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The Texas redistricting case, which recently came before the U.S. Supreme Court, has continued to heat up while simultaneously confusing the masse. Both political parties are taking the obfuscation inherent in the case as an opportunity to claim the other side is wrong.

Jon Stewart and Lou Dobbs are no different. On Monday’s episode of The Daily Show, Dobbs, a well-documented immigrant hater paradoxically married to a Hispanic woman, (self-loathing, party of two), said he sees the SCOTUS’s recent decision to reject San Antonio federal court-drawn maps as an act of retribution for so-called courtroom activism. Stewart, on the other hand, who, despite claims of loyalty to comedy first, is the quintessential liberal, East Coast elite, interprets the SCOTUS’s move as proof that the original maps were in fact full of Republican Party bias along ethnic lines.

The truth is, they are both right. The Supreme Court did say the maps need to be redrawn because the Legislature’s version was naughty. However, they also said that the San Antonio court was not only in error to draw the maps in the first place, but that they also got a little overzealous by redrawing the entire map and not just those four districts that were full of gerrymandering shenanigans.

What does this tell us about the current state of Texas redistricting? That neither Democrats nor Republicans have a monopoly on evil, that law is really, really hard and I’d rather watch TV, and that Jon Stewart is still infinitely more likeable than Lou Dobbs, (but I actually like Lou the most I’ve ever liked him while watching this clip).

Could all that Occupy stuff be rubbing off on America? Me kinda sorta liking Lou Dobbs for a second, Lou Dobbs conceding that Jon Stewart is a great American, and Jon Stewart pitching a buddy road trip movie with Lou Dobbs? Naaaah. Everyone just has redistricting fatigue.

Now that Rick Perry has come to his senses and dropped out of the presidential race, we can turn our attention to the other Republican candidates as the Texas primary approaches. (Well, it might be approaching, assuming federal courts can sort out the redistricting mess.)

Speaking of coming to one’s senses, what is wrong with you, America, that you are even considering voting for Republican front runner Mitt Romney who TIED THE FAMILY DOG TO THE ROOF OF HIS CAR FOR A 12 HOUR ROAD TRIP? Yes, I used all- caps because that is how horrified I am by this story. The first time I read it, I happened to be suffering from a bout of insomnia. I often lie in bed during those times and surf the net on my phone. I made the mistake of going down this rabbit hole one of those fateful nights and, suffice to say, I did not get back to sleep.

The story, it turns out, happened almost 30 years ago, in 1983, and was first reported by the Boston Globe, as relayed to them by Romney’s eldest son Tagg, and later corroborated by Romney himself. Romney, then 36, was driving his family to Ontario, Canada for a summer vacation at his parents’ cottage on Lake Huron. The Globe reports:

Before beginning the drive, Mitt Romney put Seamus, the family’s hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon’s roof rack. He’d built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.

Then Romney put his boys on notice: He would be making predetermined stops for gas, and that was it.

Ah, yes. The infamous “predetermined stops”. With five boys under age 13, what could be more desirous in a father than an inflexible, compassion-free automaton?

The story goes on to say that it was Tagg who first noticed Seamus defecating down the side of the car.

”Dad!” he yelled. ”Gross!” A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who’d been riding on the roof in the wind for hours.

As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management.

Let’s analyze this, kids. Why do you think the dog was struck with a sudden bout of diarrhea? Was he, oh I don’t know, literally scared shitless? Excuse my French, but the act of torturing a defenseless animal deserves no mincing of words. The only thing that turns my stomach more than animal cruelty is the idea that this same person would be in charge of our nation’s uninsured kids, immigrants, unemployed, and otherwise defenseless or disenfranchised populations.

Here’s what’s even more disturbing: The Romney family members told and retold this story to the Boston Globe because they thought it was a charming anecdote that would humanize him to the public. They really don’t think he did anything cruel or inhumane.

