August 17, 2003

AWOL senators continue calendar countdown

Here is a Frank Capra story of courage and street
smarts. Here is a shining example of how the Democrats
must fight in this *civil war* against corporatism
(i.e. fascism)...These are names to be scrawled on the
John O'Neill Wall of Heroes..If Gray Davis (Democrat,
Vietnam veteran and duly elected Governor of
California) does not come to grips with what he is
really struggling against, and raise his fist and
declare this "recall vote" to be a referendum not on
his governance but on the _resident, the VICE
_resident, Kenny Boy Lay and their big business
sponsors and their brown shirt Christian Kulchur shock
troops, then California, one of the last bulwarks of
this Republic, will be lost...Democrats are constantly
cautioned by the propapunditgandists, "Oh, don't start
the culture war." Democrats are always cautioned by
the propapunditgandists, "Oh, don't start the class
war." Meanwhile, relentless class war is being waged
in the US, unremmiting culture war is being waged in the
US...The reality is that *civil war* is being waged in
the US...The struggle in the Texas state legislature
is one front, the California "recall" is another
front, the fight to overturn the pro-media-monopoly
ruling of the FCC is a front, the post-Fraudida
struggle over the electoral process itself is a front,
the Presidential campaign of 2004 is a front. It is
beyond ideologies now, it is beyond Left versus Right
or Republican versus Democrat. It is a struggle to
restore the Center really. It is a fight for human
decency and common sense...Read this encouraging story
and share it with others... -- | Section: Politics

Aug. 16, 2003, 12:33AM

AWOL senators continue calendar countdown
Democrats say they miss families but won't cave in to
Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A handmade sign scrawled on
butcher paper on the wall of a hotel meeting room
Friday said it all: "Aug. 15 -- 11 days left in
special session."

Eleven Texas state senators have been marking the time
since July 28, when they fled Austin to break the
Senate quorum and keep the body from taking up a
Republican-backed congressional redistricting bill.

Facing their third weekend away from home, they say
they will return only if Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst
restores a traditional Senate rule requiring that
two-thirds of senators agree to bring a bill to the
floor. Dewhurst, presiding officer of the Senate,
refused to maintain that rule during the current
special session -- the second that Gov. Rick Perry has
called to consider redistricting.

The Democratic senators say they are holding out in
New Mexico at financial and family sacrifice.

Detractors describe these claims as ploys for
sympathy, and Republican leaders say the Democrats can
solve the problem by returning to the Senate, where
they almost certainly would lose a vote on

One senator left for Albuquerque a week after his
daughter was born and hasn't seen her since; another
has not seen his newborn grandson; and a third worries
about his aging father, seriously ill in the hospital.
If the senators returned to Texas, they could face
being arrested and forcibly returned to the Capitol.

A few family members have come to New Mexico to spend
time with the senators. Some children came for visits
before school starts next week.

Last weekend, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio
secretly left New Mexico for Colorado to join her
husband, whom she had not seen since leaving Austin.

Sen. Judith Zaffirini of Laredo, who has family in
Albuquerque and got a visit from her son two weeks
ago, will see her husband this weekend for the first
time since she packed for the trip to New Mexico.

Her husband, Carlos, is one of the attorneys involved
in a lawsuit Democrats filed in Laredo federal court
to compel Dewhurst to restore the two-thirds rule.

The senators spend most of their time during the day
meeting behind closed doors contemplating responses to
actions in Austin, talking with reporters and
developing strategies.

Many rise early for a ride on a bike trail along the
Rio Grande, to work out in the hotel fitness room, or
to answer e-mails from staff and constituents.

They have visited the University of New Mexico, joined
New Mexico senators on a tour of a Hispanic cultural
center, dined with the mayor of Albuquerque and with
state senators from Colorado, and visited a local
Indian reservation.

At night, most spend their time on the phone with
family members and staff.

"On the weekends I try to go out to see what's in the
area," said Sen. Elliot Shapleigh of El Paso. "But
there's no substitute for being with your family." -- | Section: Politics
This article is:

Posted by richard at August 17, 2003 09:15 PM