Change is Bad.*

*This post is not about Obama -- but incidentally, have you been to The Obama Store on East 11th yet? Heaven is a place on Earth!

No, this post really isn't about Obama, I promise. It's about the new Monarch Apartments. Or condos, I really don't get what the difference is these days. If you aren't familiar with the building, it's the halfhearted one to the west of the Middle Finger Building (360) and looks like it has a giant, glowing maxi pad on top of it. I'm told that's supposed to represent the building's wings, keeping with the butterfly metaphor, but again -- when was the last time you heard about wings when you weren't watching a Kotex commercial?

Even with the terrible, bloated architecture of the building, I'd be able to ignore it if the wings stayed the same color. But they don't. In fact, they change colors con.stant.ly. The other night I was at a party at the Headliner's Club (dreams do come true!) fielding questions about where I was moving to and faster than I could down a glass of free wine, the wings would change from white to pink to blue to turquoise.

I don't always mind Austin's growth -- in fact, I rather like the expanding Austin skyline and I can't blame people for wanting to move here. But I can't stand that the Monarch makes the skyline constantly different -- one minute it's that orange building to the left and the next it's the blue one. How can you have a famous, recognizable skyline if one building is constantly changing every twenty minutes?

Red, white and blue on July Fourth? Fine. Orange on UT Gameday? Makes sense. But the rest of the time, the Monarch needs to commit to a color for its rooftop Always. Period.
Reactions: 


It's not quite impeachment, but I'll take it.

Thanks to my new personal hero, IraqiMan, for doing what I can only hope I'd have the courage to do if I ever found myself in the same room as post-9/11 GWB.

Reactions: 


Recession on 37th Street

Call me Scrooge, but in the dark, candy cane cavities of mind, I'm content that it's turning out to be such a hard candy Christmas this year. People are suddenly feeling the crunch, many of the same people who didn't care when their State Representatives (and potential future Senators) were supporting Bush's war in the House in 2003, and didn't care when Bush won reelection in 2004.

But it doesn't make it any easier to watch Christmas fade away. After a very short, uninspiring walk down 37th Street Sunday night, it occurred to me that while the world markets might rise and fall based on the US economy, the famous light display on 37th Street shines its own local light on the country annually.

This year, the outlook is dark.

A westward-facing shot of 37th Street.

In 2004, the street was traditionally and glaringly bright. The street's hot-topic political statements were exactly as the spin would want you to believe: Osama Bin Laden, George Bush and Martha Stewart's jail time. Remember the good ol' horse and buggy days, back when Bush was relevant, Bin Laden was the root of all our problems and insider trading was the worst corporate sin for your money? Them were the days.

37th St. circa 2004 - from here.

What a difference four years makes. The infamous volcano house sits dark and undecorated. Lockboxes on doorknobs and multiple FOR LEASE signs indicate a dim housing market. Overgrown yards with skeletal, unlit angels make weak, energy-saving efforts. Local Yelp chatter about 37th Street seems to have ended with the start of the recession in December of 2007. The one yard that did go all out (ironically the "Monopoly yard") has a banner strung from the porch reading "It's a Wonderful Life," with golden parachutes lit by twinkling yellow lights streaming down from the trees. Front and center, our President-elect makes his 37th St. appearance, dragging the country and its crashing economy on his back, his persistent, wide smile on his still on his face.


The Ghost of Christmas Past would remind us to see what's behind the shiny packaging and pay more attention to what matters. For now, we've got the Reality of Christmas Present and the Hope of Christmas Future to contend with. May we all be merry -- and bright.
Reactions: 


The New Phonebooks Are Here!

Is it just me or are the Yellow Pages a complete and total waste of paper and plastic? Mine got dumped off at my apartment in Borneo late last week and I promptly carried it back downstairs with the Thursday trash. My neighbors phone books are still littered throughout the hallways, a little yellow graveyard of an era that has ended.

If you're still using a phone book, cease that immediately. And if you're still paying to advertise in the phone book: yo -- get thee to the Google.
Reactions: 


An Open Letter to Rep. Elliott Naishtat

Dear Rep. Naishtat,

I know I've written to you before, as a non-constituent, however I am writing to inform you that as of December 23, I will be a constituent living in your district in the zip code of 78701. In my excitement to research my new potential state legislator, I went online to learn more about you but much to my disappointment, I couldn't find your website. I did notice that some of the blogs mentioned you were working on one. How is that coming along?

I'm looking forward to being your constituent, and eagerly awaiting your new website.

Regards,
MR
Reactions: 


Moving on.

Quite a bit has happened over the last few weeks. America elected a new president, I'm moving (and surprisingly not dreading it) at the end of January, and Billy Joel is playing in Las Vegas on Valentine's Day. This year when I ask my family the annual Thanksgiving question of "Do you think the world is getting better or worse?" I intend to have a new answer.

Things make sense and I'm feeling peaceful. There's not a lot to be mean about when you start to feel that way.

Vienna waits for you, after all.
Reactions: 


Prop H8 Rally at City Hall

utterli-image
There's a dog here with a sandwich sign on him that says "Pets for Equal Rights."

Mobile post sent by MeanRachel using Utterlireply-count Replies.
Reactions: 


Some Tips for the Queen

I happened to notice this news item about Mrs. Bush showing Mrs. Obama around the White House today, offering advice on interior decorating, shoulder pads and...well, that's it, I guess.

In the name of bipartisanship, I thought I'd offer Mrs. Bush some advice on what I like to refer to as "Living in the Rest of the World: Or Whatever You Call the Shambles Your Husband Left It In," now that Mrs. Boxwood is due to be reentering the atmosphere.

1. G-Dub really f-ed up the economy. Take your money out of the stock market. Or, if you're like the rest of us, you didn't have any money in it to begin with minus that random IRA you signed up for once, so thank the 8 lb. baby Jeebus and move on.

2. You should no longer travel to Iraq on a desert vacay, no matter what Lonely Planet says. That whole electrical plug advice on their site? That's assuming there are outlets, which is a vast declaration of faith in your husband's democracy-spreading. Leave the hot-rollers back at the ranch. And that "Ongoing Turmoil" thing? Yeah. Might want to ask your loving W about that.

3. There's a fuel shortage. But only if you ask Exxon-Mobil. And if you squint your eyes realllly tightly, you can almost pretend that $10,000000000 in record profits is actually just a big zero. Poor guys.

4. I'm glad you're trying to save the sharks and all but don't you think it's a little late to be worrying about the environment? In case you didn't realize (those fences around the White House are real tall-like), the ice caps are melting, the Earth is heating up, and your hubby allowed Texas to become the most polluted state in the country when he was Governor. Enjoy your Crawford sunset.

5. Over ten million Americans are jobless. Wait, nevermind -- make that ten million and one. At least Georgie will have plenty of support groups to join.
Reactions: 


Mean Rachel Included With Purchase


Just a reminder to everybody that I will be doing the monologues for Cold Towne Theater's Stool Pigeon improv comedy show tonight. Come on out! Show starts at 8 PM!
Reactions: 


This is Not About Barack Obama

This is not about Barack Obama.

