Friday, March 30, 2007


As much as I enjoyed this week, it seems as though my friends at MI5 want Billy Clyde to break his stride and go over to Iran and rescue those captured British soldiers, whom I didn’t even know had been captured until this afternoon.

How come they don’t add a little WORLD news to the meeting posting boards down in the Extension? TLS runs press releases about the price of West Texas Intermediate Crude and the World Viagra Appreciation Day/Astroglide Awareness Week Breakfast, but if you want to know about the Iranian Hostage Crises II (in theaters now!) you have to go to the Drudge Report.

But in all seriousness, y’all got to be quiet about my MI5 mission. Don’t want to lose the element of surprise.

Speaking of surprises, how many of you really, super-duper attentive Capitol cats and dogs knew that the Texas Enterprise Fund is statutorily funded by unemployment taxes? Billy Clyde nods off now and then, but this was a shocker to me. I had always figured that Governor Perry threw a kegger one afternoon on the Mansion lawn and the House and Senate decided to just appropriate him a bunch of money to hold even more keggers on the Mansion lawn. But BC was incorrect.

That’s how yesterday’s House debate begin, in a way. The House had adopted a Calendars Rule, like it always does, that says: If you wanna spend a buck, you gotta cut a buck. And not just any buck – a non-dedicated buck, apparently. Although something like 90 percent of the General Appropriations Act, if you want to be a smart-aleck, is basically dedicated to some degree.

Everyone always fairly well assumed that Fund 6 money and the PUF were off limits. Though stealing a typewriter from the Court Reporters Inspectors Council and giving it to your local barber was fine and dandy.

How are supposed to know something is dedicated? Just because you VOTED for it last session? That seems harsh.

If BC were a House Member – not an International Man of Mystery out to save some brown-toothed Brits whose poor sailing skills could lead to another 20 years of the next Ted Koppel (oh, the horror!) – he would have funded his budget amendment out of the Enterprise Fund. The only fruit lower hanging than THAT is the carrot, which actually may be a vegetable.

Turns out you can’t do it. So a startling number of amendments – maybe 20 – out of about 300 couldn’t even be offered. Democracy was lost. But just for a moment. The pragmatic side of the Members heads’ woke up and thought: Damn, with 280 amendments left, SOMETHING is still germane.

So they had some debate about public policy stuff and issues and causes, etc. With this big mission to the Persian Gulf on his mind, Billy Clyde had zero time to begin learning new wonkish acronyms that he would never use – or even remember. Instead, I became my usual Big (Motion) Picture Man.

So without getting into other the substantive (a.k.a. boring) stuff, Billy Clyde would like to roll out the red carpet for my Scattery Awards.

BEST DIRECTORS: Warren Chisum and Ryan Guillen
In a way it makes sense. If I kidnapped, drugged you and left you in a vacant pasture in either Roberts or Duval counties (and as a skilled MI5 Secret Agent, I could do it in my sleep), Billy would swear you couldn’t tell which was which. Except in winter.

You two turned what could have been Broke Back Mountain into The Sound of Music (without the Nazis).

Some people could argue that she had one poor take, which I suspect she considers kinda her gratuitous nude scene. She possesses a calm, deep understanding of her character and just oozes empathy. Though she can be a bit hyperactive in real life.

Most of the critics pick Carl Isett, who gave a soothing performance. But Gattis – who unlike Critic Billy Clyde is real bright, real prepared and real tall – did his during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. For Gattis, it was a “the show must go on” moment.

First, how does anyone look that good at 3:00 a.m. in the morning? There’s not a wrinkle in her face, a hair out of place, and her $1,000 suit looks freshly pressed. Plus, when she gets to the front mic, without a single note, and tells the House: “If we take $86.3 million out of non-discretionary URGL funds and re-dedicate it an already fully funded Section 9 PELAP strategy that’s inconsistent with the federal GMR Act” ... well, it’s just beautiful cinematic prose.

