Seven Cycles of Stupid

Congressman John Carter is out of touch.

No really, he is.

Not only is John Carter a terrible Congressman, but as the Daily Show video above proves, he's also an idiot.

Take it away, TPM:
Rep. John Carter (R-TX) compared blaming the oil spill on President Bush to "the Kevin Bacon game," in which, according to Carter, you have to connect a movie or actor to Kevin Bacon in "seven cycles." Last night, Jon Stewart took him up on the challenge.

"I don't need seven 'cycles' to trace this spill to Bush," he said. "I don't even need six degrees, which is the actual way you play the Kevin Bacon game."
Shamefully, as far as I know, Texas Democrats don't have anyone running against him this year. Brian Ruiz made an attempt in 2008, but he wasn't able to overcome Carter's deep pockets and special interests.

This also might explain the lack of hand-raisers in the race this time around.

Second-Class: Jeff Sessions and the Kagan Confirmation

If you thought the "Strong Latina" hypocrisy was a hoot, you're bound to enjoy this little gem: As the Senate Judiciary Committee continued to perform its ultrasound on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan today, senior Republican Senator Jeff Sessions chastised Kagan in a slow, southern drawl for her decision as dean of Harvard Law to prohibit recruiters from the school's career services office because of the Pentagon's policy against openly gay soldiers. Kagan, rightfully, "abhors" Don't Ask, Don't Tell, likely because it treats gays and lesbians in the military service like second-class citizens.

Sessions, however, managed to find a way to frame Kagan's decision to ban military recruiters from the career services office (but not the campus itself) as "punishing" the military services, treating them in a "second-class way" and creating a hostile environment for the military on campus.

Which is funny by itself because, you know, DADT happens to do the exact same gays and the military.

But here’s the real hand grenade in Sessions’ little showing today: Turns out back in the eighties, President Reagan nominated Sessions to be a judge of the US District Court in Alabama. At his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee (yes, the very one he’s now the ranking member on), four Department of Justice lawyers testified that he’d been known to make racist statements. An African American assistant attorney testified that Sessions had cautioned him to “'be careful what you say to white folks.’” In light of this information, his nomination was killed by the Senate, despite the fact that Republicans held 10 seats and Democrats had eight. Hey, it was the eighties.

Only the second person in forty eight years to ever have his nomination to the federal judiciary fail, a racist Sessions now grasps at straws to try to accuse Kagan of treating others as second-class citizens during her own confirmation. Yeah, that’s not surprising. What’s unclear to me is how this fool ever ended up in a position of power in the first place.

So there you have it: New Kids on the Block, legwarmers, Jeff Sessions -- three things that should have never stayed relevant past the eighties.

Not Your Grandmother's Caucus: How to be a Twitter Savvy Candidate

This weekend, I was lucky enough to help organize the first ever Texas Democratic Party Tweet-Up at the State Convention. We had several statewide candidates stop by to talk as well as a variety of elected officials and other candidates. The hashtag garnered over 1400 tweets (and counting!) and we aggregated 156 Twitter photos from the convention. You can relive the memories here.

The "Godfather of Politics on Twitter," Representative Aaron Peña agreed to emcee the event and did a terrific job by keeping it interesting and entertaining. We were also lucky enough to have had lunch provided by AT&T, which, at a convention that was seriously lacking food options, turned out to be extremely helpful. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and everyone who supported the event!

A surprising number of politicians this weekend asked me what they are supposed to do at a tweet-up, which was an interesting learning experience for me that someone might not actually know what a tweet-up was. So I decided to write down a list of lessons for candidates who might find themselves at a social networking event somewhere on the campaign trail.

