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Public Citizen Tom “Smitty” Smith Looks Back on a Life Well Lived
The man in the white hat's relentless hard work and willed optimism
News Story  December 15, 2016, by Michael King
"...The appearance of Public Citizen Execu­tive Director Tom Smith at the November meeting of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club was not unusual in form. The man known universally as "Smitty" schmoozed with the group in the crowded back room of Scholz Garten, waited through the regular meeting business, and eventually walked to the speaker's platform to deliver a talk on the latest Texas and Austin developments in renewable energy..."

Tom “Smitty” Smith Announces Retirement
Public Citizen director to remain during search for new director
DAILY News  September 20, 2016, by Michael King
"...Tom Smith – known universally as “Smitty” – will today announce his retirement as director of the Texas office of Public Citizen. Smith has held the office since 1985, and at 67, he says, “My spirit’s willing, but my body is worn out.” He will remain in the job until the advocacy organization finds a suitable replacement...."

Campaign 2018: Can Anyone Beat Lamar Smith?
Candidates line up to challenge longtime congressman
News Story  June 8, 2017, by Michael King
"...Ready or not, Campaign 2018 has begun. An early local kickoff occurred Saturday evening, June 3, at the Scoot Inn, where seven Democratic candidates trumpeted their determination to "Replace Lamar Smith," the 31-year GOP incumbent in U.S..."

The Effort to Unseat Rep. Lamar Smith Is On
Democrats line up to challenge climate-science denying GOP incumbent
News Story  May 25, 2017, by Michael King
"...If you haven't yet declared your candidacy to unseat Congressman Lamar "Know-Nothing" Smith, the longtime GOP incumbent in HD 21, you may want to get in line. At least six Democratic hopefuls have already queued up to compete to unseat the climate-science denying, scientist-censoring Smith, and others may be waiting for just the right moment to declare for next spring's Dem primary..."

Whit Smith's Hot Jazz Caravan
The soundtrack of Django Reinhardt lounging in the back of Bob Wills' Airstream
Music Story  March 3, 2006, by David Lynch
"...So how did Whit Smith feel when Patti Smith asked the local guitarist to come to Electric Lady's Studio A to add twangy Telecaster to her 1996 Gone Again album?..."

Can Tom Zigal Really Say That?
"The truth is, I didn't know a thing about the world of mystery writers and crime publishing," Tom Zigal, the author of three mystery novels, says. Chronicle writer Dick Holland discovers why Zigal might say such a thing and why it may not matter in light of Pariah, Zigal's new installment in the Kurt Muller mystery series.
Books Story  September 17, 1999, by Dick Holland
"...Zigal's classmates included Scott Turow, April Smith, and Chuck Kinder, who later turned up as the memorable character Grady Tripp in Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys. The star of Zigal's class, Scott Turow, has a memory of the writing program that makes it sound like a tough, competitive place -- excepting Zigal..."

The Industry of Light and Magic
Fx guru and key 'Star Wars' figure Tom Smith to HRC
DAILY Screens  April 15, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...With the acquisition of former Industrial Light and Magic boss Tom Smith's personal archive, the Harry Ransom Center pulled a major coup: But by inviting Smith to speak on April 19 at UT, they are bringing an innovator who worked with the architects of a generation of films – George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Jim Henson...."

Seabiscuit
Adapted from the bestselling nonfiction work by Laura Hillenbrand, Seabiscuit dramatizes the story of three men – owner Charles Howard (Bridges), jockey Red Pollard (Maguire), and trainer Tom Smith (Cooper)...
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Film Review  July 25, 2003, by Kimberley Jones
"...Macy. Adapted from the bestselling nonfiction work by Laura Hillenbrand, Seabiscuit dramatizes the story of three men – owner Charles Howard (Bridges), jockey Red Pollard (Maguire), and trainer Tom Smith (Cooper) – and the abandoned, battered horse they rallied around and made a champion..."

Harry Ransom Heads to a Galaxy Far, Far Away
HRC brings former ILM head Thomas G. Smith to Austin
DAILY Screens  April 9, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...The Harry Ransom Center has made some major cinematic acquisitions, but now it heads to a galaxy far, far away with the archives of visual effects guru Thomas G. Smith, a key figure in creating the look of the Star Wars universe...."

