It's not always the big transgressions that bedevil public people. It's the understandable ones.
George H.W. Bush was ridiculed for his supposed wonderment at a bar code scanner in a store, a moment his foes turned into a metaphor for being out of touch.
It might not be his ruin — who the heck knows at this point? — but Rick Perry's two-year subscription to Food & Wine magazine — unearthed by the Associated Press in a story on what he spends on his house and entertaining from public and from private funds — is just that sort of thing. It's a clinker. A funny sound coming from an undisclosed location in your car. A buzz in the speakers. A gnat in the ear. An irritation, hard to ignore.
The big story here has been told. The Perrys moved out of the Governor's Mansion so it could be renovated. While that was going on, an arsonist — still at large — torched the historic building. Now it's being repaired and renovated. In the meantime, the Perrys are living in a $1.8 million home in the hills west of the Capitol at a monthly cost of $10,000. What's new here is detail, and context. The context is the governor's reelection campaign against Democrat Bill White, in which Perry is continuing the positioning he started in his primary campaign against Kay Bailey Hutchison. To wit: He's from Texas, and not Washington, and he's one of us. The detail is that damned magazine subscription. And the two chefs on the payroll. All paid for with state funds.
It raises a political question that doesn't suit Perry's positioning: Has he been in Austin so long that he's gone native?
He might be better off if he'd been reading Field & Stream, or Garden & Gun. The political nugget here is that the two-year sub to Food & Wine was surprising and offbeat — outside the public idea of who the governor is.
Politicians can do all sorts of things and survive, so long as what they're doing remains inside the bounds of what people know about them. For the master class on this, look to the late Charlie Wilson, the former state and federal legislator known as much for being a rascal and a scamp as for secretly appropriating money to pay for arms to help the Afghanis push the Soviets out of their country. Wilson survived a series of personal behavior scandals, in part, because he didn't really surprise anyone. They knew he was a scamp.
It's when they don't know — when a pol does something big or small that violates the public image — that the trouble starts. It can be big stuff, like running for U.S. Senate from Connecticut and telling people you served in the Marines in Vietnam, then getting outed for serving in the Marines during the war, but not in the war. That was Richard Blumenthal, who's in for a very interesting round of campaigning on Memorial Day. It can be small stuff, like running a magazine ad featuring men in military uniforms, like Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst did a few years ago. One uniform was that of an officer in the German Luftwaffe.
If Blumenthal survives, he really will have a war story of sorts. Dewhurst was embarrassed, but came out fine and still holds the office he was after back then. In the first case, the opponents are exploiting it. Dewhurst's opponent let the matter drop. In Perry's case, the Texas AFL-CIO offered up a mobile home for $1 year to house the governor and his bride until the Mansion is back in business. They're trying to put legs on the story — to keep it alive. The only way to know if this is really a problem for the Guv is to wait a couple of weeks, to see if people are still talking about it, and if they're talking about it outside of Austin.
Hillary Clintons push for health-care reform during her husbands presidency could help Texas and 19 other states suing the federal government stop the current legislation, Texas Attorney Greg Abbott said on Thursday.
Abbott said the he felt pretty good that the coalition of states would triumph partly due to concerns raised in the 1990s.
The issue about an individual mandate violating the Commerce Clause was actually first raised back in the time of HillaryCare, and it was picked up once again in the beginning stages of ObamaCare, Abbott said during a panel discussion hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. These arent novel legal theories and it isnt the first time that Congress has been warned about the possibility.
The new legislation is scheduled to cost Texas $25 billion in its first 10 years of implementation, he said.
Abbott said Congress is banking on the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution to prove it has the authority to issue what he called the individual mandate that requires everyone to buy health insurance. The Commerce Clause may allow Congress to regulate commerce but it doesnt allow Congress to force Americans to buy things they dont want. If Congress can force you to buy insurance there is not limit to what they can force you to buy, he said.
The Attorney General said another promising sign is that, despite the governments expansion of what it includes in the Commerce Clause, the Supreme Court has issued decisions that have struck down legislation passed by Congress as a violation of the clause twice in 15 years.
