Your Tax Dollars At Work

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Add mischievous politicians to the list of airborne threats that can put the nation's defenses on alert. According to The Washington Post, anti-terrorism and anti-drug forces were diverted from their normal duties to try and find a Texas politician mounting an airborne filibuster of their legislature. You may remember last month when 51 Democratic Texas state legislators went en masse to Oklahoma to prevent a quorum in the Texas house. This disrupted plans by the GOP to enact a congressional redistricting plan certain to send more Republicans to Congress. One of the hooky-playing legislators was Rep. James E. "Pete" Laney, who flew to Oklahoma in a light plane. It's now apparent government forces were called in to hunt for the aircraft. ] U.S. and Texas officials have acknowledged that an "air interdiction" center, based in Riverside, Calif. -- responsible for tracking down potential terrorists and drug traffickers -- used its anti-smuggling resources to try to locate Laney's plane. The center's search was reportedly triggered by Republican suspicions that the plane was on its way from Oklahoma to pick up more Democrats seeking to escape Texas on the evening of May 12. The Washington Post says Laney unwittingly gave searchers the slip when the aircraft was out of radar coverage and the pilot made a detour to visit his mother in Graham, Texas, west of Fort Worth. The newspaper reports the Department of Transportation confirmed that the FAA gave U.S. Sen. Tom DeLay's (R-Texas) staff information about the past movements of Laney's plane. Now, if they can only get our flight plans correctly filed.