Posted by intrepid_intern on 2006.07.28 at 12:07
Posted by intrepid_intern on 2006.07.28 at 11:07
This week, I had a harrowing internet experience, one that made me not only appreciative of what I have, but also cognizant of the transience and impermanence of all things.
I couldn't get online for THREE DAYS.
The reasons for this were several, but mainly it was that I was stuck at a sketchy hotel in Dallas so that I could attend a journalism workshop at another hotel. I mean, in all fairness, maybe my hotel wasn't that sketchy? But it was definitely in a sketchy part of town. (You don't mess around on Mockingbird Lane, man.) The ride in consisted mainly of, "Oh, hey, there's a strip club! And ... there's another strip club. Um. Wow." Plus the hotel had no internet. I rest my case.
The 'netless transition from a workplace full of little politicos to a workshop full of the people devoted to discovering and broadcasting their deepest secrets would have been easier had it not been for the debilitating cold of the room we were in. I think the idea was to incapacitate our brains so that we would be rendered unable to consider that such pearls of wisdom as "A good journalist is fair and balanced" were actually ... something I could have stayed home and learned from Fox News.
But that's just me.
The worst part, though, was totally that at the end of the whole thing, I didn't even get an award. I wanted that goddamn miniature trophy. Was I not fair and balanced enough for them? Huh? Huh?!
But anyway, now I'm back, and grateful for block-walking and mailers in a way that I had previously thought was indicative of psychosis. This morning, I was at last reunited with my fellow Stramallamas, who greeted me with enthusiastic grumbles. Except for Jimmy, who was immersed in the task of carrying signs around, and did not give me any grumble.
... Well, it can't always be all about me, right?
[Elisa's note: Will says this entry is, quote, "really bitter." To which I say, " Want to fix it? Then get me a trophy. Do you know the childhood trauma you're dealing with here? I NEVER WON ANYTHING AND THEY ALWAYS PICKED ME LAST FOR DODGEBALL."]
Posted by flyerchild on 2006.07.28 at 10:21
Current Location: workroom; paint-encrusted white worktable
Current Mood: up too early
Current Music: sounds of Amy Litzinger phone banking
So in preparation for this Stramarama shindig, and having promised a bunch of people that there would be face painting, we were faced with the sudden and disappointing fact that none of us know how to face paint. So yesterday morning, before I came in, there was a practice session of sorts. I show up around noon for the late shift, and people are walking around with big pink stars, hearts, peace signs, and red-white-and-blue donkeys all over their faces like it's a big liberal carnival.
The really unfortunate (or maybe endearing, let's go for that) part was when billionaire philanthropist Fred Baron showed up to speak and everyone's faces were still painted. It must be disarming to talk seriously about revitalizing the Texas Democratic Party to a group of supposedly motivated and intelligent young people who have their faces painted like four-year-olds at Six Flags. Our next speaker, Blaine Bull, was a little early, which I hope gave him a chance to get used to the paint before having to take us seriously.
In retrospect, I think we should have told them both it was war paint. As in, we're just that excited about beating the Republicans this fall. I'm pretty sure we could've gotten away with it.
Posted by intrepid_intern on 2006.07.21 at 00:21
Since I have never gotten a response so overwhelming as the one I got from my "social networking" post, I decided I should actually visit
our MySpace page and see what the big deal was. And, because I am never afraid to be the bearer of bad news, I took your comments and shared them with Sean, who is the man behind the multi-Capitol background. (I should mention that although I am not generally in favor of censorship, I did alter certain words, like "sucks," in the interests of not making Sean cry.) Sean then proceeded to throw up his hands in despair and resign his unofficial position as Chief MySpace Modifier, leaving me alone with a laptop and a whooooole lotta pictures of the Capitol.
But eventually, I managed to figure out how to change things up:Is this any better? At all?
Posted by intrepid_intern on 2006.07.19 at 11:03
The truth is out there.
Yesterday, the Campaign Academy had a close encounter with Admiral Bob "Not an Alien Cultist" Inman, former director of the NSA and former deputy director of the CIA. Some have also claimed that Inman was part of a government conspiracy to cover up the existence of UFOs, which I cannot comment on-- except to say that I, for one, was incredibly impressed with Inman: His list of extraterrestrial contacts is nothing short of astounding. (I'm so not kidding. Check his Blackberry.) However, Inman was hesitant to speak of his alien experiences, stating that they were, quote, "classified." When questioned further, he added that nosy, meddling kids could expect to be treated to, quote, "government-sponsored memory modifications."*
One subject on which Inman was not suspiciously evasive was that of foreign policy. He unflinchingly answered even our most probing questions on difficult issues such as China as an enemy, South America as our ex-backyard, and potential solutions to current UN troubles. I found Inman to be a thoughtful, engaging speaker-- even if he refused to tell us whether or not aliens were beaming him answers with their telepathic mind rays.
