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February 3rd, 2005:

Rudy T retires again

So Rudy T has stepped down as coach of the Lakers for health reasons, half a season into a five-year deal. I’m sorry to hear that, but I do wonder why he thought it would be a good idea to get back after his health forced him to step down in Houston. It’s not like the Lakers gig was going to be an easy one, and even though there’s been little of the soap opera we’ve been used to, it had to be a tough task.

Not that it matters, I guess. Get better and take care, Rudy. I’m sure I join with Rockets fans everywhere in wishing you well.

Volunteer for Rose Spector

Got some free time this Saturday and want to help Rose Spector win that special election? Hook up with Byron and Karl-T as they road-trip south to pitch in. Contact details are in Byron’s post.

Delusions of adequacy

What does the phrase “general diffusion of knowledge” mean, and what effect does it have on school funding? The Lege wants to know, and may impose its own answer as a way of keeping those pesky court rulings at bay in the future.

A school funding bill being filed today by House Public Education Committee Chairman Kent Grusendorf, R-Arlington, will include a “placeholder” for the definition, which likely will be written by the committee members.

The effort to define a constitutional protection worries lawyers for school districts who won the landmark ruling from Dietz. They fear that lawmakers, in an effort to avoid major new taxes, want to establish lower standards than those envisioned by Dietz.

“This is a sign of desperation to avoid the ruling. Rather than pass a new finance bill, now they’re attempting to amend the scope of an adequate education,” said George Bramblett, who represents a coalition of school districts, including Houston, that won the ruling last year.

Harrison Keller, research director for Speaker Tom Craddick, said representatives may correlate the definition to the state’s accountability system, which rates schools based on student test scores.

“The Legislature has the right and responsibility to define a ‘general diffusion of knowledge.’ The floor of the Legislature is where people need to have those debates,” Keller said.

I have no idea what this means, but I’m a bit leery of it. It feels like a copout to me. Any lawyer types want to comment on this?

Meanwhile, the Lege has proposed three billion dollars in new school spending. How they will fund this, especially with the proposed 50-cent cut in property taxes, they haven’t said yet – that will be included in a bill to be named later. Have I mentioned lately that the much-ballyhooed “surplus” was a mirage?

You know you want one

Win a Tom DeLay bobblehead doll. Need I say more?

It was their destiny

I do so hope that this script was at some point turned into the training video it was intended to be.

The script calls for an introduction by “Jeff.”

“Here at Enron, we’re in business to make money,” Jeff says. “There’s no doubt about that. But there should also be no doubt about the way we make our money — we play by the rules. All of the rules.”

Jeff further instructs his employees: “Look for yourself in this story. Look for your co-workers. Pay attention.”

The script’s main character is a BMW-driving, womanizer named Jay. His license plate reads: “Cha Chng.”

When he arrives at the office, his pal Brent asks: “So, has Jennifer figured out yet that you were with Traci last night?”

Jay, Brent and their trading team — their rough language depicted with bleeps — strong-arm their trading partners. One trader crows: “We will control the market.”

The “dynamic duo” are called on the carpet by Greg Whalley, then president and chief operating officer of Enron Wholesale Services. But they persist.

Jay is then arrested on the trading floor by FBI agents. Then the script calls for: “Cut to shot of Jeff Skilling, stopping on the way to his car to pick up the morning paper. As he reads the headline, he looks up. Agents with subpoenas in their hands approach Jeff.”

In the ensuing trial, Jay appears on the witness stand, trying to justify comments that Enron’s competitors “wouldn’t survive” or that Enron would “set the price.”

After the trial, Jay is shown desperately — and unsuccessfully — trying to find another job.

Jeff then returns, to say: “What you’ve just seen could happen to us. … Do not think for a moment that it can’t or won’t happen to Enron.”

While much of the script is prescient, it misses on one key point: The scandal sends Enron stock falling to $40 a share.

What, no former strippers in the script? Clearly it lacked authenticity.

In slightly more serious news, the bigass trial of Skilling, Causey and Lay will probably begin don’t call the courthouse to volunteer.

CleanUpTexasPolitics forum now online

The first forum for the CleanUpTexasPolitics panelists is now online. Jane Laping of Mothers for Clean Air will be responding. The initial questions were taken from audience members at Tuesday’s event, but you can sign in and ask a few yourself. Check it out here. Thanks to Texas Nate for the heads-up.

The day the music died

February 3, 1959, was the day in which a plane crash killed rock musicians Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and J.P. “Jape” Richardson, a/k/a The Big Bopper. Here’s a great article about the life of The Bopper, who was a disk jockey in Beaumont before he began his recording career. Here’s something I’ll bet you didn’t know:

[In the fall of 1958], Jape also told a British magazine about another idea he had: He called them “music videos.” He imagined a jukebox that played both music and a short film of the artist singing it. He’d filmed three of his own songs and had proposed the idea to his producers.

“It will ultimately become standard practice for every record artist to make a film of himself performing his record,” he told DISC magazine, which published its story under the headline “Records will Be Filmed!” in January 1959.

“We owe J.P. Richardson, The Big Bopper, much more credit than just for Chantilly Lace,” says rock expert Bill Griggs of Rockin’ 50s magazine.

Indeed. Rest in peace, J.P. Richardson.

New frontiers in advertising

Step right up and put your ad on Shaune Bagwell’s boobies.

For $2,000 a month, you can put a tattoo of your company’s logo across her chest. Bagwell is a pretty voluptuous bikini model, so there’s room for a lot of logo.

The deal is up for bids on eBay right now. Click on, do a search on “Shaune Bagwell” and you’ll find it:

Ad Space on Swimsuit Model Shaune Bagwell’s Cleavage.

Bagwell came up with this idea after watching a fellow model sell her used chewing gum on eBay.

“A man bought it for $20. I don’t know who I felt sorrier for, the man who bought the gum, or the model who sold it,” Bagwell said. “Models are selling their underwear on eBay. I thought this would be a funnier and more creative way to utilize my marketability.”

Bagwell said the tattoo can be henna ink or body paint or whatever, just nothing permanent.

Here’s the deal: “For 30 days, I will maximize the ad’s visibility by wearing strapless dresses, low-cut tops and bikinis. I plan on attending Rockets games, walking at Memorial Park, and having lunches and dinners at high-profile eateries,” she said.

The only advertising she’ll refuse: “anything pornographic or including an obscenity.”

Other than that, anything goes — across her cleavage.

Her only regret is she didn’t think of this sooner.

“I should have done this before the election. That could be a whole new frontier, political endorsements!”

I think I’ll leave the politician/boob jokes as an exercise for the reader. In case you’re wondering, yes, she was once married to Jeff Bagwell. And she’d probably prefer that you not look here. But here’s the eBay link if you’re curious. The bid is just over $10K as I post this. Ah, free enterprise.