Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Hammer Now Lashing Out at Fictional Characters

It’s been a bad week for Tom DeLay. The Texas Republicans ethics issues took a sudden turn for the worse when a Texas judge ruled that a political action committee he formed failed to disclose over $600, 000 in corporate contributions. The passage of a stem cell research bill came as another blow to his “culture of life”, with forty of his fellow Republicans supporting it, over his hyperbolic condemnations. DeLay decried using taxes for "the dismemberment of living, distinct human beings for the purposes of medical experimentation."

So, in the grand old tradition of Former Vice-President Dan Quayle battling the fictional television character Murphy Brown on the issue of family values, the ethically challenged House Majority leader has decided to take a crack at a reference to him in a police drama concerning the murder of judges.

Bad hair day, Tom? Posted by Hello

In the season finale of “Law and Order: Criminal Intent”, which this past Wednesday, a police officer, frustrated by the lack of clues, makes an offhand comment that, "Maybe we should put out an APB (all-points-bulletin) for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt."

In a letter to NBC Universal Television Group President Jeff Zucker, DeLay wrote: "This manipulation of my name and trivialization of the sensitive issue of judicial security represents a reckless disregard for the suffering initiated by recent tragedies and a great disservice to public discourse."

The Texas Republican went on to suggest the "slur" against him was intended as a jab at comments he had made about "the need for Congress to closely monitor the federal judiciary."

NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly responded in a statement that the dialogue in question "was neither a political comment nor an accusation."

"The script line involved an exasperated detective bedeviled by a lack of clues, making a sarcastic comment about the futility of looking for a suspect when no specific description existed," Reilly said.

Producer Dick Wolf, creator of the "Law & Order" franchise, took a swipe at DeLay in his own statement on Thursday, saying, "I ... congratulate Congressman DeLay for switching the spotlight from his own problems to an episode of a TV show."

Earlier this spring, during his failed crusade to “rescue” Terri Shiavo, the bombastic DeLay made a thinly veiled threat to members of the judiciary who did not embrace his “culture of life” stance:

"We will look at an arrogant, out of control, unaccountable judiciary that thumbed their nose at the Congress and president when given jurisdiction to hear this case anew and look at all the facts ... The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today."

Judge Joan Lefkow, U. S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, appeared earlier this month before the Senate Judiciary Committee to rebuke politicians and other public figures who have used inflammatory language to criticize judicial decisions they disagreed with. She said that such rhetoric encouraged violence against judges.

Lefkow’s husband and elderly mother were murdered by a man angry at her sentencing a white supremacist to forty years in prison for plotting to assassinate a federal judge.

Thanks to the folks at "Crooks and Liars" for this story


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