26 June 2007


Got a check for $800+ from the IRS. Getting any mail from the IRS makes me a little nervous, but I guess it was worth it. Apparently when I paid all my extra taxes on April 15th, I paid a little too much. Paying too much is certainly not what I was aiming for.

Yeah, that tax code could really use some simplifying.

Posted by Evan @ 06/26/07 06:37 PM | Comments (0)        


One, Two, Three

Clay Robison -- Austin Bureau Chief and weekly leftish opinion scribe -- asserts:

[Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst] had a better session than Gov. Rick Perry or Speaker Tom Craddick, but so did just about everybody else at the Capitol.

What say you, dear readers? Rank the Big 3 ordinally*, based on this Session.

* Word choice inspired by my father, who objected by telephone to "conclusory," claiming that it sounded pretentious.

Posted by Evan @ 06/26/07 12:13 PM | Comments (1)        


21 June 2007

Who does Bloomberg hurt?

Maybe I haven't been paying attention to the conventional wisdom (no loss there), but I thought the CW was that a Bloomberg presidential candidacy would hurt Democrats. Ambinder today claims the CW is now that Bloomberg hurts the GOP more. I've long argued (even on the blog) that Bloomberg hurts the GOP more. [It matters, of course, how Bloomberg runs and I have my own assumptions on that, which is part of why I feel the way I do.]

Well, now we have data. I may comment on it, as this is hardly conclusory. But the data lends a little support.

Noteworthy: the Texas results, and what can be extrapolated.

Posted by Evan @ 06/21/07 01:46 PM | Comments (0)        


[This space left blank]

No time to post recently. Instead I'll point you to Professors R Squared, who have had lots of good stuff recently.

They need to have more posts on their main page though!

Posted by Evan @ 06/21/07 01:36 PM | Comments (0)        


15 June 2007

She does like to talk about it

There are certain things in life I talk about doing that I haven't done. So I can't be too critical of our senior senator. Still, she does like to talk about running for governor:

Speaking at a gathering Wednesday of Texas chapters of Associated Builders and Contractors, Ms. Hutchison, a Republican, hinted she might run for governor in 2010.

The builders, unhappy with the current crop of declared GOP candidates for president, asked Ms. Hutchison what might induce her to run for that office. Her response was prompt.

"Nothing," she said to laughter from the crowd.

But her next musing was greeted by a resounding round of applause. "I might come home to Texas and run for governor," she said.

But will she? Although she has long been the most popular politician in the state, it remains to be seen if she can get through the GOP primary. I think she's likely to be able to, but it's no sure thing.

Ms. Hutchison also has said she would probably accept an offer to seek the vice presidency, if one were extended.

Isn't it generally considered bad form in the veepstakes to say that you'd accept?

Posted by Evan @ 06/15/07 01:02 PM | Comments (0)        


14 June 2007

Please don't primary me!

Four endorsements for Bill Richardson:

Four: Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA), Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-TX), Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) and Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX).

Think the demographics of Gene Green's east side Houston district have anything to do with it?

The link is courtesy of Marc Ambinder. I said something nice a few weeks back about his work for the Hotline's blog and almost immediately thereafter he disappeared for a week or two. Now he's back with an eponymous blog. Awesome. He does great work.

Posted by Evan @ 06/14/07 07:56 PM | Comments (0)        


Texas Monthly's Ten Best and Ten Worst Legislators

Paul Burka and Patti Kilday Hart released their list of the best and worst legislators.

The full story is available for the next 24 hours online.

Quick thought: it was nice of Burka and Hart to put Dan Patrick on their worst list. Wouldn't it have hurt him if they hadn't? Imagine if they'd put him on their best list.

Posted by Evan @ 06/14/07 02:59 PM | Comments (0)        


Definitely time for a new job

Note: I wrote this post last week, but didn't publish it. Since I wrote this post, my employer has tried to staff me on a project for Hugo Chavez's company. I said no; despite the counsel of friends who think I should think about the ramifications. I had already turned down a project for Hugo six months ago, which the staffing coordinator has very much held against me and therefore not given me good projects. It looks there will definitely be quite negative repercussions from my decision.

Those of you who know me know that I'm not too happy with my consulting job. They haven't treated me poorly, but the company doesn't have enough work to go around right now and I'm getting bored of doing nothing. If I were to have done it over again, I would've made it a point to work for one of the big 3 (Bain, BCG, McKinsey) consulting companies, rather than one of the mid-level companies like the one I work for. Granted, when I started here, the company had explosive growth, so I figured it was a good place to go. I'd have the chance to get promoted faster than at McKinsey.

So what am I going to do instead? I may stay in consulting, but I'm considering a career change. I like small companies -- particularly start-ups -- and really smart people. I like pressure, and I like intellectually stimulating work. The opportunity for quick promotion is greatly valued. I recently interviewed at a carbon trading start-up and made it to the final round. It sounded perfect; however, I really don't have the work background* they were looking for, so I wasn't that surprised when they chose someone else.

Or I may go jump to a campaign. There should be a few CD22 campaigns looking for folks. Or I may become a writer [professional blogger? -- ed. No....well unless someone pays me well! I'm thinking more magazine articles, books and novels]. Or I may go work in some kind of public affairs. Or I may just go trade natural gas futures. Who knows?

*It's amazing to me how risk-averse people are when it comes to hiring only those with the "right" work background and "right" major in college. I suppose that's a principal-agent problem -- employees doing the hiring won't be rewarded if they hire someone good, but it will hurt them if they hire someone bad -- but I'd have the opposite view if I were hiring. Look for raw brainpower and work ethic, and let them learn on the job.

Posted by Evan @ 06/14/07 12:12 AM | Comments (2)        


13 June 2007

Lead on

Did Nancy Pelosi's flack write this?

Ed Gillespie, a high-dollar Washington lobbyist and long-time go-to guy for President Bush and the Republican Party, is replacing Dan Bartlett as White House counselor in the president's inner circle.
Heckuva lead from Jennifer Loven at the AP.

I mean, not just leading with the fact that he's a lobbyist -- which also doesn't seem appropriate to me outside of a DNC press release -- but also adding the pejorative "high-dollar." Yikes.

She should try something like this: "Ed Gillespie, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, will join the inner circle of the Bush administration as a counselor to the president." Much better.

Posted by Evan @ 06/13/07 01:20 PM | Comments (0)        


Bye bye Jacques

I'm fascinated by the remarks of House Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos:

"I am so glad that the era of Jacques Chirac and Chancellor Schroeder in Germany is now gone," Lantos said to applause.

He said under the successors of Schroeder and Chirac, Angela Merkel in Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy in France, relations with the United States "will take a very positive turn."

Very interesting to me that we have a Democrat praising the new center-right governments of continental Europe. Or as Don Rumsfeld would say, "Old Europe."

Now perhaps Lantos can say something positive about our relationship with Colombia, instead of throwing our South American ally under the bus like Nancy Pelosi did.

Posted by Evan @ 06/13/07 01:05 PM | Comments (0)        


12 June 2007

Oh no! Politics!

Amarillo Globe-News had an unsigned editorial a couple days ago.

Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, likely will have to fight to keep his job in the 2009 Legislature.

That's good - not for Craddick, necessarily, but for a democratic system of government that should hold our leaders accountable for their actions.

Craddick will have some explaining to do to his Permian Basin constituents and perhaps even to his House colleagues, some of whom have turned against him.

Is this a bad turn of events for Texas government? Not in the least. On the contrary, it produces a healthy cleansing of the process that occasionally gets cloistered too tightly in the hands of too few individuals.

To hear much of the Austin crowd talk, you'd think that there's something morally wrong with recruiting opponents for your legislative opponents. Just sounds like politics to me.

If someone keeps voting against your bills, one of the political tools is to recruit a challenger. Seems fairly standard to me, so I really can't understand some of the brouhaha from the Austin establishment. Sure, it destroys legislative comity, but legislative comity is hardly a goal in and of itself. Trying to pass legislation that you care about should be what politics is about. And sometimes to do that, you gotta give voters a choice.

The point is that recruiting challengers isn't successful unless there is voters have a reasonable basis to throw them out. Remember all the money that Leininger spent? It wasn't spent very effectively, because money doesn't win elections. Messages win elections, and money just helps get the message out. So if Craddick were to go recruit challengers to the fomenters, so what? It's unlikely the Craddick recruits will be successful unless there is substantial underlying discontent with the incumbent.

Posted by Evan @ 06/12/07 08:42 PM | Comments (0)        


Unsigned editorials

Chron op-ed:

There were plenty of senators last week who shirked such honest work. Many Republicans rightly wanted to shape a bill that had been crafted by their leaders behind closed doors. But too many also wanted to sabotage reform, preferring the disorder we have now to any measure that would grant illegal immigrants some chance at joining our society.

"If it hurts the bill, I'm for it," said Sen. Jim De Mint, R-S.C.

Republicans John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas backed reform in principle -- but in the end also gambled against it by rejecting the measure to cut off debate.

What exactly does that last bolded sentence even mean?

Cornyn and Hutchison were against the bill from the start once the back room grand compromise was unveiled. They saw it as a bad bill. Senators -- by nature generally very protective of their privileges -- were in the middle of offering amendments to a 4000 page monstrosity to attempt to mold it into something they liked better. Harry Reid, despite knowing that he didn't have the votes to pass the bill, tried to cut off debate and stop the amendments. [It certainly seems to me that Reid was making a political judgment that he could damage W by not passing the bill and then blaming the president. What else can be concluded since he didn't even pretend to try to pass the bill.]

So what exactly does the Chronicle mean? It's languid, misleading writing in the midst of a disjointed editorial. It sounds to me like the Chron editorial board wanted to criticize Cornyn and Hutchison, but wanted to be oblique about it. Which kinda defeats the purpose.

Posted by Evan @ 06/12/07 08:33 PM | Comments (0)        


11 June 2007

Final Sopranos

Stunningly brilliant. Exactly what it should have been. A worthy ending for the best tv show of all time.

Update: William F. Buckley agrees with me. His reasoning is pretty similar to mine.

That was the genius, the parable, of the most successful television drama in history, giving the viewer hour after hour, year after year, exploitation of sex, exhibitionism, murder, sadism, cynicism and hypocrisy. And, according to David Chase, we are to remember that such is as it is. There was no pictorial, no dramatic end to "The Sopranos" because its point was to depict life (a) as practiced by the Mafia, and (b) as tolerated, and in fact swooned over, by the viewing public.

Posted by Evan @ 06/11/07 03:04 AM | Comments (1)        


09 June 2007

Blame it on the hack

To hear Todd Gillman tell it, the immigration bill didn't pass because of Cornyn and Hutchison:

The immigration deal that crumbled last week in the Senate had little chance in the House anyway, in part because Texas' senators were never on board.

Without political cover from Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, there was little hope for inroads among Texas Republicans in the House, who demand a security-first approach rather than a security-and-legalization combo.

And without that large bloc, few conservatives from other states would have lent their votes.

I think the failure of the bill has lots more to do with Harry Reid's disdainful approach.

Posted by Evan @ 06/09/07 02:55 PM | Comments (0)        


Liberty prevails

Bud Kennedy:

A bill on Gov. Rick Perry's desk would prevent Texas police from using roadside cameras to mail $179-and-up speeding tickets to car owners whose vehicles zoomed through town.

In one of the brightest moments of a mostly languid Texas House session, lawmakers overwhelmingly passed Keller Republican Vicki Truitt's bill shutting off the cams for the sake of Texas parents.

Good. Shame they didn't ban those odious red light cameras too.

Posted by Evan @ 06/09/07 02:43 PM | Comments (0)        


The sun rises in the...


Federal and local authorities have launched investigations after a Bexar County elections official reported dozens of non-U.S. citizens voted in recent elections.

A report by Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen included the names of 330 non-citizens on the voter rolls. Those named had received jury duty summonses but told the court they weren't eligible to serve because they were not U.S. citizens.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, part of the Department of Homeland Security, requested Callanen's report in an administrative subpoena. And the Bexar County district attorney's office is investigating whether up to 41 of those non-citizens voted in more than a dozen local, state and federal elections since 2001.

"You bet your bottom dollar we'll prosecute ... if we find people voted illegally in violation of the state election code," Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed said.

David Dewhurst wishes this article had been printed about a month ago.

I don't know why this should surprise us, given how unsecure American voting is.

Posted by Evan @ 06/09/07 02:29 PM | Comments (1)        


So far from God and so close to the United States

Dave Schiller, SAEN:

He's rich, powerful and generally seen as a nice guy whose star continues to shine despite his political mentor's plummeting popularity.

As Tony Garza seems poised to become one of the longest-serving ambassadors ever posted to Mexico and still sure-footed in one of the perennially difficult jobs in U.S. diplomacy circumstances prompt the question: What comes next for this South Texas son?

There long has been speculation that when Garza returns, he'll strongly consider making a run for governor, the U.S. Senate or some other elective office.

Few believe Garza isn't thinking about it, but during a recent interview, he wouldn't tip his hand.

"I enjoy what I'm doing at a time, when this relationship could not be more important," Garza said of the interaction between the U.S. and Mexican governments on border security, trade and immigration.


When people talk about those who might run for governor in 2010, Garza is mentioned in almost the same breath as U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, [Bill] Miller said.


Dan Kornfield, a Washington-based analyst for the Stratfor consulting firm, said Garza has done a good job.

"I think he's balanced it out, having an empathetic view on immigration while having a tough stance on counter-cartel activities.

"He is not a sort of neutral, uninteresting figure," Kornfield said. "He has managed to interact with businessmen and get to know society and they like him."

Can't be that easy to run for guv after 6 years living abroad, even if money can buy name ID.

Posted by Evan @ 06/09/07 02:11 PM | Comments (0)        


07 June 2007

W(h)at(t)s he got to lose?

I already tried to post on this, but it doesn't show up on the blog, so I'm rewriting this post. How annoying. Maybe it'll find its way from the nether regions of the internet back to the blog.

RG Ratcliffe:

San Antonio trial lawyer Mikal Watts has launched his bid for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination by donating and loaning his campaign fund a total of $3.8 million -- an amount equal to Republican incumbent Sen. John Cornyn's cash on hand.

"I took John Cornyn's first-quarter report and matched it to the penny," Watts said. "We're going to start with a level playing field and then we're going to start raising money and see what the people of Texas have to say."

Watts, 39, donated $1.9 million to his exploratory committee and loaned it another $1.9 million. He formed the committee June 1, and its paperwork became available Wednesday.

Cute gimmick. Certainly the Democratic political consultants are rejoicing. The bigger question here is how he decides to fund the campaign from this point on.

Cornyn could lose; it's not impossible. Watts could even get the race pretty close before the law of diminishing returns kicks in. But it looks highly unlikely that 2008 will be as toxic for Republicans as 2006.* A presidential election is more polarized than a mid-term election, and that's going to make it awfully tough. Plus, folks don't abandon their partisanship as often in federal races as they do in state races.

But even so, it does make sense for the Dems to try. Every once in awhile lightning strikes! If you have rich people (read: trial lawyers) who want to give away millions of dollars to keep your consultants happy...

And 2006 Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Barbara Ann Radnofsky has said she is planning on a run for state attorney general in 2010 but is not ruling out another run for the Senate next year.

Radnofsky's campaign was always about building name ID for a future run. But she didn't help herself when she called Kay Bailey Hutchison a liar. Doesn't make much sense to call the most popular politician in the state a liar.

*2006 was the election where the Texas Democrat ticket topper got 29.8% of the vote...as Chris Bell said, "You could be a corpse and get 31 percent as the Democratic nominee...").

Posted by Evan @ 06/07/07 04:51 PM | Comments (0)        


I'm really not Bob Shrum's publicist

Although I just posted on something I found interesting from Dem uber-consultant Bob Shrum's new book the other day, there was something else I found surprising.

Bob Shrum claims that pollster and focus grouper Frank Luntz -- after polling for Pat Buchanan in the primary and Ross Perot (before he imploded) -- was interested in working for Bill Clinton's campaign against Papa Bush. Shrum says the conversation took place when they were on a two day trip to Slovenia, and that Luntz told him he had "more than you might think in common" with Clinton (that quote may not be exact, as I'm working from memory right now).

As Shrum notes, he should've at least passed it on to Clinton. If Luntz had done any work for Clinton, it would've disqualified Luntz from working for Republicans (see Dick Morris). That would have precluded the good work Luntz did for Gingrich, DeLay, Armey, et al, in 94 on the Contract with America.

An interesting anecdote and one I'm sure Luntz -- who attempts to downplay his Republican leanings whenever possible, because it hurts business -- wouldn't like to be told. [Anyone know if Shrum and Luntz have had any tiffs?]

Posted by Evan @ 06/07/07 04:28 PM | Comments (0)        


06 June 2007


I'm giving money.

Posted by Evan @ 06/06/07 11:41 AM | Comments (6)        


05 June 2007

LBJ for Nixon?

Bob Shrum suggests in his new book No Excuses: Confessions of a Serial Campaigner that LBJ was for Nixon:

[LBJ] did issue a pro forma endorsement of the Democratic ticket [after McGovern came to the LBJ ranch to meet with the former president] -- and then called the White House with the assurance that he was really for Nixon; after all, some of his closest aides and allies were running Democrats for Nixon.
That's news to me. Has anyone else ever heard this? Did news reports at the time say that LBJ was for Nixon?

Note: I originally typed this by Blackberry, so I cleaned it up afterwards. The "e" key on my blackberry is very finicky, so if you get emails from me that are missing e, then that's why.

Posted by Evan @ 06/05/07 09:55 PM | Comments (0)        


Spoken like a trial lawyer*

John Edwards, limousine liberal poverty fighter:

"Everything I can do -- everything in my power that I'm able to do -- I will do to drive the issue of poverty in this presidential campaign, so that everyone is required to talk about it, because I think it is the great moral issue of our time," [John Edwards] said. He later added: "This is such a part of my life, that whatever happens in this presidential campaign, as long as I am alive and breathing, I will be out there fighting with everything I have to help the poor in this country."

What a jerk. I make it a point to never accuse people of hypocrisy, but what a hypocrite.

Everything he can do on the great moral issue of our time? He just built himself a $30 million mansion. No matter how much money I ever have, I would never dream of building myself something so ostentatious, wasteful and selfish...especially if I went around moralizing about poverty.

What a superficial jerk. He's willing to do everything he can do...with other people's money.

* Despite recent comments, I'm more trial lawyer friendly than you might guess. But there are so many sleazy ones...

Posted by Evan @ 06/05/07 05:56 PM | Comments (0)        


Bonilla withdraws

Gary Martin, SAEN:

Former Rep. Henry Bonilla has withdrawn his nomination to be the ambassador to the Organization of American States, and announced Monday that he will join a lobbying firm as a consultant.

Bonilla, a San Antonio Republican, is among dozens of presidential appointees, including judicial and appellate court nominees, who have yet to receive a hearing from the Democrat-controlled Senate because of a disagreement with the White House over recess appointments.

"The process is pretty frozen, with no end in sight," Bonilla said.

The former San Antonio congressman is joining The Normandy Group, a $1 billion business-consulting firm.

Senate Democrats are refusing to confirm anyone. That's one of the downsides to our confirmation process -- people have their lives put on hold for years just for offering themselves for public service. Not to mention the lies, distortions and personal attacks that often accompany such long waits. See, eg, Miguel Estrada.

Posted by Evan @ 06/05/07 01:51 PM | Comments (0)        


The ongoing assault on editing

Claudia Feldman, Chron:

John Kerry popped into Brazos Bookstore the other day. He was visiting friends and thought he might sell a few books and shake some hands.

"How y'all doing?" the four-term Massachusetts senator greeted the 50-odd fans waiting to hear his spiel on the environment and buy the book he and his wife completed in 2006, This Moment on Earth.

Maybe it's the Houston air. Maybe the ongoing assault on the environment is a restorative topic for disappointed presidential candidates. For whatever reason, Kerry was relaxed, even mellow as he addressed the crowd, fielded questions and signed books.

Right off there was a heckler, but he blew up and stomped off after just a few minutes. Then the lovefest was on. The crowd of environmentalists and old Kerry supporters listened raptly as the tall, chiseled politician slung figures and told stories from the book.

Does Ms. Feldman have a crush on Senator Kerry? Sheesh. I know this is in the "life" section, but still...the phrase "the ongoing assault on the environment" is not one that should make it past an editor.

Posted by Evan @ 06/05/07 01:30 PM | Comments (2)        


04 June 2007

Oxford and Giuliani

Interesting law.com article about Rudy, Bracewell & Giuliani, Pat Oxford and the intersection between law firms and politics. I confess to finding it amusing that the writer, Susan Beck, spent so much time trying to get people to admit that Rudy doesn't practice law. Of course Rudy doesn't practice law! He's a symbol of prestige for the firm, no one ever expected otherwise.

But Oxford's main outside passion has been politics. In 1970, when he was just three years out of law school, he worked on his first campaign, George H.W. Bush's unsuccessful run for U.S. senator from Texas. In 1978 Oxford took a leave from Bracewell to be deputy campaign manager for the late John Tower in his re-election run for U.S. senator from Texas. "I was probably getting a little restless in practice," Oxford explained. Over the years, Oxford has aligned himself with a series of successful Republican candidates in Texas, including the state's two U.S. senators. He has played significant roles in all of Kay Bailey Hutchison's three campaigns for that office and was Texas co-chairman of her last campaign, in 2006; he has been treasurer of John Cornyn's fund-raising committee since 2003. (Cornyn has raised $5.6 million since then.) One Republican insider says that Oxford's success in politics is partly due to his engaging personality. "Pat's just a good guy," he says. "He works hard at maintaining friendships, and he's very good at it."

I hadn't realized that Oxford had been a campaign staffer. Huh.

I drive by Oxford's house almost every day, so that occasionally prompts me to wonder whether Bracewell has made money on its Giuliani gamble. Impossible to know, but it sounds like they aren't unhappy.

Posted by Evan @ 06/04/07 05:31 PM | Comments (0)        



1. The US Men's National Team had a solid 4-1 victory over China on Saturday. Texan (Plano native, if I recall correctly) Lee Nguyen got his first cap when he was substituted on late in the game. This kid appears to have limitless potential, and is part of the next generation of American soccer players who are going to the elite clubs of Europe and succeeding.

What was most impressive about the China game is that the US dominated in the air. I've long thought that when the US got good in the air, that would really be a sign that we've arrived. Granted, China isn't known as a powerhouse in the air, but it was exciting to see.

2. Washington Post piece on Spanish in political dialogue:

It is not yet 8 a.m. and four members of Congress are practicing the sound of the Spanish letter "g," reciting words in a bashful chorus conducted by their tutor, who stands at an easel in the Cannon House Office Building.

" . . . Gato, general, guerra, gigante . . . "

The sharp Worcester brogue of Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), the soft Houston honey of Rep. Gene Green (D-Tex.) and the more unassuming accents of Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) meet somewhere in Mexico, more or less.

It's amazing to me that Gene Green has managed to avoid a serious Latino primary challenge. Perhaps that's because Houston's Democrats haven't produced any stars. One might've thought Carol Alvarado would be such a person, but her luster is quite tarnished after the Mayor Pro Tem scandal.

More from same article:

"You have to reach out to Spanish-speaking Latinos even before they become citizens," says Rodriguez-Ciampoli, now director of Hispanic communications for Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. "We as Latinos have brand loyalty. . . . The sooner you start talking to them, the sooner you start helping them to identify with the Democrats."

San Antonio-based media consultant Frank Guerra, so successful at crafting messages for the Bush brothers, says that for the president and the former Florida governor, "it goes way beyond the language piece. Hispanics perceive them as two individuals who understand them, who are interested in them, and are attempting to communicate with them, whether it's in halting Spanish on special occasions" -- George -- "or whether through fluent conversation" -- Jeb.

Guerra worries that some GOP rhetoric in the immigration debate could turn off the new brand-shoppers that President Bush won. Guerra's advice to the GOP could stand for the Democrats as well:

"You're speaking to the fastest-growing, youngest population in the country. And what we do now will forever set the course for what kind of party we're going to be in the future -- majority or minority."

Guerra did pretty good work for the Gipper too, if memory serves. Plus, he's right.

And then there was this:

But then here comes Charlie Gonzalez, leaving Nancy Pelosi's office after a gathering of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss immigration reform. In that meeting, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and some others spoke Spanish, but not Gonzalez. His Spanish is not so good.

He is the son of the late, legendary representative Henry Gonzalez, who was the son of Mexican immigrants who did not speak much English. Henry Gonzalez spoke beautiful Spanish, as well as English, according to his son.

"Dad was just horrified as my Spanish deteriorated," Charlie Gonzalez says.

"People expect if your name is Gonzalez that you can speak Spanish. It's always going to be a source of kidding."

He can laugh about it. The voters in Gonzalez's majority-Hispanic district in San Antonio understand. The Spanish of their grandchildren is disappearing, too. This is what happens. They've elected Gonzalez five times. "This is a shared experience," the congressman says. "The degree of proficiency in Spanish varies from generation to generation."

3. Mack, Chron:

Neither got everything it wanted, but Houston and Harris County fared better than usual in this year's legislative session.

Among the more visible changes locals can expect: backyard July Fourth fireworks will be safer, though perhaps a little less festive; dog owners will be held responsible the first time their pets seriously injure another person; all 20 acres of West 11th Street Park will be preserved; and red-light cameras are here to stay.

I guess Ms. Mack was talking about our elected officials. I certainly don't see how red light cameras being here to stay is faring well for Houston or Harris County. I mean, unless you want to live in Bill White's Orwellian police state!

4. Via David Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy, I took the "Al Gore or the Unabomber?" test. The quotes are all taken from Gore's "Earth in the Balance" book or the Unabomber's manifesto. I got a 58%...just slightly higher than random.


Posted by Evan @ 06/04/07 04:34 PM | Comments (1)        


P for Fred

Fort Worth's George P. Bush has signed on with Fred:

George P. Bush, a nephew of President Bush, has contributed to the prospective campaign of Fred Thompson and signed an e-mail asking friends and associates to do the same, The Politico has learned.

Good call, P.

Mike Allen also reports that Lawrence Lindsey is in charge of economic policy for Fred, David McIntosh will direct domestic policy, and Michael Turk will do the web. Sounds like good choices all around.

Update: I should also note that Michael Toner is supposed to be the general counsel, which is also quite a "get."

Posted by Evan @ 06/04/07 02:40 PM | Comments (0)        


Texas House Rep. Kevin Bailey lost his house to a fire this morning:

A state representative woke up early Monday morning to find his home on fire, KPRC Local 2 reported.

The fire broke out at Rep. Kevin Bailey's home on Sulky Trail Street at about 4 a.m.

"There wasn't a lot of smoke in the house," Bailey said. "My wife woke me up and there was just a little bit of smoke in the house, but the roof was on fire and burned up pretty good."

Bailey represents district 140 in Houston. Northeast-ish, loop 610 to Beltway 8, if I recall correctly.

This comes after the tragic death of former state Sen. Frank Madla in a house fire last year. Fortunately Bailey survived.

Posted by Evan @ 06/04/07 02:13 PM | Comments (0)        


01 June 2007

Did you hear the one about the trial lawyer and the state rep?


With today's announcement by San Antonio plaintiff's attorney Mikal Watts of the formation of an exploratory committee and with rumors swirling about the intentions of state Rep. Rick Noriega, Democrats seem more confident about their prospects to grab a statewide office than at any point in the last 10 years.

While surely they didn't get excited about Chris Bell and Barbara Radnofsky, Kronberg must have a short memory. He's either easily convinced or wants to be. A trial lawyer and a state rep?

Remember how excited the Democrats were in 2002? They were so confident that they were going to win early in the cycle. They had the dream team, which John Sharp thought was his ticket! Going into election day, they still thought they were going to win the Lt. Guv. post. They lost that by 6%. Heavily touted Ron Kirk -- 60 Minutes was so hyped about him that they did a fluff piece on him a week or two before election day -- lost by 12% to the underrated John Cornyn.

And Tony Sanchez, despite spending something like $70 million, lost by 18% to Rick Perry. What an investment.

Posted by Evan @ 06/01/07 05:37 PM | Comments (0)        



Fred created a campaign committee, "Friends of Fred Thompson."

Let's hope he stays committed to the idea of running a different sort of campaign.

Posted by Evan @ 06/01/07 04:42 PM | Comments (0)        


Light reading over the weekend

Remember the eggheads?

The desire to boost voter turnout prompted Mr. Perry 18 months ago to open his campaign to four political scientists including two Yale University professors.

"We fondly refer to them as our eggheads," political director Dave Carney said.

The professors' work, which will evolve into a paper or a book after the election, delves into what kind of contact coupled with which message will motivate which supporters to the polls.


The professors and their studies are not involved with the campaign's message. "But they're coming up with ideas to see if they can impact it and make it more positive," Mr. Carney said.

In a five-way campaign with a lot of variables that could tip the outcome, some hard science could help the Perry camp maximize voter turnout. And the professors' chronicle of the effort could help raise the governor's profile among political experts just as another national campaign is getting under way.

What's happening in Texas is radiating through about 16 other states, said Matthew Dowd, chief campaign strategist for the 2004 Bush campaign.

Mr. Dowd was one of the pioneers who meshed consumer habits, public data, and information on lifestyles and applied it to a different kind of consumer the American voter. The technology has allowed campaigns to determine whether a person is likely to tilt Democrat or Republican and coupled with polling on issues to know what topic is likely to propel them into a voting booth.

Dowd may have done excellent work for BushCheney04 but Dowd's book -- written with Ron Fournier and Doug Sosnik -- wasn't very good. Too anecdotal, too much cheerleading about the joys and wonders of microtargeting. As the title of the book suggests, they laud Applebee's...but given the performance of Applebee's recently, it's hard to imagine that they would name their book that again. Plus, micro-targeting doesn't always work. It's no panacea, as a recent academic study suggests that sometimes it has a negative impact.

Anyway, I made a note to check for the paper that came out of The Eggheads research. I've never read their book but am somewhat familiar with their work.

Voila. Here's the paper (in PDF) they presented. Enjoy and kudos to Rick Perry and his campaign team.

Posted by Evan @ 06/01/07 04:35 PM | Comments (0)        


14 hour days are my easy days

Dan Bartlett, the longest serving W aide, resigned today. Here's a snippet from the press conference where he talks about the long hours:

Yes, it's -- I usually get to the office between 6:15 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. Since I've had my kids, I've tried to leave the office before 8:00 p.m., and I try to at least see my see the kids at least once or twice a week before they go to bed.

But what most people will tell you here, it's not as much the actual hours you're in the office. It's more about, you're never be able to turn it off, whether it's the BlackBerry calling, or the matching of stories, or the -- when certain newspapers put their Sunday edition up at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoons, and there goes your evening. It is working with the duty officers and those things. All those things kind of come with it, but more importantly than any of that is you're never able to turn it off.

Sheesh, seeing your kids once or twice per week before they go to bed. Wow.

Still, those long hours sound perversely attractive to me right now. I have too much free time.

Posted by Evan @ 06/01/07 04:04 PM | Comments (0)        



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