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The Texas OBSERVER The Texas Observer Publishing Co., 1977. Ronnie Dugger, Publisher Vol. 69, No. 25 December 30, 1977 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. EDITOR Jim Hightower MANAGING EDITOR Lawrence Walsh ASSOCIATE EDITOR Laura Richardson EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger ASSISTANT EDITORS: Colin Hunter, Linda Rocawich, Susan Reid STAFF ASSISTANTS: Vicki Vaughan, Margaret Watson, Bob Sindermann, Kathy Tally, Debi Pomeroy, Teresa Acosta, Eric Hartman, Tim Mahoney, Cathy Stevens, Debbie Wormser, Margot Beutler, Leah Miller, Connie Larson CONTRIBUTORS: Kaye Northcott, Jo Clifton, Dave McNeely, Don Gardner, Warren Burnett, Rod Davis, Steve Russell, Paul Sweeney, Marshall Breger, Jack Hopper, Stanley Walker, Joe Frantz, Ray Reece, Laura Eisenhour, Dan Hubig, Ben Sargent, Berke Breathed, Eje Wray, Luther Sperberg, Roy Hamric, Thomas D. Bleich, Mark Stinson, Ave Bonar, Jeff Danziger, Lois Rankin, Maury Maverick Jr., Bruce Cory, John Henry Faulk, Chandler Davidson, Molly Ivins, Ralph Yarborough A journal of free voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and ne ,r,er will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them because this is a journal of free voices. BUSINESS STAFF: Cliff Olofson, Alice Embree, Ricky Cruz Published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., biweekly except for a three-week interval between issues twice a year, in January and July; 25 issues per ysar. Second-class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Publication no. 541300. years, $30. Foreign, except APO/FPO, $1 additional per year. Airmail, bulk orders, and group rates on request. Microfilmed by Microfilming Corporation of America, 21 Harristown Road, Glen Rqck, N.J. 07452. Editorial and Business Offices: 04100.'”:1′ The Texas,Observer 600 West 7th Street Austin, Texas 78701 512-477-0746 Vol. 69, Austin Well, here’s no. 25. Eleven months and 24 issues ago, we promised “a new start for an old magazine” and began inveighing in particular against the ugly \(though often unnothough. We’ve chosen to downplay the storms, sorrows and seductions of the world for this issue, and to avert our gaze ever so slightly from the doings of the corporate right wing of Texas. At year’s end, for the rash hell of it, we’ve asked several of the magazine’s contributors to carry on as they see fit. Publisher Dugger, happily domiciled in his native San Antonio after an absence of some years, pretty much approves of what he sees and feels in the state’s second largest city. The first in his series of letters from San Antonio begins on page 4. Ben Sargent and Mary Alice Davis pay a ’77 tribute to the “Rhyming out the old year” may do some violence to Mother Goose, but it’s suitable for framing. Molly Ivins, back in the Observer for the second time since leaving Austin in search of a wider audience as a New York Times reporter, writes from Denver to explain “Why Coloradans hate Texans.” See page 8. Ralph Yarborough thinks 1977 was “the year of the women” and says as much in his piece on page 13, but he takes the trouble to remind us that feminism didn’t start the day before yesterday, not even in Texas. Jeane Dixon turned down our end-of-the-year invitation to write for us, but John Henry Faulk took up the slack. A transcript of a recent chat with certain heavenly bodies \(conducted Madisonville and appears on page 15. himself a little sport with the image of Texas served up recently by four mass-circulation magazines, most notably Newsweek in . its Dec. 12 number. Finally, on page 20, we have the results of Hightower’s sequestration with several of the book-length accounts of the president-making politics of 1976. His split ballot takes up our Books column. Looking back After a year of Observer life, with all the expectations, triumphs, flops and near misses that we’ve had, a bit of stocktaking would seem to be in order. Neither Hightower nor I is well-suited for the job, however. Besides, regular readers won’t want or need an in-house critique of our work. Indeed, many have already written to let us know what they think of the tack we’ve taken. Some claim the Observer is the swellest thing theie ever was. Others, apparently allergic to the kind of economic analysis we favor, have written to say that the Observer bores them spitless. The greatest number, however, tell us they just plain like what we’re up to, and that’s enough to keep us at it. In our Jan. 20 issue, the first of the new year, publisher Ronnie Dugger will assess the gains and losses made by his journal of free voices in 1977. Included will be a sobering report on the publication’s financial condition. Whatever our successes, they are attributable to the energies