HOUSTON: Will DeLay run again?

As resilient as the cockroaches he used to exterminate, Tom DeLay may again run for Congress after having resigned earlier this year in disgrace. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled July 6 that Texas State Republican Party Chair Tina Benkiser cannot substitute another candidate for DeLay in the November election to fill the District 22 congressional seat.

Former House Majority Leader DeLay, who once operated a pest extermination business, resigned in April amid allegations of influence-peddling and a cornucopia of scandal and corruption. Nine Republican hopefuls have jumped in to fill the void, but the judge’s ruling puts all of them in limbo until further court action is taken.

DeLay claims to have moved and switched his residency to Virginia. However, he maintains his home in Sugar Land, Texas. A Houston Chronicle reporter arrived on his doorstep to interview him about the judge’s ruling and he answered the door, but refused to be interviewed.

Meanwhile, labor-friendly Democratic candidate Nick Lampson has continued to campaign as if he had a Republican opponent. Republicans have appealed Sparks’ decision. Even if it is overturned, it still gives Lampson another month without a Republican opponent.

Pundits have speculated that if DeLay remains on the ballot and wins, he could then resign and the Republican governor could pick his replacement or call for a special election.

WASHINGTON: Fasting to bring the troops home

Mahatma Gandhi perfected fasting as a protest tactic in the campaign to end British rule in India. Cesar Chavez followed Gandhi’s example in his drive to organize U.S. farm workers. And on July 4, U.S. peace activists began a fast in front of the White House, demanding an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

The antiwar fast now has 3,547 participants. Musicians Willie Nelson and Michael Franti are fasting while they proceed with their summer performing schedule. Others, like actors Danny Glover, Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon, are fasting in their hometowns. Labor leader Dolores Huerta and author Alice Walker are part of a “rolling fast” as they crisscross the country.

Reps. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) and Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) are fasting in solidarity. The Rev. Al Sharpton is fasting, as is the Rev. Bob Edgar of the National Council of Churches.

Led by CodePink, activists plan to fast until Sept. 21, the International Day of Peace, and then take their protest to Crawford, Texas, where President Bush has his ranch. Their demand remains the same: bring the troops home.

In Washington, peace fasters lobbied Congress, urging money for human needs, not war. With the crucial November congressional elections on the horizon, fasters initiated a Voters for Peace drive, registering new voters and urging them to sign a pledge vowing only to vote for peace candidates.

CHARLESTON, S.C.: Blacks demand Vesey monument

The federal government spent millions raising the Confederate submarine the Hunley, now on display here, but so far not one dime for the man who organized and led the largest rebellion of enslaved African Americans in history.

In 1822, Denmark Vesey, a freed slave, was hanged with 34 members of a network of insurrection that included as many as 9,000 slaves in the Charleston area. The 35 men were executed before the uprising could take place. Their bodies were tossed into an unmarked mass grave. It was and remains the largest execution ever ordered by a U.S. court.

The “Denmark Vesey and Spirit of Freedom Monument Committee” began when high school teacher Henry Darby was walking through the city with a friend and remarked that among the hundreds of plaques and monuments, not one recognized African Americans. Now an assistant high school principal and county councilman, Darby said, “Nothing was ever named for Vesey, so I said we should do something with him. We would be coming from a historical perspective instead of a racial perspective.”

In 2001 the City Council appropriated $25,000 toward a monument, but efforts bogged down when supporters said it should be erected downtown.

“There are certain elements in the community who say, ‘Over my dead body will this monument be put up,’” said committee member James Smart. “But just as the Black community is awash in being confronted with Confederate history, there is another history. It’s inevitable this monument will be built.”

Efforts continue to raise $200,000 for the monument and locate it in a place of honor in the city.

National Clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards (dwinebr696@aol.com). Paul Hill contributed to this weeks Clips.