Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Tag: Austin

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Holds Rally on May 13th, 2024 in Austin, Texas

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Holds Campaign Rally in Austin, TX is now available for viewing in the C-SPAN Video Library.

Let’s not forget that I covered the Presidential races of 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 and wrote 3 books on the candidates, often focusing as they came through the Iowa caucuses. I was named Content Producer of the Year for Politics in 2008 by Yahoo and my two books on that race are “Obama’s Odyssey: The 2008 Race for the White House,” Vols. I & II. I am also responsible for BEE GONE about the 2016 election, which I was not allowed to advertise during DJT’s tenure, since it is a comic book rhyming presentation that was hilarious, but which the MAGA folk did not like at all. [One of them called me “Hitler with breasts.” Perhaps that one did not hear about my breast cancer diagnosis?]

If you want to try to find THAT one, your best bet is to go to ConnieCWilson.com and scroll down to “other” books and look it up that way. It is truly hard to find on Amazon and, last time I looked, they only had one copy (which I sent to a friend), If you want one, send me a note.)



I traveled to downtown Austin tonight to hear Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., deliver a speech. The main message of the evening was that RFK, Jr., has gathered enough signatures (more than enough) to get on the ballot in Texas.When I got there, I was told that the speech was not going to be held at that venue. It had been moved to somewhere on Brazos Street and was going to be live-streamed by CNN. The nice volunteer said she doubted that I could get in, but told me it would be available on C-span, live-streamed, which suited me fine.

I left the book that had RFK, Jr.’s picture in it (p. 33“Obama’s Odyssey: The 2008 Race for the White House,” Vol. II) and went home, where I watched the speech on C-Span. This was a good thing, because out of an hour and 39 minutes, Bobby Kennedy (Jr.) didn’t come on for a very long time. With it being live-streamed, you could fast forward past the introductions and Nicole Shanahan’s speech.

The wealthy Nicole Shanahan, his running mate, gave a speech about soil.

Interesting, I thought. Something that everyone came for—[NOT].

I fast forwarded past all the greeters and announcers and the VP who is helping finance RFK, Jr.’s campaign (and paid for his SuperBowl ad) and listened to what Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the doppelganger of his famous father, had to say. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Holds Campaign Rally in Austin, TX is now available for viewing in the C-SPAN Video Library.

The first 2/3 of the speech (look it up on the C-Span archives) was random.

Then came RFK, Jr. Bobby told a lengthy story about an Amish farmer who does a podcast. This sounded like a contradiction in terms. Kennedy addressed that by saying that the 35-year-old young man (apparently an Ohio expert on soil and pesticides with very bright blue eyes) could not allow himself to be photographed. RFK (Jr.) had promised not to show the tape of his comments to the world. The conversation concerning the young Amish man’s encyclopedic knowledge of pesticides went on (and on) describing 2 rows of melons on the Amish podcaster’s farm, one of them grown without pesticides and, therefore, far healthier and more pest-free than the other. One was healthy. One was sickly. What this had to do with anything was hard to determine (but keep in mind that I skipped past the Shanahan soil speech, so shame on me). I am onboard with the idea that pesticides and pollution and the variety of pollutants that are covered so well in the documentary “Plastic People” that I reviewed during SXSW are harming us irreparably, so I will assume that RFK (Jr.) is as concerned about this as the Canadian documentary-filmmakers.

After talking about soil and Amish farmers for a rather lengthy time, the 70-year-old Kennedy talked about what a sick country we are, sharing the data that we have only 4% of the world’s population but, during the Covid pandemic, we had 16% of the world’s deaths. There were more remarks about how good health is not found at the end of a hypodermic needle (anti-vaccine position). I just watched (and reviewed) a documentary called “Plastic People,” mentioned above, and much of what RFK, Jr., was talking about this Canadian documentary supported, so I’m not throwing stones here. I have an interest in such things as why the incidence of breast cancer in young women is so much higher than in years of yore. Not to mention colon cancer in younger people, infertiity, and autism disorders.

