Archive for February, 2008

Pit praises

Richard Jones Original Pit Barbeque on South CongressRight there where it’s always been still stands the wonderful Richard Jones Original Pit Barbeque. The nearby Dairy Queen has been through many incarnations, but Richard Jones continues to delight and remains the South Congress institution it has ever been. The brisket is prepared on premises, for hours and hours and hours. The flavor goes deep, and there’s no hint of ketchup flavor. The slicing will be done as requested. I abjure fatty brisket and there’s always waste-free beef there for me. I love the hand-painted signs; the prices have been updated, but the offerings are lettered just as they were in 1990, the date painted on the board. I don’t know whose sausages are here; they’re very garlicky and not particularly smokey. That’s all about individual preference, and I still miss the ones from the old Pit on Fifth Street downtown, which were probably from Smokey Denmark. I know people who can’t live without a weekly order of RJ chopped (BBQ) beef on a bun, with all the sides. Ever the purist, I order sliced brisket every time. Indoors are individual tables and also booths. Every day there’s a dine-in luncheon special. The breakfasts are some of the biggest bargains in town, with special additions to the menu on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings. These breakfasts are a big draw for people driving American-made trucks. I’ve always been a walk-up customer myself and have enjoyed some of the best conversations in town, right there in the parking lot or leaning against the wall. Now that I’ve paid some new attention to the breakfast menu, I can’t get it out of my mind. From here on out, I’m going to think of 2304 South Congress as a resource Beyond Supper.

I voted

I voted sticker) This is the sticker that proves it. Everyone encountered afterward noticed the sticker and had something to say about the elections. This was after work yesterday. H-E-B on South Congress looked busy, so it was on to the Fiesta, formerly Albertsons, farther south. I forgot to ask the election judges how turnout has been thus far in numbers. I did ask whether there seemed to be people out to vote who appeared to be unfamiliar with the post-punchcard voting system that’s been in use since the November elections in 2001. The reply was that a great many people may be voting for the first time in a few years.

I’ve found that people seem to be confused about the precinct conventions. Some people have heard the word “caucus,” and I guess that people do caucus at the conventions. Some people seem to think that early voters can’t attend their precinct conventions. This is not true. Just appear with your stamped voter card at the voting location for your precinct on Election Day, March 4. For those who voted in the Democratic primary, the convention time is 7:15 pm; for those who voted in the Republican primary, the time is 8:00 pm. It never hurts to appear a bit early. Debate your platform and select delegates to the county convention.

This isn’t about the presidential candidates alone, at least not for those voting in the Demcratic primary: there are four candidates seeking to replace incumbent Ronnie Earle. The office of the Travis County district attorney houses a unit empowered to enforce laws pertaining to state government as well as carrying out the customary duties of any district attorney.

The party Web sites for Travis County follow in alphabetical order: Democratic, Green, Libertarian, and Republican. Here’s the Travis county clerk’s election page, with many links, including to the League of Women Voters site.

Photos and Transcript of the Debate – Part 3

Here’s part three of the transcript along with some photos I took along the way.

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Photos and Transcript of the Debate – Part 2

Here’s part two of the transcript and another photo (the candidates and the President of UT). I’ll have photos from the media room later tonight.

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Photos and Transcript of the Debate – Part 1

Here’s a couple of photos from the debate and the transcript. Check them out after the jump.

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Liveblogging the Obama/Clinton Debate from the Media Room

I managed to make it through the security and am seated next to several other bloggers. The UT band has played two numbers and the president of UT is now doing an intro.

6:31PM The Pledge

6:42PM Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie

6:45PM Damn….UT band again?

6:46PM Press photos spray. I was supposed to be allowed in originally, but they cut down the list.

6:51PM Waiting for candidates to enter

6:55PM Chelsea Clinton just came in. She’s speaking at ACC tomorrow if I remember correctly.

6:58PM CNN commentator dragging out Senator Clinton’s “Texas roots”…again. What a load. Registering voters 30 years ago isn’t roots.