Passionate performance, but occasionally too long winded. You have to acknowledge that he is so smart and sincere he can use his honest, but clever, spin to take audiences places they normally wouldn’t want to go. Critics sided with John Davis, which means he’ll win it next time (and justly so).

BEST CAMEO: Rick Noriega
Bet the critics are sorry now that they didn’t award him the top prize last year for the DocuDrama: “Afghan Freedom Fighter; Houston Electric Lobbyist.”

WORST ACTRESS: Linda Harper-Brown
She nominated herself for Best Actress, then voted against herself. Does she slap herself in the face and say, “Does that hurt?” Representative Harper-Brown may have a promising career as an investment banker or toll booth attendant. Though she’ll never Dance With The Stars.

Been trained by the best thespians, lesbians and equestriennes, and the verdict is in: He’s made for TV, not the silver screen.

Of course, the real awards come when meaningful stuff – the kind of film you can’t cut on the editing room floor – comes down. Look for Puente, Turner of Harris, Keffer and Rose to be fan favorites.

Before I go to Iran in a few minutes, it’s also worth noting that insiders looking for the next new breakthrough artist at The Mouse (industry lingo for Walt Disney Columbia ABC Viacom AOL Dreamworks Miramax) is Joe Straus.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Wednesday’s floor debate will represent the biggest Constitutional shift in executive vs. legislative powers since four-year terms were established 35 years ago.

People, HJR 59 ( is serious stuff. If you threw pre-teen slut medicine, sexy cheerleading, strip-bar taxes and selling the lottery to cure cancer all in a blender, you’d create a potion far milder than the tonic that Billy Clyde’s friend Representative Gary Elkins is proposing – and presumably will send to the voters.

For the handful of Hot Tub readers who have been living on Neptune ... the proposed Constitutional Amendment would allow the Legislature to call its own self into special session for 72 hours for what amounts to a veto-override session. If the Honorable John T. Montford thought the Sunset Review process was “pet food for lobbyists,” HJR 59 must be considered a three-day Lexus session for paid advocates. Not to mention a big giant-ass slap at the Governor.

The only time Billy Clyde recalls a veto override attempt was in the late eighties on a school finance deal. The House Research Organization, which produces better historical data than BC’s faulty brain, says it hasn’t happened since 1979. Whatever. It not exactly like getting your truck washed or grabbing a Big Gulp. I place it in the “big deal” category.

Your main man Billy Clyde is interested in this measure on a number of levels. He considers himself somewhat of a Constitutional Scholar and semi-expert on separation-of-powers issues. He’s also sneaked a number of really crappy bills through the Legislature that got vetoed. Let’s put it this way: the average lobbyist’s session last 140 days; mine lasts 160, if you get my drift.

Most of the stuff that I cared about and Governors vetoed were, to be fair, questionable on a pure public policy basis. Governor Bush vetoed two early in the session – and I BEGGED Laney and Bullock to recognize the authors for a motion to override – but they blew me off. And they were my friends. If you think back, Governor Perry vetoed something like 70 bills in his first session, which he didn’t attend of participate in.

I’ve been very healthy this session. But normally, everyone gets sick at least once. When you work from 6 am to past midnight, eat poorly, don’t get any exercise, are overwhelmed with stress, sleep with near-strangers who claim that what look like genital warts are just “blemishes,” etc. – it’s gonna catch up with you and you need a nap.

That happened to me when Bush was Governor and I just went home and got in bed in the middle of the afternoon. A client, who shall remain nameless (Eric Craven) called me and said that the deadline for signing or vetoing a bill was RIGHT NOW and I needed to go see the Governor or at least Allbaugh and make sure everything was cool. So I got up, stood in the shower, put my suit back on and went to the Governor’s Office, where I was told that Bush wouldn’t see me. Neither would Allbaugh. But Teral Smith was kind enough to invite me in to announce that Bush was gonna veto the bill. Billy Clyde has zero recollection of what the bill did but is sure it was critically important to electric co-op managers.

