filed a motion asking U.S. District Court Judge Melinda Harmon to dismiss the case, on the theory that the Fourteenth Amendment does not grant special protection to gays and lesbians. Harmon agreed with the city and dismissed the case. Lawyer Rosenberg, with the help of the ACLU, appealed Harmon’s ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the appellate court reversed the Houston judge last December, opening the way for a lawsuit. “The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees that states treat similarly situated individuals alike,” explained the court. “Simply because a state has not historically treated certain persons differently than others does not mean it can discriminate without at least offering a rational basis for its actions.” Judge Harmon’s misreading of the Constitution might not come as a surprise, considering some of her past rulings. In 2000, Harmon suggested that a cocaine-addled lawyer’s habit of sleeping through much of a racketeering trial may have been “harmless” to his client. Last year she sent Houston writer Vanessa Leggett to jail for contempt of court for failing to give a federal grand jury her notes and tapes of interviews with confidential sources. Leggett was jailed for five and a half months. Currently Harmon is presiding over a grand jury investigation of Arthur Andersen, where she is busy quashing government subpoenas. TERROR PORK Pentagon spending in the Republican budget plan would increase by $46 billion over last year, to a total of $348 billion. With that much bacon in the frying pan, there’s a little grease for everyone. Texas A&M has gotten in line with their proposal to create the Integrative Center for Homeland Security, which would offer training for law enforcement and firemen, support research on bioterrorism, and develop expertise in border security, the Daily Texan reported. Do you smell an industry in the offing? U.S. Rep. requested $120 million in funding for the center, for which A&M officials have recently been seen lobbying in Washington. University officials have also proposed a second sop, uh, center, to be called the Center for Information Assurance and Security, for which they are seeking funding from the National Security Agency. Why not bring the NSA to campus? The place is already crawling with spooks, as the Daily Texan also reported in early March. Texas A&M is one of many schools across the country that participates in the CIA’s officer-in-residence program, in which an agent acts as a visiting professor, teaching courses on foreign policy while still drawing his agency salary. \(What’s next, a seminar by Former CIA agent Jim Olson, now a full-time professor at A&M’s George Bush School of Government and Public Service, started out as an officer-in-residence at the school. Such officers don’t recruit students \(they but they do have the intended effect. “Me being here has certainly raised the consciousness’ ,’ Olson told the Texan. “I’ve talked to a lot of different groups about careers in intelligence. I hope that it’s had a positive impact.” CHE NO MORE Say, who was that barbudo aftermath of Fidel Castro’s now-yousee-him-now-you-don’t appearance at last month’s Monterrey Summit \(see “Roast Goats and Sacrificial has been chock full of what are known as “dimes y diretes,” \(that’s a technical term for “you tell me and I’ll tell you”verbal attacks and countRelations Minister Jorge Castaneda. Critics accuse the former political science professor and prolific author of radically changing the tra ditionally friendly tone of MexicanCuban relations and making a 180degree turn that points toward Washington. Writing in the Mexico City daily La Jornada, political analyst Soledad Loaeza accused Castaneda of abandoning that most fundamental principle of Mexican hospitalitymi casa es su casa. During a presidential visit to Cuba in February, Castaneda was quoted as describing the trip as “the end of our relationship with the Cuban revolution and the beginning our relationship with the Cuban republic.” Later that month a group of asylum seekers hijacked a city bus and crashed into the front door of the Mexican embassy, apparently taking the Foreign Minister at his word and seeking a little mi casa es su casa themselves. \(Just days before, at the opening of a new Mexican Cultural Institute in Miami Castaneda had announced that “our doors are always open to all say?” he insisted to reporter John Ross in a brief exchange at the Monterrey Summit. “This was an opening for Chrissakes!” After the Summit, the official Cuban newspaper Granma raised the ante by publishing a photo of a very dashing, gun-toting young Castaneda dressed in military fatigues during a visit to Cuba decades ago, accusing the Foreign Ministry of having been a bit of a revolutionary-in-training in his youth. Castaneda says the photos were taken during a state visit to the island years ago when he accompanied his father. \(At the time his fatheralso named Jorge Castanedawas serving as Mexico’s ni modo, as they say. As the author of a myth-busting biography claiming that Castro essentially abandoned the legendary Che Guevara, leading to his death in Bolivia \(Compariero: The Life and Death of Che Castaneda was bound to make waves. Stay tuned. 4/12/02 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15
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