Tag Archives: Texas

Oslo Bomber says he likes Texas

With the death of Osama bin Laden, the title of Biggest Terrorist was up for grabs. Everyone was betting on another brown or Muslim guy, but the other day we all learned otherwise in a horrible terrorist attack in Oslo. In a bombing and shooting that seemed to target specific future leaders in Norway’s more liberal party, a blonde European Christian terrorist left 92 people dead.

Congrats, asshole. You're the new face of terrorism!

Apparently, the enemy was “multiculturalism” and Islam, and this was Anders Behring Breivik’s attack.

But he didn’t just leave behind corpses and charred buildings for us to peer upon in mourning as he waits for his trial. He also left a 1500 page rambling manifesto in which he calls for a war between a Christian Europe and Islam.

A manifesto calling for ethnic cleansing and war in Europe? Oooh, oooh, Godwin’s Law!

Seriously, if he had his way, his little weird U-beard would be the 21st century toothbrush mustache.

I haven’t had a chance to read the whole thing (pdf: Anders Behring Breivik manifesto), which the terrorist titled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence.” However, a quick search found a few references to my dear home state of Texas. His comment? He likes it!

 I did enjoy Las Vegas as well but I really dislike the superficial aspects of American society. The American state I found least superficial was Texas.

You hear that guys? When asked about his favorite destination, this terrorist said Texas! Well, not as favorite. But we’re at least somewhere that wasn’t as superficial as the rest of the country.

I guess he’s never been to Dallas?

So yeah, terrorist writes a manifesto about war and ethnic cleansing in Europe and sees no problem with killing children for political aims.

So…. Never Again?

Legal remedies against the Texas Sonogram Bill?

[Warning: This entry has medical drawings of vaginas]

Ah Republicans, the party of small government except for vaginas. At the rate they want to regulate those things, you would think that vaginas work by trading synthetic derivatives made out of radioactive mercury. After all, what do you think that red dot in the Kotex commercials stands for?

Cap and trade?

The biggest recent issue is Texas HB15, which would require a sonogram before a woman gets an abortion. To quote the Austin-American Statesman:

House Bill 15 requires a woman seeking an abortion to allow a medical professional to perform a sonogram, display live images of the fetus, provide an explanation of the images and play audio of a heartbeat, if there is one. All that is supposed to happen at least 24 hours before the procedure.

But beyond the generic government intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship, the intrusion extends literally into the vagina. You see, the bill doesn’t just require a sonogram, but a transvaginal sonogram.

Usually when people think of sonogram, they think of the jelly on the belly sort of thing, which is known as an abdominal sonogram.

Aww, it looks just like its incredibly blurry, black and white mother!

However, for women who are 8-12 weeks pregnant, a abdominal sonogram won’t show up anything. As Politifact Texas writes, the bill requires that the sonogram “display the live, real-time obstetric sonogram images in a quality consistent with current medical practice in a manner that the pregnant women may view them” and “make audible the live, real-time” heart beat. And in many circumstances, a abdominal sonogram simply won’t cut it. Therefore, to comply with the proposed law, doctors would have to perform a transvaginal sonogram.

That is exactly what it sounds like.

To cite the medical encyclopedia on the University of Maryland Medical Center website, the transvaginal ultrasound looks at a woman’s reproductive organs by placing a probe into the vagina.

The Masonic Cancer Center provides a great picture of what this involves.

Texas Republicans want to force doctors to do this to women.

This is a rather invasive procedure that is not necessarily medically necessary. It is being forced upon women and their doctors by Texas Republicans not for medical ends, but for political desires.

Women have a Constitutional right to control their bodies, and this means abortions. But do women also have a right to control their bodies to the extent that they can opt out of this government-mandated procedure?

Now, I’m not the world’s best law student. Heck, maybe not even fifth best. But I have taken a Criminal Procedure class. This situation reminds me of the class section on Invasive and Bodily Searches, notably the contrast between Schmerber v. California and Winston v. Lee.

