BITE THE BALLOT

November 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

 

THE PARTY – “So what do you think about the elections?” I ask a total stranger, trying to make idle chatter. “I’ll TELL YOU WHAT I THINK!” he says sweetly, pouring his drink on my canapés. Uh-oh. I’ve done it again. Today the mere mention of politics and/or elections sets off a firestorm. No one seems to see elections as a spectator sport anymore. Not since the War Between the States (note to newcomers: that’s what we call it down here) have Americans been so divided over governments and their offspring. Republicans are hard-lined and paranoid, with a take-no-prisoners victors’ mentality, while moderate Republicans are an endangered species, like friendly French and humble Texans. Democrats are hopeless and helpless, without leadership or a plan, and have turned to drink. Both sides have delusions of adequacy.

Actually, here in Texas we are not divided, at least that’s what the election results show. Texans are not well read, but we are very well red. In the last election, the GOP candidates swept the field in state and most local offices. They elected demagogues, incompetents and scoundrels, easily beating the Democrats’ demagogues, incompetents and scoundrels. When Sam Houston gets beat, you know this is a one-party state. The guy who beat Houston for attorney general, Ken Paxton, got almost 59 percent of the votes despite the fact – or maybe because of it — the Texas State Securities Board said Paxton violated state law by soliciting clients, for pay, for a company that dispenses investment advice even though he had not registered with the board. He was fined $1,000, and a criminal investigation was put off till after the election. Paxton describes it as an administrative error. So we elected as the state’s chief lawyer and law enforcer, a guy who may end up in jail.

Who are Glenn Hegar and Sid Miller? Texans elected them comptroller and agriculture commissioner. We knew our new land commissioner, George P. Bush. He was once a governor and U.S. President, wasn’t he? Did you know John Cornyn was running for re-election? He won with very little effort or campaign funds spent. Who ran against Cornyn? I had to look it up. David Alameel was the sacrificial donkey. Rep. Joe Barton was re-elected to Congress even though at a House committee meeting he apologized to BP, and added its payment for the cleanup of the Gulf oil spill was a “shakedown.” Louie Gohmert was also re-elected although he charged Sem. John McCain “supported Al Qaeda” in traveling to Syria. Shelia Jackson Lee, routinely voted by Capitol Hill staffers as one of the worst members of Congress — each year, an average of half of her staff quits, and one year, all but six of 23 staffers left — won by almost four to one.

A big surprise was who took the wind out of Wendy? Sen. Wendy Davis was nationally known after her Texas Senate filibuster against road-side litter and people who use air quotes. She was the darling of Democrats, not to mention pink sneaker salesmen (they sell pink sneakers, they are not pink themselves, I think). Yet Davis not only got trounced by more than 20 percent, she lost worse than her predecessor as Dem guv candidate, Bill White. White had been a successful mayor of Texas’s largest city, Hidalgo, or maybe Houston. No one else knew who he was, yet White did better than Davis. Go figure.

We can forget the Dems’ favorite euphemism, “changing demographics.” That was another way of saying “the growing Hispanic vote,” which goes Democratic. True, Texas has many newcomers from south of the border, but someone should have told the Dems that those 10,000 Honduran children can’t vote. The Hispanic landslide never materialized and may never.

Another brutal victim of the Republican onslaught was Battleground Texas. It was made up of Obama power types who had engineered his triumphant victories. So they brought their winning ways here to turn Texas blue. Battleground Texas got massacred. It reminds us of the time when Jack Kennedy’s Whiz Kids, a bunch of Ivy League elites who knew everything about politics, got Lyndon Johnson on board as vice presidential nominee for the ensuing campaign. Said Sam Rayburn, looking over the preppy posse, “I just wish one of them had run for sheriff.”

It’s hard for missionaries to grasp the difficulties of running a state-wide campaign here. We are expensive. Texas is separated into 20 media markets, the most of any state. Former Texas Land Commissioner Garry Mauro, who was state director for Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2008, told The New York Times, “It’s like running a national campaign. There are no similarities between Amarillo and Brownsville and Beaumont and Texarkana and El Paso and Austin and Houston and Dallas. These are very separate demographic groups with very diverse interests.”

