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Bad show murderous American dream given us by schools and television. Yes. Then we can have a desperate media war, wrenching our hearts with subliminal ease. But isn’t that what Vietnam really was? LBJ saying this, draped in a flag; Tom Hayden saying that. We wanted to believe the President, Presidents. Oh, how we gave them our hearts. Not for years did we know they had deceived us, were adulterers with the truth. We knew no issues, no facts. How easily we swallowed Tonkin Gulf. Our choices were duty and peace with honor or genocide and fascist imperalism. It was a battle not for the minds of the Vietnamese, but for the hearts of Americans. Schneider and Davis do not explain our past, they only exploit it. They carry the battle of the heart forward, looking for light not at the end of the tunnel, but in the false flickering of a projector. A postscript: Hearts and Minds is, after all, a theatrical release. Warner Brothers presumably intends to make money from it, which may be easier now that the film has won an Academy Award as best documentary of 1975. Someone asked Schneider if the man who made a fortune from Easy Rider’s platitudes hoped to do the same with out Vietnam hearts. Hollis Alpert rushed to the defense. Of course not, he said. How gauche to ask. Schneider shifted in his chair in the Bob Hope Theater. The Bob Hope Theater. “What is the question?” he responded, annoyed. “Well, will you give some of the profits to Vietnamese orphanages or make more films or what?” He began to answer and then said, “You and I can discuss profits later.” 14 The Texas Observer *********************** * * * Un iversity of iTexas Press i 9, ,, 4, * Box 7819 Austin, Texas 78712 * WRITE FOR FREE CATALOGUE *********************** Bob and Sara Roebuck Anchor National Financial Services 1524 E. Anderson Lane, Austin bonds stocks insurance mutual funds optional retirement program Austin On May 2, the U.S. Labor Department announced that the national unemployment rate is 8.9 percent: nearly 8,200,000 people were out of work in April. Sensitive, as always, to the needs of the people, the Texas House of Representatives, precisely eight days later, killed a proposal to increase unemployment compensation in Texas from $63 a week to not more than two-thirds of the statewide average weekly wage of covered workers. Although, as Rep. Anthony Hall of Houston stated, Texas provides the lowest unemployment benefits of any state except Mississippi, the House majority had other worries. “The business people of Texas would be socked with a cost of $404 million over the next five years,” said Rep. Bud Sherman, Fort Worth. “You’re going to have a tough time,” said Rep. Chester Slay of Beaumont, “going back to the businessmen of your community and explaining this thing.” That same day, over ii\he Texas Senate, our statesmen were passing, 16 to 12 on second reading, a bill to abolish precinct conventions in the state. The Legislature that is staging a one-time-only, preferential primary to please U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen is now setting about to destroy grass roots democracy in the one-fourth of the presidential nomination process the Bentsen bill would not debase for 1976. As Sen. Lloyd Doggett of Austin said, “The bill would assure Texas the longest ballot in the country. It would abolish grass roots forums for discussion and substitute slatemaking in the smoke-filled rooms.” One must presume that the same people who passed the Bentsen bill know exactly what they are doing with this new people-gutter. The other day Exxon replaced General Motors as the largest industrial corporation in America, and five of the seven largest of these corporations are now none other than the five largest oil companies, the others being Texaco, Mobil, Standard of California, and Gulf. The able new State Comptroller, Bob Bullock, has plainly told the Texas Legislature that the fees the state would collect from an oil-company-owned superport off the Texas coast would be peanuts compared to the revenues the state could collect from a publicly-owned superport. But if previous performance is any guide, the legislators will reason, “You’re going to have a tough time going back to the lobbyists for Exxon, Texaco, Mobil, Standard of California, and Gulf if you don’t let them have the superport all to themselves.” The Texas Senate, having embarrassed Observations itself and everybody else by first advancing a bill to regulate privately owned public utilities which would have enriched the utilities as a matter of principle, has now passed a revised bill. The basic question in the regulation of utilities is the rate base. Do you let a company have a fair return on what it costs them to do business or on what it would cost them to replace everything they are doing business with? Clearly the public interest is served by the concept of letting the company earn on the basis of its actual costs \(including, obviously, what it costs them to replace equipment when and if, in fact, they do weights the rate base in favor of replacement cost. The Senate rejected, 17 to 12, an amendment by Sen. Ron Clower of Garland to base rates on original cost. The next time you pay your utilities bills, check how your senator voted on the Clower rate-base amendment. This Legislature is an embarrassment even to the corporations which control it. Utilities Readings, presented by Tristram Coffin’s Washington Spectator: “Last year it was food prices. This year soaring electricity bills could be the main force in consumer outrage.” “Rates of the nation’s top 50 electric utilities jumped’ 55 percent in the first half of 1974 compared with 12.4 percent in all of 1973.” “Families with all-electric homes now face monthly bills up to $400.” According to U.S. Sen. Lee Metcalf own 1973 statistics show that about one-fourth of the major electric utilities did not pay a dime in Federal income taxes.” Federal income taxes paid by electric utilities dropped from nearly 15 percent of revenues in the mid-1950’s to 2.6 percent in 1973. 2.5 percent According to James Smith of Pennsylvania State University in a study cited in the United Auto Workers’ Washington Report, five million households, representing about 2.5 percent of the U.S. population, owned, in 1969, 68