As Inman said himself, "I'm afraid that the answers to your questions are highly classified. Not that it will matter once we rule your silly planet."*
*For all you conspiracy theorists out there: This is what we in the biz call "NARRATIVE IRONY." Tom Cruise, please tell your lawyers to stop calling me.
Posted by intrepid_intern on 2006.07.19 at 10:47
Using this newfangled "internet," we at the Mark Strama Campaign Academy have decided to explore a new tactic for getting young voters engaged and involved: Social networking.
Through Mark's MySpace
and his Facebook group "Mark Strama!," we're finding young voters and keeping them up to date on what's going on in Mark's campaign. We've already had success with this: Less than 24 hours after sending out our first round of friend requests, we've called voters who had already gotten the lowdown on Mark and upcoming events by the time of our call.
If you'd like to be as in-the-know as these fine folks, add Mark as a MySpace friend-- and join his Facebook group, too.
by David and Lea
David: I've been thinking we should explore the ways in which Ikard is similar to Picard.
Lea: Will Ikard and Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise?
David: Yeah. For example, they're both fearless leaders…
Lea: Well, Picard is a fearless leader whose crew would follow him into the depths of hell and who can do anything. Will is a fearless leader whose crew *might* follow him to Starbucks and who will find someone else to do anything.
David: Especially Ellie.
Lea: But Ellie's too clever for that. You know she's the one who's really in charge, whereas Picard answers only to the prime directive.
David: Jean-Luc Picard is bald…
Lea: …and gets all the ladies…
David: …whereas Will Ikard has wavy blonde hair but is fugly.
Lea: Definitely. And Picard boldly goes where no one has gone before, while Will Ikard boldly sends other people out where no one has blockwalked before.
David: Yep. Picard was once assimilated by the Borg… but Will Ikard is still fugly.
Lea: Hey, lay off the fugly. Actually, the Borg were named after a building where Will went to college.
David: So Will *is* a Borg.
P.S. We realize we've been a little harsh on poor Will, so here's a little something to his credit. Jean-Luc Picard is like 6 inches shorter than his co-star, Will Riker, while Ikard is at least a foot and a half taller than Ellie. So yeah, that's something.
Posted by atxdem on 2006.07.05 at 09:01
Current Location: HQ at an ungodly hour of the morning
Current Mood: sleepy
Current Music: random banjo music
Our very own Mark Strama and Tom the Marine went to the vast, rocky shores of Lake Pflugerville for fun, sun, and swimming. You can check them out on http://news8austin.com/content/your_news/?SecID=278&ArID=165725
Posted by intrepid_intern on 2006.07.14 at 21:35
Elisa's Note: Yeah, this entry is going up late. As usual, you can blame Will.
Well, it's summertime, and the Kool-Aid is punchy here at Campaign Academy HQ. After morning arts n' crafts, my block-walking team and I went out on a Lit Drop Relay before we were due back for the big canoe race. (We tried having a color war, but everybody wanted to be blue.)
Anyway, in the shiny, happy precinct to which we were assigned, we have reason to believe that some of the streets listed on our walk sheets do not, in fact, exist. In addition, the streets that did appear to have actual geographical locations were mainly cutesy cul-de-sacs, spread too far apart to get to without some serious driving. Enter the Lit Drop Relay. Each time my team pulled up to a cul-de-sac, three things would happen in rapid succession:
1. I would whip out the walk sheets, complete with names, addresses, and voter history, and call out the numbers of the houses that needed surveys.
2. I would invariably curse and mutter, then shout out revisions of what I'd just said.
3. We would all sprint (except for Cyrus, that slacker) to the one or two houses that we needed to hit, then sprint back to the getaway car and get the hell out of there-- only to peer at the map in confusion for the next ten to fifteen minutes, looking for the next cul-de-sac.
Using this efficient model, we managed to drop off surveys at 189 houses this morning, making for a daily total of 257.
Yes, it's impressive, I know. However, the real success of the day was when yours truly finally hit the bulls-eye during archery.
I hear tomorrow we're making friendship bracelets.
