DELAY, DECEIVE - AND SELF-DESTRUCT? Salon today leads with a long piece by veteran Texas journalist Lou Dubose on an investigation into House majority leader Tom DeLay's vaunted fundraising machine. This is potentially devastating stuff - though Dubose thinks DeLay himself is unlikely to be the target of any criminal probe, this could be embarrassing enough that it makes him a serious liability to the national Republican Party.
As Dubose observes, campaign-finance laws in Texas are so loose that you really have to work hard to run afoul of them. What Travis County district attorney Ronnie Earle is investigating is whether the DeLay machine - which funds Republican candidates all over Texas - violated a law against spending corporate money directly on election campaigns.
Naturally, the Republicans are responding by trying to pass a state law prohibiting Earle from investigating political corruption.
MUSH FROM THE WIMPS. National Journal media critic William Powers pokes fun at Boston Globe ombudsman Christine Chinlund for agonizing over a recent Pat Oliphant cartoon that struck some readers as anti-Catholic. (Via Romenesko.)
And now some mush from this wimp: I think I'm more with Chinlund and editorial-page editor Renée Loth than I am with Powers on this. Cruelty in cartooning can be great, but Oliphant's was gratuitous. Yes, I laughed, but I'm not a Catholic.
THE STATE OF GAY MARRIAGE. The Phoenix's Kristen Lombardi argues that yesterday's action by the constitutional convention - pushing forward an amendment to ban gay marriage but to create civil unions - is actually a huge step forward for the gay-and-lesbian civil-rights movement.
Read it, especially if you're feeling depressed.