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June 5th, 2009:

Friday random ten: You gonna eat that?

Continuing with our Friday theme lists, here are ten songs about food:

1. Pico de Gallo – Trout Fishing in America
2. Watermelon Time – Marcia Ball
3. Col. Josh’s Homestyle Barbecue – Asylum Street Spankers
4. Taco Bell Canon – Lager Rhythms
5. Tastes Like Chicken – Austin Lounge Lizards
6. Too Much Barbecue – Big Twist & the Mellow Fellows
7. Potato – Cheryl Wheeler
8. Oreos – Tufts Beelzebubs
9. Corndogs – The Bobs
10. Grapefruit Diet – Weird Al Yankovic

Seems like it’s hard to write a food-themed song that’s not a parody or novelty of some kind; only numbers 2 and 3, and maybe 6, fall outside that realm. I’m not sure why that is, but there you have it. What are you hungry for this week?

Still bitching about the beach

Who would have thought that an otherwise-obscure bill about granting homestead exemptions to people who lost houses in Galveston to Hurricane Ike would become the most controversial bill of the first week post-sine die?

Open beaches advocacy groups sent out e-mails and posted Web messages Thursday asking voters to call Gov. Rick Perry’s office and urge him to veto a bill containing a provision exempting a legislator’s beach house from the Texas Open Beaches Act.

Phone calls poured into the governor’s office urging Perry to veto a bill with a provision that Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, helped write allowing him and others on the Bolivar Peninsula to rebuild on the public beach.

As of 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the tally was five for a signature and 249 for a veto, including phone calls and e-mails.

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson scheduled a news conference for today to urge more phone calls to the governor asking for a veto of HB 770. General Land Office spokesman Jim Suydam said Patterson would wade into the Gulf waters off Galveston Island to show where houses could be built under the provision that protects Christian’s right to rebuild his beach house.

Christian denies that he did anything improper, saying the bill will allow other property owners to rebuild who otherwise would not be able to under Open Beach Act regulations administered by the General Land Office. He said the provision would keep property on the tax rolls that otherwise would be removed.

Christian, by the way, made it to the Texas Monthly Ten Worst list this session, and that was without any mention of this little debacle, presumably because the word of it came too late in the writing process. It was gilding the lily anyway, I suppose. Still no word from Governor Perry about this bill’s future, which as I said before is standard practice. We’ll know soon enough.

The Ten Best and Ten Worst of 2009

It’s time for that other biennial tradition known as the Texas Monthly Best and Worst Legislators list.

And so another session is on the books. This legislative wrap-up marks the nineteenth time, beginning with the Sixty-Third Legislature, in 1973, that we have compiled our list of the Best and Worst lawmakers. Our criteria are those that members apply to one another: Who is trustworthy? Who gets things done? Who brings credit upon the Legislature and who brings shame? Who does his homework? Who looks for ways to solve problems and who looks for ways to create them? Who is hamstrung by ideology and partisanship and who can rise above them? Politics is not just about conservatives and liberals and Republicans and Democrats. It is and always will be about personality and relationships and comportment—not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I’ve reproduced the list, sent to me in a press release, beneath the fold. You’ll need to click the link above to get the full comments that come with them. I can honestly say that nobody’s appearance on the list surprises me, given the criteria used to create it. I’d come up with a different list, but then I’d arrive at mine via different means, so to each their own. The main thing I’ll add is that it was clear early on that Sen. Wendy Davis was destined for honor, and I expect her to be a fixture on the Ten Best list until she gets elected to a higher office some day. Oh, and that it was sweet to see Dan Patrick’s minion Allen Fletcher make the Ten Worst list on his first try. Congrats to all the winners, and to the others, Harold Cook has a word of advice for you. Elise, who interviews two-time Ten Bester Sen. Kirk Watson, Matt Glazer, Glenn Smith, and Greg have more.

(more…)

Hardberger for Governor?

We’re not even a week out from sine die, and the 2010 campaign rumor ‘n speculation mill is in full gear. The most interesting bit in this story is right here:

Democratic consultant Christian Archer suggested that candidates would shortly hunt ways to gauge and raise their appeal. “There’s probably a 30-minute respite for people to go home, say hello to their families again,” Archer said. “And then people will start talking” about campaigns.

The cast of gubernatorial wannabes could widen — extending among Republicans to a longshot, state Rep. Leo Berman of Tyler, who’s been frustrated at legislative inaction on proposals related to illegal immigration. Berman said he intends to declare his candidacy for governor around July 4.

Among Democrats, John Montford, a former state senator, has been mentioned as a gubernatorial prospect, while there’s also talk of White or Sharp shifting sights from the Senate race to governor before candidate filings late this year. Archer said his client, former San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger, is similarly weighing a try for governor.

I can’t say Montford excites me much. He last held elected office in 1996, and at least at first glance there doesn’t appear to be all that much difference between him and Tom Schieffer. I could be wrong – I really don’t know much about the guy – but there’s nothing I can see in his track record to suggest he’d be anything but another business-friendly center-right Dem. Not that that’s a sin, but I’d like a little more variety in my primary, if that’s all right.