I’ve stared at that photo, which surfaced on my radar in the wake of his election on Wednesday morning, for minutes at a time, several times. I’ve studied the curve of his chin meeting his lip, the wrinkle carved by his smile, and the oversized watch resting on his narrow wrist. I’ve tried to peer under his eyelids, feel the crease on his shirt sleeve, and yearned to hear the thoughts in his head. I’ve shook his hand holding that ice cream cone, I’ve walked miles for the change he promises to create and I’ve cried for the hope that his presence brings.

But after all of that, after I’ve placed my entire focus on our President-elect Barack Obama, I can’t help but stare down at the spot on the counter where the napkin crumples on the laminate, wiping away some unseen impurity.

This is not about Barack Obama.

The victory on Tuesday: the tears or the joy, the trembling lip of Jesse Jackson or the six year-old girl standing next to me, the powerful speech or the thoughts racing through my head.

The people I met in Austin or New Mexico, on dingy tour buses or at donated card tables. The woman in the clogs or the man in the cowboy boots. The State Trooper who pulled me over and said “Nice plates” or the old Texas man who towed my car saying “Why, I kinda’ like the guy.” The block walkers or the phone bankers. The old ladies with big hats or the young men with big egos. The old faces or the new faces – the same faces at 10:00 PM Tuesday night.

This is not about Barack Obama.

This is about the napkin on that counter. We can all have a part in cleansing the impurities of America. We can assume that someone else will do it for us, we can hope Obama will on his own, or we can begin now ourselves.

This is not about Barack Obama, or his campaign strategy, or his historic win. His vision might have opened our eyes but it’s time we see our own future and realize it.

Join us.

Reactions: 


Speechless.

Still trying to find the words.

In the meantime, I'm going to be the monologist for Stool Pigeon again on Saturday night at 8 PM. If you've got it in you, come out. Last time the show sold out and the Coo's weren't able to get in, so come early if you do. Deets here.

Reactions: 


The Finish Line!

I'm going to try (emphasis on try, assuming I'm not bawling/screaming/running down Congress enraged/etc.) to Twitter my thoughts as the election results come in tonight. Follow me here, or on TwitterVoteReport!
Reactions: 


Dreaming of Obama: Victory Speech

I've had a lot of time to think today, having come down with something that seems to resemble pneumonia over the last couple of weeks. This much time on my hands two days before the election has resulted in me counting my eggs, carefully and nervously, before they hatch. Here's my imaginary Obama speech (in case you thought I had a life before).

Chicago; America; People of the World:

Tonight I stand before you as the President-elect of the United States of America. And tonight I can say, that as true as our forefathers were in writing the Constitution, change has come to America today.

America – I thank you.

In our moment of shared celebration tonight, take a second to look around you. You have already changed, your neighbors have already changed. Your families and your classmates have already changed. You traveled the country for change – or you walked down the block. You picked up a phone and made a call to an undecided voter for the first time or you picked up a few yard signs and passed them out to friends. You gave money or you gave your time. You gave as much as you could afford to spare in the name of change – and then you gave more. I said I couldn’t do it without you and America, I’m standing on this stage tonight to tell you that I didn’t.

There will be those who will resist change, even fear it. But it is easy to fear the unknown, and harder to work for it. It is harder to continue along the path for a better life for every American, where they have access to health care and a strong education. It is harder to see a day when our soldiers come home and Iraqis are able to govern themselves. It is harder to work for our independence from foreign oil and reduce our carbon footprint. It is harder to reflect on our failures and yes, even harder to correct our mistakes. America, you didn’t ask for this challenge but you have accepted it. We will continue to press on, knowing that our fears exhaust us but our struggles strengthen us. We will do just that because we know – we have seen, and as we stand here tonight, We. Can. See. – The fruits of our labor. We. Can. See. – The endless abilities of our combined efforts. We. Can. See. – The boundlessness of possibility. And We. Can. See. – The country of our children.

Today we saw both red states and blue states turn the page to a new state – the United States, one that does not see colors in red and blue, or black and white. This election has never been about me and tonight, as you look at those around you, at people of all colors and races; males and females; young and old, you can see why. I am proud to walk forward with you and I am thankful for your willingness to hope and your ability to work for change. Today, you didn’t just elect a candidate – you elected a country.

Reactions: 


A Phonebanking Vignette.

Subtitled: Why Democrats will win.

A phone call I made today to an 85 year old male who last voted for Democrats in 2006.

Me: And are you planning on voting on Tuesday?
Him: I reckon.
Me: Okay, and are you planning on voting Democratic?
Him: I haven't decided yet.
Me: You haven't decided yet!
Him: Yes'm.
Me: Well...have any nice girls like myself called you from the Republican party? Insert Sarah Palin wink here.
Him: (laughs) No, you're the only one.
Me: Well there's your answer right there!
Him: I'll prob'ly vote for the Democrats.
Me: Okay ______. Just remember on Tuesday what nice girl has called and asked for your vote and who hasn't.
Him: Yes'm, you know I'll be rememberin'.

GOTV is like the last mile in a road race. You've come so far, have wanted to plop down on the curb and eat a Krispe Kreme since the first half-mile, and are sick (in my case, literally) and tired of the whole thing. But you're passing by people cheering you on, and you can see the table full of bananas and Gatorade up ahead, and you can't help increasing speed. Taking a long look around, you realize it's the last few moments of something you've poured quite a bit of yourself into, and suddenly you wish you could run it all over again.
Reactions: 


Baring it all!

I give to you my Halloween 2008 costume: Barely Political.com. And a glimpse of some of my crazy .com coworkers who dressed up!

Reactions: 


It's that time of year again -- and I'm not talking about politics!

Stay tuned for perhaps my second-most inspired/ironic Halloween costume tomorrow. As a hint, I give you this (and it's not Sarah Palin but if you want to hear a really awful joke I heard about her today that I can't repeat here, email me):



In the meantime, have you bought your tickets for Red State Blues yet? From the release:

In the heart of the reddest of the red states there is a grassroots movement hard at work to turn Texas blue. All that energy will have an outlet on Election Eve, spoken in the language Austinites know best: Music.

SNews Imageharon Jones and the Dap-Kings will be joined by Brownout and Austin music legend James McMurtry in an historic performance to ring a new era in politics; in the state George Bush calls home. The concert will be held at the newly renovated Austin Music Hall and benefits The Travis County Democratic Party and The SIMS Foundation.

During this one night event, local and national celebrities will rub elbows with grassroots activists and others energized by the election. "In the Live Music Capitol of the World, there is only one way to commemorate the beginning of a new political era: with a big party and lots of great music. I know Clifford (Antone) is smiling on from heaven," adds Kay Gourley, co-producer of the event. Antone's signature club was the venue for the first Red State Blues concert in 2004.

The concert will start at 7:30 p.m., doors open at 7 p.m. General Admission price is $32/ticket and can be purchased at http://www.gettix.net/concert/?event_id=2777.

