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July 18th, 2010:

Weekend link dump for July 18

A short list for a short week.

The US Postal Service treats its employees right.

The picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words case for extending unemployment insurance.

Being a “deficit hawk” means opposing anything and everything that would actually shrink the deficit.

Besides, tax cuts are always the answer.

Remember the sandwich in a can? The story just keeps getting better.

The story of the perfect bid on “The Price Is Right”.

Sometimes, street theater is just street theater.

Yes, contraceptives should be covered. Why is this even controversial?

Paul the Octopus versus the Geico Gecko.

The spirit of Bill Veeck lives on.

One man’s opinion of the five worst Houston sports moments. I’m with commenter Jared – the Stockton three-pointer in 97 was far worse than the Pujols homer off of Lidge in 2005. I mean, the Stros still won that series against the Cardinals. Stockton took them out. There’s no comparison. The others I agree with, though I too think the Bills game in 1993 has to be number one.

Songs for Lois, the corpse flower.

In defense of Drayton.

Blagojevich ringtones. You know you bleeping want one.

Got spam? Here’s something good you can do with it.

It’s impossible to parody Louie Gohmert, but The Onion does its best. It still sounds all too real to me, though.

I want a copy of “Galactic Rebellion For Dummies”.

The RIAA’s business plan really sucks.

“From 2002 to 2009, the crime rate in Maricopa County has increased 58 percent, while the state as a whole averaged a 12 percent decrease. Compare that 58 percent crime increase to other localities of Arizona that did not use the immigrant-targeting approach. In that same time period, Phoenix enjoyed a 14 percent decrease; Tempe, a 26 percent decrease; and Mesa, a 31 percent decrease.” Heck of a job, Sheriff Arpaio!

Fundraising: Other statewides

Bill White kicked butt in the fundraising department, but how did the other statewide candidates do? Not nearly as good, unfortunately. Here’s a look:

http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/php/summary.php?rn=458383&form=COH

Totals From Report For Linda Chavez-Thompson
Filed on: July 15 2010
Covering the Period February 21, 2010 Through June 30, 2010

Total Unitemized Contributions: $94.00
Total Political Contributions: $331,023.42
Total Unitemized Expenditures: $1,442.55
Total Expenditures: $162,904.34
Total Unitemized Pledges (Schedule B1 or B2) $0.00
Total Contributions Maintained As Of The Last Day Of The Reporting Period $136,421.09
Total Principal Amount Of All Outstanding Loans As Of The Last Day of the Reporting Period $0.00
Total Unitemized Loans: $0.00

http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/php/summary.php?rn=458315&form=SPAC

Totals From Report For David Dewhurst Committee
Filed on: July 15 2010
Covering the Period January 01, 2010 Through June 30, 2010

Total Unitemized Contributions: $0.00
Total Political Contributions: $3,172,765.68
Total Unitemized Expenditures: $987.03
Total Expenditures: $1,299,511.30
Total Unitemized Pledges (Schedule B1 or B2) $0.00
Total Contributions Maintained As Of The Last Day Of The Reporting Period $3,550,829.75
Total Principal Amount Of All Outstanding Loans As Of The Last Day of the Reporting Period $1,137,500.00
Total Unitemized Loans: $0.00

http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/php/summary.php?rn=458258&form=COH

Totals From Report For Barbara Ann Radnofsky
Filed on: July 15 2010
Covering the Period January 01, 2010 Through June 30, 2010

Total Unitemized Contributions: $11,790.00
Total Political Contributions: $233,941.91
Total Unitemized Expenditures: $1,424.84
Total Expenditures: $176,092.13
Total Unitemized Pledges (Schedule B1 or B2) $415.00
Total Contributions Maintained As Of The Last Day Of The Reporting Period $463,852.09
Total Principal Amount Of All Outstanding Loans As Of The Last Day of the Reporting Period $0.00
Total Unitemized Loans: $0.00

http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/php/summary.php?rn=458479&form=SPAC

Totals From Report For Texans for Greg Abbott
Filed on: July 15 2010
Covering the Period January 01, 2010 Through June 30, 2010

Total Unitemized Contributions: $30.00
Total Political Contributions: $1,717,734.99
Total Unitemized Expenditures: $2,861.64
Total Expenditures: $653,222.40
Total Unitemized Pledges (Schedule B1 or B2) $0.00
Total Contributions Maintained As Of The Last Day Of The Reporting Period $11,209,703.93
Total Principal Amount Of All Outstanding Loans As Of The Last Day of the Reporting Period $0.00
Total Unitemized Loans: $0.00

http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/php/summary.php?rn=458764&form=COH

Totals From Report For Henry E. Gilbert
Filed on: July 15 2010
Covering the Period February 21, 2010 Through June 30, 2010

