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October 20th, 2005:

The Pink Satin Suit

The Aurora Picture Show, located here in the Heights, has an event next week for Katrina and Rita relief that sounds interesting:

October 26: The Pink Satin Suit, A KAT Fund Benefit

Wednesday, October 26, 7pm
The Pink Satin Suit
A Documentary about New Orleans photographer Johnny Donnels
By Anastasia and Will Lyman
Benefiting KATFund

Nearly sixty years ago in New Guinea, a homesick New Orleans kid swore the Army would be the last employer he ever had. Today, Johnny Donnels’ photography is known all over the world. The last of the great Bohemians, Johnny himself is an icon of the French Quarter, where he runs a gallery filled with his own art.

Proceeds from this screening benefit KATFund, a grant-making fund established by the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, to provide financial support for visual artists in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama who were affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Red beans and rice donated by Treebeards.

Admission $5.

Aurora Picture Show
800 Aurora Street
Houston, Texas 77009
Tel. (713) 868-2101

You can also find this information on their calendar for next Wednesday. Don’t know if I can make it – though the prospect of free red beans and rice will certainly tempt me – but if this sounds interesting to you then I hope you can. Thanks to Mark Yzaguirre for the tip.

Endorsement watch: Prop 7

On we go with our randomly-winding path through races, initiatives and the editorial writers who endorse them. Today we skip to Proposition 7, to which the Chron gives its stamp of approval. I’m leaning towards a Yes on this one, but don’t currently feel all that strongly about it.

Elsewhere, Eye on Williamson comments on State Rep. Mike Krusee’s endorsements of Props 1, 3, and 9, and the San Antonio Current gives some coverage to Prop 2. Kelly Shackleford of the so-called “Free Enterprise” Foundation gives the amazingly dishonest pro-Prop 2 party line without ever coming close to addressing the three points that I and others keep bringing up. I don’t feel like ranting about this today, so I’ll just list some opportunities to do something positive about Prop 2 in the extended entry. Read on as you see fit.

(more…)

Fans In The Stands

Another citizen journalism opportunity from the Chron:

If you’re going to the World Series, we want to hear from you.

Chron.com is looking for “citizen journalists” to report on the scene in the stands at Minute Maid Park and U.S. Cellular Field.

  • Use your cell phone to send us pictures of you and your friends at the game.
  • Text us with updates on how you’re enjoying the game.
  • Drop us e-mails with your latest reports.

How do you get involved? Send us an e-mail at [email protected], and give us a pitch on how you would be one of our “Fans In The Stands.” Earn your piece of Internet fame!

Isn’t this missing something? Hey, Dwight, where’s the call for World Series liveblogging? I say bring your laptops to Minute Maid and eliminate the middle man. It’s what the Astros want you to do:

[Astros vice president of marketing Andrew] Huang expects that the way fans use the network will evolve over time. “It’s great to come to a game and check your e-mail, but we want to create interactive opportunities for people to participate in the game,” he says.

The Astros will work with Major League Baseball to develop exclusive real-time features, such as electronic scorecards, statistics on players, and perhaps even instant replays. The club is also considering letting fans order refreshments from their seats, promoting tickets for upcoming home stands during the game (the team already sells 77% of its single seats online), and letting fans vote for the best play of the game. The most engaging uses, Huang admits, probably haven’t even been conceived yet.

I just conceived of one. The rest is up to you, Houston Chronicle.

World Series matchups

I’ll save the analysis of who is the favorite to win this World Series for later. For now, I’ve got a little inspiration from this Baseball Prospectus article on World Series matchups. There were eight original franchises in each league, meaning there were 64 possible World Series combinations from 1903 to 1960. There are many more now, of course (224, to be exact), but since 1903 only 32 of those possible matchups have occurred. One of those that has never happened is Cardinals-White Sox. Maybe next year.

As far as I can tell, this Astros-White Sox World Series is the new record holder for pairing two teams with the longest combined Series drought – 46 years for the Sox and 43 for the Stros. The next closest that I can think of is from 1980, when the Phillies (30 years at the time) and Royals (first Series in their 12th season) met up. Had the 1994 Classic not been cancelled, a Cleveland (40 years) versus Montreal (never in 25 years of existence) meetup would have been the standard. Well, technically the 1995 Series between Cleveland (now 41 years) and the Braves (three years) slightly outpaces Philly-KC, but that’s too one-sided for me.

It’s just a footnote now, but had the Cards completed a comeback to win the pennant, we’d be talking for a long time about their improbable comeback on Monday night after being one out (and one strike) away from elimination. How improbable was it? Nate Silver calculated the odds based on the game situation, the pitcher on the mound, and the count, and came up with 298-1 against. Putting it in simpler terms:

No visiting team came back from a two-run deficit when down to their last out in the entire 2003 season. Same thing was true in 2004. The overall win probability in this situation between 1996-2005 was 0.76%.

The adjustment for Lidge’s effectiveness, especially with two strikes on the hitter, is what gets us to the final number.

To answer Kimberly‘s comment here, I’m very happy for the Astros, and I’ll be rooting for them to bring home the bacon, but I’m not someone who’s lived and died with them for decades, so it’s not quite right for me to do a lot of gushing about this. Let me point you instead to the folks who’ve really paid their dues: Tom, Lair (who may never take his prized Chad Qualls jersey off again), PDiddie, ‘stina (who I assume is feeling better now), Christine (whose plan to prevent a repeat of Monday seems to have worked), Norbizness, Greg, Houtopia, Plunk Biggio, and no doubt many others who are still sleeping it off. Y’all celebrate, you’ve earned it.

Officer, arrest that man!

Long as we’re celebrating, here’s four more words to make you smile: Tom DeLay’s arrest warrant.

Naturally, Team DeLay is whining like a scared puppy about being treated like a regular person.

The capias warrant by state District Judge Bob Perkins normally would have been a routine procedure in Texas after a person has been indicted on a felony. It requires that the defendant be arrested and have fingerprints and a mug shot taken.

But DeLay’s lawyers had wanted to avoid an arrest and booking for DeLay. When DeLay was first indicted Sept. 28, they persuaded Earle to have District Judge Mike Lynch issue a summons, which would have legally allowed DeLay to avoid booking.

DeLay was expected to appear at the sheriff’s office in Fort Bend County today for booking on state conspiracy and money laundering charges.

Fort Bend County Chief Deputy Craig Brady said arrangements were being made to bring DeLay to the sheriff’s office in his home county sometime Thursday for booking and fingerprinting.

The process was expected to take between 45 minutes and an hour. Brady said a specific time had not been set, but Sheriff Milton Wright was contacted Wednesday by DeLay’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin.

Earle said Wednesday that he decided against asking for a summons for DeLay, R-Sugar Land, on a second set of indictments returned Oct. 3.

“We believe Congressman DeLay should be treated like everyone else,” Earle said.

DeGuerin said the arrest warrant was issued because the defense team for DeLay and co-defendants Jim Ellis and John Colyandro has spent the last two weeks filing briefs claiming prosecutor misconduct by Earle.

“It’s retaliation, plain and simple,” DeGuerin said. “He’s retaliating because we haven’t given him any quarter.”

Oh, you poor baby. That mean ol’ Ronnie Earle, not showing you any milk of human kindness after all you’ve done for him. What is this world coming to?

Speaking of Earle, there’s still some grumbling about his participation in the documentary film The Big Buy (see here for my review). Filmmakers Mark Birnbaum and Jim Schermbeck respond to their critics:

We’ve recorded the same Travis County district attorney whom every news organization covering this case has recorded. We just paid more attention for a longer time than most. That’s what documentary filmmakers do. Those that consider Earle a villain and DeLay his victim will find things in our film to support their belief. Those who think DeLay is up to no good and Earle is the hero will likewise be supported in their views. We are equal-opportunity storytellers.

In short, we’re basically doing the same job as the Statesman’s own excellent reporter, Laylan Copelin. We’re just doing it with a camera.

This is what puzzles us about our critics’ reaction — access to Earle is OK when it’s on behalf of readers or TV news viewers, but it’s not OK when it’s on behalf of viewers of a documentary?

Finally, if you can’t wait for a bootleg copy of DeLay’s mug shot to get posted somewhere, In the Pink has a proxy to tide you over. Enjoy.

UPDATE: Forgot to include this article about the judge in the case, Bob Perkins.

Perkins, who ordered DeLay’s arrest Wednesday, in the past has been involved in the prosecutions of U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Texas House Speaker Gib Lewis. Perkins said he approaches cases involving politicians like any other in his criminal courtroom.

“My approach to this would not be any different than any other,” Perkins said. “You’ve just got to play by the book and do what the law says. That’s the only way you can assure that you are doing the right thing.”

In 1993, Perkins administered the grand jury that indicted Hutchison, a Republican, on ethics charges.

Perkins removed himself from trying the case because he had given $300 to her Democratic opponent. He may face a similar appearance of conflict in the prosecution of DeLay, R-Sugar Land.

But Perkins also has presided over the prosecution of a major Democratic politician. When then-House Speaker Lewis failed to show up in court in 1991 on a misdemeanor ethics charge, Perkins had him jailed.

“Gib Lewis was a leading Democrat of the state at the time,” said Austin criminal defense lawyer David Sheppard. “I don’t know how more apolitical you can get. I’ll just tell you, he’s a really good judge.”

Other than poor, misunderstood Gib Lewis, everyone else quoted in the piece has nice things to say about Perkins and his stewardship in the courtroom.

Also forgot to mention that the Statesman link to the Birnbaum/Schermbeck piece came from The Daily DeLay.