If you voted the straight-party ticket, you probably voted for the Republican candidates. Harris County had 253,548 Republican straight-ticket or 68 percent. In Montgomery County, 59.3 percent of all votes cast were straight-ticket Republican. Dallas County had 64 percent straight party voting, but with more Dems than GOPers doing so.

Could Battleground Texas or any other such group made any difference? Probably not. So Texas Democrats continue their 16-year losing streak as Republicans swept all 15 statewide races on the ballot. In most cases state-wide the Republican candidates won by more than 20 percentage points. So in the upcoming Legislature there will be 55 Democratic state representatives and 95 GOPers. In the Senate, there will be 12 donkeys and 19 elephants. It’s hardly worth the minority party showing up to vote.

Remember that the Dems ran the Texas Legislature longer than the PRI ruled Mexico or the communists ruled the Soviet Union. But what would Sam Rayburn and LBJ, Lloyd Bentsen and Jack Garner and the other Texas Dems think? It would not be printable. Now back to the party, this one, not the political one. I like wet canapés.

 

Ashby writes-in at ashby2@comcast.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

AS BIG AS TEXAS

November 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

THE OPEN ROAD – As good highway drivers, we keep a sharp eye out for slick roads, dangerous curves and, of course, cops. But now we must also watch out for yet another danger: wildlife which dart across the road in front of us in their suicidal attempt to run up our car insurance premiums. And it’s getting worse. Press report: Across the country, collisions with deer — the most common type of animal-related incident — cost more than $8.3 billion per year, including vehicle repair, medical services, towing, law enforcement time and carcass disposal. The damages increase when larger animals like moose or elk are hit. (Plus in Texas we have lots of wandering horses and cattle.) The story goes on to say that spring and autumn are the worst times because that’s when animals hunt for a mate — or try to avoid hunters hunting them.

The situation is getting worse in the Lone Star State, and there is a unique reason for this: lots more people, which means more houses and shopping centers, more roads and more vehicles on them, all pushing wildlife out of their usual habitats and into our car’s path. So we have a one-two punch. More people moving in, less space for Bambi, causing more collisions.

Dead deer may be the least of our problems, so let’s look at this changing situation and figure out what to do about it. We all know that Texas’ population is growing like deer – by leaps and bounds. Texas added more residents last year over the previous year than any other state, recording more than twice the national rate of population growth. With an estimated population of almost 26.5 million, the Lone Star State remains the nation’s second most populous, behind California. But Texas is catching up by adding an estimated 387,397 residents in the year ending July 1. Actually, many Californians moved from there to here, doubling the change.

Texas ranked fifth in percentage growth over the previous year, behind North Dakota, the District of Columbia, Utah and Colorado. But remember that is percentage growth, not an actual headcount. One Mormon family of 10 moving to Fargo would greatly increase the percentage growth. Much of our increase is projected to continue in urban areas for Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and El Paso, spreading out into their suburbs, fields and forests. But as we have noted before, 96 Texas counties lost population from 2010 to 2012. No one moves to Pecos.

Here a few items which reflect the population explosion. Last August the City of Houston issued more single-unit building permits than did the entire state of California. This obviously only includes construction within the city limits, so urban sprawl is going in every direction. Same with the Metroplex which, we must remember, has a larger population than the Houston area. As a result, it costs more to advertise on a Fort Worth TV station than on a Houston station.

Stephen Klineberg, a Rice University sociology professor who keeps tabs on us, noted that Harris County is projected to see 1 million new residents over the next 20 years, with 3 million coming to the broader Houston region during that time. Should Texas experience the same population growth it had between 2000 and 2010, there will be 55.2 million of us in 2050. If you want to know who is moving where, who should you ask? A moving company, obviously. Allied Van Lines puts Texas atop its list of growing locales for the ninth straight year.

