Saturday, May 5, 2007


Blame it on Bill Clyde being a hypersensitive New Millennium kind of feller, I guess. But he detects that there’s been entirely too much personal intra-chamber bickering in your Texas House this whole dadgum session.

I had me one of my world-renowned deep-thinkin’ spells this morning while in line at the dry cleaners (absent an abnormally high number of spilled food or exploding Diet Coke accidents, I now have plenty of shirts to carry me through to sine die). The BC noggin was racing with innovative ideas to bring more respectful behavior to House proceedings.

Some proposals Billy Clyde took off the table because they were simply not practical at this late date. For example, House rules could permit each non-chairman to pick two committees on which to serve as Chairman of the Day. A very inclusive idea, based loosely on the Pastor of the Day and Doctor of the Day (a.k.a. known as my roving primary care physician) programs that have served Texans so well for so long. Again, a little late for this go-round. But this reform initiative just screams "Interim Study Committee."

The only really solid, meaningful idea I came up with that could easily be put into place this session and actually make a difference is so simple yet makes so much sense that Billy Clyde can’t believe that it hasn’t been around as long as the institution itself.

Mandatory Nicknames.

Here’s kind my rough-draft thinking on the deal:

1) Every member would fill out a confidential Nickname Preference Card. In cases in which two or more members select the same nickname, the Speaker’s office shall immediately notify the members, who can negotiate amongst themselves. If the members cannot reach an accommodation, the member with the most Willie Nelson albums (tapes and CDs not permitted to avoid cheating) wins and that person’s chosen nickname will be placed on the Nickname Confirmation List. A new Nickname Preference Card(c) shall immediately be given to the loser(s).

2) The Chief Clerk or, in the event the Chief Clerk is a poor typist, the Chief Clerk’s designee, shall compile the Nickname Confirmation List and affix a very official-looking House stamp on the list and Xerox one hundred and fifty (150) copies and place the list in each member’s box. Upon delivery to the members’ boxes, the Speaker shall announce to the House, if in session, or immediately upon all members registering on the next calendar day, the following: “Members, listen up now. The Nickname Confirmation Lists are in your boxes.”

3) Nickname Confirmation Lists would have to lay out for 12 hours after the announcement. Except we all know that members (not to mention Billy Clyde) won’t be able to wait that long, so this rule is just automatically suspended. No motion necessary. The Nickname Confirmation List shall immediately be placed on the Emergency of Epic Proportion Calendar and take precedence over any and all other matters before the House.

4) Before proceeding to action on the Nickname Confirmation List, the House shall observe a three-minute, uh, whatever the opposite of “moment of silence” is. During this period, members may sing, make funny noises, bark, yell “YOU THE MAN!,” or otherwise express themselves in accordance with Section 8 of the Texas Constitution’s Bill of Rights. On motion of the Chair or any one member, time may be extended an additional three minutes – then the games must begin.

5) The House would proceed to the Nickname Confirmation List. The Speaker shall recognize members for motions to sever by stating, “Hey, y’all be quiet, and bring your motions to sever down front.”

6) A member who moves to sever shall be given two minutes to explain the reasons for the motion, For example: “I move to sever on the grounds that he didn’t give this any thought whatsoever, it lacks the slightest hint of imagination, and the literary reference upon which the nickname is based is so obscure as to render the nickname meaningless.

4) A member whose nickname is challenged has 20 seconds to move to table the motion or to leave the nickname to the Will Of The House. If a majority of members present and voting decides to sever or reject a nickname, the Chair shall accept substitute nicknames from the floor from the first five members who hustle down front.

5) Certain nicknames shall be prohibited. “Daniel” cannot be “Dan” or “Michael” be “Mike” or “Osama” be “Sam” or ... well, you get the idea. Also, members with pre-existing well-established nicknames (Charles “Doc” Anderson” or O.H. “Ike” Harris) must choose a new nickname for purposes of conducting legislative business.

6) Once the final Nickname Confirmation List is finalized and approved by the House, the following terms may not be used for the duration of the session: Mr. Speaker or Speaker XYZ; Mr. Chairman or Chairman XYZ; Representative or Representative XYZ; or any variety of Mister, Missus, Ms, or anything remotely close. Remember, nicknames only.

Imagine, if you will, the comity and sense of goodwill created by dialogue like:


“Snoopy, for what purpose?”

“Will Rerun yield for a question?”

“Rerun, do you yield?

“I do.”

“Rerun yields, Snoopy.”

“Thank you, Mudcat.
Rerun, is this the same proposal that Uncle Duke, Jailbreak, and Spanky brought before Agent 99's committee earlier this session?”

“No, Snoopy, this applies to the valuation of rolling stock statewide and was unanimously reported from Peach Fuzz’s panel. It covers every county.”

“Thanks Rerun. You have a good amendment.”

“Rerun sends up an amendment, King Tut moves to table.
Homeys, vote aye, vote no. It’s a record vote. Disco can ring the beeeeell, ring the bell.”

Billy Clyde would eat this up faster than Tadpole polishes off Wavy Gravy’s homemade chicken fried steaks.


Miss M said...

Question: Can members adopt nicknames already frequently assigned to members by everyone else, like:

Mr. Madden = Mr. Magoo
Phil King = Ned Flanders
Debbie Riddle = Austin Powers

Also, I move to suspend all necessary rules to take up and consider leaving "Tuffy" intact.

CapitolAnnex said...

This post is hilarious!

I move that Billy Clyde take nominations for nicknames right here in the comments.

#1 Fan said...


THAT made me laugh out loud.

Here's one for the list:
Vicki Truitt = The Biscuit

Anonymous said...

Delwin Jones and Anna Mowery would have to flip a coin for "Who? What? Where Am I?"

Anonymous said...

Joe Nixon's nick name was apt.

I move that we retire it in deference to one who bore such an uncanny resemblance in both appearance and substance.

Cody said...

Speaking of intra-chamber bickering, check out our analysis and copy of Dewhurst's soon-to-be-famous retracted letter on the Voter ID bill. My sources suggest a real Texas filibuster is in the works.

It's here:

Thanks for the blogging Clyde. Keep it up.