There will be a special reception before the show with a performance by Paris 49 and special guest Chrysta Bell. The $82/person price of the pre-concert reception includes admission to the concert, appetizers and drink tickets.

Reactions: 


Race & Taxes: My Closing Argument

My Uncle Billy is racist. That statement might cause him to disown me, or perhaps solicit several angry emails from my immediate family, but I wouldn’t be stating any more than he already demonstrates to be true – sometimes blatantly so. Uncle Billy lives in a small town of 2600 people in Mississippi, a town where the population has declined 10% since 2000. I often admire many aspects about my uncle – he dotes after my aunt, caring for her in a way that I could only hope someone would care for me through multiple surgeries and illness; has a patient, kind demeanor; is smart and humorous with a Southern twang.

But Uncle Billy grew up in Mississippi, and there he has stayed – in a place and a mindset where it’s acceptable to use the ‘N’ word among your friends. My aunt, a decorator and collector, makes frequent trips to a community they refer to as Black Town to purchase vivid pottery pieces hand-crafted by African Americans. A few years ago I was coming back from a pottery pilgrimage to Black Town when we passed a sign saying, “You are now leaving Merigold.” I felt shamefully ignorant for never questioning the town’s derogatory name. I had been handed that ignorance and accepted it. I had never paid close enough attention to the signs passing me by.

Racial ignorance, or racism itself, is something that I have come to understand a bit more. You inherit it, you acclimate yourself to it and you let it mold you to not affect your relationships with the people around you; the people like you. There are thousands of people in this country like my uncle, and they will go to the polls on November 4th with this ignorance settled deep in their souls. They’ve never been to Merigold, only Black Town. This is not an excuse for racism by any means, but a reason for their ignorance.

But there is another type of societal ignorance that is more insipid and below the surface. Because it carries none of the stigma of race and color, it is more acceptable – sometimes laughable – with the right crowd. The epitome of this ignorance came to me during the summer of 2004 when I was at a horse show. I found myself arguing with one of our wealthiest clients about politics. I used to incite conversations with her on all sorts of voodoo topics: religion, homosexuality and, being an election year, politics. An evangelical Christian, my client had invested a nearly equivalent amount of money in her three childrens’ private school education as she had in her one daughter’s equine pursuits. I remember the conversation dwindling down to her final statement: “Rachel, at the end of the day, I’m just going to vote based on my taxes.”

As a 20 year old getting by on about $30,000 a year at the time, I remember being horrified. It was my first confrontation with someone concerned about taxes. With all that was going on – the war, the recently reported Abu Grhaib abuse, George Tenet’s resignation – she was concerned about taxes?

By the end of November 4th, that is what this election will be all about. Will there be those same people like my former client going out to vote based on their taxes, reelecting a regime that will dangle an IRS carrot in their left hand while orchestrating a false war with their other? Or will there be enough people stirred up by volunteers and Obama’s inspiring rhetoric to drag themselves out of their nearly destitute daily lives to vote for a candidate who promises to act in the middle class’s best interest? I'd like to have faith in the latter, but I'm more acutely aware of the first.

And so my closing argument, to those Republicans who tell me they won’t end up voting for someone, “just voting against someone else,” is this: You may not be racist, but should you choose to cast your vote based on something as ultimately unimportant as your personal finances, then you ought to do a little soul-searching. Because voting based on your bottom line, and whether you can buy a new plasma screen with that extra $600 you’ll get back from the government, is just as despicable as voting against someone because of the color of their skin. You'll never know you are in Merigold if you only carry the spoils of Black Town.

And, yeah, I’m talking to you.
Reactions: 


On Voting Early in a Late Market

This is another post submitted by my mother, Libagrouchy. Many of the elderly I have spoken with -- on the phones or standing on their front porch -- have indeed come across as mildewing fruit, their generation's biases and prejudices fermented into a product that no one is buying anymore. Avoid the lines; early voting in Texas runs through Friday, 7 AM - 7 PM.

Austinites who haven't yet done their civic duty should consider early voting at the Fiesta Market at 38th Street/I-35. There's no better way to renew one's faith in the virtues of the melting pot that is our country than to run the Fiesta entryway gauntlet of Andean panpipes, Mexican imports, helados, and general world market atmosphere en route to casting one's vote in this election.
Particularly in light of the last-minute flare-up of b.s. surrounding who is and isn't "pro-American," Fiesta's polyglot customer base and bustling vitality are nothing less than restorative. At Fiesta, moms and daughters in headscarves, men in cowboy boots, women in saris, and whole generations of immigrant families are pushing carts through aisles that are little microcosms of international cuisine. Here, food is the battleground, not politics or religion. As far as I know, no one has come to blows over mangos at 3 for a dollar. In fact, given its status as a staple of Hispanic, Asian, and Indian cooking, the mango has a heftier international portfolio than Sarah Palin and might well qualify as a U.N. diplomat in a potential McCain administration.
Wedged in between the customer courtesy desk and a steam table loaded with chorizo sausage is the early voting station. Feeling giddy, I handed over my registration card saying, "I feel REALLy good about this one. Bring it on!" The 80-ish, silver-haired volunteer was not having any of that. She was irritable and short with me. Perhaps she was just tired after a long day of explaining to citizens that the the electronic voting machine "is NOT a touch screen; you have to TURN the wheel."
Or maybe, in the midst of the cultural diversity swirling around her, this woman felt outnumbered, disoriented, and threatened. It's possible she realized that, like the late-season peaches moldering on a nearby counter, her party had passed its sell-by date quite a while ago and was drawing only flies, and not many of them at that.
Reactions: 


An Open Letter to Ted Stevens

Dear Sen. Ted Stevens,

This is coming to you from a series of tubes. I have a question: Now that you are a convicted felon, can you vote for yourself?
Hm. Hope you voted early.

Toodles,

MR

P.S. Maybe now that you don't have a campaign to bother with, you should come down to Austin on Election Eve and drink away your sorrows with us at Red State Blues next Monday.

Reactions: 


Volunteer This Weekend.

Wherever you are -- Travis County, Harris County, Washington D.C, Killa-een -- make sure you get out and volunteer for local or national Dems this weekend. If you need some inspiration, just watch this twelve times.

Reactions: 


Kleinschmidt Steals Photo for Smear Campaign

Back in August, I wrote a blog entry about an stifling hot day when I blockwalked for Democrats running in Bastrop County, including Larry Joe Doherty, Chris Duggan and Donnie Dippel, the Democratic nominee for State Representative, District 17. The volunteers all met at a local precinct chair's house, and the candidates gave a quick pep talk before we hit the streets of Elgin. Shortly after the talk, Dippel and Duggan were good-spirited enough to pose for a photo with my OBAMA license plates, which I then posted on my blog.

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I received a scanned copy of an attack ad against Donnie Dippel, featuring cropped-for-con artist version of my own copyrighted photo, showing only Donnie Dippel posing with my plates -- with no photo credits or permission from me.

Click to enlarge.