Child 44
Tom Hardy leads an international cast in this Soviet-era serial killer thriller
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Film Review  April 24, 2015, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Sadly, that’s about all this movie does well. Based on the bestselling novel by Tom Rob Smith, and with an adapted screenplay by Richard Price (Clockers, Sea of Love), Child 44 has a pedigree that’s also enhanced by its top-notch cast of European actors..."

Capitol Chronicle
The Lege battle over ethics covers a multitude of sins -- and hidden agendas.
News Column  June 6, 2003, by Michael King
"...Matters quickly got nastier when normally mild-mannered Tom "Smitty" Smith of Public Citizen, also working long weeks on the bill, jumped up and demanded that Wilson "cut the bullshit" and Wilson responded in kind. (It was this exchange with Smith that Wilson was apparently referring to on Monday when he demanded an apology -- although why a man so reflexively abusive to others as Wilson should be so thin-skinned himself is a question for an entirely different select committee..."

Men in Black II
It's tempting to view this sequel to the 1997 sci-fi comedy -- which then as now featured Messrs. Smith and Jones as a pair of earthling cops keeping the planet's...
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Film Review  July 5, 2002, by Marc Savlov
"...Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld. Starring: Patrick Warburton, Tony Shalhoub, Rosario Dawson, Johnny Knoxville, Lara Flynn Boyle, Rip Torn, Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith..."

Gung Ho
Q&A with punk priestess Patti Smith.
Music Story  March 31, 2000, by Jody Denberg
"...Last March, after South by Southwest, the Chronicle printed an interview that 107.1 KGSR Program Director Jody Denberg had done with music festival headliner Tom Waits, who the longtime local deejay, writer, and music scenester had helped lure to the conference in the course of their conversations for a promotional interview disc released in conjunction with the singer's then-new album, Mule Variations. Lo and beholden, this year, while producing a similar interview disc, Denberg once again managed to entice a music-industry legend to Austin for SXSW -- this time, the one and only Patti Smith..."

Soul in the Hole
Though it's often used in connection with teams like Tom Penders' Texas Runnin' Horns, the term “playground basketball” doesn't necessarily refer to chaotic, brick-heaving, clearout-and-chuck trashball. In fact, when a...
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Film Review  November 21, 1997, by Russell Smith
"...Though it's often used in connection with teams like Tom Penders' Texas Runnin' Horns, the term “playground basketball” doesn't necessarily refer to chaotic, brick-heaving, clearout-and-chuck trashball. In fact, when a great passer like New York playground legend Ed “Booger” Smith enters the mix, top-flight pickup games can be a thrilling blend of precision and recklessness in which every possession holds the promise of some insanely great play you'll be telling the grandkids about in 30 years..."

Madagascar
Gently amusing stuff, sure, but nothing terribly inspiring in this animated tale of zoo animals heading back to the wild.
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Film Review  May 27, 2005, by Kimberley Jones
"...The perfunctory opening scenes didn’t help: There’s Marty the Zebra (voiced by Rock), who is weary of pampering at the Central Park Zoo and lusting for a life in the wild. There’s his grab-bag of wisecracking best friends: the self-centered showman, Alex the Lion (Stiller); sassy hippo Gloria (Pinkett Smith); and glum hypochondriac Melman the Giraffe (Schwimmer)..."

Point Austin: Return on Investment
Austin Energy rate cuts are both a financial and political dividend
News Column  September 1, 2016, by Michael King
"...Yet another important factor is the steady decline in energy costs – natural gas and renewables – over the last several years. I asked longtime clean energy activist Tom Smith of Public Citizen if he thought a $42.5 million hit would affect AE's bottom line sufficiently to undermine its role in funding the city's other expenses (utility transfers currently represent about 16% of General Fund revenues)..."

Back Draft
Democrats slam Republicans for dumping consensus voter ID bill for Senate language
DAILY News  May 9, 2009, by Richard Whittaker
"...Texas AFL-CIO called it when they said it was "probably inevitable that the debate over the so-called 'voter ID' bill would end up where it started – in partisan territory." So now, as a seeming sop to conservatives in his party, House Elections Committee Chair Rep. Todd Smith, R-Euless, is chucking out a consensus bill in favor of Sen..."

