White hits Perry in "Ball"

I'm talking about Bill White's new TV spot, "Lobbyist Ball," an ad that focuses on Rick Perry's fundraiser in Austin on Thursday.  The event is being held at the Four Seasons and is being put on by 30 hosts -- 29 of whom are registered lobbyists. 

Call it a Lobby-Hawkins dance. 

Bill White sitting around the fireplace, talking about the "fanciest hotel in town" makes me feel like Perry stole the golden ticket to the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory out of the hands of Texas children.  In thirty seconds, it does more to hit Perry squarely in the como-se-dice's than any barn burner of a speech I could conjure up.  It's like that moment in "To Catch a Predator" when Chris Hansen comes around the corner and quietly says, "Why don't you have a seat." 

Don't believe me?  Watch it below.  There's a quiet strength in this ad that makes me think someone needs to hurry up and pass Rick Perry the frozen peas and a jock strap.

Bill White's putting his boxing gloves on.


Top 10 Reasons Why the DeLay Trial Should Stay in Austin

10. Because Tom DeLay's sentence should include driving up and down I-35 at 7:45 AM and 5:15 PM on all weekdays as well as UT game days. Oh yeah--and the car needs to not have air conditioning.

9. Because Halloween is going to be totally fun this year! Criminal DeLay, Gerrymandering DeLay, Dancing DeLay - the possibilities are endless. Lucy's in Disguise better restock on fringed leather vests and candy striper outfits. Ole!

8. Because Austin has repeatedly been listed as one of the best cities to live in and if you're going to be sentenced to life in prison like Tom DeLay could be, why not enjoy a little Austin while you've still got the music in you?

7. So politically connected people can start marketing their houses as "Home of Someone Who Once Shook the Criminal-cum-Dancer Tom Delay's Hand."

6. So Chris Bell, 2006 Texas Gubernatorial candidate and ousted Congressman due to DeLay's gerrymandering, won't have to drive as far to visit DeLay in jail.

5. Because Tom DeLay won't comprehend the true meaning of "liberal bastion" until he visits a local Thundercloud Subs.

4. So Rick Perry will have another irrelevant excuse to refuse to debate Bill White and continue to live up to his title as a "coward," which at this point pretty much guarantees him losing the election.

3. So Tea Partiers will stop saying racist, anti-Muslim things about the mosque in New York and instead say racist, anti-Muslim things about the DeLay trial in Austin, since that argument here is about as pointless as it is in New York City.

2. So George W. Bush won't ever come within a 50 mile radius of Austin again. Ever.

And the number one reason why the TomDeLay trial should stay in Austin is because taxpayers know Rick Perry's got an extra room in his $10,000 a month rental mansion for Tom DeLay to stay in during the trial. Sleepover at Slick Rick's rental! Rove'll bring the marshmallows.

Yup. Now this is a reality show that I could get into.

While we're on the subject of cowards...

Yesterday, the Rick Perry is a Coward ad done by the Back to Basics PAC ran in 24 newspapers across the state of Texas. I asked friends and family members from across the state to send me pictures to see how Rick Perry looked in newsprint in their local dailies. Many thanks to everyone who sent in pictures.

The Austin American Statesman

The McAllen Monitor
The Laredo Morning TimesThe Odessa American
The Houston Chronicle

Yup, the same paper that called me a "Republican with Democratic connections" yesterday (the error has since been corrected) refused to print the Coward ad. As reported by the Texas Tribune's Reeve Hamilton:
"It is kind of a glaring omission," says Back to Basics spokesman Cliff Walker. "Basically, the content that was accepted at 24 other papers was rejected."

The ad attacks Perry for being unwilling to debate Bill White, his Democratic opponent, or go before newspaper editorial boards. Ultimately, the decision at the Chronicle all came down to that one very visible word: "coward."
Blogger PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has canceled his subscription to the Chronicle, saying "I just can't support cowardice like this. I'm guessing that the Chronicle isn't in line to sponsor a gubernatorial debate either."

Got a pic of your paper's Perry ad? Email it to me and I'll add it to the long list of papers who, unlike the Houston Chronicle and Rick Perry, aren't cowards.