The reason the CDC said so many of us succumbed to Covid, (said Kennedy), was that those who died had 3.8 pre-existing chronic diseases. Chronic disease was a recurring phrase and topic.  Kennedy named cancer, asthma, food allergies and then blanked out. He sought a disease to represent the fourth chronic disease, soliciting it from the predominantly young crowd. The crowd finally coughed up “diabetes.” (Heart disease did not rear its ugly head, and I wasn’t sure that food allergies qualified, but nevermind. Obesity might have made the list, based on another statistic he threw out about 40% of us being obese. No idea if any of these facts and figures were precisely accurate; just reporting what the candidate said,)

This is not a fact-checking article—so go ahead and listen to the speech (link above) for yourself. But don’t omit reading up about the candidate’s background, because we have already been “conned” once in 2016 and elected someone who built a totally fabricated background for himself based on being a success in business, when, in reality, that was very far from the truth. And don’t fail to check the candidate(s) out for their strength of character. We’ve seen THAT happen before (John Edwards, anyone?) and we don’t want to constantly be conned into accepting uncritically media presentations (Fox News, I’m talking about you.)


One refrain that did strike a responsive chord for this seasoned political reporter was the remark that we no longer trust our government, because it’s been lying to us for years. To illustrate this, Kennedy repeated the Francis Gary Powers story.

For those of you who are too young to remember that 1960 U-2 event, Powers was shot down over Russia in a super-secret plane. Wikipedia:  “On May 1, 1960, Powers’ U-2A, 56-6693, departed from a military airbase in Peshawar, Pakistan,[13] with support from the U.S. Air Station at Badaber (Peshawar Air Station). This was to be the first attempt “to fly all the way across the Soviet Union. Powers was shot down by an S-75 Dvina (SA-2 “Guideline”) surface-to-air missile[15] over Sverdlovsk. A total of 14 Dvinas were launched,[16] one of which hit a MiG-19 jet fighter which was sent to intercept the U-2 but could not reach a high enough altitude.”

Attempted deception by the U.S. government

“When the U.S. government learned of Powers’ disappearance over the Soviet Union, they lied that a “weather plane” had strayed off course after its pilot had “difficulties with his oxygen equipment”. What CIA officials did not realize was that the plane crashed almost fully intact and that the Soviets had recovered its pilot and much of the plane’s equipment, including its new top-secret high-altitude camera. Powers was interrogated extensively by the KGB for months before he made a confession and a public apology for his part in the espionage.”

Kennedy’s point: that the American public quit trusting their government about the time that JFK was shot dead in the streets of Dallas and Bobby’s father was shot dead in Los Angeles, California, as a result of lies like the Francis Gary Powers incident, rang a bell with me. I am not a conspiracy theorist,  but I have always doubted the “single bullet” theory of JFK’s death. So did RFK, Sr.

If Bobby Kennedy (Sr.) had gone on to be elected, he had vowed to get to the bottom of his brother’s assassination. (I know this from reading the book by his nephew, Christopher Lawford.) I don’t doubt that there  would have been a much better inquiry than the Warren Commission provided. An investigation that Bobby (Sr.) would have conducted might have come to different conclusions about who was responsible for the death of his brother Jack (JFK).

RFK (Jr.) took a few shots at the national debt and how it is chewing up half of our tax moneys now, simply to service the interest on the debt. He pointed out that neither of the geriatric candidates has really addressed that very important issue. I do have one tiny bit of rebuttal there. While it is true that, “The national debt has increased by around $3.5 trillion under the Biden administration, as data from Statista shows, currently standing at $31.46 trillion. Year-on-year the debt has never decreased since 1957, according to Treasury data.”

However, it is also true that Biden is far from indifferent to the pressing need to reduce the national debt. Between 2020 and 2022, he was responsible for $1.7 trillion in deficit reduction. The exact quote that Biden gave was, “”I might note parenthetically: In my first two years, I reduced the debt by $1.7 trillion. No President has ever done that.” Obviously that is a drop in the deficit bucket and the GOP immediately began  to see investigating to see if it held up. (Does anyone besides me remember when Democratic President Bill Clinton left us with a budget surplus?)

