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October 10th, 2010:

Weekend link dump for October 10

Forget gay marriage, what about corporate marriage?

Rescuing the baby turtles.

Has it really been 15 years since the OJ verdict?

RIP, Stephen J. Cannell. Heaven is putting together a team to greet you at the gates.

RIP, Nancy W. Kappes.

If you listen carefully, you can actually hear your constitutional rights being whittled away by the Roberts court.

The double standard isn’t that hard to explain.

From the “Who stole feminism?” files.

Who loves Wall Street? I’ll give you three guesses.

You wouldn’t think running on an anti-job platform would be successful, but we live in strange times.

Here’s some Halloween costume inspiration for you.

The Chamber of Commerce is using foreign funds to pay for political ads attacking Democrats.

What do we need? Infrastructure spending. When do we need it? Now would be nice.

Letting the estate tax cuts of 2001 expire would be a big help to state finances.

A public health model for dealing with infected computers is a good idea.

I might feel a twinge of sympathy for Mitt Romney if he didn’t so richly deserve the predicament he’s in.

File this under “Awkward Political Photos”.

The very intended consequences of the Affordable Care Act.

Krishna, Krishna.

RIP, Van Snowden, the guy who played HR Pufnstuf.

How procrastination works.

If I did this, I wouldn’t want to have to admit to it, either.

The Pumpple Cake. OMG, do I want to try that.

You know how the biggest and most vociferous homophobes often turn out to be deeply closeted (and self-loathing) gays themselves? Looks like there’s a similar phenomenon for xenophobic immigrant haters.

So is pilates okay, or am I going to hell for that, too?

Did Tim Lincecum pitch a better game than Roy Halladay did?

Endorsement watch: Statesman and Express News for Weems

Three for three.

Commission Chairman Victor Carrillo suffered a stunning upset in the March primaries, setting up a contest between candidates who represent the state’s two major parties but who are also unknowns: Republican David Porter, who wrested the nomination from Carrillo, and Jeff Weems, the Democratic nominee.

Weems, 52, is the best choice in this race. He literally knows the oil and gas business from the ground up. He started his career as a “land man” — someone who negotiates oil and gas leases — and is now a successful energy lawyer in Houston.

Porter, 54, is an accountant whose clients include energy firms. He lives in Giddings and apparently hasn’t strayed from there during this campaign.

Weems, on the other hand, has been campaigning aggressively on a platform of consumer and environmental protection and more consistent enforcement of Railroad Commission rules.

Weems won’t need a break-in period if elected to the commission and has the background and education to be a forceful advocate for the energy industry as well as consumers.

And four for four.

We recommend that Texas voters elect Weems to the post. Before becoming a lawyer, Weems gained hands-on experience in the energy industry, including work on rigs, as a drilling mud representative and handling leases for Shell Western E&P Inc.

He has a degree in petroleum land management from the University of Texas and also graduated from the University of Texas School of Law. For 20 years, Weems’ Houston law practice has focused on energy industry activities, representing clients including energy companies and royalty owners. Weems’ background makes him particularly suited for the job.


Dedicated to the commission and not pursuing another public office, Weems supports a resign-to-run rule requiring commissioners to step down if they become candidates for another office.

Weems is clearly the right choice for the job.

I’ll say it again: You can have a knowledgeable, capable Railroad Commissioner who is working hard to be elected, or you can have a guy with an R next to his name who expects to be elected because of it. Your choice.

Latinos still prefer Democrats

I’m not sure if it’s the poll itself or just the way the numbers are being presented, but if you can get past that, the news is good.

Latino voters overwhelming back Democrats over Republicans in the upcoming election, but a poll out Tuesday shows Hispanics are less motivated to vote.

A survey by the Pew Hispanic Center over the past two months showed that Latinos said they would support Democrats over Republicans in congressional races by a 2-to-1 margin, or 65 percent to 22 percent.

But the same poll found that only 51 percent of Hispanics surveyed said they are certain to vote, compared to 70 percent for U.S. registered voters as a whole.

“Hispanic registered voters appear to be less motivated than other voters to go to the polls,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, Pew Hispanic Center associate director.

The poll also found that Republican Latino registered voters are more likely than Democratic Latinos to participate, 44 percent to 28 percent.

But it also found that of those who identify with the GOP, only 18 percent said the Republican Party was better than the Democratic Party for the Latino community, while 60 percent said there was no difference.

It should be noted first that some other polls show Democrats have lost more ground among Latinos, though they still have solid majority support. The issue is mostly one of Democratic inaction on things like comprehensive immigration reform, as well as the same concerns about the economy as everyone else.

