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The Congresswoman

July 17, 2009

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about Michael Jackson’s funeral and briefly mentioned that Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D., Texas)  had made an appearance on stage to display a plaque regarding a possible congressional resolution naming Jackson The World’s Ultimate Entertainer and Philanthropist or something to that affect. By the way, the resolution was shot down by Speaker of the House and fellow Democratina, Nancy Pelosi.

A little bit about the Gentlewoman from Texas.

She’s from Houston, by waysheila jackson lee of New York originally. She’s actually quite accomplished;  her resume is indeed an impressive one.

Jackson-Lee graduated from Jamaica High School in Queens. From there she went to Yale and earned a B.A. in political science. She followed that up with a stint in law school.  She got her J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School in 1975.   

Jackson-Lee moved to Houston after her husband, Dr. Elwyn C. Lee, took a job at the University of Houston. Her husband now holds a dual position of Vice Chancellor and Vice President for Student Affairs of the University of Houston System and the University of Houston, respectively.

Her political roots began at the municipal level.  IN the early 90’s,  she was a long standing member of the Houston City Council and that’s how I first met her.

I want to preface this post by saying that the Congresswoman has always been kind, gracious and quite accessible to my needs as a Reporter, Producer and as a News Director. She has learned over the years to speak in soundbites–for the most part, that’s a verbal paragraph lasting no longer than 30 seconds, which is every TV and radio reporters’ dream. You know–less editing that way.

But there are two things I noticed about Jackson-Lee right off the bat. First of all, she used the word “dialog” interchangeably as both a verb and a noun, sometimes in the same sentence.  Admittedly, that made me a little crazy.

The second thing I noticed, even all those years ago, was her overt willingness to be accessible.   She’s still that way.  Some may see this as her willingness to appear as though she’s staying busy and on top of things in Washington, thus proving to her constituency back home that’s she’s doing her job.   I can understand that, but others may see this  in-your-face consistency as grandstanding. Unfortunately for the Congresswoman’s PR staff and reputation, I do believe  the latter view is probably the majority one.

There is absolutely no denying that she likes being in the public eye….a lot. She appeared at Jackson’s funeral hawking an unapproved resolution.   I can’t question her motives and what was in her heart, but I would suspect that she made an appearance there just to be seen and most definitely to let people know she had authored it.   No one applauded when she walked on stage because no one but Southeast Texans watching knew who she was.    Frankly, I was a little embarrassed for her.

She seemingly lives for photo ops and is remarkably rarely ever NOT next to a particular news maker, providing he or she is a Democrat and working on her pet issues, which are  minority rights and immigration, mostly.

But even so, she refuses to limit herself. She was also in the front row during that incredible post 9/11 Kumbaya moment when Congress and the Senate convened on the steps of the Capitol to hold hands and sing “My County Tis Of Thee” or one of major patriotic songs.

Now I have no idea if the next thing I type is true or not, but it’s in Jackson-Lee’s Wikipedia article.  According to the author(s)..whoever they might is claimed that  several years ago, Jackson-Lee served on the House Science Committee and on the Subcommittee that oversees space exploration,  House policy and NASA.  It is said that she once asked, during a visit to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory,  whether the Mars Pathfinder had taken a photo of the flag planted on Mars in 1969 by Neil Armstrong.

True?  False?   Utter crap?   Hilarious public blunder?   I have no idea.

But pundits pick on Sheila Jackson-Lee for a number of reasons…mostly because of Jackson-Lee herself.  

While perusing the Intraweb looking for photos of the Congresswoman, I happened upon a funny,  semi tongue-in-cheek article written by David Benzion for back in April of 2006. It’s entitled, “How Desperate Is Sheila Jackson-Lee” which focuses on the very topic I discuss in this blog post–the Congresswoman’s unyielding  need to be seen as uniquitous.

I’ve pilfered the photos and the captions here (plus, I’ve added a few of my own) and will allow you the opportunity to read the original aritcle in it’s entirety, courtesy of a link at the end of this post.

Here goes:

“How Desperate Is Sheila Jackson Lee……” 

Is there anyone she wouldn’t stand next to for free publicity?

Apparently not.

Is she desperate enough to stand next to Cynthia McKinney?  (But I have to admit that at first glance, I thought that was actually Tempest Bledsoe, TV’s “Vanessa” from The Cosby Show ).  


Or what about Monica Lewinsky’s boyfriend?


Is she desperate enough to barely share a stage with the corpulent Michael Moore?   (Yep, seems that way.   See Jackson Lee here clinging to the inch and half of an increasingly bowing stage, thanks to Moore’s extreme girth due in part to an ardent love of carbs and misplaced ego)


Contributing to racial awkwardness  by sharing the stage with a very frightened young white child and his blondish mom with dark roots only Alex Haley could love


Her appearance here made history.  She still holds the title of being the only African American EVER to attend a Howard Dean for President rally


She’s seen here desperately trying to ignore Nancy Pelosi’s wide-eyed  impersonation of Dakota Fanning on crack.


But according to the Lone Star Times, there’s an evil side to Sheila Jackson Lee.  She’s seen here  addressing….gasp….CAIR!!!!


and lastly….


You say this cat Osama’s a bad muthuh…..

Shut yo mouth!!

But I’m talking about bin Laden!

Then you can dig it!!!


Can I hear an oy vey, people!!!!!


Read the full article here.



3 Comments leave one →
  1. mklasing permalink
    July 17, 2009 4:36 pm

    I would like to say something clever, pithy, hillarious even–but frankly all I’ve got is this: “She is an absolute idiot.”

  2. July 17, 2009 10:56 pm

    Jackson Lee did ask that question about the flag on Mars. I’ve heard the sound clip (or whatever it’s called in radio) several times. That woman lives to be on camera. I swear, it almost seems like she hides behind the curtains and springs out at the very last moment and appears directly next to whoever is speaking. There was a funny cartoon in the paper a few days ago that had her pulling stage lights on wheels behind her by a rope.

    Wow. That really, really, really looks just like Tempest Bledsoe.

  3. July 17, 2009 11:16 pm

    . . . seems like she hides behind the curtains and springs out at the very last moment . . .

    Kind of like what you did with Dom Delouise.

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