Sunday, June 24, 2007


There are some (ignorant) people who think Billy Clyde is not big on traveling. Well, tell that to hospitality professionals stretching from Port Aransas to New Mexico to Colorado ... and be prepared to feel silly. BC has a valid passport and has frequented the continents of Mexico and Canada many, many times.

In fact, Billy Clyde would be heading for Old Mexico this very day were it not for the fact that he forgot, until Friday, all about Lara’s 40th Birthday Party bash on Isla Mujeres. If I get my mind highly focused after breakfast, it’s possible I could make plans and leave later today or tomorrow.

But BC is no Governor Rick Perry. That dude wouldn’t touch Quintana Roo with a 10-foot pole. He likes to go to odd places far, far away. His call, of course. Actually, I think he deserves to go anywhere he wants. No skin off my butt, and after all, the man is Governor. But look at his choices over the past few months.

United Arab Emirates. Can’t really say much about that place. Supposedly has an indoor ski slope and no one there ever has to work.

Qatar. The Aggies have established something called TAMUQ there. They probably invited Perry over so he wouldn’t veto their special item funding.

Constantinople. This was probably a good trip. From what I’ve heard, it was sorta like a meet-up of the Tri-Lateral Commission and the Masons. Lots of big-time business, academic and government heavyweights from across the globe meeting to lay the framework for one-world governance. This may surprise some of Billy Clyde’s friends, but BC thinks one-world rule is probably a good thing.

First, the U.S. would more than likely dominate the deal. Ergo, Texas would have disproportionate influence over the domination – and rightfully so. I know about the black helicopter conspiracy theorist out there, but come on! What’s wrong with Texas ruling the world? Show Billy Clyde voting aye. And a big shout-out to you, Governor Perry, for helping to make it happen.

Israel. This is actually a place I would like to see, and our Chief Executive is there right now. He’s getting a big honor for loving the Jewish State. If in fact the Governor has been a gigantic supporter of Israel ... well, good going Guv. Me too. I’m totally on board. And give Bibi my best if you see him.

Jordan. After the Governor receives his big honor, he’s taking his lovely wife – our First Lady – on a sight-seeing trip to Jordan. Can’t say that I’ve ever thought of Jordan as a big tourist destination, but what do I know. Sounds better than touring vineyards in Syria or playing golf in Iran. To each their own – that’s my motto.

I guess the deal that’s strange to me is: why these places? Turkey? Qatar? Is the South of France closed? Did someone drain Venice? Check out rural Quebec. It’s great this time of year.

Our leader caught a lot of heat for going to The Bahamas a few years ago. That criticism was totally unwarranted. (Though the thought of Mike Morrissey sunning and scuba diving on the sunny white beaches is one that I REALLY want out of my head.) Billy Clyde has been to The Bahamas, and the place rocks. Jordan? Not so much.

To be fair, Governor White – who led our troops (Texas Guard) into battle in Central America – bought that fancy Mitsubishi jet and traveled a ton. Clements sold it, because his own King Air B200 was plenty good to get him to his hot spots – Forney and his New Mexico ranch. Governor Richards mainly went to domestic, rather pedestrian places like L.A., New York and the District of Columbia. Governor Bush occasionally went to his family’s compound (man, don’t you wish you had a “family compound”!) in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Billy Clyde has been to Maine. It’s nice.

Governor Perry should feel free to globetrot all he wants, to anywhere he wants. But if wants my advice – which I feel rather certain that he doesn’t – he might sneak in a trip to Brownwood, Brenham and Bonham. Or maybe Forney.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Since the early 70s, Texas Monthly has compiled a list of The Best and The Worst Legislators. It’s obviously subjective. Billy Clyde usually agrees with about 70 percent of its picks.

The latest list was released today, apparently to great fanfare. If I understand correctly, TM had a breakfast taco party this morning for T.J. Shroat and Ross Ramsey and let the cat out of the bag. My facts may be slightly off.

