POLITICS: A primer in presidential politics. Political reporters and writing partners Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, despite their demurrals in Austin on Monday, have changed the way presidential elections are perceived. They interview hundreds of sources as a team during the heat of the campaign, promising to save the material until after the election. Then they write novelistic narratives like "Game Change," which sold more than a million copies, and "Double Down," recently published about the 2012 campaign. (See Charles Ealy’s take on the book here.)

Monday, Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith fired questions at the duo on stage at the LBJ Presidential Library. The authors returned in kind. Then a group of about 20 guests retired the library’s presidential suite for dinner and conversation guided by director Mark Updegrove. Although the dinner chat was entirely off the record, I can tell you that I learned more in those hours than in all my reading on the subject. (It helped to have our across-the-street neighbor and political commentator Matthew Dowd at the table to keep up with Halperin, Heilemann, Smith and Updegrove. The rest of us watched.)

COMEDY: Kathy Griffin up to her old mischief. Reported by Dale Roe in Monday’s Statesman: "Within the the first minute of my interview with Kathy Griffin, the outspoken comic, actress and reality star performing at the Long Center for the Performing Arts on Nov. 22 had accused me of being a tea party Republican in the back pocket of major corporations. She called this paper the Austin Republican-Standard. And she got all that from "Hi, Kathy." When I reply that I usually hear the media described as a liberal conspiracy, she asks if I have been talking to her 93-year-old alcoholic mother. "Because that is absolutely her theory, halfway through a box of Franzia," Griffin says. Okay, this was going to be tough." http://bit.ly/1dexeVK(Sorry to miss Kathy this time. Always a blast.)

SCHOOL: UT Young Conservatives call off ‘catch and illegal immigrant’ stunt. Reported by the Statesman a short while ago: "After denunciations from both major political parties and University of Texas President Bill Powers, the UT chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas has called off a "Catch an Illegal Immigrant" event set for Wednesday. In a statement, Lorenzo Garcia, the group’s chairman, said members were concerned "that the university will retaliate against them and that the protest against the event could create a safety issue for our volunteers." http://bit.ly/1bB2szv(As long as I have lived here, this group has loved to provoke. Not usually in a good way.)