2011: A Love Story

It's the time of year when I look back and reflect on this blog and the life that leads it. It was a slow year for the old weblog -- if you're still reading, you deserve an award or at least a nice paperweight as I only wrote 37 posts for the entire year. Throughout my life, my most prolific times of writing have been during times of angst and unhappiness -- my last year of high school, my first year of working full-time, the year I waited for a person in Iraq. It makes me think that the more full my life is, and the more happy I feel, the less I have to write. Maybe that means I'm saying everything that needs to be said and doing what needs to be done. Or maybe I was just plain busy. Maybe a little of both.

Regardless, 2011 had a clear theme from the start. I went to visit my sister in Boston for New Year's Eve. I arrived just days after a huge blizzard snowed-in airports and cities across New England. Had I arrived a few days earlier, the story might have been very different. But as it happened, I arrived fresh-faced and delay-free in Boston to a winter wonderland after having watched Love Story for the first time on Netflix just a week before. Our first stop after leaving the airport was a snow-covered park with only a rust-red Vizsla bounding through it.

"This looks just like Love Story!" I exclaimed and we quickly made our way to the only attraction of the park: a swingset set against red brick buildings framing a glimpse of "the Prude," as my sister called it. We appealed to the Vizsla's owner to take a photo of us on the swings and the product was immediately posted to Facebook with the caption "Love means never having to say you're sorry."


The new year opened up new possibility and new experiences, the first of which being a major decision to go to college. No matter how many times I've written "go to college," I always have to stop myself from writing "go back to college." It's weird to tell people you never went, let alone got started. College has been an experience, a discovery in which I have realized two things: 1) They were right, college is not like high school. The professors are different, the students are different and the cost of tuition and books makes me wonder how we ever expect anyone to get a college degree. 2) They were wrong, college is like high school. The bureaucracy is the same, the same incredible number of hoops through which a student must jump are the same and the process, to me, feels very much the same.

The one thing I have learned from college as a whole is a better understanding of myself and others. It falls under the category of "emotional intelligence," something that has been my blind spot for years. I didn't expect to learn how to be more understanding or more honest with myself and others. I didn't think that you could teach someone how to be more forgiving, or to consider all perspectives, or to be more patient. But you can. I feel happier, stronger and altogether more content with my increased emotional IQ and I work every day to improve it.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention at this point that college also led me to another love story. That one is about meeting a guy who doesn't like the Internet but loves helping people when they need it the most and how that led to helping a long list of people, including making five little kids' Christmas a lot brighter. I think we'll find a lot more people to help at some point or another.

Then there were the speaking engagements. I spoke to Evan Smith's LBJ school class about being a citizen in a journalist's world. I moderated an interview with Senator Kirk Watson. I delivered speeches and trainings about Democratic politics to groups across the state: McAllen, Austin (x3), San Marcos and Dallas. I delivered a presentation on the effects of social media on the pet industry in Atlanta and gave a pretty awesome email marketing presentation at Innotech eMarketing Summit. And you know what? I loved every second of it all.


The final major love story of my life this year came in the form of a building. Specifically, a building at the corner of 7th Street and Brazos in downtown Austin. After nearly 6 years of driving over 60 miles a day to and from work, and nearly 10 years if you count the 4 years I worked at the stables off of Hamilton Pool Road, I now have a short, chauffeured 1.8 mile drive to and from work every day. I'm a big believer in real estate as a window to one's soul and I have to say that my office location finally represents how I feel about my career: taking risks, making sound decisions, forging ahead when there is uncertainty and knowing that the investment is always worth it.

I have no complaints about 2011. I feel sated.

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Aaron Pena's Hobby Lobby

Rick Perry's newest Presidential ad -- sans Carhartt -- shows our Governor gleefully discussing one of his favorite topics. No, not mandated transvaginal sonograms. The other one, y'all.



That's right: corrupt politicians. More specifically, legislators who turn into lobbyists. Po-tay-to, po-tah-toe. Frankly, I'm surprised Perry hasn't brought this up before. There are so many of them in the Texas Capitol that they should rename the Cloakroom the Revolving Door.

But I'm truly grateful that Perry did take time out of his busy downhill campaign to talk about this because I have grown increasingly concerned about one former Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Coward, Aaron Pena, who has been saying to practically everyone but Santa Claus how poor his time in office has made him, as if we owe him something. So I guess Pena got into politics for all the right reasons. Fame and fortune and whatnot.

Now, in light of Perry's latest ad, it seems to me that Pena's in a little bit of a bind. The Messiah of Texas Republican Politics has stuffed his own mandate up the hoo-hahs of retiring Texas legislators like Pena who might be looking to add "lobbyist" to their LinkedIn profiles.

Speaking for the professional left (read: those who, unlike Aaron Pena, have not been paid $7200 a year by the state of Texas to be a Democrat), I'd like to issue my former blog buddy a challenge:

I want Aaron Pena to vow to not enter the revolving door of lobbying now that he is no longer running for office.

It shouldn't be that hard, after all. I'm sure Pena has lots of friends down there in Edinburg who would love to hire a disloyal, weak and easily swayed former Legislator.

Go get 'em, tiger.
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Devotional

As a member of the Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Austin, a few weeks ago I was asked if I would be interested in writing a devotional as part of their 2011 Advent Devotional. This was a new exercise for me, but writing for an audience has always been something I enjoy doing, so I forged ahead. My assigned advent date was today, December 2nd, so I thought I would share it on my blog as well. Whether you are a religious person or not, I hope you can find something meaningful in the words. For Democrats wondering why their many prayers of forward progress often go unanswered in this state, perhaps it will help to remember that the important part is we seek progress.

Texts for Friday December 2
Morning: Ps. 102, 148
Evening: Ps. 130, 16
Amos 5:1–17
Jude 1–16
Matt. 22:1–14

Reflection:

Amos 5:1–17

“Seek Me and live”

What does it mean “to seek?” We’re all seeking something: a job, a partner, happiness. But it’s a funny little word, “seek.” Visually and audibly, it likens itself to a cousin of “see,” as if the “k” on the end simply obscures what you’re looking for. And it’s true that at first glance, “to seek” might imply that one is looking for something with the intention of finding it. But “to seek,” as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, has much more subtle definitions: to resort to, to try to, to ask for, to make an attempt.

How often do we seek something and become discouraged with the lack of progress or frustrated with the answer we find? How often do we bemoan that we sought a goal or a conclusion only to find that it escaped us? How many millions wonder why, no matter how much we seek God, He doesn’t appear?

To seek God, we must seek the whole of what it is that God stands for: justice, peace, love, forgiveness, understanding. But why, with all of this seeking going on, are we still unable to achieve harmony between nations? Why do we still struggle to grant forgiveness to society's worst offenders? Why do we still persecute or banish those who we don't understand?

