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June 26th, 2010:

Saturday video break: Life’s great mysteries

For those of you of a certain age, the following needs no introduction:

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t even know there was an extended version of this commercial. Truly, the Internet is a marvelous thing.

In case you’re wondering, my inspiration for seeking this out was the Father’s Day present I got from Olivia:

If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a smart owl.

If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a smart owl.

How cool is that?

Corpus coverage

Due to unavoidable schedule conflicts, I’m not down in Corpus Christi this weekend for the TDP convention. Here are some of the places where I’ll be following what’s going on:

The Trib’s liveblog

Abby Rapoport

Bob Moser

John Coby

David Ortez



Dos Centavos


Letters from Texas

Eye on Williamson

Here’s the Chron story from yesterday. Bill White’s speech, the written version of which is reproduced below, was apparently very well received. (The Texas Politics blog has a few photos) Since the subject of Democratic excitement and the “enthusiasm gap” came up in a couple of these accounts, I’m just going to say something that I hope should be obvious: If you’re a Democrat, and you’re not fired up about voting Rick Perry’s greedy, corrupt ass out of the Governor’s Mansion, you need to see a doctor. I can’t speak for anywhere else in the country, but I really don’t think Texas Democrats are going to have much trouble getting motivated for this election.


Do we really want to save the Dome?

According to the Department of Anecdotal Evidence, we do.

Respondents to an online survey run by Reliant Park’s landlord “overwhelmingly” support saving the Astrodome, according to the official in charge of the survey.

Willie Loston, executive director of the Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation, declined to release a detailed breakdown of the 5,800 votes that have been cast for one of three options for Reliant Park’s future. He said only that the combined votes for the two options that include renovations for the Astrodome outnumber those in favor of razing it.

The results, he said, “overwhelmingly show a desire to maintain the building.” Loston said the results will help shape a recommendation to Commissioners Court, which controls the fate of Reliant Park.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to need some corroboration on this. I have no problem believing that there’s plenty of sentiment to save the Dome – I have some of that myself, though perhaps not as much as others – but the options for saving the Dome are kind of expensive, and all rely on public money. I don’t know how much I believe that people are really clamoring for that at this time. When there’s a single plan, and a final price tag, then we’ll get a handle on how popular the idea is. Swamplot has more.

TPJ files ethics complaint against Perry

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.

Texans for Public Justice, a nonprofit watchdog group, filed a complaint [Wednesday] urging the Texas Ethics Commission to require Gov. Rick Perry to provide detailed reports of campaign spending on living and entertainment expenditures related to the Governor’s Mansion.

TPJ alleges that Perry violated campaign disclosure laws by not itemizing how it spent more than $800,000 for such items as food, beverages and flowers. Instead of itemizing the spending, the campaign routinely reports lump sums as much as $63,000 as simply “Mansion Fund.” Since 2001, the campaign reported 145 “Mansion Fund” expenditures totaling more than $816,000, according to TPJ.

Seems straightforward enough, but there’s always room for the TEC to pull a Bill Ceverha maneuver and force the Lege to clean up after them. Never underestimate the possibility of shenanigans, that’s all I’m saying. A statement from the Bill White campaign is beneath the fold.


Please don’t play with the alligator

You would think that this would be self-evident, but I guess not.

For the most part, encounters between alligators and humans are harmless. Already this season in Harris County, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has logged more than 25 calls for nuisance alligators, two of them within the past week, and all have ended amicably — for the humans, at least.

But wildlife officials warn that the reptiles can be dangerous during this active season if provoked.

“A lot of people will throw a piece of bread at the animal and say, ‘Come here,’ ” said Amos Cooper, alligator program leader at the J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area in Port Arthur. “The best thing to do is not to mess with it and give it two to three days to move along. If you feed it, they’ll lose their fear of humans, and that’s the worst thing.”

I got nothing. I mean, seriously, telling a gator to “come here”? What, do you want to pet it? There are days when I marvel at the fact that our species has managed to survive this long.