To quote Billy Joe Shaver, "It was fun while it lasted, but it didn't last long." Ah, well.
"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)
To quote Billy Joe Shaver, "It was fun while it lasted, but it didn't last long." Ah, well.
Wow, what a sad week. Volma Overton, former president of the Austin NAACP passed away overnight. Volma was responsible for the integration of the AISD -- he filed the desegregation lawsuit in his daughter's name.
So the president has, as expected, nominated Scalia-lite to the Supreme Court in order to appease his base in a time of, shall we say, personal need for his administration.
In the Crass Christian Product of the Week category, I give you the iBelieve. unBelievable is more like it.
Texas won. After scaring us half to death in the first half.
Vince, darlin', we need to talk. You know that I believe you can do no wrong. You're leading our team to their best season in years, and I fully expect you to take us to Pasadena so we can enjoy those sideline passes. And I know that you do your best work in come-from-behind situations, especially when it involves teams from Stillwater. But my heart can't take many more first halves like tonight's against OSU. OSU! The team that couldn't do anything against the other OSU last year at the Alamo Bowl. Baby, please. Turn on the magic in the first quarter in the next few games. Okay? Thanks.
How on earth can Yale shut down tailgating at The Game at halftime? The Yale Bowl only holds 64,000 fans, and there are usually another 50,000 outside who never go in. I certainly agree that it's a good idea to cut down on the binge drinking, but the way to do that is to stop allowing the undergraduate colleges to bring moving vans full of kegs and hard liquor, not to kick out the wealthy alumni and their beautiful, elaborate tailgates (Gilmore Girls didn't cover the half of it). I'm really mad, especially since I'm finally getting to go back to The Game this year. I probably won't be able to get a ticket inside, but I could've spent a lovely afternoon catching up with old friends in the golden autumn light outside the stadium. Instead, we'll be forced to retreat to Anna Liffey's or, goodness help us, Richter's. Darn you, Betty!
It's not as good as a whole new album, but the preview tracks of Wilco's upcoming live album, Kicking Television, are fantastic. Why they pushed it back to November 15 is unclear, but it'll be worth the wait if they've managed to capture the feel of a live show on CD. AND, I got an email today saying that my tickets to Tweedy's solo show in Kingston are on their way to Austin!
It's fun to see the White House get its come-uppance, but this is a really sad day for America. Tom Delay is wrong - it's not a crime to be conservative. It is a crime to behave as though you are in any way above the law, even if you fully believe that your cause is just. What makes America great is that we abide by the rule of law -- and the laws are developed not by fiat, but by a representative, collaborative process. When our leaders start behaving otherwise, as both Delay and Libby are accused of so doing, we run the risk of eroding that principle. And places where the rule of law doesn't prevail are not fun places to live. I don't want my country to be a place like that. I want my country to be a place where public officials are held to the highest standards of ethical behavior, where the rule of law prevails, and where we develop policies that give all people the chance to pursue their dreams.
So Karl Rove is off the hook, for now, and says he's looking forward to a "fantastic weekend." I'm assuming he won't be running in the Marine Corps Marathon, but it is supposed to be lovely in DC this weekend. I'm sad not to be there for my usual last weekend in October trip! Good luck to all the runners, and Karl, since we run into each other everywhere (more on that if/when he gets indicted), I'll see you at CityZen on the 11th.
I frequently serve as a source or provide background information for journalists on the situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. My specific areas of expertise are:
For more information, contact me here.
Burnt Orange Report (several of whose posters are my former students - way to apply those reasoning skills!) posts online and files an election law complaint concerning the unbelievable letter on Prop 2 that Representative Chisum sent out ON TEXAS HOUSE LETTERHEAD to pastors in his district.
Darn you, Attorney, for getting me hooked on this silly site. But this list of "The names of the president and the members of the presidential cabinet according to the etymological backgrounds of their first and last names, and of their middle names when available" is just too funny.
