On war bondage and the thrill of the Four 

Just when you thought you’d been punished enough, Queque rolls out of its mossy crag, unrolls the paper, flips the laptop wide, clears a sludgy throat, and mutters in gollumesque garble: “Pwee-Twray-Usssshs?

Brass buttons

It opens with the brass in green and a pool of photographers swimming about at the front of the chamber in a choreographed chaos. It’s like Iraq without the innumerable militias, burning, and new, celebrated Shia-on-Shia violence.

Code Pink wasn’t supposed to mess with this one — this round of Iraq Occupation questioning was supposed to be reserved for presidential-aspirant primping. Still a couple chanters make their objections heard, with one man carried from the hearing hollering “Bring them home!” Was he screaming about our troops or Iraqi refugees?

“Post kinetic development” and “growing prosperity” in Iraq are poised to restore Iraqis to the standard of living they enjoyed when they were still Saddamists, Ambassador Ryan Crocker suggested Tuesday at the hearing before the U.S. House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees. So there may be electricity before Christmas for any of you thinking of taking on a low-interest mortgage in Baghdad. After all, there has to be a sunny flipside to the expulsion of 4.5 million Iraqis from their homes and 2 million who have permanently fled the “country” as refugees.

Economic (re)shuffle

Now we’re not one to quibble when money’s being made, but aren’t wars usually timed post-recession, you know, to rachet up the economy rather than drag the market down into a morass of unknown viscosity?

By the time you read this (you Get It Wednesday, no?), our country will be in debt to the tune of $9.5 trillion and falling $1.7 billion a day. Meanwhile, the cost of the war has recently been put at $3 trillion. But not everyone is suffering. The domestic oil companies who used to provide crude for affordable gasoline here at home are doing spry bidness on national reanimation projects.

Valero, providing five percent of all DOD-contracted fuel sales (See Queque, “Pumpin’ War Blend,” November 14, 2007), just got another $397.5-million contract for aviation fuels. Meanwhile, in the last few weeks Shell’s Deer Park refinery got stop-lossed to the tune of $882 million; New Braunfels-based trading company Refinery Associates of Texas caught a $185-million contract; and Delek Refining in Tyler got $102 million of oil droppings. And we wonder why Texas has been unable to kick off a solar-energy revolution?

With space-war tech being utilized now, the obviously programmer-named Ultra Electronics Advanced Tactical Systems, Inc., of Austin stands to gain as much as $49.5 million for new processors to be used by the U.S. Navy’s Command and Control systems and Air Defense (and cryptographic) systems.

Then there is the $6 million going to the Austin PR firm GSD&M Idea City for Air Force recruiting efforts. Queque hopes they can do better than the Wii raffle the Army is using to target potential RGV recruits.

Council flats

Final Four Fever was in the air at last week’s Council cozy-up, with Mayor Phil Hardberger gushing that the eyes of the nation would be on San Antonio for three whole days. (But will those TV crews find his smother-an-animal-with-love billboard before they leave?) Apparently caught up in the excitement, Municipal Plaza perennial Faris Hodge submitted a request to the Council to rename the Alamodome after him, a suggestion met with the kind of silence usually reserved for 12-year-olds asking if you’ll buy them a car.

The discussion quickly shifted to the 40th anniversary of HemisFair, and District 8 Councilwoman Diane Cibrian’s revelation that it was her Aunt Rosa who 40 years ago won a local contest to choose the name for the Tower of the Americas. “She said she wanted San Antonio to be the Gateway to the Americas,” Cibrian said.

“Too bad your aunt didn’t know Faris Hodge back then,” District 7 Councilman Justin Rodriguez responded. “She could have saved us a lot of grief.”

The C-team also came down with a touch of City Auditor Dysentery, flushing (OK. He resigned.) Pete Gonzales Jr. from the city employee roster after meeting in executive session.

Nuke fluke

Now, call it overkill if you must, but it has come to the attention of Queque that there are still some nuke believers huddling in San Antonio’s subterranean channels (Yes, those tunnels our pal Perky is fond of waxing on about). To flush them out and set them straight, former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Peter Bradford will be banging a gong 7 p.m. Thursday at Trinity’s Science Lecture Hall.

Come in your best repentant gear, you scoundrels.


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