Friday, May 14, 2010

Screw you US of A! We're Leaving!

I don't know about you guys, but I'm tired of this crap! The Federal Government getting in our business, telling us what we can and can't do. Not to mention that all of this garbage is coming from a black man! Wasting our hard earned tax dollars on frivolous things like only a black could! What's happened to this once great country of ours? When a Texan could hold their head up high and only look down a little on the rest of the poor saps in the country.

I tell you, it's a sad state of affairs we find ourselves in! Clearly, there's only one road left for us Texans: get off this sinking ship before we go down with it! That's right!




It's time for us to take our toys and leave!

It's going to work this time, too! We'll have the law on our side! There's nothing in the Constitution that says we can't go if we don't want to. Besides, we're the only state that was a country before we entered the union, that MUST mean we can quit when we want!

Never mind that the last time we tried leaving the union we got beat down like step children, if it comes down to it, we can take the US this time! That pesky civil war was just a sham! Yeah, never mind all that!

More importantly, if our great Governor Rick Perry says we can do it, then it has to be true! A fine upstanding man like that would never lie to the public! Have you seen his hair? A man with hair that good doesn't lie, you can take that to the bank! So if he says we can secede, we can!

When we leave the US we're going to be fine too! We have our fine neighbors to the south who would definitely recognize our independent nation-hood! They got over wanting us back a long time ago, so they wouldn't be any trouble at all. Even if, for some reason, they went crazy and attacked us we'd be good. We'd just call in the Marines and the Army... What? We wouldn't have any military force to protect us other than the state militias? Well who needs the military? Our militias will be better than any army or marine any day of the week! We've got hunters blood running through our veins and we would be successful against any threat foreign or domestic!

Lastly, we'd be good because I said so! And that's good enough for any country to be!

Stage 5: Original Comentary or
Dear God! What's Happened to our Schools?

The education of our young is a truly important endeavor. With children who are educated well, our future is bright and successful. Unfortunately the trends don’t seem to be going that way. Regardless of what Governor Perry might have to say about schools in Texas, they are declining. In the past semester this fact has been brought to my attention several times. In my TX Government class, my professor had shocking statistics at how poorly we’re doing as a state when it comes to educating our children. I also had a more personal example of this when I had to read some of my fellow students’ writing to complete some of these blog assignments.

My professor introduced me to a yearly publication put out by Texas Senator Shapleigh called, Texas on the Brink. This document is a collection of stunning statistics and figures comparing Texas against the rest of the country. The latest edition, from 2009, revealed that Texas is ranked dead last when it comes to the percentage of people 25 and older with a high school diploma. That means we have less people per capita with a high school diploma than ANYONE else in the country!!! Scary stuff!

The thing that really illustrated just how poorly the schools in Texas are doing was getting to read some of my fellow student’s work. To say that it was largely a disappointing shock is putting it lightly. I understand that in this situation you have to take into account the fact that most of these kids are getting a taste of freedom for the first time, with no one but themselves encouraging them to work, but I don’t think it entirely justifies the poor quality of work displayed by so many. My conclusion: they just didn’t learn it in high school. I am sad that this seems to be the case, but I feel for my poor professors even more. I can only imagine how painful it must be to slog through poorly written, un-proofread garbage that gets turned in anytime they assign an essay project.

I'm sure that there have to be other students who can put together a decent sentence and take the time to look over their work before they turn it in, but I get the impression we are almost an endangered species. That being the case, I wonder what the future of our state will be if we turn out this caliber of student regularly?

Whatever the anser is, grate job state! Keep up the grate wurk!

Stage 4: Critique a Blog or
Laughing at Crazy People

For this installation of writing homework I get to "critique an editorial or commentary from a Texas blog." For this engaging task I picked a blog from The Texas Observer by Forest Wilder entitled: "We Hate the United States": Secessionists rally at Capitol while Perry stays home. In this delightful blog Mr. Wilder relays the plight of the hard working men and women of the Texas Nationalist Movement, all 200 who showed up. These dedicated individuals gathered in front of the Capitol building of Texas on Thursday, April 29th to make a loud and clear statement to our lawmakers and the world: they will not put up with what the Federal Government is doing and demand a swift "move for the restoration of the complete and unadulterated Sovereignty of Texas, explicitly adhering to the 10th Amendment wording of the U.S. Constitution,” or “move immediately for complete Secession from the United States of America."

The Texas Observer is a liberal leaning electronic publication so Wilder had the right audience for his little jabs at this group of crackpots. He conveys the information from the rally fairly well and has enough quotes and examples to let this organization do what they're good at: alienating themselves from everyone else! Wilder concludes the piece by giving his opinion why the Governor didn't show up for the demonstration, stating simply, "these people are toxic."

I agree with what Wilder has to say about this gathering of idiots. I think that he lays out his points and opinions supported by quotes, which almost make the jaw drop, in a clear sensible manner that highlights the asinine nature of these cretinous louts, while maintaining a mostly professional style which seems to keep his credibility intact.