There is a growing movement among the Supreme Court justices, and among courts in general, to understand that there must be some limit to congressional power and I can assure you that if there is any limit to congressional power it will be the limits established in this healthcare mandate, he said.
Because a team of legal professionals has committed to pursuing the lawsuit largely for free he said, Texas could likely spend less than $10,000 battling Congress. A $5,000, $6,000 or $7,000 tab in an effort to save $25 billion is a pretty good return on investment, he concluded.
Faster Higher Ed
Everyone assembled in this week's joint session of the House Higher Education Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education agreed: Texas universities need to do a better job of graduating students. What they couldnt agree on was how to get universities to encourage their students to complete their degrees.
This is particularly urgent in this session, said Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes. In 2009, we had largest enrollment growth in the history of the state.
Paredes thinks the census date that determines funding levels, currently set for the 12th day of classes, should be moved to the end of the semester.
Rep. Mike Villareal, D-San Antonio, questioned whether that proposal would inspire the kind of transformational change needed. Im not sure theres a one size fits all formula tweak that does that, Villareal said. He mentioned the need for professors to spend more time mentoring their students. Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston, advocated for more attentive guidance counseling to ensure that students are taking the correct courses required to graduate.
Higher Ed committee Chairman Dan Branch, R-Dallas, said that a funding incentive could alter the outlook of the administrators, who set the tone for a university and make hiring decisions, thus creating a desired trickle-down effect in the mindset of an institution.
But questions lingered if Paredes' specific tweak creates the proper incentive. After looking at the data, Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, and newly sworn in Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, both expressed doubts that any correlation exists between course completion and graduation rates.
However they do it, lawmakers want it done. How about until you at least meet national peers, Hochberg asked the educators, no new majors, no new programs, no new degrees?
What You See is Not What You Get
Sen. John Cornyn announced his support last week of a Democrat for the federal prosecutor position in the Dallas-based Northern District. But that doesnt mean Texas is anywhere close to getting its first U.S. attorney.
Cornyns pick is Sarah Saldaña, currently an assistant U.S. attorney charged with investigating corruption in public offices. Shes supported by a variety of left-leaning and Latino interest groups including the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Hispanic National Bar Association. Shes known as a loyal Democrat, her husband is also active in Democratic circles.
The hitch is that House Democrats from Texas, who don't have any official standing here, still arent on board. And while they aren't officially in the assembly line here — these are presidential appointments confirmed by the Senate without any stops or drive-bys in the House — they're players because the White House is paying attention to them.
Cornyns office, meanwhile, believes there may be another reason the Housies are kicking: Sultana's resume includes the successful prosecutions of former Dallas mayor pro tem Don Hill and former state Rep. Terri Hodge, D-Dallas. A staffer said that may be the reason why they — in particular U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas — arent behind the nomination.
Johnson did not return a request for comment on the issue. U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, who is also active in the review of federal prosecutor candidates, however, fired back in an email that tweaked Cornyns opposition to Kaplan: A Senator, who didnt think that Justice Sonia Sotomayor was qualified to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court and is currently complaining about Elena Kagan, seeks to avoid important questions: What legitimate objection do you have to U.S. Magistrate Jeff Kaplan, a respected jurist, selected by federal judges with both Republican and Democratic histories, serving as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District?
So what about the other districts? The Eastern is languishing after an agreed-upon nominee, John B. Stevens, withdrew his name from consideration, citing the protracted confirmation process. Theres no consensus candidate in sight in the Southern, where the senators are standing firm behind career U.S. assistant attorney (and Republican) Ken Magidson. And in the Western District, a Cornyn staffer familiar with the process told The Texas Tribune back in April that the nomination of Michael McCrum, who was also on the House delegations list of possible nominees was forthcoming.