5 Things Politicians Shouldn't Say When Discussing the Internets

I came across a Fast Company story about the top tech blunders by politicos over the years this weekend and cringed as I read it. At this point you've either got to be blissfully stupid or pointedly ignoring (case in point, Elliott Naishtat) new forms of technology in order to have these kinds of slip ups.

Not to fear, my fearless leaders! I decided to put together a little list of my own. I call it "5 Things Politicians Shouldn't Say When Discussing the Internets." Because, obviously, ten things and their website URL would be too much for them to remember.

1. Don't put "the" in front of, well, the anything.

Google, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare...the list goes on. All of these things aren't objects like the family dog, they're brands. Think of it like this: You wouldn't say "I'm going to go watch the NASCAR," would you? What about "I wonder if the Versace designed this dress?"

2. Nothing is plural.

Think about it. You're better off dropping the 's' if you don't quite know. To quote an old horseback riding saying, "When in doubt, leave it out."

3. "Webpages" are no longer part of our web-speak.

Webpages were something you had in 1995. So please stop saying "Facepage."

4. Know how to tell people where to find you online.

Do not pull a Joe Biden and show all of America that you don't even know what a website is (he actually asked an aide on live TV, "Do you know the website number?"). Your website, Twitter account and YouTube account (if you have one) should all be memorized like you'd memorize a talking point because this is a talking point.

5. If you don't know, don't pretend.

If someone asks you a question about the internets, the Google or the Twitters, and you have no idea how to answer, then just admit it. The YouTube video later on will be way less interesting that way, which guarantees no one will watch it.


Speaking of YouTube videos, no one who ever made a viral YouTube video set out to make a viral YouTube video. Do not declare that you think something will go viral, as it most likely won't and what's more, it contradicts with the nature of the viral video. You can set out to make a good video that will be accepted and enjoyed by many. But the videos that truly go viral are the ones that had the least amount of expectations. Here's one for you -- this was once the most-watched video of all time on YouTube, and has about 221,500,000 views. Trot this little internet lore out at your next fundraiser! You'll be a hit.


Rick Perry is a coward. Any questions?

Back to Basics is laying it out in black and white: Rick Perry is a coward for refusing to debate Bill White or talk to editorial boards. Even the Eagle in Bryan-College Station, the hometown of Rick Perry's alma-mater, issued an editorial today chastising Perry for refusing to debate, saying:
What is he hiding from the people he was elected to serve? It's fine to speak to groups of supporters. His ego certainly gets a boost.
But he is governor of all Texans and answerable not only to those who love him, but to the rest who aren't sure.
Perry might not like the questions asked and the issues raised in public debates. That's too bad. If he wants to keep his job, he needs to let Texans raise them
The full-page ad above hits newspapers in twenty cities across Texas on Tuesday but was leaked on Sunday night.

Where were you when the world kept turning?

The war in Iraq, or rather, the major combat operations in Iraq, those pesky little "objectives" that George W. Bush claimed ended in May of 2003 (he was never very good at numbers), ended in earnest this evening, as fourteen-thousand combat troops rolled out of Iraq and across the border into Kuwait.

As news came in across Twitter (not even an idea on a napkin at the time of the initial Baghdad invasion) and on major news networks, I felt eerily similar to how I felt on September 11th, 2001:

At a loss, staring at a pile of rubble, with the death toll being announced over and over again.

We lost 4,415 service men and women during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The war in Iraq will be spun and molded in the coming days and weeks to have been a war fought by brave men and women who sacrificed their lives, limbs and mental capacity because they--stirred by 9/11, lured by college tuition or inspired by Vietnam movies--volunteered to do so. We will be reminded, as justification for future warfare, that America's security is comprised of a volunteer military force, brave fighters who signed up to protect our freedom and--this being the most important thing --defend America.

