Big Shoes to Fill
Note this section of a NY Times story about Barack Obama's photo-op at a bowling alley.
Roxanne Hart, a 43-year-old gal from Altoona, asked if he wanted to bowl with her. Mr. Obama and Mr. Casey shed dress shoes for bowling shoes—a blue and white Velcro number for Obama, size 13 ½ — and entered their names into the overhead monitor. It was BAR and BOB against ROX.
Um, 13 and a half, eh?
Posted by E
| Link to this post | 3 comments |

County Convention: Livebloggin!

6:08pm: We must peace out in order to work on the news package for the 10pm newscast. So I'll end the liveblog part of this day and update on the numbers in fresh posts. Thanks for playin'!

6:05pm: This room looks so empty now that all the delegates are gone... but tabulation continues. The remaining folks still have to vote on various resolutions. There were at least 50 submitted from the precinct caucuses.

5:10pm: I'm off to catch a few more delegates for interviews and knock out a liveshot for the 6pm news. Will check back in about an hour.

4:47pm: The crowd's clearing out now that the precincts have caucused and voted for their state delegates. But we're nowhere near a count.

4:14pm: Democracy in action! Precincts from Senate District 14 are caucusing amongst themselves now to select their delegates to state. I love seeing all this democracy - voting by raising badges and what-not.


(It's a step-by-step winnowing process. Everyone who caucuses on election night votes for precinct delegates. Then the precinct delegates come here to the county. Then at this level, the precincts delegates choose their state delegates. Then at state, delegates for the national convention will be chosen.)

4:00pm: Outside the convention hall, county party leaders are counting the sign in sheets in which each delegate put down their presidential preference. This breakdown determines the ratio of state delegates which will go to each presidential candidate.


3:54pm: Someone turned on some serious AC in here, which is making things a lot more bearable. It actually seems like people are having a pretty good time, I've observed lots of random reunions among Democrats.

3:41pm: It looks like most of the precincts here have caucused amongst themselves to select their state delegates. Most precincts have at least two delegates that go to state, and they make speeches about why they should go to state, or just decide casually who can do it.

2:49pm: Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk is speaking on behalf of Obama. Obama supporters clearly outnumber Clinton supporters in his convention, it's obvious from the decibel level.

2:47pm: Terry McAuliffe, former DNC chair and Hillary Clinton's national chair, is in the house and speaking on her behalf.

"I hope that Hillary Clinton is the nominee, but if not, we will pick up the placard and walk over to Barack Obama headquarters and begin campaigning for Barack Obama," McAuliffe said to a screaming crowd.

2:45pm: I was planning to cover this county convention post-by-post, but with so many random things happening I'm switching formats and liveblogging instead.

Posted by E
| Link to this post | 0 comments |

It's All About Proportion
So, each of the seven thousand delegates here today made a presidential picks on a master list. We're waiting now to find out the breakdown of that list -- how many signed in for Clinton, how many signed in for Obama.

This breakdown will determine the ratio of delegates awarded to each presidential candidate... which determines the statewide and then national delegate count.


Posted by E
| Link to this post | 0 comments |

Lucky Hat
I caught up with Austinite Mark McKinnon today, the Democrat-turned-Bush-advertising-guru-turned- McCain-strategist, who was wearing one of his lucky hats.

Me: Are you going back to being a Democrat?
Him: I'm not a Democrat, I'm a moderate Republican.
Me: Would you work for Obama?
Him: No, I won't do that. But I have said I won't work AGAINST him if he's the nominee, and he will be.
Posted by E
| Link to this post | 0 comments |

Snippet from Stiles: Chicks
Him: She's hot. Except she doesn't put out.
Me: Doesn't that kinda make her hotter?
Him: No, what use is a hot chick if you can't bang her?
Him: Seriously.
Him: No, seriously. I don't mean any disrespect, but I mean, if you're a dude...
Posted by E
| Link to this post | 4 comments |

Election Day... in the Far East
My mom is all nervous because it's election day in Taiwan, they are choosing a new president after eight years under a really unpopular, pro-independence dude. Here's the At a Glance.

