June 03, 2004
Texas news briefs

Some days there's so much stuff you just have to do a little linkdumping...

Tom DeLay makes a modest proposal to Nancy Pelosi.

A staffer for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), trying to whip up television bookings for his boss, approached an aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last month with an unusual proposal.

The DeLay aide suggested that they jointly complain to television political talk show bookers that House members are routinely ignored in favor of senators in talking about the Iraq prison abuse scandal.

Pelosi’s aide rebuffed the deal, according to her spokesman, Brendan Daly, who called the offer “absurd.” The senators deserved to be on the shows, he said, “because the Senate is actually having hearings” into the scandal. DeLay’s office declined to give its version of the offer.

Meanwhile, Pelosi was joined by Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Democratic Caucus Chairman Robert Menendez (N.J.) in writing House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) on May 24 to ask for House hearings on the Abu Ghraib prison. But it’s a no go, according to Hastert spokesman John Feehery.

Via The Joe Hill Dispatch

Here's an insider's look at the race for State GOP Chair. And speaking of the GOP convention, guess who's coming for dinner?

[Candidate for Chair Gina] Parker will bring a note of controversy to the convention Thursday night when former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is the featured guest at a reception she is holding. Moore was removed from office last year after he defied a court order to take the Ten Commandments out of the Alabama Supreme Court building.

Let's hear it for mainstream values. Via Byron.

What's up with John Cornyn and his flaming desire to amend the Constitution?

Sen. John Cornyn led efforts Wednesday to advance a constitutional amendment allowing flag burning to become a criminal act -- one of five changes to the U.S. Constitution the Texas Republican favors.

Cornyn is in a unique position to fulfill his constitutional desires as chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee: He gets first crack at all proposed amendments, and he is pushing several high-profile, high-controversy changes, including the Federal Marriage Amendment to outlaw same-sex marriages.


Cornyn said he is not itchy to amend the Constitution. Instead, he blamed activist judges -- those he says interpret the law to suit their own political beliefs -- with forcing his hand.

"I think it's appropriate to amend the Constitution when the federal courts take it upon themselves to change the original understanding of the Constitution in a way that contradicts the feelings of the American people," Cornyn said. "I'm not suggesting that all these amendments would pass, but I'm certainly in favor of giving the American people a choice."

Frankly, sir, I think we have more to fear from activist Senators at this point. Just what exactly does he think we can't live without after all these years?

Of the 13 amendments submitted to the Senate, Cornyn supports the flag measure and four others:

* The Federal Marriage Amendment, which Cornyn called a response to last year's Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision forcing the state to recognize same-sex marriages. Cornyn recently embraced the amendment and expects to shepherd it through his subcommittee this year.

* The Victims Rights Amendment, which senators abandoned in April after eight unsuccessful years. Instead, the Senate passed a law protecting crime victims from defendants and giving victims or their families the right to speak at federal court sentencing hearings and plea agreements. House approval is expected. Cornyn was a co-sponsor of the amendment.

* A balanced budget amendment to limit government spending, which Cornyn said Wednesday he favors. Two such bills are pending in the Judiciary Committee.

* The Continuity of Congress Amendment, which provides for the rapid appointment of Congress members killed or incapacitated by terrorists. This is the only amendment Cornyn has introduced, and it was poorly received by the House.

The irony of a Republican pushing a balanced-budget amendment after three years of Bush's deficit enhancement program-related activities is rich. As far as I'm concerned, the only one of these that's even worth talking about is the Continuity of Congress Amendment, and even that doesn't strike me as a need-to-have. Didn't the word "conservative" once imply a reluctance to mess with things?

The Richard Morrison blog brings news of some signs of Democratic life in Fort Bend County. Doing a little link-following, I see that the Bay Area New Democrats are having a fundraiser this Saturday at 8 PM in Clear Lake at which Morrison will be the featured guest.

Liberty has an update on the criminal case of a certain local right-wing talk radio host who shall go nameless because I don't want any more of his fans to find this entry and turn it into a chat board like they did before.

Finally, it's not directly Texas-related, but I can't resist pointing to Greg's post on The Postrelization of Employment. Check it out, you'll be glad you did.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 03, 2004 to Show Business for Ugly People | TrackBack

Yeah, I was thinking of doing a post on Cornyn myself. I think he's going to be the next Orin Hatch...

Posted by: Byron L on June 3, 2004 4:36 PM

I fail to see how donating money is protected political speech, while burning the flag is not.

I guess we have two choices if they outlaw flag burning (and not that I want them to, but if they do, please god please forget an exemption for burning worn out flags):

1) Burn the flag anyway, and take our lumps.
ii) Burn a Bible.
c) Burn the Christian Flag.

Posted by: John Lyon on June 3, 2004 4:53 PM

I think the Continuity thing is a hobby horse of Norm Orenstein's, one of the few remaining sensible people at AEI. I don't know if the version Cornyn is pushing has much resemblance to Orenstein's; the original idea had a little merit, particularly after 9/11.

Posted by: Linkmeister on June 4, 2004 2:54 AM