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Two down, one to go Our thanks to the Houston reader who called to tell us who’s behind two PACs we couldn’t identify in our review of business PAC activity in Texas \(Obs., on our list: the San Felipe Reserve Account is the creation of Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc., a Houston engineering firm; Southwestern PAC is the political arm of Southwestern Group Financial. Inc., a savings and loan holding company that has now merged into the United Savings Association of Texas. Our informant couldn’t help us with the Austin-based Free Enterprise PAC, so we repeat our query: who are these guys? Chairman Olson Lyndon Olson Jr., who served three terms in the Legislature be fore losing a bid for Congress earlier this year, is Gov. Dolph Briscoe’s choice to head the State Board of Insurance. Technically, Olson replaces Joe Christie, who resigned back in ’77, since Briscoe’s interim choice, Hugh Yantis, never managed to win Senate confirmation. Olson has been seeking the job for some time and was temporarily serving as an aide to Speaker Billy Clayton when he was chosen by Briscoe. He will join the threemember regulatory board on January 2, but his reign as chairman may be among the briefest in history, because incoming governor Bill Clements can name any of the three members to the chairmanship. A friend indeed Fort Worth Congressman Jim Wright was granted a second term as House majority leader by the Democratic caucus on December 4, and we’re sure his uncontested re-election reflects the respect his colleagues feel for his effective leadership since he won the office by a single vote over Rep. Philip Burton of California two years ago. But it may also reflect gratitudeby November 7, according to Congressional Insight, the Jim Wright Majority Committee had doled out $336,207.83 to 289 deserving Democratic candidates for Congress, including three incumbents reprimanded for unethical conduct, two who had been indicted, and one who had already been convicted. Among the undeserving and unassisted were Burton and Rep. Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois, who also would like to have Wright’s job. To get along, you’ve got to go along, y’all. Sound both alarms Another edible bit of Texana has been gobbled up by a national conglomerate”Wick Fowler’s Famous 2-Alarm Chili” henceforward will be the makings of Noxell Corporation, a $138 million-a-year Maryland firm that makes Aggie “summit” meeting Leave it to the aggies! Texas A&M convened a three-day meeting in early December that they had grandly touted as “The National Farm Summit,” but they forgot to invite farmers. Oh, they had a bunch of the national commodity associations represented on the program, but if there were any workaday, go-for-broke family farmers participating, they were inconspicuous in the swarm of academics, bureaucrats and corporation executives who gathered “to find creative answers and new solutions” to agricultural problems. Of 17 members on the summit task force considering farm income problems, for example, only two could claim to be farmers, both from Iowa, while Deere & Company, Pillsbury, the American Bankers Association, Farmland Industries, and Bank of America each had representation. The only two Texans on this important panel were a banker from Lamesa and a farm journalist from Lubbock. It was particularly interestingand particularly stupidthat A&M chose to include only one token representative of the American Agriculture Movement in its “summit.” Having asked for it, the aggies got itsome 300 farmers showed up on tractors and in grain-laden trucks, and they crashed A&M’s winter retreat. In fact, protesting farmers took over the meeting, causing great discomfort to the sponsors, who were branded “eggheads” and worse. The uninvited seemed to take special delight in bearding such academic leaders of this tax-supported Noxzema skin cream and medicated shaving formula. One just hopes the new conglomerate owner doesn’t confuse its various formulasif it does, consumers will be surprised with either the hottest shave or the slickest chili they’ve ever had. fiasco as Luther Tweeten, an Oklahoma State University professor who chaired the farm income panel, and Ron Knutson, head of A&M’s agricultural economics department and prime mover behind the meeting. In one memorable moment, a panel of academics had agreed that it would be bad policy to provide any public guarantees of farm income and that the best thing for farmers was free enterprise. One of the farmers said that he thought that was such a good idea that maybe the professors would like to extend it to their own chosen occupation by doing away with the protection of tenure. There were no takers among the professors, who could only manage embarrassed giggles in response. The confrontation grew so tense on the second day that A&M officials considered adjourning the meeting early. The mood of the farmers was summed up in a bumper-sticker that gained wide distribution at the summit: “Save a family farm: eat an economist.” There was also an undercurrent of partisan politics at the meeting. Featured speakers were Republicans Robert Dole, a senator from Kansas, and John Connally, soon to be a GOP presidential candidate. U.S. agriculture secretary Bob Bergland was invited to address the session, but the Republican tilt of the meeting, which ended up being little more than a predictable attack on Carter administration policies, kept Bergland from accepting. Indeed, not even an assistant secretary came to College Station to represent the Department of Agriculture. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15