Henry Praises Vice-President ‘TERRIFIC BEATING’ Ralph’s Work Day Interesting insight into the Washington habits of Sen. Ralph Yarborough are afforded in a brief story by ScrippsHoward Washington reporter Seth Kantor. It appeared in the El Paso Herald-Post and is here reprintedEd. WASHINGTON When senators talk about their acomplishments in Washington, hardly any would throw in such a comment as comes from Ralph Yarborough: “I can run the Senate Office Building freight elevator as good as any porter.” The 59-year-old senior Texas senator, who looks and works like he’s 10 years younger, finds himself in the role of an elevator operator almost every night of the week. Monday through Friday, he puts in a phenomenal schedule, working 16 hours a day, usually until 2 a.m. On weekends, he often spends eight-hour days alone in his office. Regular elevator service ends at 11 p.m. in the office building, so he has to run his own elevator in the midnight hours. He says: “I put in the same kind of hours I did when I was a young lawyer. Not many senators would ever be forced to do thisonly those from the states that give a man a terrific beating.” The senator says there are about seven of the “terrific beating” states: those that have the largest populations. Texas _generates an average of 1000 letters a day to his office. “When Herbert Lehman of New York was in the Senate,” Senator Yarborough explains, “he was of course a wealthy man and hired his own staff, on top of what the AUSTIN In discussions about the Observer, the editor, the publisher, and I have learned that we share a conclusion that a distinct period has come to an end in Texas, and that the Observer has been evolving toward more relevance to the new, present period. In 1954, the state government was corrupt in the plainest sense. The Democratic Party was an amorphous political club, open to anyone without reference to convictions or voting habits. The legislature was a deadly place where nothing happened that changed anything. The daily newspapers ignored corruption and social injustice. Eight years later, corruption of course persists, but it is now ferreted out by agencies of the state government. The Republicans have come along far enough as a party that they can be attacked without fear they’ll collapse like paper tigers. The legislature regularly debates important issues, although still resolving most of them to the detriment of the general interest. Some of the dailies have taken up competitive muckraking and socially aware reporting. FOR THESE CHANGES, the Observer takes whatever credit is due it, without presuming to say how much that is. Willie Morris, Mrs. R. D. Randolph, and I, for curselves only, are proud of what the paper has accomplished, and resolved that it should continue to proceed consciously toward a new phase. To a significant extent the paper has always been a cooperative among the subscribers. But for Mrs. Randolph, it would not have continued long; to assure that the THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 8 September 7, 1962 Government provided, to help keep up with mail and phone calls. The payroll from his own pocket was bigger than the Government payroll for his huge work force.” Yarborough staffers often find their desks snowy with memos from the boss when they go to work in the morningsthe results of ideas and criticisms he’s come up with during the lonely hours when they were asleep. “I’ve given up making return phone calls to Texas at midnight,” says the senator whose voice is well known to nighthour Capitol Hill telephone operators. “Some of the people I want to talk to already are asleep back there, though Texas is two and three hours behind Washington.” Senator and Mrs. Yarborough used to live several miles from “The Hill,” in fashionable Georgetown. They’ve given up that place, though. They live directly across the street. That gives Mrs. Yarborough a chance to se her husband when he occasionally goes home as early as midnight, with his briefcase crammed full of another two hours’ work to do in their apartment. An avid user of book statistics and background facts, he keeps the books behind his office desk stuffed full of reference markers. But he considers the three walls in his office “a shred” of a library. Texas Historian and Professor J. Frank Dobie calls the senator “the best read man Texas ever sent to Washington.” Senator Yarborough uses a total of four libraries in his Austin and Washington homes and offices. newspaper would be independent, the editor has always had exclusive control over the paper’s editorial contents. Nevertheless, the subscribers, by their responsiveness, suggestions, criticism, and $5.10 a year, are much more important to the Observer than subscribers can be to newspapers and magazines that receive large revenues from advertisers. In the several months before Willie leaves for California and I resume the editorship, we at the Observer wish to invite our subscribers to help us reconsider the functions and’ form of the paper. We must, of course, be limited by the financial circumstances as we will find them, circumstances with which we can better acquaint subscribers upon completion of some budgetary studies. As the person who will be responsible for the paper editorially after Dec. 1, I have found myself considering some innovations of form and substance. It would assist me if those readers who have ideas along such lines would communicate them to me. I SHOULD very much appreciate the suggestions of our readers about the Observer’s general focus, specific subjects they would like to see dealt with, new kinds of material we should perhaps consider publishing, which of the Observer’s editorial aspects are most valued, and which least. Do readers have thoughts about writers in our region, \(broadly confind these pages a friendly forum for work of political, or economic, or cultural, or literary value? All I would say for my part at this time is that I would not be returning if I did not believe the Observer can be even more valuable in the future than it has been during its first eight years. R.D. When Congressman Henry Gonzalez of San Antonio rose on the House floor to pay tribute to Vice Presidez t Johnson on his 54th birthday, he said: “I see our Vice President as a true product of the hill country of Texas. I see his bravery in the time he snatched his family out of the death dealing Pedernales when roaring at full flood; I see his deering-do in crossing that same risen river in a beat-up jalopy along a low water damjust out of zest to get home the quickest possible way; I see his attachment to his roots and to the heritage of his people when he pauses at the oak guarded graveside of family members down the river from his house; I see his love of the land as he drives at sundown to flush out and count the