After all, we are seeking something, which is so very close to seeing something -- so why haven’t we seen it yet?

Therein lies the struggle with that unassuming little verb “to seek.” For we are made no promises by God that in order to live we must see anything. We are are pardoned of finding, or knowing, or achieving or owning. To live we must first make an attempt. We must resort. We must try. We must ask. In order to live, we simply must seek.

Seek good and not evil,
That you may live.
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What Texas Democrats Can Learn from Aaron Pena

When Aaron Pena switched to the Republican party last November, just weeks after being elected as a Democrat, the insult was palpable. Democrats in Texas had just suffered major losses across the state and the salt in the wound was a turncoat from the Valley who was more interested in saving himself than the people who elected him. There wasn't much good to come out of Aaron Pena's party switch.

But today, as word of Aaron Pena's announcement that he will not seek re-election spreads, I'd like to focus on the lessons that Texas Democrats can -- actually, make that have to -- learn from his betrayal in order to move forward:

1. If you smell a rat, there probably is one.
Aaron Pena was a half-assed Democrat but he was our half-assed Democrat. The truth is that Democrats should have removed Aaron Pena from office with a better candidate long before he had the option to switch parties or perch atop his pension. Instead, Pena was left to grow rotten, and by the time the smell got unbearable, it was too late to do anything about it.

2. One bad Democrat negates all of the good ones.
Pena's party switch helped give the Republican Party the supermajority in the house, all but insuring that only those policies authorized by God whispering in Rick Perry's ear would get passed during the last session. The argument for supporting bad Democrats is that an East Texas Democrat can't be like a West Texas Democrat, who is a little like a Travis County Democrat but he wears boots. If Democrats cannot begin to see the problem with having 254-flavors of what it means to be a Democrat, then we are no longer a Party -- we're an all-you-can-eat buffet, like the Golden Corral of political concessions.  And who likes to eat at the Golden Corral?

3. It's time to lose the phrase "moderate Democrat."
Calling someone a moderate Democrat instantly defines all other Democrats as a bunch of hairy-armpit liberals who want to tax the sale of mood crystals to earn additional state revenues. A moderate Democrat is a hiding place for weakness, fear and cowardliness. Moderate Democrats switch parties, lose elections, alienate base voters and make the rest of the Democrats on the ballot look "radical" when they should look like good Democrats. From now on, we are either Democrats or Bad Democrats. We need to vote for the good ones and boot the bad ones out of office.

4. We need more fighters.
Time and time again, when the going got tough, Aaron Pena gave up. But it's not just Aaron Pena. We see examples of people unwilling to fight for things that Democrats should be fighting for all too often and make no real effort to replace them with people who are willing to fight. We saw an instance of it just last week in the SDEC's prioritization of protecting Democratic incumbents over civil rights; a decision so short-sighted that it makes one wonder what value there is in a committee that is more concerned about the state of the Democratic Party today than the state of Texas for future generations.

So, it's up to us, Texas Democrats. We can vote for good Democrats who fight or suffer bad Democrats who run. We can demand more or we can accept less.  We can learn from Aaron Pena or we can keep electing people just like him.

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Rick Perry Channels His Inner Miss Teen South Carolina

Rick Perry went on the Today Show this morning to mop up the "Oops" he left on the national stage last night. While watching this morning's Perry permasmile, the coddling and "Let's give him another shot!" attitude of Anne Curry, I was remind how Curry handled another verbally-challenged show pony from a few years back: Miss Teen South Carolina. Maybe if the whole president thing doesn't work out, Rick Perry can start his own reality show called "Are You Smarter Than a Texas Governor." Watch, compare and share below.

Unless, of course, you forget to. Oops.




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What a Rick Perry Presidency Would Look Like for Women

Rick Perry has been Governor of Texas since before I was old enough to vote. As a native Texan born in the millennial age, I put Rick Perry in the same category as a cassette player or an AOL subscription -- something that has seemingly always been around, but has long since lost its purpose. Coming of age as a woman in Rick Perry's Texas is sort of like living in the wild, wild west, like an Annie Ovary of women's health, dodging old men wielding vaginal probes and vaccine mandates. With a governor who has a women's health record that's a bumpy country mile long possibly becoming our next President, what would it mean for women across America? Allow me.

First order of business in the Perry presidency would be the creation of the Department of Interior Contraception, or DIC. DIC would oversee approved contraceptive devices under Perry's watchful eye, the top item on the list being the most widely accepted, reliable option available to God-fearing Americans these days: abstinence. Now, while it's true Texas has the 3rd highest teen birth rate in the country and also true that a 2005 study found teens in Texas were actually having more sex after undergoing an abstinence-only program, Rick Perry still stands by the practice. Why? Not because there are actually any studies backing him up but "from my own personal life," Perry told the Texas Tribune's Evan Smith in an interview earlier this year. Comforting, isn't it? Rather than President Perry making decisions based on studies and figures, the free world will instead hinge on the regularity of his wife's cycles.

But don't take Rick Perry's word for it. Starting in 2012, women (and their partners -- suddenly that cowboy vote doesn't sound so good, does it gentlemen?) will get their very own chance to practice an abstinence-only approach when the recent law that requires health insurance companies to cover birth control will no doubt be rolled back by President Perry.

That brings us to the question of how Perry plans to punish women who don't fall into line with his tried and true abstinence methods. After all, without threat of punishment, I think it's safe to say Perry will probably be the only person in America abstaining from sex. For the sinners, Perry has already started a little pilot program right here in Texas. The state now requires mandatory transvaginal sonograms for women who are 8 to 10 weeks pregnant and seeking abortions. The bill, which Perry declared a piece of "emergency legislation" during the last legislative session, requires the doctor to describe the fetus and play audio of the heartbeat prior to the abortion procedure. President Perry's version of this bill will include an amendment to play Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." during the procedure.

Alas, if all of this has you feeling down, ladies, don't fret. Think of all those cute babies we'll get to have. But in Rick Perry's America, you may want to home school. Texas ranks first in the nation in adults without high school diplomas. The future also doesn't look so bright for all those precious little ones when it comes to health insurance and potential jobs: Texas boasts another first in the nation in the percentage of children without health insurance and, in 2010, Texas tied with Mississippi for the highest percentage of workers employed in minimum-wage jobs. No wonder Governor Perry wants Texas to secede. It'd sure make us look less stupid.