While many people have written about the story, including New York Times columnist Gail Collins, who now makes it a personal goal to bring it up whenever possible, she along with most journalists have approached the story with ridicule. While the image of tying anyone to the top of a car on a family vacation calls to mind images of Chevy Chase tying his deceased Aunt Edna to the car in the movie National Lampoon’s Vacation, (Which coincidentally came out the same year this story happened, weird, huh? ), this was no joke. The dog was not dead and this amounts to nothing short of torture.

Still, even some of America’s most devoted political minds see it only as trivia. From an NPR report on Collins’ obsession with the dog story:

Collins mentioned the dog so often that Dartmouth political science professor Brendan Nyhan started keeping a running tally. “She’s trying to be funny — I get that. I appreciate a good campaign story as much as the next person,” Nyhan said. “But I do think it’s representative of the way that the media focuses on trivia, things that are so inconsequential. Mitt Romney is not running for dogcatcher — he’s running for president of the United States.”

This is the absence of mind that baffles me. How can anyone, dog lover or not, put a living being on the top of a vehicle going at least 55 miles per hour for more than 12 hours?

Perhaps most disconcerting is that Romney continues to insist the dog loved it despite the diarrheic evidence to the contrary “Peta’s not happy that my dog likes fresh air,” he quipped in New Hampshire in 2008 after the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals went on record along with the ASPCA to say you should never travel with your dog on the outside of your car. (Duh.) Then he defended the move to Fox News’ Chris Wallace who, admittedly, tried to put the screws to him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOZzBoi3chM

I have an idea. Let’s strap Mitt Romney to the top of my car this summer. I’ll drive 12 hours; I promise to stop once and hose him off. If, by the end of the 12-hour drive, he’s still cool with riding on the roof, then I’ll let this go.

This week, Gov. Rick Perry let fly from his mouth a verbal gaffe that nearly created a crisis of international diplomacy. The presidential hopeful announced at the GOP debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on Monday that Turkey is “a country that is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists.”

Many of whom? People who don’t have access to Wikipedia? People who went to Texas public schools? Who is doing this embarrassing perceiving? Well, just stop it.

Both the Ministry of Turkey and the U.S. State Department have rebuked Perry for his “perceptions,” a move that the governor could use as more proof of Obama’s Socialist Muslim War on American Stuff. Or perhaps Mitt Romney will offer this as more evidence of Obama’s continued apologizing for America.

The thing is, I have no doubt that what Gov. Perry said is true. There are “many who perceive” any Muslim country to be a bunch of terrorists. Rick Perry’s record is riddled with such ignorant perceptions that, early on, won him loads of support. His verbal gaffes have finally pushed him into the role of political laughing stock. Here’s a look back at some of my favorites.

The American Revolution was fought in the 16th century.
In October, Perry told a fraternity at Dartmouth College that “the reason that we fought the revolution in the 16th century,” was to get control of the states away from Washington, D.C.

The country of Solynda is getting all our jobs.
Solynda, a California-based solar panel manufacturer, declared bankruptcy in August 2011 after having received $528 million in federal loan guarantees. Rick Perry thought they were a country. And didn’t even get their name right. “I want to say it was over $500 million that went to the country Solynda,” he said in Iowa last month.

America wouldn’t be such a mess if we’d let 18 year-olds vote.
The Governor famously told a group in New Hampshire, “Those of you that will be 21 by November the 12th, I ask for your support and your vote.”

Texas teaches creationism in public school.
The governor told a child on the campaign trail in New Hampshire that Texas public schools teach creationism alongside evolution. A statement that would land us in a whole lot of trouble were it true. In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that teaching creationism in public schools was unconstitutional.

We’re at war with Iran.
Perry mistakenly referred to the war in Iraq as the war in Iran at a December speaking engagement in South Carolina. “That’ll be on the front page,” he added, laughing.

Supreme Court Justice Inigo Montoya is an activist judge in the war on religion.
Just kidding, her name is Montemayor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3v3caTWDig

Human life is only valuable if you’re a heterosexual Westerner.
The governor minimized recent photos of U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban soldiers, even invoking the memory of a Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was decapitated by terrorists in Pakistan in early 2002, as some sort of justification for the Marines’ actions.

