A Sunday edition in a less-than-ideal state

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Reading the Chronicle today made us tired. And we’re feeling bratty on a Sunday when we’d rather be out catching some sunlight. So the following blurbs are just some quick observations about a Sunday edition that seemed below average even by the usual standards. Or, as they might say in the biz, the following are compiled from staff (that is, Anne, Callie, and Kevin) reports.

1) Julie Mason tries out a magic trick in her column:

Bush was in town for a Social Security event at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. But as usual, his mind was going in several directions at once.

Really, Julie, we don’t think objective journalists should be engaged in mindreading. Please leave such dark arts to the Houston-area coven, who are skilled at such practices. On the plus side, at least the misplaced efforts at humor didn’t result in this sort of fiasco. Baby steps!

2) The newspaper laments the passing of one Jose Armijo Jr., who died in a traffic crash trying to elude police (and, of course, endangering countless other drivers in the process) in a stolen vehicle. The man (a boy at the time) had been a key witness in the conviction of Ricardo Guerra (who allegedly killed a cop and Armijo’s father), a conviction later disputed by anti-death-penalty activists and civil rights groups. Apparently, with Cinco de Mayo approaching, it’s important to turn this unhappy story into a chance to reflect on the “gringo justice” system. We were left wondering how the family of murdered officer James Harris is doing these days, since the authors didn’t choose to tell us.

3) Sunday lefty partisan and weekday “objective” Austin bureau head Clay Robison complains that the legislature still won’t pass a bill that would squelch some political speech, and offers up the great title, “Who was Craddick trying to kid claiming ‘neutrality’?” Funny, every time we read something from Robison’s Austin bureau, we have a similar “Who is Robison trying to kid claiming ‘objectivity’?” response! Unsurprisingly, Rick Casey again comes out against some political speech in his metro/state column.

4) The Chronicle‘s “objective” South American bureau head makes an appearance on the editorial pages to eulogize “a heroine named Marla.” Charles Johnson tells a neglected part of Marla Ruzicka’s story.

5) The New York Times‘ ethicist (yes, you read that correctly) blasts a reader who says his employer forcing him to share a room with a homosexual man on travel makes him nervous. That’s BAD BAD BAD thinking, says Randy Cohen! On the same page, a house editorial blasts evil unenlightened homophobes (legislators, voters, Republicans, that sort of thing) who would enshrine the traditional definition of marriage in the Texas Constitution. Apparently, James Howard Gibbons wants backward Houstonians to know such thinking is just not world-class in the view of the New York Times!

6) Speaking of the New York Times, Gibbons also ran an op-ed by Robert Wright that appeared in that newspaper on April 26 (better late than never!), and advocates diplomatic arms control (as opposed to the more assertive disarmament practiced against Afghanistan and Iraq) as a neglected weapon of counterterrorism. Really.

7) San Antonio Express-News columnist Jonathan Gurwitz opines that none of the Tom DeLay stories that the Chron has obsessed over will be his undoing, but rather it will be his abandoning of the “good government” principles of the Contract with America. There is a bit of truth to that last, but it’s important to keep in mind that DeLay has not abandoned the more important conservative principles of the Contract with America (Chron readers can be forgiven any misunderstanding of the Contract, since the newspaper has refused to correct known errors in their reporting about it). Rather, he’s pushed them, consistently and effectively. Thus, he doesn’t have problems with his conservative Republican base. Highly respected local pollster David Hill has explained that “ethics” in an abstract sense isn’t likely to be a salient political issue for voters nationally, but for some reason quotes from Dr. Hill never appear in the Chronicle.

8) The newspaper picks up an AP story about an illegal immigrant who lost her legs in an accident. Laurence Simon covers a neglected angle.

There’s more, so much more. But that’s enough for now, as the last moments of a beautiful weekend are getting away.

UPDATE: Yes, there’s more, and Laurence has convinced us an update is in order:

9) Reporter Ed Hegstrom interviews engages in “Sunday Conversation” with the new Mexican Consul General. We laughed at the focus on the death penalty and enchiladas, but we think Hegstrom was serious. It was that kind of Sunday edition.

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