deer and check on his stock tanks; I see the neighborliness of the man as he talks to and about those who adjoin his. home; I see his pride turned away from self and vested in the condition of the coastal bermuda grass this time of year, or the sleekness of a prize bull; I see him dismissing his own legislative accomplishments and inquiring only if the beef he has raised or the sausage he has ground meets one’s fancy, and I see our Vice President relaxed and at one with the hill country of which he is a part. As we say, he is fully ‘simpatico’ with it. “These are worthy qualities in a man, for they bespeak something about how genuine he is, and I value them in our Vice President as I would value them in any man. I believe that a man should have pride in what he is and what he does, and I, for one, rejoice that Lyndon Johnson has them and is at one with Stonewall and the Pedernales. . . .” Kountze News Discovers Gus KOUNTZE The Kountze News, Archer Fullingim’s daring weekly over in the Big Thicket, finally located a picture of the late Gus Hooks, the man who could outrun a horse and catch a deer. Last week, the paper reports, “as calm as you please,” one of his grandsons, Lum Hooks of Raywood, brought in two pictures of Gus, who always ran barefooted with his shoes slung over his shoulders. Both pictures were published on the front page. One shows Gus “holding a beer bottle to his mouth for fun.” In the other he is sitting on the front steps of his house. Said the News: “There are many stories about Gus, and his grandson says that most of them are true. But Judge Bevil last week in answer to a query from Lum said that Gus did not burn down the courthouse at Old Hardin, as , the old story goes. Some people say that Gus had a lot of gold and that he kept it hid in a beehive. The bees would not sting him, according to the story. “Judge Bevil tells another story about Gus. He said that Gus had a beautiful zebra-striped mule which Gus kept clipped and curried until its hide shown like satin. Finally, said the Judge, Uncle Bud Hooks talked Gus out of the mule, but Gus came over one day to eat with Uncle Bud and Uncle Bud, the Judge said, had not , kept the mule’s mane and tail sheared and he took the mule back with him. The Judge also said that in those days nearly everybody made his own whiskey and some bootlegged, but he said that what Gus made he drank.” Revolting Sirs: I just read the trilogy The Gay Place by Bill Brammer. It is depressing. Revolting. I know and love the land and the people depicted Mere in thin disguise. I am devoted to the liberal Democratic cause in Texas. This recitation of moral decay, alcoholism, corruption, and marriages in the last stages of decomposition is a fantastic distortion of the facts. To use the words of one of the characters, the book is “a sewer.” Flea circus, indeed. Robert N. Jones, 3002 Dutton St., Dallas. He Knows Liberty Sirs: It should be pointed out, apropos of your editorial on the San Antonio Jaycees, that Andrew Jackson Maverick is a dachshund, and hence should be included among those Texas Germans, the Fred Schmidts and Robert Eckhardts, who know liberty. Ed Kramer, Austin. Oil Workers Sirs: The article on life on a Texas oil rig \(by Chandler Davidcellent. Myths about the owners and operators are rampant, and to my knowledge this is the first full-length treatment of the workers themselves. Harvey Freeman, Cambridge, Mass. Texas Writers Sirs: Bravo to the Southwest Review and our Texas writers for their eloquent stand \(Obs., Aug. we are, after all, slowly emerging into civilization. I think J. Frank Dobie will be remembered as one of the greatest Texans of them all. Mrs. R. C. Foster, Dallas. ‘Corrupt Coalition’ Sirs: As our weather scientists are engaged in an all-out effort to destroy hurricanes and their damaging power to human lives and property, so should every liberal devote his total political efforts to destroy politically the coalition of Southern Democrats who team up with any selfish group, be it Republican, Dixiecrat, or Liberty League. This reactionary group which operates in Texas is a worse menace to the people’s interest than a hurricane unleashed by the forces of nature. We have again this fall a repeat of what Texas voters face every two to four yearsa setup state this politically corrupt coalition hurricane has brewed up out of the ill winds of out-of-state corporations, the kept press, and the money bags of corrupt lobbyists who have brought Texas to a low ebb in democratic government. Texas with its geography, climate, and vast area and its great mineral resources should have been a progressive state with 15 million people, happy and prosperous, enjoying an economy second to none. A state which has had no governor who fought for the people since Allred needs a house cleaning. So I call upon every true liberal to join me this fall and use your ballot to knock into a cocked hat this damnable political ill-blowing coalition hurricane. Let’s save Texas from the hand of the political corrupter. H. E. Perry, Rt. 1, Honey Grove. War Party? Sirs: I had thought that the Cox-Connally controversy in the Observer, particularly the twoparty discussion, was a family affair; that at least we would be spared the worst of Republican partisan arguments. Consequently, it was with consternation that I read the first letter in the August 17 issue, written by an attorney. Is there a movement underway to make the Republican Party repugnant to those of us who have formed an unholy alliance with it to adhibit two-party politics in Texas? Such ridiculous ad hominem arguments as that letter contains could only have such an effect. The writer sets out to show that the Democratic Party is a war party, and his lack of understanding of history is incredible. After disposing of that great warmongerer Woodrow Wilson and leaving FDR for a further hearing, he concludes that “any party that was out of office when nuclear weapons were first unleashed on mankind can’t be all bad.” Are we to believe that this kind of argument from negative premises is tolerated in our courts? Does the writer intend to imply that the converse is true, that the Democratic Party is all bad? Is it worse than “any party” out of office at the time? The Republican? The Prohibition? The Nazi? Of the several encouraging letters that followed, I think the best one for the first writer to study is the last, written by Russell Purifory Jr. It is not warmongerers with which we should be concerned, but with the Southern reactionaries that thwart the best efforts of the national Democratic Party. The writer might read Kennan’s American Diplomacy and Russia, and the West Under Lenin and Stalin, or Allen’s Only Yesterday. Don Alford, 2432 West Hills, Orange, California. Textbooks .. .
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