His hands belong on your uterus.
Rick Perry is proud to tell anyone who’ll listen that he helped make it mandatory for women in Texas to be shown a sonogram before getting an abortion.

God told him to run.
Rick Perry believes God told him to run. What he misheard was that God was telling him to run far, far away from the GOP race for president before he gets completely laughed out of Texas.

Mitt Romney will win the nomination.
Despite the fact that Perry will not drop out of the race no matter how much God wants him to, he let slip on ABC’s “This Week,” Sunday that he’s been attacking Mitt Romney’s record as CEO of Bain Capital because he thinks Romney will have to fend off such attacks from the Obama campaign, implying he thinks the Massachusetts governor will obtain the Republican nomination.

Monday the U.S. Supreme Court took a look at the Texas Legislature’s newly drawn redistricting maps to try to make sense of just how constitutional the maps are, and whether a San Antonio federal court’s redraw is a better fix. Unfortunately, we are no nearer a decision than we were last week.

The case has taken the national spotlight because it contains within it the question of whether a section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act is constitutional. Section 2 prohibits electoral practices that discriminate against minority groups, but it’s Section 5, which applies to Texas and a handful of other states that have historically discriminated against minorities, that has critics up in arms. Section 5 dictates that any changes to voting procedure, like redistricting, must be approved before being legally implemented. It’s called pre-clearance and can be accomplished through administrative review by the Justice Department or trial before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. If you recall from my previous analysis, Republicans opted to go before the court so it would reach the SCOTUS and they would set a legal precedent against Section 5.

When Texas earned itself four new seats in the U.S. House of Representatives— thanks in major part to the growth of the Latino population reflected in the 2010 U.S. Census— Democrats and Latinos were annoyed if not surprised to find that Republicans managed to redraw maps with appendages so outrageous, they diluted minority districts into Anglo ones.

Now Supreme Court justices are faced with a very tight deadline to try and sort out the situation if Texas is to hold its primary elections. Essentially, they’d need to decide on a set of maps by February 1 so that precincts could be drawn and overseas voter ballots mailed. Though none of the judges during oral arguments Monday seemed to think that the Republicans’ newly drawn maps are quite right, they seem to agree even less that the federal court in San Antonio should have redrawn them with such an emphasis on what Democrats wanted.

With so many questions at stake—the constitutionality of the maps, the constitutionality of the new maps and the constitutionality of Section 5—and because the case reached the SCOTUS as a stay application which requires no specific statement of issues, legal experts aren’t even sure how broadly the court will rule.

If the deadline isn’t reached in time, the state may be forced to hold two primary elections—one in April for races that do not involve districts, and another vote later for Congress and the Legislature.

More fishiness is going on in the murder case of Laredo ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata who was gunned down in Mexico on February 15, 2011. As was previously reported, one of the murder weapons found at the scene was traced back to a gun dealer in suburban Dallas who was being tailed by U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents for months before the crime. This prompted U.S. Senator John Cornyn and the leaders of the congressional investigation of Operation Fast and Furious, an unauthorized ATF gun-walking program in Arizona, to launch an inquiry into whether ATF ever conducted Texas-based gun-walking operations. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s office, which oversees the ATF, has yet to get back to Cornyn and the others on that question.

Now news comes from The Brownsville Herald, in Zapata’s hometown of Brownsville, Texas, that federal court documents reveal the Justice Department has named three new Mexican suspects in Zapata’s murder. These three are in addition to Julian Zapata Espinoza, 30, who was arrested by Mexican officials a week after the slaying.

Indictments against the three are still sealed, but another court document identifies them as Ruben Dario Venegas Rivera, alias “El Catracho”; Jose Ismael Nava Villagran, alias “Cacho”; and Francisco Carbajal Flores, who has at least four aliases.

Here is the part that I find eyebrow raising. Grand Jury testimony from an FBI agent investigating the murder was “accidentally taped over” by a court reporter.

The indictments against Venegas Rivera, Nava Villagran and Carbajal Flores were still sealed as of Tuesday.

But the U.S. Attorney’s Office mentioned the indictments against the three men and Zapata Espinoza in a notice to the federal court on June 24. The notice said a court reporter had accidentally taped over the April 19 grand jury testimony of an FBI special agent in the investigation into the attack on Zapata and Avila.

