Deep Underground with Raul Groom

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I'm not dead. Really. Though it would be a pretty good excuse, no? Tough to blog from beyond the grave, or so one would assume. Anyway, I finally ponied up an article for DU, which I promised myself I would do before I put in the next installment of the minimum wage debate. I also got some complaints from regular readers that the MW debate was pretty boring. But that's my fault. My next post will be more incendiary.

In any case, let us turn our thoughts today to Tom Delay, who has had several aides indicted for money laundering, corruption, and fraud. Asked if Delay would be indicted, the lead investigator said "Anyone who has committed a crime is a target."

What's interesting about this whole situation is not that Delay is a creepy-ass crazy criminal, which of course everybody already knew. It's that now we know that the Texas legislature was taken over by illegal means. In a multi-party state, the remedy for this would be severe - basically, the party would be banned in Texas. Can you imagine if the Republicans were suddenly banned from Texas? I feel a Butthead-laugh bubbling up at the very thought.

But in a two-party system, you can't really do that. So the question becomes, what's the remedy? The Texas House, immediately upon being illegally taken over, called an unprecedented special session and redistricted Texas to ensure that Republicans would gain seats in the U.S. House, making a Democratic takeover of the House basically impossible (by some estimates, the Democrats could win the Votes-Cast race nationally by eight to ten points and still not retake the chamber, largely due to the Texas fiasco). As this was happening, as you may recall, Tom Delay used the Homeland Security Department (which is supposed to be going after terrorists, in case you're just joining us) to track down and arrest some Democrats who had tried to break the quorum. In doing this, Delay violated several laws, but fortunately for him, that investigation would have to be conducted by the U.S. House, which due to Delay's monstrous and varied illegal acts, the Republicans control indefinitely. Nice work if you can get it.

If you think about it for too long, it's a little scary that the President, Vice President, and Speaker of the House are all Texas Republicans who rose to power largely on the strength of contributions collected from criminals, sham companies, and money launderers, then used their power to recraft the laws of the country and launch illegal, aggressive wars that made gobs of money for those same bad actors.

And you probably shouldn't think about the fact that these folks have a huge, impeccably coordinated media machine devoted to continually painting these two-bit hucksters as the saviors of all that is good and right with America. So instead, check out this chess puzzle:

Puzzle.

Now, the reason I sent you there is, I have a question. Is there something wrong with the move order 1. Bxf6 Bxf6 2. Rxd8+? Obviously, this allows black to retake with the Bishop rather than the rook, and prevents Nf6+ from winning the bishop. But after 2... Bxd8 3. Nf6+ Bxf6, 4. Qxb7 is still an easy win, as Black cannot save the rook with 4... Rd8 because of 5. Qxf7 mate. Thus this alternate move order produces essentially the same result as the text.

Somebody please comment on this post if you see a flaw in this move order; I'm losing sleep over this.

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