When my four tires got slashed a month ago, I was irritated with having to pay a $500 deductible but felt as though my plates were still something to be proud of and that the slashing was almost a badge of honor. Since then, I have tried to be more vigilant when I'm walking in my apartment parking lot, particularly at night -- not necessarily scared, but more aware.

But I find this attack ad on two candidates whom I have met and admire -- Barack Obama and Donnie Dippel -- to be not only an illegal use of my photo but the most deceptive type of campaign tactics that I have personally been dealt from Republicans. Dippel's opponent, Tim Kleinschmidt, is an attorney who has evidently decided that the copyright laws do not apply to him. Texans have had enough immorality and above-the-law politicians in the Texas House to be electing someone who chooses to be deceitful before he even wins the election. Kleinschmidt claims that he doesn't support one of the most immoral Texas House leaders, Tom Craddick, and yet the Craddick cookie-jar "Stars Over Texas PAC" has given Kleinschmidt's campaign $25,000. What's more, Kleinschmidt's own Republican base is having second thoughts about Craddick. Republican committeeman Mark McCaig wrote a guest column in the Statesman yesterday calling for Craddick to step down as Speaker, citing Craddick's "ethical cloud" as having "cast a shadow" over Craddick's Republican leadership in the Texas House.

This election has come down to baseless Republicans like Tim Kleinschmidt using my personal property for their high-gloss smear campaigns. It's a testament to Donnie Dippel's hardworking, honest practices that the worst thing Kleinschmidt can think of is to tie him to Barack Obama, who leads by double-digits across the polls. I suppose Kleinschmidt doesn't want anyone who is considering voting for Obama to vote for him. Nevertheless, I believe in my volunteer efforts for these Democrats -- not because they are Democrats but because they are honest, intelligent and have a sincere desire to change the way our country works -- should not be slandered in a political ad. And while Kleinschmidt may be proud of himself from stealing from a local progressive blogger (who eats BBQ at Southside and used to trailer her horses to the Elgin Veterinary Clinic for their check-ups) he's clearly ignorant or unsympathetic to the fact that this kind of campaigning leads to the violence that I experienced when my tires were slashed.

My direct statement to Mr. Kleinschmidt, if I ever saw him out in the district, would be this: It is reprehensible that you have chosen to steal my volunteering experience to manipulate it for your negative ads. But more vile, and what is ultimately more important, is the moral code you have that would allow you to do that.

Click here to contribute to the Donnie Dippel campaign.
Reactions: 


The Killer V's.

(crossposted at HuffPo)

Texas has a long history of breaking quorum to influence change. In 1979, the original "Killer Bees" were State Senators who went into hiding to prevent a presidential primary bill from being passed. More recently, in 2003, Texas Democrats faced down a Delay-backed redistricting bill, which prompted House members, later known as the "Killer D's," to leave the Lone Star state for Ardmore, Oklahoma and eleven State Senators fleeing in jets to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Texas Democrats are now being asked by the Obama campaign to help in crucial battleground states, a plan that somewhat infuriates local campaigns scrounging for down-ballot volunteers. In signing up for the "Road Trip for Change," a bus trip from Austin to Albuquerque organized by local Texans for Obama, I found that the convenience of getting involved was one of the major appeals -- everything was arranged, and all I needed to do was show up with my $50 check.

My initial thought upon boarding the Obama "Road Trip for Change" bus was We're going to drive all the way to New Mexico in this? Not exactly business class, the Bejucos bus seemed to have skimped a bit on leg room and arm rests. Nevertheless, the hodge podge group of about fifty I was assigned to -- known as the Blue Team -- climbed aboard cautiously, placing their pillows and blankets carefully around themselves, looking crisp and fresh and ready for adventure.

Our driver climbed aboard, with the well-heeled trucker gut and squinty eyes from years of driving trucks. He had been a trucker, he told one of my busmates, but after having several strokes, he had to leave the union. He was also diabetic, which made his penchant for donuts and coffee each morning a bit confounding.

"The bathroom," Jerry announced, "is like an outhouse. So don't use it unless it's an emergency. An' if you do have to use it, put the lid down. That'll help keep the smell down for the people in the back."

Five rows from the back of the bus, I observed those around me looking uncomfortably at one another. To my left, I later learned, I had Kate, a New York transplant; and Jo, a retired grandmother of four ("with one on the way!") knitting furiously when she wasn't typing on her laptop; and Anne, a vegetarian lawyer who liked to stay up late. In front of me were Mike and Julian, a gay couple who wisely brought a bottle of wetwipes. As Jerry finished his speech about the bathroom etiquette, Mike piped up "Hey Jerry, who are you going to vote for?"

Jerry made a face and said "Let's just not get into that."

The rest of the trip consisted of countless lines: lines to get off the bus, lines to get into the one ladies' restroom in Sonora, Texas, lines to get on the bus, lines to check in at the hotel, lines at McDonald's. But despite the tedium, there was no denying that we were supporters aligned. There was always something to listen to, a point of view that hadn't been considered or a nugget of breaking Obama campaign news to lift our morale.

Walking through the neighborhoods of Albuquerque, I found that most of the doors I knocked on were either enthusiastically Democratic or apologetically Republican. One woman, a Republican from Texas, followed me all the way from her porch to the street talking to me about why she had never voted for a Democrat other than Pete Laney.

To call the trip inspiring doesn't do it justice, and objective words fail me. We knocked on 6000 doors in less than 48 hours, and covered turf that spanned across the city. By the time the sun was setting on the mountains as we left Albuquerque yesterday, I felt what Katharine Lee Bates must have felt when she was composing "America the Beautiful." The brotherhood was inescapable, ensconced in the glow of the purple mountain majesties.

As for Jerry, he delivered a busload of pushy Democrats safely back to Austin early this morning. I went to say goodbye to him, and in the half-asleep euphoria I was in, asked him if we'd changed his mind. Jerry smiled and said "You got me thinking about it."

"Thinking about it? What's left to think about?"

Jerry nodded and said "Alright."

"It's not alright until we shake!" I said, and we shook hands.

I don't know where an old truck driver with low blood sugar fits in on Gallup polls, but I do know where Democrats can make a difference. It's in their critical mass; their willingness to displace themselves and sleep on top of one another; their lack of showers but surplus of goodwill. Lobbyists can't raise that kind of value, nor can ActBlue. No amount of mail pieces or media buys would have ever convinced Jerry to cast his vote for Obama.

But I like to think that the Killer V's -- that's V for Volunteers -- did.

free video hosting
Free Video Hosting


Check out the video here or watch below.




My photos from the trip can be downloaded here. Kate also got some great ones and emailed me the link, which you can find here.
Reactions: 


This is for the Blue Team (and Jerry):

You guys amaze me. All of you. There was a moment last night as we drove through the mountains at sunset, nursing the screwdriver that Julian & Mike were kind enough to make for me, when I was overcome by the spirit in the air of the bus. We were all so different -- black, white, gay, straight, married, single -- yet all literally and figuratively being driven by a common goal. I have never been more proud of my fellow (wo)mankind.

