Page 5


POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE While members of Congress cogitate over whether to take the special tax deduction which can save each of them almost $20,000 a year in income tax, it’s good to know that 18 House members are millionaires according to recently released financial statements. The richest is apparently Texas’ own Jim Collins who listed assets between $5.29 million and $10 million and up. Another 25 House members said they were almost millionaires. Texans who approach or exceed millionaire-status include Jack Brooks, Ralph Hall, Sam Hall, Kent Hance, Marvin Leath, Charles Wilson, Jim Wright, Ron Paul, and the aforementioned Collins. John Tower says he isn’t sure whether he’ll take the special tax writeoff, based loosely on a deduction of $75 a day for Washington expenses for each day Congress is in session. Tower voted for the deduction when it passed the Senate last December as a rider to an unrelated bill concerning benefits for miners. Measuring Ground .. . A literal handful of men in the White House, in the Kremlin, perhaps by now in Peiping have in their possession tools-turned-weapons capable of dealing death to the planet and its peoples, and this in what, for Mr. Cleveland in his age, would have been an instant. But who hath measured, who is measuring, the ground? Two earlier White House Cowboys Teddy R. and Lyndon B. are the awshucks bully boys who gave us the Spanish-American and the Viet Nam Wars both meaningless, jingoed-up conflicts of which we ought forever to be ashamed. Who now is measuring what ground? Cowboy Three? “Cap” Weinberger? Alexander the Great? Some silent Herr Doktor Strangelove? Mr. Cleveland is no longer a passenger on the planet in his own persona. But he is here because I can remember him, now and again, as he was on a Christmas Day on a bank of the Susquehanna. What I hear him saying now is: “Ladies and gentlemen, I beseech you, ask ‘Who hath measured the ground between here and Armageddon?’ ” Perhaps taking a cue from Lila Burt Cummings Tower, wife of the senator, Wendy Lee Gramm, Cong. Gramm’s wife, went to work in late March as a $54,755-a-year official at the Federal Trade Commission. Mrs. Gramm, an economist, was appointed assistant director for consumer protection in the Bureau of Economics. Mrs. Tower, a lawyer, was appointed by President Reagan last year as director of the Institute of Museum Services, a position that pays in excess of $50,000 a year. Political action committees in Texas gave $1.4 million, or 10.5%, of the total campaign contributions reported to date to candidates in the May 1 primaries. Heaviest PAC contributors include the following: Texas Medical Association $229,258; automobile dealers \(AU$83,125. The state Supreme Court has held that a Galveston district court erred in “usurping” the authority of the state Air Control Board, allowing Gulf Chemical Co., Texas City, to violate a board operating permit. The court thus declared that the Air Control Board is the final authority on clean-air rules. The Internal Revenue Service has come up with a tax to be imposed should the U.S. be nuclear bombed. IRS suggests a 20% across-the-board sales tax to replace all other federal levies against survivors, should there be any. A U.S. House committee has voted down a Mexican “guest worker” program that would have allowed the attorney general to admit as many alien workers as employers could claim they need. The only Texan on the committee, Rep. Sam Hall, a Marshall Democrat, voted for the measure. It was this version of the program that Gov. Bill Clements has backed. A House subcommittee, meanwhile, has approved a Reagan administrationbacked bill which forbids hiring aliens, but also grants them legal status after a “prolonged” stay in the U.S. Creekmore Fath of Austin, in Mexico City to deliver a lecture on the interrelationships of artists Thomas Hart Benton, Jose Orozco and Diego Rivera, digressed from his talk’s theme briefly for this political aside: “But let me digress for a moment to another young student who was to have vast influence directly on two and indirectly on the third of our three companions: one Jose Vasconcellos . . . Now you will allow me a little artistic liberty when I tell you that as a youth \(his father was a customs officer stationed in Piedwent to school ‘over the bridge’ at Eagle Pass, Texas. “Need I say that obviously this contact with the vast overwhelming culture of Texas is what led Vasconcellos to sponsorship of the Mexican mural revolution years later in 1921. “Texas culture is very insidious. I, for one, have felt that since that unpleasantness at the Alamo with General President Santa Anna, and the later tiff at San Jacinto between Santa Anna and Sam Houston, Texans have too often been a role model for some Mexicans. And when Mexican politicians try to emulate their counterparts in Texas, Heaven help us all. You will understand when I say that General Santa Anna was a saint compared with some of the governors we’ve had in Texas the past 40 years. But enough of this political fun, back to work with the arts.” CORRECTION Mike Moeller didn’t ask us to, but for some reason we made him president of the Texas Farmworkers Union in last issue’s Political Intelligence. Mike Moeller is, of course, president of the Texas Farmers Union. The first primary’s slow-count led the Observer into error: we reported that Walter Grubbs lost to Steven Carriker in a contest for the legislative seat being vacated by House Speaker Billy Clayton. When all the votes came in. Carriker was the winner. We regret and apologize for the mistake. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23