By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Aid and abet:Texas legislators move quickly to close a bureaucratic loophole that had permitted at least 200 registered sex offenders to receive the erectile-dysfunction drug Viagra through the state's Medicaid program. "If these criminals want Viagra, they'll just have to pay for it like me and anybody else," Attorney General Greg Abbott, whose office discovered the snafu, tells reporters. "Not that I use Viagra, heh-heh. I just mean that I have to pay for my own medicines, which definitely do not include Viagra. Not at all. But if it did, I'd, you know, pay for it and stuff. Not that I do."
The searchers:FBI agents search the offices of city council members James Fantroy and Don Hill and low-income housing developer Southwest Housing Development Co., launching a wide-ranging corruption investigation that will eventually involve every current black city official and employee with the exception of Elmer Jefferson, a 62-year-old City Hall janitor. Targets of the investigation--which to date has produced no criminal charges--say the probe is racially motivated, an allegation denied by the U.S. Justice Department. "It's merely coincidence that the vast majority of public corruption cases we investigate involve blacks," an FBI spokesman says. "That, and the fact that politically connected white people in Dallas know how to steal without getting caught. They call it 'real estate development.'"
Stupidity tax:Reagan Greer, executive director of the Texas lottery, apologizes for approving advertisements that falsely inflated the value of jackpots to lure more players. "It goes to truth in advertising and the protection of the consumer," lottery commission Chairman C. Tom Clowe says, according to the Morning News. "When you tell someone you are going to do something in business, you either do it or you don't stay in business very long." In response to Clowe's call for greater truthfulness, the lottery unveils a new "Piss Your Dollars Down a Rat Hole" scratch-off game.
God help us:In a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that Texas can keep a display of the Ten Commandments outside the state capitol. The decision is a welcome victory for the Texas Attorney General's Office, which had earlier tried to settle the lawsuit that prompted the ruling by offering a compromise that would have stricken two of the commandments--those prohibiting theft and adultery--from the monument. "It's not like anyone down here would notice anyway," Attorney General Abbott says.
Un-recalled for:A coalition of southern Dallas ministers announces that they have obtained enough valid signatures on petitions to force a recall vote for Mayor Laura Miller but were canceling the effort, to allow the city to "heal." The drive's leaders, who had refused to return reporters' phone calls during the weeks the signatures were purportedly gathered, decline to allow anyone to actually see the petitions. "Oh, we've got 'em, buddy," says the Reverend S.C. Nash. "Eighty-thousand...no, wait, 90...no, no, I mean 100,000 signatures. Yeah, 125,000 signatures, all boxed up and ready to go. You want me to file them? Huh? You better watch it then, 'cause I will. Yeah, that's right. Watchoo laughing at? Hey! Don't you walk away when I'm talking to you. Come back here!"
God help him:In an emotional appearance on talk radio, city council member James Fantroy, named in an ongoing FBI corruption investigation, likens himself to Jesus Christ, another innocent crucified for standing up to authority. Fantroy says his opposition to the failed strong mayor effort prompted the FBI investigation, a claim the FBI denies. Reached during an appearance in the form of a Christ-shaped oil stain in a driveway in McAllen, the King of Kings says he is appalled by the comparison. "Me H. Christ, is this guy kidding?" the Prince of Peace asks. "Listen, pal, have someone hammer some 16-penny nails through your feet and we'll talk. I can't believe I died for that Bozo's sins."
But you pay them toleave: Dallas Plan Commission member Ralph Isenberg threatens to go on a hunger strike after federal immigration authorities refuse to reverse a decision to deport his wife of one year, a Chinese immigrant who pleaded no contest to a prostitution charge in 2001. Isenberg, who admits spending about a million dollars on women as his first marriage crumbled, says he has found true love with his new bride, the mother of their infant daughter. "Besides, hot Asian women willing to spend time with a nebbishy guy like me aren't exactly a dime a dozen," a distraught Isenberg says. "Usually, it's more like $150 for a half-hour."
Give where it hurts:The W.W. Caruth Jr. Foundation Fund of the Communities Foundation of Texas awards the Dallas Police Department a $15 million, three-year grant to fight crime. Chief Kunkle announces the first installment will be used to purchase 200 life-size inflatable police dolls, which will be installed in faux non-functioning police "cruisers" positioned around the city to deter crime. "We thought about hiring some more real cops, but they cost a fortune, and besides, the fake ones work tons better," Kunkle says. The remainder will be used to pay off court judgments arising from the fake-drug scandal and various chokehold- and pepper spray-related citizen deaths.