The Austin Chronicle

Naked City


Edited By Mike Clark-Madison, March 28, 2003, News

Quote of the Week: "By choosing to go to war, we are choosing to do less to solve our problems at home. We face a crisis in every state and local budget in this country -- in every school, every welfare program, and every part of public health care. We face a crisis of trust in our corporations and a crisis of confidence in the profitability of future business investment. American households are facing in slow motion a crisis of household debts. Little will be done about any of this, so long as we are preoccupied with war." -- UT economist James K. Galbraith, March 24, Boston Globe

The U.S.-led "coalition" war against Iraq continued apace. Humanitarian organizations warned of a looming disaster in Iraq, and large anti-war protests continued in the U.S. and around the world. See "The Home Front,".

After death row inmate Delma Banks Jr. got a last-minute stay from the U.S. Supreme Court, Keith Bernard Clay drew the honor of being the 300th inmate executed in Texas since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976, and the 11th this year, keeping Texas on course to break the 2000 record of 40 executions. At press time Wednesday, paranoid schizophrenic James Colburn was expected to become No. 301.

Legal wrangling continued in District Attorney Ronnie Earle's investigation of the Texas Association of Business' involvement in last fall's state election campaigns. Judge Mike Lynch is expected to rule next week on T.A.B.'s petition to quash the DA's subpoenas. See "Picking Up the Tab,".

State budget news stayed dismal: Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn issued a press release noting sinking consumer confidence, suggesting that the economy "continues to teeter on a precarious ledge." Budget observers have been predicting for weeks that Strayhorn will need to lower her revenue estimate, pushing the deficit beyond its official $9.9 billion.

After weeks on the front page and leading the nightly news, last Thursday, right at the moment of justice, Celeste Beard Johnson was abruptly dethroned from the headlines -- by the commencement of President George W. Bush's "Shock and Awe" assault on Baghdad. Just in case you missed it, Johnson got two separate life sentences. Naked City is truly shocked and awed.

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