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July 6th, 2010:

Being Hector Uribe

There are days when I truly love being a political blogger, because they give me a reason to take note of stuff like this.

Somewhere in Indiana, a man needs a date. And he’s using Democratic land commissioner candidate Hector Uribe‘s photo to try to seal the deal.

Just click over and enjoy. I’ve got a copy of the press release that Team Uribe, a/k/a Harold Cook, sent out on this. Have I mentioned lately that Uribe is my favorite candidate of this cycle?

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The first candidate forum

What do you get when you have a gubernatorial candidate forum without Governor Perry? Pretty much the same as what you’d have with him, but without the distraction of his pathetic attempts to defend his record.

The League of Women Voters forum before about 275 people at the Kathleen C. Cailloux Theater in Kerrville gave Democrat Bill White and Libertarian Kathie Glass, both of Houston, the opportunity to make their case against Perry without rebuttal. The event was carried only on local television, but was available statewide on the Internet.

White chastised Perry, saying he has run his office as a “political machine” and a “revolving door” for lobbyists. White said Perry wants to avoid accountability for his record of 10 years in office.

“Rick Perry will see how many times he can say (President) Obama and liberal in slick T.V. commercials and see if that will get him by with 51 percent of the vote,” White said. “In prior elections, he attacks his opponents with negative campaigns, takes credit for what’s good and accepts no responsibility for a lot of mismanagement.”

White said Perry should not be allowed to avoid forums where the questions come from citizens in the audience.

“If you don’t have the guts to get up here on stage and answer to the taxpayers who pay your salary, then you shouldn’t be re-elected governor,” White said.

That’s more or less what I expected. As you can see from Phillip’s liveblog, there was a fair amount of substance in the Perry-less conversation, but the story is what was said about him. You’d think a candidate would want to be there for himself and get his own licks in rather than depend on his spokesbeing after the fact, but then you’re not Rick Perry. For which you are no doubt grateful.

Revisiting the Libertarian effect

While we still don’t know what the deal will be with the Green Party, we may wonder what of that other third party on the ballot? Ross Ramsey takes a look at the Libertarian Party and the effect its candidates have on legislative races.

It’s impossible to know just which races will be close in November. But more than a dozen House races that are on the target lists of either the Republicans or the Democrats have Libertarians in them. Republicans have set their sites on state Reps. Mark Homer of Paris, Donna Howard of Austin, Diana Maldonado of Round Rock, Joe Moody of El Paso, Joe Heflin of Crosbyton, Chris Turner of Burleson, Allen Vaught of Dallas, Ellen Cohen of Houston and Hubert Vo of Houston, among others. Democrats are gunning for state Reps. Tim Kleinschmidt of Lexington, Charles “Doc” Anderson of Waco, Linda Harper-Brown of Irving, Joe Driver of Garland, Dwayne Bohac of Houston and Ken Legler of Pasadena. That’s not the entire target list for either party, but those are the races that could be close — and that have Libertarians on the ballot. Libertarian candidates signed up for the two Texas congressional seats on the GOP’s national target list, those held by U.S. Reps. Chet Edwards of Waco and Ciro Rodriguez of San Antonio. And they’ve got statewide candidates all lined up, too.

“In a year like this, I would do anything I could to make it a one-person race,” says Todd Olsen, a consultant working with Associated Republicans of Texas, a political action committee trying to preserve and increase GOP majorities in the statehouse. “If I could get the Libertarian to drop out and support me, I’d do it. The Green? I’d do it.”

I took a look at this in 2008, both before and after the election that year. My conclusion is that while there is an effect in the occasional race, the absolute number of races in which you could reasonably say there was an effect is really small. Of course, it’s a huge deal when it does happen – a win is a win, after all – so it’s worth keeping an eye on the races where it’s possible to occur, and it’s worth it to push things one way or the other if you’re involved in such a race. Just keep it in perspective, that’s all I’m saying.

Ars Lyrica school outreach

Ars Lyrica is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that produces a yearly series of concerts of early music, primarily Baroque, for general audiences. Part of their mission is a school outreach series. The following is from a press release I got from their Executive Director Kinga Ferguson, who is also a neighbor of mine:

Ars Lyrica is proud to bring a series of educational outreach programs to Houston’s public and private schools during the 2010-11 season.

“One of our primary educational goals is to reach out to young people who would otherwise seldom encounter live classical music“, says Artistic Director Matthew Dirst. “We realize the funding for arts programs has been dramatically cut in recent years, and we hope that our presentations will help to fill the gap and enrich schools’ arts curricula“, adds Executive Director Kinga Ferguson.

To make early music in particular engaging and accessible to children, the organization has developed two distinct educational outreach programs, one for K-5 students and the other for middle through high school students. “Harp History“ features harps from the Middle Ages through the Baroque and is specifically designed for K-5 students, to address and enhance the requirements of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards; while “Songs from the Heart“ features vocal music from the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods and is designed for middle through high school students, as an introduction both to early vocal styles and period instruments.

Renowned historical harpist Becky Baxter will serve as both primary artist and program coordinator for “Harp History.“ Working closely with classroom teachers, Ms. Baxter will incorporate a series of historic harp presentations into the music curriculum at the elementary school level in the Houston Public Schools. These presentations are interactive in nature: the children participate by touching the harps and asking questions as well as answering questions asked by the artist about their observations of the harps. Familiar music examples are used as well as examples of earlier repertoire. Key to this program are basic musical and acoustic concepts: tone, shape, pitch, vibration, resonance and echo are all demonstrated with the active participation of children (by having them lay their hands flat on the wooden body and frame of the harp, for example).

Ars Lyrica’s vocal soloists bring a wealth of performance and outreach experience to “Songs from the Heart,“ a program designed to introduce middle and high school students to early vocal literature and period instruments. Designed to give students with some musical experience a better understanding of the history of song, this program features solo vocal works in various languages and styles, accompanied by period harps and lutes, and includes demonstrations of various special techniques, including embellishment and dramatic inflection. Individual coachings of selected student soloists, in those schools that offer private vocal instruction, make this program interactive and give students the opportunity to improve both their skills with and knowledge about early music, with the help of seasoned professionals.

School principals, music program
 directors or PTA volunteers who are interested bringing such programs to their schools should contact Kinga Ferguson at 
[email protected] or at (281) 636-4951. If you’d just like to learn more about Ars Lyrica, they’re in all of the usual social network places, and they have a blog, too. Let’s help make Houston’s schools a little more musical.

A modest theory

I have become convinced that fifty or sixty years ago, a number of terror cells infiltrated the US and impregnated a bunch of women with babies who were groomed from birth to become utter morons who would destroy the country from within by their sheer, unbounded stupidity. That’s about the only sensible explanation I can think of for the likes of Louie Gohmert.