Comment on a colleague’s work #2 or
Stage 8: Because working in order is (still) dull!

My classmate Camron found a gem of a story to write about in his blog Texas / Local Govt. Blog. Apparently some guy tricked a woman in North Austin into believing that he was an officer and to let him stay with her for a while.

Camron did a fine job pointing out the amusing highlights in this article and then laughing at them. He also conveys the information from the story fairly clearly and gives a good sense of what happened.

Camron's style is reasonably good: his sentences make sense and there seem to be few spelling errors, which is a complete pleasure. His tone is lite and amusing which makes his blog quick and fun to read.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Comment on a colleague’s work #1 or
Stage 6: Because working in order is dull!

In her blog Football, Steak and Texas Politics my classmate Brittanie wrote about one of the arguments between Governor Rick Perry and gubernatorial candidate Bill White over the state of our public schools in Texas. I thought it was a delightful piece pointing out the copious amounts of dung that flow from Governor Perry's mouth.

Brittanie focused largely on the creative view point Perry has about the Texas school system and how well it's doing, but also took a moment to review Perry's opinion on where people who "tear down Texas" should go. Finally, she called out Perry to consider letting his own children attend public schools and see how well they do. (I must admit I know nothing about Perry's kids, so have no idea where they go to school or if he even has kids. Either way, it's a fun idea to point out!)

Overall this was a fun, quick read! I got a grin and a chuckle from it which make me quite happy. So, thanks Brittanie! You made this assignment easy and amusing!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Palin-Perry Event: Circus or Political Rally - You Decide

Back in early February former vice president hopeful Sarah Palin was a key speaker at a rally for our current governor, Rick Perry. Austin American Statesman columnist Ken Herman attended this exciting, important part of our political process and shared his experience in his opinion piece: Palin-Perry rally has it all: music, confetti, censorship.

Who am I trying to kid? I don't typically find political party rallies particularly important, especially when you have clowns like Perry involved. When you add Sarah Palin into the mix you have a recipe for folly at which I am only too happy to point and laugh.

So too, is our daring reporter, Ken Herman. His column was a smorgasbord of examples highlighting why this event was more like a three ring circus than a political rally, lightly battered and deep fried in enough respectability to keep it in the paper. Chicken-fried republican anyone?

I'm not here just to poke fun at the republicans (even though Herman's column makes it eeeeeeeeeeeeeasy!), I'm here to talk about what Ken wrote. Who was he talking to when he wrote it? What was he trying to say with his column? How sound were his arguments? How well did he support them, if at all? Let's take a look!

Who was Herman's target audience when he wrote the piece? He writes for a news paper in Austin, Texas; a decidedly liberal city, so I'm willing to bet that had a lot to do with the tone of the column. He wrote to people like me, who wouldn't typically look at a story about a republican rally, people who aren't as happy about the current regime in power.

What was the author trying to say with his column? He was trying to say that this rally was a ridiculous circus of pomp and stupidity, which he conveyed with a little grace and some thinly veiled insults. The only redeeming message shared in this article came, at my total and complete shock, from Sarah Palin. In either a moment of clarity (doubtful) or from a great speech writer (much more likely) Palin said that "contested primaries aren't civil war. They're democracy at work, and that's beautiful", a fact that good ol' Rick Perry doesn't seem to understand.

How sound was Herman's argument? Did he support it? As much as I'd love to say the piece was a slam dunk, I can't. This was an article with a slant, and while it says a lot of the things I want to hear, this sort of event isn't a thing with only one perspective. While Herman had some great quotes, which painted the participants of the rally as some of the dimmer light bulbs in the box, it was rather one sided. Even if I find most of the examples and statements wrong and closed-minded, there are people out there who could refute them as right and clever. (Well... maybe not clever, I mean come on - we're talking about a republican rally.)

At the end of the day, did this article make any difference to me? Did I learn anything grand and amazing? Did reading it matter? Overall: not really. The column said things I would expect to hear from a republican rally and I got some chuckles along the way (which always makes me happy). At the end of the day, though, I enjoyed reading it and that's really all that matters.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010


What does roller-derby have to do with Texas politics, you ask? Well, Austin has decided to allow the Texas Rollergirls to practice at some of it's park and recreation centers for free.

Why is that news worthy? Austin doesn't typically allow non-profit organizations to reserve facilities for free.

So why has Austin made this spectacular decision? Council Member Bill Spelman cited several reasons, including: celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day, many health benefits that sports and fitness can bring to woman and girls throughout their lives, and that "when you see the Rollergirls come and ask you for something, you give it to them, because they're tough."

Why do I think this is important? Because roller-derby is awesome and I applaud the City of Austin for recognizing that this riveting sport not only has high entertainment value, but can also positively impact the lives of women and girls who participate in it.

To read the whole story, you can find it in the Austin American Statesman. Also, for more information about roller-derby you can check out the Texas Rollergirls for flat track excitement and TXRD for banked track thrills!