Posted by intrepid_intern on 2006.07.11 at 20:31
So, word on the street is there's a party goin' down.
A Strama party.
Yes, ladies and gents, tonight it is my pleasure to actually break a story: On July 29th, from 5 to 7 PM at Hanover's Draught Haus in Pflugerville, the Campaign Academy will be breakin' it down at the appropriately named "Stramarama," a fundraiser we've put together for Mark. We're suggesting donations of ten dollars-- and for those of you wondering, no, we will not be hiring burly men to stand at the door and glower menacingly at you until you decide that ten dollars is a small price to pay for the continued functioning of your limbs. We will, however, be providing food, fun, face-painting, and live music you can groove to ... even if the Honorable Jay will not be laying down any rhymes. Come out to Hanover's on the 29th, meet Mark, and hang out with us!
(Unless you're, like, an internet stalker.)
(Then you can stay home.)
Posted by sjamesb on 2006.07.11 at 15:26
Current Location: Campaign Academy Headquarters
Current Mood: contemplative
Current Music: Matthew West
by Jim Betancourt
Mark Strama, representative for House district 50, was more than gracious today to allow me to shadow him. I never thought I could have been so happy until today when I experienced a real campaign and a real day in the life of a brilliant, young, and energetic politician who in his office represents me. He showed me the ropes the grit and grime of real politics and what it takes to be a great politician. I'm not going to go into specifics of what we talked about, because most of it is close to the election, and to me it is classified information and I like Representative Strama so much that I would never say anything that would cost him the election.
In the morning, we went and talked with the Christian Life Commission, which was very interesting to say the least, and it was pretty interesting to hear other young people talk somewhat about politics and religon together. To share my story and the story of the campaign academy with them made me proud to know that I work on a very special campaign and with a politician who I believe enjoys to hear the other side of the argument before he makes his own decisions. To see a group like the CLC be very bipartisan was interesting- I expected a very conservative organization when I walked in the room. I am considering joining them (and trust me, I join groups very selectively) but what was interesting altogether was that they were arguing that there is a separation of church and state. I also went with Mark later to a classified meeting about policy for a debate he has tomorrow, but that information is not be disclosed. All I will say is that it was interesting and I was so glad to be part of it.
Then came the hearing. The fight of the century between the CAMPO committee and Senator Barrientos made me understand what leadership was all about. I thanked the Senator for his leadership after the hearing.
I want to thank Representative Strama for his generosity in taking me to that hearing. But what made today most interesting was that God gave me the ability and the blessiing to do it. I give this post to him. And to end this post I give some advice to other interns: Stay committed and stick to your argument, whatever it is. That is why I am working at Campaign Academy, why day in and day out I work to understand the other side of the argument, and why I encourage all of you to aspire to be the greatest you can and learn all that you can about politics. One day just like me you'll want to run- and not run halfway to the finish line, but past it- and that is the one thing I see that I will get out of campaign academy after it's done.
Posted by intrepid_intern on 2006.07.10 at 18:46
Step One for Effective Grassroots Organizing
: Mapquest.Important Corollary
: Will Ikard (they call him wikard
in the 'hood) is not an acceptable substitute for Mapquest.
Today, would-be block-walkers Mame, Abby, Kate and I piled into the Stramamobile (known also as "Mame's car") and set out for our designated precinct. Once there, our goal was to drop off as many surveys as we could, hopefully coaxing people into accepting Mark Strama bumper stickers and yard signs along the way. Unfortunately, we were thwarted by Will's lack of directional savvy.
I mean, we thought
we were doing okay-- but then the street we were supposed to turn on ended in a jumble of road blocks and foliage, almost as if the surrounding flora had finally decided to launch its attack against suburbia. Being four teenage girls on a bright summer day with the radio on, we found this turn of events somewhat hilarious. When we finally phoned Will, after an hour and a half of being pretty
sure this isn't the right way hey we're in Round Rock again I love this song, we were giggling so hysterically over the whole thing that it took us around five minutes to impart that we were on Parmer, and not, in fact, anywhere near our precinct. Yes, we had followed the directions exactly. No, you can't turn left on McNeil. No, you really
can't-- unless you want to star in "Return of the Vines That Ate Everyone." Yes, that's Kelly Clarkson in the background-- problems?
In conclusion: Will should never be allowed to give directions, until such time as he becomes a withered old man in a gas station by some lonely highway. Then he can direct lost, shiny-haired young motorists to the creepy abandoned cabin a few miles down the way. If they never find it, he will have spared them a grisly fate at the hands of homicidal woodsmen/werewolves/the butler.