Flotsam & Jetsam
The runoff for Kip Averitt's empty seat in the Texas Senate will be held on Tuesday, June 22. Gov. Rick Perry set that date after former Sen. David Sibley of Waco and retired Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell of Granbury finished first and second in the special election earlier this month. The winner will hold Averitt's seat until January, when the winner of the general election in November will take over. Right now, the favorite is Averitt, who hasn't given up the Republican nomination for another term, even though he's resigned from the Senate. If and when he withdraws, the political party chairs in SD-22's ten counties will pick a nominee for the November ballot. For Sibley and Birdwell (and others), that's the real race.
Put Michael Barnes on your list of candidates for chair of the Texas Democratic Party. The South Texas schoolteacher says it's time for fresh blood, for change, and besides, he says, "Since when is zero for 29 a winning record?" He's referring to the number of statewide elected offices held by Texas Democrats. The current chairman, Boyd Richie of Graham, is the only other candidate at this point. The Democrats' state party convention — where the next chair will be elected — is set for June 25 in Corpus Christi.
Expect that mobile home now parked at the Texas AFL-CIO to move around between now and November, a portable taunt of the governor and his current living setup in a $10,000/month house in tony West Austin. An op on the Democratic side gave us a hint the other day: "Remember. That mobile home is mobile."
The Week in the Rearview Mirror
Its looking bleaker for the 2011 legislative sessions budget writers. The now-forecasted $18 billion shortfall will have to be resolved without new taxes, according to top officials, but the first cuts — for the current budget and not the next one, which has that hole in it — amounted to only $1.2 billion. After reviewing the recommended cuts from state agencies, Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus nixed cuts for what they portrayed as necessary services, reducing the impact of the agency-proposed cuts by half a billion dollars.
Media outlets as far away as the UK are reporting on the State Board of Educations upcoming vote on new social studies textbook standards. The controversy hasnt lost any luster or bluster over the last few months, as board members continue to offer amendments to the standards reflecting what some characterize as their political and religious points of view. The ranks of more than 200 people who signed up to speak about the new standards included former U.S. Secretary of Education and Houston school superintendent Rod Paige and NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous.
New polls released this week show Perrys lead over Democrat Bill White growing in the gubernatorial race. A Rasmussen poll put the gap at 51-38, favoring the Governor. Austin-based Opinion Analysts released a survey showing Perrys lead to be nine points, but pointed out that Perrys negative ratings are above 50%.
Because of the moratorium on new offshore drilling permits following the massive explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf, rig operators are finding it hard to do business as usual. Consequently, economic hardships may be felt soon by more than fishermen and coastal communities. The Houston Chronicle reports that 75,000 workers are employed offshore and that number could be reduced by 7,500-10,000 if the temporary ban on drilling continues past next week's expiration date.
State employees were briefed behind closed doors on Thursday — that's a great way to keep a secret — on the new security measures that will soon go into effect at the Capitol. All four entrances will remain accessible to the public, a modification from an earlier plan that would have directed different groups through different entrances. Although metal detectors are being installed, X-ray machines for examining packages and purse will have to wait for a wiring upgrade.
In hearings held Monday in front of the House Public Health Committee, state health officials were on the defensive about stored blood samples. The controversy centers on blood spots stored by the Department of State Health Services after infants are tested for birth defects and diseases. According to The Texas Tribune, the stored blood has been used to build a DNA database for research purposes and traded for lab supplies without parents ever being notified or asked for consent. Lawmakers want more transparency and fewer headlines.
As Mexican president Felipe Calderon embarked on a two-day visit to the United States, the question was: Will immigration issues trump border violence as the topic of the day? Calderon and Barack Obama have both voiced their disapproval of the new Arizona immigration law; but their original meetings were scheduled to address border security and the raging drug cartel war that has resulted in over 5500 deaths in Mexico since Calderon assumed the presidency in 2006.
Texas will stick it out with IBM on a data consolidation project under contract since 2006, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The computer giant has had a troubled relationship with twenty-eight state agencies as it sought to streamline their operations, and has been given low marks for their customer service. But the state feels it wouldnt be to anyones benefit to kill the deal now, although subcontracting out some of IBMs responsibilities is being considered.
