"Lifelong Lawyer and Part-Time Crazy Person"

I'm a big believer in karma, and I feel like Jon Stewart ripping John Cornyn's GOP convention "Big John" video to shreds on the Daily Show is some serious redemption for something Cornyn did along the way. I'm just not sure what.


Every Rosedale Has Its Thorn

It was brought to my attention this week by State Representative Elliot Naishtat that the Rosedale neighborhood has an annual 4th of July Parade (which is, as Naishtat explained to me, where people walk around waving flags and throwing out candy) and Picnic (a picnic evidently is where people sit outside and eat -- clearly they think they are in the Pacific Northwest and that it's not 100 degrees out). Don't bother clicking the link because they haven't updated their July 4th information since 2007. Typical yuppies.

The headline event is the "Water Balloon Toss" which Naishtat himself judges. This makes no sense because in an objective event like professional water balloon tossage, you can't have a judge. You can have a ref, or a moderator, or an umpire, but you can't have a judge. Unless Naishtat is picking a winner for the "Looks The Most Like Someone From New York" award, I don't see how he is qualified or even needed to "judge" a contest like this.

Nevertheless, Naishtat prides himself on being the annual judge so I didn't have the heart to tell him (either that or he didn't have the heart to listen). If you happen to see him at the event, just be sure to ask him what happened to his face (and I don't mean his disgruntled Yankee countenance, that's basically just SOP for him). We should expect nothing less than the best from Rep. Naishtat, whose district is comprised of neighborhoods that are basically the Phil's Ice House sampler basket.

That Other Guy.

We're going to go a long way around to this one. Bear with me.

When I was in fourth grade, I participated in a program called Invent America, which was exactly what it sounds like: students were encouraged to create a new invention that would solve a problem, and then they were judged in an invention fair on a school-wide level, and two lucky winners would be selected to go to the city finals and from there progress to state and eventually the national finals. I don't remember the prize now -- probably seeing your invention in production and a small amount of prize-money -- but I do remember being compelled to enter.

For weeks I slaved over my "PurrInter," a box lined with egg-crate foam that you could place over the old-school printers of the 90's to make them quieter. I came in 2nd at my school and was promoted to the city finals. I remember going with my mom to the convention center in saddle shoes that pinched my toes and a dress that scratched around my neck. I was a jittery mess, looking at all of the other inventions with little regard, and quickly moving into the front of the main convention hall for the announcement of the city-wide winners, utterly convinced I would win and progress to state.

I didn't.

I watched names get called, girls with the same scratchy dresses and Mary Janes skip on stage and collect their shiny medallions, two winners for each age group. I coveted those medals, wanting to have that red, white and blue ribbon hang around my neck, to feel the weight of a win. I left with a green "Participant" ribbon and a lump in my throat. In my hand I held a program that listed all of the winner's names, printed neatly on thick manila card stock with dark black serif letters. Somewhere in that blank space, there I could have been.

The following year, encouraged by my teachers to enter again, I did so reluctantly. I decided to solve one of my biggest problems at the time: getting the unruly rental horses I took lessons on to open their mouths so I could put the bit between their giant sets of teeth. It occurred to me that the fat little pony I loved to ride might prefer the bit if it tasted like apples. So I invented "TasteeBit," a simple jar of petroleum jelly with red food coloring and apple flavoring. You slathered the jelly onto the bit and presto! The pony opened his mouth eagerly -- my slogan became "It'll have your horse chompin' at the bit!"

I made it to the city finals and suddenly an intense fear of failure sunk in. Did I really want to go through that again? The agony of watching the others on stage collecting their prizes, searching the program for my name, leaving with a wrinkled, fading ribbon? The thought alone made me think twice. And so when my best friend invited me to go camping with her family in Concan, I decided that I would enjoy myself more and picked camping.

It bothers me to this day that at some point over that weekend, someone called my name. Second place. While I dragged my toes through the cool Frio River, someone held up a silver medal, which is really the prettiest medal there is anyway, and looked for a tow-headed girl to bestow it upon. While I drew a horse head in the red dirt along the campsite, my name was stamped out across a program.

And all of this, this childhood regret of missed opportunity, brings me to That Other Guy. When I was at the State Convention a few weeks ago, I sat listening to the SD-17 caucus and for the first time since I'd arrived at the convention center, I had a time to open up the program.