Hardberger, on the other hand, could be an interesting candidate. He was very popular in San Antonio, and there’s nothing I know of in his record as Mayor there that’s an obvious turnoff. The reaction to this idea I’ve seen from so far from folks in SA has been very positive. If this is for real and not just a standard issue consultant tout job, I’d definitely want to know more.

As for Berman, what can you say? He’s a one-trick pony, and that trick is nasty and hateful. I hope his idiocy gets lots of play in the GOP primary, and that he spends plenty of time making Rick Perry and KBH as uncomfortable and off-message as possible. Thanks to Marc Campos for the link.

One more from Annie’s List

Annie’s List announced their first endorsed candidate for 2010 over the weekend. Now they have a second, and she’s in Houston. From their email:

Annie’s List is proud to announce our endorsement of Kendra Yarbrough Camarena for State House District 138 in Houston. Kendra is a life-long resident of the district that includes Spring Branch, Garden Oaks and the Oak Forest areas of Northwest Houston outside of Loop 610.

She is also a mother of two beautiful children, a highly regarded middle school teacher, a volunteer little league coach for her son’s team (Go Cardinals!), a life member of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, a former member of the SDEC and certainly no stranger to the rough and tumble world of politics. Her father, Ken Yarbrough, held this seat in the 90’s, and while earning her degree at the University of Texas, she worked in the Capitol for an East Texas Democrat.

In recent elections, Democratic candidates have won increased support in HD-138 and Sheriff Adrian Garcia carried the district last year with 52.8% of the vote. And, hometown Democrats like Senator John Whitmire and J.P. David Patronella typically run well ahead of the Democratic ticket in the middle class swing precincts. It is also worth mentioning that Democrats actually perform better in non-presidential elections here where Republican straight ticket voting advantage is nullified.

Additionally, tremendous demographic changes are occurring in this portion of Houston (now a combined minority Voting Age Population over 50%), and mobile young professionals and GLBT families (getting priced out of the Heights and Montrose) are revitalizing older neighborhoods just outside Loop 610. All of that combined with the fact that the Republican incumbent, Dwayne Bohac, has never been forced to defend his extremist record against a well funded, hometown Democratic challenger, and it is pretty clear this race can be won.

Bohac has had challengers in the last two elections, Mark McDavid in 2006 and Ginny McDavid last year, but neither had any real funding. He also ran better than the average Republican in his district in each of those years, and he’s got strong ties to the district as well. And as for the assertion about straight ticket voting, I took a look at the 2008 and 2006 numbers, and this is what I got:

Year Straight R Straight D R Pct Bohac McDavid Bohac % ============================================================= 2006 5,412 3,975 57.7 7,087 4,308 62.2 2008 11,699 9,521 55.1 9,929 5,497 64.4

Those are the straight-ticket vote numbers in HD138, and the Bohac/McDavid numbers with the straight-ticket tallies subtracted. Dems actually closed the straight ticket gap somewhat last year, which I think is a tribute to the overall HCDP county coordinated effort. But by the same token, Bohac won a higher percentage of the ticket splitters in 2008 than he did in 2006. Convincing those voters to switch will need to be as big a part of this effort as getting out the base Democratic vote.

There’s an ActBlue page for Camarena, and Annie’s List will be matching contributions through June 30. They’re definitely out of the gate early, so we’ll see how successful the effort is to get a jump on fundraising.

A new Presidential head comes to Pearland

You all know I’m a big fan of David Adickes and his giant Presidential heads, which were moved to Pearland last year. Well, they are about to be joined by the latest model.

A 20-foot-tall bust of Barack Obama made of concrete and weighing 3.5 tons will be on display in Pearland this Friday off Texas 288 near the Waterlights District starting at about 2:30 p.m.

The sculpture is the latest in a series done by Texas artist David Adickes and will briefly join other president heads by Adickes that are permanently displayed on the site.

While an Obama bust is eventually planned for the site, this particular statue will be just passing through on its way to the Presidents Park near Deadwood, S.D., where it will arrive in time to join 42 other presidential busts for a July Fourth celebration.

Between Friday and July 4, the bust will visit 30 cities in eight states. In some cities, life-size busts of Obama will be auctioned to raise money for the homeless.

According to Peter Smetek, chairman and CEO of Larrea Biosciences, a sponsor of the tour, the statue will be in Pearland overnight if police protection can be secured.

Don’t worry if you miss it though. A launch party will be held in Houston at 2500 Summer Street on Saturday starting at about 4 p.m.

Awesome. I drove by Summer Street to try to get a picture of the new Obama bust yesterday, but it wasn’t in the yard with the others and the studio was all closed up, so no dice. Maybe I’ll get the next one.

By the way, I don’t know if you’re the type that finds the Chron comments in general to be hilarious or appalling, but whichever the case, the comments on that post are a pure distillation of the genre. It’s a fetid swamp of racism, paranoia, and blithering stupidity, the kind that makes you think you can feel IQ points dripping out of your ears as you read them. If you like that sort of thing, the comments on that post are definitely the sort of thing that you’ll like. Enjoy, if you dare.