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Murder by death

Sure, we could take the obvious way into this week’s Queque. That is, decry the overuse of deconstructing pepper spray by staff at the Texas Youth Commission. We could argue our most troubled youth are better than an incarceration of abuse and battery.

We could quote Texas Appleseed and Advocacy folks who share this sentiment, settling a TYC suit this week when officials agreed to withhold pepper spray as a “last resort” instead of in-house entertainment.

Of course, we’d have to give big cheer to organizers of yesterday’s Universal Children’s Day, when more than 120 U.S.-based advocates issued a Call to Action “to end the practice of detaining migrant children and ensure that these children receive the necessary care and services.”

Ya listening, Hutto?

Queque also has to dish unfavorably on the rash of death penalty stories spun off a string of economics-prof studies arguing that killing incarcerated killers stops killing and saves cash. Those in the legal field of criminal justice say the pro-penalty economics professors are in the ozone.

Perhaps Ranklin Zimring of the University of California, Berkeley, cleared the whole rotten mess up when he exposed the economists in The New York Times as inhabitants of a “parallel universe” and said that comparing logic with them was like “learning to waltz with a cloud.”

Lenin Farm Bureau

Of course “pro-life” economists are out there, too. V.I. Lenin instinctively understood the simple fact of humanity that hard country work is good for the soul.

Now state Ivory Tower economists are being challenged by the corn-fed politics of those radicals at the Texas Farm Bureau, who meet next month to plan their Establishment challenge.

Public Enemy No. 1: eminent domain, that fearsome power meant for use in only the most pressing cases of public need — a utility right-of-way, say, so Farmer Joe can plug in the newfangled milking machines — transformed in the wake of Kelo v. City of New London into the tool of crafty developers who need only whisper the magic words (blighted ... renewal ... tax revenue) to make the giant cash register of power ring the balance in their favor. Ka-ching, baby.

In Texas, of course, the password is even simpler: TTC. And the run-amok eminent-domain beast is headed straight for the farming heartland: 150 acres per mile through the prized Blacklands by some estimates, platted by Perry and Cintra-Zachry for a toll road so wide Delaware will have to hold Maryland’s hand to cross it.

Texas H.B. 2006, passed almost unanimously by the otherwise Hatfield-McCoy 80th Legislature, would have set things straight for our local proletarians but Governor Good Hair up and vetoed it. So TFB will be swinging the hammer of change at the 2009 lege: Bring the good-faith-offer guarantee, they demand, and compensate them for lost and devalued lands.

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