At a speech given to the United for Life group in June, Perry bragged about Texas's recently-passed sonogram law and told attendees, "In Texas we have pursued policies to protect unborn children whenever possible." And you can bet your left Fallopian tube that, if elected, he'll continue to do the same for the unborn children of America. I just hope there's a Plan B pill for what happens when all these children grow up -- because President Perry, just like Governor Perry, certainly doesn't plan to care for them.

After all, where Rick Perry comes from, that's women's work.
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The Definition of Insanity

Texas political consultant Jason Stanford carries the distinct record of having worked for not only Chris Bell but also Farouk Shami and Kinky Friedman, which is the political consultant equivalent of going nil in a game of spades. My natural inclination to doubt the opinion of anyone whose work is sold to the highest bidder has led me to disagree with Stanford before. But I'm particularly insulted by Stanford's most recent manifesto pontificating on his newest theory: Texas Democrats are way more conservative outside of Austin and that's why they're not voting for the loser candidates he's heralded in the past.

Well, hot dog! I thought it was because one of those candidates was a Houston pencil-chewer who was so boring that by the time Bill White came along, thirty people clapping for him made White look like the Obama of the south. Or because one thought "a day without Mexicans would be like a day without sunshine." Or because one could never decide whether he was a Democrat or not.

But Stanford wants us to forget all of those potential reasons for a lackluster turnout and instead focus on trying something new: "Team Blue" should be more like Republicans. Citing nameless polls and out-of-context numbers, Stanford makes an argument that the Democratic Party isn't accepting enough of "ideological diversity." Evidently Democrats in Texas are too focused on radical ideology like upholding a woman's constitutional right to choose, two individuals' right to marry and not believing in things like anchor babies.  Because we heard so much of those issues during the last election -- I'm sure that's why we lost.

Stanford's latest delusions leaves me with just one question for him and, by extension, his fellow puppeteers in this state (please excuse the caps):

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Being more like the Republican Party will not convince anyone -- Democrat or Republican -- to vote for Democrats. No doubt about it, Texas is a big state, with big beliefs and big differences. It's time for us to talk about them, not hide behind them. If you can't differentiate yourself, then what exactly are you planning on bringing to the table? "Vote for me -- I'm like the other guy!" is not a legitimate campaign message. While I may be a myopic Austinite, I know there are a lot of people out there in Texas unaccounted for when it comes to their impetus for voting (or not). The Democratic party in Texas needs to refocus and redefine what it is that makes us different from Republicans instead of constantly trying to pretend like we are the same.

We've tried that. It doesn't work. There's just more of the same down that losing road and I'm certainly not going to stand around while we back off on all of the issues that could stand to strengthen us. Accepting conservative ideology isn't the diversification of a party. It's the desertion of one.


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Why I'm Not Picking Sides in Doggett Versus Castro

Look, I like a good primary fight as much as the next gal. Stirring up some trouble among local establishment players is always a fun way to kill a few hours over in the comments section on Burnt Orange Report and sometimes even the best Democrat is made better by a tough primary race.

But when it comes to the impending bloodbath between the Lloyd Doggett and Joaquin Castro camps for the newly redistricted CD-35, I've decided I'm not going to have a dog in that fight. Here's why:

If Democrats spend the next six months ripping apart Doggett and Castro over stupid things like who's more progressive, the Republicans will win. 

I don't mean "win" as it is used when referring to "winning a seat" or "winning an election." I mean that the Republicans will get their way. Of course the Republicans want to get rid of Doggett. Of course it would make more sense for Castro to step aside and let Doggett run unopposed. Of course Democrats will be more intrigued in eating their own than pointing their wrath and infighting toward the real issues at hand. See how that works? Bump, set, spike. Point: Republicans.

We have a lot of issues that Democrats need to flesh out for voters between now and March and, more importantly, now and November 2012. Whether or not Congressional seniority is more important than potential promise simply isn't one of them.

Democrats need to unite and rise above this primary battle. Either candidate would be a helluva lot better of a choice than if we were stuck with some Bermanesque rightwing lunatic representing the district. Let's focus on what's really important: defeating Republicans in 2012. Reelecting a President who is going to need all the help he can get. Recruiting more female candidates (Draft Dolly!) to run for office. Getting out the vote.

The Republicans are good enough at explaining why someone shouldn't vote for a Democrat. Let's not use the March primary to give them a head start.

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Kingdom of Ends

There's a pecan tree in my backyard that, it is estimated, is over one hundred years old. Its canopy is narrow, but its reach is tall; its branches stretch a hundred feet into the the atmosphere.  When I bought my house, it was the only tree planted on my postage-stamp lot.

Someone, at some point, took the time to construct a wooden pergola under the pecan, four simple posts in the ground supporting an open latticed roof. A banana-yellow porch swing was hung from the cross beams, shaded by the branches of the pecan. Before I moved into the vacant house, I would stop by and sit on the swing, staring up toward the heavens, wondering who had nurtured this magnificent tree that, as Robert Frost once wrote "the scythe had spared."

For the last three months -- a season -- a homeless woman has lived with me. She bears the first name of my mother and her middle name is that of my sister.

When I picked her up at the Salvation Army, a World War II veteran was there with his wife, stooped over the hatchback of a station wagon, unloading box after box of food. He pushed a flier about God into my hand and told me the words had sustained him throughout his battles. I looked at the people milling around the alley and, momentarily, saw the war he had chosen to now fight. I took the one I could carry from the battlefield, but I'm now afraid the effort was in vain. I wish I'd kept that flier.

She's from Midland. That makes really very little difference in this story except to say that she had, at one point, what I think was a chance. Now, at fifty six years old, she will return to homelessness in time to celebrate her fifty seventh birthday in two weeks. Job interviews, job fairs, jobs programs and, it seems, praying have all left these questions unanswered:

Who gets spared by the scythe? Why do some leap toward the sky in the full glory of life while others find themselves continuously cut down?

Nelson Henderson said "The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit." It sounds nice but in practice is difficult to do. It requires patience and -- this is more difficult -- faith. I'm not talking about the kind of closed-eyes faith in God in which you stare at your eyelids trying to see something there. I mean faith in believing that what you do see will someday be better. Faith in knowing that we must do things -- plant trees, help others, give ourselves -- without any expectation of enjoying the end result.

What trees are we planting in Texas? I fear none at all. We have selfish leaders making selfish legislation based on selfish desires. We shroud all of this with rhetoric like "government spending" and demand the lesser few be "cut off," while expecting the system to continue to service our own selfish needs. If Rick Perry wants a Response to his doubts of the future of our nation, here's one for him: You reap what you sow.

For my part, I've planted a ten foot elm in the back that is dwarfed by the great pecan. A hundred years from now, when I am dust or a breeze or a ray of sunlight catching, I hope the person who sits under the elm has faith and finds themselves living in a state that invests in its people instead of cutting them down.

For there is hope of a tree, If it be cut down, that it will sprout again, And that the tender branch thereof will not cease.  
Job 14:7
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The Blind Response


I didn't buy it when Rick Perry pretended to shoot a coyote during the last gubernatorial campaign and I'm having a hard time believing that Rick Perry pretending to care about the nation's problems by hosting a national day of prayer is actually going to convince any of the 4.3 million Texans who live in poverty that he does. As for fasting, Rick Perry starving himself for a day isn't going to trick those in this state who go hungry for weeks on end into thinking they are full.

Wrapping up both of these ideas into a fancy website littered with platitudes isn't going to fool God, either.

We're all friends here so I'm going to let you in on a little secret: Praying is easy. A person can feign concern, close their eyes and raise their hands upward toward the heavens all without having to fix their hair.

In other words, praying is perfect for Perry.

What's not easy, and what requires a little more hair gel than quoting passages from Joel, is actual work.

Work is being homeless.

Work is walking to a bus stop every day in the 100-degree heat.

Work is teaching yourself what public schools failed to teach you.

Work is losing a job.

Work is looking for a job.

Work is waiting for food stamps.

Work is having pain but not having the resources to make it go away.

Rick Perry's right on one thing: Texas can do better. But to be better, we're going to have to work at it. Work is not closing your eyes and praying for those you don't want to see.

It is opening your eyes and helping those you can.

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Two Things That Are Completely Not Related


Just like Sarah Palin mentioning Rick Perry's Presidential run is a coincidence, right? Right?

March 25, 2011
WINK.



May 31, 2011
WINK.


Update: This quote, via the Statesman, is worth a look:
Steve Bercu, owner of BookPeople in Austin, said it appears Perry has "chosen to favor an out-of-state retailer over the thousands of us here who employ millions of Texans. If that's his idea of being business-friendly, it doesn't strike me as being especially friendly to Texas businesses."
H/T Mack Simpson.
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Size Matters?

Noodling. I’ve lived in Texas all my life and can say with certainty, and a small sense of pride, that before today I was unfamiliar with the act. Luckily Texas has an amazing education system called the Texas Legislature, which offers ample opportunity to broach important subjects such as transvaginal sonograms, helicopter hog hunting and, today, noodling, as the Texas Senate debated and passed a bill carried by Republican Bob Deuell to make noodling a legal activity in the state of Texas.

Noodling, according to Wikipedia, is “fishing for catfish using only bare hands.” Other words for noodling from the Redneck Thesaurus of Bad Ideas include “stumping,” “grabbling,” “tickling” and the equal-opportunity “catfisting.” Wikipedia, in all its simplistic glory, notes “noodling can be dangerous, particularly if something other than a catfish is in the hole.” Intrepid noodlers have been known to lose fingers to snapping turtles and other creatures that lurk inside these glory holes, just waiting for some of Texas’s God-fearing, red-blooded finest – otherwise known as Republican primary voters – to poke their chubby paws in them. This brings me to the one question no one in the Texas Senate dared to ask: given the potential danger to an individual’s health, why not require sonograms for these holes?

Meanwhile, as budget negotiations fall apart and a hundred thousand teachers face layoffs across the state, a bill sponsored by another Republican, Senator Glenn Hegar, awaits being signed into law by Future President Rick Perry that would make lying about the size of a fish illegal in Texas. Objectors no doubt were concerned that this bill might encroach on their First Amendment right to lie about the size of other things.

With just a few weeks until the end of the 82nd Session, the Republican supermajority in Texas, with its run of the granite playground since January, has got to be feeling pretty proud of themselves. It’s now legal to noodle without protection but it’s illegal to lie about the size of it. If voters were expecting a new legislative body concerned with jobs, education and economic security when they voted in their Republican officeholders six months ago, they’re about to find out just how flaccid this supermajority’s policymaking has really been.

Perhaps, for voters, this will be a lesson learned. From fishing to the Texas legislature, it’s not the size of your noodle but how you use it.

And, yes, that’s what she said.
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Somewhere Very Near: Thoughts on "Ann: An Affectionate Portrait of Ann Richards"



Texans -- specifically, female Texans -- have a whole lot of work to do.

That was all I could think tonight as I watched Holland Taylor portray Ann Richards in her production of "Ann: An Affectionate Portrait of Ann Richards."

It'd be a hell of a lot easier to go on without her if she hadn't been so damn unique. In the nearly three hour, one-woman play, Taylor weaves a lifetime of Ann Richards into a hilarious, introspective history of a woman who was "strong as mustard gas." The opening scene envisions Richards giving a modern-day commencement address at a fictional college, speaking of her early years. Taylor sets Richards's tone using long, drawn out syllables, and portrays Richards as a woman trying to equally please her doting father, who never failed to tell her she was smart, and a hardened mother who "viewed her with a narrow eye." While it becomes clear that Richards's good ol' boy comfort was developed through early acceptance and empowerment by her father, Richards's mother seems to have played an equally important -- albeit less-sunny -- role in building a woman with a backbone who, when necessary, could wring a chicken's (or staffer's) neck.

Taylor introduces us to a moment that shaped Richards's life when her father was called into the Navy and her mother packed the family up to move to California. It was the first time Richards, at age eleven, attended a school that was desegregated and this became her first awareness of inequities. While unafraid to "hit the gas" and steer headlong toward any sort of challenge, near the end of the play Richards takes one moment to glance behind her as she ponders her core motivation for having run for Governor: "Life is not fair. I learned that when I was eleven years old. Life is not fair. But government should be."

The play spends a good portion of time sorting through two of Ann's greatest struggles: overcoming alcoholism ("I was the poster child for functioning alcoholics -- I was functioning everywhere!") and the end of her marriage to her husband, civil rights attorney Dave Richards. But where it really hits its stride is in her lead-up to her long-shot race for Governor. Likening politics to a racetrack, Richards muses, "I never did see myself as the horse. And no one else was throwing a saddle on me, either."

Yet, someone did. "A woman? A divorced woman? A ten-year sober alcoholic woman? In macho-conservative Texas?" Richards asks almost incredulously of herself. And, based on the string of horses Texas Democrats have bet on since, it is incredulous that anyone ever did throw a saddle on her, let alone put her in the starting gate.

Much like real life, the years Ann was in the Governor's office pass by beautifully and almost too quickly. This is really when Taylor is in her element portraying Ann, taking off her heels and dragging a phone around the office. Richards is signing off on paperwork hurriedly, all while taking calls from Bill Clinton, planning a family fishing trip, getting ready for a campaign stop in El Paso and trying to decide whether to grant a stay of execution. She gives an off-the-cuff quote to a pro-choice documentarian ("Tsk, tsk, tsk, we're going to make you have more children you can't afford.") and, in one particularly touching moment, asks her assistant to track down the name of a woman she met in Brownsville whose son is growing up in a home without electricity or water. "This one's gonna make it," Richards says, while scheduling the little boy to come to children's day at the Governor's mansion with all of the other "fat Capitol brats." "We're gonna put an arm around his shoulders."

In the final moments, Richards speaks a few lines from the famous poem "Death is Nothing at All" by Henry Scott Holland. She had asked her press secretary to hang onto it in case she ever needed it for a speech at a funeral someday -- "I never figured it would be my own."

Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same that it ever was. There is absolute unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you. For an interval. Somewhere. Very near.
Richards says at one point in the production, "Work is the best antidote for fear." Women in Texas have plenty to fear, which means we have twice as much work left to do. It can be too easy to get dragged down in mourning the loss of one of the greatest women our state has ever known. But there is something comforting about the notion that we have not lost anything. "It is the same that it ever was." In Ann's absence, we still have reason to continue to push forward, to "hit the gas" in our "absolute unbroken continuity" of what she fought her whole life to achieve: equality, fairness and putting our arms around the shoulders of those who need it the most.

So I'll continue to work, and I'll do so taking comfort that she is somewhere very near.
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Head Shot

Osama bin Laden 
March 10, 1957 – May 2, 2011 

Odd, isn't it, to celebrate a game in which the score is kept by bodies.

Forgive us, for we know not of what it means to kill or be killed.

Or to be crushed by a building, or the weight of the memory of a bullet through skin.

Or how an ocean can infinitely hide something we for so long sought to find.

Or why justice sometimes finds itself swept up against the tide.

Forgive us, for we are really celebrating nothing at all; we are burying a painful memory in a vast, open sea.
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Would Aaron Pena Pass TAKS?

Aaron Pena likes to talk a lot about the "professional left" (definition: people like me who don't get paid to work in politics, not people like him who do get paid) and our "intellectual slumber." I gotta say, I have a hard time taking advice on intellect from someone who, between tweeting about testicles and switching parties, seems to not know the difference between "it's/its" and "your/you're." So I got to wondering: Would Aaron Pena pass the standardized TAKS test?

I've collected just a few of his Twitter gems below. You be the judge and let me know either on Twitter or in the comments section below.



Rachel Farris

Would Aaron Pena Pass TAKS?

Apr 30, 2011 at 2:48 AM
With this kind of grammar, I'm thinking no.
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AaronPena
We are moving on to the third reading of #HB150, the Solomon's map on #redistricting the #Texas House of Representatives. #txlege
Rachel Farris Interesting use of an apostrophe in the middle of someone's name.
Apr 28, 2011 at 7:53 PM
AaronPena
Rio Grande Guardian recent personal attacks call into question it's journalistic standards and ethics. #rgv
Rachel Farris Hm, journalistic standards are apparently tricky for Pena as well.
Apr 27, 2011 at 9:51 PM
AaronPena
@WalkerATX @MeanRachel Just trying to engage the left out of it's intellectual slumber. To the contrary I very much like the Meanie.
Rachel Farris Perhaps you shouldn't comment on "intellectual slumber" when you seem to be intellectually sleepwalking.
Apr 22, 2011 at 1:34 AM
AaronPena
The Texas House of Representatives wraps up it's work for the day. We start tomorrow at 10 a.m. Onward to committee. #txlege
Rachel Farris Yeah, it's/its is clearly an issue for you.
Apr 19, 2011 at 10:44 PM
AaronPena
Attempts to compel MALDEF to change it's opinion that Rep. Solomon's map did not violate the Voting Rights Act in Hidalgo County failed #rgv
Rachel Farris Oh look, more.
Apr 18, 2011 at 1:38 AM
AaronPena
Friday is the bill filing deadline, if your not from the dist. pass us by if you want us to file your late bills.http://tinyurl.com/4ayoltj
Capit A CAPITOL BLOG: If You're Not From The District ... Friday is the bill filing deadline, if you're not from the district, pass us by if you want us to file your late bills.
Rachel Farris If "your" from the district and would fail TAKS, raise your hand.
Mar 9, 2011 at 8:00 PM
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Report on Hidalgo County

Hidalgo County Democratic Party
Update: Does this make you angry?

Dear Aaron Pena from anthony gutierrez on Vimeo.


"Angry people vote."

Those are Paul Burka's words, writing at TexasMonthly.com this week about the potential Democratic candidate for Senate, General Ricardo Sanchez, and how the Latino population would -- or would not -- react to his candidacy.

It was timely that whispers of Sanchez, a Rio Grande City native, began floating around in the days before I made my way to Hidalgo County, where I was invited by the Hidalgo County Democratic Party Chair Dolly Elizondo-Garcia to speak at their County Executive Committee meeting. This trip down to the Valley was to be my first time in the area, outside of the occasional trip to Laredo.

As I drove through Edinburg, I couldn't get past the burn of what that city had become to me: the home of State Representative Aaron Pena, who saw many of the same problems I see in my state party and yet rather than stay and fight to improve our cause, chose to abandon it. Dusty, yellowed and barren, Edinburg looked like what the rest of the Rio Grande Valley looked like to me during my short time there: poor.

My presentation took place at the International Trade and Technology building at UTPA. Dolly had a large spread of breakfast tacos and coffee ready for guests, and a sign-in table was being worked by Hidalgo County Young Democrats wearing matching HCDP t-shirts. For 10 AM on a Saturday morning, the event was surprisingly well-organized and I realized that Dolly -- or perhaps all of Hidalgo County -- has grown used to the rest of the state underestimating them.

In the meantime, they've continued organizing. Unthreatened and open to new ideas, Dolly has catapulted several strong talents in her area into leadership positions. Eli Olivarez, an immaculate, quick-witted man who founded a chapter of the Stonewall Democrats in Hidalgo County, was encouraged by Dolly to run for the SDEC position in District 20.

Eli credits Dolly for the unity that the Hidalgo County Democrats now reflect. A symbol of this unity can be seen on their "passport" page, a landing page showing four online portals to the many faces of Hidalgo County Democrats. The passport page, which features updates from the local Stonewall Democrats, the Young Democrats, the Democratic Women and the county party itself, implies that everyone isn't the same in Hidalgo County but they all believe in a common vision.

During most of the meeting, an image of Aaron Pena laughing with his Republican cronies was displayed on the big screen at the front of the room, captioned with the words "There's nothing funny about these cuts." At one point in the program, Hidalgo County Commissioner Joel Quintanilla addressed the crowd and, pointing at Aaron Pena's image, said, "Look at this photo and tell me what you see." Spanish curse words were thrown out and someone from the audience said "Judas."

There's a perfect storm brewing in Hidalgo County and it's one that the Republicans have every reason to be afraid of. There's a large population with an intimate knowledge of just how bad the Republican Party can treat its poor, its elderly and its children. There's leadership unlike any I've seen in the Democratic Party since I've been active within it, and I'm confident saying that in Dolly Elizondo-Garcia, I've found my heroine.

But perhaps the final missing piece that could springboard action from Hidalgo County to the rest of the state is anger. The feeling in that room when the subject of Aaron Pena came up wasn't the feeling of a meeting but a revolution.

In questioning whether Latinos in Texas will ever turn out to vote like those in California and Arizona, Paul Burka goes on to write, "Hispanics in Texas are not alienated." Well, thanks to Aaron Pena, they're alienated now and they're angry. The future of the Democratic Party lies in Hidalgo County. They know it, they're uniquely poised to take over and, given the people I met down there this weekend, I don't see how they couldn't.
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Aaron Pena Wants to Watch You Vote

I know it's been a while since I've written about this toad, but State Representative Aaron Pena (tilde purposefully omitted due to his lack of interest in protecting minority voters) has gone and sold out again. Take it away, Anthony Gutierrez of the TDP:
If Republican State Representative Aaron Pena gets his way, voter intimidation will soon be legal. Pena is the author of House Bill 2588, which strikes the part of current law that keeps watchers from being able to be present at the voting station if the voter is being assisted. So basically, if you are healthy and able to vote without assistance, you get to cast a secret ballot. If you have a physical disability or an inability to read the language in which the ballot is written then you would no longer have a right to a secret ballot.
That's right. Mr. "Open Government" Pena wants to make it easier for a poll watcher to peer over your shoulder while you cast your vote for the elected official of your choice. This probably has something to do with the fact that Pena needs to be assisted when casting his own votes, either by a deep-pocketed lobbyist or an influential Republican map-drawer. Or maybe it's because he can't see over his own ego-filled gullet. Either way, I don't understand how Big Brother watching over the shoulders of the disabled, the elderly and those with the inability to read has anything to do with getting back to moderate values or the Obama administration's response to border issues, both of which Pena cited as being his bogus reasons for switching parties.

In related news, I recently announced on Twitter that I was excited to be heading down to Hidalgo County, Pena's home turf, where I have been invited to speak about social media at the Hidalgo County Democratic Party's Spring Meeting on Saturday at UTPA. Pena tweeted at me that I was always welcome in his district and I retorted that it must be awkward for him that they can't say the same thing about him down there.

I'll be giving a social media training as well as selecting a potential Democratic candidate from the audience to receive a consultation on their social media strategy, so it should be an informative, productive meeting. State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa will also be there giving a legislative update regarding the budget cuts. Democrats are invited to attend and more details can be found here. I found out tonight they had to move the event to a bigger room because of a large amount of interest in it, which means Aaron Pena might want to start drafting his concession tweet now.
Hidalgo County Democratic Party Spring Meeting


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I'm in.



Because of these people:



Why are you in?
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A Very Smart Cookie

Jody Williams, a Nobel Peace Prize winner for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, has been one of my heroines since she personally emailed me back in 2007 when I sent an email to her through her website.  She appeared on The Colbert Report last week and did a terrific job -- check it out below.

In the email she sent me all those years ago, she ended it with "do not give up." I haven't yet and don't intend to.  I always like when she reappears on my radar because it reminds me of that very fact.

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Listen to this.

There's more truth to this song than I could ever hope to write.




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An Open Letter to JP Bryan




Dear Mr. Bryan,

First of all, I love the Gage Hotel.

If you want to talk about Texas history, you needn't look further than that little dusty strip of main street in Marathon, Texas.  I've walked around your buildings a time or two and found it to be its own story of a Texas past: brick after brick set upon a carefully tended foundation; a taxidermied mountain lion stalking its next conquest; the Mexican Elder stooping at the front gate, as if it has been laboring for years against a forceful wind.  The Gage is a beautiful symbol of a preservation of Texas's past and an investment in its future -- so thank you for sharing it with us.

Today I read your Open Letter to Citizens of Texas on the potential shuttering of the Texas Historical Commission with great interest.  Since you are an ardent supporter of the Republican Party, it seemed odd to find myself agreeing with you.  Growing up, I was never much of a history buff but one of my favorite teachers in middle school, Ms. Mary Lou Custer Heard, changed that for me.  She was from Beeville, Texas and her Texas History class was more like finishing school with a Texas twist.  She dressed in peach-colored knit dresses and played "Texas Our Texas" on the keyboard and made us learn about historic Texas trees -- trees, of all things.  "Now tell me, is there any other state that has trees with stories?" She'd ask us as she'd hand out grainy, black and white photographs of the Sam Houston and Treaty Oaks.

What could Alfred Gage have been thinking in 1878 when he headed west to build a life in the middle of Marathon basin that was really any different than what so many Americans think as they head to Texas to start a business, send their children to schools and live in good health?  Probably not much.  Part of our history is our common spirit to prosper and to grow -- but as you well know, this goes far beyond courthouse renovations and restorations of sunken ships.  This spirit runs through our schools and our teachers, our homes and our land, even our water and our air.  The stakes you speak of in the loss of the Texas Historical Commission far surpass the limits of forgetting our common history -- they threaten to erase it.

In your letter you ask, "What better answer to the question, 'Who are you?' than 'I am a Texan.'"

I can tell you that I am a Texan, but that is not where my answer ends.  I am a Texan who believes that while we may have a difference in political opinions, we could have a united interest in protecting the foundation of our State.  I am a Texan who believes we must pay homage to our past while investing in our future -- not bleeding it dry.

Finally, I am a Texan who believes another 7th grader should have a chance to learn about Texas trees.

Just being a Texan is not enough.  We must care about the next generation of Texans as well.  Otherwise, who will be left to learn the history that was made?

Rachel Farris
Texan, Democrat
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You want to know what I make?


Just...wow.

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Choose Your Own Adventure: Austin Parking Meter-Style

So a few things to clear the air before we get started:

1) I support Laura Morrison and I'm glad to see she voted against the parking meter ordinance.  I think it's a pointless, irrelevant piece of policy that has no business happening right now.  Do I think her lone "no" vote had something to do with the insurgency to elect radio DJ Toby Ryan in her stead?  Absolutely.  But all that says to me is that the process of democracy is working (OMG!) and if it takes someone who normally has nothing to do with politics running against an incumbent to get them to vote the way the majority of Austin would like her to (hey, it's their survey, not mine), I don't see how this is a bad thing.

2) I support Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Martinez but I'm disappointed to see he voted for the parking meter ordinance.  I think it's a...okay, see above.  But I do appreciate the fact that Martinez has always been accessible and open with me, and I thank him for taking the time to talk with me tonight about this issue.

Ok, on to the fun stuff.  First, some ground rules:

1.  The new parking meter ordinance is scheduled to take effect in August 2011.
2.  Parking meters will remain at $1 an hour but will charge from 8 AM to midnight Monday through Saturday. 
3.  Parking at meters downtown on Sundays will remain free.

Got that?  Good, neither do I.  Let's proceed.

Scenario 1:  It's Friday night (after 6 pm) and you're on a date.  You don't want to be The Guy Who Circles Around Looking for Parking so you decide to shell out $7 bucks to park in a garage near the restaurant.  You and your date split a bottle of wine and cab it home (separately or together, I'll leave that up to the two of you).  What happens to your car?

Current rules:  Unless you parked in one of the very few garages that allows you to park overnight (I'm not telling you which ones they are -- that requires your own field research), you're pretty much asking to be towed or have a boot put on your car.  So as a reward for your environmentally-conscious, street-congestion-clearing over-zealousness, you're now The Guy Who Got His Car Towed.

New rules:  Martinez said repeatedly during our call that the ordinance voted on by the Council has several conditions which must be met before the new ordinance can take effect.  One of those conditions is that parking garages must open up their doors to more people and allow them to park overnight.  Until they do, the only place to park overnight without fear of towing on the weekends is at parking meters or the very few lots and garages that allow overnight parking.  These usually fill up quickly on the weekends, as do the meters.  Hmm, correlation?  I think yes.

Scenario 2:  It's Friday night (after 6 pm) and you score a primo street parking spot at a meter on West 6th.  At one of the 20+ local bars downtown, you have one too many (which, in this city, is reportedly two) so you take a cab home.  What happens to your car?

Current rules:  No big deal.  Go pick up your car anytime Saturday without worrying about getting towed.  Get a breakfast taco while you're at it, lush.

New rules: One of the provisions of the new parking meter ordinance will allow you to purchase up to 3 hours the following morning in case you decide to leave your car overnight.  As with many things COA-related, they really should market this better.  I think they should call it the "Walk of Shame Fee."

Scenario 3:  Your tire goes flat while you are parked at the meter.  What do you do?

Current rules:  Nothing.  You're totally screwed. A drink might be nice, since you can't drive anyway.

New rules:  You're equally screwed but you get to print out a few extra meter stickers for your windshield while you wait for AAA and I always find that time to be very satisfying.

Scenario 4:  You don't have a car or a job but you're interested in obtaining both.  Parking is kind of secondary to your concerns.

Current rules:  Um...Craigslist?

New rules:   While according to Martinez "this isn't a money grab," the City of Austin expects to make about $1.5 million a year in additional revenue.  A good portion of that has already been allocated toward hiring eleven more "meter enforcement" employees to take on additional hours. So take heart.  If you're one of the lucky ones, at this rate you could be employed by August.
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Admissions

Me at work, 19 years old, April 2003, 6:00 AM
Call it cliché but my favorite poem in high school was Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” I clung to it, quoted it and guarded myself with it, hoping its stanzas explained why I sat alone during my lunch hour doing homework so I could spend my afternoons working at a horse stable in Austin.  Near the end of my third and final year of high school, I pasted Frost's prosody into my English IV AP Senior Scrapbook -- an insulting, antiquated project that I hope our esteemed public schools have since thrown out -- used my AP-level thinking skills to color in, actually used Crayola markers to draw two tree-lined paths diverging in a wood, and closed the book on my high school, and higher, education.

It's no wonder I became a skeptic.

When I made the decision at age fifteen to graduate a year early from high school and forgo a college degree, the teenager in me assumed that was the biggest fork in the road I’d face in my early adulthood: the decision to leave my peers, follow my passion and stumble down that less-trodden path. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I graduated high school when I was seventeen and, six months after my graduation, I moved to a small suburb of Dallas to pursue my equestrian career. My sole dream, from childhood onward, had been to ride horses professionally for a living.  I figured out early on that I had to work with horses in order to be able to afford to ride them and during high school, I was taken in as a working-student by a professional rider who helped propel me into a professional riding career of my own. When I was eighteen, I moved back to Austin to help my former mentor start a new horse stable in West Austin, and helped it grow from a burgeoning business to a successful show barn with over forty horses and clients. Like any employee of a start-up, I found myself wearing more hats than I was initially hired for -- the riding I had always dreamed of doing for a living became secondary to negotiating hay and grain prices, examining profit and loss sheets, creating operations manuals and, as the company grew, managing several employees.

And so while my peers I left behind in 2001 were entering college, rushing and studying abroad, I was generating invoices in QuickBooks and learning to carry myself in a professional manner -- no easy feat for a nineteen year-old thrust into the business world arguably a bit too soon.  They were not easy days and, in fact, some of the worst of my life.  I was, more often than not, cold, lonely, poor and sad.  But this time gave me something I think most people entering college at eighteen don't often have the chance to experience:  a very good, long look at my capacity for work and my inconceivable ability to endure that which seemed unendurable.

Over the five years after I left high school, I found myself coming to a stark realization: Horses were my love, but my work was not meant to be done on the back of a horse. I found myself wondering what road I would take if I decided to get out of the horse business, trying to decide whether I should abandon the one dream I’d chased after my entire life.  But in early 2006, the decision was made for me: I hurt my back and had to find a new career.

The first and only job I interviewed for was at another start-up that I found in an advertisement on Craigslist. It was for a company called PetRelocation.com and I decided to go interview for the position just to experience it -- after all, interviews weren’t exactly something the horse world prepared you for. The company was started in Austin by a husband-and-wife team and they were hiring their second full-time employee after two years of putting together a service that handled worldwide, door-to-door pet travel arrangements for people moving with their pets.

While I had very little experience working in an office (my CEO likes to joke that I came in with mud on my jeans for my second interview), I did have a strong selling point: I’d helped grow another pet-related business and I’d handled all of the logistics of deliveries, scheduling and travel to horse shows during the nearly five years I’d been working at the stables. They offered me the position as a “PetRelocation Specialist," I put in my two weeks’ notice at the horse stable and walked away from a business that I’d help grow from its inception.  I also walked away from a family, thirty-seven four-legged creatures who might as well have been my own.

My favorite argument in high school, when people would ask me why I wasn’t going to college, was that “You don’t need a college degree to learn.” After nearly ten years of being out of high school, I still feel that way. In my free time, I’ve written this little blog and marketed my own personal brand, albeit one with a terrible name.  A quick glance at how I used to write can tell you that, over the last five and a half years, I've honed my writing ability every time I put up a new post.  At PetRelocation.com, I’ve gone from working in sales and customer service to directing the company’s marketing and public relations strategy. I’ve combined my penchant for writing with my interest in online communications to develop and build a brand.  More importantly, I've learned how to communicate with my coworkers, and I'd like to think, occasionally lead them.  And, with this blog post, I'm excited to share that I am moving on to a new role within PetRelocation.com as the Director of Operations.   I will continue to oversee communications but will also get to pursue new challenges and strategies as we continue growing.

However, I’ve also learned where my blind spots are. I’ve learned that while I may have a strong skill set in online communications, I only have my own view of how a business structure should work.  I know what I've learned by doing but I have very little frame of reference of what others have done.  So I'm also excited to share another big announcement:  Starting this week, I will begin classes at St. Edward's University New College, an undergraduate degree program for working adults. New College interested me because its name implies a “new” way of looking at college. It means that not everyone’s life fits a particular mold or timeline. It means that new ideas and new ways of looking at life and business are what help us build and improve upon the foundations we already have.  And I have no words for how lucky I am to be employed by someone who believes in me enough to support me in this endeavor.

The best thing I've come to learn and believe in since high school is this:  My education has never stopped since I finished that Senior Scrapbook.  And no matter what anyone says or thinks of you or your qualifications at any point in time, the one thing we each still have left is our ability to learn.  A few weeks ago I told an acquaintance I was going to college and he said "Good...I really do think that's your missing piece."

He was well-meaning, but completely wrong.  That decision remains the biggest piece of who I am today and, no matter how many buckets of horse manure I had to shovel to get here, I am who I am because I took that road, and "because it was grassy and wanted wear."  

Now I'm ready to walk down another one.
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Don't Outsource Your BS: Senator Kirk Watson at the Austin Social Media Breakfast

Today I had the great fortune of getting to interview one of the brighter bulbs at the Capitol, State Senator and former Austin Mayor Kirk Watson (here's a map of Senate District 14 which he represents), for the Austin Social Media Breakfast.  I presented at SMBAustin about a year ago (Why Your Pet is a Social Media Expert) but this time the organizers, Bryan Person (@BryanPerson) and Maura Thomas (@MNThomas), asked my alter ego (the mean one, not the tail-wagging one) to get involved.

When they first approached me about the event and asked me who would be a good elected official to interview about his or her use of social media, I knew immediately I wanted to interview Senator Watson.  As I explained this morning, Sen. Watson's journey into the social media sphere has been relatively recent (he signed up for Twitter in January 2010) but it's been an enthusiastic one from the get-go.  He organized the impressive Monopoly Buster social media contest last election cycle, writes his own blog/e-newsletter the Watson Wire, and has a large following on both his political and personal Facebook pages.  Not only does Senator Watson "get it" when it comes to the importance of social media as a communication tool, he also understands the arguably more important element of social media as a reflection of a politician's approach to governing.  (Ed. Note: Rick Perry, are you listening?  Oh, wait, you're not.  You're blocking me.)

One of the questions I asked the Senator was what parts of his social media strategy he chooses to outsource and how he manages the process in order to ensure the message doesn't get diluted or, worse yet, misrepresented.  The question is one that many organizations struggle with when facing the task of implementing a social media strategy, and when I spoke at the Texas Democratic Women's state convention last weekend on this subject, this was one of the topics we spent the most time on.

Without missing a beat, Watson, in an enviable turn of a phrase that I'm guessing a lot of us social media nerds will steal, said "I don't outsource my BS."  His implication was clear:  when it comes to building a personal brand and appearance online, politicians all too often think that their 19 year-old intern can just send out tweets about how beautiful the American flag looks waving in the wind and become the next Barack Obama.  The audience immediately latched onto this gem, making it one of the most re-tweeted quotes of the day.  While the quote was humorous and candid, what speaks even more was the reaction of the people in the room -- we are all well aware of who outsources whose BS, we aren't stupid, and we see through it.  In other words:  Your BS isn't fooling anyone.

I've curated some of my favorite tweets from the event below -- you can catch up on all of them at the #SMBAustin hashtag here.   Thanks very much to Senator Watson for coming out and talking with us.

Subscribe to the Watson Wire
Like Kirk Watson on Facebook
Follow Kirk Watson on Twitter



Rachel Farris

Senator Kirk Watson - Austin Social Media Breakfast

Mar 4, 2011 at 11:56 pm
Selected tweets/quotes from Austin Social Media Breakfast featuring Texas State Senator Kirk Watson.
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Adam_Price
"I don't outsource my BS." @kirkpwatson #smbaustin
Mar 4, 2011 at 2:33 pm
katmandelstein
#SMBAustin @KirkPWatson: "Follow other thinkers whether you agree with them or not to get a broader view of the world."
Mar 4, 2011 at 2:41 pm
crcpr21
RT @SMBAustin: #SMBAustin @KirkPWatson: I was able to increase my opt-in email list by 40% using social media. #socialmediaroi
Mar 4, 2011 at 2:32 pm
AustinVisMedia
"If you don't want it in a headline, don't put it on twitter" @kirkpwatson #smbaustin
Mar 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm
SMBAustin
#SMBAustin @KirkPWatson: Technology is moving quickly and (policy) needs to catch up (on what is appropriate).
Mar 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm
SMBAustin
#SMBAustin @KirkPWatson: We may see some discussion this session about officials tweeting during session and meetings.
Mar 4, 2011 at 2:52 pm
SMBAustin
#SMBAustin @KirkPWatson: Twitter brings "a lot more heads into the room" and increases attention to detail during testimonies.
Mar 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm
jettemomant
Gr8 question to @kirkpwatson "access to social media is for the privileged: ppl w/ phones, Internet, etc. How do u create access? #smbaustin
Mar 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm
hrp6396
From @kirkpwatson #smbaustin access with new technology is decades old problem-Saw similar issue with Internet-and put access In libraries
Mar 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm
RealAustin
Senator @KirkPWatson not afraid to speak his mind. Accountability, consistency, & transparency leads to authenticity & trust. #smbaustin
Mar 4, 2011 at 2:40 pm
opsimath
Every time I see @KirkPWatson in public, he's winning people over with his charm and wit. #SMBAustin
Mar 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm
thejeniferbrand
great #smbaustin this morning - @kirkpwatson has renewed my interest in local politics
Mar 4, 2011 at 5:48 pm
mikepapi
@kirkpwatson is #winning the social media communication game #smbaustin
Mar 4, 2011 at 2:50 pm


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