Billy Clyde had not intended of talking about co-op managers or genital warts, so let’s re-focus on macro Constitutional Issues.

Two clear themes have emerged this session. One, let’s go to dinner early. Two, legislators have fought to assert legislative authority and are reluctant to grant any new powers to the executive branch. The first trend is good, and the second trend is downright healthy from a public policy perspective. The Executive and Legislative branch are SUPPOSED to tussle.

Over the past few sessions, an ex post facto strategy has developed whereby people don’t participate in the process and sue after the fact to strike down an act. I don’t like that. There’s also a lot of “reading legislative intent” into the record, that agencies – though not courts – for some reason take seriously. Statements of legislative intent have slightly more authority than a kindergartener’s drawing that you stick on the refrigerator but less authority than an Executive Order – whatever that means – or an Attorney General’s Opinion, which judges often use as toilet paper.

Here’s a quick and dirty summary of the pros-and-cons of HJR 59:

PRO: The Governor can let the clock run out, veto a bill that had overwhelming legislative support, and there’s not a damn thing House and Senate members can do about it.

CON: The Governor gets blamed for everything that goes wrong – even though he doesn’t get much say in the process. At least let him veto the really horrible stuff without having to do battle with the Legislature once again.

Of course, one of the beauties of a proposed Constitutional Amendment is that, when adopted by at least two thirds of each chamber, it gets filed with the Secretary of State and is placed on the ballot. The absolute most a Governor can do is hang out with the masses at polling joint, vote against it and affix one of those “I VOTED” stickers on his lapel.

Billy Clyde freely admits that his mind works in an odd fashion. Instead of looking at the prospective “good” outcomes or “bad” outcomes, he often crafts strange chaotic scenarios that might result from a piece of legislation. Because – let’s face it – when it happens every single session, on multiple occasions, over and over and over again ... that’s not paranoia or idle speculation. It’s fact.

Will these special veto override sessions become, basically, a second bite of the apple? Will big money – no, not the $1,000 PAC checks but the REAL dough – play a role in what gets taken up and what doesn’t? Will a main gubernatorial strategy be to build a 50-member House base or 11-member Senate core to prevent overrides? Does this proposed amendment actually permit the Governor to, well, govern, with a 33.3 percent support base in the Legislature?

I have no idea. But if you do, come find me in the House gallery tomorrow. This, my cousins, is history in the making.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Billy Clyde has a hard-and-fast rule against commenting on national political stuff. Mainly because he knows as much about U.S. politics as he knows about soccer. But this has enough of a Texas angle to pass the BC Test.

The Sunday morning clips brought us several stories about our learned lawmakers moving up the primary date so that us Texans can better compete with Iowa hog farmers, grumpy New Hampshire white people and Nevada blackjack dealers. Billy Clyde has exactly zero interest in this subject, except to point out that the Legislature has been a tad schizo on this front.

A few sessions ago, the House approved a bill by Austin’s own Sheri Greenberg that would move the primary to, if I recall, May. The bill cleared Senate committee and reached the floor, where some brutally honest debate in that chamber ensued.

Several Senators got up and pointed out, right there in front of God and everyone, that a May primary would give potential challengers more time to organize, raise funds, campaign and perhaps even beat incumbents. Senators started thinking – and flaking. I love it when that happens.

Because the Senate by tradition and for practical reasons has to operate on basically a unanimous-consent basis, Senators always feel odd when they have to reverse course when a bill hits the floor. So on those rare occasions when actual debate moves a Senator to start reconsidering his or her position, the conflicted Senator feels an obligation to announce that, while his or her word is generally the gold standard that you can take to the bank, mark down in ink, carve in stone, etc. ... well, for today only, I am flaking. It may confuse the pediatric nurses and the Liberty High School debate team in the gallery, but Billy Clyde finds it endearing.

Honesty and integrity are not lost values in the East Chamber. When a Senator lies, they tell the world. They just shout it out. Good for them.

Anyway, the bill died right there on the floor. That happens every few sessions.