Shifting Allegiances in Congressional District 21
Tom Wakely bows out, throws support behind Rixi Melton
News Story  June 22, 2017, by Michael King
"...There's now a (slightly) smaller field in Texas CD 21, where last year's Democratic challenger, San Antonio-based Tom Wakely, has withdrawn from his potential candidacy and endorsed Rixi Melton, one of seven others officially campaigning for the Demo­cratic nomination to challenge longtime Republican incumbent Lamar Smith. (You can review the whole list at "Campaign 2018: Can Anybody Beat Lamar Smith?" June 9.)..."

Environmental Defenders
Tom "Smitty" Smith's retirement gives way to Adrian Shelley's arrival
News Story  February 9, 2017, by Michael King
"...On Feb. 1, in a celebratory farewell at the Barr Mansion, Public Citizen honored longtime Texas director Tom "Smitty" Smith, who is retiring after 31 years of tireless and effective work on behalf of clean energy, environmental protection, and government ethics reform ("The Man in the White Hat," Dec..."

Casino Jack and the United States of Money
Muckraking documentarian Alex Gibney here directs his camera toward the influence-peddling scandals that erupted around Jack Abramoff.
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Film Review  May 21, 2010, by Kimberley Jones
"...“There's no place out there for graft or greed or lies or compromise with human liberties,” Jimmy Stewart stumped from the Senate floor in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but remember: That was 1939 – and Capra’s 1939, to put a finer point on it..."

What Love Is
Writer/director Callahan keeps his characters talking from the first frame to the last – and like all great chatterers their preferred topic is love and all its variations.
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Film Review  March 23, 2007, by Josh Rosenblatt
"...Starring: Mars Callahan, Cuba Gooding Jr., Matthew Lillard, Sean Astin, Anne Heche, Andrew Daly, Gina Gershon, Tamala Jones, Jud Tylor and Shiri Appleby. What Love Is is a throwback to the salad days of American independent cinema, a time when filmmakers like Kevin Smith and Richard Linklater were making small, personal movies about the insignificant lives of normal people – no explosions, no car chases, no budget..."

Capitol Chronicle
Surveying the George W. Bush Legacy in Texas
News Column  March 16, 2001, by Michael King
"...Tom Smith of Public Citizen is less sanguine than Sen. Brown about the Bush record..."

Naked City
Mercury emissions from power plants continue to rise in Texas, according to a new report.
News Story  November 26, 1999, by Dan Oko
"...At a Capitol press conference last Wednesday, the local leadership of the Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, and Public Citizen unveiled new findings that coal-burning power plants in Texas lead the nation in mercury releases. "Mercury emissions are falling through the cracks in Texas' regulatory framework," said Tom Smith, executive director of Public Citizen..."

Bad Boys
Coming from the notorious Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer production team behind everything from Beverly Hills Cop to the Tom Cruise vehicle Days of Thunder, Bad Boys plays less like the gritty...
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Film Review  April 7, 1995, by Marc Savlov
"...Directed by: Michael Bay. Starring: Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Tea Leoni, Tcheky Karyo, Theresa Randle, Marg Helgenberger and Joe Pantoliano..."

Naked City
Headlines and happenings from Austin and beyond
News Story  December 23, 2005
"...Ann Kitchen. – Amy Smith..."

American Job
Everyone knows this is nowhere, this world of minimum-wage jobs, stultifying labor, and dead ends. Another day, another meal, and we keep coming back for more of the same- not...
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Film Review  March 6, 1998, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Directed by: Chris Smith. Starring: Randy Russell, Tom Wheeler, Charlie Smith, Eric Lezotte, Dave O'Meara, Dan Layne and Ed English..."

Naked City
News Story  October 30, 2009
"...Attorney General Eric Holder, the arrests – 1,186 in total for the life of the operation – have "dealt a significant blow" to the cartel's supply chain. – Jordan Smith Long-Awaited Justice..."

Naked City
Manufacturer issues warning about electro-shock weapons
News Story  August 5, 2005, by Jordan Smith
"...The bulletin also warns that multiple shocks and corresponding muscle contractions could cause injury to "tissues, organs, bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, joints and stress/compression fractures to bones," reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Nonetheless, Tom Smith, Taser's founder and president, told the J-C that the warning is "nothing new" and is merely a regular training update..."

Summer Reading
Books Story  June 1, 2001, by Anna Hanks
"...After Seabiscuit lost a race for an inconsequential $700 purse, unknown and laconic trainer Tom Smith stepped in. Smith convinced the wealthy Charles and Marcela Howard to buy the colt..."