Patti Kilday, the brilliant former DT-H reporter who now compiles the Best/Worst List for Texas Monthly, did her predictable excellent job with the list. Full-time bridge player and baseball game watcher Paul Burka, however, still insists on being involved – so there are some flaws. My main beef is the spot news feel of the list. Where is the historical perspective? Billy Clyde can’t provide a true historical perspective, but can offer up a list of The Five Best and Five Worst that I Know Of Legislators, to wit:


Byron Tunnell, Smith County. The country gentleman with the white tie birthed the modern Parks and Wildlife Department and became Speaker. Law partner Bob Bullock and Tunnell took an East Texas hokey-tonk as a fee in a legal matter (bad idea). Both agreed not to take cash out of the till or play aroundwith the help. On first night under “new management,” Tunnell cleaned out the register and Bullock screwed the waitress.

Robert E. “Bob” Johnson, Dallas County. Had to run at-large in Dallas County in the pre-single-member days. Came out strongly against taxes and integration. Despite a strong “state rights” (wink, nod) position and public declaration of Republicans as “northern liberal sissies,” won huge following of black and GOP officials across the state.

Bill Moore, Brazos County. Personified expression “It’s better to be feared than loved.” Fostered the state’s oil and gas economy by taking to the Senate floor and demanding better tax treatment for his oil wells. Understood the changing demographics of the state and advocated for better treatment of senior citizens – particularly those living in his nursing homes. Was probably too hard on Babe Schwartz, but it made good theater.

O.H. “Ike” Harris, Dallas County. Assumed his older brother’s nickname of “Ike” when running for SMU Student President during a period when SMU campus liked Ike. Parlayed that into 40-year political career in House and Senate, only briefly interrupted after a certain president got assassinated and Dallas had a quick pang of White Guilt. Once passed legalized gambling, interstate banking, and branch banking in one special session – while providing critical support for budget and tax fix. Just brilliant. When he wanted to be.

Wade Spillman, Hidalgo County. Forget the “WWJD” bumper sticker. Jesus was before my time. But using the “What Would Wade Spillman Do” approach will surely get you into Heaven. No one could break down complex matters of public policy into simple right/wrong terms like Mr. Spillman. Even if it were just lunch or a brief conversation in the hallways ... you always felt like you learned something and came away a better human after visiting with Wade Spillman. WWJD? Give us more Wade Spillmans.

Craig Washington, Harris County. The votes have been counted, the outcome assured. But wait! Craig Washington wishes to speak. He speaks so well that people on the floor actually change their votes because of his power of persuasion. Lots of people think that he wasted his enormous talent. That may be true. But when focused and determined and on a mission ... like watching Superman and MLK, Jr. on steroids.


Glenn Kothmann, Bexar County. Billy Clyde is pretty good at figuring out people. Yet Glenn Kothmann eluded him. What is he doing and why is he here? He refused to speak on the Senate floor during his 15 or 20 years there. Had a socially liberal, business conservative record but for some reason was most proud of his 100-percent voting record with the Farm Bureau – while representing downtown San Antonio. Billy Clyde personally saw him introduce himself to Bill Hobby at a reception – like his Lieutenant Governor and presiding officer was a complete stranger. His toupee and fake teeth didn’t make him a ladies man, as he found out when he hit on a well-known (and hot and young) lesbian one evening on the Senate floor. Weird.

Mike Martin, Smith County. BC would have totally forgot about this dude except he ran for some obscure Western Travis County city council seat a month or so ago. Besides being a horrible lawmaker, he based his re-election campaign on a sympathy factor by having his brother shoot him and blaming it on Satanic Cults. Then he hid out in his armoire, the cops found him, he fled to Australia ... you get the point. Strange.

Jan McKenna, Tarrant County. Let me sum it up this way: Kent Grusendorf beat her in a GOP primary because conservatives in Arlington were embarrassed that Rep. McKenna was such a right-winger. Regardless of how you feel about the abortion issue (Billy Clyde doesn’t care one way or the other), McKenna could find a fetus in every bill. Length of hunting seasons. School lunch. Private sector maintenance of highways. Tuition revenue bonds for a new science building at Stephen F. Austin University. ABORTION BILLS ALL!! The bitch was really crazy.