In the first case, Schmerber was hospitalized following a car accident. A police officer smelled alcohol on him and thought he was drunk, and thus ordered a physician to take a blood sample despite Schmerber’s refusal to consent to the search. In that case, the Supreme Court held that, despite suspect’s protest, a physician may take a blood sample from someone suspected of drunk driving. If I recall correctly, the court did not directly address whether such a search violated the 4th Amendment protection of privacy. However, the court did recognize that it was a clean slate issue, and that blood sample searches were justified if the means and procedures were reasonable, especially given that the key evidence (alcohol in the bloodstream) was slowly being destroyed by the liver.

The Winston  case also addressed a body-invasive search. In that case, a shopkeeper shot a robber who was later found and taken to the hospital. The robber was charged with the crime, and the state moved for an order to remove the bullet lodged in his collarbone, asserting that it would provide necessary evidence. While the the surgery was originally thought only to require local anesthetic, x-rays revealed that a general anesthetic and invasive procedure would be necessary.

In that case, the court held that a compelled surgical intrusion into a person’s body for evidence implicates expectations of privacy and security of such magnitude that the intrusion would be unreasonable under the 4th Amendment.

Admittedly, that case relied on the specific facts of the situation. The court held that the reasonableness of surgical intrusion depended on a case by case approach, balancing individual interest in privacy and security against society’s interest. Notably, in this case the bullet was not the only evidence in the case and was not absolutely necessary to prove the robber’s guilt.

Now, I am not the best law student and I don’t know if this sort of criminal law precedent will apply to a civil law. However, it seems like there is an argument to be made here that the courts have differentiated between external and internal bodily searches. If the bill requires internal sonograms, then this should be treated differently than external ones.

This argument is a bit of a stretch, I know. And there are other arguments to be made along the lines of the government forcing speech upon the doctors, for which I’m sure there are rebuttals.

But to get down to the real brass tacks, without realizing what they were doing, Texas Republicans are forcing doctors to perform transvaginal sonograms on women when they are not necessary, and when women are at their most vulnerable.

Because Republicans want small government. In fact, government should be so small that it can fit inside a vagina.

Did David Brooks preview his Rice University commencement speech?

New York Times columnist David Brooks is slated to be the 2011 Rice University Commencement Speaker. My own take on David Brooks is mixed. As Kyle Derr once argued, he is the only person on the New York Times opinion page who gives proper respect to the humanities. And as the saying goes: “This nation was founded by Humanists, and it will be saved by Humanists.” Then again, I think that saying may be more historically accurate if you replace the word “Humanists” with “lawyers.”

On the other hand, Brooks’ respect for the humanities often treads into the Clouds, looking upon the nation from his east-coast abode, thinking that because he once spent a week in the Red State that he knows all about how the world works, with his punditry being nothing more than bad standup: “You ever notice how Red States are like this, but Blue States are like this? And what’s the deal with public schools?”

And for a Member of the Tribe, he is far to quick to defend and support the Christian interests that threaten the Jewish community.

Indeed, it should be no surprise that I have already mocked him here, not just because he is often an awful columnist, but because he is Rice’s commencement speaker for this year. So it seems a bit odd that, as a commencement speaker, he ended his column yesterday with a jab at college commencement speakers.

In his column, Brooks discussed “The Great Stagnation,” an e-book by tyler Cowen, regretting our current American way of life in which we have massive quality of life gains that do not necessarily tie to economic gain or national growth. In describing the modern man, Brooks said:

“He loves Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia and his iPhone apps. But many of these things are produced outside the conventional monetized economy. Most of the products are produced by people working for free. They cost nothing to consume.

They don’t even create many jobs. As Cowen notes in his book, the automobile industry produced millions of jobs, but Facebook employs about 2,000, Twitter 300 and eBay about 17,000. It takes only 14,000 employees to make and sell iPods, but that device also eliminates jobs for those people who make and distribute CDs, potentially leading to net job losses.

In other words, as Cowen makes clear, many of this era’s technological breakthroughs produce enormous happiness gains, but surprisingly little additional economic activity.

Jared’s other priorities also produce high quality-of-life gains without huge material and productivity improvements. He practically defines himself by what university he went to. Universities now have nicer dorms, gyms and dining facilities. These improvements have not led to huge increases in educational output.”

By this new standard, people focus more on their happiness and contentment with life, rather than goals of economic growth, competition and victory. In his closing jab, Brooks remarked:

“During these years, commencement speakers have urged students to seek meaning and not money. Many people, it turns out, were listening.”

So what, exactly, are commencement speakers supposed to say?

“Work hard and make money”

“Work like a drone and then die”

“Beat the fuck out of those Chinese”

etc…?

Brooks has given commencement speeches in the past. As far as I can tell, his message seems to have two parts. First, mocking what he sees as the foibles of liberal America. For example, in his 2007 commencement speech at Wake Forest University, Brooks wasted no time before entering one of his traditional stand-up routines about Volvos.

“They come up to the elementary schools driving Audis, Saabs and Volvos, because in certain corners it’s socially acceptable to have a luxury car so long as it comes from a country hostile to U.S. foreign policy.”

Lol David! Well, Audis are German, Volvos are Swedish, and Saab Automobile was owned by American company General Motors from 1989 until 2010. I’m not sure how Germany and Sweden are hostile to U.S. foreign policy, but maybe that was one of those anti-Europe jokes that were so popular in dictating U.S. foreign policy in the Bush years. And Saab doesn’t even belong on the list!

But yes, Brooks gave students a real knee-slapper before going on to a real message that they certainly would appreciate and use in their graduate lives: wacky names of organic foods!

“Whole Foods is one of these progressive grocery stores where all the cashiers look like they’re on loan from Amnesty International.

Actually, my favorite section is the snack food section. They couldn’t just have pretzels or potato chips—that would be vulgar. So they have these seaweed-based snacks like we get in my house, Veggie Booty With Kale. It’s for kids who come home from school and shout, “Mom, I want a snack that will help prevent colon-rectal cancer!”

Then as their children get older, the enlightened parents buy them Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, the Ice Cream with its own environmental policy. I once suggested that Ben and Jerry’s should make a pacifist toothpaste. Doesn’t kill germs. Just asks them to leave.”

More classic David Brooks stand-up! Next stop, the Live from the Apollo!

For part two, Brooks talked about how GPAs don’t matter.

“From here on out the skills you need to succeed will change. The average collegiate GPA for a self-made millionaire is 2.7. You know all those morons who sat in the back of the classrooms goofing off? In a few years you’re going to have a new name for them: Boss.”

He made the exact same joke in his commencement speech at Occidental as well:

“The average self-made millionaire in this country had a collegiate GPA of 2.75. These entrepreneurs may not be scholars, but they have the ability to perceive emerging patterns, to understand what they are good at and to work phenomenally hard to hone their capacities.

You don’t find the best lawyers or politicians or teachers with an IQ test. You find the future superstars in these fields by asking the following question: Who is friends with who in this room?”

Indeed, at Occidental, Brooks followed his patented commencement pattern, starting with ever so funny jokes about liberalism.

“You should know that I grew up as a staunch liberal. I grew up near Greenwich Village in Manhattan, and in 1965 my parents who were somewhat left took me to a Be-In in Central Park, where hippies would go just to be. As part of their being, they set a garbage can on fire and threw their wallets into it to demonstrate their liberation from money and material things. I was five and I saw a five-dollar bill on fire in the garbage can, so I ran up to it, grabbed the money, and ran away. That was sort of my first step over to the right.

I participated in the revolution of the 1960s by writing nasty things about Julie Nixon, the president’s daughter, on the chalkboard in fourth grade, and I was paddled for that. In high school I volunteered for many Democratic candidates, I had a big Hubert Humphrey poster on my wall with the caption. “Some talk change, others cause it,” because even then I knew I wanted to become the kind of person who only talks change.”

Oh man, great stuff there. The ’60s. Wacky! At least it was better than his attempts at relating to contemporary culture, with jokes about how: “I watched an entire season of “Jersey Shore,” and I have to say The Situation changed my life.”

With on point observations like that, he could write for Leno.

But the most telling is at the end of the his Occidental commencement speech, where he get to the, you know, point. He basically espoused the base idea of the historical Conservative movement, which really isn’t a bad thing. Basically, the world is far too complex to be able to understand, so we must change slowly, relying on traditions that work, and realize that rationality cannot fix everything. In a supreme oversimplification, he boils it down to the French Revolution vs. Scottish Enlightenment. However, the baby in the cake is his penultimate statement:

“I do hope you use your odyssey years to educate your emotions through travel, art, love and the occasional misbegotten hookup, and I hope that you do it by chasing deep pleasure, by finding something that deeply pleases you and chasing it wherever it leads.”

Really? Chase deep pleasure? Educate your emotions? I dunno, David Brooks 2010, I don’t think that David Brooks 2011 would agree with that.

I know that people learn and change their view about the world (ex: My first Thresher column vs. A Thresher column as an alumnus, notably part 6) but a one year turnaround is pretty big. And admittedly, Brooks’ speech at Occidental was probably largely in reaction to the school’s reputation of having an incredibly liberal student body. So maybe Brooks should tailor his speech to Rice.

First, no stupid liberal jokes or comments on the bohemian bourgeoisie. Rice is in Houston, Texas, a barely blue haze in a red state. Rice’s activism is usually expressed through Engineers Without Borders. Students are just as likely to go to Fiesta as Whole Foods. Cliche jokes about a liberal campus are ignorant at best and insulting at worst. Brooks’ columns may not be known for deep research, but at least chat with some students first.

Second, shut up about the 2.7 GPA stat. Because really? Really? After 21 years of struggling and striving to get the top grades, top SAT score, top extracurriculars, the last thing you want to hear is about how you shouldn’t have worked hard for good grades. Because you know what, you do need those good grades. A 2.7 in high school won’t get you into Rice. A 2.7 at Rice won’t get you into a good law school, or help with a good job. I don’t know where all these millionaire lawyers with 2.7 gpa are coming from. Maybe Brooks could actually cite that study.

So let Brooks answer this: How many of the 2.7 gpa bosses went to an Ivy League or have family connections. He said self-made millionaires, but I’d like to see the evidence to back it. Because for some folks, it is easy to get through life without the stats to prove prowess. But for the rest of the world, you need something besides a family name and wealthy contacts to pump for seed money. You need a resume. You need grades. You need to be impressive. And a 2.7 simply isn’t impressive.

Finally, just what is it that students should do? In 2010 Brooks said that students should “educate [their] emotions” and “chas[e] deep pleasure, by finding something that deeply pleases [them] and chasing it wherever it leads.” Then in 2011 he mocked the idea of commencement speakers telling students to “seek meaning and not money.”

So which is it: pleasure or pecuniary?

David Brooks should spend his time at Rice discussing that. He should address the real struggle of being taught, and required, to get good grades and do well on standardized tests to get somewhere in life, only to be told upon the seeming pinnacle of grade point achievement that all of it was pretty worthless if you’re an awkward nerd who can’t talk to people. And at Rice, that is an awfully large portion of the population.

After all, not all of us get lucky breaks after writing satirical works about conservative leaders. As for me, I just get asked to forward an original so they can frame it.

Rice and UH were using Facebook to research KTRU’s station manager

“Who is Nick Schlossman?”

This one question is a nice little microcosm of the problems surrounding the KTRU sale. Schlossman filed the KTRU Open Record Request (disclosure: which I first drafted) with the University of Houston. UH forwarded this info to Rice University VP of Public Affairs Linda Thrane, to let her know that soon the UH-Rice communications concerning the KTRU sale would be opened to the public.

Her response: Who is Nicholas Schlossman?

UH Director of Media Relations provided what little info he could garnish from an unfriended Facebook page.

Perhaps if the Rice administrators had any connections with their students and campus, they would know who Schlossman was. They would know that he was a student at Jones College. They would know that he was a Rice Thresher copy editor. And most importantly, they would know that he was the KTRU Station Manager for two consecutive years. From Spring 2007 until Spring 2009, Schlossman was THE station manager for 91.7 FM KTRU Rice Radio.

Judging by Texas Watchdog and my own work, Rice initiated selling KTRU before Spring 2009. It is a testament to Rice’s failure of due diligence that it contemplated selling the station without even knowing who the station manager was. (pdf: Rice didnt know ktru station manager)

Rice VP of Public Relations did not know who the KTRU station manager was.

Certainly if Rice had spent some serious amount of time studying KTRU, they would have known who the station manager was. If Rice had actually determined whether the sale of the station would result in the positive outweighing the negative, then it would have at some point learned who Schlossman was.

After all, the station manager dictated how the station operated, what the station played, and overall station policy. If Rice thought that KTRU could be better used, then certainly it should have considered meeting with the station manager, if not talk to him directly. But instead, in the wake of the public outrage surrounding the KTRU sale, the man actually in control of the station was a complete mystery to Rice’s Vice President of Public Relations.

Maybe Rice simply didn’t care about station manger because it is a student position. Maybe Rice thought the station manager was irrelevant because the administrators honestly didn’t care about KTRU’s content. But in the end, Rice should have at least known the station manager as part of due diligence.

Until now, I assumed that Rice had files and communications explaining its justification of and rationality behind the KTRU sale. Unfortunately, I thought, these files would be hidden to records requests because Rice is a private university. However, this little revelation, this ignorance, this “Who is Nick Schlossman,” makes one doubt whether Rice properly researched and justified the KTRU sale.

If Rice is going to sell one of its most public and most well-known assets, it should know every little thing about it. But instead, Rice seems like one of those poor schmucks who sells an autographed baseball, thinking that Babe Ruth is a girl.

I assumed that Rice had some sort of plan that it didn’t want to release because it would reveal financial information, or demonstrate that Rice wanted to sell KTRU long before the public date, or show utter disregard for students. But in the end, maybe Rice just never did its research.

Rice University should hold itself to the same strict academic standards required of its students. If it cannot justify this sale, then the sale should not go through. And right now, Rice does not even know the base KTRU facts, so it resorts to the University of Houston doing Facebook research.

Rice didn't know its basic facts in the KTRU sale

Another way in which Houston is like the Simpsons

A few weeks ago commented on the stark similarities between Houston and Springfield, from The Simpsons, noting the failed monorail, tire fire, and other various follies. Well today, another parallelism grew forth from the bowels of the internet.

Houston: City on the Grow(click to play)

And, of course, the Simpsons equivalent.

Though I suppose the Houston video is the sort of 1960s pseudojingoistic claptrap that the Simpsons is mocking. Its just funny to actually see one, because I think that most people’s exposure to this sort of media is through the satirical and mocking references to it, rather than the genuine article.

This reminds me of a time I was in middle school and made a reference to: “If you build it, they will come.” Some other kid thought I was talking about an episode of Married, With Children.

I suppose that The Simpsons is the ultimate source of knowledge of cultural tropes for people who actually haven’t seen the original source, from A Streetcar Named Desire to The Planet of the Apes. Though perhaps these days Family Guy is contesting for that title.

In which I propose a war between China and Texas

Sometimes news pops up that makes it seem like the world is a movie, or that magic must somehow exist. For example, the recent news that during all the scandal with investment banks, faulty CDOs, and the collapse of the American economy, it turns out that high officials at the SEC were spending all their time downloading porn. I don’t just mean that there was some porn in browser history, or that a guy got off one late night at work. Rather, people making six figures at the SEC were spending hours upon hours looking at porn, with one guy filling up his hard drive with porn, and then filling up DVDs with porn to keep in storage. Who does that? Honestly, the porn will still be there the next day, there is no need to download it.

The only explanation I can think of for all of this is that someone at Goldman Sachs or some other firm has a magic wishing sex genie, which he used to curse members of the SEC so that he could get away with misleading CDOs.

So basically, instead of not being able to make people fall in love, the genie can only make people fall in love. With porn. And you get three wishes within that limit, and also have to put up with a genie making references to cultural tropes from several centuries in the future.

Along the lines of these sorts of movie or genie related events, last week a Chinese diplomat was arrested and beat up by Houston police at the Chinese Consulate on Montrose. The only way I can imagine this actually happening is if the Chinese diplomat was actually a front for drug kingpins or something. And the Houston cops were actually a wise-crackin’ black guy and a Chinese martial artist on loan from the Hong Kong police. It probably looked a little something like this:

Now, this will probably get covered up or at least result in a somewhat aged, mustached police chief with the mayor breathing down his neck, yelling from behind his desk at a renegade street cop who is about to have his badge taken away if he doesn’t shape up and pair with a new partner who is a monkey, a baby, a dinosaur, or Whoopi Goldberg.

But if one looks at history, rather than crib jokes from The Critic, the most obvious result is that Texas will go to war with China. After all, Texas has gone to war with foreign nations over less. Thus, we discuss the Pig War.

In 1841, French chargé d’affaires Dubois de Saligny became enraged (which I assume he expressed by yelling “Sacrebleu!”) when pigs owned by Austin hotelier Richard Bullock busted into Saligny’s stables, ate his horse’s food, then ransacked his house and garden. In revenge, Saligny ordered his servant to kill the pigs, which he did. Bullock responded, as a true Texan, by kicking the servant’s ass and then threatening to beat up Saligny. However, to quote the Handbook of Texas:

Dubois de Saligny promptly invoked the “Laws of Nations,” claimed diplomatic immunity for himself and his servant, and demanded the summary punishment of Bullock by the Texas government.

As far as the historical record demonstrates, Bullock did not respond to Saligny’s claims of diplomatic immunity with a witty one-liner.

Texas refused to punish Bullock without due process of the law, and in response France broke off diplomatic relations from Texas, with Saligny moving to Louisiana and routinely making vague threats of French invasion of Texas.

Since then, Texas and France have been the gravest of enemies.

And both have tense relationships with minorities immigrating from their southern border

Also, there was some sort of resolution where France condemned Saligny for abandoning his post over some stupid pigs. And Sam Houston, who was re-elected President after Mirabeau Lamar, mended relations between the two nations. But that’s boring.

Texas and France went to war over pigs ruffing up a French diplomat. And China and Texas should do the same.

(you see what I did there? Because pigs is also derogatory slang for police officers?)

Of course, once you go to war with China, you just have to do it again an hour later. And Rick Perry would be allowed to pick one battle from column A, and two battles from column B. And once the war is over, Texas will ask China: How do you get your surrender flag so white.

Then end.

Cornyn Wood (see what I did there?)

I wrote a letter to Senator John Cornyn. You can read it here if you want. It is about the upcoming nomination of a justice to the Supreme Court, and why he should support Diane Wood.

Dear Senator Cornyn,

As a Texas voter, Rice University graduate, and 2L student at the Cardozo School of Law, I encourage you to support Diane Wood for nomination and confirmation to the United States Supreme Court.

As a member of the Senate Judiciary committee, you play a very important role in the nomination of justices, and given the totality of the circumstances, Wood is best candidate Texas can get.

I understand that your political and party allegiances will lead you to oppose Wood, whether due to partisan or policy reasons. However, anyone the President nominates is going to meet some base level of pro-choice, or traditionally liberal, approval. The question then is, given these candidates, which one is the best of all the choices. For any Texan, the overwhelming choice is Wood, the only mentioned candidate from the University of Texas.

Placing Justice Wood on the Supreme Court would send a message that the University of Texas produces legal scholars on par with Harvard, Yale and Columbia, the other only schools represented on the highest court. Indeed, her confirmation could thrust the University of Texas to the very top of law school rankings and send the message that students do not need to leave our great state to get the best possible education.

This is the closest chance since Homer Thornberry’s nomination in 1968 for Texas to have say on the court. At a time when New Jersey and New York seem to be the only acceptable origins for a Supreme Court Justice, a Wood nomination would help emphasize that Texas is a center of intellectual research and modern business, deflecting the traditional, ignorant stereotypes from the coasts. Your colleague and my representative John Culberson likes to say “Let Texans Run Texas.” Well it is time to let Texans judge Texas, not to mention every other state.

One should learn a lesson from the Senate rejecting Thornberry in the wake of the Abe Fortas scandal. After senators filibustered President Johnson’s nomination of Abe Fortas to replace Earl Warren as Chief Justice, and Thornberry to replace Fortas as Associate Justice, the chance was passed to President Nixon, who eventually nominated Justice Burger. While Burger was touted as a conservative, his eventual record could be seen as no more conservative or liberal than Thornberry’s. The main difference is that one was a Texan and one was not. Furthermore, if Johnson had made the nomination rather than Nixon, one could safely assume that he would choose a candidate much more liberal than Thornberry, and certainly one lacking in Texan sensibilities.

With this nomination at hand, you cannot hedge that a Republican will become President if a filibuster were successful. There is simply too much time and too great a Democratic majority, even if you are just waiting for the midterm elections. Obama will get a nominee, but you can influence which one. Go with the Texan.

Furthermore, of all the potential candidates, Wood distinctly has gained the respect of her conservative colleagues on one of the most conservative circuit courts. On the highest court, she would not be some renegade judge to be feared, but an academic sparring partner who would help conservative judges sharpen their own arguments, leading to better decisions and a collegial court that would embody a working bipartisanship severely lacking in today’s political rhetoric.

Even when looking at Wood’s liberal record, she deviates from some of her fellow judicial candidates by taking a position strictly limiting the Executive Branch. At a time when conservatives and Republicans worry about President Obama’s executive authority, Wood could stand as an ally with those who support a small and limited government. All of Obama’s potential nominees will be pro-choice, but not all will support a limited government.

Furthermore, Wood is the only candidate who has balanced her career while raising three children, and that experience has given her a home-town groundedness that would be hard to find from any justice, liberal or conservative.

I do not expect you to loudly proclaim your support for Wood. I do not even expect you to vote for her. However, a leaked word that a Texan nominee would lead to a smoother confirmation from the Texan Senator would be a sign that you are willing to face the facts, recognize the totality of the situation, suck it up and choose the best of all possibilities. And Wood is the best for Texas.

UPDATE: I reposted this at Daily Kos (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/4/21/859447/-The-Texan-Argument-for-Diane-Wood) And there was some discussion. But not really.

UPDATE 2: 2Up2Date: Shane brings up that O’Connor was born in El Paso. True, but she went to Stanford for undergrad and law school, and was essentially an Arizonian… Arizonite… from Arizona. Wood went to UT law, which is the main issue.

Burn Down Dan Patrick

I like my new glasses more than my old glasses

Hey, it looks like everyone’s old friend State Senator Dan Patrick is being made a silly in the national media Wonkette for making a conservative spinoff of the Texas Republican Party.

Some Republican legislators in the sovereign nation of Texas have formed a new supergroup called the Independent Conservative Republicans of Texas, yee-haw, to help teabagger activists ruin things and also distance themselves from the radical feminist welfare moms who have taken over the regular Texas GOP. The ICRT just launched its new website, which is very brown (!) and has Founding Father pictures and Ronald Reagan junk all over it, what did you expect. There’s also stuff like “core principals” (hate homos/love fetuses/amen).

This all differs from the Texas GOP *how*? The founder of this exciting new organization, State Senator Dan Patrick of Houston, told the Star Telegram that Real Patriotic Conservatives need a place to go that doesn’t have what’s his name, the strip-club what-up guy, Michael Steele.

“I don’t want those folks to represent who we are,” Patrick said.

A fun-fact about Dan Patrick is that he once asked a doctor to neuter him live on the radio. For better teabagging, he did this.

Read more at Wonkette: http://wonkette.com/414811/texas-republicans-make-up-new-more-republican-group#ixzz0l5WH692y

Pfsh, this is old news! I was making fun of Dan Patrick in the national media Rice Thresher before it was cool!

Patrick goes beyond the talk radio stereotype of the millionaire egocentric self-promoter who repeats the xenophobic talking points that allow white, middle-age males to think they are an oppressed minority.

http://the.ricethresher.org/opinion/2007/01/12/dan_patrick_texas_senator

I did it before it was cool

That column even got posted on FreeRepublic.com by someone with a Right_at_RiceU handle, and I learned some very important things about me, Evan:

Montrose = gay

I’ve actually run into this Mintz loser at local political events where both sides are represented. He is everything you would expect from a Rice Undergrad who hangs out on Montrose regularly. Dan is on the opposite side of everything this loser sees as Utopia, thus this pathetic column that he probably wrote in November and had to wait for the Legislative Session to begin before he could publish it.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1766709/posts

Wow, BUSHdude2000 was like a psychic or something. I did hang out on Montrose regularly. Admittedly, its really more of Lower Westheimer, but that doesn’t shout BUTTSEKS like Montrose does.

However, the real story is further in the comments:

“Craddick’s strong-arm tactics of forcing votes and shutting out any minority opinion have finally caught up with him. Now Republicans and Democrats alike are uniting to elect a Speaker who will give every member a full and equal voice.”

So, “Evan Mintz” thinks someone other than Tom Craddick is Speaker??

In his parallel-but-confused universe, perhaps…

This is funny, because I was right. Or basically, anyone who observed Texas Politics and then said what was probably going to happen was right. Craddick lost the speaker election, pushed out by Democrats and various Republicans, giving us Moderate-for-Texas Republican Speaker Joe Straus, whose name sounds Jewish.

And this is where the story loops around to the actual point at the beginning. The purpose of Patrick’s party isn’t to reject black people like RNC Chair Michael Steele, its to reject Jewish-sounding people like Speaker Straus.

Specifically, the points of the group are vague to the point of a nonsensical political dogwhistle:

-Stand for conservative principals and to put people before Party.

-Fiscally accountable, limit the size of government, and fight for free market principles.

-Protect our borders and to support a strong military.

-Protect life, support strong family values, and uphold the Judeo-Christian beliefs our nation was founded upon.

-Honor the Constitution and protect the sovereign rights of Texas.

http://www.texastribune.org/blogs/post/2010/apr/12/trib-blog-republicans-respond-tea-party/

The real story is in the membership. You see, the group is by invitation only, and they haven’t invited every Republican member of the Texas House and Senate. As Jason Embry, with the Austin American-Statesman points out:

With a handful of exceptions, the House members who joined Patrick’s group are not heavy-lifters under GOP Speaker Joe Straus. And most of the key lawmakers who helped elect Straus — Reps. Jim Pitts, Dan Branch, Burt Solomons, Charlie Geren, Jim Keffer, among others — aren’t on the list. Neither is Straus.

http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/10240/speakers-race-44-texas-house-republicans-basically-pledge-against-joe-strauss

This isn’t an anti-Steele thing. This isn’t even a super-conservative thing. This is an anti-Straus thing. Its the He-Conservatives No Strauses club (we can have one). Membership only available by superawesome invitation, with conservative levels to be measured by Patrick’s own Conservameter.

It even seems like its going to go beyond Strauss. Patrick wants to cull his own party of signs of moderation. He isn’t going to limit this plan to merely Speakers elections, but to general elections as well:

“If you’re a Republican and you can’t stand for those five core principles and you’re not proud to stand for those core principles, then we’ve got a problem,” Patrick said

Patrick seems to want to run out moderate Republicans, or at least moderate for Texas, and replace them with the crazies he knows and loves. In his own words, he wants to “get that message out, to connect with Tea Party”. But Tea Party isn’t exactly going to go over well in the long run. As I wrapped up in that column a few years ago:

In the end, Patrick will probably end up learning a lesson in political enemy-making not from Republicans or Democrats, but from his own constituents. In only a few years, the rising Hispanic middle class may start to call Patrick’s suburban district their home. And I am sure they would rather tune their political radios to someone who did not make his career blaming Hispanic immigrants for the collapse of civilization.

And the Tea Party’s (semi?)-racist pushing and shoving will only make the unelection line go faster.