More than 17 million Taiwanese citizens aged 20 or over are eligible to vote. Voting at more than 14,000 polling stations begins at 0000 GMT and ends at 0800 GMT, and a complete tally is expected within 4-5 hours. Turnout in the last presidential election in 2004 was 80 percent.
Voters will choose between Frank Hsieh of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the Nationalist Party's Ma Ying-jeou. Outgoing President Chen Shui-bian of the DPP is widely unpopular after eight years in office, largely because of widespread allegations of corruption against his inner circle and a lackluster economy. Following a huge Nationalist victory in January legislative elections, Ma is the favorite to win, although Hsieh has been closing the gap in recent days.
The main issue is Taiwan's relationship with Communist China, from which it split amid civil war in 1949.
Posted by E
| Link to this post | 2 comments |

I guess I'm just getting around to this, but there's a hilarious site called Stuff White People Like that's gotten coverage in the NYT and about 13 million views from people who are more hip than me. Slate discussed this in a recent podcast and the journo's there argued that this list is more like "Stuff Latte-Drinking Yuppie White People Like", which is about right. But it's still really funny, since the list pretty much accounts for everything Austinites like.

My favorite entry, of course, is #85, The Wire. For the past three years, whenever you say “The Wire” white people are required to respond by saying “it’s the best show on television.” Try it the next time you see a white person! Though now they might say “it WAS the best show on television.”

Other good ones
#2 Religions that their parents don't belong to
#11 Asian girls
#22 Having two last names
#29 80's night
#37 Renovations
#45 Asian fusion food
#62 Knowing what's best for poor people
#71 Difficult Breakups
#75 Threatening to move to Canada
#81 Graduate school
#87 Outdoor performance clothes

PS. In a guest column, there's the Top 10 Hip-Hop Songs White People Love
Posted by E
| Link to this post | 0 comments |

My Favorite Dancing-White-House-Correspondent-Man

So, apparently NBC's David Gregory is IN HIS THIRTIES. Wha???

I guess it's the prematurely graying hair. I should have figured it out when I saw him do the twirly dance move thing. That's not something a man in his forties would do. Well, it's not something most men hosting the Today show would do, but it ROCKED! ILMSDG!
Posted by E
| Link to this post | 1 comments |

When The Upstate Attacks
This happened in Union, SC, my former stomping grounds. It's also the same place Susan Smith drowned her little boys more than a decade ago. And I think Snoop Dog's relatives live there.

Meanwhile, In My Neck of the Woods...
The hipsters have overtaken Austin, for the annual mega music/film/interactive festival known as South by Southwest, SXSW. Every bar and club and restaurant has live music blaring, free food and free booze parties take up entire blocks, and you can't escape the music. 1,750 showcasing acts, eighty venues in five days. I literally ran into Lyle Lovett yesterday. The biggest and smallest names are all playing somewhere. Kimya Dawson was seen playing a street corner. R.E.M. rocked the backyard of a barbecue.

Since it's an interactive festival too, journalists are geeking out and blogging everywhere. Here's the Chicago Tribune's take.
Posted by E
| Link to this post | 1 comments |

Today's Takeaway


I was feeling nostalgia for the canceled Fox comedy, Arrested Development , after the news about New York Governor Eliot Spitzer broke.

Remember the character J. Walter Weatherman? He's the guy George Bluth always hired to teach the kids a lesson. He would "lose" his already missing arm, and then leave the kids with a moral of the story. "And that's why you always leave a note," for example.

After I read about Spitzer, all I could think to myself was, "And that's why you don't get involved with prostitution rings."

Posted by E
| Link to this post | 0 comments |

The Onion: Always Right On
Posted by E
| Link to this post | 0 comments |

Shining Shimmering Splendor
This is gonna be a random brain dump, because I need to update y'all and I am too tired (and frankly, a little hungover) to find a clever way to do this.