Perhaps it was the kid in me, maybe even the ten year old inventor, but I immediately turned to the Congressional races. It's no secret who I was looking for -- when you volunteered as much as I did, it gets personal. And there it was. District 10: Larry Joe Doherty. I reviewed the names, the nominees listed with the same billing as the Democratic incumbents. As my gaze fell across the names, I realized that the list stopped at District 30. No mention was made in the program of Texas' other two Democratic Congressional candidates Brian Ruiz (CD-31) and Eric Roberson (CD-32). Just blank space. And in that moment, that sinking feeling of a name going unmentioned, I felt defeated.

There's something to be said for showing up in life. For accepting a challenge that perhaps you'll lose, and maybe one you've even lost before, but going into that fight anyway. A wise political consultant once told me that partisan politics is about moving the ball forward. And that maybe this time around, while it may not be a mark in the win column, for every Democratic candidate we put forward, we move a little further down field. These Democrats are doing just that. In fact, a new poll from IVR Polls came out today showing Eric Roberson within nine points of his Republican opponent Pete Sessions. More people voted for Brian Ruiz in the primary than they did the Republican opponent John Carter, who voted against S-CHIP and called it "a slow stroll down the road to socialism." But it's hard to stroll, I would imagine, when you are a unable to afford medical care for your disabled child.

As a ten year old, I stood on the banks of the Frio River and missed my opportunity to realize my win because of a blank program. How many potential Democratic candidates have stood on a river swirling with loss, afraid to cross and subsequently never had the chance to win? We owe our candidates, and more importantly, their constituents, more than that. Because they are crossing, moving forward despite the uncertainty and the murky waters. If we want people to continue to show up, we cannot greet them with a blank program.

They need our help. Every spare penny or mention in a program notes. Not because they will win, but because they have not yet lost.


A Day in the Country with Larry Joe Doherty

Yesterday Larry Joe Doherty and his family opened up their ranch and wildlife preserve to the many volunteers and local activists that live within the eight counties that make up CD-10. So this city mouse headed out to Burton, Texas, which lies just off of Hwy. 290 and smack in the middle between Austin and Houston, the two major poles of CD-10.

Map from GovTrack

The morning started off cool and breezy, so we stood in the shade of the live oaks and admired the beautiful landscape of the ranch. It was a great chance to get Larry Joe to talk to my cohorts who made the drive with me about the conservation of open space land and the importance that open land has on the water we drink and the food we eat. Larry Joe had talked to me about the issue once before and I had been trying to explain the conversation to the group in the car that morning.

The Doherty's ranch has a beautiful lake that made a calm backdrop to the various groups of people, who all seemed to be interested in identifying their fellow district members -- there was lots of "I live in Austin but I'm from Houston" and "That's a good place to be from" going on. There were several kids playing wiffle ball and just generally running around, inspecting dragonflies and whatnot. After a period of conversation and a quick "Thank you for coming out" from Larry Joe, the barbecue was unveiled and Texans got down to what we do best -- consuming some 'cue.

It seemed like when I walked around and took pictures of the people at each table, most of the talk going on was about their county conventions -- comparing and contrasting notes and telling war stories about the long hours and caucusing. We sat at lunch with fellow blogger Steve from Doing My Part for the Left and SDEC Committeewoman Susan Shelton, hailing from the great SD 14.

Susan & Steve
Travis County

Also at our table was a Navy WWII veteran named Milton Reim. He spent most of the 70s working for NASA as a public information officer, and as a result was able to travel to all sorts of exotic locales for "training exercises." Some of his stories were incredible -- geology training in Hawaii at the active volcano Kilauea -- and some of them we just had to laugh at -- hanging in the bars with John Glenn in Mexico, who he said everyone called "St. John" because he was the only astronaut who didn't fool around with other women. Milton had left NASA and moved to Brenham to get out of Houston.

Milton Reim
Washington County

I also met Michael Flowers and his family, from Elgin. Michael is a national delegate for Obama and won his seat because he was the only delegate who promised to set up a liveblog complete with video and photos from Denver. It's great that a CD-10er is headed to Denver, and be sure to check out his website for updates when the national convention kicks off. You can find it here (I'll also add it to the blogroll). Meanwhile, Michael and his wife Sophena have two adorable kids named Henry and David.

Henry & David
Bastrop County

It was a lovely day, until the breeze died down around 3 PM. Then people started retreating for their air-conditioned cars and drove back to wherever they were from across the gerrymandered district.