Pictures will be up as soon as I survive the workday (which currently is at a 50% chance).
Reactions: 


My Friends, I hear New Mexico is lovely this time of year.

Tomorrow after work at 7 PM, I will board a coach bus to be shuttled overnight to Albuquerque, NM to hit the bricks for Obama. I will return at 7 AM on Monday morning and head straight to work. So you are on your own for the weekend while I'm out furthering the democratic process.
I have packed ear plugs, a bottle of tequila and all of my tolerance for saturating myself in a social situation.

Bt-dubs, I stumbled across comedy BINGO night (or they stumbled across me, I'm not really sure what happened) at Mother Eagan's tonight. Trivia People, are you tired of having your ass kicked by the stupid Chewbacca Position team? Tired of having to yell "SHHOOOES!" over an overzealous teammate's answer? Tired of Mayor Wynn stealing the limelight and embarrassing you in front of your out-of-town guests? Well, my friends, I have one word for you: B-I-N-G-O. Far superior and way more fun. Thursday nights at 8 PM. Who's with me? Oh and for you nerd supremes, there's still an element of trivia -- the free space is a trivia question that you have to get correct.

If they had someone playing Billy Joel on a piano, I think my life might make sense again.
Reactions: 


CD10: Congrats to LJD!

Congrats to Larry Joe Doherty and his team for being added to the DCCC's "Red to Blue" program. From the release:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Tuesday added Larry Joe Doherty to its "Red to Blue" program. Doherty earned a spot in the competitive program by establishing significant local support and skillfully showing voters that he stands for change and will represent new priorities.

"Larry Joe Doherty is running a solid campaign and is committed to making things easier for middle class families in their districts," said DCCC Chairman Rep. Chris Van Hollen. "With less than 21 days to make his case for change to voters, the Red to Blue program will give Larry Joe the financial and structural edge to be even more competitive in November."


I still have a steak riding on LJD winning by 8 points, so this is especially good news for me. And because I think LJD is going to be a great Congressman.

In related news, I am going on a bus to New Mexico to canvass for Obama this weekend. Discuss whether I will live to regret that in the comments section. One person, when I told them of my plan, said "It's like when you decided to sleep in a cardboard box for a night on your birthday!"
Reactions: 


Midnight at the Corner of South Lamar & Change.

South Lamar, one of Austin's major arteries, never seemed so empty than it did at midnight last Monday. We had been waving our signs since eight o'clock, working the graveyard shift of the final day of the Travis County Democratic Party’s non-partisan voter registration drive; exhuming potential voters from their apathy and procrastination. I held a poster board decorated with a Sharpie purchased down the street by one of the other volunteers, a recent graduate from St. Ed’s. He introduced himself as Brandon and asked me if I was in school, peering at me over the hastily written words "Vote HERE! NOW! By MIDNIGHT!"

"No, I have a job.” A Tahoe approached and I shook my sign at it as it whipped past, urban humidity hitting me in the face.

"Lucky," he said, as if I told him I had won a trip to the Bahamas, then turned to wave his sign at a bus rolling past us. "Reggg-ister to VOTE!" He'd developed a chant and was yelling it at sealed-up cars without a hint of irony.

My left arm was sore from pointing wildly in the direction of the Thundercloud Subs, with the registration table out front manned by two other volunteers. I had jumped around all of Austin trying to find a table that needed another volunteer. Frustrated, I had called one of the volunteer coordinators at eight and told her that the South Lamar sandwich shop was way overstaffed for the trickle of cars rolling by. Surely there was somewhere else that needed me more. "Increase street visibility and wait for the 10 o'clock rush," she said briskly. Over and out.

And so it was that I found myself in the backyard of my youth, across from the Sonic and Kerbey Lane Café I knew so well, haranguing cars with my sign and jumping around on the curb, nearly getting hit by the occasional CapMetro bus. Every time a car turned in to the Thundercloud parking lot, we cheered and shook our fists – even though sometimes all the person really wanted was a sub sandwich.

But as midnight approached, the cars driving by became scarce and the indigent staggering by became more frequent. I stood under the glow of the 7-Eleven sign, watching as people entered the gas station to feed their addictions. Cigarettes. Gas. Booze.

A voice from the darkness: “What are you doing?” I turned and saw a black man, cradling what appeared to be a crack pipe in his left hand, cigarette hanging off his lip.

“Registering voters…are you registered to vote?” I asked. He shook his head violently, dropped the object in his hand, and walked away with such a purpose that I didn’t pursue him. I took a few steps to inspect his drug paraphernalia. It looked like something I’d seen in a glass store in Venice – millefiori, as my mom would say – a tiny kaleidoscope of oranges and blues and whites. I wondered if he knew he’d dropped such a beautiful object. I wondered if he knew who Barack Obama was. For both, impossible that he couldn’t.

At two minutes until midnight, I began to abandon my street corner and walk back across the street as a coupe rolled into the parking lot and a man stepped out. I took my posterboard sign and gave it to Brandon, and we hesitated for a moment as the final person registered.

Long, dark hair and tattoos up his arms, it was a man not much older than me filling out his form painstakingly, grease stains on his hands. “And I sign here?” The woman manning the table nodded, smiling and handing him his receipt. “And here are some places where you can vote early. Be sure to take this and a photo ID with you to the polls.” The man folded the slip of paper carefully and put it in his wallet, then let it fall to his side and dangle from the chain clipped to his belt. He lingered there for a moment and an expectant pause held in the air as all four of the volunteers – myself included – stared at him, the final registrant in the final seconds of the final day. I looked up. At any minute the sky could open and balloons and confetti might shower down upon him.

“Yeah,” he said, sounding relieved. “Like, last time, man. My whole family, parents, uncles –they, they were like, all about Bush, y’know? And like, man. Now. This time. I wasn’t going to like, you know, let that happen.”

Now. This time. Yeah. I know.
Reactions: 


My Bailout Plan

Since I haven't felt up to blogging, my mom asked if she could do a guest blog. I guess she assumes someone actually reads this. Actually, she texted me and asked if she could do a guest blog.

Oh, how low we have sank.

Without further adieu, I bring you Lib-a-grouchy:

I'm starting to get the feeling that "the people in charge" are trying to reshape our notion of housing. Remember McMansions and how we all wanted one and really, let's face it, we deserved one? I mean it's like an American right, isn't it? LIke an SUV and a Wii and that kind of thing? But now suddenly overnight, the wind has shifted and the breeze from the landfill isn't so pretty.

I just got my current AARP Bulletin, a charming rag sent to old people that is filled with tips on topics like how to stretch a can of catfood into two meals. And there's an article about homelessness, which is apparently on the rise among us geezers. The article mentions that the super-affluent town of Santa Barbara, CA is among a number of U.S. cities that is turning municipal parking lots into "relatively safe places" where people can sleep in their cars. "Communities are recognizing the viability of people living in their vehicles," notes a Santa Barbara official.

