Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Justice Texas Style

Habit, laziness, and fear conspire to keep us comfortably within the familiar.

---Poet Jane Hirshfield, whose BA from Princeton was received in its first graduating class to include women

For eight straight years George Bush hasn't displayed the slightest interest in anything we care about. And now that he's after a job that he can't get appointed to, he's like Columbus discovering America. He's found child care. He's found education. Poor George. He can't help it - he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.

---Texas Governor Ann Richards, who was defeated for re-election mysteriously by George Bush's son, also named George Bush

We went from being a party of confidence and fiscal restraint and individual liberty to being the party that encouraged intervention in Terry Schiavo's case, the disastrous experience in Iraq, Katrina, and an $8.5 trillion debt. It was hogs feeding at the trough from Jack Abramoff to Karl Rove. I'm just sad and angry.

---Author Christopher Buckley, the son of National Review founder and supreme conservative William F. Buckley, Jr.

Before a television set was in every home, American families used to sit out on the front porch after dinner every evening. They'd call greetings to neighbors and watch the world go by. After that, they might set up a card table in the living room and play a game. Sometimes a game might be saved when somebody had to go to bed, and brought out to be continued the next night. Canasta games might go on for a week.

Among the board games there was Monopoly. I always had mixed feelings about that game. There was an edge to it that seemed to encourage the person who was winning to gloat and ridicule and inflict emotional pain on the others. Losing in Monopoly felt like drowning. And so I probably shouldn't have been surprised when one afternoon in 1965 as we were playing the game, my friend from Tyler, Texas, Tony Andretta, reached around to his desk, opened a drawer, took out a loaded six-shooter, and placed it on the table.

I use Tony's real name because, while it is highly unlikely he still is alive, I would love someone who knew him to discover this article and let me know whatever happened to him. We both were in our first teaching jobs at a school in The Bronx. He taught science and I, hired to teach English, ended up chairing the social studies department. He was a bit older than I was and had fought, he said, in Korea. He'd received a wound to his stomach, which for some reason never could heal and he had to change the dressing all the time. It didn't seem to slow him down much though, and he actively pursued a life of women, brawling, smoking and booze.

We were unlikely friends I guess, but somehow our differences made us curious. He came from an oil family and so this teaching stuff was just for the heck of it. Maybe there was temporary friction with his father, something like that. He'd been married a few times and always seemed on the verge of doing it again. About the gun, he told me later that's how they do things in Texas. He said he always had a gun in his glove compartment, because in Texas if a trooper pulls you over you come out shooting. One time we pretended to be federal inspectors in a Woolworth's pet department, concerned about the condition of the creatures in there. Under threat of being shut down, the manager gave us some lizards Tony wanted for his terrarium.

After a couple of years, we went our separate ways and lost track of each other. Tony lived loud and big, and could back it up. He was the first Texas male I'd ever met. In my experience, Texas women tend to be quite different from the men. Not the loud and big part, but in how liberal and democratic they like to be. I wish a couple of them still were around to comment on the Scooter Libby business.

The Bushes may run a lot of Texas but Texans know they aren't really from there. In fact, Ann Richards in that same famous 1988 speech before the Democratic Convention said, "I am delighted to be here with you this evening because after listening to George Bush all these years, I figured you needed to know what a real Texas accent sounds like." [link] But the George Bushes of the world keep trying to be the real deal, faking bravado at the Alamo until finally a Mexican soldier's bullet takes them down.

Two or 3 articles have appeared the last couple days about the Libby commute to which I'd like to refer you. The first is by William Rivers Pitt, who manages to get both the indignation and history together for folks who haven't been following this closely~~~

The second is from the Associated Press that posted first reactions on Monday~~~

This morning's New York Times has collected comments from various attorneys and legal scholars~~~


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