Biden gets precious little credit for all of the good things he HAS done and selling a national debt decrease is going to be a hard sell. But it IS true that the debt went way up under DJT. (And the GOP would point fingers at Obama, before him.) We could also point out that desperate times call for desperate measures and some of those increases in 2020 on were created by the pandemic crisis. Was there graft and corruption during a tough time when we were navigating a nationwide pandemic? Is the Pope Catholic?

Fleeting references to the Issues of the Day (abortion, the border) were made. Bobby seemed more critical of the Republican candidate than of the Democratic candidate,  (despite the YouTube video that says the opposite). In fact, Bobby said that he, like his supporters in the room, needed to be independent of party noise. He added that he, therefore, had divorced himself from the Democratic party which so many of his relatives served. He said that divorce from being a Democrat was painful, as it went waaay back, even unto grandfathers and beyond. Traditionally, running as a third party has not worked well, even for Teddy Roosevelt and his Bull Moose Party,

The opening of the rally should be mentioned, as it had his famous father repeating some of his most famous quotes in that memorable voice (which, sadly, the younger Bobby cannot emulate because of spasmodic dysphonia, a disorder that causes his voice to quaver and makes speech difficult). He traveled to Kyoto, Japan, to have a titanium bridge inserted between his vocal cords to treat the condition.[315

]The film that  ran at the opening of the rally was very professionally done. It was certainly better than listening to a choir of January 6th miscreants singing from prison (and being hailed incorrectly as “hostages.”) Bobby Kennedy, Jr., was onscreen in this opening film introduction, but the voice was his famous father’s.

Many of the people introducing RFK, Jr. were Hispanic. The Big Announcement of the night was that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s name will be on the ballot in Texas with over 235,000 signatures and that the campaign will next move to New York to get on the ballot. He described these two states as the most difficult states to get on the ballot. Kennedy claimed that Texas had actually introduced legislation raising the threshold from a smaller number (150,000?) to one that the Texas legislature thought was too high to ever be reached.

I think the number the team actually secured was more than what they needed. I remember it as being 235,000, but I’d have to wade through the speech on the CNN archives all over again to actually establish that. Feel free to do so and correct me.

To me, it seemed like getting on the ballot was so difficult that, in some way, RFK, Jr., has conflated that  with actually getting the electorate to vote for him. Lord knows the country would like a younger leader.  Bobby Kennedy is 70, so is that what is meant by “younger?” He is the 5th member of his family to run for President, said Wikipedia. (Don’t ask me to cough up the names of the others: I could only think of JFK, Bobby Kennedy Sr., Ted Kennedy and—-? Maybe running for VP counts? Didn’t Maria Shriver’s father have a flirtation with elective office? Help me out here!)

Bill Maehr on his show criticized Kennedy’s lack of government experience, We all know about putting someone in office, an office for which they have literally no training or experience, and how that works. Or doesn’t. RFK, Jr., doesn’t fall into that category, as you will see for yourself if you visit his Wikipedia page. There’s a lot there to unpack. There is also this Internet page:https://www.kennedy24.com/

And then the rally was over after 1 hour and 39 minutes.

Family Fest 2023 in Austin, Texas Is In the Books

My son (Scott) and his wife (Jessica) and their girls (14-year-old twins Ava and Elise) just concluded another successful Family Fest at their home in Austin, Texas.

People normally fly in from St. Louis, Denver, the Quad Cities, Boston, Nashville and our numbers have been as high as 30, although this year there were some defections in the ranks and we topped out at 14.

Of that number, eleven slept at his house and three of us commuted back and forth from the Hills of Bear Creek (Mench aaca) 3.3 miles away.

On Sunday, most of the group floated for 3 and ½ hours down a river in inner tubes. I think it was the Calumne River, but don’t quote me on that.

Son Scott grilled many things: sausage, ribs, brisket. Jessica made many delicious side dishes and I contributed a Texas sheet cake and deviled eggs. On Labor Day we had a birthday cake for the 2-year-old, Winnie Eddy.