What a revelation! My car is a viable place to live. I'm going to remember that. Especially now that I have learned that this bailout plan Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson devised actually has an official moniker. It's called the Troubled Asset Relief Plan or TARP. I'm really excited about this acronym. I think I might even invest in a good tarp, because you never know when you might need one. TO LIVE UNDER.

Is it possible Mr Paulson is floating a trial balloon on the viability of tarp-based housing? If so, my preference for the time being, would be the viability of my car.

And as regards tone-deaf acronyms, Mr. Paulson--let's put some balls into it. Some suggestions:

Value-Added Necessary Deal Of Working New and Bigger Yields To Harbor Every Rich Idiot Voicing Endless Rot (VANDOWNBYTHERIVER)
Or perhaps: Make Your Crappy Ass-Loan Refinanced (MYCAR)
Or: Fiduciary Upload Credit & Extension Deployment (FUC&ED)
Reactions: 


Shameless Request

To all my friends who have donated money to Deductibles for Obama and all of my other pursuits, thank you. Here's a free way to help me now. All you need is a Facebook account.

Become a fan of PetRelocation today!

Thank you, my friends!
Reactions: 


Cool Hand McCain

My friends, I know I haven't blogged in like, forever, but I've been a little disinterested (it's true) and also trying to battle Republicans and a head cold.

But, my friends, I want this shirt. Kudos to Tali for the link.

Reactions: 


My Exclusive Interview with the Mayor's Replacement

Last night at Sholz's at the Travis County Democrats' Debate Watch Party, I caught Mayor Wynn in the corner of my eye, standing with the masses watching the debate. The pensive look on his face made me wonder how he as a mayor felt about a fellow former mayor suddenly being catapulted to the national spotlight.

Unfortunately, the Mayor booked it out of Sholz's before I could interview him, so I had to settle for the next best thing. Andy Brown, TCDP Chair, was wandering around handing out "tickets" to the free debate watch party at the Long Center on the 7th. He agreed to answer my mayoral questions as a stand-in for Will Wynn.

I leave you to be the judge.

Reactions: 


Makes you wonder what he's got against burlap...

Reactions: 


The Way They Were






Look at what I found! Old yearbook photos of some well-known Austin & Texas political figures. Can you name them all? The winner gets to buy me a drink and/or some tires, depending on how tonight goes.

Just kidding about the pictures being authentic (not kidding about the drink). Go here to make your own (and email it to me!). Hours of entertainment as we await The Greater Depression!

Oh, to have a 1954 economy and hairstyle.




Some entries received today...








Reactions: 


Let the sky fall. I'm not running to the cave.

Reactions: 


"And for whom the vultures have now come home to roost."

Thank you, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, for representing me so eloquently.

Signed,

Your Constituent.






Me with Rep. Doggett on Election Night 2006,
seconds after Democrats took back the House.
Reactions: 


I'll let Michael Moore say it for me.

An email from Michael Moore this morning that bears repeating.

Grim.




Friends,



Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies -- who must soon vacate the White House -- are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.



No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday's New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:



"Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.



"Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.




"At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.



"Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury's proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions."


Unbelievable. Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. Even Rudy Giuliani is lobbying for his firm to be hired (and paid) to "consult" in the bailout.



The problem is, nobody truly knows what this "collapse" is all about. Even Treasury Secretary Paulson admitted he doesn't know the exact amount that is needed (he just picked the $700 billion number out of his head!). The head of the congressional budget office said he can't figure it out nor can he explain it to anyone.



And yet, they are screeching about how the end is near! Panic! Recession! The Great Depression! Y2K! Bird flu! Killer bees! We must pass the bailout bill today!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!




Falling for whom? NOTHING in this "bailout" package will lower the price of the gas you have to put in your car to get to work. NOTHING in this bill will protect you from losing your home. NOTHING in this bill will give you health insurance.



Health insurance? Mike, why are you bringing this up? What's this got to do with the Wall Street collapse?



It has everything to do with it. This so-called "collapse" was triggered by the massive defaulting and foreclosures going on with people's home mortgages. Do you know why so many Americans are losing their homes? To hear the Republicans describe it, it's because too many working class idiots were given mortgages that they really couldn't afford. Here's the truth: The number one cause of people declaring bankruptcy is because of medical bills. Let me state this simply: If we had had universal health coverage, this mortgage "crisis" may never have happened.



This bailout's mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It's to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It's to make sure their yachts and mansions and "way of life" go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!



I have to stop writing this and you have to stop reading it. They are staging a financial coup this morning in our country. They are hoping Congress will act fast before they stop to think, before we have a chance to stop them ourselves. So stop reading this and do something -- NOW! Here's what you can do immediately:




1. Call or e-mail Senator Obama. Tell him he does not need to be sitting there trying to help prop up Bush and Cheney and the mess they've made. Tell him we know he has the smarts to slow this thing down and figure out what's the best route to take. Tell him the rich have to pay for whatever help is offered. Use the leverage we have now to insist on a moratorium on home foreclosures, to insist on a move to universal health coverage, and tell him that we the people need to be in charge of the economic decisions that affect our lives, not the barons of Wall Street.



2. Take to the streets. Participate in one of the hundreds of quickly-called demonstrations that are taking place all over the country (especially those near Wall Street and DC).



3. Call your Representative in Congress and your Senators. (click here to find their phone numbers). Tell them what you told Senator Obama.



When you screw up in life, there is hell to pay. Each and every one of you reading this knows that basic lesson and has paid the consequences of your actions at some point. In this great democracy, we cannot let there be one set of rules for the vast majority of hard-working citizens, and another set of rules for the elite, who, when they screw up, are handed one more gift on a silver platter. No more! Not again!



Yours,

Michael Moore

MMFlint@aol.com

MichaelMoore.com



P.S. Having read further the details of this bailout bill, you need to know you are being lied to. They talk about how they will prevent golden parachutes. It says NOTHING about what these executives and fat cats will make in SALARY. According to Rep. Brad Sherman of California, these top managers will continue to receive million-dollar-a-month paychecks under this new bill. There is no direct ownership given to the American people for the money being handed over. Foreign banks and investors will be allowed to receive billion-dollar handouts. A large chunk of this $700 billion is going to be given directly to Chinese and Middle Eastern banks. There is NO guarantee of ever seeing that money again.




P.P.S. From talking to people I know in DC, they say the reason so many Dems are behind this is because Wall Street this weekend put a gun to their heads and said either turn over the $700 billion or the first thing we'll start blowing up are the pension funds and 401(k)s of your middle class constituents. The Dems are scared they may make good on their threat. But this is not the time to back down or act like the typical Democrat we have witnessed for the last eight years. The Dems handed a stolen election over to Bush. The Dems gave Bush the votes he needed to invade a sovereign country. Once they took over Congress in 2007, they refused to pull the plug on the war. And now they have been cowered into being accomplices in the crime of the century. You have to call them now and say "NO!" If we let them do this, just imagine how hard it will be to get anything good done when President Obama is in the White House. THESE DEMOCRATS ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS THE BACKBONE WE GIVE THEM. CALL CONGRESS NOW.