7:01PM Here come Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama

7:04PM Finishing up the photos

7:06PM Sen. Clinton is first, brings up aforementioned voter registering in South Texas and then name drops Barbara Jordan and Ann Richards

7:08PM Can they be tough while sitting down? Sen. Clinton is done. Touched on health care and accomplishments in Senate. Sen. Obama starts out on the economy and is mentioning people he’s met recently who’ve fell on hard economic times.

7:11PM Obama: “Washington has become a place where good ideas go to die.” That one gets applause. Nice.

7:13PM First question to Sen. Clinton about Castro from the Univision correspondent. Will she sit down and talk with Raul Castro? She says yes, but with conditions.

7:16PM Obama seems to be standing behind his willingness to meet without conditions, but he wants “preparations” and an “agenda”. BTW, here’s a good link for Barbara Jordan.

7:20PM Clinton gets applause for saying she’ll put an end to unilateralism and preemptive policy. Obama thinks the President should be more involved in diplomacy.

7:24PM Obama gets the economy question. He’s talking eliminating tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas and ending tax cuts for the wealthy. He’s heading into environmentalism and mentions dependence on foreign oil and sending money overseas. How do we get it done? Only if we form a working coalition for change. I’ve heard this from him before on NPR.

7:27PM Clinton: The wealthy and the well connected have had a President for the past 7 years. It’s time for you to have one. She wants tighter trade regulation and mentions the contaminated toys from China. She’s moving on to foreclosures. She wants a 5 year freeze on interest rates. She’s pushing “clean, green jobs”. She’s bringing up the deteriorating infrastructure, mainly roads. She wants to end George Bush’s war on science. That gets big applause.

7:31PM Clinton gets the immigration question from the Univision host. They’re both talking comprehensive immigration reform. Sen. Obama wants to tone down the rhetoric. He feels it’s been directed at the Hispanic community. We are a nation of laws and we are a nation of immigrants and we can reconcile the two. They both want to crack down on employers who are exploiting the undocumented workers. They both want to provide a path to citizenship as long as they go to the back of the line, must work on learning Engish, pay fines and taxes. We need to clear the legal backlog. It’s too prohibitively expensive. Both want to get Mexico involved. Obama accusing Bush of dropping the ball with Mexico.

7:36PM The Border Fence is up next. Sen. Clinton: “There is a smart way to protect our borders and there is a dumb way to protect our borders.” Part of the border fence would apparently cut through UT Brownsville. Sen. Clinton is tying her vote for the border fence (Obama voted for it too) to her vote to Iraq (in my opinion). She voted for something she thought would be reasonable, but says the Bush administration has screwed it up (like everything else). She’s advocating more technology and personnel.

7:41PM Sen. Obama: “Bush administration is not real good at listening.” Obama wants to pass the DREAM Act. Allows the children of illegal immigrants to go to school. Sen. Clinton is asked if the USA can be a bilingual nation due to so many Spanish speakers. She advocates bilingualism, but English should be the common and not “official” language. English is an important part of the American experience. She fielded that one as you would expect. They’re pretty much of the same position on this one. Good point that not only should Spanish speakers learn English, but native English speakers need to learn a foreign language. Damn right, but what can the President actually do about that? The only way AISD elementary schools have Spanish for the kids who aren’t Spanish speakers is if the parents step up and fund it.

7:46PM First Break. My fingers are tired and this plastic chair sucks.

7:50PM First question back is asking about the tone when they’re on different stages. Clinton’s quote “My opponent give speeches, I give solutions.” She turns it around on GW Bush. She’s dodging it. And now she’s coming out swinging. She just brought up the Kirk Watson incident. She ended with “actions speak louder than words”. Obama counters with what he’s done. Sen. Clintion has implied that the people who support me are “somehow delusional”.

7:57PM Plagiarism accusation is coming up now. The notion that I plagiarized a line that was given to me is absurd. Got big applause. He’s saying that moves into “silly season” politics.

8:00PM She’s not letting it go. She’s hammering that she’s realistic and he’s idealistic.