The reason Texas has a March primary is because Senator Chet Edwards was part of a group of Southern legislators who apparently got to visiting at a hotel bar one night during some conference and decided to create Super Tuesday so that presidential candidates would not simply pander to Iowa pig farmers and New Hampshire hardware stores owners but also to North Carolina tobacco farmers, Texas oilmen and Mississippi plaintiff lawyers.

It made a lot of sense at the time – I mean, who DOESN’T want presidential candidates pandering to them – and the bill passed and state legislators decided to become Presidential Power Players.

Representative Tom Craddick organized the Republicans and all but one or two of them came out for Vice President George H.W. Bush. Granted, it was not a particularly risky position to take, since Bush was already predestined to win Texas. But it represented more actual Capitol presidential action since Governor Shivers endorsed General Eisenhower because of the tidelands issue in 1952.

The Democrats did their part, too. Speaker Lewis came out strong for this obscure Senator from Tennessee who recently won an Academy Award for some porn flick he made – or something like that. Representative Rick Perry, whose nose was rarely more than a few inches behind the Speaker’s butt and who REALLY wanted to be Calendars Chairman, quickly followed suit and claimed to run a lot of the day-to-day Gore operation in Austin. Representative Hugo Berlanga, whose nose was rarely more than a few centimeters behind the Speaker’s butt and who wanted Calendars every bit as much as Perry (and actually got it in the end) also signed up with Gore.

A few of the Speaker’s key chairman, in a fairly gratuitous move designed to demonstrate that they had no interest in what Gib’s butt smelled like, signed up with an obscure red-headed Congressman from Missouri. If I remember correctly, Representatives Pete Laney, Bruce Gibson, Stan Schlueter and others flew around the state campaigning for Gephardt in a brave show of independence.

Meanwhile, newly elected Railroad Commissioner John Sharp took another tact that caused his friends to speculate that he was completely off his rocker and went out and endorsed and campaigned – in a big way – for some really short, boring, obscure Massachusetts governor, who actually won the nomination. Proving once again that Sharp is pretty good at the politics deal.

None of this really matters, because (1) the race was over before (not-so) Super Tuesday and (2) Bush, as expected, won Texas without lifting a finger. Let’s face it: if an unknown welder from Matagorda County named Nasty Dripping Skanky Bush put his name on the presidential ballot, he would win Texas.

Texas has played a role in exactly zero presidential primaries in Billy Clyde’s brief lifetime and just one general election (Humphrey vs. Nixon in ‘68.) Jacking around with the primary dates won’t change things.

Texans should just continue to write checks and raise money and then assume our roles in the Cabinet and run things like we’ve always done.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


When you have a funny feeling about something, best bet is to stick with your gut.

Billy Clyde contemplated taking himself a Spring Break this week. Maybe a quick jaunt over to Dubia or Qatar – hell, maybe even South Padre Island or Lake Fork – and return fresh for the upcoming grueling part of the legislative session.

But fool me once, shame on someone. Fool me twice, shame on either that same someone or maybe someone else or maybe even me. So BC hung around campus all week to listen to the dirty, vile, sex debate taking place in our Capitol, and hindsight shows that was a wise choice.

BC would betcha dollar to a glazed doughnut hole that he’s told the Honorable Rick Perry, the current Governor (really!; he is!; look it up) about the time he took a long weekend exploring Galveston’s deep blue seas at the swim-up bar at the San Luis Hotel while he SHOULDA been bird-dogging the General Services Commission sunset bill. Senate sponsor Bobby Joe Glasgow swore up and done that BC’s two sentences were fine and, because Glasgow could be flaky, BC got the same commitment from Senators Barrientos and Ike “O.H.” Harris. And yet the Monday morning packet showed that the two sentences were removed on Friday afternoon by an amendment offered by Gonzalo and accepted by Glasgow and voted for by O.H.

Lesson learned.