DVDanger: Buster's Mal Heart
Rami Malek's newest and strangest, plus more home releases
DAILY Screens  September 12, 2017, by Richard Whittaker
"...Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" posits the impossibility of following two dreams. Buster's Mal Heart, the second feature by visionary and mystical director Sarah Adina Smith, finds wonder in that impossibility...."

Quartet
A charming, funny, and sentimental comedy/drama about former opera singers living in a home for retired musicians.
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Film Review  January 25, 2013, by Louis Black
"...Directed by: Dustin Hoffman. Starring: Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins, Sheridan Smith and Gwyneth Jones...."

It's a Wrap!
A Legislative Wrap-Up on the 77th Session
News Story  June 1, 2001, by Michael King
"...Tom Smith of Public Citizen says the bill is no panacea for the state's crisis air pollution, but he believes it could make a real difference in some areas, e.g. Austin, where the air quality is steadily endangered not only by explosive growth but by external sources, especially from the southeast..."

Drive, He Said
A conversation with 'Locke'-smith Steven Knight
Screens Story  May 15, 2014, by Marjorie Baumgarten


Contemptible
Tom DeLay setting new 'salacious' standards in congressional ethics
News Column  October 15, 2004, by Michael King
"...DeLay, who had been reasonably contrite after the committee's first reproof (perhaps because it was based on the testimony of Michigan Republican Nick Smith, who backed away from his most serious charge of bribery), has responded more characteristically to the latest action – simultaneously bragging that he has been exonerated and insisting that the complaint, filed by outgoing Democratic Rep. Chris Bell of Houston, "should have been thrown out immediately." His House posse has been right behind him – this week ethics committee Chair Joel Hefley, R-Colorado, told The Hill that he has been "threatened" with retaliation by unnamed colleagues, despite the fact that the bipartisan committee's vote to admonish DeLay had been unanimous.Shoot the Messenger Indeed the committee, especially Hefley and ranking minority member Alan Mollohan, D-West Virginia, had bent over backward to avoid too heavy a sanction against the imperious House majority leader, declining to open a full investigation and inventing the term "letter of admonition" to cover this sort of wrist-slap..."

Naked City
Austin looks to ways it can build its utility infrastructure to accomodate new growth while keeping the environment clean, avoiding the precedent set by cities such as Dallas that have built infrastructure without regard for where future growth will be.
News Story  August 4, 2000, by Dan Oko
"...Tom Smith of Public Citizen of Texas says that right now, Austin Energy is doing right by consumers. Although he's concerned about a new resolution that might provide the company a legal shield from public review of its finances, Smith praises AE for its continued commitment to energy conservation and community responsibility..."

'You Were Right, Andy'
Getting beneath the surface of Andy Warhol with Tom Sokolowski
Arts Story  October 17, 2003, by Jacqueline May


All the Gory Details
The Maestro of movie make-up Tom Savini talks about George Romero, the increasing popularity of CGI, and what it felt like to shoot a crotch-gun.
Screens Story  March 24, 2000, by Jerry Renshaw
"...These images came from the fevered imagination of Tom Savini. In 30 years of make-up work, Savini's mastery of the form has put him in the same league with effects greats such as Dick Smith and Rick Baker..."

Point Austin: Saved by Billionaires?
The fight against climate change gathers allies high and low
News Column  May 18, 2017, by Michael King
"...When I spoke to Public Citizen's Tom Smith last year about the dim prospects of action on climate change in TrumpWorld, Smitty was defiantly optimistic. "It's in places like Austin where we're beginning to take a look at resiliency, down to the kinds of trees we plant, and looking at changes that are likely to come in the climate...."

Austin Energy: Rate Cuts Solve Everybody's Problems
Council votes to approve utility rate reduction
News Story  September 1, 2016, by Michael King
"...Tom "Smitty" Smith of Public Citizen also had good things to say about the agreement. "Overall, this is a win-win-win situation," he said..."