Ben Barnes, Comanche County. This is a tough one. The man is a worker, his bullshit is superb ... but let’s face it. He went from being a pimply faced door-to-door vacuum salesman to Speaker to Lieutenant Governor to almost Governor and then President while no one was really minding the store. And all before the age of 35. He’s the Paris Hilton of state government. Great at garnering attention and seeming important. But like whipped cream, of no nutrional value. Walking away from his enormous debts while John Connally took it like a man provides the greatest contrast between a statesman and opportunist. Would you do business with him?

El Paso (Special Award). You can’t really expect the rest of the state to treat you with the respect you think you deserve when you send us cross-carrying AIDS victims, hot check artists, imprisoned bribe takers, Tati Santiesban (he was one of the CLEANER ones), ineffectual iconoclastic loons, ineffectual housewives, ineffectual criminals, ineffectual drug dealers, ineffectual biker chicks ... The other 253 counties will start taking you seriously when you start taking yourself seriously. Seriously. Pat Haggerty and Joe Pickett are really good. And y’all want to beat them?

(Editors Note: Billy Clyde is in a secure undisclosed location that lacks cell service. Attempts to reach him shall be treated as crimes against the state.)

Saturday, June 9, 2007


Common sense simply dictates that Billy Clyde has a lot of really important insight to share as Texans anxiously enter the final week for the Governor to sign/veto/file without signature those 1,400 or so bills that await his action.

Well .. nah. Not so much.

So I’m gonna delve into the apparently one and only area about which Americans give two hoots and a holler – yes, Ms. Paris Hilton. But it will be from an historic, analytic point of view based on the one subject in the whole world that BC has exhaustive expertise: The Tribulations and Trials Of Mr. Orenthal James Simpson.

First, a little background.

It was June of 1994. Life was good. BC spent most of his days writing position papers and news releases and getting yelled at on behalf of the Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock Re-Election Campaign. Sure, Mr. Bullock could be a tad, uh, mercurial from time to time. But the man had a great heart and really wanted to do right. Plus, the folks in the office – Tony, Steve, Susan, Stephen, Chuck, Lissa, Liza, DeDe, Barbara, et al – were simply joys to be around. Quality with a Big Q.

Of course, having an opponent who could not even properly drool helped. Having millions of dollars to our opponent’s hundreds also made life pleasant. And the consultants – Matthew, Mark, Jack, and David – didn’t come around enough to mess things up.

Well, in the middle of all this perfectness, I found myself taking off one afternoon to give a speech in San Antonio on a totally different matter. BC finished and started the trek north on your I-35 Interstate road. Every single radio station was carrying the same story: O.J. Simpson (they thought) was engaged in a slow-speed pursuit by the LAPD, LA County Sheriff’s Department, the Highway Patrol, the FBI, the CIA, the NSC, and for all I know, ODB and NWA.

So I punched it. Must get to Austin immediately. Back to campaign headquarters. Where we had just spent an obscene sum on a GIANT big screen teevee that we needed to watch the Tonya Harding wedding night sex tape (true story).

Can’t really put my finger on what makes a 20-mile-per-hour chase of a White Bronco that may or may not contain a former Heisman Trophy winner who may have kilt his former wife and her favorite waiter so interesting ... but hey, you watched it, too. About five o’clock, one of the gals in the office reminded me that she had set up a blind date for me that evening and perhaps I should go home and meet her there when she arrived in a hour or two. Thank God for good staff work.

But when I got home, I couldn’t get out of my suit or take a shower or fix a drink or go to the bathroom ... because the chase was on. About 7, the girl (we’ll call her Cassie, cuz that’s her name) showed up and we exchanged pleasantries and she noticed that I had the O.J. Show on and wanted to watch and I said “by all mean” and she was as interested in it as me. A women after my own heart. After the Bronco arrived at Rockingham and the drama got hot there, I sheepishly asked: “Do you want to just order in?” She responded: “I wanted to suggest that, but I figured you’d think I was weird. Hell yeah let’s order in!”

