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The Texas OBSERVER 1′ The Texas Observer Publishing Co.. 1979 Ronnie Dugger. Publisher Vol. 71, No. 5 March 16, 1979 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Demo crat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. EDITOR Jim Hightower MANAGING EDITOR Linda Rocawich ASSOCIATE EDITOR Eric Hartman EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger PRODUCTION MANAGERS: Susan Reid, Beth Epstein ASSISTANT EDITORS: Vicki Vaughan, Bob Sindermann Jr. STAFF ASSISTANTS: Margot Beutler, Viki Florence, Jeannette Garrett, Helen Jardine, Ann Kriss, Donna Ng, Anne Norman, Beverly Palmer,Martha Owen, Karen White, Harris Worcester CONTRIBUTORS: Thomas D. Bleich, Ave Bonar, Berke Breathed, Warren Burnett, Bob Clare, Jo Clifton, Bruce Cory, Keith Dannemiller, Jeff Danziger, Chandler Davidson, John Henry Faulk, David Guarino, Roy Hamrie, Doug Harlan, Jack Hopper, Dan Hubig, Molly Ivins, Susan Lee, TiM Mahoney, Maury Maverick Jr., Dave McNeely, Kaye Northcott, Lois Rankin, Ray Reece, Laura Richardson, Ben Sargent, Lisa Spann, John Spragens Jr., Sheila R. Taylor, Stanley Walker, Eje Wray, Ralph Yarborough 0 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 never 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. 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 year. Second-class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Publication #541300. ISSN 0040-4519. years, $36. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilmed by MCA, 21 Harristown Road, Glen Rock, N.J. 07452. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to The Texas Observer at address below. Editorial and Business Offices 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 Have we got a deal for you! .Austin So yoU bought yourself a little Chevy from the dealer, getting a pretty good price and a 12-month warranty. But a month later an engine defect causes the block to crack, turning the value of your little jewel into that of scrap metal. You take it in for a new engine under the warranty, but the dealer blows cigar smoke in your ,face and tells you to get lost. In a huff, you go to your lawyer and he gives you the bad news: “Texas used to have a solid consumer law that would have helped you, my son, but Sen. Bill Meier and the boys in the ’79 Legislature took a meat cleaver to it, and now auto warrantiesare exempt from the consumer act.” A salesman. at the garden center tells you not to bother with spreading composted manure on your lawn, but persuades you instead to try a bag of his own chemical pellets, guaranteed to make your grass lake notice. You pay the $5.95, dose your lawn with it. as instructed, and sure enough your grass notices. It dies. Back to the garden center, where the salesman bellows, “Caveat emptor, sucker:” Again, bad news from your lawyer: “In their wisdom, members of the 66th session removed the consequential damages provision from the Consumer Protection Act, so while we could recover your actual loss of $5.95 for those pellets that didn’t quite work out as promised, I’m afraid it’s just tough luck about your yard.” You go to the department store for that $150 special on the sewing machine advertised in the morning paper, but the lady says, “No, we’re suddenly out of those, but we’ve got one here that you’ll like better for only $200.” It’s a bait-and-switch scam, pure and simple, but the store won’t make good on the 2 MARCH 16, 1979