The Spork Although there are no formal rules or laws preventing someone from doing what is being done, it is commonly held that a State or the United States only redraws its congressional districts after each US Census (Held at the zero-year of each decade, Hence the last US Census was conducted in 2000)

A state must then appoint a committe and a team of analysts to divide the state into districts that are as equal in population as can be measured, not unlike trying to make sure that no matter how many slices of pie you cut, there is the same volume of fruit filling in every slice. Depending on the ratio of population density versus total geographic area of a given state/district these congressional districts maybe comparatively small in geographic area, or in less populous states, the districts maybe fairly spread out. Again, the chief concern in a districting plan is population density.

Unless you happen to be currently living in the state of Texas wherein, Governor Rick "Enron-boy" Perry (R) and US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R - TX) have decided that in the interest of trying to redraw the state's voting lines to the advantage of the Texas Republican Party they want to enact a new re-districting plan.

Named for an old political boss of the late 19th century by the last name of Gerry who was fond of having his state (MA or NY perhaps, I actually do occasionally forget bits of my Political Science / US History sometimes) re-districted in some rather god-awful contortions that made no combination of logical geographic and political sense (Much like the current Texas Redistricting plan) This practice of deliberately trying to skew voting lines is called -after one of the great Thomas Nast cartoons of the late 19th century- Gerrymandering (Nasts cartoon depicted Gerry's district as a strange lizard shaped anomaly on the map and the name has since been tagged onto any such blatantly partisan attempts to re-draw a state's voting lines

Now, it's understandable that this isn't necessarily the worst part of the whole mess. That part falls to the fact that since the state's Democratic legislator's knew they were going to be shafted, they have made repeated attempts to block the vote on the redistricting plan by having enough of their mamebers flee the statehouse (and the State) to prevent a quorum (Necessary majority) and prevent the vote from proceeding.

Fundamentally that is a good tactic, but the kicker comes in two parts.

The first time the legislators split the state, the Speaker of the TX statehouse had warrants sworn out for them, the Texas Deapartment of Public Safety was brought in to investigate and find out where they'd gone and then Rep. DeLay pulled strings to have agents and resoures of the Deaprtment of Homeland Security join in the hunt for the fugitive lawmakers.

Since then, Until one of the legislators buckled and gave them thje necessary quorum, Texas's Governor has called not one, not two but THREE "Special Sessions" of the State's Congress to shove the plan through...which sucks because typically Special sessions are only called to complete urgent, necessary government business

So god only knows how many millions of taxpayer dollars the supposedly "Fiscally Responsible" republican party pissed away trying to do an early redistricting

Rick Perry, Dubya before him and the Lt. Gov. are nothing but a gang of Enron whores
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