Murmurs and crimes

The NYT reports that Zubaidi, the lord high mayor of Baghdad, and the Scarlet Pimpernel of the Palestine Hotel, has been stripped of his authority by Smilin' Jay Garner, as always the embodiment of the Iraqi will:

"Mr. Zobeidi, who says his qualifications for running Baghdad include participation in a disaster control management course arranged by the State Department, has also proposed sending a delegation to represent Iraq's interest at an OPEC meeting.

"American officials said today that it was Mr. Zobeidi's efforts to expand his powers that prompted the Americans to crack down.Mr. Zobeidi was given a copy of General McKiernan's proclamation, American official said, and he was informed by the American military today that he had no authority to appoint anybody."

The Times also reports that military men are casting dark glances at Chalabi's paramilitary. Yesterday, some of Chalabi's men were arrested for looting:

"Fighters of the group have been caught repeatedly while looting homes in an enclave in Baghdad where members of Saddam's Baath Party lived, said Army Staff Sgt. Bryce Ivings, of Sarasota, Fla.On Tuesday, soldiers from A Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment detained four suspected looters dressed in the group's desert camouflage uniforms and carrying rocket-propelled grenades, Ivings said. The men, who did not speak English, were taken to a prisoner-of-war detention center.

"Less than an hour later, another patrol found four other fighters - in uniform, but unarmed - carrying away china, glassware and clothing from empty houses, said Sgt. Jason Letterman of Marshfield, Mo., said. They were not held, but were told to cease looting, Letterman said."They said they were only stealing from houses belonging to Saddam's bodyguards," Letterman said. "We told them we can't let them steal stuff from anyone."

All the papers are pondering theocracy, today, as the Shiites imams have started to grow restive under the benevolent yoke of our liberation, while the average American ponders the murder suspect in the Laci case. We think the Laci murder is typical of a vast prejudice in the Press. California murders always get top billing. When Bush gets finished revamping the Constitution, he needs to check into this. Liberal bias in the press is one thing that's being squeezed out right now; anti-Texas bias is quite something else. Californians have amped things up by throwing in the charge against Laci's unborn child, but I'm sorry -- Laci's killing would get the ho hum back page treatment in the Houston Chronicle. In Austin, lately, we've had the murder-by-obsessed-manipulated-lesbian-lover-slash-psycho case, the Yogurt Shop possible satanic cult overtones murder case, and the shooting-of-crazed-woman-by-cops case just in the last four months. And Austin is one of the more peaceful places in Texas.

Just to check our intuition, we went to the Houston Chronicle and searched for murder. Sure enough, there's a triple homicide on the bill down there right now, with one of the victims being a pregnant woman, and with the defense offering this defense: the gun went off accidentally. The sawed off shotgun gun held in the hands of one of the defendents, who accidentally injured one of his confederates as it unexpectedly discharged. This is quite a defense.

Then -- this is just today, mind -- there is an item about a murder suicide, the man having killed his wife over his suspicion that she was unfaithful; there's a dispute over whether the Houston crime laboratory 'accidentally' skewed results in the conviction for murder of a man who allegedly killed an EPA agent; and other murder trials are hung up, like aircraft circling an overcrowded airport on a stormy day, because the Crime lab is having trouble with its DNA testers.

So: enough of these California crimes. !Basta! Let's shine a little light down here in Texas. If Chicago was once 'hog butcher to the world," we've dealt in enough abraded human flesh (shotgunned, stabbed, burned, poisoned, strung up, strangled, raped and toasted, randomly splattered with bullets) to deserve the title, human butcher to some of the world. A little consideration on the part of the national media would be nice.