As census takers knock on doors finalizing the 2010 numbers, demographers are taking a longer view of whats going to be happening in Texas by the next census. The Hispanic population is expected to overtake the Anglo population sometime between 2015 and 2020, as reported in the San Antonio Express News. The news may give some Republican Party leaders pause, as they consider their poor track record in attracting Latino votes and their weak showing of statewide Hispanic officeholders.
Political People and Their Moves
Jan Newton — who chairs the board of directors at the state's electric utility grid operator — is stepping down from that post, leaving the agency with interim officeholders and holes at the top of its org chart: Chair, CEO, CFO, COO, and general counsel. Newton, a former AT&T exec, chaired the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) board for about 18 months, a tenure marked with high turnover in the agency's top jobs, and she was a regular board member for a little more than two years before that. ERCOT operates the grid over which about 85 percent of electricity in Texas is transmitted and is the clearinghouse for the resulting financial transactions. Michael Gent, the vice chair, will take over until the board elects a new leader. Bob Kahn left the CEO job in November. That post was filled by H.B. "Trip" Doggett — the agency's COO — on an interim basis. The agency has interims serving as its general counsel, and the jobs of chief financial officer and chief operating officer are vacant right now. They've decided not to fill an empty chief administrative officer position. Public Utility Commissioner Barry Smitherman, who's an ex officio member of ERCOT's board, recently made a play to become the new CEO, but backed out after talking that over with board members and others. ERCOT's also in the middle of a periodic review by the Sunset Advisory Commission. It's a big agency, with almost 700 employees and with a 2010 operating budget of about $267 million. And the Sunset staff recommended stronger oversight of the non-profit agency by the Public Utility Commission. ERCOT is one of several agencies on the agenda for next week's Sunset hearings in Austin.
Game over: Rep. Al Edwards dropped his election challenge to former Rep. Borris Miles, who beat him in the Houston Democratic primary for that race. That clears the way for the former Rep. to become the Rep., and for the current Rep. to become the former Rep. Miles won the March primary by eight votes.
Sean Cunningham, the longtime chief of staff to former Rep. Brian McCall, R-Plano, will take over as Vice Chancellor of Government Relations at Texas State University System, where McCall is now the Chancellor. And Mike Wintemute is leaving his position as Director of Communications for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, signing on with TSUS as its new Director of Government Affairs and Communications.
Add Ted Cruz and Scott Brister to the lineup at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, where, in addition to their day jobs as lawyers, they'll be directing that group's new Center for Tenth Amendment Studies. Cruz was the state's solicitor general under Attorney General Greg Abbott, and was gearing up for a run for AG until it became apparent that Abbott (along with everyone else in the state's GOP firmament) would run for reelection instead of trying to move up. Brister resigned from the Texas Supreme Court last year to return to private practice.
Gov. Rick Perry named Lisa Benge Michalk of The Woodlands to preside over the 221st District Court in Montgomery County. She'll have to win in November to keep the seat.
Deaths: Jack Colley, director of the states Division of Emergency Management, from a heart attack. He was 62. "Jack Colley did more to keep Texans safe over the past eight years than anyone will ever know. Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement. Every Texan who evacuated a hurricane impact zone, watched airplanes douse a wildfire or got clear instructions on how to avoid the H1N1 virus should pause and offer a prayer of thanks for this remarkable man.
Quotes of the Week
Linda Chavez-Thompson, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, introducing herself to an Austin group: "I am also what the State Board of Education calls of a figment of your imagination — a Latina who is about to make history."
Rob Kohler, a lobbyist with the Christian Life Commission, on the prospects for casinos in Texas, in the Houston Chronicle: You're not going to re-create Las Vegas. Folks aren't walking around in Mississippi in tuxedos and evening gowns. They're walking around in Spandex, toting oxygen bottles.
Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck: Tibet will not be crushed. Tibet is Texas. They will not give in They will fight to the last man. Tibet is Chinas Texas.
Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller offering Gov. Rick Perry the option of renting a trailer for $1-a-year instead of living in a $10,000 per month rental mansion while the official residence is rebuilt: In addition, I will make a personal guarantee to the Governor: No coyotes.
