While life in “post-war” Iraq remains surreal — the Queque recently heard an NPR story about a crippled former Saddam guardsman planning to suicide bomb while crossdressing in a Burka — Texas law is becoming even more dreamlike. Last month the governor signed Senate Bill 277, making it illegal to put the names of our war dead on T-shirts (as it is in Oklahoma, and Louisiana; the Florida governor is still considering).
The Queque isn’t sure if that means the red number 40 Arizona Cardinals jersey bearing friendly-fire casualty Pat Tillman’s name that is being sold for $75 by the NFL shop online will be banned come September 1, when the law will take effect. (All proceeds go to the Pat Tillman Foundation on that jersey, by the way). But what is certain is that the law — tossed out by Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving, in the House and carried through the Senate goal posts by Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, and San Antonio’s Democrat Carlos Uresti — will keep anti-war sites like Carryabigsticker.com from legally selling their Bush Lied, They Died beefy Ts in Texas. There are other models that play off similar messages, like Support Our Remaining Troops — Bring the Rest Home Alive. All bear the names of the 3,155 soldiers who died in the Iraq invasion through February 24 (we’re now above 3,500). Of the $22 T-shirt sale price, a dollar is donated to soldiers’ families.
Carryabigsticker’s founder Dan Frazier, who went to Winston Churchill Senior High here and now lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, says it’s a free-speech issue and he’ll continue to sell the shirts in all 50 states “until the troops come home or they throw us in jail, whichever comes first.”
We’re told an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that passed in the House in May would ban the shirts nationwide.
Ever since the first season of Temptation Island, when the Queque discovered our latent compulsive-behavior disorder, we’ve made a concerted effort to avoid reality TV. Last week, however, we found ourselves glued to CNN’s Hunt for America’s Whitest Old Dude, also known as the GOP New Hampshire Debate (to be followed by CNN’s YouTube-sponsored second round in July).
To recap: Larry King got catty about Anderson Cooper’s air time, CNN cameramen proved they can’t pan, and none of the Republicans could follow a simple instruction like “Introduce yourself in five words.”
But who’s King Whitey? According to the “Talk Clock” at Chrisdodd.com (Dodd is in the Dem presidential race), the debate’s host Wolf Blitzer racked up the most actual minutes of talk time: 19 minutes 34 seconds, a good seven minutes more than the race’s top three contenders, John McCain (12:44), Rudolph Giuliani (12:35), and Mitt Romney (11:04).
The rest of the blowhards (and blow-lightlies) averaged six minutes of air time, leaving the Queque feeling slighted from the first question: “Knowing everything you know right now, was it a mistake for us to invade Iraq?” The Queque knows that Texas’s own Ron Paul is the GOP’s Kucinich (small, principled, and unelectable), but he’s also the only candidate willing to admit that we screwed the pooch. By definition, a debate requires opposing viewpoints: so how come Blitzer didn’t tap Paul until the next question, “When should we leave?” Paul’s answer: “The sooner we come home, the better.” With that Paul won the first applause of the night.
And this makes the Queque wonder whether Paul might be the Republican “uniter” that Dubya had promised us. Already one of our leftist pals has been poaching “friends” from Ron Paul’s Myspace page for her causes — click-add, click-add, for two hours each day in front of the tube. On the far-far flipside, Texas’s white supremacists are also down with Paul, whose eight-page newsletter the Ron Paul Political Report made Neo-Nazi organization Heritage Front’s “Racialist Addresses and Phone Numbers” list. (Thanks Daily Kos!). The racist messageboards are flowering with pro-Paul discussion, mostly about how to endorse the candidate without tarnishing him with their reputation. Texan skinheads have already begun registering incognito groups. The Queque’s warning: Be wary of anybody claiming to be from “Sailboaters for Ron Paul,” “Naturists for Ron Paul,” and “Beer Enthusiasts for Ron Paul.”
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