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February 3rd, 2003:

Ron Paul

I heartily second Patrick‘s recommendation of this Texas Observer interview with US Rep. Ron Paul (R, TX). He’s a nut, in my humble opinion, but he’s a lot less scary than certain other Republican Congressmen from Texas that I could name, and unlike those selfsame scary men he actually lives by his stated principles.

Where have I heard this thought before?

TO: Why haven’t more people seen through this effort to link Hussein to the war on terrorism?

RP: It seems that those who advise the president, those who control foreign policy, need another war for various reasons: whether it has to do with the oil or this principle that we are such good people that we know what is best; our views should dominate. I think they believe it almost like a religion. What has happened is that they have been able to control the propaganda. Even if there are some in Washington who have questioned this–and many of them did question it–the propaganda has been so powerful. All [Congress] had to do was look at the polls and say, “Oh, the polls show that we must do this.” I have told others, and I am convinced that if Bill Clinton was doing exactly what the president is doing today, I bet I wouldn’t be a lonely Republican. I bet I would have a lot of Republican supporters on my side…. But now it’s a Republican president, and he can do no wrong.

Oh, yeah, I remember: Pretty much everywhere in the left half of the blogiverse. Nice to know someone outside the tribe recognizes it, for all the good it’ll do.

Kuff gets results

You fans of Diane Duane should check out the comments on this old post for an update on the status of her “Door” books. Remember: You heard it here first!

Hail to the chief

Police Chief C.O. “BAMF” Bradford is back at work amid handsprings and huzzahs from supporters, and he gave them a good demonstration of his political skills:

Asked whether the ordeal caused him to fear for people wrongly charged and without his resources, the chief said, “Clearly, part of the system failed me, but eventually, the system worked.”


“I don’t know why it was pushed forward,” Bradford said of the perjury case against him. “It couldn’t have been the evidence they were looking at.”

Nevertheless, he said, “I expect (Harris County District Attorney) Chuck Rosenthal and myself to work together professionally” in the future.

Such magnaminity. I’m getting goosebumps.

But seriously, is he a candidate for mayor as some have speculated?

As for rumors that he may run for mayor, Bradford asked the large crowd of well-wishers in his conference room, “What do you think of that?” and received a round of applause.

“I have not made that decision,” he said. “There are people out there who want me to, people who believe this ordeal has put a burning fire in my belly.

“What I’m doing right now is wearing the badge of the Houston police chief,” he said. “I will make that decision later.”

Tease. I will say that he better make up his mind soon, before all of the downtown power brokers settle on someone else. According to John Williams, they’re leaning towards Orlando Sanchez, unless Ned Holmes decides to get into the race. Not that there aren’t other avenues of support, but the you-snooze-you-lose risk is high when there are this many candidates sniffing around. Get in or get out of the way, Chief.

Your regular plug for light rail

A recent Rice University/University of Houston poll shows strong support for light rail in Houston.

“The clear message is that the public’s appetite for a solution to Houston’s traffic problem is extremely strong,” said Robert Stein, Rice dean of social sciences, who conducted the survey with Richard Murray, director of the University of Houston Center for Public Policy. “Candidates for public office, particularly the mayor in 2003, will have to address this issue in some way.”


Stein was surprised to find that more than half (52 percent) of the registered voters believe that rail is either a “vital” (29 percent) or “important” (23 percent) part of a comprehensive, long-term transportation plan for Houston. Only 10 percent of the interviewees said rail “has no place” in any long-term transportation plan for Houston.

By a margin of more than three to one, 62 percent of voters said they would support approving the next phase of a mass-transit plan if the proposal did not raise taxes and included some additional rail lines to connect with the Main Street line as well as bus improvements and continued spending for street construction. Only 21 percent said they would vote against such a plan, and 17 percent were undecided.

“We could not find a significant demographic group who won’t support such a plan, not even conservative Republicans,” Stein said.

Voter support for a no-new-tax, long-term transportation plan dropped to 56 percent when the proposal focused solely on buses, street and road construction and excluded light-rail expansion.

Support for expanded light rail was close to a majority. Forty-nine percent of those taking a position on an expanded rail plan said they were “strongly for” the proposal, and only 15 percent were “strongly against.”

Orlando Sanchez was anti-rail in the last election. Though I suspect other issues will dominate this race, I’d love to see that come back and bite him.

Columbia coverage

Dwight Silverman, the tech writer for the Chron, has a pseudo-weblog on the Columbia disaster. I say “pseudo” because anything without a link each entry isn’t really a blog in my universe. But hey, it’s a fair sight better than last year’s Crawford Weblog, and you gotta start somewhere. Check it out.

Thanks to Larry for tipping me off to this.