Needling the addicts
With Bexar County poised to launch a needle-exchange program sure to save lives, cut county expenses by the millions, and help keep dirty needles out of our parks and yards, where is District Attorney Susan “Hang ‘Em High” Reed? Why, she’s threatening to arrest the county employees that would lead the needle effort, of course.
Reed has told state and county reps that she simply doesn’t believe the state Medicaid legislation allowing for a “pilot” needle-exchange program in Bexar County (a first for Texas, btw, and signed by Perry) passes her particular smell test. Representative Ruth Jones McClendon would like to discuss Reed’s needle-averse schnoz in person, says a spokesperson for the San Antonio Dem, but you know how it is trying to schedule two busy people.
Obviously shaken by the DA’s threat, commissioners went ahead and approved the program, which technically could start as soon as September 1, only it won’t. Instead, the issue will likely be taken to the state attorney general for an opinion, a move that could waste six months and result in — statistically speaking — 10 more HIV infections and teams of Hepatitis C cases.
“I’m sure people will get Hepatitis C — there’s no doubt about that,” said San Antonio AIDS Foundation Executive Director Jill Rips. “They say that if you use a dirty needle one time you contract Hep C. It is so transmissible … I would guess there would be lots of cases of Hep C, and some cases of HIV, no doubt.”
Those working in the HIV-prevention trenches said Reed’s actions were “disheartening.”
We think they’re criminal.
The company you keep
As criminal as killing a man for keeping poor company, in fact. The Queque somberly reminds you that you have one week (slipping through the hourglass even as you re-read this line) to protest the scheduled August 30 execution of Kenneth Foster, the John Marshall High grad who was sentenced to death under Texas’s controversial Law of Parties for driving the car that contained the man who shot and killed Michael LaHood in August 1996. For more info on Foster’s case plus contact info for Governor Good Hair, visit Freekenneth.com.
Setting a good example for you, the procrastinating reader, Foster isn’t wasting the little time he may have left. According to a letter sent to the Current this week, at least some Texas death-row inmates will be participating in “a passive protest of non-participation with the texas killing machine execution rituals.” If last-minute appeals to reason (damn that blindfold, Lady Justice!) fail, folks on the outside can participate in the passive Texas-killing-machine ritual protests August 29 at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, and August 30 at the Ellis (aka Walls) unit in Huntsville. Details will be posted at Freekenneth.com.
Internet kills Nacho
In an equally suspect case of misplaced blame that the Queque has taken to calling the Law of Potties, the internet has been charged with offing one of the Express-News’s favorite sons, Leo Garza’s Nacho Guarache editorial cartoon. The daily bade Garza an abrupt farewell August 17 in a strangely dispassionate note that cited “the changing economic environment confronting newspapers across the nation,” caused by that favorite mega-media villian, the WWW. Now that our favorite neocon gabacho has been thrown out of the E-N’s otherwise timid pages, who will call a cabrón a cabrón?
Middle management was also a victim (of the web and not editorial chicken-heartedness or one too many “best- and worst-dressed” features, one assumes) at the Express-News last week, reported the poynter.org blog of Jim Romenesko, who received a tell-all insider email. Public Editor Bob Richter says that Assistant Managing Editors Hallie Paul, Kathie Foley, and Robert Kaiser were the only newsroom cuts, but that a total of 13 management-level folks were placed on permanent vacation. Their last day is August 31, so perhaps they can bend an elbow with Karl Rove, who theoretically joins the ranks of the underemployed that Friday, too. On a happier note, Richter notes that the E-N’s reporting staff is at full mast now, with the addition of Rio Grande Valley, state-desk, and education-team scribes. Perhaps the internet is not a cold-blooded killer, but a Darwinian tool that favors doers over “supervisors.”
Could the middle-management purge be related to a glaring omission in the E-N’s August 18 roundup of local media for its 2007 Guide to San Antonio and South Texas? (Give us some duct tape and a paper clip; we’ll get you there!) While writers Jeanne Jakle and Hector Saldaña managed to mention their Hearst parents’ weeklies 210sa and Conexión twice in the same meager column inches, the Current didn’t merit so much as a backward glance, even though according to the indy Media Audit, when it comes to weeklies and monthlies, only Texas Monthly consistently trumps yours truly in the most-coveted local readership demographics. E-N writers shakily typing in pink-slip trepidation take note — maybe Jakle and Saldaña know a thing or two about riding the corporate dragon through lean times: It starts with kow-, and ends with –tow. •