1. Throw out your stump speech.
Really. If you're faced with a group of people who are trying to push your message out in 140 characters or less, unless you're Obama, reading the preamble isn't going to work in your favor. Your best bet for getting your message out past the room you're in is by feeding the people what they need: short statements that explain your stance on the issues, interesting anecdotes about your reasons for running and how to find you online. Lt. Governor candidate Linda Chavez-Thompson earned some tweets by opening up with a story about how most union men used to call her "pushy broad" and "mouth of the south."
Ultimately, it's important to keep it short and to the point. Especially if you're at a Twitter-related event--your goal is to get your name put out there on the Twitter, after all. Burnt Orange Report blogger and UDems president Michael Hurta put it best in 140 characters during Friday's Tweet-Up:
2. Make yourself relevant.
The Tweet Up was supposed to be like a caucus, in the sense that the people who were there are truly interested in social media, how politicians use it and hearing more about how it can and does help elect Democrats. Tailor your talking points accordingly. Senator Leticia Van de Putte reflected on how Twitter has changed the way she interacts with her constituency. "I feel like I'm with you all the time," quoted one Tweet-Up attendant.
3. Have a calling card -- and use it.
While we're good at working Google, when you're at a live event trying to get out your social media information to an audience, it helps to have one, easy-to-remember URL that you can repeat over and over so people can find you. If that's "I'm @CandidateName on Twitter and Facebook" or "You can find all my social networking pages on" then great. What's important is that you remind people of how to connect with you, even after the Tweet-Up is over. Bonus points for candidates who start using push-cards that provide audiences with this type of information. Senator Kirk Watson had these fliers placed on the seats of the arena.
4. Don't be afraid to go rogue (just not in a Sarah Palin kind of way)
The first thing I did when I walked into the Tweet-Up room was to start pulling apart the neat rows of chairs that are typical of most caucuses and panels. While rows may be conducive to crops of corn, it's hard to have a conversation with someone when you're lined up with them like cattle. I would have liked to have seen some of the candidates and elected officials take advantage of a powerful group of people held captive, smartphones at the ready. A clipboard passed around by a staffer to collect Twitter handles to be compiled in a Twitter list later on, an "Everyone get out your phone and send out this tweet" moment or even an encouragement to re-tweet a candidate's most recent tweet might have helped amplify the message.

In the world of social media, it's time for political activists and campaigns alike to start shaking up the snow globe we're used to living in.

We've got four months until November and two years till 2012.

Let's get @ it.

Update: Martha over at Musings has a great round-up of all the bloggers' convention posts.

Did you attend the Tweet-Up? What suggestions and/or feedback do you have for politicians hoping to reach out to social media users?

Your State Convention Twitter Fix

Want to know what your favorite State Rep had for breakfast? Looking for pictures of that county judge doing the chicken dance? This weekend, be sure to follow tweets from everyone at the TDP State Convention to stay up to date on all convention happenings, from points of order to dolphin shows!

All tweets and photos from the convention will be aggregated live here, so even if you can't make the convention you can still stay up to date. If you're on Twitter can follow along by saving the #TDPSC hashtag in your smartphone's Twitter application!

If you're headed to the Convention, be sure to stop by the official TDP State Convention Tweet-Up on Friday from 12-1 PM at the American Bank Center in Room 104. Representative Aaron Peña, everyone's favorite twittering politician, will be emceeing the event -- in 140 characters or less!

Be sure to RSVP here and don't forget to use the #TDPSC hashtag in all your tweets and TwitPics. See you in Corpus!

Bonus: I've compiled all of the people using the #TDPSC hashtag into a Twitter list. You can click here to see what else they're up to, or you can follow each user on the list on Twitter in one simple click on the button below:


An Open Letter to Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg: Let David Live

An Open Letter to Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg:

In both the general and run-off election, I was an ardent supporter of your campaign. The purpose of this letter is to ask you to withdraw the execution request and ask Governor Perry for a 30 day stay of execution for David Powell who is set to be executed Tuesday, June 15.

Heinous crimes occur, and heinous individuals exist, but the mentality of an eye for an eye is both scientifically imperfect and an antiquated system of justice. David Powell has been a model prisoner for 32 years after a meth-induced crime he was convicted of having committed years ago.

You told the Austin Chronicle that you “must obey” the orders of the three juries who convicted him. But I believe you must obey the course of justice.