Primary Election Day 2008 came and went. On election night I spent the evening under the stars in San Antonio, where Barack Obama would come out and make his victory/concession speech. (He won the Texas caucuses, lost the primary, we have a jacked up system.)

I saw Rev. Jesse Jacks0n out in the crowd and decided to take a shot at getting a live interview. Went up to him and shared our Greenville connection. Then we got him live at the top of the 10. Then, there was the weirder moment of the night -- he asked me to meet him at his hotel after the party was over.

"Where you stayin' tonight?... I'm at the Marriott. We should meet up later."

And then there was other gibberish that I can't really remember before he finished things off with, "You gonna call me?" I ran into him again while walking up the risers and he grazed my boob before grabbing my arm to remind me to call him.

Hrmmm. Perhaps he wanted to show me his "rainbow push", photog Todd joked.


The Barack Obama Texas folks, who used to be the Obama Iowa folks, have enjoyed their time in ATX but haven't seen much more than the ride from their hotel to the office. So last night, some of us reporters took them to Donn's Depot, an old train caboose turned into a bar. Played some good tunes on the jukebox.

Turned things up a notch at midnight and found ourselves at Asian-style karaoke, where you get your own private room to go crazy.

File under "unforgettable memories": The Obama for America Texas Communications Director rocking out to Nelly's "Hot in Herrrre".

Meanwhile, another staffer and I did a killer duet to "A Whole New World" from Aladdin, if I must say so myself.

"Don't you dare close your eyes."
Posted by E
| Link to this post | 3 comments |

Liveblogging from the Obama Party Basement

10:55pm: And the crowd files out, hurrying home to watch a few more hours of election returns. The night is still young.

10:53pm: Obama still talkin'... no, he's done now. It strikes me that he is always much better, a lot more inspiring as a speaker after big victories. With the uncertainty (and some losses) tonight... he doesn't seem as good.

10:40pm: Obama takes the stage, congratulating Clinton on her wins in Ohio and Rhode Island but making clear he still has the same delegate lead as he did when this election day began.


10:23pm: The crowd is all smooshed in here inside the perimeter now, outside the Municipal Auditorium in San Antonio. It's a quiet crowd, everyone just waiting now.


10:22pm: Delegate count right now in Texas, 66 Obama, 60 Clinton. A total of 193 delegates up for grabs.

10:20pm: Hillary Clinton, after a BIG victory in Ohio tonight, is celebrating her comeback after 12 straight losses with a big speech tonight in Columbus. She's talking now - -- meanwhile, the crowd here still awaits Senator Barack Obama (and clearer results from Texas.)

10:15pm: Grabbed a shot with the Reverend... who shares a South Carolina background with me. (Jackson is from Greenville, S.C., where I worked for two years.)


10:05pm: Rev. Jackson says "the race isn't over until over"... already looking toward Pennsylvania.

9:49pm: I'm out of the basement. I also got the Rev. Jesse Jackson to do a live interview with me at 10pm, so tune in for a little Jesse Jackson.

9:35pm: The county-by-county map is looking a lot like the Missouri county-by-county map on Super Tuesday. Obama ended up winning MO in a squeaker because even though it looks like 80% of the state is in Clinton's color... the urban population centers deliver for Obama.

9:27pm: Jesse Jackson's in the house! We were on the risers when the press advance folks were letting him through the barricades. Meanwhile it looks like the race in Texas has tightened to 50-49, but the urban areas are not reporting more than 15% right now.

9:08pm: It's getting reeeeal tight here in Texas. With 12% of the precincts in, Obama leads only 50% to 48%. It looks like the big border counties aren't in yet, but neither are the major urban areas.

9:04pm:John McCain wraps up his speech at his Dallas victory party tonight. Check out KVUE at 10pm for a recap, my colleague Clara Tuma is up there in Dallas right now.

8:58pm: Caucuses across the state got late starts because the primary turnout was so heavy. Caucuses don't start until the last ballot is cast in the primary... and so long as you were in line before 7pm, you got a chance to vote.

8:56pm: McCain speaking now... and this press corps basement is getting more crowded, largely because it's getting quite brisk out there. The DMN's Todd Gillman said he came in because he stopped being able to feel his fingers.

8:47pm: White House just put out an announcement that President George W. Bush will be lunching with Senator John McCain tomorrow. The president is expected to endorse McCain... but does he really want the president's endorsement?

8:37pm: Obama's leading by 9% right now with only three percent of the precincts reporting. Meanwhile in Ohio, Clinton has opened up a 20 point lead.

8:32pm: Hillary Clinton WINS RHODE ISLAND! So that's Vermont for Obama, R.I. for Clinton.

8:29pm: Huckabee is speaking right now, if you're not already watching it, thanking supporters, using a baseball analogy.. something about "running hard to first base".

8:26pm: Newsweek's Richard Wolffe is here in the basement now. Meanwhile, outside, Obama supporters aren't allowed inside the event here tonight until 9pm because supporters are hoping that those supporters go to the caucuses, first.

8:12pm: Mike Huckabee having a presser in five minutes to ostensibly drop out of the race for president, according to his website.(The assist goes to KVUE photographer Todd Rogenthien.)

8:06pm: Both campaigns are alleging caucus irregularities, the Clinton campaign called an emergency conference call with the press to talk about "disappointing" efforts by Obama supporters to circulate sign-in sheets for the precinct caucuses before the caucuses ever started. But the Obama campaign sent out instances of Clinton supporters doing the same thing. (The sign-in sheets at caucuses represent how many supporters are in place for the respective candidates.)

8:03pm: John McCain CLINCHES the nomination!!! CNN just projects it. Huckabee expects to drop out soon.

8:02pm: As you can see from my photo below, we're sitting in a windowless basement of the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium, waiting for more than 1% of the Texas precincts to report. I am going to continue the post-by-post photoblog when I actually have amusing photos, but for now we'll do a traditional liveblog, since I'm in the basement.

Posted by E
| Link to this post | 0 comments |

It's Go Time
Exit poll data is coming in, and the liveshots on these here risers are all going on at once. Here's a look at a few moments after broadcasters wrapped up their 5pm shots on the riser adjacent to us. There are actually two sets of these multi-tiered risers out here tonight.


Posted by E
| Link to this post | 0 comments |

Super Tuesday, Redux
Here we go... it's election day in Texas, a state that wound up being in a place to decide the Democratic nomination as a result of a crazy confluence of events. I'll be photoblogging my day in San Antonio (where Obama will be making his victory? speech tonight). Stay tuned via my political blog...
Posted by E
| Link to this post | 0 comments |

Hillary Clinton's Austin Rally

9:13pm: We end with the ready-to-answer-the-phone-at-3-am line and the crowd cheers madly. The acoustics in this room, again, are AWESOME. I felt like that speech was the perfect length. And we're out. Tune in for a historic (and crazy) day tomorrow.

9:12pm: "Nobody's vote is more important than anyone elses, assuming we count them all, which is what we're gonna do," she says with a grin. I THINK this is a reference to her push to have the Florida and Michigan delegates seated, even though Obama's name didn't even appear on the Michigan ballot because all the candidates agreed not to run in those states after they broke national party rules.

9:08pm: About half an hour into this speech, Clinton takes her usual digs at President Bush, but still no mention of Obama. She makes an opaque reference to him that we've heard before... "There is a big difference between talk and action and speeches and solutions and rhetoric and reality," she says. It looks like both candidates will leave the dirty work of sniping at each other to their respective campaign surrogates.

8:58pm: Big applause as she talks about our dependence on foreign oil. "We are more dependent on foreign oil than we were on 9/11," she says. "We are done. We are going to have an energy policy that will enhance our security, protect our planet and improve our economy." (HUGE applause.)

8:51pm: "I am a little older, and I have earned every wrinkle on my face," Clinton says. "And I feel just as energized about what we're going to do in this election as I did back then!"

8:39pm: Any minute now... yes. Here she is... the crowd goes wild. In the photo below, there's Chelsea Clinton, US Rep Sheila Jackson Lee and to her right, State Rep Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, who is introducing her.


8:35pm: Crowd's getting restless. It's chanting on its own now... but then someone just turned up the music (Shania Twain) and it drowned out the chant.

8:28pm: Here's something interesting. The cheerleader just asked the audience how many of them haven't voted yet. Only a few hands went up, actually. So based on the hand count, most of this audience has already cast ballots. Obama has tended to bring in new voters, many of whom don't early vote. Not sure what a stupid "raise your hand" count really means, I just found it interesting that so few hands in this audience have yet to vote. These fervent supporters are going to be the ones caucusing tomorrow though, I'm fairly certain.

8:21pm: More t-shirts being given away. And a cheerleader starts teaching the crowd cheers for tomorrow's caucus. Examples: "When I say Hillary, you say Texas... Hillary, Texas, Hillary Texas"... etc etc. Or there's also "When I say Madame, you say President, Madame, President, Madame, President..."

8:14pm: Not sure if Greene is supposed to introduce Clinton. But she's good at energizing the crowd so I feel like she SHOULD introduce her... okay she's definitely not. With how claustrophobia-inducing these risers are right now, I totally forgot that the traveling press corps isn't even here yet.

8:08pm: Now we hear from former Rock the Vote president Jehmu Greene. "Is Austin Hillary country or what?" she asks. She knows how to fire up the crowd much better than the Bastrop mayor did eariler, let me just say.

8:05pm: This is another part of the pre-rally that I enjoy. The crowd warmer upper guy. He's throwing out t-shirts and doing the "gimme an H" stuff.

7:59pm:Like I explained earlier, this gym is oval shaped and the risers rise up like a bowl. Or a hockey arena. Anyway, about half of the risers are full. The security guard photo below is the side behind the press. Here's the look at the folks in front of him, squished around one long table.


7:56pm: Oh sweet, the wave! I love the wave. The press is not taking part in it though, so I'm stuck sitting here even though we are leaving the wave incomplete.

7:52pm: The program is officially supposed to start in eight minutes, but take a look at part of the room. It's possible, however, that the town hall folks will be coming down here when Clinton comes down here and fill up these risers quickly:


7:46pm: Barrientos has taken the stage again. He's actually a pretty recent Clinton convert. He was the Texas chair of the Bill Richardson for President campaign until Richardson dropped out.

7:41pm: Now we hear from State Rep Valinda Bolton, D-Austin, whose district we are actually in right now. "I'm so glad y'all are all here tonight," she says. She doesn't get an applause line until she mentions how the first person she voted for who actually won was former Governor Ann Richards.

7:37pm: State Rep Donna Howard, D-Austin, is now talking up Clinton. "No other candidate has a healthcare plan that will cover all people," Howard says. "It is not black and white, we don't want a robot walking into the White House."

7:33pm: It's ridiculously crowded on the press risers right now, while only have the actual audience risers have filled up. The campaign is working on filling the side of the "Burger Bowl" (which I'm now going to call it) which the cameras are going to face.

7:31pm: Former State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos is getting things warmed up, beginning the pre-program as Clinton wraps up her live town hall meeting downtown.

7:28pm: The Burger Activity Center, where the rally is being held tonight, is just a big basketball gym. But the acoustics in here are fan friggin' tastic. It is so loud in here -- the place is designed kind of like a bowl, and the seventies era wood paneling on the walls probably help with the acoustics.


7:26pm: Took a while longer than I thought to get through security, find a spot on the extremely crowded press risers and get the computer connected to the internets. But we're back

6:14pm: All right, photog Justin and I are going to sneak off to the nearby South Austin Madam Mam's for some food before things get crazy tonight. If anyone wants to come, it's the one on West Gate.

6:12pm: Down to 38 degrees, I would guess. Everyone's still standing outside. After about six minutes outside for the 6pm liveshot I can barely feel my fingers, so I can't imagine what it's like for someone who has been at the front of the line.

5:30pm: The crowd has lined up outside to wait to get inside the lovely sixties green colored Burger Activity Center for tonight's election eve rally.


5:23pm: Senator Clinton is expected here around 8pm, right after her hour-long town hall which will be broadcast on Fox Sports Network Southwest. It means those of you who were looking forward to an evening of relaxin' and watching Spurs Insider will get to watch Hillary Clinton take questions instead.

5:20pm: The wind is blowing so hard out here at the site of Hillary Clinton's Austin rally tonight that a strong gust just shook the livetruck. I don't think I've ever eaten more hair in one liveshot as I did during the 5pm hit a few minutes ago.

Posted by E
| Link to this post | 0 comments |

Snippet from Stiles Returns
"You know what I do love? Long John Silver's. Remember those commercials where they had midgets dressed up as fish and chicken planks?"

Men of the Week, This Time, With Meaning
B-rock Obama (How many people can say they spent time in a bathroom with B@rack Obama?)
The boys who made the exclusive happen
Nigel Robertson, also for the assist
D@vid Ianelli, the man running a tracking poll for us
Posted by E
| Link to this post | 1 comments |

The Second Best Thing To Happen To Me This Week
So, it's been crazy down here, as expected. I found myself sitting outside on a patio eating dinner with Lisa Ling last night, she ended up buying dinner for the whole table. She's in town because she wants to help give Obama a final push in Texas, but can't do it really publicly since she's on National Geographic, and sometimes, Oprah.

Thursday morning I was whisked into a bathroom and waited a few minutes before this tall dude walks in and answered my questions for seven minutes. Not a bad guy, this Barack Obama character.

But that was just the second best thing to happen to me all week. The real perk was realizing I was sitting in the risers at an event behind Pulitzer-winning, bitingly funny New York Time columnist MAUREEN DOWD! I stalked her until she agreed to a photo. As you can see she was wearing no makeup.

Posted by E
| Link to this post | 3 comments |

Early Voting Tsunami

After getting off work, I had a decision to make. Jamba Juice and go home... or early vote? Because parking was unavailable near the Jamba Juice, I ventured to the early voting location at South Congress and Oltorf and found this line:


This is pretty much the scene across Travis County. After 12 days of early voting, 115,316 ballots were cast, including mail-in ballots. That's 20.75% of Travis County's registered voters, meaning one-in-five registered voters has already stood in one of these lines.

After I took some pictures, I took my place at the end of the line and by my count, I was the 113th person in line. It was just after 6pm Friday. Polls closed for early voting at 7pm, but it didn't stop the dozens of people who lined-up behind me. People passed the time by making friends with the people near them in line, reading books or talking on their cell phones. I didn't see anyone give up and leave.

Since I had a little extra time on my hands, and I'm never without my trusty red camera, I made you a little video so you could feel like you were really there.

Posted by E
| Link to this post | 0 comments |

Email Me
My Profile

Blog Button...

    By the DMAs
    1.New York
    2.Los Angeles (but traveling)
    5.Dallas-Fort Worth
    6.San Francisco
    Lil' Lost Robot
    Sappy Chick
    Political Junkie
    79.Columbia, SC
    Will's Ladies
    137.Columbia-Jefferson City
    141.Beaumont-Port Arthur
    Mark Hancock
    Foreign Bureaus
    Jason (Hong Kong)

    You are visitor #...

    Free Hit Counter
    Free Counter

    Blogroll Me!
    Site Feed
    Add to Google

    Listed on BlogShares

     View My Public Stats on MyBlogLog.com

    Who Links Here