Craig, Connie, Stacey, Megan (blue suit kids).

The Ken Paxton impeachment trial is ongoing, creating a major political scandal in the Longhorn state. The “New York Times” was covering it on an hourly basis.

There was a shoot-out in nearby Buda today and the temperature here is predicted to top 100 degrees for the foreseeable future.

Most days and nights, we staked out the pool, playing water volleyball, bags, and other games. Only one board game was used, Baby boomers versus Millennials, which was way too easy.

A birthday cake was secured for Winnie Eddy, the youngest member of the group, who had recently turned two.

Wrigley, the dog, had a good time and neighbors Bill Kohl and Satch and Brandi Nanda and daughter Kira stopped by, along with the Beans from next door, who came with Jackson, Penny and Milly in tow. (Penny was very excited about the idea of a baby in the house.)




Scott at outdoor bar in Buda, Texas.

A good time was had by all.

Today’s Thought of the Day from the Letters to the Editor in Austin, TX

From Renee Potenza (of Austin, TX)

“Get Off the Trump Train and Admit Your Mistake”

To those friends and family members who voted for Donald J. Trump:

Perhaps you are a life-long Republican.  Maybe you have deeply held beliefs about those values for which the Republican Party used to stand. Maybe you got on the Trump train early on, and your enthusiasm in being part of a popular group carried you along.

I ask you now:  Please get off the Trump train. He’s not worthy of your trust.

Disengage your identity as a follower of the Donald, and think critically, questioning everything.  Utter those three little words, which are the hallmarks of honest, healthy communication:  “I was wrong.”

(A Letter to the Editor from the Austin American-Statesman of Wednesday, January 20th, 2021.)

“Keep Austin Weird”

Democrats Debate for 19th Time in Austin, Texas, Prior to Texas Vote (2/20/08)

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama Debate in Austin, TexasTrue to my usual practice of listening for either applause or boos, during Thursday night’s Democratic debate on CNN televised from Austin, Texas, from on campus at the University of Texas, the only “boo-ing” was directed Hillary Clinton’s way, as she took after Barack Obama for (purportedly) plagiarizing a speech by Deval Patrick, the National Co-Chairman of his campaign (and Governor of Massachusetts). Hillary’s sharp retort that using Patrick’s words is “Not change we can believe in; change we can Xerox” did not go over well with the crowd. This was the only instance of “boo-ing” in the extremely civilized 19th debate the two leading candidates have had.

     First, from a woman’s perspective, what was up with Hillary’s outfit? The neckline of the black outfit reminded me of a costume from an old Star Trek set. It had a high collar that was edged in gold, which then looked as though it connected physically to her gold omega chain. It was not an unattractive look; it just looked like an early sketch of something Michael Jackson would design, with epaulets still to be attached. To be fair, it was fairly slimming and fetching from the waist up— until Hillary stood up. The hemline of the jacket then ballooned unfetchingly, making her look larger through the hips than she actually is (surely not the desired effect?).

     Fashion aside, here were some of the “zingers” heard during the largely friendly debate, listed in chronological order:

            Obama: “What’s lacking now are not good ideas. Washington is a place where ideas go to die.”

            Obama:  “What the American people want is an America as good as its promise.”

            Obama: (on talking to Cuba’s new leadership): “I do think it’s important (for a nation) not just to talk to its friends, but also to talk to its enemies.” (The gizmo people liked this one.)

            Clinton:  “The Bush Administration has alienated our friends and emboldened our enemies.” I want to send a very strong message that the era of arrogance, pre-emption and unilateralism—those days are over.” (I wondered how this pronouncement would dampen the budding friendship between Bill Clinton and his newfound friend George Herbert Walker Bush.)

           Obama: “I this the President today needs to take a more active role than 30 or 40 years ago. That’s the extra step.” (on talking to other nations)

           Clinton: (“The wealthy and the well-connected have had a President for the last 7 years and I’d like the middle class to have a President now.” Clinton followed that up with the phrase, “innovation nation,” a nice rhyming phrase. She should have trotted that one out earlier in this campaign.

