The Chron, Enron Hatah

A federal court quotes a dog

As everyone knows, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld the conviction of Enron's Jeff Skilling, although it overturned his sentence in a move that might slightly reduce it.

Skilling's most passionate local supporter in the blogworld, attorney Tom Kirkendall of Houston's Clear Thinkers, annotated the decision online. Reading it led us to discover that the 5th Circuit apparently hates the Houston Chronicle.

The decision notes that the Chron "ran many personal interest stories in which sympathetic individuals expressed feelings of anger and betrayal towards Enron."

Bad Chronicle!!

(The 5th Circuit somehow didn't note the many, many glowing Enron stories the Chron did before the collapse.)

Further expressing its outrage, the 5th Circuit notes that "Even the Chronicle's sports page wrote of Skilling's conviction as a foregone conclusion. Similarly, the Chronicle's 'Pethouse Pet of the Week' section mentioned that a pet 'had enjoyed watching those Enron jerks being led away in handcuffs.'"

Oh no!! Ken Hoffman's Pethouse Pet of the Week section!!

"I find absolutely nothing troubling about the federal court system issuing an opinion that includes a quote from a dog," Hoffman tells Hair Balls.

We have to agree. — Richard Connelly

Five Ways To Get Shot By Bellaire Cops

Unarmed 23-year-old black man Robbie Tolan was shot in his own driveway recently in Bellaire. The bullet pierced his lung and lodged in his liver, where doctors say it will likely remain for the rest of his life.

The shooter was Sergeant Joseph Cotton, who evidently thought Tolan's 2004 Nissan Xterra was a stolen vehicle, although no one is saying exactly why he thought this. City officials aren't saying anything concrete on the matter; no one seems to know exactly what happened. They certainly won't mention the phrase "racial profiling"...not even to deny it.

Disappointed at the city's silence on the matter, family lawyer Geoffrey Berg tells Hair Balls, "I think we're looking for contrition of any kind, not even an admission of liability, but just as a matter of human decency. But we haven't even heard a 'We're sorry this happened to this family.'"

As far as where to go from here, Berg says, "We're doing our best to assist the District Attorney in the investigation and looking for justice through that avenue.

"The family is mainly focused on helping Robbie get better. He's in a lot of pain."

It's a strange story, but there are lessons to be learned. If you want to get yourself shot by a Bellaire cop.

1. Drive a 2004 Nissan Xterra. Worth a cool ten grand according to craigs­list, it's only natural that brazenly driving around in one of these house-parties-in-an-SUV would get you labeled a car thief. Some of these things have rims, you know. Nice rims.

2. Initially comply. Full compliance being so unusual these days, any seasoned veteran on the Bellaire police force will instinctively consider an obedient suspect to be an unstable, dangerous lunatic.

3. Get family involved. If you have a 55-year-old mother around who can vouch for the authenticity of your ownership of the Xterra, it's not a bad idea to have her speak up. This way, you've trapped the officer between an agitated near-senior-citizen and a man lying prone on the ground. This is a classic example of the ol' "rock and a hard place" gambit.

4. Stick up for Mom. When the officer roughly grabs your mother and slams her against the garage door, any movement at all on your part will of course be interpreted as an attempt to steal the officer's weapon and use it on him. Congratulations! Enjoy your bullet wound.

5. Be a Class A baseball player. What, did you think the fact that Robbie Tolan belonged to the only black family on the block had anything to do with this? Please. In these enlightened times, a far more likely reason is the city of Bellaire's little-known but deeply bitter Class A baseball rivalry with Tolan's team, the Hagerstown Suns. Sometimes these hidden, sports-related resentments just boil over, that's all.

Coming soon: How to Get Kidnapped By the Police in Galveston. Hint: think Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver. — John S. Gray

 
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