Monthly Archives: October 2010

People Are Awesome

(Community Matters)

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People Are Awesome, posted with vodpod

Wren Cottage

(Community Matters) just received a reminder of our dinner plans for tomorrow night at Wren Cottage . . . along with this menu


Bruschetta and Cheese Selection

with Plum and Peach Sangria

Curried Chicken and Mango Cocktail Tartlets

with Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris 2008

Pepper, Tomato, Olive and Manchego Chopped Salad

with Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Toulouse Cassoulet with Homemade Foccacia

with Indian Creek Mendocino Zinfindel 2008

Chocolate Raspberry Torte

with Lemelson Vineyards Thea’s Selection Oregon Pinot Noir 2007

wow, and I thought last night’s meal at Uchi was gonna be our best this month.  How very often I am proven wrong whenever I speak with such certainty.

Jazz at St. James

(Community Matters) The 16th annual Jazz at St. James next Friday & Saturday.  Featuring the magical sax of Donald Harrison.

and the baritone saxophone of Gary Smulyan . . . along with Joseph Dyson, Max Moran and Zaccai Curtis.

Steven and I will be there on Saturday, along with friends, and at the banquet just prior – always a Cajun treat.

Michelle Obama on Ellen

(Community Matters) from Joe Jervis: Mrs. Obama said young people need to know that they shouldn’t let the challenges they face in high school or college “eat them up.” “All of these young people regardless of their race, their sexual orientation, they are gifts to us,” she said. “They have so much to offer and it’s just terrible to find out that kids are letting this part of their life define everything about who they are going to be.” The first lady said she tells daughters Malia and Sasha that they have a responsibility to speak up when they see someone being bullied.

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Watch: Coolest Octopus Ever

(Community Matters)

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(Community Matters) ughh, I’d forgotten about anti-homesexual activism in Malaysia.  Wondering if I should accommodate in  our KL hotel reservations.

Homeowners Get The Boot

(Community Matters) I don’t know enough about the situation but this Huffington Post headline does resonate:

Homeowners Get The Boot For Bad Paperwork While Banks Get Millions For Same

this posting sorta ironic since just yesterday I posted on Huffington Post that their headliner writers were irresponsible and we’re playing the game of ginning up dissatisfaction for eyeballs

Four Seasons Residences Open House

(Community Matters) After celebrating Steven’s birthday over dinner at Uchi (good gosh, the food & dining experience truly is exquisite), we joined friends at the Four Seasons Residences opening.

So, there really isn’t any other place like it.  Sure some might prefer the finish out at the Austonian or the W’s location (though the understated elegance of FSR & its location on the hike & bike trail & as part of the Four Seasons Hotel, well . . . ). The real differentiator is that it all comes with Four Seasons staffing.  From general manager Tom Segesta & his wife welcoming every guest, Steve Marley & his wife mingling, Brian Gardner & Armando mixing with friends, the familiar blonde guy in charge of hotel valet & bell men (ughh, forget his name – bad me) seeing everyone off – all the Four Seasons Hotel principals who already know so many, engaged in & prioritizing making every day a nicer experience – wow, really can’t be beat.

Anyhow, great opening.  The festivities centered on the 32nd floor – much more than just the pool and gym – very nice entertaining spaces, terraces, a commercial kitchen, and a library.  We checked out one of the units on 20 – a one bedroom with a huge terrace.  Going back to have lunch with Ian Stonington and check out the 2 w/ study.  No, not a likely option for us – we love where we’re at yet we’re exploring.

Great crowd of friends: Lynn & Tommie Meredith (they just had to take elevator up one floor), Sarah Meredith, Melanie & Ben Barnes, AG Tharp & Doug Ulman (hot prospects for a unit), Michael Barnes, Jodi & Fred Zipp, Mary & Rusty Talley, David Kurio and other friends.  I’d promised Steven we’d get home sorta early, so we didn’t stay for the fireworks though I heard them going off as we arrived home.

A favorite Friday night . . .

Poll: Dems Split Over Handing Obama ’12 Nomination

(Community Matters) article in the NYTimes

Rham’s strict discipline and thumbs on the secretaries might have served us well in accomplishing 2009 & 10 legislative priorities.  The transition might afford a broader cast of principals who’ll allow us to better connect & communicate with the electorate.  I don’t know Pete Rouse but hoping this might be the case

HelpHaiti – Cholera

(Community Matters) received a note this morning from our partner in Haiti, ConcernWorldwide.  We’ve been in regular contact with Partners in Health, the summary from which I blogged about last week.

Concern’s summary:

Continue reading

Polling Update 10/29

(Community Matters) Seismic shift in Real Clear Politics projection for House – now 173 Ds/ 222 Rs/ 40 toss ups (7 addt’l toss ups since Mon, all from D column).

Nate’s House forecast since Monday Ds – 2, Rs +2   (Ds 203.1; Rs 231.9)

Previous postings: 10/25 (Community Matters) 538: Democratic chances of retaining control of the House are essentially unchanged in today’s FiveThirtyEight forecast. They have a 21 percent chance of doing so, up from 20 percent on Friday; that means Republicans have a 79 percent chance of instead claiming control. The average projection returned a result of 205 Democrats in the House and 230 Republicans, which would reflect a gain of 51 seats for the G.O.P.; this figure is unchanged.  Forecast: Ds 205, Rs 230

RCP: 180/222/33

Oct 23: (Community Matters) bummed to see this am that the House predictions have slipped by 2 and 1 seats in the 538 and RCP forecasts.  And, yet, I remain optimistic that the modeling relying on likely voters is undercounting the showing of Obama first time voters.

10/21: (Community Matters) Nate’s updated 538 forecast to D’s: 206.6  Rs 228.4, and though he gives 3 out of 4 odds of Rs taking the House, he acknowledges that the volatility in these races is very high.

AP is reporting that early voting is breaking toward Ds.  I had DNC Chairman Tim Kaine & OFA Texas Statewide Director Luke Hayes on the Talk on Tuesday radio show – both are optimistic.  Luke believes the fact that we’re contacting and mobilizing 2008 first time voters (not included in likely voters in current polls) will result in a favorable break our way.

RCP forecasting 179/214/42 toss ups

Historical Designation

(Community Matters) Austin’s historical landmark designation program is in trouble – AAS article here.

Fortunately, city staff now appears to be exercising higher levels of qualification in their recommendations. This program can work, should work but there has got to be reins on its scope and size – we can’t afford unlimited tax concessions.  Just like our family budgets, the amount of outstanding tax abatements should be set and held.  These abatements may have to expire over time to allow more properties to qualify.  And, our standards for what qualifies as historical should be raised and judiciously enforced.

This program’s trouble stems in part because over zealous preservationists gaming the system – using bogus designation of historic to prevent property owners from remodeling, even completely rebuilding on their property sites. Also in part because sophisticated property owners have abused the system for tax breaks without any real judiciousness by the city staff and city commissions overseeing the program.  In these austere times, it’s not inappropriate that we have to modify terms of this program in order to preserve it and continue preserving historical structures.