take approximately two months. And that, my buddies, leaves us just enough time to adjourn sine die.

So I better make that tee time today.