Texas 21

Devoted to discussion about the 21st Congressional District of Texas. Currently occupied by Congressman Lamar Smith (R).

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Lamar Smith on Judicial Activisim

The Liberal Lone Ranger was kind enough to crosspost this in a comment. If you're a progressive and have any questions that Lamar Smith doesn't represent your values, go take a gander at the whole thing. And if you've a really strong stomach, hazard a look at the full text of the speech.

I particularly like this point LLR makes:
Mr. Smith apparently doesn't understand what Baptists have understood since before Thomas Jefferson's letter to Connecticut -- it is wrong for the power of the government, in any form, at any level, to be used to force a religious view on the people. One only has to apply the "walk a mile in another's shoes" test to see the problem: What if all of the teachers in a San Antonio public school were Muslim and had the authority to require students to pray to Allah five times a day? What if Hindus became the majority in Congress and changed the Pledge of Allegiance to be "under Vishnu"?

Has an interesting ring to it, "under Vishnu". Though, as a Buddhist, I'd still be considering it metaphor rather than theological....

Monday, August 15, 2005

Just what Texas Needs: More Armed Lunatics at the Border

Well, that didn't take long. Various political sites have been discussion Howard Dean's prediction that immigration will be the wedge issue of choice in 2006 (assuming gay-bashing loses its potency which seems unlikely.)

Reported on Statesman.com :

Frustrated by a government that seems unable to stanch the flow of illegal immigrants, a Houston Republican has introduced legislation creating a civilian volunteer militia to patrol the nation's borders, armed with arrest power, guns and the approval to use "any force necessary."

Commanded by Gov. Rick Perry and other border-state governors, the Border Protection Corps would add another line of defense against terrorists, smugglers and gangs eager to prey upon the United States, U.S. Rep. John Culberson said.

Critics accused Culberson of fueling anti-immigrant attitudes with an impractical and potentially dangerous idea, but the three-term congressman said national security trumps all other concerns.

"My constituents and I are just flat fed up, and we need action immediately to prevent terrorists and other criminals from crossing over to the United States," Culberson said.

Emphasis added. Just as with the PATRIOT act, national security is being used as a beard to hide a police state agenda that guts Constitutional protections.

Guess who signed up as a co-sponsor of the monstrosity in question?

Though critics dismiss Culberson's numbers as unrealistic, 47 Republicans have signed on as co-sponsors, including U.S. Reps. Michael McCaul of Austin, John Carter of Round Rock and Lamar Smith of San Antonio, whose district includes most of downtown Austin.

"There is a growing concern in America over how porous the borders are," Smith said. "Clearly, there is a need for this. Clearly, the government is unable or unwilling to devote the personnel and resources necessary to secure the borders."

So, who's less than thrilled with the idea of a vigilante force patrolling the border?

Among others, Governor Goodhair, who doesn't want to be responsible for, well, anything, but certainly not for the impossible task of sealing the porous Tex-Mex border (with all the cultural implications thereof).

Perry, who thinks that border security is a federal, not a state, responsibility, issued a lukewarm statement on Culberson's bill (HR 3622).

"I welcome federal efforts to protect our borders from illegal immigration and threats from terrorists," Perry said. "Regardless of the mechanism, the federal government must provide a stronger presence along the border."

Those with actual Border Patrol experience (as opposed to study-flapping wonkery) show a cool reception to this idea as well:

"The border is way too dangerous to leave it to amateurs," said U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso, former chief of the U.S. Border Patrol in the McAllen and El Paso sectors.

"The atmosphere it would create, the potential for violating people's civil rights, the fact that these individuals . . . may not understand the culture, the areas, the overall challenge that they're facing — I don't think it's anything you want to even entertain at this point," he said.

Reyes advocates hiring more Border Patrol agents, who are trained in the complexities of immigration law and required to speak Spanish, stipulations not included in the militia bill.

Emphasis again added. What a novel idea. Communication that's not conveyed by the barrel of a gun.

Perish the thought.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Courage for Congress

At this point, I don't know much about John Courage. He's got a website and I'll be keeping an eye out.

Three things I do know that make me very pleased about this development:

1. He's run before (2002), though in 2004 the Democratic nominee was ghost candidate Rhett Smith.

2. He's RUNNING now. The website shows serious intent and heaven knows Sockpuppet Lamar Smith has been hiding under Tom Delay's shadow for far too long.

3. You've gotta love the beauty of "Congressman Courage". Well, at least if you're a metaphor geek like me you do.

Friday, August 12, 2005

50 States, 435 Seats

One of which is squatted in by Tom DeLay's Sockpuppet, Lamar Smith.

Let's see what we can do about that in 2006, shall we?