Reactions: 


Deductibles for Obama!

All four tires on my car, whose Texas plates say “OBAMA,” were slashed on Tuesday night. I have filed a police report and have since had my tires replaced through my insurance.
However, my $500 deductible should not go to waste, which is why I'd like to raise $500 for Obama's presidential race.
Donate today to Obama to show these guys that the air cannot be taken out of our tires!

Deductibles for Obama

Goal Thermometer
Reactions: 


An OpenLetter to the Knife-Happy Vandal Who Slashed My Tires Last Night.

Dear McSlasher,

My coworker's first words to me today when he came to give me a ride to work were: "You sure seem to be handling this well." I guess he expected me to be mad or crying or both.

Well, yeah, I thought. Yeah, my two front four tires are slashed and yeah, I could think of a lot better ways to spend $500 than on a deductible to my insurance company to get my car towed and two new tires. Yeah, it's a total hassle and really frosts my cookies that someone would decide to be so destructive and -- frankly -- wasteful.

But even with those thoughts, this morning when I looked at the razor holes and slits in the sidewall of my tires, I didn't feel surprised or saddened. A literal manifestation of how I have felt for the last few years -- gouged, deflated and disabled -- was sitting before my very eyes, in a puddle surrounded by fallen leaves, the kinds that start to scatter off the cedar elms this time of year that I used to run through as a child barefoot, exclaiming "Golden coins! Golden coins!"

Well, I'm not a kid anymore and the golden coins are falling on Washington politicians and burying Wall Street investors. And while you may get your kicks writing "OBAMA SUCKS" notes to leave on my windshield, I entertain myself by calling people in Sealy, Texas old enough to remember voting when there was a poll tax but progressive enough to see Obama's vision. I walk outside on achingly hot sunny weekends, and suck down cold Dr. Peppers in the doorway of the home of a retired Navy officer wanting an Obama sign, while you creep around in the night with a box cutter. Because while you are clearly evil and destructive, there is nothing more evil and destructive than those who sit idly by and do nothing. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, "We will have to repent not merely for vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people."

So, McSlasher, go ahead and do your damage. Key my doors -- I know a good paint shop. Dent my hood -- Fix-A-Dent loves me. But I'm keeping my plates, I'm keeping my voice and I might even slap a few stickers on the bumper now.

Oh and my tires? Slash them again. The tire repair shop owner (I'm guessing he's a Democrat) gave me a lifetime warranty on them.

How's that for change we can believe in?

Peace,
MR

Reactions: 


My Convention Lovechild

I assume by now most of my Facebook friends have seen my Afterword in the Texas Observer, entitled "The Obama Awakening," but for those of you who haven't can find it here.
Reactions: 


Hope is My New Facebook Friend.

Like Obama, I never had much time after the convention to bask in the glory of the four days that were the Democratic National Convention. Invesco is still a very clear, crisp dream that faded into night, fireworks and tears, and then one last lingering look at the stadium, glowing with spirit as bodies spiraled around glass-encased stairwells, chanting "Yes we can!" I didn't get out of the Invesco parking lot until some time after nine...ten...maybe eleven. I wandered onto a free shuttle, destination anywhere, sent a few highly exclamatory text messages ("CANNOT BELIEVE IT!!!!" "AMAZING!!" "SI SE PUEDE!!!"), and fell asleep to the hum of the idling engine in the long line of cars. I didn't awake until I was being nudged out of my seat by the man next to me, my damp palm holding tightly to my American flag, my cheek plastered to the CHANGE sign I had placed up against the window. I got off the shuttle at Union Station, and from there, I remember very little until I awoke the following day on Alaskan Airlines Flight #75 in Juneau.

Juneau initially seemed so irrelevant to the week's activities, but I kind of liked the idea of it. I was going for my second cousin's wedding, but I figured it would also serve as a kind of retreat, a moment when I could stare out at a glacier and reflect on the four days prior; take deep gulps of Alaskan air and try to commit to memory every moment I had experienced in Denver.

As we taxied to the gate in Juneau, I turned my cell phone on and watched the screen think while it powered up. As the emails flooded in, I saw a "CNN Breaking News" email. Sleepily, I clicked on the email to see what sort of post-convention excitement it could be.

Sen. John McCain picks Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate on GOP ticket for White House, CNN learns.

I was so incredibly tired that for a moment, I really thought my eyes were deceiving me. 'Alaska Gov.?' I thought. Aren't I in Alaska? This can't be right.

A quick look at the mountainside around me and three stuffed bears later in the airport terminal, it was confirmed that I was in fact in Alaska, and that my quiet retreat to Juneau was now suddenly politically-charged. "Did you hear the news?" and "Aren't you glad you're in Juneau while this is going on?" would be repeated over and over to me during the three days I was there. No, I didn't want to know anything about the Alaskan governor whom the locals described as a flip-flopper beauty queen. Just let me bask in my DNC glory.

And so the convention for me became much like the confetti that rocketed up around Barack Obama after his speech at Invesco -- momentarily high but falling slowly and softly away. And I arrived home after the convention to face handfuls of red, white and blue tissue paper hastily grabbed off the floor on my way out of the stadium, and my happiness turning to illness caused by the too-quick return to sea-level: the reality of Sarah Palin.

I got the bends.

Until today, when I got an invitation to join the "I Have More Foreign Policy Experience Than Sarah Palin" group on Facebook. What was surprising was not the group name, nor the validity of the subject, but the sender.

I have a friend. We'll call her E-dub. Those of you who are regulars will know her antics well, but what you might not know about her is that since I met her, in November 2006, I have very quietly tolerated her conservative beliefs. While the girl can drink, she also is a very devout Catholic from North Carolina who married a career Army officer she met at Duke. I never tried to sway her, figuring it was a lost cause, and if I did, I was too drunk at the time to remember.

So when I got an invitation from E-dub, of all people, to join the group, my jaw dropped. It'd be like what I'd imagine finding out you have a long lost sibling would be like. I very quickly joined the group, then questioned on E-dub's Facebook wall "Does that group invitation mean that you might be one of those beloved swing voters casting a vote for obama in north carolizza despite your conservative catholic pretenses?"

And this -- THIS! -- coming from a girl who wore a mock-turtleneck on Sixth Street the first time she went out:

i think i have to vote absentee in KY. cause we wont have lived in NC but for a couple days come election time. but she definitely may have pushed me over the edge. like i was standing on the edge, and she gave me a big ol shove away from her and her people.

As I was doing a celebration dance in my chair, either for E-dub seeing the light or McCain's plan backfiring, or maybe a little of both, I had another wall post from E-dub:

an addendum: during the DNC, i realized that whatever my particular economic or social leanings may be, this country truly, actually, physically needs Obama to get elected. If he doesnt, i think the educated, optimistic, forward thinking people in America may just plain give up. and that would be terrible.