What’s even more disturbing is that because the U.S. Attorney’s Office says it doesn’t foresee calling the FBI special agent as a witness in any future trials, it won’t be re-recording a new testimony. In other words, the testimony the agent gave will not be provided to the defense. The Herald’s Emma Perez-Treviño goes on to explain that even though a federal rule requires grand jury proceedings to be recorded by a court reporter or recording device, the U.S. Attorney’s Office maintains that the rule also states the validity of prosecutions is not affected by unintentional failure to make a recording.

To recap, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, an arm of the Department of Justice is investigating a murder that is suspected to have occurred with a weapon the ATF, another arm of the Department of Justice, illegally let into Mexico. Conveniently, testimony from a federal agent who was investigating the events of the murder were taped over. Nothing to see here, America, move right along.

The fate of affirmative action at America’s colleges could rest on a dispute over $100. Abigail Noel Fisher, a white woman from Richmond, Texas, has sued the University of Texas over the $50 application fee and $50 housing deposit she forfeited when the school did not admit her to its Austin campus as a freshman in 2008.

Fisher ended up attending Louisiana State University and expects to graduate in May. But apparently she’s still angry she didn’t get into UT. She is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear her case in hopes that she can win back the fees she would have lost even if she had been admitted to UT. The more important issue—and the reason conservatives have latched on to Fisher’s case—is the constitutionality of race-based admission policies. Fisher and her lawyers want the High Court to rule the university’s policy of considering race on top of the state-mandated “top 10 percent” rule, which requires Texas’ four-year public universities to admit students in the top 10 percent of their graduating high school class, unconstitutional. Fisher didn’t achieve that rank.

The law currently allows universities to consider race to a limited degree in the admissions process as long as no quotas are in place. That stems from a landmark 1978 case, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, in which the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional the practice of setting aside a certain number of spots for African-Americans.

Some conservatives don’t like universities considering race at all when choosing which students to admit, leading them to file friend-of–the-court briefs asking the Supreme Court to hear Fisher’s case in hopes of overturning these policies.

So far, lower courts have agreed that UT is well within the law in considering race as a factor after filling about 62 percent of its incoming freshman spots with top-10-percent students, a strategy known as the “plus system.” That policy began after the 1996 case Hopwood v. Texas banned the use of race in admissions decisions at all public postsecondary institutions. The state of Texas became one of the first to enact the top-10-percent rule.

In 2003, the Supreme Court upheld the “plus system” admissions policy of the University of Michigan Law School in Grutter v. Bollinger, ruling that the school had a compelling interest in promoting class diversity and that its policy did not amount to a quota system.

The Grutter v. Bollinger ruling constrained the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals when it considered Fisher’s case. The court decided that Texas uses race as a plus system, not a quota system. If Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin should go before the Supreme Court, we could be looking at an end to the plus system—and the end of any consideration of race in college admissions.

The case raises the very question of whether affirmative action is still needed in this country. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that I think it is, but to better make my case, I consulted the facts.

Even with the top-10-percent rule in place, Texas’ diversity isn’t reflected in its top-tier public universities. Latino and African-American students are dramatically underrepresented at UT and Texas A&M. Latinos constitute 38 percent of Texas residents, according to the 2010 Census, but just 17 percent of the UT student body.

Which is why the court, in the Grutter case, supported the “narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body.” The court in Grutter held that an interest in obtaining a “critical mass” of minority students at the law school was indeed a “tailored use.”

Adding to UT’s case are recent guidelines issued Dec. 2, 2011, by the U.S. departments of Education and Justice that focus on “the compelling interest of achieving diversity.” Both departments filed friend-of-the-court briefs in February 2010 with the 5th Circuit in support of UT’s case. The Supreme Court justices will decide in mid-January whether to take up Fisher’s case.

My guess is they won’t. At the end of the day, we’re talking about a young lady with not-so-great grades that didn’t get into a top-tier public school. Is that a breakdown of the system? I don’t think so.

UT College Republicans President Cassie Wright, who recently came under fire for tweeting, “My president is black. He smokes a lot of crack. Holla. #2012 #Obama” took to Facebook recently to argue her reasoning behind the comment.

Burnt Orange Report, who broke the original story of the offending tweet, managed to get a screengrab of Wright’s Facebook page featuring a conversation in which she is seen defending the tweet heard round the world to a Facebook “friend”.

Mo4Qn

Turns out Ms. Wright’s little rhyme was a reference to a song by Young Jeezy entitled, “My President is Black.” Thus, reasons Wright, “Perhaps you should contact Young Jeezy as well for negative statements found in his song.”

She goes on to argue that since the President admitted, (in his 1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance), that he used cocaine, it wasn’t out of line for her to point out the irony of a song celebrating him since he is, in fact, a known “drug user.” And, I’ll add in her defense that cocaine doesn’t rhyme with black, so obviously, we should give her a little poetic license.

“I find the fact that Obama was a drug user ironic, considering there is a popular song celebrating his election and character. Not sure how finding humor in this irony is open discrimination against any race, but believe what you will.”

It’s true, Cassie Wright should not be fired from her post because she’s a racist, but because she’s proven that she is unfit for political life. Here’s a woman in the most powerful Republican seat at UT, one of the largest universities in America in one of the largest Republican voting states in America. She lucks into the position after her predecessor, Lauren Pierce, makes the same dumb mistake on Twitter less than a month earlier, tweeting in response to news of a shooter at the White House:

“Y’all as tempting as it may be, don’t shoot Obama. We need him to go down in history as the WORST president we’ve EVER had! #2012.”

Repairing her club’s reputation should be priority number one for Wright, especially in an election year when her party is struggling to prove to ethnic minorities that they are not a bunch of racists who want to deport everyone who is brown. What does Wright do instead, just 32 days later? Tweet, from New Orleans, at 2:46 AM on Sunday morning, that the President of the United States snorts crack. Oh, and holla.

I know I should be happy to see Republicans fall on their faces, but I can’t help it. I feel a responsibility to mentor the kids. Especially because they weren’t as fortunate as I was to be old by the time social media came into fashion.

Come here, UT College Republicans, and listen to what your wise, old Tía Cindy has to say. Especially you, Cesar Villareal, UT College Republicans spokesperson from my hometown of Brownsville, Texas. You’ve already begun distancing yourself from Ms. Wright with this apology you released to the school paper, The Daily Texan:

The UT College Republicans neither condones any ‘tweeted’ remarks, nor any statements made by any member of our organization that may be hurtful and lacking in sensitivity. The opinion of our President Wright is that of her own not in keeping with our core values, our standards, and our code of conduct. While some within our organization may not respect the current President, UT College Republicans does respect the office of the President of the United States. We are all Americans, and even if we do not agree with certain policies, the UT College Republicans wish all our leaders well, as they are all dedicated to public service. I personally apologize for [the] ‘tweeted’ remark.”

That’s an excellent start, but if you don’t fire this incompetent person now, she’s going to take you down with her in a conflagration of reckless tweets and poorly reasoned Facebook comments. What do you think Anthony Weiner’s spokesperson is up to these days? Probably shilling for some pyramid scheme. Take my advice and give this woman the heave-ho now before she ends your career. Oh, and holla.

Walls, walls, walls. That’s the solution to all our problems down on the border, and a wall is what they’re thinking of erecting after stray bullets hit two boys during basketball tryouts Monday at Harwell Middle School in Edinburg.

Over fifty kids were in the parking lot behind the school that had been converted into a makeshift basketball court when the presumably stray bullets came flying through. One boy, a 13 year-old, was going for a layup when he was hit under the arm. The other, age 14, was shot in the upper right torso while sitting on a curb waiting his turn. Both boys are in stable condition in the hospital in McAllen.

The source of the bullets is still unknown though two target shooters were taken into custody and later released after they were found on an adjacent ranch about 800 yards from the school. Also found on that ranch was an undocumented immigrant, trespassing and carrying an AR-15 automatic rifle. That man will face trespassing and other charges for allegedly hunting without permission from the landowner.

Officials of the five-month-old school, as well as parents interviewed, were, ridiculously, unaware that hunting was taking place so close to the campus though Superintendent Rene Gutierrez said he was informed by the owner of a property northeast of the school that there was hunting on his ranch.

“We were not aware that there was hunting on the west side of the school or that there were [hunting] leases on the west side until last night,” Gutierrez said.

Even more disturbing is Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño’s assertion that this is but one of several new schools in Hidalgo County built in rural areas that are adjacent to land used for hunting.

How is this possible? Surely, it’s illegal to hunt that close to children.

“It’s very possible that there won’t be any criminal charges filed,” Sheriff Treviño said at a press conference this week. It turns out there is no law in Texas against hunting near a school or hospital, only against hunting inside city limits.

“You’re in the state of Texas and the state of Texas, like any other state in the union, has rural schools all over the country. And a lot of the schools are surrounded by hunting … Even during dove season, we get literally hundreds of calls of residents having barbecues having pellets rain upon their roof. I mean that happens every year. You’ve got to remember you’re in rural Hidalgo County, Texas, and it is a hunting state.”

However, he added, “you would seem to think also that there’s some sort of personal responsibility that one has to take as a hunter or as a responsible adult.”

You would think that, but then you wouldn’t be in Texas.

Surgeons were able to remove a bullet from one of the boys. Experts from the Texas Department of Public Safety will compare ballistics to determine whether the shooters were the men detained by the police.

Operation Fast and Furious—the Arizona-based federal gun-tracking program that led to the death of a U.S. agent at the hands of Mexican criminals—could be underway in Texas, too, and may have led to the death of Laredo immigration agent Jaime Zapata.

Fast and Furious, launched in autumn 2009, allowed illegal guns to travel, or “walk,” into Mexico so federal agents could track Mexican drug cartel activity. The problem is that the U.S. lost track of hundreds of guns. Some wound up at the scenes of drug cartel murders, and even next to the body of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, who was shot and killed while patrolling the Arizona desert last year.

Fast and Furious was run out of the Phoenix office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), a federal law enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Justice. There is startling evidence that a similar scheme could be occurring in Texas. According to an October 2011 investigation by Houston NBC affiliate KPRC, employees at a Houston gun shop named Carter’s Country alleged that they were asked by Houston ATF agents in 2006 to sell guns to suspicious purchasers and notify ATF so agents could observe the purchases. Carter’s Country employees say they complied with the request, adding that at least 6 of the 16 times they called during a suspicious sale, ATF agents never showed, but told Carter’s Country to make the sale anyway.

These sales continued into December 2010, when a Carter’s Country salesman became the subject of a Houston grand jury investigation due to a criminal complaint filed by ATF. That prompted Carter’s Country to pull the plug and hire high-powered defense attorney Dick DeGuerin.

ATF officials refused to be interviewed on-camera by KPRC, but told reporter Robert Arnold that Carter’s Country may have “misconstrued” the bureau’s request for help as a gun-walking operation. DeGuerin and Carter’s Country stuck to their story, and in March 2011, on the heels of the shooting death of Laredo Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico, DeGuerin received word that ATF was dropping the case. “We stood to embarrass them, meaning the ATF, for being hypocritical, two-faced, and turning against the very people who were trying to help them,” DeGuerin said.

And what of the murder of special agent Zapata, who was shot and killed in Mexico in February 2011? That gun was traced back to gun dealers near Dallas.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking about Zapata’s death. That went unanswered. So in August Cornyn asked Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley, the leaders of the congressional investigation of Fast and Furious, to launch an inquiry into whether ATF ever conducted Texas-based gun-walking operations.

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Nov. 8, Cornyn attempted to grill Holder about Fast and Furious, but the AG did his best to paint the questioning as partisan bickering. Unable to name one person in his department who was disciplined over the operation, Holder left the American people with more questions than answers.