Fortunately, Senator E.B. Johnson found a provision tucked in the bill that granted Bubba Steen enhanced law enforcement retirement benefits and she filibustered it to death on the closing weekend and I got what is referred to in parliamentary parlance as a “do-over.” Don’t remember what Eddie Bernice’s problem was with Bubba, who did have a highly dangerous job as GSC executive director, but it saved Billy Clyde’s butt.

(Full disclosure: This post is totally true.)

Even more fortunately, Representative Wolens read the entire bill the next morning as we started the special session and found TONS of stuff way more offensive than Bubba’s stuff or Billy Clyde’s language (which I told everyone was actually John Sharp’s language, a claim that had a healthy grain of non-lie in it). So by the time Wolens exposed all the goodies for legislators’ half-wit cousins buried in the conference report and a fresh bill was produced, the Billy Clyde (excuse me, I mean Sharp) provision was looking like it came straight from Common Cause.

The point is: Governor Perry went half the way around the globe at precisely the time that the Legislature had decided to re-assert legislative supremacy in what, in our little community, can be loosely considered a major constitutional separation of powers debate on a number of fronts. Although, to the Governor’s credit, if you read the crayon coloring on the stall and realize the envelope is being pushed back your direction, maybe eight days on Infidel Island beats the snot out of slogging through losing battles in your very own Capitol.

But just as the Legislature should try to stake its ground, the Chief Executive should try to stake his. Preferably from a Western Hemispheric base.

People who brush off Rick Perry as just being lucky forget the old truism: you make your own luck. But Governor – and I say this as someone who honestly wants you to succeed – please call Cliff and get him back on the payroll. Now.

UPDATE: Some good points received, some good points granted. And yes, I do have examples:

1) If the pre-teen anti-cancer slut drug was so important, why not tell Albert to put it on the list in August or September? Same outcome.

2) If you believe that innovative private investment is the only sound way to play catch-up on transportation (and that could very well be correct), why let Chairman Williamson become such a lightening rod that the policy discussion gets lost in the personality disputes? And make Krusse catch so much crap? Name another guy, then appoint Williamson your chief of staff this summer. Is there no irony or cleverness left in this building?

3) If the agency in charge of housing delinquent youths turns out to being sexually assaultive on a regular basis with those students/inmates (studmates?), why not take really drastic action at once? Can’t hurt nothing. I am fairly certain, without even reviewing polling data, that state-sanctioned youth rape and assault is not a winning political issue.

4) If there’s an impending crisis about electric availability, why not be an advocate for massive new transmission capacity and punt the generation stuff to the PUC? Win-win situations are good.

5) Two words: Courthouse Restoration. Billy Clyde has no idea if any more need restoring, but people love that shit. In the alternative, three words: Main Street Restoration.

6) Texas is a long way from running out of water. But get out there and act like you care. Conservation (i.e.: don’t run sprinklers during a gully washer) and minimal water development bond authority (say, enough that President Bush gives Texas a 200-fold-match before he leaves office) will make you look like the water sage.

Just some thoughts.

Friday, March 9, 2007


Today was just wonderful.

My fancy alarm clock went off this morning to the cheerful voices of both Sam and Bob, back together again after a week of absolute turmoil that shook Austin to its core. Some narrow-minded people objected to an off-the-cuff remark Sammy Allred made about Joe Biden, the African-American Senator from Delaware and ... well you know the story.

The sissies at KVET gave Sammy – he of Geezinslaw fame – one week of D-Hall, then let him have his mic back. Having been cleared of the racial accusations, Sammy celebrated by playing his hit song "Help, I’m White and I Can’t Get Down" – widely regarded as the best country rap song of all time. Billy Clyde hasn't felt so good at 7 am in a long, long time. The earth is back on its axis.

If anyone wants 100-percent genuine guaranteed proof that the average American has the short-term historical perspective of a guppy, consider this: After kicking Sammy off the air for a remark that requires quite a stretch to be considered racist, they replaced him with (drum roll please) Kinky Friedman. Is Billy Clyde the only bloke in town who found a bit of irony in this?

