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TETXDB sERvER The Texas Observer Publishing Co., 1987 Vol. 79, No. 7 April 3, 1987 Copyright 1987 by Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. PUBLISHER Ronnie Dugger EDITOR Dave Denison ASSOCIATE EDITOR Louis Dubose EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Kathleen Fitzgerald LAYOUT AND DESIGN: Valerie Fowler CALENDAR: Kathleen Fitzgerald EDITORIAL INTERN: Joan Fereday WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Richard Ryan EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Frances Barton, Austin; Elroy Bode, Kerrville; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Bob Eckhardt, Washington, D.C.; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; Ruperto Garcia, Austin; John Kenneth Galbraith, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, Dallas; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, . Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Oxford, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Austin; James Schwartz, Galveston; Fred Schmidt, Fredericksburg, Robert Sherrill. Tallahassee, Fla. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Bill Adler, Warren Burnett, Jo Clifton, Craig Clifford, John Henry Faulk, Terry FitzPatrick, Bill Helmer, James Harrington, Jack Hopper, Amy Johnson, Michael King, Dana Loy, Rick Piltz, Gary Pomerantz, Susan Raleigh, John Schwartz, Michael Ventura, Lawrence Walsh. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Vic Hinterlang, Bill Leissner, Alan Pogue. CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: Mark Antonuccio, Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Carlos Lowry, Miles Mathis, Joe McDermott, Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau. 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. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them because this is a journal of free voices. Managing Publisher Subscription Manager Office Manager Publishing Consultant Development Consultant Cliff Olofson Stefan Wanstrom Joe Espinosa Jr. Frances Barton Hanno T. Beck The Texas Observer paid at Austin, Texas. Subscription rates, including 5 1/8% sales tax: one year $23, two years $42, three years $59. One year rate for full-time students, $15. Back issues $2 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road. Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106. Copyright 1987 by Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 28th Street, #I05, Austin, Texas 78705. EDITORIAL Mid-Session Pain and Suffering IT’S MID-AFTERNOON and the cigarette smoke hangs heavy in the Linoleum Club, the depressing little nook at the bottom of the stairs to the Capitol basement. Womens’ shoes click on the floor, lobbyists sit tiredly at dirty tables and open file folders of computer-typed bills and amendments and schedules of committee hearings. People come and go in a steady stream, some leaving the smell of popcorn wafting in their trail. Out-of-towners who have found something familiar in the Coke machines and cafeteria line struggle with their kids and strollers. A nasal-voiced mother tells her little girl, “You sit still and eat your bread.” The girl fingers what may once have been a chicken salad sandwich. “I hate bread,” she replies. If you happen to be sitting by the side of the stairwell, it is hard not to notice the many attractive legs in nylons going up and down the stairs. The reason we are all here, it is often said, is because of money for the legislators, money to be raised and spent; for lobbyists, money to be protected; for Capitol staff, money to be earned. Well, many people are thinking of more than money. In the late afternoon, engagements are made, meeting places are set, and the evening is open to question. One common question is: Isn’t this guy married? Yes, but his wife is far away, and he is here. These are age-old mating grounds and there are reasons the sexual metaphor is so commonly mixed up with the work of the place. At any given day at mid-session you can find someone testifying to how they are being screwed by the system, by the competition, or by the legislature. You have doctors pleading for changes in liability law because of their malpractice burdens. A Houston neurosurgeon tells the House State Affairs committee that 40 percent of neurosurgeons in the state have been sued. “We are losing the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship,” he says. You have, as well, a long line of victims of chemical industries testifying at a Senate hearing as to the human dimension to the lawyers’ term “pain and suffering.” They make the point that the legal recourses the doctors and chemical companies are so anxious to curb are not a matter of frivolous lawsuits. Each telephone company has a team of lobbyists, the smaller companies fighting AT&T’s attempts to squirm out of state regulation, while the consumers’ interest hangs precariously in the balance. Truckers are arguing about trucking deregulation, with the interstate companies and state chambers of commerce pushing for a “free enterprise trucking” bill, and the Texas Motor Transportation Association \(the voice bill “should really be called the ‘big business protection act’ since it is designed to serve the self-interests of a few of the largest shippers in Texas to the detriment of everyone else.” Bankers are interested in changing the law to allow people to take out second mortgages on their homes; in this 2 APRIL 3, 1987