Saturday, March 05, 2005

LWI: Lobbying While Indicted

From the Texas Observer

John Colyandro’s criminal indictments have not prevented the ex-director of Tom DeLay’s Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC) from landing contracts to lobby the government that he is accused of illegally helping to elect. Rather, a Travis County grand jury’s criminal charges against Colyandro last fall for allegedly breaking a state prohibition on corporate contributions may have actually boosted his lobby stature. An alternative explanation is that Team DeLay is taking care of a man who knows too much.

Be sure to watch Travis County DA Ronnie Earle on 60 Minutes this Sunady, March 6.
UPDATE: transcript here.

tags: , ,

Friday, March 04, 2005

Photoshop Phriday Posted by Hello

friday elfgirl blogging

kadie edition Posted by Hello

friday random ten

The "I'm going to have to get another player if the Ramones don't come up Edition":

"Galveston Bay" - Bruuuuuce
"She Lives (In a Time of Her Own)" - 13th Floor Elevators
"Talkin' at the Texico" - James McMurtry
"Without a Warning" - Sue Foley
"I Idolize You" - Boss Hog
"The Ship Song" - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
"God Save the Queen" - Sex Pistols
"Baby Baby" - The Vibrators
"In Search of Peter Pan" - Kate Bush
"I Don't Wanna Grow Up" - Ramones

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Conflict Resolution... Not Electrocution

The fourth Texas death from Taser abuse occurred February 18th when Harris County Constables tazered a 52 year old man multiple times, sparking a protest last week in Houston. In response to this killing, the ACLU of Texas called for a moratorium on the use of tasers by the more than 300 agencies that use these “less than lethal” weapons statewide.

In Austin, after kicking off a petition campaign, making three appearances in front of city council and organizing a protest at the police station, city council responded to activists’ efforts by voting to "indefinitely suspend" an item to approve $75,000 to buy 90 more tasers for APD. The department has already 900 tasers in its cache, and uses them 23% of the time in use of force incidents - outrageously high compared to other cities. Fort Worth, TX, has only (approximately) a 3% taser use of force rate, and has still killed two people with the "non" lethal weapons. Chicago, a city more than four times Austin's size, has only 200 tasers and has managed to kill one person and maim another. APD is walking a tightrope.

As of Feb. 10, APD used tasers 300 times in the past year (according to an APD memo to council), disproportionately on people of color and in more than a third of those cases for no more than “verbal non-compliance,” basically regarding the tools as if they were “cattle prods.” Tasers are designed to be used in place of, or prior to, lethal force; if APD were using handguns at this rate, would the public stand for it? Since these weapons ARE actually lethal – then they should be subject to lethal use of force policy.

Austin City Council gave an already-suspect Chief Knee six weeks to come up with a 'full report' on the use of tasers so they could assess any needs for updating policy. Taser abuse opponents continue to maintain it’s not the toys, it's the boys – and their lack of proper training and discipline when policy for taser use is violated; a very routine occurrence in Austin from initial information gathered by campaigners.

On Friday, we will tell APD we want, “Conflict Resolution...not ELECTROCUTION!” and that we have already done a CITIZEN’S review of tasers and APD’s abuse thereof – we are not waiting for lip service to be paid to the issue. We demand cessation of their use NOW before another life is lost!

Where: APD headquarters, 8th St. & I-35
When: Friday, March 4th, 5:00 p.m.

Visit the Austin Spokescouncil website for more info.

Iron Curtain vs. VICE Squad

The flat track Tucson Roller Derby will have their second bout of the 2005 season this Saturday, March 5th.

The girls from the Iron Curtain will battle the VICE Squad.

Saturday, March 5 at Bladeworld (1065 W. Grant Rd., Tucson, AZ)

Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

Doors open at 6:30 pm, bout at 7 pm.

Music by Lovemound and DJ Buttafly.

Please visit the Tucson Roller Derby website for more info.

support your local rollergirl

tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Michiko Kakutani smacks down

former press secretary Ari Fleischer's new press release book:

Some books by former White House insiders (from Donald T. Regan's unsettling account of the Reagan White House to Ray Price's sympathetic but revealing portrait of Richard M. Nixon) have fleshed out our understanding of individual presidents and the office they held. This sorry volume, in contrast, remains so focused on the author's adversarial relationship with the press, and so intent on promoting a positive image of the administration, that it will only ratify White House reporters' complaints that Mr. Fleischer was a "tight-lipped and secretive" press secretary.

Smash the State. Learn to Skate.

I am proud to announce that President-for-Life Sheelzebub has appointeted moi as the Minister of Sports to "promote kick-ass roller derbies as good, clean fun". I will be working closely with Ms. Jared who was selected as "Miniser of Snack Foods and Booze" and Michael Bérubé who now holds the post of "Minister of Culture and Beer".