Former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige asking the State Board of Education not to alter social studies curriculum standards too drastically: We may not like our history, but its history, and its important to us today.
Food and Wine Magazine, tweeting after news broke that Gov. Rick Perry had bought $70 a year subscriptions with taxpayer dollars: "Love that TX Gov Rick Perry is a fan, but wish he hadn't spent public $ on subs."
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, addressing Mexican President Felipe Calderon's criticism of U.S. policy during a state dinner at the White House: "It was inappropriate for President Calderon to lecture Americans on our own state and federal laws. Arizonas immigration law has been amended to make clear it does not authorize racial profiling by law enforcement. Moreover, the Second Amendment is not a subject open for diplomatic negotiation, with Mexico or any other nation.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, to former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz: "You are the youngest person to ever serve as a solicitor general in the State of Texas. I am the youngest person ever to have served on the Supreme Court of Texas who's not been convicted of a felony."
Contributors: Julian Aguilar, Reeve Hamilton, Ceryta Holm, and Morgan Smith
Rafael Anchia: Arizona's Wrong
"It is time for an immigration policy that permits temporary guest workers to fill jobs Americans will not take, that rejects amnesty, that tells us who is entering and leaving our country, and that closes the border to drug dealers and terrorists."
Those words, uttered by former President George W. Bush, hit at the heart of why Arizona's recently signed anti-immigrant law will ultimately be an exercise in futility and a complete failure to reduce undocumented immigration and border violence. Much has been written about the possible negative effects of the Arizona law: loss of liberty by law-abiding U.S. citizens who may now be asked by government to provide papers, please, additional unfunded state mandates on local law enforcement that will reduce their effectiveness in fighting crime and increased discrimination against Latinos or other ethnic minorities. Instead of debating those issues and assessing what harm the Arizona bill might do, it is important to focus instead on the failure of the Arizona law because of what it does not do. The Arizona law misses the mark because it fails to address the underlying problems with our broken borders.
First, the Arizona law does not and cannot create an effective and legal system to match willing workers and willing employers. While the immigration debate in our country frequently devolves into emotional slogans and inflammatory rhetoric, the causes of immigration are quite simple. If we stop demagoguing illegals and understand immigration as transnational labor flows driven by host-country employment, then solutions become attainable. Until we align our immigration system with U.S. labor needs in a legal framework, we will continue to see an increase in undocumented workers. Arizona-like enforcement-only laws will have little-to-no impact on this larger macro-economic dynamic. In fact, despite already having among the toughest anti-immigrant state laws on the books, USA Today, citing U.S. Border Patrol statistics, reported this week that Arizona is "the only border state where illegal crossings are on the rise.
Second, the Arizona law does nothing to address the insatiable appetite for drugs in the U.S. that funds and arms murderous drug cartels and corrupts and destabilizes the Mexican government. Immigrant housekeepers, gardeners, cooks, nannies, construction workers and farmers working throughout the U.S. cannot be blamed for this brand of border violence. We need to look at ourselves as a responsible link in a vicious and destructive cycle. We buy the drugs. The money goes to the cartels. The cartels buy our guns with our money. The cartels buy government officials (on both sides of the border) with our money. The cartels murder thousands of people in Mexico (and some in the U.S.) using our guns and our money. The Arizona law will not stop border violence because it does nothing to address this cycle.
Third, the Arizona law does not and cannot resolve the situation of the 10 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. by allowing them to earn their way to legal status. During recent legislative sessions, members of the Texas Association of Business and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, not conventional political allies under normal circumstances, found common ground by identifying several principles that each group supported as a step to comprehensive immigration reform. Those principles outlined an earned path to legal status that includes a criminal background check, learning basic English and American civics, payment of any fines for unlawful entry, and payment of any back taxes. After meeting those requirements, an immigrant would get in line with other would-be citizens.
Elected and business leaders who support comprehensive immigration reform realize that patchwork and piecemeal approaches will continue to fail. We have seen the negative effects of Arizona-like initiatives here in Texas. In the district I represent, the town of Farmers Branch elected to pass a particularly misguided anti-immigrant ordinance back in 2007 that was successful only in dividing a community, tarnishing the towns image and costing nearly $5 million in attorneys' fees.