The few people who went to the Capitol today also seemed to be in a good mood. It didn’t seem like the 60th Day. The practice of just closing up shop or placing a "Gone Fishing" sign on the door is nothing new. But Representative Jim Keffer and Representative Charlie Geren warrant special recognition for their clever signs posted today.

Geren’s office had a sign with arrows pointing in all directions encircling the words: "DROP BLUEBACKS OFF HERE". It would be funnier if BC knew how to do visual stuff on this blog. But trust me.

Keffer managed to one-up him. His sign read:


The new members could take a lesson from Geren and Keffer and learn that you can be a serious legislator without getting your panties all wadded up.

There was free catfish in Chairman H. Ray Hilderbran’s office. Hmm. Billy Clyde was pretty certain that his personal Lord and Savior was looking down on him in a kindly fashion today. "But wait, there’s MORE!" as the UHF ads says.

As Billy Clyde was exiting the Capitol, one of his oldest and dearest friends – now a superstar power broker and mega-lobbyist – who wishes to remain anonymous (Ellen Williams) told me that one of her clients (or maybe just friends, I wasn’t listening carefully at first) reads this blog and, on that basis of that alone, has a crush on me.

Now when Billy Clyde overcame his rather rudimentary technological skills and actually launched this deal, he considered the ramifications: political alienation; career destruction; public scorn; libel suits; etc. But never, in BC’s wildest dreams (even those really really good dreams) did he think that writing this idiotic blog would result in sultry vixens having schoolgirl fantasies about The Man, The Legend, Billy Clyde.

Totally unbeknownst to me, Ellen was in the cafeteria earlier this week with her friend, the chick who runs the Billy Clyde Fan Club, and pointed me out to her. So finally, after years and years of simply dreaming the impossible dream, I have my very own stalker.

Did I mention that today was wonderful?
UPDATE: I was sitting around visiting with a VERY high-ranking Senate aide yesterday (let's just call her LC) and we were trading 60th-day stories and shooting the breeze. She told me that the Governor was actually out doing some 60th-day shopping for, get ready for this, selling the lottery.
I didn't think much about this until I saw in the local daily today (Saturday) that Representative Dennis Bonnen had filed HB 3937, a bill to be entitled an act relating to selling the lottery. Bonnen, who is one of the good guys, didn't exactly give the proposal a ringing endorsement. But it showed that he is polite, courteous, accommodating, process-oriented, open-minded and kind. We need more of that stuff.
Anyway, I think even the most casual observer would acknowledge that selling the lottery is a pretty big deal. And not likely to happen in the next 80 days.
I guess the really illustrative part is that even important people -- say, the Governor of the nation's second largest state -- have to spend a little bit of time on the 60th day to find a lawmaker willing to cure cancer.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


Been getting stopped several times a day lately at the Capitol by people complaining that there has been little new content -- "posting" is the technical blogger jargon -- in the past week or so.

Folks, if you are THAT desperate for mindless entertainment, buy a pet monkey.

Billy Clyde started this deal for his own amusement. If you want to join in, well, the more the merrier. But with all due respect to my friends -- and I consider everyone a friend -- GET. OFF. MY. ASS.

Sorry for that nasty outburst. My bad. Let's talk a little about the Texas Legislature, the world's greatest deliberative democratic institution and currently the leading source of deforestation on the planet.

The week leading up to the 60th day of the session always puts me in a foul mood. I know it's sort of a fake deadline, but BC likes to play along ... because he's a stickler for the rules. If the posted speed is 65, I drive 64. Just to be on the safe side. No one can accuse me of being an anarchist.

When we get close to the 60th day, people are scurrying around like a rattler with its head cut off. Paper is flying. Thanks to these Internet Web Machines that are downright ubiquitous these days, everyone from the assistant volleyball coach in Willis to the paranoid banking mogul in El Paso can read these newly filed bills. They find one they hate (read: don't understand) and immediately phone their elected officials in Austin and want to give the REALLY LONG version of why some obscure piece of legislation that won't even be referred for a week or two has already cost them their retirement and killed their pets and is responsible for the drought. Can a locus infestation of Biblical proportion be far behind?