From that bizarre day when seemingly normal people were transfixed on a surreal truck chase to the end of the trial two years later ... the O.J. Simpson trial changed and shaped my life in strange ways. Consider:

*On Easter Sunday 1998, I spent the morning not in church praising the resurrection of my personal savior the Son of God. Nope. Me and Rebecca and Jim Pease were in the fashionable Brentwood area of west L.A. at the Rockingham address taking pictures (I’m looking for them). We also took pictures of me standing on the sidewalk of the Bundy location – just feet from where the actual (alleged) murders took place.

*I took the day off – and encouraged others to join me – twice during that long trial. Man, am I ever prescient. The first was the day when F. Lee Bailey got Mark Furman to admit that he was a liar. The second was the day when Marcia Clark and Chris Darden let The Juice try on the glove (“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit”). I also skipped a lovely Paggi House lunch to go home and catch up on Court TV the EXACT DAY when Dr. Henry Lee proclaimed: “Something not right. Very very wrong.”

*The day the verdict came down, I was on a golf trip with an unnamed lobbyist (Joey Bennett) at the Waterwood Resort in Polk County. As you’ll recall, the jury informed the court the day before that it had reached a verdict. Judge Lance Ito, however, was not willing to let go. He said the verdict would be announced at ten a.m. (noon Texas time, unless you live in El Paso) and so we played golf that morning until about 9:45, at which point we put the cart in high gear and got back to the cabana. NOT GUILTY! HIGH FIVE! NOT GUILTY! HIGH FIVE! Then we played another 27 or so holes of golf. Frankly, it was kind of a letdown. Over. Done. Finished. The End of an Era. Although I’m still more than a little intrigued how the golf course maintenance workers – way out on the 6th hole in the middle of nowhere – knew the verdict so quickly.

Billy Clyde is a big fan of the City of Angels. But let’s get real. If the fine folks in Los Angeles are willing to flood the streets for a glimpse of a no-talent skank who’s in the hoosegow for having a suspend driver’s license – then the memory and sanctity of the O.J. Trial and its greatness is besmirched, if not completed ruined. People, let’s keep our L.A. star crime scandals dignified. Please.

If I may be so bold as to paraphrase former Hidalgo County Judge Lloyd Bentsen Jr.: “Paris, I knew O.J. Simpson. O.J. Simpson was a friend of mine. Ma’am, you’re no O.J. Simpson!”

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


Man, Billy Clyde really hopes he dozed off and dreamt most of this stuff.

If not, I’m gonna run a Google search (gratuitous tech wizard reference) to find the nearest Army Recruiting Center and volunteer right this very minute. I’ve even packed BC’s favorite GI Joe sleeping bag in case the joint is closed so he can be first in line tomorrow when it opens.

See, I had the DVR machine (hip tech reference #2) tape these presidential debates on the Wolf Blitzer Show and just now watched ‘em ... and they scare me. Real bad.

If this is the best the good ‘ol USofA has to offer, Tom Tancredo can have his stinking country. Billy Clyde’s going to Mesopotamia, where life is sweet.

BC’s original plan was to not give a rat’s behind about the presidential race for another 12 years, when the Bush Twins become eligible to run, win, and lead. You know, when people finally have a candidate (or a ticket, perhaps?) that fills us as a nation with hope, imagination, and a common sense of national pride.

You didn’t hear this from me ... but word on the street is The Twins are already perfecting a new combination dance/drinking game called “Push The Button.” They’ve been practicing, on a purely minor, experimental basis, out in Area 52. The pyrotechnics, according to Jenna, “sorta looks like those clouds they made in that old timey war granddad went to, but tons bigger and in color.”

Unfortunately, Billy Clyde will miss the fun. He’s throwing himself on the first improvised exploding device before he even checks into the Iraqi Army hotel. Or maybe it’s more like a hut or hooch or barrack or canopy or pup tent. Anyway, guess that’s the fun part of traveling and seeing new places. BC doesn’t like to brag ... but continual, lifelong learning is what keeps this brain razor sharp.

