PR Headline of the Day

Political Animals

Parker Afraid of Dick:
Press Release Headline of the Day

By Jeff Balke

The battle over campaign signs has raged since the dawn of time, when cavemen running for chief of their tribes would roll boulders covered in chalk-drawn scribblings about how the humps of their opponents were a sign of weakness in battle. In our world today, the more pedestrian matters of signs on public property or signs with objectionable messages seem to be a big deal to campaign workers while the rest of us ho-hum our way through another election cycle.

In this year's city elections, there is the added bonus of a guy named Eric Dick running for city council. Dick has been fairly clever in his application of his phallic-sounding surname, as have those who have chosen to occasionally deface his sign­age. But, apparently, Dick is pissed about Mayor Annise Parker's pledge to crack down on campaign signage.

In a press release, Dick led with the headline: Parker Afraid of Dick.

After enumerating his points about why he thinks the mayor would do such a thing, he drops in this disclaimer: "I will note that personally I have nothing against Parker or her lifestyle choice. In fact, the Log Cabin has endorsed me. It is my belief that government should be kept out of our personal lives and pocketbooks."

In essence, "Yes, I made a crack about a lesbian mayor and how she doesn't prefer penises, but I got nothing against the gays."

We at Hair Balls are fans of a good double entendre as much as the next guy, but we also like directness, which is why we suggest that next time, Dick just go with "Mayor Parker Prefers Female Genitalia and My Name is a Slang Reference to the Penis and as a Result, I Believe She Dislikes Me." Not as succinct, but probably more accurate.


James Edwin Durham:
One-Man Lufkin Crime Wave Finally Brought Down

By John Nova Lomax

It's been a rough year for James Edwin Durham.

Since last November, the 39-year-old Lufkin man has allegedly burned his mother's house down while cooking meth, gotten shot in the ass, been charged with numerous felonies in several different incidents (including a new escapade last week) and now, just yesterday, a judge handed down a 20-year prison sentence for felony evading arrest.

Other still pending include (another) rap for arson, delivery of a controlled substance and another evading arrest charge.

Back in November, police tracked down Durham at a Lufkin motel he was sharing with his mother after he allegedly burned down the house cooking up a batch of crank. Although his torso was badly burned, and he had the sores to prove it, he told authorities had no knowledge of how the fire started.

Durham rounded out that month by getting charged with resisting and evading arrest — the case that got him sent up the river for 20.

But meanwhile, Durham had plenty more capers to unleash...

In February he was charged with evading arrest yet again and added a delivery of a controlled substance charge.

Out on the streets again in May, Durham's buttocks found themselves in the way of a shotgun blast fired by a 21-year-old kid. That incident occurred after a fight broke out near the "charred square on the ground" that used to be his mama's house. A witness told The Lufkin Daily News that Durham was dating the mama of either the shooter or one of the shooter's buddies.

Durham spent some time in intensive care after that incident but he was not done crimin'. He was charged with another arson in June.

Last week police returned yet again to Durham's mama's land, where by this time some sort of ramshackle cabin had been built. Police say that when they shined a light on this shack, they saw Durham toss a shake-and-bake meth lab out the window. He's since been charged with evidence tampering and first-degree felony drug possession.

Unlike with many of the other cases against him, Durham was unable in the last incident to post bond the very next day. Indeed, he's been in Angelina County Jail for the last week and now he's headed to TDCJ.

Durham has been arrested 36 times over the course of his life, and that's just counting Angelina County.


Three Houston Cops Accused of
Eating Evidence in May Pot Case

By John Nova Lomax

Man, the Houston Police Department is starting to seem less like a police force and more like the world's biggest frat party these days. Hard on the heels of the dismissal of one veteran cop for driving to work drunk off his ass and crashing into a (luckily almost empty) school bus, comes an allegation that three other boys in blue chomped down on some pot brownies they had seized in a drug raid.

According to a court document, around 10 or 11 on the night of May 10, a narcotics complaint was phoned in to the Kingwood Patrol of HPD. At least three officers responded to an apartment on Lake Hills Drive in Atascocita. There, according to the report, they could smell burning marijuana clear out in the parking lot.

Officers knocked on the door to the unit rented by 19-year-old Nicholas Charles Hill and were invited to come in. Once inside, according to the report, police reported seeing a small group of people seated around a bong. Hill reportedly was holding "a very large bag" of weed and had another smaller one in his lap. Police say Hill told them he was a weed dealer and that he'd just taken delivery of his supply earlier that day.

Three other people in the apartment were allegedly holding drugs, and a thorough search of the apartment turned up a couple of shotguns, an unknown quantity of 'shrooms, around $940 cash, a little more weed and an assortment of bongs and pipes.

What this official report does not mention specifically is the tray of pot brownies Hill says the cops seized and ate right in front of him and his fellow suspects.

All of this would emerge in Hill's conversations with his lawyers, Daniel Cahill and J. Julio Vela. Cahill was disbelieving at first — although only 19, Hill has a little bit of a precocious record in drug arrests — but investigated his client's claims nevertheless. And now he says he has what might be a smoking gun.

Hill told Cahill that after eating the brownies and arresting him and two of his buddies, the cops got on their in-car computers and started squawking about how stoned they were.

KTRK's Ted Oberg got ahold of the transcripts:

"So HIGH...Good munchies," typed one at 2:44 a.m.

"Everything should be open when we get done," responds a second cop.

"Two hours, max," replies the first.

"Probably, but this will take the whole shift," answers his buddy. (The cops in question have not been named officially.)

Hill was charged with two felonies in the incident — one for the weed and the other for the 'shrooms. His lawyer thinks the cops should be hit with felony cases of their own: eating those pot brownies would constitute felony destruction of evidence. Cahill also says that the incident represents official misconduct, as there's nothing in the HPD code of conduct that condones officers rolling around H-Town with buzzes even Devin the Dude would envy.

Internal affairs told KTRK they were aware of the incident and the cops in question have been drug-tested, apparently long after the event in question allegedly took place. They have yet to be disciplined and may never be. As for Hill, the two felonies against him still stand, pending the results of HPD's investigation.

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