Conference Realignment

J: Not all things political are on "Face the Nation". It looks like there's going to be a major shakeup in NCAA athletics, and it's most likely going to happen soon.

The word on the street is that the Pac-10 has offered membership to Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Colorado. Since that would obviously mean the end of the Big XII, Missouri and Nebraska are rumored to be in discussions with the Big 10.

And that's where the politics start. Texas is apparently trying to get their own TV network out of the deal, and Texas A&M isn't too happy about that- especially since Texas already gets an unequal share of the Big XII TV revenue. So, apparently A&M has approached the SEC about potential membership. As an added bonus, they claim they'd bring one more Big XII school with them- not Texas, but Oklahoma. That move makes a hell of a lot of sense on some levels. The Sooners would feel much more at home in Athens, GA or Gainesville, FL than they would in Palo Alto, CA. Same with the Aggies, who would be much more comfortable in Tuscaloosa, AL than Eugene, OR.

This also makes a ton of sense for the SEC. Any talk of realignment hinges on football, and adding two traditional powerhouses would be good. Expanding the conference footprint into Texas would be even better. Plus, two western teams makes it far more likely that the SEC could then snag two teams from the ACC or Big East- Virginia Tech, Virginia, Clemson, Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Louisville, Miami... offer them all, and let them know that the first two to say "yes" make the cut. The two Virginia schools make the most sense for the conference in terms of expanding its footprint, GA Tech and Clemson make the most sense from a football standpoint.

There are some potential problems with that move, though. First off, having Texas and Texas A&M in different conferences could be a tough sell for the Tejas legislature. A&M has one big political ally in their corner, though. Rick Perry is an A&M grad, and by all indications, he would not object to the Aggies heading east. The tougher battle will be in Oklahoma City. Say what you will about T. Boone Pickens, but I don't think anyone can argue that he has a lot of money. He may insist that his beloved Okie State Cowboys stay tied at the hip to Boomer Sooner, which could complicate things.

The school that's really left out in the cold here is Kansas. Rock, Chalk, out there flapping. From all accounts, the Big 10 would love to have the Jayhawks. The problem is that Kansas and Kansas State ARE a package deal, period, and while the Big 10 would like Lawrence, they have no interest in Manhattan. If the Big XII North loses Colorado to the Pac-10 (which seems like a done deal by all accounts), and Missouri and Nebraska head to the Big 10 (which makes a hell of a lot of sense), Kansas and K-State are left in the lurch. So is Iowa State, but nobody really cares about the Cyclones. Kansas would be left in the unenviable position of trying to scratch out an existence somewhere like the Mountain West, which would immediately hurt their football, and eventually hurt one of the most storied basketball programs in the nation.

But the potential payoff is huge, which is why Kansas doesn't really matter. A Pac-10 championship game between USC and Texas? Epic. Texas A&M vs. Alabama every year? Must-watch. Nebraska heading into the Big House to face Michigan? Incredible. (Bonus points to that one if it's snowing.) This entire deal is going to be driven by money, and there are going to be more back-room deals cut than any of us can possibly imagine.

Not all politics takes place on the hill, and this particular type of politics is going to involve rivalries, age-old disputes, gladhanding, backstabbing, and realpolitik. It would be one thing if money was involved, but this isn't about money. It's about a hell of a lot of money, which is different. It's going to be interesting. By all accounts, it's going to get interesting really soon. Crack open a beer and start tailgating while there's still time.


A History Lesson

C: Drunken Politics' hidden agenda is simply to encourage curiosity in the American Political System. Fortunately, a fine bunch of Americans, (un-associated with Drunken Politics in any way, shape or form), publishes one of the Interweb's great collections of American Political history. For aficionados such as ourselves and our loyal readers this is an absolute gold mine. Enjoy.


Perhaps one of the greatest sites ever created. Unfortunately, addiction counseling for this magic is not provisioned for under the new Healthcare law.


Something Happened

C: For all of our loyal readers, Drunken Politics has not been asleep at the switch. For the most, Community service, Antarctic expeditions and Seychelles safaris have been placed in a holding pattern.

Where have you been, you may ask? Our non-partisan global commitment to provide at reasonable locally competitive rates in numerous languages and currencies ( i.e. in addition to dealing with customs officials and sensitivity to the wide-ranging norms, mores of cultures and the occasionally complicated barter systems of traditional 'non-recognized' societies) magic makers, acrylic paint, poster placard board, rounded safety scissors and an assortment of JoAnn fabric samples for flag-making keeps the team busy. As well as a growing Elmers Glue and complete out-of-the-box papier-mache figurehead solution. Note: We do not provide lumber or matches or kazoos. The board meets next month to discuss expansion into the crowded funny hat marketplace.

Right then. If one was not paying attention, a Historic Healthcare bill became the Law of the Land March 22, 2010 when President Barack Obama signed the mildly controversial bill with 22 different pens. A small portion of Congressional Republicans are under the impression that the signed legislation is still a debatable work in progress. Schoolhouse Rock could not be reached for comment at this press deadline.

Drunken Politics analysis to follow.


Texas Two-Step

J: So, it's Primary Day down here in the Great State of Texas. Along with the usual passel of local offices, we've got some interesting races on the ballot. First off, the judges. The judiciary in Texas is elected, and people can make campaign contributions to the candidates... even in the courtroom, while the judge is hearing your case. In some ways, this state is still the Wild West.

But the big race this year is for the Governor's office. Anyone who studies Texas politics will realize that the true political power lies with the Lieutenant Governor, but the Office of the Governor holds more national sway. (See: Bush, George W.) The race on the Democratic side this year is fairly one-sided, with former Houston Mayor Bill White holding a rather sizable lead in every poll over businessman Farouk Shami. Why someone named Farouk Shami thought he could get elected to statewide office in Texas- especially as a Democrat- is beyond me, but that's another story for another time.

The Republican race was the more interesting one, with Governor Rick Perry facing Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Tea Partier/9-11 Conspiracist Debra Medina.

One of the things Texas happens to do right is early voting. giving citizens the chance to cast the ballot when they're available, rather than a small window of time on a random Tuesday- I support this. Anything that provides a greater opportunity for enfranchisement is a good thing in my book. So, I took advantage once again.

Because Texas is an open primary state, you declare your party when you go inside to cast your ballot. Looking at all my options, I felt that my vote would be more valuable in a certain primary. So, when the old guy at the early-voting site asked me in which party's primary I wished to vote, I looked around, made sure no one could hear me, and half-whispered "Republican". As I was walking over to the voting machines, I stopped and looked at my voting registration card in horror.

They had stamped it. With the "R" word. I was marked. I felt a variety of emotions- shame, denial, anger... bargaining... depression... acceptance. I made my decision, I would live with it. Even though I will vote for a third-party candidate before I will vote for a Republican, even though I still have an "Obama 08" sticker on my Honda, I had made my decision, and I would live with it. I later found out there are two reasons they stamp your voter card, and one of these would loom large in my future.

Having cast my ballot early, I thought long and hard about the second part of the Texas primary. If you look at our archives, to this post, you'll see that I described Texas primaries in simple terms. "It's a vote, then a caucus. Two thirds of the delegates are apportioned by the vote, the other third are divided up via caucus results. And you can't caucus unless you voted in the primary." The two reasons they stamp your card? One is so you can vote in case of a runoff, and the other is so you can participate in the caucus.

I'd thought about it ever since I voted, and decided that I would indeed take advantage of this. I would go to the Republican Caucus in my area, and see what it was like. I imagined a number of interesting scenarios playing out, and thought I would first support Teabagger Medina, and then Senator Hutchinson.

I was set. I had a plan, I had ideas. Yes, this would be good. As I drove to the caucus location, I felt like Hunter S. Thompson heading to the 1972 Republican Convention. This would be it- my chance to see how the other half thinks, behind closed doors.

I got to the local middle school, and the parking lot was absolutely slammed. I finally found a spot behind the school. My sense of civic pride was through the roof. This many of my fellow Americans, coming out to participate in a direct (if somewhat archaic) form of Democracy. If a bald eagle had flown overhead and crapped an American flag, I wouldn't have been completely surprised. I saw a stream of people heading through a door, and I fell in line with them... straight to an auditorium, where the school was having a choir recital.

I got out of line and saw a uniformed police officer. I asked him where the voting area was, and he gave me directions. I went around the corner, into the gymnasium. Of course it was in the gym. I don't know what the statistics are on the percentage of American ballots that are cast in a school gymnasium, but I know it would be high. I walked towards the older woman who was sitting at the table. (You have seen this woman. She is the same old lady that serves as an election official at every vote, nationwide. I think they clone them.) She saw me walking up, voter card in hand, and immediately said "Sorry, honey. Polls are closed."

"No, ma'am. I'm here for the caucus."

"Oh, well then you're in the right place. Have a seat."

I looked at the assembled group. A lot of long hair, mainly worn in ponytails. The women's hair tended to be dyed in colors that don't occur in nature. I looked back at the election official and discreetly pointed to the REPUBLICAN stamped on my card.

"Oh, sorry, honey. You need to go down that hallway until you get to the other gym."

I went in, and saw two people seated on the bleachers. A man in khakis and a dress shirt, and a girl in all black. The guy was filling out papers. I said "is, um, is this the Republican caucus?"

The guy told me it was, and asked me what district I was from. I told him, and he said "Oh. I'm the chairman from another district. Stick around, there might be someone from your district who had instructions."

I waited until the prescribed start time of the caucus, and no one else had shown up. I asked the guy- who had mentioned he'd been through Precinct Chairman Training- what to do. He said "Well, you could call it a night. Or, if you're willing to fill out a couple of forms, you could get the paperwork from the Officials and volunteer."

"For what?"

"To be the Precinct Chairman."

I thought about it. I'd volunteered my time, and I'd be damned if a couple of forms were going to keep me from making my voice heard. After all, I hadn't had a drink all day, just so I could go to this caucus and be part of the process. I wasn't going to throw all that away, just because no one showed up to pick up some random packet.

And this is how a man with an Obama sticker on his rear window, a man whose 5 year old son has a Che Guevara t-shirt, a man who thinks Dennis Kucinich has a lot of sensible positions- this is how that man became a Republican Party Precinct Chairman in Texas.

Round 2 is on the 20th. It should be interesting.

C: The DrunkenPolitics North Desk is exceptionally jealous of the Southern Desk's opportunity to make Chorizo. Stupid, boring Oregon mail-in ballot bullshit. The opportunity to participate publicly is gloriously American. Secessionist Six-Gun Perry kicked someone right in the taco. Sheesh, Kay Bailout got killed. More important, scrubbing the moss off the Blimp, (we left it behind the garage over Winter). Propane. Hydro. Bio-gas. Flammables. The DP Blimp is coming to a town near you.

It took a few years for us to wring some crap from this stone. The Southern Desk has raised the fucking bar. Hunter S. Thompson would be proud. Dammit.



Happy President's Day!

(This op-ed diatribe reflects the opinion of Drunken Politics North and not necessarily the views of the Southern office or any subscribers of this site.)

Put down the weekend ad circular, the new mattress can wait. In the 21st Century, our twenty-tens, President's Day revolves around a bank and post office Monday holiday shutdown, a new sets of sheets, sandwiches and assorted random commercially-related anthropomorphized Uncle Sam characters that appeal to an elementary school remembrance of patriotism. Crass? Any more crass than squishing up a few Presidential birthdays to form a pseudo-holiday?

President's Day should be about a moment of reflection. Yes, yes, there should be a Supreme Court Day. Let's ditch that bullshit Columbus Day, the little junior high monkeys should be learning about Court cases that shifted thought about freedoms, the Constitution and little crap such as privacy, voting rights, cripple rights, choice and who gets to learn about shit, where and how. For example, Brown v. Board of Education springs to mind. Fuck Christopher Columbus and the Knights who hold sway so they can have a fucking parade. And Congress is going to have to haul water to get a day until we bring back an occasional Congressman Brooks-style beatdown of a Senator Sumner on the floor.

Here we are, 2010. An African-American is President of the United States of America. Barack Hussein Obama was elected by a minority of Americans to the highest office in the land. Minority? Yes. Given the percentage of registered voters who actually voted, the reality is just that. Potential voters who didn't vote and those who voted against him means that clearly most Americans did not want him in office. Many like myself celebrated his election as the opportunity for the Smart Guys to fix the shit that Bush and Cheney dragged our country into in a most embarrassing fashion. Intellectually, internationally, economically and Constitutionally, the GWB Administration crushed the spirit of a nation with their ideological hubris. Katrina and permanent war and privatization of the whole works, Christ. In eight short years, the damage was and still is disgusting. We celebrated a return to decency in 2008. The joy revealed during the Inauguration was genuine and inspiring for so many reasons. And perhaps that's what is so painful now for many, many people.

Why? The why and what the fuck of what is happening now is a difficult nut to crack. The Democrats control the White House, the House of Representatives, the Senate and a retirement or two from a friendly Supreme Court. It should be simple to enact a bit of healthcare, foreign policy, financial reform and maybe an employment juicebox to get the train back on the tracks. Yes? And as in, what in the bloody Hell is happening here?

The 36th President LBJ, despite screwing up Vietnam, managed to jam through the Civil Rights Act of '64, Voter's Rights Act of '65, Medicare, Medicaid,the space program and a whole slew of fine ideas that we take for granted. All this when a good chunk of the country wanted to tar and feather him. Johnson could crush a man with his will. A meeting with him would be the equivalent of a psychological beating. When he ran for Congress, legend has it he had his campaign adviser spread a rumor that his opponent was a pig fucker. He adviser said to the effect that this wouldn't be true. Johnson said all he wanted was for his opponent to deny he was a pig fucker. LBJ was feared. Hell, even Chester A. Arthur was feared.

What has changed? Where is the sausage from the sausage-making? It's easy to point the finger of the hatred of government at Nixon's Watergate and Ronald Reagan's 'welfare-queen-ing' of the Federal system. But the mistrust was solidified by Newt Gingrich. And the Christian Coalition. Congressman Gingrich's Contract eased the way for shutting down the country as a option for leadership. And the Falwell's and Robertson's jihad legitimized religion-based election strategy that still works today among the Idiot class. Throw in the Fox News faux-journalism, and you have the mutated simpleton's path to the Palin/Bachmann form of government. The so-called movement of the Teabaggers is the retarded baby of this three decade-long attack on a civil society.

This is where we stand. What is a free-thinking, decent American supposed to do? From the 2010 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama:

"The spirit that has sustained this nation for more than two centuries lives on in you, its people. We have finished a difficult year. We have come through a difficult decade. But a new year has come. A new decade stretches before us. We don't quit. I don't quit. Let's seize this moment -- to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more."

Happy President's Day.


J: I should have expected this.

Or, from a more mainstream source:

I know it's a lot to ask, but could the Tea Party movement at least pretend to not be completely racist?

C: Tom Tancredo has always been the voice of reason and civility.

Where to begin. It's disturbing that the MSM that this frothy Tea-related collection of the Paranoid despises so greatly has now blessed the Pitchforkers with an air of credibility. Nice homework skills, Fourth Estate. Less than a thousand Father Knows Best bright pink patriots gather in the OpryLand Motel, and ta da, proof of legitimacy. Fox News, the new new MSM, hangs on every drop of spittle that the Retardocracy (thank you Rahm) blithers on and on about. And despite the Teabagger's blatant racism and xenophobia and Birtherisms and Biblical quackery, a shockingly massive number of Americans without callerID are backslapping this concept of the Idiot Patrol gone rogue. I had something else, but I wrote on my hand. My flop-sweat smeared it. Dammit. Something about the President might be 'black-ish'. Or 'Jewish' which is kinda 'Muslim-y'. Dammit. Oh, there it is on the other hand. The big question at any Convention of any kind, "Who got laid?".


At a loss for words

Update: In the Drunken Politics Pantheon of Stones: Dateline: February 1, 1960. Four Greensboro NC Ag & Tech guys with serious stones decided that they would enjoy some lunch. They would not be denied a blueplate special. And that says more than anything else. 50 years later...

C: Rarely does this happen.

J: As a former resident of the Palmetto State, this disgusts me. For those of you who don't know, school funding in South Carolina is, quite frankly, about race. The State government provides minimal funding, while local school districts pick up the rest. In the wealthy (and predominantly Caucasian) districts, students have access to educational opportunities that rival any good districts in America. In the poorer (and predominantly minority) districts, it's a different story.

An award-winning documentary was produced a few years back on this, as was a follow-up photography exhibit.

I will warn you, if you watch the video and look at those images, you may very well be filled with a powerful urge to travel to Columbia and start doing physical harm to politicians.