         Clinton: (Talking about how young Latino children might come home to find their parents deported and no one there to take care of them) “That is not the America that I know. That is a stark admission of failure.” Pressed further on the immigration issue, Hillary, when asked if she would reconsider the border fence or commit to finishing it, said, “There is a smart and a dumb way to enforce immigration. I would say, ‘Wait a minute. We need to review this.’ As with so many things, the Bush Administration has gone off the deep end. I would listen to the people who live along the border.”

       Clinton: “My opponent gives speeches; I offer actions…Actions speak louder than words.” (It was right about here that the offending Xerox comment crept in, surely the biggest faux pas of the night from either candidate).

     Obama: (responding to Hillary’s plagiarism charge), retorted that her objections were “silly” and that it had become “silly season.” He added, “We shouldn’t be spending time tearing the country down; we should be building the nation up.”

   Obama (on whether he is ready to be President “on Day One,” which, lets’ face it, Sports Fans, is becoming a really annoying phrase to hear over and over and over): “I wouldn’t be running (for President) if I didn’t think I was ready (to be Commander-in-Chief).”

   Obama: (on the surge in Iraq) “The fact is that the purpose if it has not been fulfilled. We need to send a clear message that the Iraqis no longer have a blank check, like they had under President Bush….It is up to the Iraqis to determine what kind of future they will have.”  Obama, after praising the efforts of the 1st Cavalry stationed out of Fort Hood, said that the decision to invade Iraq was “a tactical maneuver based on a huge strategic blunder.” He proceeded to decry how poorly our returning veterans are being treated and how veterans in Southwest Texas have to drive 250 miles to access health care. Spending $12 million a month in Iraq has kept the nation from attending to building up relations with Latin American nations (among others), and we are only spending about what is spent in one week in Iraq. He added, “Iran is the single biggest beneficiary of our invasion of Iraq.”

     When asked about “earmarks”, the audience learned that there were $91 million in total “earmarks” from Obama, to secure funds for his home state of Illinois, and $342 million in earmarks from Hillary Clinton, for her home state of New York.

    Obama: “The people want to know that they have a government that is listening to them again. They want their government back (echoes of Howard Dean here) and that is what I’m going to provide them with.”

    The final question each was asked was, “Describe the moment when you were tested the most?” (Oh, oh. I thought. Is there really going to be an instant replay of the “I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinski” days? Democrats can rest assured there will be if Hillary is the nominee.)

   Obama gave a bland answer that dealt with his work on the streets as an organizer, early in his career, a task which he committed to out of idealism rather than accepting a high-paying job with a prestigious law firm.

     Hillary paused and made a comment about how everyone in the audience knew of some of her difficult moments. After the debate was officially over, some of the analysts considered this final answer—which went waaaaay off on a tangent about returning disfigured Iraq veterans and how hard they have it, compared to anything she ever had to put up with—as a “humanizing” moment for the Robo-candidate. I just found it manipulative and staged. It didn’t look or sound “real” to me, at all. I was surprised that all these smart people, these paid analysts, had been “snookered” into letting a candidate twist the “real” question around and answer whatever-the-heck she felt like. I suppose we can give her points for agility and thinking on her feet ((“Boy! I sure don’t want to talk about Bill’s infidelity. Where can I go with this?”), but I don’t think we can give her too many points for candor in her “stagy” answer. To me, it was as bad as when I job applicant says that his chief failing is that he “cares too much for others.” Contrived. Manipulative. Deceitful. Not honest. Not real. Not human. Said for effect.

    In the CNN Newsroom, post-debate, some of the prevailing wisdom included this prescient line from Gloria Borger (CNN Political Analyst), “We’ve heard all the themes we are going to hear. It is what it is.” (Bring in Bill to parse the meaning of the word “is,” please. I know he can do it. He’s done it before.)

     Jeffrey Toobin (CNN analyst) said, “Maybe she’s going to lose with dignity.” (My reaction: not bloody likely).