Why did ATF drop the charges against Carter’s Country? Why did the Department of Justice wait more than five months to arrest three men in suburban Dallas it knew were gun dealers? Why did the arrests come two weeks after Zapata was killed, when, as Issa and Grassley found, ATF knew the men were trafficking guns long before they bought the weapon tied to the Zapata murder?

Jaime Zapata’s mother, Mary Zapata-Muñoz, has her own thoughts about the mystery surrounding her son’s death:

“I hope that it’s not a cover up. I pray that the weapon that killed my son didn’t come from the United States and was allowed to travel to Mexico. A few days after [Jaime] passed away, he came to me in a dream. And he pointed to his lips and he said, ‘Mom, I cannot speak. You have to speak for me. Seek justice. Make sure that another person does not have to go through what I went through.’”

I hope the same as Mrs. Zapata-Muñoz, but it sure doesn’t look good.

Operation Fast and Furious—the Arizona-based federal gun-tracking program that led to the death of a U.S. agent at the hands of Mexican criminals—could be underway in Texas, too, and may have led to the death of Laredo immigration agent Jaime Zapata.

Fast and Furious, launched in autumn 2009, allowed illegal guns to travel, or “walk,” into Mexico so federal agents could track Mexican drug cartel activity. The problem is that the U.S. lost track of hundreds of guns. Some wound up at the scenes of drug cartel murders, and even next to the body of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, who was shot and killed while patrolling the Arizona desert last year.

Fast and Furious was run out of the Phoenix office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), a federal law enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Justice. There is startling evidence that a similar scheme could be occurring in Texas. According to an October 2011 investigation by Houston NBC affiliate KPRC, employees at a Houston gun shop named Carter’s Country alleged that they were asked by Houston ATF agents in 2006 to sell guns to suspicious purchasers and notify ATF so agents could observe the purchases. Carter’s Country employees say they complied with the request, adding that at least 6 of the 16 times they called during a suspicious sale, ATF agents never showed, but told Carter’s Country to make the sale anyway.

These sales continued into December 2010, when a Carter’s Country salesman became the subject of a Houston grand jury investigation due to a criminal complaint filed by ATF. That prompted Carter’s Country to pull the plug and hire high-powered defense attorney Dick DeGuerin.

ATF officials refused to be interviewed on-camera by KPRC, but told reporter Robert Arnold that Carter’s Country may have “misconstrued” the bureau’s request for help as a gun-walking operation. DeGuerin and Carter’s Country stuck to their story, and in March 2011, on the heels of the shooting death of Laredo Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico, DeGuerin received word that ATF was dropping the case. “We stood to embarrass them, meaning the ATF, for being hypocritical, two-faced, and turning against the very people who were trying to help them,” DeGuerin said.

And what of the murder of special agent Zapata, who was shot and killed in Mexico in February 2011? That gun was traced back to gun dealers near Dallas.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking about Zapata’s death. That went unanswered. So in August Cornyn asked Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley, the leaders of the congressional investigation of Fast and Furious, to launch an inquiry into whether ATF ever conducted Texas-based gun-walking operations.

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Nov. 8, Cornyn attempted to grill Holder about Fast and Furious, but the AG did his best to paint the questioning as partisan bickering. Unable to name one person in his department who was disciplined over the operation, Holder left the American people with more questions than answers.

Why did ATF drop the charges against Carter’s Country? Why did the Department of Justice wait more than five months to arrest three men in suburban Dallas it knew were gun dealers? Why did the arrests come two weeks after Zapata was killed, when, as Issa and Grassley found, ATF knew the men were trafficking guns long before they bought the weapon tied to the Zapata murder?

Jaime Zapata’s mother, Mary Zapata-Muñoz, has her own thoughts about the mystery surrounding her son’s death:

“I hope that it’s not a cover up. I pray that the weapon that killed my son didn’t come from the United States and was allowed to travel to Mexico. A few days after [Jaime] passed away, he came to me in a dream. And he pointed to his lips and he said, ‘Mom, I cannot speak. You have to speak for me. Seek justice. Make sure that another person does not have to go through what I went through.’”

I hope the same as Mrs. Zapata-Muñoz, but it sure doesn’t look good.