Terminator Salvation
Despite a couple of good action sequences, Terminator Salvation is loud, talky, and entirely lacking any sort of soul or sense of good old summer-matinee fun.
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Film Review  May 22, 2009, by Marc Savlov
"...Character names, to be specific. As much of a rabid fan of the first two Terminator films as I am, I have always been bewildered by James Cameron's inexplicable saddling of the potential savior of all mankind with the brown-envelope-bland moniker of "John Connor." It's akin to calling Bruce Wayne "Tom Smith" or having to refer to Arnold Schwarzenegger (now there's a name for you) as "Governor Arnold Schwarzengger." There's zero zip, nada panache; it just doesn't have the requisite hero ring to it..."

Capitol Chronicle
Proposed New Air Pollution Rules for Houston Cover a Multitude of Industrial Sins
News Column  June 7, 2002, by Michael King
"...In light of the already dicey record of the Houston S.I.P., citizens' groups are understandably reluctant to accept the NOx rollback and trust the companies to reduce VOC emissions to make up the difference -- especially since the TNRCC admits that it doesn't yet know what that "difference" should be. "The plan already has no breathing room," said Tom Smith of Public Citizen, "and this looks like a major cave-in to industry..."

Capitol Chronicle
The Lege attempt at air pollution control gets shot down in court.
News Column  May 3, 2002, by Michael King
"...Tom Smith of Public Citizen, inveterate optimist that he is, says the programs can be saved, the law made constitutional next year, and the additional money somehow found (goosed about 25% to allow for two more years of dithering) to save the SIPs. Robin Schneider of the Texas Campaign for the Environment is less confident..."

Critic's Picks
Politics & Personalities
Best of Austin Story  October 5, 2001
"...Best People's LobbyistTom "Smitty' Smith..."

Naked City
Austin Energy readies a "secrecy resolution" to present to council that would allow it to conceal some of its financial information from the public. The resolution already has many consumer activists up in arms.
News Story  July 14, 2000, by Kevin Fullerton
"..."Austin Energy will be accountable to no one but God -- maybe," says Robbins. Tom Smith, of consumers group Public Citizen, adds that Austin Energy has recently become a leader in purchasing "green" energy partly because his group was able to use the utility's data to prove the idea was viable...."

More From the Floor
Chelsea Clinton makes it to the convention
DAILY News  June 6, 2008, by Richard Whittaker
"...Chelsea is here, and her intro cadre are saying that her mother will definitely be backing Obama tomorrow. Jason Smith from Harris County said that his heart is breaking for her...."

Penguins of Madagascar
You can hardly lose with animated penguins … and how about that cameo from Werner Herzog?
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Film Review  November 28, 2014, by Kimberley Jones
"...Directed by: Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith...."

The AggreGAYtor: December 27
What happened today in gay? Here’s your QILTBAG recap of queer news.
DAILY The Gay Place  December 27, 2013


Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
The third installment of this animated series gets the job done as the animals take protective cover in a traveling circus.
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Film Review  June 8, 2012, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...After adventures in the wilds of Madagascar and Africa, this third installment of the animated series begins where the second one ended: with the animals in northern Africa and newly overtaken by the dubious desire to return to their home at the Central Park Zoo in New York. Since the penguins and monkeys have hijacked their plane and pointed it toward further exploits in the Monte Carlo casinos, the foursome – lion Alex (Stiller), zebra Marty (Rock), giraffe Melman (Schwimmer), and hippo Gloria (Pinkett Smith) – snorkel their way across the Mediterranean in pursuit..."

Yogi Bear
This mixture of animated talking animals and live action is unbearable.
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Film Review  December 17, 2010, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Yogi (voiced by Aykroyd in a good approximation of the original, which was voiced by Daws Butler) still lives in Jellystone Park and still proclaims himself “smarter than the average bear.” Aided by Boo Boo (voiced by Timberlake), he devises elaborate plots to separate park visitors from their “pic-i-nic” baskets and continues to have the same spotty success. The talking bear makes life difficult for Ranger Smith (Cavanagh) but is one of the lures that brings documentary filmmaker Rachel (Faris) to the park to shoot a film..."

Congressional Races: Same Ol' Same Ol'
Don't expect much change in Austin's Washington representation
DAILY News  February 25, 2010, by Lee Nichols
"...The story of this year's Austin-area Congressional elections is that there is no story. Since 2004 (the first year Tom DeLay's re-redistricting took effect), Austin's reps in Washington have been Republicans Lamar Smith, Michael McCaul, and John Carter, and Democrat Lloyd Doggett, and there's little reason to believe that will change this year...."

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