Unfortunately for the Republicans, you can't gerrymander the peoples' desire for some barbecue on a summer day, and the turnout was fantastic. Check out the other photos from the Larry Joe Doherty party here.

Warning: This Post Will Ruin Your Day

At least, I hope it does.

A new report called "Broken Laws, Broken Lives" (excuse me for finding this name incredibly ironic given that it involves the US Army) was released today after evaluating the psychological and physical conditions of eleven men who were held in U.S. prison camps overseas between 2001 and 2004. Four of the men were captured in Afghanistan and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay while seven were imprisoned in Iraq. All were released eventually without ever being charged with a crime.

Former Ft. Hood commanding officer of 2nd Brigade in 4ID, Major General Taguba, makes an appearance in the report:
Retired Major General Antonio Taguba, who led the Army"s first official investigation on Abu Ghraib, said the new evidence suggested a “systematic regime of torture” inside U.S.-run prison camps. (from Democracy Now)
Land of the free. Home of the brave.

But, man, how about those Celtics?

Serenity Now.

Polls are one of those subjects that I sometimes feel lost on. Okay, scratch that, I always feel lost on them. I am no good with numbers, unless it involves giving mine to a good-looking Democrat (an oxymoron, I know, therefore it never happens), and I don't like making vast speculations. The strategy game continues to baffle me. I know nothing about VAN and I don't care to "cut turf," whatever that consists of actually doing.

So that's why I enjoy the polls over at Letters From Texas, a new political blog written by consultant Harold Cook. More often than not they make fun of situations and people who need to be made fun of -- case in point, the "Who is your favorite hot House member crush?" poll and its group of well-coiffed contenders. But last week, the mastermind behind the polls went in a different direction.

The poll question was simple, yet tragic: "If you could climb into a time machine and change the outcome of one historical event this decade, which would it be?”

These were the FUBARs offered to us by the pollster:

  1. Go back to the 2000 election, get Ralph Nader off the Florida ballot, make Al Gore the obvious winner, and prevent George W. Bush from ever becoming President.
  2. Go back to 2001 and prevent the terrorist attacks on September 11th.
  3. Go back to 2004 and warn the world about the looming tsunami, saving almost 350,000 innocent lives.
By the end of the poll, a "clear majority" of 62% had voted for option one. Tying for second, the other two choices each got 18% of the votes.

Cook very eloquently stated the following in his analysis of the poll:
The results of the poll indicate that the totality of Bush’s mistakes is far worse than the sum of its parts – if one took every ill-fated decision ever made by this administration, and added up the cost of each in terms of lives lost, it is doubtful under any measure that together they would reach the 350,000 lives lost because of the tsunami in 2004. But 62% don’t believe that’s all it’s about. They’re right.
I've thought a lot about this poll. Not because I disagree with it, but because I have come to question the motivation behind peoples' votes. I don't doubt that they see the far-reaching scope of George W. Bush's presidency and I certainly can vouch for the trickle-down effect of a President who shouldn't have been. As Al Gore stated tonight in his endorsement of Barack Obama, "Elections matter."

But aside from the far-reaching effects, there is something else in the Bush presidency that Americans -- perhaps even the world -- just can't seem to come to terms with. We stand on a mountain top, on the cusp of a new president, one who offers hope and change and the ability to move forward and look to the future. But we keep looking back, staring in our rear view mirrors and and asking ourselves what might have been, as if we just were involved in a near-fatal car wreck.

What if I hadn't put that coffee cup on the dashboard?
What if I hadn't hit the snooze button?
What if I hadn't been flipping stations when that song came on?

Sadly, even FUBAR himself can't create a time machine. We can't "what if" our way to a happy ending on this one, we just get to play the loop in our minds. Over and over. And over.

And so this morning I was reminded of something that I have heard repeated over the years, from various sources and in various settings. And it goes like this:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
We are an America in need of serenity. We desperately want to find a foothold in this quicksand of corruption and self-satisfaction that politicians engage us in daily. We struggle, thinking that contentment is the right thing, when sometimes it is just feeding the system that corrupts us. We are emotional-consumers, consuming to make ourselves feel better as we struggle with our obese vehicles, debts and ideals.