Total Unitemized Contributions: $0.00
Total Political Contributions: $51,701.98
Total Unitemized Expenditures: $6,229.72
Total Expenditures: $32,684.16
Total Unitemized Pledges (Schedule B1 or B2) $0.00
Total Contributions Maintained As Of The Last Day Of The Reporting Period $90,710.73
Total Principal Amount Of All Outstanding Loans As Of The Last Day of the Reporting Period $0.00
Total Unitemized Loans: $0.00

http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/php/summary.php?rn=458472&form=SPAC

Totals From Report For Texans for Todd Staples
Filed on: July 15 2010
Covering the Period January 01, 2010 Through June 30, 2010

Total Unitemized Contributions: $1,455.00
Total Political Contributions: $387,462.34
Total Unitemized Expenditures: $3,616.61
Total Expenditures: $210,392.40
Total Unitemized Pledges (Schedule B1 or B2) $0.00
Total Contributions Maintained As Of The Last Day Of The Reporting Period $1,065,709.00
Total Principal Amount Of All Outstanding Loans As Of The Last Day of the Reporting Period $0.00
Total Unitemized Loans: $0.00

http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/php/summary.php?rn=458249&form=COH

Totals From Report For Jeffry D. Weems
Filed on: July 15 2010
Covering the Period January 01, 2010 Through June 30, 2010

Total Unitemized Contributions: $168.00
Total Political Contributions: $63,716.53
Total Unitemized Expenditures: $100.00
Total Expenditures: $88,389.86
Total Unitemized Pledges (Schedule B1 or B2) $0.00
Total Contributions Maintained As Of The Last Day Of The Reporting Period $17,448.60
Total Principal Amount Of All Outstanding Loans As Of The Last Day of the Reporting Period $0.00
Total Unitemized Loans: $0.00

http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/php/summary.php?rn=457583&form=COH

Totals From Report For David J. Porter
Filed on: July 14 2010
Covering the Period February 21, 2010 Through June 30, 2010

Total Unitemized Contributions: $782.00
Total Political Contributions: $128,482.00
Total Unitemized Expenditures: $0.00
Total Expenditures: $63,133.72
Total Unitemized Pledges (Schedule B1 or B2) $0.00
Total Contributions Maintained As Of The Last Day Of The Reporting Period $74,727.48
Total Principal Amount Of All Outstanding Loans As Of The Last Day of the Reporting Period $15,000.00
Total Unitemized Loans: $0.00

http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/php/summary.php?rn=458410&form=COH

Totals From Report For Hector Uribe
Filed on: July 15 2010
Covering the Period February 22, 2010 Through June 30, 2010

Total Unitemized Contributions: $1,295.00
Total Political Contributions: $44,703.85
Total Unitemized Expenditures: $0.00
Total Expenditures: $33,008.80
Total Unitemized Pledges (Schedule B1 or B2) $0.00
Total Contributions Maintained As Of The Last Day Of The Reporting Period $7,289.77
Total Principal Amount Of All Outstanding Loans As Of The Last Day of the Reporting Period $0.00
Total Unitemized Loans: $0.00

http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/php/summary.php?rn=458409&form=COH

Totals From Report For Jerry E. Patterson
Filed on: July 15 2010
Covering the Period January 01, 2010 Through June 30, 2010

Total Unitemized Contributions: $0.00
Total Political Contributions: $307,629.67
Total Unitemized Expenditures: $0.00
Total Expenditures: $205,441.21
Total Unitemized Pledges (Schedule B1 or B2) $0.00
Total Contributions Maintained As Of The Last Day Of The Reporting Period $822,401.18
Total Principal Amount Of All Outstanding Loans As Of The Last Day of the Reporting Period $0.00
Total Unitemized Loans: $0.00

The Republicans break down into three groups: Dewhurst and Abbott, who have the resources to run a bunch of TV ads statewide if they want to (though I suspect Abbott will save a few pennies for a 2012 Senate race); Staples and Patterson, who have a comfortable lead in finances but don’t have enough to do more than spot some ads in select markets; and David Porter, who has a token amount, though still more than his opponent, Jeff Weems. None of the Democrats are going to approach the top level, but getting to the second tier is a doable goal, especially for Chavez-Thompson and Radnofsky. If you’re a big Democratic donor and you’ve already given five figures or more to Bill White, you can get a pretty decent amount of bang for those bucks if you were to write a similar check to some or all of his ballotmates.

Still more on the San Antonio smoking ordinance

Here’s an Express News article from last Sunday about the effect that municipal ordinances that have banned smoking in bars and restaurants have had on those establishments. Interestingly, the main place it goes for anecdotal evidence is Houston.

Lizzard’s Pub, a bar tucked away in the River Oaks neighborhood on this city’s near West Side, hasn’t been quite the same since the City Council banned smoking in bars three years ago, owner Elizabeth Knox says.

“In the first three months, business dropped a good 30 percent because people were angry,” Knox said. “Now, those people ended up coming back.”

Others in the Houston bar industry said their customers didn’t waver when the city went smoke-free — a step San Antonio’s City Council could soon take.

“I don’t think it affected too many places in Houston,” said Joe Jackson, general manager of the Ginger Man, a beer-and-wine pub in Rice Village. “We knew we’d be OK.”

In September 2007, when Houston banned smoking in bars, Jackson said he didn’t see a drop in sales.

“Once you get used to it, it’s not that big of a deal,” he said. “It didn’t affect a lot of the places that thought they were going to be affected by it.”

This totally doesn’t surprise me, but then I support these ordinances, so take that with whatever amount of salt you like. The story notes a number of economic impact studies cited by the pro- and anti-smoking forces, and again to my subjective perspective, the anti-smoking side seems to have the better of it. It was amusing to me to see the pro-smoking forces come out in droves in the comments to my previous post. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see them scoring a whole lot of victories in recent years. They’re fighting to not have to retreat any more, and there’s not a whole lot of friendly turf for them. It’s not just a matter of legislation, it’s a matter of society. Smoking isn’t acceptable to a large portion of the population, and that isn’t going to change.

But who knows, maybe they’ll hold serve in San Antonio, at least for now. I still believe that a statewide ordinance will pass sooner or later, so as far as that goes I’m not too worried about it. Cary Clack and Veronica Flores-Paniagua, both of whom discuss the racial aspect of these protests that was raised by LULAC and the NAACP, have more.

Perry settles lawsuit with Bell

The settlement in the lawsuit by Chris Bell against the Rick Perry campaign over allegations of illegal campaign contributions to Perry by the Republican Governors Association (RGA) is now official.

Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign paid $426,000 to former Democratic challenger Chris Bell to settle a lawsuit.

Bell, Perry’s unsuccessful Democratic challenger in 2006, sued the Perry campaign a few years ago, claiming that it had accepted contributions that were improperly routed through the Republican Governors Association to hide their true source.

Shortly before giving Perry $1 million in the closing days of the 2006 campaign, the RGA received a couple of major donations from Houston homebuilder Bob Perry.

The Perry campaign paid Bell on March 3, the day after this year’s primary. The money went to Bell personally, not to a political campaign.

Actually, if you read the lawsuit Bell filed, the claim Bell made that he said entitled him to damages was that the Republican Governors Association PAC was not a qualified PAC in Texas at the time of the donation. The Bob Perry issue was mentioned in the suit, but it was a political matter, the idea being that by having him give a million bucks to the RGA, which then sent two donations totaling that amount to Perry, that donation was effectively hidden from public view. (See here for a copy of the original Chron story reporting on that.) You may recall that towards the end of the race, the Bell campaign got an infusion of over a million dollars from Houston trial lawyer John O’Quinn, which Perry used to bash Bell. One can certainly understand why Perry didn’t want it widely known that he was taking a similar infusion from this well-known Republican sugar daddy. But the crux of the lawsuit was the claim that the RGA was not legally able to make a donation to Perry’s campaign at that time because they were not officially recognized as a political organization in Texas. (Or at the federal level, apparently.)

Interestingly, the Houston Chronicle reported [Friday] morning that the Democratic Governors Association, which has given former Houston Mayor Bill White more than $1 million this year, has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from Texas donors.

That Chron story is here. I understand the parallel that is being drawn, but unless someone is claiming that the DGA hasn’t filed the proper paperwork as was the case with the RGA in 2006, it has nothing to do with anything. Fortunately, the full Statesman article clears that up.

Whereas the Bell lawsuit alleged that Perry did not properly report contributions from the governors’ group in 2006, White spokeswoman Katy Bacon said White’s campaign made the required disclosures when his out-of-state money came in. The ethics commission confirmed that the proper reports were filed.

It also notes that as Perry has been the Chair of the RGA, some of their abundant resources will likely be headed his way.

Just so we’re clear

While I was out in the wilds of New York, I got word from Harold Cook that a fellow named Daniel Melder had criticized Land Commissioner candidate for his most recent press release, the one about the guy in Indiana who was using a photo of Uribe on his dating profile, and in doing so pointed to my post about that to say that he was glad to see that he’s “not alone in thinking that the Uribe campaign is bringing mockery upon itself”. I’m not sure why he cited my post for that purpose, since I reiterated my position that Uribe was my favorite candidate of this cycle in it, but once and for all, for the record, I do not believe Uribe’s use of humor, in this matter and in previous releases, brings any mockery upon himself or his campaign. To the contrary, I think he’s hit exactly the right notes, and has used the funny in a very effective way. My advice for the Uribe campaign is don’t change a thing.

I don’t want to be too hard on Mr. Melder, who raises a perfectly valid question. Lord knows, after suffering through five years of Kinky Friedman’s schtick, I totally understand Melder’s concern. The key difference is that humor is just one facet of Uribe’s campaign. He’s not afraid to make a joke and get a little attention for it, which is something that all candidates farther down on the ballot try to do, but if you’ve been following his campaign, it’s clear there’s a lot more to him than that, and that unlike some other candidates who have been derailed by trivial pursuits, Uribe is taking this all very seriously. He just doesn’t take himself too seriously, which frankly is an example we could all follow.