Attention Starved

For a moment, set that migas breakfast taco back in its foil

For a moment, set that migas breakfast taco back in its foil. Just look at it, the steam rising off the eggs, the salsa separating, the liquid run-off sliding out the end. Look at it, put your nose right down in it, and start counting. The tortilla’s cooling, your Pavlov gland is watering. You can feel the hunger in your gums and the webs between your fingers. Ask yourself: If it meant justice, how long could you hold out?

Resume eating. So sweet, right? As you chew, read about the two hunger strikes underway in Texas. Imagine big pairs of eyes, attached to pale, sallow faces, watching your lips, and wanting to eat, but wanting change more. Now, how do you like them migas?

On Saturday, anti-death-penalty activists are fasting to show their solidarity with inmates on death row at the Polunsky Unit at Livingston in East Texas, who’ve been on a hunger strike since October 8. The four inmates, led by 26-year-old Steven Woods (convicted of double murder), have been protesting primarily about conditions, including lack of group recreation, art programs, televisions, and religious services. The news coming out of Polunsky’s been dubious, with prison officials (who don’t consider it a hunger strike until inmates have refused meals for 9 consecutive days) saying that evidence of missing cookies shows some inmates have resumed eating. The inmates and their supporters are claiming conspiracy. A death-row reporter at the Houston Chronicle told us the strike’s not likely to succeed: Officials won’t budge because they’re still bitter over the ass-chewing they got following the escape attempt by the Texas Seven in 1998. For information on the Fast-In scheduled for November 11, visit or

In October 2005 Governor Perry signed an executive order to enslave the Public Utility Commission to the coal-based electric industry. The commission was charged with running a privately funded “Customer Education Choice Campaign.” The message: “energy demand in the State of Texas is expected to increase 31 percent by the year 2025,” and “Production of electricty is highly dependent on the use of natural gas.” Between the lines: forget alternatives, let’s just keep burning coal until it runs out. The subtext: Perry received $69,000 in campaign contributions from the coal industry in the two years before the order, according to Texans for Public Justice. Celebrating the anniversary of the order, environmental activists have been on a hunger strike since October 25 to protest Perry’s fast-track coal-plant permits, which have risen in number from seven to 19 new applications in the last year. The dangers, they say, are increased asthma cases, polluted skies, and Global Warming. Diane Wilson, an activist from Seadrift, told reporters last week, “I found out when you’re fighting in Texas, you’ve got to rely on civil disobedience, and that has been my main technique. So this is my ninth hunger strike. I’ve been on them for 30 days. This one, I’m on water only, and the only other thing I’ve taken in has been coffee.” The hunger strike ends today. For more information visit

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