... It makes sense to me
Posted by intrepid_intern on 2006.07.08 at 15:13
(by Tom Peterson)
1 July 2006
I woke up early on a Saturday to meet up with Representative Mark Strama at the Parkcrest Neighborhood Parade in Pflugerville. Families lined the street to watch neighbors waving the American Flag, children riding their decorated bikes, and a fire engine from Pflugerville F.D. The parade was small, but the sprit in which it was held made it seem to fill the neighborhood. The parade ended in a cul-de-sac where the neighborhood gathered to enjoy ice cream, sodas, and each other’s company. I couldn’t help but think that more neighborhoods should participate in functions like the parade. It reminded me of times growing up in a small, dusty, West Texas town, when neighbors took the time to know each other and their children. It seems like the times are moving faster, and we are growing as individuals but apart from the community.
We left the parade and stopped by a coffee shop in downtown Pflugerville to visit with the Northeast Travis County Democrats (NETCo Dems
) and their President Linda Pemberton. NETCo Dems were discussing the recent Supreme Court ruling on redistricting and its potential effects on the state. I had the chance to plug our Campaign Academy fundraiser to the group and stir interest in the event. NETCo Dems are also planning a project to send shoeboxes with supplies to troops currently deployed to Iraq and asked me what I liked when I was there. I gave them a good start on some of the essentials for a good care package. I know that no matter what the content of the box is, the troops will appreciate the support from the home front. I commend the NETCo Dems on their project to support our men and women who are sacrificing so we can enjoy our 4th of July celebrations.
Posted by intrepid_intern on 2006.07.05 at 17:04
Ladies and gentlemen, please proceed to put your hands in the air like you just don't care for the Honorable Precinct Chair-elect Jay Kahlon.
Yes, that's right: Our very own Jay (known hereafter as "the Honorable Jay," the better to start off his hip-hop career) has made his first foray into elected office, beating out even Jim and Sean. In October of this year, God willing, he will be elected to the post of Precinct Chair for precinct #335 by Travis County Democratic Party members.
I personally feel that despite his tender years, the Honorable Jay will make a glorious precinct chair. For one thing, he really knows how to rap with the people-- literally. Many's the time he's regaled our carful of interns with his fast rhymes and ability to drop it like it's hot. I feel that these are valuable skills to bring into office, and am confident that the Honorable Jay's personal morals will guide him well as he ventures into politics.
As the Honorable Jay might say himself:
They see me rollin'
They patrolling they tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty
They tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty
They tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty
They tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty ...
Posted by intrepid_intern on 2006.07.04 at 21:34
When my friend Dave left for his junior year abroad in Ecuador, he was just like the rest of us. He had a car, even at school where it was totally unnecessary, and drove around to kill time. He left lights on when he left the room for five minutes, returning only three hours later after distracting himself from homework by stopping by all of his friends’ rooms. He used as many dishes as he wanted to every time he went to a dining hall. It’s not like anyone actually had to do work to clean the dishes: they just went into the dish cleaning place and somehow, Harry Potter-style, appeared in the dish rack all sparkly clean. ( He came back a changed man.Collapse )
For more information and other environmentally friendly ideas, please visit the film’s site: www.climatecrisis.com.
Posted by atxdem on 2006.07.02 at 23:02
Current Location: home sweet home
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: relaxing music
Well, after a full weekend of relaxation, contemplation, and... ok, maybe I can't think of another "-tion" word, I have this to say about our fellow Democrats in North Texas: righteous.
You may wonder to yourself, "Hey Sean, what was TCYD doing in Austin?" Well, here's the deal: The Tarrant County Young Democrats have decided to start thier own Campaign Academy modeled after ours. In an effort to see how the pros do it, ten of the twenty youngs lads and lasses made the pilgrimage to our fair city. Allow me to give you a day-by-day synopsis of the visit... don't worry, you won't have to sit there that long, they were only here a day and a half.
Day 1: Arrived at around noon in time to hear part of Gary Mauro (former land commissioner and '98 candidate for Governor of Texas against Dubya) speak about a wide range of topics ranging from GITMO to gerrymandering. Then, after a brief speech from Mark and lunch, blockwalking commenced. Now, I don't know how hot it gets in Tarrant, but it was brutal-as-usual when we took out the Tarranters into Austin. My particular partner, (whom you have read about in "back on the ball" by intrepid_intern) made the not-so-wise decision to wear a black shirt. Ouch. Anyways, after that the Tarranters and I all went to Ellie's house and freshend up. (By the way, I believe a thank you is in order to Ellie for putting all ten Tarrenters in her house for the night.) We then hit up Downtown for music and a tour of the Capitol.
