Friday, April 14, 2006

Rumsfeld is doomed

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld just got the kiss of death from President Bush.

President Bush said Friday that embattled Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has his "full support and deepest appreciation."

We all know what that means... In a few days, Rummy will be explaining that he needs to spend more time with his family, etc. etc.

Old comments are back

I finally ponied up some moolah to upgrade my Haloscan account so now all the old comments are back. Hurray!
Up until now, Haloscan had been dumping comments into a black hole after three months. The only annoying thing is that the comment number under each archived blog post still shows zero. So you don’t know if or how many comments are on any post and just have to click to find out. I’m not sure if this can be fixed, but I will check on it.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Kinky polls

The San Antonio Business Journal has an online poll up showing Kinky Friedman winning the governor’s race in a landslide with 53 percent of the vote compared to 24 percent for Rick Perry, 14 percent for Carole Keeton Strayhorn and an anemic 5 percent for Democrat Chris Bell.

The poll is no doubt a bit skewed today by the fact that Kinky is touting the results on his web site. But he was still winning with a healthy 40 percent of the vote before legions of Kinksters began flooding the site and driving up his numbers. Kinky also won a similar poll conducted last month by the Austin Business Journal.

While polls in general and certainly online polls are not the most accurate barometers for what will actually happen in November, it still raises the possibility that Kinky could be a big factor in the election. I think there is a good chance that Perry will not be able to reach 50 percent of the vote in November and will be forced into a run-off and it looks increasingly likely that his runoff opponent could be Kinky Friedman.

What will this mean for Texas? I’m not sure. It’s not great news for Democrats if their candidate comes in third or fourth in the election. But I’ve never held out very high hopes for Chris Bell. While I will vote for him in the general election, I just don’t think a one-term congressman has the stature or the name recognition necessary to pull off a victory in a statewide race like this. I hope I’m wrong. But that’s why I was hoping that John Sharp would have jumped into the race and that’s why I voted for Bob Gammage in the primary.
And while I’m not a “Kinkster,” I have to say that if the race came down to a Perry vs. Friedman runoff I would find myself asking “Why the hell not?”


In comments, someone much wiser than myself points out there are no runoffs in general elections. D'oh! That shoots my theory out of the water. I don't see anyway now that Kinky can win the governership. It looks like we'll be stuck with Rick Perry for another four years. Damn.
Wait! Maybe if Chris Bell drops out and the Democrats cross-endorse Kinky and, and... Oh! Nevermind.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Local blogger additions

We have a prominent new addition to the local blogging community. District 10 City Councilman Chip Haass has launched a blog called Conversations With Chip at his regular web site.
In a news release, Haass said he plans to use the blog to take a stand on various public issues and to provide “yet another tool to listen to families and business owners” in his district.
So far he has three posts up covering a proposed bond referendum, the Animal Care Services Department and the city’s effort to land a professional sports franchise. The site does have comments, so head on over and give it a looksee.

Another new blogger since the last time I did my San Antonio blogging update is my friend Mack Harrison who runs Valley In Exile. Mack and I used to work together at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal many moons ago. He was until just recently the opinion page editor for the McAllen Monitor, but he is currently attending law school at St. Mary’s University here in the Alamo City. Mack’s blog is very much focused on happenings in the Rio Grande Valley so if you want to keep up with what’s going on to our south be sure and check it out.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bush's Heartland values

Here at what may be the low point of the Bush presidency, it seems an odd time to begin touting a project to restore the old Bush family home in Midland.

There is no denying that people in West Texas are diehard Bush backers. I’m sure a lot of the 38 percent of the U.S. population that still thinks W. is doing a bang-up job in Washington resides thereabouts. But it seems they are in a bit of a quandry about how to promote the Bush family house:

Promoters of the house as a historic landmark acknowledge that defining its particular story line has not been easy. Although the house itself suggests modest beginnings, the young couple that occupied it belonged to one of the most powerful families in contemporary American history, combining the wealth and power of Wall Street with a record of high public office.

George H.W. Bush's father, Prescott Bush, had been a U.S. senator from Connecticut, for instance, and the family tree included an original partner of financier J.P. Morgan. In some ways, the family compound on the ocean at Kennebunkport, Maine, may be a more authentic symbol of who the Bushes are.

"We've understood throughout the project that we cannot portray them as coming from a lifting-yourselves-by-the-bootstraps background with no resources," said Bill Scott, a Midland real estate broker and one of the organizers of the Bush home project. "We do not want to portray them as coming from humble backgrounds."

Instead, in addition to honoring the family that — perhaps more than even oil and high school football — put Midland on the map, developers suggest that this is where the Bush family may have learned Heartland values.

Of course, those Heartland values. That’s why the Bush clan moved out to dusty West Texas, not so much to make their fortune, which they already had, but to ground themselves in the American Heartland values that would give them the political spit-shine that they needed to make themselves more politically viable and to distance themselves from their real New England patrician roots.

There is no doubt that it worked. Much of George W.’s political success can be attributed to his image as a West Texas good ol’ boy. Nevermind that he went to private schools in Andover and then on to Yale and Harvard, when people think of Bush they think of him in boots and jeans and wearing a cowboy hat.

The Bush’s have ridden that wave a long way and today you will find no place where Bush loyalty runs stronger than in solid Red-State West Texas.

So then, how does Bush repay these fine people for giving his political career the gloss of midwestern authenticity that it required? Why, by giving them the back of his hand, of course. I still can’t get over the fact that Bush would put his presidential library anywhere but in West Texas. What an ingrate! Texas Tech University in Lubbock had by far the best bid of any place seeking to host the library. It would have been the ideal place for the Bush library, in the town where Bush Sr. would often turn for poll results favorable to his presidency and where Bush Jr. launched his political career with a run for Congress.
But now after all the excitement and anticipation they are left heartbroken and disappointed.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Immigration question

Via Eschaton, I see that The Rude Pundit has an intresting question about the path to U.S. citizenship taken by Bush’s Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez.
It appears that Gutierrez and his family were illegal immigrants when they came to the U.S. in the early 1960s and then benefited from an amnesty program in 1966 that granted them citizenship.
I would think something like that would be of particular interest in light of the recent debate over immigration reform.