Completely unsurprisingly, Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination to the Supreme Court. Why the White House decided to do this in the week that it's very likely that one or more senior White House officials may be indicted on Plame affair-related charges is beyond me. It was obvious at least two week ago that Miers needed to withdraw -- why wait until a totally horrible week (in which, sadly, US deaths in Iraq also topped 2000) to get it over with? Has Karl Rove lost his mojo?
There won't be much news on Texas in Africa today, primarily because I stayed up way too late last night trying to figure out who Barbara Bush's date to the Astros game was. Oh, yeah, and watching them not capitalize on a number of opportunities to end the thing with a win. Just when I was starting to get over my bitterness about the Astros eliminating my Braves from the playoffs and cheer for them again, they let us down. Houston.
Rosa Parks passed away this evening at the age of 92. Her simple act of defiance against injustice sparked changes that undermined a whole system of fear and hatred.
So putting aside the fact that Prop 2 is a mean-spirited attempt to legalize discrimination, it looks like Representative Chisum and company really messed up the language on this one. Save Texas Marriage is arguing that passage of the constitutional amendment will make all Texas marriages illegal because of the failure to separate "marriage" as something separate from "identical to ... marriage."
Texas is ranked #1 in the BCS standings!
Those Photoshoppers are something else. Thanks, FakeDelayMugshot.com!
Want to know why I don't like Tom Delay? It's not because of the ethics committee violations (he ain't the only one, and that applies to both sides of the aisle), or the fact that he dragged my alma mater's name through the dirt a couple of years ago at First Baptist Pearland. No, the reason he upsets me is this map. It was not right for a national figure to interfere with the state legislature to force through unnecessary and unfair redistricting. There is no reason I should have liveed in a Congressional district last year with people who are 200 miles away in Houston! And there's no reason Austin shouldn't have a Democrat representing the whole city. Austin is largely Democratic, and we deserve to have our interests represented in Congress.
WHAT a day!!! Up before sunrise and on the road by 8. Ben and I staked out our spot for the tailgate at 8:30, then walked over to Meyers Stadium to meet Patrick to see ESPN's College GameDay Live. It was SO much fun! Patrick jumped up and down with my sign enough that you could see the bouncing "Vince" over Herbstreit's shoulder. Getting to see Lance Armstrong up close was a treat, too. But the best part was the fun signs that people came up with. My favorites: "My grandma could put up 70 against Sam Houston State," "All I want for my birthday is a kiss from Lee Corso," and "Vince Doesn't Need a Push."
It's my favorite weekend of the year. When I was growing up, the third weekend in October (whether actually the third or not) was the big Tennessee-Alabama game weekend. It was always so pretty, the leaves were changing, it was crisp and cool, and everyone was excited about the big game, whether they cheered for the Vols or the Tide. (By the way Ken Mobley, wherever you are, whatever you're doing (oooh! apparently professional golf!), you still owe Kristen and me $10 for that bet we made in carpool over the results of the 1986 game (Alabama 56, Tennessee 28). We won't charge interest.).
My attorney informs me that the word is "tortious," not "tortial." It's fancy lawyer-speak for "someone did something really rotten and now I have to clean up the mess." Or something like that. It is NOT related to fancy, cake-like desserts served at high-falutin' lawyer parties. Thank goodness he's working pro bono.
This has been something of a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad week for me. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that it involves 1 unfinished dissertation proposal, 5 sleepless nights, 2 possible lawsuits concerning defamation of character and/or something called "tortial" something (who knew that was a word?), 1 leaking toilet that will theoretically be replaced by 7pm, 3 incompetent human resources employees, 4 meetings with disgruntled supervisors, and a lot of time on the phone with 1 very friendly customer service representative who can do absolutely nothing to answer the question. And that doesn't even cover tonight's dinner with ex-fundamentalists, planning for Saturday's tailgate, attending a high school play, and critiquing three friends' dissertations, which are not terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad things, but are things that need to be done, along with the laundry, cleaning up the mess in the bathroom from the above leak, talking to the Advisor, and sleeping.
He smiled for the cameras. But, wow, the lighting in the Harris County Jail certainly is unflattering. (Photo credit: someone who was probably not Holly Hunter and who probably did not say, "My fi-ance left me," with a tear, to Nicolas Cage).
Okay, not really. But today is one of the happiest days of the year -- the release of the newest Lemony Snicket novel in the Series of Unfortunate Events. I LOVE these books! They only come out once a year (usually in September or October) and Ginger and I always make sure to go to the bookstore on the release date. Today was extra-special because I got to stand in a long line to get a wristband to hear Lemony Snicket speak at the Texas Book Festival next weekend! Ginger heard that he plays the accordion and sings gloomy songs when he speaks! And he'll be signing books!
My friend Eddie Sanders' piece on mining in the eastern Congo appeared in today's Los Angeles Times. It's a really good explanation of the root of most of the DRC's problems. Notice the bit on the "illegal taxation." This - and thousands of things like and unlike it, some good, some bad - is what my dissertation is about. As good as Eddie's words are, though, Wally Skalij's pictures of the crisis, including this one, say more than words ever can about just how sad it is.
"'I'd trust her with my wife and with my life,' former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice John Hill told reporters on the White House driveway after a meeting with President George W. Bush." - In today's WP. Huh?
...you can still help Vince win the Heisman by voting here. Yes, it's early, but I'm not even pretending. Our boy deserves this, even if Reggie Bush is a "more exciting" player according to those silly ESPN analysts who seem to be campaigning for all things USC every week. Vince has proven that he can deal with whatever running backs and receivers he's got. Let's see how Reggie does without Matt around next year.
So it's a year after the election. America's working poor are still suffering, opportunities are still uneven across the country, and John Edwards is still on the campaign trail. He's speaking on poverty issues at UT on Monday, October 24. You can get free tickets (and see my former student/future UT student body president) here.
People who love Target as much as me! I am a Target addict. No, seriously. I'm there five times a week. Where else in this world can you get toilet paper, deoderant, AND cute shoes-that-last-two-years -- all in the same red cart? My entire outfit for church today was from Target. I used to be able to walk to Target, before moving to the Ranch, which is a tragic, ten-minute drive from the nearest Greatland. But I just thank my lucky stars that I live within 20 minutes of at least 8 different Targets. Skye has to organize her weekends around trips to the 'burbs to go Targeting up there in the big city. Anyway, this week I discovered the fabulous Slave to Target blog. All things Target by two crazy moms who apparently go there more often than I do. And they link to a word that's been needed for awhile...
Here's a site to check out: Church Marketing Sucks. While I agree with the title sentiment, the goal of the authors is apparently to help churches market more effectively, not to actually outright disagree with the idea because their goal is to help churches be more authentic in their advertising, although to be fair, they say that it's a tricky question.
My team won. They won big. They won convincingly. They're going to be undefeated when the regular season ends, should be able to crush Colorado again at the Big XII Championship (in the "neutral" site - Houston) and will definitely be playing in a BCS game -- hopefully the championship.
I've had a generally miserable week (preparing a proposal draft to turn in last night, insurance cancelled by mistake, someone wrote a dissertation that's way too close to what I'm doing, advisor saying I can't defend this semester, dreaming about my proposal, issues with mr. stupidity, generally aware that The Advisor is disappointed in me and my unlofty goals, etc.). So this afternoon, between having my proposal, um, shall we say, dissected by The Advisor and letting my wonderful research group attack it (thanks, y'all!), I wandered over to the Harry Ransom Center to check out the wonderful Ansel Adams exhibition that's on right now. It is so good - if you are anywhere near Austin between now and January 1, you owe it to yourself and all that is right and good in this world to get over to campus and check it out. It's free and fantastic. Details on hours and all that here.
I am really disgusted (but not surprised) that the Executive Director of the BGCT appears to be taking sides on Proposition 2. Shouldn't Baptists be free to disagree on political issues? Texas in Africa feels strongly that Texas Baptists are getting themselves into a mess by getting involved in issues like this - a silly, frivolous, hateful, and most importantly unnecessary constitutional amendment. Gay marriage is already illegal in Texas. And prop 2 will apparently throw some civil contracts (like common law marriages) into the loop, which seems like a dumb thing to do if you're trying to strengthen marriage. If people would spend more time strengthening their own families and communities, we wouldn't have this nonsense. To quote a bumper sticker my friend Jess has on her car from Nebraska's "Defense of Marriage Act" battle: "Our marriage doesn't need defending. Sorry about yours."
Because no one knows just when it will happen, and the ushers won't be there to direct...
This UNICEF campaign is apparently supposed to help raise funds for the Congo. How I'm not sure, but I'm willing to bet that my friends at MONUC didn't come up with it. They're too busy disarming real insurgents in a real war.
UT released next fall's football schedule today. Looks like our season tickets will be pricey - we are playing seven home games, including two OSU's, the Aggies, and Baylor. But I'm not complaining, after this year's boring home game schedule.
When Dave first mentioned Explosions in the Sky last fall in a discussion about the Friday Night Lights soundtrack, I didn't think much of it. Their music was the perfect acompaniment to the film's wonderful evocation of the West Texas I know and love, but I didn't really get it until the winter, when Stephen started going on and on about how wonderful their last album, The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place, is and, well, he was right. Now lucky us - today EITS has reissued its first album, 2000's How Strange, Innocence, of which only 300 copies were burned. It's not yet available on iTunes (curses on you, Apple!), but your local independent record store should have it, even outside of Austin, Texas.
I should've gone to law school:
|You Should Get a JD (Juris Doctor)|
Aside from corporate-sponsor nonsense on the nomenclature, this weekend's 100th Texas-OU game should be fantastic. The Horns seem unstoppable this year (at least until the Rose Bowl) and there's good reason to believe that our recent string of bad luck (please! five years is NOT a curse) will end in less than 48 hours. (If I'm wrong, well, at least I don't have to go home to Mobilehoma.)
"Now, for all its failings and its perversions over the last 2,000 years—and as much as every exponent of this faith has attempted to dodge this idea—it is unarguably the central tenet of Christianity: that everybody is equal in God's eyes. So you cannot, as a Christian, walk away from Africa. America will be judged by God if, in its plenty, it crosses the road from 23 million people suffering from HIV, the leprosy of the day.
So, Americans don't understand the establishment and free exercise clauses. Shocking. It is mind-boggling to me that people don't understand how dangerous it is to set the precedent of allowing the U.S. government to favor one religion over another, whether it's by posting sacred texts in public spaces or by allowing government-sponsored prayer in public buildings. "But ours is the right one" is the common fallback as to why the New Testament should be allowed but the Qu'ran shouldn't. Maybe, but the problem is that almost no evangelicals argued that when evangelicals weren't in possession of so much power. Being a religious minority makes you view religious rights quite differently. Do people not understand that evangelicals are not the fastest-growing demographic group in the U.S.? Do you really want to set a precedent that would, somewhere down the line, result in having prayers that are not of your faith said in Texas public school classrooms?
I traveled to and lived in the DR Congo (and elsewhere in central Africa) in July/August 2005, and February - June 2006. The eastern city of Goma is the main place I lived and worked. Posts from the main trip are in the archives; here are some of the most interesting:
The track listing for Wilco's upcoming live album is out! It looks suspiciously similar to most of their live shows lately. That's why they call it a live album, kids.
I had a fantastic time in Franklin. It was nice to get away to a place where 1) mama's cooking and 2) it's 40 degrees cooler than Austin. Seriously. Friday night as Whit and I were headed to the Bluebird, I saw a temperature sign that said 54, meaning it was exactly half the temperature of Austin last Sunday. It was so nice. Daddy and Mama and I went to my favorite restaurant, the Loveless Cafe, for some of their super-fantastic biscuits on Wednesday when I arrived. I went to the funky new record shop on South 8th, Grimey's, and caught an in-store by Matisyahu, who is doing something totally unique: Hasidic Reggae. It was really cool and as an added bonus, you'll be able to see the set on MTV2 sometime soon.