Fiesta Bowl Could Lose BCS Status →
After firing their CEO for a reimbursement scheme and cover-up, the Fiesta Bowl will be asked to justify its BCS status. At the center of the issue are political contributions that were made by Fiesta Bowl employees as far back as 2002, which were then reimbursed - this is illegal. The special report from the investigating committee can be found here (you’ll be amazed and appalled). The...
The Republicans’ Hispanic problem →
It seems like I discuss this more and more (and working on campaigns in Texas, I pretty much live this), but Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post suggest the Republicans might have a problem in future elections, because of the demographic changes we’re seeing. However, I see this as less of a problem and more as a waymark for the evolution of the GOP. For instance, consider that as the...
Book Review: Just How Stupid Are We?
As we were only going to be out of town for a night, I decided to take a short book with me rather than Robert Caro’s tome on LBJ (it’s not easy to lug around). That book was Just How Stupid Are We? by Rick Shenkman, and I’m glad it only cost me $1 at Half Price Books. There were a few pearls of wisdom, but you have to wade through several chapters of insipid observations to find...
Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institute and Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute have been looking at the redistricting plans offered by Virginia college students as part of a competition sponsored by an independent redistricting commission created by Gov. Bob McDonnell. Mssrs Mann and Ornstein argue that the public availability of redistricting software will result in a decline in...
Book Review: Cowboy Conservatism
Over the weekend, I finished reading Cowboy Conservatism: Texas and the Rise of the Modern Right by Sean P. Cunningham. Cunningham covers roughly the same period as John R. Knaggs in Two Party Texas (Knaggs: 1961-1984; Cunningham 1961-1980), but Knaggs’ account is that of firsthand experience, while Cunningham’s is more of a history of the rise of the modern conservative movement (a...
The Great NPR Debate
As you may have now heard, the House has voted to cut off funding for National Public Radio with HR 1076 (Roll Call 192). Big whoop. When do you guys think you’ll get around doing something about the behemoths of the budget: mandatory spending (Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) and discretionary spending (defense)? NPR is a nice little sideshow, but is of no consequence when we look at...
Wars for the American West
While reading John A. Nagl’s Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, I was intrigued by his comments on the Indians Wars of the American West, which constitute the longest conflict of the U.S. military, as well as being irregular warfare across large areas. Having a significant interest in the West and how it has shaped the United States, I picked up Bill Yenne’s Indian Wars: the...
Tax Dollars and the Super Bowl
Back in February, Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post wrote an article about the tax dollars use to pay for stadiums, as well as other things, such as flyovers. Well, now we have news about the trust fund used to pay cities for events like the Super Bowl. According to the Dallas Morning News, the state allocated $31.2 million to Arlington for the Super Bowl, and the Legislature is talking about...
Currently Reading: Cowboy Conservatism
Got to spend a nice quiet weekend away from Austin and SXSW (totally not hip enough for that scene), so I was able to finish up Indian Wars by Bill Yenne, and I’ll be posting a review soon. Now I am going to get started on Cowboy Conservatism: Texas and the Rise of the Modern Right by Sean P. Cunningham. This is a more recent history of the role of Texas in the development of the...
Review: The War Within
I just finished listening to The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008 by Bob Woodward while sitting in SXSW traffic (as if regular Austin traffic isn’t bad enough). [A few years ago I started listening to audiobooks in the car; I figured I might as well do something productive while sitting in traffic (I also travel a lot while campaigning).] Of course, Woodward’s book is...
A Day In the Life at the Pink Building
Making the rounds at the Texas Capitol yesterday, who should I see going office to office? Well, former Texas Tech coach of pirate fame - Mike Leach. Coach Leach is currently seeking support for a resolution to sue the state. Meeting the pirate was kinda underwhelming actually. Compared to when he’s talking about player’s fat little girlfriends, giving dating advice or locking people...
Recall Rick Perry? →
Perhaps inspired by the attempted recall of Wisconsin Senators, some folks in San Antonio are suggesting Gov. Rick Perry be recalled: “None of these cuts are acceptable and we can always do a recall,” said Mike Espinoza. The only problem: there is nothing in state law which allows for state officials to be recalled. Recall elections are possible at the municipal level, but the process for...
Book Review: Our Patchwork Nation
Our Patchwork Nation by Dante Chinni and James Gimpel is an attempt to quantify and analyse the differences in the communities which make p the United States of America. The central theme - that the United States cannot be defined through stereotypical dichotomies - is common sense if you have spent much time studying demographics or simply traveled around the United States. The first few chapters...
A Solid Republican South? →
Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post ponders whether the South will remain solidly Republican. Short answer: No. Longer answer: Elections are cyclical; over time populations and attitudes change, as well values and concerns. It may take some time, but Republican dominance of the South is not inevitable, just as Democratic domination of the South was not written in stone.
Would You Buy the Browns? →
Well, I would, so that I could build a team around Colt McCoy; that’s just me though. But looking at the current situation in the NFL, Roger Groves of Forbes asks if public ownership of NFL franchises, similar to the model of the Green Bay Packers, might benefit the long term future of the NFL, particularly for small market teams like Cleveland.
Will: 2012 Spotlight Chasers →
In today’s column in the Washington Post, George Will discusses some of the possible Republican candidates for the 2012 nomination. In particular, he mentions Huckabee and Gingrich, whom he cites for their turns into the absurd, i.e., their talk of Pres. Obama’s “Kenyan roots.” Will relates this to a larger problem for Republicans and conservatives: “The nominee may...
March 6th 1836
Today marks the anniversary of the fall of the Alamo. Led by William B. Travis, Jim Bowie and David Crockett, the defenders of the Alamo were besieged by Santa Anna’s forces for 13 days. On March 6th, the battle ended at approximately 6:30am. At 3pm, the bodies of the defenders of the Alamo were burned on a pyre. Their remains (or what is presumed to be their remains) now lie in the San...
Sports and Honor Codes
If you don’t know by now, BYU has removed center Brandon Davies from their nationally 3rd ranked basketball team for violating the team’s honor code. Specifically, Davies was purportedly let go from the team for having sex with his girlfriend. BYU’s honor code, which applies to all students, not just athletes, is actually quite specific, going so far as to set dress and grooming...
Social Media, Technology and Elections
Last night, while at a reception for church, I had a conversation about the role of social media in American elections compared to the role of social media in the revolutions we are seeing in the Middle East. Working on elections, my instinct is that as most American voters are older and use social media less, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are not as crucial to American elections. This scenario was...
Breaking Quorum: Everybody's Doing It
It seems that several Johnny Come Lately’s have taken up the tactic of the quorum break (amateurs). The Washington Post has an article about the recent efforts, not only of legislators in Wisconsin, of legislators in Indiana and Maryland. Last month, I posted about some of the history of quorum breaks in Texas. Whenever legislators break the quorum, there are questions about whether or not...
Redistricting: Who's Gaining, Who's Losing
The Texas Tribune has two articles about redistricting in Texas: Census Totals by House, Senate District Numbers Tell Tale of Who’s Vulnerable in Redistricting The Tribune says you’re vulnerable if you are one of the following: a freshman, Anglo Democrat, or urban Anglo. The other article offers an interactive map showing the census totals for House and Senate districts.
Mike Leach Plans to Sue State of Texas →
Paul Burka is reporting on his blog (BurkaBlog) that Mike Leach is planning to sue the state of Texas. In order to sue the state, Leach must have a bill filed and passed. The process for suing the state is laid out in Chapter 107 of the Texas Civil Practice Code. Earlier this year, Leach’s lawsuit against Texas Tech was thrown out by the 7th Court of Appeals. You can read the opinion here....
GOP's Hispanic Outreach
An article in the Texas Tribune asks if Texas’ Hispanic population is up for grabs. While in the Houston Chronicle’s blog - Texas Politics - Henry Cisneros, former HUD Secretary in the Clinton Administration, argues that the GOP is not doing a good job of involving Hispanics in the party. With the Hispanic population in Texas seeing significant growth over the last 10 years (and...