The death penalty, as we have seen time and again, is not just.


Much A-Dew About Linda

Looks like Lt. Governor David Dewhurst is putting his campaign war chest to use on some good ol' fashioned, down-home...Facebook advertising.

I've noticed several ads for the Republican convention on Facebook this week, but this one mentioning Dewhurst caught my eye. The click through takes you to a new website dedicated to Dewhurst's visibility and appearances at the Republican Party's state convention this weekend. His campaign staff is aggregating pictures and even live-streaming video (captivating, I'm sure).

The Dewhurst team also has a Facebook application that will send you a bumper sticker (at least, I think it will - I didn't want to actually go through the process of requesting one and then the even more tedious process of throwing it away). That kind of development can't be cheap.

While it's not quite as desperate as paying money to get another party on the ballot to get a few more percentage points of votes, this is some awfully aggressive campaigning coming from the normally underwhelming Dew camp. I can't say I blame him. A lifetime of fighting for everyday Texans and a few fiery speeches on the steps of the Capitol later, Democratic nominee and labor hero Linda Chavez-Thompson clearly has this silver-spoon millionaire Facebooking scared.

Donate to Linda Chavez-Thompson for Lt. Governor today:

Goal Thermometer

Putting the "I" in the Environment After the Gulf Spill

How can we expect a nation that ignores the dying eyes of its soldiers in two wars that will never end to do anything to change the fate of the oil-soaked birds?
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost


No doubt about it, Americans spend a lot of time feeling helpless.

Helpless about Katrina. Helpless about the BP oil spill. Helpless about the wars.

When put in perspective, it’s amazing how much we actually are able to help. I mean, we’re not in the middle of Uganda where someone will shoot us if we try to do something about the situation. No dictator will have our arms chopped off if we lend a helping hand to another human being or species. We’re prisoners to computers and cubicles, not burqas.

It’s just that, like most things in the world, helping is just too damn hard. It takes too much time that we’re unable to spare, too much money that we’ll never be able to earn and too much power that we’re convinced belongs to others around us—the same people who we blame when the going gets tough.

As news trickled out about Republican operatives playing really dirty yet seemingly legal tricks to get the Green Party on the ballot in Texas to suck votes away from Bill White, I felt swindled. It was starting to feel like 2001 all over again, with a shady Rovian character named Tim Mooney—who has a history of “ballot initiatives” in order to change the outcome of an election—predetermining Texas’s political fate before a single vote had been cast or counted. If you feel like big government is trying to take over, you’re right. Guess who wins when it does? Rick Perry.

To make matters worse, Democrats—that’s you and that’s me, if you’re a Democrat and you’re reading this—failed to field a Democratic candidate for Comptroller this year. That means the Green Party will more than likely get 5% of the vote in 2010 allowing them to appear automatically on the ballot in 2012, which will no doubt drain votes from Democrats all the way down the ballot in a Presidential year.

How could we have not found someone to run for Comptroller? It’s easy to point fingers at the state Party. After all, what’s my $20 monthly donation going toward if not candidate recruitment for taking back statewide seats? It’d also be convenient to blame special interests or even Republicans for this one for holding us back.

But the more I read about this Republican heist of our political process, dyed in their favorite color—green—and the more helpless I started to feel, the more I have to remind myself that none of this makes me helpless. Someone could have and should have run for Comptroller, but who or what was stopping me or you from stepping up to the plate? Not money, not time, not power but our predetermined state of helplessness.

No, we’re not going to change the world tomorrow and no one, not even a man that can catch a fly with one hand during an interview with CNBC, has all the answers when it comes to quagmires of oil, blood and money. But it’s a simple thought process, really, for the people of this country to end the helplessness meme. We’re not living in a third world country and if you don’t like being outmaneuvered by evil Republicans and people like Rick Perry, it’s time to stop pointing fingers and start being helpful.

Find your time, find your wealth, find your power. We live in America. We already have a fortune of all three.