Arizona might be fortunate that the anti-immigrant law is destined to fail. If all the undocumented workers and their families in Arizona are stopped, identified and deported, the negative economic impact of such actions would worsen an already deep deficit that has forced the state to raise sales taxes. The Perryman Group has estimated that if all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Arizona, the state would lose $26.4 billion in economic activity and approximately 140,324 jobs.
Like Arizona, Texas will face a challenging budget deficit in 2011. As legislators, we should devote every second of our time and every ounce of our effort next session to ensure that we balance the budget in a thoughtful and responsible manner. And we should demand the same from our Texas Congressional delegation and call for, as President Bush did, thoughtful and responsible comprehensive immigration reform.
Anchia, D-Dallas, represents District 103 in the Texas House.
Leo Berman: Arizona's Right
The law passed by the state of Arizona merely codifies federal law in that state. If one has a problem with the Arizona law, one must also have a problem with the federal law. If the federal law was enforced, there would be no need for an Arizona law or any other law in a state that is proposing similar legislation.
When Washington, D.C., speaks of illegal aliens, the number living in the United States has never changed in the past eight years; it is always estimated at 8 million to 12 million. There are many agencies in the United States that keep track of illegal aliens and use a number somewhere between 20 million and 30 million. In Texas, for example, the estimated number of illegal aliens is 2 million, and since passage of the Arizona law, many more are heading east to the Lone Star State. Two years ago, with the passage of strict legislation in Oklahoma dealing with their illegal population, illegal aliens headed south across the Red River to come to Texas. Our numbers continue to grow. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice reports that we have 12,500 illegal aliens in our state prisons and an estimated 12,500 in our county jails.
When law enforcement officers were required to take training under Section 287(g) of the Homeland Security Act before dealing directly with illegal aliens, Texas was promulgating a double standard. If a Texan was detained for any violation, traffic or otherwise, and failed to have personal identification on him, he could be asked any question, including immigration status, and arrested if warranted. However, illegal aliens could not be questioned on their immigration status. It was a major headache for every law enforcement officer in Texas, except for those who worked in so-called sanctuary cities.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently suspended the 287(g) training. President Obama stated last month that the U.S. Congress did not have the appetite to take up the immigration issue. What better time than now to exercise our state's rights and sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? The federal government has failed to deal with the immigration problem. It falls upon the states to seal their borders and deal with illegal aliens as they would with any other lawbreakers. Even if the federal government did act, we would certainly see amnesty, with a pathway to citizenship for 30 million new citizens who would instantly have access to all of our social services.
When I raised my right hand as a legislator and placed my left on the Holy Bible, I swore to preserve, protect and defend the constitution and laws of the United States and the State of Texas. That is a solemn oath to me, and too many of my colleagues quickly forget it. It is our duty to protect the citizens of Texas from the crimes committed by illegal aliens in our state, especially from those who make up 50 percent of the gangs who deal in drugs and commit murder, theft, and drunken driving, as well as those who drive without a license or liability insurance.
The major criticism I have heard of the Arizona bill is that it may lead to profiling other Hispanics who are loyal, longtime Texas residents. But he profiling argument is a case of using race when no other legitimate objection is available to prevent the bill from passing. The bill would apply to everyone and can be written in a way to avoid profiling of any kind. Many members of our law enforcement community are Hispanics, and a sound education program, resembling the 287(g) training, can be part of the bill. Our law enforcement officers must have the capability of dealing fairly and legally with all residents in the state of Texas.
I fully intend to introduce similar legislation in the next session of the Texas Legislature to honor my oath of office, to protect the citizens of Texas, and to assert our state sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Berman, R-Tyler, represents District 6 in the Texas House.
Texas Weekly: Volume 27, Issue 20, 24 May 2010. Ross Ramsey, Editor. Copyright 2010 by The Texas Tribune. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. One-year online subscription: $250. For information about your subscription, call (512) 716-8600 or email email@example.com. For news, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (512) 716-8611.