Remember how we told you (several days before the daily caught wind, I might add) about the TABC busting people in Irving bars, including hotel bars where they had no intention of driving?
Sparked quite a bit of outrage, including one, um, critic who suggested that the TABC spokesperson go 'die in a fire.'
Anyway, state lawmakers are going to revisit the law, with some like state Sen. Chris Harris, suggesting the TABC went too far, and more than a few suggesting that in-bar busts don't go far enough. L'Chaim.
Two Texas Blogs of note, the liberal political Blog Burnt Orange Report and the conservative political Blog Lone Star Times, both have interesting posts on the immigration issue. The Burnt Orange Report's Andrew Dobbs is racking his brain to find even one reason to be against immigration given that it brings people who work hard for very low wages (article). The Lone Star Times' David Benzion offers up a column by Conor Friedersdorf of the San Bernadino County Times (article) in which he relates a supposed true story of how an older American views the issue. The two views represent a divide that will be hard to bridge.
Todd Gilman has a very interesting story in today's Dallas Morning News about how Sen. John McCain is successfully courting key Texas supporters of George W. Bush in his campaign for the Presidency in 2008. Gilman notes that former Gov. Bill Clements has given McCain's campaign $5000, that Bush backer Tom Hicks has hosted a luncheon for McCain, and that Bush's media man in Austin Mark McKinnon has signed on to the McCain 2008 campaign. A key Texas fundraiser for McCain is former Congressman and bigtime Washington lobbyist Tom Loeffler.
Gilman reports that McCain will speak at the Bush Presidential library at Texas A & M on April 3rd. The Bush campaign is being run by John Weaver, a longtime political consultant who spent many years here in Texas. The irony is that Sen. McCain, who was seen as the anti-Bush candidate in the 2000 Republican Presidential primaries is positioning himself to be the heir to the Bush political machiney in 2008. And, on one issue, Bush and McCain see eye to eye. Sen. McCain was a strong proponent of the War in Iraq and supports our continued military presence there for an extended period of time.
The UK Independent is reporting this weekend the the "battle between Sunni and Shia Muslims for control of Baghdad has already started...Iraqi political leaders...predict fierce street fighting will break out as each community takes over disticts in which it is strongest." The article quotes Iraqi leaders as saying that, while they believe civil war is inevitable in Iraq, it "will be confined, at least at first, to the capital and surrounding provinces where the population is mixed." One senior official was quoted as saying: "The real battle will be the battle for Baghdad where the Shia have increasing control. The army will disintegrate in the first moments of the war because the soldiers are loyal to the Shia, Sunni or Kurdish communities and not to the government." The senior official expected the Americans to stay on the sidelines when the civil war breaks out, according to the Independent.
The article describes the mood among Iraqi leaders as "far gloomier in private than the public declarations of the US and the British governments." As one leader stated, "the real problem is that the Shia and Sunni hate each other and not that we haven't been able to form a government."
Shortly after the presiding Judge in the trial of the Afghan convert to Christianity reportedly told Afghan President Karzai to quit meddling in the case of the Afghan convert to Christianity, BBC is reporting that the case will be handed back to the Attorney General's office "because of gaps in the evidence." An Afghan official, "speaking on condition of anonymity", told BBC that "while the attorney-general looked at the papers, Mr. Rahman did not need to be detained." The case has become a political football for the Afghan government with the international community strongly urging the release of the Afghan Christian while Muslim clerics in Afghanistan have been calling for Rahman's execution. By taking the case out of the Court system and putting it back in the hands of the attorney general's office, the Afghan government could spirit Rahman out of the country and end the legal proceedings against him.
In the wake of assurances by President Karzai that Abdul Rahman ( the Afghan who faces a death sentence for converting from Islam to Christianity) would be released within a few days, the Court overseeing the trial of the Afghan Christian has told the President of Afghanistan to butt out of the proceedings. In a story in the Sunday Telegraph, the presiding Judge is quoted as saying: "We (the judiciary) have nothing to do with diplomatic issues. We will do our job independently."
The article notes that there is an underground Christian network in Afghanistan which, according to one secret Christian, is "gathering an ever increasing number of adherents." The Christian leader, who fought against the 1980s Russian invasion, is quoted as saying: "We have churches here in Kabul and all the cities of the country, and links to Christians abroard. There have always been Christians in this country. Some families have been Christian for generations, but most have been converted in recent years.' Compass, an international organization which tracks news of Christians worldwide persecuted for their faith, reported this week that two other converts from Islam to Christianity were under arrest in Afghanistan and another convert severely beaten "outside his home by a group of six men."
This sounds like how Communist regimes treat religious believers.
The Sunday Telegraph has a story today in which it says that "Laura Bush plays a much greater role in shaping White House policy, appointments and even budgets than previously acknowledged." The story comes only days prior to the publication of an authorized biography of Mrs. Bush by Ron Kessler entitled "Laura Bush: An Intimate Portrait of the First Lady." The article says that the First Lady's influence extends over budget matters relating to "education, women's right, and Aids" where Laura Bush has pushed for spending increases or asked that cuts be "spared." It also cites Mrs. Bush's push last year for the nomination of a woman to the Supreme Court which ultimately led to the nomination of family friend Harriet Miers. That nomination was later withdrawn in the wake of strong opposition from conservatives to Ms. Miers selection, and Justice Samuel Alito was later nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court.
The article notes that Mrs. Bush approval ratings are "between 80 and 90 per cent", much higher than her husband's, and hints that Laura Bush may be pushing her husband to make personnel changes in his Administration. The most prominent name mentioned of someone who might go is Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
Our resident economist Carl Pellegrini has been telling DallasBlog readers for quite some time that the official governmental figures understate the real level of inflation in the United States. Now, there is additional support for his viewpoint as William Dunkelbelberg, chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business, says that inflation is running "3.7% to 3.9%", higher than the official rate of 3.6%. In a story in Barron's magazine this weekend, Dunkelberg is quoted as predicting that the prime rate will rise to 8% in the near future. He also notes that long rates in the bond market should be at least two points higher than their current rate, given the long-term risks of inflation.
The debate between whether we are heading into a deflationary or inflationary environment continues, with the NFIB economist clearly more worried about the risk of inflation.