Photo by Michael Osborne
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Friday, December 17, 2004
Two very different Texas institutions are set to spar over an image almost as seminal as the state flag. Last month, Red River punk/garage nexus Beerland received a notice from attorneys for cosmic cowboy shrine Luckenbach, informing them Luckenbach considered Beerland's logo an infringement on their trademark. Owner Randall Stockton begs to differ, saying the star-in-oval design – perhaps you've also seen it representing Lone Star Beer, the Lone Star Cafe, and Jerry Jeff Walker – should belong to nobody; or, rather, that it belongs to all Texans. "There's just so many people who affiliate themselves with Texas that use this logo," Stockton puzzles. "It's like a birthright." Ironically, Stockton freely admits that if he copped it from anywhere, it's Lone Star, and they're fine with it. "They said, 'That's really weird,'" he affirms. "'If you need anything from us, let us know.'" He's got an attorney looking into the situation, but right now, basically has to sit back and wait to see how aggressively Luckenbach wants to pursue it. "There's a question of what they would get if they sued us," Stockton says. "Or how much publicity they want." Since Beerland isn't exactly rolling in dough, a nasty legal squabble may not be quite the image the pastoral Hill Country hamlet recently profiled on CNN wants to project. "It's not exactly that laid-back cosmic cowboy persona," agrees Stockton. Luckenbach's lawyers, the San Antonio commercial firm of Cox Smith Matthews Inc., hadn't returned a phone call at press time, but "TCB" is very interested in their side of the story.
When: Friday, December 17th , 10:00pm
$5 suggested donation
Posted by cuddlefish at 1:28 PM
Across the country, homeless people are working for newspapers that deliver news about life on the street to the homeless and the general public. With roughly 3.5 million homeless people in America, these "street newspapers" provide important information about poverty and new ways to combat it. Terence Smith looks at the challenges behind the Washington, D.C. paper, Street Sense.
Posted by cuddlefish at 10:21 AM
Tucson Roller Derby 2004 Wheelies Awards
Best Blocker - Jezebelle
Best Fighter - Deadlock Doe
Best Injury - Barbicide
Best Jammer - Sloppy Flo
Best Pivot - Kamanda
Highest Scoring Jammer - Fisti Cuffs
Miss Congeniality - Sassy Sue
Dirtiest - Deadlock Doe
Crowd Favorite - Fisti Cuffs
Furious Truckstop Waitresses MVP - Sloppy Flo
Iron Curtain MVP - Kay G.B.
Tucson Roller Derby MVP - Whamma Pavlova (aka: Whiskey Mick)
Most Improved - eeka
Most Penalites - Kim Sin
Wiliest - Fisti Cuffs
Best Ass - Fisti Cuffs
Sweetest - Sassy Sue
Most Enthusiastic Ref - Will E. Punisher
Most Stoic Ref - Smacky
support your local rollergirl
Posted by cuddlefish at 9:35 AM
Thursday, December 16, 2004
From the Austin Chronicle
"Defendant further acknowledges that the basis for the Texas prohibition against corporate contributions is that they constitute a genuine threat to democracy."
That's the penultimate sentence in the agreement signed last week between Diversified Collection Services Inc. and Travis Co. District Attorney Ronnie Earle, allowing the company to be conditionally cleared of the felony charge of illegal corporate contributions – specifically the sum of $50,000 – to the now-defunct political action committee known as Texans for a Republican Majority. On the face of it, it's an odd note to strike in a criminal dismissal agreement, and the lawyers to other targets of the investigation were quick to snort their disapproval. "This is a very suspicious agreement," Austin attorney Joe Turner told the Statesman's Laylan Copelin, complaining about the "political stuff" in the document.
Turner's suspicion is understandable, as he represents the rather more heavily indicted former TRMPAC director John Colyandro, and the conventional sections of the DCS agreement note forebodingly, "The Defendant will cooperate with the State of Texas in its prosecution of any other indicted person for any offense related to the corporate contribution made by the Defendant."