Let’s get back to these debates, if it’s okay with you soon-to-be-deported fellow Americans.



Billy Clyde follows this stuff super-crazy close. If you can’t keep up with all the jargon and insider baseball (BALL FOUR!) scholarly analysis, please don’t feel like you’ve come down with a nasty strain of TB and get on a plane. Your friend and buddy will walk you through it, candidate by candidate.

Hillary Clinton: If you don’t know who she is, you have typed in an incorrect World Wide Web computer Internet Protocol unique number (smug super-duper tech reference #3).
PLUS: Tied for fourth (with Huckabee) for best hair.
ANTI: Can’t win; people don’t like her; Chelsea – or Amy Carter – more electable.

Barack Obama: The giant crowds and enthusiast support he generated early on by this State (maybe U.S.?) Senator have dissipated now that people know that Barack and Borat are totally different people.
PRO: Great speaker, youthful good looks, upbeat message appeals to the large segment of Americans looking for new style of leadership in Washington.
CON: Frontrunner. Still not Borat.

John “John” Edwards: After six years serving in the Senate as a Southern moderate with impressive foreign affairs ideas and even running four years ago on the national ticket, he’s suddenly let a bunch of hacks remake him into some me-too soulless peacenik.
PRO: Tied for first (with Romney) for best hair; unbelievably monstrous home in the woods.
CON: Thinks North America and South America are “two countries.” Rural roots, but not a real Walton family member.

The Field: Richardson just in it for the political groupie tail; Biden has hair plugs; Dodd is shorter than Gary Coleman; Kucinich wants to return to his home planet; and Mike Gravel is almost out of miles and down to his last three round-trip tickets to Alaska

Rudolph Giuliani: The People’s Mayor was Mr 9/11. But he’s also been Miss 9/11. Americans haven’t voted for a President whose name ends in a vowel in its history (no, I didn’t look it up). McKinley and Kennedy’s name ends in “y” – not a legitimate part of the vowel family.
PRO: Will say what he thinks and sounds good and all take-charge authoritative-like when he says it. Frontrunner.
CON: Comes from the New York wing of the GOP that used to blast TDR and Nelson Rockefeller and other crazy right-wingers who couldn’t get elected dogcatcher in Texas when the state was all D.

Mitt “Mitt” Romney: On paper, he should have been the perfect candidate – brilliant resume, great speaker, smart, rich, Olympic savior with great hair. But apparently he uses the same political consultants as John Edwards. Dude, you don’t have to sprint to the right; your competition if Rudy Giuliani!
PRO: Political dynastic credentials of Hillary; fresh face appeal of Obama; (used to) lack the inherent controversy of Giuliani; not a flaky geezer like McCain.
CON: Seems like Mormons cannot physically feel pain from daily self-inflicted wounds.

John McCain: He’s a bona fide war hero and skilled pure legislator who will speak the unvarnished truth roughly 85 percent of the time. But America is kinda tired of his unvarnished truth. When Paris Hilton says “you’re overexposed” and “wearing thin” ...
PRO: Probably would do a pretty good job and would try real hard.
CON: Uh, sir? That’s your cue. Exit stage right. No! Your other right!

The Field: Huckabee has the Hope, Arkansas problem; Jim “Gary” Gilmore can’t make people believe he’s held a bunch of top political jobs for 20 years; Thompson spent 30 years declaring for President and he’s too late; Tancredo actually forcibly said (not a joke) that the USA is most definitely not a nation of immigrants; Hunter is just running to delay his entry into prison.

Ron Paul bothers Billy Clyde the most – because BC STILL can’t get that awful 1984 U.S. Senate radio ad out of his head (Ron Paul Best Of All Ron Paul Best Of All Ron Paul Best Of All Ron Paul Best Of All). UGGGHH! STOP!

If that ad infects your mind the way it has mine – well, by all means join me on my little trip. My sources say the government picks up the whole tab. And you will be a long, long way from Tom Tancredo.