It should also be noted that when you see statements like “only 51 percent of Hispanics surveyed said they are certain to vote”, you get an idea of how dicey it can be to try to identify likely voters. Texas Democrats would kill to get Latino voting at that level.

I have no idea what to make of “Republican Latino registered voters are more likely than Democratic Latinos to participate, 44 percent to 28 percent”. Does that mean 44 percent of the 22 percent of Latinos who plan to support Republicans in Congressional races, and 28 percent of the 65 percent of Latinos who plan to support Democrats? (By the way, last I checked 65 is about three times as much as 22, not two times as much.) If so, that means about 9.7% of Latino Republicans and 18.2% of Latino Democrats. How that squares with the 51% that say they are certain to vote is anybody’s guess. Reading stories like this, it’s no wonder people don’t understand math. Campos and Stace have more.

No federal sex ed money for Texas

Stay ignorant, kids. It’s what the state of Texas wants you to do.

At the end of the summer, Texas quietly opted to forgo yet another pot of federal money — specifically, $4.4 million that would have gone toward educating youth on abstinence and contraception to prevent teen pregnancy.

The Department of State Health Services began drafting the application for the Personal Responsibility Education Program funds, but the decision was made not apply before the Aug. 30 deadline. Carrie Williams, a spokeswoman for DSHS said, “The [Health and Human Services] Executive Commissioner [Tom Suehs] made the final decision, and the governor’s office was part of that discussion.”

“This is yet another example of politics dominating policy in the governor’s office,” said state Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio. “Unfortunately, the governor’s re-election campaign theme of running against Washington has, yet again, hampered our ability to access much needed funds to overcome very real challenges that our state is facing.”


Dr. Janet Realini, the president and CEO of Healthy Futures of Texas, a nonprofit geared toward “reducing teen and unplanned pregnancy,” said that mission would be easier with the “evidence-based” education programs the PREP money would have funded. “I feel this is a great loss for the state,” she said. “This is a huge amount of money, and there’s such a need for these programs in Texas.”

DSHS did apply for $5.4 million in federal funding for abstinence-only education. “Applying for this funding is in line with state goals and strategies,” Williams said, noting that the state’s “first choice is that teens choose not to have sex.” In an e-mail, she said the abstinence-only funds would have been lost to other states, whereas the state’s decision not to apply for the PREP funding opens the door for individual communities to apply for the money directly “if it meets the needs/values in their communities.”

Texas is of course one of the nation’s capitals of teen pregnancy. If our idiotic focus on abstinence-only education produced better results, it would be different, but we’ve spent millions and millions of dollars on it and have nothing but a lot of babies being born to children to show for it. What a waste.

“For the Sake of the Song: The Story of Anderson Fair”

From the inbox:

Gish Creative ( and Southwest Alternate Media Project/SWAMP ( have come together to celebrate the arts and cultural landmarks with a public screening of “For the Sake of the Song: The Story of Anderson Fair” ( on Tuesday, October 26, 7pm at the River Oaks Theatre, 2009 W. Gray. All proceeds from the evening will go to SWAMP.

This event was organized to honor SWAMP as a cultural landmark and to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Gish Creative. SWAMP is a 33-year-old nonprofit media arts organization serving independent filmmakers in Houston and statewide; they were the fiscal sponsor for the documentary film being screened. Gish Creative is a marketing company that specializes in personal and family enrichment as well as local cultural explorations. Sarah Gish, owner of Gish Creative, chose SWAMP as the funds beneficiary because they were her first client. Sarah used to manage the historic River Oaks Theatre and helped get it designated as a city landmark in 2007.

“For the Sake of the Song” tells the extraordinary tale of another venerable Houston landmark, Anderson Fair, a small music venue in Montrose with a loyal following and major impact in the world of artists working in the singer/songwriter tradition. Featured in the film are artists who got their start at the “politically subversive and neighborhood coffee house and restaurant,” including Lyle Lovett and Nanci Griffith.

Advance tickets are $15 online at and $20 at the door. There will be an intimate after party at Anderson Fair, 2007 Grant Street, which includes one movie ticket. Confirmed after-party musicians are Don Sanders, Vince Bell, Denice Franke, Bill Cade, Shake Russell, with more to come!

Small World Department: I once lived in Don Sanders’ old house. He and his wife, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten, sold their little north Montrose bungalow to their longtime next-door neighbor in the early 90s after the birth of their son. The neighbor, whose name was also Charles, rented the house to me and my then-roommate Matt. I was there for a bit more than three years, before moving to the Heights. Houston is just a big ol’ small town sometimes. Anyway, here’s the flyer for the event:

Go here to learn more about the film, and here to buy tickets. Sounds like it will be a good time.