POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE Infertile Fields v Lest you think all environmentalists consider human beings part of the ecology, take a look at the flowerkissing rhetoric Ned Fritz’s Texas Committee on Natural Resources is putting out. The group’s April 23 newsletter, Conservation Progress, reports that “a large majority” of TCONR board members voted in December to oppose the Congressional DeConciniMoakley bill, which proposes extended voluntary departure status for Salvadorean refugees in the U.S. \(Four board members voted not to oppose the What do these wort-worshippers have against people from south of our border? The newsletter spells it out: “These extra consumers make a substantial impact on our natural resources and economy. . . It does little good for us to decrease our fertility rate if we let in so many immigrants. We have to hold the line. The main cause of immigration from Salvador is not to escape oppression, but to find better employment.” Apparently all those years of decreasing ‘their own fertility rate has made the honey-dippers bitter. And it’s distorted their sense of history. The newsletter, for instance, says President Napoleon. Duarte “has reduced the oppression substantially, so far as the government is concerned, although Marxist guerillas continue to inflict human rights abuses which drive some people out of El Salvador.” Just so we don’t think that TCONR is the only fair-skinned self-interest group opposing DeConcini-Moakley, the newsletter says a Dallas group called Concerned Unitarians for the Environment also opposes the bill. TCONR is not joined by the Sierra Club on this issue. There are, after all, ecologists who think that more than just the snail darter may be threatened with extinction. Unwarranted Fear V In a speech on May 4 at the University of Texas Phi Beta Kappa banquet, U.T. Chancellor Hans Mark said that we have to weigh the benefit to humanity against the risks involved in our space program and nuclear technology. Mark said the Chernobyl accident is possibly the worst nucleai accident that will ever occur and suggested that the costs are a price we must be willing to pay in order to live in the modern age. He said the damage was roughly similar to that caused by a bad airplane accident or an earthquake. Beyond mentioning the costs of cleanup, Mark did not discuss the possibility of the lingering dangers of a nuclear accident. Apparently oblivious to the Soviet evacuation of the area around Chernobyl, Mark said the accident should dispell the fear that such occurrences would lead to mass evacuations of towns. The greatest impact of Three Mile Island, Mark said, was the psychological stress it induced. He said we must learn how to deal with what he termed an “unwarranted” fear of radiation. By Air and By Sea v In El Paso in April, a flock of birds flew into a transformer, causing a shortlived electrical blackout. Some people thought the city was under terrorist attack. An old woman told the county commission in Brownsville that guerrillas carrying rifles were wading across the river and marching onto her property. These cases were cited in a story in the Wall Street Journal about heightened alarm and paranoia on the U.S.Mexican border. The attempts of Kent Hance to whip up fear of crime from illegal immigration were mentioned as another case in point. President Reagan’s warning that Nicaragua is “a privileged sanctuary for terrorists and subversives just two days’ drive from Harlingen” was corrected: actually, that drive “is nearer to four days,” the Journal said. V The Star Wars Committee of the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce is seeking the establishment of optics and ceramics businesses in Amarillo. According to “Amarillo Highlights,” the chamber’s magazine, Jim Simms, chairman of the Star Wars Committee, attended a workshop in Austin last fall entitled, “Commercializing Strategic Defense Technologies: Promises and Prospects.” Jerry Huff, executive editor of the Amarillo Globe News, who also attended the workshop, is quoted: “Optics must be coated, and copper is one of the coatings used, which Amarillo has in abundance. Another person associated with the chamber, Bob Reid, the head of Texas State Technical Institute’s laser department, is quoted in the same source that NASA has been intensively investigating ceramics. Gun Trouble v More than 500 people attended a gun and knife show in Amarillo this spring. The Amarillo Daily News reported: “The gun and knife show included 200 tables filled with rifles, handguns, jewelry, Indian artifacts, replica Nazi helmets, bayonets, camouflage clothing, precision blow guns, ammunition belts, mock grenades and animal skins, as well as other items. . . . “One gun exhibitor, who asked to remain anonymous, said he did not want his photo to be printed [in the newspaper] because he did not want trouble from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.” Friendly Amendments v Senator Lloyd Bentsen’s perennial “Houston Chronicle amendment” turned up again in the Senate finance committee’s new plan for radical restructuring of the tax system. Bentsen attached an amendment to the bill to exempt the Chronicle from the 1969 law prohibiting foundations from running large businesses, but giving them 20 years \(i.e., selves of same. The House has rejected earlier versions of this amendment. The Houston Chronicle is published by a foundation. In what the Wall Street Journal calls a favor to Florida Sen. Lawton Chiles, Bentsen also introduced a measure giving new tax breaks to growers investing in agricultural operations damaged by freezes. There are probably a few Rio Grande Valley growers who might also benefit from such legislation. Superfund v A letter signed by 70 members of Congress was sent on May 13 to House Speaker Tip O’Neill and House Minority Leader Robert Michel, urging them to stop the backsliding of House conferees in their negotiations with the Senate on Superfund legislation. Representatives Albert Bustamante, D-San Antonio, and Charlie Wilson, D-Lufkin, were the two Texas signers of the letter. According to signers of the letter, there is some indication that even where Senate conferees are willing to make concessions to the stronger House THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13
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