Day 2: As morning rose on Austin, a sleepy mixture of Llamas and Tarranters poured into the headquarters, coffee in hand. Time was not wasted. The Old School Llamas broke into thier respective committees to handle the issues du jour while those who were not present during the first week stayed behind to listen to Brooke Lierman teach "Campaign 101". After that took place, we listened to Voices from the Veterans as some of the brave men who fought in Iraq came to talk to us, as well as the parents of a soldier who gave his life for his country in the deserts of Iraq. Afterwards, a very moved group of Llamas and Tarranters set out to do more blockwalking. After about three hours, everyone headed back to HQ for tearful goodbyes...ok, maybe I was the only one that shed a tear or two, but I had good reason.
Anyway, overall, everyone had a good time and came to appreciate the companionship Democrats share in Texas. I hope we see the Tarranters again in the very near future, because I made a lot of new friends (some more than others. hahahaha...)
Posted by intrepid_intern on 2006.06.30 at 18:50
People of the world, join hands ... start a love chain ...
Well, after a week of field hockey camp, yours truly got back in the swing of things at the Campaign Academy-- just as the Tarrant County Young Democrats were getting out of the swing of things. They had apparently come to shadow us for a day and a half, but I have no documentation to prove this; only my experiences with them on their final day in Austin. In the short time that I knew them, however, I was able to witness the budding of a tender friendship between fellow blogger Sean "Stud" Foley and a TCYD kiddo who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent. (Hint: Not Sean.)
It was, you know, the kind of friendship that ends in kissing.
The two were seen canoodling during our afternoon discussion, and rumor has it that phone numbers were exchanged. For Sean, the dealmaker was the fact that his Cowtown consort is a boxer. "For some reason," he confessed, "it really turned me on."
I had the privilege of chatting with this young lady at the end of her time with us, which was absolutely not for the purpose of figuring out whether she was good enough for our Sean. Our Sean will be pleased to note that, in fact, I found her one cool cat.
I just hope I never get in a fistfight with her.
Posted by flyerchild on 2006.06.30 at 10:33
Current Mood: sleepy
Current Music: Garden State soundtrack
by Lea and David
As the Campaign Academy's only couple, we thought a regular joint blog post might be a cool contribution. The other day we noticed that some of our best conversations happen after hours, on the way home from headquarters…
David: I was thinking we should start writing regular blog entries together.
Lea: That's a good idea. We could inject all the gossip it's been missing so far. Blogs are supposed to have gossip, right?
David: We'll call it "The Couples Report" or something.
Lea: Or something less stupid, maybe.
[David wastes some time getting defensive about his title idea. Not interesting.]
David: So it could just be a dialogue between the two of us. Only sometimes Will would be trying to talk to us and it would just sound like the teacher from Peanuts.
Together: WAHP WAAHP WAH WAH WAAHP WAAHP WAAAAH.
Lea: Yeah, we could go back and forth about all kinds of things. Like whether Jay's actually a libertarian or whether Jim is a Republican spy.
David: Or how Jenny stuffed the ballots to win St. Stephen's student body president.
Lea: Kind of seems like none of those conversations actually happen *at* campaign academy, though. All the good stuff gets discussed in the car on the way home. Why don't we just use that for material?
David: That way everyone will know what we say about them as soon as they're gone.
Lea: "The Ride Home." By David and Lea.
David: Good call, good call.
More high-quality news and gossip from the ride home coming soon.
Posted by intrepid_intern on 2006.06.29 at 17:55
Posted by intrepid_intern on 2006.06.29 at 07:12
Today was interesting. We went to go see Al Gore's documentary about global warming. I was a little hesitant being the only Republican in the bunch. I was expecting a lame and boring idiotic film which was going to be filled with a bunch of lies. But coming out of the
film my eyes were wide open to new ideas. Before the movie I felt that our environment was not at risk to depletion but now I feel otherwise. I feel that our environment is in danger and that we should pay more attention to the enivironment as a world body. We should pay attention to the Kyoto Agreement. I am very happy to say that Austin supports the Kyoto Agreement. I would hope that everyone who reads this blog would go and see the movie but not to give money to Gore but to see how we can help our enviornment.