On the morning of 9/11, I recall hearing that the towers fell as I drove to work and feeling an indescribable loss that I now share with every person alive during that time. Today, as the last Stryker vehicle crossed into Kuwait, I felt the same sense of loss. But our nation, perhaps still reeling from its own PTSD caused by the last seven and a half years of warring with an invisible enemy, showed no signs of mourning. Traffic slowed during rush hour. Happy hours came and went. The radio played Lady Gaga instead of Lee Greenwood.

Justifiably at a standstill when our towers fell and our then-President declared his most tragic of all decisions that we would "make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them," the world did not stop turning or even slow to a crawl today as the United States voluntarily exited a war it had, waving hundreds of flags and buying yellow magnetic ribbons, voluntarily entered.

If there is anything left to be learned from Iraq, it is that we were all unwitting volunteers in our country's greatest lie. We were all drafted to care about a country we had no business being in, and are all war criminals in the too-often fatal indignities its citizens suffered because of our country's actions. We have sacrificed our money, our diplomatic standing and worst of all, our military judgment, to rush headlong into a knife fight with tankers.

And as for our volunteer military? No one in the United States military service ever volunteered to defend a lie.

"Each of you is here to help defend our country from the very dangerous threats that we face. You weren't drafted. You weren't conscripted. You stepped forward. You volunteered." Donald Rumsfeld, Aviano AFB, February 2003

"We know where [WMD's] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." Donald Rumsfeld, ABC News, March 2003

“Is Iraq going to be a long war?” Mr. Rumsfeld answered, “No, I don’t believe it is.”
Donald Rumsfeld, Washington Post, February 2006

Where does Rick Perry's rent stack up with the stars?

Rick Perry rental mansion celebrity Britney Spears
After hearing that Rick Perry spends about $10,000 worth of taxpayer money a month to pay his landlords, I got to wondering where he stacked up against other celebs in his pay-as-he-goes lifestyle.

To summarize my findings: Rick Perry seems to have the spending habits of a drugged-out, possibly insane, Hollywood starlet.

'Cause that's who you want running the state of Texas.

1. Britney Spears - $30,000/month for a New Jersey rental mansion

2. Lindsay Lohan - $11,500/month for a Los Angeles rental mansion

3. Rick Perry - $9,900/month for a West Austin rental mansion

4. Mischa Barton - $7,000/month for a trendy Tribeca flat

5. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen - $6,000/month each for a shared West Village penthouse (hey, at least they room together!)

What Texas State Representative got his big TV break this week?

Now, the story this week about State Representative Rafael Anchia's national appearance discussing "anchor babies" on Anderson Cooper was pretty exciting.

But another representative much closer to home -- and much closer to my heart -- hit it out of the park and went international this week.

It just goes to show you: you might have a pretty smile and play a welcome contrast to the slightly manic Debbie Riddle, Anchia, but you're going to have to step it up if you want to take on Representative Elliott Naishtat's captivating commentary on a Chinese performing art known as Shen Yun at the Long Center.

新唐人電視台 http://www.ntdtv.com

Presidential Moments

Obama is landing in Austin today, ostensibly to host a fundraiser for the DNC. He'll also be giving a speech at UT about higher education, which I'm lucky enough to be attending. Be sure to follow me on Twitter here for photo updates and after-thoughts (I won't be live-tweeting his speech - tacky unless you're in the press box).

Obama has been to Austin before, but this will be his first appearance as President. It's been a long time coming. In honor of that, and the hard work that so many Austinites have put into Obama's campaign and first year and a half in office, I thought I'd round up some of my favorite Obama posts from speeches and historic moments over the last few years.

Feb. 2007: An Open Letter to the Obama '08 Campaign
I understand that Obama represents everything I want to have changed. But what I was looking for in the speech yesterday was whether he was willing to fight to have this world changed. I wanted to be inspired to continue to writhe in verbal wars against Republicans at parties and wave flags on 6th Street and write "Tony Snow is an idiot" postings on my blog. I wanted someone on the stage as furious as me, unafraid to declare to the world that yes, this is a fight, and yes, it will be won.
Feb. 2008: If you believe it, he will come.
Finally he made his way around to our side. Secret Service man #1 passed by my hand, then #2, then #3. Suddenly, there was Barack Obama, standing directly in front of me, smiling, and shaking my hand. It occurred to me only later that I never thought about what I would say if I had the opportunity to shake his hand, but this is what came out of my mouth:

"Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much."

And he just kept smiling and saying "You're welcome, thank you for your support." I don't know if time stood still or if I just kept a hold of his hand, but it seemed like a long handshake. His face is now burned into my mind, this amber glow of a human. Barack Obama suddenly became something I had seen and actually felt. That's a sort of humanity that you can never know until it's suddenly found.
November 2008: 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.

October 2009: Our One Blinding Light
As he made one President’s words his own, Obama’s greatest asset and greatest flaw became stunningly clear. Obama embodies our “one blinding light” and we simply expect him to deliver. We are too easily blinded from the reality that we are the people who elected him and that we are the ones who have the ability to change things – not him. Obama has tried to remind us -- as he said in Denver at Invesco Field in 2008, "This election has never been about me. It's been about you."

We complain that he hasn’t brought home the troops, while not bothering to do anything about it ourselves. If we truly want peace, we have to create it – not demand it, or whine about it, or wish for it. No one in the world wins the Nobel Peace Prize on their own. While the Peace Prize might have been a call to action for Obama's policy decisions, it is also a call to action for all of us.
March 2010: Reform
I never heard anyone complain about their shoes. Two days went by and every day, from sun up until sun down, we walked the streets of Albuquerque. Young and old, we walked because we believed in something that was greater than ourselves, and because we wanted to make our country a better place to live. We walked because we saw a chance to elect someone who would fight for equal rights. We walked to elect someone who would shape the future, not fear it.

We walked for nights like tonight.

Glass ceilings

I kind of love seeing that our First Lady has tan lines.

Rock on, Mrs. O.

That is all.

Celebrities are (Not) Just Like Us

Cross-posted on HuffPo.

Hey y'all. How's that day job going for you?

Yeah, I'm with you. The five-day work week is so done. Apparently Rick Perry agrees with you, because he's currently taking a summer vacation, celebrity-rehab-style, in Beverly Hills.

"Part-Time Perry," as the Bill White campaign and most anyone who's been paying attention in Texas likes to call him
, has been enjoying Britney-esque accommodations at The Peninsula in Beverly Hills and The Standard, "a chic mecca," in Hollywood, according to Vanity Fair.

Speaking of cheap meccas, our very own state of Texas, a mecca over the last ten years for seemingly cheap national disasters like George W. Bush and, God forbid, Rick Perry, is evidently becoming a summer hot-spot for...well, everyone else living in Texas.

Yes, even though Part-Time Perry chooses to soak up the California sun while letting the AC run in his taxpayer-funded rental mansion, according to a June 2010 survey by AAA Texas, "Texans are more likely to take vacations within the state this summer than they have for two summers." This probably has something to do with most everyone in Texas other than Rick Perry being broke.

But who am I to judge? I just live here. And, unfortunately, pay for Rick Perry to live here.

Part-Time Perry's latest trip to California simply underscores his clear disinterest in the state of affairs in Texas--you know, that unseemly eighteen billion-dollar budget deficit--and bears an eerily similar tone to his predecessor in the Governor's mansion's refrain of "Go shopping more" as a solution to our economic woes. What is it with Republicans thinking that a shopping spree or a ritzy vacation binge is going to solve the worlds' problems? Did they watch too much of "The Price is Right" as children?

Either way, I hope Perry enjoys his time in SoCal. Hopefully he doesn't run into too many disenfranchised Latinos while he's there whom he's also made promises to through his Hispanic Republicans of Texas PAC. But, if he does, he's in the right place. He can always check into Promises Treatment Center a la Lindsay Lohan, a favorite Hollywood celebrity destination for broken promises. He's so good at those, you'd think he was born a celebrity.

But just wait until he goes national. Why, then...he'll really be a star.

Happy Birthday, Linda!

Please join me in wishing Linda Chavez-Thompson happy birthday by making a donation to her campaign today! Five, ten, or twenty dollars can make all the difference over the next few months so please give what you can!

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