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That's so 2004
Rick Perry's campaign has trotted out an unfunny anti-French radio ad attacking Chris Bell's voting record in Congress. OK, some of the audio is cute, like the "Mr. Way Too Liberal for Texas Guy" theme song, borrowed from a Bud Light commercial. But then comes the tired and predictable: "You voted to let the United Nations oversee elections in America, because no one stands up for Democracy like the French! So wear your fancy beret with pride, Congressman Bell. Liberals everywhere salute you." Oh, please. Is this the same Rick Perry who said, "words matter," when he tsk-tsked Kinky Friedman's ethnic jokes? If Perry is so bent on using stereotypes to attack Bell, seems like a Mexican sombrero would be more 2006-ish because, as the radio ad points out, Bell is soft as brie (our words) on immigration.

8:26AM Mon. Oct. 30, 2006, Amy Smith Read More | Comment »

Good Odds for the Democrats
I know better than to get my hopes up. I've seen Democrats snatch defeat from the jaws of victory before. But let's face it, the handwriting on the wall does indeed seem to favor the donkeys this time around. Exhibit A: Look at the current polling on Majority Watch. Of the 54 House districts that RT Strategies/Constituent Dynamics is polling, 26 of them are projected to flip from one party to the other (27, if you count the Vermont seat that Independent Bernie Sanders is giving up, although he was functionally a Democrat). Of those 26, not one of them is projected to flip D to R. They're all predicted to go from Republican to Democrat. And that's not even counting Tom DeLay's former seat in TX-22, which seems certain to flip to Democrat Nick Lampson (EDIT: Or maybe not – see my new post on this race in the "Key Texas Races" section). Now of course, several of those races are within the margin of error, so a few could stay in Republican hands. But since the Dems need 16 to take back the House, that's a pretty healthy bit of breathing room. On top of that, there are five seats that are considered dead heats at the moment – and all five are currently in Republican hands. So put another way: Of the 202 currently Democratic seats, not one is under threat. The question is not whether the Democrats will gain, it's just whether they will gain enough. Any Yella Dog has to like those odds.

11:13PM Fri. Oct. 27, 2006, Lee Nichols Read More | Comment »

With $5 million in repairs and improvements promised within for Austin Studios, Prop. 4 would be a shot in the arm to Austin's film scene. Understandably, the local film community is psyched about the proposition, and is pulling out the stops in promoting the prop. The talented crew at 05min Productions recently created an eye-popping, retro-chic commercial endorsing Prop. 4 on behalf of I'm for 4 PAC. And unlike those infamous “Vote for 4” fortune cookies reported earlier here, it has a campaign finance disclaimer prominently attached at the end.

But a completely different problem is – the clip appears to be a copyright infringement on the film it samples. The commercial is composed of clips from the 1970 Sidney Portier film They Call Me Mister Tibbs, sequel to the Academy Award winning In the Heat of the Night. Ingeniously, 05min Productions edited scenes from the film where its characters discuss the fate of their own Prop. 4. It's an ingenious repurposing of the original film, seamlessly pulled off.

5:14PM Fri. Oct. 27, 2006, Wells Dunbar Read More | Comment »

Just So We're Clear on This …
Due to an editing error, this week's paper version of the Chronicle accidentally cut Mary Beth Harrell's name off of our list of endorsements. So, lest anyone think we've retracted it: The Austin Chronicle enthusiastically endorses Mary Beth Harrell for Congressional District 31, which stretches from the Williamson County portion of North Austin, through Fort Hood, and up to Erath County. She is the best choice over that district's current wretched excuse for a congressman, John Carter. For the full-length text of our endorsements, click here.

4:07PM Fri. Oct. 27, 2006, Lee Nichols Read More | Comment »

Breaking: Libertarians Are Cheap-Asses
Warning that "seven bad bonds enable seven bad habits," Travis County Libertarian Party schoolmarm Wes Benedict announced today his party opposes all seven City of Austin bond propositions. (On an unrelated note, WTF's up with the SRV statue on their website? Perchance, if the bonds do pass, would it be said "the sky is crying?")

Their brutal opinion, prop-by-prop, after the jump...

10:37AM Fri. Oct. 27, 2006, Wells Dunbar Read More | Comment »

Stay the Course?
On the heels of W's recent assertion that he's "never been stay the course" comes this bruising campaign commerical from the Democratic National Committee.

4:58PM Thu. Oct. 26, 2006, Wells Dunbar Read More | Comment »

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District 31 on PBS's 'Now'
Mary Beth Harrell's campaign tells us that PBS's excellent political news program Now will be focusing in on Congressional District 31 in its Nov. 3 episode. It's easy to see why Now would be interested, given the dynamics of the race: In a district that revolves around Fort Hood (and reaches all the way down to north Austin), the hawk is incumbent Republican John Carter, who has no military experience, while the Iraq War opponent is Democrat Harrell, a longtime military wife who currently has two sons serving, including one in Iraq. Now airs on KLRU (Air Channel 18, Cable Channel 9) every Friday at 7:30pm, with repeats Sundays at 10:30am and Wednesdays at 4:30am.

3:18PM Thu. Oct. 26, 2006, Lee Nichols Read More | Comment »

There Will Be No Run-Off for Governor!
And we put it in the headline because, based on some questions we've fielded, several of you apparently aren't clear on that point. Only Primary, Municipal, and Special Elections have run-offs. General Election races do not. Whoever gets the most votes on Nov. 7 will be our new governor - period - even if that candidate has less than 50% of the vote, as will almost certainly be the case this year.

1:59PM Thu. Oct. 26, 2006, Lee Nichols Read More | Comment »

Leave it to the Travis County Republican Party to piss in the punchbowl. Stacked against Sysiphean odds this election, they recently came out against the bulk of the city's seven bond propositions. As the Statesman reports today, the TCRP statement reads "Austinites should be concerned about the City Council's excessive and frivolous spending and pressure them to focus on providing basic services well." Burn! Only time will tell if their effort has the same sweeping reach of their No Blue Dot campaign. For now, the TCRP is the first (and likely only) group to endorse against specific bonds. But then again, the Statesman hasn't entered the bond endorsements fray just yet...

1:46PM Thu. Oct. 26, 2006, Wells Dunbar Read More | Comment »

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