Goodbye to primaries, hello to a new Current

A warm hug and kiss on the cheek to for rolling out a personal welcome mat for Current readers after last week’s MashUp took issue with the progressive blogosphere’s unabashed stumping for the Houston state rep, who is duking it out with South Texas mega trial lawyer Mikal Watts for the honor of toppling Senator John Cornyn in November 2008. (We’ve variously referred to the junior lawmaker as a zombie, a lapdog, and a patsy, but my favorite new pejorative comes off the record from an opponent’s campaign: cowbird. You know a Texan said that.)

I hope some of you visited, because it’s rude to stiff hospitality — even hospitality with an agenda — and admired the list of 16 “Bloggers for Rick,” which includes the well-regarded Burnt Orange Report, South Texas Chisme, and Off the Kuff, in addition to Vince Leibowitz’s If those bloggers have it their way, the race will be fixed in your minds as a classic battle between money and grassroots. Of course, any Democrat who’s going to win statewide is going to need both, and it’d be nice if the two campaigns kept the fisticuffs at a minimum so after the primary we can all make nice in time to defeat Cornyn.

That is, if there is a primary. At first, I naively thought that it was just those overzealous Texas bloggers who didn’t want you to have the chance to pick your candidate the old-fashioned way (I mean the old-fashioned legal way — at the polls). But then Noriega told the Rio Grande Guardian that it’d be nice if Watts came to his senses and dropped out in his favor. Not 48 hours later, a Watts supporter suggested to me that Noriega should take an early powder. The rationale on both sides is probably about money. Watts has estimated that the race will cost $20 million, which could go exponential if the Noriega-Watts pre-bout is tight.

But the MashUp wants to know when we got so frugal. This is the country with a negative savings’ rate, thank you very much, the generation that thinks the Great Depression was the era before Prozac. Twenty million is a fraction of the Iraq War price tag to date ($448 billion last glance, and scrolling faster than a gas-pump meter — urp — at, and we’re spending it to elect one of the most influential people in the world — one of the few people with the direct power to convict a sitting president and maybe even stand up to an omnibus farm or defense bill. It’d be nice to have a Senator with some balls, and if it takes a few semolians to figure out who’s more likely to put us and his conscience before special interests, then let’s spend it.

Of course, we’re also willing to do our part over here in the free press, beginning with next week’s MashUp, which will feature a Q&A with a special surprise guest. We’re especially excited about it because the MashUp’s new format is part of an overall Current facelift. Your Queque, Say-Town, and Free Will Astrology aren’t going anywhere, but some new treats will be vying for your attention.

¡Ask a Mexican! is heading up a new section where you’ll find Mex in Manhattan, Clothes-minded, and a new monthly parenting column. We’re adding movie times and capsules to our Screens section, which like Arts is going purist — gadget-geek column End User is moving to a new Tech section along with gaming reviews. You’ll also discover new comics and the Jonesin’ Crossword Puzzle. All of that, and a bow, too: The stapled spine you’ve all been raving about becomes a permanent feature, and designer Chuck Kerr has given the entire book a sleek, modern look.

Speaking of modern, we wouldn’t neglect the internet. Click on next Wednesday and give our brand-spankin’-new site a workout. Search the Café SA restaurant database for a dinner spot, use the calendar to plan your weekend, and blog it all on our new Chisme Libre forums — food, music, and two of our favorites: “Oh, man, the Current got it right!,” and “Oh, man, the Current got it wrong!” And by all means, if you have feedback, good or bad, send it to Blog Captain Dave Maass at [email protected]

And let me know how you like the new print version, too. We’ve designed it to be easier to read, but not necessarily easier to swallow — just the way you like it. Thanks for reading, and see you in the new pages.

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