8:07PM Second break. Damn Ecto. I fell behind. I’m guessing the wifi here is getting hammered during the breaks. I’m getting transcripts sent to me, Any interest in my posting those in extended entries?

8:10PM We’re back. Obama looked pissed when she wouldn’t let go of the plagiarism charge. First question to Clinton about whether she’d be ready on day one. She’s dodging that so that she can respond to Obama’s health care plan. She thinks you have to cover everyone. He wants to respond. He thinks forcing people to pay won’t work and is pointing to Massachusetts as an example of why it won’t work. She insists on responding. They both advocate fines for those that don’t get it? Obama referred to Robert Reich earlier in the debate. Go read some of his blog posts about why these two shouldn’t be arguing over their plans because they’re so similar.

8:17PM We’re back to Clinton’s lame “ready on Day One” line. Obama is turning it around on her and hammering on his favorite point that he has always been against the war in Iraq. You can’t say they’re not consistent.

8:23PM Sen. Clinton gets a question about The Surge. She points out that the point was to allow political progress and that it hasn’t happened. She wants to start withdrawing in 60 days. I don’t think they’re very far apart and Obama goes on to attack McCain. He’s pointing out the economic costs. We’re on to another break. I’ll post transcript and pictures right after the debate.

8:32PM They’ve both been critical of the secrecy of the Bush administration. Here come a question about earmarks to Obama. Isn’t pork and earmarks the job of a Senator?

8:34PM Obama says he’ll be transparent and that some of those earmarks are worthy projects. Clinton brings up the deficit and the actions of the Bush administration (no bid contracts, cronyism)

8:37PM Clinton dodged the superdelegate question. Obama wants to be sure the “will of the voters” will determine the nominee. He says the voters want a government who they feel is listening to them and says he can give it to them.

8:38PM Last question…what was the moment that tested you the most? Obama points to his whole life. Child of a single mother. Was off course. What was most important was learning to take responsibility for my own actions and on how I can bring people together. Points out that he rejected a job on Wall Street and became a civil rights attorney. Clinton says that she thinks everyone here knows that I’ve lived through some crises and challenging moments in my life (big cheer). She’s saying that her trials are nothing compared to what others are going through and is now talking about wounded soldiers from Iraq and what they’ve gone through. Both ended on a good note, but Clinton played that one well.

SXSW Music 2008: Showcase Calendar Released

sxsw-music-08.jpgSXSW has released the showcase lineups and times.

Also, a reminder, the wristband drawing is now open for entries and will be open until 9am Monday morning. So now that the lineups are out, you can decide if it’s worth it to shell out for the wristband.

And as a shameless plug, my band, The Bad Rackets will be kicking things off on Wednesday night at 8pm at the Red Eyed Fly in a showcase with When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth, The Playing Favorites, Camp X-Ray, Dub Trio and Naked Raygun. I remember listening to Naked Raygun’s Throb Throb on my turntable when I was 14 or 15. I’m really psyched to be playing with them.

Barack Obama Rally Tomorrow

If you’re a Barack Obama supporter and weren’t lucky enough to win a ticket to the debate or didn’t want to shell out the cash to the Texas Democratic Party for the post debate watch party at the Hyatt (which is sold out), Sen. Obama will remain in Austin after the debate tonight and hold a rally tomorrow near the Capitol.

The RSVP form for the rally can be found here. The city also has a press release about street closures for the event. Between the regular Sixth Street crowd and the rally, you’ll want to stay away from downtown unless you’re participating or want to sit in traffic.

The street closures start at 6pm and the event starts at 9pm.

No sign of any events for Sen. Clinton in Austin tomorrow.

Obama – Clinton Pre-Debate Post

The big debate between Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama is tomorrow night on the UT campus. I’ll be attending, but with the press gaggle, not in the actual auditorium. I’ll be liveblogging it. We’ll see how that goes.

Here’s a few news bits leading up to the debate:

Random Photo of the Day

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Cedar Door adds the garnish of their signature drink to their patio. I think this just happened this week since I didn’t notice it on Monday. I could have just been in an early morning haze though.

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