Where shall we put all these new Texans? The vast majority of Texas land — 83 percent — is part of a farm, ranch or forest. But Texas is losing such rural land more than any other state. The state experienced a net loss of nearly 1.1 million acres of privately owned farms, ranches and forests from 1997 to 2012. Another study by the USDA estimates that, between 1982 and 2007, Texas lost 2.9 million acres of agricultural land (more than a million acres more than any other state) to other land uses. Again, this was in large part because of the exploding growth of metropolitan areas. Travis County, for example, lost almost a quarter of its open space while land gained an average of $8,297 per acre in value between 1997 and 2012.

In Robertson County just north of booming Austin, land which has been farmed by families for generations may no longer be farms because of a massive project by Union Pacific Railroad. This farmland comprises the “Brazos River Bottom,” some of the richest agricultural land in Texas. Union Pacific has already purchased farmland and will use its power of eminent domain to condemn the rest — up to 1,800 acres. Any wildlife there will be seeking new homes across the road. Also, while driving through Robertson County watch for wild farmers also driven from their land.

We must plan for this growth. For example, Hispanic students will make up nearly two-thirds of Texas’ public school enrollment by the year 2050, and this doesn’t include the 10,000 youngsters who recently waded here from Nicaragua. Should we teach English as a first language? More students will want to attend The University of Texas-Austin and Texas A&M-Highway 6. Maybe by texting. We shall need a lot more water, but Texas voters agreed to tap – so to speak – our Rainy Day Fund for half of new revenue to build more highways. Not one dime for mass transit, high-speed rail, etc. Just more concrete, less dirt to absorb our rain. Maybe we should have called it the Highway Builders Retirement Fund. More vehicles mean more pollution. Thankfully we already have pure air and clean water. We’ll need more prisons and more landfill. Just imagine the evacuation for Hurricane Billy Bob in 2050. We should start leaving in 2040. So we must get ready for this onslaught, otherwise we’ll look like a deer caught in the headlights. OK, bad example.

 

Ashby is booming at ashby2@comcast.net

 

 

You could dance with the Rockettes

November 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Blogs, Entertainment, Events

THE ROCKETTES ARE PROUD TO ANNOUNCE

NEW OPPORTUNITES FOR LOCAL DANCERS IN THE HOUSTON AREA TO DANCE WITH THE ROCKETTES

 

Aspiring Dancers Will Have The Opportunity To Learn The Rockettes Signature Precision Technique From The Stars of The Radio City Christmas Spectacular

December 7 and 14, 2014 @ 8AM

Houston Metropolitan Dance Center

HOUSTON, TX (November 10, 2014) – MSG Entertainment announced today “Rockettes Experience – On The Road” will come to the Houston Metropolitan Dance Center on December 7 and 14, 2014. The Rockettes Experience offers a chance for aspiring dancers to learn the iconic eye high kicks and signature precision technique of the legendary dance company. The Rockettes Experience will be open to intermediate and advanced dancers ages 10 and up.

The Rockettes Experience is a unique two hour educational dance class in which the Rockettes will teach students the fine art of precision dance and expose aspiring dance students to the world of the Rockettes. At The Rockettes Experience, students will learn two numbers from the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, running December 5 through December 30 at the Hobby Center in Houston.  The workshop will also feature a mock audition for the budding professional dancers, complete with a Rockettes Q&A at the end of the session. All dancers interested in the Rockettes Experience can register online at http://rockett.es/roxexptour.

In addition, aspiring dancers in Houston will have the opportunity to audition for the Rockettes Summer Intensive training program in New York City on December 21, 2014 at the Houston Metropolitan Dance Center. The Rockettes Summer Intensive offers aspiring dancers the unique opportunity to train under Julie Branam, the director and choreographer of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and the Rockettes to learn the signature precision technique of the iconic dance company.  Acceptance into the Rockettes Summer Intensive is a crucial stepping stone for Rockettes hopefuls who aspire to one day kick alongside the Rockettes.

The Rockettes are a legendary dance company and have been a part of the fabric of New York City for more than 85 years. Since their debut in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in 1933, the Rockettes have danced into the hearts of millions and spread Christmas cheer to people of all ages. Their technique continues to be both deceivingly complex and entirely glamorous and their talent and athleticism is unrivaled.

 

 

# # #

MIDNIGHT MADNESS

November 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

GALVESTON – Splice the drumstick, marinate the trampoline, and look lively about it! For we are at this beach resort to re-tell another great Texas yarn of blood, betrayal and heavy drama – hey, this is Texas. Now, everyone knows the Republic of Texas had an army at the Alamo, San Jacinto and lately along the Rio disguised as the Texas Militia. But we also had a Texas Navy and Marine Corps. At one point Texas rented out its entire navy – ships and men — for $8,000 a month to Mexican rebels fighting Santa Anna. President Sam Houston, an army man, hated the navy and refused to pay its costs. He once declared the entire Texas Navy to be pirates and called on other nations to arrest the lot. By the time Houston left the presidency for the first time, the Texas Navy was down to one unsailable ship, two lieutenants, two midshipmen, a doctor, two pursers, and two seamen. The two seamen were both deserters from the U.S. Navy, and the ranking lieutenant was cashiered “in consequence of a repeated inebriety.” That kind of navy.

Our story beings in 1978. While putting together a display of artifacts of the Texas Navy and Marine Corps at the state archives in Austin, an archivist named Carol Jean Carefoot came upon a letter of four pages, written in dark, brown ink on both sides of the paper, by one Richard Pearse of Galveston to “His Excellency Sam Houston, President Rep. Texas Houston.” The postage was marked “Free.” Pearse, using loose spelling, tells the apparently unknown story of the Big Galveston Mutiny.

Here at midnight on April 23, 1838, 13 bad guys including former sailors who had been tossed out of the navy, some deserters and few waterfront riff-raff, sneak up to the Texas naval yard. Due to thin ranks and illness, the yard is guarded by only one sentry with an officer on duty back in an office. Asleep in his quarters is the commander of the Texas Navy, Capt. Thomas Thompson, known as “Mexico” Thompson because he was English-born, served in the U.S. Navy then joined the Mexican Navy to fight against us. He was captured by Texas sailors twice. The second time he saw the light and joined the Texas Navy eventually became its commander. He was recovering from a wound. His wife, who was ill, was also asleep nearby.

These bad characters are led by Giles who was once a pirate with Jean Lafitte, and “has been tried for murder,” currently he is “late of the navy.” Hews is also a deserter who was once charged with the murder of his own wife. Lewis “was discharged from the navy for disorderly conduct, was a chief instigator” and hated Thompson. It seems a lot of sailors felt that way. Quickly the mutineers act. One of them approaches the sentry at the gate, feigning intoxication. As the pretend-drunk is talking to the sentry, Giles creeps up behind him, knocks him down and grabs his musket. The officer back in his office is overpowered by Hews.

The gang makes its way to the Thompsons’ quarters. Giles, who hates Thompson with a fury, and two others, enter the Thompsons’ house and approach the captain’s bedside. All three men “thrust their swords thro’ the mosquito bar, before he or his wife awoke.” Mrs. Thompson sits up, and almost impales herself on a sword. Thompson is repeatedly hit by Giles, who keeps telling the captain to give no alarm. Giles then tells Thompson about the takeover, and orders him to come along. Mrs. Thompson has an idea of what is about to happen to her husband, so she falls on her knees in the bedroom and “implored the miscreants to spare his – Thompson’s – life.” Thompson tries to comfort his wife, and the whole scene is so tear-jerking that the mutineers grow soft.

Mrs. Thompson wrings a promise from the gang that they will not kill her husband, and this allows the captain to make a speech: “Giles, you know, I fear not death. I have found it too often, and too many shapes, to tremble at it now. It is for my wife and children I feel. You have pledged yourself for the safety of my life. I claim the redemption of your pledge.” Pearse writes to Houston: “They were taken by surprise, and attacked by an enemy, of whom, they had not even dreamed. Their own consciences.”

The mutineers take Thompson outside and they immediately fall into an argument among themselves. Shoot him? Hang him? No, they promised his wife. One things leads to another and the gang almost gets in a fight with one another. Capt. Thompson is no dummy. He steps into the arguments and demands to know their grievances with him. “All quailed before his scrutinizing interrogations, and ultimately agreed that if Thompson would promise them impunity from the guard, they would conduct him back to his house. Thus ended this disgraceful transaction. No blood was spilled, and no other injury done, than the loss of some of the arms which the miscreants carried off with them.”

And that’s it. No blood, no swinging from the yardarm, no 30 lashes, either. The 13 just melt into history. But Pearse is not through with Capt. Thompson. The last third of the report ends with: “He is coarse, it is true, and so must every man be, who plays his part, on the theater assigned to Thompson.” And: “Mexico lost an officer she could not appreciate, and Texas, has gained a prise….” Like I said, Pearse had trouble spelling. But who is Pearse? We don’t know. Why did he write President Houston such a detailed and glowing report? He ends with: “I have been here, with my family since the first of this month, and shall fix my reside here, if I find sufficient encouragement, if there are any to be disposed of.” It’s not mutineers you have to watch out for, it’s the job-seekers.

 

Ashby job-hunts at ashby2@comcast.net

 

 

 

Christmas on the Brazos

November 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Events

Texas

The historic Christmas traditions of Texas in the 1800s will transport visitors into the past at the day-long Christmas on the Brazos celebration at the Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site—the very spot Where Texas Became TexasonSaturday, December 13, 2014.  Free and low-cost holiday activities for all ages include period music, craft making, readings, food samplings and sale of artisan gifts, culminating in the park’s popular Candlelight Christmas event at the Barrington Living History Farm featuring vignettes of Texian frontier festivities with music, musket firing, dancing and a candlelit tour of the farm.

Many holiday activities occur throughout the day at the historic site, including:

  • Independence Hall: Christmas stories will be read in the Hall by staff in period clothing at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m.,2 p.m., and 3 p.m.
  • The Star of the Republic Museum will host “make-and-take” period crafts in its Discovery Room from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  (regular admission fees; no charge for the crafts); museum open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The site’s Visitor Center will be open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and will offer music, merchandise made by Texas artisans and samplings of local Texas fare.  In a nod to the 21st century, a Christmas tree and Santa Claus will be there for photo opps (all free).
  • Barrington Living History Farm will be open from noon until 4 p.m. and then will close for one hour to prepare for its Candlelight Christmas event that starts at 5 p.m. and lasts until 9 p.m. (with the last tour leaving at 8 p.m.)

Candlelight Christmas at the Barrington Farm welcomes its guests into the 1850s and fills their senses with the sights, sounds and smells of yesteryear against the backdrop of a star-filled night sky:  smoke and flames from the wood fireplace and bonfire in the field; flickering lanterns and candlelit paths; gunfire and cheers from a rowdy band of Texian revelers.   The evening includes a tour of the historic home of the last president of the Republic of Texas, Dr. Anson Jones, as interpreters recreate how that family would have enjoyed Christmas, including an 1850s Santa.  The slave quarters will also be decorated in typical style for the 1850s.  Each tour culminates in a barn dance where visitors are welcome to join in.

The Candlelight Christmas evening event consists of guided tours for small groups that each last approximately an hour, with tours leaving every 15 minutes starting at 5 p.m.; last tour leaves at 8 p.m.  Advance reservations are strongly recommended at Barrington.Farm@tpwd.texas.gov or 936-878-2214, ext. 246.  Regular admission fees will apply.  Visitors should dress appropriately for the weather and uneven walking surfaces since the event will take place throughout the farm.

Christmas on the Brazos” and Candlelight Christmas will be held Saturday, December 13, 2014, at Washington on the Brazos State Historical Park, 23400 Park Rd, Washington, TX – off Highway 105 between Navasota and Brenham on FM 1155 at Park Road 12.  Visitors are welcome to bring food and drink into the park, but no glass bottles or alcoholic beverages are allowed.  As always, parking is free.

Leashed pets are allowed in park, but are NOT allowed onto farm site or inside buildings.  Sites are accessible for the mobility impaired.   For additional details call (936) 878-2214 ext 246. The park grounds open at 8 a.m. and close at 10 p.m.

Lego Movie at Miller Outdoor Theatre – November 9

November 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Entertainment, Kid's Corner, Parents' Place

lego

 

When: November 9, 2014
Time: 6:30 pm
Where: Miller Outdoor Theatre
6000 Hermann Park Drive
Houston, Texas 77030

Join Community Health Choice for a special, one-night-only viewing of The Lego Movie. Boasting beautiful animation, a charming voice cast and laugh-a-minute gags, this 2014 smash hit is colorful fun for all ages.

FROGZ – November 8th

November 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Entertainment, Kid's Corner, Parents' Place

frog

When: November 8, 2014
Time: 6:30 pm
Where:  Miller Outdoor Theatre 6000 Hermann Park Drive Houston, Texas 77030

Since 1979, the wildly inventive, Oregon-based Imago Theatre has produced tantalizing, transformative theatre that crosses boundaries traditionally associated with language, age and the physical realm. Drawing inspiration from a wide variety of artistic mediums — vaudeville, comedy and illusion, to name a few — Imago is able to construct surreal landscapes through movement and sound.

The troupe’s kaleidoscopic approach to its art is unparalleled; of their work, the New York Times has stated, “Theater like this opens the eyes to the possibilities of exploration in the vast realm of imagination.”

Not easily pigeon-holed, Imago has repeatedly proven unique in its ability to create critically acclaimed, family-oriented productions — their smash hit, FROGZ, effortlessly weaves mime, dance and acrobatics into a must-see spectacle for the entire family.

This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area. Free tickets are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30am-1pm.  If tickets remain at 1pm, the box office will re-open one hour before show time to distribute the remaining tickets. As always, open seating on the hill.

AN ID-EAL SITUATION

November 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

You have already voted, the ballots either have been counted or are being re-counted, depending whether the LBJ School of Ballot Management is in charge. And you are celebrating another victory for democracy. As the Church Lady would say, “Well. aren’t you special.” That’s because you have all the necessary paraphernalia, appear prosperous and Anglo, and spent only 50 seconds at the ballot box to vote Republican.
But let me tell you my experience. I went to vote early. However, our cost-cutting Legislature wanted to hold down Early Election Day expenses by authorizing fewer polling places, so my closest early-day voting spot was moved to the next time zone. “Can I see some ID?” the poll pope asks. I pull out my Texas driver’s license. She frowns. “This is only a Texas driver’s license. What else you got?” Knowing that Texas now has the strictest voter barriers in the nation, I come prepared. I show my birth certificate, military ID and a photo of me draped in the American flag while holding the Constitution.
“Is this the same Constitution that guarantees freedom of the press and all those other nutty left-wing, commie-symp things?” she asks, adding: “You don’t mind if I get out this little pad. Fingerprinting. Can you spit into this dish? DNA, you know. Now hold up your right hand. Do you promise to only vote once, and vote the correct way?” This is confusing, and I’m not sure how Texas is running this election’s operation. The Supreme Court let stand a 5th Circuit Court ruling overturning a lower court’s reversal of an earlier decision which was upheld after officials reviewed the decision using instant replay. The new law excludes other previously accepted forms of ID, such as student identification and out-of-state or expired Texas drivers’ licenses.
The transparent effort behind all these laws is to keep minorities (read: Democrats) from voting. But it is argued, “You have to have a driver’s license or some kind of ID to get on an airplane, buy a car, cash a check.” Correct, but do you realize many of our fellow Texans have not been on airplane and never will. They don’t have a checking account. They don’t have a driver’s license because they don’t have a car. You think all those folks standing in the rain at the bus stop waiting to take the crosstown local so they can transfer to the uptown local and switch to the tram do so because they have a Maserati back home in the garage? Student identify cards are no good, either. That nullifies the young vote which is far more liberal than its parents.
Statistics prove this: The percentages of voters who don’t have matching IDs is three to four times higher in some black and Hispanic neighborhoods in Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. U.S. Census data show many don’t own motor vehicles. In addition, percentages of voters who lack the required photo IDs — or whose names on various IDs don’t match — remain higher than the state average in many border counties with a heavy Hispanic populations, i.e., Democrats. In Presidio County in the Big Bend, nearly a third of voters lack matching IDs, though Presidio has a permanent driver’s license office.
The poll pope smiles. “That doesn’t matter because the Texas Department of Public Safety will issue photo IDs to anyone who needs one to vote.” I ask: “How many have been issued so far – hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands?” She smiles again. “Actually, 295 or a little more than one for each Texas county.”