     David Gergen, political analyst, decrying Hillary’s inability to “connect” with the voters emotionally said, “If she can’t establish that, I think she is going to lose.” (Gergen seems to be coming to this realization rather late in the game, but whatever.)

      Donna Brasile, who ran Al Gore’s campaign and is a Super Delegate to the convention, said, “She (Hillary) needs a message firewall” and declared “Barack Obama tonight was exceptional.”

     Donna Brasile, in all previous appearances and debates, had seemed to support Hillary Clinton, so this newfound enthusiasm for Obama may be indicative of the erosion of support from among the Super Delegates previously pledged to Clinton or previously listed as leaning towards Clinton.

    A couple of other good moments for Obama came when he said, “On the single most important decision of our generation (the decision to invade Iraq), I have shown the judgment to lead.” He also skewered likely Republican opponent John McCain, saying, “John McCain says he doesn’t know much about the economy and he has proven that by embracing the failed policies of George W. Bush.”

     One CNN analyst said, “It sounded as though Hillary was just reciting her resume.”

     This was the tamest and most civilized Democratic debate since the last seated debate, when Edwards was still in the race. I found it telling that Hillary Clinton invoked John Edwards’ name not once, but twice, in praising various positions he had articulated while still a candidate. It made me wonder if she was, as they say, “sucking up” to Edwards to try to get him to endorse her and/or to try to woo and influence his committed delegates to come over to her side (the Dark Side?). Both Clinton and Obama are known to have been in contact with the North Carolina ex-Senator at his home in Chapel Hill, but no endorsements have been forthcoming so far.

    It’s now do-or-die for Hillary Clinton. Most analysts expect that she will not be able to pull Texas out of the fire (it’s neck-and-neck), but that, if she does, it will be largely on the backs of the Hispanic voters in the state. Even if she does win in Texas, Hillary also has to take Ohio to be viable, according to her husband, the ex-President, and James Carville, who advised Bill Clinton and is advising Hillary.

     I don’t see wins for Hillary in both Ohio and Texas happening. I’ve thought since Iowa (January 3rd) that Obama has the charisma and the rock-star aura that Hillary, on her best day, cannot summon. Nor could Bill lend Hillary his charisma. If anything, Bill has managed to tarnish his elder statesman image while bringing home few wins for his ambitious wife. Crowds, yes; wins, no.

      Part of Obama’s appeal is gender-based. Part of his appeal rests on his mad oratorical skills. Much of his appeal is generational. Most of it is the “gut instinct” that each and every voter in our democracy is allowed to follow through on privately in the voting booth. (What a great country!)

   It almost seems that, like Giuliani and Thompson, Hillary Clinton and the Clinton campaign all made huge mistakes (of different sorts) in planning their campaigns. In Hillary Clinton’s case, she did not anticipate this upstart Senator from Illinois being the tenacious performer he has proven himself to be. He was well-organized beyond the Clinton campaign’s wildest dreams…or nightmares. The carefully scripted plastic appearances in Iowa, prior to the first January caucus, didn’t do much to endear Hillary to voters there, and that’s where Obamamania began. Keeping Chelsea under wraps and away from the press only reinforced the image that Hillary is remote, in an ivory tower, not “one of the people.”

    The biggest sticking point of the evening, the biggest debate point (which the candidates almost would not let go) was over health care, with Hillary accusing Obama’s plan (as she has on the stump) of leaving  15 million uninsured. Obama fired back that Hillary’s plan mandated that everyone have health care, which would prove a hardship. He made the very valid point that people who don’t have health care don’t have it because they can’t afford it, and garnishing their wages and making them have it, through a mandate, is not the way to go. (Obama’s plan does, however, mandate health care for children.)

      Obama, while saluting Senator Clinton for her previous attempts to head up a health reform bill when Bill was President, pointed out that it was all done in secrecy, behind closed doors, and that he values transparency and would be better suited to bring people together to work to undo the damage of the Bush years. Nowhere has that been clearer than on the campaign trail.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén