Shawn Williams on CNN Any Minute Now

…for a blogger’s round table. May be delayed by the breaking (and unsurprising) story of lifelong rent-seeker, opportunist and leech Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Bag, doing his quisling thing and changing his affiliation from the Republicrat party to become a Demoplican.

Shawn just texted me he’s due to go on any minute now. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Clip’s on his site here.

Daily FB (and other) Comments Thread

Here it is again. Speak your piece on FB items such as the running Burl Osborne commentary on whether the new media will destroy the old. (Initial post, and yesterday’s first follow up.) Or whatever else strikes your fancy.

Also, check Matt Pulle‘s latest story for Texas Watchdog on how the Republicans are striking back at the man who brought down Rep. Tom DeLay.

Or get into whether a mere girl who sometimes blogs American Idol can also provide witty commentary and depth insights into bigger issues. (My vote is yes.)

Then there’s the debut tonight of Dallas DNA which looks at the ongoing exonerations from DNA evidence of now a score of Dallas prisoners. Can’t wait.

Sound off.

Guest Blog: Tom Erickson

Tom Erickson won an impromptu Twitter movie quote quiz I came up with while waiting in a drive-through. His dubious prize? A guest blog.

(Heads up: If you’re not up on the Classics, watch this Duck Soup trailer first.)


grouchomarxBy Tom Erickson

I’m happier than Rick Perry at a Tea Party to guest blog on Trey’s turf. I’m an “occasional blogger,” who, except for the annual One-of-my-new-years-resolutions-is-to-blog-more-often post, sticks mainly to making snarky comments.

While it’s tempting to go with how I wonder if the right to bear arms applies to anything other than 18th Century militias, or my flirtation with the idea that handguns should be banned, I’ve decided to focus on the topic that earned me this forum: Duck Soup.

Trey and I may be polar opposites on guns, but at least we have similar tastes in classic film. Trey will argue his position until the cows come home, never wavering, but at the end, he’s channeling Ron Burgundy: agree to disagree.

So Duck Soup had me thinking about how a little film from 1933 says so much about today’s political leaders. For those who haven’t seen it (shame on you), here’s a quick recap.

Several local and state leaders remind me of Rufus T. Firefly — from the former president who invaded Iraq with the blessing of big oil and bigger business interests to the current governor who declares war on Washington, only to prove himself a sucker for Beltway bucks and always in need of federal disaster aid.

But perhaps the best example is our mayor, Tom “Big Hands” Leppert. Chosen from anonymity by the moneyed elite of the Dallas Citizens Council, Mayor Tom has taken a “my way or the highway” approach to any and all endeavors, from “signature bridges” (I still don’t understand how they will be able to sign their names), to the Trinity Parkway to the Convention Center hotel.

Much like the people of Freedonia, who ask their leader for a better way of life, us Dallasites dream of more police to patrol our streets, which are in need of repair, better representation in City Hall, and development projects that will benefit the general public, not just a few backers of the political regime.

Mayor Tom even has his own uprising of sorts, RIP Dallas, fighting for “No” votes in all sorts of potentially libelous ways.

Just as Rufus T. Firefly and his mad band of freedom fighters were ultimately victorious over the takeover-happy nation of Sylvania, some of us common folks hope turn back the hotel army.

But with a Mrs. Teasdale of his own, a corporation that’s not so eager show its hand when it comes to nearby property holdings, this battle may go to Mayor Tom.

Tuesday Roundup: Life Begins at 17 Years and One Day Ago

We interrupt your regularly scheduled morning spin and snark for an important message from the, er…president. Yeah. That’s right. President. Of this blog. Look, it’s my little empire here, so deal with it. Regular programming returns later. This is ME time. (Health Warning: If you’re diabetic, skip this post.)


In any man’s life, you’ll find any number of critical milestones that shape who he becomes. I don’t mean all the “hold muh beer and watch this” moments. I mean the good stuff. The great leaps and the right turns. The stuff that makes a man a better man. Now for me, most of these were as foreseeable as they were ultimately fortunate.

For instance, there was the moment I finally accepted I’d never get Superman’s job (despite my Adonis-like build) when I grew up, and instead chose to take his day job as a mild-mannered (no snickering you bastards) journalist. There was the quiet evening almost seven years ago when my idea of responsible family planning was to say to the missus “Hey, don’t bother getting your pills this month.” She shrugged a “sure.” The result is almost six years old now, and she’s my boss. And there was that landmark liquid lunch at Al Biernat’s with a certain magazine editor best known for his cruel reputation. The guy actually listened to my stupid ideas and lame story pitches, and then gave me a second chance to get it right. That turned into a four years and still running relationship with the magazine (guess which) and a slightly awkward bromance.

All good times. Definite life changers. But I saw each one coming like they were waving flags and doing a line dance.

The Big One? Fair to say I never saw it coming. Hit me 17 years and one day ago exactly. Changed everything.

I was covering a trial. She was on break from jury duty in the court room next door. I took one look and stopped cold. Stunned. She was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. I walked past her a half dozen times absolutely dazed and confused. Now, I wasn’t the sort to just walk up and start hitting on a girl like I am now. But I’m not exaggerating one bit when I tell you something inside me said that if I didn’t say hello to this girl right then and there, I’d regret it for the rest of my life.


[Read more...]

Jimmy Carter Won’t Just Shut Up and Go Away

Jacob Sullum, also a journalist based in Dallas and a friend whom I embarrassed with my entry-level poker playing at a game he hosts, talks about Jimmy Carter‘s latest inanity regarding my second favorite subject. Here’s a taste:

In a New York Times op-ed piece, former President Jimmy Carter presents revival of the federal “assault weapon” ban, which President Obama supports, as a no-brainer, since the guns that were covered by the expired 1994 law are “designed only to kill police officers and the people they defend.” Evidently, if you aim one of these firearms at a home intruder, a prairie dog, or a paper target, instead of firing a bullet it harmlessly unfurls a little flag that says “Bang!” Having polled himself and his hunting buddies, Carter reports that “none of us wants to own an assault weapon, because we have no desire to kill policemen or go to a school or workplace to see how many victims we can accumulate before we are finally shot or take our own lives.”

Read the rest here.

John Jay Myers Talks About the Subject I’m Flogging Like a Deceased Equine

A bit more reach than grasp in quality, but it’s earnest and offers a solid economics and civics lesson.

(It violates my personal online video diet limit of 2 minutes tops, so if you’re short on patience like me, at least skip to about the 6 minute mark for when he really rips into one of the groups opposing Prop 1.)

Matt Pulle’s Eyes Are on Texas. Lawmakers. You Know, the Dirty Kind.

Matt’s based in Dallas so that’s good enough reason to point you to his story about two South Texas lawmakers who have what would — in any world but Texas politics — be a blatant conflict of interest.

Read it here.

Is RIP Dallas Ripping Off Rage Against the Machine?

RIP Dallas has unveiled its latest video ad on the Youtubes. Apparently, 21 people with red umbrellas hit Victory and spelled out NO. Or NU, to be technical.

Here’s the video, which the astute viewer will note uses Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls on Parade” as a soundtrack.

I have an email into the group to find out whether they secured the rights to use the song.

Given that it’s Rage Against the Machine and what Rage stands for, I’m betting that like the word spelled out at Victory, it’s a big red NO.

(Fits the pattern and creates a FAIL trifecta: RIP Dallas stole an idea (the freeze) and executed it poorly, they stole the music and executed it poorly, and they want a public works project that, when it starts bleeding from poor execution, will require the city to dip into Dallas taxpayers wallets.)

A Comment About Comments, and the Daily FB Comment Thread

We got the rush of FB bashing comments on Day One, and then a slowdown on Day Two. But since then, comments have been coming in at great volume and of great quality, despite the point made in friend Gordon‘s but-gusting Quick column.

So we continue the daily FrontBurner comment thread. Have your say on any FB topic (ID it with the FB headline and link if you know HTML) and speak your mind.

Or talk about any topic that strikes your fancy, FB related or not. Links are always good. Fire away.

Usual rules apply: no excessive goddamn obscenity, clever forgives much, attacks on me are always encouraged, and while I’ve only ever deleted comments at a commenter’s request, I reserve the right to pull anything too far over the line. Note: It hasn’t arisen yet because everyone has been great, but I won’t create a list of rules people can play outhouse lawyer with, though I will explain my reasons if I ever pull a post.

Monday Roundup: We’re All Gonna Die, Part 19

  • The scores of ads for erotic services that are posted daily on Craigslist are taking a lot of time and effort for police in the Dallas area. And nationwide, for that matter. It’s a serious challenge for law enforcement. Oh so serious. But say, here’s a thought: how about stop wasting time criminalizing acts between consenting adults, and instead go after real criminals instead? Why the Sam Hill is it illegal to charge someone for something that’s legal if you give it away? The damn vice laws are downright anti-capitalist, by gum.
  • Dallas DNA premiers this week on Investigation Discovery channel. It’s nice to have a DA focused on justice for a change, and not just phony conviction numbers.