Typical conservation:

HYPERVENTILATING CONSTITUENT: Representative Smedley, why would you do this to me?

HOUSE MEMBER SMEDLEY: What did I do to you?

HC: House Bill 4938. Don't be coy with me! You wrote it, and I take personal offense.

HMS: I've never written a bill before. What does it do?

HC: The actual legislation PURPORTS to regulate pesticides at Texas wineries. But that part in SECTION 17, amending Article 2183(c)(A)(3), will shut down the proposed new exit that would feed into the property I inherited from my Uncle Ernie -- may he rest in peace -- and would kill my plans to build that that convenience store/pool hall/bait and tackle shop that I've dreamed about since I was a tyke. You know that.

HMS: Have I met you?

HC: Not formally. But quit trying to dodge the issue like all you Austin politicians do.

You get the point.

Now paid advocates -- who, contrary to public belief, are also human being persons -- face the same kind of nonsense. A presumably sophisticated client can turn into a flaming moron when he is permitted to read bills. Which, I may add, he has no business doing unless his lobbyist sends it to him.

Here's how it works. The client is in a foul mood because he had a flat tire on the way to work and a thunderstorm cancelled his golf game and the attractive young secretary who he just hired and who can't type, make a copy, send a fax or master the primitive six-line phone system is menstruating heavily. So, bored, he gets on the Information Superhighway and starts reading bills. It takes a while, but he finds one egregious enough -- in his own bird brain -- for him to phone up his asleep-at-the-switch lobbyist.

The client rants and raves and curses and complains and repeats himself over and over and invokes patriotic stuff and then finally, after about an hour, give you the bottom line: If the Legislature requires Texas-based third party administrators for off-shore reinsurance companies to be free of murder convictions, then the state's economy will be RUINED.

"I've suspected they would pull this power play one day," the client says. "All the high-paying TPA jobs will move to the Cayman Islands and the Texas economy will collapse."

The paid advocate -- who's been staring out the window and subconsciously calculating the number of sidewalk pedestrians carrying Starbucks cups (about half) and hasn't listened to anything this guy has said whatsoever-- suddenly hears this part and has a revelation:

Wonder what it takes to get a third party administrator license in the Cayman Islands? Cuz it sounds like a good gig to me.

Thursday, March 1, 2007


As a country conservative right-winger, I should probably just shut up. But Representative John Smithee is a country conservative and he has good sense, so I'm following his lead.

Chairman Smithee got on the mic yesterday and said, basically, let's think about this. That's considered wild in the modern legislating community.

The heart of this House debate was about Representative Debbie Riddle's bill about getting tough on child molesters. I am for this bill and hate child molesters. Glad to get that policy statement off my chest.

Representative Smithee had the nuts (some people call it "guts") to stand up and say that the House was considering a rather imperfect bill. Different people have different ideas. But I know that when John Smithee stands up and says something, it matters. Mainly because he's the smartest member of the House and uses the front mic judiciously and knows what he's talking about and is universally thought of as an honest broker. As far as I know, Chairman Smithee is also kind to his wife and kids and pets.

Anyway, he gave a speech yesterday that basically shut down the House. Not because he philosophically disagreed; because he actually read it the bill.

No longer will I support the death penalty. In any shape or form. Because is scares me.

What if I'm wrong?

If I change my left rear tire when I shoulda changed my left front tire, that presents a problem. If I sanction the legal killing of a person who or may not be guilty, well ... that can weigh on you.

My high school friend Misty moved to Austin and got killed. I went to court and testified during the punishment phase that the no-good rapist murdering bastard should die -- and die now. The state eventually killed him and I'm glad. But no mas.

It's not than I'm anti-capital punishment. It's just that someone higher up the food chain -- say, God -- oughta make those decisions.