That would be terrible. And you know what, I can't be one of them. It was the fog of war that gave E-dub and I any sort of common ground to begin with. And so onward into the fog we go.
Reactions: 


A Tale of Two Stump Speeches

At the TDP 40 Year High School Reunion Kickoff Party at Antone's tonight, I took some video footage of the two stump speeches we heard (three if you count the 18 year old Patrick Rose look-alike kid that Noriega sent to speak on his behalf). We are in an election year, right? Valinda? Larry Joe? Crickets?

Anyway, before Grupo El Cheese-grater-o performed, we heard from two state representatives. Candidate #1 has been peddling the same stump speech for the last seven months. Candidate #2 has only been telling his stump speech since Labor Day. Candidate #2 has been in the Texas House for almost twenty years, somehow existing despite not having a website.

Mark Strama, you should learn from your elders.

Candidate #1 - Mark Strama


Candidate #2 - Elliott Naishtat
Reactions: 


The Blogosphere and The Case of the Youngest Delegate

Some of you may have seen the "Not Quite the Youngest Delegate" mini-documentary featuring John Moritz, Rick Cofer, David Broockman, KT from BOR chattering away in the background and yours truly. At the time, after being assualted with a Flip camera when I was minding my own business attempting to connect to the Radisson Red Roof Red Lion Hotel wifi, I was feeling pretty good about getting the facts straight about who really was the youngest delegate.



But this article from the Llama Ledger (yes, I'm completely embarrassed I'm having to site cite the Llama Ledger) proves that we were all wrong.

When Texas State Senator and DNC co-chair Leticia Van de Putte boasted an 18-year-old as part of her state's delegation, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who also co-chairs this week's Convention, shot back.
"We have two 18-year-olds as part of the Kansas delegates...one is actually not 18 yet, he will be 18 by the time he votes in November," Sebelius said. "Whenever you can one-up Texas, you try to."
But in fact, someone has them both beat.
"Our youngest delegate is David Gilbert-Pederson, he's 17, and he's from Minnesota," said Democratic National Committee Secretary Alice Travis Germond.
Oops. Does anyone in Minnesota even own a Flip camera?
Reactions: 


The Devil You Know

Anyone get their color back from their Palin pallor yet? Not me. Tonight at trivia, we were trying to come up with a suitable, topical name for our team. After a few minutes of tossing around Palin-isms (I wanted to go with "I Only Shoot Coyotes Wolves From the Ground") my mother, who brings to the team her extensive knowledge of Beatles trivia and lantana varietals, said, "Why don't we come up with something totally un-Palin related; a more fun current event!" When my mom's the one looking for positives, you know it's bad. $85 billion dollar AIG rescue bad.

Everyone looked around the table rather slack-jawed, stumped for a moment at the prospect. What on earth is newsworthy other than Sarah Palin? Finally, someone muttered "ACL Fest?"

We eventually went with an actual headline that was running on the front page of CCN.com today: "Bush Lands in Texas; Residents Urged to Leave."

I never thought I'd say this -- okay, I would never have said this before Sarah Palin -- but I miss George W. Bush.

Maybe it's a little Stockholmish, but I feel like George Bush, especially over the last year, has finally become tolerable by deciding to STFU, no doubt cattle-prodded into quiet submission by his handlers.

George Bush is sorta normal, kind of the (deserving) whipping boy for the last eight years. He has an ape-like face and a confounded countenance that has got me starting to think (I know, clearly I'm losing my mind) "Maybe that whole Iraq thing was just a 'Doh!' moment...maybe?" Bush has daughters with names like Laura and Barbara who go out and get fall-down drunk in Mexico. Who the hell names their kids Trig and Track and teaches their daughter to groom her son like a cat? When it comes to the boys club, Bush is almost a docile little pawn when placed next to Sarah Palin's conniving ways.

I guess it helps me to know that Bush can't get elected again. And I don't want to be called a concern troll, really I don't. But there's something to be said for the devil you know. Not much, but something.

Oh well. As Jon Stewart says, she doesn't need to know the Bush doctrine. She is the Bush doctrine.

Reactions: 


"And I don't know what it is..."

Tragically funny. Sort of reminds me of how "strategery"made me simultaneously crack up and want to move to New Zealand.

Reactions: 


Heck yeah, y'all can.

It seems everyone is all bent out of shape about the Obama email that went out Thursday declaring "Drive for Obama," encouraging Texans to drive to New Mexico to help volunteer in the battleground state.

I admit that it seems a little weird, after getting the green message pounded into my head for four days in Denver (I can't throw away a water bottle without feeling a pang of guilt), that the Obama campaign would now ask for us to drive hundreds of miles to help his campaign. It makes me feel like I'm going to end up as Carbon Bigfoot.

But...hold your Hybrids, people. This is, after all, a race, is it not? We can't pout in the corner about our state not being crucial, especially after we bitched all through the primary about what a huge PINTA it was to have the Texas two-step caucus system actually put on its dancing shoes. The Obama campaign has stuff to, business to take care of. It's time to put on our big girl panties and, as my dear Colorado friend Cashmoney used to advise me when it got cold out and we were dressed for a beach in Hawaii, "it's time to nut up." Or, alternatively, "ovary up," for those of you who are still on speaking terms with your ovaries.

If turquoise jewelry and adobe isn't your style, then I suggest you let the New Mejicanos worry about change we can believe in and you knock on a few doors for Texas House candidates like Valinda Bolton, Donnie Dippel or Diana Maldonado. Those of you in DFW (I'm terribly sorry about that, by the way) can walk a few miles for State Senate hopeful Wendy Davis, or Houstonites -- once you're done dealing with that massive upper-level disturbance -- get thee to the Harris County Coordinated Campaign offices and help out Chris Bell.

Yeah, it's not as glamorous and no, you don't get cool blue and red OBAMA stickers out of it. But as Obama keeps reminding us, over and over again, like a patient parent during a long road trip to the kid who keeps saying "Are we there yet?" -- it's not about him. It's about us. You may not get to go to the big ball, Cinderella, but you can still dance.
Reactions: 


Y-Ike-s!

Sept. 7

Sept. 9
Sept. 11


Ike's looking like a real squirrelly sucker. Typical.

Nothing to do but hunker down and pray for daylight. Good luck, my great state of Texas.
Reactions: 


Act Who?

This is your Elliott Naishtat RSS feed, since he doesn't have a website. And, since it's "citizen reporting," it can't be considered stalking.




In Step 1 of getting Elliott Naishtat to start a website with DLCCWeb, I had to find out if Representative Naishtat was even on ActBlue for the contributions page. He is, however the results were dismal. One supporter and $25 dollars raised across all of ActBlue?

So I have set up a page to show him that people think he needs a website. The goal is 100 -- one hundred people, not dollars. Because it's not about the amount of money he needs to raise, it's about the amount of people he needs to connect with. I'm asking everyone today to take a moment to donate any amount to the Wired4Naishtat fund, and I'm kicking it off with my one vote.

Goal Thermometer


Once you've done that, leave an idea for what his domain name should be (elliottnaishtat.com? elliottforaustin.com? ihearttacos.com?) in the comments section!
Reactions: