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August 15th, 2006:

An unofficial official gathering

Apparently, last week’s meeting of the Benkiser Gang to settle on the One True Write-In wasn’t enough to accomplish the task, because there’s another meeting planned for Thursday to take another whack at it.

State and local Republican Party officials will hold a “gathering” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church of Pearland to discuss throwing support behind a single GOP write-in candidate for Congressional District 22.

Party sources said the event is not an official meeting of the party – yet it won’t be open to the public or the press. Precinct chairs within CD-22, GOP chairmen and their staffs from Fort Bend, Harris, Galveston and Brazoria counties will be invited.

Also, Texas Republican Party Executive Committee members within CD-22, possibly other state GOP officials and Republican elected officials from the four counties within CD-22 may attend.

The meeting isn’t official, because the courts have ruled the Republican Party can have no official candidate since Tom DeLay withdrew from the ballot.

While state and local GOP leaders have discussed throwing their support behind one write-in candidate to run against Democrat Nick Lampson and Libertarian Bob Smither, Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace already has announced he’s mounting a write-in candidacy.

That sets up a potential scenario where Republicans at Thursday’s “gathering” might choose a write-in candidate other than Wallace, leaving two GOP contenders running as write-ins against the only two candidates whose names will appear on the ballot – Smither and Lampson.

I just want to know if DeLay will attend this meeting like he did the last one. It is behind closed doors, after all, so it’s a natural for him.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The biggest threat to the prospects of any or all write-in candidates is the support that Libertarian Bob Smither is going to get. I say it’s at best a fifty-fifty shot that all the write-ins combined do better than Smither. If the powers that be in the GOP ever acknowledge this and make as strong a push for Smither as they say they will do for the One True Write-In, this race could get interesting again. They don’t appear to be showing any sign of this, and I doubt they will. I can’t say they’re wrong to ignore that possibility, either. Were the tables turned, I don’t know how happy I’d be about Gerry Birnberg and Boyd Richie urging support for a Green candidate, even one who pledged to caucus with the Dems. I can see Chris’ point about “names on the ballot”, but the brand has to mean something, too. Certainly, one would expect it to mean something to the people in charge of it.

By the way, and for what it’s worth, I’ve not see Smither’s name come up in any serious fashion on any of the expert prognosticators’ sites. Maybe that’s reinforcement for my belief that Benkiser et al will not deviate from the One True Write-In path, and maybe it’s a sign of myopicness on their part. We’ll see what happens on Thursday.

Have I mentioned the Texroots lately?

Support TexRoots candidates

Now that you’ve heard Shane Sklar‘s interview, what better time to visit the Texroots page and chip in something to his campaign? And while you’re there, don’t forget about Hank Gilbert, who could use a little help for the cost of attending all of those Trans Texas Corridor hearings (something his opponent has yet to do), or Juan Garcia, who’s been the subject of a Swift Boat-style attack this past week. If you need to know anything more about the Texroots candidates, Phillip has you covered. Thank you for your support!

Interview with Shane Sklar

I had done a brief interview with Shane Sklar during the Democratic convention in Fort Worth, but it was noisy, and I didn’t have as good idea of what I was doing as I feel I do now. So, I wanted to interview him again, and over the weekend I had the opportunity to do that. Here it is:

Link for the MP3 file is here. And (ta da!) there’s now an RSS feed for these podcasts. It’s still being tweaked, but it should be working. My sincere thanks once again to Greg for all the help he’s given me on this.

Sklar is one of the candidates that the Texroots bloggers endorsed last week. If you like what you hear here, and especially if you like the idea of Fort Bend County being represented by three Democratic Congressmen (Sklar, Al Green, and Nick Lampson), you can contribute to his campaign to help make that happen.

Here are all my previous interviews:

Gary BinderimInterview
Glenn MelanconInterview
Jim HenleyInterview
David HarrisInterview
Ted AnkrumInterview
Shane SklarInterview
John CourageInterview
Nick LampsonInterview
Mary Beth HarrellInterview
Hank GilbertInterview
Joe FariasInterview
Harriet MillerInterview
Ellen CohenInterview

OSFR update

I didn’t see anything new from Phillip regarding the Sunset Commission’s hearings on the Office of State and Federal Relations (OSFR, see here for background), but Kimberly wrote this report for the AusChron:

The Sunset review of the Office of State-Federal Relations has provided a rare glimpse into how Texas attempts to influence Washington politics, and the news isn’t all good. The picture that emerged at a hearing this week was of an office dominated by Gov. Rick Perry’s staff, with little influence from the Legislature and no clear picture of just how much the state is spending on outside contracts through various agencies. Earlier this year, Perry came under fire for using two conservative lobby firms as outside consultants for the office, to the tune of $1.1 million. While such practice isn’t unusual – Sunset review staff noted that most states place such offices under the governor, and many use outside consultants with broader contacts – the fact that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Tom Craddick have taken little interest in meeting to sign off on the state’s federal priorities is. Director Joey Longley, who is in charge of this Sunset review and even the last review of the agency 12 years ago, is recommending that OSFR be moved under the governor’s office. Longley also told the Sunset Commission, however, that he is keenly aware that the House and Senate have not taken a vocal role in helping to shape and direct the policy of the office. Committee members, for their part, said it was impossible to force Dewhurst and Craddick to the table. The Sunset Commission will make its recommendations on OSFR in November.

Link via Vince, who has more.

“Lost” – Season Three

I can’t wait.

If you’d planned on spending the dog days of August working on your Lost theory – the one that explains everything from the polar bear to those parka-clad guys in last season’s finale – maybe it’s time you abandoned the quest and hit the beach instead.

Because there is no one explanation for what’s gone on in the first two seasons of ABC’s Lost.

At least not according to executive producer Carlton Cuse.

“We hate to debunk” anyone’s theory, Cuse said – though he and fellow show-runner Damon Lindelof have dismissed a few, including the one that posits that the characters on Lost are in some kind of purgatory.


[W]hile the writers have explanations for everything that’s gone on in Lost so far – and script coordinator Gregg Nations keeps track of the documentation – “it doesn’t reduce down to a single, simple sentence,” Cuse said.

But if there’s more than one theory at work on the island, doesn’t that mean coincidence – that shaky crutch too often employed in TV drama – is a factor?

Not necessarily, insisted Cuse.

“There are theories in physics … that govern small particles, and there are Newtonian theories that govern gravitational fields for larger objects. Those two co-exist. They aren’t unified into a single theory, but the connection between them is not coincidental,” he said.

I don’t need for their to be one theory-of-everything. All I ask is that it all make sense. Well, and that it isn’t so stoopid that it’ll make me want to throw something at the TV screen. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

Some potentially spoilerish stuff is beneath the fold.