There are other matters addressed in the brief agreement, including the company's assurances that it will not only go and sin feloniously no more, but it will underwrite "non-partisan, balanced, and publicly informative ... educational programs related to the role of corporations in American democracy." That's a touching ambition, even for a hardball prosecutor; an unretouched portrait of the true role of corporations in American democracy, alas, is a good deal more than we can wish for. It will be plenty if Earle and Diversified – and the Williams Cos., and Sears Roebuck, and Westar Energy, and the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, and the rest of the corporate indictees – help fill in the blanks on the true role of corporations in the Texas legislative elections of November of 2002.
In that regard, it's useful to recall where we are politically. Thanks at least in part to the money provided by the TRMPAC 8, along with another $2 million or so funneled through the Texas Association of Business, the Republicans seized dominant control of the Texas House and the Legislature, and were able to ram through reactionary policies that otherwise might have been held at bay or at least diluted. On a broader scale, at DeLay's insistence they redrew the Texas congressional map for a second time, effectively disenfranchising millions of Texas voters, many of them minorities, in the process, and strengthening DeLay's stranglehold on the U.S. House. (Indeed, last week House Speaker Dennis Hastert let it be known that he will bring no bill to the floor that does not enjoy majority Republican support, a DeLay strategy that effectively silences the elected representatives of at least half the population.)
So one down, seven to go – if the Diversified deal, and any subsequent arrangement, lead to some substantial justice in the Case of the Purloined Statehouse, then perhaps "the community would be better served by resolving the case through this agreement." But if the gun to those corporate heads turns out to be loaded with nothing but blanks, sponsored homilies on corporate responsibility will be small compensation for felony theft of democracy.
Posted by cuddlefish at 7:38 AM
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Georgia House bans genital piercings for women
Genital piercings for women were banned by the Georgia House Wednesday as lawmakers considered a bill outlining punishments for female genital mutilation.
The bill would make such mutilation punishable by two to 20 years in prison. It makes no exception for people who give consent to have the procedure performed on their daughters out of religious or cultural custom.
An amendment adopted without objection added "piercing" to the list of things that may not be done to female genitals. Even adult women would not be allowed to get the procedure. The bill eventually passed 160-0, with no debate.
Two to twenty years in prison.
Bill passed 160-to-0.
This is ALL about subjugating women. Fuck!
UPDATE: It must have been a slow news day in Georgia. BlondSense posted about this story waaay back in March. File this in the "Get Out of MY Pants You Perverts" Bin
Posted by cuddlefish at 10:50 AM
On June 2, 2004, the ACLU and its allies filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act demanding the release of information about detainees held by the United States at military bases and other detention facilities overseas. The lawsuit relates to a Freedom of Information Act request that was filed in October 2003 - almost eight months ago - with the Defense Department and other government agencies. The request seeks records concerning the treatment and interrogation of detainees in United States custody, the deaths of detainees in United States custody, and the “rendition” of detainees to countries known to use torture.
Since the request was filed, numerous news agencies have reported the abuse of detainees held in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is growing evidence that the abuse of detainees was not aberrational but systemic, and that senior officials either approved of the abuse or were deliberately indifferent to it. The ACLU believes that the public has a right to know what the government's policies were, why these abuses were allowed to take place, and who was ultimately responsible.
Records Released in Response to Torture FOIA Request
Posted by cuddlefish at 7:39 AM
Molly Ivins on Social Security
The Bushies don't want to mend it, they want to end it – and they are quite upfront about it.
This is not some leftist conspiracy theory: Grover Norquist of The Club for Growth has been open about it for years. What we have here is a happy convergence of ideology (the Market Can Solve All Problems) and greed. The greed is from the financial industry, which stands to pick up an incalculable sum in profits – and, of course, the financial industry contributes generously to Guess Who. Just the Bush plan of partial privatization would cost about $1.5 trillion in transition costs over 10 years, and Bush wants to borrow that money.
Next week, the White House will launch a giant public relations campaign, just as it did with the campaign to sell us on the Iraq war, with a lot of phony information to convince us all this lunacy is good for us. Social Security is of particular concern to women, since we live longer and have fewer earnings to rely on in retirement.
It's kind of hard not to be stunned by the irresponsibility of this scheme. To just blithely borrow the money to destroy a successful social program is, well, loony, bizarre and irresponsible.
Posted by cuddlefish at 7:13 AM