This desperate need of serenity has been a long time in the making. You don't live in a perpetual war that is mythical in price and symbolized with colors like yellow, orange and red threat levels without developing an almost paralyzing confusion of what is right and what is wrong. We're Americans and more than that, we are human beings. We try to stymie our confusion by looking for answers, seeking to find definition for what is "Terror" and what is "Tyranny" and knowing that one can perpetuate the other, but one cannot always stop the other. We look inward, we put on the mental loop, replaying every "My fellow American" and "God Bless you, and this country," and we try to discern the "what if" from the "what can I do?"

And there, in that moment of introspection, may we all find our serenity. Because we can grant ourselves the serenity to accept the things we cannot change -- we cannot change world-quaking tsunamis that kill hundreds of thousands of people; martyrs boarding planes and committing murder in the name of their god -- and the courage to change the things we can -- we can change a presidency that should never have been allowed to be, the system that allowed it to happen, the actions that were allowed to be made.

But all of this pales in importance to granting ourselves the wisdom to know the difference. Wisdom comes from two places: our experiences and our hearts. We can take this experience -- this eight years of horror -- and take our hearts, which are battered and pained and torn -- and create the wisdom to know the difference.

In that wisdom, we are able to look at the present situation of the world and say that we know, beyond an article of impeachment, that in those three scenarios offered to us by Cook, something happened. But only one of them did we have the power to change. Only one of them can we still change. And there, somewhere under a ballot box or in a hanging chad, rests serenity.

At the Texas Observer-Molly Ivins awards dinner I went to last Thursday, a pile of pots and pans rested upon every table. They were symbolic of the final sentence of her final column, when she urged us to protest the war in Iraq, writing, "We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, 'Stop it, now!'" Molly Ivins saw the chance for our serenity. She saw what we could change, if we had the courage and wisdom.

Eight years, thousands of lives, billions of dollars and many tragic moments later, we have the wisdom to know the difference between that which we cannot change and that which we can.
And so the real question, our ultimate poll, will be this: What will we do with our wisdom?

She Still Has Someone in Spicewood

Yesterday our company went on a little team-building exercise and took a zip-line tour through the Texas Hill Country. Aside from the fact that I detest heights and anything that could cause me to fall to my death, we had a good time. The tour company, Cypress Valley Canopy Tours, has an eco-friendly approach to the tour, our guide Cale telling us about the trees and wildlife as we went from platform to platform. They have also invested in water, solar and wind-powered alternative energy sources to fuel their operation. And, as I was careening down "The Screamer" zip-line, I was reminded of perhaps the most natural form of energy: gravity.

As we left, we went to turn onto Highway 71 and came face to face with this sign. We all burst out laughing and my coworkers knowingly obliged the blogger in me while I got out of the car, held up traffic and took a picture.



Tim Russert Dies at Age 58

Tim Russert
Journalist & Political Correspondent
NBC - Meet the Press
May 7, 1950 - June 13, 2008

“The primary responsibility of the media is accountability of government, whether it's about lying under oath, which upset Democrats, or the mismanagement of responding to a hurricane, which happens to upset Republicans.” - Tim Russert


An Open Letter to George W. Bush

Dear Mr. President,

I have been blissfully crushing over Obama for the last few months, which has allowed me to nearly forget about your existence. Have no fear, not a day goes by that I am not reminded of your colossal mistakes, but the notion of you walking around on the planet tends to not hit me. Call it denial or maybe just a preoccupation with the future of our nation.

But every so often, something catches my eye that suddenly reminds me that you do still exist, that you still make decisions, and that you are still, perpetually, concerned about your legacy. An article that came out in The Times today says you regret your "gun-slinging rhetoric" and you are quoted as saying that "in retrospect I could have used a different tone, a different rhetoric.”

Tone? Rhetoric?

You go on to say that phrases like "bring them on” or “dead or alive” somehow “indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace."

Mr. President, what you spoke of was not "tone" or "rhetoric." It was exactly, precisely, calculatingly what you were doing.

You said bring them on, you said dead or alive.
And so on they came, and so we went.
Dead or alive.

You can't decide now that this was just tone. You can't bring Saddam Hussein back from the dead and say that you made a error in judgment on those WMDs. You can't turn to the families who have lost their loved ones in a war and say that you misspoke and that you're actually quite peaceful.

Because that's the thing about dead or alive. There's no in between.

I remember, so many years ago, on the evening of September 11, 2001 when you said, gulping in front of an American flag, the following:

"We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them."

In that moment, you showed your hand. Your presidency has been colored in black and white, with no room for anything in between.

And so it will be for your legacy. Your supporters, few they may be, will remember you as a gunslinger, a fearless leader who led us into a noble war against terrorists and nuclear weapons. You should embrace that, rather than wilting six months before the end of your presidency and saying you should have used a different "tone." But that's for you and your supporters to work out.

And what about the rest of us, the remaining 68% of America who sit in your bottom-heavy disapproval ratings?

Bring it on, your post-presidential falsities about your "international diplomacy." Bring it on, your insistence that it's patriotic to lead your country into a war based on lies. Bring it on, your stubborn delusions that cause you to describe yourself as "a man of peace."

We will make no distinction between the acts you committed and the words you use to describe them. Dead or alive, you will go down as the worst president in history.


Best and Worst: Primary 2008

Now that the convention is over and the primary is officially kaput, here are my best/worst picks for the 2008 Presidential primary.

Best "Hillary is a Human" Moment: Hillary vs. the Coffee Machine.

Okay, guys, we've all been in a Tigermart. All those buttons and flavors at 6 am gets terribly confusing.

Worst "Hillary is a Human" Moment: Hillary Tears Up in New Hampshire.

Paging Dr. Laura.

Best "Obama is Superman" Moment: The Fist-Bump.

You don't get more Obama 2.0 than that! And I don't care if Fox News thinks he's a terrorist because of it. As-Salaam-Alaikum, booyah!

From HuffPo

Worst "Obama is Superman" Moment: The Bicycle Built for Nerds.

Obama. No. Just...no.

From AP

Best "Gravel's Insanity Suddenly Makes Sense" Moment: The Rock.

It's a rock. And he's throwing it. In the water. Yes. That makes total sense.

Worst "Gravel's Insanity Suddenly Makes Sense" Moment: The Fire.

Okay, I was just kidding about the rock. He's freaking crazy and none of it makes sense. But I love it anyway.

Best John McCain Speech: ?

This place intentionally left blank due to lack of content.

Worst John McCain Speech: The Night Obama Won

I'm not sure you can call this McCain's "oratorical best," Fox.

Best Single: Yes We Can.

A shoe-in.

Worst Single: Yeah, ah, guess y'all can.

We won't miss you at all, Bush.

Best Winner: America.

There's no downside in this category.


Point of Information!

If you went to the convention, and if you're anything like me, you probably have a severe case of the Mondays.

Never fear. The TDP has a YouTube page where you can relive all of the excitement of Sen. Kirk Watson's bathroom breaks, get your rasta on with Roy Laverne Brooks, and just generally continue to abuse your eardrums and democratic sensibilities.

More photos from the weekend...

Sen. Kirk Watson introducing Congressman Lloyd Doggett on Saturday.

L: Susan Shelton, who won her SDEC Committeewoman run for SD-14 (whatever the hell that means)
M: McBlogger doing what he does best (other than blogging)
R: Garry Brown. who won his race for SD-14 SDEC Committeeman.

Again, will someone please explain to me what that means? Actually, on second thought, never mind.

Rep. Stephen Frost, who after a hard day of sitting in his hotel room kicks back by sitting in his hotel bar.

Yours truly, reviewing the Parliamentary Procedures At A Glance.
I move that we suspend the rules and consider operating life in this way from now on.
Photo credit goes to Fubar.

And, perhaps the biggest winner of the weekend: If you were not part of any of the several lengthy discussions about the meaning of this button, then you missed some pretty hilarious times. Just say it fast.

Moving forward, one Senate District vignette at a time.

"That ends the announcements of the nominations."

Best. words. ever.

In fact, that gets a "fuckyeah."

Moving Texas Forward - By The Numbers

The convention has had some pretty good videos showing every few hours, making for a nice break in the "Senate District 6, Home of the Hanson Brothers' Younger Cousin and Proudly Announcing Our New SuperWalMart" tedium.

Clearly, this is getting a little old.

Here's one of the better videos that they showed yesterday that sums up a lot of the progress that the party has made this primary season.


Boyd Richie Re-Elected

Boyd Richie was just reelected for two more years as Texas Democratic Party Chair, winning 63% of the vote.

And I have a massive headache! I'm not pointing any fingers, but I blame anyone who gave a speech that lasted for more than 7.5 minutes today.

Sen. Van de Putte Speech

Enjoy this speech from Sen. Van de Putte about the importance of unity and make-up sex supporting the Democratic nominee for President.


Caught Around the Convention

Blogger's Party

More pictures are here. Like I said, the only person who wanted their picture taken at this event was Rep. Solomon Ortiz, Jr.

Ortiz & Strama

From Rio Grande City, Rep. Ryan Guillen and Ortiz.


I stumbled into the SD-17 caucus yesterday, mainly because I heard Chris Bell talking and wanted to see what he had to say. It was somewhat hard to hear him due to the fact that there was a woman on the other side of the partition yelling "Can you hear me?" repeatedly to get her delegates fired up. Bell finally turned around and yelled back "Yes, we can! We sure can!"

Chris Bell talking to the press.

The most archaic voting process I have ever seen.

Texas Association of Realtors

The Texas Association of Realtors held a party last night, for their some 390 delegates that they have here in attendance at the convention. The best part about this party was that I found a Yamaha baby grand piano in the corner of the anteroom that wasn't locked. Security at the Hilton, on the other hand, was not so thrilled about that discovery.

Mark Lehman, Daniel Gonzalez and Craig Chick talk with Rep. Chuck Hopson
at the Texas Association of Realtors party on Friday night..

Harvey Kronberg, of The Quorum Report and Clint Hackney --
who looks just like George W. Bush, which he wasn't too thrilled to hear.

US Congress

Congressman Lloyd Doggett hobbled through the crowd on crutches and up to the stage to give a speech about the importance of electing Congressmen who will help clean up Congress in November. Quite an impressive row of suits was rolled out, including Larry Joe Doherty (CD-10), Michael Skelly (CD-7), Glenn Melançon (CD-4), and Eric Roberson (CD-32) pictured below.

L-R: Skelly, Doherty, Roberson, Melançon

Results from the Texas Democratic Convention

In the Presidential Race-

Total: 7239 votes
Clinton: 3088
Obama: 4144
7 undecided

Clinton: 42.7%
Obama: 57.3%

Clinton 18
Obama 24

And that's all I have to say about that!

Live, from Austin, Texas - It's the State Convention!

So Boyd Richie kicked things off to the tune of Brooks & Dunn's "Hard Workin' Man" and was then upstaged by Natomi Austin, who sang the National Anthem. Following that revival, a woman (hey TDP, maybe next time you could print the names of the presenters on the schedule in the program? mmkay!) has come out to give the "Invitational"* which was originally titled, "Dear God, It's Me Hillary."
* Ed. note: I thought it was invitational, but I realized on Saturday that they were actually saying "Invocation." So I was never baptized, have I mentioned that?

I knew that Democrats have been praying for the last 8 years that we'd have a new president, but I never knew there was such a religious start to a democratic convention.

Moving on, Roberta Ford is now honoring the Veterans, and that's only because I was saved by the 8lb. baby Jesus himself and started keeping track of names.

First time delegates: stand up and be seen. Oh, right, that's everyone but Garry Brown.

Touching video about Rick Noriega, and his wife sums it up the best and gets a chuckle from the crowd: "Rick has your back." Someone buy the domain and put that on the back of a t-shirt! Quick!

This is actually the first time, out of all the events I've been to, where I've seen Rick Noriega live and in person.

Rick Noriega for US Senate

Best line: "You would not believe the amount of accountability and responsibility we place on the shoulders of an 18-year-old private. Isn’t it time, this election, that we, the people of Texas, hold Texas’ junior United States Senator as accountable as we hold that private?"

I feel like I've been delivered my marching orders.

Chelsea Clinton made an appearance, moments after an entire sheet of curtains next to the stage fell down and no doubt scared the living caucus out of her bodyguards. Here's here unity-filled speech.

After a lull in activity while Chelsea was shuttled away, they invited all of the State Reps to come out and say a few words. I started filming the whole thing, but frankly it got a little redundant so I just picked out the hotties highlights.

Here you go, Rep. Solomon Ortiz Jr., making his second appearance on meanrachel.com, says his part.

And these two hooligans, Reps. Mark Strama and Patrick Rose -- from here onward to be known as The Hardy Boys. After them comes Rep. Eddie Lucio III, one of the young, promising representatives from South Texas.

Okay, finally -- Jim Dunnam is getting all Obama-Strama with this whole "brief moment of silence" hat trick that he pulls at the end of every speech (source). But I still like it. Still funny, just like watching Dumb & Dumber for the 40th time, it still works. Now, this on the other hand? I'll leave that to you & yours.

Note The Button.

Here's a couple of bloggers I paparazzied, Capitol Annex on the left and Musings on the right.

Bay Area Houston is sitting in front of me.

Governor Tim Kaine from Virginia was last to go (unless you count the lame subcommittee stuff), and gave a pretty decent speech but the crowd seems tired and restless and let's face it, he's not Obama. He told us it'd be a long road. Everyone seems like they just wanted a chance to see Obama speak and as I watched him walk off stage, I can definitely feel a shift in attitude -- a little bit of disappointment on all of the delegates' behalf who I think were really excited about the potential that Obama might show up. I suddenly feel very fortunate to have been able to see him speak live as many times as I have.

Gov. Tim Kaine addressing the crowd.

All for today. I am mean&verytiredrachel.com now. So what does mean&tiredrachel.com do when she's mean & tired? Go out, of course! See you tomorrow.

Not-So-Blind Pre-State Convention Items

A State Representative is convinced he will be #2 on the ticket for Obama this fall, so much so that he was spied sporting a custom-made campaign button at the blogger party. Surrrree, blame it on the Constable. And Britney Spears isn't crazy.

What if the next potential Speaker spoke and no one listened? Or could hear him? Usually his speeches are not ones to miss. Next year, boys, allow me to pay for the megaphone rental.

Additionally, what if a PAC threw a paid-for party complete with a live band and no one showed up?

A former Speaker, who once admitted to not owning a computer, somehow hacked his way onto this blog and lived to tell about it.

A certain State Representative from South Texas is so intent to make it onto this blog that I somehow all the photos I have from last night's blogger party are of his mug. And I like you guys too much to subject you to that.

People from Houston know how to drink, at least when it's free. No wonder they're so good at fundraising.

Austin has a City Councilman who is straight-up smitten. Some might call it "happy" but all the more reason it's to be ridiculed. I'd tell them to get a room, but I hear the Hilton's sold out. Luckily they have a cynic to keep them grounded.

Suicide is not a viable option at this point, sorry guys.
This is probably your best bet.

"Hottest House Member 2008" is so overrated, having now ID-ed him in person. I demand a recount.

OMG TX P0litcz Rulz!1!1!!

Seen on a flier at the Texas State Convention Kickoff Happy Hour, held at the Hilton bar:

Raise money simply by texting us! Another great way to help raise an additional $5 is to sign-up for our text-message alerts. Join by texting 'TCDP' to '41411' from your cell phone, and Sen. Kirk Watson will donate additional funds to the TCDP. How easy is that?

S0 ez u can do it in ur sl33p!1!!

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Donn-a You-a Wish-a Obam-a Was-a Stram-a?

Those played-out fireside chats? Forget it. So 1938. For a Democratic warm-fuzzy, it doesn't get any hotter than Rep. Mark Obama-Strama and Rep. Donna Great Legs Howard sitting on the steps of the Capitol in June talking about unity, the primary and...oh yeah, unity.

Security Threat Assessment Note: The video below has been pre-screened by the TSA for Ann Richards stories and over-used stump jokes.


An Open Letter to Myself Circa 2000

So, call me cynical, but all of this moving forward and looking toward the future of our country really got me thinking about the past. And not just our country's past but my own past -- the person I was in the year 2000, when Bush was elected, compared to who I am now. What better time to dwell on it than the middle of the night? Let us begin.

Dear Rachel (you had not officially become Mean Rachel -- I think it was a working title),

So you're supposed to graduate high school in two years but not before you take the requisite six elective classes that you have left.

You definitely have got this figured out, at least this high school bullshit. Go for it, graduate in three years. Get out while you still have a soul.

Your decision to pursue your dreams will be one of the best things you ever do.

Opus will be dead this time next year. Give him an extra carrot. But you already did that anyway.

You're too young to vote, but yet you're taking the senior Government class. Your teacher regards you with a curious air when you tell him you cannot fulfill the homework assignment on November 4th because you are sixteen. Ignore him. He'll forget about it the morning of the 5th.

Gas is about $1.50 a gallon. Praise God, Buddha and Allah.

Wear less flannel.

You're right, you absolutely do not want to join the military.

College will become unimportant someday.

So will anything involving a grade.

Yes, someday your sister will actually become a doctor. Oddly, it will happen in the same amount of time it will take the President to fuck up the country.

You should have gone to Spain, even if you hated the concept of going with people from your school.

At some point, you get to stop fighting every person you meet about your plans after high school.

You will never forget the joy of riding horses for the fun of it, even after it ceases to be something you do for fun.

The government will fail you and let you down and disappoint you, but that doesn't mean you can't make it better.

See you in eight years,

Obama Speaks.

The world listens.

Welcome to the next 8 years.

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Hillary Speaks

Every looks for Bill.

Welcome to the 90's.

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Obama Wins!

Finally. Finalmente.

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McCain's Speaking Now...

But no one is listening.

Welcome to the next 6 months, hombre.

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The Early Crowd at Scholz's*

There are probably twenty kids here, and I'm not just referring to the kid bloggers.

Lots of families have turned out to watch history in the making, I guess. Or, rather, the denouement of history being made.

Until then, we'll just have to suffer through Tim Russert's stories about him and his dad. Again.

* The only reason I spelled that correctly is beacause the menu is in front of me.

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Doherty Closing Gap in CD-10

A new poll from IVR Polls was reported this morning on Swing State Project, showing Larry Joe Doherty closing what was once a comfortable Republican rift for incumbent Michael McCaul. From the poll:

For the 2008 race, in polling on June 2, 528 likely voters gave McCaul a 5.4% lead over Democratic challenger Larry Joe Doherty. McCaul received 51.7% to Doherty's 46.3%, with 2.0% undecided. ... (margin of error 4.3%)

The voters of CD-10 are getting to know Doherty and rallying behind him. The poll goes on to show the impact on the district if when Obama secures the nomination, as well as Noriega's potential affect on the Latino vote in CD-10:

Historically, turnout in this district doesn't include large numbers of Latinos or African-Americans. In this poll, both groups went with Doherty, Latinos by 2-1 and African-Americans by 7-1. If Obama at the top of the ticket increases African-American general election turnout as he has in the primary, and these additional voters follow through on the down-ballot races, Doherty could close the gap even further. Increased Latino turnout in the primary was mainly a reflection of Clinton's popularity, but there is a possibility that Noriega could also increase Latino turnout for the general, further benefitting Doherty.
Larry Joe Doherty is running so he can clean up Congress, and his first step in that goal will be in defeating Michael McCaul.

Attention Men of Austin!

Attention Men of Austin:

Single? Lonely? Just like to watch?

May I suggest to you the line outside the Alamo Ritz for a 7:25 showing of Sex and the City?

Happy hunting!

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From the "Loves honesty, hates jazz" files.


An Open Letter to the O-Opposition

Dear All,

Over the weekend, Barack Obama made the decision to resign from the Trinity United Church of Christ, after months of "scandal" involving statements made by various resident and guest reverends. Now, his decision to leave the church is being treated as a hot-button issue, saying it reflects on his campaign and personal commitments to God, et al.

Guess what, though.

I don't care!

I don't care if Obama decides to leave Trinity to join the Church of the Latter Day Krispy Kreme. If he's going to create more jobs, get us out of Iraq and make health care available to children, then he can do whatever the hades he wants when it comes to his religion.

And, in the same vein, can I point out that it was the United Methodist church, George W. Bush's church of choice, that was against Bush going to war with Iraq to begin with? Why was this not more widely publicized.

That is all.


You Can Levin Your Hat On

I watched the debate over the Florida/Michigan delegates yesterday on MSNBC. For some reason there was a live audience that was permitted to clap and cheer at any point, which I thought was bizarre and added to the goat-rodeo feel of the event itself.

Carl Levin gave a red-faced rant towards seating the Michigan delegates in full, and I have to admit that he made some good points about the principle of why Michigan moved their primary date and why they should allow their votes to be counted. Except for that the committee members kept coming back to the fact that there were no other candidates on the Michigan primary ticket aside from Hillary.

It kind of reminded me of the exchange in A Few Good Men when Tom Cruise's character, Kaffee, is practicing his interrogation of the medical examiner with his fellow cohort Sam:

Doctor, other than the rope marks, was
there any other sign of external damage?


No scrapes?


No cuts? Bruises? Broken bones?


Doctor, was there any sign of violence?


You mean other than the dead body?

Fuck!! I walk into that every goddamn time!