Earlier, according to press reports, it was estimated that 600,000 to 744,980 Texas voters still lacked government-issued photo IDs now required, according to state officials and the U.S. Department of Justice. Harris County alone still had more than 103,000 of the state’s “non-matching voters.” But now, according to Ross Ramsey in the Texas Tribune, the actual figure may be as high as 844,000. Ramsey reports that a small circle of Texas GOP leaders knew of this higher figure back during the legislative debates but. didn’t tell any others for obvious reasons. If that higher total is true, it could change the makeup of our officeholders. Rick Perry beat Bill White in the 2010 governor’s race by 631,086 votes.
“Just fill out this 67-page questionnaire and that’s it,” says the poll pope. “Here’s an example. ‘Do you feel women should wear burkas after age 12, 16 or 18? Is global warming caused by burning too many heretics? Should the NRA have a direct veto in Congress or simply continue to call in its orders?’ Use back of form if necessary and take your time. We’re open tomorrow, too. I know, all of this may seem unnecessary, but we’ve got to protect the purity of the Texas election system. There are all sorts of bad people out there who would like to corrupt our voting process through fraud.” I reply that I couldn’t agree more. Just how many voter fraud convictions have there been in Texas from, say, 2002 to 2012? She replies: “There have been 18 convictions, no-contest pleas or guilty pleas.” I answer: “There are 13,594,264 registered voters in Texas and in 10 years’ worth of elections at all levels from school board to governor there have been fewer than two fraud convictions a year? We execute more than that.”
She pulls out a sheet of paper. “If you don’t want to fill out that questionnaire, just take this list into the voting booth and vote for these candidates, if you get my drift. Or, to save time, vote the straight ticket.” I reply, “Actually, I’m an independent, and I didn’t check my brain in at the door. The whole nation can see what you are doing here. It is so obvious, so transparent, with these straw men cases of fraud and voter IDs, that you are making a mockery of honest government. So just let me vote.”
“Security!”

Ashby writes-in at ashby2@comcast.net

The Perfect Sales Job

November 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Blogs, Events

THE PERFECT SALES JOB
(Anyone can claim that, however from us it’s a promise)
HOUSTON BASED
H Texas is searching for a well seasoned sales professional offering an immediate position to assume a proven, active, well seasoned, aged account list. Position offers a base salary plus commission.
Employment is immediate and applicant must be available NOW. We want one incredible person who likes to make money and properly manage their accounts – this job delivers – that’s a guarantee.
Qualified persons must send resume detailing past experience in confidence to: publisher@htexas.com. Include time available for immediate interviews!

AWAY ALL QUOTES!

November 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

 

“I’m from Texas and one of the reasons I like Texas is because there’s no one in control.” — Willie Nelson.

“Doesn’t Texas sometimes seem to resemble a country like Saudi Arabia, with its great heat, its oil wealth, its brimming houses of worship, and its weekly executions?” — Martin Amis, “The Palace of the End,” The Guardian, March 4, 2003

“I dearly love the state of Texas, but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part, and discuss it only with consenting adults.” — Molly Ivins.

Yes, it’s time once again to see what people are saying about us – outsiders, insiders, critics and people who just don’t know any better.          Let’s start with politics, always good for a laugh. “I go into the office, I sue the federal government, and then I go home.” – State Atty. Gen. (and future Gov.) Greg Abbott. Then there is U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer of Lubbock who harangued an innocent park ranger in front of TV cameras about a shutdown-shuttered war memorial in Washington, insisting that the ranger and her colleagues should be “ashamed of themselves.” Rep. Neugebauer had voted for the shut-down. U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions of Dallas cemented Franco-American relations with: “We’re not French. We don’t surrender.” Outgoing (as in leaving, not as in friendly, although he may be) Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst told a Tea Party gathering: “I don’t know about you, but Barack Obama ought to be impeached.”

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Sugar Land said that the government is becoming secular because “we stopped realizing that God created this nation, that he wrote the Constitution, that it’s based on biblical principles.” “How can you look at the Texas Legislature and still believe in intelligent design?” — Kinky Friedman. “Crucial to understanding federalism in modern day America is the concept of mobility, or ‘the ability to vote with your feet.’ If you don’t support the death penalty and citizens packing a pistol — don’t come to Texas. If you don’t like medicinal marijuana and gay marriage, don’t move to California.” – Gov. Rick Perry. And this Molly Ivins quote is particularly relevant right now: “Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention.”

Blasts from the past: Gov. Perry quoting another governor, Sam Houston, at a Tea Party rally in Austin: “Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may.” Next up: “Anyone who has seen the auto factories in Detroit and the oil fields in Texas, knows that Japan lacks the national power for a naval race with America.” — Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor. “Van Horn [Texas] is so healthy, we had to shoot a man to start a cemetery.”– Bill Goynes, who coined this civic slogan for the town. Then he was gunned down during an argument and was the first man buried in the Van Horn cemetery, in 1892.

Where’s the remote? Oprah Winfrey, who has hosted her show in both Houston and Dallas, was asked (in Dallas) which Texas city was the best host. She answered, “Dallas won! If you have a rivalry, Dallas won!”

Keep changing channels. Conan O’Brien (in Dallas): Houston is “650 square miles, all of it comprised of burning garbage piles. Houston’s smog is the eighth worst in the USA, and it’s home to every serial killer that’s alive today. It’s industries are known for pollutin’, and it’s the favorite U.S. city of Vladimir Putin. And here’s my last line, and I don’t mean to be callous, but if you drive near Houston just keep going to Dallas.” No wonder O’Brien got fired.

“Don’t Mess With Texas” Now of world-wide fame, it was born in 1985 when the then Texas Dept. of Transportation (now the cutesy TxDOT) asked two Mad Men, Mike Blair and Tim McClure, to come up with a slogan to stem the $20-million-a-year cost of cleaning up Texas’s highways. McClure, spotting all the trash along a road near his house, remembered his mother telling him that his room was messy. The slogan now ranks up there with Hook ‘Em Horns.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a letter to his brother, Edgar Newton Eisenhower, on Nov. 8, 1954: “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”

This is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about folks from Texas: “If someone in a Lowe’s store offers you assistance and they don’t work there, you may live in Texas.                         If you’ve had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong umber, you may live in Texas. If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Texas.”

ESPN personality Colin Cowherd: “There’s only one side of the argument to be on: Johnny Football created this whole entire mess. Tough talkin’, rigid, all-about-cops-and-laws Texas, all lining up today, defending a law-breaker, who lied to his coach, lied to his teammates, lied to the cops — I thought you were all about accountability in Texas? … And it makes you look like hypocrites.”

“For all its enormous range of space, climate, and physical appearance, and for all the internal squabbles, contentions, and strivings, Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America. Rich, poor, Panhandle, Gulf, city, country, Texas is the obsession, the proper study, and the passionate possession of all Texans.”
John Steinbeck, “Travels with Charley.” And finally, the final words from James Michener’s “Texas”: “Never forget, son, when you represent Texas, always go first class.”

Ashby is quotable at ashby2@comcast.net